Over at the Extelligence Experiment I’ve put up some plans for writing a short book in November. The aim won’t be to get something perfect done, but a workable draft I can hack around. The daft part of the project is I plan to upload sections as I go along, so if it goes wrong then it will go wrong repeatedly and embarrassingly throughout November.
I’ve recently had more test results back following an operation and found out that the thing that’s kept me busy all summer wasn’t cancer, merely something that could easily be mistaken for …
This is useful information for archaeologists. Carbon Dating would be fantastic if the production of Carbon-13 were constant. It’s not. This means that archaeologists need samples of known date to calibrate their carbon dates. That’s possible when you have things like a historical record to match material against, but not so easy when you have no conscious recording of a date.
The usual answer has been to use trees. You can date tree samples from the pattern of yearly growth. The pattern of thick and thin growth rings acts a bit like a fingerprint for earlier periods which means you know the date of a sample to a year. You then carbon date the sample to calibrate your carbon dates. The problem is tree-ring data only goes back to the latest parts of of the Upper Palaeolithic.
This new data could push dating back as far as the Middle Palaeolithic and allow the dating of later Neanderthal material.
The way it works is by combining a password with a verification code sent by a text message to confirm any major changes to your account. By itself it’s just the slight extra hassle of keeping your phone with you when you make changes, like adding access for a new program.
In reality you can’t use verification codes with a lot of programs, so you also need to generate a lot of one-shot passwords for each application. My mail programs on my phone and my desktop both use different passwords to my account password. If I give anything else access like laptop or tablet, that will need a new one-shot password too. If I try to get this password for my laptop while using my laptop browser for the first time, then that will need text verification to get into my account.
It is a hassle.
It’s even more hassle because I’m forgetful. There’s a good chance I could forget where my phone is. Or it could break or get stolen. So I also have to get some more access codes to take account for that, print them off and store them somewhere. Not anywhere near a device, in case they’re stolen with the device, but accessible enough that I can get them when I need them.
It is a pain, but even if you keep your password secure you can’t be sure everyone else will keep your password secure. http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/08/apple-amazon-mat-honan-hacking/ If you can get into your own account with no effort, how much effort is it going to take anyone else? You can decide for yourself if two-step verification is necessary for you by working out how much you might lose if your Google account were hacked.
Venus Fly Traps aren’t the only plants with fast moves when it comes to catching prey. German scientists have discovered a Sundew with tentacles that catapult insects into its hungry leaves. You can read the paper free, or download more video at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045735