Culture

Archaeologists from Tübingen report they have found parts of five figurines from the Ice Age at Vogelherd Cave in southwestern Germany. The figurines were carved from ivory and are of woolly mammoths, date to 35,000 years ago and count among the oldest and most impressive examples of figurative artworks from the Ice Age.

New study finds the key to understanding the global spread of AIDS is the size of the infected prostitute community around the world.

In new academic research published today in the online, open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS ONE, male circumcision is found to be much less important as a deterrent to the global AIDS pandemic than previously thought. The author, John R. Talbott, has conducted statistical empirical research across 77 countries of the world and has uncovered some surprising results.

"Nothing there," is what Case Western Reserve University physicists concluded about black holes after spending a year working on complex formulas to calculate the formation of new black holes. In nearly 13 printed pages with a host of calculations, the research may solve the information loss paradox that has perplexed physicists for the past 40 years.

"It's complicated and very complex," noted Case physicists Tanmay Vachaspati, Dejan Stojkovic and Lawrence M. Krauss, regarding both the general problem and their particular approach to try to solve it.

The report says investment capital flowing into renewable energy climbed from $80 billion in 2005 to a record $100 billion in 2006. As well, the renewable energy sector's growth "although still volatile ... is showing no sign of abating."

The report offers a host of reasons behind and insights into the world's newest gold rush, which saw investors pour $71 billion into companies and new sector opportunities in 2006, a 43% jump from 2005 (and up 158% over the last two years. The trend continues in 2007 with experts predicting investments of $85 billion this year).

What happens if you deprive a group of 7 and 8 year olds of computers, television and games consoles for two weeks?

Psychologist and head of the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester, Professor Barrie Gunter, has been working with the BBC Panorama team to find out.

Children who have at least one parent who smokes have 5.5 times higher levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, in their urine, according to a University of Leicester led study published online.

Having a mother that smokes was found to have the biggest independent effect on cotinine in the urine – quadrupling it. Having a smoking father doubled the amount of cotinine, one of chemicals produced when the body breaks down nicotine from inhaled smoke to get rid of it.

New studies show that iron, the principal constituent of the innermost parts of the earth’s core, becomes unusually ‘soft’ at the extreme pressures and temperatures that prevail there. The findings enhance our possibility of understanding the innermost parts of the earth and how earthquakes occur.

For the first time, a text has been found in Old Persian language that shows the written language in use for practical recording and not only for royal display.

The text is inscribed on a damaged clay tablet from the Persepolis Fortification Archive, now at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. The tablet is an administrative record of the payout of at least 600 quarts of an as-yet unidentified commodity at five villages near Persepolis in about 500 B.C.

The discovery of small perforated sea shells, in the Cave of Pigeons in Taforalt, eastern Morocco, has shown that the use of bead adornments in North Africa is older than thought. Dating from 82 000 years ago, the beads are thought to be the oldest in the world.

As adornments, together with art, burial and the use of pigments, are considered to be among the most conclusive signs of the acquisition of symbolic thought and of modern cognitive abilities, this study is leading researchers to question their ideas about the origins of modern humans.

The long-running controversy about the origins of the Etruscan people appears to be very close to being settled once and for all.

Professor Alberto Piazza, from the University of Turin, Italy, will say that there is overwhelming evidence that the Etruscans, whose brilliant civilisation flourished 3000 years ago in what is now Tuscany, were settlers from old Anatolia (now in southern Turkey).