Halloween Reads! Trick or Treat?Posted: October 31, 2015
BB’s on her way back to Boston so I have your tricks and treats today!! We’ve got a foggy, drizzly day here. Seems like a great day to do a cemetery walk!
First up, a skeleton treat!!!! A find in Northeast Ethiopia has yielded yet another possible human ancestor. Scientists are trying to decide where on the hominid family tree this petite female will go.
Fifteen years ago, a group of fossil hunters, including a UC Berkeley graduate student named Yohannes Haile-Selassie, crawled on their hands and knees across a patch of 4.4-million-year-old sediment in northeastern Ethiopia’s Afar region. Moving shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the group, Haile-Selassie spotted a small, white fossil on the reddish clay. It turned out to be a hand bone, the first piece of a partial skeleton of a female Ardipithecus ramidus(nicknamed Ardi). She would have mainly eaten plant foods, and probably spent much of her time in the trees that covered the area when she was alive. She stood about four feet tall, weighed approximately 110 pounds, and had a brain the size of a chimpanzee.
Over the next three years, an international team of paleoanthropologists found about 130 pieces of the skeleton. Since then, researchers have studied and reassembled the bones in the hope of creating the most complete picture of someone who is becoming one of the most controversial figures in evolution. Their findings have major implications for understanding how the human race came to be: Why did our species evolve the ability to walk on two legs? What was our last common ancestor with chimpanzees? And, most critically, was Ardipithecusa direct ancestor of modern humans?
Ultimately, the team discovered pieces of 35 Ardipithecus individuals scattered across roughly four miles of ancient landscape near an Afar village named Aramis. The fossils include a nearly complete hand and arm, as well as a lower jaw. But the partially complete Ardi skeleton has generated the most discussion, especially over a bone from the base of her big toe called the medial cuneiform. It shows that her toe would have stuck out from her foot like a thumb and that she would have been able to use it for grasping. “It really doesn’t differ from apes, and that’s the surprising thing,” says University of California, Berkeley, paleoanthropologist Tim White. “It is fully apelike.” White had been expecting a foot that looks more like one belonging toAustralopithecus afarensis, the species to which the famous Lucy skeleton belongs. Afarensis lived about 3.7 to 3.0 million years ago and had feet that were much like our own, with toes that point forward. Ardi’s apelike feet raise the question: Was she evolving toward walking on two legs? The team’s anatomist, Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University, believes she was. Lovejoy points to several bones in Ardi’s foot that he believes show it was becoming more like a modern foot, able to better withstand the pressures of bipedal movement. The shape of her pelvis also reveals she was becoming more effective at walking on two feet.
Here’s a trick! (And no it’s not about infamous Louisiana Trick Senator David Vitter). Blathering idiot Marco Rubio appears to be the most likely bet of the day for the Republicans’ Presidential nominee. He’s continuing his legacy of attracting big money for big favors. David Brooks–well known sycophant–is placing bets on him too. Fortunately for us, the BBC isn’t the NYT and our neighbors up north have some good reasons why the boy wonder is really the boy unremarkable.
On Wednesday night Mr Rubio shrugged off a question about his past personal and campaign finances dealings by turning it into a shot at media bias and then a rumination on his humble upbringing.
While it worked in the context of a debate where every panel question was viewed with scepticism or outright hostility from the audience, Mr Rubio may not always be so fortunate. And some of the issues aren’t just about poor personal financial planning but tilt toward allegations of corruption
As the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza points out, there’s a litany of questionable actions in Mr Rubio’s past – such as failing to report a home equity loan from a political supporter, double-billing the state and the Republican Party for travel expenses and using political funds to pay for seemingly personal expenses like car repairs and groceries.
Mr Rubio also was a friend and real-estate partner with David Rivera, a Florida politician and former congressman, who has been fined more than $16,000 [£10,500] for government ethics violations and is still under federal investigation for relating criminal acts.
“Rubio is about to go through a period of much more intensive media scrutiny,” Mr Lizza writes. “Complaining about media bias won’t be enough to get him through it.”
That was so bad that I thought I add this treat! Now that the Republicans are showing they won’t answer tough questions and will complain about liberal media bias if asked to defend their lies, Catherine Rampell of WAPO says the media is to blame because they’ve enabled them forever!
Look straight into the camera, and with complete conviction, say something that is not true. Maybe your lies will get fact-checked later, but if your certainty can sufficiently excite pundits in the interim, no one will care (or notice) that you lied.
We saw this strategy successfully executed in the second Republican debate, when Carly Fiorina confidently described a horrifying undercover Planned Parenthood video.
The footage in question turned out not to exist. (At best, she was describing areenactment.) But by the time her statements were checked, Fiorina had been anointed the winner of the debate, thanks largely to that riveting, shocking sound bite. Since then, any time someone has called her out on this missing footage, she has just claimed media bias (see Lesson No. 3).
No surprise, then, that on Wednesday the candidates lied boldly, and repeatedly, even when their statements were easily disprovable.
Donald Trump denied ever taking a dig at Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, even though the dig in question was on Trump’s Web site.
Chris Christie claimed Social Security money was “stolen” and that the system will be “insolvent” in seven to eight years, even though both claims are wrong. Fiorina recycled a statistic about women’s job losses that Mitt Romney used in 2012 and subsequently abandoned when it, too, was proved wrong.
And so on.
Fact checkers had lots of material to mine, but the candidates’ dramatic delivery — and the immediate plaudits they earned from talking heads — made post-debate truth-squadding seem pedantic and tone-deaf.
A fleet of sleek racing sailboats and cruisers will line up in the waters just off Pensacola, Fla., early this Halloween morning, to launch the rebirth of a Gulf Coast tradition long stifled by international politics and diplomatic relations.
Twenty-two boats are participating in the first Pensacola to Cuba regatta, with nearly a quarter of those boats coming from New Orleans. After the start just off the Florida coast, they’ll travel more than 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, skip past Rebecca Shoal and the Dry Tortugas to arrive next week at Hemingway Marina, about eight miles west of Havana.
The race is billed as one of the first legal regattas from the United States to Cuba since Fidel Castro seized power of the island nation in 1959. But the lure of Havana has long been an irresistible siren song for Gulf Coast sailors — even during the U.S. embargo when some American yacht clubs and organizations risked legal wrangling and angry protesters to continue hosting regattas to Cuba.
That all changed this year, when President Barack Obama eased restrictions and resumed diplomatic relations with the island. The water is now officially open, if boats are willing to apply for permits and deal with all the legal red tape.
New Orleans sailor Tim Cerniglia signed up as soon as the Pensacola Yacht Club posted notice of the race. For him, it’s a chance to satisfy a lifelong fascination with Cuba and reconnect with his family’s history.
His mother, Elise Cerniglia, was born in New Orleans but spent her childhood on the island. Her father was a chemical engineer at a sugar cane plantation there. After moving back to the Crescent City, she would eventually become an advocate for immigrants, helping to resettle thousands of Cubans who fled Castro’s communism.
“I can still remember people coming over to our house, and my mother rounding up clothes and furniture and other things they needed,” Cerniglia said. “And growing up, we had family talks about her time in Cuba. It’s always had a mystique for me.”
Cerniglia, an attorney who’s participated in ocean regattas to Mexico several times, will sail his red-hulled boat, Radio Flyer, a Valiant 40, with a crew of five. When he arrives in Cuba, he hopes to hire a driver and visit the sugar plantation where his now-deceased mother once lived.
We’re under a Tornado watch and will probably have some thunderstorms tonight so they sent the kids out trick or treating around here last night. I’ve got some nasty end of the year on line training to take on the usual stuff so I’ll be home with a good set of horror movies running in the background. Maybe I can get JJ to give me some advice on what to watch. I really want to try the early zombie movies after getting a good education on them from last night’s episode of Z Nation. Anyway, I certainly hope the weather is better where ever you’re skydancing tonight!
Take care and have a great Halloween!!!