Mar 20, 2022


Octopuses were around before dinosaurs, fossil find suggests

Scientists have found the oldest known ancestor of octopuses – an approximately 330m-year-old fossil unearthed in Montana.

The researchers concluded the ancient creature lived millions of years earlier than previously believed, meaning that octopuses originated before the era of dinosaurs.

The 4.7-inch (12-cm) fossil has 10 limbs – modern octopuses have eight – each with two rows of suckers. It probably lived in a shallow, tropical ocean bay.

“It’s very rare to find soft tissue fossils, except in a few places,” said Mike Vecchione, a Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History zoologist who was not involved in the study. “This is a very exciting finding. It pushes back the ancestry much farther than previously known.”

Lost Photos Suggest Europeans Were Mummifying Their Dead Far Earlier Than We Thought

Archaeologists may have just uncovered evidence for the oldest known practice of mummification.

Human remains interred 8,000 years ago in the Sado Valley in Portugal, during the Mesolithic, appear to have been deliberately treated for mummification prior to burial. This is the first evidence for Mesolithic mummification in Europe.

It's also possibly the oldest in the world. Previously, the earliest evidence we had for deliberate mummification was dated to 7,000 years ago, to the Chinchorro mummies found in the Atacama desert in Chile.

In Egypt, famous for its ancient burial customs, the earliest evidence we have for deliberate mummification is from 5,600 years ago.

Antarctica, Arctic undergo simultaneous freakish extreme heat

Earth’s poles are undergoing simultaneous freakish extreme heat with parts of Antarctica more than 70 degrees (40 degrees Celsius) warmer than average and areas of the Arctic more than 50 degrees (30 degrees Celsius) warmer than average.

. . .

It caught officials at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, by surprise because they were paying attention to the Arctic where it was 50 degrees warmer than average and areas around the North Pole were nearing or at the melting point, which is really unusual for mid-March, said center ice scientist Walt Meier.

“They are opposite seasons. You don’t see the north and the south (poles) both melting at the same time,” Meier told The Associated Press Friday evening. “It’s definitely an unusual occurrence.”

“It’s pretty stunning,” Meier added.

“Wow. I have never seen anything like this in the Antarctic,” said University of Colorado ice scientist Ted Scambos, who returned recently from an expedition to the continent.

Space telescope’s test image of star photobombed by thousands of ancient galaxies

NASA’s new space telescope has gazed into the distant universe and shown perfect vision: a spiky image of a faraway star photobombed by thousands of ancient galaxies.

The image released Wednesday from the James Webb Space Telescope is a test shot — not an official science observation — to see how its 18 hexagonal mirrors worked together for a single coordinated image taken 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away from Earth. Officials said it worked better than expected.

Last month, NASA looked at a much closer star with 18 separate images from its mirror segments.

Scientists said they were giddy as they watched the latest test photos arrive. NASA’s test image was aimed at a star 100 times fainter than the human eye can see — 2,000 light-years away. A light-year is nearly 6 trillion miles (9.7 trillion kilometers).

NASA Just Saw Something Come Out Of A Black Hole For The First Time Ever

You don't need to be an expert in science to understand that black holes often pull things in rather than spit them out. However, NASA has just discovered something quite weird around the supermassive black hole Markarian 335.

Two NASA satellite telescopes, including the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), witnessed a black hole's corona being "launched" away from a supermassive black hole. Then a huge burst of X-ray energy emitted. So, what precisely happened? That is what scientists are currently trying to understand.

“This is the first time we have been able to link the launching of the corona to a flare,” Dan Wilkins, of Saint Mary’s University, said. “This will help us understand how supermassive black holes power some of the brightest objects in the universe.”

People describe near-death experiences in an eerily similar way. They've convinced some researchers that an afterlife exists.

Jim Tucker and Jennifer Kim Penberthy spend a lot of time thinking about the afterlife.

They're psychiatry professors at the University of Virginia. Tucker studies near-death experiences and young children who report memories of a past life. Penberthy studies both near-death experiences and after-death communications, or people who say they were visited by a deceased loved one.

Their research has convinced them there's a consciousness beyond our physical reality, they said at a South by Southwest panel in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday.

. . .

Penberthy said she's waiting for their field of research to become mainstream, the same way meditation research — once dismissed as pseudoscience — has gained credibility over time.

First Scan of the Dying Brain Reveals a "Last Recall"

Neuroscientists have recorded the activity of a dying human brain and discovered rhythmic brain wave patterns around the time of death that are similar to those occurring during dreaming, memory recall, and meditation. Now, a study published to Frontiers brings new insight into a possible organizational role of the brain during death and suggests an explanation for vivid life recall in near-death experiences.

Imagine reliving your entire life in the space of seconds. Like a flash of lightning, you are outside of your body, watching memorable moments you lived through. This process, known as ‘life recall’, can be similar to what it’s like to have a near-death experience. What happens inside your brain during these experiences and after death are questions that have puzzled neuroscientists for centuries.

However, a new study published to Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience suggests that your brain may remain active and coordinated during and even after the transition to death, and be programmed to orchestrate the whole ordeal.

. . .

“Through generating oscillations involved in memory retrieval, the brain may be playing a last recall of important life events just before we die, similar to the ones reported in near-death experiences,” Zemmar speculated. “These findings challenge our understanding of when exactly life ends and generate important subsequent questions, such as those related to the timing of organ donation.”

Study links even mild Covid-19 to changes in the brain

People who have even a mild case of Covid-19 may have accelerated aging of the brain and other changes to it, according to a new study.

The study, published Monday in the journal Nature, is believed to be the largest of its kind. It found that the brains of those who had Covid-19 had a greater loss of gray matter and abnormalities in the brain tissue compared with those who didn't have Covid-19. Many of those changes were in the area of the brain related to the sense of smell.

"We were quite surprised to see clear differences in the brain even with mild infection," lead author Gwenaëlle Douaud, an associate professor of neurosciences at the University of Oxford, told CNN in an email.

. . .

"What this study almost certainly shows is the impact, in terms of neural changes," he said. "But I don't think it helps us understand the mechanisms underpinning cognitive change after Covid infection."

Just one drink per day can shrink your brain, study says

Just one pint of beer or average glass of wine a day may begin to shrink the overall volume of the brain, a new study has found, and the damage worsens as the number of daily drinks rises.

On average, people at age 50 who drank a pint of beer or 6-ounce glass of wine (two alcohol units) a day in the last month had brains that appeared two years older than those who only drank a half of a beer (one unit), according to the study, which published Friday in the journal Nature.

The brains of people that age who said they drank three alcohol units a day had reductions in both white and gray matter that looked as if they had added 3.5 years to the ages of their brains.

. . .

In comparison, drinking four alcohol units a day aged a person's brain by more than 10 years.

YouTube Youth Pastor Celebrates Girlfriend’s 18th Birthday After Dating Her For 4 Years

A German YouTuber, Christian youth pastor, and weird COVID conspiracy movie maker is creeping out everyone on the internet and exposing what seems to be a highly disturbing pattern among such youth pastors of pursuing and even dating girls under 18. The topic began circulating on Twitter after an account posted a screenshot of an Instagram post from Pastor Joshua Wesely from late 2020 in which he celebrated that the person he was dating — for four years — had just turned 18.

The post included a photo of the couple, the very young woman gazing at Wesely lovingly while he looks into the camera (trope alert), as they hold balloons making out the number 18. There has been some debate over Wesely’s age, but the prevailing opinion seems to be that he is currently 24. He certainly looks older than his girlfriend, and Christian youth pastors are often adults.

. . .

Both Wesely and Isabelle’s Instagram accounts have been set to private following the widespread accusations of pedophilia and child abuse. Wesely doesn’t have a huge following on that platform, but his YouTube channel is still up with over 14,000 subscribers. His last video was uploaded three months ago, with videos from late 2021 titled with things like “Jesus ist mein BRO!”

Five Christian School Officials Hid Horrific Locker Room Sex Assault, Police Say

Five officials at a private Christian academy in Texas are facing felony charges over accusations they failed to notify authorities after a ninth-grader reported being sexually assaulted by an older student during a hazing incident on “freshman initiation day.”

The three administrators and two athletic coaches at Midland Christian School are identified in an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast as Superintendent Jared Owen Lee, secondary school Principal Dana Elizabeth Ellis, athletic director Gregory Neal McClendon, assistant secondary school principal Matthew David Counts, and baseball coach Barry Lee Russell.

“We are motivated in all facets by our faith in Jesus Christ, attempting to serve as a reflection of God’s unconditional love for all people,” Midland Christian’s website proclaims. “We seek to honor the Lord in all that we do by operating Midland Christian School in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. It is important to us that every word and deed engaged in by Midland Christian School, its employees, representatives, volunteers, and students be consistent with and in furtherance of Midland Christian School’s religious purposes: both publicly and privately.”

But the five school officials apparently did not live up to those tenets following the alleged January attack, which was first exposed by the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

German priest sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexually abusing children

The court in Cologne also ordered the 70-year-old priest, identified only as Hans U., to pay three co-plaintiffs in the case $56,000, The Associated Press reported, citing German outlet dpa.

The priest, who was taken into custody during the trial, was charged with 118 counts and was alleged to have abused several victims, including a girl as young as 9 years old, the AP noted.

The priest was accused of taking advantage of children when he had opportunities to be alone with them, according to the AP. The Cologne archdiocese was informed about the alleged abuse, but the priest still had opportunities to be alone with children.

Archdiocese officials have also denied responsibility.

‘Let people know what happened’: Scotland apologises for historical witch persecution

“It was injustice on a colossal scale,” said Sturgeon, who made the statement on International Women’s Day as part of a speech that also called on Scottish leaders and the public to combat modern-day misogyny.

“At a time when women were not even allowed to speak as witnesses in a courtroom, they were accused and killed because they were poor, different, vulnerable or in many cases just because they were women,” she said.

“As first minister, on behalf of the Scottish government,” Sturgeon said, “I am choosing to acknowledge that egregious, historic injustice and extend a formal, posthumous apology to all those accused, convicted, vilified or executed under the Witchcraft Act of 1563.”

That law, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament and made witchcraft or consulting with witches a capital offence, enabled the execution of an estimated 2500 people, according to the Witches of Scotland, an organisation that has been lobbying Parliament to apologise for the atrocities, pardon those who were accused and convicted, and build a memorial to commemorate the victims.

Judge orders hearing for Damien Echols’ DNA petition

Damien Echols of the infamous West Memphis Three case announced Thursday that he will be back in court this summer.

In a tweet, Echols said he and his legal team will be back in court on June 23rd to ask the judge to order the prosecutor to hand over DNA to the lab for testing. A circuit judge ordered a hearing Thursday to settle the dispute.

“The state is attempting to prevent the truth from coming out,” Echols said.

Back in December 2021, Echols’ legal team said that evidence believed to have been lost in the case was found at the West Memphis police department.

“Every single piece of it was right there. Nothing had been destroyed. It was all accounted for and cataloged,” he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Opinions and ideas expressed in the comments on this page
belong the people who stated them. Management takes no
editorial responsibility for the content of public comments.