Friday, September 21, 2007
The feature story in the Science Times section of Tuesday's NY Times is
based on the work of psychologist Jonathan Haidt, University of Virginia.
It reinforces recent brain scanning studies that found "mirror cells" in
the motor cortex (WN 17 Aug 07) . For
the full story of how evolution designed our universal sense of right and
wrong, see "Moral Minds" by Marc D. Hauser (Harper-Collins, 2006).
Gene mixing among populations slows things down, but in spite of a lot of
sleeping around, humans are evolving. A Monday NY Times story by Nicholas
Wade, reports that people in populations with high starch diets, produce
considerably more amylase, the enzyme that converts starch to simple
sugars. In fact, they have many extra copies of the amylase gene. Last
year, WN reported that University of Maryland biologist Sarah Tishkoff led
a team that found four distinct mutations that confer adult lactose
tolerance. Originating in herding populations, adult lactose tolerance is
spreading around the world.
For two years Congress has struggled to find a way to deal with illegal
aliens, but, according to the Paradigm Research Group, Congress is focused
on the wrong aliens. PRG held a press conference Monday in the National
Press Club to demand that presidential candidates support a "truth
amnesty" to end the "government-imposed truth embargo on the facts
confirming an extraterrestrial presence." According to a Wash Post story
by Dana Milbank, the candidates seem to be ducking the issue; the response
of a Hillary Clinton spokesman was, "Let me check with the mother ship."
PRG alleges the CIA entered into a top-secret liaison program with the
extraterrestrials "approximately 60 years ago," which would explain a
lot. There must have been leaks; polls report that half the public knows
space aliens are here. All we know is that aliens, and alien believers,
don't have a sense of humor.
The House defense-spending bill earmarks $2M for the nonprofit Samueli
Institute to research alternative medicine, yoga and “bioenergy”
(WN 15 Jul 05) . A Bloomberg.com story
by Brian Faler says the institute was started by Henry Samueli, Chairman
of Broadcom Corp., and his wife, Susan. The earmark was inserted by Peter
Visclosky (D-IN) who has received large campaign contributions from the
Samuelis. In Washington, you get what you pay for.