Archaeology Is Hindered by Evolutionary Assumptions

first_imgWhy was a complex village uncovered in Uruguay called “unexpected”?  Peter W. Stahl (anthropology, Binghamtom U.) asks the question in the Dec. 2 issue of Nature:1Evidence of unexpected complexity in an ancient community in Uruguay is a further blow to the conventional view of prehistoric development in marginal areas of lowland South America.    Archaeological research often reveals unexpected results.  This is common in South America, especially when archaeologists venture off the beaten track to explore unfamiliar areas.  However, our surprise is also a product of our preconceptions.  Recent work in the lowlands of tropical South America clearly bears this out, with discoveries of prehistoric complexity in unforeseen places and/or times.  On page 614 of this issue, Iriarte et al. present another example of precocious development in a hitherto little-explored and under-appreciated area.  The authors refer humbly to their results as unexpected; but given the profusion of surprises elsewhere, why would they be unexpected in the first place?The answer is that for over 60 years, archaeologists have been taught to think certain ways about marginal areas and primitive peoples.  They have been taught an “now-outmoded belief in cultural evolution, culture areas and trait diffusion; environmental determinism; a sketchy archaeological record; and an underestimation of the effects of European conquest on native populations,” Stahl claims.  Authorities like Julian Steward inculcated notions of slow urban development gradually creeping to outlying areas, and ‘traditional Indians’ living out their simple lives, surviving “relatively unchanged since deep time.”  Stahl takes issue with this, noting the number of contradictions with the evidence.  “Although few would buy into these ideas today,” he says, “Steward’s culture history has had an enormous impact on archaeological interpretation, both academic and popular.”    It’s hard to dislodge old myths.  Stahl is not surprised by the complexity of outlying villages, like the one by Iriarte et al. that showed:a large formal village plan, consisting of mound and plaza features, at a time (more than 4,000 years ago) and in a place where conventional wisdom would not have expected them to exist.  Moreover, subsequent occupation, intentional remodelling, settlement planning and village size indicate both a permanence and a density of population previously unthought of for this area.  Innovative analyses of plant microfossils and starch grains extracted from stone tools yield evidence for the early exploitation of maize, squash, beans and root crops in an area that was long considered non-agricultural, at least for prehistoric populations.It appears these people were doing what humans have always done: applying their brains and intentions to organize their lives with intelligence and skill.  This example “not only rejects much of the interpretational baggage carried by generations of archaeologists, but also exposes the potential for prehistoric culture in grasslands and wetlands, which were historically viewed as marginal areas,” he says.  In conclusion, he preaches, “Marginality and atrophied development are part of a flawed historic perspective.  Our expectations for indigenous achievements should be greater.”1Peter W. Stahl, “Archaeology: Greater expectations,” Nature 432, 561 – 562 (02 December 2004); doi:10.1038/432561a.Who gave the scientific world an image of primitive man evolving in marginal areas, living hand to mouth with very slow cultural evolution?  Who portrayed the relatively recent cities as the places where the lights of humanity first went on, and progress slowly spread into the outlying areas?  Was it not the Darwinists in Victorian Britain, who tended to view themselves as the intellectually superior race?  The history of Darwinian racism and treatment of indigenous peoples is a shameful lesson that has no justification today, as Stahl points out.    In contrast, Biblical creationists would see man as always fully man, endowed from the beginning with free will, language, culture and intelligence.  People groups spread rapidly over the globe after the flood, carrying a good deal of cultural memory with them.  Just because they didn’t always make pottery does not mean they weren’t good farmers or knew how to build complex villages.  Creationists would see a gradual degradation of ability because of sin, with occasional collective rises and falls of civilizations; there is also the counteracting tendency for technological knowledge to increase and accumulate over time.  Overall, creationists have greater expectations about indigenous achievements, and therefore are not surprised to find complexity in human cultures from the earliest times.  And that is exactly what archaeology shows: man is always fully man, capable of remarkable achievements, but needing salvation and escape from the “flawed historical perspective” of false teachers.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Review: The HTC One M8 Is Android’s Cream Of The Crop

first_imgIf you’ve ever used a Moto X, you know you can check the time on the Active Display screen just by tilting the phone or picking it up off a table. The Moto X knows when you’re holding it and the gesture-based interaction made it the smartest of the smartphones when it came out last year. Other smartphones have similarly employed a swipe-from-offscreen interaction (Samsung Galaxy, BlackBerry 10, iPhone with iOS 7) model that allows users can access certain functions from behind a locked screen with a simple swiping.These instant-access interactions now come to the HTC One M8, with a swipe down from the top to open voice control, a swipe up from bottom to bring you to your last-used app, a swipe left to visit the home screen and a swipe right to BlinkFeed, HTC’s content feed screen. Like LG devices, if you double tap the screen from an off position (power on, screen off), it will take you to the locked home screen.Gesture control like this is not exactly a new concept; if anything, this is proves that HTC can take cool concepts from other phones and seamlessly incorporate them to create a unique user experience. The HTC One M8’s Dot View cases allow for easy gesture-specific controls while the front cover is closed. If you swipe down on the cover, HTC One M8’s voice system activates, and you can tell your phone who you want to call. If you double tap the case, you can see the time and weather at a glance. If you are a fan of cases (which I am not), the Dot View case is a cool conversation starter that employs an imaginative gesture-based user interface.Whining: Sense, Zoe, BlinkFeed, M8 Tags:#Android#Google#HTC#HTC One M8#HTC One M8 review#HTC Sense#Reviews Every so often, a product comes along and takes the best of almost everything that came before it and packages those things into a beautiful and functional device that’s hard not to admire. The HTC One M8 is such a product.Almost every smartphone comes with its fair share of warts, and the HTC One M8 is no different in that regard. But the M8 has learned from user behaviors and the competitive landscape, which amounts to an excellent device that stands atop the Android heap and next to (if not above) Apple’s iPhone or any Nokia Lumia available.A Company In FluxFor the second year in a row, HTC has built what will likely be one of the year’s best reviewed smartphones (if the M8 can withstand the competition over the rest of 2014), but the company’s revenue and market share remain flat.See also: How The HTC One M8 Smartphone Camera Performs In The Real WorldThe reason for HTC’s stagnation is open for debate. HTC will claim it hasn’t been able to effectively market its phones. The manufacturer recently just hired the Samsung marketer responsible for the “Next Big Thing” campaign but HTC cannot compete with Apple and Samsung in marketing dollars. Another argument is that HTC has been damaged by cellular operators that lust after exclusive agreements to carry a device. Maybe the decline has come from production and shipping delays of its last two flagship devices, or patent battles with the likes of Apple.In reality, HTC’s failures are a combination of all of the above. The question continually asked by pundits is whether the newest HTC flagship can pull the company out of the mire. At ReadWrite, we tend to believe in quality products, so the answer is a definite “maybe.” It’s hard to be positive knowing all the extenuating factors: Motorola made a great smartphone with the Moto X and hemorrhaged money until Google had to sell it to Lenovo. Nokia has done some fine work with the Lumia series and hemorrhaged money until it sold to Microsoft. If HTC is to fail with its own flagship smartphone, it represents a pox on all of the houses in the smartphone manufacturing world. A pox on Apple and Samsung for creating an anti-competitive market. A pox on HTC for failing to achieve the success that its design chops deserve. A pox on Google for allowing the maker of some of the best smartphones on the market to whither and die. So where does the HTC One M8 shine and where does it need to improve? Let’s break it down.Shining: Industrial Design & PerformanceAs long as the manufacturer is alive, HTC should take home the industrial design award basically every year.With all due respect to Apple and certain Nokia devices, the One series has been phenomenally designed over its three generations. The One M8 is a compact and beautiful phone with a full metal casing and no hard edges. Everything that was good about the original HTC One has been refined in the One M8, including the forward facing speakers, the slightly larger screen, the weight and the grip. From an aesthetic point of view, the One M8 is gorgeous.  dan rowinski Let’s just get one thing out of the way. The name “One M8” is just all kinds of terrible. The HTC One was originally codenamed the “M7” but the moniker was dropped before the phone was released. The “M8” moniker was the development codename for the device that somehow found its way into the actual product name. Good luck with that, HTC marketing.When it comes to skins—the unique user interfaces manufacturers add to Android smartphones—beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You may prefer the interface of the Samsung Galaxy S5 or one of LG’s G series smartphones. Some users (usually Android “purists”) prefer the Google Experience of Nexus devices. HTC employs what its calls HTC Sense. The sixth iteration of Sense is what is shipped with the One M8 and, yes, it does feature some improvements over the last version of the launcher. The gesture-based controls and contextual computing is technically part of Sense and those features definitely add to the positive experience and feature parity of the phone. At the same time, HTC—like Samsung—loves to push its marginal “features” that basically amount to a small mountain of frustrating and annoying features. For instance, Zoe is HTC’s dual-still-photo-plus-video-feature that is confusing to use and difficult to share. Zoe is like adding all of the motion and “best shot” features of other smartphone cameras (notably, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5) into one setting within the camera app. The HTC One M8 camera is particularly good outside of Zoe, so I’d imagine most people won’t need to use this setting. To note, these types of frailties are of the nitpicking variety. Even the Google Experience Nexus devices have the Google Now home screen you can’t really get rid of if you want. The Galaxy S5 has a magazine-like homescreen pre-loaded onto the device. These device-specific feeds are popular on Android products right now. Similar less-than-stellar user experiences exist in just about any device you pick up, from the iPhone to any Windows Phone to the Nexus 5, Moto X, LG G2, Sony Xperia, or Galaxy S5.Overall, the HTC One M8 packages excellent industrial design with a more refined user experience that its predecessor which makes for an excellent Android-based smartphone. If you like Android, you are probably going to dig the HTC One M8. It’s the best of Android and the best of HTC together in one sterling device. Related Posts Sense 6 also employs the next version of HTC’s “BlinkFeed,” a feature that takes an entire homescreen to act as a social feed and newsreader.BlinkFeed in Sense 6 is actually much improved from that found in the last version of Sense shipped with the HTC One in 2013, allowing users to add more customized feeds and publications. But the same basic problem exists with BlinkFeed in Sense 6 as it did in Sense 5: You cannot delete it and maintain an additional customizable home screen. You can either have BlinkFeed or you don’t. You can’t get rid of it to add an extra screen and HTC Sense 6 only allows for five homescreens (unlike Google Experience Android which will let users add as many as they like).You can delete BlinkFeed, as Phil Nickinson explains in the video from Android Central below, but note that once you get rid of BlinkFeed, you lose the ability to access that panel unless you want the feed back.center_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The camera on the HTC One M8 is a little hit-and-miss, but overall it is a marked improvement over the HTC One camera that introduced the concept of “ultrapixels” into the popular lexicon, confusing the heck out of smartphone buyers everywhere. (See our full review of the HTC One M8’s camera here.)Gestures & The Pixel CaseThe HTC One M8 is highly similar to its predecessor, but it also comes with a few new features. Gesture control and screen tapping should be familiar to Android users that have used either a Moto X or LG G2, while the chic pixel case—known as Dot View—is a curiosity all on its own.  The performance of the One M8 is none too shabby. The One M8 employs the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor and it shows up in just about everything that can be done on the phone. From taking pictures (more on the camera below) to switching between CPU-intensive apps, the One M8 is on top of the “superphone” hardware spectrum that essentially puts a powerful PC in your pocket. Given that the One M8’s release comes in the first half of 2014, it will likely be eclipsed in the hardware department by the end of the year, but right now it is fast and responsive and has the ability to run just about any app you might want … and then some.The One M8 is also successful in two areas consumers greatly care about: The screen, and the battery life. The HTC One M8’s 5-inch, 440 ppi display is notably crisper than last year’s model and comparative to other Android flagships within the past 12 months, including the Samsung Galaxy S5. And its battery (2,600 mAh) is only slightly bigger than last year’s (2,300 mAh) design, but the performance is much improved and also comes with a built-in battery saver function that Samsung Galaxy device owners may be familiar with.Let me give you an example of the HTC One M8’s battery life. This past weekend, I traveled with the One M8 while driving down to Washington, D.C., from Boston. Starting from a full charge, the One M8 went to the zoo and snapped many pictures (especially of Bao Bao the giant panda) that were automatically uploaded to Google+, found me directions to get home, played Spotify for about five hours and then helped me navigate around traffic on the George Washington Bridge.In all, the One M8 withstood a solid nine hours of non-stop activity, and still had about 9% of its life left. A quick refresh with an external charger and the battery jumped back up to 26% and played Spotify for another four hours to get me back to Boston. The HTC One could not have performed this feat (though the Galaxy S5 may have). Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Why Your Dream Client Wants a Lower Price

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now It is easier to find a lower price than it is to make the changes that improve your performance. This is why so many of your prospective customers are laser-focused on price.It’s easier to find someone to reduce the price you pay than to change what you believe. It’s easier to believe that your vendor, your supplier, your partner, or your whatever isn’t doing the job that they should be. This belief is reinforced continually by the salespeople who promise to deliver better, faster, and cheaper. Real change requires that you first believe that a lower price doesn’t deliver better results and the real issue is something else.Finding a lower price is easier than investing more in the outcome you need. You don’t have to have the messy, complicated internal conversations. You don’t have to justify the greater expense. And you don’t have to deal with the risk, especially the personal and professional risk that you take by recommending dealing with the real obstacle to greater performance. Real change often means increasing the investment you make in the outcomes you need. Cheaper is easier.It’s easier to find a lower price than it is to change the way you do business. It’s easier not to buck the status quo and not to change any of the processes that make up “the way we’ve always done it around here.” The fact that you’ve done something one for as long as you have is proof positive that what you’re doing isn’t broken. It’s easier to believe that someone or something else needs to change. A new vendor with a lower price isn’t change.When you think about building consensus inside your dream client’s account, know that a lower price is always going to be easier than what you are asking for when you ask for a real commitment to change. This why you need the support from the CEO of the Problem, and you still need executive sponsorship. You need the help and support of the people who are willing to choose the harder road, the road that leads them better results.A lower price is easy. Better outcomes are difficult. You are defined by which of these you choose to sell.last_img read more