Modern humans ’44 000 years ago’

first_img31 July 2012 An international team, including scientists from South Africa’s Wits University, has published research that substantially increases the age at which we can trace the emergence of behaviourally modern humans – through direct links to the San people of southern Africa. The question of when and where anatomically modern humans first emerged (Africa, about 200 000 years ago, the evidence indicates) still leaves open the question: when and where did human cultures similar to ours emerge? Until now, most archaeologists believed the oldest traces of San hunter-gatherer culture in southern Africa dated back 10 000 or at most 20 000 years. The new research – published online in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday – pushes this much further back in time, to 44 000 years ago.Border Cave, South Africa The research team, comprising scientists from South Africa, France, Italy, Norway, the USA and Britain, drew its conclusions from archaeological material discovered at Border Cave in South Africa. Located in the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal province, the site has yielded exceptionally well-preserved organic material. According to Lucinda Backwell, a senior researcher at Wits University’s Bernard Price Institute for Paleontological Research, the dating and analysis of this material “has allowed us to demonstrate that many elements of material culture that characterise the lifestyle of San hunter-gatherers in southern Africa were part of the culture and technology of the inhabitants of this site 44 000 years ago.” Backwell said in a statement on Monday that the team’s results had shown without a doubt that, at around 44 000 years ago, the people at Border Cave were using digging sticks weighted with perforated stones, like those traditionally used by the San.Earliest evidence of use of poison, beeswax “They adorned themselves with ostrich egg and marine shell beads, and notched bones for notational purposes,” said Backwell. “They fashioned fine bone points for use as awls and poisoned arrowheads. One point is decorated with a spiral groove filled with red ochre, which closely parallels similar marks that San make to identify their arrowheads when hunting.” According to the researchers, chemical analysis of residues on a wooden stick decorated with incisions reveals that, like San objects used for the same purpose, it was used to hold and carry a poison-containing ricinoleic acid found in castor beans. This represents the earliest evidence for the use of poison. A lump of beeswax, mixed with the resin of toxic Euphorbia, and possibly egg, was wrapped in vegetal fibres made from the inner bark of a woody plant. “This complex compound used for hafting arrowheads or tools, directly dated to 40 000 years ago, is the oldest known evidence of the use of beeswax,” said Backwell. Warthog tusks were shaped into awls and possibly spear heads. The use of small pieces of stone to arm hunting weapons was confirmed by the discovery of resin residue still adhering to some of the tools, which chemical analysis identified as a suberin (waxy substance) produced from the sap of Podocarpus (yellowwood) trees. The study of stone tools discovered in the same archaeological layers as the organic remains, and from older deposits, showed a gradual evolution in stone tool technology, the researchers found. Organic artifacts ‘appeared relatively abruptly’ “Organic artifacts, unambiguously reminiscent of San material culture, appear relatively abruptly, highlighting an apparent mismatch in rates of cultural change. “This finding supports the view that what we perceive today as ‘modern behaviour’ is the result of non-linear trajectories that may be better understood when documented at a regional scale.” The research team, led by Francesco d’Errico, director of research at the French National Research Centre, published its findings in the articles: “Early evidence of San material culture represented by organic artifacts from Border Cave, South Africa”. The team comprised d’Errico, Backwell, Paola Villa, Ilaria Degano, Jeannette Luceiko, Marion Bamford – a palaeobotanist also from the Bernard Price Institute – Thomas Higham, Maria Perla Colombini, and Peter Beaumont. A second article, “Border Cave and the Beginning of the Later Stone Age in South Africa”, was also published on Monday. The authors were Paola Villa, Sylvain Soriano, Tsenka Tsanova, Ilaria Degano, Thomas Higham, Francesco d’Errico, Lucinda Backwell, Jeannette Luceiko, Maria Perla Colombini and Peter Beaumont. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

After Ballmer: One Microsoft, Or Many?

first_img3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Tags:#Bing#Microsoft#Office#Windows#Xbox brian proffitt Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Related Posts center_img IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Steve Ballmer will be out as Microsoft CEO sometime within the next 12 months. Will his successor run the same company Ballmer is leaving?There have always been calls to break up the software giant, dating back to the days when the Department of Justice successfully painted Microsoft as a monopoly. At the time, the government was unwilling to go that far. But with Microsoft’s top leadership now on the way out, the question is again coming to the fore.There are two scenarios in which Microsoft could split up. The first fault line falls along the enterprise and consumer boundary: one new company would sell or manage Windows, Office, Bing and Xbox to consumers and the other, more enterprise-oriented company dealing with Windows Azure, SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics and SQL Server.See also: Steve Ballmer Announces His Retirement As Microsoft CEO and Microsoft’s Best Bet For Its Next CEO Currently Runs NokiaThe pros of this sort of split are pretty obvious: each business would be able to focus on its core customer base and pull the most profit out of their brands.But in recent months, Microsoft has stated its intentions to become a “devices and services” company. This has been reflected in its corporate decisions and marketing strategies, but it could also make a difference in how a hypothetical split could occur.One such idea would be to not split the company so much as keep a solid core and sell off everything else. That core could include Windows 8 (with Windows Phone), the Windows Azure cloud platform, SharePoint and Office 365. Everything else that wasn’t strictly a device or service (Xbox, SQL Server or Microsoft Dynamics) could be sold off piecemeal or consolidated into new spinoff companies.See also How The Internet Of Things Will ThinkBing is the oddball here. It’s most definitely a service and should stay in the core company, but it is also losing money (though admittedly less money than when it started). But I think Bing should stay. If and when Windows mobile devices take off, a homegrown search engine will be better than outsourcing search to Google.A smaller, leaner Microsoft would have a big impact on the rest of the IT industry, since so many partners and customers are directly touched by Microsoft. But with all of the extra baggage the company has been lugging around for decades, now might be a great time to shed some weight and come out a stronger company in the end.Something needs to be done, though, and soon. Since 2001, Microsoft shares have risen just 33% growth, while the rest of the NASDAQ jumped 59% in the same period. And Microsoft has seen the writing on the wall, at least to judge from its recent management reorganization.See also Microsoft Tries Again To Aim All Its Guns Outside The CompanyThere are arguments to be made, of course, for keeping the company together. Bing has serious potential to be a key component for any Internet of Things strategy Microsoft might have. Xbox could be a big gateway for Microsoft in the living room.But it’s going to be a tough slog. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

Kris Dunns Improvisational Brilliance Is Good For Providence — And For College

He worked on a more consistent step-back, which he now uses when he drives the lane or is in isolation, rising high in the air with a ramrod-straight form that gives him a clean look at the rim. Providence coach Ed Cooley is also using Dunn off the ball, letting teammate Kyron Cartwright run point while Dunn comes off several screens. That allows Dunn to either feed Ben Bentil, a hulking sophomore forward — or catch-and-shoot a pass from a teammate. Dunn spent the offseason working with former Providence guard God Shammgod, who has become a quasi mentor-trainer to Dunn. They had several goals in mind: First, Dunn needed to upgrade his jump shot, which was wildly inconsistent from just about everywhere on the court. Second, he needed to tighten his handle to limit turnovers. And third, he had to develop several countermoves, should savvy defenders who had studied game film fail to bite on Dunn’s initial move.Dunn’s jump shot as a sophomore was streaky — a reel full of bad, caroming rocks that either just hit the backboard or fell wildly off the back iron. Since his long arms make it nearly impossible for a defender to block his shot, it was a priority that he improve this component of his game to maximize his advantages. He also gets great separation thanks to a quick first step and a backpack full of crosses, between-the-legs moves and feints. Providence’s Kris Dunn won’t win player of the year honors (that’ll almost certainly go to Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield), nor will he be the top choice in the upcoming NBA draft (LSU’s Ben Simmons should be No. 1), but he’s worth watching for the way his unique set of skills turns into thrilling plays — for better and worse. The 6-foot-4 junior is the most exciting player in the game, precisely because he isn’t as cookie cutter as other top prospects.Dunn did two things particularly well last season, as I covered in-depth last year in an article for Deadspin1At the time, I wish he had used the momentum of his standout sophomore season to declare for the NBA draft, where he would have likely been a first-round pick.: He had a preternatural sense of where his fellow Friars were at all times on the court, and he used his length and athleticism to finish plays that, at first glance, appeared ill-advised. There were countless possessions where Dunn would dribble off a screen 25 feet from the basket and whip a one-handed underhand pass to a cutter for the dunk; or, with enough time to run a set play in overtime, he would instead push the ball frenetically up the court to hit a teammate for an and-one before the defense set.College point guards don’t typically make those decisions. More often they make the careful pass — the assist the coach has hard-coded into the play call — or the pass they’ve practiced for years and feel comfortable throwing. Dunn, though, has such innate skill and creativity that he attempts passes that should have a high rate of failure, but often succeed because the defense isn’t expecting them. That style allowed Dunn to lead the nation in assist percentage (at a staggering 50.0 percent last season, and 44.2 during this campaign2To put this in context, just 23 other high-major point guards had assist rates above 30 percent, and just two — Denzel Valentine of Michigan State and Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans — topped 40 percent.). Thrilling as all that was, it often led to some alarmingly bad turnovers — about 20 percent of his possessions — even when you take into account his high usage rate.But this season, the consensus is that Dunn is the nation’s top point guard. To become it, Dunn had to make a few tweaks to his game. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Dunn’s spot-up numbers are still below average, but he now scores one point per catch-and-shoot possession — that’s pretty good, and a vast improvement over the .76 points he scored a year ago. And his jumper should only get better given the fundamental improvements he made in the offseason. Dunn is connecting on 37 percent of his threes while taking them at a far higher rate than last season — 25.9 percent of his field goal attempts, up from 19.7 last season. He now shoots with the perfect follow through — his arms extend and his hands rest like they’re in a cookie jar. The shots that were ugly bricks are beginning to show just a little more touch, like the game winner he hit against Creighton, which hit the flat section of the bucket that connects to the backboard, died on the rim, and finally rolled softly in.Some have criticized Dunn, and his NBA potential, because of his turnovers. Though the guard assists on 45 percent of Providence’s shots, which is second in Division I, he also gives the ball away on 85 of his 425 possessions (through Providence’s loss to Marquette this week). Since Dunn’s dimes typically account for about 2.4 points in the halfcourt and transition, the Friars have missed out on more than 200 points this season when Dunn loses control.On other teams, those miscues might find a guard strapped to the bench. But for Dunn the giveaways don’t matter. A 25-foot pass through Xavier’s 1-3-1 zone defense during a game in late February is the kind of play Cooley wants, regardless of the risk. Midway through the first half, Dunn saw a brief opening between Larry Austin and Kaiser Gates, and threaded a pass (from Providence’s half-court logo) to Bentil, who certainly wasn’t calling for the ball but was able to convert an and-one. Similarly, Cooley needs his junior guard to consistently draw the defense’s attention so his Friar ‘mates can benefit from that extra second of breathing room. This happened in a Villanova victory when Dunn slipped a backdoor pass to Junior Lomomba: He wasn’t doubled, but Dunn reacted to all five Villanova players tracking his moves as he came off a Bentil pick. Again, Lomomba wasn’t exactly expecting the ball, but he made the lay-up. Sure, Dunn will take some shots — like a one-on-three fast break that has become a bit of a staple of his game this season — that might cause some to cringe. But Cooley is willing to incur the cost of a few bad shots if it means his squad can operate with offensive impunity.Dunn’s impact on the game, negative and positive, is what makes him so fascinating to watch. Buddy Hield, Ben Simmons, and Maryland’s Melo Trimble are equally as talented, impressive, and fun to watch, but none inspire quite the same combination of mouth-agape incredulity and absolute production as Dunn. So when he puts the ball behind his back, then crosses over Michigan State’s Tum Tum Nairn, only to follow with a spin move to the rack and then misses the layup, don’t think of it as a wasted possession. Instead, imagine it as a thrilling experiment in risk and reward, the type of audacious and improvisational brilliance that the college game doesn’t produce anymore. read more

Blocked from Giving Away 3DPrinted Gun Blueprints Texas Man Says Hes Selling

first_img Share Bob Daemmrich for The Texas TribuneCody Wilson, whose Defense Distributed is selling blueprints for 3D-printed guns, in his company’s Austin headquarters.An Austin resident and self-described “crypto-anarchist” said Tuesday he’ll begin selling blueprints that would allow users to 3D print their own plastic guns, a day after a federal judge extended a temporary block preventing him from making the plans available on the web for free.In other words: If he can’t be the “Napster” of crypto-guns, he’ll be the “iTunes,” Cody Wilson told reporters at a press conference Tuesday in Austin.The decision may put Wilson, currently at the center of a slew of court disputes across the country, on shaky legal footing. Wilson has argued in court that preventing him from publishing the blueprints infringes on his First Amendment rights. But Monday’s injunction said the potential harms to Wilson’s First Amendment rights “are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the States are likely to suffer” if he was permitted to post the blueprints for free. Nearly two dozen states that lined up against Wilson in court have said the untraceable plastic guns made using the blueprints would pose an enormous security risk.Wilson called the injunction “hysterical,” saying that the order allows his company to sell the designs and distribute them to customers through the mail, over email and with secure downloadable links. Wilson said he has already received 400 orders, according to the Associated Press.Josh Blackman, Wilson’s lawyer, said in an interview Tuesday that selling the blueprints directly to people within the United States is perfectly legal.“It’s not about distribution, it’s about posting them,” Blackman said. “There’s no prohibition on distributing these files — the prohibition is on doing it in a way that foreign persons can access.”But the Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is leading a 19-state challenge to Wilson, has characterized the block differently.“I am very concerned about 3-D printable guns, wherever they are,” Ferguson said earlier this month. Thanks to the federal judge in Seattle, he said, “federal firearm import and export laws once again prohibit the distribution of these downloadable gun files. Anyone who posts downloadable guns to the internet is violating federal law. It is the federal government’s job to enforce those laws, and I urge it to enforce them aggressively as to these prohibited items.”Wilson’s organization, Defense Distributed, is allowing customers to set their own price for any of 10 gun designs posted on his website. The guns appear to be available for as little as one cent.Wilson’s legal woes stretch back to 2013, when he posted blueprints for the 3D gun. The State Department ordered him to stop, arguing he was illegally exporting sensitive arms technology. Wilson sued in 2015, and Defense Distributed reached a settlement with the State Department earlier this summer, seemingly clearing the way for him to begin posting the designs online. But he was stalled by a flurry of lawsuits across the country.last_img read more

What DDoS Attacks Are and How to Survive Them

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Illustration from Shutterstock.comNever heard of a DDoS attack? Small companies that do business online ought to learn about this growing online threat — and figure out how they’ll respond should one ever hit them.Consider what happened to Los Angeles-based business-planning publishing and advisory company Growthink. Last September, a surprise flood of bogus traffic knocked its website off the internet for several days. Growthink turned to its hosting firm for help, only to have its website sidelined so other sites wouldn’t be collateral damage. It finally recovered by hiring a DDoS-protection firm, BlockDos, to filter out the bad traffic. Then it moved to a new hosting service, Rackspace, so it would be better prepared next time.”It was pretty intense,” says Kevin McGinn, Growthink’s IT director. “We had no idea why we were being singled out.”Growthink had suffered a “distributed denial-of-service” attack. In a DDoS attack, legitimate site visitors are denied access by hackers who immobilize the site either with a flood of bogus internet traffic or a surgical strike that exhausts the resources of a specific web application. Successful attacks can cripple business operations. Growthink estimates its website outage erased $50,000 in revenue.Related: Why You Might Need to Rethink Your Internet Security — NowAs Growthink discovered, it isn’t always clear who’s out to get you. Experts say e-commerce outfits and other businesses that rely heavily on the web for their livelihoods are most at risk. Smaller companies are most often attacked by unscrupulous competitors and extortionists, although disgruntled former employees, vandals and “hacktivists,” or hackers with a political agenda, are also known culprits.With both the number and ferocity of attacks rising, DDoS incidents are a growing threat. In the last year, CloudFlare, a San Francisco cloud-based web performance and security firm, said it has seen a 700 percent rise in DDoS traffic.Small companies are increasingly finding themselves in the crosshairs, experts say, as the cost of mounting attacks drops and large companies get better at stopping them. Attackers can rent “botnets” of 1,000 hijacked malware-infected home PCs capable of taking down sites of most small-to-medium-sized businesses for only $400 a week, according to Incapsula, a competitor to CloudFlare that’s a subsidiary of security firm Imperva, both of Redwood Shores, Calif.Even modest extortionists can profit. Australian e-commerce company Endless Wardrobe received an email in May demanding $3,500 via Western Union. When the firm didn’t comply, its site was knocked offline for a week by a torrent of bogus visits. The downtime cut revenue by at least the amount of the demanded ransom.Here are tips on how to survive if you find your business under a DDoS attack, too.Related: How to Make Your Website Hacker-ProofFind a hosting service or ISP that will help. Many hosting services put large numbers of small websites on the same servers to boost efficiency. That’s fine until one site is attacked and the hosting company takes it offline so other customers on the server aren’t hurt as well.Check your contracts and speak with your hosting service or internet service provider, or ISP, to find out what it will do if you come under attack. Will it help you stop the attack and recover, and if so, at what cost? Will it send you a giant bill because an attack generated a ton of extra traffic to your site?A growing number of these service providers are offering security features, including DDoS protection, as a way to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. Such companies, which often employ technology from specialists such as Arbor Networks, include Firehost, Rackspace and iWeb.Hire help.Companies that provide website acceleration services also often help fend off DDoS attacks. For instance, CloudFlare provides a free basic level of DDoS protection that it says will stop most attacks, and two tiers of service at $20 and $200 a month that can stop larger attacks. Incapsula includes DDoS protection as part of its Enterprise tier of service for an undisclosed fee.If you’re targeted with a highly sophisticated attack, however, you may want to consider hiring a DDoS-protection specialist, such as Prolexic, a cloud-based security company based in Hollywood, Fla.Investigate ways to fortify your site.CloudFlare co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince suggests using nginx web server software — favored by the likes of Netflix and WordPress — because it can be more resistant to DDoS than other programs. He also recommends using the latest versions of your web software, such as WordPress and shopping carts, to prevent some application-based attacks.Related: How to Determine If Cyber Insurance Coverage Is Right for You August 2, 2012 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »last_img read more

Neanderthals may not have been as clever as thought

first_imgAccording to a study by the University of Tübingen and New York University (NYU), Neanderthals​ may not have been as clever as previously supposed. The experimental archaeology project found that a wood tar used by the cousins of Homo sapiens as a glue to construct tools didn’t require as complex a process as once thought, suggesting that Neanderthal tool making isn’t necessarily evidence of a high level of cognitive and cultural development.One of the problems in understanding the past is how much technology has advanced over the millennia while leaving little or no record of how things used to be done. The result is that archaeologists often look at ancient people doing something extremely complicated like smelting metal or baking bread and then throwing up their hands in frustration as to figuring out how they did it.It’s for this reason that experimental archaeology was developed, where researchers look at old folk skills or try to reverse engineer an ancient technology. As a result, many seemingly impossible technological feats became understandable because the processes were simpler or used for a different purpose. AllMedX What diseases can cause xerostomia? Learn which ones on Allmedx.com. We recommend Why is dry mouth worse at night? Learn the answer at Allmedx.com. Is dry mouth a concern for people with AIDS? Check the latest information Allmedx.com. Gel treatment for dry mouth. Learn more at Allmedx.com. Google Analytics settings What are the main ingredients in this spray for dry mout? Learn the answer on Allmedx.com Privacy policy AllMedX Does wearing dentures make dry mouth worse? Visit Allmedx.com to learn how to get relief. For example, experiments in how copper was first smelted started out by throwing chunks of malachite on a campfire and wondering why it wouldn’t melt, to eventually discovering that the first copper had more to do with a happy accident when ancient potters used copper ores to paint their fired pots, only to find beads of metal in their kilns.However, it’s an approach that can also produce some blind alleys. One case in point, according to the Tübingen/NYU team, is that of Neanderthals and wood tar.Making tar out of wood is a very well understood process that was practiced on an industrial scale until relatively recently and is still used today. But it’s a very complex process that requires either vessels made out of metal or ceramics, or the construction of charcoal burners where wood is meticulously stacked, sealed under earth and clay, and then set alight, so the wood turns into charcoal in the absence of oxygen, and tar, pitch, and turpentine distill out.This is one of the reasons why many scientists believe that Neanderthals were very advanced from an intellectual and cultural point of view. Studies of their tools showed that they used wood tar as glue to stick bits of flint to handles of wood or bone, so they must have been pretty hot stuff in the brain department to figure out how to make that tar.But when researchers at the University of Tübingen, NYU’s University’s Department of Anthropology and the Tandon School of Engineering looked at the problem, they found that there was a simple way to get tar out of a raw material like birch bark. Instead of constructing a complex apparatus, the team took fresh or dead birch bark and burned it near flat river stones.They found that after three hours, the stones were covered with a black, sticky mess – wood tar. This was easily scraped from the stones and analysis demonstrated that the tar was molecularly similar to that found on Neanderthal tools. AllMedX Yes No AllMedX I consent to the use of Google Analytics and related cookies across the TrendMD network (widget, website, blog). Learn more AllMedX AllMedX Powered by The team then used the tar to construct a test tool that a robot arm dragged with great precision across a test bed 170 times, yet it showed no signs of the adhesive bond weakening. In addition, they constructed a tool using the tar to attach a stone scraper to a wooden handle, which was then used to scrape the tough outer membrane from the thigh bone of a calf.Because the stone method is so simple and could have been discovered by the Neanderthals so easily at any camp site, the study concluded that the presence of tar-glued tools is not an indicator of complex behavior or organization.The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).Source: New York Universitylast_img read more