Afanasievo and Pazyryk kurgans

John Hawks’ blog is one of my favorite blogs regardless. It’s the human evolution posts that I’ve linked many times, but this time it’s this post on his visit to the Altai last summer, describing the Afanasievo and Pazyryk kurgans. It’s beautiful country and there’s a lot of fascinating work being done there, aside from the discovery of the Denisovans.

Miracle on St. Claude Avenue

American Zombie does great work investigating corruption. It’s shameful that the work he throws himself into is pretty much ignored by mainstream media. He and Lucy Bustamante found a wealth of evidence of fraud on the part of State Representative Lucas Leonard. He found 23 semi-fictitious non-profit organizations registered to Leonard Lucas and Audrey Walker dating to 2010. Lucy Busatamante found that 7 organizations based all at one address on St. Claude, allegedly helping the neighborhood. One neighbor recalled some turkeys given away one year, but that’s about it.

This is outside my normal area of interest, but it’s painful to see work like this go unrecognized when the Times-Picayune (which wasn’t even bothering to cover what he covers in the first place) has been completely gutted.

a student connects radiation spike in rings of Japanese cedar trees to 774 AD event in Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

A biochemistry student connects a report radiation spike in rings of Japanese cedar trees that he heard about on a Nature podcast to 774 AD event in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, just by rooting around Google. It seems to be a historical stellar event, with record of a “red crucifix” appearing in the sky.

That’s some beautiful, interdisciplinary amateur work. Kudos, Jonathon Allen.

Gladwell the Sociopath

The Exile has an ongoing feature called the S.H.A.M.E. media transparency project. It made me very happy indeed when the first two people profiled were Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Levitt. These talking heads have been passing themselves off as public intellectuals to the young, trendy people who aspire to seem smart and counter-intuitive. Both are essentially corporate shills. It’s spooky how pervasive their influence has been this past decade or so.

Gladwell writes the Exile some “friendly” emails under the pretense of discussing the tobacco lobby details of his profile. This is not the sort of story in which one grudgingly admits that he has a sense of humor. Gladwell remains a shameless manipulator diligent in crafting his messages, looking for new ways to obfuscate the truth.

20,000 year old pottery identified in China

Some pottery found in south China in excavations from previous decades has been dated to 20,000 years ago. The site was Xianrendong cave in south China’s Jiangxi province. The conclusion they’re reaching is that pottery was developed before agriculture was.

Of course I’m going to be that fringe character that has to ask, maybe this means they need to look harder for earlier evidence of agriculture. Water and…. Lard? Bone beads? Grains?

The whole thing seems weird. Wonderful, but weird… and probably destined to get a lot weirder.  My hunch in the years to come that origin of agriculture will be pushed back if the date on these pottery shards are true.

Clean Steve

Back around 1991, a friend and I decided this song was about a drug-dealing pornographer from a parallel universe, which also has a Leatherhead. We were fueled on Philip K Dick, Williams S. Burroughs, Hellblazer comic books, David Lynch, and living in a backwards, creepy Southern Gothic town in which our Clean Steve would be a natural inhabitant.

Whatever Hitchcock was actually going on about will forever be irrelevant to the character we thought he was sketching back then.