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Today I Learned


DrmDoc

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Some days ago I learnt from @Strange that most Europeans are descended from Charlemagne. I've learnt many other things from him. But this one got me thinking (and still is) about the likely regular Jacks and Susans, and Joes and Marys, who were especially successful in the reproductive sense, but not particularly notorious, and got their genes pushed forward in human history.

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1 minute ago, joigus said:

Some days ago I learnt from @Strange that most Europeans are descended from Charlemagne. I've learnt many other things from him. But this one got me thinking (and still is) about the likely regular Jacks and Susans, and Joes and Marys, who were especially successful in the reproductive sense, but not particularly notorious, and got their genes pushed forward in human history.

Indeed. There is nothing special about Charlemagne in this respect. It is equally true for a downtrodden peasant in rural Transylvania. 

When you are little and you think about your ancestors, you soon run into the ancestor paradox: you have two parents and 4 grandparents and 8 greatgrandparents and ... Which leads to questions like: How come the population in the past wasn't bigger than today? 

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About 20 generations (about 400 years), ago we each have about a million ancestors - and after that the numbers start to get even sillier. Forty generations ago (800 years) gives us one trillion ancestors, and fifty gives one quadrillion. This is not only many, many more people than live on the planet today - it is many more than have ever lived.

"Strangers are just relatives you haven't met yet"

https://www.nature.com/articles/news990311-2

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Given that up to a third of the population of Europe died during the plague ( 1350s ), and that there wasn't much travelling or intermarriage outside of local towns, it is also possible that all of any one particular person's genes were completely wiped out.
Even those of Charlemagne.

Or am I over-analyzing ?

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29 minutes ago, MigL said:

Given that up to a third of the population of Europe died during the plague ( 1350s ), and that there wasn't much travelling or intermarriage outside of local towns, it is also possible that all of any one particular person's genes were completely wiped out.
Even those of Charlemagne.

Or am I over-analyzing ?

You can have a plague, massive wiping out of genes, but the smallest sample get amplified by the founder effect later. And what previously was a Charlemagne differential gene (I suppose Charlemagne had genes for cellular respiration too) get amplified to almost universal proportions. It's kind of a mix, filter, mutate and stretch kind of dynamics.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today, I learned that there is a resort in Finland that shares its name with my paternal grandfather's surname at birth ( he changed it just prior to immigrating, and then again after reaching the US.) 

Though I really shouldn't be surprised, as it basically translates to Spruce lake, and as there are a lot of lakes and Spruce trees in Finland, I'd expect it to be a fairly common name. ( Ironically, his father was a black/gun smith, so his surname could have ended up being Seppä, which would be the Finnish equivalent of Smith.)

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On 8/13/2020 at 4:11 PM, Strange said:

Indeed. There is nothing special about Charlemagne in this respect. It is equally true for a downtrodden peasant in rural Transylvania. 

When you are little and you think about your ancestors, you soon run into the ancestor paradox: you have two parents and 4 grandparents and 8 greatgrandparents and ... Which leads to questions like: How come the population in the past wasn't bigger than today? 

"Strangers are just relatives you haven't met yet"

https://www.nature.com/articles/news990311-2

If you start with 22000 genes, and in each generation backwards, it halves until you are left with one gene shared, your identifiable genetic relationship with that line ends. in about 14-15 generations. This is how I understood it but could be wrong. Assuming a gene is some indivisible unit of heredity.

Edited by StringJunky
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19 hours ago, StringJunky said:

If you start with 22000 genes, and in each generation backwards, it halves until you are left with one gene shared, your identifiable genetic relationship with that line ends. in about 14-15 generations. This is how I understood it but could be wrong. Assuming a gene is some indivisible unit of heredity.

Interesting way of looking at

10 minutes ago, Royston said:

Today I learned, after a seagull knocked some off my roof, that the humble Lichen is a composite organism. It is a symbiotic relationship between cyanobacteria and fungi. Nearly 6% of the Earth is covered in Lichen, which is testament to, if you get along, you'll be successful. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichen

Some are symbiotes of three organisms: Cyanobacteria, fungus and yeast

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6298/488

Today I learned that “lichen” is also the name of several (rather unpleasant) skin diseases 

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Today I learned about Vavilovian mimicry.

Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov was a biologist who studied the evolution of domesticated plants, in particular rye. He proposed that rye was "accidentally" domesticated. Originally it was a weed in fields of wheat and so early farmer would pick it out to ensure their wheat could grow. But they were more efficient at picking out the immature rye plants that looked most different from wheat. So they inadvertently selected for rye plants that looked more wheat-like. Eventually rye became so similar to wheat that it was a useful grain in its own right. This is generally accepted today, even though Vavilov is largely forgotten.

Vavilov was killed by Stalin, who only liked science that fitted his political beliefs (e.g. Lysenkoism).

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My wife grows okra in the garden, and while not my favorite it does taste good fried and in small doses like in a soup or stew.

It is a staple in the Southern US but consumed less elsewhere in the country.

One of the interesting things about okra is how it was introduced into the South. When slaves were taken in Africa, mothers would often braid okra seeds into their children's hair as a bit of security for their unknown future.

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  • 1 month later...

Some time ago, I learned about the "screaming skeletons", or why archaeologists uncover ancient skeletons & mummies that look like screaming in horrid agony.

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Your jaw bone ascends toward the back (almost at a right angle to the horizontal line of the teeth), ending in a rounded protuberance (the condyloid process), which fits into a shallow groove in your temporal bone on the lower part of your skull. (For more, see Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, especially the sections "Articulation of the Mandible" and "The Mandible (Lower Jaw)".

(...)  
 

The nature of this joint is a key to understanding why mummies scream. Physician Trisha Macnair explains in "Human decomposition after death" on the BBC Health website.

"This temporo-mandibular joint is fairly loose.... Unlike the tight ball-and-socket linking the leg and the hip, the jaw and cranium are held together only by ligaments and muscles. If unimpeded--by the position of the body, wrappings, or very fast desiccation--the jaw will drop down as the muscles relax and decompose after rigor mortis."

See full article "the screaming mummies"

https://archive.archaeology.org/online/features/screaming_mummy/

 

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3 hours ago, michel123456 said:

Some time ago, I learned about the "screaming skeletons", or why archaeologists uncover ancient skeletons & mummies that look like screaming in horrid agony.

I always thought they were laughing. ;)

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TIL that a skilled scam-baiter can waste 36 hrs of a scam call center's time in an attempt to scam one person. 

I recently have been watching some you-tubes edited from the Twitch live-stream of a scam-baiter. They can be entertaining, while giving you a look into just how many these scams work. (he has done tech support, fake refund, IRS, social security, and immigration scams)

One of the best was when he faked going to Best Buy to buy gift cards for the scammer, only to have his Uber driver drive off with them. ( this one required sound effects and a friend playing the part of the driver.)

Generally, he can't waste their time for more than an hour or two at most before the scammer either gives up or the scam-baiter just reveals himself.

In this case, in an attempt to scam someone, who they thought was an 87 yr old woman,  this call center, over many, many phone calls spread out over weeks, spent 36 hrs on the phone with their intended victim. 

The edited you-tubes of this was broken up into 10 episode of ~ 3/4 - 1 hr long each, and I just watched the last one.  It was interesting to see how the baiter kept them on the hook, always teasing with a big score that never came, and how more and more desperate the scammers got.*

 

*And in this case, it lead them to revealing just a bit too much info, which the scam-baiter turned over to authorities.

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  • 2 months later...

Today I learned the US Civil War was not as far back in history as I thought.

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Helen Viola Jackson, the last known widow of a Civil War soldier, has died at 101.

She died Dec. 16 at Webco Manor Nursing Home in Marshfield, Missouri, where she had been a resident for many years, according to a statement on her Facebook page.

In 1936, when Jackson was 17 years old, she married James Bolin, a 93-year-old widower who served in the 14th Missouri Cavalry during the Civil War.

The war ended in 1865, 156 years ago.

 

Jackson’s father had volunteered her to stop by Bolin’s house each day to help with chores on her way home from school. Bolin did not want to accept charity and after a period of time, asked her to marry him in order to provide for her future, according to the statement.

“He said that he would leave me his Union pension,” Jackson told the historian Hamilton C. Clark in an interview. “It was during the Depression and times were hard. He said that it might be my only way of leaving the farm.”

https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/civil-war-veteran-widow-helen-jackson-030518406.html

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8 minutes ago, DrmDoc said:

And likely much closer today than you may think with all the furor Donald Trump has caused this county since soundly losing the presidency.

Today I learned DT may not be a president... 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Today I learned about "tall poppy syndrome". According to Wikipedia*:

Quote

The tall poppy syndrome is the cultural phenomenon of mocking people who think highly of themselves, "cutting down the tall poppy". Common in Australia and New Zealand, it is seen by many as self-deprecating and by others as promoting modesty and egalitarianism. 

Thanks @beecee

 

Maybe related to (but not the same as) Law of Jante** ? I need to do some reading.

*) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_poppy_syndrome

**) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante

 

 

Edited by Ghideon
Added a sentence to the quote. Fixed the format. Added reference link
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5 minutes ago, Ghideon said:

Today I learned about "tall poppy syndrome". According to Wikipedia: common in Australia and New Zealand, it is seen by many as self-deprecating and by others as promoting modesty and egalitarianism. Thanks @beecee

 

Maybe related to (but not the same as) Law of Jante* ? I need to do some reading.

*) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante

 

 

The beginning of the Wiki quote sums it up admirably and the meaning most apply to it in its usage.....The tall poppy syndrome is the cultural phenomenon of mocking people who think highly of themselves, "cutting down the tall poppy"

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Today I learned that a 17 year old girl will marry a 93 year old widower.

On 1/6/2021 at 10:45 AM, zapatos said:

Today I learned the US Civil War was not as far back in history as I thought.

Quote

Helen Viola Jackson, the last known widow of a Civil War soldier, has died at 101.

She died Dec. 16 at Webco Manor Nursing Home in Marshfield, Missouri, where she had been a resident for many years, according to a statement on her Facebook page.

In 1936, when Jackson was 17 years old, she married James Bolin, a 93-year-old widower who served in the 14th Missouri Cavalry during the Civil War.

The war ended in 1865, 156 years ago.

 

Jackson’s father had volunteered her to stop by Bolin’s house each day to help with chores on her way home from school. Bolin did not want to accept charity and after a period of time, asked her to marry him in order to provide for her future, according to the statement.

“He said that he would leave me his Union pension,” Jackson told the historian Hamilton C. Clark in an interview. “It was during the Depression and times were hard. He said that it might be my only way of leaving the farm.”

Expand  

https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/civil-war-veteran-widow-helen-jackson-030518406.html

Thanks Zap.

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