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April 24 2015

Zahi Hawass vs Graham Hancock -- the April 2015 "debate" debacle


From Graham Hancock:

Self-styled "world's most famous Egyptologist" Zahi Hawass had agreed to participate with me on 22 April 2015 in what was billed and advertised as "the first open debate between the representatives of two completely different versions of history." Each of us was to give a one-hour presentation, followed by a debate in which the audience would join in with questions. In the event the debate never happened. Zahi refused to accept a coin-toss to decide the speaking order and insisted that I speak first. I agreed to this, despite the fact that the first speaker is at a slight disadvantage in any debate since he does not have the opportunity to hear the other speaker's presentation before giving his own.

Before most of the audience had arrived, I was checking the focus on the slides in my PowerPoint presentation prior to giving my talk and I put up on the screen an image which shows the Orion/Pyramids correlation and the Sphinx/Leo correlation at Giza in the epoch of 10,500 BC. Rightly and properly since the Orion correlation is Robert Bauval's discovery I included a portrait of Robert Bauval in the slide. As soon as Zahi saw Robert's image he became furiously angry, shouted at me, made insulting and demeaning comments about Robert, and told me that if I dared to mention a single word about Robert in my talk he would walk out and refuse to debate me. I explained that the alternative view of history that I was on stage to represent could not exclude the Orion correlation and therefore could not exclude Robert Bauval. At that, again shouting, Zahi marched out of the debating room. Frantic negotiations then took place off stage between the conference organisers and Zahi. Finally Zahi agreed to return and give his talk and answer questions from the audience, but he refused absolutely to hear or see my talk, or to engage in any debate with me. I therefore gave my talk to the audience without Zahi present (he sat in a room outside the conference hall while I spoke). When I had finished I answered questions from the audience. Then Zahi entered, gave his talk, answered questions from the audience and left.

One of the few members of the audience who had arrived early did manage to record part of the scene of Zahi storming out of the conference room -- see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ziu2ygE_Wc.

Likewise during Zahi's Q&A he was asked a question about the 11,600-year-old megalithic site of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey and whether it had any impact on his assessment of the disputed age of the megalithic Great Sphinx of Giza (which I and my colleagues have long argued might be of similar antiquity). Unfortunately it appeared that Zahi was completely ignorant of the existence or implications of Gobekli Tepe, arguably the most important archaeological site in the world, so he was unable to answer the question which he passed on to the moderator who also happened to be an Egyptologist. I did at that point have a brief opportunity to stand up and give my own point of view on Gobekli Tepe and on its implications for the age of the Sphinx -- see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4NnCAZcxHg

I had high hopes for this debate -- that it might bring about some sort of civil dialogue between alternative and mainstream views of history but I was sadly disappointed. Here is a link to a post I made on Facebook 24 hours before the "debate" which will help to put what happened on 22 April into context.

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April 24 2015

Fossils Suggest Humans Played Role in Neanderthals' End


Ancient teeth from Italy suggest that the arrival of modern humans in Western Europe coincided with the demise of Neanderthals there, researchers said.

This finding suggests that modern humans may have caused Neanderthals to go extinct, either directly or indirectly, the scientists added.

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April 24 2015

Did Neanderthals live in same cave as badgers and bears?


Modern humans have developed a reputation for being somewhat destructive and keen to separate themselves from the rest of the animal kingdom.

However, a recent excavation of a cave in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain is suggesting our ancient cousins, the Neanderthals, were more in tune with nature.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence that Neanderthals regularly inhabited the Cave of Llenes, near Senterada in Catalonia, around 200,000 years ago but were not alone.

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April 24 2015

Lonely end for the world's last woolly mammoths


The most complete genetic information assembled on woolly mammoths is providing insight into their demise, revealing they suffered two population crashes before a final, severely inbred group succumbed on an Arctic Ocean island.

Scientists unveiled the first two full genomes of these mighty elephant relatives emblematic of the Ice Age, showing they experienced an extensive loss of genetic diversity before perishing roughly 4,000 years ago.

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April 24 2015

Keeping A Secret 'Physically' Weighs You Down, According To Science


Keeping a secret is a bigger burden than you might imagine.

In fact, new research suggests that keeping a secret makes you feel weighed down -- literally -- and even limits your ability to get things done.

"Spending effort to keep your secret leads you to feel [like] you have less effort and energy for other tasks, and so they seem more challenging and forbidding,".

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April 24 2015

Thoughts Can Fuel Some Deadly Brain Cancers


The simple act of thinking can accelerate the growth of many brain tumors.

That's the conclusion of a paper in Cell published Thursday that showed how activity in the cerebral cortex affected high-grade gliomas, which represent about 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors in people.

"This tumor is utilizing the core function of the brain, thinking, to promote its own growth," says Michelle Monje, a researcher and neurologist at Stanford who is the paper's senior author.

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April 24 2015

What Does It Feel Like to Be Invisible?


Volunteers in Sweden were tricked into thinking their bodies had vanished, and the "superpower" seemed to ease social fears

What would it feel like to be, in some sense, a brain without a body? Now a handful of people in Sweden can tell you.

These invisible people didn’t actually disappear.

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April 24 2015

Mechanical cloaks of invisibility—without complicated mathematics


A honeycomb is a very stable structure. If it has a larger hole, however, stability is largely lost. What might a honeycomb look like, which survives external forces in spite of a hole? Such stable types of known constructions might be useful in architecture or when developing new construction materials. So far, the mathematical expenditure required has been very high and did not lead to the success desired in mechanics. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now found a new principle that considerably facilitates the mathematical approach and produces promising results with simple means.

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April 24 2015

Digital tattoo lets you control devices with mind power alone


WHAT'S on your mind? For £79, anyone can buy a headset that reads the electrical activity of their brain. It's called an electroencephalogram, or EEG, and you can use it to control devices with the power of your mind. But there's a drawback: they don't work when the wearer is moving and they look silly, so no one wants to wear them.

The solution could be a kind of EEG system that does away with the cumbersome electrodes, annoying gels and wires of its predecessors, replacing them with a flexible electronic skin that conforms to the body.

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April 24 2015

Head transplant: man will be attached to new body in under an hour and aim is immortality


The Italian doctor who has claimed that he could transplant a man’s head onto a donor’s body has said that he could do much of the procedure in less than an hour.

The procedure — which Canavero has admitted is just a first step towards his ultimate aim of creating immortality — will see a man's head removed and placed on a donor's body.

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April 24 2015

Scientists genetically modify human embryos in controversial world first


Scientists in China have genetically modified human embryos in a world first that has re-ignited the debate over the ethics and safety of genetic therapies that have the potential to prevent inherited diseases.

The work raises fresh questions over whether restrictions should be placed on a new wave of genetic techniques that are rapidly gaining ground in labs across the world.


Alt: Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos

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April 24 2015

Researchers find the genome of the cultivated sweet potato has bacterial DNA


A team of researchers with members from Belgium, China, Peru and the U.S. has found evidence of bacterial DNA in the genome of the cultivated sweet potato. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their findings as an example of a naturally occurring transgenic food crop.

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April 24 2015

How a bacterial cell recognizes its own DNA


It may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that bacteria have an immune system -- in their case to fight off invasive viruses called phages. And like any immune system -- from single-celled to human -- the first challenge of the bacterial immune system is to detect the difference between 'foreign' and 'self.'

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April 24 2015

Bees may become addicted to nicotine-like pesticides, study finds


Bees may become addicted to nicotine-like pesticides in the same way humans get hooked on cigarettes, according to a new study, which was released as a landmark field trial provided further evidence that such neonicotinoids harm bee populations.


Related: Poor diet may contribute to the decline in British bees

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April 24 2015

Why Do Mosquitoes Like To Bite You Best? It's In Your Genes


A study that asked a few dozen pairs of twins to brave a swarm of hungry mosquitoes has revealed another clue to the cluster of reasons the insects are more attracted to some people than others: Genes matter.

"Twins that were identical were very similar in their level of attractiveness to mosquitoes, and twins that were [not identical] were very different in their level of attractiveness," says James Logan, a medical entomologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who led the study.

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April 24 2015

Marmosets found to learn to take turns when vocalizing


A trio of researchers with the University of California has found that marmosets learn to wait for others to stop making noise before they vocalize, at a very young age. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Cecilia Chow, Jude Mitchell and Cory Miller describe a study they undertook with young marmoset twins and their parents and what they learned by doing so.


Related: Kermit the Frog Look-Alike Discovered in Costa Rica

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April 23 2015

Wolves Are Kinder, More Tolerant Than Dogs


Wolves are inherently more tolerant than dogs are, according to new research that helps explain why wolves are so good at cooperating with each other.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, runs counter to the idea that domestication has made dogs more social and tolerant. Since the ancestor of dogs and wolves likely already had those skills, other factors, such as losing fear of humans and readily accepting us as social partners, could explain why dogs make better pets than wolves.

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