Calm on the Surface But


News and Site Updates Archive 2009/02/14

A trillion seconds is 32,000 years.

14 Feb '09 -

Women pregnant due to in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) have more complications than women with spontaneous pregnancies.  Vastly different levels of certain proteins exist between IVF and spontaneous pregnancies in the first few months, including extra-cellular matrix, cytoskeletal, vascular, complement and transport proteins.  The functions of many of these are unknown.  Most differences disappear by 19 weeks - only pregnancy specific glycoprotein-1 remains significantly different.  The importance of this finding is not known. In the Brazilian town of Candido Godoi, 1 in 5 pregnancies results in the birth of twins.  The usual rate for natural twin births is 1 in 80.  Many of these twins are blonde-haired and blue-eyed.  And this means - what?  Oh, I forgot to say that under the alias Dr Rudolph Weiss, Josef Mengele lived nearby from 1974 until his death in 1979.  He posed as a rural medic who went from house to house attending women.  He gave them a potion which he carried in a bottle or tablets which he brought with him.  Sometimes he carried out dental work; everyone remembers he used to take blood.  Some people of Candido Godoi now accept that a Nazi war criminal was an inadvertent guest of theirs for years.  Could that have been more than a coincidence?  Then why do twins keep being born?  Could something like the "enrichment" theory (see right) possibly apply? More Lamarckianism?  Enriched experience enhances brain function and plasticity.  Apparently this enhanced learning behaviour and plasticity can be transmitted to offspring, though it happens years before pregnancy occurs.  Brief exposure to a stimulating environment — including new toys, opportunities for exercise and social interaction — enhance long-term potentiation (LTP), which forms the cellular basis of memory.  Offspring of mothers who experience environmental enrichment before adolescence display enhanced LTP, despite never experiencing the stimulating environment themselves.  In fact, offspring born to enriched mothers but reared by others show this as well.  This revolutionises understanding of how nature — starting with an individual's DNA sequence — and nurture — including the way life experience alters DNA's expression — can combine to regulate the health of the next generation.  This type of inheritance is known as epigenetics (environmentally-induced changes in DNA structure and chromosomes passed on to offspring).  Oddly, the effect doesn't continue in the generations that follow.  Why not?

Proof-the-Economic-Meltdown-Is-No-One's-Fault: Diverse groups appear to perform better at problem solving than homogeneous groups.  A fascinating British study, using the saliva of male traders, tracked natural variations of testosterone in the morning and the amount of profits they earned for the firm that day.  The study found that a trader's morning testosterone level predicts his day's profitability.  Higher testosterone means more risk-taking and, usually, more money.  On its own, that might suggest that men have an advantage on the trading floor.  Yet the same study also suggests that elevated testosterone levels can lead to greater assumption of risk; high testosterone levels "may shift risk preferences and even affect a trader's ability to engage in rational choice."  In other words: when male traders crash - boy, they crash.  So could it be that the problem on Wall Street isn't sub-prime mortgages, but elevated testosterone?  Another study finds that men are particularly likely to make high-risk bets when under financial pressure and surrounded by other males of similar status because when men of similar status gather, they jockey for an edge.

The Peel P50 boasts the record for the smallest ever automobile to go into production.  It was originally manufactured in 1963 and 1964 by Peel Engineering Company, with a production run of about 50 vehicles that sold for just under £200; that was clearly a bargain, given the remaining 20 originals command anywhere from £35,000 to £50,000.  It was designed as a city car and advertised that it could seat "one adult and a shopping bag".  It has a single left-hand-side door, a single windscreen wiper and just one headlight; it's 134cm long, 99cm wide and weighs 59kg.  (Click images to enlarge)...  According to health provisions slipped into the US stimulus bill, Americans' medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system monitoring treatments to ensure doctors do what the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective.  Hospitals and doctors that are not "meaningful users" of the new system will face penalties.  Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of always treating them.  Treatments will use a formula that divides the cost of treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit.  (Remember, the health-care industry is the largest employer in the US, producing almost 17% of the nation’s gross domestic product.)

When we're young we all have the ability to learn a multitude of things and acquire many skills - quickly learning languages, how to ride a bicycle or swimming.  But as we get older our neuronal circuits refine, responding to the things we do on a repetitive basis.  This synaptic strengthening, pruning and refining allows us to have more effective and efficient nerve communication.  [So becoming expert at something means that learning new things then becomes more difficult?  We fossilize?  What a trade-off!]

A financial expert from White Plains, New York, whose spelling is routinely corrected, says she’s definitely noticed a change in people.  "In general, I think people are getting a little bit meaner about correcting others or sharing what they call their 'observations,'" she says.  "They’re uptight and stressed out about losing their jobs.  And if it makes them feel better to tell me I used the word 'your' when I really meant to use the word 'you’re,' then fine."  The chief executive of a social media software company, says his late father, a former New York Times editor, simply could not let a mistake go uncorrected.  "He carried 5 pens in his pocket at all times and would edit his morning paper at the breakfast table.  My worst embarrassment was when he corrected someone’s bumper sticker in a public parking lot with passers-by staring."  Personally, I think his father became an expert - after that his brain refined itself until that's all it still knew how to do on idle.

On the subject of spelling: how many of these words do you know how to spell? Embarrassed, millennium, liaison, accommodation, definitely, friend.
(Thank English's irregular spelling system if you'd have spelt any wrong!)

Forrest Gump was a 1994 movie written by Eric Roth about a man child who falls in love, stays in love, and experiences the world inside and out.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a 2008 movie written by Eric Roth about a man child who falls in love, stays in love, and experiences the world inside and out.  But just how similar are these movies?  Watch a surprising side-by-side comparison.

The Law of Inflationary Revenge:
Inflation is the young's revenge on their elders for over-spending

     Via inflation, debts are devalued.
     Via inflation, future labour and future earnings are revalued upwards.
     Via inflation, over-levered obligations with negative equity evolve into properly levered obligations with positive equity.

In practice, inflation is the outcome of macroeconomic, political, and financial practices – all controlled by the current generation.  If the older generation has overspent or over-obligated government to pay for their empires, wars, and/or old-age pensions, then the younger generation exacts revenge via inflation.  The enormous exception is this: hyperinflation is catastrophic.  Always.  It destroys wealth, ruins economies, explodes finance for years and decades.  It punishes an entire nation, all citizens without exception.  It’s no surprise that tyrannies end in hyperinflation...  How much debt is too much for a country?  The governments of highly indebted high-income economies – such as the US and UK – think they know the answer: more than today.  The ratio of US public and private debt to gross domestic product (GDP) reached 358% in the 3rd quarter of 2008.  The previous peak, 300%, was reached in 1933, during the Great Depression.  Over the past 30 years the debt of the US financial sector grew 6x faster than nominal GDP.  Moreover, household debt – much associated with housing – also rose rapidly: from 66% in 1997 to 100% in 2007.  A slightly bigger jump in household debt was seen in the UK.  Credit, after all, "takes the waiting out of wanting."  But alternatively consider "the paradox of thrift" which can subsequently cause balance sheet collapse...  More-Proof-the-Economic-Meltdown-Is-No-One's-Fault: People with the short serotonin transporter gene (that is, 2 copies of the short allele), relative to those with the long version (at least 1 copy of the long allele), invest 28% less in risky investments.  (The short allele is linked to negative emotion.)  Similarly, people who carry the 7-repeat allele of a gene in the dopamine family, relative to those carrying other versions of that gene, invest about 25% more in risky investments.  (This gene is linked to addiction behaviours).

As large as the bailouts are - total $1.5 trillion in 5 months - the amount is small in relation to the size of troubled assets (tens of trillions).  By June will there be another bailout, say $950 billion?  Where will the money come from?  The bailout plan, added to the FY 2009 budget deficit Obama inherited from Bush, opens a gaping expenditure hole of about $3 trillion.  Who will purchase $3 trillion of US Treasury bonds?  Not the US consumer who is out of work and out of money.  Private sector credit market debt is 174% of GDP.  The personal savings rate is 2%; 10% of households are in foreclosure or arrears.  Household debt-service ratio is at an all-time high and net worth has declined at a record rate.  Housing inventories are at record highs.  The US government is paying private mercenaries more by the day than the monthly cheques it gives Social Security retirees.  Before Obama gets in any deeper, he must ask his economic team where the money is coming from.  When he finds out, he needs to tell everyone else.

If you live in the US or Canada, you can visit GasBuddy to see how gas prices in your local area compare to each other
and to prices around the nation (via Time Magazine's "50 Best Websites 2008")

"When US troops smothered alive thousands of Iraqi troops in their trenches, we learned about it later and didn't care much.  Even when the Americans ignored Red Cross rules to mark mass graves, they got away with it.  There were women in some of these graves – I saw British soldiers bury them.  I drove up to Mutla Ridge to show a Red Cross delegate where I had seen a mass grave dug by the Americans; he looked at the plastic poppy an American had presumably left there and said: 'Something has happened.'  He meant that something had happened to international law, to the rules of war.  Then came Kosovo and more slaughter.  Of course, Milosevic was the bad guy - but here again, we broke rules and got away with it.  Remember the passenger train we bombed on the Surdulica Bridge – and the famous speeding up of the film by Jamie Shea to show the bomber had no time to hold his fire?  (Actually - excluded from the film - the pilot came back for another bombing run on the train when it was already burning.)  Then the attack on the Belgrade radio station.  And the civilian roads.  Then the attack on a large country hospital.  'Military target,' said Jamie - and he was right - there were soldiers hiding in the hospital along with the patients.  The soldiers all survived; the patients all died.  Then Afghanistan and all that 'collateral damage' and whole villages wiped out; Iraq in 2003 and huge numbers of Iraqi civilians killed.  Once more we were back to bombing bridges and radio stations and at least one civilian estate in Baghdad where 'we' believed Saddam was hiding.  We knew it was packed with civilians but the Americans called it a 'high risk' operation – meaning that they risked not hitting Saddam – and 22 civilians were killed.  I saw the last body, that of a baby, dug from the rubble.  We don't seem to care." - the dour Robert Fisk, who has seen too much of death.

Aspiring Australian author Harry Nicolaides was jailed for 3 years in Thailand over a reference to the crown prince in his self-published novel.  "My book, Verisimilitude, was a rather clumsy first attempt at fiction - only 50 copies were printed and 7 sold.  I love Thailand and respect the royal family.  It was never my intent to offend anyone," he says.  He describes his current life: "We are waked at 6 and counted in the cell.  Mine is 12 metres long and just over 4 metres wide, holding 50 - 60 prisoners, mostly Thais, mostly murderers and rapists.  The cell has one toilet - a hole in the ground - and poor ventilation.  I sleep in a face mask because tuberculosis and pneumonia are common.  I've been in this jail for 5 months"...  Mobile computing has got better with lighter components, better chips and faster processors.  But the Achilles heel of a laptop has remained its battery.  Modern graphic-intensive operating systems and resource-hungry applications cut down the life of your laptop’s battery.  The average life per continuous use still stands at a maximum of 3 - 4 hours so a fast-depleting battery can swiftly put the crutches on your "mobile" road trip.  Short of carrying an extra pack of batteries in your backpack, here are 20 ways to keep the juice flowing...  Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) batteries fail if they don't get used.  Many laptop owners leave their machines plugged in 24/7 thinking this is saving the battery.  When they go to use it on battery power they expect to enjoy extended use before the battery runs down.  Most are then shocked to discover their battery lasts 20 seconds then dies.  If you use your computer like this - and it has a NiCad battery pack - chances are the batteries are beyond recovery.  NiCads need to be cycled, which means discharging them completely and fully charging them back up.  Ironically, the harder you work them the longer they last - the opposite of what you'd expect - which is why so many laptop owners have dead batteries.

Risk assessment is not basically a high-level conscious activity, but one programmed into many animal brains.  In one experiment subjects wait first at one location for food [the "target"] to appear.  If it fails to appear there after a known and fixed delay, they switch to another location, where it appears after a longer delay.  The relative frequency with which it appears at either the short or the long location varies.  In judging when to switch from the short to the long location, subjects take into account both how long they've been waiting at the short location and the probability that it's a long trial (hence, a trial on which they should switch).  The performance of mice equals that of humans, though the optimal solution is mathematically complicated.  Assessment ability is likely a widespread basic cognitive mechanism because it's so useful in daily life.

These are the high school graduation pictures for which Americans who are well-known today?  (Here's a hint: they're politicians.)

Between 1914 and 1928, the number of administrators in the British Admiralty increased by almost 80%, while the number of sailors they administered fell by 1/3 and the number of ships by 2/3.  Why?  In any hierarchical management structure, people in positions of authority need subordinates, and those extra bodies have to be occupied - regardless of how much there actually is to do.  Bureaucracies are subject to "degenerating" influences - generally from a system of promotion not based wholly on merit.  Bureaucracies grow because officials seek to increase the budgets they control and so boost their own salaries, power and standing.  Do you know how many members can be on a committee and still have it be effective?  Groups with fewer than 20 members tend to be able to reach agreement, whereas those larger than 20 generally splinter into subgroups that agree within themselves, but freeze in permanent disagreement with each other.  There is a particular number of decision-makers that stands out from the trend as being truly, spectacularly bad, tending with alarmingly high probability to lead to deadlock: that number is 8.

Every self-control challenge is a tradeoff; with chocolates and other desserts it's a tradeoff between satisfying craving and committing to good health.  Although it seems intuitively obvious that a dieter shouldn't keep bonbons in every room, psychological theory argues the opposite.  According to counteractive self-control theory, we deflate desire for readily available temptation when indulging would conflict with pursuit of a more important goal.  To test this, women exiting a gym were given a choice between PowerBars or chocolates and asked to rate desire for each.  Some rated their desire before choosing, others right after - but before eating.  The idea was to compare desire for readily-available chocolate to no-longer-available chocolate.  Psychologists assumed young women at a gym would be health conscious - thus conflicted over their choices.  Results reveal that women indeed prefer healthy PowerBars - that is, they devalue chocolates.  But that preference disappears as soon as they make a choice and chocolate is no longer an option.  Self-control does in fact operate paradoxically, by diminishing desire for what's both tempting and accessible when it threatens a loftier goal...  If you've just received an email from your first lover - who says he/she is happily married and just wants to say "Hi", should you reply or press delete?  A recent survey claims that nearly 60% of people often think of their first loves and 1/3 would reunite with them if they could.  Things are changing in this age of easy internet contact.  Many Google speculatively, with no plans for what to do if they find their lost love.  Though most were in relationships, 80% ended up having affairs with previous lovers.  So - if you value your marriage - press delete when that email comes.  [Every self-control challenge is a tradeoff, after all.]

What are Americans still buying?  Big Macs, Campbell’s soup, Hershey’s chocolate and Spam — the 4 food groups of the New Apocalypse.

Strained metaphors: "Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever."  "McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a supermarket bag filled with vegetable soup."  "Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze."  "The hailstones leapt from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot oil."  "It hurt like your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall."

Have you ever returned to the old neighbourhood, to see the house in which you grew up?  Are you shocked at how it’s changed, or horrified at how small it is?  Can you really have grown up with all those siblings in that shoebox? You’re not merely re-imagining your past — the last 50 years have experienced an evolution in housing so rapid it might almost be called a mutation, driven by 7 profoundly significant trends:
  1. Households are smaller.

  2. Rooms are more specialised.

  3. Houses are more technological.

  4. Rooms are bigger.

  5. Houses are bigger.

  6. Lots are smaller.

  7. Densities are higher.

These 7 factors mean that houses older than about 30 years tend to be functionally obsolescent, so when they sell, they are massively renovated, with reconfiguration of rooms, spectacular new additions, even demolition and complete rebuilding.


Alaska's volcanoes are not like Hawaii's.  Rather than producing lava, they tend to explode and shoot ash more than 9 miles high into the jet stream.  The particulate is very abrasive, with jagged edges (it's been used as an industrial abrasive to polish metals).  Particulate can injure skin, eyes and breathing passages.  Falling ash can turn daylight into complete darkness.  Accompanied by rain and lightning, the gritty ash can lead to power outages.  Put enough ash under a windshield wiper and it will scratch glass.  It's also potentially deadly for anyone flying in a jet.  Mount Redoubt blew on 15 December 1989 and sent ash 150 miles away into the path of a KLM jet carrying 231 passengers.  Its 4 engines flamed out.  As the crew tried to restart the engines, "smoke" and a strong odour of sulfur filled the cockpit and cabin, according to a USGS account.  The jet dropped more than 2 miles, from 27,900 feet to 13,300 feet, before the crew was able to restart all engines and land safely at Anchorage.  The plane required $80 million in repairs.

Why do nearly half of North American wolves have black coats while European wolves are overwhelmingly gray or white?  Their black coats are the result of historical matings with black dogs.  The black coat could not have spread as widely as it has throughout North America in just a few hundred years - the transfer must've taken place sometime before the arrival of Europeans to North America and involved Native Americans' domesticated dogs.  Black coyotes also have the same coat-colour gene...  Estimating a snake’s length from fragmentary remains is hard, so researchers' estimates of the size and weight of the huge snake fossil they discovered are minimum values.  They contend that the ancient creature stretched at least 13 metres (42.7 feet) and weighed at least 1,140 kilograms (2,500 pounds).  The rocks that once entombed the remains were laid down as clay-rich sediments on floodplains near a coastline 60 million or so years ago when the tropical rainforest appears to have thrived at a temperature of 32° C; this is 5° warmer than the upper temperature limit for tropical rainforests in modern times.  Other fossils excavated from the same layers include an aquatic turtle with a 2-metre shell and a skull the size of a dinner plate (warm weather lets cold-blooded creatures grow larger).

Antisocial Personality Disorder is found in 3% of men and 1% of women.  Characterised by exploitative and aggressive behaviour, reckless impulsivity and deceitfulness, and strongly associated with criminality (as evidenced by the fact that it is to be found in around 50% of the prison population), the condition is inherently difficult for clinicians to treat.  The causes are complex and poorly understood and it is not easily remediable through psychotherapy or drugs.  However, if they don't land you in jail, certain psychopathic traits (superficial charm, grandiosity, pathological lying) can come in handy for a career in business, say, or politics.  At least one young boy who liked to blow up frogs with firecrackers grew up to be President of the US.

Mt Taranaki, New Zealand (left): A national park ensures the forest extends at a 9.5 km radius from the summit of the volcano, seen from space in the form of a huge dark disc.
The aurora borealis (right): taken from space shuttle Atlantis during the sts-117 mission.  Click images to enlarge.  Via DeputyDog.

Demographers predict that within 10 years Arabs will outnumber Jews in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.  Without a separate Palestinian state the Israelis will have 3 options, none of them good.  They can try ethnic cleansing, they can drive the Palestinians out of the West Bank, or they can give them the vote.  That would be the democratic option but it mean the end of the Jewish state.  Or they can try apartheid - have the minority Israelis rule the majority Palestinians.  But apartheid regimes don't have a very long life and that particular clock is already ticking.

The data are in.  Divorce is bad for the environment.  A novel study shows that a global trend of soaring divorce rates creates more households with fewer people that, in turn, take up more space and gobble up more energy and water.  Housing units, even with few people in them, require resources to construct, take up space, and require fuel to heat and cool.  Within each unit, a refrigerator uses roughly the same amount of energy whether it belongs to a family of 4 or a family of 2.  Other examples of changing family living structures include the demise of multigenerational households and the incidence of people remaining single longer...  An astonishing photo taken in Orange County, California.  Now you know what's at the end of the rainbow (an SUV)...  Can money make us happy if we spend it on the right purchases?  A new study suggests that buying life experiences rather than material possessions leads to greater happiness for both the consumer and those around him.  Experiential purchases, such as a meal out, a trip, or theatre tickets, result in increased well-being because they satisfy higher order needs, specifically the need for social connectedness and vitality - a feeling of being alive.  (Is this actually government-sponsored research that's meant to generate propaganda to encourage us to keep spending?)...  Russian bailiffs have recovered millions of roubles in debt from delinquent borrowers by barring them from travelling abroad until they pay up.  The government issued 82,000 foreign travel bans and recovered almost 800 million roubles (US$24.25 million) from debtors - some of whom only found out when they arrived at the border with bags packed.  In recent years, Russian authorities have posted the names of people with unpaid bills on billboards in an attempt to shame them into paying.

Scientists who flew a modified corporate jet from pole to pole to study how greenhouse gases move found CO2 piling up over the Arctic (maybe due to industrial pollution and burning of trees over the last few centuries) but also higher-than-expected levels of O2 over the Antarctic (perhaps due to increased growth of plants in the tropics due to higher levels of CO2 or higher temperatures).  (Is this yet another reason why living in the southern hemisphere is better?  Below left is another potentially good reason.)

When an ice sheet melts, its gravitational pull on the ocean reduces and water moves away from it.  The net effect is that sea levels actually fall within 2,000 km of a melting ice sheet and rise progressively further away from it.  If the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapses, sea level will fall nearby and rise much more than expected in the northern hemisphere because of this gravitational effect.  The entire melting of the sheet will cause the earth’s rotation axis to shift dramatically – approximately 500 metres from its present position.  This shift will move even more water from the southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans northward toward North America and into the southern Indian Ocean.  The rise in sea levels around many coastal regions will be as much as 25% more than expected (a total of 6 - 7 metres if the whole ice sheet melts) - a lot of additional water, particularly around highly populated areas like Washington, DC, New York City, and the California coast. Build Blog has created a series of images from Google Earth displaying patterns of human habitation from around the globe.  The images focus on practical, utilitarian forms of habitation which are in use today.  Each image is taken at an elevation of 2,500 feet above the Earth’s surface and cropped to show a ½-mile square swatch (2,640 feet square).  Shown is a neighbourhood in Casablanca, Morocco.

Despite the fact that most of us see our 4-legged friends walking around every day, most of us - including many experts in natural history museums and illustrators for veterinary anatomy text books - apparently still don't know how they do it.  All 4-legged animals step with their left hind leg followed by their left foreleg.  Then they step with their right hind leg followed by the right foreleg, and so on.  Animals differ from one another only in the timing of that stepping.  Why?  Because when walking slowly, the animal's body is supported at all times by 3 feet on the ground.

"in only a year, bacteria can develop resistance to a new drug that took years and a small fortune to develop.  Bacteria know how to glean information from their environment, talk with each other, distribute tasks, and generate collective memory.  Bacterial social intelligence, conveyed through advanced chemical language, allows bacteria to turn colonies into massive 'brains' to process information, learn from past experience to solve unfamiliar problems and better cope with new challenges.  Bacteria are not the simple, solitary creatures of limited capabilities they have long been believed to be." - Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob, Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy...  The World's Water Supply Project #5: Orange County is one of the few places in California with an ample supply of groundwater - but heavy consumption has caused a serious problem: when the groundwater level sank below that of the sea, salt water from the Pacific Ocean began leaching in.  To fight seawater intrusion, engineers use reverse osmosis, micro-filtration and UV radiation to purify wastewater (normally discharged into the ocean) to drinking water standards.  Then, using a 3-mile stretch of 36 wells located 5 miles from the coast, they inject this reclaimed water into the ground.  The wells resemble pipes with perforations; pressurised water forms a dam between ocean and groundwater basin, keeping salt water at bay.  With current rates of use, it takes 30 million gallons per day to maintain the barrier.  Initially operational at 70 million gallons per day, the system generates enough pure water to meet the needs of 500,000 people.

Anger is worth paying attention to.  If you're chronically at the boiling point, it could be damaging to your health.  When you're mad, your body floods with adrenaline.  If you're often angry, you might lose your ability to produce a hormone that blunts adrenaline's worst effects.  You can also weaken your heart, harden your arteries, raise your cholesterol, damage your kidneys and liver, and put yourself at risk for depression or anxiety.  It's no wonder that some scientists consider chronic anger more likely to kill you prematurely than smoking or obesity.  What will it take to make you lighten up?...  Women with a high resting heart rate (more than 76 beats per minute) are significantly more likely to suffer a coronary event than women with a low resting heart rate (62 beats per minute or less).  Further analysis shows that this association is independent of physical activity, does not differ between white and minority women or those with or without diabetes, but is stronger in women 50 - 64 years of age than women 65 or older.

"Music can be a powerful memory cue.
You hear a song on the radio and it brings up memories of senior prom or graduation.
That's why oldies stations are so popular - not because the music is good but because it reminds us of specific times in our lives."

- Richard Harris, psychology professor, Kansas State

New research into language evolution suggests that most Pacific populations originated in Taiwan around 5,200 years ago.
By studying basic vocabulary words from the 1,200 languages spread across the Pacific, the evolution of language changes can be traced.
(It took 3,000 years or so for those Taiwan descendents to reach New Zealand.)

Sometimes we crash and burn. It's better to do it in private.

- Dean Kamen

For other updates click "Back" (for newer) or "Next" (for older) below

Back Home Up Next