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Love the First Amendment. It helps us spot the assholes from a safe distance.

Forget the high-minded principles of our Founding Fathers, kiddies. In the real world, letting the fascists, totalitarians, morons, psychopa...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Noted family...umm...member and longtime believer in itself A CockJerk Orange pretends to be what the suckers expect their tyrant to be.


From CBN (If you want the dumbass heretic version of the news, this is the place for you.):

'We Want God': President Trump Defends Faith, Family, Freedom in Poland...


Speaking before an enthusiastic crowd in Poland’s historic Krasiński Square, President Donald Trump said, the people of the west are crying out, "We want God".

“Through four decades of communist rule, Poland and the other captive nations of Europe endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity – indeed the very essence of your culture and your humanity,” the president said.

He recalled how on June 2, 1979, when Poles gathered for their first mass with Polish Pope John Paul II, the communists in Warsaw must have known their oppressive system would soon crumble.

“They must have known during that exact moment during Pope John Paul II’s sermon when a million Polish men, women and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer. A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: ‘We want God’,” Trump said to applause.

Even more proof that God is a really nice guy: It was not struck dead.

He continued, “As I stand here today before this incredible crowd, this faithful nation, we can still hear those voices that echo through history. Their message is as true today as ever. The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out ‘We want God’.”

Through their devotion to God, Trump said, the Polish people were able to fight the oppression of communism and prevail to which the crowd broke out into a chant of “Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!”

Crowds packed the streets surrounding Krasiński Square, with some people holding large blue signs that read, ‘Make Poland Great’ as others waved both Polish and American flags. "Thank you, Mr. Trump," read one sign.

President Trump spoke about the many ways Poles have enriched America and said the U.S. is eager to extend its partnership with not only Poland, but other eastern European nations as well.

“We are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy,” Trump said, referring to Russia’s monopoly on energy exports to Poland.

The president said he visited Poland to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom, “The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken, and who have never, ever forgotten who they are,” he said.

The crowd responded by chanting another round of, “Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!”

The president spoke of the threat of radical Islamic terrorism facing the U.S. and Europe today.

“We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent,” he said.

He also addressed Russia’s aggression in nearby Ukraine and its support of hostile regimes.

He went on to call out another threat: the steady growth of government and bureaucracy that he says, “drains the vitality and wealth of the people” in both the U.S. and Poland.

“The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies,” he continued.

He was joined on stage by veterans of the heroic Warsaw uprising during WWII in which Jews relegated to a ghetto as they waited transfer to death camps banded together to fight the oppression of the Nazis.

“We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive,” Trump said to applause.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.


George Will proves Repansycans are big government fascists, too.

The fix is in, kiddies. Freedom is gone, AmeriKKKa is dead, and THE ESTABLISHFUCKS have won.


Why 'repeal and replace' will become 'tweak and move on' - Washington's other newspaper -



Two Junes ago, when the Supreme Court upheld, 6 to 3, a challenged provision of the Affordable Care Act, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, vented: “Congress wrote key parts of the Act behind closed doors. . . . Congress passed much of the Act using a complicated budgetary procedure known as ‘reconciliation,’ which limited opportunities for debate and amendment, and bypassed the Senate’s normal 60-vote filibuster requirement. . . . As a result, the Act does not reflect the type of care and deliberation that one might expect of such significant legislation.” Now, however, Republicans run things, so . . .

In 2009, President Barack Obama ignited a debate that has been, for many members of Congress and their constituents, embarrassingly clarifying. Back then, most people stoutly insisted that they did not want a “government-centered” health-care system. But even then, approximately half of every dollar spent on health care came from the government. Today, the 55 million Medicare beneficiaries approximately equal the combined populations of 26 states; the 73 million Medicaid recipients approximately equal the combined populations of 29 states. Government’s 10 thumbs are all over health care.

Although an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll showed that health care was “extremely” or “very” important to 81 percent of voters in Georgia’s recent special congressional election, neither candidate stressed this issue. Both were confronted, as all congressional candidates will be in 2018 and ever after, with this fact: No health-care policy is comprehensive, comprehensible and inoffensive to all interest groups.

When exactly did AmeriKKKa become a nation "of the interest groups, by the interest groups, and for the interest groups"?

Health care only relatively recently became worth fighting over. In 1900, Americans spent almost twice as much on funerals as on medicine. Most people were born at home and died at home, and medicine’s principal function was to make ill people as comfortable as possible while nature healed them or killed them. Hospitals often were lethal infection factories, hence the common report “The operation was successful, but the patient died.” In his “The Rise and Fall of American Growth,”
Robert Gordon notes that “even victims of railroad, streetcar and horse cart accidents were largely taken to their homes rather than to hospitals.” In 1900, only 5 percent of American women gave birth in hospitals. And “a ‘degree’ in medicine could be obtained for between $5 and $10, its cost depending on the quality of the paper on which the diploma was printed.” Between 1890 and 1950, the great improvement in mortality rates owed much to social improvements (better hygiene, sanitation, food handling, etc.) and little to doctors, hospitals or drugs.

In 2009, there was no national consensus that insurance should be available to people with “preexisting conditions.” There now is such a consensus, partly because of the obfuscating phrase: Insuring people with “preexisting conditions” means insuring people who are already sick. Which means that what they are getting is not really insurance — protection against uncertain risk. The consensus might be right, but its logic makes the insurance model increasingly inapposite.

A market-driven health-care system with government at the periphery would implement the lesson of Social Security: Government is good at sending checks to identifiable cohorts. It should send support to those who need it for purchasing premiums, then get out of the way.

But Obama, who once said he preferred a single-payer system, flinched from the really radical reform we need — a move away from broad reliance (about 180 million Americans) on employer-provided health insurance, which, in an expensive fiction, is not taxed as what it obviously is: compensation. Partly because of this system, health-care consumers are not shoppers and market signals are weak and few.

Suppose that instead of providing health insurance, employers gave employees money to buy groceries. What would grocery stores look like? There probably would be no prices. To see why, ask yourself: When your doctor wants to perform a particular test, do you ask, “How much will it cost?” If you do, you are eccentric. Besides, the doctor probably does not know.

Perhaps for policy reasons, and certainly for political reasons, it is impossible to unwind reliance on employer-provided insurance. But this fact, combined with the “preexisting conditions” consensus, means that henceforth the health-care debate will be about not whether there will be a thick fabric of government subsidies, mandates and regulations, but about which party will weave the fabric.

So, “repeal and replace” will be “tweak and move on.” And even if the tweaks constitute significant improvements, Obama will have been proved right when, last October, he compared the ACA to a “starter home.”

Read more from George F. Will’s archive or follow him on Facebook.


Read more here:
George F. Will: Whatever replaces Obamacare will look a lot like Obamacare

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Ironically, kiddies, we appear to have been doomed by the likes of DOOM.

I don't know about you, but I can't resist reading anything from Quoctrung Bui...


Why Some Men Don't Work: Video Games Have Gotten Really Good ...

By

If innovations in housework helped free women to enter the labor force in the 1960s and 1970s, could innovations in leisure — like League of Legends — be taking men out of the labor force today?

That’s the logic behind a new working paper released on Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper — by the economists Erik Hurst, Mark Aguiar, Mark Bils and Kerwin Charles — argues that video games help explain why younger men are working fewer hours.

That claim got a lot of attention last year when the University of Chicago published a graduation speech given by Mr. Hurst at its business school, where he discussed some of his preliminary findings. He says the paper is now ready to be read by the public.

By 2015, American men 31 to 55 were working about 163 fewer hours a year than that same age group did in 2000. Men 21 to 30 were working 203 fewer hours a year. One puzzle is why the working hours for young men fell so much more than those of their older counterparts. The gap between the two groups grew by about 40 hours a year, or a full workweek on average.

Other experts have pointed to a host of reasons — globalization, technological change, the shift to service work — that employers may not be hiring young men. Instead of looking at why employers don’t want young men, this group of economists considered a different question: Why don’t young men want to work?

Between 2004 and 2015, young men’s leisure time grew by 2.3 hours a week. A majority of that increase — 60 percent — was spent playing video games, according to government time use surveys. In contrast, young women’s leisure time grew by 1.4 hours a week. A negligible amount of that extra time was spent on video games. Likewise for older men and older women: Neither group reported having spent any meaningful extra free time playing video games.

The analysis excluded full-time students, and showed that the amount of time young men spent on household chores or child care was not going up.

In some ways, the increase in video game time for men makes sense: Median wages for men have been stagnant for decades. Over the same period, the quality of video games has grown significantly. In the 1990s, games like Mario Bros. were little more than eight-bit virtual toys. Today, you and your closest buddies can go on quests in games like World of Warcraft that can last for days.

Large, social video games did not become hugely popular until the release of World of Warcraft in late 2004. These games are very different from more rudimentary games like Pong and Space Invaders that older men grew up playing.

Experts say that the social aspect is particularly important.

“Games provide a sense of waking in the morning with one goal: I’m trying to improve this skill, teammates are counting on me, and my online community is relying on me,” said Jane McGonigal, a video game scholar and game designer. “There is a routine and daily progress that does a good job at replacing traditional work.”

Adam Alter, a professor of marketing and psychology at New York University who studies digital addiction, highlighted the fact that, unlike TV shows or concerts, today’s video games don’t end.

Most forms of entertainment have some form of a stopping cue — signals that remind you that a certain act or episode is ending, like a commercial or a timer. “Many video games don’t have them,” Mr. Alter said. “They’re built to be endless or have long-range goals that we don’t like to abandon.”

These characteristics make video games attractive to many people, and 41 percent of the American game-playing population are women, according to the video gaming advocacy group Entertainment Software Association. But this data showed no increase in video game time for women.

The analysis also did not count activities like using Facebook and Snapchat or browsing the web. Time spent on those activities did not grow as much as time spent on video games.

Some economists are skeptical of the conclusions, pointing out that the labor force participation rates for young men in other countries where video games are popular, like Japan, have not fallen in similar fashion.

But if we accept the authors’ claim that some segment of men is dropping out of the labor force to play games, is that necessarily a bad thing?

Young non-college-educated men — the group most likely to be home playing games — are more likely to say that they are happy than similar men a decade ago. Older non-college-educated men are the unhappier ones.

According to Mr. Hurst, young men may simply be shuffling around the years in their life that they want to work. “Why not have a little fun in your 20s and work in your 80s?” he said.

Of course, that assumes that young Americans who choose video games over work — a group for whom there is no historical data — will be able to find good jobs someday. And that they won’t be seduced by the kinds of games available in 2070.



What Are People Doing With Their Free Time?
The time spent playing video games has grown sharply only for young men. Below, weekly averages.

Younger Men (age 21-30)

Activity2004-20072012-2015Chg.
Total leisure61.0 hours63.4+2.3
Optional sleeping, eating and personal care24.324.9+0.6
Recreational computer time3.35.2+1.9
  Video games2.03.4+1.4
TV17.317.1-0.2
Socializing7.87.9+0.1
Other leisure activities8.38.2-0.1

Younger Women (age 21-30)

Activity2004-20072012-2015Chg.
Total leisure58.5 hours59.9+1.4
Optional sleeping, eating and personal care26.728.5+1.8
Recreational computer time1.52.2+0.6
  Video games0.80.8+0.0
TV14.914.5-0.5
Socializing9.08.4-0.7
Other leisure activities6.46.4+0.0

Older Men (age 31-55)

Activity2004-20072012-2015Chg.
Total leisure57.0 hours58.1+1.2
Optional sleeping, eating and personal care21.322.3+1.0
Recreational computer time2.12.2+0.1
  Video games0.90.8-0.1
TV17.718.7+1.0
Socializing7.37.1-0.2
Other leisure activities8.57.8-0.7

Older Women (age 31-55)

Activity2004-20072012-2015Chg.
Total leisure56.1 hours58.0+1.9
Optional sleeping, eating and personal care23.324.9+1.6
Recreational computer time1.62.1+0.5
  Video games0.60.7+0.1
TV14.415.0+0.7
Socializing9.08.7-0.3
Other leisure activities7.87.3-0.6


TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Why don't we spray Mrs. Gates' eggs with DDT?

Q: When is a documentary really a propaganda film pushing racist and envirofascist lies?

A: When the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pays for it.


Tune In Tonight 7/6 | | kenoshanews.com


The Bible asks, “Death, Where Is Thy Sting?” Now we know.

The documentary “Mosquito” (8 p.m., Discovery) just might give you nightmares. Narrated by Jeremy Renner, it ticks off gruesome statistics about the little stingers and their role in epidemics that have killed millions and infected billions. Some contend that half the people who have ever lived have died from a mosquito-borne illness.

Diseases including zika, malaria, West Nile virus, yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue have been around killing people for many years. In the 21st century, warmer temperatures and ubiquitous air travel have enabled these Africa-based diseases to move to Europe and North America, where hundreds of millions of people have little or no immunities to tropical viruses.


Made with the cooperation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and featuring interviews with Bill Gates, “Mosquito” is a curiously beautiful film, filled with gorgeous close-ups of blood-sucking parasites as well as their breeding grounds.

Graphics inform us of the unique properties that make mosquitos ideal for transmitting viruses. In the end, it all comes down to saliva. In addition to literally “sawing” their way into your skin and drinking your blood, mosquitos use their own spit as an anti-coagulant, and that’s what spreads disease, one bite at a time.

Size-wise, it’s difficult to think of anything less significant than mosquito spit. But the potential for mosquitos spreading pandemics has gotten the world health community’s attention. Bill Gates is a tad rattled by the prospect. Perhaps that’s a concern we all should share.

Billy Big Bucks also thinks brown and yellow people need to be sterilized so their kids won't move into his neighborhood.

I'd tell Rachel Carson and Margaret Sanger to call their respective offices, but Hell has no cell towers.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Keith Ubermensch still thinks someone cares what he says.

Somebody drop this old commie at the dog track, will you?


From the Chicago Tribune:

With latest gig, Keith Olbermann sticks to his plan


I don't think sucking ass is much of a plan, Keith.


TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Noted English whore Theresa May bathes in the blood of innocents.

Don't believe the lies of the fascist baby-eaters, kiddies. They don't give a damn about anyone's "quality of life" (As if politicians and bureaucrats are qualified to judge!), let alone someone who can't pay taxes or vote Fascist. This is about money and power.

Hell has been rejoicing all week.


Prime minister declines to intervene despite plea ... - Personal Liberty


Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday declined to intervene in the case of a sick British 10-month-old whose parents were legally blocked from taking him to a treatment trial in the United States.


“It’s an unimaginable position for anybody to be in,” May told Parliament when asked about Charlie Gard, widely known as Baby Charlie, who suffers from a rare condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.


NOBODY HAS TO IMAGINE IT, YOU IGNORANT CUNT! YOU ARE MURDERING A LITTLE KID NAMED CHARLIE!


May said that any parent would “want to do everything possible” for their child, but she declined to support a plea from parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates to allow the family to travel to the U.S.
“But I also know that no doctor ever wants to be placed in the terrible position where they have to make such heartbreaking decisions,” she said.

Specialists at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital decided that a therapy proposed by a U.S. doctor for the infant was experimental and would not help, and that life support for the child should be stopped.

Josef Mengele was a specialist.

British and European courts had upheld lower court judgments ruling that the infant’s life support should be ended so that he could die with dignity.

“I’m confident that Great Ormond Street Hospital have and always will consider any offers or new information that has come forward with consideration of the well-being of a desperately ill child,” May said.

“Disgraceful!” Gard and Yates said on Twitter in reaction to May’s statement.

The couple plan to join a protest on Thursday at Downing Street, the British prime minister’s residence in London.

They had urged supporters on Tuesday to ask May to “step in and save Charlie Gard.”

On Monday, President Donald Trump offered to help the family, following an earlier call from Pope Francis, who said he hoped the parents’ “desire to accompany and care for their own child until the end will be respected.”

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said he offered to treat the infant at the Vatican-run Bambino Gesu hospital in a phone call with his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, on Wednesday.

Have mercy on us, Baby Jesus!

Johnson expressed gratitude for the Italian offer but “explained that legal reasons prevented Britain from accepting it,” the Italian Foreign Ministry said.

You call that "law", you fuck?

The parents had said earlier that they expected doctors to end life support for their child last Friday.

But the hospital said it had agreed to new plans with Gard and Yates “for his care, and to give them more time together as a family.”

Charlie suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome. He is believed to be one of only 16 children worldwide with the disease, the BBC reported.

The world would be a much better place if Hitler had wiped out the English vermin before we crushed him.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Fyodor refuses to comment on this one because he knows better.



Also from Discover Magazine:

Cognitive Function and Menstruation, It's a Mythical Link


Menstruating women experience no changes in cognition, according to a new study from Swiss and German researchers.

It’s a pervasive stereotype: cognitive performance is different when women are on their periods. It’s an idea that has implications for women’s professional lives, extending even to the last presidential election. However, there isn’t reliable scientific research backing this ill-informed belief up, and what little exists is underwhelming and inconsistent. To explore this notion deeper, European researchers studied 88 women during their menstrual cycle, and followed up with 68 of them for a second cycle, to determine how their performance on a range of mental exercises was affected.


More Stereotype Than fact

Those who believe cognitive performance is affected by the menstrual cycle claim fluctuations in hormone levels at different times in the menstrual cycle favor certain types of cognition. As the theory goes, “male” forms of cognition, such as visuospatial awareness, were better when levels of testosterone were relatively high, and “female” cognitive skills, such as verbal communication, were better when estrogen and progesterone were elevated. This wasn’t really backed up by scientific literature, and while some studies may have found links, they often involved tiny sample sizes and the results were rarely reproducible.


A 2014 review indicated that if any changes were to be found they were small and unlikely to cause any relevant effects. While women’s emotional processing was found to be affected throughout the menstrual cycle, there was no indication that this affected their cognition in ways relevant to most mental tasks.  The review also stresses the need for more and better research into the topic given the inconsistent nature of previous work.


In this latest study, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, the researchers used a series of well established psychological tests to look at the participants’ visuospatial working memories, attention levels and their degree of cognitive bias, which measures the shortcuts our brains take to make sense of the world. They administered the tests at various points during the women’s cycles, and their findings line up with the broad consensus of the research so far: they could find no reliable differences in cognition in women between stages of menstruation.


Although some experienced changes in cognition over the course of their first cycle, these changes did not appear the second time around. This indicated to the researchers that the performance variations were due to other factors, such as the practice effect, as well as random variation among the participants. From their research, they concluded that hormone swings that accompany menstruation have no discernible effects on how women perform cognitively, at least for the tasks they looked at.


Their study does come with some cautionary notes, most of them raised by the researchers themselves. While their study involved significantly more women than similar studies, the sample size was still somewhat small. A better design would include well over 100 women, and would run for more than just two cycles to better rule out randomness. In addition, while the cognitive tasks the researchers used are important elements of mental performance, they do not provide a full picture of cognition. They suggest that future research include tests of more and varied mental skills to examine if fluctuations in hormones have any effects outside of the three they looked at.


TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Do you think the babyeaters will stop murdering kids if we can prove they are jerking off in the womb?

Wow. Scientists must get bored (or horny) quite often.

From Discover Magazine:

Fetal Onanism: A Surprising Scientific Debate




The medical journal Prenatal Diagnosis recently played host to a vigorous debate over whether a male fetus was spotted engaging in masturbation on ultrasound.

This poor kid is caught up in the porn industry at only 32 weeks of age!


prenatal_diagnosis


The alleged case of antenatal autoeroticism was reported by Spanish gynecologists Vanesa Rodríguez Fernández and Carlos López Ramón y Cajal in September last year. Their paper was called In utero gratification behaviour in male fetus. Here’s the ultrasonic evidence of the act:

fernandez_ramon_y_cajal

Rodríguez Fernández and López Ramón y Cajal wrote that “This is a very clear sexual behavior ‘in utero’ in the 32nd week of gestation”, speculating that the fetus may have been comforting himself by the behaviour.

However, not everyone was convinced by these claims. In March 2017, Prenatal Diagnosis published a rather scathing ‘Comment’ on Rodríguez Fernández and López Ramón y Cajal’s paper. The author of the critique was Israeli ultrasound expert Israel Meizner, and he pulled no punches:


Looking at Figure 1 presented in the letter, one would have to conclude that the authors have made one huge error in the interpretation of the pictures presented. Picture no. 1 in Figure 1 represents a grasped normal hand with five fingers. What the authors mark as foreskin is the normal index finger.

In picture no. 2 in Figure 1, one can see the flexed hand with five fingers. What the authors mark as meatus is the flexed index finger, a bit drawn backwards.

The normal penis and scrotum are clearly visible in this picture, appearing medially to the clenched hand. I have indicated real penile tip and scrotum on a photocopy of picture 2, enclosed herewith.


Meizner included a (rather grainy) figure with what he says is the “Real Penis” helpfully labelled in yellow – and it’s not in the fetus’s hand:

meizner

López Ramón y Cajal and Rodríguez Fernández didn’t take this criticism of their ultrasound interpretation skills lying down, however. In their Response to Meizner’s criticism, they indignently deny having made any anatomical errors:
We do not agree with your analysis; the image is a snapshot of an exploration that was performed over a period of 30 min. Typically, I work using two ultrasound machines and seven transducers (three-dimensional mechanical and electronic transducers).
The behavior reported in our study was observed and confirmed by several doctors over a period of time… I would be happy for you to visit my hospital and ultrasound lab to witness this.
According to López Ramón y Cajal and Rodríguez Fernández, it was in fact Meizner who made an anatomical blooper. What Meizner called the “Real Penis” was actually the umbilical cord, they say. They also point out that it was Meizner himself who published the first ever report on pre-natal self-pleasure, in 1987.

So who is right in this dispute? I’m not sure, but what does seem certain is that the fetal masturbation controversy ranks among such great scientific debates of the past as Huxley-Wilberforce, Bohr-Einstein, and Gould-Dawkins.

It’s also fair to say that life is never dull for 32-week old fetuses these days. If researchers aren’t peeping at their private moments, they’re shining lasers at them.

I guess the second label should be In vitro, no one can hear you scream - in ecstasy.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

Now we know where little ESTABLISHFUCKS come from.

Some produced an orange mutation to help them hide in the piles of gore they created.

TOTAL MISCEGENATION!

BTW, My neighbors think the Earth is 6,000 years old.


Interbreeding With Neanderthals | DiscoverMagazine.com


David Reich, a geneticist at the Harvard Medical School, has redrawn our species’ family tree. And today, in his office overlooking Avenue Louis Pasteur in Boston, he picks up a blue marker, walks up to a blank white wall, and shows the result to me. He starts with a pair of lines—one for humans and one for Neanderthals—that split off from a common ancestor no more than 700,000 years ago. The human branch divides into lineages of Africans, Asians, and Europeans, and then into twigs for smaller groups like the people of New Guinea or the residents of the remote Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. Reich also creates a branch off the Neanderthal line for the Denisovans, a paleolithic lineage geneticists discovered only a few years ago.

All well and good. This is the sort of picture you’d expect if we and our humanlike relatives diverged neatly through evolution. It looks a lot like the tree of life that Darwin included in The Origin of Species. But then Reich violates his tree. 

Instead of making new branches, he starts linking branches together. He inscribes a line that links the Neanderthal lineage to the Europeans and Asians. He joins the Denisovan line and the one leading to the people of New Guinea. He crisscrosses the tree again and again, joining the branches into a thicket of grafts.

Reich steps back and looks over his creation. He has a high forehead, a peregrine profile, and a very soft voice. “So,” he says quietly, “it’s a little bit complicated.”

That’s putting it mildly. Over the past 15 years, Reich has developed a toolbox of sophisticated statistical methods to extract history out of our DNA. And with those methods he has revealed scandalous liaisons dating back tens of thousands of years. 

Some 200,000 years ago, our ancestors evolved in East Africa. They spread throughout the rest of the continent and then moved out into Asia and Europe. As they journeyed along coastlines and over mountains, they encountered Neanderthals and other human relatives. And at least once in a while, they had sex.

Granny gettin' her groove on! (Sorry.)

We don’t know the prurient details of those encounters, although it is possible that someday Reich and other scientists will be able to fill in a few of them. But the work Reich has done already leaves no doubt that interbreeding was a major feature of human evolution. Billions of people carry sizable chunks of DNA from Neanderthals and other archaic human relatives. Some of those genes may play important roles in our health today.

“We’ve been mixing quite often with distant relatives in our history,” Reich says. In fact, he expects much more evidence of interbreeding to surface. There may be other, undiscovered humanlike beings lurking in our genomes. 

Reich’s wall, in other words, is about to get a lot messier.

New Revelations From DNA

When Reich entered college, in 1992, most of what scientists knew about human evolution came from fossils. The emerging consensus was that Homo sapiens evolved only in Africa. Humans then migrated to the other continents, where they lived for a time alongside humanlike relatives known as hominins. 

Paleoanthropologists who supported this “out-of-Africa” model argued that Neanderthals, although they ranged over much of Europe, did not give rise to today’s Europeans. Instead, they evolved separately from an ancient hominin and then, about 30,000 years ago, disappeared. Today’s Europeans are not latter-day Neanderthals but African immigrants.

A new way to dig up human history emerged and bolstered this perspective. Geneticists learned how to sequence small fragments of DNA and compare the versions of those fragments from different individuals. 

In the mid-1980s, the late geneticist Allan Wilson and molecular geneticist Rebecca Cann gathered samples of genes from people belonging to a wide range of ethnic groups. They zeroed in on the DNA found in sausage-shaped structures in the cell, known as mitochondria. 

Mitochondrial DNA is unusual in that it is passed down virtually unchanged from mothers to their children. When a woman’s mitochondrial DNA mutates, all of her children will inherit the change, creating a genetic marker in her descendants. 

The results of the new genetic studies strongly supported the out-of-Africa model. Cann and Wilson took advantage of the fact that mitochondrial DNA mutates at a relatively steady rate over the centuries. By tallying up the mutations in the mitochondrial DNA in various human populations, therefore, they could estimate how long they had been diverging from each other. They found that all the different mitochondrial DNA in living humans descended from a common ancestor who lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago, a woman who was nicknamed “mitochondrial Eve.” 

As the generations pass, the signs of interbreeding get even fainter.

“I was very much a part of that tradition,” says Reich, who arrived at the University of Oxford to earn his Ph.D. in genetics several years after Cann and Wilson published their results. Reich began learning how to analyze human DNA to learn more about how humans emerged from Africa. The research was interesting, but he wasn’t sure yet that he wanted to be a scientist. 

In the summer of 1997, he took a break from the lab bench to try his hand at journalism, writing a short article for The Economist about the findings of Svante Pääbo, a geneticist in Leipzig, Germany, at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Pääbo’s team had just extracted DNA from a 40,000-year-old Neanderthal fossil. 

“That was the only story I ever wrote,” Reich says. He chose a good subject. It was one of the most important achievements in the study of human evolution. 

The researchers had ground up a peppercorn-size chip of bone from a Neanderthal humerus. They doused it in chemicals that drew away all the molecules except any DNA it might hold. It did hold a lot of DNA, and most of that genetic material belonged to the bacteria that had inhabited its pores. After setting aside the microbial DNA, the Max Planck researchers were left with 379 base pairs of mitochondrial Neanderthal DNA. 

“I thought it was totally the most amazing stuff in the world,” Reich says. 

Pääbo and his colleagues compared the Neanderthal DNA to the same stretch of DNA from human mitochondria, as well as to equivalent chimpanzee DNA. The Neanderthal DNA was more similar to human than to chimp. But it was still quite different from the gene fragments of Asian, African, and European humans, which were all very similar to one another. 

This result seemed to confirm the out-of-Africa model. If Neanderthals were the ancestors of living humans, then you’d expect their mitochondrial DNA to be more like that of Europeans.
As Reich wrote in his article, Pääbo’s study suggested that no Neanderthal DNA was present in living humans.

But Pääbo was examining just a minuscule portion of the Neanderthal genome. Reich would later help Pääbo study its entirety, and the full story would turn out to be far more complicated. “I guess not only Svante turned out to be wrong, but I did, too,” Reich reflects.

Detecting Ancient Relations

After his try at writing, Reich decided that he preferred science after all and went back to the bench. And it was then that his research made a decisive shift. At the time, most geneticists were looking for ways to reconstruct the history of distinct populations. They wanted to trace the expansion of Celts into Great Britain, for example, or track Native Americans back to their closest relatives in Siberia. 

But Reich was curious about what happened when these groups came into contact with each other. Even though they would probably remain mostly separate, some individuals might interbreed. Reich wondered if he could look at the genomes of living humans and find evidence of those ancient liaisons. 

Detecting these signs is not easy. Imagine that two people from very distant parts of the world—a woman from Spain, say, and a man from Polynesia—get married and have a girl. She is born with 23 pairs of chromosomes: one set from her mother and one from her father. Her mother’s chromosomes are loaded with genetic markers that pinpoint her Spanish heritage. Likewise, her father’s DNA is unmistakably Polynesian. But as the girl’s own eggs develop, her DNA gets mixed up. 

In the cells that give rise to an egg, a Spanish chromosome will pair up with its Polynesian counterpart. Segments of the chromosomes switch places. Each egg ends up with a new, hybrid chromosome. Now imagine that the girl grows up and marries a Spanish man. The DNA of her children will be only one quarter Polynesian, and the Polynesian DNA will be chopped up into even smaller segments. As the generations pass, the signs of interbreeding get even fainter.

Despite the challenge, Reich thought that detecting interbreeding could be important. It could expose some of humanity’s hidden history, or even shed light on why people are susceptible to certain diseases. When Reich arrived at Harvard Medical School, he began a study on prostate cancer that proved the value of this type of analysis by revealing the genes that make certain men more likely to develop such cancers. “Prostate cancer occurs 1.5 to 2 times more often in African American men than in European men,” Reich says. “We were able to find the reason why.” 

To do so, Reich had to reconstruct the genetic history of African Americans, who came to the United States as slaves beginning in the 17th century. White owners sometimes had sex with their slaves and fathered children, thereby introducing European genes into the African American population. Freed slaves also had children with Native Americans and Latinos. As a result, African Americans today may have up to 80 percent European DNA. 

Ummm...Is anyone going to tell Daman Wayans, Jr.? (See What do rich, privileged black dumbasses think is funny? )

Was it possible that Europeans and Asians had a little Neanderthal DNA after all?

Reich and his colleagues inspected the DNA of 1,597 African American men with prostate cancer. They surveyed around 1,300 short segments scattered through the men’s genomes and compared them with the same locations in the genomes of men from Europe, Asia, and Africa. They were able to determine which continent each segment in each African American man’s genome had come from.

Reich and his colleagues found seven genetic risk factors, which together constituted a hot spot of cancer risk. African American men who had the European version of all seven of the markers were no more likely to get prostate cancer than Europeans were; the African versions, though, were associated with elevated risk. The seven sites appear to control a gene involved in cell division. Mutations to those sites lead to cells’ multiplying too quickly. 

Interbreeding in the United States took place over just the past few centuries. For his next project, Reich took on a much bigger challenge: the entire ethnic history of India. Today 1.21 billion people live in India. Their cultural variety is staggering: The country is home to 2,000 ethnic groups, and every Indian banknote has to have its value printed in 15 languages.

Reich wanted to see if the DNA of Indians contained clues about their origins as a people. Did they all descend from the same founding population, or could he tease apart DNA passed down from different ancestral groups?

He collaborated with scientists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad to analyze the DNA of 132 Indians. Their subjects represented 25 ethnic groups, ranging from the Kashmiri Pandit, who live near the base of the Himalayas, to the Kurumba, who inhabit the southern tip of India. 

In each person’s DNA, the scientists surveyed 560,000 sites, comparing each site in each Indian. The researchers also compared the data with that of groups of people outside India, including Europeans and Africans.

Reich and his colleagues programmed a computer to carry out a thorough analysis of these tens of millions of data points. The computer then created a range of possible genealogical trees and measured how well each tree could explain the genetic variations found across India. In 2009 the scientists reported that Indians can trace much of their DNA to just two ancestral populations. 

“It’s a mixture between populations that are as different from each other as East Asians are from Europeans,” Reich says.

One population came from the same stock as the people of the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. They arrived on the Indian subcontinent perhaps 40,000 years ago, and their descendants made up most of the population of India until maybe a few thousand years ago. 

Then a second group, closely related to the ancestors of Europeans, appeared on the subcontinent. When the two groups made contact, they began to intermarry, mixing their genes together. In some ethnic groups, their DNA is now almost entirely blended. But in the far north and south of the subcontinent, the genes have mixed far less.

This discovery impressed Reich with the importance of interbreeding in human history. “You might think we’re living in special times now,” he says. “But we’ve been mixing quite often with distant relatives in our history.” And the statistical methods that Reich and his colleagues designed to probe the history of India proved crucial for his project deciphering the far earlier relationship of humans and Neanderthals. 

Ever since Reich wrote his article about Neanderthal DNA back in 1997, Pääbo had been pushing to get more of their genes. By 2010 he and his colleagues had created a rough draft of the entire Neanderthal genome, comprising over 60 percent of its more than 3 billion base pairs. 

Pääbo could now return to the question of how Neanderthals and humans were related, with thousands of times more data. But in order to make sense of the huge amount of DNA he had, he needed to work with people who were experts on how the relationships between populations can be gleaned from DNA—people like Reich. 

“For our community it was always the great question, what the history of Neanderthal and modern human interactions was,” Reich says. “And the data Pääbo was gathering was a great way to get into it.”

The Neaderthal Within Us

Reich and his colleagues began analyzing Pääbo’s Neanderthal genome in 2007. They worked their way through the DNA in much the same way they had looked at the genes of Indians. They compared each site in the Neanderthal genome to the corresponding site in the genomes of humans, as well as the genome of a chimpanzee. Once more, they tried to work out the most likely evolutionary history that would explain the evidence. 

“We were assuming Neanderthals and humans had not mixed,” Reich says. After all, that’s what Pääbo had initially found in 1997, looking at a tiny snip of mitochondrial DNA. And when he was able to look at larger pieces of mitochondrial DNA, he got the same result. 

Most of the Neanderthal genes Reich and his colleagues looked at again supported Pääbo’s earlier research. In other words, all the human versions resembled each other more than any of them resembled the Neanderthal version. But then their computers began to spit out some strange results. 

Chunks of Neanderthal DNA turned out to be more similar to the corresponding chunks of Europeans and Asians than they were to African DNA. On the other hand, in no case did Africans and Neanderthals share similar versions of a gene, to the exclusion of other humans. Was it possible that Europeans and Asians had a little Neanderthal DNA after all?

“We were suspicious of the result,” Reich says. “We found signals of mixture and then worked very hard to make them go away.”

He tried for a year, to no avail. Finally, Reich and his colleagues had no choice but to conclude that Neanderthals had mated with humans. They estimated that the DNA of living Asians and Europeans was (on average) 2.5 percent Neanderthal. They had to reject a pure version of the out-of-Africa model. Instead, their model was closer to out-of-Africa-and-get-to-know-some-Neanderthals-very-well.

That explains a lot.

The patterns Reich and his colleagues identified can help narrow down when and where the interbreeding took place. Since Africans do not carry Neanderthal DNA, it would appear Neanderthals bred only with the ancestors of Europeans and Asians. One possibility is that when humans emerged out of Africa some 50,000 or more years ago, they encountered Neanderthals in the Near East. 

Once humans and Neanderthals mated, the humans continued to expand into Europe and Asia, taking Neanderthal genes with them. Another possibility is that the interbreeding came later. Neanderthals lived across a vast range, from Spain to Russia. As humans came into contact with Neanderthals, they might have mated in several places. 

The DNA of living Asians and Europeans was (on average) 2.5 percent Neanderthal.

Humans and Neanderthals did not merge into a single people, however; the 2.5 percent of Neanderthal DNA found in Asians and Europeans is a very small fraction. Mathias Currat and Laurent Excoffier, two Swiss geneticists, studied how much interbreeding would be necessary to end up with so little Neanderthal DNA in humans today. All it would take, they concluded, would be for a Neanderthal and a human to create a child once every 30 years. 

“It’s not surprising to me,” Reich says of that finding. “Humans don’t mix easily across group boundaries. People tend to mix with people who look like them, who speak their language.”

Beyond these rough outlines, the story quickly gets foggy. Clearly the hybrid children from these interbreedings had to have been accepted into human cultures. But we can’t say whether these couplings happened as rapes during violent battles between humans and Neanderthals or when individual Neanderthals were welcomed into human society. 

Reich hopes to find more clues to bring the story into better focus. One question he wants to address is how genes flowed from Neanderthals into humans. Were human males mating with Neanderthal females, or vice versa?

“There is actually a real chance of studying the directionality of gene flow,” Reich says. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y. If Neanderthal females mated with male humans, he notes, they would provide an X chromosome to all of their children. 

If Neanderthal males were involved, they would be able to provide an X to their daughters but none to their sons. If Reich were to find an unusually low amount of Neanderthal DNA on the X chromosome compared with the other chromosomes, it might be a clue that Neanderthal males impregnated human females. A high ratio would point the other way, to Neanderthal great-great-grandmothers. “We are looking hard at this,” he says.

Other Distant Relatives

One evening in 2010, Reich was having dinner with Pääbo and some colleagues in a Leipzig beer garden. They were finishing up their work on the Neanderthal genome. Now Pääbo had more news for Reich. He believed he had found DNA in another extinct hominin. 

Pääbo had been collaborating with Russian paleoanthropologists who were excavating fossils in a cave in Siberia called Denisova. The cavern was loaded with petrified remains that had been laid down over thousands of years. Some appeared to be Neanderthal. Some seemed human. 

The Russians shipped bone samples to Germany, where Pääbo’s postdoc, Johannes Krause, began grinding them to search for DNA. Most held nothing but bacterial genes. But then Krause looked at the tip of a pinkie bone that belonged to a girl who died more than 50,000 years ago, and everything changed. 

The specimen was packed with DNA. When Krause sequenced a small sample, he could immediately see it was not quite human and not quite Neanderthal. It belonged to some other hominin unknown to science. Pääbo and his colleagues dubbed the long-gone girl the Denisovan.

Reich immediately jumped into the project. He and his colleagues applied the same methods to the new genome as they had to Neanderthal DNA. Overall, the Denisovan genes were closest to the Neanderthals, but the genome had many mutations not found in either humans or Neanderthals. Denisovan ancestors apparently had diverged from the ancestors of Neanderthals somewhat more recently than the split between Neanderthals and modern human beings. 

It is possible that their common ancestor emigrated from Africa many hundreds of thousands of years ago, leaving our own ancestors behind on that continent. The ancestors of Neanderthals headed north and as far west as Europe. The Denisovans’ ancestors, meanwhile, headed east and survived long enough to at least leave that pinkie bone in the Siberian cave. 

The Denisovan girl’s genes give us a few clues to what she might have looked like. She had gene variants that would have given her dark skin, brown eyes, and brown hair, for example. At some point after 50,000 years ago, the Denisovans vanished, just like their Neanderthal cousins.

Knowing that Neanderthals and humans had interbred, Reich and his colleagues looked carefully for Denisovan DNA in the genomes of living humans. They found it in genomes from two populations, one from New Guinea and another from the nearby island of Bougainville. As much as 5 percent of their DNA came from the vanished Denisovans. 

This result was dramatically different from the findings in their Neanderthal study. It prompted Reich and his colleagues to make a much broader survey of human DNA. They could not find a trace of Denisovan DNA in Africans. Nor could they find it in Europeans, nor in mainland Asians. 

But they did find vestiges in the genomes of Australian Aborigines. In the Philippines they also found it in people called Mamanwa. These short, dark-skinned tribespeople have long intrigued anthropologists, since they seem so unlike most residents of the western Pacific.

“It was so striking that we thought it must be a mistake at first. But it’s a really distinct, consistent, overwhelming pattern. The only way to explain this is by gene exchange,” Reich says. “The Denisovan group probably was spread out over thousands and thousands of miles,” extending from the tundra of Siberia in the north all the way down to the steamy jungles of southeast Asia—a bigger range than Neanderthals’.

Ancient DNA, Modern Health

By the time the Neanderthals and Denisovans encountered modern humans, their genes had been evolving separately for hundreds of thousands of years. Yet it’s possible their DNA is still influencing the health of billions of people today. It’s possible that some of their genes caused harm when they were combined with human DNA, raising the risk of certain diseases or reducing a person’s fertility. 

On the other hand, some of the foreign DNA may have benefited us. In August 2011, Peter Parham of Stanford University and his colleagues found that the Neanderthal and Denisovan versions of some immune system genes are now remarkably widespread. They can be found in Europe, Asia, and even the Pacific islands. Their prevalence suggests that they may have provided some disease-fighting advantage.

At some point after 50,000 years ago, the Denisovans vanished, just like their Neanderthal cousins.

Reich is not ready to take a firm stand on how our Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA is affecting our health. The draft genomes of Neanderthals and Denisovans still have too many gaps and errors to allow for that sort of certainty. But he is open to the possibility that some of their genes were favored by natural selection in humans. “These were people coming out of Africa, and they had to cope with environments to which Neanderthals and Denisovans were already adapted.” 

Fortunately, Reich says, we can do more than just speculate about why a particular piece of Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA is still in our genomes. “You could associate it to people’s traits,” he says. Are people with a particular chunk of Neanderthal DNA faster runners than people without it? Are people with a particular chunk of Denisovan DNA better at logic puzzles? “It’s an experiment you can actually do.”

For Reich, the revelations from the Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes are probably just the beginning of a new understanding of our evolution. He would not be surprised if the genome of yet another ancient hominin comes to light in our DNA. “Why not? It doesn’t seem unlikely at this point,” he says.

One place where such evidence might turn up is in Africa. Michael Hammer, a geneticist at the University of Arizona, and his colleagues have found hints of a new hominin by looking at the DNA of Africans. They found snippets, about 2 percent of the genome in total, that seem out of place in human DNA. The best explanation is that this is the result of another archaic human who interbred with Africans about 35,000 years ago, Hammer argues.

To confirm such findings, scientists will need to find more ancient genomes, and Reich thinks they will. “I’m optimistic,” he says. “The world is full of things like Denisova Cave. There must be thousands of other bones out there.”

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

The Civil War continues apace...


Restored Flag Comes Home to Gettysburg 154 Years Later | NBC San Diego ...


A piece of history that was almost lost to time returned Sunday to the Gettysburg battlefield where it was carried into the chaos of the Wheatfield 154 years ago.

"We have completed the mission, the flag is yours," Sam Dunkle, commander of American Legion Post 516, told the crowd gathered in front of the Blair County Courthouse in Hollidaysburg, Pa., as the ceremony rededicating the battle flag carried by Company M of the 62nd Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War.

It was the second ceremony of the day, with the first taking place Sunday morning on the Gettysburg battlefield, at the Wheatfield, where the flag was carried by the men from Company M before its return to Hollidaysburg for the 4 p.m. rededication ceremony.

The flag's journey is remarkable having survived seeing action in practically every major battle of the Eastern theatre during the Civil War before Sgt. Jack Mufty returned it to Hollidaysburg.

The flag was bought by women in Hollidaysburg and given to Mufty in 1861 after President Abraham Lincoln's call for volunteers, and Mufty promised to return it to Hollidaysburg after the war. Scarred and tattered by bullet holes, the elements and, as legend has it, a Confederate shell, Mufty made good on his promise.

The major battles of the company were printed on the flag, and it was encased in glass. In 1905, it was presented to the borough by a fellow member of the 62nd, Michael Halloran, whose descendants, Timothy Breslin and Michael Halloran, were on hand Sunday to unveil the newly restored flag in its new case meant to protect it from further deterioration.

The flag will spend the summer on display in the Hollidaysburg Library before being moved to the high school, a cycle that will be repeated yearly, noted Hollidaysburg Area School District Superintendent Robert Gildea.

The borough turned the flag over to the school district after its 1905 dedication, and for years it was on display at the old high school, now the junior high. In 1963, when a visitor asked to see it, it was discovered in a custodial closet. Gildea said it had been removed from an office during renovations years before that, and the janitor was told to throw it away. Knowing its significance, the custodian put it in a closet for safekeeping.

The flag was then put on display again, but over time it once again found its way into a closet. In 2015, it was found again after 20 years, and an effort to have it restored by the school district, women's club, American Legion and other individuals and groups, was underway.

"Despite its age and years of neglect, the flag remained in remarkable condition," Gildea said Sunday.

Mayor John Stultz said the flag was "a priceless reminder of the sacrifices made by our forefathers," and Blair County Commissioner Bruce Erb pointed out it was fitting the ceremony took place in front of the courthouse, where the statue dedicated to the Blair County men who fought in the civil war stands.

Erb pointed out Dunkle worked tirelessly to have the flag rededicated on the battlefield of Gettysburg, a dream that was fulfilled Sunday.

Dunkle thanked everyone who donated to make the restoration a reality, adding, "This was truly a community effort, and as a community, we can truly be proud to say we are from Hollidaysburg."

Dunkle said local residents filled a bus to make the trip to Gettysburg on Sunday, with others driving on their own so that about 200 people were on hand for the battlefield ceremony, one that was part of the National Park Service official activities commemorating the anniversary of the famous battle.

TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

About Me

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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