Weekly Round Up: Law and Order, Man-Apes, Critical Thinking, yet more Covid-and Burt Bacharach

stories of more than fleeting interest

Law ‘n’ Order, guvnor! More powers to the Police! It’s the cry of every pub bore, and the newspapers that feed them their opinions. And it will always go wrong because every police force contains a number of -ahem, persons of doubtful moral integrity- who help the well connected and the powerful every time, as this piece from the Mail makes clear. Ironic, in a way.


Give us the tools and we’ll finish the job One of the problems of Paleoanthropology, at least among the popularisers, is the tendency to tell stories. Like: nimble, clever Homo genus (the Hero) invents tools and outcompetes lumbering old Paranthropus, (the Fall Guy)who were no more than gorillas on two legs. The evidence of the finds however, raises deep and intriguing questions. Not answers! As this piece from Nature makes clear: Who Butchered this Hippo?

Archaeologists in Kenya have unearthed dozens of stone tools scattered around the butchered bones of ancient hippopotamus-like creatures. The site dates to between 2.6 and 3 million years ago, and pushes back the known start of large-animal butchering by early human relatives by at least 600,000 years. The tools are the earliest known example — by around 700,000 years — of Oldowan tools, which became widespread across Africa and Asia. The tools were found alongside the teeth of an ancient human relative from the genus Paranthropus, raising the possibility that Paranthropus, rather than a member of the modern-human genus Homo, used the tools.Nature | 4 min read
Reference: Science paper

So, think carefully, right? Yes, well…….the foregoing should demonstrate the importance of Critical Thinking. a quality long-promulgated on these humble pages. We accept that. But is it enough to weed out every bore, crank, knave and fool that so abound on the Internet? The Conversation thinks not:


Who gets Covid-and who doesn’t? Older readers who recall the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 will recall that some people got it really badly, and others breezed away with scarcely a sniffle. The answer may lie in who has a certain protein in the lungs, and who doesn’t


Bye Bye Burt. And thanks Hard core fans of genres like classical music, heavy metal rap and others have always delighted in disparaging middle-of-the-road writers like Burt Bacharach. Trouble is- like ABBA, his stuff is catchy, technically well-written and often able to catch moods and emotions that somehow escape JS Bach and AC DC. He and his lyrics man, Hal David were as accomplished as anyone has been, and deservedly so, as our Guardian link makes clear. However, we cannot refrain from mentioning their one blooper: Lost Horizon (1973) It was a Turkey, as all the critics agreed


But in honour of his achievements, this week’s music vid goes to the great Burt: long time pal Dione warwick with Do you know the way to San Jose?(obviously written before the age of the SatNav)

#burt bacharach #paleoanthropology #covid-19 #crime #corruption

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