Mind blown: Modern brains evolved much more recently than thought
Washington (AFP) - Modern brains are younger than originally thought, possibly developing as recently as 1.5 million years ago, according to a study published Thursday -- after the earliest humans had already begun walking on two feet and had even started fanning out from Africa. Our first ancestors from the genus Homo emerged on the continent about 2.5 million years ago with primitive ape-like brains about half the size of those seen in today's humans. Scientists have been trying to solve a mystery for as long as our origin story has been known: Exactly when and where did the brain evolve in...
‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ review: When Hairy Met Scaly...
These guys. You just want to see them happy. It’s hard to be so alone, and angry, caught up in an ancient Hatfield-and-McCoy grudge up on Earth’s inhospitable surface. Nothing comes easily up there, among the nattering human species, when you just want to go home to Hollow Earth, where (as Robert Frost said) they have to take you in, and you settle your differences with a jaw snap or a skull-crack. No exposition, no explanations. Well into “Godzilla vs. Kong,” a solid roundhouse punch and the fourth film in the current run of Legendary Entertainment’s “MonsterVerse” franchise, we travel to the...
Naming the hurricanes: With Greek letters going away, a look at how they came to be
ORLANDO, Fla. — Earlier this month, the World Meteorological Organization announced Greek letters would no longer be used in identifying tropical storms and hurricanes. The system has been used in only two seasons, accounting for six storms in 2005 and nine storms in 2020. The system was done away with to avoid confusion in future seasons. The first introduction of the Greek lettering system fascinated many in 2005, which had never been used since the international, rotating alphabetic name system began in 1953. But why and when did meteorologists decide Greek letters would be the backup plan?...
Bluff collapse warning system proposed for North San Diego County coastline
SAN DIEGO — A bill passed by the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee last week would allocate $2.5 million for research that could help create an early warning system for the state's coastal bluff collapses. AB 66 by Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, an Encinitas Democrat, would give Scripps Institution of Oceanography the job of researching when and why bluffs fail, so potentially catastrophic failures of the seaside cliffs can be predicted. Three women were killed at Grandview Beach in Encinitas in August 2019 when a 30-by-25-foot block of sandstone broke loose and fell on a f...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
NASA will attempt first off-world flight in early April
Washington (AFP) - NASA is targeting early April for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter to make the first attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet, the space agency said Tuesday. Right now, the ultra-light aircraft remains fixed to the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on the Red Planet on February 18. On Sunday, Perseverance dropped the debris shield that had protected Ingenuity during landing, and is currently making its way to the "airfield" where Ingenuity will attempt its flights. Once there, it will have 30 Martian sols -- equal to 31 Earth days -- to carry ou...
Study shows water hundreds of feet below the surface of Lake Michigan is warming
CHICAGO — Climate change is reaching all the way down to the depths of one of Earth’s largest lakes. Water hundreds of feet below the surface of Lake Michigan is warming, especially in winter, according to a report published last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The warming could change the seasonal patterns of the lake — and alter a way of life for ecosystems and industry alike. It’s been known that Lake Michigan surface temperatures are increasing and ice cover is lessening as human activity spurs climate change. “These changes may seem very small, a couple tenths...
Santa Clara University president, a friend of Biden, on leave pending investigation of alleged impropriety
SAN JOSE, Calif. – In a stunning development for California’s oldest institution of higher learning, Santa Clara University President Rev. Kevin O’Brien has been placed on leave pending an investigation into reports of unspecified impropriety. O’Brien, 54, who became Santa Clara University’s 29th president two years ago and presided over a Mass attended by president-elect Joe Biden in January before he was sworn in, has agreed to cooperate fully with the investigation, said a notice from John M. Sobrato, chair of the University Board of Trustees. Sobrato’s note said the university was informed...
The Mercury News
As we spring forward and push back the nights, experts worry about worsening our ‘social jet lag’
After 12 months in which bright spots were in seriously short supply, the clocks move up an hour Sunday when twilight will linger past 7:30 p.m. and push back the darkness ever longer until the solstice. If a coalition of U.S. senators have their way, the clocks will never go back. Yet the nation remains deeply divided on the question of standard vs. daylight saving time, and why do so many of the world’s leading sleep researchers believe DST is a terrible idea? They hold that snipping an hour of the clock further exacerbates a phenomenon known as “social jet lag,” the gap between the sleep we...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
I spent hours finding all the secrets and Easter eggs in ‘Marvel’ at Chicago museum. Here are 18
CHICAGO – “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes,” the massive new traveling exhibit that just opened at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, does a surprisingly evocative job of replicating our experiences with the Marvel Universe itself. If you’re a tourist in this world — you recognize the icons (Spider-Man, Hulk, et al), you’ve seen a few films — you can blow through in 30 minutes and come out with a perfectly breezy appreciation. Or you could spend a lifetime here, soaking in the legacy, sorting out 60 years of plot and character — what Marvel leader Stan Lee’s most recent biographer...
On Gardening: Machu Morado is the Ruellia you've always wanted
Machu Morado is one of the most intriguing new plants in both name and performance. In reality it is a dream come true but I’ll explain. First it is a Mexican petunia or Ruellia, the gregarious "Uncle Buck" of the Acanthus family. A lot of gardening folks think it is a petunia. These are the purple blue flowers that look so mystical in color and that everyone deeply wants in the garden. This is the Ruellia however that strikes fear and trepidation for having a reputation of aggressiveness to the point of sparking anger in some. But Proven Winners has introduced this new version and has given i...
Tribune News Service