September 21st, 2007

Human Origins

Georgia Clues to Human Origins

A team of scientists working in Georgia has unearthed the remains of four human-like creatures dating to 1.8 million years ago.

In the journal Nature, the researchers outline details of the partial skeletons uncovered in a Medieval town. The bones reveal a mixture of primitive and advanced features, team leader David Lordkipanidze explained. 

These early hominids may have been among the first to leave
to colonise the rest of the world. Discovered in the early 1990s, the Dmanisi site has proved a rich source of remains and artefacts from the dawn of the Pleistocene Epoch. 

Collapse )

Joke of the Day


Q: Did you hear about the new Exorcist Movie?

A: They got the Devil to come in to take the Priest out of the child.

Moral Code

Asimov's Moral Code for Robots...

The possibility of developing truly intelligent machines, and their potential to be friend or foe to humanity, gets the Hollywood treatment in the film I, Robot.

At the heart of the movie are Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics", invented as a simple, but immutable moral code for robots. The film's plot revolves around an apparent breaking of the laws, when a robot is suspected of murdering a famous scientist. 

Yet, while the movie is an enjoyable action romp, robotics and artificial intelligence experts admit they are a long way from having to worry about such rules yet. "The difficulty is building something that would understand them," says Alan Bundy, at
Edinburgh University's Artificial Intelligence Institute in the UK.

Collapse )

Brain Blindness

It’s Hard Not to Look…

We all know that seeing something emotional can distract us, but researchers say that it might even blind us... not in our eyes, but in our brains.

It’s hard not to look when you pass an accident on the road, but doing so can be dangerous. Vanderbilt University psychologist David Zald says "emotional" images — like car accidents, a gruesome murder scene, or a bit of pornography — can briefly blind us to everything else around us, limiting our senses and potentially putting us at risk. 

Collapse )

Image of the Day


In 2008, the Herschel spacecraft will carry the largest telescope ever flown in space, giving astronomers an entirely new view of the most distant objects in the universe. The ESA released this image to mark a milestone in Herschel's construction, the mating of the cryostat instruments with its attendant service module. Herschel is scheduled to launch from
Europe’s spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana on July 31, 2008.

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)