Genetic Study Reveals The Surprising Ancestry Of Ancient Egyptians
The first whole genome analysis of ancient Egyptian mummies has revealed that they were more closely related to other ancient people from the Levant, while modern Egyptians are now genetically closer to Sub-Saharan Africans. The results, published in Nature Communications, could pave the way for future genetic studies of mummies.
The researchers were interested in looking at whether or not population genetics recorded the major shifts in Egyptian demographics. Located as a gateway between two continents, and surviving for thousands of years as Caucasian, Near Eastern, and African empires were rising and falling, Egypt represents an incredible insight into the movement of cultures, ideas, and people.
“We wanted to test if the conquest of Alexander the Great and other foreign powers has left a genetic imprint on the ancient Egyptian population,” explained Verena Schuenemann, one of the lead authors of the paper. To do this, they recovered the mitochondrial genome from 90 mummies, as well as for the first time ever the entire genome of three mummies. These were then compared with the genetics of modern Egyptians, to see how they differed.
What they found was very interesting. Over the 1,300-year period that the mummies represented, the researchers found that there was no real shift in genetics, suggesting that despite successive invasions and influxes of foreign people from all over Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the population genetics stayed surprisingly stable.
Cannabidiol slashes seizures in kids with rare epilepsy, study finds
Cannabidiol, which is found in marijuana plants, reduced the number of convulsive seizures in children with a severe and often fatal epilepsy disorder, according to research published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Among children taking cannabidiol, the decrease in the frequency of convulsive seizures -- which involve a loss of consciousness, stiffened muscles and jerking movements -- was 23 percentage points greater than the decrease in seizures among children taking a placebo.
The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trial, which is considered the gold standard test for any new medicine.
Cannabidiol, also called CBD, is one of more than 80 active cannabinoid chemicals in the marijuana plant, which is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, it does not produce a high.
Fusion Energy Boasts Major Breakthrough in UK
Last month, the UK switched on a massive new fusion reactor—and it appears to be working.
Nuclear fusion is different than the technology we currently have, nuclear fission, which is the source of about 10% of the world’s electricity. Fission is a chain reaction that consists of splitting atoms to release energy. An unfortunate byproduct? Deadly radioactive waste.
Fusion, however, occurs in the super hot cores of stars like our Sun. Instead of splitting atoms, fusion involves smashing them together under pressure, which causes them to fuse. Though its primary byproduct is helium, nuclear fusion also has radioactive waste as a byproduct. Unlike fission’s byproduct, though, this waste decays very quickly. It’s a source of virtually clean and limitless energy that has been theoretical—until now.
The ST40 reactor, constructed by the company Tokamak Energy, has already achieved first plasma. This means that it’s generated the electrically charged plasma necessary to attain eventual fusion. The goal is to heat this first plasma up to 180 million degrees F by 2018, the threshold for hydrogen atoms to begin fusing into helium. For comparison, the Sun’s core burns at a comparatively cool 27 million degrees F.
Donald Trump withdrawing from Paris agreement will be like slapping the Pope in the face, Vatican says
Donald Trump's expected withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement will be like slapping the Pope in the face, according to the Vatican.
The Pope has strongly and repeatedly backed the landmark global warming deal. But Donald Trump has said that he will get rid of it – despite receiving counsel from the Pope, and claiming to be a Christian.
The Vatican said that Mr Trump's reasoning for doing so – that he thinks the US must rely on unclean power sources like coal – is the same as believing that the Earth is flat.
A withdrawal "would not only be a disaster but completely unscientific," said Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which has hosted numerous international conferences on climate change. "Saying that we need to rely on coal and oil is like saying that the earth is not round. It is an absurdity dictated by the need to make money."
Washington judge blasts youth pastor who raped teen for years: ‘You cannot hide behind concept of sin’
A Washington judge rebuked a former youth pastor who admitted to repeatedly raping a teenage girl for years.
Christopher Trent pleaded guilty in March to four counts of third-degree child rape, and the terms of his plea deal left the judge unable to sentence him to more than five years in prison, reported the Bellingham Herald.
But Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis told the former church leader that she wished she could impose a longer prison term and excoriated him for hiding behind his religious beliefs.
“You cannot hide behind the concept of sin, as you have represented to the court,” Montoya-Lewis said. “These were poor choices. They were your choices, over years. You had every opportunity, every day, to stop what you were doing to this child, and you chose to continue.”
Carlsbad church pastor arrested on child molestation charges
Detectives from the San Diego Sheriff's Department Child Abuse Unit on Wednesday arrested a pastor from the North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad.
Authorities identified the pastor as Matthew Tague who is 43 years old.
Tague was booked into county jail on suspicion of 16 counts of lewd and lascivious acts -- two of them forcible -- with a person under age 14. According to Sheriff's, Tague self-reported on Monday.
The incident was not related to his duties or position at the church. At this point, Sheriff's detectives have no indication there are additional victims.
Vista Sheriff's Station, Lt. Karen Stubkjaer declined to declined to disclose the alleged victim's age or gender, but she did say the purported crimes were not "related to his duties or position at the church."
Graduation day is a milestone for the students and a polygamous town
The graduates wore gowns, and they wrote and drew on the tops of their mortarboard caps just like teenagers anywhere.
"Pomp and Circumstance" played over the loudspeakers as the graduates marched into the gymnasium, just like at a high school anywhere.
Yet the commencement ceremony Monday at Water Canyon High School was a little different than most others. There was more emphasis on the students' accomplishments than the average high school graduation.
That's because the average graduate at Water Canyon has been through a lot. Many of the students are former members of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Juno mission first results: Jupiter isn't like what researchers expected
Beneath its heavy cloud cover, Jupiter has been able to keep its secrets from astronomers. Now, first results from NASA's Juno mission are challenging researchers' beliefs about the gas giant.
The results were revealed during a media teleconference Thursday with NASA researchers and published in corresponding studies through the journal Science and Geophysical Research Letters.
Juno launched in August 2011 but didn't arrive at Jupiter until July. The craft has been orbiting the planet and performing calculated flybys over the clouds. These happen every 53 days as Juno "screams by" Jupiter, going from the north to south pole in about two hours.
"The general theme of our discoveries is really how different Jupiter looked from how we expected," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator, from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "This is a close-up and personal look at Jupiter. We thought it was uniform inside and relatively boring. What we're finding is anything but that. It's very complex. Jupiter from the poles doesn't look anything like it does from our usual view."
Jesuits Return 525 Acres to Rosebud Sioux Tribe
On Tuesday, May 2, the Jesuit-run St. Francis Mission announced it will return more than 500 acres to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. The land is within the boundaries of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, and has been held by the St. Francis mission since the 1880s.
“It’s now time to give back to the tribe all of those pieces of land that were given to the church (by the federal government) for church purposes,” said Rev. John Hatcher, president of St. Francis Mission, in a YouTube video. “We will never again put churches on those little parcels of land.”
The Jesuits are members of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests founded in the 16th century to do missionary work. Since 1886, the Jesuits have lived among the Sicangu Lakota of the Rosebud Indian Reservation.
Generally, the history between the Jesuits and Native peoples of the Americas is one that is marred with colonial onslaughts on indigenous lands, culture and life ways. The Jesuits seek to change this course and, evidently, make amends with Native peoples.
Daryl Bem Proved ESP Is Real
Having served for a time as an associate editor of JPSP, Bem knew his methods would be up to snuff. With about 100 subjects in each experiment, his sample sizes were large. He’d used only the most conventional statistical analyses. He’d double- and triple-checked to make sure there were no glitches in the randomization of his stimuli.
Even with all that extra care, Bem would not have dared to send in such a controversial finding had he not been able to replicate the results in his lab, and replicate them again, and then replicate them five more times. His finished paper lists nine separate ministudies of ESP. Eight of those returned the same effect.
Bem’s 10-year investigation, his nine experiments, his thousand subjects—all of it would have to be taken seriously. He’d shown, with more rigor than anyone ever had before, that it might be possible to see into the future. Bem knew his research would not convince the die-hard skeptics. But he also knew it couldn’t be ignored.
When the study went public, about six months later, some of Bem’s colleagues guessed it was a hoax. Other scholars, those who believed in ESP—theirs is a small but fervent field of study—saw his paper as validation of their work and a chance for mainstream credibility.