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The oldest known Homo sapiens outside Africa was Greek



EARLY HUMAN fossils are so uncommon that every new discovery could rewrite the textbooks. An opportunity discover two years in the past in Morocco, for instance, pushed the origin of Homo sapiens again to at the least 315,000 years in the past, from a earlier minimal of 260,000 years primarily based on stays present in South Africa. Now, as they report on this week’s Nature, a bunch of palaeontologists have prolonged the recognized geographical vary of early Homo sapiens from Africa to Europe.

Katerina Harvati of the College of Tübingen, in Germany, and her colleagues discovered the related cranium fragment not within the floor, however in a museum in Athens. It was one among a pair of specimens dug up within the 1970s from Apidima, a collapse southern Greece. Each had been recognised as being human fossils of some type, however had not been dated or correctly analysed. Dr Harvati and her workforce have now completed so, utilizing strategies unavailable to the unique finders.

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One fossil is a fairly full, although fragmented, cranium. Radioisotope relationship exhibits it’s 170,000 years previous. Pc reconstruction reveals it to be an instance of Homo neanderthalensis, Neanderthal man, a species widespread in Europe till 40,000 years in the past, when Homo sapiens took over. The opposite fossil, the again half of a skull (pictured, connected to some rock) turned out to be Homo sapiens. It’s 210,000 years previous, and thus the third-oldest recognized instance of recent humanity.

That’s fascinating. However what has excited consideration is that it’s also the oldest Homo sapiens specimen discovered exterior Africa—the continent the place, based on all of the accessible proof, the species originated.

How Homo sapiens unfold from Africa to dominate the world is a narrative that after seemed easy, however is getting quickly extra complicated. Genetic knowledge recommend most individuals alive at present who should not African or of latest African descent can hint their ancestry to at least one or a couple of “out of Africa” migrations that started about 60,000 years in the past into Asia, and thence unfold to Australia, Europe and the Americas. Extra detailed evaluation, although, exhibits that on the way in which via these locations a few of these ancestral people interbred with different human species, now extinct, together with Neanderthals.

Fossils additionally present that Homo sapiens was current within the Center East properly earlier than 60,000 years in the past. Not, nevertheless, as way back because the inhabitant of Apidima whose stays Dr Harvati has now analysed. Why, having reached Greece, Homo sapiens didn’t proceed to unfold into the remainder of Europe and thus take it over 170,000 years sooner than occurred in actuality is a thriller—maybe one on which future fossil discoveries will shed a little bit gentle.

Correction (July 11th 2019): An earlier model of the title of this piece incorrectly acknowledged that the oldest recognized Homo sapiens was Greek. In actual fact this story is in regards to the earliest specimen discovered exterior of Africa. This has been up to date

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Alone on a Mountaintop, Awaiting a Very Hard Rain



On the windy flanks of Mount Aragats, a biblical-sounding massif in Armenia, an previous man — a cook dinner — shuffles by means of a sprawling array of oddly formed, empty buildings.

The place is an emblem of what Yulia Grigoryants, an Armenian photographer, calls Cosmic Solitude. As soon as upon a time, it was one of many bustling facilities of physics, dedicated to the research of cosmic rays: high-energy particles thrown from exploding stars, black holes and different astrophysical calamities 1000’s or thousands and thousands of light-years away and whistling down from area.

Twentieth-century physics grew right into a mathematical labyrinth as one bizarre subatomic particle after one other was found and idea tried to maintain up with experiment. Then physicists discovered tips on how to create these particles themselves, in big particle accelerators just like the Giant Hadron Collider at CERN. Mountaintop aeries just like the Aragats Cosmic Ray Analysis Station receded within the quest for final data.

However the universe remains to be the largest and most cost-effective particle accelerator of all of them. And so the buildings and the devices at Aragats stay, like ghost ships within the cosmic rain, maintained for lengthy stretches of time by a skeleton crew of two technicians and a cook dinner. They nonetheless watch for information that would change the universe: a quantum bullet extra highly effective than people can produce, or weirder than their tentative legal guidelines can clarify; bother blowing in from the solar.

As a younger girl in Yerevan, the close by capital of Armenia, Ms. Grigoryants usually hiked up Mount Aragats, utilizing these unusual buildings as mileage posts. “Every time I checked out these lonely buildings and landscapes, strolling away, mountain climbing up the mountain, usually taking a look again, I used to be left with a sense of isolation and loneliness,” she defined in an e-mail about her work.

She now lives in Paris, however finds herself drawn again to the mountain: “And so on occasion I return to Armenia to search out out, to go to these lonely buildings that remind me a lot of myself — remoted, maybe mysterious, and questioning about an uncertain future that’s, as with all of us, principally uncontrolled.”

The Aragats Cosmic Ray Analysis Station, a department of the A.I. Alikhanyan Nationwide Science Laboratory in Yerevan, was established in 1943, when Armenia was a part of the Soviet Union. In its heyday, greater than 100 scientists labored there maintaining observe of the laborious rain from area. When a high-speed particle from someplace on the market — an exploding star, maybe — reaches Earth’s higher environment, it inevitably hits a particle within the nucleus of an atom excessive and demolishes it. The fragments from the collision bathe down, crashing into different particles and making a rain of secondary particles. Detectors on the mountainside catch these pennies from heaven, and computer systems analyze them and deduce the character of the unique particle.

In the course of the 1990s, Aragats detectors recorded particles a whole lot of occasions extra energetic than these produced within the CERN collider, offering essential proof in help of the notion that such high-energy cosmic rays had been produced in supernova explosions.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the rise of know-how put a crimp in a lot of the Armenian economic system, together with an effort to construct what would have been the world’s largest experiment to detect very-high-energy cosmic rays.

“After collapse, we completed smaller detectors,” stated Ashot Chilingaryan, director of the A.I. Alikhanyan Nationwide Science Laboratory and head of its Cosmic Ray Division, which runs the Aragats station.

Now typically solely three folks work there, maintaining regular watch on machines that watch the universe. “These areas are the symbolic and visible aftermath of financial and political battle and transition,” Ms. Grigoryants wrote. “An aftermath that’s largely invisible and disregarded by the surface world, however which exists as residing proof of a bygone period.”

However, surprisingly, science has survived and thrived there. Lately the station’s work has targeted on photo voltaic physics and the high-speed protons thrown from the floor of the solar — area climate, briefly. The lab has additionally investigated radiation that hits Earth’s floor from thunderstorms. In consequence the lab, regardless of dropping most of its funds and work power, has elevated its manufacturing of publications and convention reviews tenfold prior to now 20 years, Dr. Chilingaryan stated. His scientists delivered 5 papers at a latest geophysics assembly in San Francisco.

But it surely hasn’t been straightforward. The station sits at an altitude of practically 11,000 toes. There’s snow on the bottom eight months of the yr, trapping the employees on the mountain for weeks at a stretch. They spend their time checking the sensors which are scattered across the mountainside, and monitoring the electronics and computer systems that tie all the things collectively and ship information right down to Yerevan and around the globe. As soon as a month a snowcat delivers meals and different provides.

Cooks are the underappreciated heroes of science, feeding omelets to astronomers at midnight and loading the info analysts with carbs. On Mount Aragats, that hero is Artash Petrosyan, 70, who has been cooking on the station for 32 years. As soon as, he served a crew of 100; now he usually cooks for himself and two younger technicians. The children take turns manning the station 24-hours a day, day by day of the yr, yr after yr, Ms. Grigoryants notes, “questioning if someday they could discover themselves just like the previous man who spent half his life right here.”

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Google chief calls for AI regulation



FT subscribers can click on right here to obtain tech information every day by electronic mail within the #techFT publication

Can we belief Google to deal with our medical data or rein in its synthetic intelligence algorithms to respect our privateness as they be part of the dots on our private lives?

In an FT opinion piece, Alphabet chief Sundar Pichai says there isn’t any query in his thoughts that synthetic intelligence must be regulated. “It’s too necessary to not. The one query is methods to strategy it,” he says. In addition to Google publishing its personal AI rules, he feels Europe’s Basic Knowledge Safety Regulation can function a robust basis for future regulation (In Brussels at this time, he additionally referred to as for a moratorium on facial recognition know-how.) 

Mr Pichai mentions Google analysis exhibiting that an AI mannequin might help docs spot breast most cancers in mammograms with larger accuracy and at this time’s Large Learn seems at how Google’s makes an attempt to make use of AI for good in medication have gotten tougher because the revelation in November that its engineers had entry to medical information held by Ascension, the nation’s second-largest healthcare system, as they constructed new merchandise. 

Its imaginative and prescient is to construct a Google Assistant in your well being, in keeping with Eric Topol, writer of Deep Medication, a guide about AI in healthcare. It may mix digital well being information with knowledge from smartphones, genomes, data from sensors akin to glucose displays and even apps that file consuming habits, he says.

Aside from exploiting smartphone sensors and shopping for Fitbit with its health bands, Google has patented varied “non-invasive health-monitoring gadgets”, together with a bathroom seat sensor to measure coronary heart charge and blood strain, which some may certainly think about invasive.

However analysing all the info it collects depends on customers granting permission and Google incomes their belief. With its twin function of holding shopper and well being knowledge, there are issues that it may combine the 2 and de-anonymise it. Querying each knowledge units with AI may throw up worthwhile patterns and clues on our state of well being, however for a lot of, permitting any such mixture is a step too far.

The Web of (5) Issues

1. GSKandMe mix
GlaxoSmithKline expects its partnership with shopper genetics testing firm 23andMe to have chosen its first drug goal and launched a medical trial by the top of the yr. In an FT interview, GSK chief government Emma Walmsley mentioned the thought was “quite simple” — that genetically validated targets had the next likelihood of resulting in profitable medicines. She added that 23andMe had the most important knowledge set of its variety, with about 10m prospects contributing.

2. SpaceX’s emergency escape works
The non-public house exploration firm led by Tesla chief government Elon Musk efficiently accomplished an emergency escape simulation in Florida on Sunday that would permit it to launch Nasa astronauts into house as quickly as March. The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from the Kennedy Area Middle in Florida with two check dummies on board earlier than re-entering the Earth’s ambiance and parachuting into the Atlantic Ocean. Emergency groups from SpaceX and the US Air Power then simulated how they’d rescue astronauts within the uneven water.

3. Stiglitz on Fb and {the marketplace} of concepts
Fashionable economics tells us that non-public and social incentives are sometimes not well-aligned, says Columbia College professor Joseph Stiglitz within the FT. “If those that wish to unfold misinformation are prepared to pay greater than those that wish to counter it, and if lack of transparency is extra worthwhile than transparency, then Fb’s angle says “so be it”. However we gained’t get a well-functioning market of concepts if we observe this strategy.” In the meantime, Rana Foroohar notes the US and China’s roles as innovator and duplicator are shifting. China is strengthening patent safety, following a sample set by different nations as they moved up the financial ladder and had extra mental property of their very own to guard.

4. US boosts anti-Tehran tech funding 
US-backed know-how corporations have recorded a latest improve in the usage of circumvention software program in Iran after elevating efforts to assist Iranian anti-regime protesters thwart web censorship. A US state division official instructed the FT that after protests broke out in Iran in 2018, Washington accelerated efforts to assist Iranians talk with one another and the surface world.

5. Samsung’s smartphone shake-up
Samsung has named a brand new head of its smartphone operations because it tries to reinvigorate the enterprise within the face of stiffer competitors from decrease value rivals like Huawei. The South Korean group mentioned on Monday it had appointed Roh Tae-moon as its smartphone chief, in addition to selling 4 younger executives to firm presidents.

Tech week forward

Monday: The saga over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou enters a brand new part this week because the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei heads to a Vancouver court docket for the primary a part of her extradition listening to, which can give attention to the problem of ‘double criminality’ — the requirement for extradition that the offence she is accused of is a criminal offense in Canada and the US.

Tuesday: The 50th World Financial Discussion board assembly will get correctly below manner in Davos, with Donald Trump, Greta Thunberg and Mark Carney talking, in addition to Huawei chief government Ren Zhengfei. Right here’s our preview of 5 points, together with Large Tech, that may most likely occupy delegates’ consideration. Later, Netflix is predicted to put up an increase in income, when buyers will search for commentary on content material spending and new additions to its on-line library within the face of rival streaming providers from Disney and Apple. IBM additionally reviews after the shut.

Wednesday: Dutch chipmaking gear provider ASML reviews earlier than the New York market opens. Chipmaker Texas Devices is after the shut.

Thursday: Buyers could also be in search of additional element on Comcast’s streaming platform Peacock — which launches extensively in July. Revenues are once more set to be helped by an increase in broadband web prospects. Intel is predicted to report a drop in fourth-quarter income on the identical day, because the chip trade struggles with a worldwide slowdown. Thursday can also be the deadline for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone to pay billions in charges, penalties and curiosity to the Indian authorities. 

Friday: Telecoms gear maker Ericsson reviews earlier than the bell.

Tech instruments – Clearview AI

Do not hassle making an attempt to request entry to this facial recognition software program except you are within the enterprise of regulation enforcement. The New York Occasions says it is a software that would finish your capability to stroll down the road anonymously, and has been supplied to tons of of regulation enforcement companies, together with the FBI. The app can “take an image of an individual, add it and get to see public pictures of that particular person, together with hyperlinks to the place these pictures appeared. The system — whose spine is a database of greater than 3bn photos that Clearview claims to have scraped from Fb, YouTube, Venmo and thousands and thousands of different web sites — goes far past something ever constructed by the USA authorities or Silicon Valley giants.”

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Smart Technologies

Cash, Plastic or Hand? Amazon Envisions Paying With a Wave



The tech large is creating checkout terminals that may very well be positioned in bricks-and-mortar shops and permit buyers to hyperlink their card info to their palms, in line with individuals accustomed to the matter. They might then pay for purchases with their palms, with out having to tug out a card or telephone.

The corporate plans to pitch the terminals to espresso outlets, fast-food eating places and different retailers that do numerous repeat enterprise with their prospects, in line with among the individuals. Amazon declined to remark.

Amazon, like different tech corporations, is making an attempt to additional combine itself into shoppers’ monetary lives, leaving banks and card networks on edge.

Apple Inc.

AAPL 1.11%

launched a bank card final 12 months, and Google is rolling out checking accounts. If the Amazon terminals succeed, they might leapfrog cell wallets comparable to Apple Pay whereas increasing Amazon’s already-extensive entry to client information.

Amazon’s initiatives are intently watched each by tech and monetary corporations, that are more and more colliding in funds. Amazon has been experimenting with funds at its Amazon Go shops, the place prospects can stroll out with out stopping to pay. It has additionally been constructing out Amazon Pay, a digital pockets that buyers can use to make funds at on-line retailers not owned by Amazon. Chief Govt

Jeff Bezos

has careworn the significance of economic companies and funds to some senior executives, The Wall Avenue Journal beforehand reported.

The plans for terminals are in early levels. Amazon not too long ago started working with

Visa Inc.

to check transactions on the terminals and is in discussions with

Mastercard Inc.,

in line with among the individuals.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has careworn the significance of economic companies.


michael reynolds/Shutterstock

Amazon has mentioned the undertaking with card issuers.

JPMorgan Chase

& Co.,

Wells Fargo

& Co. and

Synchrony Monetary

have expressed curiosity in enabling shoppers’ card accounts to work with these terminals, in line with among the individuals.

Card corporations try to determine whether or not tech giants comparable to Amazon intend to be collaborators or rivals, although some imagine it’s safer to take part in large tech’s funds ambitions than danger being omitted. Amazon, for its half, needs the cardboard corporations’ experience in safeguarding shoppers’ card accounts.

Nonetheless, Amazon must allay the considerations of card issuers and networks, together with how the terminals would detect fraud. The corporate will even must win over prospects cautious of offering much more private info and navigate a local weather through which regulators are more and more skeptical of huge tech.

Amazon envisions that prospects would first use the terminals to hyperlink their debit or bank card info to their palms, the individuals stated. The corporate is weighing a number of choices for a way to take action, one of many individuals stated. For instance, prospects would possibly insert playing cards right into a terminal after which let the terminal scan their palms. From then on, they’d solely want to put a hand over the terminal to pay at a collaborating service provider.

Amazon not too long ago filed a patent software for what it described as a “non-contact biometric identification system” that features “a hand scanner that generates pictures of a person’s palm.”

Information that will cross by the terminals, together with the place shoppers shopped and when, can be saved on Amazon’s cloud, in line with among the individuals. The corporate want to combine this information with shoppers’ spending, these individuals stated. That would give Amazon extra leverage to cost increased costs to advertisers primarily based on the thought they’ll higher predict what prospects are seemingly to purchase.

The New York Submit earlier reported that Amazon was testing a funds system that will let shoppers use their palms to pay at Amazon’s Entire Meals chain.

Share Your Ideas

Would you be keen to hyperlink your debit or bank card info to your hand? Why or why not? Be a part of the dialog beneath.

Amazon has had restricted success with one other funds undertaking pitching bricks-and-mortar retailers on accepting its Amazon Pay digital pockets. One roadblock: Shops didn’t wish to remind their prospects about Amazon and danger encouraging them to purchase there as an alternative. That may very well be a problem with the brand new terminals as properly.

Within the close to time period, Amazon needs to nudge card issuers and networks to innovate together with it, in line with individuals accustomed to Amazon’s technique. Some funds corporations fear that in the long run, tech corporations together with Amazon may simply minimize them out.

Card corporations have raised considerations in regards to the potential for fraud with the terminals, together with easy methods to catch individuals who attempt to hyperlink their palms to a stolen card. Amazon has stated it may blacklist individuals who use the system fraudulently, among the individuals stated. However that may not cease cheaters from making one-time purchases of electronics or different big-ticket gadgets.

Card issuers are additionally asking how shoppers would have the ability to add multiple account to their palms and the way they’d have the ability to select between these playing cards once they pay.

Write to AnnaMaria Andriotis at

Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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