Archive for July, 2011

How an argument with Hawking suggested the Universe is a hologram

31 Jul

The proponents of string theory seem to think they can provide a more elegant description of the Universe by adding additional dimensions. But some other theoreticians think they've found a way to view the Universe as having one less dimension. The work sprung out of a long argument with Stephen Hawking about the nature of black holes, which was eventually solved by the realization that the event horizon could act as a hologram, preserving information about the material that's gotten sucked inside. The same sort of math, it turns out, can actually describe any point in the Universe, meaning that the entire content Universe can be viewed as a giant hologram, one that resides on the surface of whatever two-dimensional shape will enclose it.

That was the premise of panel at this summer's World Science Festival, which described how the idea developed, how it might apply to the Universe as a whole, and how they were involved in its development.

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Social Media Propaganda Posters by Aaron Wood

31 Jul

Who would you join up with to win the “war”?

Social Media Propaganda Posters by Aaron Wood

Love these social media propaganda posters from Aaron Wood.

Social Media Propaganda Posters by Aaron Wood

Social Media Propaganda Posters by Aaron Wood

Social Media Propaganda Posters by Aaron Wood

You can buy them on Etsy. Found via Google+.

Share This: Twitter | Facebook | Discover more great design by following Design Milk on Twitter and Facebook.
© 2011 Design Milk | Posted by Jaime in Art | Permalink | 1 comment

Colorful Butterfly-710596.jpeg (JPEG Image, 1400×1050 pixels)

30 Jul



david is going to die

29 Jul



Postcards To The Future

29 Jul
There’s plenty of footage out there showing what people thought the year 2000 would bring from the 1950s and 60s but what about the view from 1900?

A series of postcards from German chocolate company Hildebrands gives us a glimpse into their thoughts on life at the turn of the millennium, a far more whimsical (and corseted) vision of what was to be.

A Quick Stroll on the Water

The Moving Pavement

House-Moving by Train

Televised Outside Broadcasting

Personal Flying Machines

Combined Ship and Railway Locomotive

Weather Control Machine

Undersea Tourist Boats

Roofed Cities

Personal Airships

Police X-Ray Surveillance Machine

Summer Holidays at the North Pole

Source: paleofuture


What is Really Happening in Washington D.C.

29 Jul

One of the best depictions of the debt “crisis”:

KAL’s cartoon | The Economist.

© 2011 Armstrong Media, LLC. All rights reserved. No republishing without permision. This post was originally written by Jon Armstrong for
Permalink | 9 comments


Sheer Numbers Gave Early Humans Edge Over Neanderthals

29 Jul

By Kate Shaw, Ars Technica

Between 35,000 and 45,000 years ago, Neanderthals in Europe and Asia were replaced by the first modern humans. Why and how this transition occurred remains somewhat controversial. New research from the journal Science suggests that sheer numbers may have played a large role in modern humans’ eventual takeover; archeological data shows that early populations of modern humans may have outnumbered Neanderthals by more than 9 to 1.

Two archaeologists from Cambridge University analyzed data from the Aquitaine region of southern France, which has Europe’s highest density of sites from this era, and one of the most complete archeological records. They used data from three time periods that encompassed the transition between Neanderthals and modern humans: the Mouterian and Chatelperronian eras, during which Neanderthals lived, and the Aurignacian period, which was dominated by modern humans. By examining differences between land use during these time periods, the researchers hoped to determine whether population dynamics played a role in the transition between these two hominins.

Because of the difficulties in estimating long-ago populations, the researchers used a few different proxies for population sizes and densities. They analyzed the number of occupied sites in each era, the size of these sites, and the accumulation rates of stone tools and animal food remains. Through these proxies, the researchers could get good estimates of population dynamics during the transition from Neanderthals to modern humans in Aquitaine.

From the Mouterian to the Chatelperronian era, there was very little increase in the number of rock-shelter sites. There were about 26 sites occupied in the Mouterian era, and 31 in the Chatelperronian period, suggesting that the Neanderthal population was not growing quickly. However, there were about 108 sites occupied by modern humans in the Aurignacian period. The increase is similar for occupied open-air sites. Adjusted for time scales, these figures suggest that, between the last Neanderthal-dominated era and the first era dominated by modern humans, the population numbers and densities increased by a factor of about 2.5.

A similar trend was seen in the sizes of occupied areas, with the Neanderthal sites averaging less than 200 square meters, while several of the modern human sites reached up to 600 square meters. From the size differences of the sites, the researchers estimate population increased up to 3 times as the Neanderthal-dominated era ended and modern humans occupied their sites.

Finally, the accumulation of stone tools and animal remains tells a similar story: modern humans were far more numerous than the Neanderthals they replaced. The densities of stone tools and animal food remains skyrocketed between the Chatelperronian and Aurignacian eras—according to these differences, the modern human population probably outnumbered the Neanderthals by a factor of about 1.8.

Each of these statistics, taken alone, tells only part of the story. Since these archaeological proxies was developed independently, the estimations can be looked at cumulatively to get a better idea of the different population sizes. When evaluated as a whole, these estimations show that the population size and densities of modern humans may have been more than 9 times those of the Neanderthals around the time of the population’s transition. It’s very likely that a numerical advantage that large played a significant role in modern humans’ dominance over their earlier counterparts.

While the study did not directly address the features that gave modern humans a population advantage, the authors suggest that it was probably due to a combination of factors such as improved food storage, an increase in social cohesion, and the potential for trade and the exchange of goods.

Source: Ars Technica

Image: A comparison of Neanderthal and human settlement density and size about 30,000 years ago. (Science)

See Also:

Citation: Science, 2011. DOI: 10.1126/science.1206930


Mild Soap and Water Is Better for Your Wounds than Peroxide or Alcohol [Health]

29 Jul
Most people aren't afraid to use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect a wound when they get a cut. According to WebMD however, using peroxide on a wound can actually harm the tissue around it and delay the healing process. This is just one first aid fallacy they're out to debunk. More »


Graphic of the Day: Who Borrowed? Who Loaned?

28 Jul

A picture says a thousand words. From the NYT today:


In particular, who racked up $6.1 trillion in debt?

For more graphs, see here and here.

Update 9:20am 7/29: Reader CoRev excoriates me for using a graphic along FY lines (well a lot of spending is baked in, so Presidents usually are more responsible for the FYs that the NY Times allocated). Well, since we have a set of magical instruments called the Internet, and Excel, we can easily see that there is little change using quarterly data, and timing the cumulations more tightly.

Figure 0: Cumulative changes in publicly held debt, by Presidential administrations, in millions of $, NSA. Source: Treasury via FREDII (series FYGFDPUN), and directly from Treasury for 2011Q1.

I don't see a drastic revision to the stylized facts. Here is a corresponding graph normalized by GDP, which is more relevant.

Figure 1: Cumulative changes in publicly held debt, by Presidential administrations, in millions of $, NSA, normalized by GDP, in billions of $, SAAR, all through 2011Q1. Source: Treasury via FREDII (series FYGFDPUN), Band directly from Treasury for 2011Q1, BEA 2011Q2 advance release, and author's calculations.

Note that in this last graph, the "Clinton" block is below the zero line because publicly held debt was paid down during the Clinton Administration, in ppts of GDP terms. If we normalized by potential nominal GDP, the Obama block would look smaller. I also find of interest the debt accumulated during Reagan, GHW Bush, and Bush Administrations versus that during Clinton and Obama... (recalling Clinton paid down, as a share of GDP).


Geek Art – Art, Design & Lightsabers

28 Jul