Data Bits: 19 December 2022

DataBits are news items of interest that you may have missed in your busy day.

‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ Model from 1982 Spielberg Classic Sells for $2.5 Million at Auction

The original mechanical model from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has snagged a staggering sum.

The highly desirable film item (for those with very deep pockets) was part of the recent Julien’s Auctions and TCM Presents: Icons and Idols Hollywood auction, going for a final bid of $2,560,000, according to the auction house.

The no. 1 “hero” used with the actors, the aluminum alloy skeletal model of E.T. was originally estimated by the auction house to fetch between $2 million and $4 million. Bidding opened at $500,000. The winner was not identified.

Article from People.Com

Sometimes you just don’t think about what lies beneath. Beauty isn’t only skin deep in this case. What a wonderful work of art!

The Mystery of Nevada’s Ancient Reptilian Boneyard

BERLIN, NEVADA, IS a treasure chest for paleontologists. Just down the road from now-abandoned gold and silver mines, a rockbound collection of bones hints at an even richer past. The Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is teeming with dozens of fossils of ancient marine reptiles. That bone bed is so abundant and weird that researchers have been scratching their heads over it for decades.

“There are sites with way more dense occurrences of ichthyosaur skeletons, including places in Chile and Germany,” says Nick Pyenson, curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “But this place, Berlin-Ichthyosaur in eastern Nevada, has really escaped explanation for a long time.” In one particular quarry, at least seven individuals from the genus Shonisaurus—a bloated, bus-sized dolphin with four limb-like flippers—lay essentially stacked atop one another.

read more on Wired

Reversible dynamics with closed time-like curves and freedom of choice

The theory of general relativity predicts the existence of closed time-like curves (CTCs), which theoretically would allow an observer to travel back in time and interact with their past self. This raises the question of whether this could create a grandfather paradox, in which the observer interacts in such a way to prevent their own time travel. Previous research has proposed a framework for deterministic, reversible, dynamics compatible with non-trivial time travel, where observers in distinct regions of spacetime can perform arbitrary local operations with no contradiction arising. However, only scenarios with up to three regions have been fully characterized, revealing only one type of process where the observers can verify to both be in the past and future of each other. Here we extend this characterization to an arbitrary number of regions and find that there exist several inequivalent processes that can only arise due to non-trivial time travel. This supports the view that complex dynamics is possible in the presence of CTCs, compatible with free choice of local operations and free of inconsistencies.


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