How does language emerge?

New study provides insights into the first steps

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How did the almost 6,000 languages of the world come into being? Researchers from the Leipzig Research Centre for Early Childhood Development at Leipzig University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have tried to simulate the process of developing a new communication system in an experiment -- with surprising results: even preschool children can spontaneously develop communication systems that exhibit core properties of natural language.

Read more: How does language emerge?

Creation and Change

Ananya Sri Ram Rajan – USA

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This past summer, I was (again) introduced to the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The book was gifted to me in a roundabout fashion after many people mentioned that I needed to read it. (If we only realized the ways in which the universe speaks to us!) Dr. Kimmerer starts her book with a North American creation story about Skywoman. “In the beginning was Skyworld. . .” Skywoman descends from Skyworld to help create Turtle Island or what we now call North America. The story is so rich in symbolism. For Skywoman to fulfill what she needs to do, she requires mud to plant the seeds she brings. Many water creatures try to swim to the bottom of the sea without success. It is the muskrat, small, unseen, and in today’s mainstream thinking inconsequential, who dives to the bottom and whose lifeless body surfaces, clutching the mud in his little hand. Turtle offers his back as the solidity needed for the mud to plant the seeds and Skywoman sings a thanksgiving song. As she dances, she plants her seeds with every step. I haven’t done justice to this story. But what stays with me again and again is the beauty, generosity, gratitude, harmony, and abundance of the story. Nothing is without purpose, no one is inconsequential. And nothing is done for oneself. Every action is done for the evolution of the Creator and for all the beings that come after. Great Spirit is in every thing. Even the mud. (And that folks, is Theosophy in Native American form!)

Read more: Creation and Change

Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 28

Leo Babauta – USA

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2: the problem of others 

In a perfect world, you could learn to beat the urges that defeat you and create an environment of focus … and just focus. But we live and work in a world with other people, and that can make finding focus difficult.

Often, our lives aren’t completely under our control. Sometimes, others can stand in our way, or just make things tough. Often other people can make a big impact on our ability to simplify and create. Let’s take a look at some of those types of situations, and some solutions that can help.

Read more: Focus – A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part 28

Hurricanes drive the evolution of more aggressive spiders

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Funnel-Web Spider – One Of The Most Venomous Spiders in Australia

Researchers at McMaster University who rush in after storms to study the behavior of spiders have found that extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones may have an evolutionary impact on populations living in storm-prone regions, where aggressive spiders have the best odds of survival.

Raging winds can demolish trees, defoliate entire canopies and scatter debris across forest floors, radically altering the habitats and reshaping the selective pressures on many organisms, suggests a new study published today in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Read more: Hurricanes drive the evolution of more aggressive spiders

Negative experiences on social media tied to higher odds of feeling lonely

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Positive interactions on social media are not making young adults feel more connected, whereas negative experiences increase the likelihood of them reporting loneliness, scientists with the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media Technology and Health (MTH) report today in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

The findings build on award-winning research the center conducted in 2017 indicating more use of social media was associated with increased feelings of loneliness.

Read more: Negative experiences on social media tied to higher odds of feeling lonely

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