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About CDarwin

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  • Birthday 06/18/1990

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  • Location
    East Tennessee
  • Interests
    History, sci-fi, Legos, strategy games
  • College Major/Degree
    University of Tennessee - Anthropology and Biological Sciences, in progress.
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Anthropology, evolution, paleontology, ecology and geography.
  • Occupation
    Student (i.e. none)
  1. In the logic of cladistics you're actually right about the first part. On a branching cladogram there are no 'transitional' forms, just common ancestor nodes that only exist theoretically. But I think that's a bit silly of a position to try to apply to the fossil record and there are clearly fossil forms that bridge 'gaps' in evolving fossil lineages (the term here would be anagenetic evolution). As for the rest of it; you're right that delineating two species is tricky business. I think the evidence that this population was interbreeding with both Neanderthals and with modern humans (it's act
  2. They don't have to traverse continents with that information, though. Taking Achuelean axes from Africa to Europe would require several generations of passing down the techniques, especially since these groups wouldn't have been marching to Europe deterministically.
  3. I tried mightily to articulate what I wanted to ask precisely but failed to come with anything intelligible. So, in bullet form, here's the situation archaeologically in early to middle Pleistocene: Mode 1, also called Oldowan, technology originated in Homo habilis, but persisted in H. ergaster, and is the only industry associated with H. erectus (outside Africa), H. georgicus (controversial species some consider H. ergaster), and the 800,000 year old fossils from Atapuerca sometimes called H. antecessor. Mode II, or Acheulean, stone tools (the hand axes are particularly famous) are associ
  4. True enough. These changes are probably more important to us than they are to the detainees, although if there is a formal legal process with periodic reviews, that offers a detainee a better shot that just being thrown in a hole. Godwin-y. Every state is governed by symbols. The Constitution is a symbol. Law itself is a set of symbolized meanings. I don't want to press the point too far or I'll start getting anthropological-y, but human culture is at base a complex array of symbols and government is obviously just a facet of culture. I read it the opposite way. I think Obam
  5. I like the point David Brooks has made a few times on the News Hour and on radio. Obama is doing something Bush never did, or showed any external signs of doing: trying to put his actions on a good-faith grounding in law. Where the previous administration simply ignored the law, the Obama people seem to be vocally trying to work within it. The Obama administration is looking for a legal framework in which to hold detainees indefinitely, for example, where the Bush administration simply did as it felt was necessary and covered itself with public panic. In view of results, I acknowledge, it'
  6. These days science fairs want you to actually test a hypothesis I think, at least in my experience. They would call extracting your DNA a science demonstration, but not science fair-worthy. Now, as for answering Nakkulsreenivas's question... There is certainly a lot of math in most population genetics, but, that statement summarizes about all I know of it. I know there's a pretty simple Hardy-Weinberg equation that states that dominant and recessive traits will remain stable in a population in equilibrium over time. If you had a subject with a fast enough generation time maybe you could...
  7. In all fairness, the world could end in 2012, via any of the various completely random ways the world might end. And I'm sure we would all look very foolish in that case, were we no, you know, dead. But the Maya would have been as surprised as any of us.
  8. Now, I doubt most of you have ever heard of TennCare, and it's nothing particularly special that you should have heard of. It's a state program in Tennessee to augment Medicaid by contracting with managed care companies that is most famous for going crazy and almost bankrupting the state a few years ago before being pared down considerably. Well, Frank Cagle (former editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel, if that means anything to anyone) wrote in his column in a local weekly about how Tennessee's experience with TennCare might and should reflect on the national health insurance reform proposal
  9. The point about the electoral system of the United States is a good one, I had forgotten to mention that. I would point out, however, that not all American elections use an exclusively first past the post system. I'm not aware of anything akin to an Australian-style preferential voting system (which I understand is particularly third-party friendly), but several states hold run-offs. Third party candidates haven't seen any electoral success in those in recent years, either (although they have on the state level in the past).
  10. On Facebook I'm "Liberal, with reservations." I think that means that I take the generally liberal position on most of the issues cogent these days, but I have some reservations about the intellectual foundations of American liberalism (pragmatism, all that). I think.
  11. I've always been a little bit peeved by complaints about the American "two-party tyranny." For one, people seem to forget how chaotic multi-party democracies, like Israel's or India's, can be. No one party ever wins an outright majority and so is forced to assemble impromptu coalitions which can take months and inevitably give disproportionate power to small fringe and local parties that can undo governments by withholding their few votes. Our two parties are essentially pre-packaged coalitions that can take power and govern much more reliably and with greater accountability. And secondly, no
  12. Conservatives seem to be abdicating their responsibility in this debate. This is where an opposition party should shine, pointing out legitimate flaws in the plans of the majority and working constructively to fix them and make a plan the best for everybody. The bills before Congress will cost a lot of money and haven't been adequately paid for, and, most importantly, don't seem to hold much promise of lowering health care costs. Those are real issues. Instead, Republicans are descending into apoplectic stupidity. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged Eh, I don't know about tha
  13. If anyone hasn't come across this yet, nifty new website! http://www.timetree.org/ The description from Dechronization: It has all the caveats of molecular dating, but, still, neat resource and fun to play with.
  14. It also might depend on how you phrase the job. "Scientist" is kind amorphous, but "professor" would probably be included with professions like law and medicine as prestigious in the sense of the OP.
  15. Well, all great classical music is some kind of beautiful. But, as far as luminous melodies go, the motif to the Maestoso of Saint-Saen's "Organ Symphony" (aka the Babe song), is one of my favorites. The English Romantics Vaghan-Williams and Holst have some really good ones too, like "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" and "Somerset Rhapsody," respectively. I'm trying the think of a 'beautiful' Russian piece but I appreciate Russian composers more for being interesting than lovely in that sense. Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" has some nice melodies on that count, I suppose, and Ru
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