New evidence shows humans survived massive volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago

March 13, 2018 by  
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In a newly published study , scientists reveal evidence that groups of humans survived a massive volcanic eruption at the Toba caldera, a supervolcano in Sumatra. “It is possible that people moved out of terrestrial locations and into this more productive coastal zone,” study co-author Curtis Marean told Inverse . “Think of it as a refuge.” Inland wildlife, plants and fungus faced a greater disruptive impact than those located closer to the coast, a key fact that enabled savvy human communities to survive the decade-long volcanic winter and endure the centuries-long consequences of the massive volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago. The Toba eruption was so powerful that shards of tephra, the rock debris projected from a volcanic event, managed to reach as far as South Africa , nearly 5,600 miles from the Toba caldera. “Glass shards are a form of tephra that preserve a record of the chemical composition of the lava erupted during the eruption. The shapes and sizes of the shards also provide information about the nature of the eruption,” study author  Gene Smith told Inverse . “We can tell quite a bit about a volcanic eruption by studying products ejected from the volcano.” Related: Wave of earthquakes shake Yellowstone’s super-volcano The researchers observed that the global impact of the Toba eruption encouraged communities to move to coastal areas, which were less affected by the eruption. The flexibility and attentiveness of these early human communities is worth noting, as modern society may not be quite as dynamic in the face of such an event. “Hunter-gatherer economies are very resilient, but I don’t think the complex modern economies are,” said Smith. “A Toba-like event is a civilization killer for us. Perhaps our study will waken people up to the potential of volcanic catastrophe.” Via Inverse Images via Depositphotos ,  Smith et al. and  Dr. Jayne Wilkins

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New evidence shows humans survived massive volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago

Kitty Hawk is testing electric self-flying taxis in New Zealand

March 13, 2018 by  
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Self- flying taxis could zip through the skies of New Zealand if Kitty Hawk has anything to do about it. Financed by Google co-founder Larry Page, the company has reached an agreement with the country to test the planes for an official certification process, according to The New York Times — and aim for a commercial network in three years. Kitty Hawk could beat Uber in building a network of electric self-flying taxis. They’ve found a collaborator in New Zealand; prime minister Jacinda Ardern told The New York Times, “We’ve got an ambitious target in New Zealand of being net carbon zero by 2050 …exciting projects like this are part of how we make that happen.” Related: Google co-founder Larry Page secretly invested over $100M in two flying car startups Kitty Hawk’s vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, called Cora , will have a range of around 62 miles to start . 12 independent lift fans power the taxi so it can take off and land much like a helicopter , and doesn’t require a runway. With a 36-foot wingspan, the aircraft flies between 500 and 3,000 feet above the ground at around 110 miles per hour. Two passengers can ride inside, and The New York Times said the company is developing an app enabling travelers to call a self-flying taxi. The publication said Kitty Hawk doesn’t intend to sell their VTOL planes, but rather operate the commercial network. Kitty Hawk is based in California, and a company called Zephyr Airworks is their operator in New Zealand. The project went by the code name Zee.Aero for a while, which Kitty Hawk said was the name of their Cora team during the development stage. The New York Times pointed out nearly every prediction about how fast air taxis would take to the skies has been wrong — it remains to be seen if Kitty Hawk will be able to deliver. + Kitty Hawk + Cora Via The New York Times Images via Kitty Hawk

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Kitty Hawk is testing electric self-flying taxis in New Zealand

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