Third Position writes: Ten thousand years ago, people in southern China began to cultivate rice and quickly made an all-too-tempting discovery — the cereal could be fermented into alcoholic liquors. Carousing and drunkenness must have started to pose a serious threat to survival because a variant gene that protects against alcohol became almost universal among southern Chinese and spread throughout the rest of China in the wake of rice cultivation.
The variant gene rapidly degrades alcohol to a chemical that is not intoxicating but makes people flush, leaving many people of Asian descent a legacy of turning red in the face when they drink alcohol.
Many have assumed that humans ceased to evolve in the distant past, perhaps when people first learned to protect themselves against cold, famine and other harsh agents of natural selection. But in the last few years, biologists peering into the human genome sequences now available from around the world have found increasing evidence of natural selection at work in the last few thousand years, leading many to assume that human evolution is still in progress.
Third Position writes: Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.
In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama's relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama's conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, "Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists."
Third Position writes: A Pennsylvania-based information technology partner of IBM is suing the technology giant for some $100 million, alleging a Ponzi scheme and racketeering.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Pennsylvania on June 16, Devon IT accused IBM and several senior executives by name of misusing $12 million that Devon invested in two IBM projects.
“As part of their scheme, the RICO Defendants intentionally misrepresented the market potential of the products they touted and continued to demand funding from Devon – an admittedly smaller company with less resources than IBM – even after the RICO Defendants secretly canceled at least one of the subject development projects,” the company alleges in the suit.
chainLynx writes: Israeli forces attacked an international aid flotilla bringing much-needed supplies to the blockaded Palestinian territory of Gaza. Israeli commandos dropped from helicopters onto the ship and used live ammunition, killing at least 10 people and wounding others. The convoy has many noted participants, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
Third Position writes: NASA on Tuesday signed a contract to pay $55.8 million per astronaut for six Americans to fly into space on Russian Soyuz capsules in 2013 and 2014. NASA needs to get rides on Russian rockets to the International Space Station because it plans to retire the space shuttle fleet later this year. NASA now pays half as much, about $26.3 million per astronaut, when it uses Russian ships.
tessaiga writes: CNN is reporting that IBM is offering its laid-off employees new jobs in India, China, Russia, and other countries. The article describes "Project Match", an effort to relocate qualifying workers to countries where IBM identifies as having "growth opportunities". IBM has laid off over 4,000 workers since January of this year. What makes for a qualifying worker? A hint comes from an IBM company document quoted by CNN: "Only satisfactory performers who are willing to work on local terms and conditions should pursue the jobs."