Posts

July 19, 2014

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8:00 AM | DNews: Will Texting Be the Death of Spelling and Grammar?
Is all of the texting we do burying the language as we know it? If ur all idk, prob could b! Ross Everett pops in to DNews to tell grammar nerds far and wide if all hope is lost.
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7:00 AM | The Theory That Says Some Depressed People Might Be Right
In traditional psychology, it's believed faulty thinking can keep people stuck in depression or cynicism. For instance, a depressed individual may worry an inordinate amount about future events, distort facts in a negative way, or be chronically pessimistic. In this psychological school of thought, the only way to truly escape the "blues" is to change the depressed person's habits of thinking. While that might be the leading perspective, there is another theory, known as depressive realism, […]
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4:09 AM | De politiek van zwarte piet
Closer Blog: De uitspraak in de zaak van zwarte piet is verheugend, teleurstellend en meten met twee maten. Read more: De politiek van zwarte piet

July 18, 2014

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5:52 PM | What's in Store for Those Who Downed Malaysian Jet?
When a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet was shot down over Ukraine, speculation about who was behind it began immediately. While it's too soon to know who was responsible, Trace examines what the ramifications might be for the guilty.
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4:11 PM | How long was the average Roman stride?
Eric Poehler (@Pompeiana79) posed this question on Twitter this morning. Katy Meyers (@BonesDoNotLie) and Keith Chan (@ChekeiChan) commented that there are formulae to estimate stride based on height. The forensic articles I found were actually going in the reverse -- from footfalls/strides to height (which makes sense if you want to find a murder, for example).  Keith suggested exercise medicine articles, and the most often-quoted article, Hatano, Y. "Use of the pedometer for […]
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1:00 PM | Why Were Commercial Jets Still Flying Over Ukraine?
The downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet over Ukraine has raised questions about why the company persisted in flying in conflict-zone airspace.
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12:54 PM | The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld – Guards! Guards! Guards!
This is the 8th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett and the first to include the Watch. The Watch is the law enforcement of Ankh Morpork who patrols the streets, although they don’t have a big job as the Thieves’ Guild is self regulating. However, they become more active after a new recruit, Carrot, joins and […]
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9:00 AM | On the mythology of natural selection: Part IV. Functional selection
Not all evolutionary change has to be based on overpopulation and resulting vicious competition for scarce resources in a cruel and bloody Nature.  Yesterday, we suggested that organismal selection, a kind of inverted natural selection, is another means by which adaptive complex traits could arise.  But there are others.Functional selectionMulticellular organisms develop from single cells. A cell is a very complex structure with all sorts of components.  Genomes code for hundreds […]
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8:07 AM | Week 16 at the Royal College of Surgeons
There’s not a lot to say about today’s work. The boxes of bones I went through consisted of elements of the arm and shoulder. These included the scapula (shoulder blade), humerus and the individual hand bones. There wasn’t much to look at with any of the bones, particularly the humerus and scapulars. However there were […]
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7:00 AM | The Doctor Who Thought Your Nose Was Connected To Your You-Know-What
Wilhelm Fleiss might have been a doctor, but he had some pretty weird ideas about the human body. This 19th-century physician thought the nose was hooked up to the genitals and caused all sorts of sexual, physical, and mental problems. Fleiss also believed these nose-related illnesses (which he dubbed "nasal reflex neuroses") could only be cured by surgery . . . a belief which ended badly for a woman named Emma Eckstein. The post The Doctor Who Thought Your Nose Was […]
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6:37 AM | Summer garden activities
The house I grew up in had a very large patio. In the summer we had a paddling pool that my parents could set up, that these days would be classed as a swimming pool. It was made from sturdy canvas and poles, and had a plastic seat on each corner. It took quite some time to fill from the hose, and was – of course – completely freezing to begin with. Once the sun had warmed the water up a bit, we had fun splashing around. The pool didn’t have a cover, and my parents never […]

July 17, 2014

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7:40 PM | How Hard Is It to Shoot Down a Plane?
Radar launching systems are easy to use, but data can be misinterpreted.
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4:30 PM | Malaysian Passenger Jet Crashes in Ukraine
A Malaysian airliner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed in east Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are battling government forces, Russian and Ukrainian news agencies reported, citing aviation and security sources.
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1:18 PM | DNews: Risk Factors That Make You Ripe for Online Fraud
Lost your job? Feeling depressed? Such emotion-packed situations might put you in the cross hairs of an online scammer. Tara explains.
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9:00 AM | On the mythology of natural selection: Part III. Organismal selection
The entrenched idea of natural selection that is clear from the way that most people have discussed the subject, from Darwin to the present, is that selection is inevitable in nature because all species can reproduce rapidly enough that they will inevitably press up against the ability of their environment to support their needs--they'll overeat their food supply, run out of territories for raising young, and so on.Ultimately, the idea goes, this will (will, not just might!) lead to […]
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8:50 AM | DNews: Health Benefits May Be Hiding in Your Spice Rack
From cinnamon to thyme to rosemary, some of your favorite spices could offer more to your day than just a nice bit of flavor.
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7:00 AM | The Woman Who Changed New York Politics (As A Man)
Throughout the 19th century, Tammany Hall was one of the most important political organizations of a booming city---New York. It was a time when women were restricted to duties relating to the home and children, so it's not surprising that the discovery that one of Tammany Hall's most vocal---and loved---members, known around town as a solid, hard-working, learned man, was actually a woman. His own daughter didn't even know about her father's secret, and sadly she never accepted it, either. […]

July 16, 2014

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7:07 PM | What can teeth tell us about our prehistoric ancestors?
Our distant past is just that: the distant past. It’s this murky place that science is slowly filling in but the landscape still largely exists just on the periphery of our imagination, and... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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7:07 PM | What can teeth tell us about our prehistoric ancestors?
Our distant past is just that: the distant past. It’s this murky place that science is slowly filling in but the landscape still largely exists just on the periphery of our imagination, and... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:01 PM | Gum arabic under the microscope
In this video from the University of Cambridge, Rox Middleton shows us a ‘nanoscale’ image of gum arabic, taken with an electron microscope. Gum arabic is the hardened sap of an Acacia tree; this sample was probably collected in Sudan. If you want to see what it looks like on the everyday scale, I took a photo of a chunk when I visited the Oxford University herbarium. Gum arabic is a food additive, E414, used as a stabiliser. It’s also used in paints and pigments. This […]
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11:04 AM | Day of Archaeology 2014
Last Friday, the 11th of July, was the annual Day of Archaeology! It is when we archaeologists creep out of our offices, labs, archives and trenches and share with you what our day, a normal Friday in July, looks like. … Continue reading →
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9:00 AM | On the mythology of natural selection. Part II: Classical Darwinism
Darwin didn't invent the idea of natural selection as a way of adaptive advance for traits in organisms that better suited their environmental conditions. But he basically coined the term and institutionalized the view that persists to this day, often invoked in a largely unchanged way despite 150 years of biological and evolutionary research. It was a strikingly perceptive idea, that others had had in previous decades (or, in some ways, even in the classical Islamic world; see our post on […]
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7:00 AM | When Germany Tried To Turn Seawater Into Gold
Fritz Haber was one of Germany's great scientific minds during World War I. He had already made invaluable contributions to the war effort, so when Germany was facing an overwhelming debt and had no gold to speak of, they turned to their prodigal son. Haber delivered by creating a complicated electrochemical process that he thought would extract gold from seawater. Before the process could really get underway, though, Haber discovered a massive error in his calculations that ended his plans for […]

July 15, 2014

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5:37 PM | Craniosynostosis
I was searching for some information about the process and progression of infant skull growth when I came across a condition called craniosynostosis. According to NHS Choices it is a condition which causes abnormal shaped heads in babies due to the premature fusing of some of the sutures in the skull. This means that growth […]
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5:14 PM | DNews: Can Binge-Drinking in Teenagers Be Predicted?
Neurologists found a way to predict -- with 70 percent accuracy -- which 14-year-olds will become binge drinkers by age 16. Find out the details from Laci.
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5:11 PM | “Rethinking Home” with Citizen Anthropologists
There is something to be said for having a space that you call home. It grounds you in social and cultural ways. As much as your home is a reflection of who you are, it also becomes a mirror for... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:11 PM | “Rethinking Home” with Citizen Anthropologists
There is something to be said for having a space that you call home. It grounds you in social and cultural ways. As much as your home is a reflection of who you are, it also becomes a mirror for... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:20 PM | Bad Habit? You Can Forget About It
Getting rid of some habits is as easy as forgetting that you learned them, according to a new study. Continue reading →
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2:53 PM | Presenting Anthropology - New Links to Others' Cool Stuff
Ever since I taught Presenting Anthropology, a graduate proseminar, in the spring of 2013, I've been thinking about new and different ways to do public outreach and have been saving links to clever projects by others.  Here are a few links I came across this morning and had to share:Drunk Archaeology -- Two students in my Presenting Anthropology course (Zach and Andy) created a Drunk Archaeology video on analogy with Drunk History, starring fellow grad student Will.  Because they are […]
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12:53 PM | Using the Dead to Understand Access to Water
As humans, we cannot survive without water. In the first world, we are privileged to have consistent access to fresh clean water. In many countries, access to water is based […]

Lightfoot, E., Šlaus, M. & O'Connell, T. (2014). Water consumption in Iron Age, Roman, and Early Medieval Croatia, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 154 (4) 535-543. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22544

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