Our ancestors had lots of missing fingers

❝ Did most Stone Age people have all their fingers? According to the paintings they left behind, many of them did not. Plenty of cave paintings depict hands with missing fingers, and a trio of researchers believes they know why: those people had their fingers deliberately amputated. Right now it’s still a guess, but the researchers believe future evidence will help illuminate a strange and fascinating practice from our distant ancestors.

❝ …Starting around 50,000 years ago—a period that scientists refer to as the “Upper Paleolithic”—they started leaving behind all kinds of art and artifacts for modern scientists to discover.

Among those artifacts are cave paintings, where they recorded details of their lives for posterity. While the most well-known paintings feature pictures of bison or scenes of hunting, by far the most common artworks are simple hand paintings or tracings. Stone Age people left imprints of their hands on cave walls all over the world, and for some reason, a lot of those imprints are missing fingers.

RTFA for logical theorizing, assumptions based on existing knowledge and data. Parallels in not-so-modern religious codes are inevitable.

Christian Crusaders own Trump’s Health and Human Services Dept


Rolling Stone/Brian Stauffer

❝ It was dusk on a Friday in March 2017, and the women’s health clinic in San Antonio was mostly deserted, except for a nurse finishing some end-of-the-week paperwork, when the phone rang. The man on the other end of the line introduced himself as Dr. Meyerstein with the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Washington, D.C., the agency charged with the temporary care of children apprehended while crossing the border alone…

❝ Meyerstein was a civil servant who had worked for ORR’s unaccompanied-minor program since the Obama administration, but depositions and internal documents show he was acting on orders from a tight group of pro-life crusaders recently installed in the top ranks of ORR’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services: Maggie Wynne, counselor to the secretary of HHS; Matt Bowman, a lawyer in their Office of the General Counsel; and Scott Lloyd, the man recently tapped to helm ORR…

❝ The girl, meanwhile, remained unaware of any of it. Staff members at her shelter had been told to withhold her second set of pills, but no one mentioned that her pregnancy — and, with it, the contours of the rest of her life — was being debated by a handful of bureaucrats based in a beige, Brutalist office building 1,600 miles away.

She’d already requested a medical abortion and had taken the first course of medication.

❝ ORR director Lloyd…believes every abortion should be subject to his personal authorization.

RTFA to learn about religious rules imposed by the fake president and his flunky crusaders. Women’s individual rights are now shoved back to the 19th Century and biblical decision-making.

Happy Holiday Season from the Flying Spaghetti Monster

❝ It’s that time of year again. Many will be celebrating Christmas, some Hanukkah, some Kwanzaa, whatever. Pastafarians will be celebrating our holiday, named “Holiday“. And it’s not a specific date so much as it is the Holiday season, itself…

❝ …I would like to point out how much Pastafarianism has spread in a remarkably short amount of time. A few years ago, you’d be wished a “Merry Christmas” by everyone. Now, by our schools, businesses, goverment, on tv – everywhere – what do you hear? We’re not offered the Christian greeting “Merry Christmas“, but instead a happy “Holiday” season. Holiday, is of course OUR Pastafarian holiday, and it’s amazing to see how it’s been accepted, embraced even, by so many people.

Har!

Ignorant parents prefer plagues over modern science

❝ North Carolina is reporting the worst chickenpox outbreak since a vaccine for it was introduced more than 20 years ago. Ground zero for the outbreak is the Asheville Waldorf School, where 36 children have come down with chickenpox.

❝ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that “the percentage of children under 2 years old who haven’t received any vaccinations has quadrupled since 2001,” according to the Washington Post. Many of the parents who refuse to vaccinate their children do so under a religious beliefs exemption…”

Otherwise known as the “stupid” exemption – designed to benefit opportunist politicians seeking the votes of ignoranus parents.

Lab-grown brain bits offer medical opportunity — and ethical dilemmas for folks who watch old movies

❝ Xuyu Qian yanked open an incubator door at the University of Pennsylvania to reveal rows of cylindrical tubes swirling, like shaken-up snow globes, with a strange and exotic flurry. The pale, peppercorn-sized spheres were lab-grown globules of human brain tissue, or, as Qian occasionally refers to them, “minibrains.”

“Minibrain” is a controversial nickname, loathed by some scientists who fear it conjures alarmist images of fully functioning brains trapped in vats, while the reality today is balls of cells that can’t think or feel…

❝ …As the technology, which scientists refer to in journal articles as “cerebral organoids,” improves, the more the “minibrain” title fits…“People are more worried about if they reach a certain level — if it’s really like a human brain. We’re not there; we’re very far from there,” said Hongjun Song, who leads the laboratory at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, where Qian works. “But the question people ask is, ‘Do they have consciousness?’ The biggest problem I have so far is I think, as a field, we don’t know…”

RTFA. Don’t worry about full-time ethicists. That job title is always ready to take on any topic regardless of knowledge – or ignorance.

My experience with scientists as a profession assures me of relevant and timely reflection. If not overdone conservatism. But, as someone who reads science as the predominant endeavor in building a better life for all – it’s always worth adding useful philosophy to material achievements.

America’s religions decline – Surprised?

❝ …the number of religiously unaffiliated adults has increased by roughly 19 million since 2007. There are now approximately 56 million religiously unaffiliated adults in the U.S., and this group – sometimes called religious “nones” – is more numerous than either Catholics or mainline Protestants, according to the new survey. Indeed, the unaffiliated are now second in size only to evangelical Protestants among major religious groups in the U.S.

Things change. Often our understanding does, as well.

Drive-thru confessional helps prepare for the Pope’s visit to Ireland

❝ SIN TO WIN Paddy Power erect giant drive-thru confession box in Dublin ahead of Pope Francis’ arrival on Irish soil…It allows motorists to confess their sins in a timely manner so they can attend the mass without any Catholic guilt

❝ The huge confessional is situated on Conyngham Road near the Phoenix Park entrance.

❝ The box is 13 metres wide and 12 metres high – ensuring it is big enough to withstand the full spectrum of sin…

Pope Francis is set to grace Irish soil this weekend with crowds of around 500,000 expected for his open-air mass in the Phoenix Park.

Same as it ever was. Christians can always count on being “forgiven” if they play by the rules of one or another incorporated representative of their god.

Remnants of our early solar system

❝ Scientists believe the solar system was formed some 4.6 billion years ago when a cloud of gas and dust collapsed under gravity possibly triggered by a cataclysmic explosion from a nearby massive star or supernova. As this cloud collapsed, it formed a spinning disk with the sun in the center.

❝ Since then scientists have been able to establish the formation of the solar system piece by piece. Now, new research has enabled scientists from The University of New Mexico, Arizona State University and NASA’s Johnson Space Center to add another piece to that puzzle with the discovery of the oldest-ever dated igneous meteorite…

❝ “The age of this meteorite is the oldest, igneous meteorite ever recorded,” said Professor and Director of the UNM Institute of Meteoritics Carl Agee. “Not only is this just an extremely unusual rock type, it’s telling us that not all asteroids look the same. Some of them look almost like the crust of the Earth because they’re so light colored and full of SiO2. These not only exist, but it occurred during one of the very first volcanic events to take place in the solar system.”

Take the time to learn a bit more about the formation of the system where we live, folks.