OpenCulture: The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Most Popular Physics Book Ever Written, Now Completely
Hyperallergic: Cultural Destruction by Islamic State Continues with No End in Sight.
The opening GIF animation pretty much says it all.
Archaeology News Network: Amphipolis tomb entrance gradually revealed.
More and more tantalizing. Read the comment, also.
NPR Interview: Benedict Carey, Author Of ‘How We Learn’.
Uh-huh. As I’ve mentioned copiously over the years, the ancient Greeks walked their students around while teaching. Seeing as how so much of ancient Greek knowledge is still kicking around, I think that proves out the theory of benefit.
Slate: 250 years of English grammar usage advice.
“For the past two and a half years, I’ve been working on a database of more than 75 usage guides and 123 usage problems in the English language, spanning a period of nearly 250 years. My two assistants and I call this project the Hyper Usage Guide of English or HUGE database and it’s based out of Leiden University in the Netherlands.” Aw, fantastic.
Guardian.UK: Facts can convince conservatives about global warming – sometimes.
Archaeology News Network: Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not new ‘hobbit’ human.
“LB1’s short thighbones not only match the height reduction seen in Down syndrome, Eckhardt said, but when corrected statistically for normal growth, they would yield a stature of about 1.26 meters, or just over four feet, a figure matched by some humans now living on Flores and in surrounding regions.” Sorry, Frodo. Not a relative.
Mapping the Nation: An unrecognizable United States.
Past Horizons: 6,500 Ur skeleton re-discovered in museum collection.
“Reaching below sea level, Woolley determined that the original site of Ur had been a small island in a surrounding marsh. Then a great flood covered the land. People continued to live and flourish at Ur, but the disaster may have inspired legends. The first known recorded story of an epic flood comes from Sumer, now southern Iraq, and it is generally believed to be the historic precursor of the Biblical flood story written millennia later.”
Popular Archaeology: Did Deforestation Really Lead to Societal Collapse in Chaco Canyon?
“Our point [snip] is that we do not know where most of the wood in Chaco great houses originated, and we cannot eliminate local (canyon drainage) sources. Consequently there is no basis for concluding that the abandonment of Chaco Canyon was brought on by deforestation, improvident use of natural resources, or unstable exchange relationships, and therefore there is no reason to use Chaco’s history as a warning from the past about societal failure.” Indeed. They have so much research on the area, that I understand scientists have only made it up to the early 1900’s documentation.
Later: Sorry for the ugly title. Fixed.
Ancient Origins: Archaeologists recreate Elixir of Long Life recipe from unearthed bottle.
“Loorya enlisted researchers in Germany to track down the recipe in an old medical guide, which revealed that the potion contained ingredients such as aloe, which is anti-inflammatory, gentian root, which aids digestion, as well as rhubarb, zedoary, and Spanish saffron – ingredients still used by herbalists today.”
Dazed: Life on Earth is dying again.
“Don’t say we weren’t warned – yesterday several studies published in the journal Science advised that we’re in currently in the middle of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. While the human population is flourishing (no doubt part of the problem), other species are in rapid decline.”
Discover Mag: Feathers More Common Among Dinosaurs Than Previously Thought.
Come on. Some must have had pompadours!
SciAm: Error Discovered in Antarctic Sea-Ice Record.
“The finding raises two possibilities, Eisenman and his colleagues say. Either much of the recent mysterious growth trend is actually spurious, or the current figures are accurate but the trend could have been detected years earlier.” Oh, the naysayers are gonna eat this one up.
DP Review: MIT photography course materials freely available online.
Metafilter: Evolution is wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.
Learn of creationism, and how far people can rationalize belief. I think back to my own childhood, in which I got both versions ground into my brain. I have to say I rationalized the Biblical story as a nice narrative that was more archetypal than literal - symbolic, in other words. Had no words for that perception as a child, but I clearly remember that was the flavor of my unspoken thoughts. I preferred evolution because, at the time, it gave me dinosaurs. And I loved dinosaurs. Genesis, Adam and Eve didn’t stand a chance against Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Especially when I could walk over to Guyot Hall on the Princeton campus and see a real Tyrannosaurus skull (larger than I was, black as the hinges of Hades, teeth longer than my child’s hand).
The Federalist: Media Ignorance Is Becoming A Serious Problem.
WaPo: There’s so much that science will never be able to explain.
“Science works under strict boundaries, and as hard as we may try, we can’t go beyond them. To know all answers, we need to start by knowing all questions. And that is simply impossible. Our view of the world will always be incomplete.” That’s not necessarily ‘bad’.
Vox: The ‘not everyone should go to college’ argument is classist and wrong.
More useful, applicable intelligence is never a bad thing. Problem is, not all colleges are in the business of increasing intelligence.
Clark Planetarium: Rare Coin Found on Mars!
Guardian.UK: Skeletons of war dead from 11,000 BC go on show at the British Museum.
Robert Burns on the subject:
“Many and sharp the num’rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves,
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And man, whose heav’n–erected face
The smiles of love adorn,
Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!”
Later: More on this, from the British Museum itself.
Hypochondria in medical students and doctors: When to worry about health symptoms.
“Medical student syndrome is a well-documented phenomenon, a one- to two-year phase during which aspiring physicians think they’ve contracted whatever disease it is they’re studying.” Anyone who’s had a child become a physician knows this well. The internet allows us all to be hypochondriacs. Too many conversations these days begin with … ‘organ recitals.’ Such casual conversations about health used to be reserved for those over 60.
Vox: This scientific journal just had to retract 60 papers. How does that even happen?
“SAGE has been a bit cagey about this particular case, so some of the details are still sketchy. But from what we can gather, it appears that Chen created up to 130 fake email accounts of ‘assumed and fabricated identities’ that created a ‘peer review and citation ring.’ In other words, it appears that he suggested his own fake identities to the journal as reviewers of his papers.” So, now we have to verify the reviewers of studies. Lovely. Feels like it’s getting harder and harder to winnow anything of real worth out of the internet.
NASA: Sun Sends More ‘Tsunami Waves’ to Voyager 1.
“Because denser plasma oscillates faster, the team was able to figure out the density of the plasma. In 2013, thanks to the second tsunami wave, the team acquired evidence that Voyager had been flying for more than a year through plasma that was 40 times denser than measured before - a telltale indicator of interstellar space.”
Archaeology News Network: New specimen of Archaeopteryx reveals previously unknown features of the p
Nice in-depth article that doesn’t veer into fantasy.