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Earliest evidence for use of fire by humans in Europe

29.03.2011, PNAS

Early Europeans may have suffered cold winters for nearly half a million years before they invented fire, around 400,000 years ago, new archaeological evidence suggests. This contradicts the widely accepted notion that the colonisation of Europe out of Africa required fire.


Julia Hargreaves' blog from Japan: how not to communicate


Julia shares her views on everything that went wrong in the communication of critical information to the people living in the Fukushima area. Looks as if not only Tepco, the company who owns the damaged reactors, is to blame, but the Japanese government as well. Government officials completely rely on information Tepco bothers to leak to them ...


CNN: Why can't we predict the next big quake?


In an artcile on the Tohoku earthquake on the CNN website USGS seismologist Susan E. Hough argues: "What we know for sure is that preparedness remains our best defense against devastating earthquakes.". Predicting earthquakes is still not possible and may never be, according to the majority of earthquake experts.



Update: Heroic efforts to cool Fukushima nuclear reactors

19.03.2011, Voice of America

As the population of Honshu is still suffering from the effects of Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami, the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is still critical. The Fukushima Fifty risk their own lives to prevent complete meltdown. Today, engineers will bring back power to the cooling pumps.



Japan before & after: Aerial photos reveal the devastation


New York Times and Australian ABC News published an interactive map and aerial photos to show the extent of the devastation caused by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami around Honshu.


Lessons from Honshu earthquake: Building Codes Save Lives

12.03.2011, NYT

Modern building regulations and a strong geohazard awareness clearly increase the chance for people to survive a major natural disaster. This is the main lesson that we learn from yesterday's earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Christchurch earthquake and several major earthquakes in China.



Should Heartattack Grill's owner be prosecuted?

10.03.2011, Forbes

The restaurant's motto “Taste Worth Dying For” now has taken a literal meaning. Last week, the 260-kilogram spokesman for the Heartattack Grill died. With obesity rapidly rising to become one of the main causes of death worldwide, this grill unashamedly promotes unhealthy diets.



Neuroanthropology blog: 'Amphibious' Humans offshore Borneo

06.03.2011, Neuroanthropology

In his PLOS blog Neuroanthropology, cultural anthropologist Greg Downey investigates the stunning physiological and cultural adaptations of fishermen who inhabit floating villages anchored offshore.


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US Tribal Colleges serve local communities

05.03.2011, Nature News (pdf)

Research projects by young Native American students help the communities of Indian Reservations to improve their lives. Using sophisticated analyses they were able to advise people about fish consumption from polluted lakes.


The Virginia Quarterly Review

e-readers don't use dead trees, but miners pay the price

04.03.2011, Virginia Quarterly Review

A special issue of Virginia Quarterly Review investigates the consequences of the growing use of e-readers, smartphones and iPads. Good for the trees, bad for the miners, who dig the rare earth metals that are used in the electronic components.


From the article

Waniyetu Wówapi: Native American Records of Weather, Climate

03.03.2011, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

A new source of historical information about unusual and extreme weather from the 17th to the 19th century. These beautiful pictographic calendars are called Waniyetu wówapi or ‘winter counts’ kept by several Great Plains Indian peoples.


Darwin Summer School on Biogeosciences

03.03.2011, Information and Application

First edition of Darwin Summer School 4-15 July 2011 (full time two week course) by The Darwin Center for Biogeosciences, Utrecht and Texel, the Netherlands.