We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, November 1. 2016
The reason why shoes have that extra shoelace hole
This is what happens when NASA engineers hold a pumpkin-carving competition
Archaeologists Discover New Style of Viking Combat
Academic Absurdity of the Week: Another Bank Bailout?
Life is hard for low-skilled workers. Minimum-wage hikes make it a lot harder. That’s a very cruel public policy.
A tweak to fix any government program?
VDH: The Clintons as Farce. Should we laugh or cry at the latest developments in a madcap campaign?
Clinton Campaign Asks Ex-Prosecutors to Criticize FBI Director James Comey -- A
Brazile Exclaims "Please God, Let This End Soon" As CNN Fires Her For "Uncomfortable Interactions" With Clinton Campaign
Hillarygate Probe Is Now a Formal Federal Criminal Investigation
John Podesta's Best Friend At The DOJ Will Be In Charge Of The DOJ's Probe Into Huma Abedin Emails
Mexico’s World Reputation Has Dropped from Developing Country to “Failed State”
Trump Military Advisers Detail GOP Candidate's Defense Plan
Ancient Muslim inscription proves Jewish ties to Temple Mount
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By the way, we note the lack of any evidence that the Clinton Foundation was involved in that extra-shoelace-hole business.
Z and A Chriel: that extra-shoelace-hole business
We would have you know that the Clinton Foundation was instrumental in exporting millions of shoelace holes to darkest, neediest Africa as part of Hillary's philadnt fliloanrporic filiantrophic criminal enterprise.
The Third Sex. There isn’t one. But you have to admit that it would be interesting if there were... Are humans eusocial? They do cooperate, sometimes – but in truth they’re not at all like the social insects. E. O. Wilson thought so, but then he’s kind of dim.
Wilson is hardly dim, and is considered the father of social biology, and is a leading scientific authority on ants. Wilson carefully defines what he means by eusociality; that is as multigenerational communities, with a division of labor, and exhibiting altruism. An ant colony, and a human community are more than the sum of their parts.
most cooperation is with non-relatives.
Humans primarily evolved living in tribal groups where cooperation was primarily with genetic relatives.
Some pinheads have suggested that male homosexuals are a kind of caste, one that pays its genetic way by helping their sibs raise more kids. As far as I can tell, this idea originated with a student of E.O. Wilson. Since homosexual men do not actually support their sibs noticeably more than straight men, this is silly.
Again, humans evolved in tribal groups, so helping your neighbor meant helping your cousin. However, homosexuality may be a "spandrel" rather than a selected trait.
One difference between ants and humans is that while ants send their old women off to war, humans send their young men. — E.O. Wilson
We deplore the characterization of Hillary Clinton as an old woman.
SEXUAL activity and preferences are behavioral.
Behavior is learned.
Therefore, Homosexuality is learned. It has no evolutionary value, since is it is not directed toward continuing the survival of the species.
And don't give me that "Pinpoint: When did you learn you were hetero or homo?" Much learning is accomplished subconsciously.
If you receive pleasure performing or observing a homosexual act, you will pattern your behavior to re-inforce receipt of pleasure; pretty darned simple actually. Same thing with learning to eat oysters or durians or sea urchins!
B48: SEXUAL activity and preferences are behavioral.
Certainly, sexual activity is behavioral.
B48: Behavior is learned.
Some behavior is learned. Some behavior is innate. And in humans, there is a rich interrelationship between nature and nurture.
B48: Therefore, Homosexuality is learned.
Your premise is faulty, so your conclusion is unwarranted.
B48: It has no evolutionary value, since is it is not directed toward continuing the survival of the species.
You were already provided a hypothesis which explains how it could be of survival value. Keep in mind that homosexuality is found in a wide variety of organisms, including those that form long-term bonds. We also explained how it could be a spandrel, one of the many forms the sexuality is expressed in humans and other organisms.
We are certain that we never stood watch or walked a post.
I think Cochran would argue that E O Wilson was all right up to a certain point, but got carried away and made claims that were based on possible narrative rather than fact.
As for tribes and cousins, that level of co-operation seems to be deeply embedded in us, true. But that doesn't provide any extra advantage if your uncle is a gay one versus a straight one. So there is no compensation here, except in narrative.
I am suspicious of much of Lewontin and all of Gould, so the ill-defined term "spandrel" doesn't appeal. It might turn out to be so, but has to be considered a reach at this point. While there is some evidence that there are genetic variations that seem to result in more homosexuality, prenatal stress and the resulting hormonal wash is looking like a larger factor at present.
Assistant Village Idiots: As for tribes and cousins, that level of co-operation seems to be deeply embedded in us, true. But that doesn't provide any extra advantage if your uncle is a gay one versus a straight one.
That's like saying beta male gorillas don't contribute to the tribe. They can and do. They also occasionally reproduce, as do homosexuals.
interesting contrast in articles. One seems to be arguing homosexuality is genetic and confers survival advantages on populations (despite the lack of evidence of any exclusively "gay" genotype), but another seems to be arguing that women's selection of tall, athletic, and successful men to "father" their children, even if they will not be directly involved in their upbringing or support, is a result of culturally instilled violence.
Both of these conclusions seem to be based on the premise that human culture and human genetics evolved in isolation from one another.
Another Guy named Dan: One seems to be arguing homosexuality is genetic and confers survival advantages on populations ... , but another seems to be arguing that women's selection of tall, athletic, and successful men to "father" their children, even if they will not be directly involved in their upbringing or support, is a result of culturally instilled violence.
That is not necessarily contradictory. There may be difference niches. For instance, among gorillas, you might have an alpha male, who is always on the lookout for cheaters; sneaky males, who are always on the lookout for the alpha male; and females who sometimes prefer the alpha male, and sometimes prefer the sneaky male.
Another Guy named Dan: (despite the lack of evidence of any exclusively "gay" genotype)
There doesn't have to be a single gene for a characteristic to be genetic. There may be a number of genes that interact in various ways resulting in a wide variety of sexual expression. This allows for niche-filling, as well as environmental flexibility. In addition, sexual behavior, like faces, may be subject to diversifying selection.
Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor. — William Cowper
Zachriel: among gorillas
We have never touched a human female.
Old, old British joke:
Two elderly gentlemen are relaxing by the fireplace at their club, generous glasses of whisky in hand.
First old gent: "I say, have you heard what's happened to old Cholmeley-Smythe?"
Second: "No, no, I can't say that I have."
First: "Seems he's gone off to Africa and is living with a gorilla in the Congolese jungle."
Second: "Good Lord!" [pause] "Female gorilla?"
First: "Of course! Nothing wrong with old Cholmeley-Smythe, y'know!"
JJM: Female gorilla?
We are not amused.
My point was that You can easily resolve the apparent conflict by presuming that genetic reproductive success influences culture, and culture influences reproductive success.
Absolutely. There is a complex relationship in humans between nature and nurture. And humans continue to evolve, though the rate of cultural evolution far outstrips the rate of biological evolution.
Ancient Muslim inscription proves Jewish ties to Temple Mount
While new data is always welcome, there is no reasonable doubt as to Jewish roots to Jerusalem. On the other hand, the Bible describes David's conquest of Jerusalem, meaning they weren't the first or only inhabitants.
"Archaeologists Discover New Style of Viking Combat"
Typical academics! Had no clue as to actual physical or athletic exertions on a battlefield! These kinds of uses of weapons and shields would be obvious to anyone involved in an athletic endeavor.. After all, combat is merely a form of sport, but with deadly consequences.
As one sage commenter noted, this would have been obvious to anyone involved in the true exertions of combat exercises. NOBODY simply holds their shield up to take a blow; you'd be asking to get killed that way.
From the Amen corner. Show of hands from everyone who thought a shield was used only to block a blow. Show of hands from everyone who thought a shield might have been used upside an opponent’s head. And, archaeologists have been unable to explain the nicks and damage on shield bosses? They thought maybe the boss was only decorative? Every piece of a weapon plays a part in its utilization, design based on experience in real sword swinging and shield head-bopping.
the otherwise unemployable need to feel important and get a paycheck ya know.
I've said that often about these biologists and their studies. (They never leave the office. )
I have always enjoyed Wilson because he got ants in his pants on more than one occasion as a child and because he spent time exploring the Florida Keys, not the most hospitable place at the time. Outside of mosquitoes and pineapples and fishing and a freaky highway across islets, it just had teeny deer and a bunch of gorgeous birds dropping in on their way someplace else.
And he is a charming interview. Nice smile.
Shields are also very helpful for arrows--if you see them coming. Although with a massed arrow attack you really need to form a "tortoise" shield wall like the Romans did.
And here's a Scriptural reference:
"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." (Ephesians 6:16)
re Brazile Exclaims "Please God, Let This End Soon" As CNN Fires Her For "Uncomfortable Interactions" With Clinton Campaign
My SWAG is that CNN was good with Brazile's behavior until it became public knowledge. Otherwise, why wasn't she alredy gone?
Did Huma Keep Emails in Folder Marked 'Life Insurance'?
You don't want to become a victim of a "robbery" while walking home at night from the DNC.
feeblemind: Did Huma Keep Emails in Folder Marked 'Life Insurance'?
Did someone on the Internet just make stuff up? We report. You decide.
Many of us do. Most of it is supposed to be humor, easily identifiable, one (1) each. Some is a bit obscure. Some of us are obscuratists, and I DO like a good obscure rant.
As a Cubs fan, I want to know if yelling that the Indians are racists will help the Cubs? We are getting desperate here.
"Life is hard for low-skilled workers. Minimum-wage hikes make it a lot harder."
Minimum wage hikes primarily benefit union workers, because union pay scales are pegged to minimum wage. If the minimum wage increases, union wage scales go up by the same amount.
Besides being bad for low-skilled workers, they are also a killer for restaurants and small businesses which are on a thin profit margin to start with. They must either cut back employees, or if they can't do it, go out of business. This is what you are seeing in areas with these outrageous minimum wage increases.
All of this begs the question. Every discussion on homosexuality is treated by the left as though it is incredibly discriminatory to even have an opinion. The simple truth is homosexuality isn't "normal". The left considers that even having that opinion is a terrible homophobic sin. WHat has happened in polite public discussion is that you can say the most hateful things about heterosexuals without regard to truth or common sense but you can ONLY have one opinion about homosexuals. Further that opinion can change from time to time and if you fail to keep up and inadvertently express the wrong or outdated opinion you are a target for the hate from the left. Do you haters on the left (Zach) even understand how this undermines your views on not just this issue but most of the issues you advocate. It seems to be a requirement that in order to be a lefty liberal you must accept and believe so many lies and actively ignore so many truths.
IdahoBob: Every discussion on homosexuality is treated by the left as though it is incredibly discriminatory to even have an opinion.
Apparently, not every discussion, such as this one.
IdahoBob: The simple truth is homosexuality isn't "normal".
Actually, homosexuality is found in a wide variety of organisms, including many that form long-term bonds.
The NYT does poverty
NYT quoted at the link;
[T]here is . . . an array of policies that [can] make a difference. Early childhood initiatives have a particularly good record..Like Head Start?
Cognitive development. Of 11 measures of cognitive ability—including reading, language, and math ability—access to Head Start made no difference for either three- or four-year-old students on any outcomes."Progressives" can always cite some great government program that accomplishes such great things. Unfortunately, the main accomplishments for such programs tend to be "jobs for the boys," or in the case of Head Start, "jobs for the gals." Chicago, Chicago...
MAD magazine long ago had a piece on the planet with 26 sexes, and the difficulty of going bar to bar trying to pick up all the necessary participants.
Especially mu's. Mu's are so stand-offish.