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Comment Re:Maybe, maybe not (Score 1) 110

If you had read the article you would know that the pattern of broken bones matches what happens when someone falls from a height of about 12 meters: broken legs on landing, then broken wrists and shoulders as the person tries to protect themself, then broken ribs and skull. Lucy had all of those; the broken wrists are especially interesting.

Yes, and if you read some of the critique, you'd know that Lucy's skeleton is riddled with cracks and broken bones due to the process of fossilization and millions of years of compression. There are questions as to why the team decided to focus only on specific fractures, and seemed to ignore the others.

I'll admit I haven't read the paper itself yet to see if some of these were indeed death with, but I have read some critique from other researchers in this field, and it seems they have concerns as to methodology.

Yaz

Comment Re:This reminds me of my visit to the "Fish Man" (Score 1) 119

My client was an ex-special forces commando. He was working a modest-paying state job in the Department of Agriculture (he was an old time farm boy) for "vacation money" but after 9/11 he disappeared for a couple of years. Nobody knew where he was, but when he came back he had full-bird colonel's pension. Even though he now had plenty of "vacation money", he went back to his old Ag job, I think just to feel like he had something productive to do. His real passion, however, was painting wildlife. I wouldn't say his stuff was terribly original, but it was technically impressive. If I handed you one of his bird paintings and told you it was an original Audubon you'd probably believe me unless you were an art expert. This was a down-to-earth guy with a surprisingly sensitive side, and if he wanted to kill you with his bare hands you wouldn't have a prayer.

I know this sounds like BS, but there's really nothing like the Deep South for bizarre and colorful characters. And oddballs have a way of flocking together, which probably means I should worry about knowing so many of them.

Comment Re:Maybe, maybe not (Score 1) 110

It's not clear to me as to why 'getting trampled by a large animal' is ruled out. At just over 3-1/2 feet tall, she probably didn't weigh much. From what height would she have fallen from in order to break all of those bones?

I was thinking more along the lines of: how do they know it was the fall that killed her? She could have had a brain aneurysm, died, and then fell out of a tree.

If the "evidence" is to be believed (and I see many experts argue against it), all it shows proof of is the bones were broken. The locations and orientations of the fractures may indicate they were caused by a fall, but there is no way to know whether the breaks happened pre- or post-mortem.

Yaz

Comment This reminds me of my visit to the "Fish Man" (Score 3, Interesting) 119

I once bummed a ride from Tallahassee to Tampa with a client, and he asked me if I minded if he took a detour to see the "Fish Man". I thought he meant a fish-monger, but then he turned his car off the highway an drove it through a gap in the chainlink fence. We went up a dirt track through the scrub pines to a glade with couple of trailers -- one of which had no sides and was outfitted as a living room. There were chicken wire pens scattered around the compound full of empty beer and paint cans.

The "Fish Man" turned out to be fat, shambling, hairy mountain of a man. He was almost naked, and monochromatically red-brown: shoulder-length frizzy red-brown hair, sunburned skin with strawberry-blond fur, and red-brown denim cargo shorts. You almost couldn't tell where the shorts ended and his body began, except that there was no fur on the shorts and when he turned around he showed about ten inches of ass crack. It was about 10:30 in the morning and he was drinking his breakfast from a gallon screw-top bottle. From out in the forest came the sound of trees being cut down.

We were here because the Fish Man was an artist my friend collected. The people cutting down trees were his apprentices. They'd moved thousands of miles from their city homes to live in a squatter's camp and study under him. My friend handed the Fish Man $250 and got a fish sculpture in return, which he later explained to me was a terrrific deal because that sculpture would have fetched $1000 in a gallery, easily.

I'm not an art person, but even I could see the thing was a masterpiece; it was breathtaking. It wasn't exactly representational, you might even have called it a little cartoonish, but somehow he'd captured a sense of movement; it looked alive.

The Fish Man invited watch him turn a curved blank from a hollow cypress into another one, a process that took only about ten minutes because he did it with a goddamn chainsaw.

There's a lesson in this about powerful tools. They can't make you into anything you aren't already. If you're a genius, they allow you to express your genius faster. If you're undisciplined and lazy, they make you unproductive on a grander scale.

Comment Re:America in one sentence (Score 3, Interesting) 582

There was also a law in the early history of the U.S. which required people to register with the government if they owned a firearm. That way the government knew who they could call upon in times of insurrection or invasion to defend the country and those who would need to be given a weapon in such times.

Of course you'll never hear any of this from the NRA.

Comment Re:see what the Union free work place get's you! (Score 5, Interesting) 291

Where independent unions are banned.

Basically when China and Russia gave up on socialism, they created a version of capitalism in the image of what they imagined capitalism to be; not the kind of liberal society you find in advanced Western democracies with their regulated market economies and worker's rights guarantees.

Comment Re:indigenous? (Score 2) 49

Indigenous means "originating where it is found", or "naturally occurring in a particular place". It can be used referring to individuals, groups of people, flora, fauna, minerals -- pretty much anything. It shares many of the same dictionary definitions as "native".

The word usage problem is using "indigenous" for an artificial, mobile invention, which is a bit unusual. You wouldn't say "indigenous airplane" because it's not something naturally found in a place or confined to a place. That would be an unusual usage, but people would understand what you meant -- you'd mean "domestically produced".

Comment Re:Eh, was this necessary? (Score 1) 174

Well, it depends on what your research objectives are. ISS is in some ways a better model, in some ways a worse one. It's better in that it's in space with microgravity, but ISS crew members rotate in and out. Even if individuals spend the equivalent time of a Mars mission on the ISS there will be new faces, a constantly changing research workload, and the ever-changing panorama of the Earth below.

So it's not a very accurate model of the social dynamics of a Mars mission where people are cooped up in a can with the same faces, same scenery, and nothing but busy-work to keep them occupied. Let's say we lick the radiation and microgravity problems; the question then becomes what kind of people can successfully negotiate the trip to Mars, arriving ready to work successfully there?

Comment Re:Big data is gonna kill small crime (Score 2, Interesting) 85

Because the multiple trillions of dollars we've already spent trying to instill common sense into people, the multitude of social programs designed to try and help people get jobs or a roof over their head, the grants or subsidies to help people start their own businesses and all the other programs who in one way or another have tried to set people on the correct path to life have worked so well we should spend trillions more.

The easiest way to reduce the prison population and those committing repeat crimes is to execute people. Domestic violence. Gone. You don't beat the crap out the woman (or man) you're living with and think that's acceptable.

You don't have multiple crimes against you before you're 18 then get a free pass to start the process over. Rapes, child molestation/rape, recidivists, murderers in general, gone.

Clean out the system instead of coddling and you will see a dramatic improvement in society. With the criminals gone, who will commit the crimes?

Comment Re:Extraordinary claims require ... (Score 1) 305

Indeed. But Occam's Razor only applies to a conclusion's relation to the information you have at hand. It is conceivable that if you collect enough information the same heuristic can lead you in a different direction.

It should be able to confirm his genetic relationship to his putative great-great-great grandchildren, and thus let a lower limit on his age. That and other documentary evidence of him and his descendants could make his age seem plausible. In a world with seven billion people, outliers can be very unusual indeed.

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