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John Birks • Author at Mirror Daily

Australian aboriginals come from a massive migration from Africa.

(Mirror Daily, United States) Researchers have recently discovered that migration from Africa is one of the most important facts about human evolution. People migrating from Africa more than 70,000 years ago settled down in Australia, and they are the ancestors of Indigenous Australians today. A DNA test showed that they are the most ancient human population on Earth, older than Eurasian populations.

The scientists in charge of the study explain that the massive migration from Africa occurred, more precisely, 72, 000 years ago. People headed towards the Australian continent that we know today, where they remained isolated from the world until four thousand years ago. There were speculations in the scientific community that Aboriginal populations living in Australia could be one of the oldest in the world.

The scientific proof of this theory comes only now, as a DNA examination. Researchers studied the DNA of people living in the Australian tribes today and established a link between them and their ancestors who led the migration from Africa thousands and thousands of years ago.

When the migration from Africa occurred, the populations found a new land, called Sahul. It included lands such as modern day Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania. Researchers suggest that the people who left Africa split into two groups, one of which reached this new land.

The researchers were able to sequence the DNA and find relevant data about the first humans leading the migration. The study is based on the results obtained from eighty-three Aboriginal Australians and twenty-five Papuans.

The new study provides the researchers with data on the evolution of the populations in Australia. They were considering the possibility of successive migrations, but in light of the recent discovery, there was only the migration from Africa. The evolution of the Australian Aboriginal populations went on with the arrival of the European population.

The research is also proof that Indigenous Australians are the oldest race on the Earth.

The new study on the DNA of modern indigenous Australian populations was published in the journal Nature. The research was conducted by Professor Eske Willerslev (University of Cambridge). Colleen Wall was the co-author.

There are two more studies on human evolution and migration published in the journal Nature.

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Heroin overdose and opiate abuse kill hundreds of people each year.

(Mirror Daily, United States) Officials are concerned about pressing problems of our society, such as heroin overdose and opiate abuse. Statistics show increased rates for this phenomenon, and authorities are trying to stop the process. To do so, President Obama has recently proclaimed this week as the Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.

New Hampshire is one of the most affected states by the heroin overdose and opiate abuse. According to the 2015 statistics, four hundred people died because of the excessive use of these drugs. Reports show that the situation can be the same for this year, too.

Specialists believe that people start their way to addiction problems by abusing painkillers or other types of medicine which are highly addictive. Doctors tend to prescribe such drugs as less as possible, and they also advise pharmacists not to release large quantities to people. Their suggestion is to find alternative solutions to this problem.

However, it seems that once people get addictive to painkillers, the transition to heroin is more likely to occur. Specialists are concerned with the large number of young people who consume opioids.

According to recent statistics, it seems like the number of deaths caused by heroin overdose and opiate abuse is now three times higher than it was six years ago. Also, by comparing the present situation to that at the beginning of the early 2000s, researchers could observe that the current rates are actually four times higher than they used to be.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have previously announced that approximately eighty people die every day in the United States because of opioids. Statistics also point out that new users are most likely to become addictive very soon after being administered the drug. It has been documented that three in four new addicts die due to heroin overdoses.

Nonetheless, there is good news too. Some people are aware of their addiction problems and try to find help for them. There are special treatments that can cure them. Specialists are very supportive and can help people in need anytime they seek for their help.

The drug called naloxone or Narcan can help consumers who had just received an overdose. It can be  administered to the patient by friends or family members who happen to be there at the moment. Alabama police officers are also allowed to carry the drug.

If you know someone who struggles heroin overdose and opiate abuse, don’t hesitate to contact specialists who can help.

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Vloggers will use the new YouTube feature soon

(Mirror Daily, United States)There was a time when having a blog was one of the coolest things on the Internet. Now, since videos have been gaining more and more popularity, filmed images took over writing, and this is how the concept of vlogging appeared. Vloggers are very popular on YouTube, and the famous site has now a new feature, meant to bring vloggers and their fans together.

Up until now, people uploading videos on YouTube could keep in touch with their viewers through the comment section. While this option is still valid, the online platform came with an interesting idea of helping vloggers and fans bond further. There is a new YouTube feature which users will find very useful and appealing.

The new YouTube feature is called YouTube Community and resembles a social network very much. Thanks to the new feature, content creators can share much more than just videos with their fans. Now they can add pictures, GIFs, and even text.  It is an opportunity for Youtubers to express themselves in different ways than they used to. At the same time, their subscribers get more creative ideas from their favorite vloggers.

The posts on YouTube Community can be rated by the members of the community the same way they do with regular YouTube videos. In other words, they can like or dislike the posts. Comments are also available.

For the moment, the new YouTube feature has been launched in its beta version. The announcement was made by the Google-owned company earlier this week, on September 13.

According to the official release, the new YouTube feature is available for a few channels so far, such as John & Hank Green, AsapSCIENCE, The Game Theorists, Karmin, The Key of Awesome, The Kloons, Lilly Singh, Peter Hollens, Rosianna Halse Rojas, Sam Tsui, Threadbanger, and VSauce3. YouTube Community has been previously tested, and the trials will still continue for a short period. Developers want to make sure it functions properly before launching it for all YouTube users out there.

Youtubers can promote their channel more than they did before thanks to the new YouTube feature. It will be displayed as another tab on their channels. They can share with their subscribers all sorts of information, like giveaways, charity events, posters, personal pictures, and even promote other fellow Youtubers.

YouTube hopes that the new product will bring vloggers and their fans together more than ever, helping them built a strong relation.

Image courtesy of: YouTube

Do you enjoy your afternoon naps?

(Mirror Daily, United States) There are people who love to take a nap during the afternoon. Other people resent the idea of sleeping during the day. However, those who tend to rest at noon might be facing some other problems, except feeling tired. Researchers suggest that afternoon naps are a symptom of type-2 diabetes.

A team of Japanese researchers conducted a new study, which reveals that afternoon naps might be a problem you can get worried about. Their study is based on results obtained from more than three hundred thousand participants involved in the trials.

Specialists say that feeling tired is one of the signs of undiagnosed type-2 diabetes. Even if you sleep for one hour during the day, you might be a potential patient. The disease seems to be triggering the need for sleep in the patients.

The researchers made clear the fact that afternoon naps are not the cause of type-2 diabetes, but merely a sign, or the effect of the existing disease. The study shows that people who tend to sleep more than an hour during the day are forty-five percent more likely to have the disease than those who only sleep at night. The research states that people who rest for less than forty minutes during the day have fewer reasons to worry about the development of such a disease.

Specialists advise people not to neglect their sleep hours. They say that night sleep is both healthy and refreshing. They are also concerned that people who tend to sleep during daytime have a different lifestyle. For instance, not sleeping well at night because of a stressful job or because of social interaction could lead to the person being tired all day. Moreover, there is also the possibility of people eating more than usual under these circumstances, which is clearly a factor that can cause type-2 diabetes.

Health experts are aware that this study is not the final conclusion as far as the link between afternoon naps and type-2 diabetes is concerned. However, they are sure that the factors which trigger type-2 diabetes also trigger the need for sleep during the day. In other words, the disease manifests through tiredness and long naps in the afternoon.

Researchers will carry out additional trials in order to determine the precise relation between these two elements.

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The heat of August 2016 was unbearable.

(Mirror Daily, United States) NASA has previously announced that July 2016 was the hottest month in history. However, one month later, the graphics changed. As temperatures continued to grow, now August 2016 is the record holder for the hottest month ever recorded.

NASA has been keeping records of global temperature since1880. Specialists have never encountered a warmer period than the one we are currently living in since they started their tracking studies. According to them, the last month of the summer of 2016 was the hottest that the Earth has ever experienced in the modern age. The new study from the officials shows that  August 2016 was 0.98 degrees Celsius hotter than the regular months of summer.

If compared to the results recorded in the past years, August 2016 can only be matched by August 2014. That was also a sweltering year, but this year’s summer was even hotter than that. However, the same reports show that August and July 2016 were equally warm, which makes them both the hottest months in history.

Researchers are quite surprised, as they expected that the temperatures would drop once the summer was drawing to its end. Nevertheless, 2016 seems to be a year full of surprises, as far as temperature and climate phenomena are concerned.

According to scientists, August was the eleventh month in a row which recorded temperatures highest than the average ones. Taking into consideration this piece of information, scientists tend to believe that 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded. Before it, 2014, and then 2015 were the record holders regarding high temperatures.

Climate change is happening right now, and scientists can show facts and figures. The rising temperatures registered in the past months are just one of the examples. Scientists list other phenomena which are tightly linked to global warming. For instance, snow and ice are melting in the poles, which leads to rising sea levels and to the loss of habit of animals which live in the poles. Increased sea levels lead to floods which devastate the coasts. On the other hand, as the air temperature riseses, the water temperature also increases, affecting the marine creatures.

Specialists agreed on the fact that global warming was caused by human activity. They are also aware that natural phenomena like El Niño contribute to climate change.

The NASA study showing that August 2016 was the hottest month ever recorded was published on September 12. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will make an analysis of its own on the high temperatures of August 2016.

Image courtesy of: Pexels

Google’s WaveNet has been recently improved.

(Mirror Daily, United States) Google is one of the big names in the technological domain. As everything related to artificial technology is rapidly advancing, the great company couldn’t possibly stay behind. The latest news from Google is that its system, WaveNet, now has an improved voice program, which makes it sound more human-like than before, and than any other similar robots.

WaveNet is a system which belongs to a British company, called DeepMind. Google owns the company since 2014.

Engineers worked on the improvement of the system. The process behind it is based on concatenative speech. This means that the system works using real human speech. Several phrases and utterances have been recorded and put together for the system to function correctly. It uses waveforms to function (waveforms are the audible forms of words and phrases).

However, there is more about Google’s WaveNet. It doesn’t only work based on the collection of recordings it possesses, but it is also able to produce utterances of its own. Another interesting ability is that it can also use more than one voice.

Engineers thought about an additional feature that they could endow WaveNet with. It seems like the system can analyze and reproduce pieces of instrumental music. For the time being, it works well with piano instrumentals, but the developers intend to add other musical instruments as well. They also consider the possibility of WaveNet being able to create its own melodies.

As far as the systems’ interaction with humans is concerned, it has also been tested. English and Mandarin Chinese speakers took part at the trials set by the developers. The participants declared themselves satisfied by the accuracy of the voice, and by the general interaction with the artificial form of intelligence from Google.

It seems like both developers, and potential users are pleased with the improved technology by DeepMind and Google. However, the creators inform the public that the technology is not to be released for the moment. In other words, it is only a prototype. The developers consider that the human-like voice is only one checked improvement in a long list that remains to be analyzed.

WaveNet has already proved itself able to fill the gap between robotic intelligence with weird sounding voice and natural human speech. Perhaps the future will bring this improved system on a wide variety of devices.

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Statins shouldn’t be considered dangerous, according to specialists

(Mirror Daily, United States) The effects of statins have been long debated by specialists.  Their major advantage is that they reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood and help you prevent certain diseases. On the other hand, their side effects have also been taken into consideration. So what is the specialist’s conclusion?

Experts published a new study on statins on September 8. They think that the side effects of the medication have been exaggerated throughout time and that they don’s stand as a major risk for patients.

By studying particular cases, researchers were able to observe how the medicine works on patients. One of their important findings was that there are fewer side effects reported cases than improvement cases. In other words, there are more benefits than disadvantages with statins.

Doctors recommend statins to patients who need to reduce the level of cholesterol in their blood. This medication also reduces the risks of strokes and heart attacks.

As far as the medicine’s side effects are concerned, these are inconveniences such as muscle pain, nausea, and liver problems. According to specialists, people shouldn’t get alarmed about them, as they can be canceled by stopping the statins treatment. On the other hand, they draw the patients’ attention that other problems such as heart attacks can’t be canceled. So the patients expose themselves to greater risks by not taking the medication than by being cautious about its’ side effects.

According to official statistics, strokes and heart attacks stand as the main cause of death in the world. At the same time, patients in the United Kingdom widely used statins, and they have a normal life, without being worried about the possible risks caused by the treatment.

Previous British research announced that approximately twenty percent of the patients expose themselves to the side effects of the medication. However, the studies, which were carried out three years ago, were proved to be wrong. Other countries in Europe have further fueled the controversy.

Other British scientists observed that the population was confused about the debates and statistics. Because they didn’t know what to believe, people chose to give up the medicine. Nevertheless, doctors don’t recommend this. They insist on remembering people that the medicine won’t do any harm to them. On the contrary, it can help them improve their life quality, and even prolong it. Specialists think the statins really can save lives, as they prevent strokes and heart attacks.

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Characters in Super Mario

(Mirror Daily, United States) It seems like the glory days of ‘Pokemon Go’ belong to the past. Now, it is time for yet another childhood game to rejoice fame with the help of modern technology. Nintendo intends to bring Super Mario on iPhone, and they expect users to be excited about the news.

The announcement was made earlier this week by staff members at Nintendo, Mario’s creator among them. His name is Shigeru Miyamoto, and he thought that the new game designed for iPhone should be called Super Mario Run.

The game will be similar to its older PC versions. The famous character Mario will be jumping to avoid obstacles and running in an intricate race. Collecting coins is another of the options of the game. Although it is a game designed for a single player, you can also fight against other users in one of the three modes of the app.

The developers of Super Mario Run are roughly the same who created the first versions. So they are very much familiar with the plot and seem to be the best people for the job. They know exactly how to continue the game and hope to give fans a pleasant surprise.

One of the main features of the new iPhone game is simplicity. Developers think that Super Mario Run addresses any type of player, as the character can be controlled easily. This is one of the features of the old game as well but slightly modified now. What the creators did was adapt the PC game to mobile phones, making sure they avoided all difficulties.

In order to control the character, you have to tap the screen. Depending on long and short tapping, Mario will jump either high or low.

Regarding the design, the creators also mentioned that they went for a simple and friendly interface.

The big Apple event which occurred earlier this week brought many surprises, including the news of Super Mario Run being available for smartphones. It seems like eager fans will have to wait a bit before having their games. Rumor has it that it will be available starting December, but no official information has been released yet. However, if 2016 is not the year of the release, 2017 will surely be.

Nintendo might be preparing other exciting projects, but, for the moment, the company is focused on Super Mario Run.

Image courtesy of: DeviantArt

Vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of asthma attacks

(Mirror Daily, United States) Asthma is a respiratory disease that you have to live with. If you suffer from asthma, then you know how difficult and bad are asthma attacks. However, doctors thought of a way of helping asthma patients. Vitamin D supplements should be added to their usual treatment.

The new study on treating asthma attacks was led by Adrian Martineau (Queen Mary University of London). According to his findings, vitamin D supplements are the key to lowering the number of asthma attacks which a patient can have. However, patients are highly advised to stick to the prescribed treatment.

The lead author also added that further analyses need to be carried out in order to make sure that these supplements are what asthma patients need.

The results are based on several trials. Researchers studied the cases of more than one thousand patients, children among them. They also took into consideration several stages of the disease, from mild forms to severe ones. American and British patients helped the researchers with their studies, as well as patients from Japan, Poland, and India.

What the scientists observed when analyzing these cases was that the disease takes advantage of the low level of vitamin D in the organisms of patients. This is how they came up with the idea of increasing the vitamin D level of asthma patients. There is a high possibility that the supplements should help them with the nasty asthma attacks.

The members of the research team observed yet another advantage of vitamin D supplements. It seems that the substances are enough for patients so that they can now reduce the level of steroids they are on.

These are the only improvements that vitamin D supplements can provide the asthma patients with. The doctors also noted that besides reducing the asthma attack, the medication couldn’t further help the patients with other symptoms.

Researchers observed that the best results were with mild and moderate asthma patients. They still need to investigate and develop further formulas for people who suffer from severe forms of the disease. However, scientists also intend to revise all of their results before making a public statement of the vitamin D supplements being added to the regular treatment of asthma patients.

A paper on vitamin D supplements was published in the journal Cochrane Library on September 6.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

The new Gatorade is organic.

(Mirror Daily, United States) With people being so concerned about their health, some of the beverage and food companies tend to keep up with their customers’ desire. Gatorade is one of these companies, which has recently announced they will deliver a new, organic product. However, how healthy is the new Gatorade?

Gatorade products are popular among sports enthusiasts. The new Gatorade has already been tested on customers on some of the supermarkets in the Unites States. According to officials, it comes in three flavors, namely lemon, strawberries, and berries.

Specialists at the United States Department of Agriculture stated that the new Gatorade would be better than the old products. However, it is not among the most healthy beverages that people can consume. It will still contain sugar. Doctors have always advised people to reduce the amount of sugar they consume.

According to the label of the products, it seems that the new Gatorade is healthier because it doesn’t contain sucralose, which is a sugar’s substitute. The previous products contained both sugar and sucralose, so the organic beverage comes, indeed, with improvements.

The natural flavors the beverage used to contain have now been replaced by organic natural flavors. The nutritionists also mentioned that this is a good change, as the other substances stood as potential factors which could trigger diseases.

Another good call from the company was to use potassium chloride for the new Gatorade instead of substances such as monopotassium phosphate and acesulfame potassium. The previous variant of the beverage did contain these substances. Some of the specialists consider them to be dangerous, as they could increase the risk of cancer on people who consume them in any form.

The new Gatorade seems to be an improved version of the beverage. Nevertheless is it not a healthy product, as specialists suggest so. Their analyses show that there are almost thirty grams of sugar in each organic Gatorade bottle. This is a concerning amount of sugar, nutritionists say. It is even worse because the beverage addresses sports enthusiasts. Specialists do not advise people who work out to use sugary beverages after their exercises.

Nutrition experts state that people shouldn’t consume excessive sweet products in any circumstances. Their health depends on their eating habits.

The new, organic beverage from Gatorade will be available for buyers starting this autumn.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia 

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