Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stuff below the fold

Are Giants beings from outer space, or just very large humans (who just look like giants because everyone else is short)?

Ancient Standard discusses.
Found inside an abnormally long tomb, the man’s height measured 6 feet, 8 inches (202cm)—which would have been gigantic in ancient Rome, where the typical man averaged about 5.5 feet (167cm). For comparison, it’s worth noting that the modern-day “tallest man” is 8 feet, 3 inches high (251 cm).
They discuss if it was due to "giantism" (i.e. pituitary  problems) but it could also be nutrition related: I saw this in my son's home in southern Colombia. They were 5'6", and a little taller than most of the men in the area, but when we went across the border to visit Ecuador, where it was poorer, the average man was only about 5'0"...
Similarly, the children attending high schools (boarding schools) in Zimbabwe tended to be a few inches larger than the local kids who did not, again due to nutrition.

which is why the Romans and Greeks who ate the low fat/low protein "Mediterranean diet" were so short next to the cattle raising barbarians, and American soldiers tended to be smaller than the Native Americans of the plains who hunted.

Nat Geo has a new film on the Human family presumably a remake of the previous special.

Dr. Mary Beard notices the eco nannies in L.A.

The hotel I'm in is already a good start -- "environmentally friendly" gone engagingly mad. I mean not just the usual (sensible) notice in the bathroom about using your towel more than once, but also a rather stern list on instructions left on the pillow about refilling your own reusable bottle of water from the tap, and turning off the lights when you are out of the room, etc.
All of this is absolutely right, and it's what I would do anyway ("turn the bloody lights off" having been drummed into me in the womb). But -- counter-suggestibility again --when I see the rules all written down and left on my pillow, even I start to feel like turning the aircon up to maximum, and going out for the day. Or even marking myself out as a self-confessed eco-criminal by prominently displaying the "Daily laundering requested" notice.

Science news you can use: The heck with Global Warming: beware of Local Warming...

(via Improbable research): caution: put down coffee before

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