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First the link to this week's complete list as HTML and as PDF.
We have all noticed the large changes to typical academic careers in the last decades. Milojevíc et al. put them in quantitative form and they paint a stark picture to see.
Two remarks are in order: Their figure 6 has the dependent and independent variables reversed. It is still probable that early career publication has little or no predictive value, but that claim is not demonstrated here.
Secondly the authors completely fail to mention Peter Yoachim whose idea the study is in the first place and whose draft they based it on. Granted, he only dealt with his own field, astronomy, and they significantly fleshed out his draft, but still, stealing others' freely shared ideas without any acknowledgement at all is very bad form.
The role of wide spread epidemics has so far been completely disregarded for the Iron Age and earlier times. Rascovan et al. have just demonstrated a massive wave of the bubonic plague in the Late Neolithic. With the known connection of infection and weather the much maligned climate determinism comes up with yet another mechanism for its influence.
As all our oldest written sources are significantly younger than the events reported therein, Graça da Silva & Tehrani's quantitative look at oral transmission is an important contribution to the field.
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