You may have heard of Americans and Europeans marrying into their family centuries ago. This was true, especially before the Industrial Revolution. During that time, people didn’t travel far to find potential spouses. But by the 19th century, things started to change and people eventually stopped marrying their cousins.
That time, with the rise of mass transportation and the shifts in social norms, families became more dispersed. Later on, spouses became less and less related. This is just one of the many insights that can be gathered in the world’s largest, scientifically-vetted family tree.
For the research, which was recently published in the journal Science, the researchers assembled 5 million family trees.
The authors compiled and analyzed 86 million public profiles from Geni.com, a genealogy-driven social media site. The largest tree they assembled consisted of 13 million people and spanned 11 generations. The researchers then used their data to test several hypotheses on genetics and history.
Yaniv Erlich, the chief science officer of MyHeritage, the parent company of Geni.com and senior author of the paper titled “Quantitative analysis of population-scale family trees with millions of relatives,” was quoted as saying:
“You can harness the hard work of so many people around the globe just documenting their own family history, and learn something about humanity.”
The study is one of the latest examples of researchers using crowdsourced data collected by private companies.
This trend in research is questioned by some experts as it raises issues about 1) just how representative the data collected are, and 2) how the private companies might have vested interests that can influence the research.
Emily Klancher Merchant, a science and technology studies professor at the University of California, Davis, was quoted as saying:
“When private companies control the data and fund the research, they’re the ones gatekeeping what kind of science gets done.”
In genealogy research, however, there aren’t many efficient ways to gather up-to-date data.
In the past, researchers have had to dig through countless church records and birth and death certificates to assemble large family trees. For this particular research, Dr. Erlich and his co-authors said they made sure to validate the crowdsourced data they gathered. As written in their discussion:
“In this work, we leveraged genealogy-driven media to build a dataset of human pedigrees of massive scale that covers nearly every country in the Western world. Multiple validation procedures indicated that it is possible to obtain a dataset that has similar quality to traditionally collected studies, but at much greater scale and lower cost.”
With the study’s limitations, the researchers were still able to reach some interesting conclusions, including the higher likelihood of mothers to migrate than fathers and a lower heritability of life span than others have reported.
The Case of the Continuously Functioning Oxford Electric Bell From 1840
It has been ringing continuously for over 175 years.
Back in 1840, a physics professor at the University of Oxford named Robert Walker acquired a unique apparatus. It was a battery designed to propel a hanging metal ball back and forth, between two small bells. It has since been known as the Oxford Electric Bell or Clarendon Dry Pile.
The bell has been ringing continuously for 178 years since it was acquired - although inaudibly as it is stored behind two layers of glass. The Oxford Electric Bell is currently displayed in a corridor adjacent to the foyer of the Clarendon Laboratory at the University of Oxford in England.
The bell is said to have rung over 10 billion times.
Hero Dog Shot Multiple Times After Protecting Teen Owner From Robbers
He is indeed man’s best friend!
A two-year-old German shepherd just proved that dogs are indeed man’s best friends. Named Rex, it helped fight armed intruders who invaded Javier Mercado’s house one afternoon in Des Moines, USA. Javier reportedly heard a noise and as he gazed upon a window, he saw a vehicle he did not recognize.
Suddenly, he heard his sliding door break. The glasses shattered so loudly that Rex quickly ran downstairs. It started “barking and barking.” Eventually, a guy screamed, “the dog bit me, get the dog.” Javier rushed to the phone and dialed 911.
Meet Rex, the German shepherd that helped stop a burglary.
5 Of The World’s Biggest Gold Nuggets That Haven’t Been Melted
These are extra special as they haven’t been refined.
Throughout history, gold has always been a lucrative asset that humans have learned to extract a hundred years ago. Because of extensive mining of gold, rarely is the metal seen as a nugget. Majority of the gold nuggets that have been discovered have all been refined and melted.
For the past few decades, however, there is appreciation on the most natural raw form of gold. Instead of melting them or refining them to make into coins, jewelry and bars, some have been collected while preserving the raw form. Here are five of the world’s largest gold nuggets that still exist.
#5. Ironstone's Crown Jewel, USA
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