Weekend “Planet Earth Report” –Antarctica Secrets Revealed, New Dept of Defense UFO Video, Deadly International Spy Thriller –The Novichok Code



Antarctica Secrets Revealed –Five New Fossil Forests from the "Great Dying"




Hundreds of millions of years ago, Antarctica was carpeted with prehistoric greenery. Now, scientists may have uncovered clues about what happened in the "Great Dying," or Permian extinction. "Our goal this year was to study fossil ecosystems around the time of the late Permian," says Erik Gulbranson, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor who was one of three team leaders on an expedition to the continent in late 2017. "What we're able to see in these fossil ecosystems is something we've never seen before in Antarctica."

Antarctica is one of the harshest environments on the planet. As the coldest, driest continent, it harbors a world of extremes. The powerful katabatic winds that rush from the polar plateau down the steep, vertical drops around the continent's coast can stir up turbulent snowstorms lasting days or weeks, and the endlessly barren terrain gives Antarctica the title of the world's largest desert.


Today, polar summers pound the continent with 24 unforgiving hours of light for about half the year, before polar winters plunge it into complete darkness for the other half. Regardless of the season, the temperatures are consistently below freezing, making treks to the landmass unthinkable for the faint of heart.

But Antarctica wasn't always like this. Hundreds of millions of years ago, the continent was smushed together with other modern-day landmasses to form the supercontinent Gondwana. Gondwana was humid and carpeted with a network of hardy plants. As the turbulent climate shifted from hot to cold on a sometimes monthly basis, the streamlined foliage would have needed to withstand extremes.

But then, a massive extinction event pulsed through the land. It catapulted nearly all life to an end, obliterating more than 90 percent of the world's species at the time.

What caused this die-off, called the Permian extinction or the Great Dying, is still shrouded in mystery. Clues to the massacre come to us in the form of fossilized trees, but much of the reasons behind this extinction remain unsolved. And that's why a handful of intrepid scientists traveled to Antarctica this winter, curious to uncover clues about what led to the end of the continent's forested past.

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Department of Defense Releases Official Video of UFO Encounter off East Coast

This video is an analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena footage released by the Department of Defense. The video was put together by To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science and was reviewed by multiple government organizations prior to publication. (Published Thursday, March 15, 2018)


Deadly International Spy Thriller — Former Soviet Chemist on the Nerve Agent Novichok



A lethal dose … and the person will die immediately. If [the dosage] is less, [the person] will go through very tortuous scenes. They will start convulsions, and stop breathing and then lose vision, and there are other problems — vomiting, everything. It's a terrible scene."

This is how a former Soviet chemist describes the effects of a nerve agent used in an attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who remain hospitalized after being found poisoned in Salisbury, England, on March 4. On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era chemical weapon first developed in the '80s.

Vil Mirzayanov, the former chemist, was the head of the technical counterintelligence department in the Soviet era. By his own admission, his aims back then were to prevent other intelligence services from developing Novichok. In an interview, he said, "We were trying to keep it a secret for a long time."

Mirzayanov said Novichok is up to 10 times as potent as VX, the nerve agent used to kill the brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year. Mirzayanov blew the lid on the Novichok creation in the mid-1990s, at a time when a chemical weapons convention treaty was being negotiated. Russia felt it might be able to skirt the conventions with Novichok by omitting it.

One of the many outstanding questions about the Skripal incident is how Novichok could have been administered and what form it came in. "An attacker should be very well educated and a trained person," Mirzayanov said, adding the nerve agent could be "produced before the attacks, a couple of minutes before. After that it is ready to use" and could come in a spray form.

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