Limiting Your Child’s Fire Time

a bit of cheeky humor from the New Yorker:

Limiting Your Child’s Fire Time: A Guide for Concerned Paleolithic Parents

According to the most recent cave drawings, children nowadays are using fire more than ever before. And it’s no wonder: fire has many wonderful applications, such as cooking meat, warming the home, and warding off wild animals in the night. We adult Homo erectus, with our enlarged brains and experience of pre-fire days, can moderate our use, but our children—some of whom never lived during a time when you couldn’t simply strike two rocks together for an hour over a pile of dried grass to eventually produce a spark that, with gentle coaxing, might grow into a roaring flame—can have difficulty self-monitoring their interactions with fire.

Read the rest by clicking the link below.

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Archaeology, anti-science, and media egos

Dennis Stanford shows a stone blade he found in the water at Chesapeake Bay, near a site he believes to be an ancient Solutrean camp. The Nature of Things with David Suzuki/ Handout

CBC’s science show The Nature of Things is set to air a documentary that purports to prove the first humans in the New World came across the ocean from Europe and not, as most scientists think, via a land bridge from Asia.

A geneticist of ancient humans calls it “extremely irresponsible” to promote this theory, not just because it is widely rejected and unsupported by evidence, but also because it is a favourite piece of propaganda among white supremacists, who use it to argue Europeans colonized North America before Native Americans, and therefore have the original claim to the land.

Promotional material for the documentary Ice Bridge calls it an “explosive new theory”: that an ancient race of highly sophisticated Ice Age humans called Solutreans migrated across sea ice from their ancestral homelands in Spain and France 20,000 years ago, bringing with them an advanced tool making technology. The documentary dramatizes that journey as it discusses the theory.

The Solutrean Hypothesis, as it is known, is so toxic, and so discredited among mainstream researchers that documentary director Robin Bicknell said she could barely find anyone willing to go on camera even just to say it was wrong.

“That’s how repellent the term ‘Solutrean Hypothesis’ is,” Bicknell said. The common view was that this theory has already been debunked, she said. The final product includes two academic skeptics.

“Who were the first North Americans?” says Suzuki as the film opens.

That question has a “huge political component” that can overshadow the science, said José Victor Moreno-Mayar of the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen.

Read the full article HERE.

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The CDC bans 7 words and phrases from work conducted by their scientists

I’m sad that such nonsense enters our scientific community. Politicians of any flavor should have no editing power in a scientific study.

Why Evolution Is True

Several readers sent me links to an odious new policy implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. This link to the Chicago Tribune‘s article, source of the quotes below, comes from reader Ron.

This new policy was of course forced on the CDC by the Trump administration.  My emphasis below:

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases – including “fetus” and “transgender” – in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

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Beyond the Valley of the Mastodons and a Visit from Channel 8

Great stuff.

the Virtual Curation Laboratory

by Bernard K.  Means

In a week, I will be travelling to the Western Science Center in Hemet, California, for the Valley of the Mastodons workshop and exhibit. In addition to 3D scanning, I will also be presenting. Below is a poster I developed for the conference.

means and simmons-ehrhardt 2017.jpg

I also was on a local news station last week talking about the 3D scanning of mastodon remains found near Yorktown, Virginia.  You can view that story here:

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Horse Toe Bones and 14,000 Year Old Human Shit


The oldest known evidence of human presence in North America is some pieces of shit excavated from Paisley Cave, Oregon.  Carbon-dating of this feces indicates humans crapped in the cave about 14,350 calendar years ago.  The contents of these turds consists of bison, dog, bird, fish, grass, and sunflower seeds.  One study found the amount of cholesterol and phosphate in the crap points to an animal with a vegetarian rather than an omnivorous diet, and the authors of this paper don’t believe it is human manure.  They suggest the human DNA extracted from the specimens are a result of contamination from people mishandling it.  However, the contents were mostly animal matter, so I don’t understand how the naysayers who authored this paper can come to this conclusion.  Other scientists note the presence of wolf or fox DNA in the crap.  The scientists who are convinced the turds are human believe…

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Happy International Museum Day!!

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Originally posted on the Virtual Curation Laboratory:
by Bernard K. Means This week I am doing research at the Museum of Himalayan Archaeology and Ethnography at HNB Garhwal University in Srinagar (Garhwal), Uttarakhand, India.  I’m not quite ready to discuss…

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End of a Chapter

I officially stepped down today as the Director and driving force of the Clovis Site and Museum (a.k.a. Blackwater Draw National Historic Landmark). It was with mixed feelings that I decided it was time to move on from what has really been my life’s work and the focus of my professional thought for most of twenty years.  I was thrilled and honored to officially open with our new exhibit focusing on the 85 years of work at the Clovis site as well as the broader material cultures of the Southern High Plains.

Happily, I was joined by former Director John Montgomery, Curator Jenna Domeischel, ENMU President Steve Gamble, and Jim Warnica (Jim has been affiliated with the Clovis site for 80 years!).

With over 160 people in attendance throughout the day, we were nearly run off our feet.  The local preschool thought it would be a great idea to “drop in” with 25 pre-Kindergarten-age kid’s while we were still opening up!  It was a litmus test for sure.

I would like to personally thank our student staff for the great help they provided today and during the months leading up to the opening: Tawnya Waggle, Rogun Hamm, Patricia Byers (not present today), Malikah Rashid, and Stacey Bennett, whose many concepts and designs are present in the new displays.

I hope my affiliation with the Clovis site does not end here but has created a new chapter in this vast resource with so much still to give.

~GT Crawford



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Visit Cahokia

This should be on the “bucket list” of anyone interested in America before the Europeans.  It is an enormous prehistoric city across the river from present-day St. Louis.  Even though much has been lost through carelessness, development, and the ravages of time, there is still much to see, do, and learn from this remarkable place.

Here’s an older video from the Interpretive Center that gives a nice overview.  I can’t wait to get back to Cahokia.  New mysteries are discovered every year.

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Student Research Posters, Part 2

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Originally posted on the Virtual Curation Laboratory:
This past Wednesday, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (VCU UROP) sponsored an undergraduate research poster symposium.  Among those presenting at the VCU UROP symposium were students in my Visualizing and Exhibiting…

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Student Research Posters, Part 1

Originally posted on the Virtual Curation Laboratory:
by Bernard K. Means This past Wednesday, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (VCU UROP) sponsored an undergraduate research poster symposium.  Among those presenting at the VCU UROP symposium were students in…

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Appreciate Your Museums While They’re Around

Here are a few facts on this fun graphic.  Print and share!


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Suzanne Eckert Lecture; Telling their story through clay

Upcoming lecture at ENMU.


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