Archaeology Magazine lists its top ten discoveries of 2007, with nine runners up. Among the discoveries listed are the discovery of Nebo-Sarsekim tablet that confirms some of the details of the Biblical book of Jeremiah (while casting doubt on other details), evidence that chimpanzees used basic stone tools 4,000 years ago that suggests that the primates may have passed "cultural" information through generations, and evidence of Polynesian chickens in Chile that may confirm Francisco Pizarro's report of chickens in Peru. posted by Pants! at 6:06 PM PST - 19 comments
Wombs for rent: "Anand's surrogate mothers, pioneers in the growing field of outsourced pregnancies, have given birth to roughly 40 babies. More than 50 women in this city are now pregnant with the children of couples from the United States, Taiwan, Britain and beyond. The women earn more than many would make in 15 years." posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:20 PM PST - 136 comments
"Hugh Massingberd, a celebrated former obituaries editor of The Telegraph of London who made a once-dreary page required reading by speaking frankly, wittily and often gleefully ill of the dead, became the recipient of his own services after dying in West London on Christmas Day." The linked NY Times obit (by Margalit Fox; print version) contains many good quotes, like "The Telegraph’s send-off of one Lt. Col. Geoffrey Knowles, 'who as a subaltern was bitten in the buttocks by a bear — he survived but the bear expired'"; The Telegraph's own obit is much longer (and, of course, unsigned) and contains, along with more good zingers, a well-written account of his life ("The inevitable consequence of his bingeing proved another triumph of style, as Massingberd, a tall, slim and notably handsome youth with hollowed-out cheeks, transmogrified into an impressively corpulent presence whose moon face lit up with Pickwickian benevolence"). [more inside] posted by languagehat at 12:08 PM PST - 21 comments
Soon after declining Starbucks's buyout offer, Hyman received the expected news that the company was opening up next to one of his stores. But instead of panicking, he decided to call his friend Jim Stewart, founder of the Seattle's Best Coffee chain, to find out what really happens when a Starbucks opens nearby. "You're going to love it," Stewart reported. "They'll do all of your marketing for you, and your sales will soar".
Contrary to popular belief Starbucks, instead of destroying it, is promoting a thriving Mom & Pop coffee house industry. With the number of independent owned stores growing 40% between 2000 and 2005 and a less than 10% failure rate you might want to start looking for an empty storefront next to your local branch of Seattle's biggest export. posted by PenDevil at 11:37 AM PST - 121 comments
Image of the Year. From the article: "If you want to go shallow for an Image of the Year, you can't do better than Paris Hilton, seen through the window of a Los Angeles sheriff's car, weeping as she's being hauled back to prison to complete a probation-violation sentence. But when you first notice the credit on that now infamous picture, there's a double take. The image came from the camera of NickUt, whose picture of a little girl burned by napalm, naked and running directly toward the camera and into the conscience of the American people, became perhaps the most powerful and influential vision of the Vietnam War. Not only was the Paris Hilton image taken by one of this country's most celebrated war photographers, it was taken June 8, 35 years to the day after the devastating image of 9-year-old Kim Phuc fleeing her bombed-out village. Let's put these two pictures up on the wall together for one last, end-of-the-year look, and see if something emerges." posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:47 AM PST - 52 comments
Small is Beautiful - The best new journals. (via Guardian / Observer) selected by Stephanie Merritt. "Published out of tiny offices or even editors' apartments, funded by grants, donations or founders' savings, distributed by direct subscription or in selected independent bookshops, paying contributors little or nothing at all, these magazines have nevertheless attracted such eminent writers as to give them an international reputation far beyond their limited circulation." posted by adamvasco at 10:18 AM PST - 29 comments