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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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Scientists discover oldest stone tool ever found in Turkey

Scientists have discovered the oldest recorded stone tool ever to be found in Turkey, revealing that humans passed through the gateway from Asia to Europe much earlier than previously thought, approximately 1.2 million years ago.

According to research published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, the chance find of a humanly-worked quartzite flake, in ancient deposits of the river Gediz, in western Turkey, provides a major new insight into when and how early humans dispersed out of Africa and Asia.

Researchers from Royal Holloway, together with an international team from the UK, Turkey and the Netherlands, used high-precision equipment to date the deposits of the ancient river meander, giving the first accurate timeframe for when humans occupied the area.

Professor Danielle Schreve, from the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, said: "This discovery is critical for establishing the timing and route of early human dispersal into Europe. Our research suggests that the flake is the earliest securely-dated artefact from Turkey ever recorded and was dropped on the floodplain by an early hominin well over a million years ago."



Hunter-gatherer past shows our fragile bones result from inactivity since invention of farming

New research across thousands of years of human evolution shows that our skeletons have become much lighter and more fragile since the invention of agriculture -- a result of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles as we shifted from foraging to farming.

The new study, published today in the journal PNAS, shows that, while human hunter-gatherers from around 7,000 years ago had bones comparable in strength to modern orangutans, farmers from the same area over 6,000 years later had significantly lighter and weaker bones that would have been more susceptible to breaking.

Bone mass was around 20% higher in the foragers -- the equivalent to what an average person would lose after three months of weightlessness in space.

After ruling out diet differences and changes in body size as possible causes, researchers have concluded that reductions in physical activity are the root cause of degradation in human bone strength across millennia. It is a trend that is reaching dangerous levels, they say, as people do less with their bodies today than ever before.


U.S. third-quarter GDP growth revised to 5.0%, highest in 11 years

Source: Marketwatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. economy grew at a 5.0% annual pace in the third quarter, matching the best performance since the third quarter of 2003. The increase in real gross domestic product was revised up from 3.9%, mainly because of consumer spending and business investment, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted GDP would be revised up to a seasonally adjusted 4.4%. Consumer spending, the main source of economic activity, was revised up to 3.2% from 2.2%. Spending on business fixed investment was revised up to 8.9% from 7.1%, while spending on equipment was raised to 11.0% from 10.7%. The rise in exports was also raised to % from 4.9%. The gain in business inventories was revised to $82.2 billion from $79.1 billion, a high level that could induce companies to scale back a little in the fourth quarter and perhaps impinge on growth. Inflation as measured by the PCE index was unchanged at a 1.5% annual rate.

Read more: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-third-quarter-gdp-growth-revised-to-50-highest-in-11-years-2014-12-23?link=MW_latest_news

Tuesday Toon Roundup 3: The Rest









Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: Hacks and Spies

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1: Two wrongs do not make a right

'Injured parrot' in Aberdeen was actually a Christmas hat

A woman was left "mortified" after calling in the Scottish SPCA to rescue an injured parrot that turned out to be a Christmas hat.

The charity was called to the scene on Great Western Road in Aberdeen after what a driver believed to be a parrot was seen in the middle of the road.

However, when they got there they discovered it was a woolly hat.

Animal rescue officer Karen Hogg said: "It's fair to say the lady who called was mortified when I called her back."

She said: "When she was on her way home from the shops, she thought she saw an injured bird on the road.



Beautiful Plumage, that one….

Courage is more exhilarating than fear


Reindeer Games

Working toward a warp drive: In his garage lab, Omahan aims to bend fabric of space

David Pares points to the Faraday cage that he uses in his warp drive experiments in the garage of his Aksarben-area home. “It is so far out there, he’s not going to get funding to do it,” says Jack Kasher, a retired UNO physics professor. “If it’s going to be done, it’s going to be done in his garage.”

You might not believe any of this stuff. But suspend your disbelief for a moment and make space for something incredible.

Let’s start this past summer, when a NASA scientist named Harold “Sonny” White unveiled an artist’s rendering of a spacecraft capable of shooting across the galaxy.

The spacecraft was theoretical, but the research behind it was real. For years White has been exploring the possibilities of actual “Star Trek”-like travel. He even named his ship the IXS Enterprise.

There are obstacles, such as forms of energy that might not exist. That’s a problem.


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