Articles to 2014-07-24

Zum Seitenende      Übersicht Artikel      Home & Impressum

First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.

Teaching how to read used to be the job of primary and high schools and undergraduates were expected to pick up the subtleties of primary research reporting through learning on the job. Formal niceties used to be remarked on by the lecturer while discussing the content of papers. Looking at the current batch of first years, van Lacum et al. may well have a point. What they fail to say is that, given limited time and already full schedules, learning to read has to come at the cost of reading itself. Is the current content of undergraduate studies so useless, it can be got rid with impunity?

Let us be clear. If Facebook offers a free social service and makes a profit at the same time, one thing is certain: their users are not their customers. At best Facebook’s users are their raw material being processed, more probably they are the product being sold. Everybody accepting a free offer accepts it as-is, exactly the way and to exactly the extent it is being offered, no more and no less. Every user is and always has been shown a subset of possible status announcements, chosen by Facebook following rules they decide on. Normally these criteria are hidden and (obviously, what else?) optimized for Facebook’s paying advertising customers. Just this once they were laid open and supported a public good. Anyone objecting now makes it clear, he prefers being lied to and being exploited to being treated as a consenting adult. If that is what people really want, so be it.
    Personally I find everything Facebook has to offer to be totally useless and of no possible value to me whatever, which is why after a trial phase I am no longer a user of theirs. As an early adopting Internet user from before the advent of the WWWeb, I believe I can claim this is not because of being a backwards facing technophobe.

I appreciate the pressure to publish, but it does tend to blow up molehills out of all proportion. Undoubtedly the East Asian fossil XJY discussed by Wu et al. does fall smack in the middle of the Neanderthal distribution. There is considerable overlap, though, and at least in the first two principal components it still lies inside the area spanned by modern humans. Agreed, it does occupy a borderline position but no more so than the other three fossil specimens do too. I see no base at all for drawing any far-reaching conclusion from this and none whatever for publishing it outside specialist anatomical journals.

From Carson et al. it emerges that, as in Africa at the beginning of the Bantu expansion, in South America too people did not enter the rain forest to establish agricultural footholds but followed strips of more open savannah during a climatic dry phase.

Zum Anfang      Übersicht Artikel      Home & Impressum

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License Viewable With Any Browser Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!