Mummy face

An Egyptian mummy’s head and face have been reconstructed with forensic science and 3D printing, offering scientists a tantalizing glimpse of the individual’s life and death.

The mummified head was discovered by accident in the collections of the University of Melbourne in Australia. A museum curator happened upon the remains during an audit and, concerned about the state of the specimen, sent it for a computed tomography (CT) scan.

“Turns out, [the skull] is actually quite intact; it has got bandages and looks well on the inside,” said Varsha Pilbrow, a biological anthropologist in the University of Melbourne’s Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience. “Of course, that then allowed us to think what to do next.”

With the help of an imaging specialist, Pilbrow and her team used the scans to create a 3D-printed replica of the mummy’s skull. Then, the scientists studied the specimen’s facial-bone features, such as the size and angle of the jaw and characteristics of the eye sockets, to determine that the head belonged to a female. The researchers are calling the specimen Meritamun. They say she was probably not more than 25 years old at the time of her death and was important enough to be mummified.

Read the rest of the story over at Live Science.

Credit: Varsha Pilbrow and Gavan Mitchell

Here’s how to plug exam leaks, education board

Chemistry students taking a pre-university examination in the southern Indian state of Karnataka have had exams rescheduled after the paper was leaked twice last month.

E Arunan, professor of inorganic and physical chemistry at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, says that it is not hard to plug such leaks. Arunan points to the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) used by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Indian Institutes of Technology to determine entry to postgraduate science and engineering degrees. He was twice vice-chairman of the organising committee for the IISc GATE and tells Chemistry World that committee members have to sign a conflict of interest statement declaring that no relatives are taking the exam in the year they’re serving on the committee. Those with relatives taking the GATE exam are forbidden from writing, evaluating or even handling the test paper. ‘You never see any leaks [there]. It is not difficult to do,’ says Arunan.

Read the full story at Chemistry World.

Wikipedia expands free access in developing countries

The Wikimedia Foundation is on the quest to expand its content and access to it for users in developing nations.

As part of its ‘Wikipedia Zero’ initiative the foundation is trying to make mobile access to Wikipedia free of internet data charges and to develop content in local languages.

“We started Wikipedia Zero because we [perceived] the trend that Wikipedia usage is shifting to mobiles, and [for it to] grow and expand in developing countries, we needed to [do more to] support the service on mobile,” says Carolynne Schloeder, director of mobile programs at the Wikimedia Foundation.

The foundation is partnering with mobile phone operators in developing countries to enable free internet access to Wikipedia. When a user accesses Wikipedia through an operator that has agreed to provide free usage, a message would appear to confirm that the page is free. When the user clicks an external link that may carry a cost to visit a warning message would show up.

The Wikipedia Zero initiative made its first deal to provide free access to mobile users in selected countries of Africa and the Middle East with telecom company Orange in 2012.

Read more at SciDevNet.

‘Wikipedia’ of cheap tech to get facelift

A Wikipedia-style site that gets people to upload information on sustainable technologies and has received more than 50 million page views since its launch in 2006 is going through a raft of changes aimed at improving it further.

The site, called Appropedia, is built on open-source wiki software and allows information to be shared on technologies that could help improve lives in the developing world.

“We focus on sustainable technologies and how to use them in resource-poor settings,” says Lonny Grafman, founder and president of Appropedia.

As is the case with Wikipedia, anyone can edit Appropedia pages that currently hold close to 6,000 articles on topics including agriculture, energy, water and transport.

Appropedia has also collaborated with the WHO to host a catalogue of medical devices for use in poor countries. The Global Health Medical Device Compendium was developed by students at the University of Michigan, United States

Read more at SciDevNet.