воскресенье, 17 ноября 2019 г.

Bronze Age Ring Cairn, Llyn Brenig, North Wales, 17.11.19.

Bronze Age Ring Cairn, Llyn Brenig, North Wales, 17.11.19.



* This article was originally published here

2019 November 7 Messier 45: The Daughters of Atlas and Pleione...



2019 November 7

Messier 45: The Daughters of Atlas and Pleione
Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona

Explanation: Hurtling through a cosmic dust cloud a mere 400 light-years away, the lovely Pleiades or Seven Sisters open star cluster is well-known for its striking blue reflection nebulae. It lies in the night sky toward the constellation Taurus and the Orion Arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. The sister stars and cosmic dust cloud are not related though, they just happen to be passing through the same region of space. Known since antiquity as a compact grouping of stars, Galileo first sketched the star cluster viewed through his telescope with stars too faint to be seen by eye. Charles Messier recorded the position of the cluster as the 45th entry in his famous catalog of things which are not comets. In Greek myth, the Pleiades were seven daughters of the astronomical Titan Atlas and sea-nymph Pleione. Their parents names are included in the cluster’s nine brightest stars. This deep and wide telescopic image spans over 20 light-years across the Pleides star cluster.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191107.html



* This article was originally published here

Predicting evolution: Survival of the fittest takes a hit


A team of scientists, led by Harvard researchers, has used a new method of DNA "re-barcoding" to track rapid evolution in yeast. The new approach, published in Nature, advances the field of organismic and evolutionary biology and holds promise for real-world results.

Predicting evolution: Survival of the fittest takes a hit
Using yeast as the vehicle, researchers watch evolution deviate from what we thought we knew
[Credit: Douglas Benedict/Academic Image]
The potential impact of the work can be illustrated using the example of flu vaccines. An accurate prediction of what strains of influenza will dominate over the next year is necessary to ensure the vaccines produced are useful. Such prediction relies on tracking evolution.


"We have the sequence of all these flu strains, and we're watching their evolution. What you should be able to do is look at how they've evolved in the past and be able to predict into the future what is going to win and what is going to lose. The problem is, we don't know how to do that prediction," explained Michael Desai, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) and of Physics at Harvard.

Desai, in whose lab the study was conducted, said that the questions are basic: "There is this swarm of mutations that are constantly happening," he said. "How do they battle it out, and what determines who wins?"

"We have been taught that evolution 'is slow' and involves the 'survival of the fittest,' added Alex N. Nguyen Ba, a post-doctoral fellow in Desai's lab. "It turns out that molecular evolution doesn't work that way. It's actually much faster than how we've been taught. This makes evolution way more complex than what has been anticipated." Nguyen Ba is one of three co-lead authors of the new study, along with Ivana Cvijovic and Jose I. Rojas Echenique

Such evolution has been posited mathematically over the past two decades. However, previous lab experiments have not been able to prove or disprove the theory. Rather, they have only been able to examine the process with high resolution over a short period of time, or with low resolution over a long period of time. Collectively, Desai explained, the paper's authors -- who include Katherine R. Lawrence of MIT and Harvard's Artur Rego-Costa, along with Xianan Liu of Stanford and Sasha F. Levy of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory -- have done both other kinds of studies.

This new study does both.

"We can identify every single relevant beneficial mutation," said Nguyen Ba, citing new technology that allowed the research team to follow specific genomes (or lineages) for approximately a thousand generations.


Cvijovic, formerly a graduate student in Desai's lab and now a researcher at Princeton, said the research could have gone on indefinitely: "A thousand generations is about three months of growth in our conditions. That's enough time to see big changes happening."

Such in-depth, long-term research was possible because of a technological advance in the methodology that allowed what Nguyen Ba called the "re-barcoding" of DNA.

Using an enzyme to place a marker, the "barcode," at a specific DNA site, the researchers were able to follow the DNA of yeast through multiple generations. By re-tagging and re-barcoding subsequent generations to record their lineage, the team could then observe how this DNA was transmitted, noting what survived, and what thrived -- or came to dominate -- as generations passed.

What they discovered included a few surprises.

According to the existing theory, the "fittest" DNA would be that which showed up most frequently in subsequent generations. However, the scientists observed "fluctuations" that the theories could not account for.

"Mutations and genotypes that seem to have fallen behind can leapfrog and dominate," said Cvijovic.

What that means, she says, will be the subject of future research. However, it implies that evolution is, indeed, even more complex than previously thought.

"Our experiment suggests there may be a wide range of a large number of strongly beneficial mutations," she said. "And their benefits are both very strong and very different from one another."

Source: Harvard University [November 13, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Unpacking md6250 from Ali Express Распаковка md6250 из  АлиЭкспресс

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Channel: UFO Odessa  

The metal detector is a complete analogue of the American garrett ace 250

Coils for branded garret are suitable for the Chinese device, since they are identical.


The cost of a branded garret ace 250 is about $ 220. Chinese counterparts with a standard coil, only 110 dollars. Large branded coils for both devices cost from $ 100.

Металлоискатель полный аналог американского garret ace 250

Стоимость фирменного garret ace 250 около 220 долларов США.
Катушки под фирменный garret подходят к китайскому прибору, так как они идентичны.

Китайские аналоги со стандартной катушкой, всего 110 долларов. Большие фирменные катушки под оба прибора стоят от 100 долларов.

Video length: 8:42
Category: Entertainment
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Mesolithic Flintknapping Seat, Biggar Museum, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Mesolithic Flintknapping Seat, Biggar Museum, Lanarkshire, Scotland.



* This article was originally published here

2019 November 8 NGC 3572 and the Southern Tadpoles Image Credit...



2019 November 8

NGC 3572 and the Southern Tadpoles
Image Credit & Copyright: Josep Drudis

Explanation: This cosmic skyscape features glowing gas and dark dust clouds along side the young stars of NGC 3572. A beautiful emission nebula and star cluster in far southern skies, the region is often overlooked by astroimagers in favor of its brighter neighbor, the nearby Carina Nebula. Stars from NGC 3572 are toward the upper left in the telescopic frame that would measure about 100 light-years across at the cluster’s estimated distant of 9,000 light-years. The visible interstellar gas and dust is part of the star cluster’s natal molecular cloud. Dense streamers of material within the nebula, eroded by stellar winds and radiation, clearly trail away from the energetic young stars. They are likely sites of ongoing star formation with shapes reminiscent of the cosmic Tadpoles of IC 410 better known to northern skygazers. In the coming tens to hundreds of millions of years, gas and stars in the cluster will be dispersed though, by gravitational tides and by violent supernova explosions that end the short lives of the massive cluster stars.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191108.html



* This article was originally published here

Spot the difference: Two identical-looking bird species with very different genes


New research by the Milner Centre for Evolution academics in collaboration with Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou (China) shows that Southern and Northern breeding populations of plovers in China are in fact two distinct species: Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) in the North and white-faced plover (Charadrius dealbatus) in the South.

Spot the difference: Two identical-looking bird species with very different genes
The Kentish Plover (right) and White-faced Plover (left) are look very similar
but are in fact different species [Credit: Jonathan Martinez]
Using state-of-the-art genomics analysis, the team revealed that the Kentish plover and white-faced plover diverged approximately half a million years ago due to cycling sea level changes between the Eastern and Southern China Sea causing intermittent isolation of the two regional populations.

The results show that despite looking very similar, the two plover species have high levels of genetic divergence on their sex chromosomes, (Z chromosome) than on other chromosomes, indicating that sexual selection might play a role to in the evolution of the two species.


Dr Yang Liu, a visiting scholar from Sun Yat-sen University at the Milner Centre for Evolution, led the work. He said: "The initial divergence of the two plovers was probably triggered by the geographical isolation.

"However, other factors, such as ecological specialisations, behavioural divergence, and sexual selection could also contribute to the speciation of the two species.

"In future studies, we wish to understand how these factors operate on plover populations."

Dr Araxi Urrutia, Senior Lecturer from the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, said: "Speciation - the process by which new species evolve - is the basis of all biodiversity around us, yet our understanding of how new species arise is still limited.

"By studying recent divergence patterns, where the two species still able to reproduce with each other, we can better understand the conditions on which all species, including our own species, have evolved."


The team have published their findings in two papers. The first paper revealed small to moderate differences between Kentish and white-faced plover in their appearance (morphology), diet and behaviour. The second study produced the first genome of the Kentish plover, one of the few published genomes from shorebirds.

Dr Liu said: "The genomic resources generated by our team will help investigate other important evolutionary questions, such as genetic basis of local adaptation, migration and mating system variation."

Led by Dr Liu, the research team also included Dr Araxi Urrutia, Professor Tamas Szekely and a former NERC funded PhD student Dr Kathryn Maher.

The research is part of a long-term study on the Kentish plover that has been running for over 30 years, led by Professor Szekely.

He said: "Plovers are excellent model systems to understand breeding system evolution.

"These small, drab shorebirds have worldwide distribution, and they are amenable to field studies.

"Using plovers as model organisms, we are currently testing for key hypotheses of several fundamental questions in biology using behavioral, genomic, immunological, and demographic approaches."

Source: University of Bath [November 13, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Akkerman fortress Белая крепость Аккерман

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Channel: UFO Odessa  

Belgorod Dniester Fortress Akkerman, insideБелгород Днестровский крепость Аккерман, внутрьWalk along the most beautiful and large fortress of the Middle Ages of Ukraine.Прогулка по самой красивой и крупной крепости средневековья Украины.

Video length: 5:01
Category: Entertainment
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2019 November 9 Saturn the Giant Image Credit:...



2019 November 9

Saturn the Giant
Image Credit: NASA

Explanation: On May 25, 1961 U.S. president John Kennedy announced the goal of landing astronauts on the Moon by the end of the decade. By November 9, 1967 this Saturn V rocket was ready for launch and the first full test of its capabilities on the Apollo 4 mission. Its development directed by rocket pioneer Wernher Von Braun, the three stage Saturn V stood over 36 stories tall. It had a cluster of five first stage engines fueled by liquid oxygen and kerosene which together were capable of producing 7.9 million pounds of thrust. Giant Saturn V rockets ultimately hurled nine Apollo missions to the Moon and back again with six landing on the lunar surface. The first landing mission, Apollo 11, achieved Kennedy’s goal on July 20, 1969.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191109.html



* This article was originally published here

7th century CE Celtic Decorated Whetstone, Dumfries Museum, Scotland, November 2019.

7th century CE Celtic Decorated Whetstone, Dumfries Museum, Scotland, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

DNA data offers scientific look at 500 years of extramarital sex in Western Europe


These days it's easy to resolve questions about paternity with over-the-counter test kits. Now, researchers have put DNA evidence together with long-term genealogical data to explore similar questions of biological fatherhood on a broad scale among people living in parts of Western Europe over the last 500 years.

DNA data offers scientific look at 500 years of extramarital sex in Western Europe
Credit: Getty Images
The findings reported in Current Biology yielded some surprises. While the number of so-called extra-pair paternity (EPP) events overall was (not surprisingly) fairly low, their frequency varied considerably among people depending on their circumstances. Specifically, evidence of EPP events turned up much more often in people of lower socioeconomic status who lived in densely populated cities in the 19th century.

"Of course, extra-pair paternity, especially due to adultery, is a popular topic in gossip, jokes, TV series, and literature," said Maarten Larmuseau of KU Leuven and Histories, Belgium. "But scientific knowledge on this phenomenon is still highly limited, especially regarding the past.

"Our research shows that the chance of having extra-pair paternity events in your family history really depends on the social circumstances of your ancestors. If they lived in cities and were of the lower socioeconomic classes, the chances that there were EPP events in your family history are much higher than if they were farmers."


Evolutionarily speaking, it's clear that remaining faithful to one's partner isn't always the most advantageous strategy. Males may benefit from straying by siring extra offspring; females may benefit by mating with superior males. But in human societies over time, how often has EPP really happened?

In the new study, Larmuseau's team took the first broad look at this question to find that social context really matters. Their study covered a time period of several centuries during which there were dramatic changes in the human social environment, including the rapid urbanization that accompanied the Industrial Revolution in 19th century Western Europe. To estimate historical EPP rates among married couples, they identified 513 pairs of contemporary adult males living in Belgium and the Netherlands who, based on genealogical evidence, shared a common paternal ancestor and therefore--barring an EPP event--should have carried the same Y chromosome.

The evidence showed no significant difference in EPP rates between countries despite key religious differences, they report. But they varied widely with socioeconomic status and population density. The EPP rate was much lower among farmers and more well-to-do craftsmen and merchants (about 1%) than among lower class laborers and weavers (about 4%).


EPP rates also rose with population density. Putting the two together, the researchers report that the estimated EPP rates for the families varied by more than one order of magnitude, from about 0.5% among the middle to high classes and farmers living in the most sparsely populated towns to almost 6% for the low socioeconomic classes living in the most densely populated cities.

The researchers say the findings support evolutionary theories suggesting that individual incentives and opportunities for seeking or preventing extra-pair mating should depend on the social context. They also debunk the notion that EPP rates in Western society are generally high, they say, noting that the evidence puts average rates at around 1%.

Larmuseau says an interdisciplinary perspective will be important to understanding why certain factors like population density and socio-economic status have had such a strong influence on the EPP rate. "This is highly relevant because the causes of historical EPP events are hidden and diverse," he said.

Source: Cell Press [November 14, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Spherical Ball Of Electricity

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Channel: Terry's Theories  

This video was recorded on the 20th of Oct. 2019 in Scotland by the youtube channel AcidAndy RFC. It shows some kind of spherical ball of electricity That hovers above a electrical power station. What do you guys think this is, a malfunction in the power grid maybe some kind of natural occurence of lighting like globe or ball lighting? Could it be something else, you decide.
Source video is AcidAndy RFC all the credit goes to him and his channel.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg-_WEDMBgA

Video length: 2:50
Category: Science & Technology
5 comments

2019 November 10 A Mercury Transit Sequence Image Credit &...



2019 November 10

A Mercury Transit Sequence
Image Credit & Copyright: Dominique Dierick

Explanation: Tomorrow – Monday – Mercury will cross the face of the Sun, as seen from Earth. Called a transit, the last time this happened was in 2016. Because the plane of Mercury’s orbit is not exactly coincident with the plane of Earth’s orbit, Mercury usually appears to pass over or under the Sun. The featured time-lapse sequence, superimposed on a single frame, was taken from a balcony in Belgium shows the entire transit of 2003 May 7. That solar crossing lasted over five hours, so that the above 23 images were taken roughly 15 minutes apart. The north pole of the Sun, the Earth’s orbit, and Mercury’s orbit, although all different, all occur in directions slightly above the left of the image. Near the center and on the far right, sunspots are visible. After Monday, the next transit of Mercury will occur in 2032.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191110.html



* This article was originally published here

Iron Age Decoration, Dumfries Museum, Scotland, November 2019.

Iron Age Decoration, Dumfries Museum, Scotland, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

What felled the great Assyrian Empire?


The Neo-Assyrian Empire, centered in northern Iraq and extending from Iran to Egypt -- the largest empire of its time -- collapsed after more than two centuries of dominance at the fall of its capital, Nineveh, in 612 B.C.E.

What felled the great Assyrian Empire?
Deportees after the Assyrian siege of Lachish, Judea (701 B.C.E.). Detail from bas-relief removed from Sennacherib's
'Palace Without Rival,' Nineveh, Iraq, and now in The British Museum [Credit: The British Museum]
Despite a plethora of cuneiform textual documentation and archaeological excavations and field surveys, archaeologists and historians have been unable to explain the abruptness and finality of the historic empire's collapse.


Numerous theories about the collapse have been put forward since the city and its destruction levels were first excavated by archaeologists 180 years ago. But the mystery of how two small armies -- the Babylonians in the south and the Medes in the east -- were able to converge on Nineveh and completely destroy what was then the largest city in the world, without any reoccupation, has remained unsolved.

A team of researchers -- led by Ashish Sinha, California State University, Dominguez Hills, and using archival and archaeological data contributed by Harvey Weiss, professor of Near Eastern archaeology and environmental studies at Yale -- was able for the first time to determine the underlying cause for the collapse. By examining new precipitation records of the area, the team discovered an abrupt 60-year megadrought that so weakened the Assyrian state that Nineveh was overrun in three months and abandoned forever.

What felled the great Assyrian Empire?
The layers of a stalagmite record the climate conditions of the time
when they were created [Credit: Ashish Sinha]
Assyria was an agrarian society dependent on seasonal precipitation for cereal agriculture. To its south, the Babylonians relied on irrigation agriculture, so their resources, government, and society were not affected by the drought, explains Weiss.

The team analyzed stalagmites -- a type of speleothem that grows up from a cave floor and is formed by the deposit of minerals from water -- retrieved from Kuna Ba cave in northeast Iraq. The speleothems can provide a history of climate through the oxygen and uranium isotope ratios of infiltrating water that are preserved in its layers. Oxygen in rainwater comes in two main varieties: heavy and light. The ratio of heavy to light types of oxygen isotopes are extremely sensitive to variations in precipitation and temperature. Over time, uranium trapped in speleothems turns into thorium, allowing scientists to date the speleothem deposits.


Weiss and the research team synchronized these findings with archaeological and cuneiform records and were able to document the first paleoclimate data for the megadrought that affected the Assyrian heartland at the time of the empire's collapse, when its less drought-affected neighbors invaded. The team's research also revealed that this megadrought followed a high-rainfall period that facilitated the Assyrian empire's earlier growth and expansion.

"Now we have a historical and environmental dynamic between north and south and between rain-fed agriculture and irrigation-fed agriculture through which we can understand the historical process of how the Babylonians were able to defeat the Assyrians," said Weiss, adding that the total collapse of Assyria is still described by historians as the "mother of all catastrophes."

What felled the great Assyrian Empire?
The Neo-Assyrian Empire rose during an unusual time of wet climate and collapsed
soon after conditions swung to unusual dryness [Credit: Ashish Sinha]


Through the archaeology and history of the region, Weiss was able to piece together how the megadrought data were synchronous with Assyria's cessation of long-distance military campaigns and the construction of irrigation canals that were similar to its southern neighbors but restricted in their agricultural extent. Other texts noted that the Assyrians were worrying about their alliances with distant places, while also fearing internal intrigue, notes Weiss.

"This fits into a historical pattern that is not only structured through time and space, but a time and space that is filled with environmental change," says Weiss. "These societies experienced climatic changes that were of such magnitude they could not simply adapt to them," he adds.

With these new speleothem records, says Weiss, paleoclimatologists and archaeologists are now able to identify environmental changes in the global historical record that were unknown and inaccessible even 25 years ago. "History is no longer two-dimensional; the historical stage is now three-dimensional," said Weiss.

The research was published in Science Advances.

Source: Yale University [November 14, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Bizarre craft over Cuba

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Channel: Terry's Theories  

Very strangely designed craft seen in broad daylight in the skies of Cuba.Video was uploaded on July 8th of this year by YouTube channel Joel H. other than that I hate to say that is all the information available on this video.
Source video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYqV3nV6FNs

Video length: 2:42
Category: Science & Technology
45 comments

2019 November 17 Young Stars in the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Image...



2019 November 17

Young Stars in the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, WISE

Explanation: How do stars form? To help find out, astronomers created this tantalizing false-color composition of dust clouds and embedded newborn stars in infrared wavelengths with WISE, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. The cosmic canvas features one of the closest star forming regions, part of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex some 400 light-years distant near the southern edge of the pronounceable constellation Ophiuchus. After forming along a large cloud of cold molecular hydrogen gas, young stars heat the surrounding dust to produce the infrared glow. Stars in the process of formation, called young stellar objects or YSOs, are embedded in the compact pinkish nebulae seen here, but are otherwise hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes. An exploration of the region in penetrating infrared light has detected emerging and newly formed stars whose average age is estimated to be a mere 300,000 years. That’s extremely young compared to the Sun’s age of 5 billion years. The prominent reddish nebula at the lower right surrounding the star Sigma Scorpii is a reflection nebula produced by dust scattering starlight. This view from WISE, released in 2012, spans almost 2 degrees and covers about 14 light-years at the estimated distance of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191117.html



* This article was originally published here

Mesolithic Implements and Detritus, Dumfries Museum, Scotland, November 2019.

Mesolithic Implements and Detritus, Dumfries Museum, Scotland, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

Alpine rock axeheads became social and economic exchange fetishes in the Neolithic


Axeheads made out of Alpine rocks had strong social and economic symbolic meaning in the Neolithic, given their production and use value. Their resistance to friction and breakage, which permitted intense polishing and a re-elaboration of the rocks, gave these artefacts an elevated exchange value, key to the formation of long-distance exchange networks among communities of Western Europe. Communities who had already begun to set the value of exchange of a product according to the time and effort invested in producing them.

Alpine rock axeheads became social and economic exchange fetishes in the Neolithic
Alpine rock axehead found at Harras, Thuringia, from the Michelsberg Culture (c. 4300-2800 BCE)
[Credit: Juraj Liptak, State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt]
This is what a study led by a research group at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) indicates in regards to the mechanical and physical parameters characterising the production, circulation and use of a series of rock types used in the manufacturing of sharp-edged polished artefacts in Europe during the Neolithic (5600-2200 BCE).

The objective of the study was to answer a long debated topic: the criteria by which Alpine rocks formed part of an unprecedented pan-European phenomenon made up of long-distance exchange networks, while others were only used locally. Was the choice based on economic, functional or perhaps subjective criteria? Stone axeheads were crucial to the survival and economic reproduction of societies in the Neolithic. Some of the rocks used travelled over 1000 kilometres from their Alpine regions to northern Europe, Andalusia in southern Spain and the Balkans.


This is the first time a study includes in the specialised bibliography comparative data obtained by testing the resistance to friction and breakage of the rocks. These mechanical parameters have led to the definition of production and use values, which were then correlated with the distances and volumes of the rocks exchanged in order to obtain their exchange value. The results help understand the basic principles underlying the supply and distribution system of stone materials during the Neolithic in Western Europe, as well as its related economic logic.

"The reasons favouring the integration of specific rock types into these long-distance networks depended on a complex pattern of technological and functional criteria. This pattern was not solely based on economic aspects, their use value, but rather on the mechanical capacity to resist successive transformation processes, i.e. their production value, and remain unaltered throughout time", explains Selina Delgado-Raack, researcher at the Department of Prehistory, UAB, and first author of the article.

Supply System and Economic Logic

The study points to the diverging economic conception between the manufacturing of tools using other rocks and Alpine rock axeheads. Neolithic communities selected the most suitable raw materials available from all the resources in their region and knew each of their mechanical and physical characteristics. These tools normally travelled in a radius of 200 kilometres from where they originated and rarely went farther than 400-500 kilometres. Only Alpine rocks travelled further than those regional and economic limits.

Alpine rock axeheads became social and economic exchange fetishes in the Neolithic
Microscopic view of a thin section of an omphacitite, one of the Alpine rock types used for axeheads
 in the Neolithic analysed in this study [Credit: UAB]
"The circulation of these rocks at larger distances did not respond to a functional and cost-efficient logic, in which each agent takes into account the costs of manufacturing and transport when selecting the different rock types, all of them viable in being converted into fully functioning tools", indicates Roberto Risch, also researcher at the Department of Prehistory, UAB, and coordinator of the research.


"It rather obeys the emergence of a very different economic reasoning, based on the ability to transform one material through ever greater amounts of work, something which many centuries later Adam Smith used to define the British economy of the 18th century. In the case of Alpine axeheads, their exceptional exchange value was due to the increase in manufacturing costs, a result of the intense polishing of these stones as they passed from one community to another".

A Primitive Form of Currency?

For the research team, the fact that the Alpine axeheads are categorised as the most commonly crafted and modified artefact in different periods and regions during the Neolithic rules out their role as symbols of power or ceremonial elements. "The economic pattern points towards more of a fetish object used in social and economic interactions among European communities of highly different socio-political productions and orientations", Selina Delgado-Raack states.

The exceptional exchange value reached by some rock types, such as the omphacitites and jadeitites, leads the team to think that they may have been used as a primitive form of currency, although they admit that there is a need for more studies before this topic can be clarified.

The study is published in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

Source: Autonomous University of Barcelona [November 14, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

09.09.2019, 02:30:13 - Strong Meteor signal

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Channel: OGVT - Observatoire géophysique, Val Terbi  

There was a nice radio signal this morning at 02:30:13 UTC. Unfortunately no visual detection due to clouds: https://www.flickr.com/photos/151304603@N08/48707766458/in/dateposted-public/

Video length: 0:32
Category: Science & Technology
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2019 November 11 Lunar Craters Langrenus and Petavius Image...



2019 November 11

Lunar Craters Langrenus and Petavius
Image Credit & Copyright: Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau

Explanation: The history of the Moon is partly written in its craters. Pictured here is a lunar panorama taken from Earth featuring the large craters Langrenus, toward the left, and Petavius, toward the right. The craters formed in separate impacts. Langrenus spans about 130 km, has a terraced rim, and sports a central peak rising about 3 km. Petavius is slightly larger with a 180 km diameter and has a distinctive fracture that runs out from its center. Although it is known that Petravius crater is about 3.9 billion years old, the origin of its large fracture is unknown. The craters are best visible a few days after a new Moon, when shadows most greatly accentuate vertical walls and hills. The featured image is a composite of the best of thousands of high-resolution, infrared, video images taken through a small telescope. Although mountains on Earth will likely erode into soil over a billion years, lunar craters Langrenus and Petavius will likely survive many billions more years, possibly until the Sun expands and engulfs both the Earth and Moon.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191111.html



* This article was originally published here

Prehistoric Axeheads Photoset 2, Dumfries Museum, Scotland, November 2019.

Prehistoric Axeheads Photoset 2, Dumfries Museum, Scotland, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

Genetic analysis of sacred ibis mummies sheds light on early Egyptian practices


New genetic research into the mummification of ibises found in Egyptian catacombs has shed light on how Ancient Egyptians obtained millions of the ‘wise’ birds to sacrifice annually.

Genetic analysis of sacred ibis mummies sheds light on early Egyptian practices
The ibises were mummified and placed in clay jars by temple priests then offered to Thoth 
who had the appearance of a man but the head of an ibis [Credit: Griffith University]
The research, led by Griffith University, investigated historical suggestions that Sacred Ibis were farmed on an industrial scale in order to provide the God of Wisdom Thoth with millions of sacrificed birds each year.

Mitogenomic analyses by the team revealed high genetic diversity among the mummified ibises from various sites. This suggests that mass-scale farming was unlikely and instead supported the possibility that temple priests and locals were able to tame and increase wild populations each year.

Researchers from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa Denmark and Egypt contributed to the study, which has been published in PLOS ONE.

Dr Sally Wasef and Professor David Lambert from Griffith’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution analysed the mitogenomes (DNA transmitted from the mother only to offspring) of 26 modern Sacred Ibis samples collected from throughout Africa. 


In addition, 14 ancient Egyptian from five major Sacred Ibis burial sites scattered around Egypt were examined genetically.

Radiocarbon dating revealed that most of the ancient Egyptian ibis mummy samples were aged to ~600BC.

About 15,000 birds were estimated to be mummified and offered annually at each temple site, of which there were many throughout Egypt.  Hence, the yearly total of sacrificed birds was likely in the millions.

The ibises were mummified and placed in clay jars by temple priests then offered to Thoth who had the appearance of a man but the head of an ibis. The mummies were stacked floor-to-ceiling in many rooms lining the catacomb streets.

Genetic analysis of sacred ibis mummies sheds light on early Egyptian practices
A Scene from the Books of the Dead (The Egyptian museum) showing the ibis-headed God Thoth
 recording the result of the final judgement. B and D Example of the millions of votive mummies
presented as offerings by pilgrims to the God Thoth. C Pottery jars containing ‘votive’
mummies stacked in the North Ibis catacomb at Saqqara
[Credit: Wasef et al. 2019]
Dr Wasef said contrary to historical belief that the millions of the birds were industrially farmed for yearly sacrifice, analysis of the mitogenomes of the mummified birds from the various sites showed a high genetic diversity among them.

“This suggests it is unlikely that Sacred Ibis were farmed on a mass scale as the genetic consequences of that would have been low genetic diversity owing to the shared DNA between in-breeding family groups over time,” she said.

“If the ancient Egyptians had bred the Ibis in local homes or wetlands surrounding the temples, it would have been just a short-term practice to support the considerable yearly demand. It seems clear that they did not establish long-term industrial scale farms to have millions of birds to sacrifice each year. We suggest that the genetic data indicates that the local people obtained wild ibis yearly, tamed them and raised them for mummification, so it was also beneficial for the community and the economy.”


Dr Wasef adds that had there been an industrial-scale farming operation, the expedition team would not have found ‘fake’ mummies (mummified feathers and nests) in the temple catacombs as there would have been plenty of ibises to sacrifice and offer.

Professor Lambert remarked: “mitogenomic analyses outlined here are appropriate in this case because the timeframe under study was short, being only 2000-3000 years.”

Thoth was the god of wisdom, magic, writing, and the moon. His head was shaped like that of an ibis. The ancient Egyptians believed the Sacred Ibis – very similar species to Australia’s white ibis – was very wise in drinking only clean water.

“Here in Australia we call the ibis a ‘bin chicken’, but if you did the same in ancient Egypt you would be put to death,” Dr Wasef said.

“To ancient Egyptians the Sacred Ibis was a God, something to be revered and worshiped. So this research hopefully might result in our humble ‘bin chicken’ being seen in a new light.”

Author: Carley Rosengreen | Source: Griffith University [November 14, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Meteors in August

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Channel: OGVT - Observatoire géophysique, Val Terbi  

Some of the meteors recorded in August in Montsevelier (Val Terbi) JU. All data and pictures at: http://www.ogvt.org/en/astronomy/media.php and http://www.ogvt.org/en/astronomy/db.php

Video length: 5:40
Category: Science & Technology
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2019 November 12 NGC 3717: A Nearly Sideways Spiral Galaxy...



2019 November 12

NGC 3717: A Nearly Sideways Spiral Galaxy
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Processing: D. Rosario

Explanation: Some spiral galaxies are seen nearly sideways. Most bright stars in spiral galaxies swirl around the center in a disk, and seen from the side, this disk can be appear quite thin. Some spiral galaxies appear even thinner than NGC 3717, which is actually seen tilted just a bit. Spiral galaxies form disks because the original gas collided with itself and cooled as it fell inward. Planets may orbit in disks for similar reasons. The featured image by the Hubble Space Telescope shows a light-colored central bulge composed of older stars beyond filaments of orbiting dark brown dust. NGC 3717 spans about 100,000 light years and lies about 60 million light years away toward the constellation of the Water Snake (Hydra).

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191112.html



* This article was originally published here

Decorated Symbol Stones and Early Crosses, Dumfries Museum, Dumfries, Scotland, November 2019.

Decorated Symbol Stones and Early Crosses, Dumfries Museum, Dumfries, Scotland, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

Early DNA lineages from Finland shed light on the diverse origins of the contemporary population


A new genetic study carried out at the University of Helsinki and the University of Turku demonstrates that, at the end of the Iron Age, Finland was inhabited by separate and differing populations, all of them influencing the gene pool of modern Finns. The study is so far the most extensive investigation of the ancient DNA of people inhabiting the region of Finland.

Early DNA lineages from Finland shed light on the diverse origins of the contemporary population
Medieval burial site of Kalmistomaki in Kylalahti, Hiitola in Russia
[Credit: Stanislav Belskiy]
In the study, published in Scientific Reports, genes were investigated from archaeological bone samples of more than one hundred individuals who lived between the 4th and 19th centuries AD. Most of the samples originated in the Iron Age and the Middle Ages. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed down by mothers to all of their offspring, was extracted from the individuals, thus uncovering the population history of women.


Based on the findings, the people who inhabited Finland in the Iron Age (approximately 300-1300 AD) and the Middle Ages (approximately 1200-1500 AD) shared mitochondrial lineages with today's Finns. However, significant differences were seen in the genome of individuals buried in different burial sites in the Iron Age in particular. mtDNA lineages typical of Stone Age hunter-gatherers were common among those buried in Luistari, Eura (southwest Finland), and Kirkkailanmaki, Hollola (southern Finland).

Early DNA lineages from Finland shed light on the diverse origins of the contemporary population
The Iron Age and the medieval burial sites investigated in the study include Levanluhta in Isokyro, Luistari in Eura,
Kirkkailanmaki in Hollola, Kalmistomaki in Kylalahti, Hiitola, and Tuukkala in Mikkeli (marked in the map
with dark grey colouring) [Credit: SUGRIGE-HANKE]


In Kylalahti, Hiitola (Republic of Karelia, Russia) and Tuukkala, Mikkeli (eastern Finland), the most common findings were lineages characteristic of ancient European farmer populations. The fifth Iron Age burial site included in the study is located in Levanluhta, western Finland. Many of the individuals buried there represented mtDNA lineages associated with the modern Sami.

"All of the above originally independent lineages remain common in Finland to this day. This indicates that the studied Iron Age populations have had an impact on the gene pool of contemporary Finns," says doctoral student Sanni Oversti from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland.

The researchers posit that the differences found in the Iron Age populations of western and eastern Finland are opposite to those found in today's Finns: the lineages associated with ancient farmers were more common in the east, while the lineages inherited from hunter-gatherers were more prevalent in the west. Farmer populations arriving in Finland not only from the west and south but also from the east provides a potential explanation for this.

Source: University of Helsinki [November 15, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Bright meteor event on October 3 // Bola de fuego del 3 de octubre

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Channel: Meteors  

This bright meteor, which overflew Portugal, was spotted from Spain on 2019 October 3 at 0:38 local time (equivalent to 22:38 universal time on October 2). It was generated by a rock from a comet that hit the atmosphere at about 230,000 km/h. It began at an altitude of about135 km over the northeast of Portugal, and ended at a height of around 96 km over southwest of that country.

The event was recorded in the framework of the SMART project, operated by the Southwestern Europe Meteor Network (SWEMN), from the meteor-observing stations located at La Hita (Toledo), Calar Alto (Almería), Sierra Nevada (Granada), La Sagra (Granada), and Sevilla.
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Esta bola de fuego fue grabada desde España en la madrugada del 3 de octubre, a las 0:38 hora local. Fue vista por diversas personas sobre todo desde Sevilla, Huelva y Extremadura. Se produjo al entrar en la atmósfera terrestre una roca procedente de un cometa a una velocidad de unos 230 mil kilómetros por hora. El evento se inició a una altitud de unos 135 km sobre el noreste de Portugal. Desde allí avanzó en dirección suroeste, finalizando a una altitud de unos 96 km cuando se encontraba casi sobre la vertical de la localidad portuguesa de Sines.

Este evento ha sido registrado por los detectores del proyecto SMART desde los observatorios astronómicos de Calar Alto (Almería), La Hita (Toledo), Sierra Nevada (Granada), La Sagra (Granada) y Sevilla. Estos detectores operan en el marco de la Red de Bólidos y Meteoros del Suroeste de Europa (SWEMN).

Video length: 1:16
Category: Science & Technology
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2019 November 13 Mercury in Silhouette Image Credit &...



2019 November 13

Mercury in Silhouette
Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Wise

Explanation: The small, dark, round spot in this solar close up is planet Mercury. In the high resolution telescopic image, a colorized stack of 61 sharp video frames, a turbulent array of photospheric convection cells tile the bright solar surface. Mercury’s more regular silhouette still stands out though. Of course, only inner planets Mercury and Venus can transit the Sun to appear in silhouette when viewed from planet Earth. For this November 11, 2019 transit of Mercury, the innermost planet’s silhouette was a mere 1/200th the solar diameter. So even under clear daytime skies it was difficult to see without the aid of a safe solar telescope. Following its transit in 2016, this was Mercury’s 4th of 14 transits across the solar disk in the 21st century. The next transit of Mercury will be on November 13, 2032.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191113.html



* This article was originally published here

Prehistoric Axeheads Photoset 1, Dumfries Museum, Scotland, November 2019.

Prehistoric Axeheads Photoset 1, Dumfries Museum, Scotland, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

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