Loading...

HistoryDev Blog

Evolutionary History Related Topics

Debunking pseudogenetics at Skepticon

A few weeks ago I gave a talk at Skepticon 9 about pseudoscience, specifically the use of genetics to promote ideas like genetic astrology, “Nephilim DNA” from the Paracas skulls, and genetic determinism (with a special emphasis on “Rutherford’s law”). The conference organizers filmed it and uploaded it to Youtube, and so I’ve embedded it […]

Read more

Norse-Era Jewelry: Revealing an Intricate Cultural History of the Vikings

When you think of ancient Vikings, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably not jewelry, right? The picture that forms in the mind of most people is one of savages with long sharp spears, swords, and heavy shields attacking coastal communities. However, you will be pleased to know that Norse people of […]

Read more

Humans Walked Along the Beaches of British Columbia 13,000 Years Ago

Off the shore of Calvert Island in B.C., Duncan McLaren of the University of Victoria & Hakai Institute and team discovered 29 footprints about 60 ccm below the surface of the sand. They initially found the place in ’14 and excavated it between ’15 and ’16. They published their findings several days ago in PLoS One. […]

Read more

Carl Sagan’s Toolkit for Skeptical Thinking (or call it Smith’s epistemology)

In his post Van Arsdale lists nine principles from Carl Sagan that comprise a “Toolkit for sceptical thinking.” These are from Sagan’s book, “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.” These are great precepts, and they neatly describe my own epistemology. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”   Encourage […]

Read more

Why is “Tim’s Vermeer” so Controversial?

  “What do you think about the theory that Vermeer used an elaborate technique involving mirrors when he painted (as proposed in the movie Tim’s Vermeer)?” – asked by Michael Note: This post will contain spoilers for the movie Tim’s Vermeer. The documentary film Tim’s Vermeer follows inventor Tim Jenison on his quest to recreate a Vermeer painting using […]

Read more

Al Wusta Phalanxes Document Humans Travel East of Africa Earlier

Earlier this year we learned about the Misliya maxilla which pushed our understanding of out of Africa by 50,000 years. Last week, the discovery of a 87,000-year-old human intermediate phalanx (Al Wusta-1 (AW-1)) from the Nefud desert in Saudi Arabia was published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. The importance of both discoveries show that modern humans existed outside Africa […]

Read more

Have we gotten out of the crisis in Latin American book reviews?

I have always been a big fan of book reviews. When I get a new journal, I may scan the article titles first, but I almost always read the book reviews before the articles. Book reviews are an important part of quality control in scholarly disciplines where books are prominent (as in archaeology). In the […]

Read more

Walt Whitman’s Advice to the Young on the Building Blocks of Character and What It Takes to Be an Agent of Change

“In the long run,” Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in considering how we bring about social change, “there is no more liberating, no more exhilarating experience than to determine one’s position, state it bravely, and then act boldly.” A generation after her, Albert Camus examined what it really means to be a rebel and asserted that the […]

Read more

Drs. Pearson and Butler to Present at Renaissance Society of America’s Annual Conference

Drs. Andrea Pearson and Kim Butler Wingfield will present at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in New Orleans from March 22nd-24th. Dr. Butler will present a talk titled, “A Question of Lineage: The Dualism of Michelangelo’s Jewish Ancestors,” about the Sistine Chapel. Dr. Butler describes her research as such: “Christian […]

Read more

Why was Cimabue so Important?

  Reader question: “Consider explaining how or why Cimabue is considered important—what were his influences on art and WHY was he considered great? Why is this perfectionist trait important? Did his pride influence others?” – asked by Eric Cimabue was an Italian (more specifically, a Florentine) painter who was active in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, […]

Read more