Articles to 2017-12-09

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


It is a general observation, that in horticultural and other subsistence societies women tend to do all the hard work. There are several politically correct explanations for the phenomenon, one being Africa’s recent past with many of the men having been carried away into slavery leaving the women to cope. As Macintosh et al. demonstrate, the pattern is far older and far more general than that.


Bevan et al. offer two firsts that I have never seen before. In discussing summed probability data, they do not compare to a straight line but take the artificial wiggles introduced by the calibration method into account. Secondly they are the first archaeologists I ever read, who do not nonchalantly wave away problems, noting how well humans adapt, but recognize that a large part of the population simply starved and adaptation helped a tiny rest barely to survive. This is relevant for future challenges, where we all too often hear an indifferent "so what, humans have always adapted".

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