How ancient people fell in love with bread, beer and other carbs

Andrew Curry

Nature | June 22, 2021

Pillars and sunken steps make up the ruins of the Göbekli Tepe archaeological site, Turkey.
Grains were on the menu at feasts that took place more than 11,000 years ago at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey — one of the world’s oldest temples. Credit: Vincent J. Musi

On a clear day, the view from the ruins of Göbekli Tepe stretches across southern Turkey all the way to the Syrian border some 50 kilometres away. At 11,600 years old, this mountaintop archaeological site has been described as the world’s oldest temple — so ancient, in fact, that its T-shaped pillars and circular enclosures pre-date pottery in the Middle East.

The people who built these monumental structures were living just before a major transition in human history: the Neolithic revolution, when humans began farming and domesticating crops and animals. But there are no signs of domesticated grain at Göbekli Tepe, suggesting that its residents hadn’t yet made the leap to farming. The ample animal bones found in the ruins prove that the people living there were accomplished hunters, and there are signs of massive feasts. Archaeologists have suggested that mobile bands of hunter-gatherers from all across the region came together at times for huge barbecues, and that these meaty feasts led them to build the impressive stone structures.

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Capital and the Ecology of Disease

 John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark and Hannah Holleman

Monthly Review | Volume 73, Issue 02 (June 2021)

New beech leaves, Gribskov Forest in the northern part of Sealand, Denmark
New beech leaves, Gribskov Forest in the Northern part of Sealand, Denmark. Malene Thyssen, Own Work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link.

“The old Greek philosophers,” Frederick Engels wrote in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, “were all born natural dialecticians.”1 Nowhere was this more apparent than in ancient Greek medical thought, which was distinguished by its strong materialist and ecological basis. This dialectical, materialist, and ecological approach to epidemiology (from the ancient Greek epi, meaning on or upon, and demos, the people) was exemplified by the classic Hippocratic text Airs Waters Places (c. 400 BCE), which commenced:

Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly, should proceed thus: in the first place to consider the seasons of the year, and what effects each of them produces, for they are not all alike, but differ from themselves in regard to their changes. Then the winds, the hot and cold, especially such as are common to all countries, and then such as are peculiar to each locality. We must also consider the qualities of the waters, for as they differ from another in taste and weight, so also do they differ much in their qualities. In the same manner, when one comes into a city to which he is a stranger, he ought to consider its situation, how it lies as to the winds and the rising of the sun.… These things one ought to consider most attentively, and concerning the waters which the inhabitants use, whether they be marshy and soft, or hard, and running from elevated rocky situations, and then if saltish and unfit for cooking, and the ground, whether it be naked and deficient in water, or wooded and well-watered, and whether it lies in a hollow or confined situation, or is elevated and cold; and the mode in which the inhabitants live, and what are their pursuits, whether they are fond of drinking and eating to excess, and given to indolence, or are fond of exercise and labor.…

For if one knows all these things well, or at least the greater part of them, he cannot miss knowing, when he comes into a strange city, either the diseases peculiar to the place, or the particular nature of common diseases, so that he will not be in doubt as to the treatment of the diseases, or commit mistakes, as is likely to be the case provided one has not previously considered these matters. And in particular, as the season and the year advances, he can tell what epidemic diseases will attack the city, either in summer or in winter, and what each individual will be in danger of experiencing from the change in regimen.… For with the seasons the digestive organs of men undergo a change.2

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MAINSTREAM MEDIA 

Silicon Valley Algorithm Manipulation Is The Only Thing Keeping Mainstream Media Alive

Caitlin Johnstone

The emergence of the internet was met with hope and enthusiasm by people who understood that the plutocrat-controlled mainstream media were manipulating public opinion to manufacture consent for the status quo. The democratization of information-sharing was going to give rise to a public consciousness that is emancipated from the domination of plutocratic narrative control, thereby opening up the possibility of revolutionary change to our society’s corrupt systems.

But it never happened. Internet use has become commonplace around the world and humanity is able to network and share information like never before, yet we remain firmly under the thumb of the same power structures we’ve been ruled by for generations, both politically and psychologically. Even the dominant media institutions are somehow still the same.Read More »

MAINSTREAM MEDIA 

The Mass Media Will Never Regain The Public’s Trust

Caitlin Johnstone

This year has marked the first time ever that trust in news media dropped below fifty percent in the United States, continuing a trend of decline that’s been ongoing for years.

Mass media punditry is divided on where to assign the blame for the plummet in public opinion of their work, with some blaming it on Russia and others blaming it on Donald Trump. Others, like a recent Forbes article titled “Restoring Public Trust In Technology And Media Is Infrastructure Investment” blame it on the internet. Still others, like a Washington Post article earlier this month titled “Bad news for journalists: The public doesn’t share our values” blame it on the people themselves.

The one thing they all seem to agree on is that it’s definitely not because the billionaire-controlled media are propaganda outlets which manipulate us constantly in conjunction with sociopathic government agencies to protect the oligarchic, imperialist status quo upon which the members of the billionaire class have built their respective kingdoms. It cannot possibly be because people sense that they are being lied to and are fed up with it.Read More »

CLASS POLITICS 

Whose Crisis, Which?

Farooque Chowdhury

Frontier | Vol. 53, No. 22-25, Nov 29 – Dec 26, 2020

Crises deluge this region considered a sub-continent in Asia. The questions are:
(1)   Which crises?
(2)   Whose crises are these?
(3)   At which stage are these crises?

A question, also, encounters a part of the progressives: Are the endeavours for a revolutionary change going through a crisis?

The first three questions–which and whose, and which stage–help find out answer to the question related to revolutionary change.Read More »

U.S. POLITICS AND SOCIETY

American Trust in The Mainstream Media Hits An All-Time Low

Countercurrents | January 22, 2021

New data from Edelman shows that American trust in media is at all-time low.

While 56% believe that journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead, 58% think news organizations are more interested in ideology than facts, and only 18% of Republicans trust the media versus 57% of Democrats.

As a whole, 46% of Americans of all political stripes say they trust the media.Read More »

SCIENCE AND SOCIETY 

Vaccines — Lessons from Three Centuries of Protest

Julie Leask

Nature | September 21, 2020

A protestor holds a sign against the use of vaccine, 5G and mask wearing in Spain
2020: Protesters elide vaccination, 5G mobile-phone technology and face masks in Spain, where COVID-19 rates are soaring.Credit: Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty

Anti-vaxxers: How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement Jonathan M. Berman MIT Press (2020)

The need to control outbreaks and pandemics has long created tensions between liberty and interdependence, similar to those playing out worldwide today. Anti-vaxxers is a book that reminds us of the historical precedents to the odd alliances — anti-vaccine, anti-mask, anti-5G, for instance — that are getting in the way of public health right now.Read More »

U.S SOCIETY

 

Gun Sales Spike Among African-Americans

A Journal of People report

 

Gun sales have spiked in the United States during the Pandemic months.

A new survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) found: During the first six months of 2020, gun retailers have reported a record 10.3 million firearm transactions, overall, gun sales in the U.S. have increased by 95 percent while ammunition sales have increased 139 percent compared to the same period last year. And among various demographic groups, African-Americans account for the highest increase in gun purchases.

“The highest overall firearm sales increase comes from Black men and women, who show a 58.2% increase in purchases during the first six months of 2020 versus the same period last year,” Jim Curcuruto, NSSF director of research and market development, wrote in his report. “Bottom line is that there has never been a sustained surge in firearm sales quite like what we are in the midst of.”Read More »

Chile: Pandemic and Rebellion

by Angel Guerra Cabrera

 

The great Chilean mass rebellion scored a very important victory yesterday. What had been expected for days is now a fact: the approval in both houses of Congress of the right of the 11 million members of the Pension Fund Administrators (AFP) to withdraw for one time 10 percent of what they have been paid, equivalent to some 20 billion dollars. Some argue that this is not the most ideal solution for the social drama these people are experiencing, but most see it as very important economic aid to stave off devastation.  More to come at a time when the government of President Sebastián Piñera has plunged the country into one of the worst situations on an international scale due to its disastrous management of the pandemic. It has also been incapable of adopting social plans that would mean real support for large sectors of the population that have been greatly affected economically by the confinement, that had already been lacking in the past, since the coronavirus has served to aggravate and expose in raw form the damage caused to layers of the society by neoliberal policies. In the face of the pandemic, Piñera’s government only sought to save the profit share of its friends in the largest economic groups, but even that has not been achieved, given the great damage the disease is doing to the economy.Read More »

The Tremendous But ‘Secret’ Success Of Socialist Vietnam

by 

Countercurrents | July 10, 2020

Some twenty years ago, when I moved to Hanoi, the city was bleak, grey, covered by smog. The war had ended, but terrible scars remained.

I brought my 4WD from Chile, and insisted on driving it myself. It was one of the first SUVs in the city. Each time I drove it, it was hit by scooters, which flew like projectiles all over the wide avenues of the capital.

Hanoi was beautiful, melancholic, but clearly marked by war. There were stories, terrible stories of the past. In “my days”, Vietnam was one of the poorest countries in Asia.Read More »