The last mammoths died out only 4,000 years ago, having been isloated on a small island. A population of 500 to 1000 individuals remained viable for 6000 years.
Scientists at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich believe they have found the answer behind the emergence of self-replicating polymers. Computer simulations showed that a prebiotic RNA reactor could serve as a stepping stone toward the emergence of a true RNA replicator. Acting as a filter to keep potentially useful sequences of nucleotides, the RNA reactor could lead to complex sequences, such as ribozymes. Once ribozymes emerge from an RNA reactor, they could establish an efficient self-replicating system in the form of an RNA replicator.”
Its seems the Pleistocene Overkill theory may not be as solid as previously thought. The articles title is somewhat misleading as humans appear tro have been culpable in the extinction of at least some species like horses in north american, and bison in europe.
Quantum computing leaves the laboratory and goes commercial
Final gauntlet test, subjecting the new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental to a wide range of possible flight conditions and several systems failures. Few software systems undergo such rigorous testing!
Physical proximity produced by dispersal continues to shape that dispersal. Whatever drives creatures to spread farther and faster clusters at the front of the dispersal wave. If an adaptation improves dispersal but hurts survival, it matters less than usual, because the pool of potential mates is determined by their ability to cover ground.
The Books Ngram Viewer from Google Labs provides a fascinating insight into language usage in the past 200 years. An Ngram is a series of one or more items from a sequence, in this case a word or phrase from a published text. Google’s viewer plots the frequency of occurrence for Ngrams found in books published since 1800. It is possible to narrow the search to specific collections of books or corpus. Available corpora include American English, British English, English Fiction etc. Researchers at Harvard University’s Cultural Observatory have put together some tips for using this data and have invented a new word
Culturomics – The application of high-throughput data collection and analysis to the study of human culture.
The Antikythera Mechanism was discovered on May 17th 1902, by archaeologist Valerios Stais when he was diving on the Antikythera wreck off Point Glyphadia on the Greek island of Antikythera. The wreck is believed to have sunk in the 1st century BCE and has yielded many spectacular artifacts. The most mysterious of these is the Antikythera mechanism, a solid lump of corroded bronze gears. It has taken over a century, the latest imaging technology, and decades of research from a few dedicated scholars of mechanical engineering to piece together what the mechanism did.
I put together this playlist of short youtube videos. Together they describe the latest advances in understanding the mechanism and how it worked. There are four videos that take about 20 minutes to watch. Just click on the video and all four will play.