Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
BLACK FRIDAY DEAL: Trust the World's Fastest VPN with Your Internet Security & Freedom--A Lifetime Subscription of PureVPN at $48 with coupon code "BFRIDAY20" ×

Death Valley's Sailing Stones Caught In the Act 48

Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "The flat surface of the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley is littered with rocks, some weighing hundreds of kilograms, each at the end of a track indicating that it has somehow slid across the surface. The mechanism behind this has been the subject of much speculation but little evidence, until a trio of scientists caught them in action with cameras and GPS."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Death Valley's Sailing Stones Caught In the Act

Comments Filter:
  • From TFA: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dins ( 2538550 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:34AM (#47773919)
    Jagged plates of thin ice, resembling panels of broken glass, bulldoze the rocks across the flooded playa, the scientists reveal today (Aug. 27) in the journal PLOS One. Driven by gentle winds, the rocks seem to hydroplane atop the fluffy, wet mud. "It's a wonderful Goldilocks phenomenon," said lead study author Richard Norris. "Ponds like this are vanishingly rare in Death Valley, and it may be a decade between heavy enough rain or snowfall events to make a substantial pond," said Norris, a paleobiologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California.
  • The Lonely Assassins (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:40AM (#47773979)

    That's what they used to be called. No one quite knows where they came from, but they're as old as the Universe, or very nearly. And they have survived this long because they have the most perfect defense system ever evolved. They are Quantum Locked. They don't exist when they are being observed. The moment they are seen by any other living creature they freeze into rock. No choice, it's a fact of their biology. In the sight of any living thing, they literally turn into stone. And you can't kill a stone. Of course, a stone can't kill you either, but then you turn your head away. Then you blink. Then, oh yes, it can.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      IMHO the most terrifying Dr Who monster ever.

    • The only issue I had with the Weeping Angels is the part about them not moving so long as they are seen by any living creatures.

      It would seem that birds, mice, rats, squirrels, etc would qualify as living creatures so when Rory and Amy were sent away, how could the last Angel have moved when presumably some other creatures was watching it?

      It's one thing if you're in a building (or cave where the only route out is up) where, presumably, you are the only creature able to see them, but outside is another matte

      • Maybe something wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey about insects not living very long in the first place so there's no point using all that energy sending them back in time to live to death. Or it's a sentience thing.

        Either way, I most certainly can kill a stone. I can smash it to bits with a hammer. Maybe even a *rock* hammer. I don't see anything coming back to life after it has been shattered into tiny pieces apart from a T1000 / Crichton and Aeryn.

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          You just made a stone with friends, you killed nothing.

      • The issue I had was when they brought the Weeping Angels back for another episode and ruined the whole thing.

      • The only issue I had with the Weeping Angels is the part about them not moving so long as they are seen by any living creatures.

        It would seem that birds, mice, rats, squirrels, etc would qualify as living creatures so when Rory and Amy were sent away, how could the last Angel have moved when presumably some other creatures was watching it?

        Then there is the episode where the Statue of Liberty was a Weeping Angel. Are they really trying to say that noone was looking at it for long enough for it to swim

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      Sure you can kill a stone. Enough heat and it melts, or just shatter it.

      Unfortunately, I suspect Weeping Angels aren't actually stone in the geological sense.

  • can someone post it someplace else?

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday August 28, 2014 @09:48AM (#47774055) Homepage
    as a member of the illuminati im disheartened to see this. We'd gone to great lengths to insist to the public these rocks were being moved in order to control the ghost of ronald reagan in a hideous plot to destroy the secret bald eagle buried in the head of the lincoln statue that funds "president" obamas fema death camps. when does this inquisition stop? the secret transciever in your left molar has made it explicitly clear that under no circumstance were you to question the rocks. Next thing you know, people are going to start asking about chem trails and how they always make sure gary busey eats exactly one almond joy candy before meeting with the council of serpents to steal painted lines from the roads through the mojave desert that planned the shariah law anchor baby abortions after the covert resurrection of sadam hussein.
    • Needs a "satire" tag as this is not weird enough to be real.
    • by h5inz ( 1284916 )
      Recently they discovered an essential clue about our secret plans - that dogs poop in accordance to earths magnetic field. So we will have to stop them before it's too late. I insist on placing our secret persuadetron chips into birth control products and antipsychotic pills.
  • A movement [] is underway to stop bitches like these from applying the scientific method.

    • by Cragen ( 697038 )
      Better yet. Some guy calling himself a "scientist", in the WaPo Comments here [] to a similar article with this conclusion: " the perfect alignment of variables that must all fall into place for this explanation to work is virtually impossible on the regular basis required to satisfy the frequency of the event. There is a different reason; they don not know what it is."

      When I was young, many years ago, I thought ignorance could be overcome by education. Now, some 60+ years later, I begin to think that is n
      • It HAS to be satire, mocking the parallel argument provided by intelligent design advocates who take the same position in an effort to validate the creation myth.

        No one that literate can be that stupid.

        Can they?

  • There goes my Intelligent Sliding theory. Now how am I gonna get chicks?

  • This was also filmed with long term cameras and shown on the discovery and history channels by multiple people years and years and years ago.
  • We all know these rocks were created in a sound stage by Kubrick and Lee Harvey Oswald to further the agenda of the Kenyan-born communist Obama in the teaching children the "maths".
  • Irrefutable evidence that wind and water have the capability to move bits of earth. I am going to copyright a term for this mechanism: "Erosion" (TM).

    JK. I think the footage is neato.

  • I liked it when rocks took thousands of years to be nudged around by hunks of ice. These new rocks are pushovers.

People are always available for work in the past tense.