A 21-year-old student deciphers a word on a 2,000-year-old charred papyrus.
We’ve been trying to get people talking for centuries These manuscripts from Greco-Roman antiquity were rendered illegible by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79.. The famous eruption that buried Pompeii in ash also destroyed the nearby city of Herculaneum. In the seventeenth century, approximately 700 rolls of parchment were found in the remains of a villa in this city. It was cooked by the lava, becoming coal black and very crumbly.
Every time an attempt was made to unravel one of these scrolls to read it, it disintegrated into small pieces and its contents were lost forever. But a few years ago, Researchers were able to actually publish some of these papyri. They, as it were, X-rayed the inside of the pulleys. In the very gray images obtained, we were able to make out small differences in texture associated with the ink but there was nothing immediately readable. That’s when the idea of creating the Vesuvius Challenge was born.
The goal of this challenge: to make these images speak using artificial intelligence. There are different amounts to be won depending on the number of words decoded. Up to $700,000 for a person who can read at least 4 paragraphs of parchment.
Luke Varitor, a computer science student from Nebraska, co-developed a machine learning algorithm. His program deciphered about twenty letters, including a string that makes up the word “porphyras,” which means purple in Greek.. For this discovery, the 21-year-old received $40,000. By improving its software, we can bring hundreds of texts more than 2,000 years old out of oblivion. There are certainly fragments in this Greco-Roman library, which is the only library that has come down to us from this period.
An extraordinary solar flare left traces on tree trunks 14,300 years ago
The Sun occasionally fires bursts of electrically charged particles toward Earth. Upon entering the atmosphere, these particles generate the northern lights. These solar flares are relatively frequent but the one that concerned us was exceptional! The most intense mass ever recorded to date. It happened 14,300 years ago and was recorded by Scots pines in the Southern Alps whose strains were preserved in river silt.
Scientists have discovered that one of the growth rings of these strains contains an abnormally high percentage of carbon-14. This reveals that at the time of this ring’s formation, there were 5 times more of these carbon atoms in the atmosphere than usual. This anomaly is a sign of a massive solar flare. She must have been born The amazing northern lights that can be seen from France. If such a phenomenon occurred today, it would also cause widespread failure of our satellites. Which will not withstand a solar storm of this size.
A surprising strategy for female frogs to discourage males from mating with them
For many amphibians, breeding is a combat sport. Males frantically throw themselves at females, sometimes in groups. It even happens that females die by drowning under the attacks of over-excited males..
Researchers have just discovered this The female common frog has evolved an effective display to ward off unwanted objects. She’s playing dead. She stops and gets nervous. She plays comedy well enough to keep annoying people away. We will always remember that there is still a way to go before the male frogs turn into princes charming.
“Incurable web evangelist. Hipster-friendly gamer. Award-winning entrepreneur. Falls down a lot.”