BigCityLib Strikes Back: Short Musical Quiz: Chimp Vs. Sumerian Zither

A Midi recording of the oldest known musical composition (from 1400 BC), which originally would have been played on some kind of dorky harp instrument:The first known drum solo by a chimp:Which do you like better?  So far I’m leaning chimp.  He reminds me a bit of Mickey Waller, who played for Rod Stewart back ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Gotta Get Me One Of Them Aztec Death Whistles

…’cuz it really does sound like the ‘scream of a thousand corpses’.  I can see these things being a great Halloween novelty, or maybe a stocking stuffer around Xmas.

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Serious Question: What’s Crapping On My Balcony?

I’m nine floors up in outer Scarborough (or, as we call it down here, The Bro), facing West, and every once in awhile I find animal poop on the balcony of my condo unit.  Too big for a mouse or rat–and how could they get up here anyway?– not a furry pellet like owls produce, ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Searching The Internet For Time Travellers

From the abstract: Abstract. Time travel has captured the public imagination for much of the past century, but little has been done to actually search for time travelers. Here, three implementations of Internet searches for time travelers are described, all seeking a prescient mention of  information not previously available. The first search covered prescient content placed ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: History Of Paranormal Research In Russia And The Soviet Union: 1917 To Present

Unconventional research in USSR and Russia: short overview is a fascinating document.  I’ve just excerpted bits below and added a few comments.  Of course the Americans did this kind “research”, so you would expect the Russians did as well.  I didn’t know they were up to it this early, however: No further work was done until the ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Giant Sloth: Its What’s For Dinner

From The Archaeology News: Most scientists agree that humans began arriving in the Americas between 13,000 and 15,000 years ago, and the Clovis people of North and Central America are generally considered the “first Americans.” But new fossil evidence from a streambed in southern Uruguay could challenge such theories. Results published in Proceedings of the ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: More On The Piraha (My Favorite Folk)

The Piraha are a small tribe living along the Amazon with an extremely peculiar…simple, primitive…language: Among Pirahã’s many peculiarities is an almost complete lack of numeracy, an extremely rare linguistic trait of which there are only a few documented cases. The language contains no words at all for discrete numbers and only three that approximate ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Science Proves This Blog As Addictive As Cocaine!

Oreos, however, are not:. The study ref-ed is entirely without scientific value.  It’s what you get when you allow college students access to cookies and drugs.

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Fighting Dragons

Not exactly, but…  Click on pic for full effect. I used to own a couple of Greens, which are not quite as spectacular.  They would fight, but a bit less energetically than these two.

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Canadians Abroad

Apr. 25, 2013 — The rediscovery of a mystery animal in a museum’s underground storeroom proves that a non-native ‘big cat’ prowled the British countryside at the turn of the last century. The animal’s skeleton and mounted skin was analysed by a multi-disciplinary team of Durham University scientists and fellow researchers at Bristol, Southampton and ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: On Hair, Ancient And More Ancient

Janet Stephens, the “hair dressing archaeologist”, has been much in the news of late for having successfully recreated the hair-style worn by ancient Rome’s Vestal Virgin priestesses. Here’s how she got her start:  “One day, I was killing time at the Walters Museum in Baltimore while my daughter was at a music lesson and I ended up ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: The Final Frontier

The bottom of Lake Whillans, a two meter deep body of water underneath Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf, sandwiched between ice and rock.  And, yes, it harbors life.

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Carry On Roma

With all the to-do about these folks lately, I thought the following might be apropos: Dec. 6, 2012 — Despite their modern-day diversity of language, lifestyle, and religion, Europe’s widespread Romani population shares a common, if complex, past. It all began in northwestern India about 1,500 years ago… […] The genome-wide evidence specified the geographic ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Mathys Get Punked

A quick update to this post from April 2012, which is about a paper withdrawn from the journal Applied Mathematics Letters because it had “no mathematical content”.  Now we have second paper retracted from the same journal because it made “no sense mathematically”.  A summary: There’s nothing new in this paper, so it’s consistent with something, we’re not ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Life On Mars?

Last week Curiosity was able to use its SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) device to confirm the discovery. A robotic arm with a complex system of Spectral Analysis devices was able to vaporize and identify gasses from the sample, concluding that it is in fact plastic. How plastic formed or ended up on the Martian ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Bloop No More

This is terribly disappointing: The broad spectrum sounds recorded in the summer of 1997 are consistent with icequakes generated by large icebergs as they crack and fracture. NOAA hydrophones deployed in the Scotia Sea detected numerous icequakes with spectrograms very similar to “Bloop”. The icequakes were used to acoustically track iceberg A53a as it disintegrated ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: From The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness

* The neural substrates of emotions do not appear to be confined to cortical structures. In fact, subcortical neural networks  aroused during  affective  states  in humans are  also  critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals. Artificial arousal of the same brain regions generates corresponding behavior and feeling states in both humans and non-human animals.  Wherever  in the brain ...

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Elsevier Pranked

Elsevier is a very large publisher of scientific and medical journals.  It has been boycotted recently number of high-profile scientists due to its high subscription prices for individual journals, bundling subscriptions to journals of different value and importance, and Elsevier’s support for SOPA, PIPA, and the Research Works Act.[44][45][46]  A couple of years back, this paper  appeared ...