Discovered : The Oldest…

The opening months of 2016 have been filled with numerous discoveries that pushed back further into the shadows of the past our understanding of our ancestors and their technology.

In August I posted here about the 50,000 year-old Denisovan needle.information_items_45131.jpg

The Denisovans were highly skilled artisans. This jewelry is about 40,000 years old:inside_bracelet_reconstruction1.jpg

In London (where I’m headed tomorrow) they found in May the oldest handwritten documents in British history. Among the record-making finds:

  • The oldest handwritten document ever found in Britain, dated to A.D. 43-53, the earliest years of Roman rule in Britain
  • The earliest date recorded on a handwritten document in Britain — a tablet marked with Jan. 8, 57 (as we’d write it today)
  • The first reference to “London” — or Londinium, as it was then known — as a city name, from A.D. 65-80
  • Tablets that seem to have been used to practice the alphabet and numbers, possibly the first evidence for a school in Roman Britain

In February, they announced the discovery of world’s oldest dress in Egypt. The garment, which dates to around 3482 B.C., is known as the “Tarkhan Dress,” and now looks like a tattered and stained shirt. screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-11-32-09-pmWhen new, however, the linen dress would have looked fashionable even today, as researchers determined it featured a natural pale grey stripe with knife-pleated sleeves and bodice. Its hem is missing, so the original length of the dress is unknown.

A few days ago they announced the discovery of the oldest known tools found in the Western Hemisphere.

Brian Jennings holds a multi-tool thought to be roughly 15,800 years old.

Brian Jennings holds a multi-tool thought to be roughly 15,800 years old.

This discovery pushes back the history of the continent’s oldest inhabitants by about 1,800 years.

Also announced this past week was the discovery of the world’s oldest indigo-dyed fabric in Peru.

A George Washington University researcher has identified a 6,200-year-old indigo-blue fabric from Huaca, Peru, making it one of the oldest-known cotton textiles in the world and the oldest known textile decorated with indigo blue. Credit: Lauren Urana

A George Washington University researcher has identified a 6,200-year-old indigo-blue fabric from Huaca, Peru, making it one of the oldest-known cotton textiles in the world and the oldest known textile decorated with indigo blue. Photo: Lauren Urana

The discovery marks the earliest use of indigo as a dye, a technically challenging color to produce. According to Jeffrey Splitstoser, lead author of a paper on the discovery and assistant research professor of anthropology at the George Washington University, the finding speaks to the sophisticated  technology ancient Andean people developed 6,200 years ago.

“Some of the world’s most significant technological achievements were developed first in the New World,” said Dr. Splitstoser. “Many people, however, remain mostly unaware of the important technological contributions made by Native Americans, perhaps because so many of these technologies were replaced by European systems during the conquest. However, the fine fibers and sophisticated dyeing, spinning and weaving practices developed by ancient South Americans were quickly co-opted by Europeans.”

Two days before that announcement scientists revealed the discovery of the world’s oldest known snow-shoe.


Scientists in Italy’s Dolomite mountains unveiled what they believe to be the world’s oldest snowshoe.

Carbon-dating has shown that the rudimentary snow shoe, made of birch wood and twine, was made in the late Neolithic age, between 3,800 and 3,700 BC.

“It is the oldest snowshoe in the world so far discovered, dating to around 5,800 years ago,” scientists said in a statement.108318268_oldestsnowshoe-large_transrxqpxgvm58cjoubpwmonpzwu-kwrahvlajxy1texvlq


On Saturday scientist revealed the oldest known fish hooks which were found in Okinawa.Fishhooks_16x9_2.jpg

The early modern humans who lived on tiny Okinawa Island between mainland Japan and Taiwan nearly 30,000 years ago are the world’s oldest known anglers. Now, archaeologists have discovered the oldest known fishhooks in a limestone cave in the island’s interior, dating back nearly 23,000 years. The fishhooks, all carved from shells, were found in Sakitari Cave, which was occupied seasonally by fishermen taking advantage of the downstream migrations of crabs and freshwater snails.


I love stories like these that show our predecessors were much more technologically advanced at a much earlier time than scientists up until recently believed they were capable of.

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Stream Hundreds of Science Documentaries for $2.99/mo

For the first time in ages I intentionally clicked on an online ad and discovered this.screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-9-33-36-am

I don’t really need another rabbit hole but as I watch less and less TV stuff like this becomes increasingly attractive.
The first month is free and then it’s $2.99 a month. As soon as I get back from the UK (leave Mon 19Sep-return 3Oct) I’m 
going to subscribe.
Check out a few of the titles available now:
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-9-36-03-am screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-9-36-21-am screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-9-35-40-am







Source: CuriosityStream

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8,000-year-old female figurine uncovered in central Turkey

catalhoyuk_-_neolithic_statuetteArchaeologists have uncovered a rare stone figurine of a woman dating back 8,000 years at a dig in Turkey’s central province of Konya that an expert says is one of only handful of statuettes of the era ever found in one piece.

Stanford University Professor Ian Hodder told The Associated Press in an email that the 17-cm (7-inch) figurine, found at the Catalhoyuk site, is unique because it is carved from stone, unlike most which are made from clay.screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-8-15-36-am



Its excellent condition and craftsmanship also set it apart, he said.Unlike others found in garbage pits,

Hodder said this figurine was found beneath a platform along with a piece of obsidian which suggests that it may have been placed there as part of some ritual

Such figurines are often thought of as fertility goddesses. However, Hodder cites newer theories that suggest this object represents older women who have achieved status.


screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-8-00-23-am“The new figurine certainly suggests such an interpretation with its sagging breasts and belly,” he said.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Catalhoyuk is one of the earliest cities uncovered and dates back nearly 9,000 years. Archaeological research has been conducted there since the 1960s. Google images has a vast collection of the murals, pottery, figurines, and tools discovered there here.


Source: 8,000-year-old female figurine uncovered in central Turkey

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Beware of Aussie Hitchhikers!!

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How Corporate Cash Corrupts American politics Scott Walker & the John Doe files| The Guardian

Since the US media has become a bunch of corporate shills instead of investigative journalists we have to depend of other countries’ news outlets for stories like this.

Leaked court documents from ‘John Doe investigation’ in Wisconsin lay bare pervasive influence of corporate cash on modern US elections.

This is a very long article that I haven’t yet finished but as an American it embarrasses me.

Source: Scott Walker, the John Doe files and how corporate cash influences American politics | US news | The Guardian

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Sugar Study Draws Attention to Food Industry’s Sour Secret | Smart News | Smithsonian

Shown: Not meth but another kind of addictive crystal

The Sugar Association, paid the equivalent of about $49,000 today to three scientists to conduct a literature review on scientific evidence about sugars, fats and coronary heart disease. Their investigation was eventually published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. However, the foundation apparently cherry-picked data favorable to its desired conclusion that fat, not sugar, was linked to coronary heart disease and its funding of the review was not disclosed.

Source: Sugar Study Draws Attention to Food Industry’s Sour Secret | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Fantastic Four’s Ben Grimm… Sad News


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Ce qui est très TERRIFIANT!

(This is very terrifying)

<p><a href=”″>L'acrobate des toits de Paris</a> from <a href=””>mylittle</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Parisian website My Little Paris released this rather impressive promotional video, claiming 90% of it was done without any special effects. Even so, it is quite convincing (I looked away twice) and I bow to their fearless performer.

And on the subject of not looking down, here’s some similarly tummy-unsettling images I’ve been collecting:

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All the Water on Planet Earth

global-water-volume-fresh-largeIllustration Credit & Copyright: Jack Cook, Adam Nieman, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Howard Perlman, USGS

Explanation: How much of planet Earth is made of water? Very little, actually. Although oceans of water cover about 70 percent of Earth’s surface, these oceans are shallow compared to the Earth’s radius.

Spheres showing:
(1) All water-Largest sphere 1,384 km (860 mi) diam.
(2) Freshwater in ground, lakes, swamps, rivers– Medium sphere, 273 km (169.5 mi) diam.
(3) Freshwater lakes and rivers -Tiny sphere, 56.2 km (34.9 mi)


  • In the first bar, notice how only 2.5% of Earth’s water is freshwater – the amount needed for life to survive.
  • The middle bar shows the breakdown of freshwater. Almost all of it is locked up in ice and in the ground. Only a little more than 1.2% of all freshwater is surface water, which serves most of life’s needs.
  • The right bar shows the breakdown of surface freshwater. Most of this water is locked up in ice, and another 20.9% is found in lakes. Rivers make up 0.49% of surface freshwater. Although rivers account for only a small amount of freshwater, this is where humans get a large portion of their water from.

Source: Astronomy Picture of the Day, USGS Where is Earth’s Water?

Here’s some more signs of life on this nearly infinitesimally small bit of our Universe:


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New film shows Beatlemania strain on Fab Four

A new documentary about the Beatles shows the toll Beatlemania took on them as they became “more popular than Jesus” at the height of their fame.maxresdefault

“Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years” — the first authorised portrait of the Fab Four in almost half a century — follows the band on the road for four years from their native Liverpool in 1962 through a series of gruelling US tours until the release of the album “Revolver”.

Hollywood director Ron Howard has unearthed a treasury of previously unseen footage of the band as well as material from John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono.

In one interview, Lennon confessed that the song “Help!” was quite literally a cry for help.
“It was real. I was singing ‘Help!’ and I meant it,” he said.
“There is no off-switch. It’s like you are a politician. You are on 24 hours a day… everyone wants a bit you.”
Such was the noise from their hysterical, mostly female fans that their concerts had become “a freak show”, he said. “The music wasn’t being heard.”

Drummer Ringo Starr recalled how he “couldn’t hear anything. I was watching John’s arse and Paul’s head shaking to see where we were in the song.”

“We always felt sorry for Elvis because he was on his own” dealing with the demands of fame, said guitarist George Harrison, whose widow Olivia also co-operated with the project.
“At least there were four of us, so we shared the experience.”

Paul McCartney admitted that the four were so strung out that they “spent a lot of (the time on the set of the film ‘Help!’) slightly stoned”.
It was only when they retreated into the studio with their producer George Martin that the band was able to get its mojo back, the songwriter added.
eh5tir5_ckiltcb8nv5hxa ctvfqdv8enkm8uyuqu8dlheg9kn the-beatles
“Eight Days a Week” is being released in cinemas worldwide for special one-off screenings on September 15. Afterwards it will be available online through the Disney-owned video on demand operator Hulu.

It is being shown alongside a newly discovered 30-minute segment of the band’s now legendary 1965 concert in New York’s Shea Stadium when they played in front of 56,000 screaming fans.





Director Ron Howard said he thought he knew what fame entailed until he began “working on this film and realised the unimaginable chaos these guys experienced. happy_days_lennon

‘Jaw-dropping stuff’ 
“Like many people, I thought I knew The Beatles,” the director said in production notes to the movie. “But I didn’t really know the intensity” of Beatlemania.

“It’s pretty jaw-dropping stuff to see” some of the crowd-sourced footage ferreted out by researchers working for the Beatles’ record company, Apple, he said.

The band were mobbed wherever they went, overwhelming police forces across the world, with 240 fans ending up in hospital after one 1964 concert in Vancouver, Canada.

The documentary also shows how the Beatles refusal to play to segregated audiences in the American South was instrumental in forcing venues there to lift the color barrier. maxresdefault-1

“I knew (the Beatles) were drawn into the anti-Vietnam war movement at a certain point,” Howard said, “but I had no idea about this, and as an American, to recognise that these guys from the outside were coming in and saying this… was a very courageous thing.”

But for the two surviving members McCartney, now 74, and 76-year-old Starr — who have given the film their blessing — the real pleasure was seeing their younger selves play. rs44_the-beatles-washington-dc-coliseum-apple-corps-ltd
They never saw the Beatles, McCartney joked.
“I think the basic thing about the Beatles is that we were a great little band,” he added.
“So to see us performing as a band is a great thing, because without that, we couldn’t have made the records. That was the foundation of everything we recorded.”

In 1964 the Beatles played on 3 consecutive nights in Melbourne. Here’s a remastered recording of those shows:

The above was digitally remastered and posted by Audiophile, a Russian music lover with a great YouTube channel.

If you live in the Bay Area, here are some local showtimes for “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week”

Showtimes for The Beatles: Eight Days a Week
Thu, Sep 15 until Wed, Sep 21


Source: New film shows Beatlemania strain on Fab Four


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