August 21, 2012

Bonobo     Photo: Tambako the Jaguar/Flickr

Bonobo Produces Stone Tools

Remarkably like those used by humans

A captive bonobo at the University of Haifa has learned to make stone tools that are on par with those made by early humans, scientists say. Researcher Eviatar Nevo hid food inside a log, which he then gave to Kanzi, a 30-year-old male bonobo, to open up. Kanzi responded by creating stone knives and drills to break through the wood. The chimp had been taught to create primitive tools through flintknapping in the 1990s, and the skill seems to have paid off: while Kanzi was able to open up 24 of the logs, a companion, who was unable to use tools, only succeeded at opening two.

Via New Scientist


    Photo: Ben Wittick/Wikimedia Commons

Billionaire Builds Private Wild West Town

To include a saloon, firehouse, and jail

The third Koch brother, lesser-known Bill, is building a Wild West-style faux-town in Colorado—and you can’t go. Well, unless you’re a Koch, a friend of the Kochs, or a historian. The town, which is being built on a 420-acre valley on Koch’s 6,400-acre Bear Ranch property in Gunnison County, will be completely private. Around 50 buildings—including a church, a saloon, a firehouse, a jail, and a 22,000-foot mansion overlooking the town—have been approved by the county. “It's the kind of stuff I guess you would expect a billionaire to construct,” said Ramson Reed, chairman of the Gunnison County Planning Commission. Koch is a noted collector of Western memorabilia, recently purchasing a $2.3 million photo of Billy the Kid at an auction. The town will be a showcase for much of Koch’s collection, which also includes Jesse James’ gun and Sitting Bull’s rifle. Some of Koch’s friends call him “Wild Bill.”

Via Denver Post


Lance Armstrong Adelaide

Lance Armstrong racing in the 2010 Cancer Council Hotline Classic in Adelaide     Photo: PoweriPics

Judge Throws Out Armstrong's Suit

Faces three-day deadline to choose arbitration or sanctions

Lance Armstrong faces a three-day deadline to decide if he will fight doping charges through arbitration or accept sanctions after a federal judge threw out his suit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Armstrong argued that USADA was unfairly targeting him, lacked the jurisdiction to sanction him, and did not meet due process standards. Judge Sparks ruled that Armstrong must exhaust “internal remedies, namely ... procedures in the USADA protocol.” Despite the ruling, Sparks had harsh words for USADA, questioning its political motivation, desire for media attention, and “woefully inadequate” charging letter sent to Armstrong. Sparks warned that if USADA does not give Armstrong advance notice of the specific charges brought against him, "and it is brought to this Court's attention in an appropriate manner, USADA is unlikely to appreciate the result."

Via USA Today


    Photo: Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do It. Wo/Flickr

Diana Nyad Abandons Cuba-U.S. Swim

Fourth attempt ends after 40 hours

Diana Nyad has ended her fourth attempt to become the first person to swim across the Straits of Florida from Cuba without the protection of a shark cage. The 62-year-old endurance swimmer entered the water on Saturday in Havana and weathered two overnight storms and a series of jellyfish stings before calling it quits 41 hours in. "Instead of getting hit with one doozy they got hit with three," team member Vanessa Linsley told the Associated Press. "They got hit with the weather, they got hit with the jellyfish and they got hit with the sharks all at the same time." Nyad was pulled from the water early Tuesday as a large thunderstorm blew in. Her support crew reported that she was suffering from hypothermia. She had made two previous attempts at the record since last summer and a fourth failed attempt with a cage in 1978.