Ufo Video Over South Korea: Fact Or Faked?

An airplane passenger videoed a mysterious oval white object flying over Seoul, South Korea, April 7. The video has been lighting up the Internet since, and of course many people are offering extraterrestrial explanations.

As is de rigueur these days, the UFO clip was uploaded to YouTube, where it has been viewed millions of times. Some comments say it's clearly an extraterrestrial spacecraft; others insist it's a fake. Still others say it's neither but instead is a real object — such as a plastic bag in the wind, a parachute seen from above, or a drop of water on the window — that simply looks strange from that angle.

Aside from the anonymity of the cameraman, the video raises some red flags about its authenticity. For one thing, the video is not complete; it has been purposely edited to leave some information out. We know this because it begins in progress, with the UFO already well in frame, in the lower right-hand corner. The video camera didn't suddenly turn on to capture that scene; there must be at least some video that was recorded the first few seconds of the camera being turned on or the cameraman pointing the camera out the window. This type of selective editing is common among UFO hoax videos.

There's also the fact that the cameraman waits almost seven seconds before he mentions the UFO to his companion. It's clearly present, and it would be hard to keep your reaction to yourself if you were watching while you were videotaping.

Perhaps most strange, even though he clearly spots the UFO, the cameraman makes no effort to follow the object after it zooms up and out of frame; instead he videotapes more or less the same area of sky for the remaining 10 seconds of the clip. [Video of UFOs Swarming Over Las Vegas Is for the Birds]

While these internal clues suggest something's not right with the video, the question remains: Was it a real object? Some of the most popular explanations don't fit the facts. A plastic bag, for example, would be unlikely to reach that altitude (and would not appear that large), and a parachute could not move as seen in the video.

The best earthly explanation for the UFO is that it's a droplet of water on the outside of the window being pushed up by airflow coming from under the fuselage. This would explain why the UFO is out of focus: because it's close to the lens. It would not, however, explain why the UFO appears to maintain a constant shape. Droplets of water, especially when subjected to high pressure, tend to deform and leave droplet trails as they move across a smooth surface. This one does not.

Then there's the fact that the light and shadow pattern on the blurry white object doesn't change as it moves. It's almost as if the UFO intentionally maintained exactly the same angle toward the camera the whole time — not impossible, but highly suspicious.

Absent a terrestrial explanation, we turned to Derek Serra, a Hollywood visual effects artist who has analyzed previous UFO videos. Serra said he finds several elements in this South Korean UFO video that "scream fake," including that "the motion blur was done by an amateur," he told Life's Little Mysteries. "When the camera zooms in a bit, and when the UFO flies off screen, you can seen 'ghosting' of the image. Actual motion blur of real, three-dimensional objects creates a smooth gradient, not a stuttered ghosting like we see in this video. It is something we make sure we do right when working on shots for TV and film."

Though all signs point to a hoax, it's possible that alien spacecraft technology is so advanced that the spacecraft have the sneaky ability to appear on our cameras looking exactly like faked video images.

This story was provided by Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow Life's Little Mysteries on Twitter @llmysteries, then join us on Facebook.

Did Sharks Really Kill That Cute Baby Dolphin?

A baby dolphin sounds cute, right? What about a baby dolphin torn apart by hungry sharks?

A Philadelphia woman captured a shocking photo of a half-eaten baby dolphin while visiting the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey, last Saturday (June 13). The photo of the newborn animal's decimated carcass — allegedly rendered that way by sharks — was posted to Facebook and has since gone viral.

Many people who saw the photo concluded that the Jersey shore is no longer a safe place for dolphins. But don't pack up your beach gear just yet. [How to Avoid a Shark Attack]

It's unlikely that a group of hungry sharks was really responsible for the dolphin's death, said Robert Schoelkopf, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, a nonprofit organization in Brigantine, New Jersey. The 3-foot-long (0.9 meters) bottlenose dolphin likely died before sharks started eating it, Schoelkopf told Live Science.

"It's not uncommon for anything that washes up onshore to have been bitten by sharks. This is what sharks do. They clean the ocean of debris," said Schoelkopf, who has worked with marine mammals for 40 years. He maintains a large photo database of animals that died of unknown causes and then washed onto the beach after being partially eaten by sharks.

Of course, Schoelkopf admitted it's possible that sharks did, in fact, kill the baby dolphin; he just thinks it's unlikely. But Daniel Abel, a professor of marine science at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, said it may be difficult to figure out what really happened.

"Either explanation is possible," Abel told Live Science. "A shark could easily eat an animal of that size. And [a shark] could have eaten a dead animal as well."

While humans generally think of sharks as hunters, these animals are actually not that picky about whether their prey is alive or dead (as long as that prey hasn't been dead for very long), Abel noted. For example, great white sharks have been known to eat dead whales, even though these fearsome predators are quite adept at going after large prey that's still alive.

"The name of the game in evolution is saving energy," Abel said. "[You] could be on the way to lunch, but if there's a free buffet in front of you, you'll stop and eat."

It's possible that a small great white shark fed on the baby dolphin, Abel said. But Schoelkopf said he suspects a smaller shark species was responsible for the mutilated dolphin carcass.

"Because of its location so close to shore, there's a possibility it may have been a sand tiger [shark], since they frequent shallow waters," Schoelkopf said. "We've had other dolphins come in with similar bites that were from sand tigers."

However, there are at least seven other species of shark (besides sand tigers and great whites) that inhabit the waters just off the New Jersey coast, so finding out precisely which species chowed down on the dolphin requires further investigation, Schoelkopf said. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center is trying to figure out the animal's cause of death and, if possible, what kind of shark snacked on it.

Abel said this one dolphin death doesn't make the sea a more dangerous place than it was last week. However, last week the ocean did seem like a fairly dangerous place. On Thursday (June 11), a shark attacked a young woman off the coast of North Carolina. And on Sunday (June 14) two other young people were victims of separate shark attacks along the same stretch of coast.

Still, you shouldn't let your fear of sharing the baby dolphin's fate keep you from enjoying the ocean this summer, Abel said.

"There's a very active food web that's invisible to us operating all the time," he said. "We don't like to think of cute, little marine mammals being consumed by big, mean sharks. But it happens all the time, and it doesn't make the ocean any scarier or less safe than it was before it happened."

Follow Elizabeth Palermo @techEpalermo. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

What's The World's Largest Dog?

The world’s largest dog is a Great Dane named Zeus, who stands 3 foot 8 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds. On his hind legs, Zeus is 7 feet 4 inches – by comparison, the NBA lists only 20 players ever to be 7 foot 3 or taller.

Zeus is three years old and eats about 12 cups of dog food per day. Giant dog breeds, which include Great Danes, tend to grow rapidly but overall they take longer to reach maturity than other types of dogs.

In prehistory, dogs may have been even larger: the largest wild dog of all time was Hayden’s bone-crushing dog. Based on fossil evidence, the wild beast was estimated to weigh up to 1374.8 pounds, and lived for 15.3 million years during the mid-late Miocene epoch in North America.

As for dogs living today, the largest breeds are:

  • Spanish Mastiff
  • English Mastiff
  • Saint Bernard
  • Pyrenean Mastiff
  • Leonberger
  • Newfoundland
  • Great Dane
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Borzoi

Despite being able to eat things off the table and reign supreme on the couch, being big brings with it some health problems. Large dogs can have problems with their joints and with managing a healthy weight. Large breeds are also quite prone to osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and susceptible to other debilitating bone and cartilage diseases. This happens because of the amount of growth that they go through during their lives, and the long time it takes to reach maturity. In addition, the life span of big dogs is generally shorter than that of smaller dogs, often living only 6 to 10 years.

On the other hand, they typically don't need as much exercise as small and mid-size breeds, paradoxically making them good companions for city dwellers with small apartments. They also tend to have mellow, sweet personalities.

The world’s heaviest dog is a Mastiff named Hercules who tips the scales at 282 pounds. He reportedly has a 38-inch neck.

Follow Life's Little Mysteries on Twitter @llmysteries. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Weird! Quantum Entanglement Can Reach Into The Past

Spooky quantum entanglement just got spookier.

Entanglement is a weird statewhere two particles remain intimately connected, even when separated over vast distances, like two die that must always show the same numbers when rolled. For the first time, scientists have entangled particles after they've been measured and may no longer even exist.

If that sounds baffling, even the researchers agree it's a bit "radical," in a paper reporting the experiment published online April 22 in the journal Nature Physics.

"Whether these two particles are entangled or separable has been decided after they have been measured," write the researchers, led by Xiao-song Ma of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information at the University of Vienna.

Essentially, the scientists showed that future actions may influence past events, at least when it comes to the messy, mind-bending world of quantum physics.

In the quantum world, things behave differently than they do in the real, macroscopic worldwe can see and touch around us. In fact, when quantum entanglement was first predicted by the theory of quantum mechanics, Albert Einstein expressed his distaste for the idea, calling it "spooky action at a distance."

The researchers, taking entanglement a step further than ever before, started with two sets of light particles, called photons. [Stunning Photos of the Very Small]

The basic setup goes like this:

Both pairs of photons are entangled, so that the two particles in the first set are entangled with each other, and the two particles in the second set are entangled with each other. Then, one photon from each pair is sent to a person named Victor. Of the two particles that are left behind, one goes to Bob, and the other goes to Alice.

But now, Victor has control over Alice and Bob's particles. If he decides to entangle the two photons he has, then Alice and Bob's photons, each entangled with one of Victor's, also become entangled with each other. And Victor can choose to take this action at any time, even after Bob and Alice may have measured, changed or destroyed their photons.

"The fantastic new thing is that this decision to entangle two photons can be done at a much later time," said research co-author Anton Zeilinger, also of the University of Vienna. "They may no longer exist."

Such an experiment had first been predicted by physicist Asher Peres in 2000, but had not been realized until now.

"The way you entangle them is to send them onto a half-silvered mirror," Zeilinger told LiveScience. "It reflects half of the photons, and transmits half. If you send two photons, one to the right and one to the left, then each of the two photons have forgotten where they come from. They lose their identities and become entangled."

Zeilinger said the technique could one day be used to communicate between superfast quantum computers, which rely on entanglement to store information. Such a machine has not yet been created, but experiments like this are a step toward that goal, the researchers say.

"The idea is to create two particle pairs, send one to one computer, the other to another," Zeilinger said."Then if these two photons are entangled, the computers could use them to exchange information."

You can follow LiveScience senior writer Clara Moskowitz on Twitter @ClaraMoskowitz. For more science news, follow LiveScience on twitter @livescience.