Monday Link: More Herman and Chomsky, the Fermi Paradox, and a Timeline of Food

In researching some of last week’s posts, I happened upon this article reprinted on Noam Chomsky’s website. I have yet to read the report in its entirety, but it is an interesting look at both criticisms and defenses of the Herman-Chomsky propaganda model of mass media. The author (who is not Chomsky or Herman) also clarifies some of the particulars of the theory in the process. If you have the time, I’d recommend the read, even though it’s a very academic paper.

On a more science-y front, Ethan Siegel explains the difficulties in guessing at whether aliens exist on Starts With a Bang. The Fermi Paradox — the question “If alien intelligences exist all around us, why haven’t we heard from them?” — has been a focus of searches for extra-terrestrial intelligences for decades. Siegel’s piece is a concise explanation of why, with our limited knowledge, it’s nearly impossible to provide even a tentative answer. My personal suspicion? We’re either the first, or one of a very few firsts in the galaxy.

Finally, I leave you with a culinary curiosity in the form of a timeline of food I found while searching on Google. The design may not inspire confidence, but the timeline is comprehensive and thoroughly sourced. I expect I may refer to this timeline, or similar resources, frequently in times to come: when you’re writing a book that takes place before European contact with the Americas, you have to be careful not to include foods that only developed after that interchange.

Bon Appétit!

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