Recent Articles

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Bowling tricks

| April 1, 2015 | 1 Reply

This man, Andy Varipapa, is rather amazing.

Read More

Whether Religion should be Mocked

| March 30, 2015 | Reply

Hemant Mehta argues that religion needs to be mocked, but only in the right way with the right type of audience, and using the right tone. Mockery is a form of criticism, he states, and many aspects of religion deserve to be criticized.

Read More

Little coverage of these important stories by the corporate media

| March 29, 2015 | 1 Reply

If the media were really liberal, we would see a lot more coverage regarding these issues:

1. Where the jobs went.

2. Upward wealth redistribution and/or inequality.

3. ALEC.

4. The number of people in prison.

5. The number of black people in prison.

6. U.S. health care costs are the highest in the world.

7. Glass-Steagall.

8. Gerrymandering.

9. The number of bills blocked by Republicans in Congress.

10. The Citizens’ United Supreme Court decision

11. Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

12. Tax cuts primarily benefit the wealthy.

13. What’s happening to the bees?

14. The impact of temporary workers on our economy.

15. Media consolidation

If the media were “liberal,” it would serve the public interest and shine a light on issues like the ones above.

More people would also have a better understanding of global warming, peak oil, population growth, political lobbying, government’s role in a functioning economy, how much we spend on the military, and countless other issues.

What you’re more likely to see in the media, however, are stories designed to get you to buy their paper, or watch their show, or listen to their radio station. If it bleeds, it leads. This is why the media is concerned with scandal, celebrities, gossip, and fear.

If anything, our news consists of paid advertisements and outlets too scared of offending anyone to publish much of substance. Investigative journalism is also expensive; entertainment is cheap. . .

One way to approach the topic is to simply ask: If we have a “liberal media,” where are the liberal stories?

Read More

Transubstantiation disproven

| March 29, 2015 | Reply

Explosive headline concerning the alleged transubstantiation. Here’s the title and opening sentence:

Vatican reeling as DNA tests show communion wafers contain 0% Christ

The Vatican is this morning facing a further crisis after routine DNA tests revealed that the communion wafers used in Sunday mass contain 0% of the body and blood of Christ.

Read More