And we're back!
Started by Maladict, May 27, 2016, 02:34:49 AM
Quote from: Valmy on May 31, 2017, 10:35:50 AMYour DNA is 90% Democrat.
QuoteAncient Babylonian Tablet May Hold Earliest Examples of TrigonometryIf true, it would mean the ancient culture figured out this mathematical field more than a millennia before its known creationBy Ben PankoSMITHSONIAN.COM AUGUST 28, 2017 10:35AMA new analysis of a long-studied Babylonian tablet suggests that trigonometry, the subject so many of us struggled through in high school, may actually be a lot older than previously thought.The small clay tablet, which dates back to the year 1800 B.C.E., is dubbed Plimpton 322 after George Arthur Plimpton, a New York publisher who purchased it in the 192o's. He donated the tablet with its scrawled rows of numbers to Columbia University in 1936—where it still remains today, researchers of the new study Daniel Mansfield and Norman Wildberger write for The Conversation.In the decades since its discovery, researchers have debated about the meaning of those numbers, reports Carl Engelking for Discover magazine. In his 1945 book, mathematician and historian Otto Neugebauer first suggested that Plimpton 322 represents a glimpse at early trigonometry, a field of math concerning the relationship of the sides and angles in triangles. The numbers on the tablet represented Pythagorean triples in Neugebauer's mind, which are sets of three numbers that can be used to solve the Pythagorean theorem (a2+b2=c2), writes Engelking.Later researchers, such as mathematical historian Eleanor Robson, threw cold water on that idea, arguing that Plimpton 322 was more simply a teaching aid. Robson argued that the chosen numbers didn't seem to align with groundbreaking research.Science historians have long regarded the creator of trigonometry to be the Greek astronomer Hipparchus and his contemporaries. They are believed to develop the system around the second century C.E. to precisely calculate the movement of the zodiac signs in the sky.But in the new study, published in the journal Historia Mathematica, Mansfield and Wildberger lend some credence to Neugebauer's thinking, reports Ron Cowen for Science Magazine. The key is to get a new angle on the tablet's numbers.Instead of the traditional method of trigonometry based on the angles of triangles, Cowen reports, Plimpton 322 actually uses calculations based on the ratios of the lengths of sides of right triangles, rather than relationships based on their angles. And instead of the base-10 system of numbers used today, the study suggests that the Babylonian tablet uses a base-60 system (similar to how we count time).Using this tablet and its system of numbers, the Babylonians could precisely calculate figures to a whole number more accurately than we could today with traditional trigonometry, Mansfield and Wildberger argue. The write:"The sexagesimal system is better suited for exact calculation. For example, if you divide one hour by three then you get exactly 20 minutes. But if you divide one dollar by three then you get 33 cents, with 1 cent left over. The fundamental difference is the convention to treat hours and dollars in different number systems: time is sexagesimal and dollars are decimal.""It opens up new possibilities not just for modern mathematics research, but also for mathematics education," Wildberger says in a statement. "With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own."The tablet could have had practical use in surveying or construction, writes Sarah Gibbens for National Geographic, allowing builders to take the heights and lengths of buildings and calculate the slope of a roof.Other mathematicians urge caution in the latest Plimpton 322 interpretation, writes Cowen at Science. Babylonian mathematics expert Jöran Friberg is skeptical that the culture had any knowledge of ratios advanced enough to create this form of math, while mathematical historian Christine Proust says there is no evidence in other surviving texts that tablets like this could have been used in the way the authors suggest.Meanwhile, mathematician Donald Allen tells Gibbens that it's hard to really know whether Mansfield and Wildberger's theory is right because they had to recreate a broken section of the tablet, making any conclusion "conjecture."However, the Australian mathematicians hope to see more research done on the insights that the Babylonians might have for modern-day people, as they write for The Conversation."We are only beginning to understand this ancient civilization, which is likely to hold many more secrets waiting to be discovered."
Quote from: derspiess on August 29, 2017, 09:21:59 AMBabylonians must have had 60 fingers & toes
Quote from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SexagesimalIt is possible for people to count on their fingers to 12 using one hand only, with the thumb pointing to each finger bone on the four fingers in turn. A traditional counting system still in use in many regions of Asia works in this way, and could help to explain the occurrence of numeral systems based on 12 and 60 besides those based on 10, 20 and 5. In this system, one hand (usually right) counts repeatedly to 12, displaying the number of iterations on the other (usually left), until five dozens, i. e. the 60, are full.
Quote from: The Brain on August 29, 2017, 10:16:36 AMWhat insights for modern people do Babylonian mathematics have? People have tinkered with different bases for centuries.
QuotePompeii Hero Pliny the Elder May Have Been Found 2,000 Years Later Pliny the Elder sailed into danger when Vesuvius erupted, and never returned, but a body found a century ago 'covered in jewelry like a cabaret ballerina' may really have been his. By Ariel David | Aug 31, 2017 Italian scientists are a few thousand euros and a test tube away from conclusively identifying the body of Pliny the Elder, the Roman polymath, writer and military leader who launched a naval rescue operation to save the people of Pompeii from the deadly eruption of Mt. Vesuvius 2,000 years ago.If successful, the effort would mark the first positive identification of the remains of a high-ranking figure from ancient Rome, highlighting the work of a man who lost his life while leading history's first large-scale rescue operation, and who also wrote one of the world's earliest encyclopedias.Given that Italian cultural and scientific institutions are mired in budget troubles, the Pliny project is seeking crowdfunding for the scientists, who also studied Oetzi the Iceman – the 5,300-year-old mummy found perfectly preserved in an alpine glacier.The remains now believed to be Pliny's were found more than a century ago. But identifying the body has only recently become feasible, says Andrea Cionci, an art historian and journalist who last week reported the findings in the Italian daily La Stampa.Gaius Plinius Secundus, better known as Pliny the Elder, was the admiral of the Roman imperial fleet moored at Misenum, north of Naples, on the day in 79 C.E. when Vesuvius erupted. According to his nephew, Pliny the Younger, an author and lawyer in his own right who was also at Misenum and witnessed the eruption, Pliny the Elder's scientific curiosity was piqued by the dark, menacing clouds billowing from the volcano. Initially he intended to take a small, fast ship to observe the phenomenon. But when he received a desperate message (possibly by signal or pigeon) from a family he knew in Stabiae, a town near Pompeii, he set out with his best ships to bring aid not only to his friends "but to the many people who lived on that beautiful coast."A deadly cloudHe would have had about a dozen quadriremes, warships with four banks of rowers, at his disposal, says Flavio Russo, who in 2014 wrote a book for the Italian Defense Ministry about Pliny's rescue mission and the tentative identification of his remains.These ships were some of the most powerful units in the Roman naval arsenal, capable of carrying some 200 soldiers (or survivors) on deck while braving the stormy seas and strong winds stirred up by the eruption, Russo told Haaretz in an interview. "Before him, no one had imagined that machines built for war could be used to save people," he said.The Roman fleet made the 30-kilometer journey across the Gulf of Naples at full speed, launching lifeboats to collect the hundreds of refugees who had made their way to the beaches.According to Pliny the Younger, his uncle also disembarked and went looking for his friends in Stabiae. But as he was leading a group of survivors to safety, he was overtaken by a cloud of poisonous gas, and died on the beach.We do not know how many people reached the safety of the ships before the cloud moved in. Russo estimates the fleet may have saved up to 2,000 people – a number roughly equal to the estimated number of those killed in the eruption, as the volcanic spew wiped out the towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae.Pliny the Younger's description of the eruption is considered so accurate that experts today call similarly explosive volcanic events as "Plinian eruptions."Indirect evidence confirming his story was found in the 1980s, when archaeologists digging at the ancient port of Herculaneum uncovered the remains of a legionnaire and a burnt boat, possibly one of the lifeboats and a crew member dispatched by Pliny's fleet. They also found the skeletons of some 300 people who had sought refuge in the covered boat sheds of the port, only to die instantly when the so-called pyroclastic surge, a superheated cloud of volcanic gas and rock typical of these kinds of eruptions, rolled down Vesuvius, killing everyone in its path.Wouldn't prance like a ballerinaIn the first years of the 20th century, amid a flurry of digs to uncover Pompeii and other sites preserved by the layers of volcanic ash that covered them, an engineer called Gennaro Matrone uncovered some 70 skeletons near the coast at Stabiae. One of the bodies carried a golden triple necklace chain, golden bracelets and a short sword decorated with ivory and seashells.Matrone was quick to theorize that he had found Pliny's remains. Indeed, the he place and the circumstances were right, but archaeologists at the time laughed off the theory, believing that a Roman commander would not run around "covered in jewelry like a cabaret ballerina," Russo said.Humiliated, Matrone sold off the jewels to unknown buyers (laws on conservation of archaeological treasures were more lax then) and reburied most of the bones, keeping only the supposed skull of Pliny and his sword, Russo said.These artifacts were later donated to a small museum in Rome – the Museo di Storia dell'Arte Sanitaria (the Museum of the History of the Art of Medicine) – where they have been kept, mostly forgotten, until today.Russo, who has been the main driving force behind efforts to confirm the identification, says that judging by Matrone's drawings, the jewelry found on the mysterious skeleton as well as the ornate sword are compatible with decorations common among high-ranking Roman navy officers and members of the equestrian class, the second-tier nobility to which Pliny belonged.Furthermore, an anthropologist has concluded that the skull held in the museum belonged to a male in his fifties, Russo said. We know from Pliny the Younger that his uncle was 56 when he died.With evidence mounting, Russo and Cionci turned to the Oetzi the Iceman team to have them perform more tests on the skeleton from Stabiae."We are not saying that this is Pliny, merely that there are many clues that suggest it, and we should test this theory scientifically," Cionci said. "This is something unique: it's not like we have the bones of Julius Caesar or Nero."Tell-tale teethResearchers plan to carry out two tests: a comparison between the skull's morphology with known busts and images of Pliny, and, more importantly, an examination of the isotope signatures in his teeth."When we drink water or eat something, whether it's plants or animals, the minerals from the soil enter our body, and the soil has a different composition in every place," explains Isolina Marota, a molecular anthropologist from the University of Camerino, in central Italy.By matching the isotopes in the tooth enamel, which is formed in childhood, with those in soil samples, scientists can determine where a person grew up. In the case of the Iceman, they managed to pinpoint the Alpine valley where he had spent his childhood. For Pliny, they would look for signatures from the northern Italian town of Como, where he was born and bred, Marota told Haaretz.She estimated the tests would cost around 10,000 euros. Once the money is found, obtaining the necessary permits and performing the research will take some months, she said.For its part, the museum hosting the skull would be happy to sacrifice a bit of a tooth to highlight the importance of their exhibit, said Pier Paolo Visentin, secretary general of the Accademia di Storia dell'Arte Sanitaria, which runs the museum.Visentin noted that while we have names on Roman sarcophagi and burials in catacombs, there are no cases of major figures from ancient Rome whose remains have been positively identified – leaving aside traditions and legends linked to the relics of Christian saints and martyrs.For one thing, Romans have favored cremation throughout much of their history. And when they did bury their dead, they did not embalm them like the Egyptians, who have left us a multitude of neatly labeled mummies of pharaohs and officials.Finally, the Italian climate isn't dry like the Egyptian desert and the looting of ancient monuments that was common during the Middle Ages would have done the rest, he says."This is quite a unique case, since these remains were preserved in the time capsule that is Pompeii," Visentin said.You quote Pliny all the timeBesides his last, humanitarian gesture, Pliny is known for the books he wrote, ranging from military tactics, to history and rhetoric. His greatest and only surviving work was his Naturalis Historia (Of Natural History): 37 books filled with a summation of ancient knowledge on astronomy, mathematics, medicine, painting, sculpture and many other fields of the sciences and arts.Pliny's work inspired later encyclopedias: most of us at some point have unknowingly cited him. Perhaps, looking at these experiments on his possible remains, he would be skeptical of any conclusions, telling us to take them "with a grain of salt" and reminding us that "the only certainty is that nothing is certain."Or perhaps he would encourage scientists to forge on, repeating what, according to his nephew, he said when his helmsman suggested they return to port as scalding ash and fiery stones began raining on the fleet headed for Vesuvius. His response was: "Fortune favors the bold."
QuoteNew Experiment Reveals Secret Behind 200,000-Year-Old Neanderthal GlueGeorge DvorskyYesterday 9:00amOver a hundred thousand years ago, Neanderthals used tar to bind objects together, yet scientists have struggled to understand how these ancient humans, with their limited knowledge and resources, were able to produce this sticky substance. A new experiment reveals the likely technique used by Neanderthals, and how they converted tree bark into an ancient form of glue.Neanderthals were manufacturing their own adhesives as far back as 200,000 years ago, which is kind of mind blowing when you think about it. We typically think of fire, stone tools, and language as the "killer apps" of early human development, but the ability to glue stuff together was as much of a transformative technology as any of these. New research published in Scientific Reports reveals the startling ingenuity and intellectual capacities of Neanderthals, and the likely method used to cook up this ancient adhesive. Based on the archaeological evidence, we know that Neanderthals were manufacturing tar during the Middle Pleistocene Era. The oldest traces of this practice date back to a site in Italy during a time when only Neanderthals were present in Europe. Similar tar lumps and adhesive residues have also been found in Germany, the oldest of which dates back some 120,000 years ago. The Neanderthals used tar for hafting—the practice of attaching bones or stone to a wooden handle to create tools or weapons. It was a force multiplier in engineering, allowing these ancient humans to think outside the box and build completely new sets of tools. What makes the presence of tar at this early stage in history such a mystery, however, is that Neanderthals had figured out a way to make the useful goo thousands of years before the invention of ceramics, which by the time of the ancient Mesopotamians was being used to produce tar in vast quantities. For years, archaeologists have suspected that Neanderthals performed dry distillation of birch bark to synthesize tar, but the exact method remained a mystery—particularly owing to the absence of durable containers that could be used to cook the stuff up from base materials. Attempts by scientists to replicate the suspected Neanderthal process produced tar in miniscule amounts and far short of what would be required for hafting. To finally figure out how the Neanderthals did it, a research team led by Paul Kozowyk from Leiden University carried out a set of experiments. Tar is derived from the dry distillation of organic materials, typically birch bark or pine wood, so Kozowyk's team sought to reproduce tar with these substances and the cooking methods likely at the disposal of the Neanderthals. It's very likely that the Neanderthals stumbled upon the idea while sitting around the campfire."A tightly rolled piece of birch bark simply left in a fire and removed when partially burned, once opened, will sometimes contain small traces of tar inside the roll along the burned edge," explained the authors in the study. "Not enough to haft a tool, but enough to recognize a sticky substance."With this in mind, the researchers applied three different methods, ranging from simple to complex, while recording the amount of fuel, materials, temperatures, and tar yield for each technique. Their results were compared to known archaeological relics to see if they were on the right (or wrong) track. By the end of the experiments, the researchers found that it was entirely possible to create tar in the required quantities using even the simplest method, which required minimal temperature control, an ash mound, and birch bark. "A simple bark roll in hot ashes can produce enough tar to haft a small tool, and repeating this process several times (simultaneously) can produce the quantities known from the archaeological record," write the researchers. "Our experiments allowed us to develop a tentative framework on how the dry distillation of birch bark may have evolved, beginning with the recognition of small traces of birch bark tar in partially burned bark rolls." They added: "Our results indicate that it is possible to obtain useful amounts of tar by combining materials and technology already in use by Neandertals." Indeed, by repeating even the simplest process, the researchers were able to obtain 15.9 grams of useable tar in a single experiment, which is far more than any tar remains found in Middle Paleolithic sites. What's more, temperature control doesn't need to be as precise as previously thought, and a durable container, such as a ceramic container, is not required. That said, the process did require a certain amount of acumen; for this process to come about, Neanderthals needed to recognize certain material properties, such as the degree of adhesiveness and viscosity. We'll never be certain this is exactly what Neanderthals were doing, but it's a possibility with important implications for early humans in general."What this paper reinforces is that all of the humans that were around 50,000 to 150,000 years ago roughly, were culturally similar and equally capable of these levels of imagination, invention and technology," explained Washington University anthropologist Erik Trinkaus, who wasn't involved in the study, in an interview with Gizmodo. "Anthropologists have been confusing anatomy and behavior, making the inference that archaic anatomy equals archaic behavior, and 'modern' behavior [is equivalent to] modern human anatomy. What is emerging from the human fossil and Paleolithic archeological records across the Eurasia and Africa is that, at any one slice in time during this period, they were all doing—and capable of doing—basically the same things, whatever they looked like."Sabrina Sholts, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of Natural History, says this study is a nice example of how experimental archaeology can be used to supplement the material record and address questions about past hominid behavior. "I think it's certainly worthwhile to test methods of tar production that could have been used by Neanderthals and early modern humans, if only to challenge our assumptions about the kind of technologies—and ideas—within their reach," she told Gizmodo.
Page created in 0.031 seconds with 20 queries.