Archaeology News Network: Sphinxes at Amphipolis tomb revealed.
More! Even though we pretty much know it’s not Alexander, I’m on the edge of my seat for this.
Archaeology News Network: Scythian ‘Princess’ discovered in Kazakhstan reconstructed.
BBC: New dates rewrite Neanderthal story.
“The most comprehensive dating of Neanderthal bones and tools ever carried out suggests that the two species lived side-by-side for up to 5,000 years.” “Yo, conehead. Toss me another chunk of paleo Sabre-tooth, will ya? Well-done this time, poozer.”
SciAm: Western Scrub Jays Are Capable of Metacognition.
They are damned smart birds. They know my routines better than I do myself. I’ll put in a plug for ravens, too ... though they’re more independent and wilful.
NPR: Lessons From The Last Time Civilization Collapsed.
Longtime readers know I’m getting very tired of history being rewritten from a climate-change perspective alone. Climate change is all too often interchanged with global warming, and both terms tend to be misunderstood as ‘manmade’ when used.
Here, ‘climate change’ caused the complex systems to collapse. Climate is but one factor. No doubt drought is a serious event to deal with. But it was not caused by humans at that time. Nature mitigated against complex systems, and the most complex and fragile collapsed causing a domino effect. Using the words ‘climate change’ here would make some believe Ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, etc. were causing manmade global warming. I picture King Tut ‘rolling coal’ through Amarna, heading for Memphis and Thebes.
One of the theories about the Chacoans [Chaco, up in NW NM] is that the complexity of their buildings and religious system was challenged by long periods of drought and brought that civilization crashing down. When the people left, they hauled the contents of the buildings out to the middens piles. They burned and broke everything. All that is left is mostly in chunks and shards. Signs of anger at the religion? So angry one goes back to hunting/gathering? We know they believed that their religious ceremonies had to be exactly timed to celestial events, and if these ceremonies were not performed perfectly, the crops and bounty for the next year might suffer. A drought, especially an extended one, would certainly shoot a hole in that religion’s faithful. Anything that disrupted the production of food would make that civilization unstable.
BUT - take away the climate change interpretation, mixed with new discoveries - another theory has surfaced. Another people, or another religion may have infiltrated. Violent, cannibalistic. The burning and destruction may have been the result of violent overthrow. The cannibalism, ritualistic. Taller-than-average remains have been found, with leg bones split longways, for eating of marrow. Tosses the climate change narrative out on its ear (mostly).
(Later, related to the paragraph above, by total coincidence: Violence in the Ancient Southwest Offers Insights into Peace, Western Digs.)
My point, finally. We are never operating outside of Nature, nor is Nature operating outside of human influence. This current fad of history through the single lens of ‘climate change’ is missing many details that ought not be missed.
Past Horizons: Fighting and feasting: the life of a medieval king.
“Although an alteration in the chemistry between the femur and the rib of Richard III could indicate relocation, historical records show that Richard did not move from the east of England in the 2 years prior to his death when he was King. As such, this chemical change is more likely to represent a change in diet relating to his period as King. The difference suggests an increase in consumption of freshwater fish and birds, which were popular additions to royal banquets at the time and included swan, crane, heron and egret.” And more wine.
NY Times: Caffeine May Reduce Tinnitus Risk.
Musicians, slug down that coffee.
Archaeology News Network: Archaeological coalition says Aswan tombs robbed
Archaeology News Network: Ancient instrument found in Turkic warrior burial in Kazakhstan.
“The kobyz is an ancient Kazakh instrument that has two strings made of horsehair. It was believed to be a sacred instruments that could drive away evil spirits. It was often used by spiritual medics and shamans.” Well, that’s why I listen to music. Keep them evil spirits at a distance.
ekathimerini.com: Samaras expects ‘exceptionally important find’ at Ancient Amphipolis.
Doubtful that it is Alexander the Great; supposedly he was preserved in honey for the trip from Babylon, diverted to Alexandria and entombed there ... and have history lose that location.
Later: A photo here, and more information. Very significant, whoever it turns out to be.
BldgBlog: The Spacecraft Cemetery.
“Wreck-diving the fallen airlocks of the International Space Station!” More like sinking in a bathyscaphe to see gnarled, barbecued chunks of metal.
Pacific Standard: What Has Neuroscience Taught Us About Free Will?
“Broadly, they were trying to figure out if all the reasons we think we’ve made a decision are actually just after-the-fact rationalizations. The underlying theory they were testing holds that our brain has a bunch of automatic responses to the choices we face everyday—cream or sugar, left or right, Democrat or Republican, to be or not to be—pre-programmed by our genes and by the environment around us.”
Archaeology News Network: Eleventh warship ram recovered in the Egadis.
Mashable: When to Watch the Most Super Supermoon of 2014.
No, no, NO!! [bangs head on wall] Another ^$^@#%@ trumped-up Moon event. What is it with this Moon obsession, internets?
Guardian.UK: Facts can convince conservatives about global warming – sometimes.
Guardian.UK: Get used to toilet-to-tap water, Californians told.
“The state’s main sources of water, snow melt from the Sierra Nevada, imported water from the Colorado river, and groundwater, are all in decline.” We know that feeling here in NM. Of course, folks don’t think about the fact that all sorts of animals are defecating in river and reservoir water. And ... fish spit! Nematode armpit excretions! Such great stuff to imbibe. If mere human excreta were going to poison you, you’d be dead already.
SciAm: Odds of El Niño Weather Pattern Drop, but Still Expected to Form.
“The updated probabilities mean that instead of a 4-in-5 chance that an El Niño would materialize, there is now a 2-in-3 chance it would.” We’ve had enough generous monsoonal activity that I felt the repairs to the back portal were necessary (if we get heavy snow, it could be damaged). See my 365 from two days ago. We now have lovely concrete supporting the pillars, as it should be.
Archaeology News Network: 2,100-year-old Chinese king’s lavish mausoleum unearthed.
Wow. I want to see more and better photographs.
DiscoverMag: Annals of Bone-Headed Science Communication.
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.
Archaeology News Network: More on Gallic chariot tomb discovered in France.
“One of the most spectacular elements was the burial of four horses: two in the south west and north west corners and two in front of the chariot, beneath the yolk.” My laughing italics. Never knew chariots had yolks; just eggs. I’m assuming this article was a too-swift translation. Check out the photos, though, seriously.
SciAm: Rosetta Spacecraft Makes Historic Comet Rendezvous.
“Scientists have now entered an intensive three-month phase which will involve learning to manoeuvre the comet at close quarters. They will also take baseline measurements, before 67P becomes more active, spewing out gas and dust as it approaches the sun.” Bravo! This will be great fun to watch.
Guardian.UK: Aspirin could dramatically cut cancer risk, according to biggest study yet.
“Concluding that the benefits outweighed the risks, Cuzick’s team, writing in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology, said that by taking low-dose aspirin every day for 10 years, bowel cancer cases could be cut by about 35% and deaths by 40%. Aspirin could reduce rates of oesophageal and stomach cancers by 30% and deaths from them by 35% to 50%.” Didn’t the FDA just judge aspirin a waste of time for heart patients? [Rummaging in archives] Yep. Close a door, open a window ...
DiscoverMag: The Rosetta Probe is Less than a Day Away from Historic Rendezvous With a Comet.
“The plan is for Rosetta to examine the comet’s surface from orbit for two months. Then, in early November, Rosetta is scheduled to release a lander named Philae, which is designed to touch down on the comet’s surface to carry out detailed scientific analyses.”
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.”