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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.
Can there be a stronger argument, for minimizing archaeological digging and preserving as much as possible of our heritage underground than Couzin-Frankel on Nimrud? Another relevant fact is the preservation of many artifacts in foreign museums. Just like a comparison of the
“stolen” Elgin Marbles with their counterparts that remained at their place of origins, this also urges caution on the recent initiatives on repatriating works of art.
Harding et al.’s conclusions seem sound as far as they go. At the end of their conclusion they explicitly warn about second order effects that might well completely overturn their observed first order ones, if their findings were to result in profound policy changes. I wonder how much of that will be left once this article falls into the hands of the yellow press and boob-tube or goggle-box.
Although there is a certain association above chance, Manning et al.’s case is far from being as closed as they claim. First they indulge in the chartmanship of drawing a summed graph in fig. 2d instead of a distribution which gives the suggestive appearance of a discrimination where none exists. Nearly half of all eruption years had above average floods and being slightly below average does not make a bad year. The left tail shows nearly as bad a drop for non-eruption years. Also an association with climate does not mean a cause of anything. Usually climate only supplied the trigger that slightly moves an event that was going to happen anyway to just this point in time.
Although their title misleadingly suggests data, Zhang et al.’s study actually is one of the better examples of modelling and really helps in making sense of what the measurement data tell us and how they came about.
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