Oldest Fossils of Homo Sapiens Found in Morocco

Carl Zimmer, writing for The Paper of Record:

Dating back roughly 300,000 years, the bones indicate that mankind evolved earlier than had been known, experts say, and open a new window on our origins.

The fossils also show that early Homo sapiens had faces much like our own, although their brains differed in fundamental ways.

Until now, the oldest fossils of our species, found in Ethiopia, dated back just 195,000 years. The new fossils suggest our species evolved across Africa.


Trump decides not to invoke executive privilege, not that he could

John Dean, writing at CNN:

As a leading student and expert on the subject of executive privilege, Mark J. Rozell, has written, it is an accepted doctrine when appropriately applied in two circumstances: (1) certain national security needs and (2) protecting the privacy of White House deliberations when doing so serves the public interest.

Clearly, Donald Trump’s conversations with James Comey do not fall into either area. Trump was wise not to try to concoct a phony justification for using the doctrine, which at best would have been a delaying tactic and only increased the already-fiendish interest in the specifics of Comey’s testimony.

Pretending James Comey is testifying only because the President is not invoking executive privilege is not only disingenuous, it borders on small-bore fraud. To claim you have a power you do not, in fact, possess is dishonest.

My comments on Facebook, just yesterday, in response to an article announcing the President’s “decision”:

I just love that this is presented by the White House as though our reaction should be “gee, the President is such a great guy,” when all along they know that if he even tried, the rational reaction could only be “gee, the President is an even bigger piece of shit that I had previously thought”…

Thought of the Day

I will double your IQ, or no money back.

(Limited time offer)

Star Wars at 40

Star Wars, a film which has unfortunately come to be known as Episode IV: A New Hope, was released 40 years ago today. Although I didn’t see it on opening night, or even opening weekend, I did see it soon thereafter (you have to be able to get a ride when you’re eleven…), and I can still remember being amazed right from the very beginning–“a long time ago? Awesome.

FCC: No punishment for Colbert’s Trump joke

The Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) – There will be no fine for Stephen Colbert’s risque joke about President Donald Trump.

A Federal Communications Commission spokesman said Tuesday that the agency received “thousands” of complaints about the late-night host’s May 1 show, so it reviewed the material as “standard operating procedure.” It’s the FCC’s job to police obscene or indecent material on TV when it receives complaints.

The agency found that the joke, which involved Trump, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and a crude word for penis, did not warrant punishment.

What a monologue!

Gallup: Belief in Creationist View at New Low

Art Swift at gallop.com:

• 38% say God created man in present form, lowest in 35 years
• Same percentage say humans evolved, but God guided the process
• Less-educated Americans more likely to believe in creationism

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The percentage of U.S. adults who believe that God created humans in their present form at some time within the last 10,000 years or so — the strict creationist view — has reached a new low. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. adults now accept creationism, while 57% believe in some form of evolution — either God-guided or not — saying man developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life.

R.I.P. Chris Cornell

Rolling Stone:

Chris Cornell, the dynamic vocalist and guitarist whose versatile showmanship as Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog’s frontman was a signpost of the grunge era, died by suicide Wednesday night. He was 52.

Fucking hell.

R.I.P. Cassidy Landry

It is with heavy heart the I bid a loving farewell to my precious Cassidy, the matriarch of the Landry family, who passed away this morning at the age of 71. She was a lovely, loving girl, and a driving force in our lives. She will be forever loved and missed.

Bill Nye Saves the World


Emmy-winning host Bill Nye brings experts and famous guests to his lab for a talk show exploring scientific issues that touch our lives.

Wow. Great show! Even better than I was hoping.

Carrie Fisher to be Named Disney Legend


Carrie Fisher and her Star Wars sidekick Mark Hamill are to be honoered as Disney Legends later this year (17).

The late actress and her movie brother will join Marvel comics mastermind Stan Lee, Oprah Winfrey and late director Garry Marshall as recipients of the prize at the D23 Expo.