Jul 11, 2010


Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

The neanderthal genome has been successfully sequenced and it is more heavily represented in human DNA than expected.

Between 1% and 4% of the Eurasian human genome seems to come from Neanderthals.

But the study confirms living humans overwhelmingly trace their ancestry to a small population of Africans who later spread out across the world.


Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a 'massive, muscular woman' who may have been a female gladiator during the Roman occupation of Britain.

. . .

Archaeological Project Manager Robin Jackson said: 'When we first looked at the leg and arm bones, the muscle attachments suggested it was quite a strapping big bloke.

'But the pelvis and head, and all the indicators of gender, say it's a woman.'

Steven Hawking is afraid of an alien invasion and now we know why. They're scary looking.

Stephen Hawking has taken advantage of the latest computer graphics to display his versions of ET, based on hard science, for a new documentary series, Into The Universe.

. . .

Among the theoretical aliens are terrestrial herbivores and carnivores, lizard-like predators with limb membranes that allow them to glide using venom-loaded stingers to bring down a two-legged herbivore that has a huge vacuum snout to suck up food.

A UFO sighting closed down an airport in China.

A CHINESE airport was dramatically closed after an ALIEN craft was detected by baffled air traffic controllers.

They spotted the UFO on radar screens forcing bosses to ground flights and divert planes away from Xiaoshan airport in the eastern city of Hangzhou.

His Holiness has replaced the disgraced Macial Marciel to run multinational Legionares of Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI on Friday (July 9) appointed the Vatican's chief financial auditor, Italian Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, to manage the powerful but scandal-scarred Legionaries of Christ order.

The decision comes after an eight-month investigation of the order founded in 1941 by disgraced Mexican priest Marcial Maciel Degollado, who died in 2008.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, another disgraced priest has taken his congregation for $1.3 million.

The Rev. Kevin J. Gray was a popular priest who appeared to live humbly, forgoing a car and walking to Mass from another parish where he lived so that a Catholic charity could use his space at the rectory. Parishioners thought he had cancer and admired how he helped immigrants in his largely poor parish in Connecticut.

But after a routine audit of the church's finances turned up discrepancies, authorities began a criminal investigation that they say unraveled a secret double life of male escorts, strip bars and lavish spending on the finest restaurants, luxury hotels and expensive clothing, financed with money stolen from the parish.

The Church of England displays extreme cognitive dissonance on gay issue:

The Church of England may be on the verge of promoting a gay priest to bishop, a step that would widen the split over sexuality in the global Anglican Communion.

If that happens, it would appear to be a significant turnaround for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the Church of England and the world's Anglicans, who recently imposed sanctions on the U.S. Episcopal Church for electing a lesbian bishop.

Flashback to one year ago:

The Episcopal Church has been removed from Anglican committees that engage in dialogue with other Christians and consider doctrinal issues, the latest fallout from the church's consecration of a lesbian bishop last month.

The Rev. Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, the worldwide fellowship that includes the Episcopal Church as its U.S. branch, outlined the demotions in a letter published on Monday (June 7).

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the communion, proposed the removals last month after Episcopalians in Los Angeles consecrated an open lesbian as an assistant bishop. Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool is the second openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, after Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was consecrated in 2003.

At least as loopy on women:

The contentious issue of women bishops will once again be debated by the Church of England's General Synod when delegates and bishops convene in York on Friday (July 9), years after the issue was first raised.

Maybe I've been indoctrinated by films like 2001 and Westworld but I can't help thinking of the truly horrible ways this could go wrong. Ewwwww......

Researchers have developed an intelligent robot that can navigate itself around a city’s streets and collect resident’s rubbish on demand.

An EU-funded project has resulted in a human-sized robot, called DustCart that balances on a Segway base and can navigate itself to stop outside your door when summoned.

Of course this could be worse.

In a handful of laboratories around the world, computer scientists are developing robots like this one: highly programmed machines that can engage people and teach them simple skills, including household tasks, vocabulary or, as in the case of the boy, playing, elementary imitation and taking turns.

. . .

Yet the most advanced models are fully autonomous, guided by artificial intelligence software like motion tracking and speech recognition, which can make them just engaging enough to rival humans at some teaching tasks.

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