If You Left A Monolith In A Remote Utah Canyon, Authorities Would Like A Word

It definitely wasn’t planted in a remote Utah canyon by aliens.

After all, this is 2020 we’re talking about.

While on a mission to count bighorn sheep last Wednesday, Wildlife Resources officers aboard a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter spotted a curious sight: a steely, triangular 10- to 12-foot-tall monolith, firmly planted at the bottom of an isolated sandstone gulch.

“During the counts we came across this, in the middle of nowhere, buried deep in the rock,” the department wrote in a caption accompanying the photo on Instagram. “Inquiring minds want to know, what the heck is it? Anyone?”

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officers spotted this monolith in the southeast corner of the state on Nov. 18.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officers spotted this monolith in the southeast corner of the state on Nov. 18.

“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” pilot Bret Hutchings told KSLTV.

“He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘what.’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there ― we’ve got to go look at it!’”

Hutchings speculated it might be some sort of way-finding device for NASA, but ultimately conceded it’s more likely an art project than something with a deliberate scientific purpose.

Hutchings declined to share the monolith’s exact location, fearing someone might endanger themselves while trying to reach it. 

The installation seems to have been ripped straight from a scene in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” in which a group of ape-men encounter a similar monolith for the first time:

Neither the Bureau of Land Management nor the United States Geological Survey immediately responded to a request for comment Monday regarding the monolith’s potential utility or, if it’s an art project, questionable legality.

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The Most Violent Events In The Universe May Have Left Their Mark On Trees, Say Scientists

Supernova! It’s the largest explosion that takes place in space, but how do the deaths of giant stars in our own galaxy affect Earth and other planets?

What would happen if a supernova went off on in our corner of the Milky Way?

Does it matter? Absolutely. The massive amount of radiation emitted by a supernova explosion could lead to climate change on planets enveloped by it.

So whether a supernova has gone-off close by might be a critical question in piecing together the history not only for our planet, but also for potentially habitable planets in other star systems.

It’s also something of a live issue for our Solar System given the confusion over whether red supergiant star Betelgeuse—which we know will go supernova in the next 100,000 years—could explode rather sooner.

After all, Betelgeuse just got closer.

MORE FROM FORBESThis Week Jupiter Aligns With Saturn. What Happens Next Will Be A Once-In-A-Lifetime Sky Event

The effects of a supernova going off are unknown, but there could be clues in the trees. New research published in the International Journal of Astrobiology suggests that supernova explosions occurring in the Milky Way—though still many thousands of light-years from Earth—may have left traces in our planet’s biology and geology.

In a few short months a supernova explosion can release as much energy as the Sun will during its entire lifetime.

When and where supernovae occurred is important. When a star explodes in a supernova explosion it emits radiation, and it’s thought that planets recently exposed to radiation from supernovae are less likely to be habitable.

So Robert Brakenridge, a geoscientist at the University of Colorado Boulder, compared known supernovae with tree ring records.

Supernovae can be seen by astronomers because they leave visible remnants, called nebulae.

Sure enough, the timing of supernovae that occurred relatively close to the Solar System in the last 40,000 years appear to coincide with spikes in radiocarbon levels seen in tree rings.

The atom in question in carbon-14, a carbon isotope that is formed when cosmic rays from space bombard Earth. A spike in levels could indicate that energy from a distant supernova has traveled hundreds of thousands of light-years to our planet.

After all, scientists have recorded supernovas in other galaxies that have produced a massive amount of gamma radiation.

“There’s generally a steady amount year after year,” said Brakenridge about levels of carbon-14. “Trees pick up carbon dioxide and some of that carbon will be radiocarbon,” he added.

MORE FROM FORBESNASA’s Hubble Spots ‘Bizarre Glow’ After An ‘Impossible’ Explosion In Space

Brakenridge found eight close supernovae that generally tally with spikes in the radiocarbon record on Earth, but four that are a really good match:

  • Vela supernova: 12, 740 years ago, 815 light-years = 3% increase in radiocarbon on
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Two weeks left to score early-bird savings at TC Sessions: Space 2020

NASA just made history by landing a spacecraft on an asteroid. If that kind of technical achievement carbonates your glass of Tang, join us on December 16-17 for TC Sessions: Space 2020, an event dedicated to early-stage space startups.

We’ve launched early-bird pricing, and $125 buys you access to all live sessions, plus video on demand. Don’t procrastinate. Buy your pass now before the early-bird reenters Earth’s atmosphere (and prices go up) on November 13 at 11:59 p.m. (PT).

More ways to save: Go further together with early-bird group tickets ($100) — bring four team members and get the fifth one free. We also offer discount passes for students ($50) and government, military and nonprofits ($95). Looking for out-of-this-world exposure? An Early-Stage Startup Exhibitor Package ($360) includes four tickets, digital exhibition space, a pitch session to attendees and the ability to generate leads. Bonus savings: Extra Crunch subscribers get a 20% discount.

TC Sessions: Space is an unrivaled opportunity to learn from, connect and network with boundary-pushing founders, investors and officials from NASA, the Aerospace Corporation, the U.S. Air Force and leading space companies spanning public, private and defense sectors.

We’ve packed the conference with outstanding presentations, fireside chats and interviews. Plus, you’ll find breakout sessions on specialized topics, audience Q&As with Main Stage speakers and the expo area for partners and early-stage startups.

Here’s a taste of the topics, but keep an eye on the agenda, because we’ll add more speakers and sessions in the coming weeks.

Asteroid Rocks and Moon Landings

Lisa Callahan, vice president/general manager of commercial civil space at Lockheed Martin Space, discusses all aspects of scientific and civil exploration of the solar system — from robots scooping rockets from the surface of galaxy-traveling asteroids, to preparing for the return of humans to the surface of the moon.

Sourcing Tech for Securing Space

Lt. General Thompson is responsible for fostering an ecosystem of non-traditional space startups and the future of Space Force acquisitions, all to the end goal of protecting the global commons of space. He’ll discuss what the U.S. looks for in startup partnerships and emerging tech, and how it works with these young companies.

Bridging Today and Tomorrow’s Tech

Corporate VC funds are a key source of investment for space startups, in part because they often involve partnerships that help generate revenue, and because they understand the timelines involved. SpaceFund’s Meagan Crawford and Lockheed Martin Ventures’ J. Christopher Moran discuss how these funds fit in with more standard venture to power the ecosystem.

TC Sessions: Space 2020 takes flight on December 16-17, but we’re starting our early-bird countdown right now. Great savings disappear in two weeks on November 13 at 11:59 p.m. (PT). Buy your early-bird passes today and celebrate your savvy shopping with a tall glass of Tang.

Is your company interested in sponsoring TC Sessions: Space 2020? Click here to talk with us about available opportunities.

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With no Pac-12 games in prime time, college football fans are left in a dark place

For a month now, as college football has attempted to bring back some normal fall vibes in the middle of a seemingly never-ending pandemic, plenty has been missing from the experience.

a crowd of people watching a football ball: Colorado players run on to the field at Levi's Stadium before the Pac-12 championship game against Washington in 2016. Having no late Pac-12 games on Saturday has left college fans feeling a bit empty. (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

© (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)
Colorado players run on to the field at Levi’s Stadium before the Pac-12 championship game against Washington in 2016. Having no late Pac-12 games on Saturday has left college fans feeling a bit empty. (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

Packed stadiums. Marching bands. Cheerleaders. Tailgates. Lee Corso making his picks live from a campus cresting with anticipation before kickoff. So many things we’ve come to count on as ritual gone, some more replaceable than others.

Around the 2014 season, a wacky West Coast phenomenon took the nation by hold and has since grabbed a place among the sport’s most beloved traditions — and its absence in 2020 has created a gulf in our hearts that simply can’t be filled.

This season, when the prime-time games have completed at around 8 p.m. Pacific and 11 p.m. Eastern, fans across the country have reached for their remotes, thumbed through the guide and found nothing but pure sadness.

Because no “Pac-12 After Dark” means no more college football for another week.

“Night’s over, go to bed,” Anthony Moeglin, a 23-year-old self-described college football junkie in Ohio, said of this new reality.

“Thoroughly depressing,” said Carson Cunningham, a TV sports anchor based in Oklahoma City. “It’s breaking up my routine. I hate it.”

Last Saturday, Cunningham was among the weekly deluge of fans who went to Twitter after the early end of the festivities to air their feelings. “I just scrolled through the channels looking for #Pac12AfterDark…” he said, posting a GIF of actor Steve Carell as Michael Scott from “The Office” nodding slowly and holding back tears.

For Cunningham and others who either work late on Saturdays or are night-owl types, the Pac-12’s decision to postpone its season has been a big blow. All they can do is reminisce about the good old days until Nov. 7, when the league will release more After Dark offerings into what is sure to be another wondrous night.

“It’s amazing for us,” Cunningham said. “It’s midnight, and we’re in the middle of a Pac-12 football game, and we have something to watch while we wind down. It’s become a rite of passage, and typically it’s always a wild game. It’s become its own moniker for a reason.”

Queuing up Netflix or Hulu this fall hasn’t cut it for Cunningham’s ilk.

“For someone like me, who’s busy all day either working or doing stuff with my family, that was always the relaxation game,” said Rob Cassidy, who is based in Miami and covers college recruiting for Rivals. “Everything is quiet. Everyone is in bed. And I can sit down and watch Washington State throw the ball 50 times or whatever’s

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Giants’ Joe Judge doesn’t commit to Andrew Thomas at left tackle after Matt Peart’s solid first career start

Giants head coach Joe Judge reiterated that Andrew Thomas’ benching to start the game against Washington on Sunday was a disciplinary benching, not performance related.

But after Matt Peart put together a solid game while splitting time with Thomas, is there any doubt that Thomas – the Giants’ fourth overall pick in this year’s draft — will be the starting at left tackle this Thursday against the Eagles?

It’s a legitimate question for Judge to consider, as Peart performed well in his 26 snaps at left tackle. In fact, Pro Football Focus graded him the highest of any Giants offensive player that was in for more than 25 snaps on Sunday. He had an 89.7 overall grade with a 93.4 run block grade. He also allowed one pressure in 11 pass block attempts.

When asked about the position for this upcoming game, Judge didn’t commit to Thomas returning to his normal starting job at left tackle.

“Yeah, we’ll go through practice this week and see how everything shakes out right now,” Thomas told reporters via Zoom. “But I was pleased with the way both he and Matt played along with Cam [Fleming]. We have multiple guys that can play the positions.”

That is typical Judge speak – not committing to anyone being a starter and earning it through practice and hard work. So maybe these couple of practices before the game will show Judge whether or not Thomas deserves another start over Peart. He did mention that every tackle gets reps on both sides of the offensive line to make sure they’re ready for anything.

It would be pretty telling, though, if Thomas was benched yet again for Peart to start at left tackle considering Thomas’ draft status and $32 million rookie deal. In the second half, Thomas was actually taken out of the game after allowing Montez Sweat to get around him quickly on a third-and-short run attempt that was a poor attempt at setting the edge and ended with Devonta Freeman not picking up the first down.

In Thomas’ defense, he has been going up against some of the best edge rushers in the league in the past few weeks like Bud Dupress, Demarcus Lawrence and Khalil Mack. Peart hasn’t had such luxury to battle with those NFL studs, but at the end of the day, this is the NFL and that’s the competition both players will be seeing on a weekly basis. 

Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham, two first-round pick themselves, are this week’s challenge. They have 7.5 total sacks between them in the last five weeks.

Still, Peart was drafted out of UConn in the third round and was considered a developmental player that had the potential to play a tackle position in the future. But his teammates are noticing during practice that he hasn’t been performing that way nor does he even seem like a rookie at all. His game against the Football Team further justified that thinking.

“He’s definitely a

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