Fantasy author Elizabeth Moon has suggested that implanting an ID chip into every person would provide a cheap and easy way to track and identify them, but critics say it would be a gross violation of privacy.
Even the most democratic societies are rife with social and economic inequalities, as the current tension between the poorer "99%" and the richest "1%" vividly illustrates. But just how early in human events such social hierarchies became entrenched has been a matter of debate. A new study of skeletons from prehistoric farming communities across Europe suggests that hereditary inequality was an early feature, going back more than 7000 years ago.
Most researchers agree that social hierarchies began with the advent of farming. The earliest known farming communities are found in the Near East, dating back almost 11,000 years. Archaeologists have looked for evidence of social stratification in these societies with mixed results. Some early farming societies show signs that people played different roles and that some were buried with greater ritual—shuffling off this mortal coil with a number of elaborate "grave goods," including pottery and stone tools. However, there is little evidence that social inequality was hereditary or rigidly defined.
That seems to have changed sometime after farmers moved into Europe from the Near East, beginning about 8500 years ago during a period known as the European Neolithic. One of the best studied farming cultures is the Linearbandkeramik (LBK), which arose in what is today Hungary about 7500 years ago and spread as far as modern-day Paris within 500 years, after which it appears to have been superseded by other cultures.
Researchers from Murdoch University's Cetacean Research Unit are working with colleagues from Duke University in the US and Marine Ventures Foundation on an innovative project that will use social media to collect information on one...
StopAdvisor is a new web-based smoking cessation program, which takes smokers from preparation for the target quit date to the quit date itself. It achieves this by offering expert advice through a combination of interactive menus and personalised sessions. Post quit date, it encourages users to report important information that the program will use to help them overcome the difficulties they encounter along the way. In their study⊃1; Robert West and Susan Michie from University College London and collaborators describe the development process of the StopAdvisor intervention. Their work appears online in Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research⊃2;, published by Springer.
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