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Wolfe is not a household name like Tom Clancy but that doesn't mean his work was not influential. For example, Wolfe had a penchant for summing up American culture and/or cultural facets in succinct and memorable ways. He described the self-centered focus on self fulfillment of the 70s as the "Me Decade." He also created the understanding of "good ol' boy" we have today in an article he wrote on NASCAR in the early 70s. There are many others. Some of the phrases he coined have become so ingrained, you aren't even aware of it. I read somewhere that Wolfe is quoted 150 times in the Oxford English Dictionary.

You can't judge the books by the quality of the movies. Wolfe was not involved in the film version.

Bonfire of the Vanities has been described as the book that defined the 80s. You never know how literary reputation will develop. Some authors are very popular in their day and fade out. Some get more popular after they die. We'll see how Wolfe's work fares over time. I have been surprised to note that in obits like this, there was no mention of The Right Stuff or The Painted Word. He's already made a pretty big impact in coining a number of phrases that are in the popular vernacular. You may not even realize he created them.

This obit is pretty weak. The NY Times, NPR and The Atlantic wrote much better ones. Here's one:

This is awful. People should immediately put away their phones and stop looking things up on the internet or reading their email all the time.

-Sent from my iPhone

Klaus Schmidt, who began the excavations, noted similarities in stone tools at Gobeckli Tepe and other sites which was one of his methods for dating. (see: Some of the male figures bear similarities to those found elsewhere as well. So clearly, Gobeckli Tepe was not isolated. From the Gobeckli website, the archaeologists date the most recent phase to be 9,600-8,000 BC (see" which also notes the comparison of carved figures). Dating these sites is imprecise but that could indicate only a 500 year gap which may actually be much less if estimates at Gobeckli Tepe and Çatalhöyük are off-- which is a distinct possibility.

Further, much of Gobeckli Tepe is unexcavated so it is risky to draw too many conclusions. It may have been abandoned in 9,000 or even 8,000 BC. There also may be other as yet undiscovered sites that will establish a clear line of development. Jericho and Çatalhöyük suffered devastating destruction in ancient times, there may have been much more sophisticated artistic endeavors that were destroyed, taken away or have yet to be found. Gobeckli Tepe was intentionally buried which likely means more is preserved.

I agree with everyone here that Gobeckli Tepe is fascinating, leaves us with many more questions than answers and may imply a different societal evolution than previously supposed.

I was sort of kidding, I thought adding the reference to chewing gum would make that apparent. Oh well, humor is tough to get across in a comment sometimes.

If there was a previous society, they must not have produced plastic or chewing gum which will probably outlast the human race by billions of years.

I saw that today just before posting this comment which clarifies a lot. You explained the issue better than I did. I realize it's sort of apples to oranges since Venus was exposed to the same elements Earth was at formation and other solar systems might be different because of what they were or were not exposed to. My understanding is that our solar system is in a less crowded area of the Milky Way, on a spiral arm. One would think that stars in more crowded regions were exposed to more. Maybe it's sort of like Earth in that there are deserts, savannahs, rainforests, etc. with different potentials.

That's where pure science meets commerce. The title of an article is intended to draw readers and unequivocal statements get more eyes than uncertainty.

I don't know how to forward it, but I saw another article posted by francopoli stating that life may be more rare than previously believed because phosphorus is not as plentiful as previously believed. It's interesting how we seem to get very different messages from science (and other sources) about the same topic.

One's imagination tends to run wild when uncertainties about the unknown are mentioned. When we say "life" in the context of this article, that means simple microbial organisms, not little green men. I wonder if it is as some say that there are pockets where conditions are right for life to form in many places and therefore life is quite plentiful in simple forms in many environments. Complex life like what we have on Earth seems likely to be rare. There were so many conditions that had to be right from a moon that exerts a gravitational pull to maintain a molten core that generates an electromagnetic field to Jupiter acting as a natural shield absorbing comets, meteors etc. that could de-stabilize life.

I have no background in astrophysics, biology (exo or otherwise) and so my opinion is not worth anything, I saw an article explaining how automobile manufacturing grew in Detroit to the exclusion of other places. Cars were not invented in Michigan and there were places better suited to establishing factories and manufacturing. I wonder if this model applies to the development of life in some way. By that I mean, life has to develop in basic forms for other more exotic forms to develop. So on Earth, without the development of basic dominant forms of life, other forms would not have developed. I realize I may be "favoring" one form of life over others as more essential or necessary but with no examples of life in other environments, any number of theories could be viable.

I can think of one reason via experience. I have a law degree and practiced law for 13 years before stopping when we had our second child. My wife is a physician and we could not both maintain our careers and fulfill our parental responsibilities. I taught at a small school for two years which fell apart in 2015. I then got a masters in US History. Since then I have been looking for work and have applied for dozens of jobs. I cannot even generally get an interview even for middle and high school positions. It is difficult to get substitute appointments. I was told for one long term sub position (January to May) there were over 100 applicants. I went to a job fair at the University of Virginia which was overflowing with history and English majors. I believe there were more applicants there than teaching positions in the entire state (a little exaggeration here, but not that much).

I keep hearing about the shortage of good teachers, which is true for math and the hard sciences. But in the humanities there is a glut. I can see why so many are depressed. Fortunately for me, I get a rare opportunity, the ability to spend a lot of time with my young children. My youngest is 5 now though and will be in school fulltime in the fall. I would like to get back to fulltime employment but that seems unlikely in the near future. I created a blog (some articles posted here) because history is such a fascinating subject to research and write about. It is discouraging to say the least that with a passion and significant educational background that I can't even get interviews.

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