Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Hot Links

Tuba theft is rampant in Los Angeles. Knowledgeable people say banda is to blame.

Russian scientists in Antartica have drilled a 12,000 ft bore down into a lake that has been sealed off under the ice for 15 to 34 million years. I had heard of the Russian efforts to reach Lake Vostok previously, but until reading this article didn't know it was one of 280 known lakes beneath the Antartctic ice.

Archaeologists in Los Angeles have found some interesting artifacts excavating near the San Gabriel Mission.

This study of skeletal material by physical anthropologists reinforces something we've known for a while: prehistoric peoples who transitioned from hunting-gathering to agriculture suffered declines in health. This is part of the reason that Jared Diamond believes the adoption of agriculture was the worst mistake in the history of the human race.

The Denver Post reports on DNA studies of Hispanic residents in Colorado's San Luis Valley. The main object of the study was to identify genetic markers in individuals that give a predisposition toward breast cancer, but an interesting off-shoot was that the gene mutation is one found in Jewish populations. This gives confirmation to the long-held belief that many Hispanic colonial settlers in the area were crypto-Jews, descendants of Spanish Jews who had converted to Christianity, but kept some of their Jewish customs. From the article:

"For generations, those descendants ranched and farmed in relative isolation and they marked this valley with the shrines and icons of their Catholic faith. But woven into that faith were rituals no Catholic would recognize: candles lit on Friday nights, an avoidance of pork."

Steve and I had a phone conversation on this subject just last week and he likely will want to weigh in on this.


Retrieverman said...

I've read a lot of stuff about conversos in the Southwest.

I'm glad the genetics backs the historical record.

For once!

Steve Bodio said...

More later, but rancher John Davila, my old friend and a subject of posts here and there, has always believed it was true of his family, here since before the Pueblo revolt (the Gutierrez, not the Davila side, who he has characterized as "Mexican upstart newcomers who only got here in 1830"). "I look like Leonard Cohen!"