Collectors Weekly: Learning to Love Death - New Museum Takes a Walk on the Shadow Side.
An appropriate link to cap off a day of serendipitous anthropological linkage ...
Discovery News: Siberian Mummies in Copper Masks Pose Mystery.
Western Digs: Infamous Mass Grave of Young Women in Ancient City Also Holds Men.
“As the largest display of ritual killing found anywhere north of Mexico, the cluster of Cahokia mass graves — known as Mound 72 — has been one of the most studied features in the country.” We US folks tend to think of this kind of ceremonial sacrifice as happening south of the border.
Guardian.UK: Fertility mystery solved: protein discovered that joins sperm with eggs.
It’s like two-part epoxy … ?
SciAm: Mummy’s Hair Reveals Signs of Arsenic Poisoning.
Sounds so sensational, until you read: “However, researchers weren’t able to determine whether the people had ingested arsenic or if the toxic element in the soil had diffused into the mummies’ hair after they were buried.” My italic emphasis.
NPR: Play It Again And Again, Sam.
“Musical repetitiveness isn’t really an idiosyncratic feature of music that’s arisen over the past few hundred years in the West. [snip] It seems to be a cultural universal. Not only does every known human culture make music, but also, every known human culture makes music [in which] repetition is a defining element.” Synchronicity again. I’d just been wondering about this. I’ve switched to listening to a ‘smooth jazz’ (no comments) station, in my desperation to escape endless loops of Sweet Child of Mine, Radar Love, Hotel California and Oye Como Va Mi Ritmo (the go-to ‘Latino’ rock standard), thanks to Clear Channel owning wide swaths of broadcast space. Hearing the bass-thump of Radar Love again almost makes me murderous … it comes up on commercial stations multiple times a day.
Patrice Ayme’s Thoughts: Terminal Greenhouse Crisis.
WarHistoryOnline: Archaeologists find remains of 21 German soldiers in a WWI shelter.
“Here, as in Pompeii, we found the bodies as they were at the moment of their death. Some of the men were found in sitting positions on a bench, others lying down. One was projected down a flight of wooden stairs and was found in a foetal position. The collapsed shelter was filled with soil. The items were very well-preserved because of the absence of air and light and water. Metal objects were rusty, wood was in good condition and we found some pages of newspapers that were still readable. Leather was in good condition as well, still supple.” RIP.
DiscoverMag: Over the Hill? Cognitive Speeds Peak at Age 24.
“It’s not all bad news for those of us on the wrong side of 24, however. Researchers found that older players compensated for their slower cognitive speed by making the game simpler. For example, older players retain their skill by using more keyboard shortcuts to make up for their motor-speed declines.” Makes me feel a little better.
The Verge: Gut feelings - the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach.
“Probiotics’ potential to treat human behavior is increasingly apparent, but will manufacturers one day toss an anxiety-fighting blend into their probiotic brews? It’s a distinct possibility …” Science should map the gut biome before manufacturers start pushing out ‘beneficial’ blends.
FourHourWorkWeek.com: Are Saunas the Next Big Performance-Enhancing “Drug”?
“Please don’t be stupid and kill yourself. It would make us both quite unhappy. Consult a doctor before doing anything described in this post or on this blog.” Tim Ferriss finds another body hack. I would second the ‘dangerous’ admonitions; every time I’ve gotten into life-threatening situations, it’s heat that’s been the culprit. I acclimate carefully when June rolls around, so as not to turn my exercise routines into a funeral procession.
Serendipita: View from the ISS.
Cool. And I didn’t know!
SciAm: Ohio Links Fracking to Earthquakes, Announces Tougher Rules.
“In the strongest wording yet from the state linking energy drilling and quakes, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) said that injecting sand, water and chemicals deep underground to help release oil and gas may have produced tremors in Poland Township last month.”
SciAm: Massive Turquoise Trade Network of Ancient Pueblos Revealed.
“In the new study, researchers traced Chaco Canyon turquoise artifacts back to resource areas in Colorado, Nevada and southeastern California. The results definitively show, for the first time, that the ancestral Puebloans – best known for their multistoried adobe houses – in the San Juan Basin area of New Mexico did not get all of their turquoise from a nearby mining site, as was previously believed.” Instead of those amazing ancient ‘roads’ (no horses!) being a one-way delivery route supplying Chaco, trade was running back and forth across much larger distances. Cool.
MetaFilter: Tamiflu, Roche and the Cochrane Collaboration.
Having worked many drug rollouts as an A/V tech, I can tell you this sort of thing is true for just about every drug out there.
Pacific Standard: Half of Americans Believe at Least 1 Conspiracy Theory.
“For many Americans, complicated or nuanced explanations for political events are both cognitively taxing and have limited appeal. [snip] A conspiracy narrative may provide a more accessible and convincing account of political events.” ‘Simple answers’, since the 80’s. Before that, shaggy dog stories.
Pacific Standard: Can You Learn to Judge Creativity?
“A new research paper suggests that amateurs can, indeed, be trained to be better judges of creativity — at least when it comes to children’s paintings.” Reminds me of the time when we were using children’s drawings in a particular company’s PR push … the creative director didn’t feel the drawings were ‘right’ and grabbed crayons and drew over the children’s work to ‘improve’ them. I felt that the children’s work should not have been altered, no matter what permissions had been obtained. Bothers me still.
Mother Jones: Why This Year’s El Niño Could Grow Into a Monster.
“The warm water just below the ocean’s surface is on par with that of the biggest El Niño ever recorded, in 1997-98. That event caused $35 billion in damages and was blamed for around 23,000 deaths worldwide, according to the University of New South Wales.” I’d better caulk the roof.
SciAm: Ancient Egyptian Mummy Found with Brain but No Heart.
“An ancient Egyptian mummy found with an intact brain, but no heart, has a plaque on her abdomen that may have been intended to ritually heal her, say a team of researchers who examined the female body with CT scans.” The heart was considered the center of a person’s being; perhaps the opposite is true. They may have not wanted this chick to come back.
Yale Daily News: Study explores beliefs about free will.
“The study establishes that people have a greater belief in free will after thinking about others committing immoral actions compared to committing morally neutral actions. This finding suggest that belief in free will is a fluid concept ...”
Pew: U.S. doesn’t rank high in religious diversity.
Hmmm, I’d like to see it plotted against other stats, like violence, etc.
Guardian.UK: IPCC report proposes sucking carbon out of the air as climate fix.
“The report refers to the CO2 removal technologies as ‘negative emissions’ instead of geoengineering, a label that certain proponents have been promoting to disassociate the technologies from criticisms of geoengineering.” We end up spending so much effort avoiding ‘trigger words’ … *sigh*.
Italian Ways: Sardinia’s carnival masks.
The previous link spurred me to add this find to the mix.
ElPais: Spain’s lost Celtiberian helmets.
Such rare items shouldn’t really be sold on the private market. I know, I know - if I found such a treasure, I’d probably sell off some of the kit to recoup excavation costs, keeping the best back. But still. I’d sure like to see these in a museum, given their amazing state of preservation and historical significance.
The Smart Set: From the Ashes.
“Of course, now that Pompeii has been excavated, the site is becoming a normal ruin. It is falling into decay. But not the calchi, and that is why the calchi are so uncanny. The calchi aren’t ruins and they never can be. The calchi are like snapshots of death. For that reason, they make the death of Pompeii as palpable and present to us now as it was two thousand years ago. ” You can view some of these at the Franklin Institute in Philadephia until April 27.