Tag Archives | Science

Holocaust Archaeology: A Harrowing Investigation into Treblinka

It’s hard to believe that Holocaust denialism is still a thing but this is the internet. And it is still a thing.


Forensic Magazine offers a profile of a forensic archaeologist searching for clues at the infamous Treblinka concentration camp:

For Caroline Sturdy Colls, a British archaeologist, what lies in that soil at Treblinka tells the story of perhaps the greatest crime of the 20th century. She tells part of that story in a new book, and an exhibit at the site, both unveiled this year.

Sturdy Colls and a colleague excavating the site at Treblinka.

Sturdy Colls and a colleague excavating the site at Treblinka.

“I view the Holocaust as a crime,” she toldForensic Magazine in an exclusive interview. “You can consider the sites [across Europe] as one big crime scene…

“There’s almost a social responsibility, to forensic archaeologists in particular who have got the skill sets in terms of investigating crimes, to apply those to the investigation of the Holocaust,” she added.

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‘Citizen Kane’ to ‘Call of Duty’: The rise of video games in universities


Dead Bug Creek, Ashley Pinnick’s final project

Jessica Conditt via engadget:

Picture an art school. Visualize the hallways of a university dedicated to the arts, the classrooms lined with paint tubes, charcoal sticks and nude models. Imagine the galleries where outgoing seniors present their final projects. Consider the thick-framed glasses that sit atop students’ noses as they sketch, sculpt, write and design the things that lurk in their wildest daydreams. Now picture a creation so strange that the school’s professors aren’t sure how to critique it from an artistic angle, let alone how to assign it a grade.

In Pasadena, California, Art Center College of Design graduate Ashley Pinnick faced this problem in her last semester, with her final project: a video game.

Specifically, Pinnick’s project was a quirky exploration game for Oculus’ VR headset called Dead Bug Creek. It was wildly different from her peers’ creations in the Illustration degree program, but not because it was more experimental or nonsensical: It was the only video game on display because Art Center didn’t have a technical video game development program.

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If Women Ruled the World – Is a Matriarchal Society the Solution?

woman to woman
Steve Taylor, Ph.D, via Waking Times:

Is a matriarchal society the solution to our problems?

I’ve just returned from Crete, where I visited the ancient palace of Knossos, and the archaeological museum in Heraklion, where thousands of the artifacts and artworks of ancient Crete are displayed.

The most striking thing about the culture of ancient Crete (or Minoan culture, as it is often called) is how prominent women are. They are everywhere in Minoan artwork, on pottery, frescoes and figurines (small stone statues). They are shown as priestesses, goddesses, dancing and talking at social occasions, in beautiful dresses with their breasts on show. There is a striking fresco of a beautifully dressed woman surrounded by a group of half-naked dancing men.

It is clear that – as many archaeologists have agreed – this was a society in which women had very high status; at least as high as men.

Some archaeologists believe that the Minoans worshiped a goddess, and that women were the main religious leaders.

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Automation and Income Inequality: Understanding the Polarisation Effect

robot child

This article originally appeared on Philosophical Disquisitions

(Previous Entry)

Inequality is now a major topic of concern. Only those with their heads firmly buried in the sand would have failed to notice the rising chorus of concern about wealth inequality over the past couple of years. From the economic tomes of Thomas Piketty and Tony Atkinson, to the battle-cries of the 99%, and on to the political successes of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US, the notion that inequality is a serious social and political problem seems to have captured the popular imagination.

In the midst of all this, a standard narrative has emerged. We were all fooled by the triumphs of capitalism in the 20th century. The middle part of the 20th century — from roughly the end of WWII to 1980 — saw significant economic growth and noticeable reductions in inequality.… Read the rest

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When Nuclear Energy Almost Took to the Skies

"NB-36H with B-50, 1955 - DF-SC-83-09332" by USAF - U.S. Defenseimagery.mil photo no. DF-SC-83-09332. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Back in the 1950s, under the threat of communist apocalypse, the US military had plans for a long-range bomber using the energy of nuclear decay heat to stay aloft for weeks at a time. The Convair X-6 was a design to use a radical, high-temperature, molten-salt-fueled-and-cooled reactor (MSR), and made nuclear-powered aviation come quite close to reality. This program, called NEPA (Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft), like its space-faring cousin-project NERVA, was ultimately a sink for around 7 billion US taxpayer dollars before it was cancelled by Eisenhower. But it actually resulted in the development of a radical type of reactor (MSR) that still could be used to safely generate massive amounts of electricity. More on that later.

The Convair X-6 bomber prototype, which carried a working nuclear reactor and heavy radiation shielding for the pilots (105,000 pounds of lead alone), was test flown nearly a dozen times in 1957.… Read the rest

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Russian scientist says he is stronger and healthier after injecting himself with ‘eternal life’ bacteria

No doubt this story from the Telegraph will lead to a James Bond-style thriller where the bad guy injects himself with a supposed “eternal life” elixir, with predictably disastrous results:

If injecting yourself with 3.5 million-year-old bacteria could keep you looking and feeling youthful and healthy without having to fork out for a gym membership, would you do it?

Russian scientist Anatoli Brouchkov, head of the Geocryology Department at Moscow State University, is looking for the key to eternal youth.

Photo: Anatoli Brouchkov

Photo: Anatoli Brouchkov


He has therefore become a human guinea pig for some bacteria that could perhaps hold the key to longevity.

“We have to work out how this bacteria prevents ageing. I think that is the way this science should develop. What is keeping that mechanism alive? And how can we use it for our own benefits?” – Anatoli Brouchkov

The bacteria,named Bacillus F, is amazing because it has remained alive in the permafrost for millions of years.

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‘Deep learning’ reveals unexpected genetic roots of cancers, autism and other disorders


A team of researchers from Canada “has developed the first method for ‘ranking’ genetic mutations based on how living cells ‘read’ DNA, revealing how likely any given alteration is to cause disease.”

via MedicalXpress:

In the decade since the genome was sequenced in 2003, scientists and doctors have struggled to answer an all-consuming question: Which DNA mutations cause disease?

A new computational technique developed at the University of Toronto may now be able to tell us.

A Canadian research team led by professor Brendan Frey has developed the first method for ‘ranking’ genetic based on how living cells ‘read’ DNA, revealing how likely any given alteration is to cause disease. They used their method to discover unexpected genetic determinants of autism, hereditary cancers and spinal muscular atrophy, a leading genetic cause of infant mortality.

Their findings appear in today’s issue of the leading journal Science.

Think of the as a mysterious text, made up of three billion letters.

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Black hole is 30 times expected size

An active galactic nucleus, with jets of material flowing from out from a central black hole. Credit: NASA / Dana Berry / SkyWorks Digital

An active galactic nucleus, with jets of material flowing from out from a central black hole.
Credit: NASA / Dana Berry / SkyWorks Digital

Royal Astronomical Society via ScienceDaily:

The central supermassive black hole of a recently discovered galaxy has been found to be far larger than should be possible, according to current theories of galactic evolution. New work, carried out by astronomers at Keele University and the University of Central Lancashire, shows that the black hole is much more massive than it should be, compared to the mass of the galaxy around it. The scientists publish their results in a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The galaxy, SAGE0536AGN, was initially discovered with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light. Thought to be at least 9 billion years old, it contains an active galactic nucleus (AGN), an incredibly bright object resulting from the accretion of gas by a central supermassive black hole.

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Inside Exxon’s Great Climate Cover-Up

A new report by InsideClimate News reveals how oil giant ExxonMobil’s own research confirmed the role of fossil fuels in global warming decades ago. By 1977, Exxon’s own senior experts had begun to warn the burning of fossil fuels could pose a threat to humanity. At first, Exxon launched an ambitious research program, outfitting a supertanker with instruments to study carbon dioxide in the air and ocean. But toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon changed course and shifted to the forefront of climate change denial. Since the 1990s, it has spent millions of dollars funding efforts to reject the science its own experts knew of decades ago.

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