And What of Humans?

We watched a repeat of a PBS show last night entitled Ape Genius. And I got to thinking, as I usually do, about what it is that makes us human.

Those who are against allowing access to abortion to those that choose it, always claim that it is axiomatic that “life begins at conception.” And in a sense I suppose they are right. When sperm enters egg, the process that will potentially result in a human being undoubtedly begins.

But is that human life? The Court has of course decided in Roe v Wade that a different definition should be used: viability outside the womb–when a fetus can exist on its own–breathe basically–then we have a legal human being.

In our early exploration of human origins, paleontologists came to the conclusion that what separated humans from animals was the making and using of tools. One human ancestor was even named as such–Homo Habilis–handy man. Today we know that other animals make and use tools, and so we can no longer define ourselves by that grouping.

Today we know that chimps make tools, they fashion “fishing poles” to gain termites, and they also fashion spears made from long narrow branches which they sharpen at one end and poke into tree hollows where their favorite food, Bush Babies, nest during the day. If the spear comes out bloody, they rip the tree open and get their meal.

One might conclude that humans can learn new skills and this is what makes them special. But most chimps can be shown a process involving several steps, and quickly follow suit. They can also figure out how to enlist the help of others, even humans to help them get a treat. They will co-operate in securing a food which neither can get alone.

Chimps are social beings, they play, they physically interact beyond that required for child rearing and sexual activity. They, like some other mammals grieve the loss of members of their group.

One bonobo chimp has a vocabulary of over three thousand words. You can direct her to locate, within sight or out of sight, various objects and place them in other places. Chimps can learn numbers and can “count”, and even come to learn the sequential aspect of counting.

One of the most fascinating tests I saw was where a box was presented and the “teacher” went through a number of steps, the last of which was to poke a stick into a hole and fish out a treat. Children and chimps did equally well in following the steps. Then the box was replaced by the same kind of box except that it was transparent. The teacher went through the same sequence of steps again.

But now things changed. The chimps realized that most of the steps had zero to do with the getting of the treat. They quickly abandoned all the steps except the last one. The children, however, even though they could clearly see that most of the steps were just “hocus pocus” and had nothing to do with getting to the treat, continued to do as they had been shown.

Were the chimps smarter?

It might seem so, but in fact, it showed the difference between chimp and human. Chimps don’t see themselves as teachers of new skills, nor do they see others as teachers. They merely mimic behaviors that lead to an end they wish. When they can see that parts of that mimicry are unnecessary, the stop wasting the time doing it.

Humans, on the other hand, recognize themselves as students, and they recognize adults as teachers. They do as instructed because they perceive their lesser position and the deference due the adult teacher. They in essence perceive that there may be reasons they don’t yet perceive, for doing what seem unnecessary steps.

Similarly, an ape may “learn” words and be able to identify symbols with words, but it is all a means to very specific ends. They follow instructions (anticipating rewards) or they “ask” for things–usually food. You can teach an ape to correctly identify a cloud or rain, but it will never ask you if you think the clouds look like an oncoming storm.

It, doesn’t, in other words, participate in a conversation. It does not really anticipate what you mean, seek clarification, or respond to your thoughts.

All of this gives us pause as we try to figure out when and why humans become something unique among the animal kingdom. The more we study chimps and other high-functioning mammals, the more winding the road to what separates us from them.

Most assuredly, it leads to the inescapable conclusion that evolution is the driving means by which life changed and adapted. So little, be it genetic or practically, separates us from some members of the mammal world. Yet the outcome of whatever small differences exist, is a mammoth gulf. No chimp has built a car or computer, let alone created knowing art.  

The philosopher calls us to “know ourselves”. And only when we truly do, will we, I fear, be able to see that our likeness as humans so far outstrips our otherness. Carl Sagan once hoped that seeing ourselves as the “little blue dot” would help confirm that idea upon the human psyche. Sadly that didn’t really happen. Perhaps our continued study of our nearest relatives may lead us to that. One can but hope.

 

Are We All Nuts?

The latest in our public obsession with sensational murder cases has ended. Casey Anthony was found not guilty of all of the major charges, and those she was convicted of, well, she has basically already served the sentence.

Almost all of the talking heads had it as a slam dunk for the prosecution. I too expected that she would be convicted of the less serious manslaughter offense. I also suspected there was a fair amount of error in the record and a reversal might also ensue.

So it was a shock to most, and immediately all the cable stations went into a full-court press about this unbelievable outcome. That horror of all horrors, Nancy Grace must have pulled out every hair on her head. Her “reports” which I assiduously avoided as best I could, fairly boiled over with venom and snarling accusation. No doubt she is busy screaming travesty in her shower this morning.

What didn’t surprise me were the hoards outside the courtroom and in various locations where cable TV was running (Applebee’s anybody?), and their reaction. Unspeakable moans, tears, and all manner of fist shaking was seen. How could this have happened?

And while I expected this reaction, part of me shook my head in wonder. What is wrong with these people? How do ordinary? people become invested in these cases when they have no personal involvement with any of the participants? I’m told people planned vacations around this event, and traveled hundreds of miles to be in on the trial theatrics.

Are these people just nuts? Do they not have lives? Are they sick? I sat there, sanctimoniously I might add. I am a lawyer by training and I would not hazard an opinion on this one. But that was because I rather intentionally avoided watching it. I realized that some of these poor souls had in fact watched every blessed moment, and they felt entitled to an opinion.

I then recalled an embarrassing truth. I had watched a fair amount of the OJ trial. I surely had an opinion, and to this day, am quite certain of his guilt. So am I any different? I have to wonder.

So my arrogance was deflated.

Questions arise. Do we infuse these cases with something they are not? Are these exceptional cases? Or only media induced high-profile circuses? Does the wild attention given them contribute to incorrect findings? Does everyone perform to the intrusive camera? Does this change the entire dynamic of a trial?

I suspect there are plenty of psychologists asking those very questions and formulating experimental models to test those hypotheses that seem reasonable.

So what do you think?

I must say, that as more media attention comes Michele “Crazy” Bachmann’s way, I get happier. She has a trail of anti-gay wackoness that is stunningly sick. She claims that her own half-sister who is gay leads a “sad life” and is in the hands of Satan. That will get you so far down the road with the rational American public.

Her hubby is even worse if that is possible. His “Christian” therapy center is widely understood to try to de-gay folks, and it’s entirely possible that he has received Medicaid monies to do so.

When you add it all up, the queen of the Teanuts will be destroyed in a general election, but she might be like a certain little girl who wandered into a house and found one bed “just right”. If the wackonuts continue to control the GOP, she could be “just right” with them.

 Climate change is the culprit! I know there are deniers out there, but Australian scientists think that the demise of the giant wombat was caused by climate changes, and not from over-hunting. The mega-marsupial, about the size of a four-wheel drive car, was a plant eater, so don’t get your knickers in a twist if you are headed to Aussieland for a vacation.

Still and all, if you wander around Queensland, be sure to keep an eye out for more skeletons of this humongous creature, that passed out of existence some 50,000 years ago.

Cutie doncha think?

I think the GOP is in big trouble. Their boy the budget czar, Ryan, is about the third most hated Rethuglian in the country only behind Newt and Sarah. Everybody, except the extremely crazy are running from him as fast as they can. They are sort of getting the idea that Merika wants nothing to do with Medicare or Medicaid tinkering.

Saner heads, if there really are any, are sickened by what has happened to the once proud party of Lincoln. I can’t say that I agree often with David Brooks, the conservative columnist, but I have to say I do agree with his assessment of things in his latest op-ed in the NYTimes, The Mother of All No-Brainers.

Basically, Brooks argues that the GOP may well squander the best of all opportunities, in the name of rabid ideological protest. In other words, let the country go down the drain if it means we can eradicate that awful “otherness” that inhabits the White House.

Brooks is spot on here. His words are the harshest I’ve read from a conservative, while Bachmann, in Iowa on the 4th, taunted her Teanut fans that they were being likened to hillbillies by the Democrats. Brooks might argue that the Teanuts are far far below the intellectual level of your average hillbilly. Read the editorial, and you may well agree that the GOP has stepped in its own elephant poo.

All the News that Can Be Got Between Noon and Noon-fifteen

I know that the fine business of news reporting once upon a time was an honorable craft. I know that because I have heard and read about Edward R. Murrow and I remember Walter Cronkite. You know, reporters who actually spent time tracking down a story that was important.

Today, we have almost none of those types at least in the media. It’s all a dog and pony show now. Make sure it’s got all the bells and whistles, keep it short, make the video entertaining. Fluff it up.

One of the reasons that I was for an early resignation by Anthony Weiner, was not because of the hideousness of his crime, but because he would prove to be a distraction since the media would opt for the easy story–sex sells, and we all know it.

Weiner shares the spotlight with the trial of a mother for the death of her child. For several hours a day we are informed of the last detail of mom and dad’s testimony as well as about the new forensic science of “smell”. (There is a sealed can of “death” odor in case you missed it.)

Given these propensities, it comes as no surprise that the crazy Bachmann woman is getting just loads of press since the “debate” of a couple of nights ago. Albeit, some suggest that her bar was lower than a master limbo dancer could get under in the first place, but she got high marks for “having a command” of the facts, and being aggressive. Somehow that has catapulted her into the race as a viable candidate.

I suggest that this is only in the minds of the media asswipes who muse over such things while sipping that appletini at a long lunch. She’s fun, controversial, and easy to cover. The fact that if you were to look at her numbers nationally, she ranks in the barely negligible range, is of no matter. It is important that she is looking good in Iowa.

Well, let me inform you that Iowa is, nowadays, no bellweather of Republicanism. It is a rogue state of insanity produced by the strange animal known as caucus. See, we don’t all go to the polls and vote here in our primary. No, those of us who have a few hours to waste, go and sit with a bunch of other people with time on their hands (or very very serious interests in who gets the nod), and we argue, and argue and argue until the “caucus” for that district reaches a consensus. Since many of the folks are neighbors and friends, well, you can see the possibilities. Bottom line, caucuses wildly don’t reflect the average voter in the state. They do represent very special interests.

That Bachmann will do well in Iowa’s caucuses is correct. That it means much of anything is entirely another thing.

So, in the interests of not getting all wacked out of shape over this Bachmann “surge” let us recall that the woman is an idiot, second only to that fine piece of work, the Wasilla Witch. If you need reminding, then take a look at this list of Bachmannian crazy. Surely the domkoffs of the GOPpery are not this insane? Or stop by Politicususa and read their summary of the lady’s right-wing evangelical nuttery.

 It probably goes without saying to the crowd that comes around here to read the news that the Ryan plan is awful–simply awful. It screws the elderly and no amount of saying it doesn’t will change that fact. Republicans are simply lying when they claim otherwise. What the CBO tells us, is that worse, it will raise costs astronomically. A good report on all this at Crooks and Liars today.

Let me see if I can remember this correctly. Once upon a time banks had no regulation to speak of. This was back in the Bushy years. And they overreached, and then the entire economy teetered on the edge of destruction. Now the GOPers are determined that the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency shall have no money and nobody to run it, because banks need to be left unfettered to do their thing. Yeah, makes sense. Once again, the Rethuglians in Congress show us just how little they are interested in people. Who would think that anyone would be against protecting consumers except the fat cats who are trying to screw them–oh yeah, that would be the Repuklicans wouldn’t it?

Couldn’t resist this little gem fromPolitical Irony:

We’ve been reporting here now and again about voter suppression laws being enacted in GOP controlled states throughout the US. USA Today has done an editorial on the subject, calling a spade a spade. Again, there are no real issues with voter fraud here or anywhere. This is just a GOP dirty trick to suppress largely Democratic voters who are students, poor and the elderly. Note that in no case do these new suppression laws address absentee voting which is universally considered more open to fraud, but which the GOP deems most likely to be cast by Republicans.

And just cuz you need to know this stuff, some stuff on evolution and the failure of mankind to make much evolutionary progress in the last 40-50 thousand years, go read this great article. It’s a great new book by one of the leaders in the field of evolution and man. It’s called the Origin of Our Species.

What’s on the stove: chicken cacciatore, salad, bread

Founding Fathers Opposed Darwin!

Shocking? I guess it should be given the fact that Darwin didn’t publish his seminal work until 1859, more than half a century after our government was formed.

That is the claim however of the pseudo-historian David Barton. And he claims that no less of a questionable religionist than Thomas Paine, who died the same year that Darwin was born, argued that creationism must be taught in the schools.

If all of this leaves you a bit skeptical, well, Barton has plenty of other ideas that would make a big business  CEO grin from ear to ear. Jesus was opposed to minimum wage laws, and therefore unions, as well as progressive income taxes.

Even more shocking Mr. Barton explains the real impetus for the revolution was not economic, but a persistent dedication to the eradication of slavery. Somehow, England ultimately beat us to the punch on that, but no matter, it’s the thought that counts.

You can read all this and watch the actual interview wherein Barton espouses his unique “history” by following the link.

Herman “step ‘n fetch it” Cain is busy these days, yakking up the airways with his bizarre understanding of the world. He too has a slippery grasp on history as he reminded us to “read that small section of the constitution” wherein we were promised life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Except that that little phrase doesn’t come from the constitution, but rather from the Declaration of Independence.

Cain then went on to and pontificated that as President, he would not sign any bills longer than three pages. Given that much of any bill deals with its impact on a plethora of other agencies and legislation and regulations and interfaces are essential for all these things to work together, this presents quite a problem. It suggests that Cain would end up signing zero bills. It also suggests Cain has no sense whatsoever of how the government operates.

Now Cain explains how he would deal with the problem at the border with Mexico–a wall, akin to the Great Wall, and one with a companion moat, and yes, filled with alligators!

Cain appears to subscribe to the Palin school of knowledge–just say what seems sensible to you, even when its demonstrable that you are not a very sensible person.

“To thine own self be true?” Okay, but how exactly is one to determine who the true self is? It’s a lot harder question than you might have thought. Depending on what standard you use, you can end up at quite different conclusions. A very thoughtful article by Joshua Knobe.

That leave you bored? Well join the club. Boredom is a human condition, no matter what anyone says. Even animals get bored. Boredom can be normal or abnormal, situational or existential. So if you find yourself bored, then read all about this subject! Nothing could be less boring.

Memo to Antony Weiner: Dude, don’t miss the next meeting of “How I threw away my life”. Lots of your favorites will be there! Tiger Woods will offer the first testimonial. Also, a good move would be to check into rehab forthwith. That tends to get a sympathy vote. Sex addiction is the hottest trending rehab these days.

When I was growing up, to call someone an Neandertal was essentially to call them something just barely above the level of ape. Today, our understanding is vastly superior, and we find that most of our old assumptions were wrong. Neandertal DNA shows up in some parts of today’s populations. And there is no evidence that Neandertals were in conflict with more modern man.

These chin-ups are sure to pay off in the future!

If you aren’t totally tired of Weiner jokes, then bop on over to Political Irony and see the late night comedians do their thing.
Ricky “don’t google me” Santorum, just can’t stop being a boob. It’s his nature. He has told Johnny McCain that he don’t know nothin’ bout no torture, said that climate change is a patent absurdity, claimed he would make marriage inequality the center of his campaign, and so forth. Now in the growing Republican revision of history, he tells us that the D-Day invasion occurred precisely to insure the American right to private health care. Yes, he said that:
 
Almost 60,000 average Americans had the courage to go out and charge those beaches on Normandy, to drop out of airplanes who knows where, and take on the battle for freedom. … Those Americans risked everything so they could make that decision on their health care plan.
 
Yes, my friends, the ultimate nutjob said that.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Patting Myself on the Back

The truth is, I believe in dressing well, even for a day at the computer. As you can see, even a hat is de rigueur in my world.

I went on yesterday about veiled conspiracies to subvert the economic recovery by corporations (banks and otherwise), giving up short-term gains to insure a Republican victory this November. I think I’m mostly right.

Veiled or unveiled, I suspect they don’t much care at this point. Fox certainly doesn’t after it’s gift of a cool mill to the GOP. They don’t bother any more with even a pretence at “fair and balanced.”

Why? Oh quite simple really.  They know that their simple-minded audience can’t add two and two and come up remotely close to a correct answer. They can and do lie at will. The right doesn’t listen to the left, preferring to roll in the swill of their moral rightness on everything. Their base doesn’t care one whit that they are playing politics, in fact they agree with it. Just as they agreed with Fox’s promotion of all things tea partyish.

Why I disagree with parts of the next article, especially as to who is owed all the blame, I think there is something to be said for RCP’s article The Lost Promise of Barack Obama. Democrats bear a good deal of blame for their own downfall, which seems more and more likely this November.

 Nobody can get a snark on better than our friends at Urantia Sojourn. This one particularly struck me as both cogent and well researched. The branding of all non-whites as “other” is reaching epidemic proportions in America. Will we stop it before it is too late?

It seems to me that part of being responsible as a human beings is to be willing to criticize yourself, as American, Democrat, religious believer, etc. Being an apologist is simply dangerous, and once discovered takes all the power from your voice. The must read of today is this one: [note that this link is weird--the text is half way down, it looks like a Pakistan military site, but the full text is in a comment--3quarksdaily had no better linkage]

Harvard University offers an award known as the Robert F. Kennedy Public Service award. It’s first Muslim recipient and only second South Asia one, went to Mir Ibrahim Rahman. His remarks are food for deep thought for all of us in the US. They were made at Harvard Commencement. As I said, the text is embedded in a comment I believe, but still it is worth the effort to get to it.

Goodness knows I’ve had my problems with atheists. The NEW ones at least. I find them about as irrational and pompous as fundamentalists. More and more I keep finding that many equate, and frankly always have, the rabid atheist with the fundamentalist. Both talk of certainty about things that are anything but certain.

A great post by Reza Aslan at the Washington Post lays this out extraordinarily well. Much thanks to Mystical Seeker at Find and Ye Shall Seek. Much whine from the atheists in the comments.

The profession of butcher is older than we thought! At least 800,000 years to be exact. Ha! And to think that butcher shops are going out of style and have been for decades now. You would think that they would be revered places, beginnings of our illustrious history as tool makers and users. Read it all at Butchering Dinner 3.4 Million Years Ago.

And then there are times when it’s very embarrassing to be a Christian–when you have to be in the same religion as Franklin Graham. This Muslim hater is beyond the pale. Even his father had enough sense to at least apologize when caught being anti-Semitic. The son now drivels on about how Obama came from “Muslim seed” and “says he has accepted Jesus Christ”.  What a piece of work.

Amy Sullivan has a most interesting take on why polls claim that 1/4 of Americans “think” Obama is a Muslim. Worth your time to read this one.

Meanwhile, James Taranto, writing for the Wall Street Journal (Murdock’s baby remember) writes a convoluted piece that suggests that liberals do these polls all for the purpose of calling the right names for their beliefs, and in the process fail to do it, but make themselves look mean and small for calling out the right wing nuts. Understand that? Neither did I. If you got to comments you will find that ALL believe Obama is a Muslim there. Too funny.

And that’s a wrap.

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You Neandertal!

It used to be that to call someone a Neandertal, was to hurl a telling insult. You basically were saying, your kinda dumb, kinda out of touch with the world, and kinda doomed to extinction.

No more.

What I love most about science is it’s lack of certainty. Nothing is ever written in stone, but all is subject to the proviso of: “This is true, so far as we know now.”

For decades, perhaps longer, Neandertals were relegated to the failed category. A dead end hominid that couldn’t cut it in a modern world and died out.

Genetics and that wonderful world of genome testing has virtually proven evolution to be true, and at the same time, has re-written the human family tree. That’s why the field is so darned exciting.

Michael Shermer, science writer for Scientific American and Skeptic, explains how Neandertals are now re-categorized as homo sapiens neadertalensis, the sapiens being new. For indeed, they were not a dead end but in fact contribute to the genome that you and I today share. I have no idea why I am glad it is true, but I am.

It’s not so hot today, so far that is. I haven’t even heard a weather report. Not that that means anything if I did. They said we would be hot this week, but would have little actual rain. So far, in three days we’ve had at least three inches. So listening to them is wasting precious minutes of my day. I think mold is growing everywhere, and I’m thinking that weeds will be popping up through the floor any moment. This is SO tiresome.

I read this next one earlier today, but D-Cap explains it in his perfect style and wit. The Phyllis Schafly “son” has joined ma-ma in loolo land, now claiming that Einstein and general relativity is all bunk and just another of those liberal lies. Oh Lordy, Lordy, when will the teabaggin’ crazies combine to make up one good brain?

By the by. I LOVE Greek style yogurt. It is so fantastic that it doesn’t even compare to the regular type. Anybody know why the freakin’ stuff costs an arm and a leg? Is there some serious process that costs billions to create it like this? I would love to know.

William Lindsay has an interesting post at Bilgrimage about the tea party phenom as well as how the elites who have little to do with you and me control these conversations. Interesting take on Catholic conversation and gender domination. As many of us have said, we are the mere puppets in this charade of a national debate. We control no agenda, no topic.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so deathly sick of every politician, right or left who has the unmitigated gall to speak for me in that smarmy “The American people don’t like. . . .” Not a damn one of you has a clue what I don’t like or do. So speak for yourself, since you obviously only vote for yourself.

Big Think does a great article on Ground Zero and religious freedom. Lots of good links so you can continue learning. As I’ve said before, this situation has all the makings of tragedy in the making. In saner heads do not prevail. Be one of the sane ones. Make your opinion known by supporting Muslims in your community, writing letters to the editor, and speaking out clearly. The haters (who are always complaining they are being denied the right to their religion) cannot be allowed to win this one.

I included this one for fun. Ala Sharron Angle’s “I want you to ask the questions I want to answer so that the message we want out there is out there,” state Texan GOP’er, Debbie Riddle was taken aback when Anderson Cooper asked her to provide proof of her allegations. She alleges that terrorists were sending in sleeper pregnant women to give birth to American citizens who would in twenty or so years commit acts of terror. She got this info from FBI sources. She could not, of course, come up with any such sources and ended by accusing Cooper of grilling her, and that his network had not warned her to be prepared with actual answers. TOO FUNNY.

I swear, some day we are gonna find that this was all a monumental comedy hoax perpetrated by Candid Camera. I mean really, how do you grow up to adulthood with no brain? Yet if we listen to the Gopers, apparently dozens of them do.

We hear tell that Dan Quayle dubious VP under Bush numb nuts #1, and all around IQ misfit, has spawned a child called Ben who is carrying on the family dull tradition. Running for office he is calling Obama hands down the worst president in US history. This said with tongue in cheek no doubt. Coming from such illustrious parentage, one can but exclaim–Anyone for duck hunting? But he is running in Arizona, proof positive that the Continental US  is sagging southwest due to an excess of poop. A high colonic please!

Speaking of empty skulls,  I saw an interview with the guy who played piano for years at the WH. He was at Blair House when the Numb nuts #1 returned with the clan following his inauguration. Piano player said he recognized most of the Bushie family members, even the weird one who sat alone in the corner. Any guess who that might be?’

A very long, but very thorough article at Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg on Iran, Israel, and US foreign policy. A long haul, but then you come here to learn where to go to be informed right?

And just for fun, here’s a little post about how the British are gearing up to make nice with all the Olympic visitors come 2012. How to talk to foreigners! Enjoy! (Read the comments!)

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What’s Up? 06/22/10

If ya read upside down like Chimpy here, then you better go elsewhere. But I know you read just fine, so continue we will to  the bestest stuff I have found today in my wanderings through the Intertubes of information.

We have managed to have most of two days of no rain, and though threatening earlier, it’s sunning now. Not sure how long that will last.

Things are alleged to be getting all fired up again as evening comes on, when I shall be heading home from a meeting at church.

So without further ado, scan the following for anything that strikes your fancy. Where you fancy might be, I have no idea, and don’t mean to say anything untoward or sexually provocative or anything. As Vodka says, children read this blog. Keep that in mind. I believe in dressing appropriately at the computer. No skivvies if you are so enrobed. Get dressed before proceeding.

We start with a nice recipe for dessert, Mystery Mocha from Pioneer Woman. I’ve cut through all the pictures and gone straight to the recipe. It’s kinda like a lava cake, chocolaty and coffeey.

There is an interesting review of a biography of Marcus Aurelius at In Character. That might interest one person I know, but I thought it posed an interesting dilemma today. We all want so many answers to life’s questions, but we seldom seek the answers in philosophy, certainly not ancient Stoicism at least. We are more prone to the quick fix of self-help books. Perhaps a post might grow from this. . .who knows.

The Boston Globe has a really good article on the mind of the anonymous commenter online. The hard core make up about 1% of all online users.  Should people be required to use their names? What is happening as a result of the anonymity generally allowed? Are comments even a good thing at all? Read on and see.

In case you didn’t know, Blisterina does some outstanding photography, usually in black and white which I just love. Please visit.

Religious Dispatches has a good piece on the Tea Party and how it attempts to re-write history. Now we are to understand that racism really played no part in slavery. No, it was a conspiracy is all. Do read on. Providing “proof” that racists don’t have to feel guilty about their racism. Takes the cake doesn’t it?

It appears we may have been walking longer than we thought. Kin of Lucy the most famous of our ancestors, is older than she apparently. Lucy’s ancestor is called “big man” because he was between 5 and 5’6″  compared to Lucy who was a mere 3’6″ tall. As you would expect, not all agree, and that’s the fun of science isn’t it?

We hear about it more and more. It seems to be the new “in” thing to suffer from. I’m talking about hoarding. I think there is even a TV show that features interventions. Anyway, I don’t get people like this, but I find it all quite fascinating as well. There is a book out about it, and it is featured  at Huff Po. In our consumer obsessed lives, I can only guess it is on the rise.  It’s a sad and complex disease. The book looks interesting for sure.

Will or will not President Obama fire Gen. Stanley McChrystal? Most think he will, but David Quigg has a very different take, and one that is worth thinking about. Obama is smarter than the average President  after all.

And dat oughta keep you outa trouble today.

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