“Stone age people took these colourful spearheads, brought them to the cave, and finished carving them there. Only the red spearheads were burned. It was a ritual destruction of artifacts. There was no sign of normal habitation. No ordinary tools were found at the site. Our find means that humans were more organised and had the capacity for abstract thinking at a much earlier point in history than we have previously assumed. All of the indications suggest that Tsodilo has been known to mankind for almost 100,000 years as a very special place in the pre-historic landscape.” says Sheila Coulson.
Monday, August 25, 2014
There are some fields where that stubborn support for different paradigms is unevenly distributed. Paleoanthropology, for instance. Most paleoanthropologists are strong supporters of the standard timeline of human development, known as the Out Of Africa Theory, which states, among other things, that humans originated on the African Savanna nearly 200,000 years ago, and that our migration from those plains into Asia and Europe happened roughly 60,000 years ago. This standard timeline is supported by a veritable mountain of evidence. Fossils, archaeological finds, genetic markers, et cetera, et cetera. Of course, under that standard timeline there are many sub-theories, like the Savanna Pump Theory, which says that our migration from Africa happened several times over a period of several thousand years. But most such theories work in support of the standard timeline… most.
The "out of Africa at 60,000 years ago" scenario remains the majority view. But the orthodoxy is slowly being challenged as ancient bones are uncovered in the east. As yet, though, they remain few and far between.
Last month, Christopher Bae of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Wei Wang of the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities in Nanning, China, and their colleagues described two teeth from the Luna cave in China's Guangxi Zhuang region. Based on the proportions of the teeth, the team argue that at least one of them must have belonged to an early Homo sapiens (Quaternary International, doi.org/tz5).
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Ice age lion figurine: Ancient fragment of ivory belonging to 40,000 year old animal figurine unearthed
The workmanship on this piece is gorgeous. I don't think I could accomplish this with modern tools, and I can only guess what equipment the original artist had. Simply amazing.
Ice age lion figurine: Ancient fragment of ivory belonging to 40,000 year old animal figurine unearthedArchaeologists have found an ancient fragment of ivory belonging to a 40,000 year old animal figurine. Both pieces were found in the Vogelherd Cave in southwestern Germany, which has yielded a number of remarkable works of art dating to the Ice Age. The mammoth ivory figurine depicting a lion was discovered during excavations in 1931. The new fragment makes up one side of the figurine’s head.
Algorithm recovers speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag filmed through soundproof glass.
Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.
In other experiments, they extracted useful audio signals from videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and even the leaves of a potted plant. The researchers will present their findings in a paper at this year’s Siggraph, the premier computer graphics conference.
Recent analysis published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Servillo et al. 2013) found that several citrus plants, including lemons and oranges, contain N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and 5-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (bufotenine).
Both of these compounds are powerful hallucinogens and are designated as Schedule I substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act in the United States. Under that same law, “any material” containing “any quantity” of a Schedule I drug is itself legally equivalent to that drug.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Many know Anais Nin for her breathtaking, erotically charged novels, and who Maria Popova described as “modern history’s most dedicated diarist.” Few know that in 1955, she took LSD and wrote a beautiful and detailed diary entry about it. Today of course, we call it a trip report.
"At first nothing appeared unchanged. But after a while, perhaps twenty minutes, I noticed first of all that the rug was no longer flat and lifeless, but had become a field of stirring and undulating hairs, much like the movement of the sea anemone or a field of wheat in the wind. Then I noticed that doors, walls, and windows were liquefying."
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Brings this to mind...
What's better than a "supermoon"? Three Supermoons!
The full moons of summer this year -- July 12, August 10 and September 9 -- will all be Supermoons, as NASA calls them.
The phenomenon happens when the moon becomes full on the same day as its perigee -- the point in the moon's orbit when it's closet to Earth.
Brings this to mind...