Damn it's hot. Around here, snow is at a premium, which means our solstitial celebrations are less active than those oop north. Anyway, I got interviewed last night on national radio, the ABC's National Evening show, talking about the early ideas of philosophy to presenter Rhys Muldoon. Nice fellow. It was more like a chat than an interview (which means I did most of the talking, as my chats tend to). It seems I am the sole contactable philosopher in Australia.

So anyway, to entertain you there are some pre-solstitial items just announced. First off, I'm going to put all the internet filtering and other Australian political bastardry on my other blog The drought resistant philosopher, so go there in a while to find out what's new and awful. Now, to the good stuff...

The origin of silk spinning in spiders has been pushed back another 80 million years, to before the origin of flying prey. What they used the silk for is unclear, and may have had something to do with sex (doesn't everything?). To my chagrin, the term "missing link" has been used again. PNAS paper here ...

A few PLoS papers: one on harmonising contributions made by authors to correct for sampling bias in h-indices. Another on the supposed 63My periodicity in extinctions, which they reckon is 62My. And a third that argues that humans didn't kill of Neandertals, they sent them extinct by competitive exclusion (i.e., by taking up all the resources). Good to know we merely starved them to death. not killed them outright.

There's a lot being made of a study that shows that first cousin marriages do not make much difference in viability of progeny. See Laden's blog , or Pleiotropy. Since the degrees of consanguinuity thing was established by canon law not any kind of science, it is clearly a religious prohibition and should be overturned as secular law. Hooray for the Darwins...

Have a fun solstice. Remember, the season is the reason for Jesus. And all solstitial heroes...

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John, thanks.

Oh, and you need a capital letter after a full stop. Or you can make the full stop a comma. I know it's hard... ;)

Good to know we merely starved them to death. not killed them outright.

Being accessible is good. I can see the Discovery Channel special now; The Ten Deadliest Ideations in Philosophy: John Wilkins, Paradigm Hunter.

It's actually the G4 I destroyed the screen of (hint: always do up the gear sack on the motorbike so that when you go over a speed hump at your usual 60km/h the laptop bag stays in the bag...). The keyboard is dead so I'm using it as a desktop until the new beast arrives.

And the only good paradigm is a dead paradigm. But there's no transcript. He did say he'd like to speak to me again, though, silly lad.