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Hunt Allcott, Rebecca Diamond, Jean-Pierre Dubé, Jessie Handbury, Ilya Rahkovsky & Molly Schnell, Food Deserts and the Causes of Nutritional Inequality. Quarterly Journal of Economics (2019), preprint, 1–52. <DOI:10.1093/qje/qjz015>.
We study the causes of “nutritional inequality”: why the wealthy eat more healthfully than the poor in the United States. Exploiting supermarket entry and household moves to healthier neighborhoods, we reject that neighborhood environments contribute meaningfully to nutritional inequality. We then estimate a structural model of grocery demand, using a new instrument exploiting the combination of grocery retail chains’ differing presence across geographic markets with their differing comparative advantages across product groups. Counterfactual simulations show that exposing low-income households to the same products and prices available to high-income households reduces nutritional inequality by only about 10 %, while the remaining 90 % is driven by differences in demand. These findings counter the argument that policies to increase the supply of healthy groceries could play an important role in reducing nutritional inequality.
Brandon Brown, The art of academic negotiation. science 364 (2019), 1306.
I was meeting my new colleagues at a wine and cheese reception. Some of us early-career academics—all members of underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups—started to talk about salaries. I shared how, after years of feeling undervalued, I had doubled my salary in my new job as assistant professor compared with what I was earning as a lecturer a year prior. Jaws dropped. There were lots of questions. We all agreed that we were ill-prepared to negotiate. No classes had taught us that skill, and people didn’t really talk about it. This is probably a challenge for many, but it particularly affects underrepresented minorities who may be first-generation college students and are less likely to have academic mentors with similar experiences. We often find ourselves navigating academia blindly.
Ulf Büntgen et al., Limited capacity of tree growth to mitigate the global greenhouse effect under predicted warming. Nature Communications 10 (2019), 2171, 1–6. <DOI:10.1038/s41467-019-10174-4>.
Ulf Büntgen, Paul J. Krusic, Alma Piermattei, David A. Coomes, Jan Esper, Vladimir S. Myglan, Alexander V. Kirdyanov, J. Julio Camarero, Alan Crivellaro & Christian Körner
It is generally accepted that animal heartbeat and lifespan are often inversely correlated, however, the relationship between productivity and longevity has not yet been described for trees growing under industrial and pre-industrial climates. Using 1768 annually resolved and absolutely dated ring width measurement series from living and dead conifers that grew in undisturbed, high-elevation sites in the Spanish Pyrenees and the Russian Altai over the past 2000 years, we test the hypothesis of grow fast—die young. We find maximum tree ages are significantly correlated with slow juvenile growth rates. We conclude, the interdependence between higher stem productivity, faster tree turnover, and shorter carbon residence time, reduces the capacity of forest ecosystems to store carbon under a climate warming-induced stimulation of tree growth at policy-relevant timescales.
Andrew J. Cunningham, Steven Worthington, Vivek V. Venkataraman & Richard W. Wrangham, Do modern hunter-gatherers live in marginal habitats? Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 25 (2019), 584–599.
Anthropologists often assert that modern hunter-gatherer societies have been relegated to marginal habitats compared to their agricultural neighbors, with the implication that modern social organization and behavior provide little insight into Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. We refer to this idea as the marginal habitat hypothesis (MHH). Despite widespread use of the term ‘marginal,’ there is little consensus as to what comprises a low quality habitat for humans. Here we reassess the MHH by comparing the net primary productivity (NPP) of habitats occupied by, and the population density (PD) of, a sample of 186 pre-industrial societies (foragers, horticulturalists, intensive agriculturalists, and pastoralists). We found that the nature of the NPP-PD relationship varied by subsistence type, and that foragers did not occupy significantly lower net primary productivity habitats compared to other subsistence types. These results do not support the MHH. We conclude by discussing the limitations of using modern ethnographic datasets to address the MHH and suggest alternative ways in which it may still be relevant.
Keywords: Hunter-gatherer | Environment | Habitat quality | Net primary productivity | Population density | Marginal
Geoffrey A. Clark, Nancy R. Coinman & Michael P. Neeley, The Paleolithic of Jordan in the Levantine Context. In: Jordan by the Millenia. Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan 7 (Amman 2001), 49–68.
This chapter aims to present a current view of the paleolithic of Jordan from earliest times through the Epi-paleolithic, and to situate it in the broader context of Levantine prehistory. The essay is organized chronologically, beginning with some observations about the logic of inference in the archaeology of ‘deep time’ — the Lower and Middle Pleistocene. We tackle the Levantine Lower and Middle Paleolithic next, which, for many practical purposes, can be treated together. We then proceed to a discussion of chronological questions pertinent to Lower and Middle Paleolithic systematics, followed by some remarks on the Middle-Upper Paleolithic transition and the modern human origins controversy. As most of you know, the Levant is a focal point for modern human origins research, given the alleged and prolonged coexistence of neandertals and early moderns there. This will be followed by some observations on the Levantine Upper Paleolithic which, historically, has been somewhat neglected vis ä vis the Mousterian. We close with some remarks on the conceptual framework of Epipaleolithic research, which has been undergoing considerable re-evaluation in recent years. In all of these early time periods, work in the xeric steppes of Jordan over the past 20 years is changing the picture of paleolithic adaptations in profound ways, based, as it has been, on research in the mesic coastal environments of the northern and central Levant.
Hanspeter Schaudig, The Text of the Cyrus Cylinder. In: M. Rahim Shayegan (Hrsg.), Cyrus the Great, Life and Lore. Ilex foundation Series 21 (Boston 2018), 16–25.
The barrel-shaped baked clay cylinder inscribed with a proclamation in the name of Cyrus king of Ansan – and henceforth king of Babylon – was found at the site of ancient Babylon in spring 1879. Once taken to the British Museum in London, together with numerous other texts, it was identified and presented to the public in November 1879 (Taylor 2013). The cylinder was probably undamaged when it was found. However, it appears to have been broken already at the site of Babylon before shipping. A rather large fragment of the original cylinder was acquired some twenty-five years later on the art market and was incorporated into the Nies Babylonian Collection of Yale University at New Haven. It was identified as a fragment of the Cyrus Cylinder in the early 1970s,1 and eventually joined to the cylinder in the British Museum. Between December 2009 and January 2010, Wilfred G. Lambert and Irving Finkel discovered a copy of the text of the cylinder on fragments of a clay tablet in the Babylonian collection of the British Museum.
Daniel Claggett, John McCarthy, William Murray, Erin Sebo, Arne Jouttijärvi, Matthias Hüls & Jonathan Benjamin, Modern or medieval? Analysis of an iron anchor from Camuscross, Scotland and direct dating methods for metal artefacts. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 25 (2019), 144–152.
In 2009, an iron anchor was found by the coast of Camuscross, Isle of Skye, Scotland after the digging of a drainage channel exposed the object. There was initial speculation in media coverage that the anchor might be Viking, perhaps dating between the 9th–12th centuries CE. However, due to its damaged condition and the lack of precise stratigraphic context, determining the age of the anchor has been challenging. This article will discuss a subsequent program of investigation to date the anchor, including metallurgical and radiometric analysis, and will present a number of possible interpretations based on this analysis. It will also consider the broader context and implications of using the two analytical methods of absolute dating applied to the anchor and how they can help to improve interpretation of archaeological materials.
Keywords: Archaeometallurgy | Maritime archaeology | Northern European seafaring | Typology
James T. Pokines, Jessica Hoskins, Christopher J. H. Ames, Gabriel A. Kravitz & Jessica Beck, Taphonomic and Paleoecological Investigations in the Paleolithic of Northern Jordan. In: Monther Jamhawi (Hrsg.), Jordan’s Prehistory, Past and future research. (Amman 2014), 49–67.
Bernhard Weninger, Lee Clare & Karin Bartl, High-Resolution Chronology of Shir, South Area. In: Karin Bartl (Hrsg.), The Late Neolithic Site of Shir / Syria, Band 1: The Excavations at the South Area 2006–2009. (Darmstadt 2018), 181–196.
Based on detailed statistical and stratigraphic analysis of a large 14C-dataset (Tab.1) from the south area of the Late Neolithic settlement at Shir, we have constructed a high-resolution absolute chronology (Fig. 8) that provides numeric ages and associated errors margins (Tab. 2) for each of the ten settlement layers (from old to young: 0, I, II, III, IVa, IVb, Va, Vb, VIa, VIb).
The site occupation begins at 7066 ± 20 calBC and ends at 6500 ± 20 calBC (rounded values). The average time-span covered by each of the ten phases is 60 ± 20 years (rounded values).
Of particular interest, from the archaeological perspective, is the unexpectedly large proportion ( 45 %) of stratigraphically quite deeply reworked samples (up to 5 layers). To allow for this, in the agelayer modelling, we have (conservatively) taken out all 14C-ages measured on materials sampled from pits. The main assumption underlying age-layer modelling is that each layer covers the same (although initially unknown) time-span. The analysis itself is based on the method of Gaussian Monte Carlo Wiggle Matching (GMCWM). The method is integrated in CalPal calibration software (Version 2018.2).
Of particular interest, from the 14C-analytical perspective, is the identification of strong quantisation effects both in the summed probability distributions as well as, for the first time, in the results of stratigraphic 14C-sequencing. This is due to the particular shape (abrupt step followed by extended plateau) of the 14C-age calibration curve, in combination with the specific age-distribution and dating-precision of the given 14C-ages.
Robert Hoeniger & Moritz Stern, Das Judenschreinsbuch der Laurenzpfarre zu Köln. Quellen zur Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland 1 (Berlin 1888).
Howard Kreisel, Back to Maimonides’ Sources, The Thirteen Principles Revisited. Jewish Thought 1 (2019), 53–88.
Over the years, scholars have offered various explanations for Maimonides’ decision to compose his thirteen principles of Jewish belief and to treat them as incumbent upon every Jew to accept in order to be considered part of the Jewish community and to earn a portion in the World to Come. In this article, I lend further support to Lawrence Berman’s suggestion that political-pedagogical considerations were the dominant factor in Maimonides’ thought and that he was influenced primarily by the political philosophy of Alfarabi. After showing why the other explanations metaphysical, polemical and legal were at best secondary considerations for Maimonides, I analyze a passage in Alfarabi’s Aphorisms of the Statesman, a treatise well known by Maimonides at the time of his formulation of the principles, which I argue holds the key to understanding Maimonides’ decision. I also discuss the question of the extent of Maimonides’ philosophic knowledge in this earlier period of his life. I conclude the article with some observations about the relevance of Maimonides’ list of principles in the contemporary period.
A. Neubauer, M. Stern & S. Baer, Hebräische Berichte über die Judenverfolgungen während der Kreuzzüge. Quellen zur Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland 2 (Berlin 1892).
Kurt Schubert, Jüdische Geschichte. (München 62007).
Den Leser erwartet eine klare und prägnante Darstellung der jüdischen Geschichte: historisch nachprüfbare Fakten des Alten Testaments, die Stellung des Judentums in der Antike, der christlich-jüdische Antagonismus, Rolle und Verfolgung der Juden im Mittelalter, Geistesleben und religiöse Strebungen innerhalb des Judentums, der Antisemitismus der Neuzeit, Rassenhass, Völkermord und Zionismus.
Duo Chan, Elizabeth C. Kent, David I. Berry & Peter Huybers, Correcting datasets leads to more homogeneous early-twentieth-century sea surface warming. nature 571 (2019), 393–397.
Existing estimates of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) indicate that, during the early twentieth century, the North Atlantic and northeast Pacific oceans warmed by twice the global average, whereas the northwest Pacific Ocean cooled by an amount equal to the global average1–4. Such a heterogeneous pattern suggests first-order contributions from regional variations in forcing or in ocean–atmosphere heat fluxes5,6. These older SST estimates are, however, derived from measurements of water temperatures in ship-board buckets, and must be corrected for substantial biases7–9. Here we show that correcting for offsets among groups of bucket measurements leads to SST variations that correlate better with nearby land temperatures and are more homogeneous in their pattern of warming. Offsets are identified by systematically comparing nearby SST observations among different groups10. Correcting for offsets in German measurements decreases warming rates in the North Atlantic, whereas correcting for Japanese measurement offsets leads to increased and more uniform warming in the North Pacific. Japanese measurement offsets in the 1930s primarily result from records having been truncated to whole degrees Celsius when the records were digitized in the 1960s. These findings underscore the fact that historical SST records reflect both physical and social dimensions in data collection, and suggest that further opportunities exist for improving the accuracy of historical SST records9,11.
Zeke Hausfather, Oddities in ocean record resolved. nature 571 (2019), 328–329.
An analysis of the record of sea surface temperature reveals that some climate variations that are thought to have occurred in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific oceans are an artefact of changes in measurement approaches.
Sharon N. DeWitte & Christopher M. Stojanowski, The Osteological Paradox 20 Years Later, Past Perspectives, Future Directions. Journal of Archaeological Research 23 (2015), 397–450.
More than 20 years ago, Wood et al. (Curr Anthropol 33:343–370, 1992) published “The Osteological Paradox: Problems of Inferring Prehistoric Health from Skeletal Samples,” in which they challenged bioarchaeologists to consider the effects of heterogeneous frailty and selective mortality on health inferences in past populations. Here, we review the paper’s impact on bioarchaeology and paleopathology, focusing on recent advancements in studies of ancient health. We find the paper is often cited but infrequently engaged in a meaningful way. Despite an initial decade of limited progress, numerous researchers are now addressing components of the Paradox in more informed ways. We identify four areas of fruitful research: (1) intrasite, contextual perspectives, (2) subadults, (3) associating stress markers with demographic phenomena, and (4) skeletal lesion-formation processes. Although often seen as a problematic assumption, understanding the sources of heterogeneous frailty within human populations is a worthy research question in and of itself, and one that clearly links past and present health research within a global framework.
Keywords: Paleopathology | Bioarchaeology | Ancient health | Demography | Sample bias | Mortality | Morbidity
Lyle W. Konigsberg & Susan R. Frankenberg, Paleodemography: “Not Quite Dead”. Evolutionary Anthropology 3 (1994), 92–105.
As Kim Hill recently noted in Evolutionary Anthropologj humans are unique among the hominoids with regard to the length of their lives, as well as other elements in the individual life histories. The evolutionary details that modified a basic pongid life history into a hominid one remain obscure, but aspects of recent human demographic history are assailable. Study of the last 10,000 years or so is an important part of ongoing anthropological discourse, for demographic changes may be intimately linked to such major developments as agriculture and urbanization. Whether demographicchanges are antecedents for or consequences of these major developments is a matter of great contention, but at the least we should attempt to document the nature of human demographic changes in the recent past. Although this documentation can take different forms, the principal sources are archeological information on past settlement patterns and analyses of prehistoric human skeletal material.
Keywords: Age estimation | hazards analysis | maximum likelihood
George R. Milner & Jesper L. Boldsen, Life not death, Epidemiology from skeletons. International Journal of Paleopathology 17 (2017), 26–39.
Analytically sophisticated paleoepidemiology is a relatively new development in the characterization of past life experiences. It is based on sound paleopathological observations, accurate age-at-death estimates, an explicit engagement with the nature of mortality samples, and analytical procedures that owe much to epidemiology. Of foremost importance is an emphasis on people, not skeletons. Transforming information gleaned from the dead, a biased sample of individuals who were once alive at each age, into a form that is informative about past life experiences has been a major challenge for bioarchaeologists, but recent work shows it can be done. The further development of paleoepidemiology includes essential contributions from paleopathology, archaeology or history (as appropriate), and epidemiology.
Keywords: Paleoepidemiology | Heterogeneity in frailty | Selective mortality | Skeletal lesions | Archaeological skeletons
Karlheinz Deschner, Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, Band 1: Von den Ursprüngen im Alten Testament bis zum Tod des hl. Augustinus (430). (Reinbek 92016).
Es geht mir also um eine Geschichte der Handlungs- und Verhaltensformen der Christenheit, jenseits aller institutionellen und konfessionellen Schranken. Ich schreibe die Geschichte der unentwegten Verschränkung von sogenannter weltlicher und geistlicher Politik, samt den säkularisierten Folgen dieser Religion: die Kriminalität in der Außenpolitik, in der Agrar-, Handels- und Finanzpolitik, in der Bildungspolitik, in der Kultur, der Zensur bei der fortgesetzten Verbreitung von Unwissenheit und Aberglauben der skrupellosen Ausnutzung der Sexualmoral, des Eherechts, des Strafrechts. Ich schreibe die Geschichte der klerikalen Kriminalität bei privater Bereicherung, beim Ämterschacher, beim frommen Betrug, im Wunder- und Reliquienkult, bei den verschiedesten Arten der Fälschungen etc., etc. Kurzum: Ich schreibe eine Geschichte des Verbrechens in der ganzen Breite des staatlichen, kirchlichen und gesellschaftlichen Lebens der Christenheit.
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