28 agosto 2016

maré vazante, viveiros ria Aveiro

Not long ago, researchers for the first time connected oxytocin with why some animals are naturally monogamous and others are not. Only about 3 percent of nonhuman mammals form monogamous bonds; the majority mate with many different partners. Some species of prairie voles form long-lasting pair-bonds (sometimes for life). They share nests, avoid meeting other potential mates, and rear their offspring together. Closely related to the monogamous prairie voles are the montane voles, which display a very different mating style. They do not form pair-bonds, and the males are uninterested and uninvolved in parental care. Female montane voles are not exactly devoted parents either-they abandon their of spring shortly after birth.
Given that these two species of voles share 99 percent of the same genes, making them very genetically similar, why do they behave so differently? As it turns out, the voles differ greatly in how they produce and process oxytocin and vasopressin. The attachment-prone, faithful prairie voles have a lot more of these bonding hormones and have a denser supply of receptors in the brain that can detect and use them.
Why women have sex - Cindy M. Meston

27 agosto 2016

Pontão Vagueira

When last we saw the Apaches, they were dominating the Southwest. The Spanish tried in vain to control them, and the Mexicans who followed had no better luck. When the Americans took control of the region, they too foundered. In fact, the Apaches remained a significant threat well into the twentieth century. But then the tide turned. The Americans prevailed. [..] Here’s what broke Apache society: the Americans gave the Nant’ans cattle. It was that simple. Once the Nant‘ans had possession of a scarce resource-cows-their power shifted from symbolic to material. Where previously, the Nant’ans had led by example, now they could reward and punish tribe members by giving and withholding this resource.
The cows changed everything. Once the Nant’ans gained authoritative power, they began fighting each other for seats on newly created tribal councils [...] Tribe members began lobbying the Nant’ans for more resources and became upset if the allocations didn’t work out in their favor. The power structure, once fiat, became hierarchical, with power concentrated at the top. This broke down Apache society. Nevins refleets, “The Apache have a central government now, but I think personally that it’s a disaster for them because it creates a zerosum battle over resources between lineages.” With a more rigid power structure, the Apaches became similar to the Aztecs, and the Americans were able to control them.
The Starfish and the Spider - Ori Bradman, Ron A. Beckstorm

21 agosto 2016

Mr. Duncan, who told our class about how the Roman Empire swept across southern Europe. He recounted in hushed tones how the Romans built hierarchical social and political structures and heavily centralized systems for managing their vast empire. The boundaries between the different classes were strict and legally enforced. Members of different classes even dressed differently. Only the emperor was allowed to wear a purple toga, while senators could wear a white toga with a broad purple stripe along the edge, and equestrians, who ranked just below the senators, wore togas with a narrow purple stripe. The class of the person was therefore noticeable at first glimpse. So a first historical point is that the countries that fell under the influence of the Roman Empire (including Spain, Italy, and, to a lesser degree, France) tend to be more hierarchical than the rest of Western Europe. Although your Italian boss is unlikely to wear a purple toga, invisible and subtle remnants of these attitudes still remain today.
The second clue relates to a much later European empire, one that dominated the northern part of the continent to almost as great an extent as the Roman Empire dominated the south. When you think of the Vikings, you may think of hulking muscular men With long walrus mustaches and hats with horns, riding big ships and waging bloody wars. What you may not know is that the Vikings were surprisingly egalitarian. When settling in Iceland, they founded one of the world’s early democracies. The entire community was invited to the debating hall to thrash out the hot topics of the day, followed by a vote, with each person’s opinion carrying equal weight. Legend has it that, when the Prince of Franks sent an envoy from southern Europe to negotiate with the Vikings, the puzzled envoy returned confused and disheartened, complaining, ”I couldn’t figure out who to talk with. They said they were all the chiefs.”
The countries most influenced by the Vikings consistently rank as some of the most egalitarian and consensus-oriented cultures in the world today. So it is no surprise that, even today, when you walk into a meeting room in Copenhagen or Stockholm, it is often impossible to spot the boss.
Our third historical clue relates to the distance between the people and God in particular religions. Countries with Protestant cultures tend to fall further to the egalitarian side of the scale than those with a more Catholic tradition. One interpretation of this pattern is that the Protestant Reformation largely removed the traditional hierarchy from the church. In many strains of Protestantism, the individual speaks directly to God instead of speaking to God through the priest, the bishop, and the pope. Thus, it’s natural that societies in which Protestant religions predominate tend to be more egalitarian than those dominated by Catholicism.
The Culture Map - Erin Meyer

Such an atmosphere, with its multiple sources of unreliable information, stoked by fear and hatred, bred rumours of the wildest and most arcane variety. Plague was part of a sinister evangelical plot, some claimed, evidence of a government bent on ‘destroying caste and religious observances, with the ultimate design of forcing Christianity on the natives of India’. Others pointed to ‘proof’ that the government was in the process of poisoning the people: according to one newspaper report, ‘six bags of snakes and other worms have been ground [up] and dissolved in the water-pipe at Cawnpore to bring on plague among consumers’. Inside the scrubbed-white wards of plague hospitals all manner of horrors were said to be perpetrated: workers at the Arthur Road Hospital were quoted in one article as believing there to have been ‘something diabolical’ about a hospital ‘which claimed so many victims’: patients, it was said, were bled to death through the soles of their feet. There were even rumours that under every hospital bed was an ‘oil mill’ to grind the patient into ointment for use on Europeans: the plague inspection sheds at railway stations housed, by logical and paranoid extension, ‘big machines’ for compressing this valuable medicinal ooze from the bodies of innocent Indians.
The Plague Race - Edward Marriott

07 agosto 2016

Paredão Aveiro

That first map was only of the gravity field but to anyone who had ever seen a map of seafloor topography, its broad outlines looked familiar. That should not be surprising: insofar as mountains tend to have more mass than valleys, topography generates gravity, “If you put a mountain on the seafloor,” explains Smith, “the extra material represented by the rocks in that mountain add their ovm gravity to the overall field. If you’re right above the mountain, the added gravity pulls down in the same direction, and so it adds to the magnitude of gravity. But if you’re off to one side of the mountain, the gravitational field of the mountain pulls toward the mountain, and so the effect is to change the direction of gravity 3 little bit.” The sea surface, acting as a carpenter’s level, follows these changes; it becomes like an attenuated visual echo of the seafloor, piling up over mountains, dipping down over trenches.
Mapping The Deep - Robert Kunzig

Statsraad Lehmkuhl link Santa Maria Manuela link Caravela Vera Cruz link Creoula link
Ílhavo Sea Festival

Today the greatest divide within humanity is not between races, or religions, or even, as widely believed, between the literate and illiterate. It is the chasm that separates scientific from prescientihc cultures. Without the instruments and accumulated knowledge of the natural sciences-physics, chemistry, and biology-humans are trapped in a cognitive prison. They are like intelligent fish born in a deep, shadowed pool. Wondering and restless, longing to reach out, they think about the world outside. They invent ingenious speculations and myths about the origin of the confining waters, of the sun and the sky and the stars above, and the meaning of their own existence. But they are wrong, always wrong, because the world is too remote from ordinary experience to be merely imagined.
Science is neither a philosophy nor a belief system. It is a combination of mental operations that has become increasingly the habit of educated peoples, a culture of illuminations hit upon by a fortunate turn of history that yielded the most effective way of learning about the real world ever conceived.
Consilience - E. O. Wilson

01 agosto 2016

There would have been a lake. There would have been an arbor in flame-flower. There would have been nature studies-a tiger pursuing a bird of paradise, a choking snake sheathing whole the flayed trunk of a shoat. There would have been a sultan, his face expressing great agony (belied, as it were, by his molding caress), helping a callypygean slave child to climb a column of onyx. There would have been those luminous globules of gonadal glow that travel up the opalescent sides of juke boxes. There would have been all kinds of camp activities on the part of the intermediate group, Canoeing, Coranting, Combing Curls in the lakeside sun. There would have been poplars, apples, a suburban Sunday. There would have been a fire opal dissolving within a ripple-ringed pool, a last throb, a last dab of color, stinging red, smarting pink, a sigh, a wincing child. '
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov