Kommentare zu Zeitschriftartikeln aus 2022

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(22-12-18) Articles to 2022-12-18

Compared to the world wide distribution all the lead isotope ratios fall into the extreme low end (compare Dayton 2003). The only probable source for values like that is in Uganda and neighbouring regions. All the rest of the Uluburun cargo could plausibly be sourced in Egypt. So it would make sense for the tin coming from there too.

(22-12-03) Articles to 2022-12-03

Sexually transmitted diseases are not transmitted by sex, not even frequent and unprotected sex, but by promiscuity. Of course complying with today’s politically correct censure and proscription Lewis would never dare to say so. For decades now responsible doctors and epidemiologists have fought against the indiscriminate over-use of antibiotics in humans and livestock. Here their routine use in healthy people is promoted not to protect lives, nor even health, but a lifestyle while recklessly endangering everybody else and invalidating the most powerful tool from the doctors’ kit.

(22-11-24) Articles to 2022-11-24

Phillips omits a very important part of the story. Even if the mother is totally innocent, this is still a case of manslaughter and willful neglect. Ranging from 1989 to 1999 all four children fall into the years, when parents were made to put their infants to sleep on their tummies – now known to quadruple the rate of infant cot death. The mother is old enough to have still been allowed to sleep on her back and survived in spite of her genetic disposition.

(22-11-14) Articles to 2022-11-14

Breznau et al. offer the background and proof for something I have frequently pointed out here. All too often all we get a tables of correlation parameters or graphs of regression lines alone. Rarely are the raw data points given in the graphics too. If they are the whole effect often rest on one single outlier alone.

(22-10-23) Articles to 2022-10-23

Monson et al. is mostly an exercise in successful p-hacking. Both absolute prenatal growth in g/d as well as absolute brain weight are strongly correlated to adult body weight and thus with each other. The relation is not absolute as the gorilla birth weight of only 2.2 kg – small compared to humans – shows but it seems humans are the main outliers here. For the dental data the whole range in MMC from 0.9 to 1.25 has no discernible predictive value at all. Again humans are the outlier on both axes determining all of the shape of the chosen approximation.

(22-10-10) Articles to 2022-10-10

Following Cline and his very convincing arguments, stratum VI was destroyed by an earthquake and the site temporarily abandoned. David, who certainly did not have the means to fight a fortified city, could then take and resettle it. The rather poor stratum VB is well in line with everything we know about him (apart from overblown eulogies). According to 1 K 9, 15 Solomon did build in Megiddo right on his northern frontier but it says nothing about monumentality.

(22-10-02) Articles to 2022-10-02

And again in Nessel et al. we have a wonderful article demonstrating that tin isotopes tell us absolutely nothing. There definitely is no geologic, i.e. radiogenic signal in tin isotopes. All isotope ratios, of which tin has many, result from fractionation alone.

(22-09-23) Articles to 2022-09-23

Not many like to be reminded of it now, but at the time when I had just finished school and was beginning university a large majority of the juste milieu and German zeitgeist were if not huge fans at least ideological supporters of Ulrike Meinhof and her gang of criminals.

(22-08-31) Articles to 2022-08-31

Are Carter & Kilikoglou’s findings novel or surprising? I think not.

(22-08-15) Articles to 2022-08-15

Koile et al.’s new results are in total disagreement with the archaeological findings both for the spread of iron and for east coast ceramic seriation. Granted, all the older conclusions were and are contaminated by a large amount of circular reasoning, but the more descriptive, material oriented ones look sound all the same.

(22-08-12) Articles to 2022-08-12

I doubt the pile-dwelling phenomenon even has a distinct onset as Antolín et al. claim. Pile dwellings are small, short lived, and ephemeral settlements on lake shores. If the shoreline retreats or stays the same, nothing will be left of them and if there is, it’ll be near-impossible to find. Only when built at times of an exceptional low stand and having been silted and flooded ever since, will these settlements be preserved. So what our text books describe as periods of lake dwelling is nothing to do with the cultural phenomenon but only an artefact of preservation.

(22-08-01) Articles to 2022-08-01

When the humanities talk about theory what they mean is scholasticism, i.e. the endless regurgitation of previous opinions however refuted and invalidated they may be. The graceful dropping of known errors as in the sciences is never allowed. In the sciences a theory is a model that allows predictions going beyond those observations, that gave rise to the idea in the first place. As long as different disciplines use terms like “theory” in totally different and incompatible ways, no meaningful dialogue is possible.

(22-07-28) Articles to 2022-07-28

Tolksdorf et al. find early hard rock mining for tin in the Erzgebirge form the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. Now obviously mining will not have commenced before all the easy and pure alluvial tin sources had all been used up making that reach well back into the 3rd millennium. This opens up the question of the earliest tin bronzes again.

(22-05-13) Articles to 2022-05-13

Marciniak et al.’s title is somewhat misleading. The declining health and wellbeing of the first farmers has long been an accepted fact throughout the literature on the subject. What Marciniak et al. do add to the debate is quite the opposite.

(22-04-18) Articles to 2022-04-18

There has been a lot of doubt about the 4.2-event because it’s invisible north of the Mediterranean and highly variable at its latitude. Van der Meeren et al. finally explain why that is.

(22-04-09) Articles to 2022-04-09

The Bundestag risk analysis for a possible epidemic of 2013 has been confirmed in quite disturbing detail. In view of that we should be reminded of an equally important and equally neglected one of 2011 concerning a wide spread breakdown of the electricity grid.

(22-03-28) Articles to 2022-03-28

This week’s issue of PNAS happens to fall exactly on the feast day of Purim. Far beyond April 1st with it’s single, half hidden spoof article in some journals, on Purim in Israel all of parliament is given over to parody and satire as are whole issues of leading newspapers. This coincidence of dates is the only way I can make sense of Wu et al.

(22-03-21) Articles to 2022-03-21

Hill and Lark et al. are neither new nor unexpected, but they place the well known criticism of this subsidy-trough on a much more secure footing.

(22-03-13) Articles to 2022-03-13

Boudry & De Smedt’s definition of prayer is closely related and quite similar to magic. In Hebrew the verb “to pray” is used in a grammatically reflexive form, literally something like “to pray yourself”. In its (rare) base form the verb means something like expect, ask for, intercede for, or, perhaps, pray in the more common sense. It thus leads to a totally different, non magic view of communing with the divine in native speakers.

(22-03-11) Articles to 2022-03-11

Weber et al.’s raw material study of the Venus from Willendorf sheds new light on the society and long distance relationships in the Gravettian. As so often it opens more new questions than it answers.

(22-02-26) Articles to 2022-02-26

Several independent and quite different studies on ancient movement, relationships and descent.

(22-02-20) Articles to 2022-02-20

Domínguez-Solera et al. is one more example of the valuable and ground breaking basic research from the team around Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo. Its rigour is badly needed to stop the flights of phantasy so often still prevalent in archaeological interpretation.

(22-02-13) Articles to 2022-02-13

The obvious thing would have been to look at those subjects’ blood lead levels taken years earlier and ask whether there might be a correlation. This is what Gibson et al. have not done. Instead they construct a complex multiple regression to predict blood lead levels. Nowhere, neither in the former nor the current article, do they tell us, how good their prediction is. As they do find a strong correlation with delinquency, the predictive value of some of the variables they actually do use seems to be quite good. We can’t easily tell which, but it is certainly not the binary choice between community water service and private wells – the only one mentioned in their title.

(22-02-07) Articles to 2022-02-07

Contrary to what Barr et al. claim, their findings are not in opposition but exactly in line with the proposed explanation for brain growth. In contrast to muscle and bone, brain size can not be enhanced during life by training. The adult brain size is already fixed at birth, or more precisely at conception. It is also a very costly organ, not only in term of energy but also nutrients like phosphorus. So whatever the means and reason, nutrition, i.e. meat had to come first, brain growth later.

(22-02-02) Articles to 2022-02-02

From the time I first heard it in an introductory lesson, I have always been annoyed by the glib assertion that “people adapted” to climate crises. Hunter-gatherers have mostly had meat-rich diets. The very point of a cereal based agriculture was the much higher population density it allowed. So when Marshall claims people adapted by eating meat, what he really means is, the majority starved and a tiny remnant survived by reverting to hunting. Of course drought hits pasture land as well and the carrying capacity will have been even less than in pre-Neolithic good times.

(22-01-24) Articles to 2022-01-24

As Hall and Wadman show the Covid vaccination is especially beneficial during pregnancy. Contrary to the generally well founded medication hesitancy an ongoing pregnancy is no reason to delay vaccination, quite the contrary.

(22-01-18) Articles to 2022-01-18

I do not find Collins & Hatton’s and Miller & Wang’s claim substantiated by their own data. Looking at their figure 2a, before 20 ka BP beads are sparse to nonexistent in the south. After that, and including the single find at around 43 ka, the difference in size stays nearly the same up until the most recent times. What does happen after 2 ka BP is a large rise in the internal variability both in the south and east. So expressed in standard deviations the unchanged difference looks much smaller.

(22-01-12) Articles to 2022-01-12

So far Buchan et al. is only one single study but with striking results. Vaccinated people are more easily infected and more easily become infectious with Omicron than unvaccinated ones. The efficacy of a fresh booster is only 40 % and it wanes quickly. As yet there are no studies I’m aware of to tell, if and by how much vaccinates prevents severe illness and death for Omicron.

(22-01-02) Articles to 2022-01-02

Zhu et al. is something I’ve kept arguing about for years. The prevailing attitude in the Cologne archaeological department is to estimate carrying capacity from average values of productivity. When estimates of Palaeolithic population density fall well below this, it’s taken as a sign for efficient voluntary birth control mechanisms at work. I always maintained that what counts are not averages but recurring minima. For annual data I tend to place the relevant value at about minus 1.5 sigma. A rare 2 sigma event every 40 years can be absorbed by a community, so it has to be less than that.

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