Month: January, 2018

Scientists Find Jawbone Fossil From Oldest Modern Human Out Of Africa In A Cave In Israel

Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery of a fossilized human jawbone in a collapsed cave in Israel that they said is between 177,000 and 194,000 years old.

If confirmed, the find may rewrite the early migration story of our species, pushing back by about 50,000 years the time that Homo sapiens first ventured out of Africa.

Previous discoveries in Israel had convinced some anthropologists that modern humans began leaving Africa between 90,000 and 120,000 years ago. But the recently dated jawbone is unraveling that narrative.

This would be the earliest modern human anyone has found outside of Africa, ever,” said John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist from the University of Wisconsin, Madison who was not involved in the study.




The upper jawbone — which includes seven intact teeth and one broken incisor, and was described in a paper in the journal Science — provides fossil evidence that lends support to genetic studies that have suggested modern humans moved from Africa far earlier than had been suspected.

Dr. Hawks and other researchers advised caution in interpreting the discovery.

Although this ancient person may have shared some anatomical characteristics with present-day people, this “modern human” would have probably looked much different from anyone living in the world today.

Early modern humans in many respects were not so modern,” said Jean-Jacques Hublin, director of the department of human evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

Dr. Hublin said that by concluding the jawbone came from a “modern human,” the authors were simply saying that the ancient person was morphologically more closely related to us than to Neanderthals.

 

That does not mean that this person contributed to the DNA of anyone living today, he added. It is possible that the jawbone belonged to a previously unknown population of Homo sapiens that departed Africa and then died off.

That explanation would need to be tested with DNA samples, which are difficult to collect from fossils found in the arid Levant.

The upper jawbone, or maxilla, was found by a team led by Israel Hershkovitz, a paleoanthropologist at Tel Aviv University and lead author of the new paper, while excavating the Misliya Cave on the western slopes of Mount Carmel in Israel.

The jawbone was discovered in 2002 by a freshman on his first archaeological dig with the group.

The team had long known that ancient people lived in the Misliya Cave, which is a rock shelter with an overhanging ceiling carved into a limestone cliff.

By dating burned flint flakes found at the site, archaeologists had determined that it was occupied between 250,000 to 160,000 years ago, during an era known as the Early Middle Paleolithic.

Evidence, including bedding, showed that the people who lived there used it as a base camp. They hunted deer, gazelles and aurochs, and feasted on turtles, hares and ostrich eggs.

Dr. Hershkovitz and Mina Weinstein-Evron, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa, felt that the jawbone looked modern, but they needed to confirm their hunch.

The Misliya finding is just the latest in a series of discoveries that are changing the story of our evolutionary past.

One study, not yet confirmed, suggested that modern humans may have interbred with Neanderthals in Eurasia about as far back as 220,000 years ago.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

How To Return A Lost Phone To Its Owner

Annually millions of people around the world drop or forget their mobile phones at unknown places in unexpected circumstances.

Some of them are given back to their original owners while majority of them get reused or resold in cheap prices.

The loss of mobile phone is really an unfriendly experience to its original owner as it may contain private pictures, videos and other confidential information.

Although, nowadays we can lock the mobiles with pass-code or screen lock pattern, but yet they are prone to hackers.




The phone you have found if unlocked, then you can easily access the contact list and other useful information about the owner. You can also simply pop up the contact list and call some family member to inform about the phone.

But if you come across a phone which has security measures applied on it, it won’t be that easy to trace the actual owner.

So if you are someone who found a locked lost phone and wants to earn some good karma by returning it, here are some methods to do it.

With IMEI Number in Hand

Every smartphone made in the world comes with a unique IMEI (Internet Mobile Station Equipment Identity) number. But getting access to IMEI number totally depends on the manufacturer.

Some inscribe it beneath the battery while on some other devices you need to access the phone itself.

But in case the phone is locked and fortunately you have IMEI number from the hardware, you can call the OEM customer service for the information of the owner.

In most of the cases they will not give you the concerned information, but you can give your details to them and simply ask them to carry forward a message to the owner to pick up his/her phone from you.

Keep the Phone Charged and Answer the Incoming Calls

You can simply wait for the owner to calls himself on the mobile for the situation or you can answer any incoming call and inform them that this particular phone is with you and request to inform the actual owner.

Android Debug Technique

This Android Debug (ADB) technique can reveal a mobile’s lock pattern by following some easy steps. This technique requires you have proper ADB installed on your PC or laptop with a USB cable in hand.

If you are able to configure the ADB properly, you can now modify a file named ‘gestures.key’, which is still a security concern among Android phones. This will unlock the phone and you are now able to access the contact list.

Conclusion

Good people still exist in the world. It’s better to return the lost phone and as it will help clear the conscience and gives you motivation of good karma.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Work On Your Poker Face While Studying Graphic Design Essentials

Graphic Design is a hugely useful skill, and we are surrounded by it in almost every part of our lives, but most people know very little about it.

The Design Deck is a fun and simple way to learn the essentials of graphic design, improve your skills as a designer, and understand more about the design you interact with everyday.




The Design Deck contains distilled, essential information about the practice of graphic design.

Each of the 52 faces has a piece of useful design information, complete with a visual example, combining to create a well-rounded, thorough examination of the subject.

To curate the information, I combed through many of the best graphic design books on the market. I did my best to concentrate the wisdom of these brilliant authors, and put it in a concise, practical form.

Below is a photograph of the collection of design books that went into making The Design Deck.

Even with the large quantity of design information found on The Design Deck, it is also a fully functional deck of playing cards.

It is printed on thick 310gsm cardstock with a linen texture that makes them great for card games, and even magic tricks.

If the campaign continues on its great upward trajectory, we are almost definitely printing with Bicycle (USPCC), who make the very best cards in the whole world!

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Pass it on: Popular Science

 

This Is A Contact Lens For People With Diabetes That Can Monitor Your Tears To Know If Your Sugar Levels Get Too High

Scientists have designed a smart contact lens to measure the wearer’s blood sugar without using a needle.

So far, the needle-less prototype has only been tested in rabbits — and it’s not clear if it’s even possible to accurately monitor blood sugar using tears. But if it works, it would be a massive upgrade for people with diabetes.

The lens is made out of the same transparent, flexible material that’s in some soft contacts on the market. Inside, the researchers embedded electronics including a little LED light and a glucose sensor.

If glucose levels rise above a certain level, the continuously lit LED light flickers off to alert the wearer, the researchers report today in the journal Science Advances.




The scientists, led by Jang-Ung Park at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in the Republic of Korea, tested the contact lens using artificial tears spiked with sugar to mimic the low glucose levels measured in tears by earlier studies.

They also gave it a trial run in rabbits: the LED stayed on until the researchers squirted a glucose solution into the rabbit’s eye — and then the LED turned off, just like it’s supposed to. So far, it hasn’t been tested in humans or with human tears, however.

The device is the latest attempt to develop a needle-less blood sugar monitor for diabetics.

Building the circuitry on a flexible contact lens is impressive, says John L. Smith, former chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson’s glucose monitoring division and author of The Pursuit of Noninvasive Glucose: Hunting the Deceitful Turkey.

But the glucose readings from tears just don’t reflect the levels in blood reliably enough to guide treatment decisions for people with diabetes, he says.

It’s an unreliable measure of blood glucose,” Smith says. “And that’s something you have to measure with great reliability or you will expose people to harm.

More than 30 million Americans have some form of diabetes, a group of diseases that result in too much sugar, or glucose, in the blood.

To keep their blood sugar from spiking or dropping to dangerous levels, people with diabetes have to watch what they eat and sometimes inject themselves with insulin.

That’s why accurate blood sugar readings are key. “People with diabetes are betting their life on that measurement,” Smith says.

Currently, the two main methods involve drawing blood by pricking a finger or inserting a needle under the skin to measure the glucose in the fluid between cells.

Both can be unpleasant, which is why companies have been chasing a needle-less blood sugar monitor for decades. Many have tried — including Google.

But its attempt to develop a glucose-sensing contact lens so far hasn’t seen the light of day.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Chinese Scientists Have Successfully Cloned Monkeys

Two monkeys are the first ever primates to be cloned using the technique that created Dolly the sheep.

The technique brings the prospect of cloned human beings even more closer.

But scientists caution that there may be no good reason to create such clones, and that ethical and legal questions need to be answered about such research.

More immediately, the technique will allow researchers to create whole labs full of genetically identical monkeys.




That could prove tremendously useful in scientific and medical research – allowing doctors to watch how specific treatments affect the genetic makeup of animals that are otherwise exactly the same, for instance.

The two identical long-tailed macaques – named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua – were born eight and six weeks ago at a laboratory in China. They represent the furthest reaches of cloning technology, genetically resembling each other entirely.

They aren’t, strictly, the first primates to have been cloned. But they are the first to be produced using the single cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technique, which involves transferring cell nucleus DNA to a donated egg cell that is then prompted to develop into an embryo, and is the same process used for Dolly the sheep.

Previous work has relied on splitting embryos, which is the same phenomenon that happens when twins are born and can only produce four offspring.

The two monkeys were part of a total of 79 different transfer attempts, which used different techniques. Scientists had some luck cloning monkeys using adult cells, but those were only able to survive for a few days.

That genetic symmetry of the monkeys means that scientists could create a whole experiment’s worth of identical monkeys, save for the specific genetic changes that they want to study.

But the research has already led to fears about where it could lead.

The scientists stress they did the work under strict international codes, and co-author Muming Poo said the team was aware “that future research using non-human primates anywhere in the world depends on scientists following very strict ethical standards”.

The breakthrough means that it would theoretically be easier to clone a human, since primates share so much of their makeup with us.

But actually doing so is much less likely, given the ethical and regulatory objections there would be to any such plan.

Scientists will keep watch on Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, who for now appear to be growing and developing like normal monkeys. They expect more clones to be born in the coming months.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

The Nike Epic React Sneaker Has Higher Energy Return To Push You Forward As You Run

Last Tuesday, Nike announces the release of a new proprietary foam midsole technology called Nike React.

The very first shoe to feature React will be the Epic React Flyknit running shoe. It’s a sleek little number (available February 22), with a simple, knit upper that sits atop a single layer of extra thick React foam.

In a trend that’s been sweeping the running shoe industry, Nike is centering all its attention and fanfare on the properties of the foam itself, rather than highlighting other individual parts of the shoe.




React is our most complete foam ever,” says Ernest Kim, footwear innovation director at Nike. Kim geeks out, praising the ride this new foam delivers.

You not only get great energy return—13 percent greater than Lunarlon—but [you also get] a much softer experience as well,” he says.

For a runner who wants a shoe that feels springy and light, but that can still hold up through plenty of miles, Kim feels that Nike nailed it with React.

If you think you’ve heard a similar tune before, you’re right. Last September, Brooks revealed its DNA AMP foam, also touting a blend of cushioning and energy return.

Last year, we saw the first shoes from Altra made with the cleverly-named AltraEGO foam, which—you guessed it—distinguishes itself by its soft step-in feel and bouncy ride.

Then there’s Reebok Float Foam, Saucony Everun, New Balance Fresh Foam, Puma Ignite. Every major company now has its own hero foam, a trend that can be traced back to a compound called Boost, introduced by Adidas in 2012.

As magical as the new foams feel for many, they aren’t for everyone. “At the end of the day, shoes are so personal,” Harper says.

There’s going to be people who put on a [foam] shoe, and it doesn’t connect with them for some reason—doesn’t connect with their stride, doesn’t feel good underfoot.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Google’s $30 Million Moon Race Ends With No Winner

It’s official: The $30 million Google Lunar X Prize is no more.

After close consultation with our five finalist Google Lunar X Prize teams over the past several months, we have concluded that no team will make a launch attempt to reach the moon by the March 31, 2018, deadline,” X Prize founder and chairman Peter Diamandis said in a joint statement today (Jan. 23) with Marcus Shingles, the organization’s CEO.

This literal ‘moonshot’ is hard, and while we did expect a winner by now, due to the difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize of the $30M Google Lunar X Prize will go unclaimed,” they added.




The acknowledgement confirms news broken yesterday by CNBC.

The Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP) was announced in 2007, with the stated aim of encouraging commercial spaceflight and exploration.

The contest challenged privately funded teams to put a robotic spacecraft on the moon, move the craft 1,640 feet (500 meters), and have it beam high-definition photos and video back to Earth.

The first team to do this would win the $20 million grand prize. The second-place team would get $5 million, and an additional $5 million was available for various special accomplishments, bringing the total purse to $30 million.

The GLXP has awarded more than $6 million so far, for various milestones that teams have achieved. Milestone prizes would count toward, and not boost, the total purse taken home by first- or second-place teams.

So, the money given out by the GLXP would not have topped $30 million.

 

The deadline was originally the end of 2012, but GLXP representatives pushed it back several times, finally to March 31 of this year.

Google apparently did not want to grant another extension — but that doesn’t necessarily mean the moon race is completely off.

X Prize is exploring a number of ways to proceed from here,” Diamandis and Shingles said in today’s statement.

This may include finding a new title sponsor to provide a prize purse following in the footsteps of Google’s generosity, or continuing the Lunar X Prize as a noncash competition where we will follow and promote the teams and help celebrate their achievements.

Several dozen teams threw their hats into the ring over the course of the decade-long GLXP competition, but that pool was finally whittled down to five finalists: Florida-based Moon Express, Japan’s Team Hakuto, SpaceIL from Israel, India’s Team Indus and international outfit Synergy Moon.

Several of these teams have stressed that the GLXP, while a helpful spur, was not the main reason for their existence.

And Moon Express CEO Bob Richards wrote the following words earlier this month, as part of an op-ed for Space News: “The competition was a sweetener in the landscape of our business case, but it’s never been the business case itself. 

“We continue to focus on our core business plans of collapsing the cost of access to the moon, our partnership with NASA, and our long-term vision of unlocking lunar resources for the benefit of life on Earth and our future in space.

Team Hakuto may yet have a lunar legacy as well: The company is run by the Tokyo-based startup iSpace, which also plans to exploit lunar resources. iSpace recently raised $90 million in investment funding to help it achieve this goal.

We are inspired by the progress of the Google Lunar X Prize teams and will continue to support their journey, one way or another, and will be there to help shine the spotlight on them when they achieve that momentous goal,” Diamandis and Shingles said in today’s statement.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Drug That Brings Relief For Millions Of Sufferers Of Period Pains

drug that could free women from the misery of period pain has been devised by scientists.

The ‘hot water bottle in a pill’ is designed to tackle the cause of the crippling cramps that plague up to 90 per cent of young and middle-aged women each month.

Taken ahead of a woman’s period, it could prevent the pain. Alternatively, it could be taken when required, easing pain when it hits.

Its inventors at Southampton-based drug firm Vantia Therapeutics said that they are confident it will work better than any of the drugs or treatments currently available.




Period pain, or dysmenorrhea, blights the life of between 45 and 90 per cent of women of child-bearing age and is the leading cause of absenteeism from school and work in women in their teens and 20s.

The pain is caused by the womb contracting during a period.

The new drug reduces levels of vasopressin, the hormone controlling the movement of the womb’s muscles.

Preliminary tests on a small group of women showed it to be safe, with no side- effects, an American Chemical Society conference in California heard.

A larger trial on more than 100 British and American women with bad period pain is already under way and the results are due later this year.

If the drug fulfills its promise, it could earn Vantia a large chunk of the £600million-plus spent on period pain relief each year around the world.

Current treatments range from powerful painkillers and versions of the Pill, to relaxation techniques and hot water bottles.

But some tackle the symptoms rather than the cause, others cause upset stomachs or mood swings, and none work for all.

Vantia scientist Andrzej Batt said: “We hope that the drug will provide a more effective treatment option for millions of women worldwide with this painful condition.

Dysmenorrhea not only diminishes the quality of life for millions of women but also has a hidden, society-wide economic cost that involves an enormous number of days lost from work and school.”

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Pass it on: New Scientist

A Powerful Earthquake In Alaska Didn’t Trigger A Big Tsunami

Last Tuesday night, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck southeast of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, prompting a tsunami warning that forced people to flee to higher grounds in the middle of the night.

Fortunately, the tsunami waves were less than a foot high, and the advisories were canceled a little after 4AM local time. So why was Alaska so lucky?

Powerful quakes that happen out at sea are known to cause destructive tsunamis. In 2011, a magnitude 9 earthquake in northeastern Japan triggered waves as high as 126 feet, killing nearly 20,000 people.




In 2004, a similarly strong quake off the coast of Indonesia caused a tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people.

Alaska also has a history of strong earthquakes: in 1964, the state experienced the most powerful quake ever recorded in the US, a 9.2 magnitude tremor followed by a tsunami that killed over 100 people.

Earthquakes occur because the Earth’s crust is divided into plates. These plates can move smoothly against each other or become stuck.

When they become stuck, they build up strain over time, until one day, the plates unstick, releasing energy that causes an earthquake.

Just south of Alaska, the Pacific plate is sliding underneath the North American plate, an area called the subduction zone. That’s why the state is highly seismic, Blakeman tells said.

Last Tuesday night’s earthquake generated because of all the strain building up on the subduction zone, but it did not occur exactly on a fault where the Pacific Ocean seafloor is sliding under the North American plate, Blakeman says.

Instead, the quake occurred a little farther out, in a place where the fault is moving horizontally.

This type of quake, called a strike-slip earthquake, is less likely to trigger large tsunamis, and this is probably why Alaska only saw waves of less than a foot, according to Blakeman.

When earthquakes happen on the subduction zone itself, where one plate is pushing down while the other is going up, then high waves form.

To get a tsunami, you have to have substantial vertical movement on the seabed,” Blakeman says. Those types of earthquakes were responsible for the massive tsunamis in Japan and Indonesia.

Aftershocks in Alaska could continue for weeks or months, Blakeman says. If the quakes generate from the same zone as last night, then large tsunamis should not be expected.

But because the state sits by the Pacific-North America plate boundary, it’s normal that new earthquakes will happen in the future. When and where, exactly?

That’s impossible to say. Earthquakes are so complicated that scientists aren’t able to predict them — at least not yet. “Since we can’t predict them, all we can do is be prepared,” Blakeman says.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Feed The News Need Of The New Facebook News Feed

Updates from friends and family, current events, political rants, the latest celebrity gossip, ads for items you would never consider purchasing and sometimes the Facebook News Feed can feel more like a hodgepodge of random information.

Other times, it totally gets you—showing you exactly what you want to see, at the exact moment you want to see it.

What you see when you log into your Facebook account isn’t random. The Facebook algorithm takes into account a wide variety of information about you to decide what content to show you.

With a little understanding of the inner workings of this algorithm, you can have a more relevant and engaging experience.




UNDERSTANDING FACEBOOK’S ALGORITHM

Although Facebook keeps the specifics of the algorithm a secret, they have given us enough information to deduce general themes that allow users to actively manage what they see.

At the most basic level, the Facebook algorithm shows you more from the people and Pages you interact with—that is, those posts you like, comment on, and share.

Diving deeper, it takes into account the amount of time you spend looking at different types of content, trends in the types of content you view, and your clicking habits.

For example, if you spend a lot of time viewing videos, video content will be delivered to you more often. If you’re likely to spend more time looking at a photo that contains a smiling face, you’ll see photos of happy-looking people more often.

If you click through to the comments on a certain topic, or click through to articles about specific topics, Facebook will serve those up to you more often.

Here are five News Feed hacks to see the posts you’ll be most interested in.

  1. Interact with the Pages and people you like and give the rest the cold shoulder:To see more from Pages, make sure to interact with the posts you see from them and ignore the ones about Kim and Kanye.To exclude content on a particular topic, click the down arrow at the right-hand side of the post, and choose
    Hide Post.” Facebook will then be less likely to show you similar stories in the future.
  2. Decide which Pages are important to you:At the top right of any page, click the downward facing triangle, and select “News Feed Preferences” toward the bottom of the menu.Click “Unfollow people to hide their posts” and then choose “Pages only” from the drop down menu.

  3. Prioritize who you want to see first:The easiest way to make sure you never miss a post from a Page you follow is to tell Facebook. There are two ways to do this.First, in “News Feed Preferences,” click “Prioritize who to see first” and choose up to 30 friends and Pages that interest you the most.The latest posts from these people or Pages will always appear at the top of your News Feed when you log in.
  4. Check out the “Pages Only” News Feed:

    When in business research mode, visit the Pages feed to see recent updates from Pages you’re connected to without any distractions from posts by friends and family.

    If you have the Facebook app on your phone, follow these steps to set up your Pages feed:

  5. Manage your Facebook ad preferences:Are you seeing ads that aren’t relevant to you? Would you rather get more of one type than another? The Facebook Ad Preferences page allows you to see and edit a list of interests Facebook has determined you have.If an interest triggers ads you aren’t interested in, remove it from the list. You can also hide ads that are in the form of Sponsored Posts, or let Facebook know you’re more interested in Sponsored Posts.In the News Feed, click the down arrow in the top right corner of the Sponsored Post, and choose either “Hide ad” or “This ad is useful.”

With a more relevant News Feed, and some clues into how the Facebook algorithm determines what you see, you’ll have more insight into what is likely to be popular when deciding what to post to your own business Page.

Keep in mind that in general, the content that gets the most traction is the content that viewers interact with the most.

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Pass it on: Popular Science