Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘major tectonic plate boundaries

All the Thursday Links

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* 2048: Academia Edition.

Shocking police overreach haunts Southern city: Racial profiling, quotas and secret “conviction bonuses.” Yes, of course it’s Durham.

* Nazis! Me no like those guys. Neo-Nazis Are Using Cookie Monster to Recruit German Children.

* The charter school scam in action.

* Congratulations, University of Connecticut.

* The prestige premium.

* BREAKING: Governing boards don’t care about adjuncts.

* Let Them Eat Code.

All of which is just to say that it’s a handy thing, should you ever get elected to anything, to think a little about who’ll replace you when your term is done.  Because you should leave.  It’s good for your brain, and it’s good for the university. It’s also good for the soul to know that you’re not irreplaceable.

Voices from the Student Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement.

* Rethinking carceral feminism.

* Now the head women’s basketball coach is out at Marquette. Second-highest-paid employee on campus.

* New Analysis Shows Problematic Boom In Higher Ed Administrators.

* Northwestern University fights back against NCAA football unionization.

* Drone art: Drone Operators Now Have a “Bug Splat” Staring Them in The Face.

* Former Taco Bell interns claim they invented Doritos tacos in 1995.

161* The art of Kurt Vonnegut.

The Legend of Vera Nabokov. The old days, guys, am I right?

* Meanwhile, everything old is new again: Adam Terry, McAllister’s chief of staff, said Peacock was taken off of the payroll during the past 24 hours.

* “Duke Collective” now Internet-famous for wage-sharing idea that if you knew the institutional context you’d realize isn’t really oh forget it.

I’d like to tell you what was wrong with the tests my students took last week, but I can’t. Pearson’s $32 million contract with New York State to design the exams prohibits the state from making the tests public and imposes a gag order on educators who administer them. So teachers watched hundreds of thousands of children in grades 3 to 8 sit for between 70 and 180 minutes per day for three days taking a state English Language Arts exam that does a poor job of testing reading comprehension, and yet we’re not allowed to point out what the problems were.

* St. Michael’s in Vermont plans to survive by shrinking.

* Student Social Network Use Declines as Social Apps Move to Take Their Place.

The geology of Westeros.

* More Khaleesis were born in 2012 than Betsys or Nadines.

* Superficially plausible readings of fuzzy demographic signifiers: The Muppets and Generation X.

* The Vermont solution: single-payer. I don’t have a ton of hope in the American system, but I think this plan could actually work.

* Battlestar Galactica Is Getting Rebooted As A ZZZZZzzzzzzZZZzzzzzzzz

Jon Stewart cursed me out: I dared question a “Daily Show” warm-up comic’s racist jokes.

* The birth of Thanaticism. As neologisms to describe our era go, I prefer necrocapitalism.

Milwaukee Art Museum unveils design for building addition.

* Who mourns for jai alai?

* What has been seen can never be unseen.

* Tolkien, Martin, and politics.

Carbon Dioxide Levels Just Hit Their Highest Point In 800,000 Years.

* And I still think this is more a heat map of imperial ideology (don’t kill people in Europe!) than of “knowledge” per se. I think you’d see the opposite effect about a country in the Global South.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 10, 2014 at 9:27 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Civilization

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Earthquakes, volcanoes, and civilization: Eric Force argues in Geoarchaeology that major ancient civilizations tended to align themselves over major tectonic plate boundaries:

First, he mapped plate boundaries and what archeologists say are the birthplaces of 13 major ancient civilizations. They ranged from Rome and Corinth in Western Europe, to Memphis and Jerusalem in the Middle East, to historic sites in India and China. Then, Force calculated the probability that the sites were randomly located, given that plenty of suitable land was available for settlement. The number crunching suggests that 13 of the 15 sites aren’t the product of chance. Instead, ancient people appear to have chosen to snuggle up close to a tectonic crack– often within 75 kilometers–despite the risk of quakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. (The exceptions were in ancient Egypt and China.) The analysis did find that civilizations farther from plate boundaries seemed to persist longer, perhaps because they had to contend with fewer natural disasters.

Theories abound about why tectonic zones might have boosted the growth of early civilizations, says Force. Geologists know that plate boundaries often have ample water supplies that might have attracted early settlers, for example. And volcanoes can help create rich soils. But no factor explains the pattern, Force says. He is intrigued by a psychological explanation: “Maybe the elders are telling the kids that they’d better be prepared to cope with a lot of risk and change,” he says–spurring the next generation to develop more sophisticated quake-resistant architecture, for instance, or create better ways to store food.

That idea appeals to archeologist Geoff Bailey of the University of York in the United Kingdom. “It could be that a certain level of geological instability demands organizational responses from the societies that live in such areas,” he says, calling it “a sort of challenge-and-response theory of social development.” In his own work, he’s even speculated that similar tectonic challenges, and not just factors such as climate change, could have spurred the evolution of humans in Africa. A little shaking up, he suggests, isn’t necessarily a recipe for disaster.

There’s a pretty convincing takedown at Dienekes’ anthropology blog, but still it’s food for thought.

Via MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 27, 2008 at 1:33 am