I fear it is time to paint rocks and generally police the browser. Several articles of note have accumulated that have not quite crystallized into maturity of thought but the load time each morning has gotten too burdensome especially as we approach the weekend – with rain – and must suffer the slings and arrows of the ISP’s weather bandwidth inadequacies. Or whatever it is that shuts down service on weekends, especially Sunday mornings.
The first article is one in National Geographic [Link] – no mammaries in sight and hence possibly suitable for work unless you work in one of those organizations that is mystically fanatic and doesn’t condone associates thinking about evolution. The gist is that a recent (?) discovery at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov indicates that the spatial and social ordering implicit in sedentaryness, which up till now we though invented near the end of the last cold phase, was actually invented by Homo Erectus 0.75 MYA. That means that what we thought of as a recent (~15-10 KYA) human social invention has actually been around for much longer and likely as not its emergence then was more a factor of circumstances permitting it than any actual invention.
More crucially it would seem that civilization is part of our make up as humans. So much for the back-to-Nature bunch. Not that I do not enjoy an occasional hike through the woods – but not in summer when the sticker bushes and vines are in full sting, which puts the lie to the 15th Alibam’s march on Little Round Top – or the like, but going back to being a hunter-gatherer. No thank you. I have enough excretory problems as is.
On a related (?) note the folks at the Yankee government’s DARPA are warning of the extinction of the American nerd (another case of the media not understanding the difference between geeks and nerds.) [Link] I would take this a bit more seriously if the pronouncement of doom were not coming from an organization who has an absolutely consistent track record of failure. Their current propagandized success story is more a matter of the Yankee government’s imitation of Soviet era centralism – a somewhat natural characteristic of war aftermath – and elimination of the labs that actually did stuff. Of course the good side of this is that it makes NASA look good. After all NASA only spend 0.5 of its budget on publicity; DARPA seems to spend more and accomplishes less accordingly. But they do brag and arrogant well.
I have come to suspect that the reason so few are studying nerd subjects is because they require so much individual hard work. Being a scientist is not social – unless you are a social scientist – and I will not get into the morass of whether social science is science or not – and therefore interferes with texting and tweeting and what like. It also involves maths which are fundamentally individual and not a group incompetence thing. Which is were the evolution thing comes in.
With the news that the New Yawk Times is going to start charging for on-line access next year, I note an article from Columbia Journalism Review [Link] dealing with how many people will pay for news on-line. As is known to those rare few who actually frequent this blog, this is a matter of interest here, mostly because, as is appropriate for blogging, I am unsure of what my own opinions are. If I were it would not be recurring except to denigrate fools and idiots – people who disagree with me, in the main.
I am cogitating whether I would pay for NYT access. It is already a pain to have to log on those few times, a couple a week, that I visit their WS. And most of those are pointers from eNewsletter, usually the one from American Scientist, which VERY definitely ain’t of the depravity and degradation of Scientific American. But this places me in the situation that if Sigma Xi, the parent of AS, continues to cite NYT articles after they institute paywall, of deciding to discontinue paying attention to Sigma Xi. Not that they don’t have a very low pony to pile ratio as is, but what pony they do have is very good pony.
Somewhat more toothsome, is an indication of the ingestion of Omega 3 fatty acids and the conservation/preservation of telomeres. [Link] Like most folks who have cardiac infirmities I have to swallow acetylsalicitic acid and omega 3 pills every day, and the latter are more the size of suppositories than pills. Not that I mind that, I actually have more problems with the little pills getting lost in my mouth rather than going down the esophagus than getting big pills down. And while the old saw about correlation not being causation is accurate, we have to recall that physicians and biologists are the least maths aware nerds there are. In fact, they usually have to hire mathematicians to do things they should have learned as sophomores but somehow lack, for whatever reason. Hence we can expect that a lot of physicians may tell us another ‘reason’ for taking these fish pills.
And lastly, from the campus of the Boneyard, comes some research that indicates driving compromises the ability the process language. [Link] This is not quite in the oh-yeah class of academic research that merely confirms what rational observant folks have known but didn’t have a handout from the Yankee government to write up. Anyway, it confirms why we don;t drive well when the automobile is full of yakking folks – especially shul bus drivers! – and why any use of cellular phones should be forbidden by some method other than the irresolute whim of the constabulary. IOW, let us muzzle the kids on the buses and put cellular suppressors in all automobiles!
Ain’t it nice when science supports you individual convictions! ALmost like the warm and fuzzy satisfaction of superstition.