Aboriginal Australians left Africa 70,000 years ago

September 24, 2011

“A 90-year-old tuft of hair has yielded the first complete genome of Aboriginal Australians. In 1921, the hair was donated to British anthropologist Alfred Cort Haddon when he was traveling through Golden Ridge in Western Australia. Two new genomics studies have shed light on the earliest migrations of humans by showing that the ancestors of present-day Aboriginal Australians left Africa around 70,000 years ago, which is at least 24,000 years before the migration that gave rise to present-day Europeans and Asians . The first of the studies, led by Rasmussen from the University of Copenhagen and published in Science, was conducted by sequencing the DNA from the lock of hair. While the DNA had degraded somewhat, researchers were still able to sequence and assemble most of it and compare it to the genomes of other populations around the world. The DNA showed no traces of the signature genetic fingerprints of modern European and Asian, suggesting Aboriginal Australians left Africa in the first great human migration from the cradle of humanity . Aboriginal Australians therefore descend directly from the earliest modern explorers, people who migrated into Asia before finally reaching Australia about 50,000 years ago. In showing this, the study establishes Aboriginal Australians as the population with the longest association with the land on which they live today. The history of Aboriginal Australians plays a key role in understanding the dispersal of the first humans to leave Africa. Archaeological evidence establishes modern human presence in Australia by about 50,000 years ago, but this study re-writes the story of their journey there”, the media reported yesterday.

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“Previously, the most widely accepted theory was that all modern humans derive from a single out-of-Africa migration wave into Europe, Asia, and Australia. In that model, the first Australians would have branched off from an Asian population, already separated from the ancestors of Europeans. However, this study shows that when ancestral Aboriginal Australians begun their private journey, the ancestors of Asians and Europeans had not yet differentiated from each other . Once they did, some 24,000 years after the first Australians had begun their explorations, Asians and remnants of the ancestral Australians intermixed for a period of time. The second study, led by David Reich, Professor of Genetics at the Harvard Medical School and published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, found that the forebears of Aboriginal Australians interbred with another archaic human population called Denisovans, who ranged from Siberia to Southeast Asia. Aboriginal Australians, Near Oceanians, Polynesians, Fijians, east Indonesians, and Mamanwa (a Negrito group from the Philippines) have all inherited genetic material from Denisovans, but mainland East Asians, etc have not. These results suggest that relatives of present-day East Asians were not in Southeast Asia when the Denisova gene flow occurred “, the media added. This new discovery just adds another new fact to the incomplete story of Human Evolution .


Why WordPress activates new Features by default ?

September 24, 2011

Recently, WordPress.com has added some new features to its Blog Services, and has activated these new features for all WordPress blogs. Many of these features are about the widgets (left-side boxes), the look of blogs, etc. Now, some Iranians say: ” We don’t need and like these “ZalamZimbo !! [these stupid luxuries (new features)]. Why don’t they ask us if we like these ZalamZimbo or not? In our terrible situation in Iran, it’s hard to inactivate each of these new features one by one. They should let us know about their new features and ask us if we want to activate the new features or not”. It’s really true. It’s not good that WordPress.com, like other big corporations of cyberspace, activates its new features by default. It’s not good that every now and then you see some unwanted new features have been added to your website. WordPress.com, Please don’t activate the new features by default . Please let users decide about activating the new features. You can let them know about your new features and ask them if they want to activate the new features or not. It’s a better policy . Much more better.


Best Movies: “Stranger Than Fiction” (2006)

September 24, 2011

Some movies are made only once in a decade. And “Stranger Than Fiction” (2006) is one of them. I think “Stranger Than Fiction” is a 8+/10 movie. The story is extraordinary and unique, and the whole cast is quite good, from Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal to Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. In fact, “Stranger Than Fiction” is the best movie of Ferrell and Gyllenhaal. They are both great in this movie. Ferrell is exceptional as Harold Crick, an IRS-agent whose lonely life is only soothed by his regular cataloguing of the mundane details of his existence. The main story and the main themes of the movie are really good. One day, Harold Crick’s world is upset by the introduction of a voice in his head. The voice is narrating everything he does (the doctors think it’s a schizophrenia). But when the voice informs Harold that his demise is imminent, he enlists literature professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman) to try to get to the bottom of what is happening to him. Together they try to figure out what kind of story Harold’s life is turning into, be it a comedy or a tragedy, and if the plot is something he can take control of or is out of his hands . Harold’s life is an example of our life. Like Harold, we, all, should try to test our life, to see if it’s a comedy or tragedy !! or we can take control of it or it’s out of our hands. What Harold does for testing his life and the genre of his story, is really interesting. It’s what we should do about our own real life !!

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Harold’s life is a comedy, but unfortunately or fortunately the real life is not comedy. Some say: “It’s a tragedy, or in the best case, is a tragicomedy”. But like Harold we should try to learn how we can face the tragedy, how we can avoid living a stupid nonsense life, and how we can live our life. One of the main things Harold pursues is his crush on Ana Pascal, the rebel baker who has left the Harvard for baking cookies. Ana says: “I wanted to change the world; so I went to the Harvard. I was gonna make the world a better place with my degree … But finally I understood that I can change the world by bakery, too”. Ana Pascal, she’s played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, is a lovely girl; a lovely revolutionary who refuses to pay her taxes, based on intellectual reasons. She is sarcastic, witty, and a smart alike. When Harold showed up to do her audit, her rejection and her reactions are very interesting. Of course, Harold’s life is an imaginary life and finally becomes a cliché, but it still can be a good example of our real life. Harold’s life that is written by an author, and is out of his control, has some meaningful similarities with the real life. Sometimes our life is out of our control, and sometimes we think our life, or part of it, is written by others or by an unknown author. Harold, like all of us, doesn’t want to die, too. But the literature professor (Dustin Hoffman) asks him to accept his death, and says: “You will die. [We can not run away from death]. Even if you avoid this death, another will find you. And I guarantee you, it won’t be nearly as poetic or meaningful as this one”. But Harold challenges him. Harold’s challenges are common challenges, i.e. the human challenges with the tragedy of life. And Harold’s final decision is a common choice, too.

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Stranger Than Fiction is written by a relative newcomer, Zach Helm, and directed by Marc Foster, who is the director of ”Finding Neverland” and ”Monster’s Ball’. Zach and Foster, both did a great job in Stranger Than Fiction. An American critic, who has watched the film in the cinema, said: “When I first walked out of the movie theatre on a Friday night after seeing Stranger Than Fiction, I couldn’t believe what a good time I had. As soon as we were done, my friend and I knew why some people hated it (they wanted a silly movie) and others loved it (they were open to something more unique). We both fell in the latter category. For the next several days, every time my friend and I were in contact, we talked about it. Stranger Than Fiction stuck with us, and it just got better with age”. We have watched the DVD of Stranger Than Fiction, and had the same experience. I think some Iranians have watched it in the state TV. Recently, the Iran’s state TV showed it again, of course with many stupid censorship. “Stranger Than Fiction” has not any censorable scene, but the stupid Mullahs only try to f-u-c-k everything as much as they can! (the movie is about 105 min, and when the Mullahs showed it in 2007, they showed 95 min of it, and now in 2011 they showed 80 min of it !!) Anyway, if you want to see a good comedy and think about human life, you can see Stranger Than Fiction’s DVD (without Mullah censorship).