Category Archives: Technology News

New human ancestor discovered?: Eithiopia Hominid

New human ancestor discovered?: Eithiopia Hominid, In 1974, anthropologists in Ethiopia found the astonishing fossilized remains of a human-like creature who last walked the planet some 3.2 million years ago.

Was “Lucy,” as the hominid was called, the direct ancestor of Homo sapiens? Was she “The Mother of Mankind,” as some headlines claimed?

Over the years, the dramatic assertion has come under attack by doubters, who point to ancient yet inconclusive finds in Kenya and Chad.

But a new fossil, reported on Wednesday, may have dealt Lucy’s claimed status an irreversible blow.

Another species of hominid lived at the same time and in the same Afar region of Ethiopia, according to the paper, published in the journal Nature.

Named Australopithecus deyiremeda, the hominid and Lucy are probably only part of a wider group of candidates for being our direct forerunners, the finders said.

“The new species is yet another confirmation that Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, was not the only potential human ancestor species that roamed in what is now the Afar,” said Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

“Current fossil evidence . . . clearly shows that there were at least two, if not three, early human species living at the same time and in close geographic proximity.”

The find, in the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar region, comprises fossilized remains of an upper and lower jaw, dated to a range of 3.3 million to 3.5 million years ago.

This overlaps with the range given to Lucy, of 2.9 million to 3.8 million years ago.

The bones are clearly different from Lucy’s, with teeth of different size, shape and enamel thickness and a more robust lower jaw, said the study.

They were found in March 2011 on top of silty clay in the Burtele area, about 500 km (325 miles) northeast of Addis Ababa and 35 km north of Hadar, where Lucy was found.

The estimated age is derived from radioactive dating of the soil and from paleomagnetic data, which trace changes in Earth’s magnetic field — recorded in iron-bearing sediment — as a calendar.

The name “deyiremeda” means “close relative” in the language of the Afar people.

Bernard Wood of George Washington University, who didn’t participate in the new work, said the discovery provides “compelling evidence” that a second creature lived in the vicinity of Lucy’s species at the same time.

The next question, he said, is how they shared the landscape.

But Tim White, an evolution expert at the University of California, Berkeley was unimpressed with the anatomical evidence cited as showing that the new fossils represent a previously unknown species. He said he thinks the fossils actually come from Lucy’s species.

“Anatomical variation within a biological species is normal,” he said in an email. “That’s why so many announcements of this sort are quickly overturned.”

Understanding the human odyssey has always been a fraught business, complicated by the rarity of fossil finds and sometimes fierce squabbles about where — or even if — they should be placed in the family tree.

The same team had previously found the 3.4-million-year remains of a foot in the same region, but were unable to assign the fossil to a particular hominid species.

“Some of our colleagues are going to be skeptical about this new species, which is not unusual,” Haile-Selassie admitted. “However, I think it is time that we look into the earlier phases of our evolution with an open mind and carefully examine the currently available fossil evidence rather than immediately dismissing the fossils that do not fit our long-held hypotheses.”

Only a week earlier, anthropologists shook the coveted position held by Homo habilis, the hominid deemed to have come before Homo sapiens.

Habilis — “handy man” in Latin — has traditionally been enshrined as a benchmark of hominid smartness, endowed with a bigger brain and greater dexterity than his predecessors.

But earlier hominids may have had some of his skills, if the May 20 study is right.

Hubble observes strange ‘Nasty’ star: Hubble Nasty

Hubble observes strange ‘Nasty’ star: Hubble Nasty, Nasa’s Hubble space telescope has spotted a weird star in our galaxy and has been nicknamed “nasty” owing to its behaviour never seen before.

The hefty, rapidly ageing star “Nasty 1″ may represent a brief transitory stage in the evolution of extremely massive stars.

First discovered several decades ago, “Nasty 1″ was identified as a Wolf-Rayet star, a rapidly-evolving star that is much more massive than Sun.

The star loses its hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing its super-hot and extremely bright helium-burning core.

But “Nasty 1″ does not look like a typical Wolf-Rayet star.

Hubble revealed a pancake-shaped disk of gas encircling the star.

The vast disk is nearly two trillion miles wide.

Based on current estimates, the nebula surrounding the stars is just a few thousand years old and as close as 3,000 light-years from the Earth.

According to astronomers, this disc is the result of an exceedingly rare occurrence wherein two Wolf-Rayets form within the same solar system and one star’s hydrogen fuel is siphoned off by its smaller companion.

“We were excited to see this disk-like structure because it may be evidence for a Wolf-Rayet star forming from a binary interaction,” explained study leader Jon Mauerhan from the University of California-Berkeley in a statement.

There are very few examples in the galaxy of this process in action because this phase is short-lived, perhaps lasting only a hundred thousand years, while the timescale over which a resulting disk is visible could be only ten thousand years or less.

“What evolutionary path the star will take is uncertain, but it will definitely not be boring,” the authors noted.

Pillars Of Eternity

Pillars Of Eternity, If you like RPGs you must play Pillars of Eternity. If you like RPGs but only have five minutes, you must play its character creation.

Obsidian’s Kickstarted spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate boasts a great deal of complexity and depth, with a strong emphasis on player choice. At least that’s what I’ve gleaned from the first 300 seconds of the game.

Behold the pulsating adventure of its Steam page description:

Prepare to be enchanted by a world where the choices you make and the paths you choose shape your destiny. Obsidian Entertainment, the developer of Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth, together with Paradox Interactive is proud to present Pillars of Eternity.

Recapture the deep sense of exploration, the joy of a pulsating adventure, and the thrill of leading your own band of companions across a new fantasy realm and into the depths of monster-infested dungeons in search of lost treasures and ancient mysteries.

So gather your party, venture forth, and embrace adventure as you delve into a realm of wonder, nostalgia, and the excitement of classic RPGs with Obsidian’s Pillars of Eternity!

But before you do that, create a character. To be honest, I sped through what we did get to see-I easily could have gone 15 minutes in character creation alone.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Price

Samsung Galaxy S6 Price, As expected, the premium design on the Galaxy S6 means pricing is going up, but not dramatically so. The 32GB model will cost $679.92, the 64GB model for $759.99, and the 128GB version for $859.99. For those interested in T-Mobile payment plans, the 32GB model can be yours for $0 down with 24 monthly payments of $28.33, the 64GB model for $99 down and 24 monthly payments of $27.50, and finally the 128GB model for $199.99 down and 24 monthly payments of $27.50.

The Galaxy S6 Edge’s pricing has also been revealed, coming in at $779.76, $859.83 and $959.83 for the 32, 64 and 128GB versions respectively. Monthly payment rates will begin at $0 down with 24 monthly payments of $32.49, with the 64GB and 128GB models costing $31.66 a month, with the former requiring a $99.99 down payment and the later requiring $199.99 down.

Keep in mind that all of these devices also come with a free year of Netflix for those buying from the Uncarrier, a value of $107.88.

AT&T pricing details
While T-Mobile breaks down the pricing for all models, AT&T isn’t quite as clear. The carrier will carry the 32GB, 64GB and 128GB storage options in black, white or gold but only has outed pricing for the 32GB Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

The Galaxy S6 start at $22.84 monthly (for 30 months total) on Next 24, which comes to $685.20. The Galaxy S6 Edge starts at $27.17 a month (for 30 months total) on Next 24, at a total cost of $815.10. The AT&T Galaxy S6 offerings don’t come with a year of free Netflix, but they are offering $50 off on the purchase of a Samsung Gear Circle Bluetooth Stereo headset through AT&T Next.

4 Gas Mileage Myths You Probably Believe

4 Gas Mileage Myths You Probably Believe, The summer road-trip season is here, and according to AAA, consumers can expect to see prices to hover around last summer’s high of $3.55 and $3.70 per gallon. Can you have your fun in the sun while avoiding pain at the pump?

Increasingly, newer cars are smashing old gas-saving truisms. For instance, buying a smaller car seems like a reasonable way to achieve higher gas mileage. However, compare a subcompact like the smart fortwo, which gets 38 mpg to a Chevrolet Cruze”s 36 mpg, and it becomes clear that smaller isn’t always better. Plus, the Cruze can fit five passengers and contains 15 cubic feet of space, while the ForTwo can only squeeze two passengers in 12 cubic feet of space.

Larger, longer sedans give more room for air to flow smoothly around the car than smaller shorter models, which reduces drag while highway driving.

It was once common knowledge that manual transmissions were more efficient, but improvements to automatic transmission mean the fuel use is now often about the same. The same goes for premium gasoline. Unless a car is specifically designed for high-grade gas, the extra cash per gallon is going to go up in smoke.

If everything you thought you knew about saving money on gas is wrong, then what can you do to cut down on fuel costs this summer? Here are a few tips:

Regular Maintenance

New air filters and regular oil changes are good for your car and wallet. Also, take a look at your tires before any road trip. The Environmental Protection Agency says even a slightly under-inflated tires can cost a car in fuel efficiency. By keeping you tires properly inflated, you can improve your vehicle’s gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, which works out to an equivalent gasoline savings of approximately $0.11 per gallon.

Use Cruise Control

There are times when cruise control isn’t appropriate, such as heavy traffic or when climbing hilly roads,
but if you’re driving over relatively even terrain, cruise control can prevent unnecessary speed changes which waste gas. Cruise control can also keep drivers from creeping up in speed on long trips, saving you money on gas.

Slow Down

Highway driving is the most efficient way to get around, but speed too much and those savings go out the tailpipe. Fueleconomy.gov estimates each 5 mph over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. You don’t want to drive too slowly on the highway of course, but keeping your speed around or under 70 mph can save a lot of cash on fuel, not to mention speeding tickets.

Travel light, store right

Excessive weight can ruin fuel efficiency in any car, so it is important to prioritize when packing for a long road trip. How you stow your stuff can also have a major effect on gas bills. Hauling cargo on your roof, for example, increases aerodynamic drag and lowers fuel economy by around 2 percent to 8 percent in city driving and 10 percent to 25 percent at Interstate speeds according to fueleconomy.gov.

What Gov’t Will Build Near West PH Sea

What Gov’t Will Build Near West PH Sea, The Philippines also plans its move as China continues to consolidate its West Philippine Sea claim., Defense Dept. to build Air Force facilities near West PH sea, Two Air Force facilities will be built to upgrade the military’s maritime defense over the West Philippine Sea.

The facilities, which will be located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan and in Sanga-Sanga in Tawi-Tawi, are part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) modernization program.

These will support the security and rescue operations at the Malampaya plant, the Reed Banks, and the future Sulu oil rig, the Department of National Defense (DND) said.

Last week, the DND also signed a P882-million contract with an Israeli firm for 28 armored infantry fighting vehicles.

The defense department is also expecting deliveries of additional fighter jets and rotary aircraft.

Oops! Google Offers Entire Nation An Apology

Oops! Google Offers Entire Nation An Apology, A major European square reverts to its World War II-era name on an online map for a few hours., Google apologizes for Berlin map gaffe echoing Third Reich, Google has apologized after someone discovered a popular spot in Berlin had somehow been temporarily renamed in the company’s online map service for the particluarly infamous character to whom it was once dedicated: Adolf Hitler.

The eerie error was apparently discovered by Nico Hagenburger, who posted a screenshot of the mistake to Twitter. The gaffe was first reported by German paper B.Z.

I was at Adolf Hitler Square today-as of GoogleMaps. I thought sb. renamed it before the WWW https://t.co/mT5dal25zz pic.twitter.com/HSxUHZIEEC

– Nico Hagenburger (@Hagenburger) January 9, 2014
“How could this happen?” bellowed top-selling German daily Bild.

The street is actually called Theodor-Heuss-Platz, in honor of the man who served as president of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1959.

The popular Berlin square was called Adolf Hitler Platz for 14 years of the Third Reich era. It was to have played a major role in Hitler’s planned “Germania,” a reimagining of Berlin as an international capital under Nazism, Raw Story reported.

Google has since apologized for the error, NBC News reports.

From NBC News:

“We were made aware of a wrong and inappropriate Berlin street name on Google Maps and have corrected this as quickly as possible,” the Internet search giant said in an email to NBC News. “We apologize for this error.”

Smartphone Repairs Scratches By Itself

Smartphone Repairs Scratches By Itself, LG’s new curved G Flex model features “self-healing” technology that can fix damage to its exterior., When LG announced its curved smartphone, the G Flex, it boasted that the handset was coated with a “self-healing” material and even compared it to Wolverine from X-Men. LG later released a promotional video showing off the tech in action, but it’s only now that someone has put the company’s claims to the test. In YouTube personality / video producer Marques Brownlee’s hands-on with the device, he checks out the self-healing coating with a number of tests.

 

First up is a set of keys, which Brownlee creates some light scratches with. As you’ll see in the video, the LG G Flex essentially “heals” the scratches made. It doesn’t completely remove them, but apparently makes the marks almost invisible to the naked eye. He then carves out a deeper scratch using a knife, which “half heals,” appearing far less visible than it would on a regular phone.

Brownlee has what seems like a sound theory for why the results weren’t perfect, though. LG’s promotional clip was filmed in a controlled temperature environment with the thermostat set to 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and he believes the coating isn’t as effective in cooler climates. While it might not work exactly as advertised, LG’s new coating looks to be a pretty big step forward for the everyday durability of our phones. Let’s hope it comes to models that LG plans on selling outside of Korea sometime soon.