Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

A Non-Royal Woman Will Appear on Scottish Currency for the First Time

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

During the 19th century, Scottish mathematician and astronomer Mary Somerville made history by aiding in the discovery of Neptune and becoming one of the first women to be inducted into the Royal Astronomical Society. Now, 144 years after her death, she's making history again by becoming the first non-royal woman to appear on a Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) note, the Independent reports

Somerville was up against two other famous figures for the spot on the RBS's new plastic £10 note. Physicist James Clerk Maxwell and civil engineer Thomas Telford were also in the running for the honor, and votes were cast by the public via Facebook likes, The Guardian notes. The pioneering astronomer was the ultimate winner—even though she technically came in second place. 

According to the BBC, an RBS spokesperson said Somerville was in the lead for most of the competition but an outpouring of votes knocked her from the top spot on the final day. Telford ended up with over 5000 votes, but further investigation showed that only 700 of those were cast by Facebook users in the UK. A large portion of the remainder was likely the the work of automated "likebots" programmed to like certain posts. 

If someone did spam Telford's picture with the intention of sabotaging Somerville, they were unsuccessful. In all the Royal Bank of Scotland's nearly 300-year history, the scientist will be the only woman other than the queen to appear on one of their widely-circulated bank notes. The new notes are expected to appear in circulation in late 2017. 

[h/t BBC]

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NASA, Getty Images
Watch Apollo 11 Launch
Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11
Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11
NASA, Getty Images

Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969, on its way to the moon. In the video below, Mark Gray shows slow-motion footage of the launch (a Saturn V rocket) and explains in glorious detail what's going on from a technical perspective—the launch is very complex, and lots of stuff has to happen just right in order to get a safe launch. The video is mesmerizing, the narration is informative. Prepare to geek out about rockets! (Did you know the hold-down arms actually catch on fire after the rocket lifts off?)

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 from Spacecraft Films on Vimeo.

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Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma
Utility Workers May Have Found One of Rome’s First Churches
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

The remains of what may have been one of Rome’s earliest Christian churches were accidentally discovered along the Tiber River during construction, The Local reports. The four-room structure, which could have been built as early as the 1st century CE, was unearthed by electrical technicians who were laying cables along the Ponte Milvio.

The newly discovered structure next to the river
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

No one is sure what to make of this “archaeological enigma shrouded in mystery,” in the words of Rome’s Archaeological Superintendency. Although there’s no definitive theory as of yet, experts have a few ideas.

The use of colorful African marble for the floors and walls has led archaeologists to believe that the building probably served a prestigious—or perhaps holy—function as the villa of a noble family or as a Christian place of worship. Its proximity to an early cemetery spawned the latter theory, since it's common for churches to have mausoleums attached to them. Several tombs were found in that cemetery, including one containing the intact skeleton of a Roman man.

Marble flooring
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

A tomb
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma1

The walls are made of brick, and the red, green, and beige marble had been imported from Sparta (Greece), Egypt, and present-day Tunisia, The Telegraph reports.

As The Local points out, it’s not all that unusual in Rome for archaeological discoveries to be made by unsuspecting people going about their day. Rome’s oldest aqueduct was found by Metro workers, and an ancient bath house and tombs were found during construction on a new church.

[h/t The Local]

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