Archaeologists thought they'd wrapped up the origin of domesticated horses long ago, when remains of ancient Botai horses from Kazakhstan were found, suggesting a culture of milking and riding. The chain of events seemed clear and obvious, but with many things obviousness is a suggestion of illusion. And so it was, as with many closed cases, new DNA evidence points elsewhere. The evidence no longer adds up, as researchers have shown.
The genomes of 28 modern horses were mapped and compared to that of 18 ancient horse specimens. What has been revealed is that modern horses don't match up to any of the known ancestors. There has been a familial relationship to the Przewalski's horse, which are the last true wild horse around today, however they are not directly related. The team of researchers from the Natural History Museum of Denmark have uncovered more of a mystery than a solution.
All modern domestic horses appear to have formed their own family, which is different to that of ancient horses. It would suggest that the Przewalski's horse is related to the ancient domesticated animals and became wild once more, adopting a feral life. The separate genome between modern horses and ancient domesticated breeds can be seen further than one comparison. When the scientists compared genomes for Botai horses (the first known to be domesticated) to another similar breed called Borly4, they found a relation. Borly4 horses are in turn related to the modern day Prezwalski.
It does appear that horse domestication must have occurred in another part of the world, from which the modern horse genome is based upon. With only an indirect relationship to the last known wild horse, it can be assumed that a different family of horses were cross bred with an ancestor of the Przewalski's horse, giving rise to the traditional domestic breeds of today.
Want to find out more about this study? It's documented in Science Magazine.
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Plotting vectors and lines in a 2D screen environment is time consuming. Swirling the image round and arranging the angles, knitting up all the edges and then making a test run to discover if it looks like how you imagined in real life has been the general process until now. It can take a long time to design that all important template. If you intend to print out thousands or more, then perhaps it doesn't matter so much but if you just need a few, then that time spent becomes expensive.
The interface between human and 3D printer has evolved. Using 3D virtual reality, this new system allows designers to talk directly to the printer while it works. Called the Robotic Modelling Assistant, a designer can produce a virtual copy of the item in the 3D world and the software then tells a robot exactly what to do. This ingenious and novel way of talking to robots is opening up doors in the design and artistic world.
Now it's possible to create something, look at it from all angles and press go. That's not all, in real time, designers can add to their design, creating new parts and even adjusting previous plans. The virtual reality drawing can be manipulated, changed, and worked on all the while. The robot knows to work on something else while plans are being changed, having a smart understanding of the design process, it works with the designer.
This doesn't only make it quicker to design items, it also allows designers to have much more tangible and mailable tools in which to create. Using technology to give us the power over hard materials so we can treat them like clay shows us that human-robot combinations can greatly improve many aspects of life. We have been using tools and machines to make us smarter, faster, stronger, and more artistic for millennia. Robots are simply one more step on the ladder of making our lives that bit easier.
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Watch the fantastic new design robot in action with this video.
We know that nature is vital to life on Earth, it sustains the planet, and it provides us with endless analogy and beauty. How many stories do we tell that talk about nature? It is such an inspiring and spiritual thirst quenching element of our lives. Where as Sheffield City Council have employed urban planners to remove many of the trees, to save the roads and paths, many differently minded projects are cropping up all over the world that work to include nature, not shut it out.
One such project is a 280 meter high tower in Singapore. The condominium style sky-scraper is intended to be used for all types of purpose from residential to commercial. Mixing everything up into one place does sound like a great idea. It has been done before, with the urban utopia apartments in the 1950s and 60s here in the UK. Lessons to be learned: Invest in maintenance and social life. When the estates are well looked after and the people are given plenty to do, it really can be a utopia.
The architecture companies, Carlo Ratti Associati and Bjarke Ingles Group are designing the building to house the multiple varieties of tropical flora that naturally occurs in the area. This will be interwoven between offices, homes, shops, and amenities. The garden landscape is planned to grow out from the exterior walls and up the sides of the building. This will allow passers by to witness snippets the urban jungle within.
Planned for 2021, the tower will also be kitted out with all the latest office technology, wireless as standard no doubt. Environmental controls will give residents and employees the chance to truly recreate their perfect haven, AI sensors will make sure everything is as it should be. This ultra modern experiment in natural living is perhaps one step up from another similar tower in Milan. The Bosco Vertical by Stefano Boeri houses some twenty-one thousand flowering plants and trees.
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Remember Jurassic Park? The film where a prehistoric mosquito was harvested for the dinosaur DNA in its gut. Perhaps a little far fetched and fantastical, perfect for entertaining the masses yet a stone's throw from real science, it's unlikely that anyone will be able to breed a prehistoric creature from ancient DNA. Who knows though, seemingly impossible things are achieved all the time. Just picture yourself reading this article on your device. Unbelievable eh?
This time, real scientists have discovered an actual prehistoric mini-beast encapsulated in ancient amber. Just like the film! And also, much like the film, this item gives us a 3D perfect biological image of something that has been extinct for millennia. No fancy tricks with expensive special effects in mock-up biotechnology labs, this time it's the creature inside that is causing all the fuss. Is it a spider? You decide. What's the evidence? It has 8 legs and it carries complicated web spinning apparatus. The only other point is that this creature also sports a large tail. Huh? Spiders have abdomens but not long tails, do they? Well maybe there once was a spider that did. Or maybe this creature predates modern spiders and although an arachnid, cannot be called after its modern most adapted example.
Scientists are up in arms over the debate. Biologists the world over can't get enough of this world famous eight legged spidery ancestor. There are in fact two preserved fossils of the creature, named Chimerarachne yingi, and they have been extensively studied by scientists from Harvard and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The jury is out on this specimen, either the last member of a long tailed arachnid family thought to have died out around 100 million years ago or a new type of early spider not previously known, the biology of the animal undoubtedly sheds light on the evolutionary process which gave rise to our fly eating friends.
Discovered in Myanmar, the controversial creature has been causing a stir in the web of knowledge. Whether or not the world should care more about the Rohingya crisis between Bangladesh and the home of this fantastic fossil is another story. In either case, it is good to know.
How To Keep Children Imaginative As They Grow Up? Cultivating Creativity in the Classroom | Alternative Fruit
In our verbal world of written word instructions and commands, our perception on life becomes ever more skewed towards authoritarian linguistic order. We stop thinking in terms of smells, feelings, and sounds, but more into realms of abstract symbolism that suits particular elements of life. If we don't have a word for it, it isn't considered. What we don't consider doesn't become part of the process of exploring life and all it has to offer. So as we grow more groomed into the verbal unitarian forms of thought and therefore experience, how do we manage to stay one step outside of the box?
When two thirds of prospective teachers in the USA consider memorizing answers as a better form of education than imaginative thinking (source), no wonder the world appears to struggle having an original thought. The parrot fashion mannerisms that automatically dictate how me make decisions and how we prioritise our goals have begun to sink deep into our personal psyche. As we're told the same stories with the same morals and the same behaviour, the education on what it is to be human is instilled with very page.
Imagination helps us to think subjectively and objectively at the same time. Once we have a multiple perspective on situations and people, we can begin to appreciate the dynamics of situations. With a direct positive influence on social life and sense of belonging, having an imaginative side to our personality gives us the keys to a life with much more variety and intrigue than those without it.
Author of Cultivating Curiosity in K-12 Classrooms, Wendy Ostroff, has outlined several techniques for investing in the creative and imaginative potential of students in the school system. With a modern outline, taking into account for the millennial lifestyle of transmedia and digital footprints, the nest egg of ideas caters for the modern young learner. Although detailed and explained in full through the book, the key points are mentioned here.
Brighten Up – Don't take lessons so seriously. The information will find its way into the mind somehow, and as long as students feel relaxed and confident the learning will be secondary to simply being themselves.
Hold “Creative Councils” - Form think-tanks of students with visionary and problems solving minds to discuss and formulate solutions to problems. Have other children take part in the whittling down of ideas into more realistic and feasible suggestions.
Doodle Time – Art can be limitless and using doodles to free up the creative elements in the mind is an excellent and simple method of teaching. The psychological benefits of simple doodling are well documented and art therapy often makes use of this doctrine for helping clients to relax.
Make It Real – At every opportunity, translate the lesson material into something real that students can relate to. Draw on the experiences of self and students to talk about the lesson in terms of something that actually happened and can be discussed.
Have A Go Impro – When we make things up as we go along, sometimes we get a mess. Other times our minds seem to be able to create a picture from seemingly unknown connections and create something fresh and exciting. It's a great idea to encourage this in the classroom and see what everyone comes up with. It really helps students to think holistically about the subject.
Collaborative Story Telling – Get everyone to have a go at adding a few lines to a story or poem. Using each student in turn can reveal interesting groupings and networks of creative thought.
Track Google Searching – By looking back at the chain of searches while researching a topic, students can begin to appreciate how one piece of information inspires further questioning. These questions all formulate a web of knowledge around a subject. Tracking web searches helps to plot mental images of these information networks.
That's the outline, and of course everything is explained in much more precise and deep detail in the book, out now.
It was Michelangelo who said that “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Perhaps a child can be seen in this way, and within the individual is much more than a statue. With the right nurture we can produce a generation of creative heroes.
Rowan Blair Colver for Alternative Fruit
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