Culture

Some around the world predict that the COVID-19 will heal divisions and narrow inequalities. A pandemic, they claim, can remind us of our common humanity and the need to discard prejudices. It can also highlight inequalities and injustices and prompt people in power to deal with them. In Europe, some predict it will highlight the plight of people in the ‘gig economy’ who do not enjoy a guaranteed wage. In the US, there are hopes that it may make it easier for people who cannot get to polling booths to vote. In South Africa, some hope it will prompt action against the conditions which make…
One of the more startling discoveries arising from genomic sequencing of ancient hominin DNA is the realisation that all humans outside Africa have traces of DNA in their genomes that do not belong to our own species. The approximately six billion people on Earth whose recent ancestry is not from Africa will have inherited between 1% and 2% of their genome from our closest but now extinct relatives: the Neanderthals. East Asians and Oceanians have also inherited a small amount of ancestry from the Denisovans, another close relative of Homo Sapiens. Now a new study, published in Science…
The "Grow scientific progress" movement is being given a chance in Europe. The European Commission is allowing a new citizen initiative calling for revisions to deregulate gene-editing techniques. The petition would need to receive over 1 million statements of support from residents of seven member states in order to trigger European Commission analysis and response. The organisers of the initiative state that Directive 2001/18/EC on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is ‘outdated' and ask for a revision of its rules concerning new plant breeding techniques (NPBT), with the objective of…
Researchers from the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology at the University of Seville have studied the archaeological evidence of prehistoric societies in the Neolithic Period in the Iberian Peninsula from the perspective of gender and show in a new paper that gender differences first appeared which meant male domination in later periods of history. They analysed two groups of indicators: life conditions and demographic aspects; and funerary practices. In the first group, they studied factors like the sexual ratio (proportion of men to women), diet, genetic data, movement, the most…
An extraordinarily well-preserved Late Bronze Age settlement in Cambridgeshire, in the East of England, has been called 'Britain's Pompeii' or the 'Pompeii of the Fens' but is more accurately the Must Farm quarry. Thanks to corporate funding from Forterra Building Products Ltd, the quarry got a major excavation and there is now a definitive timeframe to Must Farm's occupation and destruction. It lasted just one year before being consumed in a catastrophic fire. Must Farm is located within the silts of a slow-flowing freshwater river, with stilted structures built to elevate the…