Monthly Archives: June 2007

Ancient tooth

Palaeontologists have found what may be the oldest human fossil in western Europe — a 1.2 million-year-old tooth.

It was unearthed at a site in Atapuerca, northern Spain. The Atapuerca Foundation said:

“The tooth represents the oldest human fossil remain of western Europe. Now we finally have the anatomical evidence of the hominids that fabricated tools more than one million years ago. Since it is an isolated fossil remain, it is not possible at this point to confirm which Homo species this tooth belongs to,” but first analyses “allow us to suppose it is an ancestor of Homo antecessor.”

This is believed to either be the same or an ancestor species to Homo heidelbergensis, which lived in Europe from 600,000-250,000 years ago. It has been put forward as a common ancestor to Neanderthals and modern humans (Homo sapiens). I lack the anthropological background to favour or discredit this theory.

Read the rest of the tooth story here.

Landmarks

Humans are funny creatures. We want to see patterns in everything as we strive to find order amidst chaos.

I didn’t think I would get to 100 posts so quickly. Nor did I think I’d log on this morning and find I had attracted 666 visitors.

So I fired up WordPress and settled down to write something special to mark these occasions.

Unfortunately I found myself devoid of inspiration.

But it’s strange how I saw those two figures and considered them significant. Perhaps its symptomatic of how we are conditioned as people.

The contrast struck me most.

This post is number 100, which is supposed to be a good thing. And yet it’s written in the shadow of visitor 666, which is supposedly an evil number (read Revelations for the source of this notion).

I’m not a particularly superstitious person and so I looked on 666 as nothing more than a quirky coincidence. Plus I like to think I’m a nice guy — ladies if you think otherwise let me know what I can do to remedy the situation! — so I didn’t take it as a reflection on myself and certainly not on my anonymous visitor.

And yet I found the 100 to be a landmark, a sense of achievement. I’m still very new to the blogosphere and readily admit I’m still finding my feet. But the number of posts snuck up on me; to be frank I wasn’t sure I’d hit the number at all let alone do it in just a couple of months.

The focus of the blog has meandered somewhat since April 19. I began with the intention of looking at world events and how they can be significant to people everywhere — I called my blog tinyplanet because something that happens on the other side of the planet can be immediately relevant to everyone. Communication, transport and economic links are such that the world really isn’t that big any more.

Along the way I got sidetracked by all the weird and wonderful things that happen on our beloved planet screwball and wanted to share them. Hopefully you don’t hold it against me. :-)

Expect more international analysis and commentary in the weeks to come. I’m getting back into the rhythm of writing whole articles in a short space of time and having a blast. But that doesn’t mean I’ll have lost my taste for the unusual.

We’ve barely started on a long and interesting road. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

David

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I LOVE HER

Scripted or not, Mika Brzezinski is the girl for me.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VdNcCcweL0[/youtube]

Paris Hilton’s release from prison was such a non-story. The way she sauntered out for the cameras, smiling coquettishly and milking every second of the attention was quite frankly nauseating.

Indigenous Australians

Mr Angry has an excellent blog entry on the Australian government’s plan to ban alcohol and porn in some Aboriginal Australian communities.

If you missed the story, the move comes on the back of a report that found alcoholism and child abuse were rampant in some of these communities in the Northern Territory.

The report blamed “rivers of grog” and the breakdown of traditional Aboriginal society for the endemic abuse.

Prime minister John Howard has called the issue a “national emergency”, but some have pointed out that it’s an election year in Australia. But Kathy Mark, writing for the Independent, points out he did not speak to the report’s authors before coming up with this crackdown. Check out Mr Angry’s take on things here.

Child abuse is a horrific crime, there is no escaping that fact. But sending troops to enforce a ban on beer and porn is not the way to go. Prohibiting something only makes its allure stronger — and prohibition by the strong arm of the government risks breeding resentment.

But as Mr Angry points out, some communities have welcomed the intervention.

There are times when Draconian measures are necessary. Do you think this is one of those times, dear reader?

Such a lovely show

A Mickey Mouse-type character who preached Islamic domination on a children’s television program was beaten to death in the show’s final episode yesterday, according to Associated Press.

The giant black-and-white rodent, Farfour, was “martyred”, the show’s teenage presenter said. Farfour was killed by an actor playing the role of an Israel trying to take the mouse’s land. Farfour called his slayer a “terrorist” during the sequence.

Farfour had regularly urged Palestinian children to fight Israel.

The show, Tomorrow’s Pioneers, was broadcast on Hamas-linked al-Aqsa TV. It has been take off the air to make room for new programs, apparently.

God only knows what insane shit will be taking its place.

I haven’t been able to find the footage, but here’s a still of the Farfour miming how to hold an AK47:

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Words fail me

A friend of mine described this as one of the cheekiest covers in the history of news reports… and I have to agree. From the Polish weekly Wprost:

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That’s German chancellor Angela Merkel with Polish president and prime minister Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, by the way. The headline translates as “Europe’s stepmother”. Read how the magazine (predictably) got in trouble with the German press here.