#GeekyTreasures: The dreams of the future meet the history of the past


Along with my #aMomentaryLapseOfReason series (goes live every Monday morning), I decided to wrap-up interesting science- and technology-related stories. This linkfest will point to often overlooked news that are not necessarily from the current week. As much as feasible, I will try to have them somewhat gravitating around the same topic.

Until now, we considered that the genetic "Adam" lived between 60,000 and 140,000 years ago. A DNA sample sent for analysis to a US company brought the surprise, though: tracing back the paternal line of our species shows it is over twice as old as we thought. 'The father of all men is 340,000 years old,' writes Colin Barras (the New Scientist) exploring the history of the human male.

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Fireworks for New Year's Eve can have incredible secrets. Astrobiologists from Cardiff University identified ancient algae-like fossils in... fireballs lit up in Sri Lanka. The fragments thus contained biological structures whose careful examination ruled out the possibility of terrestrial contamination. The discussion is ongoing as such results -- if proven inambiguous -- would indicate that life exists throughout the universe.

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"Ghostly underwater art gallery breathes new life to sunken ship," an amazing story by the CNN

"Ghostly underwater art gallery breathes new life to sunken ship," an amazing story by the CNN

A stunning exhibition has been established on a sunken ship, The Vandenberg. Administered by a Viennese photographer, this is the world's only underwater art gallery. Have a look at the photos: absolutely impressive!

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The ancient Amazons might actually have been... sailors? 'Wonders & Marvels' contributor Adrienne Mayor writes:

At first glance the image on the ancient coin looks like a typical ancient Amazon, those mythical warrior women modeled on nomadic archers of Scythia, the immense territory stretching from southern Russia to Mongolia. But hold on -- what is that object in her right hand? A ship’s anchor! What could be more incongruous? The Amazons were horsewomen galloping over the vast plains, not sailors on the “wine dark seas.”

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A  recently published study indicates that the length of DNA strands can actually predict life expectancy. More precisely, the length of the telomeres -- already known to be an indicator of age -- is reported to be a good predictor, at least for patients with heart disease.

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How old is the oldest known star? Researchers (helped by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope) closely examined the "Methuselah star," known for decades because of its fast motion across the sky. Previous estimates were reporting it to be as old as 16 billion years -- a bit problematic given the estimated age of the Universe (which is 13.8 billion years). The new data suggests the star has the same age as the Universe, and the astronomers have quite a few exciting details about its birth and life history.

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