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Laid Back Lounge / Re: What's on your mind today?
« Last post by jumbojak on Today at 02:14:16 AM »
Could it have been firecrackers or something similar?
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Laid Back Lounge / Re: What's on your mind today?
« Last post by Dave on Today at 01:57:13 AM »
At 1.50am, during a trip to the loo, whether or not that was gunfire I heard through the open window.

I am not unfamiliar with the sound of distant small arms fire and there are no military training areas within 20 or 30 miles of here. There were about ten erratically spaced reports over 30 seconds or less, my memory of military training is that it went on for a lot longer.

Around here such noises are normally only heard during the day in the game shooting season when the wind is right.

Will check the news tomorrow,
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Laid Back Lounge / Re: Reasons to be cheerful!
« Last post by Sandra Craft on July 20, 2018, 10:39:37 PM »
I got a raise at work! Damn near TRIPLES my hourly rate!

Hurrah!
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Laid Back Lounge / Re: Reasons To Be Grumpy thread
« Last post by OldGit on July 20, 2018, 07:28:03 PM »
Thanks, E_M, but I'm home now and self-medicating.  Thanks to all for the good wishes.
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Science / Re: Neanderthals in the News
« Last post by Recusant on July 20, 2018, 05:21:02 PM »
It is already well established that Neanderthals used fire. A new paper describes a combination of experimental archaeology and microscopic examination of ancient hand axes used by a team of scientists lead by Andrew Sorensen; it is proposed that Neanderthals also regularly kindled their own fires.

"The Mystery of How Neanderthals Got Fire" | The Atlantic

Quote
The first step to re-creating 50,000-year-old technology is to collect a bunch of rocks. So began Andrew Sorensen’s plan to study a great mystery in archaeology: how Neanderthals controlled fire.

Sorensen, an archeologist at Leiden University, collected a special kind of rock called flint off the beaches of England. If you hit it in just the right ways, flint will break to expose sharp edges that can be used to butcher meat, scrape hides, and cut wood. And if you strike it against a mineral called pyrite, sparks will fly. Flint plus pyrite plus tinder equals fire.

Archeologists have found evidence of Neanderthal fire pits. They have even found tar that Neanderthals likely made by deliberately heating birch bark. What they have never found are tools that Neanderthals could have used to start fires on demand. Without it, Neanderthals would have needed to collect fire from natural sources such as lightning strikes, which would have required walking long distances to find fuel to keep fires going and enduring cold spells with raw food when they went out. The mastery of fire would have made life much easier. Many think it was a key turning point in human evolution.

Sorensen suspected that flint tools called bifaces may hold the answer. Bifaces are essentially hand axes used in all sorts of cutting—a “Neanderthal Swiss army knife,” as Sorensen put it. So he took a bunch of flint home, shaped it into bifaces, and tried to create fires in an indoor lab. Through trial and error, he found that striking pyrite against the flat side of the biface produced sparks that could ignite tinder. “I wasn’t setting off any fire alarms or anything,” he says. He extinguished the tinder instead of blowing on it and feeding it progressively larger pieces of fuel.

Now Sorensen had a hypothesis to test. When he repeatedly struck the pyrite against the bifaces, the scraping left marks on the rocks. If Neanderthals did this, presumably their pyrite left marks on their bifaces, too. So he and his co-authors went looking for Neanderthal bifaces in museums to study marks called microwear. In a new paper in Scientific Reports, Sorensen and his co-authors suggest that Neanderthals used bifaces and pyrite to start fires, based on the similar microwear patterns on real Neanderthal stone tools and on the tools he re-created in a lab. Sarah Hlubik, an anthropologist at Rutgers University who also studies the early origins of fire and was not involved in the study, says the paper is “really exciting.” It’s the first physical evidence of Neanderthals starting fires.

[Continues . . .]

The full paper is available for free:

"Neandertal fire-making technology inferred from microwear analysis" | Scientific Reports

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Abstract:

Fire use appears to have been relatively common among Neandertals in the Middle Palaeolithic. However, the means by which Neandertals procured their fire—either through the collection of natural fire, or by producing it themselves using tools—is still a matter of debate. We present here the first direct artefactual evidence for regular, systematic fire production by Neandertals. From archaeological layers attributed to late Mousterian industries at multiple sites throughout France, primarily to the Mousterian of Acheulean Tradition (MTA) technoculture (ca. 50,000 years BP), we identify using microwear analysis dozens of late Middle Palaeolithic bifacial tools that exhibit macroscopic and microscopic traces suggesting repeated percussion and/or forceful abrasion with a hard mineral material. Both the locations and nature of the polish and associated striations are comparable to those obtained experimentally by obliquely percussing fragments of pyrite (FeS2) against the flat/convex sides of a biface to make fire. The striations within these discrete use zones are always oriented roughly parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tool, allowing us to rule out taphonomic origins for these traces. We therefore suggest that the occasional use of bifaces as ‘strike-a-lights’ was a technocultural feature shared among the late Neandertals in France.
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Laid Back Lounge / Re: What's on your mind today?
« Last post by Essie Mae on July 20, 2018, 05:03:18 PM »
For the three weeks I am here in Oz I never seem to know what day it is; it’s just wall to wall granddaughters. I’m relying on Mr M back in the UK to remind me when to get on the plane home.
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Laid Back Lounge / Re: Reasons to be cheerful!
« Last post by Essie Mae on July 20, 2018, 04:56:27 PM »
I got a raise at work! Damn near TRIPLES my hourly rate!

That’s some pay rise. I’m sure you deserve it😇
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Laid Back Lounge / Re: Re: Reasons To Be Grumpy thread
« Last post by Essie Mae on July 20, 2018, 04:50:41 PM »
Please excuse my long absence - I've just had a coronary bypass operation.  I expect I'll feel more like posting soon. 
Hot whisky and lemon cures almost everything, but the buggers won't give you any in hospital.  I had a couple of blood transfusions, but do you thing they'd put any in the bag?
Maybe we could smuggle a wee dram in for you. Anyone knows that hot whiskey and lemon is especially good post-bypass op. Delighted that you are progressing after such a huge op. Long may it continue.
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Laid Back Lounge / Re: Reasons To Be Grumpy thread
« Last post by Dave on July 20, 2018, 04:14:21 PM »
So what does hot petrol with lemon and honey taste like?

Petrol?

Well, JJ suggested
Quote
So long as it's flammable ...

Perhaps that is one for those mad guys who blow flames out of their mouths?

I think you've mistook me.
I was suggesting "hot petrol with lemon and honey" would taste like petrol.

Ah! You think the honey and lemon would be too subtle to mofify the flavour?

Hmm, pub measure if oettol plus a tablespoon of honey and half a lemon . . .
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Laid Back Lounge / Re: Reasons To Be Grumpy thread
« Last post by Bad Penny II on July 20, 2018, 03:24:30 PM »
So what does hot petrol with lemon and honey taste like?

Petrol?

Well, JJ suggested
Quote
So long as it's flammable ...

Perhaps that is one for those mad guys who blow flames out of their mouths?

I think you've mistook me.
I was suggesting "hot petrol with lemon and honey" would taste like petrol.
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