12,000 Shaman's Secrets; New Telemarketer Restrictions; Bomb-sniffing Locusts; Fish With the Bears;


Old Bones and Older Burial Customs

The Journal of Current Anthropology recently reported the excavation of a 12,000 year-old grave site of a female Shaman located in the Galilee in northern Israel. In addition to female body parts, the site contained an eagle's wing, a cow's tailbone and 86 tortoise shells among other items. This find sheds new light on the social practices of hunter-gatherers in the Natufian era (10,800 to 9,500 BCE). The grave site provided well-preserved artifacts that indicate multiple stages of the elaborate funeral rite at the site which falls in the HalazonTachtit. The body revealed the woman was about 45 years-old, and suffered from a variety of ills. To learn more about this find, click on  http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/686563. When you reach the web page, click on the abstract button to read the summary. You have to be a subscriber to read the whole report. Additional information may be obtained from the Forward at  http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/344235/12-000-year-old-grave-of-female-shaman-uncovered-in-galilee/.

New Restrictions on Telemarketers

The Federal Trade Commission recently published new rules that prevent telemarketers from asking debtors for payments by using cash-to-cash payments such as Western Union or cash reload card PINS from MoneyPak or Vanilla Reload   for example. The rule also dictates when telemarketers may call as well as what they must tell you. To find out more about the new rule changes, click on  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/new-limits-telemarketers?. The government provides consumer protection for individuals from scammers and other nefarious people. Use caution when talking to strangers on the telephone. Be sure to report such calls to the FTC so that the agency can investigate and prosecute the telemarketers/bill collectors who violate the rules.

Another Pentagon Super Weapon?

The Washington Post reported that the Navy awarded a $750,000 contract to Washington University in St Louis to study the feasibility of using locusts to sniff out bombs. It seems that the little creatures have a super sense of smell that Navy personnel may be able to use to detect bombs. This reminds me of the contract several years ago that proposed to use cockroaches to find bodies at blast sites or in earthquake rubble. To find out more about this research, visit  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/06/navy-grants-750000-to-develop-cyborg-locusts-to-sniff-out-bombs/. And the military want us to given them more money for these research projects. Oh well.   It's only tax dollars.

Kick Back and Relax with Bear Cam

The US Department of the Interior placed a wildlife camera to record Alaskan brown bears harvesting salmon in preparation for next winter's sleep. If you have a fast internet connection, the live pictures from Alaska prove to be crystal clear and very interesting. In addition to viewing a river scene with bears, the site also provides live camera shots of four other sites where bears may be viewed. To view the scenes, visit  http://explore.org/live-cams/player/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls. It always amazes me that as I sit in the Finger Lakes, I can see Alaskan bears live, in real time. Technology can be so great. At my visit, three bears slogged through the water trying to catch salmon.

What Are Workers Worth?

Pew Research recently posted data that show wage gaps between white men and minority men have lessened very little over the past 30 years. For example, white men earn average higher hourly wages than blacks ($21 per hour vs $15 per hour). The wage gap for Hispanics ($21 per hour for whites vs $14 per hour for Hispanics) extends   the gap. Asian men prove to be the only group that earn more than white men ($24 per hour for Asian men vs $21 per hour for white men). The wage gap between white men and all women [white, black and Hispanic] shows even larger inequities. To read more about wage inequities, visit  http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/01/racial-gender-wage-gaps-persist-in-u-s-despite-some-progress/. Some things seem never to change.

New Uses For Old Problems

The National Science Foundation recently published a story about Duke University researchers who analyzed waste coal ash and found a new use for this toxic waste. It seems that coal ash from the Appalachian mountains contains higher concentrations of rare earth elements than coal ash from other parts of the country. Should a way be found to process this waste, companies with Appalachian coal waste will be able to extract billions of dollars in extra profits. To learn more about this story, visit  http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/mmg_disp.jsp?med_id=80895.  And so it goes.