Wednesday, May 24, 2006
- Well, okay - sesquiquotidian isn't really a word, but there's no reason it shouldn't be one.
- Neil Gaiman on the "myth of Superman" in WIRED
- Charcuterie chat:
Easy to produce and not particularly glamorous, jerky is a lonely food, just right for lonely characters like [Brokeback Mountain's] Jack and Ennis. And yet it's a powerfully popular one: The "salted meat snack" industry generated more than $300 million in sales in the last year. - "Let's Talk Jerky," by Slate's Sara Dickerman
- A rather mindboggling article on Futurepundit today on how biotechnology will one day enable polygamy by allowing societies and religious sects to selectively breed offspring with a high female-to-male ratio, genetically predisposed to prefer a polygamous lifestyle:
Consider that these polygamists are already managing to condition many women into lives of polygynous wives (polygyny is one husband and many wives) and that they succeed in this in spite of human nature as it exists today. Imagine the world 10 years hence when we will know many genetic variations that influence the tendencies toward jealousy, possessiveness, promiscuity, and other personality characteristics that affect mating behavior. Just by selecting among existing genetic variations it will be possible to have female offspring that will find polygyny more tolerable than the average woman does.FP links to an LA Times article on endemic child and spousal abuses within a polygamous Colorado City, Arizona splinter offshoot of the Mormon Church (who are not affiliated with the main Church of Latter Day Saints denomination). The LA Times article also reveals the dirty little secret of how these polygamous sects manage to maintain such a high brood-mare-to-paterfamilias ratio: many young boys are "disappeared" by being sent off to work at dangerous jobs, by banishment for minor infractions (such as wearing short-sleeved shirts or speaking to girls), or are simply abandoned by their families. Voila - less genetic competition for the old alpha males.
Knowledge of genetic factors which generate the existing range of cognitive characteristics will inevitably lead to the development new genetic variations that wider the range desires, urges, instinctive responses, and other behavioral tendencies. I expect scientists will accidentally if not intentionally discover how to produce females who will find polygyny much easier to accept and even to enjoy. [read full article]
- Research finds that women who consume animal products and dairy foods are more likely to have twins [via feministing]
- Stop the presses: the CTA is dirty, dirty, DIRTY! Mysophobes will cringe at the details of this report by the ChiTrib's Kyra Kyles:
[Chicago Tribune] Though the tests conducted along the Red Line, Brown Line, No. 66 and No. 151 routes revealed no staph or E. coli bacteria cells, approximately 57 percent of the tested surfaces registered as dirty enough to breed bacteria that can make you sick, according to a report by environmental scientist Slade Smith.Soon to be filming in Chicago: "Pigs on a Train."
Surfaces tested on Red and Brown Line trains averaged "dirty" readings, though Red Line cars were found to be significantly dirtier than those on the Brown. Among the dirtiest surfaces tested were the upholstered seats on trains and the stop cord on one bus.
...Brown Line riders that spoke to RedEye were less worried about CTA sanitation. "It's not like I'm licking my hands after I ride the train or anything," 19-year-old Kristin Smith said. Although most "L" surfaces on both lines registered as "dirty," with ATP levels above 50, the Brown Line, on average, was cleaner than the Red. Brown Line surfaces had average ATP levels of 69. Red Line surfaces averaged 181.
...The No. 66 [bus] was "clean," while the No. 151 bus registered as "very dirty," according to Smith's report. None of the No. 66 bus' surface samples registered higher than 50, the baseline for cleanliness. But the No. 151 averaged 326, or "very dirty." A seat's backrest on the No. 151 was the highest of all surfaces tested at 1,599, or "extremely dirty." Smith said he has found much higher levels before, such as a 9,000 reading for a cement floor soaked during a sewer backup.
- Those of you that have followed this blog for some time know I'm fascinated by Precolumbian American cultures; the New York Times reveals that a research team has uncovered evidence Mayan civilization actually flourished centuries before its celebrated Classic Period:
The intriguing finds, including art masterpieces and the earliest known Maya writing, are overturning old ideas of the Preclassic period. It was not a kind of dark age, as once thought, of a culture that emerged and bloomed in Classic times, at places like the spectacular royal ruin at Palenque beginning about A.D. 250 and extending to its mysterious collapse around 900....The murals date to 100 B.C., and nearby, a column of hieroglyphs, a century or two older, attests to an already well-developed writing system.[via Rebecca's Pocket]
News of the discoveries, announced in the last six months by an American-Guatemalan team led by William A. Saturno of the University of New Hampshire, is reverberating through the small community of Mayanists. They see these and other recent finds as strong evidence for the early origin and remarkable continuity of the culture's concepts of cosmology and possibly governance over more than a Preclassic millennium. [read full article]