Neanderthals cooked and ate vegetables 27 December 2010Last updated at 20:44 By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News Hunter, gatherer, vegetarian masterchef? Neanderthals cooked and ate plants and vegetables, a new study of Neanderthal remains reveals. Researchers in the US have found grains of cooked plant material in the teeth of the remains. The study is the first to confirm that the Neanderthal diet was not confined to meat and was more sophisticated than previously thought. The research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The popular image of Neanderthals as great meat eaters is one that has up until now been backed by some circumstantial evidence. This perceived reliance on meat had been put forward by some as one of the reasons these humans become extinct as large animals such as mammoths declined. But a new analysis of Neanderthal remains from across the world has found direct evidence that contradicts the chemical studies. Continue reading the main story More like us
Researchers Create the World's First Fully Synthetic, Self-Repli If figuring out how to quickly sequence genomes was but the first small step for genetics, Craig Venter has gone ahead and made a giant leap for the discipline. The J. Craig Venter Institute announced today that it has created the world's first synthetic cell, boasting a completely synthetic chromosome produced by a machine. "This is the first self-replicating species we've had on the planet whose parent is a computer," Venter said in a press conference. The biological breakthrough could have myriad applications, as it essentially opens the door to engineered biology that is completely manipulated by laboratory scientists. Though a bacteria cell was the final product in this particular experiment, eukaryotic yeast was a critical player in the process. The yeast first linked the shorter snippets (just over 1,000 base pairs each) together into longer 10,000 base pair strands. "Every component in the cell comes from the synthetic genome," Venter said. [J.
Accelerating Future » Top 10 Transhumanist Technologies Transhumanists advocate the improvement of human capacities through advanced technology. Not just technology as in gadgets you get from Best Buy, but technology in the grander sense of strategies for eliminating disease, providing cheap but high-quality products to the world’s poorest, improving quality of life and social interconnectedness, and so on. Technology we don’t notice because it’s blended in with the fabric of the world, but would immediately take note of its absence if it became unavailable. (Ever tried to travel to another country on foot?) Technology needn’t be expensive – indeed, if a technology is truly effective it will pay for itself many times over. Transhumanists tend to take a longer-than-average view of technological progress, looking not just five or ten years into the future but twenty years, thirty years, and beyond. 10. 9. Clearly, World of Warcraft’s eight million subscribers and SecondLife’s five million subscribers are onto something. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2.
Sci/Tech | Looking through cats' eyes — news.bbc.co.uk By BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David Whitehouse These are the first pictures from an extraordinary experiment which has probed what it is like to look through the eyes of another creature. As reported on BBC News Online last week, a team of US scientists have wired a computer to a cat's brain and created videos of what the animal was seeing. By recording the electrical activity of nerve cells in the thalamus, a region of the brain that receives signals from the eyes, researchers from the University of California at Berkeley were able to view these shapes. The team used what they describe as a "linear decoding technique" to convert the signals from the stimulated cells into visual images. Dr Yang Dan, Assistant Professor of Neurobiology at UC Berkeley, Fei Li and Garrett Stanley, now Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Harvard University conducted 11 experiments. They recorded the output from 177 brain cells that responded to light and dark in the cat's field of view.
J. Yang's review of Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 "Chilling" Child Sacrifices Found at Prehistoric Site The skeletons of dozens of children killed as part of a ritual bloodletting sacrifice a thousand years ago have been discovered in northern Peru, a new study says. The remains are the earliest evidence of ritualized blood sacrifice and mutilation of children that has so far been seen in the South American Andes, according to study leader Haagen Klaus. Seeds of a paralytic and hallucinogenic plant called Nectandra, which also prevents blood clotting, were found with the skeletons, suggesting the children were drugged before their throats were slit and their chests cut open. During the sacrifices, sharp bronze knives were used to hack the children to death. "It is so beyond what is necessary to kill a person. "But we are trying to understand this on their terms, not ours." Sacrifice Children Not Considered Human? It's unclear why their chests were cut open, but it may have been to cut out their hearts, Klaus said. Maggots Part of Reverent Burial Muchik Left to Own Devices
How Humans Became Social Look around and it's impossible to miss the importance of social interactions to human society. They form the basis of our families, our governments, and even our global economy. But how did we become social in the first place? Researchers have long believed that it was a gradual process, evolving from couples to clans to larger communities. It's a controversial idea, admits anthropologist and study author Susanne Shultz of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Over the past several decades, researchers have gained tremendous insights into the evolution of social groups in bees and birds by comparing them with relatives with different social systems. Shultz and colleagues decided to test this idea. Because group structure was not at the whims of the environment, Shultz and colleagues reasoned, it must be passed down though evolutionary time. Shultz suspects that, at this time, the nocturnal ancestors of today's primates became more active during the day.
molecules storage Storage is a very exciting thing these days: SSDs are increasing in capacity and becoming cheaper, hard drives are offering storage capacity that’s unprecedented at the consumer level, and recently, scientists have been able to store significant amounts of data using unusual mediums, such as strings of DNA and small groups of atoms. Now, scientists have managed to store data in individual molecules. Using a new, still-experimental technology, researchers have managed to turn individual molecules into a storage medium. In theory, this molecular memory could increase current storage capacities by one thousand times over more conventional means. Molecular memory isn’t an entirely new concept but there have always been significant hurdles, the first of which is no stranger to the computing world: cooling. Previously, molecular memory needed to be cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero — not exactly practical. [Image credit: Wallsonline]
Dr. Dan Yang - Founder of DY: VINCI Born Dan Dan (meaning very red in Chinese by her father who was classified as a black sheep during the Culture Revolution in China), Dr. Dan Yang was the first grandchild of an entrepreneurial family of six sons and two daughters. Her grandfather owned a boat factory and operated a transport business on the imperial canal which connects north and south China, but was relocated to rural China during the Culture Revolution. In 2000, she made a $1 million dollar donation to Nanjing University for the construction of a student center. What are you working on right now? VINCI, a new category of learning systems designed exclusively for toddlers and young children using touch screen Android technology and adopting results from developmental science. Where did the idea for VINCI come from? My daughter Hera who just turned toddler at the time. What does your typical day look like? I get up at 8, wash and get ready before waking up Hera and get her to eat breakfast. How do you bring ideas to life?