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Old 03-23-2011, 08:52 AM   #2301
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12809944

Academics to 'embrace Wikipedia'


Scholars to stop pretending they don't use Wikipedia; will work out best practices instead
from Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow
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Some students and profs London's Imperial College have decided to stop using scary anaecdotes to frighten students away from Wikipedia; instead, the scholars will acknowledge that kids use Wikipedia, that there's lots of good there, and will work out evidence-based best practices for learning with Wikipedia.

"Students know there is an inherent unreliablity, as it's open edited. We're not trying to hide that.

"But it's a place where you can orientate yourself when you start a topic.

"The quality has improved and the readability is often second to none," he says.

But Mr Patel says there is a real gap in knowledge about how this free resource is being used.

Rather than swapping anecdotes about the use of Wikipedia, he says his group wants to move to a more evidence-based discussion about the place of Wikipedia in universities.

Academics to 'embrace Wikipedia'
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:54 AM   #2302
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http://hackaday.com/2011/03/23/surpl...=Google+Reader

Surplus military gear keeps your hands free, calls private
posted Mar 23rd 2011 5:04am by Mike Nathan
filed under: misc hacks, phone hacks

heli_helmet

[Julian] was rummaging through a military surplus store when he spotted a pair of old helicopter pilot helmets that he absolutely had to have. At $25 they were a steal, but pretty useless in their current state. He decided to modify one of the helmets for use while playing video games, but he didn’t stop there.

The helmet had two decent speakers built-in so he kept them, but tweaked the wiring from a mono-only configuration to accept stereo input. A RF wireless headset was disassembled and wired into the helmet so he could use it for playing video games while his wife is asleep. As an added bonus, the headset he used happened to have an AM/FM receiver built in, so he can enjoy music while sitting around with his helmet on as well. A Bluetooth cell phone headset was also torn down and wired into the helmet for gaming and handling phone calls. The Bluetooth mic was extended into the original mic stem built into the helmet, keeping things authentic-looking.

Overall it’s a quite a useful recycling of some old military junk. It’s a great idea though the helmet looks like it could be a touch cumbersome after awhile.

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Old 03-23-2011, 08:59 AM   #2303
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http://www.newscientist.com/article/...html?full=true

The mathematics of being nice

Our ability to cooperate is the secret of humanity's success, says Martin Nowak, who tackles some of biology's biggest questions using mathematics
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:03 AM   #2304
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http://www.kurzweilai.net/move-over-...e-it-from-here

Move over, Einstein: machines will take it from here
March 23, 2011

Source: New Scientist Physics & Math — Mar 22, 2011

Researchers at Cornell University have developed an evolutionary computing algorithm called Eureqa that allows the laws of nature to be extracted from data at unheard of rates, says Michael Schmidt.

Rather than coming up with a hypothesis to test, they carry out experiments first, feeding the data into their computer to discover the laws of nature.

By randomly stringing together 10,000 simple mathematical expressions to create equations, Schmidt’s law-finding computer tested each equation to see how well it described the data. Some fit a little better than others. Eureqa then “bred” these equations together to produce next-generation offspring that were different than the parents. Over thousands of generations, in one case, the computer discovered the law of conservation of energy.

Lipson speculates that this kind of machine learning will become the scientific norm, and we humans will forever be playing catch-up: “This is a post-singularity vision of science,” he says.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:57 AM   #2305
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How people really behave during disasters
from Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker
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If you expect a massive earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis to lead to panic in the streets and every-man-for-himself struggles, then you've probably been surprised by the Japanese response to their country's woes. But, before you start waxing philosophical about how different the Japanese are from your home country, consider what's known about how people—people all over the world—actually behave in disasters. Hint: A lot of the stories you've heard about crime and mayhem are either myths, or overblown accounts that don't represent the vast majority. The London Independent's Johann Hari writes for the Huffington Post:

In her gorgeous book A Paradise Built In Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise In Disaster, Rebecca Solnit shows how this is how almost everybody responds to disaster, across continents and across contexts. When power grids are destroyed and city grids demolished, social grids light up.

This is so cross-cultural -- from Haiti to New Zealand -- that it is probably part of an evolved instinct inherent to our species, and it's not hard to see why. We now know that 60,000 years ago, the entire human race was reduced to a single tribe of 2000 human beings wandering the savannahs of Africa. That was it. That was us. If they -- our ancestors -- didn't have a strong impulse to look out for each other in a crisis, you wouldn't be reading this now.

Yet there are a few examples stubbornly fixed in the popular imagination of people reacting to a natural disaster by becoming primal and vicious. Remember the gangs "marauding" through New Orleans, raping and even cannibalizing people in the Super-Dome after Hurricane Katrina? It turns out they didn't exist. Years of journalistic investigations showed them to be racist fantasies. They didn't happen. Yes, there was some "looting" -- which consisted of starving people breaking into closed and abandoned shops for food. Of course human beings can behave atrociously - but the aftermath of a disaster seems to be the time when it is least likely.

This information is essential for knowing how to respond to disasters. There is a fear that the Japanese government is with-holding information about the dangers of the nuclear meltdown because they don't trust the people to react sensibly and calmly. There is no way of knowing, yet, whether this is true. But understanding this crucial history should guide the government to tell the truth and trust the people. As Solnit puts it: "If you imagine that the public is a danger, you endanger the public."

That analysis also fits with Amanda Ripley's 2008 book The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes. So far, I've only read parts of this book—enough to make me completely rethink a short story I was planning out for my writing club—but it's very high on my list of books I must read in their entirety asap.

This seems to be one of those places where "common sense" simply isn't. On the whole, humans respond to disasters more like the Japanese people responded to this one, and less like what we imagine from movies and nightmares.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:21 AM   #2306
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Whole lotta shakin' goin' on in Florida

Investigators are trying to solve a bizarre mystery in Flagler County. A wave of people called 911 around 9:30am Friday to report the ground shaking in Flagler County. The calls all came from the Hammock area of Palm Coast.

However, people in the north Daytona area, as well as in Deltona and as far north as St. Augustine, said they felt it as well. Many people were worried that the shaking was an earthquake.

The Emergency Management Office was on the phone all day trying to figure out the cause of the shaking. Residents said that buildings were shaking, and even a dispatcher in the county felt it happen.

The 911 call was one of about a dozen calls that poured into Flagler County. An unexplained phenomenon, described as everything from a low rumble to a window shaking movement, rattled residents from St. Augustine to the Volusia County.

"The ground rumbled and the building rumbled. Definitely abnormal for here," a resident said.

"It definitely felt like an earthquake," one resident said. "Enough to make you look to the ocean and say, 'OK, what's next, tsunami?' Because you're going, 'Is it an earthquake or not?'"

The U.S. Geological Survey told Flagler County that sensors in Georgia and Orlando picked up no movement. The National Weather Service reported nothing odd, and the Navy and Coast Guard stated they had no information regarding on or offshore bombing exercises.

"We are checking with all the agencies that monitor those kinds of things and hopefully we'll come up with an answer, but right now, we're kind of perplexed," an official stated.

Everything, from a meteor burning up to a moon phase that allows ocean waves to hit hard enough to vibrate the shoreline, is being considered as a cause. - wftv.com
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:22 AM   #2307
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Did NASA Pick Up Distress Signal From Doomed Planet?

ufobriefcase - Recently the UK Ministry of Defence released to the National Archives the 7th batch of UFO Files.

Interestingly, One of those files features an article Published in the Weekly World News, (September 15, 1998 Vol 19 No. 51) with story about how NASA detected and decoded a mathematics based distress Signal from a doomed Planet outside our own Galaxy.

The signal was detected in January of 1998 however took many months to decode the message.

For your convenience the article has been transcribed:

NASA experts claim to have intercepted an intergalactic distress call from an alien civilization that had already peaked and was actually dying when saber-tooth tigers still roamed the earth!

The 80,000-year-old SOS was received and tape recorded in late January (1998).

But only in recent weeks have radio astronomers and lanuage experts found the key to the complex mathematics-based language that enabled them to translate the frantic plea for help.

The world press has been suspiciously silent about the startling message, though lengthy scientific reports are scheduled for publication in two professional journals, Radio Astronomy and Universe.

According to a highly placed NASA source in houston, noted Russian space scientist Victor Yulakow is leading a United Nations research team from a state-operated observatory 50 miles northwest of Moscow.

Dr. Kulakov told Universe that the signal emanated from a point beyond the galaxy nearest to our own – Andromeda – and was sent by beings that had apparently achieved a civilization no more advanced than our own here on Earth.

“The simple fact that we received and decoded the message proves beyond any doubt that their knowledge and technology were, at the very best, within our reach.” Dr Kulakov explained.

“And while there are years of study ahead of us, I can say with certainty that the death of their civilization was not the result of some cosmic catastrophe. It was the result of the civilization turning on itself, possibly with devastating nuclear weaponry.”

Dr Kulakov flatly refused to provide either of the magazines with a transcript of the message, but he did say it began with the plea, “Help us,” and went on to give data pinpointing the exact position of the doomed planet.

There was a quite lucid account of apocalyptic devastation, hellish explosions, widespread death and terminal illnesses,” he said.

“A Shower of meteors? Perhaps. But what stikes me, and this is just a feeling, is an underlying acceptance of guilt. It’s as if the senders of the message are acknowledging blame for what happened.”

Whatever it was, they apparently had no means to evacuate the remaining population. Interplanetary space travel was available to them, but only on a very limited level. The message makes it very clear that they were trapped on their world,” said Dr. Kulakov.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:46 AM   #2308
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http://technoccult.net/archives/2011...-manufacturer/

RIP Owsley “Bear” Stanley, Original Sound Engineer for the Grateful Dead and Big Time LSD Manufacturer

Owsley “Bear” Stanley, the original sound engineer for the Greatful Dead who was also credited with kickstarting the 60s by manufacturing massive amounts of LSD, died in a car accident in Australia last weekend.

National Post’s Obituary of Stanley

The Dead get a bad rap these days. Many have forgotten the band’s contributions outside of hippie music. Jerry Garcia, a lifelong science fiction fan, was actually a technology advocate with an interest fringe science ideas like cryogenics. Lyricist John Perry Barlow went on to co-found the EFF. The Dead forum was a core part of the important BBS The WELL, an early force bringing together counter-culture and high technology. In the history of cyberculture, the Dead is up there with Stewart Brand and Timothy Leary in terms of importance.

A couple years ago Uriah Zebadiah hipped me to the Dead’s contributions to audio technology via Stanley. In addition to being an LSD manufacturer, Stanley wanted to experiment with audio technology – and the Grateful Dead were his lab. He funded the band just so he could experiment with their equipment.

From San Francisco Chronicle’s profile of Stanley from 2007 (via Boing Boing):

Less well known are Bear’s contributions to rock concert sound. As the original sound mixer for the Grateful Dead, he was responsible for fundamental advances in audio technology, things as basic now as monitor speakers that allow vocalists to hear themselves onstage. [...]

“We’d never thought about high-quality PAs,” says the Dead’s Weir. “There was no such thing until Bear started making one.”

The Chronicle profile includes a rare interview with Stanley about his all-meat diet and his belief in a coming Ice Age.

For more history of LSD, check out the Skilluminati article Ronald Hadley Stark: The Man Behind the LSD Curtain.
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:12 PM   #2309
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http://news.discovery.com/history/go...ah-110318.html

God's Wife Edited Out of the Bible -- Almost
God's wife, Asherah, was a powerful fertility goddess, according to a theologian.


THE GIST

God, also known as Yahweh, had a wife named Asherah, according to a British theologian.
Amulets, figurines, inscriptions and ancient texts, including the Bible, reveal Asherah's once prominent standing.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:39 AM   #2310
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Warning: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think every thing you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned- Tyler.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:25 AM   #2311
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http://laughingsquid.com/mysterious-...san-francisco/



San Francisco artist Jeff Waldman has begun installing little doors around the city. He started by building and installing a small, elaborately locked (from the outside) red door on Fern Alley in the Tenderloin. Additional doors will be built by other artists and sent to Waldman for installation around the city.

The idea is to install small doors, unexplained portals, throughout the city. To start, in San Francisco. These doors would be scaled down to a size that is cognitively possible but whimsically improbable. Tiny ones. Like, Alice Through The Looking Glass, maybe 15-25 inches or so. I don’t imagine them to be operable, but the more detailed in appearance the better.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:27 AM   #2312
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Ostara's history, observances and ties to Easter
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William Browning – Wed Mar 16, 1:10 pm ET
Contribute content like this. Start here.

Ostara, a pagan holiday surrounding the move from winter into spring, is celebrated by pagans on the spring equinox each year. Ostara is an homage to a Norse goddess whose symbols include the egg and the hare. Here's a look at the history and observances of Ostara, the word from which the Anglo-Saxons derived Easter.

History of Ostara

Witchvox.com states the holiday Ostara is traced back to the Norse goddess of the same name. Her festival day occurs on the vernal equinox in late March. Called "Oestre" or "Eastre" in Anglo-Saxon languages, her name is also the derivative of the word "east" where the sun rises. Therefore, Ostara celebrates many things including the new season, warmer weather and brighter days with more sunlight.

Eventually, the name of Ostara go transferred to Easter which became the spring holiday Christians observe the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. When two religions were competing for attention, it helped to have holidays near the same date on the calendar to win followers.

Ostaraobservances

Eggs and rabbits are associated with the Norse goddess herself. According to Religious Tolerance, other pagan religions in Greece and Rome also had spring festivals. The term Easter stuck with Christian churches throughout France and England when they had contact with Norse people such as Vikings.

When spring happens, normal life returns and everyone frolics outdoors. Hence, finding eggs outside is a tradition of getting up and active to explore your surroundings at the dawn of a new season. Animals come out of hibernation and start to eat.

Eating and having a feast on the first day of spring is a natural thing for humans. When food was scarce in the winter, often poor farmers ate less to conserve their food supply. When spring came, it was time to celebrate because now food could be grown.

Feasts with fresh meat such as ham and greens grown in the spring are relevant to having a feast on Ostara. Asparagus and dandelion greens are popular customs but it is important to partake of fresh food to symbolize the new season. Green leafy vegetables welcome the new season with simple foods apropos to the season.

Fertility is a prominent theme of Ostara. Spring in when animals come out of their winter slumber and mate. The Christian Feast of the Annunciation is also around the time of the vernal equinox so it reinforces the idea that spring is a time for child bearing and children.

The festival of Ostara happens as early as March 19 or as late as March 23 as the date of the vernal equinox changes from year to year. No matter what religion you follow, chances are there is some celebration of the new season each year revolving around spring. Many customs in the United States regarding finding eggs and eating chocolate bunnies can be traced to Ostara, the Norse goddess of fertility.

William Browning is a research librarian.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:30 AM   #2313
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http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci...322-1c4qq.html

Time travel, God's particle and Higgs singlet: how messages might be sent to the past or future

Scientists believe they are one step closer to creating time travel.

American physicists from Vanderbilt University believe they may be able to use the Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest atom smasher buried underground near Geneva, to send a type of matter called the Higgs singlet into the past.

But they're unsure if the Higgs singlet actually exists and whether the machine can produce it, according to a report by Live Science.
Advertisement: Story continues below

The Higgs singlet is related to another hypothesised particle called the Higgs boson, dubbed "God's particle" because it is associated with giving other particles mass, which the 27-kilometre long atom smasher may produce.

If the Higgs boson is created, the Higgs singlet may also appear, scientists say.

The Higgs singlet may be able to jump through space and time, travel through a hidden dimension, and then re-enter our dimension forwards or backwards in time, physicists Professor Thomas Weiler and graduate fellow Chui Man Ho believe.

"One of the attractive things about this approach to time travel is that it avoids all the big paradoxes," Professor Weiler said in a statement on research website arxiv.org.

"Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example.

"However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future."

The singlet, a highly technical term to describe the particle that doesn't interact with matter in the usual way, and boson are both named after theoretical physicist Peter Higgs.

The researcher's study is based on M theory, or "the theory of everything", which attempts to unite the cause of all matter.

But it's much too early to start thinking like Back to the Future's Marty McFly.

University of Sydney Associate Professor of Physics Kevin Varvell said the study was highly speculative, something the researchers themselves admit.

"From my reading of the paper, these guys themselves aren't going crazy over the idea of time travel," Professor Varvell said.

"They explicitly say we're not talking about time travel for humans, they're talking about potentially one might be able to send information through the production of these particles.

"But they're also saying that's very, very highly speculative as well.

He said it's one of many ideas that proposes using the collider and it is serious scientific work.

"But, again, I think we need to find the Higgs boson or something like it, before we can entertain other new particles being produced in association with it."

The Large Hadron Collider, which cost more than $4 billion to build, has attracted plenty of controversy.

Before it started working, some feared it would create black holes and its operation was delayed several times due to a string of technical problems, including a liquid helium leak in 2008.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:31 AM   #2314
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http://news.discovery.com/space/once...rd-110321.html

According to an interview with PhysOrg.com, Mureika and Stojkovic have calculated that the early universe didn't only possess a hot, energetic primordial state of matter, but it also had a primordial state of dimensions.

If they're correct, the three dimensions of space and one dimension of time that make the four-dimensional spacetime we live in today isn't how it's always been -- the Universe may have existed in a lower dimensional state in the past.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:29 AM   #2315
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Via the Onion:

After years of secretly monitoring the public, we were astounded so many people would willingly publicize where they live, their religious and political views, an alphabetized list of all their friends, personal emails addresses, phone numbers, hundreds of photos of themselves, and even status updates about what they were doing moment to moment. It is truly a dream come true for the CIA.
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:17 PM   #2316
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alkemical View Post
This is so cross-cultural -- from Haiti to New Zealand -- that it is probably part of an evolved instinct inherent to our species, and it's not hard to see why. We now know that 60,000 years ago, the entire human race was reduced to a single tribe of 2000 human beings wandering the savannahs of Africa. That was it. That was us. If they -- our ancestors -- didn't have a strong impulse to look out for each other in a crisis, you wouldn't be reading this now.
Do you have any other info on this theory? It sounds fascinating and I would like to read up more on it if there is any truth behind it.
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:45 PM   #2317
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Originally Posted by mosca View Post
Do you have any other info on this theory? It sounds fascinating and I would like to read up more on it if there is any truth behind it.
word!
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:34 AM   #2318
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Found some other articles on the one-tribe theory, though it appears to not be universally accepted:

African tribe populated rest of the world

The entire human race outside Africa owes its existence to the survival of a single tribe of around 200 people who crossed the Red Sea 70,000 years ago, scientists have discovered.

Research by geneticists and archaeologists has allowed them to trace the origins of modern homo sapiens back to a single group of people who managed to cross from the Horn of Africa and into Arabia. From there they went on to colonise the rest of the world.
Genetic analysis of modern day human populations in Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and South America have revealed that they are all descended from these common ancestors.
It is thought that changes in the climate between 90,000 and 70,000 years ago caused sea levels to drop dramatically and allowed the crossing of the Red Sea to take place.
The findings are to be revealed in a new BBC Two documentary series, The Incredible Human Journey, that traces the prehistoric origins of the human species.
Dr Peter Forster, a senior lecturer in archaeogenetics at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge who carried out some of the genetic work, said: "The founder populations cannot have been very big. We are talking about just a few hundred individuals."
(continued at link)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/5299351/African-tribe-populated-rest-of-the-world.htm
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:30 PM   #2319
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I'm going to look more into this mosca, just been busy.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:31 PM   #2320
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http://www.orderofmelchizedek.com/il...ticardgame.htm
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:44 AM   #2321
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http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/28/m...eaf-signs-dea/

MIT professor touts first 'practical' artificial leaf, signs deal with Tata to show up real plants
By Christopher Trout posted Mar 28th 2011 3:54PM
A professor at MIT claims to have Mother Nature beat at her own game. Dr. Daniel Nocera says his invention is ten times more efficient at photosynthesis than a real-life leaf, and could help to bring affordable alternative energy to developing countries. Described as an "advanced solar cell the size of a poker card," the device is made of silicon, electronics, and inexpensive catalysts made of nickel and cobalt. When placed in a gallon of water under direct sunlight, the catalysts break the H2O down into hydrogen and oxygen gases, which are then stored in a fuel cell -- the energy produced is apparently enough to power a single house for a day. Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen scientists try to one-up nature, in fact, we've seen solar-powered leaves before, but this thing actually looks poised for the mass market -- Nocera signed a deal with Tata in October. Full PR after the break.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:45 AM   #2322
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Trixie Bedlam's photo captures a poignant moment of bedbug existentialism.

anyone can see (via Warren Ellis)
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:47 AM   #2323
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:49 AM   #2324
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http://www.gizmag.com/prevue-home-4d...concept/18254/

PreVue would offer parents a live 4D baby watch window during pregnancy



Checking the health of a baby inside the womb using ultrasound has been going on for a good many years and can be a useful tool for detecting problems early. A new concept from industrial designer Melody Shiue proposes using the technology to enhance the bond between parents and the growing fetus. PreVue would take advantage of developments in e-textile research and advances in ultrasound technology to offer mother and father a live window into the various stages of their little treasure's development... Continue Reading PreVue would offer parents a live 4D baby watch window during pregnancy
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:29 AM   #2325
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http://technoccult.net/archives/2011...=Google+Reader

The Most Anxiety-Producing Jobs Are Those In Which the Workers Have Little Control Over Their Day to Day Activities

In your research, which jobs did you find to be the most stressful?

You might think that jobs that require the biggest amount of work or the longest hours would be the worst, but that’s not actually the case. The most anxiety-producing jobs are the ones in which the employee has very little control over what he or she does during the workday. One of the more compelling studies that I talk about in the book compares musicians in smaller, chamber groups with those that play in a larger orchestra. The former proved to be a lot less anxious than the latter because they got to decide their own schedule. Orchestral musicians tend to be at the mercy of a tyrannical conductor who decides when they play, what they play and when everyone can take a bathroom break. The notion of executive stress syndrome — the idea that bosses and corporate executives experience much higher levels of anxiety than their underlings — has proven to be total bull****. Executives tend to have more control over what they’re doing, and they often displace their anxieties on the people that work beneath them.

So a run-of-the-mill production assistant is more stressed out than an air traffic controller?

We love to point a finger at air traffic controllers, but we may need to stop. Objectively speaking, their job has gotten more stressful in the last quarter-century. There are fewer of them employed now and they’re dealing with more traffic than at any point in the history of air travel. The difference is that Ned Reese, who headed the training for our country’s air traffic controllers for a number of years, has completely radicalized the selection process. Rather than pick people based on their physical proficiency, he began hiring controllers with a very a specific psychological makeup. We might see their work as stressful, but they tend to think of it as simply challenging.

Salon: “Nerve”: Why is America so anxious?

(via Alex Pang)
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