Dark Places

Now is the outer edge of week out and within sight of some of our discontent being abated. But being that time we have geas to expunge old tabs and initiate new ones. In keeping with such, and it also being the christianist pseudo-shabat, we come to our first.

A group of researchers from Stony Brook U  (and others) has unearth a missing link. [Link] This missing link is particularly odious to those fanatics who hold to the fable of creationism. The link in question is Protungulatum donnae which has the designation of being the first placental animal [1] and the founder of the clan of mammals. There are, of course, non-placental mammals, but by and large, most, including humans, are placental. It’s the organ in which new humans are grown. And its discovery is another failed test evaded by religionist fanaticism.

On a more humorous note, this is also the thing that separates Tellus humans from Ares (Mars) humans ala Edgar Rice Burroughs. Martian humans are egg layers – like the duck bill platypus – which raises the question of how John Carter and Dejah Thoris were able to conceive given the differences in DNA. There is also the rather lesser question of why Marian women have such overdeveloped mammaries if they do not need to suckle young?

Back on real (?) science, new (improved) radiocarbon data is indicative of an earlier disappearance of Neandertals in Iberia than previous thought. [Link] Evidently this puts quits to the so-called Neandertal hold-out and reduces the period of Neandertal-Sapiens overlap to about 3-4 KY. So for 0.15 of our modern, non-African, human DNA to be Neandertal, those had to be very busy years of miscegenation. So perhaps we humans aren’t so violent as Hobbes likes to portray us?

Next, there has been a lot of grrr brrrr about the recovery of the remains of Richard 3 Plantagenet from underneath a car park [2] in Leicester. The article is a rather humorous bit about the inappropriateness of the site and a bit of mysticism dealing – supposedly – with the discovery. I fear my attitude is rather Amerikan. The fellow was a tyrant, as all kings and most chief executives are, and being buried under a car park is about the right amount of respect that should be shown such an enemy of humanity. Indeed, the damage to the paving was probably a great waste of substance.

Next, some work out of U Colorado on Facebook unfriending, [Link] sent me by my colleague Magnetic Inductance Force. They report that the act of unfriending may result in shunning of the former friend and cause them severe psychological harm. I find this amazing given that almost none of my Facebook “friends” are friends in the actual sense. Almost all are acquaintances but I would trust relatively few with my wallet. That is not to say that I do not like many of them – some are friends because of social expectations of others, which exemplifies the artificiality of the Facebook environment – but friends? I think not.

But given that, would I be so nekulturny to unfriend them? It is a simple matter to hide them from view, in effect exile them to Coventry, if they are odious or halitotic. The study lists some reasons for the unfriending:

  • Frequent, unimportant posts;
  • Polarizing posts usually about politics or religion;
  • Inappropriate posts involving sexist, racist remarks; and
  • Boring everyday life posts about children, food, spouses etc.

I have to admit that all of these are annoying and many of my Facebook “friends” are so. I suspect I do as well and that what is nasty to one may be mild to another. They may not be real friends but I do not think I dislike them enough to hurt them, at least so long as they don’t use the CAPS LOCK key.

But it is intriguing how the unfriender is immune? Gives value to preemptive strikes, eh what?

On that note I think I shall retire. And perhaps visit the Facebook and think about who I might be given to unfriend. How about Zuckerberg?

[1]  Placenta  1. (Anat.) The vascular appendage which connects the fetus with the parent, and is cast off in parturition with the     afterbirth. [1913 Webster]
[2]  That’s English for parking lot.

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