September 21, 2013

From Vance Hawkins:

Re: “Racial purity” DNA test slammed as perversion, but (June 18, 2012): I had my DNA tested and it was done to discover racial characteristics of my DNA. However -- I was hoping that it would INCLUDE other races. I look White, but Dad was of a darker complexion. So was my paternal grandma. Photos of my great uncles and aunts (grandma’s brothers and sisters) look Indian. I have written a book “Finding Our Indian Blood” what will be coming out soon. I am proud of it, not ashamed of it. An old tin-type of my great-great (1818-1886) grandma looks pure-blood American Indian. My mother is German, Scots-Irish, and English, all Northern European (I think -- her mother’s maiden name was ‘Jonas’ surname that might be Greek or Jewish -- but we don’t know). Most of Mama’s ancestors are fair skinned, many are blonde haired and blue eyed. But Dad was darker. I had/light brown hair (turning gray). I was raised in Oklahoma where we can trace an ancestor to in the 1830s, as a soldier at Fort Gibson, at a time when Oklahoma was known as ‘Indian Territory’, then returned to Arkansas. We came to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in the 1870s to stay this time. We lived in the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations near the Arkansas River, and were in the Chickasaw Nation at the time Oklahoma became a state in 1907. We were not raised as Indian nor are we enrolled in any tribe. But we have family stories of Indian ancestry. So I took the autosomal DNA test to see what it said.

One test said 90% Caucasian, 7% sub-Sahara African, and only 3 % American Indian. I took the same test from other companies and they said 100 % Caucasian. I don’t think their tests were very accurate. I think the one that said 3% American Indian -- that is 3/100 which is nearly 3/96, which is equal to 1/32nd -- is accurate, or closer to it. I wanted to find a mixture, not purity. That one company simply tested the ‘right’ segments of DNA, the ones where a mixture showed up, and the other didn’t test the segments where it appeared. Also I don’t think enough is known about Eastern tribes that have nearly become extinct, or are extinct -- especially the Eastern Siouan -- Catawba, Saura/Cheraw, Saponi, et cetera. These groups simply died out -- disease, warfare, and of the dilution of blood by mixing with other races -- except for small groups of mixed race people here and there. Sad, but true.

I get upset when people say ‘wannabe’, or something like that. That’s cruel. So I wanted to prove a mixed heritage -- not a pure heritage. The African DNA was a complete surprise -- but those Eastern Siouan groups did mix with slaves -- that’s documented. We have evidence for Cherokee as well -- and everyone claims they are Cherokee, so I do understand why a Cherokee would be tired of hearing this, and use the term ‘wannabe’. Some people ‘want to be’ Cherokee who have no family history of ever living where the Cherokee lived. Well, at least we have ancestors who did live in the Cherokee Nation. We never applied for land allotments -- we are not on the Dawes rolls, accepted OR rejected. Family story says they got mad at someone or something -- don’t know what -- they started to apply but after getting upset for some unknown reason, never applied.

I hope as time goes by, those other companies who haven’t determined a very good test for finding American Indian x-chromosomal DNA will get better at it. Right now they aren’t very good at it.

Although I wasn’t expecting African DNA -- I can accept it. There has always been a stigma attached to African heritage and we all know it. I do remember my Uncle telling me as a child when I was curious about our ancestry, he said (paraphrasing); “be careful, you might not like what you find”. At the time I had no idea what he meant. Not a clue -- but it is one reason I have pursued this research spanning decades, now. I look pretty much Caucasian by complexion. I have been told “you look like a White Indian” though. It wasn’t meant in a good way, but I didn’t mind hearing it. Now am happy to have found a closer version to the truth.

So many of us searching for our ancestry are not ashamed of it, but rather just want to know it. I have an uncle buried in the American Cemetery in Normandy, France, where he was in the 1st American Army, and where he was killed by the Nazis near St Lo, Normandy, France, on July 18th, 1944. Why on earth would I have any love for those bastards, or have any sympathy for them at all?? They killed Uncle Eual Lee! If yall make it impossible for such testing, before they have even perfected the testing for American Indian DNA (which isn’t much good in my opinion, it’s in its infancy), many people who are proud of having American Indian DNA will never be able to prove it. Please don’t make such tests illegal. For every right-wing, mentally-disturbed Nazi sympathizer (and you have to me mentally disturbed to sympathize with them and you can quote me on that) there are probably dozens of others who have legitimate reasons for taking the test.

Vance Hawkins

ps -- I am just as proud of my Saxon-English heritage -- the Hawkins’, Wayland’s and Atteberry’s, and my Scots-Irish -- my McLean’s and Richey’s and German -- Plaschers and Koenigs (Anglicized to Plaster and King) -- as the mixed race part. But the European heritage is easily researched -- the ‘other’ requires digging and digging just to find evidence, and evidence that falls short of proof, on most occasions. DNA evidence however, is proof positive! DNA testing is good for more than disease research -- it is good for Genealogy research as well.

From Norman Wells:

Re: Study: Earth to be livable 2-3 billion years more, but not for all (Sept. 17, 2013): Recent information suggests that is increasingly likely that life on Mars is extinct and may well have been so for a very long time. It seems possible though that if life did exist there in the past it may have reached the levels of intelligence that we have, here on Earth, several millions of years earlier than us ‘For in the time span concerned a race of intelligent humanoids could have lived on Mars and become extinct or moved to a new home, along with all other living things, possibly from the exhaustion of its resources. It may be that they eventually migrated to Earth and that we are their descendants. But the suggestion that we could eventually move back to Mars seems pointless if as I suggest its resources were plundered in earlier times. This makes it more likely that eventually we may have to leave the Solar system and look for a new home elsewhere in Space. Consequently if this proves to be the case, the need exists to search diligently in the future for ways of overcoming the limitations imposed by the Speed of Light to enable Space exploration to be undertaken in

times more compatible with our normal life span ;or that life span needs to be greatly increased. . It is inconceivable that we should attempt to travel across the Galaxy. much less the Universe, with the present limitations in place. If indeed intelligent life did exist on Mars millions of years in the past why should it have taken so long to evolve on Earth. Or if we are descended from Martian migrants ought we not to be much farther along the path of human development than we actually are now ? Perhaps there were earlier forms of humanoid intelligences which evolved on earth and became extinct before our time, Maybe there were even intelligent Dinosaurs !

From Pete Perry:

Re: Life’s ingredients could form through cometary impact, study finds (Sept. 17, 2013): I propounded this theory when I was a teenager in the Fifties. Please look at the page on the following link, and scroll down to the bottom, where it is explained on our website...

From Edward T Medalis:

Re: “Inflation” theory of infant cosmos may need revision (July 26, 2013): First, since uni means one, let’s define the universe as all energy that exists, has ever existed, and will ever exist.

The 13. 73 billion, or so, of our puny Earth years since what is named the big bang is not very much compared to the eternity of all energy in the universe.

This leads some folks, me included, to think that the universe experiences an eternal repetitive cycle of expansion and contraction.

Current measurements indicate that the universe is expanding between distant galaxies. It has been proposed that this is due to a theoretical invention called “dark energy” that is currently thought to contain about 74 percent of all energy in the universe.

This energy is called “dark energy” because it has not been directly detected and therefore could have been called “invisible energy”.

It seems obvious to me that anything that really exists is a form of energy. It also is obvious that space exists and therefore it must be an invisable form of energy.

We know that energy can and does change form under various conditions. I think that the conditions within black holes change matter into space. If so, the super-massive black holes at the center of galaxies are spewing out space but that space passes through it’s mother galaxy as if it were a sieve because of the galaxies gravity.

Then, this idea would place this new space between galaxies causing them to be more distant from each other and provide a reason for the expansion of the universe. If this is true. it means that the universe is sort of evaporating to become space. At some point a black hole will loose enough mass to cease to be a black hole.

The question here is either: Does it totally evaporate into space or does it, at some point explode into matter and or radiation. Either way, eventually the energy of the universe becomes much more than 74 percent space. Space, according to quantum mechanics, causes particles with mass to pop in to and out of existence.

I theorize that at some point of probability the random existence of these particles throughout all of space coincide in existence in great enough numbers and due to their mutual gravity cause the beginning of a big crunch. Then, I think, the big crunch at some point becomes dense enough and hot enough to form a Quark–gluon plasma (QGP). The QGP is so dense that many very small black holes are randomly created and randomly begin to merge causing a random pattern to what is currently seen as background radiation from the, so called, big bang. This action begins to cool the QGP and the growing numbers and mass of black holes spew out enough space to begin another expansion of the universe.

Just a sequence of thoughts!

From Destiny Burt:

Re: Could cancer cells’ sugar addiction be their undoing? (July 31, 2013): To the article about cancer and sugar. I have a thought that maybe that is why people with diabetes is prone to cancer and diseases from lack of sugar. Brilliant discovery.

From Gary Lawrence Murphy:

Re: Did monogamy arise to prevent infanticide? (July 29, 2013): There is perhaps a compelling argument for this from the perspective: if the new hybrids were both almost infertile and quite ‘different’ from the mainstream bonobo community, considering how xenophobic the great apes tend to be, there may have been considerable danger of attack on the ‘blasphemous’ (and unusually vulnerable) young humanoids, and a strong evolutionary pressure to defend the humanoid female during her unusually long incubation and early child-care periods (ie only those who cared to defend their families could hope to reproduce into our present time)

From Bantwal Prabhu:

Re: Evolution punishes selfish jerks in the long run, study finds (Aug. 1, 2013): I like the article on evolution punishes the selfish which I find is more philosophical. Perhaps it matches with the concepts of mind, body and spirit of the holistic human being and the adaptation of the evolution connected with it. 
—Dr B S Prabhu

From C. Heneghan:

Re: Study explores how Inca kids were drugged for sacrifice (July 29, 2013): This report seems to assume that the levels of drugs found in Inca children’s hair can be taken to be abnormal, and indicates drug use to prepare for sacrifice. Unfortunately no comment is included regarding controls, nor is there comment regarding whether Inca children might all have had similar concentrations of the alcohol and coca metabolites. The only valid conclusion based on the data in your report is that there was probably an increase in alcohol intake in one of the children shortly before death. It is entirely possible that all the other findings would be replicated in non-ritually killed individuals, and represent normal drug intake for Inca children at that time.

From T. C. Gibian:

Re: “Inflation” theory of infant cosmos may need revision (July 26, 2013): Several times in the history of science better instrumentation and more highly refined data have called established theories into question.

Guth’s theory of inflation may be challenged by the new view of the cosmic background radiation, but not exclusively. The assumption that the universe is “uniform at the largest scales in all directions” was also made by Albert Einstein in his development of the general theory of relativity. The problem presented by this large dark spot in the CBR may be resolved simply, otherwise some of the fundamental building blocks of modern cosmology and physics may need to be reconsidered at a very deep level.

From Artist (africa nwildli feartist@ yah oo.c om)

Re: Smart parrots solve five-step puzzle to unlock treat (July 3, 2013): I used to raise Goffin’s Cockatoos and know their curiosity. I used to have to lock their flights with keyed locks because they would figure the combinations of the combination locks simply by listening to the clicks and watching the turning back and forth of the dial on the lock. They would still try and open the keyed locks with toothpick sized pieces of wood they would tear off their perches to use as a tool and jam into the hole of the lock to unlock the lock.

From Alan Musry:

Re: Was blackmail essential for marriage to evolve? (Dec. 2, 2011): How pathetic is that article about blackmail being essential for marriage to evolve. When you publish such articles without comment it demeans your journal.

The researchers ‘said they set out to ex­plore the “co­nun­drum” of why males and fe­males sac­ri­fice their di­rect self-in­ter­est to get in­volved in mar­riage. ’ The article is a classic example of researchers projecting their own values and prejudices into the past. The article manifests either profound ignorance or a self serving myopia.

As if women in India are not exploited in marriage and as if women in most of India have any choice for survival but to marry.

I lived in India for more than a dozen years and would think any researcher into such a field would be aware that there are many tribal communities in India that never knew monogamy. Indeed, even today throughout the world we find innumerable tribal communities that have no concept of the nuclear family or monogamy. Evelyn Reed’s outstanding analysis of numerous anthropological studies reveals our matriarchal ancestry, remnants of which are brazenly visible in Hinduism’s female gods (goddesses) despite India being one of the most sexist countries in the world. (Witness current news reports of the status of women - rape, infanticide, wife burning, abandonment of older women, etc. , etc. ).

Please do publish or pass on my comments to the authors.

From Catherine Scott:

Re: Being too generous may make you unpopular (June 27, 2013): It’s a very common phenomenon that people don’t like those who they perceive as raising the bar for them. Have seen it in the workplace many times. You do ‘too’ well, you become unpopular because others then feel they have to come up to your standard. Enforced mediocrity anyone?

July 10, 2013

From Roger Lass:

Re: Neanderthals may have talked-even contributed to our language, scholars claim (July 10, 2013): I was rather shocked by the amateurishness, or at least eccentricity, of the contents of your piece today on possible traces of Neanderthal Language in modern languages. It’s true there are some traces of contact, but attributing language in the usual human sense to the common ancestor of H. sapiens and the Neanderthals is impossible, as there is in principle no way of obtaining the comparative data that would support it.

It is normally accepted by mainstream historical linguists (though not be certain eccentric outgroups) that language change is too fast and radical for us to obtain, by standard means of reconstruction, any data from a period that distance. The generally accepted view is that we cannot reconstruct any linguistic substance (words, sounds) beyond an impenetrable wall of 6-10, 000 years. That would get us back to around the invention of agriculture, and nothing very interesting has emerged at that date either.

The article reads like a piece of typical science journalism of the worst kind. Usually you choose to report interesting material; this is why I’m surprised at this piece. It is possible of course that your reporter didn’t read the paper in detail or was not technically equipped to understand it. But its position as given there is close to comical.

Roger Lass
Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Historical and
Comparative Linguistics, University of Cape Town
Honorary Professorial Fellow in English Language
and Linguistics, University of Edinburgh

From Ray Goodman:

Re: Neanderthals may have talked-even contributed to our language, scholars claim (July 10, 2013): I have long believed that it was likely that Neanderthals possessed a spoken language, Brocca’s Region (identified with Speech production) and Weirneke’s Region (identified with Speech Recognition) are well developed in the Neanderthal Cranium and the discovery of the presence of the Hyoid bone in the Neanderthal (which facilitates Speech) argue for a “Speaking” Neanderthal.

From B. Simpson:

Re: Poor people get fewer painkillers from ER docs, study finds (June 26, 2013): I was almost shocked to read this article because it directly addressed my experience in the ER a few years ago. I drove myself to the ER at the Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. late one Friday night due to an tooth abscess which made the side of my face swollen beyond recognition. My molar had broken. After several hours in an ER room and in abject pain, I was seen by a few PA’s. I got a shot into my gum and my gum was lanced. I was given a Tylenol to take home. I asked for stronger painkiller because it was throbbing with pain, I didn’t have access to a Dentist, and it was the Labor Day weekend, nothing opened on that Monday. When I got home on Saturday morning and after picking up penicillin from the Pharmacy, the pain was so intense, I couldn’t see or think straight. My brother purchased a bottle of Rum to numb it which did not help at all. I called the hospital and asked to speak to the Administrator to file a complaint and to ask for pain relief. I was told that the ER does not give out pain medicine due to problems with drug addiction. I never received any relief for my pain during the 4 days.

I was in my late 50’s, never used drugs, but did have an Access card at the time.

It is the most despicable thing that an ER does. How shameful that this country harbors such little regard for people. In this ER arena filled with pain and suffering withholding the one thing that would alleviate misery and extending compassion is sick on the part of the physicians and staff. They should be sued.

From Steven B Kurtz:

Re: Ending poverty, protecting nature go hand in hand: UN report (June 1, 2013): The omission of massive overpopulation as a driver of both environmental devastation and poverty is glaring. The UN has addressed this in many conferences and articles for decades. It is no longer politically incorrect to discuss the population variable unless you are fostering competitive breeding which is overtly stated by several orthodox religious sects amongst all three major monotheistic and patriarchal religions. 
Ample documentation for the above is in my 10 page paper given to The World Congress of the Systems Sciences/ISSS conference in Toronto (2000) See:

From Jeffry J. Smith:

Re: Studies may have overestimated our generosity (June 17, 2013): I was very disappointed in the methodology of the Dictator game. By making the recipients anonymous and unknown, the motivation of the giver is completely discarded. I wouldn’t have given in either version of the game, the original or the Las Vegas version. The reason? How would I know the gift would be well used? To me that is the salient feature of giving--how well will the recipient use the gift given. This is why I give to charities where I know the percentage of my donation that goes to the cause. For example, Gospel for Asia, one of my favorite charities, ensures that 100% of my gifts go for the purpose I wish, whether children’s education or water wells in villages with no hygenic water supply.

Given that the motivation of the giver is ignored NOTHING can be concluded from these psychological studies. It is far better to do a demographic analysis of giving and see who gives what to which charity. Then interview a random sample of the significant demographic segments and find out their motivations in giving.

From T. Wignesan:

Re: Eww! 95% don’t wash hands properly (June 10, 2013): I found your piece on hand-washing quite amusing. I don’t know how it is out there in the States where your research took place, but here in Europe, it’s really a shame. To attempt to wash one’s hands in almost any rest-room entails the use of taps and basins which have already been soiled by users or by cleaners who don’t necessarily take the requisite precautions: most cleaners come from Third World or developing countries where similar facilities simply don’t exist; at least, they didn’t up to quite recently in some places. Cleaners think what “looks” clean or free of “visible” dirt is really clean. They have no idea of what is contamination. Just observe them do the cleaning - I have - and you can see it’s only a means to a livelihood for them. They cannot however be blamed, of course. I’m merely stating a fact.

My point is, even if soap or other cleansing liquid is provided, to have access to them in their containers turns out to be a means of contamination. Even after washing one’s hands, if one turned off the tap with the so-called clean hands, one’s hands will have been contaminated all over again. The same applies to towel arrangements wherever they are provided. To use one’s bare hands to touch door handles and other entrance appliances can also prove to be a rather contaminating task. In fact, those who apparently don’t wash their hands in the rest rooms may eventually be freer of contamination than those who do.

Sorry to be so finicky, but I do think your research in this matter might need re-thinking.

Every good wish.

Dr. T. Wignesan,
ex Chercheur au C. N. R. S. 
94004 Creteil cedex, France

From Don Ledger:

Re: Overeating learned in infancy, study suggests (May 23, 2013): I believe there is some truth to this. I’m 68. My parents were both children of the depression when food was scarce. I constantly heard the remarks, clean off your plate, other kids elsewhere (usually China) don’t have much to eat. I think this was a throwback to when they had little variety of food and were happy to be eating at all. Strangely my father’s side was thin and my mother’s side obese yet my mother is 90 and my father died at 57 from plugged arteries. Myself and my two sisters are overweight. A cycle was begun back then that seems to have flowed through to the grandchildren. For myself I got chubby around 9 years and it went away at 12-13. But after marrying in my early twenties it came back. There are variables but we all seem to take after mom.

From T. C. Gibian:

Re: Already-approved drug tied to longer, healthy life in mice (May 25, 2013): Rapamycin’s effect on the mTOR pathway is well documented. The trouble with this drug is that it has proven somewhat toxic and requires very careful administration. Another well tested drug with the same effect but none of the detrimental side effects is Metformin, also known as Glucophage. This medication is used to reduce blood sugar, but has attested beneficial effects on the mTOR pathway and has demonstrated to reduce the incidence not only of diabetes, but also some types of cancer. This information can be verified by articles in Wikipedia and in Scientific American.

May 23, 2013

From V.T.Sundaramurthy:

Re: Cotton may offer “eco friendly” way to clean up oil (May 15, 2013): It is a good piece of research. It has full of academic value and does not have any practical utility. The global warming will reduce the area under cotton in coming years and world production of cotton may fall. The natural fibers help the mankind in providing protection against UV radiation, enhance the level of immunoglobulinA, histamine and sebaceous gland activity in human beings. Under this situation one cannot think of using to remove the oil spills.

From John Gunkler:

Re: Does your physical strength influence your politics? (May 19, 2013): The article states: “…data showed that wealthy men with high upper-body strength were less likely to sup­port redis­tri­bu­tion, while less wealthy men of the same strength were more likely to sup­port it.”

That means that the factor which influenced support of distribution was NOT strength but wealth. Strength was held equally high in these two cases (so it cannot explain a change in support), but wealth changed from high to lower. So it’s relative wealth which influences this political opinion – not a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention.

From Edward N. Haas:

Re: Killed twice in 1600s, hoax “dragon” slain again-in crea (May 8, 2013): The notion of dragons goes back even to very ancient times, and that fact has amazed many, because the notion of a dragon bears strong resemblance to modern depictions of some kinds of dinosaurs. In its article “Dragon” on page 209 of volume 4 of its 1992 edition, “Encyclopedia Britannica “puzzles over how “The belief in these creatures apparently arose without the slightest knowledge on the part of the ancients of the gigantic, prehistoric, dragon-like reptiles.” As Britannica points out on page 315 of vol. 17 of its 1992 edition, “there was no concept of anything like a dinosaur” prior to 1841. Whence comes this 5, 000 year old, startling similarity of dragons to creatures which, supposedly, were wholly unknown before 1841? An interesting explanation is found in a book by Wilhelm Bousset entitled “The Antichrist Legend” and translated by A. H. Keane in 1896. To the front of the book, Mr. Keane attached his own explanation of how the dinosaur like imagery of dragons came about in ancient Babylon. According to Mr. Keane, it all started when humanity switched to living off of crops and, therefore, had to grow food along the banks of serpentine rivers which often flooded and thereby brought large alligators into conflict with the human race. Stories of dragons, then, are, according to Mr. Keane, the way our ancient ancestors memorialized the troubles inflicted upon them by winding rivers and large alligators.

From Tibor Machan:

Re: Does your physical strength influence your politics? (May 19, 2013): The issues are very poorly framed. What matters is forced redistribution. One can support generosity, even welfare without championing government involvement! The study, for what it is worth, shows little of who favors statism as distinct from helpfulness.

From DRo sent2 88@aol.c om:

Re: Killed twice in 1600s, hoax “dragon” slain again-in crea (May 8, 2013): These so-called cre(a)ti(o)nists are simply grasping at straws but THEY HAVE NO CASE.

April 04, 2013

From Jim Barribeau:

Re: “Black Death” could return, study warns (March 16, 2013): I am thinking that free trade agreements might be our biggest night-mare waiting to happen. Oranges seem to be a real problem due to imports from Africa, and this is just one of many things. Boa constrictors in Florida are soon becoming a problem and the carp from other countries that are killing our native species of fish, problems with a die-off of honey bees. We need to keep it to home even though we may go without some things in the off season. Wars in over seas countries is also opening some doors to unusual diseases and more.

From Michael Cristina:

Re: Domestic cats seen as major killers of wildlife (Jan. 29, 2013): The amount of birds and small animals killed would be put into better perspective if you estimated the number of “Free-ranging domestic cats” in the US. That is, how many kills per cat per year.

Also, how many killed per year vs total number of birds and small mammals in the US.

From Bandit (ban dit@cr uzio.c om):

Re: Power linked to tendency to punish harshly (Jan. 18, 2013): This can go a long way to explain the war on drug (users). I also remember reading a similar study, but it pointed out that, instead of punishing the powerful people’s peers harshly, the peers are given a “free pass”. This helps explain why there are no bankers in jail, but pot smokers and medpot growers are given multi-decade (or life) sentences.

From Bandit (band it@c ruz m):

Re: Linkage between pot, low IQ “premature,” study says (Jan. 16, 2013): Considering that pot has been the drug of choice for the engineering community, especially the software industry, there is plenty of evidence to show the study is flawed. Of course, the cynical would point out there is a good chance that the results of this study were to continue the failed War on Drugs, which is really (for the US), a police action against folks who smoke pot. Just look at the arrest rate for pot vs other, actually harmful drugs. Now Mexico - they have a *real* drug war. 100, 000 dead and rising.

From Mary Baine Campbell:

Re: “Mr. Mom” is not so much Mr. Bedroom, study suggests (Jan. 30, 2013): “The im­por­tance of gen­der has de­clined over time, but it con­tin­ues to ex­ert a strong in­flu­ence over in­di­vid­ual be­hav­iors, in­clud­ing sex­u­al fre­quen­cy with­in mar­riage,” Ko­rn­rich said.” This is a lunatic statement from a scientist. If you want to know whether gender exerts a strong influence over sexual frequency in marriage you obviously have to include same-sex marriages in the study! Yet the article clearly states that only heterosexual test subjects were used. I can’t imagine why or, consequently, what the PIs understood “gender” to mean. Was this experiment designed by fundamentalists or creationists out to prove an ideological point? Please post a follow-up.

Mary Baine Campbell
Professor of English
Affiliate Faculty: Comparative Literature and
   Women's and Gender Studies
Brandeis University
P. O. Box 549110
Waltham, MA 02454-9110

January 21, 2013

From Dan Conine:

Re: Genes thought to affect IQ might not: It would be interesting to see correlations between this work and the work of people studying gene relationships to autism. As I understand it, Autism Spectrum Disorder is affected by a more or less accumulated quantity of defects in genes affecting nerves. I suppose that the reverse could be true for intelligence, where a certain accumulation of genetic conditions contributes to intelligence overall by quantity of those conditions in total, rather than specific genes. In other words, autism would be a critical mass of negative mutations while intelligence is a critical mass of the same genes developed or mutated in positive ways. Below some minimum threshold, I suspect that consciousness fails to germinate.

From Mark McMenamin:

Re: Did a sea monster make an artwork… out of bones?: The case continues to improve. See: McMenamin, M. A. S. 2012. Evidence for a Triassic Kraken: Unusual arrangement of bones at Ichthyosaur State Park in Nevada. 21st Century Science and Technology, v. 24, n. 4, p. 55-58.

From Chris Florides:

Re: Scrub jays found to react to their dead: I have witnessed the same behavior in Australian ravens. Dozens of ravens gathered in trees  surrounding a fig tree where a dead raven was mounted on a pole on top of the fig tree. This was done to stop the ravens eating all the figs - a technique that was 100% successful. The loud screeching went on for ages as more ravens gathered. Not one raven however dared go on the fig tree, let alone steel figs. Some swooped down but made a sharp ascent, just like a fighter jet swoops down to machine gun, or drop a bomb and then sharply ascents…!!! The ravens finally left, never to return to their dead mate or the figs…!!!!
Chris Florides
Adj Assoc Professor
Managing Director/Saturn Biotech Ltd
Chief Executive Officer/Xytogen Ltd
State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre
Murdoch University
Perth 6150
W. Australia

From Justin Cusack:

Re: Could dinosaurs explain why human vision differs from other mammals’?: In the third sentence of the article: "Could dinosaurs have shaped the way mammals see the world?" it states that there were huge fearsome lizards roaming the planet during the mesozoic era; this is false.  I am assuming that the author is referring to dinosaurs, which are a completely different group of animals, with an entirely different physiology and mode of locomotion.  It is quite an insult to science to make a such a glaring mistake, especially considering the fact that the website is called world science... Just calling that to your attention.

(From the editor: Given the context, we felt it was self-evident that the sentence in question employed poetic license. Our writer was attempting to conjure the feeling of a dangerous world as seen through the eyes of early mammals. We apologize to anyone who was misled.)

From Bruce Bennett:

Re: Are people getting dumber?: It could as well be argued that intelligence linked with formerly debilitating genetic illnesses can now be passed on genetically (i.e. a Steven Hawking - like example) - whereas at the time period that Crabtree supposes maximal intelligence, all the IQ in the world would not help a less-than-robust specimen...  I don't see a clear argument for 'genetically getting dumber' by lack of selection process.

I think current IQ scores reflect the society more than any sudden genetic trend :)

From Mark (drm ark 007@g ma

Re: Einstein's brain gets a new look-over: Looking at the human history, I am impressed with the high incidence of super-smart people, among the Jews. ( Historically, in my opinion, the Japanese and the Germans come under this label too). My question is: Has there ever been any research or studies, preformed with this point in mind ?? Have the findings in Einstein's brain, been found in brain of others??  Has there been any duplications and comparables???

From Michel Labelle:

Re: Einstein's brain gets a new look-over: Einstein is a plagiarist and a fraud.

Please check :

Christopher Jon Bjerknes (Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible Plagiarist)

Philipp Lenard (Albert Einstein und Philipp Lenard: Antipoden im Spannungsfeld von Physik und Zeitgeschichte)

Edmund Whittaker (A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity. Volume II: The Modern Theories)

Jean-Paul Auffray (Einstein et Poincaré: Sur les traces de la relativité)

 Jean Hladik (Comment le jeune et ambitieux Einstein s'est approprié la théorie de la relativité de Poincaré)
Jules Leveugle (La Relativité, Poincaré et Einstein, Planck, Hilbert – Histoire véridique de la Théorie de la Relativité)

Claude Allègre (Lorentz, Poincaré et Einstein, in l'Express November 8, 2004)

Richard Moody (Albert Einstein: Plagiarist of the Century)

 Friedwardt Winterberg (Belated Decision in the Hilbert-Einstein Priority Dispute in Zeitschrift für Naturforschung 2004)

Christian Marchal (The Theory of Relativity, Einstein or Poincaré 4th Alexander Von Humboldt Colloquium in 1995)

Anatoly Logunov (Henri Poincare and Relativity Theory)

From Angel Chiriboga:

Re:  Stray stars may haunt vastness between galaxies: This information is crucial to understand the mass and light delay between galaxies.

That eerie uneven glow is just the tip of an iceberg.

These stars have been flung out of their orbits for billions and billions of years amongst the hundreds of millions of galaxies since the beginning of time. There should be trillions of dead, dying and brilliantly living stars smeared across the universe, corrupting data based on "empty" space between galaxies.

Light is profusely interactive with any mass.

It's a wonder there are people seeing dark matter, and dark energy everywhere, where there may just be whisks of stellar debris.

From J. Bernard Sunderland:

Re: When can a moon harbor life?: The more popular amateur astronomy becomes, the more the word 'moon' is applied to all planetary satellites. Am I wrong in thinking that it only correctly applies to our own Moon? And if it is now an accepted term for other satellites, does that mean that our Moon has no name in English?

From Maruj (mu ntaha ma rooj@gm

i just want to say that i love this site and all the updates about recent discoveries and studies in science are simply awesome.....