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Tue, 21 Aug 2018
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Feminism's war against Motherhood

woman power march
On March 21 hard-core feminist Sarrah Le Marquand wrote a shocker of a newspaper opinion piece entitled "It should be illegal to be a stay-at-home mum". Yes you read that right. In this uber-feminist rant she said this: "Rather than wail about the supposed liberation in a woman's right to choose to shun paid employment, we should make it a legal requirement that all parents of children of school-age or older are gainfully employed."

I read it at the time, and shook my head in disbelief. Actually, it was all rather believable as this is standard feminist fare. But I let it go, hoping to later get back to it. Well it is later, so I have. You can read the piece for yourself (see link below). It is mind-boggling.

Info

'Out of Africa' re-examined after latest discovery in China

Homo Erectus
© Xavier ROSSI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
An artist's impression of Homo erectus, who possibly arrived in China more than two million years ago.
The timing of hominin dispersal out of Africa needs to be re-examined, according to a team of Chinese archaeologists who present evidence that human ancestors reached China much earlier than thought.

In a paper published in the journal Nature, Zhaoyu Zhu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues reveal more than 100 artefacts unearthed from 17 sediment layers at a location known as Shangchen on the southern Chinese Loess Plateau. The oldest of these dates to 2.12 million years ago - making it the earliest hominin find outside Africa by more than a quarter of a million years.

Until this find, the earliest evidence for hominin presence beyond Africa came from Dmanisi in Georgia, where in 2011 bones and stone tools including flakes and choppers were dated to just after 1.85 million years ago.

The next two earliest finds were both discovered in southern China, in the same broad area as the new artefacts. They comprised two teeth, tentatively identified as coming from Homo erectus, and a skull, conclusively identified as belonging to the same species. They dated from 1.7 and 1.63 million years ago, respectively.

The latest finds comprise 88 stone flakes and another 20 unmodified stones, all thought to have been used as tools. They include scrapers, points, borers and possible hammers.

Microscope 1

Scientists have found evidence of human-Denisovan interbreeding in a second part of the ancient world

denisova cave altai mountains
© Ruslan Olinchuk / Alamy Stock Photo
Denisova Cave in the Altai mountains, Siberia, where the only known Denisovan remains were found.
Our ancestors mated with another species of ancient hominins, the Denisovans, on at least two occasions. The discovery suggests that Denisovans were widely across Asia, and apparently co-existed happily with modern humans, to the point of having children with them in two different parts of the ancient world.

The Denisovans were unknown until 2010, when researchers described a fragment of a girl's finger bone found in Denisova cave in Siberia. Soon afterwards, researchers sequenced its genome from the surviving DNA. The DNA did not belong to any known hominins, such as Neanderthals, so it had to be something new.

What's more, around 5 per cent of the DNA of some Australasians - particularly people from Papua New Guinea - is Denisovan. Humans evidently mated with Denisovans 50,000 or more years ago.

But this posed a puzzle: why were the present-day descendants of Denisovans so far from the Denisovans' Siberian home? The simplest explanation was that Denisovans lived throughout much of Asia, including South East Asia, not just Siberia.

Sharon Browning of the University of Washington in Seattle and her colleagues have now found evidence of a second instance of human-Denisovan interbreeding - on the Asian mainland.

Comment: See also:


Pirates

As Deraa, Syria, is liberated, remember: This is where the jihadi revolution began

Deraa, Syria
© Alaa Al-Faqir / Reuters
The Western powers present the battle of Deraa as a symbol of the failure of the combat they were supporting. This is absolutely exact, but not in the way they mean. Let's return to the events which triggered the hostilities.

From 4 February 2011, a mysterious Facebook account called « Syrian Revolution 2011 » (in English in the original text) called for a demonstration every Friday against the Syrian Arab Republic. Using exclusively Sunni symbols, while pretending to speak in the name of all Syrians, it set the rhythm for events for several years.

According to Al-Jazeera, on 16 February, 15 adolescents (and then 8 of their friends) were arrested in Deraa for having tagged slogans hostile to President el-Assad. They were allegedly tortured, and the local representative for state Security allegedly insulted their parents. To this day, although it has been confirmed that the minors were held in custody for several hours by the police, the torture and the insults have never been proved. The videos and the interviews broadcast by the Anglo-Saxon Press are terrible, but they correspond neither to the original Qatari reports nor to what was verified on site.

John McCain is an elected US Senator, and is also president of one of the branches of the National Endowment for Democracy, one of the secret services of the « Five Eyes » (USA-UK-Australia-Canada-New Zealand) [1]. On 22 February, he was in Lebanon, where he tasked the transport of weapons in Syria to the Haririst deputy Okab Sakr. He also journeyed to Ersal in order to establish a future rear base for the jihadists.

Dig

Varlam Shalamov: 45 things I learned in the Gulag

Varlam Shalamov
For fifteen years the writer Varlam Shalamov was imprisoned in the Gulag for participating in "counter-revolutionary Trotskyist activities." He endured six of those years enslaved in the gold mines of Kolyma, one of the coldest and most hostile places on earth. While he was awaiting sentencing, one of his short stories was published in a journal called Literary Contemporary. He was released in 1951, and from 1954 to 1973 he worked on Kolyma Stories, a masterpiece of Soviet dissident writing that has been newly translated into English and published by New York Review Books Classics this week. Shalamov claimed not to have learned anything in Kolyma, except how to wheel a loaded barrow. But one of his fragmentary writings, dated 1961, tells us more.

1. The extreme fragility of human culture, civilization. A man becomes a beast in three weeks, given heavy labor, cold, hunger, and beatings.

2. The main means for depraving the soul is the cold. Presumably in Central Asian camps people held out longer, for it was warmer there.

3. I realized that friendship, comradeship, would never arise in really difficult, life-threatening conditions. Friendship arises in difficult but bearable conditions (in the hospital, but not at the pit face).

4. I realized that the feeling a man preserves longest is anger. There is only enough flesh on a hungry man for anger: everything else leaves him indifferent.

5. I realized that Stalin's "victories" were due to his killing the innocent - an organization a tenth the size would have swept Stalin away in two days.

Arrow Down

Report reveals Anne Frank's family tried escaping to US but was thwarted by 'bureaucracy'

Anne Frank Otto
© Dave Caulkin/AP
Otto Frank in 1971 holding the Golden Pan award, given for the sale of one million copies of The Diary of Anne Frank in London, Great Britain.

New research says the family twice tried to obtain US immigration visas but were thwarted by red tape


The family of the diarist Anne Frank twice tried to obtain US immigration visas but were thwarted by red tape, according to a new report published 76 years after they were forced into hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.

The report, issued by the Anne Frank House and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, details the challenges faced by Jewish families looking to escape the anti-semitic Nazi grip on Europe and negotiate anti-refugee sentiment then building in the United States.

Gertjan Broek, a researcher at the Anne Frank House, and Rebecca Erbelding from the USHMM wrote in their report that Otto Frank, Anne's father, began seeking ways to escape to the US as early as 1938. At the time, the US had no specific refugee policy, but enforced quotas based on national origin.

Comment: It's likely no coincidence that this story is coming out now, given the fierce immigration debate currently dominating the headlines. Whether the comparison of Anne Frank's situation to the current one is fair, we'll leave up to the reader.

See also:


Dig

Is 8,000 year old Tappe Sialk in central Iran the world's oldest civilisation?

Tappe Sialk

The file photo shows a view of the Tappe Sialk prehistoric site in central Iranian city of Kashan.
With a history of nearly over 8,000 years, Tappe Sialk prehistoric site in Iran's central city of Kashan in Esfahan Province is believed to be the probable birthplace of the world's oldest civilization, oldest fixed settlement, oldest architecture, oldest ziggurat, oldest pottery kilns and oldest metal furnaces.

Following climate changes at the end of the seventh millennium BC, which led to formation of grasslands, the cave dwellers of the Iranian Plateau started living in plains, among which Tappe Sialk site is probably the oldest location discovered so far.

The entire Sialk civilization is thought to have originated from the pristine large water sources nearby which still exist.

A large number of farm animal bones discovered at the site suggest that the dwellers of Sialk were meat eaters of domesticated animals.

Artifacts excavated from the site, including some very fine painted potteries, are currently on display at the Louvre, he British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Museum of Iran and some others are at private collections.

The ancient site comprises two hills, nearly 600 meters apart, in the northern and southern sides. The northern mound is 25 meters high and the southern one is six meters high.

Comment: While Tappe Sialk may indeed hold treasures that have not yet been discovered elsewhere, its title of the world's oldest civilisation is questionable since there is evidence for other equally accomplished communities all around the world:


Dig

2,000 year old mummy dressed in silk and jewels emerges from Siberian reservoir

siberian silk mummy
© Marina Kilunovskaya
The ancient woman was buried wearing a silk skirt with a funeral meal
Archeologists hail extraordinary find of suspected 'Hun woman' with a jet gemstone buckle on her beaded belt.

After a fall in the water level, the well-preserved mummy was found this week on the shore of a giant reservoir on the Yenisei River upstream of the vast Sayano-Shushenskaya dam, which powers the largest power plant in Russia and ninth biggest hydroelectric plant in the world.

The ancient woman was buried wearing a silk skirt with a funeral meal - and she took a pouch of pine nuts with her to the afterlife.

In her birch bark make-up box, she had a Chinese mirror.

Near her remains - accidentally mummified - was a Hun-style vase.

Comment: Siberia is certainly turning out some interesting finds of late:


Bomb

The eves of destruction: 250 videos of declassified US atomic tests hit the internet

Nuclear explosion
© US Defense Department/Reuters
The Bomb
More than 250 videos of previously classified US nuclear bomb tests have been uploaded to YouTube this week, providing a fascinating but terrifying glimpse into the United States' nuclear program.

Digitized and uploaded by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, the videos document secret atomic bomb tests between 1945 and 1962. The organization says that it hopes that the videos will help dissuade humanity from further use of nuclear weapons in the future.

"I think that if we capture the history of this and show what the force of these weapons are and how much devastation they can wreak, then maybe people will be reluctant to use them," a physicist working for the lab said after a similar batch of videos was released last year.

The videos feature dozens of tests from once-classified chapters in US nuclear history, including Operation Dominic, which consisted of 31 nuclear tests in 1962, and Operation Teapot, during which 14 bombs were dropped in Nevada in 1955. A similar series of tests, known as Operation Sunbeam, was conducted at the Nevada National Security Site in 1962.

The [following four] visually stunning but harrowing videos vary in length, although most of them are approximately one minute long and begin at the moment of detonation.


Comment: Deto'nation': The history we wish we never had...


Dig

Ancient Chinese skull suggests humans may have come out of Africa AND Asia

dali skull
© Sheela Athreya
The origins of our species might need a rethink. An analysis of an ancient skull from China suggests it is eerily similar to the earliest known fossils of our species -found in Morocco, some 10,000 kilometres to the west. The skull hints that modern humans aren't solely descended from African ancestors, as is generally thought.

Most anthropologists believe, based on fossil evidence, that our species arose in Africa around 200,000 years ago. What's more, genetic studies of modern humans indicate that we are all descended from a single population that left Africa within the last 120,000 years and spread around the world. This African group is the source of all modern human genes, barring a few gained by interbreeding with other species like Neanderthals.

However, the Dali skull may not fit this story. Discovered in China's Shaanxi Province in 1978, it is remarkably complete, preserving both the face and the brain case. A study published in April concluded the skull is about 260,000 years old.

When researchers first described the Dali skull in 1979, they assumed it belonged to Homo erectus. This hominin species arrived in South-East Asia 1.8 million years ago and probably disappeared from the region by about 140,000 years ago. That fits with the standard story.