Tue, 14 Mar 2017 09:33 UTC
A team of three archaeologists at the University of South Carolina recently published a study which looked at 11 dig sites across North America and found elevated levels of platinum in very specific soil layers.
"The presence of elevated platinum in archaeological sites is a confirmation of data previously reported for the Younger-Dryas onset several years ago in a Greenland ice-core," Christopher Moore, the lead author of the study, told the Archaeology News Network.
This 'Younger-Dryas' period is best known as one of extreme cooling that began around 12,800 years ago and lasted for roughly 1,400 years. This period coincided with the end of the Clovis culture and the extinction of over 35 species of Ice Age animals, including woolly mammoths, mastodons and saber-tooth tigers. But why would they die out if they had already managed to survive through an ice age.
"Platinum is very rare in Earth's crust, but it is common in asteroids and comets," Moore said. In other words, North America may well have witnessed an extinction-level event similar to the one that killed the dinosaurs, but one third of its size.
The collection of essays and ideas The World As I See It gathers Einstein's thoughts from before 1935, when he was as the preface says "at the height of his scientific powers but not yet known as the sage of the atomic age".
In the book, Einstein comes back to the question of the purpose of life on several occasions. In one passage, he links it to a sense of religiosity.
"What is the meaning of human life, or, for that matter, of the life of any creature? To know an answer to this question means to be religious. You ask: Does it make any sense, then, to pose this question? I answer: The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life," wrote Einstein.Was Einstein himself religious? Raised by secular Jewish parents, he had complex and evolving spiritual thoughts. He generally seemed to be open to the possibility of the scientific impulse and religious thoughts coexisting.
"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind," said Einstein in his 1954 essay on science and religion.Some (including the scientist himself) have called Einstein's spiritual views as pantheism, largely influenced by the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. Pantheists see God as existing but abstract, equating all of reality with divinity. They also reject a specific personal God or a god that is somehow endowed with human attributes.
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 21:33 UTC
A partial fossil of the Sparalepis tingi, a 20cm-long fish, found in China's Yunnan province could turn the paleontological world on its head. Named after the Sparabara infantry of the Persian Empire, the fish's scales resemble the wicker shields the warriors carried into battle.
For decades, the fossil evidence has led the scientific community to believe the surge in global vertebrate, jawed fish populations began during the Devonian Period (419.2 million to 358.9 million years ago).
The Vintage News
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00 UTC
The age of the tree means that it was alive while Stonehenge was under construction and around the time when the first writing system was invented in Sumeria.
Dating from the Bronze Age, the Great Basin bristlecone pine belongs to a species that does not grow taller than 15 meters, and its trunk does not extend in diameter more than 3.6 meters. These ancient trees have knotted and gnarled appearance, especially those growing at higher altitudes. They also have reddish-brown bark with deep fissures.
The Great Basin bristlecone pine differentiates from the Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine in its needles; the first always have a pair of unceasing resin canals, and so lack the emblematic small white resin flecks of the second. Unique too are its cones that are more rounded compared to the more pointed ones of the other species.
New York Times
Fri, 10 Mar 2017 23:10 UTC
The keyboard was German because I was living in West Berlin, which was still encircled by the Berlin Wall: The Soviet empire was still strongly in place, and was not to crumble for another five years. Every Sunday the East German Air Force made sonic booms to remind us of how close they were. During my visits to several countries behind the Iron Curtain — Czechoslovakia, East Germany — I experienced the wariness, the feeling of being spied on, the silences, the changes of subject, the oblique ways in which people might convey information, and these had an influence on what I was writing. So did the repurposed buildings. "This used to belong to . . . but then they disappeared." I heard such stories many times.
Having been born in 1939 and come to consciousness during World War II, I knew that established orders could vanish overnight. Change could also be as fast as lightning. "It can't happen here" could not be depended on: Anything could happen anywhere, given the circumstances.
Sat, 11 Mar 2017 00:41 UTC
Army Major Martin Manhoff was assigned to the USSR in 1952, with the Cold War in the ascendant, and over the next two years took hundreds of pictures, and filmed hours of 16 mm color footage, for reasons that may have been personal, professional or both.
On March 5, 1953, it was announced that 73-year-old Josef Stalin had died of a cerebral hemorrhage. The exact details of his last days as he lay paralyzed and helpless, while none of his subordinates intervened, remain a source of historical controversy.
Comment: See also: Previously unseen photographs of Stalin's Russia revealed by US historian
Sun, 05 Mar 2017 15:37 UTC
The statue's head and broken torso were recovered from a pit of earth and water by a team of German and Egyptian archaeologists in Cairo's Matareya district on Thursday, reports Almasry Alyoum.
Modern day Matareya is where the ancient Egyptian city of Heliopolis once stood and archaeologists suspect the newly discovered eight-meter-tall effigy could be a tribute to a pharaoh who ruled Egypt between 1279-1213 BCE.
Fri, 10 Mar 2017 14:33 UTC
The discovery, hailed by the Antiquities Ministry as one of the most important ever, was made near the ruins of Ramses II's temple in the ancient city of Heliopolis, located in the eastern part of modern-day Cairo.
"Last Tuesday they called me to announce the big discovery of a colossus of a king, most probably Ramses II, made out of quartzite," Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told Reuters on Thursday at the site of the statue's unveiling.
Wed, 08 Mar 2017 22:21 UTC
Published today in the journal Nature, an international team led by the University of Adelaide's Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) and Dental School, with the University of Liverpool in the UK, revealed the complexity of Neandertal behaviour, including dietary differences between Neandertal groups and knowledge of medication.
"Dental plaque traps microorganisms that lived in the mouth and pathogens found in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, as well as bits of food stuck in the teeth - preserving the DNA for thousands of years," says lead author Dr Laura Weyrich, ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow with ACAD.
"Genetic analysis of that DNA 'locked-up' in plaque, represents a unique window into Neandertal lifestyle - revealing new details of what they ate, what their health was like and how the environment impacted their behaviour."
Wed, 08 Mar 2017 19:44 UTC
I dealt with this glorious moment in human history in my "Revolution in Haiti" based on C.L.R James classic "The Black Jacobins." I also dealt with the enormous importance that slavery held in the global economy and its role in fueling the industrial revolution in "Capitalism and Slavery" based on the classic book of the same title by Eric Williams. Next I tackled the role of slavery as the prime motive behind the launching of the so called "American War for Independence" in the "Counter Revolution of 1776," based on Gerald Horne's instant classic of the same title.
Now I will deal with the part the Haitian revolution played in not only ending slavery on the island but throughout the Americas. I will rely on yet another masterpiece from Gerald Horne, "Confronting Black Jacobins: The United States, The Haitian Revolution, and The Origins of the Dominican Republic," which is both a sequel to "The Counter-Revolution of 1776" and a companion to his excellent "Negro Comrades of the Crown" which covers the same time period. Negro Comrades of the Crown is about the alliance between American blacks and the British empire, which hoped to use the issue of slavery to destabilize it's former colony - turned imperial rival - the United States.