Why Archeologists Hate Indiana Jones

The jungles of the Peten are hot and sweaty. Most of the best places for archeology are. Field seasons are especially hot, since they are always during the driest time of year so that the site doesn’t get flooded. Howler monkeys boom from the parched trees, which barely twitch during the windless days. Meanwhile, pasty grad students toil away in the hot sun, quietly picking away at a stucco relief or the markings on a stone pillar.

In this heat, it’s good to wear a hat, preferably something sturdy with a wide brim. Every archeology site in the world is littered with rugged people in wide-brimmed hats talking about long dead civilizations. Tulane archeologist Marcello Canuto, for instance, prefers the khaki, floppy variety. Walking back to camp with after a long day at one Northern Guatemalan site, I can’t help but make the obvious comparison.

“Oh God,” he groans, “Don’t even go there. Indiana Jones is not an archeologist.”

Read more from the Last Word on Nothing blog.

How much science in new Planet of the Apes film?

In a career spanning nearly 40 years, Frans de Waal has cemented a reputation as one of the leading authorities on the behaviour of great apes.

The Dutch-born professor at Emory University in Georgia, US, has made a major contribution to our understanding of primate communities - uncovering many parallels with human societies.

But he’s not impressed with the way our evolutionary cousins have often been portrayed on screen.

"If they were shown in a respectful way, that would be one thing. But they are usually made to be clowns, which is not helpful for the conservation case or the ethical case," he tells me.

So what did this top primatologist think of the new instalment in the Planet of the Apes franchise?”

Read more at bbcnews.

Gravity’s Oscar-winning Visual Effects Mastermind Talks about Computer Graphics and ‘Weightlessness’

"For Webber, his scientific grounding has helped him explore the links between artistic and scientific creativity, none more so than in Gravity. “The physics grounding I had through education has often informed my work and knowledge, for example:  in understanding the way light bounces off objects and behaves, through to simulating water flow.  Also, when animating a simple character in motion, the understanding of the basic laws of physics is so important in getting the movement right.”

Read more from Scientific American.

To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union