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How geography shapes cultural diversity
Nature ^ | 11 June 2012 | ZoŽ Corbyn

Posted on 06/11/2012 5:43:13 PM PDT by Theoria

Study offers evidence that long countries give better protection to languages than those that are wide.

One reason that Eurasian civilizations dominated the globe is because they came from a continent that was broader in an east–west direction than north–south, claimed geographer Jared Diamond in his famous 1997 book Guns, Germs and Steel. Now, a modelling study has found evidence to support this 'continental axis theory'.

Continents that span narrower bands of latitude have less variation in climate, which means a set of plants and animals that are adapted to more similar conditions. That is an advantage, says Diamond, because it means that agricultural innovations are able to diffuse more easily, with culture and ideas following suit. As a result, Diamond's hypothesis predicts, along lines of latitude there will be more cultural homogeneity than along lines of longitude.

To test that prediction, researchers at Stanford University in California used language persistence as a proxy for cultural diversity, and analysed the percentage of historically indigenous languages that remain in use in 147 countries today relative to their shape. For example, the team looked at the difference between Chile, which has a long north–south axis, and Turkey, which has a wider axis running east to west.

The researchers found that if a country had a greater east–west axis than a north–south one, the less likely it was for its indigenous languages to persist. The relationship isn't straightforward, but the model suggests that Mongolia, which is about twice as wide as it is tall, would have 5% fewer indigenous languages than Angola, which is roughly square. Meanwhile, Peru — about twice as tall as it is wide — would be predicted to have 5% more persistent languages than Angola.

(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...


TOPICS: History; Science
KEYWORDS: epigraphyandlanguage; geography; godsgravesglyphs; gunsgermsandsteel; jareddiamond; language; longerperspectives

1 posted on 06/11/2012 5:43:17 PM PDT by Theoria
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To: SunkenCiv

J.diamond, etc. just interesting.


2 posted on 06/11/2012 5:44:05 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: Theoria

utter crap

italy is a north-south land formation.

The fertile crescent is a north-south land formation.

England is a north-south land formation

japan is a north south land formation

scandinavia is a north-south land formation

the americas are a north-south land formation

greece is a north-south land formation


3 posted on 06/11/2012 5:52:23 PM PDT by mamelukesabre
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To: Theoria

And the statistics on this small “effect” are significant at what level?


4 posted on 06/11/2012 5:55:59 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Theoria
a modelling study has found evidence to support this

Modelling studies are pretty much programmed to support the thing the researcher is hoping they support. Not always consciously, but I think it is an inherent tendency. This is why the Global Warming modelling studies always show ... ta da! ... Global Warming.

Science is rarely science. Science is usually a quest for grant money.

5 posted on 06/11/2012 6:33:03 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Obama needs more time. After all -- Rome wasn't burned in a day.)
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To: Theoria

A fat country should never wear vertical stripes -— they make the country look even wider and dumber.


6 posted on 06/11/2012 6:41:24 PM PDT by Vesparado
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To: Theoria

Jared Diamond’s book “Guns, Germs and Steel” has many great points, such as the number of cultivatable plants and domestic-able animals animals giving us reasons why civilization did and did not arise in many places. South east Australia and northern California are major farming regions today, but had no local potential crops, so civilization waited until Europeans arrived.
The Eurasian civilizations dominated the world because, to borrow John Stossel’s quote, “ideas had sex”. Asian inventions spread to India and the Middle East and on to Europe. It took hundreds of years, but it happened. Animal domestication and crops also spread, along the east-west axis, albeit often slowly.
In contrast, the Maya and the Inca were nearly isolated, despite relative proximity. The lack of an east-west climate axis is also why the Mississippi mound builders, Anasazi, Aztec and Maya never spread across the rest of the continent.
The downside of “Gun, Germs and Steel” is that, frankly, Jared Diamond is a racist. Ironically, he thinks the hunter-gatherers of Papua New Guinea are smarter than “civilized” folk and plainly states it in the book.


7 posted on 06/11/2012 6:44:50 PM PDT by tbw2
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To: Theoria

Correlation is not causation.

;-)


8 posted on 06/11/2012 8:29:39 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is necessary to examine principles."...the public interest)
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To: tbw2

“Ironically, he thinks the hunter-gatherers of Papua New Guinea are smarter than “civilized” folk and plainly states it in the book.”

And he is correct. Note that we installed in the White Hut a “Hunter” of our Constitution guaranteed rights, and he proved quite adept at “gathering” funds from our enemies.

“Hunter/gatherer”, indeed.

And his whole tribe moved in with him from Chicago and academia.


9 posted on 06/11/2012 8:35:04 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is necessary to examine principles."...the public interest)
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To: Theoria; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks Theoria.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


10 posted on 06/17/2012 9:01:36 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: tbw2
The downside of “Gun, Germs and Steel” is that, frankly, Jared Diamond is a racist. Ironically, he thinks the hunter-gatherers of Papua New Guinea are smarter than “civilized” folk and plainly states it in the book.

The downside is that I got so sick of the racial emphasis, and the clear antagonism toward western culture, that I trashed the book and apparently missed a couple of salient points.

11 posted on 06/17/2012 10:18:28 AM PDT by norton
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