Evidence of humans in South America 22,000 years ago

jkottke:

Recent discoveries in Brazil that humans were present in South America as early as 22,000 years ago has contributed to the growing belief that the Clovis First hypothesis is wrong.

Researchers here say they have unearthed stone tools proving that humans reached what is now northeast Brazil as early as 22,000 years ago. Their discovery adds to the growing body of research upending a prevailing belief of 20th-century archaeology in the United States known as the Clovis model, which holds that people first arrived in the Americas from Asia about 13,000 years ago.

"If they’re right, and there’s a great possibility that they are, that will change everything we know about the settlement of the Americas," said Walter Neves, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Sao Paulo whose own analysis of an 11,000-year-old skull in Brazil implies that some ancient Americans resembled aboriginal Australians more than they did Asians.

Up and down the Americas, scholars say that the peopling of lands empty of humankind may have been far more complex than long believed. The radiocarbon dating of spear points found in the 1920s near Clovis, N.M., placed the arrival of big-game hunters across the Bering Strait about 13,000 years ago, long forming the basis of when humans were believed to have arrived in the Americas.

More recently, numerous findings have challenged that narrative. In Texas, archaeologists said in 2011 that they had found projectile points showing that hunter-gatherers had reached another site, known as Buttermilk Creek, as early as 15,500 years ago. Similarly, analysis of human DNA found at an Oregon cave determined that humans were there 14,000 years ago.

The question of why some humans are left-handed — including such notable specimens as Plato, Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan, Debbie Millman, Stephen Jay Gould, Noam Chomsky, and Albert Einstein — has perplexed scientists for centuries. For Southpaws themselves — the affectionate term for lefties — this biological peculiarity has been everything from a source of stigma to a point of pride. But at the heart of it remains an evolutionary mystery…
The evolutionary mystery of handedness and what it reveals about how the brain works
Sen. Kevin Bryant, a pharmacist and self-described born-again Christian who has compared President Obama with Osama bin Laden … [said] that the intent was never to hijack the bill. “I think it’s a good idea to designate the mammoth as the state fossil, I don’t have a problem with that. I just felt like it’d be a good thing to acknowledge the creator of the fossils.”

Creationist politicians in South Carolina stall an 8-year-old girl’s idea for a state fossil

What would Neil deGrasse Tyson say? (If they let him, that is.)

fastcompany:

Visualizing Which Countries People Are Trying To Get Away From, And Where They’re Going

A new tool combines country-level and census data to reveal how people move across the planet.

The patterns of human migrations around the world are fascinating to think about. Global movements reflect current events—whether war and strife, or economic opportunity and technological improvement—and these patterns also slowly reshape nations themselves.

That’s why it’s worth taking a few minutes to play around with this new interactive graphic of global migration patterns. In an unprecedented amount of detail, the graphic captures the movements in and out of 196 countries over the last 20 years.

More> Co.Exist

Needless to say (or maybe not) this news ticker of persecuted American Christians floats far and free from reality. More than 75 percent of the United States identifies as Christian; 57 percent believe in the devil, and nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe the Bible to be either the “inspired word” or literal word of God. Despite the constitutional separation of church and state, the government began under President George W. Bush to outsource social welfare programs to faith-based organizations (more than 98 percent, according to one 2006 study, of them Christian churches), and schools with religious ties (mostly Christian) in several states are now well fed by direct public subsidies. But then, American places of worship (again, most of them Christian) have long enjoyed a de facto public subsidy as tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations funded by tax-deductible contributions. Last month President Barack Obama himself held forth at National Prayer Breakfast about the importance of Jesus in his life.


To be sure, there are Christians in the world who face persecution, from Copts in Egypt to Catholics in northern Nigeria. But in the U.S., the Christian faith and its institutions have never been more pampered by the state.

Opinion: The bitter tears of the American Christian supermajority: Why Christians — America’s most populous religious group — feel so victimized. (via aljazeeraamerica)
There is little doubt that the news media amplify and exacerbate social and political divisions. Too often, journalists follow a ‘Noah’s Ark’ approach to coverage in which a strong liberal is paired with a vocal conservative in an ideological food fight. The result is polarization of discourse and ‘false equivalence’ in reporting. This lack of nuanced analysis confuses viewers and makes it difficult for them to sort out the contrasting facts and opinions. People get the sense that there are only two policy options and that there are few gradations or complexities in the positions that are reported.

From the Brookings report, "Nudging News Producers and Consumers Toward More Thoughtful, Less Polarized Discourse," by Darrell West and Beth Stone. A worthy read.

This is a tension we’ve experienced first-hand when programming live events for The Civil Conversations Project. We’ve been questioned by producers and journalists in public radio news rooms about our guest choices for conversations on gay marriage and abortion. But, there have also been some really wonderful advocates, newsroom managers like Chris Worthington of Minnesota Public Radio too.

(via beingblog)
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