Public Books: Where do Morals Come From?
“The problem is that none of us can stand still in any perspective for very long.” Worth taking your time with. Read of the day.
Smithsonian: How a German Archaeologist Rediscovered in Iran the Tomb of Cyrus.
“By the time Herzfeld found his tomb, it had been looted again and Cyrus’ bones were gone.” Had a discussion the other day about the ethics of archaeology. My reasoning comes down to this - if we don’t uncover and protect, learning in the process, there will be nothing left.
NY Times: Plan by Princeton Institute Clashes With a Park’s Revolutionary War Past.
“The study, commissioned by the Princeton Battlefield Society, a leading opponent of the housing plan, posits that a famous back road to Princeton that Washington’s men took after their victory at the Battle of Trenton traversed the institute’s planned construction site.” I’m telling you folks, if you’ll ever search on Google and find this - check Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker’s papers. Probably both at PU and UV.
NY Times: Is Humanity Getting Better?
“Something is happening — especially since World War II — as we add more energy to our species. What future generations might marvel at most will be if we, in the midst of it, do not see it.” Thought-provoker.
fourhourworkweek.com: Meet “Scorpion,” The Real-Life Santa Claus with an IQ of 197.
“Walter O’Brien (AKA “Scorpion”) (@walterobrienscs) is the founder of Scorpion Computer Services and ConciergeUp.com, a for-hire global think tank that provides intelligence-on-demand as a concierge service.” Worth a listen, when I have a moment.
NPR: What Kids Need From Grown-Ups (But Aren’t Getting).
“I think there’s a little bit of a repair process that we need to engage in. Because if you’ve got a kid who’s used to going to a million lessons and only uses toys that have one way of using them and then, suddenly, you put them in a room with a bunch of boxes and blocks and say, ‘Have fun!’, the kid’s gonna say, ‘Are you kidding me? What?!’” Sad. I hear my old man, walking through the living room, deftly snapping off the television on a Saturday morning, saying “No more. Get outside.” And we’d disappear until dinnertime.
Back to the article, I believe I see this lack of flexibility of mind, paucity of imagination, deficit of curiousity in the youngest journalists appearing online. So cocksure, missing so much in their surety of the narrow education and restricted experience in their lives.
SciAm: Robotic Comet Lander Philae Says Good-Bye.
Archaeology News Network: Uncertainties in tree-ring-based climate reconstructions probed.
“This suggests that there is less certainty than implied by a reconstruction developed using any one set of assumptions.” More models are better? I expect costly?
Open Culture: What Ancient Greek Music Sounded Like.
SciAm: Mass Shootings Are Contagious.
I believe we already sort of knew this.
SF Reporter: Was the disclosure of Acoma traditions exploitation or scholarship?
“... his decision to publish without consulting the Pueblo — even after promising he would do so — raises the question of an ethical or professional failure on his part.” There’s a turn-of-the-last-century arrogance about this, that goes beyond the moral/ethical question. The pueblos have their own native scholars, museums, research facilities. This history, this knowledge is not in danger of being lost. And they are more than willing to work with non-native scholars. This information will probably become available at some point in the future, given demographic trends among the pueblos - why the urgency to publish now? Noone’s life depends on seeing it in print. This whole thing feels wrong, beyond just the broken promise.
Western Digs: Oldest Human Footprints in the Southwest Discovered at Tucson Construction Site.
ScienceAlert: Ancient Egyptian papyrus contains earliest record of ‘demon star’.
“Scientists studying a 3,200 year-old papyrus document from ancient Egypt think they’ve found the earliest record of the variable star Algol - a three-star system that’s some 92.25 light-years away from Earth. It appears that not only could the Egyptians see the star without the aid of a telescope, its cycle influenced their religious calendars.” Star spotting is a safer bet than lunar calculations, when theorizing about ancients’ capabilities.
Salem News: Proctor’s Ledge in Salem confirmed as witch execution site.
FastCo: Federal Law Now Says Kids Can Walk To School Alone.
“Ironically, kids walking to school today are actually very safe — safer than their parents were. The crime level is back to what it was in 1963.” Jeebus, a bit of common sense actually passed. HOORAY FOR KIDS.
Archaeology News Network: Melting alpine snow exposes ancient history in Wyoming.
“One of the key things about the ice patches is that the record they contain about past environmental conditions is as important, if not more so, than the archaeology they contain. [snip] And as they melt, tremendous amounts of information are being lost.”
Cook Political: Trump, Cruz, and a Cage Fight.
I’m having a great deal of fun comparing and contrasting the Republican race to zero sum games and game theory, Nash equilibrium, minimax et al. I need a huge chalkboard, I want to create a game tree ...
Tangent: You folks know I love to bash starchitects. There is an instance where one starchitect ‘got it right’. In the new Thomas Laboratory building on the Princeton University campus, architect Robert Venturi designed slightly bowed semicircular ends on the long building. Glass and couches around the curved portion of the semicircle, facing blackboards and doors on the two sides of the blackboards. It’s PERFECT for casual groups to sit around and theorize. That’s EXACTLY what I am missing.
US News: The ‘lower risk of Alzheimer’s’ MIND Diet - What To Know.
Not draconian. I’d like to see the research first, though.
Ancient Origins: Archeologists discover Mythical Tomb of Osiris, God of the Dead, in Egypt.
Check the diagram of the tomb. Deep.
Ancient Origins: Kiya - The Most Mysterious Woman of Amarna.
Archaeology News Network: Study of skulls from Vanuatu cemetery sheds light on Polynesian migration.
PS Mag: Trigger Warnings on College Campuses Are Nothing but Censorship.
“Rather than engaging in dialogue about how these writers viewed their world, students want to see only that which supports their own point of view.” Is this something the internet’s exacerbated?
BBC: Virginia schools shut in Islam calligraphy row.
Teachers didn’t imagine this bit of script would be incendiary? How stupid can you be? Worst timing ever, to try using a statement of faith as a calligraphy lesson. Recitation of this in front of witnesses is considered the only formal step in conversion to Islam. And they offer this to kids in Baptist country. Jeez-oh-man.
NY Times: The Words That Killed Medieval Jews.
You don’t have to go so far afield. Scholars agree that the Gospel of Matthew is the source, written for a small community within the long Jewish storytelling tradition of betrayal and renewal. “His blood be upon us and upon our children!”
Fundamentalism is the problem. For all faiths.