New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

Posted by s8KR2i on December 1, 2019 - 2:03 am

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Researchers say that new, ten million-year-old fossils found in Ethiopia, prove that the theory that humans may have evolved from a species of great apes eight million years ago, may not be true, but that humans may have split from apes as long as 10.5 million years ago.

At least nine fossilized teeth, one canine tooth and eight molars, of a previously unknown species of apes found in Africa were discovered by a team of researchers from Ethiopia and Japan who then compared the 3-D make up of the teeth to other fossils that date back as far as 8 million years and found that the fossils are likely a “direct ancestor” of apes currently living in Africa and that the new ape fossils were that of a species of gorilla who ate mostly plants high in fiber.

Current fossils and research say that the evolutionary split from apes to humans occurred at least eight million years ago. The new fossils say that the split may have happened as long as 10.5 million years ago.

“Based on this fossil, that means the split is much earlier than has been anticipated by the molecular evidence. That means everything has to be put back,” said researcher at the Rift Valley Research Service in Ethiopia and a co-author of the study, Berhane Asfaw.

Despite the finds, other researchers are not convinced that the findings are correct.

“It is stretching the evidence to base a time scale for the evolution of the great apes on this new fossil. These structures appear on at least three independent lineages of apes, including gorillas, and they could relate to a dietary shift rather than indicating a new genetic trait,” said a Professor at the London Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews who also added, “but the fossil evidence for the evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, is almost non-existent.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species Cororapithecus abyssinicus whose remains were found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, the same place where the remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974.

New promotional events set for Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb’s Christmas Vacation”

Posted by s8KR2i on November 15, 2019 - 3:02 am

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Further promotional and release plans have been announced by The Walt Disney Company‘s new special, “Phineas and Ferb’s Christmas Vacation,” from the company’s cartoon comedy Phineas and Ferb. According to the company’s press release site (Disney XD Medianet), on November 27, Disney will stream the seven musical numbers, performed by the show’s cast and the band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, that will be showcased in the special on its public radio network Radio Disney. iTunes will then follow by making the songs available for download.

The official special is scheduled to air the following week, on December 6, on the company’s cable network Disney XD with a repeat immediately following it. The proceeding day, Disney Channel SVOD, Disney XD VOD, Disney XD Mobile, iTunes, and Xbox Live Marketplace will release the episode for digital retail. On December 11, fellow Disney network Disney Channel will broadcast the special following a six-hour marathon of the series; the next day, Disney Channel and Disney XD’s websites will release the special for viewing. On December 18, ABC Family will air the episode as part of its month-long event “25 Days of Christmas.” Finally, to help the special’s promotion, costumers dressed as the show’s characters will perform on December 25, 2009, in the “Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade” which will be broadcast on the ABC Television Network.

Disney also confirmed that actors Clancy Brown, Malcolm McDowell, Jane Carr, Mathew Horne, and Bruce MacKinnon will each guest star in the special.

Maker Faire 2009 wraps up in San Mateo, California

Posted by s8KR2i on November 15, 2019 - 2:30 am

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The fourth annual Maker Faire took place this past weekend at the San Mateo Fairground in San Mateo, California located in the United States. The first Maker Faire, which took place in 2006, had approximately 20,000 people in attendance. This year, more than 80,000 people were expected to attend; quadruple the attendance of just four years prior. On Saturday night, it was reported that attendance was up considerably over last year’s event.

Maker Faire, the self-declared “World’s Largest DIY Festival”, offers a forum where hundreds of makers and crafters alike man booths where they display their work. In the main halls alone, there were hundreds of booths. Outside the expo halls, the surrounding area was also filled with many interesting projects, some of which were mobile. In addition to all of the projects on display, there were a number of on-stage presentations. The biggest presentation of the weekend was given by Adam Savage who spoke on the topic of his “Colossal Failures”. During his talk, the Fiesta Hall was filled to capacity.

The theme for this year’s fair was “Remake: America” after President Obama‘s call to “begin again the work of remaking America”. In addition, “going green”, alternative fuel vehicles, crafting, steampunk and sciences for the young, were common themes found throughout the fair.

Wikinews interviews Aurélien Miralles about Sirenoscincus mobydick species discovery

Posted by s8KR2i on November 15, 2019 - 2:10 am

Thursday, January 24, 2013

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A group of researchers published a paper about their discovery of a new species of Madagascar mermaid skink lizards last December. The species is the fourth forelimbs-only terrestrial tetrapods species known to science, and the first one which also has no fingers on the forelimbs.

The species was collected at Marosely, Boriziny (French: Port-Bergé), Sofia Region, Madagascar. The Sirenoscincus mobydick name is after the existing parent genus, and a sperm whale from the 1851 novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

This week, Wikinews interviewed one of the researchers, French zoologist Aurélien Miralles, about the research.

((Wikinews)) What caused your initial interest in Madagascar lizards?

Aurélien Miralles: Well, I would say that since I am a child I am fascinated by the biodiversity of tropical countries, and more especially by reptiles. I did a PhD on the evolution and systematics of skink lizards from South America. Then, I get a Humboldt grant to do a postdoc in Germany, at the Miguel Vences Lab, in order to study Malagasy skinks. Madagascar being a fabulous hotspot for reptiles (and not only for reptiles actually), it was a very nice opportunity. Professor Vences proposed me to associate our complementary fields of expertise: he is expert in herpetology for Madagascar, and I am expert in skinks lizards (family Scincidae). It was a very fruitful experience, and many other results have still to [be] published.

((WN)) How was the new species discovered?

AM: By a very funny coincidence actually. In 2010, I went to Madagascar for a long trip through the south of the island, in the semi-arid bush for collecting lizards and snakes samples. Then, during the last days, just before coming back to Germany, I have visited by coincidence the zoological collection of the University of Antananarivo. In that place, I found an old jar of ethanol with two weird little specimens previously collected by a student who didn’t realize it was something new. Being expert on skinks, I immediately recognised it was something very probably new, very different from all the other known species.

((WN)) What does “Sirenoscincus” stand for?

AM: I am not the author of the genus name Sirenoscincus. This genus name was already existing. It has been described by Sakata and Hikida (two Japanese herpetologists). “Sireno” means mermaid. “Scincus” means skinks, a group of little lizards on which I am particularly focusing my studies. So, Sirenoscinus means “mermaid skink”, in reference to [the] fact it has forelimbs but no hindlimbs.

((WN)) How deep underground do the lizards live?

AM: Hard to answer this question because nothing is known on the ecology of this species. But more reasonably, we can hypothesize, by comparison to similar species of skinks, that it is probably living just under the sand surface, [a] few centimeters deep, probably no more, or below [a] rock, leaf litter, or piece of dead wood.

((WN)) What do the lizards eat?

AM: Again, by analogy, I would say most likely small invertebrates (insects, larvae, worms etc…).

((WN)) What equipment was used during the research?

AM: Classic equipment (microscope) and also a state-of-the-art device: a micro CT-scan. It is a big device producing [a] 3D picture of the internal structure without damaging the specimen. It is actually very similar to the scanner used in human medicine, but this one is specially designed for small specimens. Otherwise, I am currently studying the DNA of this species and closely related species in order to determine its phylogenetic position compared to other species with legs, in order to learn more about the evolutionary phenomena leading to limb loss.

((WN)) There are several news sources that have a photo of the species. Is it a photo as seen in a CT-scan?

AM: No, this picture showing a whitish specimen on a black background is not a CT-scan. It is a normal photograph of the collection specimen preserved in alcohol (the one that was in the jar). You can see the complete of picture (including CT-scan 3D radiography, drawing…) in the original scientific publication.

((WN)) Do you know when the newly discovered mermaid skink species was put into the jar? Do you have its photo (of the jar)?

AM: No, I have no picture of the jar. The specimen has been collected in November 2004.

((WN)) What were the roles of the people involved in the research? What activity was most time-consuming?

AM: As first investigator, I did most of the work…and the longest part of the work was to examine closely related species in order to do comparisons…and also to check the complete bibliography related to this topic and to write the paper.
Mrs Anjeriniaina is the student who […] collected the specimen a couple of years ago.
Mrs Hipsley and Mr Müller learnt me how to use the CT-scan, and helped me concerning some point relative to internal morphology. Mr Vences helped me as supervisors. Additionally, all of them have corrected the article, and gave me many relevant advices and corrections, thus improving the quality and the reliability of the paper.

((WN)) Did you get in touch with an external entity to get the new species officially recognised?

AM: No. In zoology, it is only needed to publish the description of a new species (and to give it a name) in a scientific journal, and to designate a holotype specimen (= specimen that will be the official reference for this species), to get this new species “officially” recognised by the scientific community. That does not mean that this new species is “correct” (it might be invalidated by subsequent counter-studies), but that means that this discovery and the new name of [the] species are officially existing.

((WN)) Are there any further plans on exploring the species habitat and lifestyle?

AM: No, not really for the time being, because ecology is not our field of expertise. But other studies (including molecular studies) are currently in progress, in order to focus on the phylogenetic position and the evolution of this species.

MMVAs handed out in Toronto, Canada; Wikinews was there

Posted by s8KR2i on November 15, 2019 - 2:03 am

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Last night was the 2007 MuchMusic Video Awards in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

MuchMusic is the most watched music channel in Canada, and has been holding the event since 1990. Roughly 6,000 fans line the streets surrounding Much headquarters each year, and 1,200 more score “the wristband” and enjoy a free festival-style show in the parking lot, watching four outdoor performance areas spread out in the downtown location. New this year was a special roof-top stage, on the top of the building. Finger Eleven performed on this stage, way above the crowds.

Other performers at the show were Avril Lavigne, Fergie, Billy Talent, Hilary Duff, Alexisonfire, Maroon 5, Belly, and The Used.

Presenters included Nickelback, Jay Manuel (Canada’s Next Top Model, America’s Next Top Model), Tara Reid (American Pie, this fall’s Land of Canaan), Joss Stone, Sum 41, Amber Tamblyn (Joan of Arcadia, Grudge 2), Hedley, Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors), Sean Avery (New York Rangers), George, Sam Roberts, Emilie de Ravin (LOST), Marianas Trench, and Kardinal Offishall.

Among the awards up for grabs were four People’s Choice categories, which were open for text message (within Canada) or online ballots until the night of.

Contents

  • 1 And the winners were…
  • 2 Red carpet and press room pics
  • 3 FLICK OFF at Gift Lounge
  • 4 External links

Edmund White on writing, incest, life and Larry Kramer

Posted by s8KR2i on October 30, 2019 - 2:43 am

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What you are about to read is an American life as lived by renowned author Edmund White. His life has been a crossroads, the fulcrum of high-brow Classicism and low-brow Brett Easton Ellisism. It is not for the faint. He has been the toast of the literary elite in New York, London and Paris, befriending artistic luminaries such as Salman Rushdie and Sir Ian McKellen while writing about a family where he was jealous his sister was having sex with his father as he fought off his mother’s amorous pursuit.

The fact is, Edmund White exists. His life exists. To the casual reader, they may find it disquieting that someone like his father existed in 1950’s America and that White’s work is the progeny of his intimate effort to understand his own experience.

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone understood that an interview with Edmund White, who is professor of creative writing at Princeton University, who wrote the seminal biography of Jean Genet, and who no longer can keep track of how many sex partners he has encountered, meant nothing would be off limits. Nothing was. Late in the interview they were joined by his partner Michael Caroll, who discussed White’s enduring feud with influential writer and activist Larry Kramer.

Contents

  • 1 On literature
  • 2 On work as a gay writer
  • 3 On sex
  • 4 On incest in his family
  • 5 On American politics
  • 6 On his intimate relationships
  • 7 On Edmund White
  • 8 On Larry Kramer
  • 9 Source

French workers use threats in compensation demand

Posted by s8KR2i on October 30, 2019 - 2:34 am

Friday, July 17, 2009Following similar threats by workers at New Fabris and Nortel, workers at JLG in Tonneins, France, threatened to blow up several platform cranes. The JLG factory announced in April 2009 that it will fire 53 of its 163 workers by the end of 2009, while the remaining 110 jobs will not be secure over the next 2 years.

JLG Tonneins was acquired in 2006 with its parent JLG Industries, a maker of aerial work platforms, by the U.S.-based Oshkosh Corporation. Despite being hugely profitable in the past, production has been much reduced since 2008 with the contraction of the construction industry and lower demand for its products. Despite excellent past results the new American management demanded sweeping cuts at the company.

In the view of locals, “the company’s actions are a disgrace given the expensive perks, such as official cars, for its corporate fat cats, compared to the sacrifice, silence, and dignity demanded by the company of those it has made redundant.”

The management offered severance pay of 3,000 (US $4,200), however the workers demanded a severance package commensurate with “the wealth that their labor has generated.” Worker’s delegates requested a “supra-legal” payment of € 30,000, on Thursday 16 of July the management responded with a counter offer of € 16,000. On Thursday night the worker’s actions secured the € 30,000 settlement initially demanded.

U.S. Senate approves revised bailout package after controversial additions

Posted by s8KR2i on October 30, 2019 - 2:11 am

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The U.S. Senate passed a revised bailout bill designed to help the struggling U.S. financial economy, which has measures nearly identical to the bill rejected by the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.

“Senate Democrats and Republicans believe it is essential that we work quickly on this important legislation to restore confidence to our financial system and strengthen the economy,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The new revisions include raising the FDIC insurance cap to $250,000, a move designed to please progressives. However, the $110 billion in tax breaks, earmarks and what has been called pork barrel spending is not offset by any increases in revenues and has added opposition to the bill from some Representatives in the House.

Earmarks added into the bailout bill included $192 million in tax rebates for the Virgin Islands rum industry, $148 million in tax cuts for the wool industry, $100 million tax cuts to the auto racing industry, and $48 million in Hollywood tax incentives.

Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense, Steve Ellis, offered his explanation for the pork and earmarks added in. “People who support some of these provisions will forget about the $700 billion and concerns they may have on that, and say, ‘If you give me a few million in tax breaks for my constituents, I’ll go along'”.

The tactic seems to have worked, however, managing to flip enough votes to pass the bill.

“The inclusion of parity, tax extenders and the FDIC increases has caused me to reconsider my position,” said Representative Jim Ramstad (R Minnesota), who voted against the previous bill on Monday. “All three additions have greatly improved the bill.”

But Representative Marcy Kaptur (D Ohio) was not changing her no vote. “I will not support this legislation because it’s the wrong medicine,” she said.

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The Senate took H.R.1424, a bill originating in the House concerning “equity in the provision of mental health and substance-related disorder benefits under group health plans, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment,” and extended it with the bailout provisions.

H.R.1424 was introduced on March 9, 2007, by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (RI-1) and had the support of First Lady Rosalind Carter. It is noted on the Congressional Website that “On 10/1/2008, the Senate passed H.R.1424 as the vehicle for the economic rescue legislation. In the EAS version of the bill (Engrossed Amendment as Agreed to by the Senate), Division A (pp.1-110) is referred to as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008; Division B (pp. 110-255) is referred to as the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008; and Division C (pp. 255-441) is referred to as the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008.” It was not treated as an appropriations bill in the House.

There were two votes in the Senate. The first was to amend H.R.1424, which required 3/5 to be accepted, which it was. The second was a vote on the bill. Passage of the Bill required only a 1/2 majority. It was passed with 74 yeas and 25 nays. Senator Kennedy did not vote.

Brother of murdered Pakistani social media star sentenced to life

Posted by s8KR2i on October 28, 2019 - 2:06 am

Monday, September 30, 2019

On Friday in Pakistan, Mohammed Waseem, brother of social media personality and feminist Qandeel Baloch, was sentenced for her murder to life in prison by a court in Multan. Waseem confessed to killing his sister by strangling her in 2016 in what has widely been called an honor killing. She was 26.

Baloch and Waseem’s mother, Anwar, wept upon hearing her son had been convicted and said she believed he was innocent. In August, the parents tried to have Waseem released by saying they forgave him for the killing. Until recently, Pakistani law allowed the perpetrators of honor killings to go unpunished if forgiven by the victim’s family.

Even though Waseem confessed to acting alone, several alleged accomplices, including Muslim cleric Mufti Abdul Qawi, were tried by the same court. All, including Qawi, were acquitted. Baloch was murdered a few weeks after publicly posting pictures of herself with Qawi on the Internet, and Qawi drew criticism for associating with her. Qawi was later accused of inciting the murder in some way, which he denied. Some of Qawi’s supporters threw flower petals as he was leaving the courthouse.

Waseem appeared in a news conference after his 2016 arrest in which he expressed no regret for his sister’s death and specifically mentioned family honor. He has since said his initial confession was forced.

“As women we must stand up for ourselves. As women we must stand up for each other[,]” Baloch wrote on social media shortly before her death. “I believe I am a modern day feminist.”

Qandeel Baloch made videos and social media posts depicting her dancing, singing, lying in bed or, on one occasion, offering to disrobe if Pakistan defeated India in a then-upcoming cricket match, all of which are considered controversial for women in Pakistan.

When Baloch was born, about 250 miles (400 km) southwest of Lahore, she was Fouzia Azeem, daughter to a poor farming family. At the time of her murder, Qandeel Baloch, nicknamed the “Kim Kardashian of Pakistan,” had about 750,000 followers on Facebook, and wrote about feminism. In an interview with Dawn, she said as a teenager she was forced into an abusive marriage by her family. She also said that her much-older husband attempted to disfigure her with acid. Baloch ran away from the marriage to a shelter with her son but later returned the boy to her husband when she could not support him.

Since Baloch’s death, Pakistan’s laws about honor killings have changed. Though the accused can still avoid the death penalty if forgiven by the victim’s family, the minimum prison sentence for the crime even if forgiven is now 25 years. Waseem is eligible to appeal.

Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Posted by s8KR2i on October 18, 2019 - 2:26 am

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.