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Scientific Ethiopia: Science News and Information

DNA studies trace migration from Ethiopia:Research dates origins up to 100,000 years

Scrutinizing the DNA of 938 people from 51 distinct populations around the world, geneticists have created a detailed map of how humans spread from their home base in sub-Saharan Africa to populate the farthest reaches of the globe over the last 100,000 years.The pattern of genetic mutations, to be published Friday in the journal Science, offers striking evidence that an ancient band of explorers left what is now Ethiopia and -- along with their descendants -- went on to colonize North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, southern and central Asia, Australia and its surrounding islands, the Americas and East Asia. A second analysis based on some of the same DNA samples corroborated the results. Those findings, published Thursday in the journal Nature, demonstrated that the greater the geographic distance between a population and its African ancestors, the more changes had accumulated in its genes. The story of human migration revealed by DNA "compliments what's known through history, linguistics or anthropology," said Jun Li, the University of Michigan human geneticist who led the Science study. Both research groups relied on DNA from blood samples collected by anthropologists around the world as part of the Human Genome Diversity Project, a controversial effort from the mid-1990s to gather genetic specimens from thousands of populations, including many indigenous tribes..(Link Los Angeles Times)

INTERNET MAP OF THE WORLD
Internet End-to-End Performance Monitoring: Sub-Sahara Case Study: The following Case Study of Sub-Saharan Africa was put together following the presentation at the "2nd IHY-Africa Workshop" 11-16 November 2007, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the presentation at the "Internet & Grids in Africa: An Asset for African Scientists for the Benefit of African Society", 10-12 December 2007, Montpellier, France. It contains most of the information presented plus much more background information. We first discuss the current situation including infrastructure, capacity, costs and opportunities. We then discuss  the Internet performance measured by PingER comparing Africa to the rest of the world, and between sub-regions in Africa. We compare PingER measurements with other measures for capacity and throughput and for different development  and corruption indices. We also look at the routing and bandwidth utilization in Africa. We then go on to show some examples of the effect of the poor African performance and suggest some possible remedies. Finally we wind up with some conclusions. Appendices are included: on detailed measurements and routing per country; and  further useful reading.(Link)

Picture of the day: STS61A-43-0042 Denakil Desert, Eritrea and Ethiopia November 1985: The Denakil Desert, one of the most hostile environments in the world, can be seen in this high-oblique, northeast-looking photograph. This part of the great Rift Valley, known as the Afar Triangle, stretches north-south 350 miles (570 kilometers), varying in width from 50 to 250 miles (80 to 400 kilometers). Bounded on the north and east by the Red Sea and on the west by the highlands of Ethiopia (both visible in the photograph), much of this extremely hot and dry desert is below sea level. Erta Alle (dark gray area near the center of the photograph), a large shield volcano referred to as the "smoking volcano" by local tribesmen, has been in a constant state of eruption since the late 1960s. Just north of Erta Alle Volcano are the Dalol Salt Flats. Formerly a shallow lake, the area now sits 400 feet (120 meters) below sea level and is covered with salt deposits, some of which are estimated to be 3 miles (5 kilometers) thick. Across the Red Sea, the Hijaz Mountains are visible. Beyond these mountains are the northwestern portions of the Empty Quarter Desert of Saudi Arabia. The Denakil is a great example of the forces of nature at work, altering and changing the landscape. (Link)

NASA Finds Sun-Climate Connection in Old Nile Records-March 19, 2007: Long-term climate records are a key to understanding how Earth's climate changed in the past and how it may change in the future. Direct measurements of light energy emitted by the sun, taken by satellites and other modern scientific techniques, suggest variations in the sun's activity influence Earth's long-term climate. However, there were no measured climate records of this type until the relatively recent scientific past. Scientists have traditionally relied upon indirect data gathering methods to study climate in the Earth's past, such as drilling ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica. Such samples of accumulated snow and ice drilled from deep within ice sheets or glaciers contain trapped air bubbles whose composition can provide a picture of past climate conditions. Now, however, a group of NASA and university scientists has found a convincing link between long-term solar and climate variability in a unique and unexpected source: directly measured ancient water level records of the Nile, Earth's longest river. (Link)

Computer Annimation shows the Genesis of Hurricaine and Hurricine Isabel is Ethiopian: The computer annimation developed by NASA follows Hurricane Isabel (2003) from its birthplace in the Ethiopian Highlands of East Africa, across the Atlantic Ocean, to the United States. Atlantic hurricanes are often formed as winds over the Gulf of Aden intersect with the Ethiopian Highlands. This animation zooms into the Ethiopian Highlands and shows several storms being formed.  (Link)

Branchless Evolution: Fossils point to single hominid root
Scientists working in Ethiopia's Middle Awash valley have uncovered fossils of a 4.1-million-year-old human ancestor that bolster the controversial proposition that early members of our evolutionary family evolved one at a time on a single lineage rather than branching out into numerous species. (Link)


Rice Presents Digital Dome to Ethiopia    (Link)  Jan 14, 2008
Ethiopia's new Digital Planetarium is a gift from Rice University, HMNS and e-Planetarium:  Ethiopia became only the fourth country in Africa to have a digital planetarium, thanks to a donation from Rice University, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and e-Planetarium. Taken to Ethiopia by Patricia Reiff and Carolyn Sumners as part of the IHY science and education conference.

The birth of new ocean-(AP) Ethiopian, American and European researchers have observed a fissure in a desert in the remote northeast that could be the "birth of a new ocean basin," scientists said. Researchers from Britain, France, Italy and the United States have been observing the 37-mile long fissure since it split open in September in the Afar desert and estimate it will take a million years to fully form into an ocean, said Dereje Ayalew, who leads the team of 18 scientists studying the phenomenon (Link)
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Space Weather in Africa: (Nov. 13, 2007): Something strange is happening in the atmosphere above Africa and researchers have converged on Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss the phenomenon. The Africa Space Weather Workshop kicked off Nov. 12th with nearly 100 scientists and students in attendance. The strange phenomenon that brings all these people together is the ion plume—"a newly discovered form of space weather," says University of Colorado atmospheric scientist and Workshop co-organizer Tim Fuller-Rowell.Researchers liken the plumes to smoke billowing out of a factory smokestack—except instead of ordinary ash and dust, ion plumes are made of electrified gas floating so high above ground they come in contact with space itself. "The plumes appear during geomagnetic storms and they can interfere with satellite transmissions, airline navigation and radio communications," says Fuller-Rowell. Indeed, it is their effect on GPS signals that led to the discovery of plumes over North America just a few years ago (Link).

EGY-Africa: An initiative called eGY-Africa is being undertaken as an Electronic Geophysical Year  (eGY) activity to advocate better cyber-infrastructure (Internet access) for Universities and other research, education, and training  institutions in Africa. The IHY workshop was used to (i) raise awareness of eGY  and eGY-Africa, (ii) present the results of the initial survey of Internet capability and usage in each country, (iii) expand the community of participants and  organisers of eGY-Africa, (iv) develop the business/work plan and future  events, and (v) pass an IHY-Africa resolution recommending action to improve  cyber-infrastructure for science in Africa.

GIRMA WOLDEGIORGIS, PRESIDENT OF THE FDRE LAYS FOUNDATION STONE FOR NEW IES LIBRARY BULIDING

The effort to construct a new building for the IES library has now moved one step ahead as the foundation stone for the new library building was laid on April 27th 2002.Presidant Girma Woldegiorgis of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia laid the foundation stone at the construction site of the new library ,on the main campus of Addis Abeba University. What triggered the initative for the new buliding ,which is expected to cost up to USD 5 million , including equipment and computerization expenses, is the overcrowding of the present library with documents.Furthermore, the safety of the sturucture of the existing library buliding has become a couse for consern due to the load impact on the library collection for the last 40 years of existence (Link).
PHD in Information Technology: AAU: The program is designed with the objective of meeting the national expectations and taking advantage of the specialization and potentialities of the local institutions of higher learning already involved in offering graduate programs at the M. Sc. level and their international partners who have participated in similar bilateral programs. In particular, the program is developed (and will be run) by a consortium of academic units already engaged in delivering graduate programs in the field of IT, namely, Departments of Computer Science, Information Science, and Electrical & Computer Engineering (of AAU) and Departments of IT and Telecom Engineering (of CTIT). This program is, therefore, designed to attract and maintain a large pool of best talents to devote time and energy to experiment with emerging technologies and real-life problem resolution research in specific areas of national interest in the field of IT. The program also alleviates lack of sufficient PhD graduates in IT to fill academic positions and provide consulting services to industry (Link)



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