Thursday, February 11, 2021

Archeologists find 120,000-year-old carvings in cattle bones near Israel’s Nesher Ramla; the artifact may be the oldest known use of symbols

Because the markings were carved on the same side of a relatively undamaged bone, the researchers speculate that the engravings may have held some symbolic or spiritual meaning. Per the statement, the site where researchers uncovered the fragment was most likely a meeting place for Paleolithic hunters who convened there to slaughter animals. The bone in question probably came from an auroch, a large ancestor of cows and oxen that went extinct about 500 years ago. Hunters may have used flint tools, some of which were found alongside the fragment, to fashion the engravings. Researchers used three-dimensional imaging and microscopic analysis to examine the bone and verify that its curved engravings were man-made. The analysis suggested that a right-handed artisan created the marks in a single session. Scholars are unsure of the carvings’ meaning. Though it’s possible that prehistoric hunters inadvertently made them while butchering an auroch, this explanation is unlikely, as the markings on the bone are roughly parallel, a methodical feature not often observed in butchery marks. The lines range in length from 1.5 to 1.7 inches long. Archaeologists found the bone facing upward, which could also imply that it held some special significance. Since the carver made the lines at the same time with the same tool, they probably didn’t use the bone to count events or mark the passage of time. Instead, the markings are probably a form of art or symbolism. (Smithsonian Magazine)


Quaker Oats officially retires Aunt Jemima, renaming the pancake brand Pearl Milling Company

Quaker Oats is releasing a new name and logo for its “Aunt Jemima” products, finally retiring the racist stereotype that has adorned its pancake mixes and syrups for decades. The name “Aunt Jemima,” long criticized as a racist caricature of a Black woman stemming from slavery, will be replaced with the Pearl Milling Company name and logo on the former brand’s new packaging, according to parent company PepsiCo. “We are starting a new day with Pearl Milling Company,” a PepsiCo spokesperson said. “A new day rooted in the brand’s historic beginnings and its mission to create moments that matter at the breakfast table.” PepsiCo attorneys purchased brand name and logo trademarks for Pearl Milling Company on February 1. (CNN)


CDC study finds two masks are better than one against COVID-19

U.S. government researchers found that wearing two masks are better than one in slowing coronavirus spread, but health officials stopped short of recommending that everyone double up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday reported the results of a lab experiment that spaced two artificial heads 6 feet from each other and checked to see how many coronavirus-sized particles spewed by one were inhaled by the other. The researchers found that wearing one mask, surgical or cloth, blocked around 40% of the particles coming toward the head that was breathing in. When a cloth mask was worn on top of a surgical mask, about 80% were blocked. When both the exhaling and inhaling heads were double-masked, more than 95% of the particles were blocked. The study had many limitations: The researchers used one brand of surgical mask and one kind of cloth mask, and it’s not clear if results would be the same with every product. But it echoes some earlier research that suggests two masks are better than one. (United States Center For Disease Control And Prevention)



Porn viewing in Florida spiked by 15 percent after Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl win

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl spanking of the Kansas City Chiefs made you a little “frisky”, you’re not alone. After last Sunday’s (2/7) game, a website called Stripchat revealed some data showing how traffic to the adult webcam platform went up and down throughout the big game. Traffic dropped about 12% at kickoff as folks tuned in, and then shot up about 6% during the halftime show. Interestingly enough, when the clock expired on the 31-9 shellacking, Stripchat traffic surged 15%. (Strip Chat)


Man dressed as woman, who placed dead animals on gravestone, pleads guilty

The elderly man accused of leaving more than a dozen dead animals on an old neighbor’s grave pleaded guilty earlier this week. The 79-year-old man agreed to a plea deal lowering his charges from a felony to a misdemeanor. The man was arrested in August after he was caught on surveillance video dressed up in overalls and a woman’s wig placing dead animals on the headstone. As part of the plea agreement, he must also surrender his driver’s license because of his mental health. The man was given a one-year suspended sentence and will have to pay more than $2,500 in victim restitution. (KNWA)


10.035 million births were registered in China last year, a 15% drop from 2019 and the lowest birthrate since 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was founded

Experts say that the drop is linked to high living costs and low marriage rates, as young women increasingly choose to stay single and childfree. It’s being speculated that the pandemic likely played a small role in last year’s birthrate drop. China had lifted its controversial one-child policy in 2016, the country’s birthrate has been falling for years. Officials have tried to encourage people to have more children but according to a 2017 study, 50% of families with one child did not plan to have a second. The birthrate decline has sparked fears about an eventual shortage of active workers who contribute to the country’s pension system. Approximately a third of China’s population will be over 60 by mid-century and researchers say that the state pension fund could run out of money by 2035. The data released this week continues showing a gender imbalance, with almost 53% of all newborns being boys. (The Guardian)


SpaceX started taking $99 pre-orders for its Starlink internet service

Starlink, which aims to provide high-speed internet anywhere on the planet through a constellation of thousands of satellites, began beta testing in October. SpaceX has deployed more than 1,000 Starlink satellites and aims to have 4,425 in orbit by 2024. In 2019, the Federal Communications Commission gave SpaceX permission to launch nearly 12,000 satellites, but the company said that it envisions launching as many as 42,000 satellites. Starlink is currently available in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. Last week, SpaceX said that Starlink has more than 10,000 users. CEO Elon Musk believes Starlink can generate $30B in annual revenue for SpaceX and he wants to take Starlink public when its cash flow becomes easier to project. (CNBC)


Astronomers think they may have discovered a new planet near Alpha Centauri A, a binary system some 4.37 light-years away from Earth

Researchers say that the exoplanet is probably the size of Neptune and lies within its host star’s habitable zone, meaning that it could potentially have liquid water, but more observations will be needed to confirm its existence. The international team observed the star as part of the “New Earths in the Alpha Centauri Region” (Near) experiment backed by Breakthrough Watch, an effort to find and study Earth-sized rocky planets around Alpha Centauri and other nearby stars. To look for planets around the star, the astronomers used the Very Large Telescope, or VLT, operated by the European Southern Observatory from Cerro Paranal in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The scientists were aided by a new coronagraph on the instrument that blocks out light from Alpha Centauri, making it easier to spot orbiting worlds. The team describe how infrared observations for 100 hours in May and June 2019 revealed a bright dot they have been unable to explain. If confirmed as a planet by further observations, the sighting would be the first to directly image an exoplanet around a nearby star. (Nature Communications)


The U.S. government’s plans to force the sale of TikTok to Oracle and Walmart has been called off indefinitely

The government had a February 18th deadline to respond to TikTok’s court challenge regarding the ban of the app. National Security Council spokesperson said, “We plan to develop a comprehensive approach to securing U.S. data that addresses the full range of threats we face,” referring to a broader review of Chinese tech companies’ handling of U.S. data. There is also the potential for the government to require a third party to manage TikTok’s data, which could avoid an outright sale of the company. Senior Director at the National Security Council said last year that the best way to deal with TikTok would be to ensure transparency and data privacy, instead of banning the app. (The Wall Street Journal)


You can get married under a space shuttle at this California science museum

The California Science Center in Los Angeles is offering two of its spaces for couples looking to hold a coronavirus-safe and striking wedding. The science museum’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Pavilion and Wallis Annenberg Building are available. The shuttle pavilion is home to the space shuttle Endeavour, according to the museum’s website. Other machines in the museum’s space gallery include the Apollo-Soyuz Command Module and the Mercury MR-2 and Gemini 11 space capsules. Meanwhile, the Annenberg Building is a venue not normally open to the public which includes a reflecting pool and a bamboo garden with a pond. The museum’s vice president of event services said that the museum wants to provide service for couples who had to postpone weddings because of the pandemic and are now finding a shortage of venues caused by pent-up demand. Couples who book the venue will also have unique options like access to the museum’s exhibit galleries. They will also receive a list of approved wedding planners and caterers. The museum has not yet been able to reopen because of local health orders, but couples can tentatively hold dates pending its reopening. Events will need to adhere to local and state guidelines when events can resume. (Fox News)


Man will not face charges for fatally shooting car thief in Miami Beach

A South Florida man will not face charges for fatally shooting a car thief who took off with his boss’ Mercedes-Benz G-class SUV in Miami Beach, prosecutors announced. According to the closeout memo, the 50-year-old man shot the 58-year-old suspect on December 18, 2018, outside Hand Car Wash. Prosecutors said the man had taken the luxury vehicle, which is owned by his employers, to the car wash when he saw the suspect get into the driver’s seat of the vehicle and try to drive away. Prosecutors said the man ran outside of the car wash waiting area and shouted at the suspect to try to stop him. As he stepped into the path of the Mercedes, which was traveling at a high rate of speed, he fired two shots at the driver-side door, shooting the suspect once in the head, the closeout memo stated. Prosecutors have since cleared the man of wrongdoing, saying in the closeout memo that he had the legal right to stand his ground and use deadly force to protect himself from death or great bodily harm while the suspect was committing and escaping from committing a forcible felony. (Local 10 News)


More Than 40% of Languages Are at Risk of Fading Away Completely

Of the 7,000 languages spoken around the world, over 40 percent are at risk of fading away from regular use. Pressures for certain people to stop using their native tongues have persisted for centuries and in some cases, they threaten to reduce the number of native speakers down to zero. As the number of active speakers of a given tongue dwindles, so can understanding about what that language’s words and phrases refer to. The potential loss of these languages, and all they represent, has motivated many to step up their preservation efforts. (Discover Magazine)


Gorilla Glue Challenge sends Louisiana man to the ER

A Louisiana native has a message for anyone who wants to try the #gorrillagluechallenge, “Don’t do it!” He said he did the challenge to prove that the viral seen with a woman who sprayed gorilla glue adhesive in her hair, was not as serious as she made it seem. “Everyone is on social media, everyday there is a new challenge, but I did not think it would go this far”, he said. In a Facebook video, he says that he believed he could glue the Red Solo cup to his lip and lick it right off. As you can imagine, this led to the man having to make a trip to the ER. He described what the doctor did as “painful peeling.” The Louisiana native was told that if it does not heal correctly, the tip of his lip will have to be taken off via surgery. He now says this is not the challenge you want to try. Gorilla Glue concurs with the man in a statement: “Our spray adhesive states in the warning label, “do not swallow, Do not get in eyes, on skin or on clothing…” It is used for craft, home, auto or office projects to mount things to surfaces such as paper, cardboard, wood, laminate and fabric.” His message to the public is “do not try this.” (KLFY)


Thursday Catches On With:

  • Be Electrific Day
  • Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day
  • Get Out Your Guitar Day
  • Giving Hearts Day (2nd Thursday)
  • International Day of Women and Girls in Science
  • Inventors Day
  • Make a Friend Day
  • Peppermint Patty Day
  • Pro Sports Wives Day
  • Shut-in Visitation Day
  • Satisfied Staying Single Day
  • Virtual Stomach Cancer Awareness Day
  • White Shirt Day or White T-shirt Day
  • World Day of The Sick

Add a Comment