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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

News about cities' inhabitants

½ of humanity in will be living cities by next year:

The famous female pharoah Hatshepsut's mummy has been identified as officially her. It was found around the same time as King Tut, but nobody bothered to mess with her until now:

This is an article about how in the past five years Rome's tourists have gotten more drunk and rowdy:
I stayed in the neighborhood they highlight in the article, and as a young American tourist who lives in a college town and didn't stay out past 12:30 a.m., I didn’t think it was that bad. As a resident I could see how having an apartment that looks over the campo de fiori would be annoying if you're trying to get some sleep on a Saturday night, but my reaction was somewhat similar to the author's: it's technically a commercial area, so if you're a resident there then yes, there'll be some noise in the most popular squares. There is almost no noise on the side-streets or smaller squares. But the prude in me agrees that tourists shouldn't be allowed to get away with rude, obnoxious behavior in someone else's backyard.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Women for war, Men for babies

They have now agreed to allow Nepalese women to join the Gurkha army, a reportedly fierce group of warrior-types:

I never understood the whole "well, they want to fight, but we won't let them" thing. No women, no homosexuals, no flat-footed people. To sound completely callous, if someone wants to get themselves killed, let them in, train the crap out of them, give them a gun and let them have at it.

Basically a scientific rant about how men get physiologically ready to have kids too along with their partners:

It's funny because I knew about men having hormonal cycles just like women (just not as dramatically), and it's been proven before that women at least are affected hormonally by smell and being in proximity to other women, so it makes sense that men would be affected the same way, especially when a woman is putting off the amount of hormones that one tends to do during pregnancy, but the author makes a good point that no one really seems to give it much credit. Anecdotally, though, I've seen the effects they mention in men I know who become dads.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

First born sons statistically smarter, with PC spin

A Norwegian study came out recently that found a trend that men who are first in birth-order, either by being born first or having older siblings die young, tend to be a few IQ points smarter than men born second or third. The study's writers also mention a few similar studies done on women that find matching results. This is an interesting study to me on that fact alone.
What really interests me, though, is how this is being covered in the media. Some news outlets are so PC, they can't even report it w/o feeling conflicted about reporting it because it shows biased towards something.

Time is fairly unapologetic about oldest boys being smarter.,8599,1635910,00.html

The SF Chronicle spends two-thirds of the article trying to be PC about it and pointing out, anecdotally, about how it's not always true, and reports it as “first-born kids,” which is technically less accurate.

This is so amusing to me as a journalist and as an anthropologist the way media grabs onto things even slightly sensational make a big deal out of them, and then at the same time try to hedge their bets. Although with the SF Chronicle I think it's more that they know their audience is so liberal that if they didn't write it like that they'd get tons of hate mail.