25 Feb

Five thousand years ago, ancient Chinese civilizations drank beer they made from cereal grains, a type of Asian grass, and small amounts of yam and lily root parts. Using this recipe, a group of Stanford Archaeology Center students recently recreated the 5,000-year-old beer using ancient brewing processes.

The beer, which had a distasteful smell and taste, was the students’ final project for a class called Archaeology of Food: Production, Consumption, and Ritual. The recipe came from studying the residue that was found on pottery vessels from northeast China. This information was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, giving new insight into early beer production in that part of the world.

23 Feb

After finishing their newspapers for the day, some have been known to use them in utilitarian ways, such as lining bird cages, serving as catch-all drop cloths for projects ranging from house painting to school projects, or covering floor areas in rooms where pets live. Depending on the specific news content, such practical uses can prove more valuable than the information on the printed page. Editorial and opinion pages, in particular, are known to meet such a fate.

Now, though, there's yet another use for newsprint: Substituting as insulation when stuffed inside a new jacket that starts out the size of a sandwich and ends up looking like it's suited for the Michelin Man.

21 Feb

A pair of recently published studies suggests that those who have trouble sleeping at night can reset their circadian rhythms by taking a weekend camping trip.

Take a weekend wilderness excursion during the winter and the positive effects could be even more intense.

Lead author and University of Colorado integrative physiology professor Kenneth Wright says, “These studies suggest that our internal clock responds strongly and quite rapidly to the natural light-dark cycle. Living in our modern environments can significantly delay our circadian timing, and late circadian timing is associated with many health consequences. But as little as a weekend camping trip can reset it.”

19 Feb

More than 1.8 million people in the U.S. are currently living with HIV, with over 39,000 new diagnoses in 2015. While medication may have reduced fatality rates since the latter 20th century, many HIV sufferers deal with chronic illness and are forced to take multiple medications every day. A cure would free them from that lifestyle and improve their quality of life.

Rockefeller University researchers have announced that they’ve created a combination of antibodies that could be a cure for the disease. The three antibodies, when combined, successfully suppressed HIV completely when injected in mice. While previous antibodies run their course, with three antibodies at play, the disease eventually runs out of options and stops mutating.

17 Feb

Mankind has always been artistic, even in our earliest incarnations. A newly discovered slab of limestone reveals that early humans more than 35,000 years ago added art to the more functional items they created.

The slab was discovered by an international anthropology team in a collapsed shelter in Southwest France. The shelter is estimated to be 38,000 years old, putting the finding before that date. On the slab is an engraved image of an extinct wild cow called an aurochs, and the image is surrounded by dots. The findings were detailed in a paper that was published recently in Quaternary International, the official journal of research into the most recent era of the Cenozoic era.

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