culture watch: stoning and time travel, the evolution of human language, the ultimate tree house

Graphic: Anatomy of a Stoning in Iran

We look at the brutal practice of stoning in Iran. This method of execution is still practiced in certain countries, where it is used to punish adulterers and other criminals. The graphic below looks at how a stoning occurs in accordance with the exact language of the Iranian Penal Code.

Even in the form of an illustration this is horrifiying to look at.

Time reversal findings may open doors to the future

The time-reversal process is less like living the last five minutes over and more like playing a record backwards, explains Matthew Frazier, a postdoctoral research fellow in the university’s physics department. When a signal travels through the air, its waveforms scatter before an antenna picks it up. Recording the received signal and transmitting it backwards reverses the scatter and sends it back as a focused beam in space and time.

The knowledge of the science behind this concept has been around for a couple of decades. With the technology now catching up to the theory, scientists hope to be able to do things like target tumors in the body or something simpler like recharge your laptop.

Something to ponder. How human language could have evolved from birdsong

Based on an analysis of animal communication, and using Miyagawa’s framework, the authors say that birdsong closely resembles the expression layer of human sentences — whereas the communicative waggles of bees, or the short, audible messages of primates, are more like the lexical layer. At some point, between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago, humans may have merged these two types of expression into a uniquely sophisticated form of language.

	AT&T Employees Display Futuristic Phone

AT&T Employees Display Futuristic Phone. “At the annual meeting of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company, two employees examine a possible “telephone of the future.” 1960-04-20. Note that the phone she is holding has a dial. I’ve used a dial phone. Compared to today’s push button or voice activated calling, dialing is like milking a cow for your morning cereal.

The maple of Ratibor.

The maple of Ratibor. From The picture magazine. George Newnes Ltd., 1893-1896. Pub. 1893. Credit: Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection / Gardens. I had a tree house when I was a kid, if two planks laid across two tree branches count. This one is far beyond anything I even dreamed of.