Education

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

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 â€“ 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.

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

## How to help your eyes in a world that makes you stare at a screen all day

True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, itâ€™s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Eye strain from staring at devices is a widespread issue. Most people work, play, and maintain relationships through screens, which averages out to 6 hours and 35 minutes per day (and thatâ€™s in addition to work or school)! That translates to 46 hours and 5 minutes per week, or 2,402 hours and 55 minutes per year.2

With numbers like these, attention to eye health is more important now than ever; our dependence on technology certainly isnâ€™t going anywhere. And just like innovation brought us technology, innovation also holds the key to combating the effects it has on our bodies. Here are some key suggestions from eye care professionals to help reduce common symptoms of digital eye strain. Spoiler alert: none of them involve wearing glasses!

Follow the 20-20-20 rule.

You can find some relief by taking a 20-20-20 break: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Itâ€™s easy to remember because we all want 20/20 vision, and itâ€™s a good excuse to look out the window.

Adjust your workspace screen to be slightly below eye level and about an armâ€™s length away.

This simple tweak to your work area can really improve your posture, as well as the amount of strain on your eyes. A win-win!

Brightness levels also play into how hard our eyes have to work. Our screen brightness should match our surroundings, especially during the evening hours.

Say hello to Biofinity EnergysÂ® contact lenses!

These contact lenses are specifically made to address eye dryness and tiredness caused by digital devices. Digital Zone OpticsÂ® lens design and AquaformÂ® Technology are two innovations that when combined help with the tiredness and dryness that can be caused by digital eye fatigue.

Additionally, Biofinity EnergysÂ® monthly replacement contact lenses are designed to help our eyes better adapt for a more comfortable wearing experience3. This part is tricky because contacts can be hard to adjust to, and trust meâ€”no one wants what feels like gritty sandpaper in there. Comfort is key!

If youâ€™re sick of wearing glasses all the time and feel ready to do something new, visit biofinityenergys.com to learn more and to get your free trial certificate.

References:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6020759/
2. Asurion-sponsoredâ€¯survey by Market Research Firm Solidea Solutions conductedâ€¯August 18-20, 2019â€¯of 1,998 U.S. smartphone users, compared to an Asurion-sponsored survey conducted by market research company OnePoll betweenâ€¯Sept. 11â€¯â€“ 19, 2017 of 2000 U.S. adults with a smartphone.
3. Biofinityenergys.com

Pop Culture

## Chris Hemsworth's reaction to his daughter wanting a penis deserves a standing ovation

### Thor knew exactly how to handle it.

Chris Hemsworth and daughter.

In addition to being the star of Marvel franchise "Thor," actor Chris Hemsworth is also a father-of-three? And it turns out, he's pretty much the coolest dad ever.

In a clip from a 2015 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Hemsworth shared an interesting conversation he had with his 4-year-old daughter India.

"My daughter's kind of envious of my boys," Hemsworth told Ellen. "She came to me the other day, and she's like 'You know, Papa, I want one of those things that Sasha and Tristan have.' And I'm like, 'What do you mean?' She said, 'You know the things in between their legs that you have.'"

Hemsworth said he tried to explain the differences between male and female bodies, but his daughter wasn't having it.

"She goes, 'I really want one!' Hemsworth said. "I'm like, 'A penis?' And she's like, 'I want a penis!'

And then, Hemsworth had the best possible response. He recalls:

She's four and I'm like, 'You know what, you can be whatever you want to be.' And she goes, 'Thanks, Dad.' Runs off into the playground and that was it.

And then, I cannot confirm, but I'm pretty sure the Ellen audience did this:

Major kudos to Hemsworth for taking a potentially awkward parenting situation and turning it into a lesson about love and acceptance.

You can watch the full clip here:

popular

## Artist captures how strangers react to her body in public and it's fascinating

### Haley Morris-Cafiero's photos might make you rethink how you look at people.

Credit: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero describes herself on her website as "part performer, part artist, part provocateur, part spectator." Her recent project, titled "Wait Watchers" has elements of all her self-descriptors.

In an email to us, Morris-Cafiero explained that she set up a camera in the street and stood in front of it, doing mundane activities like looking at a map or eating gelato. While she's standing there she sets off her camera, taking hundreds of photos.

Later, she looks through them and sees what is happening around her. Morris-Cafiero finds that people are often looking at her body, or commenting on it with their gaze or body language, at times even appearing to mock her.

"I then examine the images to see if any of the passersby had a critical or questioning element in their face or body language."

"I consider my photographs a social experiment and I reverse the gaze back on to the stranger and place the viewer in the position of being a witness to a moment in time. The project is a performative form of street photography," she writes.

Her work has been exhibited across the U.S. and abroad.

Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero filmed people's reactions to her

Haley Morris-Cafiero

Haley Morris-Cafiero

She also published her book, The Watchers, which shows her photo collection and includes comments made to her about her body from passerby.

Haley Morris-Cafiero

You can see that even people in positions of authority, like this police officer, feel comfortable mocking her just for being out in public.

Haley Morris-Cafiero

Though she's not looking at the people around her, Morris-Cafiero's photographs capture a split second in time that really crystalizes how people relate to one another on the street and the judgment she receives from strangers.

Haley Morris-Cafiero

In galleries, with the words beside them, the photos are even more pointed. She also includes the positive words she receives from people who have experienced discrimination for their size or any other aspect to their body that is consistently bothered by the dominant culture.

Though we all theoretically know that people, women in particular, are discriminated against for their size, seeing it captured in photographs is gut-wrenching:

The project has gone viral as people identify with Morris-Cafiero's experience, which means a lot of people relate to being stared at and commented on by folks who should mind their own business. Does that include you? You can check out more of her incredible work here.

Education

## A guy and his friends shared their travel plans. The results perfectly explain the wealth gap.

Sometimes you see something so mind-boggling you have to take a minute to digest what just happened in your brain. Be prepared to take that moment while watching these videos.

Real estate investor and TikTok user Tom Cruz shared two videos explaining the spreadsheets he and his friends use to plan vacations and it's...well...something. Watch the first one:

So "Broke Bobby" makes \$125,000 a year. There's that.

How about the fact that his guy has more than zero friends who budget \$80,000 for a 3-day getaway? Y'all. I wouldn't know how to spend \$80,000 in three days if you paid me to. Especially if we're talking about a trip with friends where we're all splitting the cost. Like what does this even look like? Are they flying in private jets that burn dollar bills as fuel? Are they bathing in hot tubs full of cocaine? I genuinely don't get it.

To be crystal clear here, the top 5 friends on the Forbes list are willing to spend more than double what the guy at the bottom of the Welfare 10 list makes per year on a 3-day guy's trip. I don't know what to do with this information.

But that's not even the full spreadsheet. It might make sense if this guy was just rich, had always been rich, only knew rich people, and therefore having multiple millionnaire friends was his normal. Surely that's some people's reality who were born into the 1%.

That's not the case here, though, because Cruz also has a Welfare 10 list. He says this group of friends who make less than \$100K a year call themselves that, and perhaps that's true. (If I were a part of this group, I might call myself a welfare case too because everything's relative and some of these dudes spend more in an hour of vacation than I spend on my mortgage each month.)

It's like we can see our society's wealth gap all laid out nice and neatly in a spreadsheet, only these people aren't even the uber-wealthy and uber-poor. This is just the range of this one guy's friends.

I have nothing against people who build success and wealth for themselves, and even \$5 million per year is hardly obscenely wealthy by billionaire standards. But Cruz says he's known most of his "welfare" friends since college, which presumably means most of those guys have college degrees and are making pittance in comparison with the Forbes list. One could claim the guy making \$5 million a year just works harder, but does he really work 100 times harder than the guy making \$50,000? Doubt it.

Money makes money, and after a certain threshold of wealth or income, it's actually quite easy to get and stay rich without actually "earning" more money, assuming you're reasonably wise and responsible. So maybe the guys who are willing to shell out \$125,000 for a week-long trip should offer to pay the travel expenses of the friends they "hang out with regardless of income" who don't even make that in a year, since that's probably just the interest they're making on their wealth anyway.

But what do I know? This is like an entirely different world to me and probably 99+% of Americans, as evidenced by some of the responses.

Naturally, there will be a range of incomes in any group of people, but 1) most of us don't actually know how much our friends make, and 2) even fewer of us make spreadsheets with that information in order to rank our friends and figure out who can go on which vacations.

People are just endlessly fascinating. That's all I've got.

Health

## You wear extra chunky sweaters. You've never met a mitten you didn't like. You may even keep a lap blanket at work.

You're one of those people who is always cold. And you are not alone.

Inside or outside, you just can't seem to get warm. This characteristic of yours manifests itself in extra blankets, wild heating bills, and enough complaints that you start going hoarse.

## But surely there's a scientific reason as to why some people are always cold, right?

It can't just be random chance that has doomed you to a life of perpetual shivers. I reached out to an expert to learn more.

Dr. Christopher Minson is a professor in the department of human physiology at the University of Oregon. One of his primary research interests is thermoregulation, that's how the brain and body interact and adapt as we heat and cool. Plainly put, he is the perfect guy to answer a few questions from #TeamCold.

(This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.)

Upworthy (UP): So what is actually happening in the body when a person gets chilly?

Dr. Chris Minson (CM): In the simplest of terms, feeling either cold or warm means that the temperature â€œset point" of the body is being challenged by thermal inputs throughout the body, including in the brain, the blood, the spinal cord, our organs, our muscles, and our skin. Part of our brain collects all of those thermal inputs and essentially compares them to what body temperature it wants to hold. So if your skin temperature is lowered, even though the rest of your body is still at a comfortable set-point, you will feel cold â€” in some cases, cold enough to make behavioral changes like putting on a sweater.

UP: Is there a reason this seems to largely impact women?

CM: The people who feel â€œalways cold" will typically have lower muscle mass relative to body surface area (typically, women and older people). Their actual body core temperature may not really be below normal, but they feel cold because their body is telling them to conserve heat.

There have also been limited reports that women have a higher density of blood vessels at the skin surface, which would make them more sensitive to cold. However, there hasn't been enough good data collected on this theory to confirm or disprove it.

This also explains a frequent frustrations about women and men in relationships...

CM: A common complaint by women and men in relationships is that women's feet are often very cold, especially in bed. That goes along with the lower body mass to surface area relationship in women. As their body works to conserve heat, it vasoconstricts blood vessels in the extremities (hands and feet) to keep the core warm. This reduced blood flow results in cold hands and feet in women more than men.

## So there you have it: Your brain is simply an overworked project manager trying to keep you alive. But there are a few things you can do about it.

UP: If you are a person who is always cold, is there anything you can do to "retrain" your body, so to speak?

CM: One of the best things someone can do is to increase their fat-free mass (muscle). This will increase overall metabolic rate (although it's not easy to do.)

Another thing a person could do is undergo cold-stresses, such as allowing themselves to be exposed to very cold temperatures for short periods of time. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it's been suggested that this could decrease the sensation of feeling cold. An example is putting the shower on 'cold' for a short period of time in the shower. Not easy to do, and you would want to build up to a full minute each day, but in some people it can help them to decrease the feeling of being cold.

UP: There are a lot of jokes at the expense of people who are always cold, but at what point does it go from "I'm always cold, and it's a quirky thing about me" to "I'm always cold and I should probably see my doctor"?

CM: There is the possibility that someone's perpetual coldness could be caused by abnormally low thyroid hormone levels, and that can be verified with a blood test. That is by far the rarer condition, but taking hormone supplements if medically needed can help. If a person is quite lethargic, has low motivation, and is always cold, it might be worth having thyroid hormones evaluated.

## So if you are a lap-blanket wearing member of #TeamCold, don't fret.

You are strong. You are capable. And unless you have pain or some of the symptoms Minson mentioned, there is likely nothing wrong with you. Our bodies just require different things of us, and yours requires that you have to deal with an overly-air conditioned-society. My sincerest apologies. On behalf of #TeamHot, your next cocoa is on me.