one of the papers mentioned from the Royal Society
Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktales
Sara Graça da Silva1 and Jamshid J. Tehrani2
1 Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Institute for the Study of Literature and Tradition, New University of Lisbon, Avenida de Berna, 26-C, Lisboa 1069-061, Portugal 2Department of Anthropology and Centre for the Coevolution of Biology and Culture, Durham University, Durham DH1 1LE, UK
Ancient population expansions and dispersals often leave enduring signatures in the cultural traditions of their descendants, as well as in their genes and languages. The international folktale record has long been regarded as a rich context in which to explore these legacies. To date, investigations in this area have been complicated by a lack of historical data and the impact of more recent waves of diffusion. In this study, we introduce new methods for tackling these problems by applying comparative phylogenetic methods and autologistic modelling to analyse the relationships between folktales, population histories and geographical distances in Indo-European-speaking societies. We find strong correlations between the distributions of a number of folktales and phylogenetic, but not spatial, associations among populations that are consistent with vertical processes of cultural inheritance. Moreover, we show that these oral traditions probably originated long before the emergence of the literary record, and find evidence that one tale (‘The Smith and the Devil’) can be traced back to the Bronze Age. On a broader level, the kinds of stories told in ancestral societies can provide important insights into their culture, furnishing new perspectives on linguistic, genetic and archaeological reconstructions of human prehistory.
In articles, blog posts and Facebook threads, scholars have debated whether “Hamilton” over-glorifies the man, inflating his opposition to slavery while glossing over less attractive aspects of his politics, which were not necessarily as in tune with contemporary progressive values as audiences leaving the theater might assume.
The conversation has yet to erupt into a full-fledged historians’ rap battle. But some scholars are wondering if one is due to start.
“The show, for all its redemptive and smart aspects, is part of this ‘Founders Chic’ phenomenon,” said David Waldstreicher, a historian at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York who last September sounded an early note of skepticism on The Junto, a group blog about early American history.
Amid all the enthusiasm for “Hamilton” the musical, he added, Hamilton the man “has gotten a free pass.”
I've heard great things about Firewatch from serious gamers and well as those who are ungamers. I haven't played it - our machines are too old to meet the minimum spec, but you might want to check out this from The Atlantic as well as the developer's site. They sold a half million copies on the first day and covered their development costs. Nice seeing something simple rather than a tech festooned first person shooter.
Canada's CBC radio service has been broadcasting a reading of Frederick Forsyth's The Shepherd for many years. It has become something of a tradition throughout Canada. It is usually broadcast at 6:30 Christmas Eve, but the file has been posted to their podcast site. (mp3 about 31 minutes)
Ron Carlson's holiday short story.. The reading is from Selected Shorts and unfortnately the high quality version on their site isn’t available. Something more AM quality was captured and will stream from Soundcloud.
If the first line doesn't draw you in, nothing will...
Although I'm a huge fan of John McPhee, my candidate for the best piece to appear in The New Yorker is Lillian Ross' portrait of Ernest Hemingway. It had been recommended to me many times over the years and I finally looked it up in the library when I was in grad school. There have been many outstanding pieces - it one has to be at or near the top.
The question came up again recently. How do You like it Now, Gentleman? is outside their paywall. It has been years - decades - since I last read it, and it is still great.