December 21, 2010

Some Data to Show Religious Cities Are Among the Most Violent
Stephen Prothero: In an effort to see how the two lists correlated, I took the 10 most religious cities, as listed by Men’s Health, and located them on the FBI crime data list. As these numbers indicate, every one of America’s “holy hometowns” had a crime rate above the national average, and each was ranked among the most dangerous half of American cities. (CNN)

Do Some Young Chimps Cradle Sticks Like Dolls?
“We find that juveniles tend to carry sticks in a manner suggestive of rudimentary doll play and, as in children and captive monkeys, this behavior is more common in females than in males,” wrote anthropologists Richard Wrangham of Harvard University and Sonya Kahlenberg of Bates College. (Brandon Keim, Wired Science,

“Creative” People Are Generally Not Viewed as Leaders
That’s according to a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. People who show imagination can be seen as dreamers because their ideas have not been proven. Those seen as leaders, on the other hand, are expected to maintain order and to keep things moving forward. (Karen Hopkin, 60-Second Science, Scientific American)

Neanderthal Family Massacred
What happened to the El Sidrón victims? In a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Spanish scientists who analyzed the bones and DNA report the gruesome answer. The victims were a dozen members of an extended family, slaughtered by cannibals. “It’s an amazing find,” said Todd Disotell, an anthropologist at New York University. Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum of London said the report “gives us the first glimpse of Neanderthal social structures.” (Carl Zimmer, The New York Times)

What the “Star of Bethlehem” Could Have Been
If the Star of Bethlehem was a real event, known conjunctions involving Jupiter are a strong—and fascinating—argument as to what it might have been recorded in ancient text. (Ian O’Neill, Discovery News)

The Speculation of Anthropologists and Physicists
John Horgan: Two recent science stories, one in anthropology and the other in physics, have me wondering which field is “hard” and which “soft.” (Scientific American)

Category: Field Notes


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