My first thought was: If this new discovery of stone tools at the Persian Gulf is right, and we are all Arabs, somehow, this will cause huge trouble on my next entry into the US. "Did you travel via an Arab country?" - well, not personally, but... you know, relatives...
The finding of British and German archaeologists, that humans might have left Africa much earlier (about 130000 years ago) got heavy attention in the German press. The Süddeutsche Zeitung explains, why the scientists can't be completely sure - for one reason, no bones. So, the stone tools might not even belong to Homo sapiens but, perhaps, Homo erectus. I liked the article, especially because it describes briefly how green and fertile the Arab peninsula was at the time - though I could have used some further view. But the same goes for most other coverage I found:
Welt, Stern,Hamburger Abendblatt, the Austrian Standard, RP online, Handelsblatt, all covered it and the local Südwest-Presse, has a unique profile-like (though short) article ("Picnic spot kept a secret") about the lead scientist of the study, from the University of Tübingen. The Basler Zeitung (Tagesanzeiger) included quotes of a scientist from the university of Zurich.
Spiegel.Online got some unique quotes of the German archaeologist - but, again, no further, independent quotes! But it is possible, to do so, proves Anke Brodmerkel for the Frankfurter Rundschau: She asked a scientist from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, who was not involved in the study, for his view on the data. And this way, she was able to give her story a unique perspective - the findings might have consequences for the theory of sexual contact of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. Now it looks like they coexisted much longer than previously thought. That raises a question. Do the the genetic data show a higher degree of sexual contact. Zeit.online (Sven Stockrahm) asked the same independent scientist, and, even more, his articles raises the question, how the humans, who once used these stone tools, were related to us and how they contributed to our genetic lineage - "It's not [yet] enough flesh on the bones" to prove a new theory of human migration, the scientist is quoted.
Also: Dioxin's not the most urgent problem of the food industry
In the midst of the Dioxin panic in Germany, the Tagesspiegel (Hartmut Wewetzer) had a (long!) comment, trying to give a rational view on the relative risks of being a consumer. He argues against such comfortable myths as that "organic" food is automatically more safe. He tries to raise awareness that it is impossible to guarantee food products free of Dioxin. The substance originates when people burn stuff and accumulates in the environment and in the food chain. And isn't it right, that tons of sugar in every yoghurt might be more harmful than a picogramm of Dioxin? Wewetzer leads the reader, to think beyond the daily headlines, gets things into perspective and argues against empty-headed panic.
Also: Strange Rituals on Gorch Fock
After the recent death of a soldier at the German navy training sailing ship Gorch Fock the public in Germany takes a close look at the teaching practice and initiation rituals on board. The captain of the Gorch Fock had been put on leave and most of the press now deals with the question, whether this move by the minister of defense was appropriate or whether he should better await the results of an independent examination. Stern.online's Frank Ochmann asked in a comment, why groups of people (especially in the military, boarding schools, scout camps or secret societies like the Free Masons) tend to invent strange and sometimes brutal rituals and what role the rituals have for the social group. He explains, how the "value" of being a member of the group rises with the severity of the sacrifice during the inititiation ritus. And he also explains, why the Bundeswehr - without any question - needs to prevent such rituals: The theme of the SS was "Loyalty is my honor". One more remark: I very much liked, that at the end of the article, Ochmann gives hints to further (scientific!) litererature on the topic.