Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

BBC’s "Origins of Us" — review/synopsis   2 comments

A new 3-part documentary from the BBC pinpoints a commonly-asked question; how we, humans, came to be? what makes you who you are?

The documentary is presented and narrated by Dr. Alice Roberts who travels to Africa and to other high-tech modern laboratories to tell a story many of us are eager to listen to. Most of the time Dr. Roberts bring up comparisons of us against our closest relatives; chimpanzees. We share almost 99% of our genes with that family, and although we are not direct descendants from it, both of us are direct descendants of a common ancestor.

origins 2The first part of the series, titled BONES, Dr. Roberts tells us why our human physique is fundamentally different from that of apes. We have longer lower limbs and shorter arms. We can run fast, but we cannot climb trees. We can hold objects by one hand, while apes can hardly do that. The differences are evident in that they appear to be evolved in response to apes leaving the forests and heading to open plains. And why this happened in the first place is explained by a purely geological reason; Africa was getting drier and drier, and forests were diminishing, so apes were obliged to survive in the open fields of the savannah. Subtle, but critical, changes to the human body includes evolution and development of the gluteus muscles, especially the gluteus maximus, a muscle vital for running; our ankle joints no longer permit dorsiflexion to the levels seen in chimpanzees; our thumbs became more versatile, enabling us to hold objects easily with one hand, freeing the other hand for tool use.

English: Alice Roberts and Michael Lewis at We...The second part is titled GUTS. Most prior research has speculated that early homo species largely depended on meat for survival, and that was the reason their brains have become larger and larger over time. However, no definite evidence backs up this theory. Dr. Roberts does a comparison of a chimpanzee jaw and a replica of her own jaw. Her replica has shown that it could cut more efficiently through meat, as the teeth of humans appear to be narrower and thus sharper. On the other hand, another test demonstrated that human saliva has 6 times more amylase than that of chimpanzees; amylase is a crucial enzyme in starch digestion that initially occurs in the mouth. So, it seems that humans evolved to be as proficient carnivores as herbivores. However, the question still remains; which type of food was their primary source? To answer this question, Dr. Roberts travels to East Africa to meet an indigenous group living a primitive life. Those people are called Hadza, and Dr. Roberts thinks that their lifestyle is largely similar to that of early humans. After staying with them for a day, Dr. Roberts concludes that their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, the one early human speculated to had been, tends to lean towards the gatherer side. It’s realistic after all, because hunting large animals is not easy as it seems.

The final part is titled BRAINS. It’s obvious that our developed brains shape the way we behave as humans. But why would our brains develop so much, quadrupling in size in comparison with our earliest human ancestor, when such increase in size would demand excessive energy consumption? The answer lies in the fact that our early human ancestors faced a very tough environment to tackle. And it happened that each single brain development in the face of an obstacle led to the appearance of a skill, which itself opened up new doors to explore. From understanding eye language to sharing ideas, theories, and concepts in the form of names, to planning for tomorrow – such unique human abilities paved the way for us to colonize the globe.

You can download and watch this documentary by joining the MVgroup, a sharing community for documentaries. Here is the link.


Posted January 11, 2012 by H. H. in Articles, Documentary, Science

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We Need Batman Here   2 comments

I’ve just come across news about the new Batman comic series, Batman Incorporated. The plot is simple: Bruce Wayne has returned as the original Batman and will be stepping out of Gotham to visit different countries around the world to fight crime there and employ new local Batmen. I was really surprised to not see the flag of Egypt on the comic cover. It should be there! Why is Batman visiting Japan in the first place? I think he should take a look at this…

…and may be he’ll change his mind. We actually need a batch of Batmen here!

Posted December 17, 2010 by H. H. in Articles, Corruption, Egypt

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Black XMB Background for Sony PSP   13 comments


The PSP has a variety of colors as backgrounds including white, but unfortunately it doesn’t have a real black one. For black color enthusiasts, I present here a small image which can do the trick, and turn the white background into black (like the one shown above). It modifies the other colors as well.

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Posted February 23, 2009 by H. H. in Articles, PSP, Technology

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Baghdad Battery — who made it?   Leave a comment

The Baghdad Battery is the common name for a number of artifacts found in Mesopotamia (a part now largely corresponding to modern Iraq), possibly created during the Parthian or Sassanid period (the early centuries AD). These jars were probably discovered in 1936 in the village of Khuyut Rabbou’a, near Baghdad, Iraq. In 1940, Wilhelm König, the German director of the National Museum of Iraq, published a paper speculating that they may have been galvanic cells, perhaps used for electroplating gold onto silver objects. This interpretation continues to be considered as at least a hypothetical possibility. If correct, the artifacts would predate Alessandro Volta‘s 1800 invention of the electrochemical cell by more than a millennium.

Because of this, it is considered by specialists to be an OOPArt (Out-Of-Place Artifact). One wonders: Is that a surviving proof of a prehistoric advanced society long gone? and if so, was that advanced society human or not? or was it dropped onto Earth by other intelligent creatures that live elsewhere?

Baghdad Battery
Out-of-place artifact

Most Creative Japanese Video Games: UFO – A Day in the Life   1 comment

Posted November 27, 2008 by H. H. in Articles, Digital Art, Personal Likes, Playstation, Video Games

PSP Slim & Lite Poor Manufacturing   3 comments

Sony’s New Slogan:
Cheap Manufacturing Like.No.Other


I upgraded from my Sony PSP-1004 (phat) to a PSP-2004 (known as PSP Slim & Lite) a month ago. From day one I noticed that the screen was misaligned, in that the left edge of the screen was almost covered by the covering faceplate, as if a vertical line of one-pixel in width at the most left was distorted or warped, while on the right edge there was plenty of space between the screen edge and the faceplate edge. Moreover, the left edge had a gap due to a mis-attached faceplate. From the random pictures I’ve seen on the web, this problem is quite common, but most people do not notice it, or pretend it’s normal or acceptable. My place has no official technical service offices, so I opened the device up, voiding the warranty, and as you see in the attached picture, I placed pieces of hard paper to force the screen to be moved a bit to the right, aligning the whole thing.

Please keep reading for more details and polls.

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Posted October 22, 2008 by H. H. in Articles, PSP, Technology, Thoughts

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Book Syndrome: Medical Students Suffer   2 comments


As the final exams come closer, many medical students get a fairly common syndrome, known as “Book Syndrome” (not to be mistaken for the other ‘Book syndrome’ [dentistry]: premolar aplasia, hyperhidrosis, and premature canities) .

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Posted September 6, 2008 by H. H. in Articles, Fun, Medicine