Cheng Chui Ping came to the US like many others from the Fujian province in China. Through hard work and determination, she rose in the ranks of New York City's Chinatown business community. But, "Sister Ping" was not one to follow laws if it didn't suit her. Among the snakeheads who engaged in human trafficking, none were better than her. [more inside]
"Good, big ideas about evolution are rare." Simon Ings of the Independent reviews "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human" by Richard Wrangham. (via)
The first human settlements... before the bronze age, before the iron age and even probably before the stone age, didn’t happen because people liked each other’s company. "As the old saying goes, there's safety in numbers... and fortifications. "If you have any doubt about how wood, stone and later even steel walls helped shape human civilization, all you need to do is take a close look at most of our cities, especially the older ones."
An Artist's Guide to Human Types "If I needed to draw someone from [a] specific part of the world, what would I need to know about his or her physical characteristics?" The author, a well-traveled Lebanese artist, also has a graphic novel online.
Why is the penis shaped like that? [T]he human penis is actually an impressive “tool” in the truest sense of the word, one manufactured by nature over hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution. You may be surprised to discover just how highly specialized a tool it is. Furthermore, you’d be amazed at what its appearance can tell us about the nature of our sexuality.
Paula Loyd, a 36 year old anthropologist and US Army reservist, is the third social scientist to be killed within the last 8 months while working for the US Army's controversial Human Terrain System project in Afghanistan. [more inside]
J. Tithonus Pednaud herein presents for your edification and enlightenment a curious collection of human marvels. You may call them oddities, freaks or monstrosities—whatever you will—but I call them incredible, persevering, resourceful and marvelous human beings. I chronicle their inspirational stories of triumph over nature, fate and the judgment of man. [Previously seen here. See also.]
Don't like scooping cat litter? Toilet train your cat.
Sixty years ago on December 10, fifty eight nations created the UN Declaration of Human Rights. [more inside]
Cockatoos are much better dancers than macaws. Well that was my clear conclusion after watching the first two vid clips linked to why animals dance in this Guardian feature. And since this is from a serious researcher I don't think they are faked. For those with much more time, this site has an interesting podcast on the topic of music and the brain.
Get your learn on. 180+ ways of investigating the human brain = hours of fun for the whole family. Thanks to an innocuous question by a 5 year old, my entire evening is now being spent investigating and discussing the structure and workings of the human brain. This flash site lets you explore the workings of the brain according to 12 subject areas (each with subtopics which are not included in the "180" count), within each of which are 5 levels of organization from social to molecular, within each of which are three levels of explanation (beginner, intermediate, and advanced.) discovered via Wikipedia.
Fascinating 3D renderings of different processes inside of a human body. Yes, the style is quite similar to The Inner Life of The Cell, but this one is different. Dissolving of the pills was definitely entertaining. It would be great if a doctor could comment on the other processes that are displayed.
The Solar Bra really doesn't make sense if your undergarments are going to stay under. Adrienne So examines the kinetic angle. Or, maybe this is as simple as breathing.
Some of the most insane journeys in recent time include Harry Lee 'The Hawk' McGinnis' walk around the world, Helen Thayer's 4,000-mile trek across the Sahara, Andrew Thompson's speedwalk across the Appalachian Trail (2000 miles), and others. [more inside]
You know you want one. It's closer to being a reality than ever before. But how close exactly is that? Maybe closer than we think. [more inside]
William Finnegan reports on rescuing the victims of the global sex trade. You can also listen to Finnegan talking about the research for the article. (New Yorker)
Any admixture would have to be driven by male Neanderthals. Two years ago we discussed morphological evidence of nontrivial interbreeding. Since then Neanderthal DNA has been examined for genetic support for this model of human evolution, largely contradicting the belief in Neanderthal contribution to modern humanity. Indeed any contribution from the Neanderthal gene pool to the evolution of modern humans might be very rare and indeed it appears that the best candidate gene thus (MC1R) far likely was a result of convergent evolution. [more inside]
A Nation Apologizes. (Sydney Morning Herald.) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal children. Here the history told from an Aboriginal perspective in Archie Roach's great song "Took The Children Away." (Youtube) (song lyrics).
Human artist or ape artist? Six paintings, six chances to show your expertise or just guess correctly. (Previously) Hint inside. [more inside]
Bot flies are large, stout bodied, hairy flies that resemble bumblebees. But how they reproduce is what makes them interesting: 1) An egg-laden female botfly captures a night-flying female mosquito and glues her eggs on to it. 2) When the mosquito is released and bites a victim, the host's body heat triggers an egg to hatch. 3) It falls off and burrows in. Even more interesting is that sometimes, this happens on humans! [YouTube/NSFSqueamish] And on humans sometimes, this happens in the most inconvenient [pdf] of places.
How to draw a female in proportion. If you're a cartoonist. If you're a manga artist. If you're a traditional artist. Divine proportions (NSFW) Idealized Proportions (artistic nudity) Historic Proportions.
We all had one in the womb. For most of us, that's as far as it goes. Now and again, it hangs around until birth, when the surgeon's natural instinct is to hack it off - although sometimes things aren't quite what they seem. Not everyone has the surgery. In some cases, the vestigial tail remains surprisingly active(video), And unsurprisingly in these bodymod furrified days, some who don't have tails would like one, although getting there and learning to use one will not be without its problems.
The Map of Humanity [large .jpg] created by illustrator James Turner is an effort to describe the human condition in an incredibly detailed map containing thousands of names from history and fiction arranged in a theoretical geography that encompasses islands of Abandonment and Wisdom and regions of Abomination and Courage.
Lucy, one of the oldest and most complete fossilized hominid skeletons, is hitting the road. Although not without a little controversy. (And that's even before the creationists get wind of the tour!)
You are most welcome. sigh. Bill Gates must feel like several billion dollars.
Sheik Mohamed, ruler of Dubai, has pledged to donate $10 billion to set up an organization devoted to improving human development in the Middle East. Recognizing that the Middle East lags behind in areas of human development, particularly education, the visionary ruler of Dubai, and avid horse breeder, who has transformed the Persian Gulf port into the financial center for the Middle East and South Asia, has announced one of the largest charitable gifts in history to improve education and human development in the region.
"Our main argument is that Hiasl is a person and has basic legal rights,” said Eberhart Theuer, a lawyer leading the challenge on behalf of a Vienna animal rights group. “We mean the right to life, the right to not be tortured, the right to freedom under certain conditions,” Theuer said. “We’re not talking about the right to vote here.” Some primatologists support the legal action, while others aren't so sure. Brazilian courts have already granted a chimp the right to a petition of Habeas Corpus.
A CAPTCHA to weed out certain potential users of the internet.
Single....err....232bleLinkYouTubeFilter Set of videos made by a user to teach drawing of the human form from head to toe without reference to a model. Very raw and unpolished, but an incredible (and, incredibly, free) resource. Also in blog form.
While there have been many posts on Mefi of blogs written by those affected by the Iraq War, I have not seen this one posted. No matter your stance on the war, your opinion of American soldiers, or the amount of other Iraq war blogs you've read, all I ask is that you at least read these few entries. I've used too many words already, when the journal does more than enough to speak for itself. A Soldier's Thoughts. (via) [more inside]
Girl in Human Slingshot (google video). Looks like fun.
Sherry Turkle, who used to believe in the benefits of robot pets, has changed her tune and now "finds human-machine love unsettling (pdf)". Tyrell:"We began to recognize in them a strange obsession. After all, they are emotionally inexperienced, with only a few years in which to store up the experiences which you and I take for granted. If we gift them with a past, we create a cushion or a pillow for their emotions, and consequently, we can control them better." Was he referring to us or them?
Clean water is a right: "The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) published its annual report on human development. It denounces the world's complacent disregard for such unglamorous subjects as standpipes, latrines and the 1.8m children who die each year from diarrhoea because the authorities cannot keep their drinking water separate from their faeces. The study is both coldly analytical and angry..."
Study turns human genetics on its head. "The genome is like an accordion that can stretch or shrink . . . so you have no idea what's normal. We have to think of genetics in an entirely different way. We're actually more like a patchwork of genetic code than bar codes that line up evenly. Everything we've been taught is different now."
Human Rights Watch, Watched "Who will guard the guardians?" asked Roman satirist Juvenal. Now we must ask, who is watching Human Rights Watch, one of the world's best-financed and most influential human rights organizations? It turns out that they cook the books about facts, cheat on interviews, and put out pre-determined conclusions that are driven more by their ideology than by evidence. These are serious accusations, and they are demonstrably true.
Panel Suggests Using Inmates in Drug Trials PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 7 An influential federal panel of medical advisers has recommended that the government loosen regulations that severely limit the testing of pharmaceuticals on prison inmates, a practice that was all but stopped three decades ago after revelations of abuse. Cruel and unusual punishment?
Human Space Invaders
4 hours of shooting
= 3 minutes of video [16 MB QT]
[Site in French, video without words]
4 hours of shooting
= 3 minutes of video [16 MB QT]
[Site in French, video without words]
Sad -- such a sweet-looking kid, the smile on the face of a future suicide. Sad -- "If she only knew then how things would turn out…" Sad -- "I chose to kill her." Sad -- "You could see her personality break through the coma." Life is dukkha, said the Buddha -- a Pali term that means something like "suffering" or "the incapability of satisfaction." (Or as Mick Jagger put it, "I can't get no...") Here's the tangible evidence.