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  • June 19, 2014
  • 01:13 AM

A woman scorned: The psychology of female aggresion

by Teodora Stoica in CuriousCortex

Piper Chapman isn’t your typical prison inmate. She’s not butch, muscular, violent and she ain’t got no swag. She doesn’t sport any tattoos and she doesn’t have a history of psychiatric disorders. Yet, timid Piper Chapman surprises viewers of the show Orange is the New Black by assaulting a fellow prisoner at the end of season 1. What made her snap? The psychology of female aggression is a dark and twisty road. Come walk it with me.... Read more »

Campbell A. (2013) The evolutionary psychology of women's aggression. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 368(1631), 20130078. PMID: 24167308  

Campbell A. (2013) The evolutionary psychology of women's aggression. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 368(1631), 20130078-20130078. DOI:  

  • June 11, 2014
  • 08:24 PM


by Rodney Steadman in Gravity's Pull

How aerobic endurance was selected for in human adaptation.... Read more »

Pickford, M., Senut, B., Gommery, D., & Treil, J. (2002) Bipedalism in Orrorin tugenensis revealed by its femora. Comptes Rendus Palevol, 1(4), 191-203. DOI: 10.1016/S1631-0683(02)00028-3  

  • June 10, 2014
  • 06:59 PM

Bodies on the Move: Salsa, Language and Transnationalism

by Britta Schneider in Language on the Move

In my post on English in Berlin, I wondered what is required for a language to become ‘local’, and about the perhaps problematic tradition of defining languages on the basis of territory. Although it has been quite some time since … Continue reading →... Read more »

Schneider, Britta. (2014) Salsa, Language and Transnationalism. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. info:/

  • June 10, 2014
  • 04:54 PM

America’s Most Depressing Jobs?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An interesting study just published examines the rates of clinical depression experienced by workers in different jobs. It turns out that people involved in ‘Local and Interurban Passenger Transport’ are most likely to be treated for depression. By contrast, those employed in ‘Amusement and Recreational Services’ are less than half as likely to experience it […]The post America’s Most Depressing Jobs? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Wulsin L, Alterman T, Timothy Bushnell P, Li J, & Shen R. (2014) Prevalence rates for depression by industry: a claims database analysis. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. PMID: 24907896  

  • June 5, 2014
  • 06:00 AM

Vinyl Records Excavated at Famous ’60s Commune Challenge ‘Hippie’ Stereotype, Study Says

by Blake de Pastino in Western Digs

the country estate known as Rancho Olompali in Marin County, California was best known as the site of a social experiment that lasted all of 600 days: a commune called The Chosen Family, where at one point nearly 90 people sought refuge from the tumult of San Francisco street life in the late 1960s.

And if their musical tastes were any indication, archaeologists say, its members were surprisingly diverse.... Read more »

  • June 3, 2014
  • 07:06 PM

Superdiversity: another Eurocentric idea?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

The current issue of Begegnung (“Encounter”), the magazine of German International Schools, has a feature about the German School in Montevideo, Uruguay. The school was founded in 1857, at a time when increasing numbers of German-speaking immigrants arrived in Uruguay, … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 1, 2014
  • 02:09 AM

The Evidence from Oral Traditions

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Given the obvious continuity in material culture between ancient and modern Pueblos, one potential source of information on the connections between prehistory and history in the region is the traditions of the modern Pueblos themselves. The florescence of Chaco was about 1000 years ago, so the events since then that led to the modern distribution […]... Read more »

Pradt, G. (1902) Shakok and Miochin: Origin of Summer and Winter. The Journal of American Folklore, 15(57), 88. DOI: 10.2307/533476  

  • May 29, 2014
  • 08:27 AM

Evidence for Ear Trophies from Human Skulls

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

Ear mutilation is an interesting thing. I say interesting, because when I really think about it, there seem to be quite a few historical and pop-cultural references to this kind […]... Read more »

  • May 28, 2014
  • 09:26 AM

Visualising lithic use wear traces – photo stacking

by M. Cornelissen in hazelnut relations

It is not always immediately apparent to non-specialists what we – use wear analysts – do and see and how we can be certain of our observations. This is partially due to the imagery many use wear analysts produce. In … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 26, 2014
  • 09:06 PM

Pallarès, Catalan, the Pyrenees and tourism in global times

by Anand Torrents Alcaraz in Language on the Move

When thinking of promoting tourism in a mountainous area of the Catalan Pyrenees it might seem as if using Pallarès, the local dialect of the Western Catalan type, with very specific vocabulary that visitors from other Catalan-speaking areas are not … Continue reading →... Read more »

Boyra, J. . (2013) Anàlisi dels instruments d’ordenació i dels recursos territorials i l’activitat turística a la comarca del Pallars Sobirà. GREPAT/ Escola Universitària Formatic Barna, Barcelona. info:/

  • May 24, 2014
  • 05:30 PM

The Myth of Einstein’s Brain?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

There was nothing special about Albert Einstein’s brain. Nothing that modern neuroscience can detect, anyway. This is the message of a provocative article by Pace University psychologist Terence Hines, just published in Brain and Cognition: Neuromythology of Einstein’s brain As Hines notes, the story of how Einstein’s brain was preserved is well known. When the […]The post The Myth of Einstein’s Brain? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • May 22, 2014
  • 09:43 AM

Investigating Red-Colored Bones in Mesoamerica

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

It isn’t rare to see bones that have a color other than the usual lab-cleaned white or dirt-stained brown. In my post on colored bones from a few years ago, […]... Read more »

Ávila, A., Mansilla, J., Bosch, P., & Pijoan, C. (2014) Cinnabar in Mesoamerica: poisoning or mortuary ritual?. Journal of Archaeological Science, 48-56. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2014.04.024  

  • May 21, 2014
  • 07:37 PM

Preventing dog bites when you don't have a hero cat

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

(source)Hey Julie! So much going on I need to take three deep breaths to calm down! Firstly - we have a winner! Actually - thanks to the awesome crew at SPARCS, we have two! Very excited to meet Marsha P and Kristi M at #SPARCS2014 and want to thank all the excellent people who responded to our giveaway shoutout on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. We hope those of your who weren't successful will consider still coming along or joining us on the livestream broadcast. Secondly - I loved learning about the differences in UK and US shelter workers perceptions of pit bulls and all the associated bits and pieces that went along with that in our latest guest post by Dr Christy Hoffman. Really, really interesting research and I look forward to the next piece of the puzzle (aka 'new science') in that area.Thirdly - it's dog bite prevention week in the USA right now! We can't all own Tara the Hero Cat (and to be fair, as much as she is worthy of her notoriety and 20million+ hits on the viral video showcasing her ninja skills, she didn't actually prevent the bite - although I'm pretty confident she helped prevent it being a whole lot worse). If you somehow missed what on earth I'm talking about - check out this clip of amazing Tara (but a warning, it does show security camera footage of a child being attacked by a dog and the subsequent wounds): Which brings us back to Dog Bite Prevention Week. We don't have a week like this in Australia, so I did some web trawling to check out what you guys have going on over there.  The AVMA have put up a whole lot of great information and resources about dog bite prevention, including this neat summary infographic: I was really pleased to see this analysis of information about the role of breed in dog bite risk and prevention, which reminded me of this piece on The Conversation by researcher Dr Rachel Casey from Bristol University in the UK, who has been part of a team investigating aggressive behaviour in dogs. The research highlights similarities across Australia, the UK and the US with most serious dog bites occurring to children by a known dog in a familiar area without direct adult supervision at the time of the attack. But of course - as Hero Cat Tara has shown us this week, not all dogs stick to these trends. It seems that there are many commonalities to serious dog bites that we can all be aware of to help reduce the risk, given that any dog can bite: Supervise children <14yo around dogs, even known dogsDon't try to pat a dog you don't know, even if it is on the other side of a fenceMake sure your dog is well socialised and trained in basic commandsKeep your dog healthyTeach your children to be mindful and careful of their actions around dogs, especially when the dog is tied up, eating or sleeping... Read more »

  • May 21, 2014
  • 03:26 PM

Weight Loss Science Fiction: The Paleo Diet

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You, yes you! Put down the Big Mac, come on you can do it. Now, let’s get back to our roots. It’s time to go hunter gatherer on your ass. […]... Read more »

Frost Gary S. , Barraclough Timothy G. , Gibson Glenn R. , Walton Gemma E. , Sponheimer Matt , Johnson Laura P. , Costabile Adele , Swann Jonathan R. , & Psichasa Arianna . (2014) Impacts of Plant-Based Foods in Ancestral Hominin Diets on the Metabolism and Function of Gut Microbiota In Vitro. American Society For Microbiology , 5(3). DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00853-14  

  • May 19, 2014
  • 06:00 AM

Ceremonial ‘Axis’ Road Discovered in Heart of Ancient City of Cahokia

by Blake de Pastino in Western Digs

After more than 85 years of study and speculation, recent digs have confirmed the presence of a ceremonial road running through the heart of Cahokia, the largest prehistoric city north of Mexico, archaeologists report.... Read more »

Baires, S. (2014) Cahokia's Rattlesnake Causeway. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, 39(2), 145-162. DOI: 10.1179/2327427113Y.0000000005  

  • May 18, 2014
  • 08:02 AM

For a strong mind, let the heart lead

by Teodora Stoica in CuriousCortex

It's wedding season. The perfume of fresh cut flowers scents the air, lingering as guests arrive to celebrate the highly anticipated event. As the music plays softly, she floats down the aisle and lovingly exchanges vows with her beloved - revealing the positive impact each has had on the other. As an observer of the couple's courtship, you might silently concur how truly different each has become since falling in love, and wonder why. Only two years ago, the groom’s snarky comments and prickly attitude did not sit well with his friends. Now, his charming sympathetic attitude has earned him a promotion at work. How can love impact personality so profoundly?... Read more »

  • May 14, 2014
  • 11:50 AM

Genetic Test Shows Who’s Who in Cheese Bacteria (and Fungus)

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Before you enjoy your next slice of gouda or wedge of brie, you might take a moment to think of all the organisms that have nibbled it before you. Cheeses get the flavors you love from the bacteria and fungi that live on and inside them. And thanks to genetic testing, those microscopic workers are […]The post Genetic Test Shows Who’s Who in Cheese Bacteria (and Fungus) appeared first on Inkfish.... Read more »

Schornsteiner E, Mann E, Bereuter O, Wagner M, & Schmitz-Esser S. (2014) Cultivation-independent analysis of microbial communities on Austrian raw milk hard cheese rinds. International journal of food microbiology, 88-97. PMID: 24794620  

  • May 13, 2014
  • 08:35 AM

Examining Christopher Columbus’ Crew

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  The story of Christopher Columbus sailing across the ocean to discover America is something that all children from the United States learn […]... Read more »

  • May 13, 2014
  • 06:47 AM

The Dodo’s Journey to Japan

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

It was easy for Dodo's to perish since they were stuck in one place. But, some dodos travelled. Or were forced to travel anyway. As it goes with rare things, the rarer they get, the more of a collector’s item they become for the wealthy. ... Read more »

  • May 9, 2014
  • 04:28 PM

Lead Poisoning in Rome - The Geoarchaeological Evidence

by Kristina Killgrove in Powered By Osteons

In March, a new study came out in PNAS discussing "Lead in ancient Rome's city waters" (Delile et al. 2014).  It was quickly covered by major science news outlets, largely because of a mention of lead poisoning in Rome on the new Neil deGrasse Tyson-helmed Cosmos, with venues like TIME stating, "Lead didn't bring down ancient Rome," but others like Discover inaccurately commenting that "Lead in ancient Rome's water was 100 times natural level."  Now that I've gotten through the SAA conference and submitted final semester grades, I wanted to take a close look at the paper in advance of talking about lead poisoning in a talk I'm giving in San Antonio on Monday.Lead pipe from Ostia Antica.(photo credit: Chris 73 CC BY-SA 3.0)The Delile et al. study is very well designed. The authors used sand and silt from a 9m-long core drilled into a channel between the Claudian and Trajanic basins at Portus Romae, the port city of Rome that lay about 25 km west on the Tyrrhenian Sea.  They also used soil from a 13m-long core drilled into what used to be a man-made branch of the Tiber River, now called the Canale Romano. Based on sedimentology, the authors were able to identify several time periods when the soil was accumulating. They tested several dozen samples from each of these soil cores, and they also took samples from five Roman fistulae (water pipes) dating to the 1st-2nd centuries AD.This project involves Pb isotope values (not concentrations) to test whether the Pb present in the cores was naturally occurring or the result of anthropogenic (man-made) Pb use.  Pb isotopes, like Sr, O, and S, can actually be used to investigate mobility and migration of humans and animals.  We all ingest at least trace amounts of these elements because they occur normally and naturally in our environment.  Different ratios of these elements give us information, therefore, into the kind of environment in which a person grew up, allowing us to see if people or animals changed locations after they were born.  But testing the soil for Pb isotopes gave these researchers information into whether the soil's Pb was from the local environment or from imported Pb (and therefore anthropogenically-caused introduction of Pb). Using the Pb isotopes, the authors found two major components when they tested the soil: first, there was naturally-occurring Pb likely from the Alban Hills (volcanic rock) and from Mediterranean seawater as a result of erosion of Apenninic limestone.  But second, there was a component that could not be explained using the local geology. Specifically, the Pb component they found is called Hercynian Pb, which is not found in the Italian peninsula.  It's normally found in SW Spain, parts of France, Germany, England, Greece, and the Alps. This anthropogenic or human-introduced Pb component is also, they say, consistent with four of the five fistulae they tested.So what does this mean for the levels of Pb pollution in the Roman water system?  Here's where some of the news coverage gets some of the interpretations wrong.  Delile and colleagues (2014:4, emphasis mine) calculate that, given an estimate of Tiber River water running through fistulae at the height of the Roman Empire:It can therefore be deduced that fistulae increased Pb in the water distributed in Rome over the natural level by a factor of about 40, 14, and 105 for the Early Empire, Late Empire, and High Middle Ages, respectively. [...] These levels are maximum values because they characterize the final output of the water system to the Tiber, while most Roman citizens would have used drinking water that was tapped, whether legally or illegally, all along the water distribution system. The inferred increases of Pb in the water of the Roman distribution system unquestionably attest to general lead pollution of Roman drinking water, but the Pb concentrations at issue are unlikely to have represented a major health risk.Now, go back and read the Discover story if you're so inclined.  I'll wait.   Did you notice how the author cherry-picked the largest number, which represents the High Middle Ages (whereas "ancient Rome" generally means the Roman Empire when talking about lead poisoning)?  See how the author cherry-picks a quote about lead being a major public health issue, only to admit at the end that the authors of the study don't discuss health problems (except that they do in the sentence I've highlighted above)?  Lead is present in our environment, of course, and although 14 and 40 times sound scary, those numbers may not mean much if the natural level of lead is very low.  That's basic math.  Definitely the worst coverage of this article I've seen. Getting back to the elegant study, though, the authors further show (Delile et al. 2014:5) using the chronology of the sediment cores and the fluctuating Pb isotope values that their data line up with written history:The isotopic contrast between the fractions rapidly diminishes, although quite smoothly, from the Early to the Late Roman Imperial periods. This change is largely accounted for by the dramatically smaller contribution of anthropogenic Pb to leachates and therefore by a lesser pollution of Tiber water. One interpretation of this may be a redirection of spring water away from the lead pipes of Rome, in some way related to the controversial decline of the population or to a poorly documented deterioration of the water distribution system. [...] The later fifth and sixth century transition is coevel with Belisarius' fixing of the decommissioned aqueducts of Rome at the end of the Gothic Wars (535-554 AD).  Byzantine repairs of the water distribution system may have remobilized massive amounts of corrosion products from abandoned lead pipes in which water may have stagnated for protracted lengths of time.  Although a causal relationship cannot be formally demonstrated, the discontinuities in the cores at Portus seem contemporaneous with historically documented events such as the struggle for the control of the port between Gothic and Byzantine forces (536-552 AD) and the damages inflicted to the water distribution system during the Arab sack of Rome in the mid-ninth century.Really, really good stuff!This paper, of course, makes me think of the Pb concentration (and isotope) data from my Romans buried at Casal Bertone and Castellaccio Europarco, just outside of Rome, in the 1st-3rd centuries.  Here's a chart of Pb concentration data from Britain and Rome, with data coming from Montgomery et al. 2010:Lead concentration from skeletons from Britain and Rome.(Raw data from Montgomery et al. 2010, Tables 11.2, 11.3, 11.4.)If we could take the pre-Roman Britain lead level (0.0... Read more »

Delile H, Blichert-Toft J, Goiran JP, Keay S, & Albarède F. (2014) Lead in ancient Rome's city waters. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(18), 6594-9. PMID: 24753588  

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