Links Science 3
paleontology anthropology evolution skewed theories
re:recent discoveries point out presumptuousness of 'evolutionary theory' being taught as fact,,but scientists 'sluff that off'
~WASHINGTON - Surprising fossils dug up in Africa are creating messy kinks in the iconic straight line of human evolution with its knuckle-dragging ape and briefcase-carrying man.
The new research by famed paleontologist Meave Leakey in Kenya shows our family tree is more like a wayward bush with stubby branches, calling into question the evolution of our ancestors.
The old theory was that the first and oldest species in our family tree, Homo habilis, evolved into Homo erectus, which then became us, Homo sapiens. But those two earlier species lived side-by-side about 1.5 million years ago in parts of Kenya for at least half a million years, Leakey and colleagues report in a paper published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.
In 2000 Leakey found an old H. erectus complete skull within walking distance of an upper jaw of the H. habilis, and both dated from the same general time period. That makes it unlikely that H. erectus evolved from H. habilis, researchers said.
It’s the equivalent of finding that your grandmother and great-grandmother were sisters rather than mother-daughter, said study co-author Fred Spoor, a professor of evolutionary anatomy at the University College in London.
The two species lived near each other, but probably didn’t interact with each other, each having their own “ecological niche,” Spoor said. Homo habilis was likely more vegetarian and Homo erectus ate some meat, he said. Like chimps and apes, “they’d just avoid each other, they don’t feel comfortable in each other’s company,” he said.
They have some still-undiscovered common ancestor that probably lived 2 million to 3 million years ago, a time that has not left much fossil record, Spoor said.
Overall what it paints for human evolution is a “chaotic kind of looking evolutionary tree rather than this heroic march that you see with the cartoons of an early ancestor evolving into some intermediate and eventually unto us,” Spoor said in a phone interview from a field office of the Koobi Fora Research Project in northern Kenya.
That old evolutionary cartoon, while popular with the general public, keeps getting proven wrong and too simple, said Bill Kimbel, who praised the latest findings. He is science director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University and wasn’t involved in the research team.
“The more we know, the more complex the story gets,” he said. Scientists used to think H. sapiens evolved from Neanderthals, he said, but now know that both species lived during the same time period and that we did not come from Neanderthals.
Now a similar discovery applies further back in time.
Leakey’s team spent seven years analyzing the fossils before announcing their findings that it was time to redraw the family tree — and rethink other ideas about human evolutionary history, especially about our most immediate ancestor, H. erectus.
Because the H. erectus skull Leakey recovered was much smaller than others, scientists had to first prove that it was erectus and not another species nor a genetic freak. The jaw, probably from an 18- or 19-year-old female, was adult and showed no signs of any type of malformations or genetic mutations, Spoor said. The scientists also know it isn’t H. habilis from several distinct features on the jaw.
That caused researchers to re-examine the 30 other erectus skulls they have and the dozens of partial fossils. They realized that the females of that species are much smaller than the males — something different from modern man, but similar to other animals, said study co-author Susan Anton, a New York University anthropologist. Scientists hadn’t looked carefully enough before to see that there was a distinct difference in males and females.
Difference in size between males and females seem to be related to monogamy, the researchers said. Primate species that have same-sized males and females, such as gibbons, tend to be more monogamous. Species that are not monogamous, such as gorillas and baboons, have much bigger males.
This suggests that our ancestor H. erectus reproduced with multiple partners.
The H. habilis jaw was dated at 1.44 million years ago. That is the youngest ever found from a species that scientists originally figured died off somewhere between 1.7 and 2 million years ago, Spoor said. It enabled scientists to say that H. erectus and H. habilis lived at the same time.
All the changes to human evolutionary thought should not be considered a weakness in the theory of evolution, Kimbel said. Rather, those are the predictable results of getting more evidence, asking smarter questions and forming better theories, he said.~
~Report: Asians played a bigger part in settlement of Europe than Africans
WASHINGTON - Early humanlike residents of Europe may have arrived out of Asia, rather than just Africa.
An international team of researchers reports in Monday’s online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that Asians appear to have played a larger part in the settlement of Europe than did Africans.
The team led by Maria Martinon-Torres of the National Center for the Investigation of Human Evolution, in Burgos, Spain, reached that conclusion after analyzing more than 5,000 fossil teeth from early hominins, an early form of human predecessors.~
re:possibility apes came from humans
~A Human Ancestor for the Apes?
Do we really need to consider turning everything upside down by considering the existence of a human ancestor for the apes? This suggestion definitely has the quality of blasphemy against religious doctrine. It just feels wrong and goes against our deeply held beliefs and understanding of the world.
However, this is exactly where the evidence leads.
Overall, I don’t expect that the entire anthropology community will suddenly abandon everything that has been taught for decades. However, my point is the following:
We see the spine anatomy of a hindlimb supported upright ape in Morotopithecus, Pierolapithecus, Oreopithecus. The data is compelling and extensive - and I have detailed it in technical raw data form in my book: Axial Character Seriation in Mammals, which republishes my Harvard PhD Thesis. The underlying patterns are extracted and synthesized in my recent PLoS ONE paper “Homeotic Evolution of the Mammals, Diversification of Therian Axial Seriation and a Morphogenetic Basis for Human Origins” and in my Neurosurgical Focus article. The context in evolutionary theory is explained in my recent book “The Upright Ape: A New Origin of the Species” which has a foreword by David Pilbeam - currently Dean of Harvard College and certainly one the most knowledgeable and experienced paleoanthropologists in the world.
We have evidence of an upright hindlimb supported Orrorin based on the femur and Sahelanthropus based on the skull.
There is no convincing fossil evidence at all of a non-bipdeal hominoid outside of the proconsulid group.
We have an early outgroup whose infants have innate bipedal walking (see the video Hominiform Progression). The Siamang video is interesting because of the innate bipedalism. As I point out in the video, John Fleagle has seen young siamangs of this age walk bipedally high in the canopy in Malaysia.
It is typical to say that all of this is irrelevant and misleading and should be ignored. There was a quadrupedal common ancestor for chimps and humans and the human lineage suddenly and majestically stood up about 5-6 million years ago. However, I feel that there is no a priori reason why we must ignore all of the evidence for early bipedalism.
None of the skeletal evidence can ultimately distinguish between “short bursts” and long distance bipedalism as Kambiz points out in his post. My focus is on the character state and whether the crucial anatomical basis is a shared derived feature of a hominiform clade.
It can certainly be said that the siamangs only engage in bipedalism for short bursts, but that is also true of their brachiation. Similarly, the chimps and gorillas knuckle walk and the orangutans fist walk only in short bursts. However, the important point is that chimps, gorillas and orangutans seem to locomote in diagonal posture more than 90% of the time and only occasionally deploy a short burst of bipedal walking. I would argue that they have very bad spinal architecture for bipedal walking. On the other hand, hylobatids use bipedalism 100% of the time when they locomote on the ground no matter how long the burst of activity. If a hylobatid has to travel a long distance on the ground - it does not lapse into a quadurpedal gait - it just keeps walking bipedally. There is an important difference in the role of bipedalism as deployed by hylobatids and hominines as opposed to what we see in chimps, gorillas and orangutans.
This would be a morphogenetic origin for upright bipedal walking rather than an adaptive origin. Essentially, the origin of upright posture was not driven by any ecological scenario, but rather occurred suddenly as a result of a morphogenetic mutation in the Pax genes. Various descendant forms will have lived in various environments with variously optimized versions of primary upright bipedalism on large horizontal arboreal supports and on the ground.
It is certainly easier to assert that Morotopithecus was upright and hindlimb supported - based on spinal anatomy - than to prove it was primarily bipedal or a long distance walker. However, this is where the video showing the baby siamang learning to walk bipedally is relevant. Yes, you could argue that innate bipedalism evolved independently in parallel in hylobatids and hominines, but is also reasonable to consider that since this is so unusual, that it reflects descent from a common ancestor that had this feature. Essentially - an eight month old Morotopithecus baby would do the same thing that we see in the two descendant groups (hominines and hylobatids) - the baby would innately begin to walk bipedally as it’s primary locomotor pattern.
So - if the chimp-human split did take place 6 million years ago (as the molecular data suggests), then what do we do with Sahelanthropus which many believe was a full time upright biped but which lived 7 million years ago?
If you want a slow gradual evolution of bipedalism, you need to push the chimp human split back to say 8 million years. However, there is an alternative explanation. Upright bipedalism was already the primary means of locomotion in the common ancestor of chimps and humans - Sahelanthropus is ancestral to both lines.
What defines a “human?” I have taken the position that it is a body plan (bauplan). Most of us have accepted that early Australopithecines whose brains and skulls were chimp-like, should be considered human and not ape. When you find a fossil such as Sahelanthropus that has a “chimp-like” skull from the point of view of its face and brain, but has the skull base of a human (and presumably upright bipedal post-cranial anatomy) - how can you tell from the fossil if it’s an ape or a human?
The Hennigian cladistic approach lets us say that the isolation point between the chimp and human lineages - where hybridization became impossible - is the origin point of humans. However this means that the definition is arbitrary since ape and human would pretty much look identical at that time.
Another alternative is to stick with our current definition - a hominoid whose anatomy reveals that it is primarily an upright biped is a human. I have proposed the term “hominiform” to refer to a clade of hominoids that share the Morotopithecus spinal transformation (septo-neural transposition - in which the dorso-ventral plane of the body flips from ventral to the spinal canal to a new position dorsal to the spinal canal) and the styloid process is converted into a neomorphic hominiform lumbar transverse process. The synapomorphies would include innate bipedal walking in the infants.
Among hominiforms we have primitive “eubipedal” types (most Miocene and Pliocene fossil hominiforms, the hylobatids and the hominines) and derived “metabipedal” types (lineages of chimps, gorillas and orangutans) that have abandoned bipedalism as their primary locomotor pattern on the ground.
Sahelanthropus appears to be a human species that is representative of species in the line of ancestry to both the chimpanzees and hominines.
Aaron Filler, MD, PhD~
re:another bobble in the 'accepted as fact' thoeries that have been forced to be taught as truth in schools
(and reinforces theory of 'special uniqueness' in 'homo sapiens' as well as how 'evolution didn't go the way they taught you it did,,oops,,presumptuous conclusions taught as truth)
~Growth Study Of Wild Chimpanzees Challenges Assumptions About Early Humans
ScienceDaily (Jul. 14, 2004) — SANTA CRUZ, CA -- A new study of wild chimpanzee growth rates, published in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.pnas.org/), suggests that early human evolution may have taken a different course than is widely believed.
The results challenge the assumption that human evolution followed a path from a chimplike ancestor to a transitionary Homo erectus and then Homo sapiens, suggesting instead that chimpanzees have more in common developmentally with Homo erectus and that modern humans are the "out-group."
The study was coauthored by Adrienne Zihlman, professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz; Debra Bolter, who just earned her doctorate in anthropology at UCSC; and Christophe Boesch, director of primatology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
The researchers examined skeletal samples from 18 wild chimpanzees of known ages and compared the data to the dentition of captive chimpanzees, which have been used as a baseline for discussion of hominid origins and the transition from ape ancestors to hominids. The eruption of teeth mark other life events, such as completion of brain growth (90 to 95 percent of brain growth is complete when the first permanent molar erupts) and life-history stages like infancy, juvenile, and adulthood.
The team's analysis consistently showed a slower rate of development of all the teeth of wild chimpanzees compared to captive chimpanzees: Among wild chimpanzees, infancy lasted until about four years of age and mature dentition was reached between 12 and 13 years of age, compared to captive animals whose infancy ended around three years of age and who reached mature dentition about 10 years of age.
"These findings challenge a number of assumptions about the growth of hominids," said Zihlman. "Anthropologists and paleoanthropologists have relied heavily on studies of captive chimpanzees to establish a baseline for hominid growth and to generate hypotheses about the life history and behaviors of fossil humans. We now know those scenarios are based on faulty data."
Comparing teeth of wild chimpanzees to previous research on two Homo erectus fossil specimens, the researchers found that the first molars of both wild chimpanzees and Homo erectus emerge at about four years of age, and the second molars emerge at about eight years of age.
"Our data suggest that wild chimpanzees and Homo erectus growth patterns may not have differed from each other as much as previously thought," said Zihlman. "These findings do not support Homo erectus developmentally as an intermediate between chimplike ancestors and modern humans. Our data also call into question the assumption that a larger body size and a big brain require a longer time to grow."
The findings also explain why dental-eruption data derived from captive chimpanzees didn't match the life stages of wild animals observed by researchers in the field, Zihlman noted.
The skeletal samples examined included 12 immature individuals and one young adult from the Tai National Park, Ivory Coast, four immatures from Gombe National Park in Tanzania, and one immature from Bossou, Guinea.
The paper, "Wild Chimpanzee Dentition and its Implications for Assessing Life History in Immature Hominin Fossils," is scheduled to appear in the July 20 print edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Adapted from materials provided by University Of California - Santa Cruz.~
re:presumptuous conclusions that have been taught as truth overturned
(and couldn't this be evidence of the acsension being incorrect and 'mixing with different species' as being equally or even more reasonable?)
(iow,,this could be evidence of concepts found in 'religious oriented data' are more correct than thought)
~More Human-Neandertal Mixing Evidence Uncovered
ScienceDaily (Nov. 6, 2006) — A reexamination of ancient human bones from Romania reveals more evidence that humans and Neandertals interbred.
Erik Trinkaus, Ph.D., Washington University Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor in Arts & Sciences, and colleagues radiocarbon-dated and analyzed the shapes of human bones from Romania's Petera Muierii (Cave of the Old Woman). The fossils, discovered in 1952, add to the small number of early modern human remains from Europe known to be more than 28,000 years old.
Results were published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
The team found that the fossils were 30,000 years old and principally have the diagnostic skeletal features of modern humans. They also found that the remains had other features known, among potential ancestors, primarily among the preceding Neandertals, providing more evidence there was mixing of humans and Neandertals as modern humans dispersed across Europe about 35,000 years ago. Their analysis of one skeleton's shoulder blade also shows that these humans did not have the full set of anatomical adaptations for throwing projectiles, like spears, during hunting.
The team says that the mixture of human and Neandertal features indicates that there was a complicated reproductive scenario as humans and Neandertals mixed, and that the hypothesis that the Neandertals were simply replaced should be abandoned.~
re:alledged ancestor of deer and whales hailed as missing link?
Newer fossils point to the deerlike Indohyus. The animal is a "missing link" to the sister species to ancient whales, said Hans Thewissen, an anatomy professor at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.
"As a zoo animal, it looks nothing like a whale," Thewissen said. But, he added, when it comes to anatomical features, the Indohyus "is quite strikingly like one."
Thewissen, who earlier published papers on fossils of what he called the first amphibious whale and the skeleton of the oldest known whale, studied hundreds of Indohyus bones unearthed from mudstone in the Kashmir region of India. From that cache of bones he created a composite skeleton of a 48-million-year-old creature.~
~The key finding connecting Indohyus to the whale is its thickened ear bone, something only seen in cetaceans. An examination of its teeth showed that the land-dwelling creature spent lots of time in the water and may have fed there, like hippos and whales. Also, the specific positioning and shape of certain molars connects Indohyus to the earliest whales, which are about 50 million years old, Thewissen said.
"The earliest whales didn't look like whales at all," Thewissen said. "It looked like a cross between a pig and a dog." They lost their legs and ability to walk on land about 40 million years ago, he said.
And the Indohyus? "A tiny little deer maybe the size of a raccoon and no antlers," Thewissen said. He said it most resembles the current African mousedeer, which has a ratlike nose and "when danger approaches, it jumps in the water and hides."
What about hippos?
India and Pakistan were the general region where early whales lived. That matches with the Indohyus but not the early African hippos, Thewissen said. While modern-day cetaceans are known to be smart, early whales and Indohyus had small brains, the researcher said.
Other scientists were intrigued, but far from convinced, especially since the case for hippos has looked good, they said.~
~"While this new hypothesis for the origin of whales is compelling, it will require further testing, especially since other recent studies have suggested both hippos and Raoellids were involved in whale ancestry," San Diego State University biology professor Annalisa Berta said in an e-mail. Raoellids are the larger grouping of species that include the Indohyus.
Kenneth Rose, a professor of functional anatomy and evolution at Johns Hopkins University, said Thewissen didn't provide enough evidence to merit his conclusions. He also questioned the use of the composite skeleton. The ear bone thickness, the key trait that Thewissen used, was difficult to judge and seemed based on a single specimen, Rose said. Much of the work is based on teeth, and overall the remains preserved from this family of species are poorly preserved, he said.
Thewissen said there are problems with not enough well preserved fossils, but he said what's left makes a strong case for Indohyus as the closest land ancestor — with hippos as the closest living land relative.~
Climatology meteorology global warming alinsky model
re:the clouds are conspiring,,according to top scientist
Extra Sunshine Blamed for Part of Arctic Meltdown
By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 12 December 2007 03:47 pm ET
SAN FRANCISCO—Clouds were likely a culprit in this summer’s record Arctic meltdown which temporarily opened up the fabled Northwest Passage, scientists announced today.
While Earth’s rising temperatures fueled by global warming are certainly a factor in the Arctic melt, unusual weather patterns this summer also influenced how much of the sea ice melted.
One result of these patterns was a decrease in cloud cover, scientists said today at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union, which would have allowed more sunlight to penetrate Earth’s atmosphere and warm the Arctic ocean waters.
New data from NASA satellites observing the western Arctic, where most of the ice loss occurred, showed a 16 percent decrease in cloud coverage this summer compared to 2006.
"There’s been quite dramatic reductions of cloudiness this summer," said study member Graeme Stephens of Colorado State University.
The amount of sunlight from these clearer skies would have been enough to heat ocean waters by 4 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4 degrees Celsius), or enough to melt 1 foot (0.3 meters) of sea ice, the scientists said.
"Clouds are conspiring, they’re playing a role in this," said study author Jennifer Kay, a post-doctoral research fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
Kay says the result of this work highlights the importance of the influence of weather pattern variability on an already stressed-out Arctic system.
"As Arctic sea ice thins, its extent is more sensitive to year-to-year variability in weather and cloud patterns," Kay said. "Our data show that clearer skies this summer allowed more of the sun’s energy to melt the vulnerably thin sea ice and heat the ocean surface."
re:science clueless over some things,,yet adamant over cause being humans
Scientists Clueless over Sun's Effect on Earth
By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Senior Writer
posted: 05 May 2005 02:01 pm ET
While researchers argue whether Earth is getting warmer and if humans are contributing, a heated debate over the global effect of sunlight boiled to the surface today.
And in this debate there is little data to go on.
A confusing array of new and recent studies reveals that scientists know very little about how much sunlight is absorbed by Earth versus how much the planet reflects, how all this alters temperatures, and why any of it changes from one decade to the next.
Determining Earth's reflectance is crucial to understanding climate change, scientists agree.
Reports in the late 1980s found the amount of sunlight reaching the planet's surface had declined by 4 to 6 percent since 1960. Suddenly, around 1990, that appears to have reversed.
Surprising Side Effects of Global Warming
"When we looked at the more recent data, lo and behold, the trend went the other way," said Charles Long, senior scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Long participated in one of two studies that uncovered this recent trend using satellite data and ground-based monitoring. Both studies are detailed in the May 6 issue of the journal Science.
Thing is, nobody knows what caused the apparent shift. Could be changes in cloud cover, they say, or maybe reduced effects of volcanic activity, or a reduction in pollutants.
This lack of understanding runs deeper.
A third study in the journal this week, tackling a related aspect of all this, finds that Earth has reflected more sunlight back into space from 2000 to 2004 than in years prior. However, a similar investigation last year found just the opposite. A lack of data suggests it's impossible to know which study is right.
The bottom line, according to a group of experts not involved in any of these studies: Scientists don't know much about how sunlight interacts with our planet, and until they understand it, they can't accurately predict any possible effects of human activity on climate change.
Reflecting on the problem
The percentage of sunlight reflected by back into space by Earth is called albedo. The planet's albedo, around 30 percent, is governed by cloud cover and the quantity of atmospheric particles called aerosols.
Amazingly, one of the best techniques for measuring Earth's albedo is to watch the Moon, which acts like a giant mirror. Sunlight that reflects of Earth in turn reflects off the Moon and can be measured from here. The phenomenon, called earthshine, was first noted by Leonardo da Vinci.
Albedo is a crucial factor in any climate change equation. But it is one of Earth's least-understood properties, says Robert Charlson, a University of Washington atmospheric scientist. "If we don't understand the albedo-related effects," Charlson said today, "then we can't understand the effects of greenhouse gases."
Charlson's co-authors in the analysis paper are Francisco Valero at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and John Seinfeld at the California Institute of Technology.
Plans and missions designed to study the effects of clouds and aerosols have been delayed or cancelled, Charlson and his colleagues write.
To properly study albedo, scientists want to put a craft about 1 million miles out in space at a point were it would orbit the Sun while constantly monitoring Earth.
The satellite, called Deep Space Climate Observatory, was once scheduled for launch from a space shuttle in 2000 but has never gotten off the ground. Two other Earth-orbiting satellites that would study the albedo have been built but don't have launch dates. And recent budget shifts at NASA and other agencies have meant some data that's available is not being analyzed, Charlson and his colleagues contend.
While some scientists contend the global climate may not be warming or that there is no clear human contribution, most leading experts agree change is underway.
Grasping the situation is crucial, because if the climate warms as many expect, seas could rise enough to swamp many coastal communities by the end of this century.
Charlson says scientists understand to within 10 percent the impact of human activity on the production of greenhouse gases, things like carbon dioxide and methane that act like blanket to trap heat and, in theory, contribute to global warming. Yet their grasp of the human impact on albedo could be off by as much as 100 percent, he fears.
One theory is that if humans pump out more aerosols, the small particles will work to reflect sunlight and offset global warming. Charlson calls that "a spurious argument, a red herring."
Greenhouse gases are at work trapping heat 24 hours a day, he notes, while sunlight reflection is only at work on the day side of the planet. Further, he said, greenhouse gases can stay in the atmosphere for centuries, while aerosols last only a week or so.
"There is no simplistic balance between these two effects," Charlson said.
re:leading meteorologist slams gores angst laden commerce driven ploy as bunk from 'ignorant folks'
(and points out the 'brainwashing' effect on children and exposes age old 'facts for funding' in the acadaemic/scientific economy )
~One of the world's foremost meteorologists has called the theory that helped Al Gore share the Nobel Peace Prize "ridiculous" and the product of "people who don't understand how the atmosphere works".
Dr William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, told a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina that humans were not responsible for the warming of the earth.
His comments came on the same day that the Nobel committee honoured Mr Gore for his work in support of the link between humans and global warming.
"We're brainwashing our children," said Dr Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. "They're going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It's ridiculous."
At his first appearance since the award was announced in Oslo, Mr Gore said: "We have to quickly find a way to change the world's consciousness about exactly what we're facing."
Mr Gore shared the Nobel prize with the United Nations climate panel for their work in helping to galvanise international action against global warming.
But Dr Gray, whose annual forecasts of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes are widely publicised, said a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures - related to the amount of salt in ocean water - was responsible for the global warming that he acknowledges has taken place.
However, he said, that same cycle meant a period of cooling would begin soon and last for several years.
"We'll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realise how foolish it was," Dr Gray said.
During his speech to a crowd of about 300 that included meteorology students and a host of professional meteorologists, Dr Gray also said those who had linked global warming to the increased number of hurricanes in recent years were in error.
He cited statistics showing there were 101 hurricanes from 1900 to 1949, in a period of cooler global temperatures, compared to 83 from 1957 to 2006 when the earth warmed.
"The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures," Dr Gray said.
He said his beliefs had made him an outsider in popular science.
"It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong," he said. "But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants."~
re:chimp info indicates 'self centered thinking' being perfectly normal in humans
(and flies in the face of the study 'attributing' altruism through 'parity challenged' choices since they didn't 'just accept' the help from any ol'chimp))
~Chimpanzees Recognize When Collaboration Is Necessary And Choose The Best Collaborative Partner
ScienceDaily (Mar. 3, 2006) — In the animal kingdom cooperation is crucial for survival. Predators hunt in prides and prey band together to protect themselves. Yet no other creature cooperates as successfully as we do. But where did this ability come from, and is it uniquely human? In a new study to be published in Science on 3 March 2006, Alicia Melis and co-authors from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany show that our close relatives, chimpanzees, are much better cooperators than we thought.
‘We’ve never seen this level of understanding during cooperation in any other animals except humans,’ says Melis. Cooperation happens all the time in the animal kingdom. A pride of lions cooperates to hunt down a gazelle. A herd of elephants band together to protect themselves from predators. But there may not be much thinking going on behind this kind of cooperation. It could be that by each animal wanting the same thing and working at the same time, success happens by accident.
In Melis’ study which took place at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda, not only did chimpanzees understand when they needed help, they understood their role, their partner’s role, and chose who they wanted to work with.
To reach a food tray, the chimpanzees had to pull two ends of a rope which dragged the tray towards them. Both rope ends had to be pulled at the same time or the rope was simply pulled out. Melis found that the chimpanzees only let a partner into the room (by opening their door) when the rope ends were too far apart to pull them on their own.
‘Not only did they need to know when they needed help, they had to go out and get it.’ Melis says. ‘Then they had to wait until their partner came in and pull on the rope at the same time. The chimps really had to understand why they needed their partner.’
Just like people, there were better cooperators than others. Mawa, the dominant chimpanzee, was not a very good cooperator. He didn’t wait for his partner and often pulled the rope from the tray. Bwambale, on the other hand, was a great cooperator. He always waited for his partner and was nearly always successful in getting the food. At first, the chimpanzees chose Mawa and Bwambale equally, but when the chimpanzees learned what a hopeless cooperator Mawa was, most chose Bwambale on the next trial.
Melis was excited by the results. ‘This is the first study that lets chimps choose who they want to cooperate with. We found that chimps choose a partner based on their effectiveness. Clearly, chimps can remember who’s a good and who’s a bad collaborator. Bad collaborators suffer by not being chosen next time.’
This complexity of cooperation means that humans and chimpanzees might have inherited our cooperative abilities from our common ancestor 6 million years ago. However, Melis is quick to draw the line between chimpanzee and human cooperation.
‘There is still no evidence that chimpanzees communicate with each other about a common goal like children do from a very early age. There’s also no evidence that chimpanzees can learn how good a partner is by watching them interact with others. It just suggests that when chimpanzees cooperate they understand a bit more than we thought. Hopefully, future studies can show us what it is that makes human cooperation so unique.’
Melis’ studies are among the first to be done in a chimpanzee sanctuary in Africa. ‘Sanctuaries are doing an incredible job saving chimps whose families were killed by the bush-meat trade. They also provide a wonderful service to us and the research community. Hopefully, as these and similar results become more widely known, it will raise awareness that these are intelligent animals who deserve respect and protection.’
Adapted from materials provided by Max Planck Society.~
re:study shows 'protecting ones borders' is natural male behaviour yet they claim ignorance of what it entails for human societies
(as well as the natural evolvement of 'racial and cultural cliques' as well as violent warlike behaviour against non group members in humans,,according to darwinian evolution)
~More Males Chimps Means More Territorial Patrols, Study Shows
ScienceDaily (Oct. 18, 2005) — ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A new study of wild chimpanzees shows that the biggest predictor of territorial boundary patrols is the number of males in the group. The more males in the group, the more often they will patrol their territory.
Chimpanzees will sometimes attack and kill their neighbors during the rarely observed boundary patrols, said John Mitani, professor of anthropology at University of Michigan and co-author of the paper "Correlates of Territorial Boundary Patrol Behavior in Wild Chimpanzees," with David Watts of Yale University.
Scientists have known for about 25 years that the patrols and fatal attacks occur, the question has been what accounts for the varying number and frequency of these patrols and attacks.
Researchers hypothesized that five variables might impact the number of patrols: food availability, hunting activity, the presence of estrous females, intruder pressure, and male party size.
During boundary patrols, a group of males will rise without warning, form a single file line and silently depart the group, Mitani said. The behavior is markedly different from normal feeding parties, which are loud and scattered.
"What they are doing is actually seeking signs if not contact with members of other groups," Mitani said. "If the patrollers outnumber them, then they will launch an attack." During the attacks, the chimps beat and often kill their neighbors.
The groups are generally all male, but on rare occasions females---typically infertile---will join the patrol, Mitani said. The patrols and attacks are an important part of the chimp society, he said.
"They take up about two hours out of a 12-hour work day," Mitani said. "That is not trivial exercise in terms of energy expended."
Chimpanzees live in fission-fusion societies. This means that like humans living in a town, chimps form cliques and aren't all together in one place at the same time. But on patrol days, researchers found that a larger number of males gathered together than on non-patrol days. The addition of one male to the group increased the odds of a patrol by 17 percent.
Mitani and Watts observed a community of about 150 chimps in Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda and collected 24 month of data compiled over five years. The Ngogo community is significantly larger than two other well-studied chimpanzee communities in Gombe andTaï , but the males in all three communities patrolled with equal frequency on a per capita basis. However, the chimps in Ngogo patrolled about twice as often as the other communities, due solely to the large number of males.
"The take home of all of this is that male numbers seem to matter, they find strength in numbers in doing this behavior, and they find strength in making these attacks," Mitani said.
Chimps are our closest living relatives, and it's tempting to draw analogies between human and chimp behavior, especially because it's very rare for mammals to seek out and attack neighbors in this way. But Mitani said the situation is much more complicated than that.
"I think it is difficult to make any general conclusions about what this says about human behavior," he said.
For information on Mitani, visit: http://sitemaker.umich.edu/mitani
For information on anthropology at U-M, visit: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/anthro/
Adapted from materials provided by University of Michigan.~
re:inference in article is that 'people who have casual sex and play around alot' are better than those that don't
(and could illustrate this,,since the other (male dominated) chimps aren't proving to be as liberal as librals want us to be,,then the focus is turned to a different species of animals to 'measure' human behaviour by)
~Bonobo Handshake: What Makes Our Chimp-like Cousins So Cooperative?
ScienceDaily (Sep. 4, 2007) — What’s it like to work with relatives who think sex is like a handshake, who organise orgies with the neighbours, and firmly believe females should be in charge of everything?
On September 11, researcher Vanessa Woods will journey to Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary in Congo with colleagues from the Max Planck Institute in Germany to study our mysterious cousin, the bonobo.
‘On our last trip, we found that bonobos were better cooperators than chimpanzees because they had sex and played a lot. This time we want to see how much thinking is going on behind the cooperation.’
Bonobos, like chimpanzees, are related to humans by 98.7%. But in contrast to chimpanzees who live in male dominated societies, where infanticide and lethal aggression are observed, bonobos live in highly tolerant and peaceful societies due to female dominance that maintains group cohesion and regulates tensions through sexual behaviour.
‘We’re always comparing ourselves to chimpanzees, but they’re only half the picture. Bonobos and chimpanzees are so opposite in many ways, that we really need to understand bonobos if we’re ever going to understand ourselves.’
Apart from cooperation, Woods and her colleagues will be looking at whether bonobos are more helpful than chimpanzees, whether bonobos are more helpful, and whether they like to play ball.
‘A lot of our experiments look silly, like when I throw a bright red soccer ball back and forth, or wave a red porcupine around. But a lot of these games help us understand the way bonobos think. Are they as obsessed with objects as we are? Are they scared of new things?’
Working in the Democratic Republic of Congo doesn’t always go according to plan.
‘Every day there seems to be a new crisis. Last trip we were evacuated from the sanctuary because of gunfire in Kinshasa. Then an orphan bonobo was confiscated from the bush meat trade. He died soon after. It was heart wrenching. But then the bonobos are so funny and fascinating, you go from being devastated one minute to uplifted the next.’
Adapted from materials provided by Max Planck Institute.~
re:surprise at 'female incited' infanticide in chimps when humans are doing it worldwide,,to their own progeny at that)
(of course the most damage done is to proponents of 'feminism' and 'matriarchy' as being superior to males in general since it shows fems are just as 'violent and bloodthirsty' as males )
(oh,,and it blows the whole 'more altruistic than humans' theory too)
~Female-led Infanticide In Wild Chimpanzees
ScienceDaily (May 14, 2007) — Researchers observing wild chimpanzees in Uganda have discovered repeated instances of a mysterious and poorly understood behavior: female-led infanticide. The findings, reported by Simon Townsend, Katie Slocombe and colleagues of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and the Budongo Forest Project, Uganda, appear in the journal Current Biology.
Infanticide is known to occur in many primate species, but is generally thought of as a male trait. An exception in the realm of chimpanzee behavior was famously noted in the 1970s by Jane Goodall in her observations of Passion and Pom, a mother-daughter duo who cooperated in the killing and cannibalization of at least two infant offspring of other females. In the absence of significant additional evidence for such behavior among female chimpanzees, speculation had been that female-led infanticide represented pathological behavior, or was a means of obtaining nutritional advantage under some circumstances.
As the result of new field work involving the Sonso chimpanzee community in Budongo Forest in Uganda, the St. Andrews researchers now report instances of three female-led infanticidal attacks. Alerted to the killings by sounds of chimpanzee screams, the researchers directly observed one infanticide, and found strong circumstantial evidence for two others. Evidence suggested that in two of the cases, the killings were perpetrated by groups of resident females against "stranger" females from outside the resident group. Infants were taken from the mothers, who were injured in at least two of the attacks; in at least one case, adult males in the area exhibited displaying behavior, with one old male unsuccessfully attempting to separate the females.
The authors point out that these new observations indicate that such female-led infanticides are neither the result of isolated, pathological behaviors nor the by-product of male aggression, but instead appear to represent part of the female behavior repertoire in chimpanzees.
What drives the behavior is not yet clear, but may stem from demographic shifts that alter sex ratios and put increased pressure on females competing for foraging areas. In their report, the authors note that the Sonso community had experienced a significant population increase in the ten years prior to the infanticide observations (42 individuals in 1996 to 75 in 2006), and that there had been an influx of at least 13 females with dependent offspring since 2001. The population changes resulted in a highly skewed male:female sex ratio of 1:3, with relatively few males available to increase the home range.
According to the authors, the new findings indicate that although low-level aggression between female chimpanzees is more commonly seen, the observed instances of infanticide indicate that deadly aggression is not a gender-specific trait in this species.
Townsend et al.: "Female-led Infanticide in Wild Chimpanzees." Publishing in Current Biology, 15 May 2007, R355-356.
Adapted from materials provided by Cell Press.~
re:how the issue is confused by saying 'chimps are better than chimps'
(and an illustration how 'science' plays up 'differences' in the 'species' as reasoning to 'critisize' human behaviour,,which forces one to refere to 'genetic disparities' between different 'types' within a 'species')
(and how it seems they are really 'muddying the waters' to provide validation for pet theories in order to obtain and retain funding,,shhh,,don't tell no one that part)
~Social Tolerance Allows Bonobos To Outperform Chimpanzees On A Cooperative Task
ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2007) — In experiments designed to deepen our understanding of how cooperative behavior evolves, researchers have found that bonobos, a particularly sociable relative of the chimpanzee, are more successful than chimpanzees at cooperating to retrieve food, even though chimpanzees exhibit strong cooperative hunting behavior in the wild.
The work suggests that some social tendencies or emotions that are adaptive under certain circumstances--such as aggression during competition for mates--can hinder the potential for problem solving under other circumstances, such as sharing of a food resource. The findings appear online in the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press, on March 8th and are reported by a team led by Brian Hare of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Duke University.
By comparing the ability of bonobos and chimpanzees to cooperate in retrieving food, the researchers addressed two hypotheses. The first, the so-called "emotional reactivity hypothesis," predicts that bonobos will cooperate more successfully, because past observations have indicated that they are more tolerant of other individuals than are chimpanzees. In contrast, the second hypothesis, the "hunting hypothesis," predicts that chimpanzees will cooperate more successfully, thanks to their known ability to cooperatively hunt in the wild.
The researchers found that, consistent with the first hypothesis, bonobos were more tolerant in their behavior toward other bonobos, and they did indeed exhibit more skill in cooperative feeding than did chimpanzees. For example, two bonobos were more likely to both eat when presented with food in a single dish (rather than two separate dishes) than were chimpanzees faced with a similar feeding scenario.
Bonobos also exhibited significantly more sociosexual behavior and play than did chimpanzees under these circumstances. In a related set of experiments, bonobos were found to be better than chimpanzees at cooperating (e.g., by simultaneously pulling a rope) to retrieve food that was not easily divisible--that is, food that might be easily monopolized by one of the two individuals.
These observations were consistent with the "emotional reactivity hypothesis" because they potentially reflect the ability of bonobos to tolerate the presence of one another in feeding contexts. The findings also run counter to the "hunting hypothesis," which predicts that chimpanzees--owing to their cooperative hunting skills--would outperform bonobos in cooperative feeding even when food wasn't easily divisible.
The authors report that the new work is of particular value because it provides an experimental comparison of social tolerance and cooperation in bonobos and chimpanzees--two closely related species that help inform our understanding of how social behavior evolved in the primate lineage. The findings suggest that one way in which the skill of social problem solving can arise is through evolutionary selection on emotional systems, such as those controlling fear and aggression.
Adapted from materials provided by Cell Press.~
re:in this article,,they ignore the whole thing defined in the reports about altruism and choice
and play up how a male will buy sex and a female can be bought which illustrates the arument FOR 'prostitution' being natural and should be permitted)
(it also points out how bonobos are equal to sluttish because they are casual and the others are 'ho-ish' since they get paid)
~Wild Male Chimpanzees Use Stolen Food To Win Over The Opposite Sex
ScienceDaily (Sep. 14, 2007) — They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach and the same could be said for female chimpanzees. Researchers studying wild chimps in West Africa have discovered that males pinch desirable fruits from local farms and orchards as a means of attracting female mates.
Lead researcher, Dr Kimberley Hockings from the University of Stirling's Department of Psychology said: "We believe the males may be using crop-raids as a way to advertise their prowess to other group-members, especially the opposite sex. Such daring behaviour certainly seems to be an attractive trait and possessing a sought-after food item, such as papaya, appears to draw even more positive attention from the females."
The study, which took place in the West African village of Bossou in the Republic of Guinea, is the only recorded example of regular sharing of plant foods by unrelated, non-provisioned wild chimpanzees.
Dr Hockings explained: "It is unusual behaviour as even though the major part of chimpanzees' diets consists of plant foods, wild plant food sharing (defined as an individual holding a food item but allowing another individual to consume part of that item) occurs infrequently. However, in chimpanzee communities that engage in hunting, meat is frequently used as a 'social tool' for nurturing alliances and social bonds.
This research shows that chimpanzees at Bossou use crop-raiding as an opportunity to obtain and share desirable foods, providing further insights into the evolutionary basis of human food sharing. In humans, the pursuit of certain foods is also strongly sex-biased; for example, it has been proposed that men in hunter-gatherer societies acquire large and risky-to-obtain food packages for social strategising and to garner attention."
The researchers found that adult males mainly shared the spoils of their crop-raids with females of reproductive age; particularly with a female within the group who took part in most consortships (where an adult female and an adult male chimpanzee move to the periphery of their community so that the male gains exclusive mating access).
Dr Hockings said: "The male who shared the most food with this female engaged in more consortships with her and received more grooming from her than the other males, even the alpha male. Therefore the male chimpanzees appear to be 'showing off' and trading their forbidden fruit for other currencies, i.e. 'food-for-sex and --grooming'."
The study is published in the September 12 issue of the online, open-access journal PLoS One.
The study was carried out by the following researchers: Kimberley J. Hockings (University of Stirling), Tatyana Humle (University of Wisconsin-Madison), James R. Anderson (University of Stirling), Dora Biro (University Of Oxford), Claudia Sousa (New University of Lisbon), Gaku Ohashi (Kyoto University) and Tetsuro Matsuzawa (Kyoto University).
About wild chimpanzees
Wild chimpanzees have declined by more than 66% over the last 30 years, to a mere 200,000. Although the chimpanzees of Bossou are fortunate enough to be afforded a degree of protection and tolerance by local Manon people, other chimpanzee communities throughout Africa are not so privileged. Chimpanzees and other non-human primates are threatened by an intricate web of factors including unrelenting deforestation and fragmentation, poaching, disease, and capture for the pet trade, all of which threaten their long-term survival in the wild. These are human problems, the solutions to which will benefit both people and chimpanzees.
Cultivated plant foods are shared much more frequently than wild plant foods at Bossou, even though adult male chimpanzees often appear nervous when raiding crops (rough scratching, a self-directed behavioural pattern shown in response to anxiety, was used to quantify levels of anxiety). The shared cultivated fruits are usually large and easily divisible, and adult males are most likely to share such foods obtained in exposed locations and in the presence of local people (which is also associated with increased levels of anxiety).
Citation: Hockings KJ, Humle T, Anderson JR, Biro D, Sousa C, et al (2007) Chimpanzees Share Forbidden Fruit. PLoS ONE 2(9): e886. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000886
Adapted from materials provided by Public Library of Science.~
Energy Imbalance Behind Global Warming
By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Senior Writer
posted: 28 April 2005 02:00 pm ET
Climate change has been looked at from many angles. Here's another twist: Scientists have determined that more energy is being absorbed from the Sun than our planet reflects back to space.
This energy imbalance, the researchers said today, confirms other predictions that Earth's climate will warm by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 Celsius) by the end of this century.
The study is based on satellite data and computer models. It precisely measured ocean heat content over the past decade. The imbalance is due to increased air pollution, especially carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that act like a see-through blanket, letting sunlit in but trapping the heat it generates.
1-watt light bulb
In scientific terms, the imbalance is 0.85 watts per square meter. It's equal to nature shining an extra 1-watt light bulb on every desk-sized patch of the planet.
It all adds up. If the imbalance were maintained for 10,000 years, it would melt enough ice to raise the oceans by six-tenths of a mile (1 kilometer), the scientists said.
The analysis lends support to the contentious idea that humans are contributing to the warming trend by burning gas, coal and other fossil fuels that generate greenhouse gases.
"This energy imbalance is the 'smoking gun' that we have been looking for," said lead researcher James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. "It shows that our estimates of the human-made and natural climate forcing agents are about right, and they are driving the Earth toward a warmer climate."
The study is detailed in the online version of the journal Science.
Though some scientists challenge the idea that humans contribute to global warming, few dispute that the planet is getting warmer. A study earlier this year confirmed that last year was among the four warmest on record and projected 2005 will be the warmest.
Previous computer modeling has estimated that the global climate will warm for at least the next century, and likely longer, no matter what changes might occur today -- even if production of greenhouse gases stopped. That's because the ocean stores heat and changes slowly, a process scientists call thermal inertia.
Future warming is already "in the pipeline," as Hansen and his colleagues put it.
The previous work concluded that the seas will rise at least 4 inches (10 centimeters) this century, posing increased risks to coastal regions around the globe.
Hansen and his colleagues say that if pollution is not curbed until policy makers decide they have proof of human input, "thermal inertia implies that still greater climate change will be in store, which may be difficult or impossible to avoid."
"Warmer waters increase the likelihood of accelerated ice sheet disintegration and sea level rise during this century," Hansen said.
Since 1993, data from satellite altimeters, used to measure sea level, have shown that the world's oceans have risen by 3.2 centimeters (cm), or 1.26 inches, per decade (plus or minus 0.4 cm).
That's twice as large as sea level rise in the last century
re:moving tectonic plates,,friction induces heat,,no?
~The Red Sea is parting again, but this time Moses doesn’t have a hand in it.
Satellite images show that the Arabian tectonic plate and the African plate are moving away from each other, stretching the Earth's crust and widening the southern end of the Red Sea, scientists reported in this week's issue of journal Nature.
Last September, a series of earthquakes started splitting the planet's surface along a 37-mile section of the East African Rift in Afar, Ethiopia.
Using the images gathered by the European Space Agency's Envisat radar satellite, researchers looked at satellite data before and after these activities.
Over a period of three weeks, the crust on the sides of the rift moved apart by 26 feet and magma—enough to fill a football stadium more than 2,000 times—was injected along a vertical crack, forming a new crust.
"We think that the crust and mantle melt slowly at depths greater than 10 kilometers [6 miles], where it is hotter, forming magma (molten rock)," said Tim J Wright, study co-author, a Royal Society University Research Fellow. "This magma rises through the crust because it is less dense than the surrounding rock.”
The magma collects in magma chambers at depths of 3 to 5 kilometers [1.9 to 3 miles] where the density is the same as the crustal rocks, Wright explained. "Slowly, the pressure has been building up in these chambers until last September when it finally cracked, breaking the crust along a vertical crack. The magma was then injected into this crack."
The intrusion of magma into the gap, rather than the cracking of the crust, is responsible for segmentation of continental drifts.
This is the first rifting episode to have occurred since 1970 and the largest single rip in the Earth's continental crust during the satellite-monitoring era.
"We knew about the steady rifting process in Afar, as Arabia moves away from Africa across the rift," Wright said. "And we knew that occasionally the strain that builds up slowly over centuries is released suddenly in rifting episodes. We did not know how big the deformation could be."~
~Tremors deep inside the Earth are usually produced by magma flowing beneath volcanoes, but a new study suggests they can also be produced by the shifting and sliding of tectonic plates.
Scientists have recorded vibrations from underground tremors at a geologic observatory along the San Andreas Fault, an 800 mile scar in the earth that runs through California. The fault marks the boundary between the Pacific Tectonic Plate and the North American Plate.
Tectonic plates are large pieces of the Earth's crust that bump and grind like chunks of sea ice floating atop the ocean. The Earth's surface is made up of about ten major tectonic plates and many more minor ones.
Tremors are sustained vibrations that occur deep inside the Earth.
"Unlike the sharp jolt of an earthquake, tremors within Earth's crust emerge slowly, rumbling for longer periods of time," explained Kaye Shedlock, the program director for Earthscope at the National Science Foundation.
EarthScope is a project investigating the structure and evolution of the North American continent and the physical processes controlling earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Normally, tremors are produced by the movement of magma in cracks and other channels beneath volcanoes.
But there are no volcanoes located near the Earthscope San Andreas Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) in Parkfield, California, where the new tremors were recorded.
These are the first recordings of non-volcanic tremors deep inside the Earth. They were recorded in deep boreholes that were drilled down to a depth of about 2 miles.
Instead of volcanoes, the scientists think the subterranean rumblings might be caused by processes similar to those that produce tremors near the Cascadia Subduction Zone, an active fault that runs from mid-Vancouver Island to northern California.
Those tremors are caused by the sliding of the undersea Juan de Fuca tectonic plate beneath the North American plate.
The two plates making up the San Andreas Fault are different from those in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, however, in that they slide past another, much like two cars moving very slowly in opposite directions on a freeway, in what scientists call a "slip."
"Right now we have no recorded slip associated with the tremors, so we haven't been able to see the other part," Earthscope facility project director Greg van der Vink told LiveScience.
Earthscope researchers hope to definitively link the two events by installing instruments called laser strainmeters inside the borehole which are capable of measuring slips as the tremors happen.~
~A continuous shaking from deep in the San Andreas Fault may foretell of future earthquakes, scientists announced today.
The tremors -- not really normal earthquakes, last for more than four minutes. They are "a kind of chatter" coming from depths of 12 to 24 miles below the surface, said Robert Nadeau, from the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory of the University of California.
Over a three-year period, Nadeau and his graduate student, David Dolenc, detected 114 of the events beneath the town of Cholame, CA. These faint rumblings originate up to five times deeper than the average earthquake on this section of the fault.
The geologists have observed a possible correlation between the tremors and the rate of small microquakes in the region.
"This is new information from an area deep down under the fault we have not been able to look at before," Nadeau said. "If these tremors are precursory to earthquakes, there is potential here for earthquake forecasting and prediction."
The town of Cholame is thought to have been the origin of the magnitude 8 Fort Tejon Earthquake of 1857. This was the last big quake to hit southern California, and some seismologists think the area is due for another, since the average time between big quakes is 140 years.
Although the study was no longer running at the time, a moderate, magnitude 6 earthquake erupted on Sept. 28, 2004, outside the city of Parkfield, which is 15 miles northwest of Cholame. Because this quake was near the tremor region, Nadeau believes it supports the tremor-quake relationship.
The San Andreas fault.
Parkfield, on the San Andreas fault, has been at or near the site of several large earthquakes in the past.
Map & Photos: USGS
Parkfield describes itself as the "Earthquake Capital of the World" because for 20 years seismologists have been studying the fault-line that cuts through the city. Between the quakes in 1887 and 2004, the area has been hit by five other large events in 1881, 1901, 1922 and 1934.
Earthquake magnitudes are measured with seismographs and rated on the Richter scale:
2.5 or less: Usually not felt, but can be recorded by seismograph. 900,000 per year worldwide.
2.5 to 5.4: Often felt, but only causes minor damage. 30,000 per year.
5.5 to 6.0: Slight damage to buildings and other structures. 500 per year.
6.1 to 6.9: May cause a lot of damage in very populated areas. 100 per year.
7.0 to 7.9: Major earthquake. Serious damage. 20 per year.
8.0 or greater: Great earthquake. Can totally destroy communities near the epicenter. One every 5 to 10 years.
Small tremors have typically been ignored by seismologists, who are more interested in short bursts of activity rather than a sustained rumbling.
But tremors have been observed under volcanoes, and recently led to predictions of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State. They have also been discovered in Japan and the Pacific Northwest at sites called subduction zones, where one of the Earth's plates dips underneath another.
Nadeau and Dolenc's tremors are the first detected underneath a transform fault, which is where two plates scrape against each other in a horizontal direction. It had been thought that tremors result from fluids flowing deep underground, but Nadeau said that his findings challenge this theory.
"Transform faults like the San Andreas have no obvious source of fluid, so it's not clear what's causing the tremors," he said. "Either tremors don't need fluid, or there is another, unknown source of fluid, perhaps from the Earth's mantle."
By understanding this mechanism better, the researchers hope to uncover whether tremors really can predict earthquakes.
Nadeau and Dolenc describe their work today in the online version of the journal Science.~
re:alinsky meets gore and have a baby named Glo Bawa Ming
Surprising Side Effects of Global Warming
By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Senior Writer
posted: 22 December, 2004 7:00 a.m. ET
SAN FRANCISCO - Rising seas, melting polar ice caps and strange weather tend to grab headlines as Earth's climate grows warmer. But there are other dramatic outcomes that scientists are only beginning to grasp and which could damage structures in northern areas, reconfigure towering mountains and alter biology.
As winters get milder, changes occur underfoot and go largely unnoticed until critical thresholds are reached. Railroad tracks are deformed. Rocky peaks crack apart and spill into ravines. Whole mountainsides lose footing, creating flows of ice and mud that move as fast as a BMW on the Autobahn.
Some 24 percent of land area in the Northern Hemisphere is underlain by perennially frozen ground. Scientists call this permafrost. Another 57 percent -- extending down into much of the United States and Europe -- freezes seasonally.
But these numbers are changing rapidly, scientists reported here last week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
Seasonally frozen areas in the Northern Hemisphere decreased by 15 to 20 percent during the 20th Century, said Tingjun Zhang of the University of Colorado at Boulder. "In the last 20 years, the decrease is more dramatic," he said.
In locations across the former Soviet Union, where long-running observations are starting to generate meaningful results, the warm-up has been documented as a 1-degree increase in the average temperature of soil 16 inches (40 centimeters) below the surface.
"The change is real," Zhang said. "It is happening."
The effect is not just in the far north. Some 80 percent of U.S. soil freezes every winter. Change to the cycle will affect crops, native plants and even how much carbon is exchanged between Earth's surface and atmosphere, Zhang and others say.
There is "widespread evidence" that global warming is responsible for the observed changes in seasonally frozen soil and permafrost, said Frederick Nelson, a geographer at the University of Delaware.
Nelson examines what happens below the surface.
Permafrost exists at depth, and the surface layer above it freezes seasonally. When the seasonal freezing is of shorter duration, owing to climate warming, the seasonal thaw runs deeper and extends into the former permafrost, Nelson told LiveScience. The active layer -- freezing and thawing each year -- grows deeper.
Because water in the soil expands when frozen and loses volume upon melting, it causes uneven movements in the ground surface. Under sustained climatic warming, the consequences of disappearing permafrost could be "very severe" for structures, Nelson said.
Thawing permafrost can render railroad tracks useless, as seen in this photo from the northern Tibetan Plateau taken in the early 1960s. Credit: Tingjun Zhang
The problem could be particularly acute for urban and suburban places in the far North, such as Barrow and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nelson notes, however, the problem can be mitigated if engineers look ahead.
Zhang is helping the builders of an ambitious Tibetan railroad do just that.
The Qinghai-Xizang railroad will be 695 miles (1,118 kilometers) long when completed in 2007. Most of it is above 13,000 feet (4 kilometers), and about half of it is being built on permafrost, much of which is likely to melt in coming years, Zhang said.
So Zhang has helped the engineers devise an insulation system -- a thick layer of crushed rock over the permafrost.
All of Nature can't be insulated, however.
Antoni Lewkowicz of the University of Ottawa has studied several northern landslides and rockslides that he says can be at least partially attributed to thinning and weakening of ice or permafrost caused by climate warming. In one case, an earthquake broke off a weakening glacier in the Yukon. About 500,000 tons of ice raced down a mountain.
"By the time it reached the bottom it would have been going about 140 mph," Lewkowicz said.
At other remote catastrophe sites, Lewkowicz has documented a bizarre situation in which thin permafrost sits atop unfrozen sand containing groundwater under pressure. The system is stable until the icy overlay gets slushy. The whole mess then gives way.
Some of these events expose a layer of earth -- perhaps a very salty layer -- on which nothing can grow for years, resulting in "profound ecological effects," Lewkowicz said.
And landslides like this could become common if the climate grows warmer, as many scientists expect it will.
Charles Harris of Cardiff University in the United Kingdom documented rockslides high in the Swiss Alps that, again, were related to thawing permafrost. During 2003, the warmest summer on record in the Alps, the slushy active layer of the permafrost moved down from its long-term average depth of 15 feet (4.5 meters) to 29 feet (9 meters).
"There is likely to be an increase in rockfalls and landslides" at high-altitude sites, Harris said.
More research is needed, the scientists agree, to understand exactly what is happening globally, what the future holds, and what might be done to mitigate certain problems.
Many parts of the planet haven't been closely examined. And there are several causes and effects that haven't been explored. Heavy rainfall, for example, could be a contributing factor to some of the landslides and rockslides, and other studies predict heavier rainfall is one possible result of climate warming.
Nelson, the University of Delaware geographer, says thawing permafrost will "profoundly affect" biological activity in ways that are not fully known.
"In the first instance, climatic warming might be expected to degrade permafrost, but the relationship may not be quite so straightforward," Nelson said. "A warming climate may also increase the number and density of shrubby plants that shade the surface, which could ultimately help to protect the permafrost. The jury is still out on a lot of this."~
Psychology Media Social Engineering Mental Manipulation Behaviour Modification
re:how media influences perceptions and enables manipulation of the masses
Fake Photos Alter Real Memories
By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 26 November 2007 07:51 am ET
In 2003, Los Angeles Times photographer Brian Walski caused an uproar when it was discovered that his picture of a British soldier yelling at fleeing residents in Iraq, published prominently by many U.S. newspapers, had been altered.
Walski had combined two snapshots taken moments apart of the British soldier urging residents to take cover as Iraqi forces opened fire. This digital alteration is one of several in recent years to cast doubt on the old saying that the camera doesn't lie.
Some researchers are worried that digitally altered photos could alter our perceptions and memories of public events.
To test what effect doctored photos might have, researchers from the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Padua in Italy showed 299 people aged 19 to 84 either an actual photo or an altered photo of two historical events, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing and the 2003 anti-war protest in Rome.
The original Tiananmen Square image was altered to show a crowd watching at the sidelines as a lone man stands in front of a row of tanks. The Rome anti-war protest photograph was altered to show riot police and a menacing, masked protester among the crowd of demonstrators.
When answering questions about the events, the participants had differing recollections of what happened. Those who viewed the altered images of the Rome protest recalled the demonstration as violent and negative and recollected more physical confrontation and property damage than actually occurred.
Participants who viewed the doctored photos also said they were less inclined to take part in future protests, according to the study, detailed in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.
"It’s potentially a form of human engineering that could be applied to us against our knowledge and against our wishes, and we ought to be vigilant about it," said UC Irvine psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, who designed the study. "With the addition of a few little upsetting and arousing elements in the Rome protest photo, people remembered this peaceful protest as being more violent than it was, and as a society we have to figure how we can regulate this."
re:it seems certain tales of a device that 'speaks in your head' told by alledged nut cases need to be re-examined
Hear Voices? It May Be an Ad
An A&E Billboard 'Whispers' a Spooky Message Audible Only in Your Head in Push to Promote Its New 'Paranormal' Program
By Andrew Hampp
Published: December 10, 2007
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- New Yorker Alison Wilson was walking down Prince Street in SoHo last week when she heard a woman's voice right in her ear asking, "Who's there? Who's there?" She looked around to find no one in her immediate surroundings. Then the voice said, "It's not your imagination."
No, he's not crazy: Our intrepid reporter Andrew Hampp ventures to SoHo to hear for himself the technology that has New Yorkers 'freaked out' and A&E buzzing.
Photo Credit: Yoray Liberman
Indeed it isn't. It's an ad for "Paranormal State," a ghost-themed series premiering on A&E this week. The billboard uses technology manufactured by Holosonic that transmits an "audio spotlight" from a rooftop speaker so that the sound is contained within your cranium. The technology, ideal for museums and libraries or environments that require a quiet atmosphere for isolated audio slideshows, has rarely been used on such a scale before. For random passersby and residents who have to walk unwittingly through the area where the voice will penetrate their inner peace, it's another story.
Ms. Wilson, a New York-based stylist, said she expected the voice inside her head to be some type of creative project but could see how others might perceive it differently, particularly on a late-night stroll home. "I might be a little freaked out, and I wouldn't necessarily think it's coming from that billboard," she said.
Joe Pompei, president and founder of Holosonics, said the creepy approach is key to drawing attention to A&E's show. But, he noted, the technology was designed to avoid adding to noise pollution. "If you really want to annoy a lot of people, a loudspeaker is the best way to do it," he said. "If you set up a loudspeaker on the top of a building, everybody's going to hear that noise. But if you're only directing that sound to a specific viewer, you're never going to hear a neighbor complaint from street vendors or pedestrians. The whole idea is to spare other people."
Holosonics has partnered with a cable network once before, when Court TV implemented the technology to promote its "Mystery Whisperer" in the mystery sections of select bookstores. Mr. Pompei said the company also has tested retail deployments in grocery stores with Procter & Gamble and Kraft for customized audio messaging. So a customer, for example, looking to buy laundry detergent could suddenly hear the sound of gurgling water and thus feel compelled to buy Tide as a result of the sonic experience.
Mr. Pompei contends that the technology will take time for consumers to get used to, much like the lights on digital signage and illuminated billboards did when they were first used. The website Gawker posted an item about the billboard last week with the headline "Schizophrenia is the new ad gimmick," and asked "How soon will it be until in addition to the do-not-call list, we'll have a 'do not beam commercial messages into my head' list?"
"There's going to be a certain population sensitive to it. But once people see what it does and hear for themselves, they'll see it's effective for getting attention," Mr. Pompei said.
A&E's $3 million to $5 million campaign for "Paranormal" includes other more disruptive elements than just the one audio ad in New York. In Los Angeles, a mechanical face creeps out of a billboard as if it's coming toward the viewer, and then recedes. In print, the marketing team persuaded two print players to surrender a full editorial page to their ads, flipping the gossip section in AM New York upside down and turning a page in this week's Parade into a checkerboard of ads for "Paranormal."
AM New York's gossip page got turned upside down as promo.
It's not the network's first foray into supernatural marketing, having launched a successful viral campaign for "Mind Freak" star Criss Angel earlier this year that allowed users to trick their friends into thinking Mr. Angel was reading their mind via YouTube.
"We all know what you need to do for one of these shows is get people talking about them," said Guy Slattery, A&E's exec VP-marketing. "It shouldn't be pure informational advertising. When we were talking about marketing the show, nearly everyone had a connection with a paranormal experience, and that was a surprise to us. So we really tried to base the whole campaign on people's paranormal experiences."
So was it a ghost or just an annoyed resident who stole the speaker from the SoHo billboard twice in one day last week? Horizon Media, which helped place the billboard, had to find a new device that would prevent theft from its rooftop location. Mr. Pompei only takes it as a compliment that someone would go to the trouble of stealing his technology, but hopes consumer acceptance comes with time. "The sound isn't rattling your skull, it's not penetrating you, it's not doing anything nefarious at all. It's just like having a flashlight vs. a light bulb," he said. ~
re:meteorite marks on mastadon tusks
psychology behaviour skewed theories self medication genetic proclivity food as drugs
~Chimps Don't Shed Insight On Human Generosity
October 26, 2005
Given the opportunity to spread random acts of kindness, chimps would just as soon pass, finds a new UCLA-led study.
The study, published in the journal Nature, suggests at least one way in which humans differ from their closest living relatives in the animal kingdom.
"Because chimps participate in collective activities such as cooperative hunting and food sharing and they console injured group members and human caregivers, their capacity for empathy and altruism has been an object of considerable curiosity," said UCLA anthropologist Joan Silk, the study's lead author. "This is the first experiment to show that chimps don't share the same concern for the welfare of others as do humans, who routinely donate blood, tithe, volunteer for military duty and perform other acts that benefit perfect strangers."
Silk led a team of researchers from Emory University, the University of Texas and the University of Louisiana as they conducted experiments with two separate groups of chimps.
They first studied seven adult chimps in captivity in Louisiana. Although the chimps were not related, they were quite familiar with each other, having lived together for 12 years.
The chimpanzees were brought into a small testing room with a window in it. Behind the window was a feeding device attached to two trays of food. When the chimp pulled a handle, one of the trays moved toward him and the other tray moved toward another chimp in a room on the opposite side of the window.
The chimps with access to the handle faced two choices: They could continue delivering food to both themselves and the other chimp or they could pull a handle that delivered food only to themselves. Each of the chimps had the chance to dispense rewards to each of the other chimpanzees in the group. As a control, all of the dispensers of rewards were offered the same choice without a chimp in the other room.
At another site in Texas, the researcher tested 11 other adult chimps. The animals had rich social experiences and were members of stable social groups, but they had not participated in cognitive testing before. They worked with a slightly different apparatus, but confronted the same sets of choices.
The results from both these sites were similar: The presence of a potential recipient of the food had no impact on the chimpanzees' choice. The chimps in Louisiana chose this option about 56 percent of the time when another chimp was present and about 58 percent when another chimp was absent. The chimps in Texas chose the option that provided rewards to the other chimp 48 percent of the time, exactly the same percentage of time that they delivered rewards to an empty enclosure.
"It is possible that the chimpanzees in our experiments understood how to obtain food for themselves, but did not understand that they were responsible for delivering rewards to the chimpanzee in the adjoining enclosure," Silk and her colleagues wrote in the Nature paper. "Yet, potential recipients sometimes displayed begging gestures, suggesting that at least they had some understanding of the other's role in delivering rewards to them. Nevertheless, chimpanzees were clearly motivated to obtain rewards for themselves, but not to provide rewards for other group members."
The findings add mystery to the origins of human altruism, a popular research topic among economists and anthropologists.
"Had the chimps shown signs of altruism, researchers looking to explain the origins of altruistic behavior in humans would have known to look at other species with whom we share a common ancestor," Silk said. "This study suggests that concern for the welfare of unrelated group members and strangers may be a trait that has emerged in humans, but not in other closely related species, like great apes. Alternatively, perhaps a better place to look for prosocial preferences would be in species that rely more heavily on cooperation, such as cooperatively breeding mammals."
The research received support from the MacArthur Foundation Preferences Network, James S. McDonnell Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. ~
re:how 'behaviour tests' can be fatally flawed OR skewed to produce desired results favored by 'testers'
~This lesson can be applied generally. It is easy to set up experiments to test a hypothesis about what other creatures can and cannot do, but sometimes small details in the design of an experiment can make all the difference in the results. It is nearly impossible to catch all such details when setting up experimental conditions, so really these problems only come out after similar studies have been done by different researchers using similar but varied conditions leading to divergent results.
It is when these seemingly contradictory results come up that we are forced to question our previous conclusions about the results of a study and look for deeper explanations. It is there that we are more likely to find a better understanding of behavior (e.g., the importance chimpanzees place on others' gazes when approaching a new situation) as well as an explanation that can take into account and explain all of the divergent results of different studies.
Thus not only is it important to replicate studies, but sometimes it can be of great help to vary the designs in small or significant ways in order to separate the variables involved and get a deeper picture of the subject being investigated.~
re:even though they point out 'self interest/selfserving' aspect,,article still infers chimps choose MORE RATIONALLY than humans
(why is that?And couldn't that indicate chimps just take what ever is offered to them?Is that how 'scientists' would like humans to be,,just 'accept' whatever is offered?No?How about politicians and corporations?They would love that,,wouldn't they?)
~Chimps choose more rationally than humans
Published: Oct. 8, 2007 at 2:07 PM
LEIPZIG, Germany, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- German researchers have demonstrated chimpanzees make choices that protect their self-interest more consistently than do humans.
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig studied the chimp's choices by using an economic game with two players. In the game, a human or chimpanzee who receives something of value can offer to share it with another.
If the proposed share is rejected, neither player gets anything.
Humans typically make offers close to 50 percent of the reward. They also reject as unfair offers of significantly less than half of the reward, even though this choice means they get nothing.
The study, however, showed chimpanzees reliably made offers of substantially less than 50 percent, and accepted offers of any size, no matter how small.
The researchers concluded chimpanzees do not show a willingness to make fair offers and reject unfair ones. In this way, they protect their self interest and are unwilling to pay a cost to punish someone they perceive as unfair.
The study appeared in the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Science.~
technology government skunk work em elf ionosphere haarp darpa
New Document Reveals Military Mystery's Powers
By David Hambling December 10, 2007 | 1:35:00 PMCategories: Bizarro, DarpaWatch, Lasers and Ray Guns, Less-lethal, Science!
For years, no military program has sparked more fevered speculation from conspiracy theorists than the mysterious High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP. And for years, the Pentagon has been pooh-poohing speculation that the enormous collection of transmitters, radars, and magnetometers in Alaska was some sort of superweapon.
But, it turns out, the conspiracy theorists may not have been entirely off-base, after all.
Since its inception, there's been a huge range of opinion on what HAARP actually does: everything from a giant mind control facility to a space nuke countermeasure to a weather controller to an ionosphere-boiling mad science experiment to the mother of all pork projects has been suggested. But now that the program is actually up an running, military managers say the electronics array has much more benign use. "HAARP's main job is to produce radio waves to probe the ionosphere," an Air Force Research Laboratory officer said in October.
Which is true -- up to a point.
A drive by Clifford Stone on the X-Files-esque uber-site Above Top Secret to use the Freedom of Information Act to turn up UFO-related documents has led to the release of a fascinating report, HAARP: Research and Applications. It's from the Air Force Research Laboratory and Office of Naval Research, and it lays out the uses the military see for HAARP. Turns out the Pentagon wants some military bang for their buck from the program.
HAARP can actually perform a lot of militarily important functions, all involving the interactions of radio waves with the high atmosphere, magnetosphere and ionosphere.
The document points out that "on the higher frequency end (VHF/UHF) transionospheric propagation is a ubiquitous element of numerous civilian and military communication systems, surveillance and remote sensing systems." In other words, messing with the ionosphere means you can shut down VHF radio, TV and radar signals at will. As radio hams know, the reflection and refraction effects of the ionosphere make a huge difference to long-range radio reception, and HAARP provides the only means of influencing that.
Another interesting feature is how HAARP can influence the 'auroral electrodynamic circuit', a natural flow of electricity with ranges from 100,000 to 1 million megawatts ("equivalent to 10 to 100 large power plants"). Messing with the electrical properties of the ionosphere means some of this tremendous flow of power can be changed at the flick of a switch. In effect, the natural flow can be modulated to create a gigantic low-frequency radio transmitter.
Which is extremely interesting to military types. Extremely low frequency, or ELF, waves can be used for submarine communications and for probing the planet; because of the way they propagate, HAARP can cover "a significant fraction of the Earth." The document says that the waves can be used for "seabed exploration" and even locating mines underwater, not to mention "underground target detection."
HAARP can also "induce precipitation of energetic particles" in the ionosphere, which "could impact the operation and lifespan of satellites." While this is mainly about protecting satellites from particles from solar flares or nuclear explosions, the phrasing suggests that it might be able to have a subtle negative impact on satellites as well.
At the High Frequency range, HAARP also has some useful tricks, including being able to "enhance ground-to-ground and satellite-to-ground links that would otherwise be marginal or absent." Its ability to create a radio-reflective layer means it can create new over-the-horizon capabilities for radio and radar systems. It can even act as a HF radar emitter itself.
The third band is optical and near-optical: HAARP can make lights in the sky. While we have looked at the effect of creating high-altitude plasmas before (as possible anti-missile defence), the document notes that it can also produce "airglow with megawatt power…in the IR [infrared] region of the spectrum." This has "significant military implications for IR detection and countermeasures." The picture with this shows the IR glow below a satellite, suggesting that the system may be able to blank out the view of IR satellites selectively. Given that such satellites are the best way of detecting the launch of ICBMs, this is a significant capability.
All in all, it's a set-up that can do a lot more than just basic research. And while this may not seem much compared to weather modification, remember that these are just the capabilities they're willing to make public...
energy production devices and systems
Physics em constants flawed
Physics laws flawed
Monday, 10 December 2007
A Swinburne astrophysicist has leapt another hurdle in the path to proving that our fundamental theories of physics are not what they seem.
Dr Michael Murphy is part of a team that has, over recent years, uncovered surprising and controversial evidence suggesting the laws of physics may have been changing through cosmic time. In this latest move, Murphy has debunked a study which claimed to disprove his findings.
Murphy’s research into the laws of Nature goes back eight years, and concerns our understanding of electromagnetism, the force of nature that determines the sounds we hear, the light we see, and how atoms are held together to form solids. Through the study of electromagnetism in galaxies ten billion light years away, he has challenged the fundamental assumption that the strength of electromagnetism has been constant through time.
“Back in 2001 we published evidence showing a small change in the fine structure constant, the number that physicists use to characterise the strength of electromagnetism,” Murphy said.
“Even though the change that we think we see in the data is quite small, about five parts in a million, it would be enough to demonstrate that our current understanding must in fact be wrong. It’s an important discovery if correct. It suggests to physicists that there’s an underlying set of theories we’re yet to broach and understand.”
Physicists have been chasing results like these for a number of years, but since 1999, Murphy and his co-researchers have been ahead of the pack. They’ve published a series of observations from the Keck Telescope in Hawaii as further evidence of a varying fine structure constant. But, a few years ago, another research team claimed that data from a different telescope contradicted Murphy’s observations.
However, he’s been able to prove that the contradictory work itself was flawed. “We’ve shown that the way the data was analysed was faulty,” he said. “Their procedures were faulty so the numbers that came out are meaningless. Our paper points this out. When you replicate their analysis and fix their problems, you get a very very different answer indeed.”
Murphy has a ‘comment’ about this latest work in this week's issue of the journal Physical Review Letters. It’s the most difficult journal for physicists to get published in, and is the one they turn to for important results in their field.
This latest step is not the end of the road though in convincing scientists across the world that they need to rethink their ideas about electromagnetism. Even though this study also produced results that agree with his initial Keck findings, Murphy said there’s still work to be done.
“There are some problems that need addressing,” he said. “It’s quite a surprising result and one that probably many people need a lot more convincing on. It will take some time, but we’re doing that job.”
Editor's Note: Original news release can be found here.
re:right click protected article about teen sexuality that exposes swerve regarding similisexuality and other behavourial manipulations by acdaemic elitests
Jamie's dig unearths a monster
Jamie Jordon at his home in Werrington, with part of his large collection of dinosaur bones. (7DL1206095) Pictures: DAVID LOWNDES
A FOSSIL hunter is claiming to have found the bones of a Loch Ness monster in a quarry on the outskirts of Peterborough.
Eighteen-year-old Jamie Jordan, nicknamed the Fossil Kid, made the exciting discovery in a hunt around the disused quarries in Yaxley.
And Jamie, of Canwell, Werrington, Peterborough, was amazed to also find the bones of a younger creature just 25 feet below the ground.
After months of studying with a palaeontologist, the bigger bones have been confirmed as those of a Plesiosaur – one of the first kinds of extinct animal known to science, which resemble Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.
Jamie said: "It was a very rare discovery to find so many different skeletons right next to each other.
"After more research, we are hoping to donate the bones to a museum so they can be viewed by all enthusiasts."
The fossil hunter spends every minute of his spare time scouring sites, from Flag Fen and the brick pits in Warboys to ancient pine forests on the Isle of Wight.
And he believes that his staggering collection of time-frozen rocks and wood could be the biggest in the world.
His parents, Lorraine and Gary, are forever stumbling over rocks and stones that have been stored around their home and Jamie has trouble getting through the door to his bedroom.
The exhibits are now even spilling out into the garden, which resembles a scene from dinosaur movie Jurassic Park.
The teenager's hobby began when he was four-and-a-half during a holiday to Skegness.
He said: "I found a bird footprint in sediment rock which I took to the fossil museum and discovered it was a 120 million-year-old Cretaceous bird track.
"It immediately triggered my interest and I have been searching for dinosaurs ever since."
Ever since his first find, Jamie has been searching for fossils and adding to his swelling collection.
Jamie still has plans to go to Portsmouth University to study science and palaeontology before going to work in Montana, in the USA, where Tyrannosaurus Rex bones have been discovered.
The full article contains 359 words and appears in Peterborough ET newspaper.Last Updated: 10 December 2007 12:17 PM
physics optics magnetics lazers nanotechnology
Scientists trap light in nano-soup
10 December 2007
Physicists at the Bhavnagar University in Gujarat, India, have demonstrated how to trap and retrieve light using a soup of micro- and nano-sized magnetic spheres.1 The unusual fluid, they say, works at room temperature, holds photons for far longer than other systems, and can also be tuned with a magnet to store any wavelength of visible light. 'The discovery could pave the way for lab-on-a-chip devices for processing optical information,' Rasbindu Mehta, who led the team, told Chemistry World.
For over a decade scientists have been working towards light-based computing: where circuits control photons - particles of light - in the same way that they currently manipulate electrons. Photon-based computing should be faster than electronics. It would also cut out the ungainly components used to convert between the optical signals that transmit data and the electrical signals that manipulate and store it.
Any microchip designed to process optical signals has to store photons, perhaps by slowing or trapping light in carefully designed crystals. Mehta's team coated micron-size magnetite spheres with oleic acid and dispersed them through a ferrofluid, which is a suspension of much smaller magnetic nanoparticles (in this case held in kerosene). When an external magnetic field was applied to the fluid, which was held in a glass cell, laser light passing through the medium was trapped inside. Photons escaped when the field was switched off.
Red light passes through the fluid with no external magnetic field applied (left-hand diffraction pattern); is stopped by a particular magnetic field strength (middle); photons appear again when the magnet is switched off (right).
'It is fantastic,' said Hema Ramachandran, who heads the photonics unit at the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, and was one of several physicists who witnessed the demonstration. She said she was planning some experiments with Mehta's group.
'It was a chance discovery,' explained Mehta's colleague Rajesh Patel. While investigating the optical properties of their transparent fluid the researchers noticed that, in a certain magnetic field range, light scattering - both forward and backward - became zero. 'We thought the light got trapped inside,' said Patel. 'So, we switched off the laser [which was shining light through the system] and then the magnetic field, and there it was - a flash of colour lighting up our dark room.'
A rigorous theoretical explanation is yet to come, but the researchers believe that the spheres are aligned by the magnetic field and form microcavities - filled by the ferrofluid - in which the photons get trapped, resonating back and forth. Changing the external magnetic field alters the refractive index of the cavities, by changing the dispersion of both the ferrofluid and the larger spheres. This in turn decides which wavelength of light is trapped by the system. And what is more, said Mehta, photons can be stored for as long as the magnetic field is switched on. 'This is the first visual evidence of storage and retrieval of light for a long and controllable duration - in all other reports, storage time of photons is restricted to a few nanoseconds,' he said.
Physicist Ortwin Hess, at the Advanced Technology Institute in the University of Surrey, said the results were 'very interesting'. 'As I understand it, the spheres act as resonators (every resonator stores light) for a particular wavelength,' he told Chemistry World. 'The interesting fact is that via the ferroelectric properties of the materials, a particular wavelength can then be controlled and released by application of a field.' Hess recently published a scheme to slow down and eventually store light using artificially designed solid metamaterials, but his idea is still theoretical.2Other experiments have involved stopping light altogether by using a gas of sodium or rubidium atoms chilled to near absolute zero, though that system is not practical for microchips.
Many photonic crystals also control light by being patterned on the nano and micro-scale, and having regions of variable refractive index. Pumping a second laser light at photonic crystals can even alter their photon-trapping properties. But Mehta's team seem to have chanced on a simpler fluid system with the easy dynamic control for which photonic crystal designers yearn.
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