When the agricultural revolution swept into Europe, the area around the western Mediterranean was a lot more humid than it is today. The chemistry of snail shells from Mediterranean caves dating from 2,500 to 9,000 years ago are proving this.
Archive for the ‘biology’ Category
Anyone feel daring enough to make a fool of himself, to venture a guess that anything we recognize as psychic phenomenon (by that, I mean the things which aren’t total bullshit to begin with) and the soul might come out of the research in quantum biology? The New Age quacks will be all over this, building elaborate systems out of these fragments of information that will rival any role playing game. However, simple universal mechanism isn’t going to work for explaining every biological system much longer.
And honestly, I look forward to the weird mess that results.
a student connects radiation spike in rings of Japanese cedar trees to 774 AD event in Anglo-Saxon ChronicleFriday, June 29th, 2012
A biochemistry student connects a report radiation spike in rings of Japanese cedar trees that he heard about on a Nature podcast to 774 AD event in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, just by rooting around Google. It seems to be a historical stellar event, with record of a “red crucifix” appearing in the sky.
That’s some beautiful, interdisciplinary amateur work. Kudos, Jonathon Allen.
I’d seen mention of the Red Deer people for a few years now. After the Denisovans turned up, I failed to remember them, although I eagerly anticipated some interesting fossils that had already been discovered in China being re-examined in this new context. The new paper states that no genetic material has been recovered from these bones. All that is know so far is that these bones have archaic features that are unusual for that time and region. They might be Denisovans, have Denisovan admixture, or have a different lineage altogether.
The most remarkable part is that these bones are between 14,300 and 11,500 years old, which is really damned recent.
They range from pretty neat to WTF, viz.:
The GEO600 gravitational wave detector in Hanover, Germany, has not yet detected any gravitational waves. As a consolation prize, it may instead have uncovered the ultimate nature of reality.
In 2008, physicist Craig Hogan at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, was trying to work out how we might test the idea that everything we see as physical reality is the result of a kind of projection from the boundary of the universe. This is known as the holographic principle.
The information held at the boundary is not smooth, but composed of “bits”, each one occupying an area that corresponds to the most fundamental quanta of distance in the universe. This is the Planck length, around 10-35 metres – far too small for us to see the individual bits. When this information is projected into the volume of the universe, however, each bit gets magnified. That means we might just be able to see pixellation in space-time.
The kinds of scales involved still mean it would only be detectable in the most sensitive instruments we have – such as the gravitational wave detectors looking for the ripples in space-time caused by violent cosmological events such as the collision of two black holes. Hogan worked out how the pixellation might manifest itself for GEO600 and sent his result to the researchers there.
By strange coincidence, the GEO600 team had been having problems with “noise” in their detectors. But here’s the kicker: the noise had uncannily similar characteristics as Hogan’s anticipated signal. Is it indeed the result of information that resides at the edge of the universe? “The issue is still unresolved,” says Karsten Danzmann, principal investigator for GEO600. “The noise is still there and we have no explanation.”
The answer may only come after the instrument is upgraded to make it even more sensitive, a step that is due to be completed this time next year.
Apparently it’s a revelation that “junk” DNA is essential to evolution. What surprises me here is not that “junk” DNA is not junk at all, but that anyone believed that “junk” DNA served no function whatsoever. Every time i ran across someone online writing a serious article about DNA, and made a claim about how this “junk” DNA could be excised or be replaced with some other information, I’d cringe, as it seemed shortsighted and destructive. It sounds great as a sci-fi conceit to play with, but when some goofy transhumanists decide what in the human genome is junk and what isn’t, they’re painting themselves into a corner.