Prehistoric Gangsta Grills

Mesoamericans got modern rappers beat

Researchers can figure out who was the Flava Flav of ancient Mesoamerica by checking out skeletons’ teeth. Dentists who lived up to 2500 years ago (who actually sound like they might be more talented than many tooth jockeys I’ve ever gone to) used to do an early version of grills — drilling into teeth and implanting gems like jade. Be sure to check out the picture of a skull decorated in this way.

Also in today’s links: baby flamingos never see the light of day, an EPA manhunt gets underway and more.

  • A series of mass animal deaths has left people scratching their heads in Chile, although a university and the government are investigating. Within the past three months, about 1,200 penguins were found dead, then a tidal wave of sardines, and about 2,000 rare flamingo eggs failed to hatch. Maybe it’s time to retire “Every Day is Earth Day” and go with “Save the Earth or the Baby Flamingos Get It!”
  • In other potential-environmental-disaster-in-South-America news, indigenous people in Peru have set up blockades to prevent development of oil, gas, logging and mining projects. Now the army is ready to go into a rumble in the Amazonian jungle, where a state of emergency has been already declared. It’s part of an ongoing debate — to put it gently — over the relative importance of developing natural resources and preserving local culture and ecology.
  • A new study suggests that power consumption by household electronics could triple by 2030, as people around the world own more and more gadgets, televisions and computers, drastically increasing the need for new power generation. A different study, though, says that modern electrical devices have reduced overall power consumption through the smart application of technology to increase efficiency in the economy. Luckily, you can read all about this on the electronic device of your choosing. But then turn the device off while you sit and ponder this.
  • A Massachusetts woman operated an asbestos removal training school, but often just sold certificates saying a person was qualified to remove materials that contained the dangerous fibers. The fraud endangered the lives of the day laborers she “certified,” who wouldn’t know the proper way to work with asbestos. She was caught, though, and convicted of a felony. Then, she ran. Now, she’s the object of an EPA manhunt.