3 Million Years Old Stone Tools Found In Kenya

Scientists have recently found 3 million years old stone tools in Kenya, in a discovery that will improve upon a lot of existing theories. These are the oldest such artifacts that have been discovered at the time and this age is very long before the arrival of modern humans. The stone tools found in Kenya push the date of such artifacts by 700,000 years. It’s possible that the makers of these stone tools may or may not have been ancestors of modern humans. The recent discovery has been described in a paper published in the journal Nature.

Stone Tools Found In Kenya

The astounding discovery is the very first evidence which proves that an earlier group of humans may have possessed thinking abilities that allowed them to create sharp tools. The authors of the paper say that the tools are a new beginning in the existing archaeological record.

A co-author of the study, Chris Lepre, a geologist of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Rutgers University said that the site is surprising and that it rewrites the book on many things that people thought to be true.

The recent find was almost an accident: Lewis and Harmand claimed that they wondered off on a wrong path in 2011 on July 9 and that they climbed a hill in order to find a route leading back to their initial track. They wrote that they felt something special about the place and they scattered to examine a patch of outcrops nearby. They also said that by teatime, Sammy Lokorodi, a Turkana tribesman helped them discover what they were looking for.

By the end of the field season in 2012, the excavations on the site, called Lomekwi, had revealed 149 artifacts made of stone that were linked to tool making. Those artifacts range from rocks used as hammering tools to flakes and stone cores and other tools used probably as anvils.

Stone Tools Found In Kenya

Lead author Sonia Harmand from the Turkana Basin Institute said that the tools shed a new light on a previously unknown and very unexpected period of the hominin behavior and that those tools can tell a lot about the cognitive development of our ancestors that it’s impossible to understand just from studying fossils alone.

Hominins are a class of species that includes Homo sapiens, our closest ancestors and modern humans. Anthropologists have thought for a very long time that our ancestors inside the Homo genus were the first ones able to craft such tools. The Homo genus is the line that leads directly to Homo sapiens. However, researchers have been revealing incredible clues that indicate that some earlier species of hominin might have been able to craft those sharp tools.

The scientists don’t know at the time who crafted those extremely old tools but earlier discoveries do suggest a possible answer: the skull of a 3.3 million years old hominin was found around a kilometer away from the site where the tools were found in 1999. The discovered hominin is called Kenyanthropus platyops. Another bone from the skull of said hominin and a tooth were also found a couple of hundred meters away from the dig site and another unidentified tooth has been discovered around 100 meters away.

The exact family tree of the modern humans is controversial and at the time no one really knows how Kenyanthropus platyops is related to other hominins. Kenyanthropus platyops predates the earliest Homo species by 500,000 years. That species could have crafted the tools, or, it is possible that the unknown toolmaker could have been another species living around the same era, like an undiscovered early kind of Homo or Australopithecus afarensis.

Stone Tools Found In Kenya

Lepre said that a coating of volcanic ash below the site matches some other ash that was found elsewhere and that has been dated to around 3.3 million years in the past. This deduction was made by analyzing the ratio of argon isotopes inside the material. Co-author Dennis Kent and Lepre examined the magnetic minerals beneath the site, above and around the place where all the tools were found in order to define the time period more accurately.

Another co-author of the study and Lepre’s wife, Rhoda Quinn studied the carbon isotopes inside the ground, which together with the fossils from animals found at the site allowed the scientists to remodel the vegetation in the area. By doing this, the scientists uncovered yet another surprise: the area was a shrubby, partially wooded environment at the time. The scientists deduced that the tool making came as a response to a climate change that brought the spread of vast savannah grasslands throughout the area and the evolution of certain animals that could have served as a food source for the ancestors of humans.

Another co-author of the study, Jason Lewis from the Turkana Basin Institute and Rutgers thinks that hominins may have started banging a rock against another in order to make sharp edges so they could use the tools to cut meat off of animals. However, the markings found on the rocks and the size of the recently discovered tools imply they were doing something else, especially since the hominins were in a wooded environment and had access to numerous plants. The scientists believe that the tools may have been used for opening tubers and nuts, bashing logs in order to get access to the insects found inside, or maybe something entirely different that no one has yet thought about.

Some earlier dating work done by Kent and Lepre helped lead to another study in 2011: a paper claiming that Homo erectus was using advanced tool making techniques 1.8 million years in the past. This is at least 300,000 years earlier than was previously thought.

Lepre said that even though he realizes that when those things are figured out, nothing is actually solved and new questions are just being opened up, he still gets really excited thinking that there is a lot more work to be done.

Images source: 1, 2, 3

By 2025 NASA States we Will Find Alien Life

Nasa logo

In a recent panel hosted by NASA, head scientists have stated that this generation will see the discovery of alien life forms in our own galaxy – or at least near our galaxy.

NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan has stated – ” I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years. We know where to look. We know how to look. In most cases we have the technology, and we’re on a path to implementing it. And so I think we’re definitely on the road.”

Those are some risky claims NASA scientists are willing to make – not because it is impossible, we all know that we aren’t alone in the universe, but because it is dangerous on so many levels.

in Zero Gravity NASA

Stephen Hawking, the world renowned theoretical physicist, and cosmologist has warned us countless times not to seek alien life forms – because they will be our demise. “Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach,” Hawking said. “If so, it makes sense for them to exploit each new planet for material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what the limits would be?”

The answer lays in our own history – think of the European colonialism era. We butchered, we destroyed entire civilizations just so we could get their resources and their lands. Native Americans were terrorized by Christopher Columbus’ thirst for blood and glory; English, French, Portuguese an Netherlands colonies have sucked everything from Africa. We took slaves just because they look different, and they didn’t poses the technology to fight back. Why would anyone think that there is a limit?

But nobody is listening. We even sent a probe into deep space with Earth’s coordinates, our physiognomy, details about our planet’s resources, our art, our infrastructure – our world.

Satellite

Keppler satellite is used by NASA to calculate how many stars are there in the Milky Way galaxy – and the result was in billions. In all this vast space, there surely must be life. Scientists have found a name for a region around a star that makes it just right for life to potentially exist on a planet – its name is Goldilocks.

Our solar system seems to be one of the few Goldilocks regions in the galaxy – NASA’s Curiosity rover has evidence of fixed nitrogen and carbon-containing organic molecules on Mars. It is also known that ancient Mars was covered in vast oceans, and waterways.

But is it a good thing that we might discover life in our own solar system? There is a theory called The Great Filter which states that, in context with the Fermi paradox, that at some point from pre-life to intelligence, there’s a wall that all or nearly all attempts at life hit. There’s some stage in that long evolutionary process that is extremely unlikely or impossible for life to get beyond. So if we find countless life forms around our solar system it can mean that we haven’t managed to get pass the barrier, that other inferior life-forms are emerging, and we will be stuck at a certain level of intelligence. If life forms are scarcely found in our solar system, and even in the Milky Way galaxy, then we are amongst the lucky ones that have managed to break trough the Great Filter. If you want to fully understand this theory, waitbutwhy.com has a great article explaining it.

Jupiter

“We can see water in the interstellar clouds from which planetary systems and stellar systems form. We can see water in the disks of debris that are going to become planetary systems around other stars, and we can even see comets being dissipated in other solar systems as [their] star evaporates them.” Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division, has stated during the panel.

This hope to find the answer to the question ” Are we alone in the universe?” is materializing in NASA missions – a $2.1 billion mission to Jupiter’s ice moon Europa is to take place in 2022 to study its habitability and  plumes of water vapor.

What can the average Joe do? He can just hope that we encounter highly-intelligent creatures that have passed their space colonialism era, and they are willing to help us pass the Great Filter.

Image source: 01, 2, 3, 4

4 Ways the Internet is Warping Our Brain

Does the title of this article shock you? Well, it shouldn’t, because the internet is really warping our brains and it permanently affects the way we process information, think and even behave.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the way the internet is doing the damage that it is doing on our brains.

4. The Internet Gave Us FOMOfomo

FOMO is not a venereal disease, it’s another type of illness. FOMO is the acronym of Fear of Missing Out and it’s as real as an illness can be. You’ve probably experienced FOMO on a higher or lesser degree at least one time in your life.

Have you ever sat alone one evening, refreshing your Facebook page, seeing how most of your friends are attending parties or events and felt depressed or anxious about it? If you have, then you’ve had FOMO. Some people will take this even further and end up changing their entire lives, just so that they don’t miss out the next big thing, the next big party or launch.

Try your best to avoid becoming the type of person that would dress up and attend even the opening of a bottle.

3. The Internet Has Trained Your Eyes How to Movehuman eye

As horrifying as that may sound, it is completely true. It was discovered in 2005 that our eyes have stopped reading and skimming the way they did for ages and have adapted to the Internet. Normally, information would be taken in by a reader in a horizontal manner, from right to left (if your language reads that way).

But since the Internet has gotten us accustomed to hundreds of pieces of new information every day, our eyes have modified the way they take in the information.

Now, our eyes do an F-shaped pattern when they read things online. Let’s say you’re reading this article: you read the first few lines, because you want to know what the article is about, but as you make your way down on the page, you lose focus and skip lines, read some more and then skip to the end. Naturally, this isn’t the case for everybody, but most people do this at least once a day when reading articles online.

2. The Internet is Making Us Shallowthe shallows

In order for you to better understand the concept, we highly recommend the book by American journalist Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. The gist of it is that the Internet is changing the way people’s brain are receiving and processing the information it receives. It literally changes the way our brain is, its structure and the connections our neurons create.

1. We’re Losing Our Face-to-Face Skillscommunication

Because of all the emails, tweets, statuses and texts, human beings are losing their ability to sustain a face-to-face conversation with another living person. It doesn’t take a sociology expert to notice that more and more people prefer to stick their noses into their smartphones, instead of staring in someone’s face.

Back in the day (the day, being when there weren’t any smartphones), teens would hang out like there was no tomorrow and talk about various things. Now, most teens cannot unglue their hands from their smartphones.

This is a bit more serious than we can imagine. Psychologists believe that a distancing phenomenon has been created and because of it, we’ve not only become less communicative, but we’ve also lost our ability to communicate face-to-face with another person. Think about it, right now would you tell someone some news to their face, or would you rather do it in an email?

Have you noticed any changes in the way you think, process information or behave since the internet came into your life? Share them with us!

The 6 bloodiest Female Serial Killers in History

They were bold and they were bloody. Historians and criminal specialists have had a rough time sorting out the motivations behind these women’s urge to take lives, while public eye has turned them into legends, vastly attributing their killing sprees a witchcraft, romanced element.

Here are history’s bloodiest female serial killers.

1. Elisabeth Bathory

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She was nicknamed The Blood Countess, The Bloody Lady of ?achtice. Countess Báthory Erzsébet  (7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614) came from the renowned Báthory family of nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary and is, up to date, the most prolific female murderer in history, according to Guiness World Records. She was convicted for having sacrificed, tortured and murdered an average of 600 women, mostly young servants and maids, while historians claim her crimes outreached that number.

Rumor has it – she would bathe in young virgins’ blood, after having them stripped off their skin, used burning iron to chastise them, poison them, chain them until they would start bleeding or bury them alive. Although the bathing rumor may not be exactly accurate (blood coagulation makes that impossible), on December 29, 1610, a garrison of soldiers broke in the Hungarian castle of Cachtice and ultimately imprisoned Elisabeth in the citadel for the rest of her days, blocking her access to the world in the purgatory of her own crimes.

2. Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova

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This noblewoman has a crime and torture record of more than 100 victims, mostly young women and children. Her trial only began as late as relatives of the murdered began an official petition before Catherine the Great. She was sentenced to chaining to a public platform where she wore a sign stating “This woman tortured and murdered”, and was later imprisoned in the dungeon of a convent for the rest of her remaining days.

3. Nannie Doss

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This black widow had killed her five husbands before being imprisoned and charged with a slew of murders that also included her mother-in-law, her sisters, two of their children, and her own mother. Although she was never sentenced to death, because she was a woman, she served until she died at age 59 in 1965.

4. Kristen Gilbert

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Gilbert was labeled The Angel of Death. Her file includes three first-degree murders, a second-degree murder and two additional attempted murders. She was a nurse and chose victims amongst her patients, whom she silently injected them with epinephrine. Gilbert is still serving a life sentence.

5. Myra Hindley

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The Most Evil Woman in the History of Britain, Myra Hindley carried out the rape and deaths of five small children together with her boyfriend, Ian Brady, during the 1960s. The couple were arrested by the time Hindley’s brother-in-law confessed to the police after witnessing Brady murdering a young boy with an axe. Myra Hindley spent the rest of her life in jail and died in 2002, aged 60.

6. Vera Renczi

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Historians and criminalists were unable to sort out precisely the life path of Romanian born and Yugoslavian raised Vera Renczi, thus most of her past goes into legend. She has however  earned her title as biggest manslaughter criminal in 1930s Romania, with an account of 35 murders, including spouses, lovers and her own son. Raised in a boarding school and deprived from maternal affection, this Black Widow is said to have suffered from schizophrenia and extreme jealously, translated into her many crimes against male figures throughout her life.  In 2005, The Discovery Channel‘s three-part series Deadly Women dedicated their first episode to her, portraying Vera’s behavior as pathological. The documentary romances her motivation as  the voice-over claims that “modern analysis suggest she was simply looking for love”.

 Image Sources: Mirror.co.uk, crimetime.ro, montevalle.edu, findagrave.com, nekropolis.com, evilladies.com

Blue Dress, White Dress, Which Is The Real Colour?

dressBlue dress, white dress, which is the real colour? This has been the question that has created actual web wars.

The world of social media is a place where many things can happen. When there are so many people in a single “place” there are also many opinions and in some cases to many opinions.

The simple fact that a simple picture has managed to create an online war going on , is, well, normal on the internet. For an entire day, people on social media, have been arguing, whether an image portrays a bodycon dress as, white with gold lace fringe, or blue with black lace fringe.
The discussion has created two sides and both of them stood firm on their positions. The argument is beyond a simple social media fight, and is about biology and the evolution of the human eyes and brains in seeing colour in sunlight.

Light enters the human eye trough lens and different wavelengths correspond to different colours. Th light hits the retina exactly in the back of the eye the place where pigments create neural connections to the visual cortex, the area of the brain that processes this specific signals into images.

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That firs burst of light, is created by whatever type of wavelengths are illuminating the world and that reflects on the things you are looking at.

You don’t have to worry about anything, as your brain figures out the color by itself and recognises the color that bounces off the things you are looking at, and subtracts the color from the actual color of the object.
Scientists have stated to have studied individual differences in the colour perception for the past 30 years and it seems to be one of the biggest individual differences ever seen.
However, the image of the dress, has hit a sort of perceptual boundary which may be caused by how people are wired.

The chromatic axis differs from the pinky red shade of dawn to the white-ish blue of noontime and then goes back to reddish twilight.

“What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis,” stated Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies vision and colours at Wellesley College.

He added that there are two possibilities, they either not take into consideration the blue side, and they end up seeing white and gold, or not take into consideration the gold part, and end up seeing blue and black.

The main idea is that you brain is trying to interpolate a specific colour context for the picture and then releases an answer for the colour of the dress. Even a neuroscientist who said that he saw the colour of the dress as being white and gold, stated that the dress is most probably blue.

He added that he printed out the picture and cut a little piece of it and looked at it, and said that the colour was somewhere in between, not that dark blue colour. The brain attributed the color blue due to the lighting. Others attribute it to the dress.

A design and photo team, has tried to find an explanation on how others see the dress white and gold as they definitely saw the dress blue. They tried to white-balance the pictures based on that idea,even though it didn’t make any sense. What they saw was blue in highlights, telling them that the white they saw was blue and the gold was black.

dress1

When reversing the process, balancing the darkest pixel of the picture and the body con dress appeared blue and black. In that moment it was clear that the correct point in the picture to balance from was the black point.

This means when context is changing, so will the visual perceptions of people. Many of the people will see the blue on the white background as blue. But when put on a background some people might perceive to as white.

The moral of the story? Those who see the dress as white, are completely wrong.
Image Source: wired
Image Source: CHOIES
Image Source: amazon