Letter Of Note of the Day: After her husband passed away in 1989, mother-of-three Marianne — then 36 years old — wrote a letter to Kurt Vonnegut to thank him “for his books and his compassion.”
She didn’t expect a reply — but got one anyway.
“I have always wanted to share his kind words,” she says. “It meant, and still means, so much to me.”
It can’t be said often enough, “It is the woman who pays.” The miracle is that so many can and do somehow. I was in love (still am) with a widow with four kids (two not her own). She somehow raised them all on a teeny weeny salary. I told her one time, “I worry about women.” She said, “Don’t.”
There are many things in this world I do not know. I do not know how butterflies get out of their cocoons without damaging their wings. I do not know why anyone would boil vegetables when roasting them is much tastier. I do not know how to make olive oil, and I do not know why dogs bark before an earthquake, and I do not know why some people voluntarily choose to climb mountains where it is freezing and difficult to breathe, or live in the suburbs, where the coffee is watery and all of the houses look alike.
dear professor, i think my husband is a neanderthal.
In May 2010, biologists broke the news that our modern human ancestors had sex with their Neanderthal cousins in Europe and Western Asia as they trudged out of Africa to colonise the world.
Many of us who live outside Africa today are a living legacy of those ancient couplings. Though modern humans more or less replaced Neanderthals, the encounters left an imprint on our genetic makeup. We carry inside our cells a smidgen of Neanderthal DNA.
But there are some people out there who suspect they are a little more Neanderthal than the research suggests. If not themselves, it’s someone close to them who is behaving in a vaguely unhuman way.
The revelation came in a spectacular talk this week by Svante Pääbo at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington DC. Prof Pääbo is the head of genetics at the Max Planck Institute for EvolutionaryAnthropology in Leipzig and led the team that created the draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome. The evidence for interbreeding came from comparing the Neanderthal genome with that of modern humans.
In the months after the paper was published, Pääbo began to receive letters and emails from people who had read about the work. He decided to keep track of the correspondence, at least until September that year, to see if any trends appeared. He wasn’t disappointed.
Some 45 men wrote in to declare themselves fully or partially Neanderthal and several asked if they should provide saliva samples for Pääbo to analyse. Over the same few months, only two women wrote in to declare themselves of Neanderthal stock.
Pääbo is a careful scientist and knows very well that there could be several explanations for this male-female divide. “You could say, well, the women were not paying attention [to the research],” he told a room of thousands of captivated neuroscientists.
However, the next data point Pääbo posted showed that this was probably not the case. Twelve women had been in touch to declare that their husbands were Neanderthals. Some of them offered their spouses for future study.
Only two men wrote in to say the same of their wives.
As a lighthearted detour in a deep and broad romp through the genetics of ancient DNA, the contents of Pääbo’s postbag provided some well-timed relief in his talk. But speaking afterwards, the researcher said the correspondence might reflect our stereotyped ideas of our closest extinct relatives. “It says something about how we view Neanderthals,” Pääbo told the Guardian.
posted in the guardian
My part of Oakland is full of poor people. There’s at least one murder a week. Old creeps pimp out teenaged girls in broad daylight. You can buy crack or heroin 30 feet from my door, and two of my neighbors have been held up at gun point this summer.And the City of Oakland says they don’t have the police to stop any of that.But a bunch of people protesting the fact that rich people got a bail out and everyone else got nothing? The city shuts them down tight. Bang. Done. Riot act. Do you ever get the feeling you’ve bean cheated? I do. Every day.