Amiga Trombone writes: Christopher Stringer is one of the world's foremost paleoanthropologists. He is a founder and most powerful advocate of the leading theory concerning our evolution: Recent African Origin or "Out of Africa". He now calls the theory into question: "I'm thinking a lot about species concepts as applied to humans, about the "Out of Africa" model, and also looking back into Africa itself. I think the idea that modern humans originated in Africa is still a sound concept. Behaviorally and physically, we began our story there, but I've come around to thinking that it wasn't a simple origin. Twenty years ago, I would have argued that our species evolved in one place, maybe in East Africa or South Africa. There was a period of time in just one place where a small population of humans became modern, physically and behaviourally. Isolated and perhaps stressed by climate change, this drove a rapid and punctuational origin for our species. Now I don’t think it was that simple, either within or outside of Africa."
Amiga Trombone writes: "An article in the IEEE Spectrum argues that the rate of technological progress has slowed in the last 50 years. While there have been advances in areas such as computers, communications and medicine, etc., the author points out that these advances have largely been incremental rather than revolutionary. He contrasts the progress made within the life-span of his grandmother (1880-1960) with that in his own (1956-present). Having been born the year after the author, I've noticed this, too. While certainly we've produced some useful refinements, little of the technology available today would have surprised me much had I been able to encounter it in 1969. While some of it has been implemented in surprising ways, the technology itself had largely been anticipated."
Amiga Trombone writes: "Looks like Sun has suffered another humiliation on the heels of it's failed attempt to get acquired by IBM. Microsoft has hired Sun's lead Sparc developer, Marc Tremblay. From the article: "Sun Microsystems has reportedly lost one of its top microprocessor architects, Marc Tremblay, a Sun veteran who was leading the company's next-generation Sparc team. The departure is the latest in a stream of losses that have sapped the company's top tech talent. According to a New York Times report, Tremblay left Sun for a position at software rival Microsoft. Tremblay led several major CPU projects during his time at Sun including Rock, a multicore processor aimed at refreshing Sun's big back-end servers."
Obama's transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration because military rockets may be cheaper and ready sooner than the space agency's planned launch vehicle, which isn't slated to fly until 2015, according to people who've discussed the idea with the Obama team."
Amiga Trombone writes: "Even as IBM Corp. reports record profits, thousands of its U.S. employees are staring at pay cuts. It's the result of IBM's response to a lawsuit in which the company was accused of illegally withholding overtime pay from some technical employees. IBM settled the case for $65 million in 2006 and has now decided that it needs to reclassify 7,600 technical-support workers as eligible for overtime. But their underlying salary — the base pay they earn for their first 40 hours of work each week — will be cut 15 percent to compensate."
Amiga Trombone writes: Immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explain how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants, and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1b workers. See what Bush and Congress really mean by a "shortage of skilled U.S. workers." Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, and thousands of other companies are running fake ads in Sunday newspapers across the country each week.
Amiga Trombone writes: "Those of you who have had your jobs outsourced overseas may live to have the last laugh yet. CNET asks, Will globalization someday stick it to the man? in an article discussing the cost savings afforded to Chinese companies that keep their executive compensation low. From the article:
Excessive executive pay has been a hot-button issue in American politics for years, but worldwide factors could one day make it a liability on the balance sheet.... Since high-level executives and other white collar professionals in Asian companies typically make less than their Western equivalents, these companies potentially will have a cost advantage.
As a wise man once said — revenge is a dish best served cold."