Saturday salon 9/1

1. Neanderthal DNA lives on

About 1.5 to 2.1 percent of the DNA of anyone outside Africa is Neanderthal in origin. But the DNA is not evenly spread. Your Neanderthal DNA may be different from mine. Scientists have found at least 20% of the Neanderthal DNA in humans. That’s what they’ve found, the toatal may be twice as much.

    Although 20 percent might sound like a lot of mingling happened between Neanderthals and the ancestors of modern humans, it could have resulted from as few as 300 mating events…

The inheritance has been good and bad. Both Europeans and Asians have Neanderthal genes related to skin.

Nenderthal statue_cropped

2. Saudi executions seen as sending message to all dissenters

The execution of 47 Saudi prisoners on Saturday is seen as a break with the past. The new man, King Salman, who ascended the throne nearly a year ago, is taking a tough line on internal dissent. The executions included Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, an outspoken Shiite cleric and three other Shiite dissenters. Only four of those executed were convicted of crimes punishable by death under Islamic law.

The move may have been counterproductive internally as well as in relation to regional politics:

    The executions “did not serve the national interest,” according to Fawaz A. Gerges, the director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In addition to the regional turmoil the executions have caused, they “could tear the social fabric” between Sunnis and Shiites in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Gerges said.

Iran said the Saudis faced divine revenge.

3. One punch can kill, and it did

Some-one’s idea of fun, apparently, was to accost total strangers and punch them. The result was that Cole Miller, a young water polo player, heading for a taxi home after a night out In Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, was felled by a single bow and died a couple of days later when life support was turned off.

Family and team mates are doing it tough.

    Accused killers Armstrong Renata and Daniel Maxwell have been charged with unlawful striking causing death, a charge specifically introduced to deal with one punch assaults.

Apparently they are doing it tough too. Their family and friends are in New Zealand.

4. North Korea tests a bomb

North Korea has carried out a ‘successful’ hydrogen bomb test. Most experts disagree, saying the bang simply wasn’t big enough.

North Korea’s only ally, China, who supply 45% of the county’s food and energy, was not pleased. But North Korea’s 32-year-old chief Kim Jong-un, who is said to be mainly concerned with his own survival, clearly thought upsetting China was worth the risk.

Kevin Rudd has now weighed in, blasting world powers over “a possible lost opportunity” in curbing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. It’s a swipe at both Beijing and Washington.

Rudd of course is now president of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York and is a possible aspirant to the job of Secretary General of the UN.

Introduction to Saturday salon

Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

    The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

6 thoughts on “Saturday salon 9/1”

  1. Aaah. So that’s why we Aussies are such boagans – it’s our Neanderthal ancestry.

    Seriously though, glad you mentioned the Denisovans too. There seems to be 2% or so Denisovan DNA in Austroloids (Aborigines, Melanesians, Bhils, Veddahs, etc).

    I have a pet hypothesis that as some of the early humans left Africa, the Denisovans split in two with one group going north (hence the remains in Siberia) and the other east to India. When the ancestors of today’s Austroloids bolted out of Africa, they went straight to India, the great melting pot of humanity, had some mating with Denisovans and took the progeny with them when those who didn’t want to stay in India rushed eastwards to Australia and the Pacific Islands.

    Given that Aborigines and Melanesians were among the first modern Homo Sapiens to settle into territory where they are found today, this was probably many thousands of years before the ancestors of modern Europeans left Africa.

    (More wild hypotheses are available for the cost of a glass of a smooth peaty single-malt whisky; no need to contact the Nobel Prize nominations committee until next week)

  2. To be honest, Karen, taking any kind of pleasure when there are victims involved is problematic.

    On personal protection, I heard one Cologne woman say that she doesn’t go out without pepper spray.

  3. Yet more evidence that Australia has dodged a bullet. Rape and murder. Remember folks, that is the Greens plan for Australia.

    I would commission a thirty foot high bronze statute of Gerry Hand, if only I had the money.

  4. Karen, as a moderate Australian sexist I am sickened by the actions of these animals in Germany and condemn it entirely.
    We Australian morerate sexist are now living in fear of reprisals.
    I wish we could all just get along.

  5. Forget “Who Do You Think You Are?” and let’s get into rough-and-tough genealogy and prehistory.

    “NEANDERTHAL APOCALYPSE”, a look at the extinction of the Neanderthals, is being broadcast on SBS-1 TV on Sunday, 24th January, at 7:35pm (1935H) Queensland Time and whatever time is appropriate elsewhere in Australia.

    For those given to self-flagellation, this should be an opportunity to own up to yet another of your genocides, For those who are, instead, fascinated by the stories of how the human race came to be, this should be well worth watching.

Comments are closed.