Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Human Evolution. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Human Evolution. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Πέμπτη, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2014

Australian researcher discovers first artwork by early human

An Australian researcher has discovered what is believed to be the first artwork ever created by a human ancestor.
The simple zigzag pattern found on a fossilized shell from the Indonesian island of Java has been dated to at least 430,000 years - 300,000 years older than other markings made by modern humans or Neanderthals, the journal Nature reported on Thursday.

Dr Stephen Munro from the Australian National University said the age and location of the shell suggests the pattern was carved by an even earlier human ancestor known as Homo erectus.

"It rewrites human history," he said. "I guess this brings them (Homo erectus) a little bit closer to us because we can identify with deliberately-made markings."

The landmark find originated in 2007, when Munro took digital photographs of the shells and later, after close examination, discovered one of them had a geometrical pattern engraved on it.

"This type of engraving in the archaeological record doesn't show up anywhere else in the world until about 130,000 years ago," he said.

Munro also said the discovery points to the theory that early humans lived by the sea and ate shellfish rather living on grasslands and hunting game.


Τετάρτη, 3 Δεκεμβρίου 2014

Stephen Hawking: Artificial Intelligence could spell end of human race

World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking told the BBC he believes future developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to eradicate mankind.
The Cambridge professor, who relies on a form of artificial intelligence to communicate, said if technology could match human capabilities “it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.

He also said that due to biological limitations, there would be no way humans could match the speed of development of technology.
Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded,” he said.
The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
Hawking suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neuron disease, and uses AI technology as part of a system which senses how he thinks and predicts which words he will use next.
His bleak forecast came in response to questions about updates to his AI communication systems.
His latest upgrade, developed by Intel Corporation over the past three years, will allow the professor to write up to 10 times faster and communicate more effectively with friends, family and students. 

“With the improvements made, I am now able to write much faster, and it means that I can continue to give lectures, write papers and books and, of course, speak with my family and friends more easily.”
“This new system is life changing for me, and I hope it will serve me well for the next 20 years,” he said. 

Other technology specialists do not share Hawking’s grim outlook. Rollo Carpenter, creator of Cleverbot, said he believes mankind will maintain control over technology.
“I believe we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the world problems will be realized,” he said.
Carpenter’s software responds to stimulation from conversations with actual humans, and has the capability to learn from its previous interactions.
Cleverbot has scored highly in the ‘Turing test’, which is designed to examine how closely machines can replicate human behavior.
We cannot quite know what will happen if a machine exceeds our own intelligence, so we can't know if we'll be infinitely helped by it, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it,” Carpenter added. 

Technology and a rise in the capabilities of AI are already affecting workplaces nationwide, as many employers opt to invest in a machine, rather than hiring people.
In November, a study from the University of Oxford suggested that a third of UK jobs could be replaced by machines over the next two decades.
Low-paid jobs featuring repetitive tasks are most likely to be superseded by technology, with clerical and support service jobs most at risk.
The study further found that jobs with a salary under £30,000 are almost five times more likely to be replaced than jobs over £100,000. 

Κυριακή, 16 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Eco Flash News - Eco Breaking News - (November 2014 -Β)

.............“The wireless society is the largest human full-scale experiment ever, and it urgently needs to be addressed as such," said Associate Professor Olle Johansson from the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Johansson warned: 

"We are literally enveloped by an 'electrosmog' which contributes to increased sickness rates, and politicians need a totally different approach to the problem..................Wi-Fi 'electrosmog' a risk to health, say scientists ...

(November 2014 -a)

Σάββατο, 26 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Study: Learning New Skills Keeps Aging Mind Sharp.

A new study shows that elderly adults who challenge their minds with increasingly difficult tasks maintain cognitive functioning better than those who do less demanding activities.
To keep our brains sharp as we age, we are often told to keep our minds active; “use it or lose it.” There actually is little scientific evidence to support that, however, according to psychologist Denise Park of the University of Texas at Dallas.

“Partially because it is very, very hard to do experiments with humans, where you randomly assign them to conditions where, say, you retire young, you do not retire; you do interesting things, you do boring things,” said Park.

So Park, head of the university’s Center for Vital Longevity, designed a study in which she and her colleagues randomly assigned 221 healthy aging and elderly adults to one of three groups.

“We asked people to learn new things, like quilting or photography. We asked other people to just do fun things like being in a social group. And then we asked other people to do things at home that seemingly would help their cognition or their mental function but were not likely to have a very large effect,” she said.

The participants engaged in their assigned activity for 15 hours per week over the course of three months.

At the end of that time, researchers found that the adults who learned new skills, such as digital photography or quilting or both, showed the greatest improvements on memory tests.

No improvements were seen in the scores of those in the social group that did activities together like go on field trips, nor among the third group that listened to classical music or did crossword puzzles.

Park believes the key to improved memory in the active learning group is that the participants constantly were challenged to acquire new skills, unlike those in the other two groups, who engaged in what she calls receptive activities.

While not a cure for age-related mental decline, Park thinks being actively engaged slows it down.

“So, I am not as interested in improving the function of people as they age in their later years. I am more interested in showing ultimately over time that by these novel experiences that involve a lot of mental operations that we can slow the rate at which people cognitively age,” she said.

Park said the latest data show the improvements were maintained for at least a year, and she and her colleagues plan longer term follow ups with the participants. She also is curious to learn whether engaging in demanding mental activities delays the onset of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.   

An article on the benefit of learning new skills for the elderly is published in the journal Psychological Science


Παρασκευή, 8 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Νέο είδος ανθρώπου βρέθηκε στα Βαλκάνια

Νέο είδος ανθρώπου βρέθηκε στα Βαλκάνια

Του Φώτη Νικολαΐδη (Α)
Από την εξέταση των υπολειμμάτων ενός ανθρώπου που βρέθηκε στο σπήλαιο Μάλα Μπαλάνιστα στο Σιτσέβο Γκορτζ στη νότια Σερβία, εξήχθησαν σημαντικά συμπεράσματα για την εξέλιξη του ανθρώπινου είδους και ειδικότερα για την εξέλιξη του ανθρώπου στο χώρο των Βαλκανίων.
Στον άνθρωπο αυτό δόθηκε η κωδική ονομασία BH-1. Η μορφολογία της σιαγώνος και των δοντιών που βρέθηκαν διαφέρει σημαντικά από τα αντίστοιχα χαρακτηριστικά των ανθρώπων της ίδιας περιόδου που βρέθηκαν στη δυτική Ευρώπη.
Ο σκελετός αυτός είναι ο παλαιότερος που έχει βρεθεί μέχρι τώρα στα Βαλκάνια και οι ειδικοί τον τοποθετούν ανάμεσα στα 397.000 και 525.000 χρόνια, στηριζόμενοι σε σύγχρονες μεθόδους αναλύσεων (ESR-US και ESR-CSUS, 230Th234U ). Οι εξετάσεις αυτές πραγματοποιήθηκαν από μια ομάδα πανεπιστημιακών καθηγητών-ερευνητών από τον Καναδά και το Βελιγράδι.

Η χρονική αυτή περίοδος αντιστοιχεί με τον άνθρωπο Homo heidelbergensis, που υπήρχε την ίδια περίοδο στη δυτική Ευρώπη και θεωρείται από πολλούς επιστήμονες σαν το πρώτο στάδιο εξέλιξης των Νεάντερταλ, όμως μια άλλη μερίδα επιστημόνων ενστερνίζεται την άποψη ότι ο Homo heidelbergensis μπορεί να αποτελεί πρόγονο των Νεάντερταλ ή των ανθρώπων ή και των δύο μαζί.
Ο άνθρωπος που βρέθηκε στο σπήλαιο Μάλα Μπαλάνιστα δεν φέρει τα χαρακτηριστικά του Νεάντερταλ και θέτει πολλά ερωτήματα , όσον αφορά τους πρώτους ανθρώπους που ζούσαν στον βαλκανικό χώρο κατά την Πρώιμη και Ανώτερη Πλειστόκαινο εποχή, που θεωρείται πολύ κρίσιμη στην εξέλιξη της μορφολογίας του ανθρώπου.
Την εποχή αυτή υπήρχαν στην δυτική Ευρώπη πολλές αποκομμένες ομάδες ανθρώπων, εξ αιτίας των παγετώνων, όμως το ίδιο φαινόμενο δεν συνέβη στην νοτιοανατολική Ευρώπη, όπου οι επικοινωνίες ανάμεσα στην Ευρώπη και την Ασία ήταν ανοιχτές. Το γεγονός αυτό επηρέασε διαφορετικά την εξέλιξη των πρώιμων ανθρώπων στην νοτιοανατολική Ευρώπη και ο σκελετός BH-1 αποτελεί δείγμα αυτής της διαφορετικότητας.
Η Μιργιάνα Ροκσάντιτς, καθηγήτρια του πανεπιστημίου Γουίνιπεγκ του Καναδά, επισημαίνει ότι από την μελέτη του σκελετού επιβεβαιώνεται ότι η νοτιοανατολική Ευρώπη αποτελούσε την πύλη της ευρωπαϊκής ηπείρου και ένα από τα τρία καταφύγια στον πλανήτη, όπου οι άνθρωποι και τα ζώα έβρισκαν ασφαλή καταφύγια την εποχή των παγετώνων.
Στο σπήλαιο Μάλα Μπαλάνιστα πραγματοποιούνται συστηματικές έρευνες από το 2004. Στην Σερβία και στο Μοντενέγκρο υπάρχουν πάνω από 100 σπήλαια , που πιθανόν να κρύβουν παλαιολιθικά μυστικά , όπως και τα σπήλαια της Ελλάδας, της Ρουμανίας και της Βουλγαρίας . Ο σκελετός αυτό είχε βρεθεί το 2008 και τα πορίσματα των πρόσφατων ερευνών δημοσιεύτηκαν στο επιστημονικό περιοδικό Journal of Human Evolution.
Homo heidelbergensis

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