ENIGMA MAN: A Stone Age Mystery

With Enigma Man we follow the groundbreaking research of Aussie paleoanthropologist Darren Curnoe and his Chinese colleague, paleontologist Ji Xueping.

Their study of ancient human remains found in a remote cave in South-west China looks at the idea there may have been another species of human existing alongside our ancestors as recently as 11,000 – 14,000 years ago.

Dubbed the ‘‘Red Deer Cave people’’, these ancient people, or, more precisely, their remains – so similar, yet so physically different from us – are much, much younger than our Neanderthal relatives, posing some seriously interesting questions. Were they really another human species? And if so, what happened to them? Why did they die out? How did they live? And what were their interactions with our own early relatives?

These are indeed big questions, Curnoe  says, and that’s what makes the search for answers so fascinating.

“The documentary is about the process of deciding: do we have a new species or not?” Curnoe, who is Associate Professor of evolutionary biology in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at UNSW, explains.

“The fossils just don’t fit with the dominant view in science at the moment about who was around 11,000 years ago or 14,000 years ago, how they relate to us, and how we think of ourselves as humans in relation to nature.

“We tend to think of ourselves as special. So it raises some pretty deep and challenging questions.

“There are views, which I subscribe to, and quite a lot of other people do too, that there are at least 30 different species that are in the fossil record that would be relatives of ours in some sense – some may be ancestors, some may be side-branches that went extinct.

“The classic example is the Neanderthals – everyone has heard of them, even if you don’t know much about them. What we are proposing is that instead of the Neanderthals being the last of the other human-like creatures [before it was] just us, we are in fact saying, well, no, this other group survived until much more recently.”

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Tencent: The Secretive, Chinese Tech Giant That Can Rival Facebook and Amazon

Tencent founder Pony Ma is the richest man in China, worth some $13 billion, but he may be the least known multibillionaire in the tech world. The one attribute seemingly sanctioned for public consumption–and therefore, the one heard over and over–is that he is a “computer geek.” His personal life is a mystery. Even Tencent analysts in Hong Kong aren’t able to say whether he lives there or across the border in Shenzhen, where his company is based–or both.

That’s why it was a big moment when, in November, he took to the stage at his Shenzhen headquarters for his annual WE (“We Evolve”) summit. It’s a conclave of business leaders and IT experts convened to discuss technology and the future, and he appeared as a clean-cut guy in a shiny gray suit. “When I was little,” he told the crowd in a message captured on video, “I wanted to be an astronomer, but that didn’t happen.”

This trope–tech billionaire as aspiring space cadet–is a recurring one: Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk share a similar passion. At the event, Ma described how he and a few fellow enthusiasts once dreamed of setting up an Internet-connected observatory, so that they could study the stars remotely even on the most polluted, gray-sky days. A few years later, a colleague actually pulled it off: The man bought a house on a mountaintop in southern China, built the station, and enabled anyone to plug in. “I thought, that is magical,” Ma said, with a long pause for effect.

Tencent: The Secretive, Chinese Tech Giant That Can Rival Facebook and Amazon

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Galactic Space Pirates and Cosmic Anthropologists: An Origin Tale.

It occurs to this humble guerilla ontologist, waking once more with a raspy upper respiratory tract consequent of smoke particulates invading the air as fire services mount a rearguard action to hold off the actions of a lengthening apocalyptic summer… that space must seem down right paradisical to every single citizen of China.

A week of being kept inside but to walk the dog being nothing to residents of Morwell evacuated from the effects of a month long coal fire.

Compared to a generation raised inside vertical towns, importing German air filters to hold off endemic asthma. One nation united by fear of the sky. How luxurious an idea it must be to escape that, to transcend it? And the atmosphere on Titan comparatively welcoming.

To a person raised in a one room family home, life aboard a cramped extra terran outpost will be undreamed of space. The expanse of the Moon rich in potential to such eyes. The stars calling.

Much as the metaphorical waking dragon cum leviathan has spread its tentacles around the world, pulling in resources, leaving newly minted millionaires in its wake to disrupt the local economies, housing markets… the appeal of such places pales in comparison to the heavens.

Especially when the edges of such cities that once were second only to London in the glory days of Rule, Britannia! are now seemingly home only to feral children and flocks of escaped parrots. Flooded with refugees from states marked further down the Scale of Fail.

And like that last great thalassocracy, this new space born empire can be easily seeded with raw criminal stock to provide the brute force and run the risks, overseen by those who’ve lost the local Game of Thrones, and chosen door#2 and a slim chance at redemption, over their family being billed the cost of a bullet and their organs farmed out to the succeeding members of the technocratic elite.

If they’re smart, they’ll bide their time and embrace the outlaw life; forgoing any notion of buying back in to their previous life narratives.

Declare their independence, turn their back on the first and last state of Earth, now hopelessly dependant upon them for their raw materials and helium-3 and easy life. Scattering coded invitations in spam emails and Weibo posts.

And run deeper into the darkness; space pirates with asteroid junks storming the void.

Making port on island moons in the rings of Saturn and Uranus.

Setting solar sail for Kuiper Belt, towing their spoils back in the tails of comets.

Gathering their forces in bases high in the Oort Cloud. Readying to raid the universe.

Such is the legacy of a doomed planet.

Dark Matter
Dark Matter

[LIGHTLY UPDATED MIRROR FROM fuckyeahdarkextropian]

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Qiandao Lake is a man-made lake located in Chun’an County, China, where archeologists have discovered in 2001 ruins of an underwater city. The city is at a depth of 26-40 meters and was named “Lion City”. There would have been 290 000 people living in this city during more than 1300 years. Touristic expeditions are projected.

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China’s First Lunar Rover Live-Blogged Its Own Death


“The sun has fallen, and the temperature is dropping so quickly…to tell you all a secret, I don’t feel that sad. I was just in my own adventure story – and like every hero, I encountered a small problem.“

"Goodnight, Earth,” concluded the rover. “Goodnight, humanity.”


China’s First Lunar Rover Live-Blogged Its Own Death

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China’s “Jade Rabbit” lands safely on the Moon (in fast motion).

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Lin Erda, a member of the national expert committee on climate change and a professor at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said:

“The chances of high temperature and precipitation are continuously increasing in China, [but] it is hard for climate experts to predict how or in what degree.”

He said he believed artificial precipitation would be effective in some areas, but noted that it worked only under certain conditions.

“In the long run, we can only prepare to deal with climate change, and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases to slow down global warm.”

Li Weijing, another climate expert, told the state news agency, Xinhua, that extreme weather events were becoming more frequent and that climate change would cause China’s rain belt to move north in the summer.

Jiang Tong, a research fellow with the China Meteorological Administration’s national climate centre, told the Global Times that many cities were not prepared for such severe weather at present. He said development plans should include details of how to manage such conditions.

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