Stamp of Approval
Posted by aogFriday, 23 October 2009 at 16:22 TrackBack Ping URL

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AVeryRoughRoadAhead Monday, 26 October 2009 at 03:48

Human Evolution: Are Humans Still Evolving? (on Time.com, via Yahoo!) By Eben Harrell – Sat Oct 24

One study, published in [the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences] in 2007 and led by John Hawks, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, found that some 1,800 human gene variations had become widespread in recent generations because of their modern-day evolutionary benefits. Among those genetic changes, discovered by examining more than 3 million DNA variants in 269 individuals: mutations that allow people to digest milk or resist malaria and others that govern brain development.

But not all evolutionary changes make inherent sense. Since the Industrial Revolution, modern humans have grown taller and stronger, so it’s easy to assume that evolution is making humans fitter. But according to anthropologist Peter McAllister, author of Manthropology: the Science of Inadequate Modern Man, the contemporary male has evolved, at least physically, into “the sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet.” Thanks to genetic differences, an average Neanderthal woman, McAllister notes, could have whupped Arnold Schwarzenegger at his muscular peak in an arm-wrestling match. And prehistoric Australian Aborigines, who typically built up great strength in their joints and muscles through childhood and adolescence, could have easily beat Usain Bolt in a 100-m dash.

I dunno if McAllister is correct, but it’s interesting to contemplate. On the other hand, hyper-muscularity or cheetah-like dashing ability didn’t save either the Neanderthals or Australian Aborigines in the long run.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Monday, 26 October 2009 at 06:44

Therefore, U.S. Congress & the Democratic Party, send not to know for whom the bell tolls…

Anti-incumbent wave pounds city halls By Alexander Burns, October 25, 2009, POLITICO.com

A series of upsets and close calls in big-city elections is producing the first group of politicians to fall victim to voters’ economic frustrations: America’s mayors. […]

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, a second-term incumbent and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, was defeated for re-election in an August primary by two candidates with thin political resumes. On October 6, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez fell short in his bid for a third consecutive term, putting the city’s top office in Republican hands for the first time in a quarter-century. […]

New York City’s Michael Bloomberg, [up for re-election next month], attracted just 52 percent of votes in a recent poll.1 […]

“People are lashing out, have less patience with the elected officials closest to them,” said Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, the longest-serving mayor in city history and a former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. […]

It’s not just mayors who should be spooked, warned [Tom Cochran, the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors]: “If I were a congressman I’d be looking at this baby right now, because they are going to hit reality when they go back home for Christmas.” […]

[Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels’s] campaign for a third term attracted just a quarter of the vote against two first-time candidates.

His defeat had little to do with partisan politics—both his rivals were Democrats. Seattle consultant Randy Bannecker suggested it emerged from the city’s restive mood.

“It is sort of this combination of an interest in progressiveness, in progressive issues, coupled with a yearn for an anti-government or an outsider figure,” Bannecker said. “You’d talk to people in various parts of the city, various constituencies; they couldn’t really articulate why they opposed [Nickels].”

Albuquerque’s Chavez also faltered in his bid for a third consecutive term. After repealing Albuquerque’s term limits law, the mayor drew a challenger from his own party who split the Democratic vote and allowed Republican Richard Berry to win with a 44 percent plurality.

“The thing that’s interesting about the Chavez administration is that there was no issue or scandal or anything that led to his defeat,” said Chavez campaign manager Mark Fleisher. […]

“The more uncomfortable the quality of life, the more difficult the economy, the more anxious people are about incumbents,” said [former Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith], a Republican.

This year, challengers have put incumbents on the defensive simply by framing their campaigns as referenda on the status quo. […]

If the city races of 2009 end up foreshadowing an anti-incumbent wave next year, it won’t be the first time: In 1993, New York and Los Angeles elected their first Republican mayors in decades a year before the GOP captured both houses of Congress.

“It was a similar environment,” recalled former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan, who was elected that year. “I was in a three-to-one Democratic city where a Republican shouldn’t have had a chance. But people had lost their confidence in government in L.A…”

1 May he lose, the power-hungry jerk. Giuliani has to abide by term limits, but you’re too good, irreplaceable?!?

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