The intertidal mudflats of Barr Al Hikman, a nature reserve at the south-east coast of the Sultanate Oman, are crucial nursery grounds for numerous crab species. In return, these crabs are a vital element of the ecology, as well as the regional economy, a new publication in the scientific journal Hydrobiologia shows. ‘These important functions of the crabs should be considered when looking at the increasing human pressure on this nature reserve’, first author and NIOZ-researcher Roeland Bom says.
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Blue swimming crab
The mudflats of Barr Al Hikman are home to almost thirty crab species. For his research, Bom, together with colleagues in The Netherlands and at the Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, looked at the ecology of the two most abundant species. Bom: ‘Barr Al Hikman is also home to the blue swimming crab Portunus segnis. That is the species caught by local fishermen. This crab uses the mudflats
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Millions of years ago, ancient humans living on the African savanna likely gazed up in wonderment at the bright moon and star-filled sky. This cosmic backdrop wasn’t too different from the one we see today; but how they interacted with it almost assuredly was. It wasn’t until humans came to view the stars as tools that we became masters at understanding their movements.
By some 7,000 years ago, a group of nomadic people living on the African savanna became the first-known humans to record the motions of the stars at a site called Nabta Playa. This cattle-worshiping cult of hunters and gatherers built the world’s oldest stone circle to track the arrival of the summer solstice, as well as the seasonal monsoons they depended on for water and food.
“This was the dawn of observational astronomy,” J. McKim Malville, a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado and archaeoastronomy expert,
Ed Maker/The Denver Post via Getty Images/CIA
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- The CIA once considered making a weapon out of artificial lightning.
- The weapon could be used without directly implicating the CIA or the rest of the U.S. government.
- Although the weapon was scientifically sound, the CIA ultimately never pursued it for reasons unknown.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) once considered the idea of using lightning as a weapon system. In the late 1960s, an unknown scientist proposed the service use lightning strikes as a weapon that would leave behind “little or no evidence,” making it difficult to identify the U.S. government as the perpetrator. The CIA, despite always being interested in covert weapons, never developed the idea. Probably.
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The pitch, which Forbes discovered in declassified CIA files, involved using “artificial leaders” of thin metal wires to “cause discharges to