Every day Document has an agenda: news from the under read corners of the world, and the web, that might not end up crossing your path. Discoveries, curiosities, essential cultural dispatches—with this information, go forth.



The World

If we end overfishing now, we could reduce the time it takes fish stocks to recover.

Overfishing is an enormous problem. But it’s not just the amount of fish we consume that’s causing the levels to deplete. It’s also the quantity of byproduct produced by giant trawlers. A new UC Santa Barbara-led study has crunched the numbers to reveal that if we ended overfishing it would promote population recoveries for many of the species endangered due to accidental ensnarement as bycatch. The study’s lead author Matt Burgess, a postdoctoral scholar in the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, explains the extent of the impact that catching byproducts has on the sea’s ecosystem.

Many large animals, including marine mammals, turtles and birds, are threatened by bycatch. We tend to think that we can only save these species by either dramatically improving our gear or by constraining our fisheries. But this project demonstrated that wasn’t always the case. In about half the cases, overexploiting these mammals, turtles and birds occurs because we’re also overexploiting the target species.


The Mind

Human innovation began far earlier in history than assumed.

When did human innovation begin? It’s a question scientists across the board have been trying to answer for years. Now, three separate studies have all revealed that the earliest forms of human innovation predate the previous estimates by hundreds of thousands of years. An international collaboration, which includes the Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah, have discovered that early humans in eastern Africa had, around 320,000 years ago, begun trading with distant groups, using color pigments while manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age.

These newly discovered activities approximately date to the oldest known fossil record of Homo sapiens and occur tens of thousands of years earlier than previous evidence from eastern Africa. These behaviors, which are characteristic of humans who lived during the Middle Stone Age, replaced technologies and ways of life that had been in place for hundreds of thousands of years.


The Future

Statistics on sexual harassment are still incredibly sparse.

Until now, the levels of sexual harassment have been a combination of anecdotal evidence and unreliable data. But in order for us to really monitor levels to see if the situation is changing, scientists have said they need much more data. A new article addresses the statistics of sexual harassment and questions how prevalent it is. Surveys indicate that if you’re a woman, you have about a 3 in 5 chance of experiencing sexual harassment, while if you’re a man, your chances are around or slightly less than 1 in 5. However, it is important to note, that these figures are strictly for reported cases of sexual harassment, while studies indicate that the vast majority of cases are never even reported.

Statistics can only reveal a small part of the picture, but hopefully we’re moving toward a world where women—and men—feel safe about coming forward,” said author Allison L. Goldstein. “Because if we don’t have official reports, we’ll never know if we’re moving the needle.



Los Angeles appoints its first design Czar.

Starting next month, the outgoing architecture critic of the Los Angeles Times, Christopher Hawthorne, will become the city’s first chief design officer. In his one year at the paper, Christopher has been a vocal critic on the role of pubic spaces and politics and feels that the move is a natural progression. He told the website CityLab, that he wants to use his perch to make the city’s buildings and public spaces more beautiful, inclusive, and efficient.

“All these projects will change the landscape of the city, and when we have one chance to do it, you need to do it right,” said Billy Chun, the deputy mayor for economic development, in whose office Hawthorne will work. “Christopher has been the inner architectural voice of the city … so we felt like we needed to bring him in.”



The Vatican admits to doctoring an image.

The newswire outlet Associated Press have criticized the Vatican after it sent them a doctored image as part of a press release. In the photo, a letter from the former Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned in 2013, defends his successor Pope Francis from criticism and spoke highly of a series of 11 small books recently published on Francis’s theology. Except, that is, for two blurred lines at the end of the letter. The Vatican have now admitted to doctoring the image, which reveals that Benedict had not read the books at all.

“The doctoring of the photo is significant,” the AP writes, “because news media rely on Vatican photographers for images of the pope at events that are otherwise closed to independent media.”



Scottish art school uncovers treasure trove of letters from Europe’s art elite.

The Glasgow School of Art may be bouncing back from a major fire in 2014 that was destroyed during preparation for the final-year student projects and caused irreputable damage to the school’s historic Mackintosh building, in which priceless art and literature materials were stored. During a recent cataloging project however, the school’s archivists have found an entire collection of letters from the likes of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, the pioneering science fiction writer H.G. Wells and the celebrated textile artist William Morris.

These letters are incredibly important,” said GSA lecturer and British design specialist, Dr Helen McCormack. “They provide a better understanding of Morris’s relationship with the city, revealing that he was a much more frequent visitor to Glasgow than has been believed to date. Equally significant is the date of Morris’s lecture on ‘Arts & Crafts’ to GSA students, as it is very likely that CR Mackintosh would have had the opportunity to attend this lecture while he was still a student here in 1889.