Fantastic Photo of “Hobbit” Dig Site

I don’t know much more about the current research into *Homo floresiensis* than the title of this post suggests, but I do know that I would love to be one of the researchers at that site: it has to be one of the greatest places on earth right now to have a real, as in tangible — you’re standing in the same cave!, sense of human history.

*If you click to embiggen, be aware that the image is 3000 x 2000 pixels. It’s a magnificent view.*

Korean Anti-Science

Some might find it comforting that the U.S. is not along in having enough of “the crazy” that suppression of science actually happens at the level of public policy. Sadly, that is not the case, as [a recent story in Science magazine](http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/07/south-korea-to-reconsider-plan.html) details. A Korean creationist group had successfully petitioned the government to drop bird and horse evolution in two textbooks, because they led to “atheist materialism.” Petitions by Korean scientists, however, have forced a re-evaluation of that decision.

On a side note, why is it religious groups blame the rise of “atheist materialism” on scientists and not on the corporate world where it is most obviously, and aggressively practiced? I am particularly, and constantly, surprised by the pro-business attitude of social conservatives in the U.S.A. It makes sense for fiscal conservatives, which used to be the heart of the Republican party, but it makes less sense for social conservatives. It feels like, and please note that I am only saying it “feels” like, a rather straightforward case of propagandistic manipulation by the powers that be.

> Humans are animals with adhoc evolved brains who dont realize they are animals with adhoc evolved brains. That’s the one thing we all have in common.

More Language News

Thanks to another network analysis of linguistic data — previous story [here](http://johnlaudun.org/20110414-some-possible-revisions-to-generative-linguistics/) — scholars seem to have traced the origin of language to … well, to the origin of human beings in eastern Africa. The Economist has a [write-up](http://www.economist.com/node/18557572).

Memes and Temes

I am generally not a fan of neologisms — especially in the wake of having recently suffered through a talk which was nothing more than a string of neologisms — but I found myself interested in Susan Blackmore’s notion of *teme* (short for technological meme) in her TED talk:

It pairs nicely with Kevin Kelly’s *technium*. There certainly seems to be an emergence in the zeitgeist that wants to think about the directions technology is taking us. (This may, in fact, be part of an ongoing dialogue in the West, which bears a bit of research on my part at some point in the near future.)

Cancer Resembles Ancient Life

According to some recent research, cancer looks more like early multi-cellular life than a mutation of modern cellular structures:

According to Lineweaver, this suggests that cancer is an atavism, or an evolutionary throwback.

“Unlike bacteria and viruses, cancer has not developed the capacity to evolve into new forms. In fact, cancer is better understood as the reversion of cells to the way they behaved a little over one billion years ago, when humans were nothing more than loose-knit colonies of only partially differentiated cells.

“We think that the tumours that develop in cancer patients today take the same form as these simple cellular structures did more than a billion years ago,” he said.

From an article in Life Scientist.