Britain Oldest Skeleton gets a makeover, he had deep blue eyes and dark skin.

Cheddar Man is the oldest discovered Skeleton in Great Britain.

It was discovered in Gough’s Cave near in Bristol in 1903, 115 years ago.

Cheddar Skeleton is about 10.000 years old but the team of the London National  History Museum, lead by Ian Barnes, managed to recover the full genome from its skull’s temporal bone.

This analysis is the first to be done on a Briton of the Mesolithic age.

The genome has been analyzed with the researchers of  University College London to recreate the probable physical aspect of the Cheddar man.

He had dark hair skin and blue eyes.

Dutch artist  Alfons and  Adrie Kennis were hired to recreate the appearance  of the Cheddar Man using both genome information and scans from the skulls

(Facial Reconstruction of the Cheddar Man, source National Geographic)

Much more information is retrievable through out  genome analysis, for example it can be supposed that the man lived in the Mesolithic era, about 5000-10000 years before Christ and has similar genome to the Hunter-Gatherers found in Spain, Luxembourg and Hungary and he was unable to drink milk as an adult.

The bones of the Cheddar man are another source of useful information. The cracks on the skull suggest that he could have died by an incident or in a violent manner. Cut marks on the bones could mean that these people cannibalized their dead. The length of the bones suggest that the man was tall about 1,52 meters and died in his twenties.

White skin trait is much more recent. It is theorized that about 6.000 year ago pale skin populations migrated from the Middle East to Britain after the ice age. The trait was probably developed to address a lack of Vitamin D in the pale skin population. A lighter Skin allows less protection to solar radiation but more capability to synthetize Vitamin  D in their Skin.

Cheddar man population was probably absorbed by the paler skin populations. In fact  living resident of Cheddar village where found to have similar DNA to the Cheddar man in their mitochondria.

It is esteemed that  Present-Day Europeans owe on average 10% of their ancestry to Mesolithic hunters like the Cheddar Man.

These findings will be published in a Journal and be featured on a United Kingdom Documentary of Channel 4 called “ The First Brit, Secret of the 10.000 years old Man”


Magnetic-Plasmonic nanocomposites could revolutionize medicine, says Trinity research

The Chemistry Department of Trinity college have published research showing that magnetic plasmonic nanomaterials could enhance future diagnostic techniques and cancer treatment therapies.

The nanomaterials are of interest in the field of biomedicine because of the vast amount of potential applications they have, such as molecular imaging, photothermal therapy, magnetic hyperthermia and as drug delivery vehicles. Thus applications exist for both therapy and diagnosis.

Magnetic plasmonic nanoparticles compose these nanomaterials – these particles are small molecules formed by a core of magnets linked with an outer layer of metal, the plasmonic layer. The magnetic core allows the molecules to attach to specific tissues throughout the interaction with magnetic fields. The plasmonic component is used as a receiver and transmitter of energy, depending on the metal which forms the component. This plasmonic component can be further functionalized very easily by adding molecules to give new properties to the particles. This includes drug molecules for treatment and fluorescent compounds for labelling. These extra molecules can also form a shell of a different functional metal, semiconductor, or dielectric.

(nanoparticle structure)

The nanocomposites can be combined with different other molecules to serve multiple purposes. In cancer treatment the molecule can be directed on tumors throughout an external magnet and the plasmons, stimulated with infrared light, can release heat and cut the tumors cells.In treatment of other diseases, the plasmonic particles can be constructed to transport drugs to various points of interest.

In diagnosis, the particles can be directed to a tumor-suspected area with magnetic fields. Antibodies attached to the nanoparticles can then link themselves to specific tumor sites, if present. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners can detect these nanoparticles – recognizing fluorescent or radioactive compounds that have been engineered onto the magnetic-plasmonic particles.They can be bioengineered to detect a wide range of other diseases and viruses.

What is of particular interest to researchers studying these particles is the possible use of new materials to not only quantify, but also cure diseases, concurrently. The nanoparticles are also fortunately versatile, as they can be built in laboratory with a wide range of materials and apparatus.

Right now the effects of the particles have only been studied in vitro on animal and human tissues. Toxicity of the materials to living cells is yet to be fully understood before progressing to animal or clinic tests; however the wide range of components that can be used to assemble the nanoparticles show promise in enhancing their biocompatibility.

(study and images by Shelley Stafford, Raquel Serrano Garcia and Yurii K. Gun’ko ,pdf available at

(This blog article is also avalible on the Trinity News issue released the 23/01/2018)

All the crazy plans of Elon Musk part 1 – ground transportation-

Elon Musk is a visionary CEO in the field of transportation and a startupper in Cognitive Enhancement.

He covers the Ground with The Boring Company, a tunneling company, Tesla Motors, an electric car company and Hyperloop, an over 1000 Km/h speed train, dreams to connects majors cities with rockets and colonize Mars with Space X.

Will he succeed in some of this feats?  Will he survive the hype? we hope so! In the meantime let’s dream with the descriptions of his plans and a cool video renderings.

The Boring Company

The Boring Company objective is to build tunnels in order to transport cars, trains and passengers cabins below and inter-cities.

(Skate render for transport people from The Boring Company)

The plan is to use electrics skates to transport the vehicles below the street and into the Tunnels at 200 Km/h.

(Source: The Boring Company Youtube Channel,2017)

To create an economically viable under a network of streets, even the machines to dig the tunnels are mindblowing.

A “Boring” machine excavator

To reduce costs and aims t build a network of Tunnels that will go deeper and faster than traditional metro lines those excavators are powered only by electricity and at the same time excavate and compact the galleries.

The Boring Company is already proposing to work under Los Angeles for a tract that would start from West Los Angeles to Inglewood.

                                      The Boring Company plan for L.A.

But what about security in case of Earthquakes?

Deep underground galleries are the safest places to be during tremors, tunnels tend to move uniformly with the terrain limiting damages to people.

If successful this technology will help to alleviate surface transportation traffic

Do people dream of electric cars? Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors is one of the most  known and controversial projects of Elon Musk.

It promises to free ourselves from the dependence from gasoline and increase security on the street with autopilot but seems to be one of the most difficult technologies to market. Bottlenecks in production of the electric batteries that power the car have blocked the mass production of the “cheap” model 3 (base model price $35000) for at least 6 months in 2017.

Recently Tesla Motors announced the Tesla Semi-Truck and the new Tesla Roadster 2020.Both vehicles are electric and have impressive performances and features, Semi can run up from  0-100 km/h in 5 seconds, has an autonomy of 650 km, can be recharged in 30 minutes, and compared to actual gasoline trucks cost 25% less; the Roadster is a 4 seater and will go from 1-100 km/h in 1.9 seconds, reach a top speed of 400 km/h and has an autonomy of 1000 km. It is yet to be seen if this gamble is a desperate swansong to bring more cash to the firm or ash rising Phoenix.

Semi and Roadster announcement, courtesy of The Verge

The stimulus that Tesla has given to car automakers market is incredible: now every worldwide automaker has announced the intention to enter in the electric car market as fast as possible to not fall behind.

On the side note, who would have guessed that an invention from my hometown could potentially save the world? I guess that Alessandro Volta is triple piking in his tomb right now.


To finish the reel on ground transportation there is the Hyperloop train.

While Elon Musk is not directly involved in the realization of project he sparked the idea open sourcing the project technology to companies and universities around the world to create an efficient transportation.

Hyperloop is a technology based on vacuum technology and linear electric motors or magnetic levitation. Capsules containing people and goods will be launched in tubes were the pressure will be maintained as low as possible to avoid attrition and enhance speed.

Hyperloop technology will be able to reach 1080 km/h and various parties are working on it.

Hyperloop one, a private company that is developing the technology and now partnered by Virgin, is planning to realize the first routes by 2021.

The possible routes considered by Hyperloop one throughout a worldwide competition are:

Toronto-Montreal (Canada)

  • Toronto – Montreal: 640 km, 39 min
  • Toronto – Ottawa: 450 km, 27 min
  • Ottawa – Montreal: 190 km, 12 min                   

Cheyenne- Denver – Pueblo (USA)

  • Denver – Greeley: 64km, 6 min
  • Denver – Fort Collins: 129km, 9 min
  • Denver – Vail: 121 km, 9 min
  • Denver – Colorado Springs: 118 km, 9 min
  • Colorado Springs – Pueblo: 65 km, 6 min
  • Total Route Length: 580 km                              

Miami-Orlando (USA)

Miami – Orlando: 414 km, 25 min

Dallas – Laredo -Houston (USA)

  • Dallas – Houston: 789 km, 46 min
  • Dallas – Austin: 322 km, 19 min
  • Austin – San Antonio: 121 km, 8 min
  • San Antonio – Houston: 346 km, 21 min
  • Laredo – San Antonio: 242km, 16 min
  • Total Route Length: 1030 km


Chicago -Columbus – Pittisburgh (USA)

  • Chicago – Pittsburgh: 785 km, 47 min
  • Chicago – Columbus: 493 km, 29 min
  • Columbus – Pittsburgh: 292 km, 18 min

Mexico City -Guadalajara (Mexico)

  • Mexico City – Guadalajara: 532 km, 38 min
  • Mexico City – Querétaro: 190 km, 13 min
  • Querétaro – León: 184 km, 12 min
  • León – Guadalajara: 205 km, 13 min        

Edinburgh – London (UK)

  • Edinburgh – London: 666 km, 50 min
  • Edinburgh – Manchester: 330 km, 24 min
  • Manchester – Birmingham: 143 km, 12 min
  • Birmingham – London: 193 km, 14 min

Glasgow – Liverpool (UK)

  • Glasgow – Liverpool: 545 km, 47 min
  • Glasgow – Edinburgh: 68 km, 7 min
  • Edinburgh – Newcastle: 193 km, 14 min
  • Newcastle – Leeds: 158 km, 13 min
  • Leeds – Manchester: 71 km, 7 min
  • Manchester – Liverpool: 55 km, 6 min

Bengaluru – Chennai (India)

  • Bengaluru – Chennai: 334 km, 23 min
  • Bengaluru – Chittoor: 178 km, 12 min
  • Chittoor – Chennai: 156 km, 11 min                  

Mumbai – Chennai (India)

  • Mumbai – Chennai: 1102 km, 63 min
  • Mumbai – Bengaluru: 817 km, 47 min
  • Bengaluru – Chennai: 285 km, 18 min  

(Images and information from Hyperloop one corporate website)

In part 2 of this post, I will cover fly and space transportation by Elon Musk.