More Early Man Troubles (Again)

first_imgBones have a way of whacking the stories made up about them.Several problems have come up in the news about human evolution.Homo naledi: John Hawks is frustrated that nobody has settled on a date for this South African cave dweller. The latest guess is 912,000 years, but that’s too young for many, given its supposedly primitive state. If it really lived that late, according to Charles Q. Choi on Live Science, paleoanthropologists will have to change their picture of human evolution. It would mean early Africa was a melting pot of species that lived around the same time, not one species evolving to replace another on the advance to modernity. This is not an exact science, mind you:Collard said he expected this new age estimate would draw a lot of skepticism from other scientists. “Their skepticism will be entirely understandable,” he said. “Even now, I remain a bit skeptical about it. I think it’s well-enough supported to put it out there, but I’m not about to bet my house on it. That said, I think it’s worth the field pondering the implications for our understanding of human evolution if the age estimate is about right and H. naledi is around a million years old.”Homo floresiensis: Evidence that modern humans were using fire on the same island as the famous “hobbit” humans only 41,000 years ago tosses new confusion into the picture in Indonesia. The “rather unexpected” finding, according to PhysOrg, might help explain why the hobbits disappeared, assuming the moderns drove them to extinction. But why modern, physically and mentally capable people would limit themselves to a life of building campfires from 41,000 years ago to 24,000 years ago without making cities and farms remains a conundrum (see 6/10/16). 17,000 years of that kind of simple life is longer than all recorded human history from villages to the space age.Homo sapiens in Borneo: A specimen found in a Borneo cave is “full of surprises,” PhysOrg writes. Why? “A new study of the 37,000-year old remains of the ‘Deep Skull’ – the oldest modern human discovered in island South-East Asia – has revealed this ancient person was not related to Indigenous Australians, as had been originally thought,” the article says. That’s surprise one. “The Deep Skull was also likely to have been an older woman, rather than a teenage boy.” That’s surprise two. In fact, the bones look like the people of Borneo today. So other than getting the gender, age, and relations wrong, is everything else hunky-dory? “Our analysis overturns long-held views about the early history of this region.”On The Conversation, Robert Foley from Cambridge asserts that “we have been looking at human evolution the wrong way.” Who’s we, paleface? you might be asking, looking at the photo of a museum ape-man at the beginning of his piece.Understanding exactly how and why humans evolved is clearly one of the most important goals in science. But despite a significant amount of research to date, these questions have remained a bit of a mystery. Of course, there is no shortage of theories – it has even been suggested that humans are just visiting aliens. However, most of the credible models tend to take something that is unique to humans – such as language – and show how all the other bits of being human derive from that.So does Foley have a better theory to offer? Not really; his ideas are a hodgepodge of gradualism, mosaicism and cooperation. He thinks most of our ancestors were small folk. “We may picture our ancestors as rugged versions of ourselves, tall and strong, but they were not,” he claims. “We need to start thinking of them as creatures that were as unique as ourselves, but in different ways.” If we need to “start thinking” of them differently, it implies we (that is, anthropologists) “have been thinking” of them incorrectly. His conclusion: more research is needed.Why do we listen to these guys? They keep changing their stories. They don’t know what they are talking about. The long ages are concocted to keep Charlie’s story going, facts or not.Collard wants us to be skeptical, so be skeptical. Take a look at the record book. It makes perfect sense. People don’t sit around in caves for hundreds of thousands of years. They spread out and achieve great things. It’s what we do today; it’s what humans have always done. (Visited 58 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Ohio Pork Council to host Pork-a-Palooza

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Ohio Pork Council is pleased to host Pork-a-Palooza for the second year in a row. The event will be featuring bacon, BBQ and beer at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on May 18, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.Throughout the event, attendees will have the opportunity to dine on pork-centric food items from Central Ohio’s finest restaurants and food trucks, listen to live music, and take part in numerous kids activities, giveaways and educational experiences.“Pork-a-Palooza is a wonderful opportunity for the Delaware community to learn more about pork and how it’s raised in Ohio while enjoying an afternoon outside with friends and family,” said Ken Garee, Delaware County resident and Ohio Pork Council’s Director at Large.Price of admission is $6 per person, while children 12 and under are granted free admission. Tickets can be purchased online at pork-a-palooza.com or on the day of the event. Those who purchase their tickets online will be presented with an exclusive Pork-a-Palooza punch card on the day of the event. Punch card holders can visit each vendor to purchase their $2 Pork-a-Palooza sampler item for a chance to win a whole hog, processed and freezer-ready. Punch cards will also be available for purchase at Pork-a-Palooza for $5.“Back by popular demand, the Ohio Pork Council is thrilled to host their second Pork-a-Palooza in the Delaware Community this May, with new and exciting features for attendees of all ages,” Garee said.For more information, visit pork-a-palooza.com or contact Melissa Bell at 614-882-5887 or mbell@ohiopork.org.last_img read more

Green Building Programs: Time for a Do-Over?

first_imgI’ve been involved with green building certification programs for about 10 years now, starting with my work with Southface and the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association in developing the EarthCraft Renovation program. Since then, I have become a HERS rater, an NAHB verifier, a LEED Green Rater, a BPI Building Analyst, an EarthCraft Technical Advisor, a Green Communities Technical Advisor, and a Building America Builders Challenge verifier (I don’t think I left anything out). In these various capacities, I have certified many single- and multifamily units under most of these programs and, until recently, felt pretty comfortable managing them and explaining the various—and sometimes conflicting—requirements of each to my clients. While I was aware that there were some changes on the horizon, it seems that the upcoming changes in ENERGY STAR and the ripple effect through other programs have taken myself and most others in the industry somewhat off our games.What’s the schedule?ENERGY STAR versions 2.5 and 3 have been in the pipeline for a while, and although I have been keeping up with them in theory, I have not yet taken the time to sit down and go through them in detail, nor have I yet taken the two-day required class for raters. The raters I have spoken to who have taken this class seem to be a frustrated bunch, many having only recently entered the industry looking for a new source of income. The general impression is that the new versions will likely lower the number of builders seeking certification—not good news for the rating industry and the thousands of newly trained professionals looking for business opportunities.I believe it is important to raise the level of performance of our buildings, but the complexity of the new ENERGY STAR, as well as many other certification programs, deserves some reconsideration. LEED for Homes, scheduled for a new version release in late 2012, has not yet shared publicly how the program will relate to ENERGY STAR Version 3, nor has the NAHB Research Center said anything publicly on the subject that I am aware of. EarthCraft House is scheduled to release a new version in March 2011 that will, hopefully, clarify some of the confusion. Right now it is a challenge to know how much work will be involved in certifying future projects, making it hard to provide pricing to potential clients. It’s enough to drive a rater crazy.I don’t need any stinking consensusIt seems to always be a big deal that many of these green programs were developed by “consensus,” supposedly leading to the best outcome, but I fear that I must disagree with this opinion. We need to only take a look at our dysfunctional legislative bodies to see just how effective (or ineffective) we can be when trying to come to a consensus. When we look at things realistically, there are lots of constituencies involved in green programs, each one having its own goals to work toward, everyone compromising, until we end up with something that ultimately pleases very few people and leaves everyone else feeling slightly abused. I do not come to this opinion from experience; rather, mostly as an outside observer of the various committees assembled to create these standards. I am willing to listen to anyone’s opinion to the contrary. While I don’t know that there is necessarily any better way to create a program, I don’t believe that the consensus model (or muddle) brings us the best product. Rather, it brings us one that offends the smallest number of people.Eschew obfuscationOne of my favorite pieces of graffiti—“eschew obfuscation,” which I translate to “avoid overcomplication”—is something I would like to see all the various and sundry green certification programs take as their mission statements. Unfortunately, “overcomplicated” seems to be the key to most programs. If it’s not a long checklist like the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) or EarthCraft House, it’s a dense, interpretation-heavy spreadsheet like LEED for Homes. Even ENERGY STAR, which in Version 2 was pretty straightforward, seems to have become obfuscated, at least for the time being, in Version 3.I’m not sure if there is a better model out there, but I believe, deep down, that there must be a better way. I have always had a theory that compared to a democracy, a benevolent dictatorship (if the dictator was truly benevolent) might be a better system to live under. I get so disgusted by politicians; I think that anyone who aspires to public office should be denied the opportunity. Some as yet unnamed higher power should just appoint people based on merit, with no opportunity for them to decline. I realize that I am being totally delusional, but it’s my blog and I can write what I want, and you’re reading it anyway.So why can’t we just pick the smartest people, sit them down, and tell them to put together the most effective, simplest, and least expensive green building program? If we pick (or someone from above chooses) the right people, we might end up with something that doesn’t continue to drive us crazy. I’m just sayin’.last_img read more