Archaeologists uncover entrance gate and fortification of Biblical city

The Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath, headed by Prof. Aren Maeir, has discovered the fortifications and entrance gate of the biblical city of Gath of the Philistines, home of Goliath and the largest city in the land during the 10th-9th century BCE, about the time of the “United Kingdom” of Israel and King Ahab of Israel. The excavations are being conducted in the Tel Zafit National Park, located in the Judean Foothills, about halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon in central Israel. —> Read More

Climb a Tree for Working Memory

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Written by Ross Alloway

I like exercise, but I don’t like gyms. I’ve even run in a blizzard to avoid a slog on the treadmill. I suppose the reason I feel this way is that gyms seem artificial to me — the air conditioning, the thumping music, the way they encourage movements that bear little relation to the real world. Consider, for example, the number of times you have done triceps extensions or isolated bicep curls outside of a gym. Probably never.

I also think that a traditional gym environment may encourage cognitive passivity. Rather than being mentally engaged when we go to a gym, we often turn our Ipods on in order to switch our brains off, and drown ourselves in a haze of auto-tuned vocals and auto-tuned movements. You don’t have to think to do a leg extension or a bench press, and this is often intentionally designed this way, as gym users seem not to want to think about what they are doing.

Available evidence supports this notion, showing that whatever the physical benefits of conventional anaerobic exercise, there is little evidence of cognitive benefits, particularly for working memory.

Working Memory, the active processing of information, is linked to performance in a wide variety of contexts, from grades to sports. Tracy’s research has shown that the better your working memory, the better your results in contexts where you have to process information.

If you were a best man at a wedding, for example, and you discovered that you had left your notes for your speech on the kitchen table at home, it would be your working memory that would allow you to manage the stress of public speaking, and, at the same time, piece together information you know about the newlyweds in a witty and heartwarming manner.

The great thing about —> Read More

Oceanographers Board a Fleet of Icebreakers to Study Mercury Pollution in the Arctic Ocean

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The Arctic Ocean lies in one of the most remote regions of the planet, thousands of miles away from industrial cities and mining operations that

Three separate oceanographic research teams will study different parts of the Arctic Ocean to increase spatial coverage. Cruise transects for summer 2015 are outlined in red for the U.S. (GN01), Canadian (GN02-03), and German (GN04-05) expeditions. Black lines outline previous GEOTRACES cruises.
Image source: http://www.bodc.ac.uk/geotraces/cruises/section_maps/arctic_ocean/

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New analysis suggests body size increase did not play a role in the origins of Homo genus

A new analysis of early hominin body size evolution led by a George Washington University professor suggests that the earliest members of the Homo genus (which includes our species, Homo sapiens) may not have been larger than earlier hominin species. As almost all of the hows and whys of human evolution are tied to estimates of body size at particular points in time, these results challenge numerous adaptive hypotheses based around the idea that the origins of Homo coincided with, or were driven by, an increase in body mass. —> Read More

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