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Homo neanderthalensis…

SkyHarbor, 2014/04/15 


“Alas, poor Yorrick… I knew him, Horatio!”
Dr. Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute contemplates Neanderthal

Historically, Neanderthal Man has generally had a bad press. Pictured as clumsy, shambling and dumb but very strong, he was your exemplar ‘cave man’. While Neanderthals did live in caves and rock shelters, they were fully Human beings. Like US but NOT like us, they were slowly pushed to the margins of late Ice Age Europe until they faded from the scene ca. 30K years BP.

With brains often larger than their younger sapiens cousins, they weren’t lacking for ‘smarts’, but seemed to lack our flair for innovation. Over hundreds of thousands of years, Neanderthals adapted to the brutal cold of Ice Age Europe, but their tools and hunting weapons changed but little over that vast span of time… The original conservatives!

But even as their gene-pool was being ‘swamped’ by the inexorable rise of sapiens, neanderthal DID manage send a few genes downstream. Unless you’re of sub-saharan African descent, you have ~1-4% neanderthal genes! So, to that extent, H. neanderthalensis lives ON in US! ;-)

I’m generally sympathetic to our erstwhile cousins. Life is a tough business and some simply can’t make it. ALL species go extinct eventually! Makes me wonder.

danger words tonite

byronius, 2014/04/14 

CAMERON
We already control most of the largest corporations on earth. He was the last big block of power. We would have turned it inside out and shaken out all the rotten bits like we’ve done with everyone else. Shephard would’ve ended up in prison somehow, and EH slowly converted to plowshares.
JEFF
My god, this sounds positively ruthless. And Kevin helps you?
LUCINDA
He’s the keymaker. Cam’s the fake cop, I’m the fake robber. Cam set up an awesomely effective protocol, ran like clockwork. I always just wanted to kill everybody, but Cam showed me this way. We had to do something. After they killed you, dad, they kind of took over and the world went dark.
CAMERON
A lot of campaign-finance deregulation followed by hyper-hoarding, poor-kicking, profitable pollution and really well-thought-out bad ideas.

Jeff looks at Cam with an appraising glance.

JEFF
Yeah, those guys. I know those guys.
CAMERON
I know you know those guys.
LUCINDA
We gave them all a terrible case of Very Bad Luck. Almost-instant karma.
CAMERON
You would have loved it, dad.
JEFF
It sounds pretty revolutionary.
LUCINDA
Democracy’s a wild idea, dad.

The 5th Ape…

SkyHarbor, 2014/04/11 

I’m a Darwinist and an atheist… and a fan of Prof. Dawkins:

American stylin’ circa 1960?…

SkyHarbor, 2014/04/10 

Pinkness Maximus! Elvis hits the road? :-)

Winny Puhh and Racist Sukiyaki.

byronius,  


What’s music coming to, and man, that racistly-titled song is fucking beautiful.

Stop me before I post again.

This is Nerddom

Max, 2014/04/08 

I imagine Sky will enjoy it quite a lot.

Thank you for your patience

onceknownasadmin, 2014/04/06 

As the legions of weamers were no doubt aware, the site was down most of yesterday (as I forgot to pay the bill). This time I paid for three years, so you will know in the first week of April 2017 when we go dark again that it’s time to jog my memory. Until then… carry on.

Beautiful Days…

SkyHarbor, 2014/04/05 

“Beautiful Days” by Belgians Marc A. Huyghens & the band ‘Venus’ – performed by ‘Venus’ over the closing credits of Enki Bilal’s remarkable film “Immortal (ad vitam)”. This French-made English language production is a mixed live-action and CGI animated science fiction film taking place in a semi-dystopic 2095 NYC. There are really too many details to go into here. Suffice it to say it that a huge pyramid is ‘parked’ high above Central Park – now called the ‘Intrusion Zone’ and deadly to humans – where the ancient Egyptian deities are enjoying the Big (and slightly overripe) Apple for inscrutable reasons. There are mutants and other aliens about but most tend to play ‘window dressing’ in this epic. A new and ghastly form of ‘Eugenics’ provides a backdrop of conflict. It reminds me a bit of ‘Dark City’ or ‘Bladerunner’ or ‘The 5th Element’ in places… but not in a derivative manner. I like the look and I never found it boring. ‘Immortal (ad vitam)’ means ‘Immortal (for life)’ adding a touch of irony which I enjoy.

But it was the song by ‘Venus’ for the outro that persuaded me to build this post. It somehow sounds ‘Sheepish’ to me and the lyric is distinctly ‘Byronical’ (IMHO). ;-)

Beautiful Days from Sky Harbor on Vimeo.

read more…

Just doing his job

Max, 2014/04/04 

He has his faults, and he’s made his mistakes, and sometimes he’s just wrong. Then there’s this:

I left early to help the advance team—the hardworking folks who handle logistics for every event—set things up, and I arrived at the local high school where the meetings and memorial service would take place. We prepared seven or eight classrooms for the families of the slain children and teachers, two or three families to a classroom, placing water and tissues and snacks in each one. Honestly, we didn’t know how to prepare; it was the best we could think of.

The families came in and gathered together, room by room. Many struggled to offer a weak smile when we whispered, “The president will be here soon.” A few were visibly angry—so understandable that it barely needs to be said—and were looking for someone, anyone, to blame. Mostly they sat in silence.

I went downstairs to greet President Obama when he arrived, and I provided an overview of the situation. “Two families per classroom . . . The first is . . . and their child was . . . The second is . . . and their child was . . . We’ll tell you the rest as you go.”

The president took a deep breath and steeled himself, and went into the first classroom. And what happened next I’ll never forget.

Person after person received an engulfing hug from our commander in chief. He’d say, “Tell me about your son. . . . Tell me about your daughter,” and then hold pictures of the lost beloved as their parents described favorite foods, television shows, and the sound of their laughter. For the younger siblings of those who had passed away—many of them two, three, or four years old, too young to understand it all—the president would grab them and toss them, laughing, up into the air, and then hand them a box of White House M&M’s, which were always kept close at hand. In each room, I saw his eyes water, but he did not break.

And then the entire scene would repeat—for hours. Over and over and over again, through well over a hundred relatives of the fallen, each one equally broken, wrecked by the loss. After each classroom, we would go back into those fluorescent hallways and walk through the names of the coming families, and then the president would dive back in, like a soldier returning to a tour of duty in a worthy but wearing war. We spent what felt like a lifetime in those classrooms, and every single person received the same tender treatment. The same hugs. The same looks, directly in their eyes. The same sincere offer of support and prayer.

The staff did the preparation work, but the comfort and healing were all on President Obama. I remember worrying about the toll it was taking on him. And of course, even a president’s comfort was woefully inadequate for these families in the face of this particularly unspeakable loss. But it became some small measure of love, on a weekend when evil reigned.

What Obama Secretly Did in Newtown

It’s damn hard not to hate the people who can hate such a man.

Importance of good product management

Max,  

qa

I can see this mini-dialog occurring in email:

Tech: The spec for the printing on this pencil doesn’t specify which direction it should be printed. Can you clarify?

PM: Oh for God’s sake just use your own judgment. Why could it possibly matter?

In similar vein, this was pretty humorous. Well worth the 7 1/2 minute investment of your time.

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