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dijous, 26 de maig de 2016

Los humanos tenemos una mayor inteligencia gracias a la indefensión de nuestros bebés


Una nueva idea se abre paso para explicar la enorme diferencia de inteligencia que existe entre los humanos y otras especies. Esta nueva teoría la han desarrollado dos investigadores de la Universidad de Rochester, en Nueva York. Steven Piantadosi y Celeste Kidd sugieren que los seres humanos pueden haber llegado a ser tan inteligentes gracias a otra característica evolutivamente extraña: a saber, que sus bebés son tan impotentes e indefensos.
THE ECONOMIST.- Compared with other animals, says Dr Kidd, some of whose young can stand up and move around within minutes of being born, human infants take a year to learn even to walk, and need constant supervision for many years afterwards. That helplessness is thought to be one consequence of intelligence—or, at least, of brain size. In order to keep their heads small enough to make live birth possible, human children must be born at an earlier stage of development than other animals. But Dr Piantadosi and Dr Kidd, both of whom study child development, wondered if it might be a cause as well as a consequence of intelligence as well.

Their idea is that helpless babies require intelligent parents to look after them. But to get big-brained parents you must start with big-headed—and therefore helpless—babies. The result is a feedback loop, in which the pressure for clever parents requires ever-more incompetent infants, requiring ever-brighter parents to ensure they survive childhood.

It is an elegant idea. The self-reinforcing nature of the process would explain why intelligence is so strikingly overdeveloped in humans compared even with chimpanzees. It also offers an answer to another evolutionary puzzle, namely why high intelligence developed first in primates, a newish branch of the mammals, a group that is itself relatively young. Animals that lay eggs rather than experiencing pregnancy do not face the trade-off between head size at birth and infant competence that drives the entire process.
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La vía romana a la construcción de Europa


Entrevista a Rémi Brague, profesor emérito de árabe y filosofía de la religión en la Sorbona. Ha escrito numerosos libros, entre ellos: 'Cultura excéntrica: una teoría de la civilización occidental' (2009); y 'La sabiduría del mundo: la experiencia humana del Universo en el pensamiento occidental' (2004).


SP¡KED.- One of your most important insights into the meaning of Europe is the centrality of ‘la voie Romaine’, and your idea of ‘secondarité’. Could you explain how that Rome’s sense of its inferiority to Hellenic culture has proved so productive for the development of Europe?

Brague: I am not especially keen on the Romans of history. They built a ruthless empire, albeit one no worse than any other empire, and even better than some. But they did have the great merit of inventing law and a citizenship grounded not on race, language, family ties or whatnot, but on merely juridical principles. For me, however, their greatest merit consists in having realised they were no match for the cultural achievements of the Greeks, and then having the courage to sit at the Ancient Greeks’ feet and learn. This provided Europe with a practical version of a theoretical truth: what is mine is not necessarily better than what comes from elsewhere. We have to be ready to accept foreign goods and to prefer them to our own traditions. Hence, we should be curious and keep an eye on other cultures that might have something to teach us. This same attitude was to be found and proved fruitful many centuries afterwards, when America was discovered, and when ancient languages of India, Egypt, Mesopotamia and so on, were unearthed and deciphered. All this happened earlier than the colonial adventure, and it happened independently from it.
Leer la entrevista completa, aquí


La idea de Europa es demasiado importante para dejarla en manos de los políticos
SP!KED.- Europe has in Steiner one of its finest and most sophisticated advocates. But the Europe he defends is not one of bureaucrats, politicians and marketing strategists, but something else. Something at once subtler and more demanding. Made up of irreducibly unique parts, Europe is yet whole. And the beauty of Europe comes from the way it works: the whole is much more than the sum of its parts, and each individual component reflects, like Leibniz’s monad, the complexity of the whole. To conjure the ‘genius of Europe’, Steiner invokes William Blake’s notion of ‘the holiness of the minute particular’. This is precisely the essence of the European spirit: a concern for the irreducibly particular, a cultivation of that ‘prodigal mosaic which often makes a trivial distance, 20 kilometres apart, a division between worlds’. That’s why Europe is too important to be left to the politicians. As a mode of historical existence, Europe cannot be the creation of politicians. Even when they did their best to destroy it, the poor thing resisted stoically. Indeed, Europe hasn’t been less European when its nations were fighting each other to death, as Jean Renoir reminds us powerfully in La Grande Illusion. | Costica Bradatan
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Nuevo documental sobre Hannah Arendt, una pensadora siempre dispuesta a desafiar la ortodoxia

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La pobreza registra en España su mayor caída

La tasa de carencia material severa, que es la única que sirve para aproximarse a la definición real de pobreza, baja un 10%, desde el 7,1% al 6,4%.


El Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) publicó el pasado martes la Encuesta de Condiciones de Vida, y, como ya viene siendo tradición, numerosos medios se hicieron eco de los datos relativos a la pobreza acompañando la información con fotografías de personas sin techo e incluso rebuscando comida en los contenedores de basura.

El problema, sin embargo, es que este tipo de artículos se centran únicamente en el "riesgo de pobreza", uno de los tres componentes del "Indicador de Riesgo de pobreza y exclusión social", haciéndolo pasar por pobreza cuando, en realidad, dista mucho de serlo. La variable que mejor refleja este problema es la tasa de "carencia material severa".

Partiendo de esta base, empecemos por ver cómo ha variado la pobreza real en España y por CCAA a lo largo del último año. En términos nacionales, la pobreza ha caído un 10% con respecto a 2014, pasando del 7,1% al 6,4% de la población. Se trata de la mayor caída de la crisis, superior a la registrada en 2011, cuando este indicador bajó un 8%, del 4,9% al 4,5%.

Igualmente, baja en la mayoría de las autonomías, especialmente en la Comunidad Valenciana (-41%), aunque sube levemente en Madrid, Cataluña y Navarra. Los casos más drásticos de aumento de la pobreza se dan en Canarias (+72%) y en Ceuta y Melilla.

De este modo, en ningún caso se puede concluir que el problema de la pobreza permanece invariable respecto a 2014, tal y como algunos han intentado transmitir, ya que la pobreza real -no el "riesgo de pobreza"- ha bajado de forma significativa el pasado año.
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Tsipras continúa la política de sus predecesores: producir leyes y no aplicarlas

En una conferencia de prensa del líder de ALDE, el eurodiputado liberal Guy Verhofstadt, y del líder del partido europeísta y moderado griego Potami, liderado por el periodista Stavros Theodorakis, han pedido al gobierno griego y a las instituciones europeas abandanor la política del avestruz y mirar la realidad de cara. Sin un cambio real, Grecia nunca será capaz de mantenerse por si misma.

Verhofstadt: "The institutions oblige the Greek government to adopt laws that are never implemented. Tsipras is continuing the policies of his predecessors; produce laws, but fail to implement them. In the meantime nothing is done about corruption, making Greece more competitive or creating a society that can become more competitive and prosperous again. The clientelistic system continues to thrive. They are milking the cow, just like previous governments have done. I don´t see any difference."

“This has to stop. Greece will have to change, otherwise a break-up will be unavoidable.”
Video de la conferencia de prensa, aquí


El acuerdo sobre la deuda griega no resuelve el problema


EUOBSERVER.- Eurogroup participants said the outcome of Tuesday's (24 May) meeting was "a breakthrough", a "decisive agreement" and a "very important moment" in the Greek bailout programme. For the first time, the representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said, all Greece's creditors "recognise that Greek debt is unsustainable and that Greece needs debt relief".

Concrete measures were detailed to reduce the cost of debt repayment in the short and medium term, and "possible debt relief" was promised for the longer term. But the 2AM agreement is not so new and it is not decisive. It looks more political than a guarantee that Greece's debt problem is going to be solved.

"It's a face-saving exercise," a source told EUobserver.

Sources from different institutions admitted that all sides needed an agreement just before the G7 summit in Japan this week and to avoid a new Greek crisis at the same time as the British EU referendum and the Spanish election in June.

As a consequence, "the agreement is not credible," economist Zsolt Darvas told EUobserver.

Darvas, a senior fellow at the Bruegel think-tank in Brussels, said that the Eurogroup's statement was "not realistic" when it said that debt measures would "facilitate a gradual return to market financing" for Greece.
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El Mediterráneo vuelve a llenarse de balsas de migrantes aún más repletas y precarias

En solo tres días llegan a las costas italianas 5.892 nuevos inmigrantes

El pesquero que ha naufragado con casi 600 inmigrantes a bordo, siete de ellos fallecidos, había sido adquirido a bajo coste en Túnez. Investigaciones de la SCO italiana (Servicio Central Operativo de la Polizia di Stato) desvelan que los ‘traficantes’ de inmigrantes están adquiriendo grandes cantidades de lanchas neumáticas chinas y viejos motores en Qatar. Se trata de material precario que permite cubrir solo la salida al mar, sin posibilidad de resistir la travesía del Mediterráneo.
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Cómicos musulmanes se burlan de las creencias islamistas en internet

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