Recent Articles

The Onion explores the evolution of God.

| April 15, 2015 | Reply

According to The Onion:

“Challenging long-held views on the origins of divinity, biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, presented findings Thursday that confirm God, the Almighty Creator of the Universe, evolved from an ancient chimpanzee deity.

The recently discovered sacred ancestor, a divine chimp species scientists have named Pan sanctorum, reportedly gave rise over millions of years to the Lord Our God, Maker of Heaven and Earth.”

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What is marriage according to the Bible?

| April 14, 2015 | Reply

What is marriage according to the Bible? Betty Bowers explains:

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The American Public should have input on the TPP

| April 10, 2015 | Reply

Congress is about to introduce a bill to fast track a secret deal that could lead to global censorship. It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We think Internet users everywhere should have a say in decisions that affect the Internet — but if “Fast Track” legislation passes, there is no chance that the public will see the text before the deal is approved. Join the Internet Vote on April 23rd and let’s make it clear to DC how we’re voting: against Fast Track and against Internet censorship.

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Nazi pre-war oasis on Long Island

| April 10, 2015 | 1 Reply

I had no idea there was such sympathy to Hitler in the US prior to US involvement in WWII. This article offers narrative along with some disturbing photos from this pro-Nazi community.

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How Europeans evolved into tall white-skinned milk-drinkers

| April 10, 2015 | Reply

Fascinating research shows that the traits of light colored skin and the ability to digest lactose (found in milk) as adults evolved recently:

First, the scientists confirmed an earlier report that the hunter-gatherers in Europe could not digest the sugars in milk 8000 years ago, according to a poster. They also noted an interesting twist: The first farmers also couldn’t digest milk. The farmers who came from the Near East about 7800 years ago and the Yamnaya pastoralists who came from the steppes 4800 years ago lacked the version of the LCT gene that allows adults to digest sugars in milk. It wasn’t until about 4300 years ago that lactose tolerance swept through Europe.

When it comes to skin color, the team found a patchwork of evolution in different places, and three separate genes that produce light skin, telling a complex story for how European’s skin evolved to be much lighter during the past 8000 years. The modern humans who came out of Africa to originally settle Europe about 40,000 years are presumed to have had dark skin, which is advantageous in sunny latitudes. And the new data confirm that about 8500 years ago, early hunter-gatherers in Spain, Luxembourg, and Hungary also had darker skin: They lacked versions of two genes—SLC24A5 and SLC45A2—that lead to depigmentation and, therefore, pale skin in Europeans today.

Further research shows that being tall or shorter can each have advantages in different environments:

[S]election strongly favored several gene variants for tallness in northern and central Europeans, starting 8000 years ago, with a boost coming from the Yamnaya migration, starting 4800 years ago. The Yamnaya have the greatest genetic potential for being tall of any of the populations, which is consistent with measurements of their ancient skeletons. In contrast, selection favored shorter people in Italy and Spain starting 8000 years ago, according to the paper now posted on the bioRxiv preprint server. Spaniards, in particular, shrank in stature 6000 years ago, perhaps as a result of adapting to colder temperatures and a poor diet.

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John Oliver and Edward Snowden reframe the NSA Debate

| April 6, 2015 | 3 Replies

Brilliant framing of a complex topic by John Oliver. Why should people care about NSA spying on American citizens? This video combines interviews with people on the street with an in-person discussion between John Oliver and Edward Snowden in Russian. The reframing: dick pics.

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Amanda Palmer encourages us to ask

| April 2, 2015 | Reply

I stumbled across this inspiring talk by musician Amanda Palmer. She gives considerable insight into the economics of the music industry. But she gives even more insight into human connections and the importance of asking as the prelude to those connections.

I’m including both her TED lecture and beneath it, a video of her performance of the “Bed Song.” There is a direct connection between these two performances.

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The alleged benefit of an entire office working naked

| April 2, 2015 | Reply

I have nothing against nudity. I like creativity and camaraderie, which nakedness would seem to encourage. But I also like being productive. I’m wondering how much of this article about arranging for an entire office to work in the nude for a month is accurate and how much is spin.

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Bowling tricks

| April 1, 2015 | 1 Reply

This man, Andy Varipapa, is rather amazing.

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