Archive for June 9th, 2010
In light of the importance of sleep, some hotels are telling their guests to stop the noise, stop the partying and go to sleep. It’s about time, especially for those of us who check into hotels with the need to get some sleep in preparation for a meeting the next morning. The blaringly loud TV next door is my biggest nemesis.
You may have heard the news. Humans and Neanderthals, apparently, had sex with each other at some time. Shocking, yes, I know. But the newish technology of sequencing genomes is turning up all sorts of fascinating (and potentially scandalous) data. In NatureNews Online you can read more about it.
The researchers arrived at that conclusion by studying genetic data from 1,983 individuals from 99 populations in Africa, Europe, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. Sarah Joyce, a doctoral student working with Long, analyzed 614 microsatellite positions, which are sections of the genome that can be used like fingerprints. She then created an evolutionary tree to explain the observed genetic variation in microsatellites. The best way to explain that variation was if there were two periods of interbreeding between humans and an archaic species, such as Homo neanderthalensis or H. heidelbergensis.
Speculation over Neanderthal/Human interaction has been ongoing for a long time. Some of the idiosyncrasies of the Basque language have even been hypothesized to have resulted from such interaction, as that region of Europe seems to have been the last place Neanderthal was known to live. That they shared space—and perhaps much more—with humans is, to say the least, and intriguing notion.
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Rolling Stone has published a blistering expose on President Obama’s failures regarding the Gulf Oil spill disaster. Yes, the Bush Administration was spectacularly at fault, but President Obama is carrying on Bush’s tradition with exuberance:
For weeks, the administration had been insisting that BP alone was to blame for the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf – and the ongoing failure to stop the massive leak. “They have the technical expertise to plug the hole,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had said only six days earlier. “It is their responsibility.” The president, Gibbs added, lacked the authority to play anything more than a supervisory role – a curious line of argument from an administration that has reserved the right to assassinate American citizens abroad and has nationalized much of the auto industry. “If BP is not accomplishing the task, can you just federalize it?” a reporter asked. “No,” Gibbs replied.
At page 6 of the online article, Rolling Stone documents the absurd government dishonest downplaying of the extent of the damage. Further, the U.S. government continues to allow BP to operate in near secrecy. See also this excerpt from this excellent highly-detailed article in Rolling Stone:
On the campaign trail, Obama had stressed that offshore drilling “will not make a real dent in current gas prices or meet the long-term challenge of energy independence.” But once in office, he bowed to the politics of “drill, baby, drill.” Hoping to use oil as a bargaining chip to win votes for climate legislation in Congress, Obama unveiled an aggressive push for new offshore drilling in the Arctic, the Southeastern seaboard and new waters in the Gulf, closer to Florida than ever before. In doing so, he ignored his administration’s top experts on ocean science, who warned that the offshore plan dramatically understated the risks of an oil spill and petitioned Salazar to exempt the Arctic from drilling until more scientific studies could be conducted.
I assume that this would be as much fun to create as to view. Multiplicity:
is a photography technique in which the same person is photographed from different angles and directions and then the bunch of photographs are digitally re-mastered in Photoshop showing clones of the person doing different things all in one photo.
And speaking of photos, here are 13 of them “that changed the world.”
And here’s one more gallery that caught my eye tonight. It’s called “Abandoned.”
But here’s one more entertaining collection demonstrating that it’s not easy being a photographer.
The Israelis don’t trust other people to describe what really happened. Therefore, they seized the evidence. Amy Goodman reports:
Who frames the narrative? After the Israeli military raided the Gaza aid flotilla and killed nine of the activists onboard, they detained almost everyone else—700 activists and journalists—hauled them to the Israeli port of Ashdod, and kept them largely out of communication with family, press and lawyers for days. The Israeli government confiscated every recording and communication device it could find, devices containing almost all the recorded evidence of the raid. The Israelis selected, edited, released footage they wanted the world to see.
Here’s more, including discussion by Paul McGeough, chief correspondent, Sydney Morning Herald and Kate Geraghty, photographer with the Sydney Morning Herald:
KATE GERAGHTY: Yes. I was photographing, standing right next to Paul. And I was looking over the side of the boat, as the commando came—an Israeli commando came up towards us. So I was photographing and basically got hit on the arm just above my elbow, which knocked me about a meter, about a meter and a half. And then, I was immediately sick. And then the commando came toward me and—
AMY GOODMAN: Sick, you mean—you mean you were throwing up?
KATE GERAGHTY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then a commando wrestled my camera off me. And they had guns, so, you know, we just said basically, as Paul mentioned, that we’re Australian journalists, we’re with the Sydney Morning Herald. And that didn’t make any difference.
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At CNN, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway portray climate change as another victim of free market fundamentalism:
Since the early 1990s, there has been a sustained history of attempts to undermine any science that suggested that contemporary industrial society might be doing irreparable harm to human health and the natural environment. This included the science that demonstrated the harms of DDT, the dangers to children of second-hand smoke, the causes of acid rain, and the reality of the ozone hole. Often the same people were involved in several or even all of these attacks. The common feature in all these cases was a link to think tanks promoting free markets and opposing government regulations.
One doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see the pattern: People are loath to admit that our free market system has created problems that the free market has proved ineffectual to solve. Nicolas Stern, former chief economist at the World Bank, has called global warming “the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen.”