👓 Children aren’t starting puberty younger, medieval skeletons reveal | The Conversation

Children aren’t starting puberty younger, medieval skeletons reveal by Mary Lewis (The Conversation)
Children are entering puberty younger than before, according to recent studies, raising concerns that childhood obesity and hormone-contaminated water supplies may be to blame. However, our archaeological research suggests that there’s nothing to worry about. Children in medieval England entered puberty between ten and 12 years of age – the same as today.

Of course, naturally, this isn’t the publicly perceived story. There’s still some science missing from the overall arc of the story, but people who believe that chemicals in the environment and hormones in food are causing children to start puberty at younger ages should be questioning why they think this is the case.

If anything, perhaps better first world lives may be pressuring the age down a bit, but even then it sounds like there’s a lower limit. Evolutionary effects are also certainly at play as well.

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👓 On digital archaeology | Andrew Eckford

On digital archaeology by Andrew Eckford (A Random Process)
The year is 4018. German is widely studied by scholars of classical antiquity, but all knowledge of the mysterious English language has died out. Scene: A classics department faculty lounge; a few professors are relaxing.

I worry about things like this all the time. Apparently it’s a terrible affliction that strikes those with a background in information theory at higher rates than the general public.

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👓 Disaster strikes for couple who sold everything to sail around the world | The Mirror

Disaster strikes for couple who sold everything to sail around the world by Jeff Farrell (The Mirror)
Tanner Broadwell, 26, and Nikki Walsh, 24, have just £60 left after their vessel they had used all their funds to buy capsized at sea off the coast of Florida

Clickbaity article. They were young and honestly didn’t lose that much in the grand scheme. How do inexperienced sailors eschew insurance on a new boat though?

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👓 The Songs That Bind | The New York Times

Opinion | The Songs That Bind by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (New York Times)
Data drawn from Spotify listeners reveal that we are all teenagers in love.

Apparently our musical tastes are firmed up in our early teens… this explains a lot for me.

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👓 Top official departs ‘rudderless’ railroad safety agency | Politico

Top official departs ‘rudderless’ railroad safety agency by Lauren Gardner (POLITICO)
The resignation of the former acting chief of the Federal Railroad Administration comes while Democrats are blocking a vote on a permanent leader — and as train-related deaths climb.
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👓 Gillibrand: If Trump wants due process, we’ll have hearings on allegations against him | The Hill

Gillibrand: If Trump wants due process, we'll have hearings on allegations against him by Jacqueline Thomsen (The Hill)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) went after President Trump on Saturday for his tweet questioning a lack of "due process" in abuse claims, saying that Congress could hold hearings about sexual misconduct allegations against him if he wanted due process. “The President has shown through words and actions that he doesn’t value women. It’s not surprising that he doesn’t believe survivors or understand the national conversation that is happening,” Gillibrand tweeted.
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👓 Can’t Get Your News From Facebook Anymore? Try These 6 Apps | Wired

Can't Get Your News From Facebook Anymore? Try These 6 Apps by Josie Colt (WIRED)
Now that the social network is changing what shows up in your feed, you’ll have to go elsewhere for current news.

I’ll particularly agree with how good I find Nuzzel to be, though I will say that I do take heavy advantage of a variety of highly curated Twitter lists which I’m sure helps the algorithm for the quality of news I get back out of the system.

I would prefer more transparency about how those that use algorithms are doing so.

Some of these don’t amount to much more than glorified RSS feed readers, and I’m shocked that the state of the art of the area isn’t much further along than it was a decade ago.

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👓 Flu Vaccines and the Math of Herd Immunity | Quanta Magazine

Flu Vaccines and the Math of Herd Immunity by Patrick Honner (Quanta Magazine)
Simple math shows how widespread vaccination can disrupt the exponential spread of disease and prevent epidemics.

This is a very clear and lucid article with some very basic math that shows the value of vaccines. I highly recommend it to everyone.

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👓 Which problems make good research problems? | Back Reaction

Which problems make good research problems? by Sabine HossenfelderSabine Hossenfelder (Back Reaction)
Scientists solve problems; that’s their job. But which problems are promising topics of research? This is the question I set out to answer in Lost in Math at least concerning the foundations of physics. A first, rough, classification of research problems can be made using Thomas Kuhn’s cycle of scientific theories. Kuhn’s cycle consists of a phase of “normal science” followed by “crisis” leading to a paradigm change, after which a new phase of “normal science” begins. This grossly oversimplifies reality, but it will be good enough for what follows.

A nice little article on a question many of us should be asking ourselves more often. This one has some additional nice overview of bits of physics in addition, but circling back around to the original question is always very valuable.

I’m going to have to track down a copy of Sabine Hossenfelder’s book Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray.

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👓 As Other Aides Face Trump’s Ire Over Rob Porter’s Departure, Hope Hicks Is Praised | New York Times

As Other Aides Face Trump’s Ire Over Rob Porter’s Departure, Hope Hicks Is Praised by Katie Rogers (New York Times)
The president dismissed an idea circulated by some aides and allies that he’d been unhappy with the role of Hope Hicks in workshopping an initial forceful defense of Mr. Porter.
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👓 What Amazon does to wages | The Economist

What Amazon does to wages (The Economist)
WHEN Amazon announced in 2010 that it would build a distribution centre in Lexington County, South Carolina, the decision was hailed as a victory for the Palmetto State. Today the e-commerce giant employs thousands of workers at the centre. Just 3.5% of the local workforce is out of work.

It would be nice to have some additional data on some of the subtleties. Lack of rising wages has also been recently noted to be the result of companies giving one time bonuses as well, and this particularly in response to the recent tax incentives. Sadly a one time bonus is not worth nearly as much as an annual raise in the long run.

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👓 L.L. Bean ends legendary lifetime return policy, and of course social media is to blame | Mashable

L.L. Bean ends legendary lifetime return policy, and of course social media is to blame by Rachel Kraus (Mashable)
Thanks, internet, for ruining another great thing.

Bad actors will ruin things all the time. Some of their tactics were egregiously bad. The company should have just put the onus back on the bad actors instead of giving up altogether, though I suspect they’ll probably do right by those “playing by the rules.”

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👓 American Spies Paid $100,000 to Russian Who Wanted to Sell Material on Trump | New York Times

U.S. Spies, Seeking to Retrieve Cyberweapons, Paid Russian Peddling Trump Secrets by Matthew Rosenberg (New York Times)
After months of negotiations, the Russian insisted on including information about the president as part of a deal involving stolen hacking tools.
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👓 All Followers Are Fake Followers | The Atlantic

All Followers Are Fake Followers by Ian Bogost (The Atlantic)
A New York Times exposé of a “black market” for online fame diagnoses the symptom of social-media despair, but misses its cause.

This aptly picks up where the NYT article left off… though of course they go on even further than this article admits.

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