Anthropology On A Sunday

Before I begin…this is the look I get when I tell MoMo that she has to wait to go outside…..

IT is a lazy Sunday and I have even more AI stories for your mental consumption…..

AI is predicting that we have a “missing link” in our evolutionary trip….society has been conned for years of a “missing link”….could there actually be sucha creature?

Using artificial intelligence, a number of European evolutionary biologists now believe that humans have an ancient ancestor whose identity is unknown to modern science. The ancestor, based out of Asia, would have been a hybrid of Neanderthals and Denisovans, a subspecies of archaic humans.

The Denisovans are less well-known than the famous Neanderthals, but the two were separate groups who split off from their common ancestor around 744,000 years ago. While Neanderthals settled in Europe and parts of western Asia, Denisovan remains have been found in central Asia and Siberia—their name comes from the Denisova Cave in the Siberian Altai Mountains, where a Denisovan bone was first discovered in 2008.

The groups were genetically independent from each other. They also likely both cross-bred with modern humans. But when researching the demographics of species nearly 800,000 years ago, scientists have struggled with their complexity. That’s where A.I. comes in.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/archaeology/a25934309/ai-study-human-ancestor/

More on the possibility of that long sought “missing link”……

Two early humans found in Africa 10 years ago appear to represent a “missing link” with our ape-like ancestors, CNN reports. A new study broke ground this week by saying the two-million-year-old partial skeletons are from a new species called Australopithecus sediba that walked upright but spent time in trees—a transition between the ape-like genus Australopithecus and the genus Homo that apparently began using tools. Seems Australopithecus sediba had hands and feet that were good for both climbing trees and grasping tools. “This larger picture sheds light on the lifeways of A. sediba and also on a major transition in hominin evolution,” says lead researcher Scott Williams of New York University.

In nine papers in PaleoAnthropology, leading anthropologists analyze various parts of the fossils and refute critics who either doubted the new species existed or said the skeletons were of two different species, per Phys.org. They also recall the fossils’ incredible 2008 discovery by a nine-year-old who was walking his dog in South Africa when he tripped over a rock. “Imagine for a moment that Matthew stumbled over the rock and continued following his dog without noticing the fossil,” they write. “If those events had occurred instead, our science would not know about Au. sediba, but those fossils would still be there, still encased in calcified clastic sediments, still waiting to be discovered.” The authors call it a reminder that “there is still so much to discover about our evolutionary past.”

Some people say the ‘missing links’ have been elected and are now in control of the country….interesting thought.

Sunday is done….time for some snacks of fruit nuts and a beer….enjoy your day…..

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Space News–2019

Baby its cold outside!

MoMo keeps watch for that damn cat!

My weekend begins and there has been some amazing news on our final frontier (as they say)……SPACE.

First, China is making their presence known in space……

A Chinese spacecraft on Thursday made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, state media said. The lunar explorer Chang’e 4 touched down at 10:26am, China Central Television said during its noon broadcast. The far side of the moon faces away from Earth and is relatively unexplored. It is also known as the dark side of the moon. The mission of Chang’e 4, which is carrying a rover, includes carrying out low-frequency radio astronomical observations and probing the structure and mineral composition of the terrain, the AP reports. The spacecraft will also carry out biological experiments, including cultivating vegetables in an airtight container, the South China Morning Post reports.

The pioneering landing demonstrates China’s growing ambitions as a space power. In 2013, Chang’e 3 was the first spacecraft to land on the moon since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 in 1976. The Long March 3B rocket carrying Chang’e 4 blasted off on Dec. 8 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China. In May, a relay satellite “Queqiao,” or “Magpie Bridge,” named after an ancient Chinese folk tale, was launched to provide communications support between Chang’e 4 and Earth. China plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe to the moon next year and have it return to Earth with samples—the first time that will have been done since 1976.

Among the images is a 360-degree panorama stitched together from 80 photos taken by a camera on the lander after it released the rover onto the lunar surface,

Now the US made history in space as well……

A NASA spacecraft traveling 4 billion miles from Earth has sent back its first close-up pictures of the most distant celestial object ever explored, and it looks like a reddish snowman. Ultima Thule, as the small, icy object has been dubbed, is an elongated body about 20 miles long, consisting of two fused-together spheres. NASA’s New Horizons, the spacecraft that sent back pictures of Pluto 3.5 years ago, swept past the ancient, mysterious object early on New Year’s Day. It is a billion miles past Pluto.

The pictures from Ultima Thule were revealed Wednesday, reports the AP. Scientist Jeff Moore says that the two spheres formed when small, icy pieces coalesced in space billions of years ago. Then the spheres slowly spiraled closer to each other and stuck together. Ultima Thule has a mottled appearance the color of light brick. Scientists say no impact craters could be seen in the latest photos. An earlier, fuzzier image made it look like a bowling pin. (Read more on the discovery here.)

Would believe some scary news from space?

News came out that there is a “space bacteria” circulating the planet…..and it is mutating…..sound like a SciFi movie coming to a theater near you?

It is not…it is true……

Microbes stuck in the International Space Station are adapting to survive in the harsh environment of space, scientists say.

A new study sheds light on how the bacteria floating above Earth is changing as a result of its difficult environment.

And it found it is not mutating into especially dangerous or antibiotic-resistant superbugs that humans could not kill. Instead, it is just changing to deal with the difficulties of floating above Earth, they said.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/space-bacteria-earth-alien-mutating-survive-disease-international-station-a8717976.html

It seems every year our knowledge of the universe we live in gets greater…..and then there is the proposal of a Space Force on the drawing boards……but that is another post all together.

Have a day my friends.

“Skynet” Awaits

MoMo having fun on a winter’s day…..

I have been the one that has been writing about the different trends in the field …..and yes I am one, I guess because I am old, that does not see a bright future with the AI project.

And then I read another story that did nothing but reinforce my fear of the coming revolution in AI.

Depending on how paranoid you are, this research from Stanford and Google will be either terrifying or fascinating. A machine learning agent intended to transform aerial images into street maps and back was found to be cheating by hiding information it would need later in “a nearly imperceptible, high-frequency signal.” Clever girl!

But in fact this occurrence, far from illustrating some kind of malign intelligence inherent to AI, simply reveals a problem with computers that has existed since they were invented: they do exactly what you tell them to do.

The intention of the researchers was, as you might guess, to accelerate and improve the process of turning satellite imagery into Google’s famously accurate maps. To that end the team was working with what’s called a CycleGAN — a neural network that learns to transform images of type X and Y into one another, as efficiently yet accurately as possible, through a great deal of experimentation.

https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/31/this-clever-ai-hid-data-from-its-creators-to-cheat-at-its-appointed-task/

Yes, I know….but it all reminds me of “Skynet”….I think we should be very careful with the technology that we are embracing….as they say….”there is no going back”.

Time for some cheese, fruit and nuts and a very nice Spanish white wine…..it is cloudy and cool today…perfect weather for streaming something on the Tube……

Enjoy your day….be well, be safe……chuq

It’s In Your DNA

My weekend continues….and as my tradition I try to be an FYI blog on the weekends…..posting on stuff that is either informative or entertaining….today it is FYI…..

A friend got as a present from his daughter one of those DNA testing thingys so that we can learn all about our ancestors…..were your ancestors on the Mayflower….were they a Teutonic knight……maybe a French nobleman….a viking raider…etc etc……

Before I get started I would like to say that I would NEVER use one of these things……my DNA is not on file and will never be on file…..this reminds me of a CIA scam in Pakistan, in the border lands where between them and Afghanistan…….some NGO was giving the children polio shots and at the same time taking DNA from the patients trying to isolate “bad guys” for future identification and observation.

That said I told my friend that I do not believe the claims that these companies present….you know like your DNA can tell if you drink coffee…..tell if you have a propensity to be obese….and so on…..claims too outrageous to be believed…..

I told him my concerns about my DNA on file somewhere for future use…..but I also turned him onto some research into this scam…

For some people, that task is relatively easy because there are oral legends or written words that go back at least several generations (assuming family history is passed down accurately). But for most people, the path backwards is rocky, cluttered with confusing detour signs, or simply blank.

For Americans, citizens of the quintessential melting pot, the quest for identity often propels older people (it’s interesting that we often search for our dead relatives while looking death square in the face) to the lists of immigrants into Ellis Island or other ports of entry into the United States and to the repository of genealogy in Salt Lake City.

https://www.livescience.com/2084-dna-kits-secrets-scientific-scam.html

There is more……

But when Inside Edition had a set of triplets send their spit in to Ancestry.com and 23andMe, they got wildly different results from both services. Neither gave each triplet the same ancestry results — which, considering they all came from the same womb, is pretty weird.

“Tests can be a crapshoot. For DNA tests, they use genetic markers, which are little variations in the DNA one or several groups may have, but others do not. The more markers there are, the more accurate the test will be.”

http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2522-inside-shady-world-dna-testing-companies.html

People these are not as accurate as the companies claim….save your money and do some research into your family….DO NOT TAKE THE LAZY WAY OUT!

The day is the chance of a rainy one…..cooler weather and time for the honey dos……..

It’s Alive!

Pentagon has a R&D unit called DARPA and some news has come out about one of their projects…..

How do you detect submarines in an expanse as large as the ocean? The U.S. military hopes that common marine microorganisms might be genetically engineered into living tripwires to signal the passage of enemy subs, underwater vessels, or even divers.

It’s one of many potential military applications for so-called engineered organisms, a field that promises living camouflage that reacts to its surroundings to better avoid detection, new drugs and medicines to help deployed forces survive in harsh conditions, and more. But the research is in its very early stages, military officials said.

https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2018/12/us-military-genetically-engineering-new-life-forms-detect-enemy-subs/153200/

This is fascinating news!  But after thinking about this situation….this is basically genetic engineering……is that ever a good thing?

Somewhere down the road this could go completely off track.

DARPA also was considering influencing people through their Twitter account…..does that sound familiar?

The activities of users of Twitter and other social media services were recorded and analysed as part of a major project funded by the US military, in a program that covers ground similar to Facebook’s controversial experiment into how to control emotions by manipulating news feeds.

Research funded directly or indirectly by the US Department of Defense’s military research department, known as Darpa, has involved users of some of the internet’s largest destinations, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Kickstarter, for studies of social connections and how messages spread.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/08/darpa-social-networks-research-twitter-influence-studies

I would like everyone’s thoughts on this thing…please.

More rest and care for my better half for the virus hit her a lot worse than it hit me…..she has been fighting it for almost a week…..she cares for me when as a man I am sick and we know how that is, huh?

I really would like a beer but I think I will wait a few more days before that happens…..

TTFN!

A Smile To Die For!

Good Morning on this Saturday after the Christmas excitement….now we  wait for the New Years Party…..and dread the day after……

I was dragged along for a shopping spree after the holiday….no I was not going without protest but as usual my better half won that argument….

Any way we were in this major store and a young lady was standing at a mirror in the “Beauty” department hold  Kleenex next to her mouth and smiling…..holy crap!  I realize she was doing that thing where self-centered little turds are comparing their tooth color to that of a tissue (the tissue test)…..it was a source of amusement for me….I was chastised for enjoying others stupidity….and then I read something that I wish I had when this poor young lady was so concerned…..

As usual I attempt to be an FYI blog on the weekends….trying to get away from the mind numbing news of the week….on that note…..

We Americans are worshipers of youth and beauty……we have our fad diets, our addiction to exercise machines that become clothes racks after a couple of months, always looking for that magic pill to turn us into that perfect image of youth and beauty……one of the biggest markets is that of dental care…….

OMG!  The products that are now available……if you are not sure which one you need then it will take an hour or more to go through the retail offerings to find that special product.

There is a new report about something new on the horizon….

In a recent study, researchers find a new product can use proteins to rebuild tooth enamel and treat dental cavities.

The new biogenic dental products can—in theory—rebuild teeth and cure cavities without costly and uncomfortable treatments.

Cavities are more than just a nuisance. Dental cavities affect nearly every age group and are accompanied by serious health concerns, according to the World Health Organization.

Additionally, direct and indirect costs of treating dental cavities and related diseases are a huge economic burden for people and health care systems.

Although tooth decay is relatively harmless in its earliest stages, once the cavity progresses through the tooth’s enamel, serious health concerns arise.

https://knowridge.com/2018/12/new-material-could-rebuild-teeth-and-cure-cavities/

I am an old fart…..so trying to look younger or more beautiful is just not that damn important anymore…..but that is me.

Now time for some more rest and some french bread, cheese and OJ….OJ?  Yep cannot decide which wine I want on this day….so go with OJ for now…..hope all have a good day and I will be back for more stuff.

Sunday–25Nov18

Another rainy Sunday……my garden is close to finished…..seeding will begin Monday and then the wait until the harvest…..

This weekend the internet in my area is a slow mess…..how’s yours?

I have been watching the developments along the formation of the US Space Force( or whatever name they finally decide is proper)…..so because I have been watching this I also feel I need to keep an eye on the findings in space……who knows what our troops may face in the future…..

We may stretch our wings and go to the stars, as they say……

Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf star located in a solar system about six light-years away from Earth, may have some company. Researchers of the “exoplanet-hunting” group Red Dots have detected a planet—some 3.2 times the Earth’s mass and very cold—orbiting the star, Smithsonian reports. Their findings were published in Nature on Wednesday. “We firmly believe the object is there,” says lead researcher Ignasi Ribas. “We always have to remain a bit cautious … but we were sure enough that we were willing to go forward with publication.” The planet, Barnard’s Star b, is the second-closest exoplanet (a planet outside of our solar system) to Earth, per USA Today.

Researchers looked at two decades worth of data from seven different telescopes to pick up the planet, according to Forbes. As for the possibility of life on Bernard’s Star b, the planet is “way too cold” to sustain liquid water, Ribas says, and whether life may be frozen beneath an ocean is just speculation at this point. During the course of their study, Smithsonian notes, researchers found faint evidence of another planet, which would be Barnard’s Star c. Several decades ago, scientists believed that they had detected planets around the star. However, those ended up being the result of an instrument problem. (Last year, scientists found the smallest possible star.)

Just as the earth orbits its star, the Sun……but what if there was no sun to orbit?

Debate has raged in astronomical circles for years as to whether rogue planets could exist. Since they do not have a star to illuminate them, they are extremely difficult to find as they are almost always in the dark. However, a technique called gravitational microlensing allowed researchers to identify rogue planets by seeing when a planet comes between a distant star and the Earth. When this happens, the planet acts like a lens, distorting the light that we can see from that star when it reaches Earth. This indicates that a massive body like a planet is passing in front of the star, and the size of the body can be estimated from the size of the distortion.

https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/rogue-planets-discovered/

If and when we get our new Space Force one of the probable sites for a base is Mars….and we are still learning all we can about the planet…..

Between 3.5 billion and 3.9 billion years ago, when simple life forms were emerging on Earth, a river flowed through a delta system into a lake on Mars, then a warm and wet planet. NASA plans to send a rover there to see if any traces of life remain. The Jezero Crater site has been selected as the destination of the 2020 Mars rover mission, and scientists say that if life ever existed on the red planet, the crater is one of the places likeliest to hold evidence of it. “A delta is extremely good at preserving bio-signatures—any evidence of life that might have existed in the lake water … or possibly things that lived in the headwaters region that were swept in by the river and deposited in the delta,” project scientist Ken Farley tells the BBC.

The crater was chosen after a search that looked at around 60 sites, CNN reports. Farley says researchers have wanted to know more about the site for years, but it was once thought impossible to land a rover in the rugged terrain. “What was once out of reach is now conceivable, thanks to the 2020 engineering team and advances in Mars entry, descent, and landing technologies,” he says. Another rover, meanwhile, is preparing to land on Mars next week, NBC News reports. The InSight lander is due to land on the Monday after Thanksgiving to begin its mission to study the crust, mantle, and core of Mars, but it will have to survive a complicated landing NASA scientists call “seven minutes of terror” first, Forbes reports. (The Curiosity Rover has found the “building blocks of life” on Mars.)

More Mars news……

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/nasa-mars-insight-landing-explained-when-where-space-agency-latest-a8648986.html

Once we get our troops in training will they do what recruits use to do in the “old days” police the area?  The area in this case is the space around the earth…….

As an international relations scholar who studies space law and policy, I have come to realize what most people do not fully appreciate: Dealing with space debris is as much a national security issue as it is a technical one.

Considering the debris circling the Earth as just an obstacle in the path of human missions is naive. As outer space activities are deeply rooted in the geopolitics down on Earth, the hidden challenge posed by the debris is the militarization of space technologies meant to clean it up.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/11/14/why_space_debris_cleanup_is_a_national_security_threat_113954.html

Some things never change for the grunt…whether earth bound or space cadet……matters not.