Saturday, August 30, 2008

Random Bytes

Leaking mushroom soup halts plane,
27 August 2008
(<- those are little skull mushrooms)

Israel to Display the Dead Sea Scrolls on the Internet
NY, August 26, 2008

Antarctica Yields Fragments of an Ancient Destroyed Planet
by Luke McKinney
The Daily Galaxy (blog)
August 29, 2008

New Evidence Debunks 'Stupid' Neanderthal Myth, Aug. 26, 2008

Friend or Foe? Crows Never Forget a Face, It Seems
August 25, 2008

First Prehistoric Pregnant Turtle And Nest Of Eggs Discovered In Southern Alberta, Aug. 27, 2008

How Long Does it Really Take to Evacuate a Plane?
By Dave Demerjia, August 27, 2008

Ten ancient observatories spied from space: Satellite offers a modern look at how mankind watched the stars long ago
by John Roach, August 20, 2008

How To Get an Unbelievable, Amazing, Fantastic, Thrilling Deal on New Glasses: Buy them online
by Farhad Manjoo
Aug. 27, 2008
(I haven't tried this so can't recommend it firsthand, but it sounds intriguing)

Cows Have Strange Sixth Sense
By Jeremy Hsu
LiveScience, 25 August 2008

Stephanie Tubbs Jones

This is a tribute to the Congresswoman on the day of her funeral. She was Stephen Colbert's first interview for his 435-part series "Better Know a District." It is a nice memory of her, and an example of why Colbert is so popular:

Farmer's Market

I ventured off to the Farmer's Market this morning. I forgot how pleasant it can be, and how many friends I'd see while there. Not to mention a learning experience -- I had NO IDEA there were so many varieties of tomato for example. So, after a few lessons at each stall I visited, I realized I'd purchased one of about every type offered. Gonna try a taste comparison for dinner - got Russian, Hawaiian pineapple, Tigerella, Green zebra, Cherokee purple, Brandywine, Kentucky Beefsteak.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Home Run!!

Hillary nailed it tonight. Exceptional speech, it is so refreshing to hear good oration again in a political setting. Well written, delivered well. This time I didn't switch over to Fox to see their interpretation, don't care. It was exactly what needed to be done - unified the party, pointed out the significant differences between Obama and McCain, and gave Bush his due (or earned lack thereof). Great to watch!

Colbert-ism of the Evening: The Democratic Convention kicked off tonight in Denver, raising the bar for its sister cities Sodom and Gomorrah.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Democratic Convention

New 'games' started tonight...and if the rest of the week is as good at tonight, it'll be fun to watch. Ted Kennedy's speech was touching, pretty amazing he could do it while undergoing chemo and radiation.

And Michelle Obama hit the ball out the park IMHO. After watching her and hearing the glowing praise of the commentators on MSNBC, I did something quite brave on my part I think...turned to Fox "News". With the good fortune to hit the beginning of Karl Rove's analysis. He didn't think she did particularly well -- all I could think was "same planet, different worlds."

I was sadly struck by the number of commentators on both channels that began their analysis by commenting on her dress, her hair, how her outfit blended with the background colors, etc. No double standard there tho', cuz I'm sure they'll likewise comment on how handsome Barack looks in his suit, whether the pattern of his tie works on the video monitor, that his hair looks well coiffed.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

2008 Olympics

I'm gonna miss the Olympics. I've watched more of these than past years, it's nice to have something that brings the country together. That's been missing for awhile. I enjoyed rooting for: the 'Thin Beast' & 'The Professor'; Dara Torres & Michael Phelps; Kobe & Lebron; May & Walsh; Serena & Venus; Nastia & Shawn; all the Domers. Although it was often on as 'background noise', I did catch snippets of many sports I've never watched before. And even with the 'enhanced' parts, the Opening Ceremony was pretty awesome.

That is not to say there were not negative aspects by any means - the 70+ year old women who were arrested for requesting protest permits; the bulldozing of poor neighborhoods to put in roads for the traffic; the exceptional level of pollution (the green slime story was particularly bothersome to watch); the murder of the Volleyball coach's father-in-law; the continuous commentary across numerous sports that gave the impression that if one didn't win a gold medal they had failed (that REALLy got old); the tapes of various teams pulling their eyes back at the corners as a joke (this was shown several times, apparently it is not seen as inappropriate in several cultures); inconsistent and at times inept judging/refereeing in various sports (boxing and women's gymnastics in particular); the utter lack of demonstrations shown (or allowed??); the relentless "America's Got Talent" commercials; Bush hobnobbing with athletes...

But in the end, it'll be Michael Phelps, the number of athletes over 35 winning medals, the story of the swimmer who lost her leg yet still came in 4th in open water swimming, the weight-lifting gold medalist who held up the picture of his recently deceased wife, the grace & athleticism of the participants, etc. that made these games worth watching.

And did I mention that male gymnasts are really cute?? ;-) Plus, the Manning brothers' commercials were great!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Random Bytes

With the start of the new semester three days hence, "Random Bytes" are back. Gotta stay one step ahead of the students ;-)

In the Sahara, Stone Age graves from greener days
By John Noble Wilford
International Herald
Aug 14, 2008

Death by Volcano
By Randy Alfred, Aug 21,2008

Dopamine fends off zzzzz’s
By Tina Hesman Saey,
August 19, 2008

Manes, Trains And Antlers Explained: How Showy Male Traits Evolved
ScienceDaily, Aug. 22, 2008

Better to be fat and fit than skinny and unfit
By Tara Parker-Pope
International Herald Tribune
Aug 20, 2008

Bisexual Cockroach Dads

By Susan Milius, Aug 22, 2008

Looking Squarely at Death, and Finding Clarity
August 18, 2008

Bigfoot hoaxers say it was just 'a big joke', August 21, 2008

Losing the Yeti in Forgotten Nation of Bhutan
By Tim Sullivan, 10 August 2008

Giant Party???

I agree with their cause, but 5,000 balloons??
What's that about?

Activist boats reach Gaza Strip,
23 August 2008

OH NO!!!!!!

I made a horrible discovery tonight!! I used a new program to organize my Skeleton Action Figures because it's getting kinda hard to remember which I've used, and I found out that despite my claim of one year/503 different images, I actually did repeat one!! I'm so very embarrassed!!

You probably realized it already but were too kind to say anything - I appreciate that :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

27 Years to Go

I found this website on Mike's blog -- it has a skull clock as a logo so how could I resist?? It's called Deathclock, where you can calculate how much time you have left. Apparently the previous predictive program that gave me another 46 years was a bit off -- according to this one, I'm slated to depart this mortal coil on August 30, 2035. I MIGHT have run out of skeleton action figures by then...

'Golden' Domers

Yay again to ND students. The women's soccer team got the gold today, two of their players are Domers. Along with fencing, that means at least 3 gold medals are coming back to campus this week. And two of 'em were won by Anthro majors!!

Yeah team(s)!!

Age Determination

Hmmm, well maybe they found that dental anthropologist I suggested. It was just announced that "new information" has been discovered that calls into question the age of the girl who won the gold on the uneven bars. They are also questioning the ages on two other Chinese women gymnasts. If they are found to be under age, they will be stripped of their medals.

The bad news tho -- this means I'm not 29 anymore...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Knot Easy

I spent a chunk of the day up at school getting some writing done, then ran some errands. Came home and decided to make a necklace that I"ve been thinking about for awhile. It requires using cord and a lot of knots (which are not so easy to do in very specific spots and of even size). I got more and more and more frustrated...then remembered that this is a HOBBY, ergo, I could walk away and go blog or something.

It also meant Wiley could jump in my lap -- he's been giving me the hairy eyeball for a few hours now ;-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Day

Had a very nice day -- got up kinda early to some great weather. Picked up my results from the biopsies, everything's negative. I thought I wasn't particularly worried because breast fibromas run in my family, but given how good I felt when I read the reports, apparently it was weighing on my mind a bit.

Did a bunch of work on papers that Jaime, Lesley and I are getting ready to submit, which tho' it doesn't sound exciting, felt good because they're close to done. Done is good.

Then I lined up painters for my house, which I'd been procrastinating about all summer. I'm pretty psyched about the new color - hope it looks as good in reality as it does in my head ;-) Since I was in Niles, I also headed to my favorite bead store (around here), and found some fun stuff. Might have to be creative this evening while I watch the BMX races.

On that note -- I saw the prelims last night - one guy dislocated his shoulder and damaged his hand badly in a crash, but got back on his bike and finished the race. Bodaciously gnarly, dude!

I've decided that I want to study Olympic athletes' bones from now on -- watching the stresses the male gymnasts put on their arms on the rings and uneven bars, the pounding the women's legs take on floor exercises - their joints must be a mess by the time they're 40! Talk about some fun paleopathology (minus the paleo part ;-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Theocracy Lite

Very interesting discussion today on the Dian Rehm Show about religion in the 2008 Presidential campaign. Worth a listen.

One guest pointed out that the candidates accepted this discussion of "theocracy lite", yet turned down forums on science, women's issues, and the Constitution. Sad statement.

Not So Shiny Medals

My Olympics Fever had a wet towel tossed on it tonight watching women's gymnastics. They've got 4 judges on the panel from countries that have never produced an Olympic gymnast, and boy did it show! The vaulting results were almost criminal.

And -- no tie scores in gymnastics??! It was really quite sad to watch the results for the uneven bars. Double medals are permitted in other sports, it seems such a shame that the same isn't true for the gymnasts.

It was pretty interesting to hear the commentators tonight talk about the disparities in scoring for the uneven bars, as well as the questionable rules about breaking a tie score. Yet I can't help but wonder if the real issue is that the gold medalist in that event should not have been competing at all. I hate to seem crass -- but if she is 16, I'm 29. Let's see a good set of dental x-rays -- I'd be surprised if her second molars have fully erupted. Where's a dental anthropologist when you need one??

Argh! They've stripped medals from women who show up XY in genetics tests in the past - clearly not understanding basic developmental biology - but they can't figure out a way to check on possibly forged passports?? I think some remedial biology classes might be in order for the IOC members...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympics Fever

Last week, following mammogram #2, I had 4 biopsies, and so used that as an excuse to stay home and watch far too much of the Olympics for a few days. Admittedly, the ice packs made me look like a bad Dolly Parton impersonator, so staying out of public was a wise idea ;-)

In my fit of Olympics fever, I learned a lot about some of the less popular sports. Observations -- I don't really get team handball at all; the Greco-Roman wrestlers in the lowest weight class are very odd looking (really, quite odd); the head gear for water polo looks like someone lost a bet; and, why don't the male beach volleyball players wear similarly skimpy outfits as the females?? Oh, and since when did McDonald's become health food?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad


Well this is a bummer. Apparently the Cluster Map in the sidebar "archives" itself once a year and starts over. I went to bed last night to the map on the left, woke up to the one on the right. I feel kinda robbed! I finally got Madagascar as a dot, and then poof, all gone!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tbilisi Update

Seems appropriate to start the blog's Year 2 with a Daily Show segment.

This is a quite funny segment by John Oliver about the Georgia/Russia conflict. He reports "from" Tblisi.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy Blog-i-versary... me! Yep, one year ago today, the first posting celebrating our trip to the Creation Museum launched the daily skeleton action figure parade. There have been 503 skeletons/skulls since, with no repeats. The figures (and their sources) can be found on this page.

In that time I've: visited South America and Antarctica; said 'goodbye' to the greatest Grandmother EVER; extolled the virtues of the Macintosh and Battlestar Galactica ad nauseum (some might say ;-); given the Republicans FAR less grief than they deserve; been amazed/disturbed by the posts that get the most hits (cat enemas and Bigfoot hunting); read too many trash novels and watched too many movies; said "happy retirement" to one colleague and "welcome" to several others; taught the best (NSF program) and worst (Forensic Anthro) classes of my career; joined Facebook and Netflix thus increasing my "coolness" level to simply "lame"; watched Notre Dame suffer through the worst football season on record; and had another kittie join the tribe.

It is admittedly getting a bit harder to find a new skeleton/skull for each post, but I hope to make it another year before I have to dip back into the pool of characters. The "Skeleton Action Figures" group has grown to 210 members, which does help out considerably, I have to admit.

Thanks to all those who have commented over the year!! Keeps it fun!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

ND at the Olympics

The first American gold medal at the Beijing Olympics went to a ND student, Mariel Zagunis for sabre fencing! There are a total of 9 ND students/alums in the Olympics this summer, in soccer, fencing, and track. They are: Kelley Hurley, Gerek Meinhardt,Mariel Zagunis, Thomas Chamney, Shannon Boxx, Candace Chapman, Kate Markgraf, Selim Nurudeen, and Melissa Tancredi (a former Anthro major!)

The ND webpage has several features on the Olympics - one highlighting the competitors, and two others highlighting ND faculty who work in China (one of em is Susan Blum in Anthro). Check it out at:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy News!

Sometimes, the news is good!!

125,000 Gorillas Found in Congo Forests
By Ben McConville
AOL, 8/5/2008

Trove of Endangered Gorillas Found in Africa
By Andrew C. Revkin, 8/5/08

Arugula-Eating, Fancy Berry Tea-Drinking Celebrity

This is a pretty good segment from the Daily Show discussing the "Obama as Elitist" ad campaign being run by the McCain camp. And about the press' tendency to question whether Obama can deliver on his campaign promises. Pretty funny...and yet telling, as usual.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Run For The Fallen

This was a pretty impressive piece on the Evening News. It's a program called "Run For the Fallen" where a group is running from the west to east coast, planting a flag every mile for a soldier who has died in Iraq. They had originally planned on a straight line across the country, but had to modify the path because there are more dead than miles the country is wide.

For more info:

Friday, August 1, 2008


Yesterday, I spent ~3 hours in the Women's Health Clinic for a mammogram recheck. While I waited between procedures I began to reflect on the etiology of the mammogram. Where did it come from? How long has it been with us??

I don't remember ever seeing one depicted on an Assyrian relief -- and what, with their penchant for skin flaying and impaling prisoners, I'm sure this would have been a welcome addition to their arsenal.

When at the Tower of London, there were indeed clear precursors to stirrups and the evil speculum, but I don't remember seeing any proto-mammography machines.

Maybe the Spanish Inquisition? Perhaps all Women's Health practitioners are actually secretly Black Friars. An Opus Dei hair-shirt type instrument? I'm gonna have to go back and read The DaVinci Code to check.

I bet if they have any females at Guantanamo, they've got one...I know I was about ready to divulge war secrets a couple of times.