I finished the “party pack” today - Only took me THREE MONTHS (at two days a week) to get through the scan of a Peruvian mummy bundle containing a woman in her mid-twenties, a five-year-old, and a toddler.
Then, with half an hour left of the day, my supervisor pulls up the scan Magdalenian woman’s pelvis and tells me to “work my magic.” Ho boy. Hitting up the uCT next Tuesday!
- by Anna K. Osterholtz, Jonathan D. Berthard, Andre Gonciar and Zsolt Nyarad
(Source: AAPAs 2014 Calgary, Canada)
People of numerous pre-Columbian civilizations in northern Chile, including the Incas and the Chinchorro culture, suffered from chronic arsenic poisoning due to their consumption of contaminated water, new research suggests.
Previous analyses showed high concentrations of arsenic in the hair…
This was a surprisingly good pop-science article.
I hope this isn’t becoming too much dead-men-talking's own personal begging board, but I also hope that my question becomes a helpful source for others!
I’m positively dreading re-taking the GRE. Last year I put in months of study time but still didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. Who would be interested in helping me organize a GRE study group? We could set up a few via Skype at different times, or if you know better ways to organize this sort of thing, that would be helpful too! And, if you aren’t taking the GRE but are still interested in helping out, particularly in math (it’s really just basic algebra and geometry) that would also be super. For those of us who want to apply this fall, we need to be ready by September at the latest. Message me here or at my other blog!
If you’re preparing for any other standardized test, we could certainly arrange groups for those too!
ETA: Here’s another Google docs form to get us organized!
Filming with anthropologist Dr. Robert Martin, talking about the biological imperatives of breastfeeding for human mothers and babes. Gotta have those long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids for yo’ brain. (at The Field Museum)
Dr. Martin is super cool!
Actually, ‘fall’ has its origins as an Anglo-Saxon word, and was popularized for use to denote the season around the 16th century from the poetic term ‘the fall of leaf.’ In the language that would develop after 1066, words that were coded as being common or lowly generally had Anglo-Saxon roots while the ‘educated’ words of the elite had French and Latin roots. This is why, even in modern English, we use ‘cow,’ which has an Anglo-Saxon origin, for the animal out in the field and ‘beef,’ which has a French origin, for the food to be consumed. The poor handle the animal while the rich eat the meat, and that is reflected in the language. The language of the conquerors was elevated while the language of the conquered was made base and common. If ‘autumn’ sounds smarter than ‘fall,’ that is only the linguistic snobbery of history talking.
If you do this for someone and they aren’t appropriately impressed, it wasn’t meant to be.
Hand of Glory: The Macabre Magic of Severed Hands
A traditional form of punishment, under Sharia, Islamic law, and in Medieval Europe, involved publicly amputating a criminal’s body part, often the one used to commit a crime.
The pain of the amputation and the shame of the permanent mark served as punishment for the criminal, while the display of the severed limb functioned as a sinister warning to all onlookers: follow in this guy’s footsteps and you will suffer a similar fate. This macabre tradition likely has its roots in the Code of Hammurabi.
In Europe, the severed hands of criminals were displayed like relics to prevent future grievances (a thief’s arm still dangles in a Prague church). In most cases the owner of the hand was not known, but the provenance was usually irrelevant because the setting of the hand’s exhibition determined the story that was told about its origin.
The Haunch of Venison in Wiltshire, England, is a 684-year-old pub that was famous for its display of a cursed gambler’s hand. The hand was reportedly amputated from a gambler who was caught cheating during a game of whist a few hundred years ago. According to workers at the pub, a butcher chopped the gambler’s hand off and threw it into the fireplace. The grisly relic was discovered during renovation work at the pub in 1911 and was stored in a locked glass case with a pack of 18th century playing cards. In 2010, thieves unscrewed the glass cabinet and stole the criminal’s relic.
Hey so turns out the AAA deadline is tomorrow. Comments plz?
Analysing the microarchitecture of orbital vaults exhibiting cribra orbitalia via microhistomorphometry in post-medieval remains from the Bristol Royal Infirmary
This study examines the benefits of utilising micro-computed tomography (µCT) scanning to better understand the microstructure of human bone and pathological features such as cribra orbitalia. Histological studies have already illuminated much about bone pathology and µCT methods are gaining ground. This study introduces clinical histomorphometry to palaeopathology. A small sample of orbital bones (N = 23) from the Bristol Royal Infirmary (18-19th century) in the United Kingdom representing the five types of cribra orbitalia (Stuart-Macadam 1991) was evaluated by µCT. Histomorphometric analysis revealed unexpected patterns in trabecular and cortical bone changes. These data introduce a possible foundation for further histomorphometric studies in paleopathology and thus a path toward increased objectivity in reporting bone changes.
Pathological subtrochanteric fracture of the femur. Note the lytic medullary lesion with endosteal scalloping at the site of fracture. This patient had multiple myeloma but a metastasis could easily produce the same appearance.
In the annals of history, Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415) is the first female scientist for whom there exists more than sketchy documentation. She is notable because she was a brilliant scientist – well versed in mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy – and well respected by many. She is also notable because she was well-educated at a time when the rigorous education of women was an anomaly. Hypatia had her father, a great believer in education, to thank for her upbringing. In other circumstances she would have lacked the opportunity to live such an unusual life, and her discoveries would have been left to others at a later time.
Over the centuries this story would repeat itself again and again. An academic education in the sciences was rare or inaccessible to most women. In the 17th century, salon discussions or lectures about the sciences were fashionable. Some were exclusively female while others included male members but were run by women. These activities were a substitution for the academies and official scientific societies to which women were still not generally admitted as full members, although they sometimes worked on the periphery. Self-education, especially among the noble classes, was common and women of means were ready consumers of scientific literature and curiosities. High-ranking women with a serious interest in the sciences were able to take advantage of class-based networks that included nobility and royalty, and permitted access to important contemporary scientists such as Descartes and Newton.
Like Hypatia, many women entered the sciences through a relative, as assistants to their fathers, brothers, and husbands. And while many of these women were able to make significant contributions within their fields, the joint nature of their work often led to the exclusion or misattribution of their contributions. Within the tradition of the crafts guild a wife, daughter or niece of a guild master was permitted to learn his trade, and women were granted limited civil rights and guild memberships which permitted them to work more independently. This helps to explain the number of female German astronomers, 14%, during the 17th century. However, ultimately, when women did occupy a niche in science, it would often become masculinized and women’s contributions would be diminished or appropriated.
Christian Harless, a German physician, wrote in 1830, that in the “long standing gap in the history of the natural sciences there has been no historical and evaluative survey of all the women who, from the earliest times until our own, have distinguished themselves in the various sciences,” (cited in The Mind Has No Sex? by Londa Schiebinger, Harvard University Press, 1989). Since the 1970s, with an increasing number of women entering scientific fields, there has been a corresponding interest in the history of women in the sciences. The individuals showcased in this exhibit represent only a tiny percentage of the women who have worked in the sciences from earliest times and for whom there are records. While not comprehensive, the exhibit may spark an appreciation for the contributions of women in these and other areas. May they shine the light of discovery on others.
Archaeology - Bill Nye the Science Guy
Bill Nye the Science Guy is talking about archaeology — can you dig it?
Archaeologists are kid of like detectives. They’re scientists who snoop through old or ancient people’s things to find out what life was like thousands of years ago. Archaeologists find ancient cities, tombs, and temples by taking aerial photographs of Earth, by reading old documents, or by just looking at the shape of the land. When they think they’ve found a site, the archaeologists pick up a shovel and start digging. When archaeologists get close to an object, they dig very carefully. Sometimes they dig with nothing but a toothpick and a paintbrush. Whew!
People leave stuff around, things as big as buildings and as small as a shard of a clay jar. Archaeologists examine ancient objects and compare them to things from the past and present to learn about people and civilizations.
(Following this post.)
The academics were one male and one female, both individuals with PhDs (public health and ancient Greek philosophy, respectively). This came on the heels of an unpleasant email from a female professor I’ve never met but had wanted to work with. Having done everything on my end to get to the root of the problem, I was trying to understand her end, and this is what my friends (okay, the dude is my uncle) said:
- The cards are stacked against women from the get-go. It breeds an eat-or-be-eaten mentality.
- It depends on professional security
- Also personal life
- In general, they say academic life is difficult for women, thus once they secure their status they make it an exclusive club.
To be perfectly clear, I don’t know if I agree with this. As I begin another stage of my career, I’m simply trying to suss out what kind of long-term mentor to seek out that would be most effective and the best match for me. Others have already suggested that it takes more than one, and I’m beginning to see why. I’m still talking to other academics to really understand what makes PEOPLE tick in these environments, including myself, and what my part is in that.