Science Tidbits #4

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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Tue May 23, 2017 11:41 pm

Looks like they're finally getting some real-time data (or at least as real time as it gets in a relativistic universe) on Tabby's Star. Maybe they've finally be able to figure out what's going on with those aliens up there.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Wed May 24, 2017 3:07 pm

750 day period is interesting, though as he points out (object or cloud) it would have to be huge to block out the star. Aliens are still being dismissed, though mostly due to the lack of radio transmissions. Personally I think any advanced species would find something better than EM to communicate over distances. Of course that brings us to the paradox that any civilization advanced enough to make a Dyson sphere is too advanced to need a Dyson sphere. Still a natural explanation is probably the correct one.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Wed May 24, 2017 10:21 pm

Yeah, it's going to be mighty weird, whatever it is.

And just because aliens don't need a Dyson Sphere, doesn't mean they don't want a Dyson Sphere. :unsure:
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Thu May 25, 2017 3:06 pm

Alien Trump: "We're going to build that sphere and the Romulans are going to pay for it!"
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Thu May 25, 2017 9:54 pm

There's the answer to the Fermi Paradox. Alien Trump has walled them all in. :lol:
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:19 pm

An interesting article about possible modern humans as old as 300,000 years! :eek:
First off this would be consistent with the relatively rapid human dispersion across the globe and I have been leaning more towards a Levantine or Mediterranean origin for modern humans. Secondly these remains are better preserved than many of the specimens from southern Africa- a lot of which I think are a little dodgy.
However, while the skull is impressive I'm not sure I'd go for it being a modern human and I do have to wonder about the dating as it is eerily similar to the specimens from the much younger Skhul site. These specimens have also been described as either modern or Neanderthal depending on what's in vogue at the time.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:34 pm

Evidence does seem to be accumulating for an earlier origin, but I think we need a lot more. Are they able to extract DNA from these fossils? It doesn't seem like they've ruled out convergent evolution for the similarities in facial structure.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:42 pm

I haven't heard of any DNA recovery yet. Most specimens where DNA has been recovered have been in the 30,000 to 50,000 year range.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby huggle » Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:56 am

I am very sceptical. According to that article the dating is based only on the found flints. The material itself may easily be 300 000 years old, however, that doesn't say anything about when it was turned into tools.
Radio-carbon dating the bones is not very reliable either as this method has a pretty wide error margin. Datings that were out by 100 000 years are not unheard of (just remember the case of the "Hobbit" they discovered a few years ago).
The surest method would indubitably be a DNA-Analysis but for that we'd require at least one undamaged and un-fossilized molar of an adult.

Reconstructing one skull from fragments of several individuals is highly risky aslong as you aren't 100% certain that these belonged to the same time frame. Habitable sites were rare in those days and often inhabited by different groups for several milennia. The skull-reconstruction looks way too modern in my opinion. I very strongly doubt that it's so much older than the Ethiopian finds, for example Lucy. It looks more Cro Magnon I'd say.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:11 pm

huggle wrote:Radio-carbon dating the bones is not very reliable either as this method has a pretty wide error margin. Datings that were out by 100 000 years are not unheard of (just remember the case of the "Hobbit" they discovered a few years ago).

You really can't carbon date anything much older than 40,000 years old. After that you have to rely on different methods.

The skull-reconstruction looks way too modern in my opinion. I very strongly doubt that it's so much older than the Ethiopian finds, for example Lucy. It looks more Cro Magnon I'd say.

Lucy was a Australopithecus afarensis and is substantially older than these finds (3 to 4 million year bp). What they think they found here are the oldest modern humans- much older than Cro Magnon. Still as I pointed out they do strongly resemble specimens from sites like Qahzeh or Skhul which tend to run around the 90,000 to 80,000 year mark.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:33 pm

It's too bad these folks didn't carry drivers' licenses or something. :no:
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Orpheus » Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:44 am

Well, of course they didn't. You don't need a license for a foot-powered Flintstonemobile for the same reason you don't need a license for a horse: they have a safe brain:horsepower ratio.

Of course the brainpower of cars is coming up fast; you soon won't need a license for autonomous cars, either
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:59 pm

I look forward to that. "Take me to the Blue Hills. Wake me when we get there."

Of course, there will then be the inevitable, "Sorry, I can't come over. My car has the night off."
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:16 pm

More Planets from Kepler! :yes:
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:32 pm

4000 planets, 2000 confirmed, 50 Class-M planets, 30 of those confirmed-- all from a patch of sky in Cygnus. There's a whole lotta planets out there.

This KOI 7711 sounds very promising. I wonder what type of star it has.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby Lupine » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:38 pm

According to another website it's the yellow dot right of Earth.

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Looks promising.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:37 am

So if I'm understanding the chart correctly-- which is a might big "if" :D -- it's got basically the same type of sun, it's slightly larger, and slightly more distant. That sounds like a Goldilocks planet if ever there was one.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby huggle » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:31 am

and if ist anything like Earth, it's ruled by criminally stupid ruthless beings and on the brink of destruction. In case it isn't, our own CSR beings will consider it their duty to terraform it in every respect (including the brink of destruction bit).
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:06 pm

Well, that's a bit pessimistic. :lol:

Actually, it's probably just infested with single-celled organisms. :shrug:
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby huggle » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:57 am

very likely. But your average amoeba at least has a higher IQ than the current US President (or the current Bavarian Ministerpresident, for that matter *sigh*)
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:11 pm

Sad, but almost literally true. :no:
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby huggle » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:52 am

we could easily build a virus that infests only people with certain genetic specifications (nothing lethal, but how about a super-headcold virus?). The prob is: which DNA-snipped codes for greed and criminal stupidity?
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby RJDiogenes » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:56 pm

We have to identify.... the Politician Gene.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby scottydog » Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:31 pm

Speaking of politicians, greed, and power..... the latest science shows us that having power over others causes brain damage. Check out this article.
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Re: Science Tidbits #4

Postby huggle » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:35 am

Interesting. I'd have assumed it to be the other way round: a brain damage causes people to become dictators. Still, it does make sense that those in power provide others with a means to take over their positions. This way it's ensured that no Alpha can stay in his/her role forever but that other and perhaps better suited individuals can rise in rank. For a pack of predators or a herd of deer, for example, it's more advantageous to have a middle-aged strong and moderately experienced leader that is able to adapt than to have a very experienced but old one that isn't flexible anymore in his responses to changes in the pack's or herd's environment.
Also, to a degree it's a failsafe against leaders becoming livelong dictators (though there are exceptions: North Corea, Vatican, Cuba, many Arab countries).
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