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Tidbits

These are just a few things that caught my eye over the last week.

  • If you're inclined to commit murder and don't want to get caught Oklahoma is apparently the place to be.
    Parents Fight To Find Truth Behind Daughter's Death. Who needs an autopsy when you've got someone who should be a prime suspect telling you that it was suicide?


  • Seriously, when was the last time you heard someone who believed in AGW say that something was NOT a sign/symptom/proof of AGW?
    Charles Krauthammer: 'If Godzilla Appeared on National Mall Gore Would Say It’s Global Warming'


  • GMO done right.
    Cassava packs a protein punch with bean genes
    A DEADLY poison could save the lives of millions of African children, thanks to the discovery that cassava can be duped into turning about half of the cyanide it makes into extra protein.


  • Mystery of the mummy's Chinese travel ban
    The government-approved story of China's first contact with the West dates back to 200BC when China's emperor Wu Di wanted to establish an alliance with the West against the marauding Huns, then based in Mongolia. However, the discovery of the mummies suggests that Caucasians were settled in a part of China thousands of years before Wu Di: the notion that they arrived in Xinjiang before the first East Asians is truly explosive.


  • And before anyone goes off on China for meddling with history for political reasons, ever hear of Kennewick Man? Me neither so here you go.
    In many cases Indians have persuaded state agencies to uphold tribal taboos, such as preventing menstruating women from handling certain objects. "A lot of this nonsense comes from the politicization of NAGPRA," says one physical anthropologist who wishes to remain anonymous. "Many Indian tribes are just creating traditions as a way of pursuing social, legal, and cultural power."

    The issue came to a head with Kennewick Man. In this much-publicized case, the chance discovery of a skull along the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington, in 1996, led to the finding of 9,000-year-old skeletal remains. Although scientists believed the bones originated from a Caucasian man, a coalition of Indian groups claimed the remains, asserting that the skeleton lay in territory that has traditionally belonged to their people. Or, as one tribal leader stated, "From our oral histories, we know that our people have been part of this land since the dawn of time." The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -- which has jurisdiction over the Columbia River -- accepted this argument and announced it would repatriate the skeleton.

    Members of the scientific community cried foul and filed a lawsuit; the government and Native American tribes appealed. As the case awaited resolution, archaeologists found they had to battle Indians and their government supporters for every scrap of information they could glean from the skeleton. "The government did a CAT scan of the bones and we asked for the results," says Schneider, who served as a lawyer representing the scientists in the case. "Native Americans objected, and we had to file a motion to see the data." In the words of one physical anthropologist, "It's clear to me that Native Americans are eager to block study of the skeleton. Otherwise it might prove they were not the first to inhabit this continent."
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