Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fire Used to Make Better Tools 75,000 Years Ago

Science Daily reports:

Lead author Kyle Brown, a doctoral candidate at the University of Cape Town, and field and lab director in Mossel Bay, South Africa, for ASU's Institute of Human Origins said:

"We show that early modern humans at 72,000 years ago, and perhaps as early as 164,000 years ago in coastal South Africa, were using carefully controlled hearths in a complex process to heat stone and change its properties, the process known as heat treatment," explains Brown.

"Heat treatment technology begins with a genius moment – someone discovers that heating stone makes it easier to flake," says Curtis Marean, project director and a co-author on the paper.

"This knowledge is then passed on, and in a way unique to humans, the technology is slowly ratcheted up in complexity as the control of the heating process, cooling and flaking grows in sophistication," Marean says.


Did they say 72,000 years ago? Did I also hear 164,000 years ago?

Just a second....I'm reaching for the Bible. [he flips through a few pages at the beginning]

Says here that Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Able and they begat....and begat...

[he reaches for his calculator] "Twenty-five years in a generation, times the 'begats' equals 6033. Got it! Adam was 'created' 6,033 years ago give or take a few decades and lunar eclipses.

Part 2: [he clears his calculator] Enter 75,000, hit the subtract sign, enter 6033, hit the equal sign.

Bingo! 68,967 These pyrotechnic tool makers were doing their control burns about 69,000 years before Adam was 'created.'

Too bad there weren't scribes around that neck of the woods so that we could know the names of these ingenious people. I'll bet their fires kept the serpents away from that corner of the world and weren't able to tempt Mrs. Stonefire like they did Mrs. Adam.

Fire- it's a beautiful thing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The New American -ers

They have been called 'birthers' and 'deathers.' And 'right-to-lifers' of course. During the Bush preemptive attack on Iraq, there were the 'warers' who cheered wildly at the Shock 'n Awe spectacle. The 2nd Amendment folks would be the guners, well gunners. [my spell check is going nuts!]

One issue people, often narcissistic who want 'theirs' and the hell with society in general. Like a 2-year-old. Me first!

When did American society become so immature? I thought that we were learning and growing in wisdom through our experiences. Patterned after Europe, although they had a head start, moving to a more perfect society where all members are of that society are valued. Now it seems that we're heading back in time to those ugly pioneer, frontier and Wild West times. Lawless America. Survival of the fittest [or the one with the fastest draw!]

Mob rule. Vigilante justice at the end of a rope. Them and us. Don't mess with me. Gimme mine! Two-year-old.

Tip of the Hat to the I.D. Nuts

My wife and I have the out-of-town grandchildren for a few weeks. One of them got into the box of toys and dumped them out, making comments on the various pieces he remembered as a child.

I noted the two dinosaurs that sat among the group of animals in the 'display,' next to the chimp, cow and duckie. It appeared as though the 'nurse' play piece was frightened by the red dinosaur and it made me wonder if those blond children of long ago- you know, 6000 years ago- were less frightened of the dinosaur since they 'grew up' with them and played beside them as youngsters.

Inquiring minds want to know which type of dino was the favorite child's pet. Perhaps archaeologists will soon find a 6000-year-old site of bones of humans and dinosaurs and will then be able to shed some light onto this human-dino relationship. I'll bet that the red one was way down on the 'play with' list.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Helping Mr. Boner with his Reading

The HR proposed health care bill, that 1000 page 'nightmare' and 'socialist' proposal of 'government take-over' is here if you care to read it. "It is this high," John 'Man-Tan' Boehner gestured, as if its thickness was somehow an authentic measure of the righteousness of legislation. Perhaps those on the right of the political scale don't like to read. Do we measure the thickness of bills to determine their worth? Anyone know the thickness of the Terri Schiavo Life-Support Bill? As usual, it's always amusing on the right side of things.

One thousand eighteen pages! A Dostoyevsky novel, for chrissake! Government bureaucracy! More government intrusion in our lives! Just look at how the government runs [fill in]! Mr. Boehner/Boner shakes his head.

What is that Shakespearian line about protesting too much?

Way too much.

The proposed legislation that I linked above is 1018 PDF pages which means that it is really only about 200 normal reading pages. Boner's reading dyslexia problem. Two hundred- a short pulp novel.

Pages 1-8 is the Table of Contents. Pages 9 - 14 are definitions. The actual proposal begins after that, so Mr. Boner's 'this high' has been reduced to 'this high.'

The document is easy-to-follow with large font titles for the various sections: TITLE I—PROTECTIONS AND STANDARDS FOR QUALIFIED HEALTH BENEFITS PLANS

This should help the poorer readers follow along quite nicely.

Another easy-reader aid that Mr. Boner might like is the use of the outline format. The document uses numbers [1. 2. 3.] and letters [A. B. C.] and small letters [a. b. c. ] as well as the [i ii iii] characters to help the reader understand the steps as they unfold. Did Mr. Boner sleep through the outlining lesson in high school?

"Whereas," said Mr. Boner, "is used 500 times!" Well, seems to me that the use of repetitive words is an early-reader style used by kindergarden book authors and greatly reduces the angst of having to learn new words. I think Mr. Boner belongs in the 'yellow birds' group. That's the remedial group, you know.

I wonder if Mr. Boner is just too lazy to read the entire document? You know, just like those book reports to the class when you knew the kid hadn't read the whole book. "You'll have to read the rest of the book to find out how it ends!" Like you didn't.

My daughter-in-law is today back at school teaching remedial reading to the kindergarten children who didn't achieve all of the outcomes they were required. Too bad Mr. Boner lives in the Cincinnati area, otherwise he could have audited her classes here in Toledo.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

When OCD Stains Religion

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called "rituals," however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety. [National institute of Mental Health]

There is another article on a specific form of OCD that I have seen in operation on this blog: religious OCD: When OCD Stains Religion, published by Suite 101. Here is an important statement:

First, one must realize that their unwanted blasphemies against God, and other involuntary thoughts, arise from obsessive-compulsive disorder. The involuntary thoughts may include spiritual content, but their cause is medical.

Thus, Christians who have prayed for relief from the thoughts against God should not be afraid to consult a psychiatrist for treatment and prescriptions.

Interestingly, as one who is not a mental health worker or psychologist, I have suggested this path of treatment to the two 'regular' OCD christians who love to harass me on this blog. I was laughed-at for that suggestion.

Right now, there are 10 comments waiting in my comment moderation box from a self-avowed fundamentalist christian' who already posted 9 others, but deleted 7 of them shortly after publishing them. All of this in 3 days.

She has been hanging around my blog like fruit flies on a ripe watermelon. Four days ago, I briefly dropped the 'comment moderation' and she came in like a mad hornet, posting 6 comments in less than 12 hours, under two different monikers.

Lord help her.

Well, not the Lord, because that won't work.

Doctor, help her! That's better.

Yet, there is a second OCD-smitten fundamentalist who has posted endless rantings on this blog [until comment moderation] who is, in fact, married to a doctor! Apparently, hubby either hasn't realized the OCD or doesn't want to offend her. Either way, she remains untreated and loony.

As both of them regularly check [and double check] my postings, perhaps they will click on the link above and begin to understand their mental illness.

Or, they might just think that I'm the one who's nuts and pray for my conversion to [gasp] their fundamentalist beliefs. That won't happen, ladies, so don't waste your precious prayers on that idea.

Get thee to a psychiatrist-- and fast, while you are still treatable!

Send in the Goons: Toledo Auto-Lite and Tea-Baggers

The recent videos of the tea-bagger goons disrupting the congressional town hall meetings remind me of those black and white photos of the Auto-lite strike in 1934 here in Toledo. Some 200 workers were injured and two were killed as the owners of the plant hired goons to break up this historic strike of workers who demanded better wages and working conditions.

Hired goons were also sent by Henry Ford to his factory in Detroit to quell the strikes in his plants. The history of "leg breaking goons" had to do with the formation of labor unions, and the violence that caused by the early Ford Motor Company private security upon peaceful labor union organizers.

Today, we have yet another set of goons hired by the insurance companies, not wielding clubs, but rather yelling down any decent discussion that may have ensued at these meetings. The only difference is in the type of violence.

A goon is a goon.

The goon-factor didn't work in Detroit or Toledo. Hopefully, neither will the modern-day insurance company goons.

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