Experiment Supports Theory That ‘Diamond Showers’ Take Place on Uranus and Neptune

At Stanford University, an international team of scientists finally simulated the “shower of diamonds” that they believe is taking place deep within Uranus and Neptune.

Uranus and Neptune are both classified as “ice giants.” Unlike the Earth, their solid cores are likely swathed in thick layers of “ice” made from the combination of water and ammonia.

At a depth of 6,200 miles, researchers speculate that the hydrocarbons encounter so much pressure and heat that the bonds between the hydrogen and carbon molecules are broken. Once free from the bonds, the carbon atoms are compressed into microscopic diamonds, resulting in what can be described as “diamond showers.”

Previously, no one had been able to directly observe these sparkling showers in an experimental setting, according to Dr. Dominik Kraus, who is the head of a Helmholtz Junior Research Group at the German research laboratory Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf.

But, that was precisely the breakthrough Kraus and his international team have now achieved. In their experiment, polystyrene (a plastic made from carbon and hydrogen) was exposed to a simulation of the immense pressure found deep within Neptune and Uranus. They blasted the plastic with shock waves generated by an optical laser and x-rays.

At a pressure of about 150 gigapascal and temperatures of about 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the shock waves compressed the plastic and successfully broke the carbon-hydrogen bonds. The carbon atoms instantly transformed into microscopic diamonds.

“The first smaller, slower wave is overtaken by another stronger second wave,” Kraus explained. “Most diamonds form the moment both waves overlap. Our experiments show that nearly all the carbon atoms compact into nanometer-sized diamonds.”

Kraus theorized that the cores of Uranus and Neptune could contain “oceans of liquid carbon” with gigantic “diamond icebergs swimming on top of it.”

While it’s unlikely man will ever have the ability to mine diamonds on these distant planets, the experiments at Stanford are already yielding innovative and efficient ways of producing nano-diamonds — diamonds that may find their way into electronic instruments, medical equipment and cutting devices.

The results of the research were published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy.

Credit: Greg Stewart / SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

70-Carat Asscher-Cut Diamond Stars at Model’s Fairytale Wedding to Russian Billionaire

Model Ksenia Tsaritsina’s fairytale wedding to Russian billionaire Aleksey Shapovalov included a “suspended” eight-tear cake, illuminated dance floor, two bridal dresses, live pop-star entertainment and a 70-carat Asscher-cut diamond ring valued at $10.5 million.

For those of you keeping score at home, the diamond alone weighs more than a quarter of a pound.

Shapovalov told Cosmopolitan Russia that the 33-carat, D-flawless, Asscher-cut Krupp Diamond that actor Richard Burton famously purchased for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, in 1968 was not big enough for his new bride.

The 27-year-old Tsaritsina described her 70-carat ring in an Instagram post from April.

Translated from Russian, she wrote, “My husband is never too stingy to buy me presents. Now he made a decision that a 30-carat ring is not enough for me.”

An Asscher-cut diamond is sometimes described as a “square emerald-cut diamond.” The gem has cropped corners and is step-cut, which means that the facets are rectangular and appear to be descending into the stone. The Asscher cut was developed in 1902 by the Asscher Brothers of Holland.

Even though the oligarch and the model have been together for five years and have two children together, Shapovalov decided to finally seal the deal last week at the $644-per-night Barvikha Luxury Village Hotel in Moscow.

Guests marveled at one of the most lavish ceremonies ever seen. Inside a ballroom decorated with thousands of white flowers and glittering chandeliers, they danced to live performances by Russian singer Polina Gagarin and rock band Leningrad.

Some news outlets called it the wedding of the year, while AOL wondered out loud if this might be the wedding of the century.

The couple travels frequently between Russia and Dubai.

Credit: Images via Instagram/ksenia_tsaritsina.

‘Diamond Ring Effect’ Will Add Excitement to Today’s ‘Great American Eclipse’

Today, the Great American Eclipse will be visible to nearly everybody in North America, but those of us lucky enough to be viewing from a narrow path that runs from Salem, Ore., to Charleston, S.C., will experience a total solar eclipse and a bonus phenomenon called the “Diamond Ring Effect.”

During a total solar eclipse, the moon aligns itself precisely between the sun and Earth. Sunlight gets blocked out and a 68-mile-wide shadow of the moon (also called its umbra) gets cast upon the Earth, resulting in total darkness for about 2 1/2 minutes. The Diamond Ring Effect occurs in the instant right before the total solar eclipse and in the moment just after.

Francis Baily in 1836 surmised that the Diamond Ring Effect owed its magic to the rugged surface of the moon. As the moon slowly grazes past the sun, tiny beads of sunlight, now called Baily’s Beads, can shine through in some places and not in others. When only one single point of sunlight remains, the burst bears a remarkable resemblance to a diamond, and the halo of the sun still visible behind the moon looks like a ring.

NASA also noted that more than a century earlier, English astronomer Sir Edmond Halley (who discovered Halley’s Comet) also gave a correct explanation of the Diamond Ring Effect during an eclipse of 1715.

The moon’s shadow will race across the continental U.S. at speeds ranging from 2,410 mph in western Oregon to 1,502 mph in Charleston. That means that the Diamond Ring Effect should be visible starting in Oregon at about 10:15 a.m. PST and ending in South Carolina at about 2:48 pm EDT. The duration of the 3,000-mile, coast-to-coast celestial show will be about 90 minutes.

Viewers in the path of the total solar eclipse can expect temperatures to plunge by as much as 20 degrees.

Those not living in the direct path of the total solar eclipse will still see a partial eclipse, which resembles a crescent moon, but in this case it’s a crescent sun. New York City dwellers, for instance, will see 70% of the sun covered by the moon.

We can not overemphasize the importance of utilizing proper solar glasses or filters when viewing the Great American Eclipse. Solar eclipse eye safety is reviewed at NASA’s website here…

Don’t miss the Great American Eclipse of 2017. The next total solar eclipse will take place in North America on April 8, 2024.

Credits: Eclipse viewing image by Arches National Park [CC BY 2.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Diamond Ring Effect image by Lutfar Rahman Nirjhar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Map by NASA.

Music Friday: Marc Scibilia’s ‘On the Way’ Inspires Us to ‘Sparkle Just Like Diamonds’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great, new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, singer-songwriter Marc Scibilia celebrates the season of sun, surf and wanderlust in a catchy tune that inspires us to “sparkle just like diamonds.”

TV watchers will recognize “On the Way” from the newest Jeep commercial. The 30-second spot, which is called “Summer of Jeep: On The Way,” has accumulated 2,300 national airings and has been viewed on YouTube.com nearly two million times since it was posted about 10 weeks ago. It features great-looking millennial Jeep owners enjoying a perfect day at the beach. Shazam the song and you’ll learn that Scibilia also released a full length-version.

Scibilia repeats the hook, “Let your summer guide you, on the way, on the way,” while encouraging the listener to be fearless when discovering new roads.

In the first line of the song, he introduces precious stones to help make his point. He sings, “Journey where this path may lead / And live as big as giants / Summer sun and feeling free / Sparkle just like diamonds.”

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., to a musical family, Scibilia moved to Nashville to become a songwriter just a month after graduating high school. According to his official bio, the young Scibilia got the idea to head south from a sarcastic guidance counselor who was frustrated with Scibilia’s reluctance to pursue a “conventional” career path.

“What are you going to do? Go to Nashville and write songs?” she taunted.

To the young musician, this was a great idea.

Scibilia flourished in Nashville and took in all that it had to offer. He experimented with every genre of music, writing songs for other artists and touring as the opening act for James Bay and the Zac Brown Band, among others. In 2010, Scibilia landed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV.

The artist got a big break when his cover of the Woody Guthrie song “This Land Is Your Land,” appeared in Jeep’s “Beautiful Lands” Super Bowl commercial — the most Shazam-ed commercial of Super Bowl 2015.

Once again, Scibilia’s “On the Way” has been catapulted by the popularity of a Jeep commercial.

Check out the two videos below. The first is the Jeep commercial and the second is an audio track of the full song. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“On the Way”
Written and performed by Marc Scibilia.

Journey where this path may lead
And live as big as giants
Summer sun and feeling free
Sparkle just like diamonds

Golden hearts never afraid
Discover roads brightly shining
Wanderlust runs through our veins
Be fearless, tall as lions

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Trust your bones where they take you
Adventure awaits
Here we go it’s all brand new
You won’t hesitate

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

For the Third Time in Five Years, Carrot Pops From a Veggie Patch Wearing Bridal Jewelry

So, what’s the deal with bridal jewelry and root vegetables? For the third time in a little more than five years, the internet is abuzz with a miraculous story of a long-lost ring that has turned up in a vegetable patch — with the carrot growing right through the center of the band.

In Alberta, Canada, 84-year-old Mary Grams lost her diamond engagement ring while gardening at her family’s farm in 2004. After unsuccessfully searching on her hands and knees for days, she gave up, assuming the ring she had worn since 1951 was gone forever.

Grams secretly bought herself a less-expensive, replacement ring and never told her husband, Norman, of the mishap.

“I cried for I don’t know how many days,” she told CTV News.

Those tears turned into a giant smile earlier this week when her daughter-in-law, Colleen Daley, called with some fabulous news. Daly now lives at the farm, and while plucking fresh vegetables for her family’s dinner, she encountered a strangely deformed carrot. The vegetable was squeezed in the middle, like it was wearing a corset. On closer inspection, she saw that the constriction was caused by a diamond engagement ring.

“I asked my husband if he recognized the ring,” Daley told CBC News. “And he said, ‘Yeah.’ His mother had lost her engagement ring years ago in the garden and never found it again. And it turned up on this carrot.”

Grams said that she recognized the ring right away. It was not only in great condition, but it fit perfectly.

The octogenarian’s husband died five years ago, but she was sure he would have been amused by the story.

“Maybe he would’ve gotten a laugh out of this,” she told CTV News.

While Mary Grams’ story is truly extraordinary, did you know that carrots in Germany and Sweden have also popped out of the ground wearing bridal jewelry?

In January of 2012, The Daily Mail and many other news sources covered the story of a Swedish woman named Lena Påhlsson, who pulled up a carrot cinched in the middle with a wedding ring she had lost in 1995. The ring has gone missing in her kitchen and she assumed that it must have gotten mixed up with some kitchen scraps that ended up in her compost pile. That material found its way to her vegetable garden and the rest is history.

Then in December of 2016, the German press first reported the story of an 82-year-old man from Bad Münstereifel, who found his lost wedding ring wrapped around a carrot. The retiree had lost the ring while gardening three years earlier and then discovered it while collecting vegetables from his garden. The man, whose name was not released, had just celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary.

Screen captures via GlobalNews.ca.

Shocking ‘Pavlok’ Bracelet Is Designed to Break You of Your Bad Habits

Five years ago, chronic procrastinator Maneesh Sethi hired a woman via Craigslist to slap him in the face any time he strayed off task. The $8-per-hour investment in “Kara The Slapper” quickly paid big dividends, as Sethi quadrupled his productivity AND spawned the concept of Pavlok, a bracelet that can deliver a behavior-altering jolt with the tap of a button.

The idea is based on the 80-year practice of aversion therapy. Each time the user exhibits the undesirable behavior, he or she touches the Pavlok button to self-administer a punishing shock. Over time, the user’s brain subconsciously associates the bad behavior with the negative result and the bad behavior is eradicated. The Pavlok website says that the device can be used to break a number of bad habits, including smoking, mindless eating, nail biting and watching too much TV.

A New York Times reviewer noted that the zap could be adjusted from 50 volts (a strong vibration) to 450 volts (like getting stung by a bee with a stinger the size of an ice pick). A police Taser, the writer pointed out, typically delivers about 50,000 volts. The selected intensity of the Pavlok shock can be adjusted with a smartphone app.

Another critic wrote that the Pavlok device was simply a high-tech version of the rubber band, which is sometimes used by patients who are trying to combat anxiety and other disorders. Those patients are instructed to simply put the band around their wrists and deliver a stinging snap to break thoughts related to anxiety, panic and fear.

In 2014, Pavlok got off the ground by generating $284,027 via the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Today, Pavlok’s website boasts more then 40,000 units sold and a slew of video testimonials, including the one from Heather, who credited Pavlok with helping her break a 25-year nail-biting habit, and Carlos, who quit smoking in just five days.

The Pavlok device pairs a silicone, battery-powered shock-inducing bracelet with a Bluetooth-connected mobile app designed for iOS and Android smartphones.

In addition to the self-induced shocks, the device can be set to deliver a stimulus, for instance, if one has been sleeping or resting too long. The device also employs a hand-detection function that can sense if the user might be biting her nails, pulling her hair, or smoking a cigarette. The battery can deliver 150 tiny jolts on a single charge.

What’s more, the app includes a five-day guided audio course on how to reverse bad habits.

Pavlok is available in five colors and sells for $179.

Credit: Image via Buy.Pavlok.com

Fort McMurray Man Reunited With Wedding Ring After It Was Pulled From the Sorting Line at Municipal Landfill

A Fort McMurray man was reunited with his beloved wedding ring — just in time for his 10th anniversary — after it was spotted by an eagle-eyed sorter at the municipal recycling center.

Darren Sammann can’t imagine how his wedding ring made its way to the landfill managed by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Alberta. What he does remember was that his ring was feeling a bit tight one night in late June, so he switched it from his ring finger to his pinky.

“The ring was bothering me,” he told CBC News, “so I took it off and put it on my pinky for the first time in nine years and 10 months.”

That strategy proved to be disastrous, because the ring was too big for his pinky and slipped off.

He scoured his workplace and his wife searched their house, but the ring was nowhere to be found.

On July 12, a sorter at the local recycling center spied something unusual on the sorting line. It was a white-metal wedding ring with a personalized inscription on the inside.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo posted an alert to its Facebook page, and the item was shared 160 times. The Municipality provided a contact email and encouraged the rightful owner to come forward by accurately identifying the ring.

A family member who saw the post alerted Sammann to the news that the recycling center recovered a ring that might be his.

“I was in total disbelief that it was found at a landfill,” Sammann told CBC News.

The recovery couldn’t have come at a better time. Darren was proudly wearing his ring when he and his wife, Angie, celebrated their 10th anniversary this past Friday.

Darren Sammann is confident that his ring will never be lost again. He had the ring resized and now it fits perfectly.

“There’s no need to take it off anymore,” he said.

Credits: Images by Darren Sammann; Facebook.com/rmwoodbuffalo; Facebook.com/darren.sammann.