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Education

3,700-year-old Babylonian stone tablet gets translated, changes history

They were doing trigonometry 1500 years before the Greeks.

via UNSW

Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.

Mansfield and his team are, understandably, incredibly proud. What they discovered is that the tablet is actually an ancient trigonometry table.

Mansfield said:

"The huge mystery, until now, was its purpose – why the ancient scribes carried out the complex task of generating and sorting the numbers on the tablet. Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles. It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius."

"The tablet not only contains the world's oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry. This means it has great relevance for our modern world. Babylonian mathematics may have been out of fashion for more than 3,000 years, but it has possible practical applications in surveying, computer graphics and education. This is a rare example of the ancient world teaching us something new."

The tablet predates Greek astronomer Hipparchus, who has long been regarded as the father of trigonometry. Mansfield's colleague, Norman Widberger, added:

"Plimpton 322 predates Hipparchus by more than 1,000 years. It opens up new possibilities not just for modern mathematics research, but also for mathematics education. With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own."
"A treasure trove of Babylonian tablets exists, but only a fraction of them have been studied yet. The mathematical world is only waking up to the fact that this ancient but very sophisticated mathematical culture has much to teach us."

People were understandably excited by the news.

Some mathematicians actually think studying the Babylonians back then could help us improve the way we do trigonometry today.

Of course, there were the haters...

But all in all, Twitter users were pretty impressed with the Babylonians' skills.

And they figured it out 3,700 years ahead of me...and counting.— Marty (@Marty) 1503631905

Congratulations to Dr. Mansfield and his team on their incredible discovery... and for making trigonometry exciting!

Science

Researchers dumped tons of coffee waste into a forest. This is what it looks like now.

30 dump truck loads and two years later, the forest looks totally different.

One of the biggest problems with coffee production is that it generates an incredible amount of waste. Once coffee beans are separated from cherries, about 45% of the entire biomass is discarded.

So for every pound of roasted coffee we enjoy, an equivalent amount of coffee pulp is discarded into massive landfills across the globe. That means that approximately 10 million tons of coffee pulp is discarded into the environment every year.

When disposed of improperly, the waste can cause serious damage soil and water sources.

However, a new study published in the British Ecological Society journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence has found that coffee pulp isn't just a nuisance to be discarded. It can have an incredibly positive impact on regrowing deforested areas of the planet.

via British Ecological Society

In 2018, researchers from ETH-Zurich and the University of Hawaii spread 30 dump trucks worth of coffee pulp over a roughly 100' x 130' area of degraded land in Costa Rica. The experiment took place on a former coffee farm that underwent rapid deforestation in the 1950s.

The coffee pulp was spread three-feet thick over the entire area.

Another plot of land near the coffee pulp dump was left alone to act as a control for the experiment.

"The results were dramatic." Dr. Rebecca Cole, lead author of the study, said. "The area treated with a thick layer of coffee pulp turned into a small forest in only two years while the control plot remained dominated by non-native pasture grasses."

In just two years, the area treated with coffee pulp had an 80% canopy cover, compared to just 20% of the control area. So, the coffee-pulp-treated area grew four times more rapidly. Like a jolt of caffeine, it reinvigorated biological activity in the area.

The canopy was also four times taller than that of the control.

The forest experienced a radical, positive change

via British Ecological Society

The coffee-treated area also eliminated an invasive species of grass that took over the land and prevented forest succession. Its elimination allowed for other native species to take over and recolonize the area.

"This case study suggests that agricultural by-products can be used to speed up forest recovery on degraded tropical lands. In situations where processing these by-products incurs a cost to agricultural industries, using them for restoration to meet global reforestation objectives can represent a 'win-win' scenario," Dr. Cole said.

If the results are repeatable it's a win-win for coffee drinkers and the environment.

Researchers believe that coffee treatments can be a cost-effective way to reforest degraded land. They may also work to reverse the effects of climate change by supporting the growth of forests across the globe.

The 2016 Paris Agreement made reforestation an important part of the fight against climate change. The agreement incentivizes developing countries to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, promote forest conservation and sustainable management, and enhance forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

"We hope our study is a jumping off point for other researchers and industries to take a look at how they might make their production more efficient by creating links to the global restoration movement," Dr. Cole said.

Pop Culture

Woman's goes on relatable, accurate rant about directions that require you to carry a compass

"I have spent no time in a crow's nest on a pirate ship."

Woman's rant about 'pirate' directions is going viral

There are some people that are more directionally aware than others and that's fine. Others of us, not so much. North, south, east and west—what are those words outside of the names of one of Kim Kardashian's kids and an airline? They certainly aren't directions for people in the 21st century.

Taryn Delanie Smith took to Instagram to ask people to stop with the madness. Smith is not lost in the woods looking for what side of the tree moss is growing on to hopefully lead her to the nearest stream. The woman needs landmarks, and she's letting everyone know that they need to get with the directionally challenged program.

"If I'm trying to meet up with you, do not tell me that you are north, south, east or west of something. Respectfully, I don't know what that is and I'm tired of being ashamed that I don't have...I have spent no time in a crow's nest of a pirate ship," Smith jokes.

It may be hard to believe, but there is a portion of the population that has no idea what those words mean while standing on a sidewalk trying to meet a friend for lunch. Are you north of the interstate or south? Is this some sort of grown up quiz everyone is supposed to pass because it seems to have skipped a few folks.

In the caption of the video, Smith reiterated that she is not aware of these directional words, "I do not own a compass. Before y'all say 'use the compass app on your phone!' Literally why would I do that, I refuse."

Maybe a public service announcement of television would reach a wider audience, because other commenters were in agreement with her rant.

"I’ve never felt so seen," one person says.

"LOL!!!!!! AND DONT TALK TO ME IN ARMY TIME EITHER LOL TALKIN BOUT ILL BE THERE IN 1800 hours," another writes.

"Ma’am I’ve never related to something as much as I have this," a commenter reveals.

"I missed that lesson in grade 5 and to this day I believe North is directly in front of me no matter what," someone else shares.

Smith is clearly not alone in her aimless wandering as she looks for a flag with skull and crossbones to locate friends. Not everyone can be a pirate. It probably takes some sort of special training that involves parrot talk and making a compass out of sea water and a leaf. Be kind to the directionally challenged folks in your life and just include landmarks that are hard to miss.

Family

Naming twins is an art. Here are some twin names people say are the best they've ever heard.

With twins, all the regular pressures of having a baby are doubled, including choosing a name.

Are you in favor of rhyming twin names? Or is it too cutesy?

Having twins means double the fun, and double the pressure. It’s a fairly known rule to name twins in a way that honors their unique bond, but that can lead to overly cutesy pairings that feel more appropriate for nursery rhyme characters than actual people. Plus, it’s equally important for the names to acknowledge each twin’s individuality. Again, these are people—not a matching set of dolls. Finding the twin baby name balance is easier said than done, for sure.

Luckily, there are several ways to do this. Names can be linked by style, sound or meaning, according to the baby name website Nameberry. For example, two names that share a classic style would be Elizabeth and Edward, whereas Ione and Lionel share a similar rhythm. And Frederica and Milo seem to share nothing in common, but both mean “peaceful.”

Over on the /NameNerds subreddit, one person asked folks to share their favorite twin name pairings, and the answers did not disappoint.

One person wrote “Honestly, for me it’s hard to beat the Rugrats combo of Phillip and Lillian (Phil and Lil) 💕”

A few parents who gave their twin’s names that didn’t inherently rhyme until nicknames got involved:

"It's the perfect way! Christmas cards can be signed cutely with matching names, but when they act out you can still use their full name without getting tripped up.😂"

"The parents of a good friend of mine did this: her name is Allison and her sister is Callie. Their names don’t match on the surface, but they were Alli and Callie at home."

“Alice and Celia, because they’re anagrams! Sound super different but have a not-so-obvious implicit connection.”

This incited an avalanche of other anagram ideas: Aidan and Nadia, Lucas and Claus, Liam and Mila, Noel and Leon, Ira and Ria, Amy and May, Ira and Ari, Cole and Cleo…even Alice, Celia, and Lacie for triplets.

Others remembered name pairs that managed to sound lovely together without going into cutesy territory.

These matching bunny ears though. Photo credit: Canva

“I know twin toddler boys named Charlie and Archie and they go so well together,” one person commented.

Another wrote, “Tamia and Aziza. I love how they follow the same sound pattern with the syllable endings (-uh, -ee, -uh) without being obnoxiously matchy matchy.”

Still another said, “Lucy and Logan, fraternal girl/boy twins. I think the names sound so nice together, and definitely have the same 'vibe' and even though they have the same first letter they aren't too matchy-matchy.”

Other honorable mentions included: Colton and Calista, Caitlin and Carson, Amaya and Ameera, Alora and Luella, River and Rosie, and Eleanor and Elias.

One person cast a vote for shared style names, saying, “If I had twins, I would honestly just pick two different names that I like separately. I tend to like classic names, so I’d probably pick Daniel and Benjamin for boys. For girls my two favorites right now are Valerie and Tessa. I think Val and Tess would be cute together!”

Overall though, it seems that most folks were fans of names that focused on shared meaning over shared sound. Even better if there’s a literary or movie reference thrown in there.

Many adult twins regret that their names are so closely linked together. Photo credit: Canva

“My mom works in insurance, so I asked her. She’s seen a lot of unique ones, but the only twins she remembers are Gwenivere [sic] and Lancelot... bonus points... little brother was Merlin,” one person recalled.

Another shared, “If I had twin girls, I would name them Ada and Hedy for Ada Lovelace and Hedy Lamarr, both very early computer/tech pioneers. Not that I’m that into tech, I just thought it was a brilliant combination.”

Other great ones: Susan and Sharon (think the original “Parent Trap”), Clementine and Cara (types of oranges), Esme and Etienne (French descent), Luna and Stella (moon and stars), Dawn and Eve, plus various plant pairings like Lily and Fern, Heather and Holly, and Juniper and Laurel.

Perhaps the cleverest name pairing goes to “Aubrey and Zoe,” since…wait for it… “they’re A to Z.”

It’s easy to see how naming twins really is a cool opportunity for parents to get creative and intentional with their baby naming. It might be a challenge, sure, but the potential reward is having the most iconic set of twins ever. Totally worth it!

Family

People who choose to be child-free are just as happy at 70 as those with kids, study finds

What about all the regret they were supposed to feel?

A woman looking content with her child-free life.

Every couple that has ever considered being child-free has had to deal with people who have children telling them they will regret their decision. They're often told that they’ll be lonely when they get older and never understand the joy and fulfillment of having a child.

Even though there is so much pressure for couples to have kids, more and more people are deciding to live child-free lives. A recent study found that 47% of adults under 50 without kids say they're unlikely to have them — up 10 percentage points from 2018.

There are many different reasons why people don’t want to have kids, whether it’s affordability, the state of the world and the environment, or they just don’t feel like it. The child-free movement gets even stronger as people get younger.

Sixty-seven percent of young women and 50% of young men say they just don’t want children. So, are all of these people setting themselves up for a lifetime of regret because they choose not to have kids? A recent study out of Michigan says no, they probably won’t.

The Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University studied 1,000 Michiganders, asking whether they have or want children. The study separated those who wish to be child-free from those who want children but can’t have them.

The study found that by the time people reach the age of 70, people who have children and those who decided not to are just as satisfied with their lives.

A couple enjoying coffeevia MART PRODUCTION/Pexels

“Childfree people, especially women, are often told they’ll be dissatisfied with life or regret their decision later,” Jennifer Watling Neal, one of the study’s authors, told PsyPost. “In this study, we compared how much adults age 70 and older said they’d want to change something about their life — in other words, whether they had any regrets about how their life had gone. We didn’t see any difference between child-free people and parents. This suggests that child-free people are similar to others in terms of life satisfaction and often don’t regret their decision later.”

The researchers found that child-free people may be happier than those with kids.“In fact, older parents were slightly more likely to want to change something about their life,” Neal said in a statement.

The study was conducted on 1,000 people; times change and everyone’s experience is different, so there’s no telling who will or will not have regrets about their decision to have children. But the study should bring some peace of mind to those who are tired of hearing that they may regret their choice to be child-free, whether from friends, family or the little voice in their heads.

The discussion also raises a deeper question: How do we create a society where people are excited about having children? What changes could be made to make it affordable for people to have families? How can we create a brighter future so that parents can feel confident that the children born today will be able to thrive as adults?

Family

Woman sparks dialogue after saying she doesn't take advice from men no matter how successful

"I tend to take their advice with a grain of salt," says Paige Connell.

Courtesy of Paige Connell

Woman says she doesn't take advice from men.

Being a woman comes with certain expectations, no matter where in the world you live. Becoming a mother adds another layer to those expectations, with traditional society often not considering the impact on the woman experiencing that shift. For instance, many women work outside of the home and are still expected to be the one who figures out which childcare center would be best.

Women are also often expected to put their careers on hold to stay at home if it's decided that outside childcare isn't feasible. Sure, some dads may do the heavy lifting in this area, but that's not a societally expected thing. Because these things are typically expected of women, men don't generally have to consider many of the logistics of children if they're partnered with a woman.

Paige Connell sparked a conversation when she shared on social media that she doesn't take advice from men, even if it's their job. On the surface that sounds harsh, even though she clarifies that she considers the advice but takes it with a big grain of salt, and her reasoning involves the invisible labor aspect.

"I do not tend to take a lot of advice from men, even the most successful men. And I mean advice in the form of self-help books, podcasts from successful men or just men in general. I tend to take their advice with a grain of salt because I do not think it is applicable to women and mothers in particular," Connell share before revealing her reasoning.

In the video she shares that she was recently listening to "The Diary of a CEO" podcast where the man talked about all the risks he took, including moving from Connecticut where his young child and ex-girlfriend live to New York. Connell pointed out through the entire episode detailing his risks and upward mobility, he never mentioned his child, which caused her to surmise that it was because childcare concerns weren't a part of his journey.

@sheisapaigeturner I do not often take advice from men, even the most successful of men, because the common thread is usually that they were able to become successful, because there was a woman standing beside them, or behind them, supporting them. Without acknowledging this, the advice means very little because women often don’t have men standing besides them, or behind them to support them. #caseyneistat #diaryofaceo #millennialmom #workingmom #wfhmom #corporatemom #successfulwomen ♬ original sound - Paige

She continued explaining how the burden of childcare tends to fall on women, working and nonworking, allowing the male parent to be free to corporate climb uninhibited by the worry. Connell shares that she prefers to listen to professionally successful moms because they share the help needed with childcare and how they navigated these spaces being the default parent. Others agreed to much of what she was saying.

"I came to a similar conclusion…I have read quite a few books of men going on their 'hero’s journey' where they did all these extravagant endeavors and eventually found success or enlightenment. But nothing about how a mother deep in the trenches of child raising is the [true] hero’s journey. Motherhood can chew you up and spit you out. A mother dies a million deaths and finds strength to continue to show up for her child day and night. Motherhood changes and refines us. No mother goes unchanged after motherhood. It is late nights and isolation. The flames of motherhood, the true hero’s journey," one person revealed, describing her own experience of realization.

"I love that you talk about it. Also all the so called geniuses, poets, writers, great personalities were able to accomplish all they did because their wives babysat their 8 kids at that time," someone else sighed in frustration.

"Couldn’t agree more. It’s the equivalent of men being able to work late, work weekends, put in the face time, to get ahead - whilst someone else is looking after their children," another wrote.

"I remember reading one comment in the daily routine of a successful writer. He had four kids and yet he could write for 6 hours daily during the day. Never once mentions his household manager, cook, cleaner, nanny—his wife," a commenter pointed out.

What do you think? Should more women be talking about this reality when it comes to the success of their male partners?