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February 24 2015

Are Siberia's mysterious craters caused by climate change? 4 new enormous holes in northern Russia


Four new mysterious giant craters have appeared in the Siberian permafrost in northern Russia, sparking fears that global warming may be causing gas to erupt from underground.

Scientists spotted the new holes, along with dozens of other smaller ones, in the same area as three other enormous craters that were spotted on the Yamal Peninsula last year.

The craters are thought to be caused by eruptions of methane gas from the permafrost as rising rising temperatures causes the frozen soil to melt.

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February 24 2015

Drones to scan for evidence of ancient civilizations in Amazonia


A UK-led initiative to scan the Amazon rainforest for new signs of ancient settlements was announced at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, California. The project, which has already been awarded $1.9m grant from the European Research Council, will include conducting laser scans via drone.


Related: Christ the Redeemer mapped by drone to create first ever accurate model

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February 23 2015

Eye tracking is the next frontier of human-computer interaction


Eye tracking devices sound a lot more like expensive pieces of scientific research equipment than joysticks – yet if the latest announcements about the latest Assassin's Creed game are anything to go by, eye tracking will become a commonplace feature of how we interact with computers, and particularly games.

Eye trackers provide computers with a user's gaze position in real time by tracking the position of their pupils.

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February 23 2015

Maya Mural Reveals Ancient 'Photobomb'


An ancient Maya mural found in the Guatemalan rainforest may depict a group portrait of advisers to the Maya royalty, a new study finds.

Most Maya murals depict life within the royal sphere, but the newfound mural, uncovered in the Guatemalan rainforest in 2010, shows a vibrant scene of intellectuals consulting with the royal governor, who is dressed as the Maya wind god.

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February 23 2015

Did light-skinned, redheaded Neanderthal women hunt with the men?


A team of Spanish researchers theorizes, based on grooves and nicks on the teeth of Neanderthals, that gender roles among that species were similar to gender roles of modern Homo Sapiens. Neanderthal men prepared the cutting tools and weapons, while women saw to the leather garments and clothing.

But there was at least one duty that men and women may have shared: Neanderthal women, these researchers think, hunted big game with the men.

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February 23 2015

Evolution made humans compassionate before intelligent


Evolution led early humans to develop compassion and kindness before intelligence, a scientist has said.

Penny Spikins, from York University, has said normally we think of human evolution as being driven by intelligence – but this is not the case.


Alt: Skulls of early humans show they developed compassion up to 3 million years ago - before they could even SPEAK

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February 23 2015

Out of Africa: Did humans migrate quickly and all-at-once or in phases based on weather?


Considerable debate surrounds the migration of human populations out of Africa. Two predominant hypotheses concerning the timing contrast in their emphasis on the role of the Arabian interior and its changing climate. In one scenario, human populations expanded rapidly from Africa to southern Asia via the coastlines of Arabia approx. 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Another model suggests that dispersal into the Arabian interior began much earlier (approx. 75,000 to 130,000 years ago) during multiple phases, when increased rainfall provided sufficient freshwater to support expanding populations.

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February 23 2015

Stone Age Skull Shows Striking Diversity


A piece of human skull could prove that early humans were incredibly diverse. The 22,000-year-old skull fragment, found at a site in Kenya, suggests that early humans living in Africa were much more varied than previously thought.

It appears the skull is not a new species, as it is clearly that of an anatomically modern human. However, it displays marked differences from skulls from the same time found in Africa and Europe.

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February 23 2015

Ireland May Have Been Inhabited Since Before 5,000 BCE


Archaeologists have recently uncovered new evidence of ancient human habitation, in an area of Ireland known as Tullaghoge Fort. The area, a hilltop, was used from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century CE, serving as the site where chieftains of the O’Neill clan were crowned and designated as clan leaders.


Related: England’s immigrants in the Middle Ages

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February 23 2015

Vikings were pioneers of craft and international trade, not just pillaging


The connections between technology, urban trading, and international economics which have come to define modern living are nothing new. Back in the first millennium AD, the Vikings were expert at exploring these very issues.

While the Vikings are gone their legacy is remembered, such as at the annual Jorvik Viking Festival in York. The Norsemen’s military prowess and exploration are more often the focus of study, but of course the vikings were more than just bloodthirsty pirates: they were also settlers, landholders, farmers, politicians, and merchants.

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February 23 2015

Why reading and writing on paper can be better for your brain


Some tests show that reading from a hard copy allows better concentration, while taking longhand notes versus typing onto laptops increases conceptual understanding and retention.


Related: Tracing languages back to their common ancestors through the statistics of sound shifts

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February 23 2015

Lost Sherlock Holmes story discovered


A long-lost Sherlock Holmes story has been rediscovered more than a hundred years after it was first published.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the story, titled Sherlock Homes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, by deduction, the Brig Bazaar, in 1904 to raise money for a bridge in Selkirk, Scotland.

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February 23 2015

Dead for 48 minutes, Catholic Priest claims God is female


A Catholic priest from Massachussetts was officially dead for more than 48 minutes before medics were able to miraculously re-start his heart has revealed a shocking revelation.

The 71-year-old cleric Father John Micheal O’neal claims he went to heaven and met God, which he describes as a warm and comforting motherly figure.


Related: 'When I woke up, I was a baby and you named me Luke': Mom claims her five-year- old son remembers his past life as a Chicago woman who died in a house fire

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February 23 2015

The Quantum Mechanics of Fate - How time travel might explain some of science’s biggest puzzles


“The objective world simply is, it does not happen,” wrote mathematician and physicist Hermann Weyl in 1949. From his point of view, the universe is laid out in time as surely as it is laid out in space. Time does not pass, and the past and future are as real as the present. If your common sense rebels against this idea, it is probably for a single reason: the arrow of causality. Events in the past cause events in the present which cause events in the future. If time really is like space, then shouldn’t events from the future influence the present and past, too?

They actually might.

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February 23 2015

Mars One Finalist: “I Could Sow the Seeds of a New Civilization”


I have always been in awe of the night sky, trying to comprehend the vastness of space and the countless wonders it contains. But I have always felt a certain dissatisfaction with only being able to see it at a distance.

One day I imagine that humanity will be able to visit other planets in the solar system, and venture even further to other stars, but this has always seemed very far away. That’s the reason why I applied for the Mars One mission.


Related: Should we give up on the dream of space elevators?

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February 23 2015

The controversy over interstellar messaging


Should we beam messages into deep space, announcing our presence to any extraterrestrial civilizations that might be out there? Or, should we just listen? Since the beginnings of the modern Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), radio astronomers have, for the most part, followed the listening strategy. In 1999, that consensus was shattered. Without consulting with other members of the community of scientists involved in SETI, a team of radio astronomers at the Evpatoria Radar Telescope in Crimea, led by Alexander Zaitsev, beamed an interstellar message called 'Cosmic Call' to four nearby sun-like stars.

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February 23 2015

Scientists Plan to Hunt for Alien Life on Europa


Are we truly alone in the universe? Or is Earth just one of many inhabited worlds? These are some of the most fascinating questions facing humanity, and soon, thanks to a 2016 federal budget allocation for a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, NASA may be able to help answer them.

Now, in a move that has astrobiology researchers buzzing in excitement, the 2016 federal budget request includes funds for the first phase of a Europa mission. NASA administrators are optimistic that such a mission will happen—even though it might not launch until the 2020s.

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