Birger’s Friday Link Roundup

  • Ikea’s typhoon rescue relief outguns China’s. Nope. Not surprised that their government does not care much.
  • China Ends One-Child Policy.
  • “Viking-age” ‘gold men’ unearthed in Sweden”. Actually, a bit older than the Vikings…
  • When the workload grows too huge, I recommend a solution found in Terry Pratchett’s Pyramids. The pyramid engineer creates a time loop so different temporal versions of him can work in parallel. Literally “an army of me”.
  • The Welsh language must be perfect for writing sagas about ancient heroes battling it out.
  • Creepy White Guys and Asian Women” *shudders in disgust*
  • Chinese supreme court bans the use of torture to extract confessions (only 240 years after Sweden). It also restricted the use of the death sentence. Now, if only the Americans took note…
  • Caananites had their priorities right when it came to inventions: Wine cellar from 1700 BC Team finds one of civilization’s oldest wine cellars.
  • Archaeological discoveries confirm early date of Buddha’s life.
  • A recent gem from Fox News (unintentional comedy): “Why women still need husbands”.
  • Stereotype Threat and Women’s Math Performance.
  • I confess to judging Pope Francis because of his funny hat, but look at what he just said: “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.” An establishment figure who cares about the poor?!!! (swoons)
  • China to recover shipwreck’s treasures.
  • Investigation reveals black market in China for research paper authoring. Hvistendahl notes that such a black market has arisen in China due to the enormous pressure Chinese researchers are feeling to publish something. In that country, it appears having one’s name attached to a research paper, matters more than actually conducting research.
  • Sweden is closing one of its prisons for lack of inmates. And here is what happened when a guard forgot to lock in a group of prisoners for the night.
  • News for any Aussies reading this: There is a naked-eye nova visible in Centaurus. Make sure you have the correct number of contact lenses.
  • Women and science on YouTube. Few women promote science on YouTube, because of the creepy misogynist trolls that infest the comments. (Like John Hinckley Jr., they were too crazy for the Nazis and now trawl the internet instead of trashing Jewish cemeteries). PZ Myers has a list of women scientists who nevertheless use the medium. NB. If you are a woman who intend to use YouTube for science DISABLE THE COMMENTS and don’t enable ratings.

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14 thoughts on “Birger’s Friday Link Roundup

  1. Just be careful; in Pratchetts story, the pyramid engineers’ accountant brother has to invent calculus just to figure out what the actual salary will be as a result of the time-shifting work.

    Oh, and about that Chinese black market for paper authorships: I bet we’d find a similar market in the west too, if we actually looked hard enough. I bet nobody will, though.

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  2. John, since Neanderthals were isolated (there are DNA signs of inbreeding) cultural innovation among neanderthals and denisovans cold not take off. Our African ancestors were presumably better off in terms of population density and that made all the difference!
    PS -I need to hire a neanderthal to clean up my mess. Off to the cloning vats!

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  3. Not wanting to be unfair to Julien Riel-Salvatore, but I think he is a bit of a ‘Neandertal advocate’. And he is being quoted, so…I guess at least what it should say is that, for one late Mousterian site, some evidence of organisation of living space has been found.

    Yeah, it’s pretty clear that you need a certain population density for cultural innovation to be retained, even if it arises in the first place. I can see that something like organisation of a living space at a certain site might be retained by a small isolated population, because once it is, it is. But other innovations might not be retained, even if they arose.

    I think I detect from my amateurish scanning of the record that Homo erectus had controlled use of fire in various locations at various times and might have lost it again. Interpreting the evidence for controlled use of fire is a bit iffy, i know.

    Anyway, no cloning vats required – I have sufficient archaic human ancestry to make a decent job of tidying your place up for you, for a modest fee, naturally 🙂

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  4. One for Mrs Rundkvist: Cantonese Opera star 紅線女 (Hung Sin-nui) (real name Kuang Jianlian (Kwong Kin-lin in Cantonese)) died in Guangdong last Sunday aged 88, apparently of a heart attack. Her last public performance was 8 days earlier, in Guangzhou.

    Beautiful face, beautiful voice.

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