Okay, a first world problem

May. 23rd, 2017 06:30 pm
oursin: Sign saying 'Hedgehog Xing' and drawing of hedgehog (Hedgehog crossing)
[personal profile] oursin

But after a reasonably uneventful transatlantic journey, and O'Hare being no more irksome than before, and indeed, the passport kiosks do speed things up though there is still queuing once you've done so -

It's really, really annoying to find that the wifi in the hotel is on the fritz (actually, there was also something Not Right with Heathrow Terminal 3 wifi this morning, but at least I still had mobile data activated on my phone without the prospect of ruinous charges) which is apparently a wider system problem.

I am therefore posting from the one terminal in the lobby that is a) connected to the internet and b) actually works - I had to remove myself temporarily when a young person wanted to 'very quickly' print something out, which turned out not to be quick at all, tell me again about the digital native generation.

Yes, in the general scheme of things, a minor inconvenience. But after a day of taxis and airports and planes, annoying.

But, anyway, here I am.

[syndicated profile] thebrainscoop_feed





Even though Hank and John (and sometimes I) went into everything from the Big Bang -> Future in Season 1, this new six-part series is going to fill in a bunch of gaps and go into further detail on some topics that were skimmed over previously. 

I hope you watch, enjoy, and have your mind blown as many times as mine was! 

THANK YOU! You guys have no idea how much Big History helped me fill in the gaps in my education. I was raised by young-Earth creationists who forbade “the sin of evolution” from being discussed at home, and during high school I was told to memorize what I had to for tests, but ignore what was actually being taught. I never really learned about the Big Bang and evolution until Crash Course Big History. I ended up going back to school for another degree in Physics and Astronomy, and Crash Course was integral in bringing me up to speed and preparing me for my classes. The content you guys put out is definitely making an impact and making knowledge accessible to people from whom it was barred in the past. Thank you!!!

<3 <3 <3

(no subject)

May. 23rd, 2017 07:08 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday. [personal profile] szandara!
[syndicated profile] thebrainscoop_feed


The Brain Scoop
Wolves can be… Coy

Wolves and humans have a prehistoric relationship - and it’s complicated, to say the least. Between the 1600s and the mid 1960s, nearly every wolf in the lower 48 states was completely wiped out; the eradication of wolves was largely encouraged by government-issued bounties and extermination programs, carried out by farmers and ranchers who saw wolves as threats to their livestock and families.

But after the gray wolf received protection by the Endangered Species Act in1974 and populations started once again spreading across the United States, a funny thing began happening. The wolves - unable to find and therefore breed with other wolves due to scarcity of individuals - ended up breeding with coyotes instead.

And now, there exists a huge amount of confusion about some of these populations; wolves and coyotes are hybridizing at a rate faster than can be detected through scientific studies or can be managed by wildlife conservation laws and programs. How much DNA of an endangered species does an organism need to have before we consider it endangered itself? How can we enforce laws and regulations to manage - or restrict management - of population growth? 

We spent four months working on this video and it’s the most comprehensive episode we’ve ever made for The Brain Scoop. We even got the grossometer back in there. I hope you like it- and please do share! 

ICYMI: We posted our follow-up video last week– wherein we skin both a coyote, and a wolf. Watch here!

oursin: Photograph of a spiny sea urchin (Spiny sea urchin)
[personal profile] oursin

But, in lighter news, I have been spammed by another dodgy journal, which seems to think I am a woman physician and wants me to be on its editorial board. I do wonder what kind of a journal it is when it wants not only a CV but a photo from applicants...:

[L]ooking for prominent physicians in the field of Women's Health, to be a part of the editorial board to convey finest clinical resource and increase scope for best clinical understanding.

The journal is looking forward to peers with top academic aptitude whose judgment is highly regarded within the journals main discipline.

I think judgement will be highly regarded in ignoring such solicitations.

Ironing: done.

Online check-in: done (also I managed to improve my seat somewhat without actually paying and arm and a leg for the upgrade).

So, anyway, general status: wibbling.


May. 21st, 2017 08:19 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Bread made during the week: a brown wheatgerm loaf that seems somehow a bit bland.

Saturday breakfast rolls: basic buttermilk, 50/50 strong white/white spelt flour.

Today's lunch: sea bass fillets marinated in whisky + avocado oil + tayberry vinegar + salt & pepper, and smoked over hickory chips; served with garlic roasted purple sprouting and tenderstem broccoli, oven fried sweet potato chips, seasoned with garam masala, and fine asparagus healthy-grilled in pumpkin seed oil and sprinkled with elderflower vinegar.

(no subject)

May. 21st, 2017 10:38 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] lotesse and [personal profile] nilchance!

Not feeling the Gracie Fields here

May. 20th, 2017 03:45 pm
oursin: Painting by Carrington of performing seals in a circus balancing coloured balls (Performing seals)
[personal profile] oursin

Sometimes there are projects and commitments that occupy a significant part in one's life, but when they are over, one heaves a sigh of relief and goes off humming 'My chains fell off' to oneself.

In other cases, one thinks, what? what am I going to do now? even if, for the duration, one has been entirely aware of other things nibbling at the edge of one's consciousness that need doing.

Even if it's not entirely over.

(In fact, after I completed the first draft of The Biography, there were rounds of editing it down, followed by all the fun stuff of publication such as copy-edits, proofs, the marketing questionnaire, etc: but still, it was a significant moment.)

One wonders if Arnold Bennett ever had this feeling, or whether he just went banging on to the next thing, whether it was another novel, short stories, journalism, non-fiction, or his diaries.

(I remember seeing an adaptation of Anna of the Five Towns at the Vic c. 1970...)


And, I think, completely unrelated, Rome has a problem with wild boar; wolves mingle with surburban Germans; mountain lions frequent LA. All around the world, city life seems increasingly conducive to wildlife. (I was, wot no lionesses whelping in the Roman streets?)

Fallen into the hands of pirates?

May. 19th, 2017 07:32 pm
oursin: Cartoon hedgehog going aaargh (Hedgehog goes aaargh)
[personal profile] oursin

Lately, noodling around the interwebs, I came across these and a couple of similar links:

[PDF]The Comfortable Courtesan, Volume 3 - DottorInk www.dottorink.it/.../ZG90dG9yaW5rSVJBWVlFVVctdGhlLWNvbWZvcnRhYmxlL... The Comfortable Courtesan, Volume 3 (Clorinda Cathcart) — 315 pages - ebook. A memoir by Madame C C that has been a Lady of the Demi Monde these ...

[PDF}The Comfortable Courtesan, Volume 1 (Clorinda Cathcart) — 220 ... www.cfjc-investments.com/.../Y2ZqYy1pbnZlc3RtZW50c0lXQUlXQVlJLXRoZS1jb... The Comfortable Courtesan, Volume 1 (Clorinda Cathcart) — 220 pages - ebook. A Memoir by Madame C C that has been a Lady of the Demi Monde these ...

which lead to the following URLs: http://3b0ks.com/books/VWJZa3NJUkFZWUVVVy10aGUtY29tZm9ydGFibGUtY291cnRlc2FuLXZvbHVtZS1V.books http://3b0ks.com/books/VWJZa3NJV0FJV0FZSS10aGUtY29tZm9ydGFibGUtY291cnRlc2FuLXZvbHVtZS1B.books

which have actually changed from when I first clicked through a day or two ago and said WTF.

The site claims 'It should be noted that http://www.goodzbooks.com is a simple search engine of software/apps available at a wide variety of third party websites'.

And if you click on the links, you get a popup saying you must be registered, and if you click on that link, it goes here. That says it's free, but the actual home page seems to indicate that it's a subscription service.

Okay, inasmuch as I make these available for free, as the unedited, unpolished collation of the freely available original posts, I'm not sure I'd object if someone was making them available similarly gratis, but I'm not entirely persuaded that this is what is happening, or, indeed, what is actually happening here and what the game is.

There seems to be some tie-up (ripoff?) with Goodreads as GR reviews are cited.

Does anyone have better knowledge of what's going on here? And whether there is anything one could/should do?

Has anyone else had a similar experience?


May. 19th, 2017 12:17 pm
[syndicated profile] cathyscostumeblog_feed

Posted by Cathy Raymond

For those of us interested in early European textiles, it's exciting to review the program of the thirteenth North European Symposium on Archaeological Textiles ("NESAT XIII") which starts on Monday, May 22 in Liberec, Czech Republic.

The conference schedule may be found here and there appear to be even more presentations than usual for scholars interested in pre-medieval clothing and textiles.  Here are just a few that excite me:
S. Harris – A. Jones:  Beautiful things: textiles from an Early Bronze Age cremation, Whitehorse Hill, England.
U. Mannering – I. Skals:  Textile News from Bornholm in Denmark. Recently excavated textiles from a well-known Late Iron Age cemetery.
F. Pritchard: Twill weaves from Viking-age Dublin.
E. Wincott Heckett: Textiles from the Viking Warrior Grave, Woodstown Co., Waterford, Ireland.
K. Vajanto--M. Pasanen: Dyes and Dyeing Methods used in Finland 1000 Years Ago.
K. Kania: To Spin a Good Yarn--Spinning Techniques with Hand Spindles.
I. Demant: Making a dress of an Iron Age woman--the results of experimental archaeology used in praxis.
At least I have time to save my money for the published conference report when it comes out in a few years!
[syndicated profile] dougsarchaeology_feed

Posted by Doug Rocks-Macqueen

Should archaeology be more visual? An interesting session at TAG that we filmed TAG asked that question:

Session Abstract:

Archaeology borrows and adapts visualisation mediums and techniques from a range of artistic and creative practices including drawing, photography, film, gaming, digital animation and virtual reality. But do we take these visualisation practices as seriously as we do our scientific ones – or do we merely skim the surface of them, depriving ourselves of a deeper and more critical understanding of how the past is interpreted and understood? A key element of any art form, but arguably often side-lined in archaeology, is the visual author’s presence and ‘voice’. Following auteur theory, this house argues that the author’s voice in visual representations of archaeology deserves equal regard to that of the author’s voice in written archaeological works. Such a shift in values would necessitate archaeologists becoming more visually and technically literate in visual art-forms and industries in order to not only appreciate but meaningfully be able to critique and translate archaeological visualisations on a deeper level. Not only would this enhance the rights to the creators of archaeological visualisations (such as recognition, ownership and copyright), but it would also demand greater responsibility, transparency and accountability for the archaeological visualisations created.

This session invites practitioners of visual archaeologies and those who research visual representations of archaeology to critique and debate the above argument, interrogating the value and role of the author’s voice in visualising archaeology. We seek to include a range of visual forms and mediums, inclusive of but not limited to drawing, photography, video, film, gaming, digital animation, AR, VR and mixed-mediums. Archaeologists, artists, heritage professional, industry practitioners and those who straddle multiple roles are warmly welcome to submit. This session partners with TAG 2016’s art/digital/film exhibition ‘Sightations’, running on site throughout the TAG conference, and session speakers are warmly encouraged to display an example of their work in the exhibit. For more information on the exhibit please see Sightations’ call for contributors.

Grant Cox, Artasmedia and Kate Rogers, University of Southampton

100 years of auteur archaeologists

https://youtu.be/WuNHsR214xY Kate Rogers, University of Southampton

In discussions about archaeology’s representation in film and television some archaeologists have expressed a desire to “take back” their discipline from the media (eg. Cline 2008), but this view ignores the historical and current roles of archaeologists doubling as media creators and practitioners. In the film and television industries in particular, UK archaeologists have an impressive but little-acknowledged history of undertaking key roles as writers, presenters, producers and directors, in productions over the past 100 years. Paralleling the gradual professionalization of archaeology as a discipline over the 20th century is a comparable narrative of archaeologists developing from amateur to professional filmmakers in their own right and on their own terms, with distinct filmic voices and approaches to filmmaking. In this setting archaeologists have navigated and adapted their voices to changes in technologies, media laws, audience demographics, funding strategies, production and distribution structures and storytelling conventions. Arguably this form of authorship can at times be seen to be an auteur-style approach to film and television. This paper presents a selection of these historical archaeologist-auteur voices as a rebuttal to the notion that archaeologists need to ‘take back’ their discipline from the media, arguing that we have always been members of the media, with the rights and responsibilities of media practitioners. The question can then become this: if we have a filmic voice, or even an auteur’s voice, how should we use it?


“Archaeologists assemble!”: authorship as praxis in archaeological comics

https://youtu.be/1-qbsKgxv_Q John G. Swogger, Freelance Archaeological Illustrator and Comic Book writer

Comics as a communication medium allows for multi-layered approaches to the presentation of archaeological interpretation, process and practice, giving a visual context to narrative, and an embedded explanatory framework to imagery. Such approaches permit visualisations of great individuality and variety, shaped by the specificities of creative practice. This variety is highly-valued by creators, but a lack of standardisation and uniformity can be justifiably critiqued as problematic in the context of scientific narrative.
However, this variety not only serves to foreground the authorial nature of the archaeological comics creator, but can also usefully foreground the authorial nature of the archaeology under discussion, as creators of archaeological knowledge can acquire new visibility, including practitioners who customarily have low- to no-visibility within such narratives. Person-centred semiotics – such as real-life narrators, real-time narrative, contextual settings and direct speech – can be used to embed the abstractions of archaeological information and the unfamiliarity of archaeological practice within a more familiar, grounded and humanised frame of reference, important when comics are used for community-based public outreach.
Through examples of comics created for archaeological outreach and education, this paper will argue that such foregrounding of authorship is an important part of the theoretical and practical application of comics to archaeology. Such an application can not only facilitate a different approach to transparency and accountability within archaeological narrative, but also has the potential to create a very different kind of archaeological narrative, in which author and authorial practice are rendered not just visible, but visibly interrelated.

Re-empowering the artisan: a case study in CGI

https://youtu.be/e081UFTe6yw Grant Cox, ArtasMedia

The arrival of sophisticated technology (such as renderers, games engines and VR) has brought with it much discussion. Overshadowed in the past few years by techniques like Photogrammetry, the most vocal of these arguments, “How realistic should we make our reconstructions…?” has consistently flourished, naturally progressing to the vocalization of renderers and computational processes. Originally used as an argument against the dangers of 3D reconstruction, jargon such as ‘Photorealism’, ‘Hyper-realism’ and ‘Physically accurate’ have often been applied so liberally by archeologists in recent years that they actually now fail to work as benchmarks for the level of visual quality being achieved through CGI in heritage. The author believes the reasons for this stem from a breakdown between commercially driven communities and academia, where valuable processes are often identified and then removed from their wider context (and standards) without reciprocation. This miscommunication has, in the example of CGI often led to the removal of the practitioner, their role as creator and the relationship between their current skill level and the output.
Incidentally, an ‘inception like’ false reality is a very real possibility for true commercial photorealistic practitioners such as Alex Roman, Grant Warwick and Bertrand Bernoit, but instead of distancing themselves, these artists actively embrace their role as authors to hone their skill, framing their craft as an informed amalgamation of digital, film and photographic ideals. This talk will look at the benefit these same reflections could have on the empowerment of the archaeologist and our collective understanding of the past.

(no subject)

May. 19th, 2017 09:20 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] clanwilliam!

Friday mystery object #304 answer

May. 19th, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] zygoma_feed

Posted by PaoloViscardi

Last week I gave you this skull to have a go at identifying: I thought that some of you would find it a bit easy, but the most diagnostic features aren’t visible in the image and it’s a nice specimen, so I … Continue reading
[syndicated profile] thebrainscoop_feed



these may be the most fan-girly, enthusiastic, crying with happiness videos we’ve ever made and I can’t wait to share them with you

More photos coming soon!!

[syndicated profile] thebrainscoop_feed

Skinning a Coyote and a Wolf

The Grossometer is back! Here’s some extra footage from the prep lab- this video goes along with our previous about wolves and coyotes in the United States. That video can be watched here: https://youtu.be/oA-QINoEEwQ

[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The Ormside Bowl. Photography Anthony Chappell Ross. Image courtesy of York Museums Trust (Yorkshire Museum).

A major new exhibition by the Yorkshire Museum in partnership with the British Museum explores the world of the Vikings. Here are some of the treasures about to be revealed in Viking – Rediscover the Legend

Read the rest of this article...
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Experts are assessing damage to the oldest Roman arch in the UK still used by traffic after a lorry driver got stuck following his sat nav CREDIT: RICHARD VAMPLEW/MEDIA LINCS

The oldest Roman arch in Britain which is still used by traffic has been damaged after a lorry driver who was following his sat nav became wedged underneath it. 

Police were called to the third century Newport Arch in Lincoln after a distribution lorry became lodged under the Grade I listed edifice at 1pm on Thursday. 

Fragments of stone from the monument could be clearly seen on the ground after it took over half an hour to free the HGV.

Read the rest of this article...
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

A huge camp which was home to thousands of Vikings as they prepared to conquer England in the late ninth century has been uncovered by archaeologists.

Established in Torksey, on the banks of the River Trent in Lincolnshire, the camp was used as the Vikings' defensive and strategic position during the winter months.

The research, conducted by archaeologists at the Universities of Sheffield and York, has revealed how the camp was used by thousands of Viking warriors, women and children who lived there temporarily in tented accommodation.

They also used the site as a base to repair ships, melt down stolen loot, manufacture, trade and play games.

Read the rest of this article...

Grassy beginning for earliest Homo

May. 18th, 2017 05:21 pm
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY—In 2013, an ASU research team found the oldest known evidence of our own genus, Homo, at Ledi-Geraru in the lower Awash Valley of Ethiopia. A jawbone with teeth was dated to 2.8 million years ago, about 400,000 years earlier than previously known fossils of Homo. After the discovery, attention turned to reconstructing the environment of this ancient human ancestor to understand why there and why then.
But how do you re-create specific environments from millions of years ago to understand where our ancient ancestors lived?
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