From : Appliance Haven [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject : Your Free Washer/Dryer Combo
So, it's all a storm in a teacup. The media exaggerated the significance of these frauds, with phrases like "History of modern man unravels" and "key discoveries" occurring in headlines.The frauds are doubtless a blow for the researchers unlucky enough to have sent samples to Protsch for dating, but do nothing to weaken the evidence for human evolution (despite the occasional creationist claiming otherwise). February 16, 2005: Homo floresiensis on Darwin Day The Panda's Thumb For Darwin Day (Feb 12th), the Canberra Skeptics arranged a talk by paleoanthropologist Colin Groves at the National Museum of Australia on the subject of Homo floresiensis, the "Hobbit". It's clearly a popular subject; the small lecture theatre was filled to capacity with a few hundred people. Some scientists have disputed the idea that floresiensis is a new species, suggesting instead that the skeleton is a pathological modern human - Maciej Henneberg, for one, has claimed that it closely resembles a 4000-year-old microcephalic skull found on Crete. Groves showed pictures of that skull and compared it to the hobbit. They did not look very similar to my unqualified judgement, nor, apparently, to the judgement of many qualified scientists. The hobbit femur also has differences from that of any other hominid, and the pelvis flares more than in H. sapiens or H. erectus. December 10, 2004: H. floresiensis a microcephalic? Anatomist Maciej Henneberg has claimed that the 'Hobbit' skull is extremely similar to that of a microcephalic specimen from Crete (microcephaly is a medical condition which results in small brain sizes). I suspect Henneberg, though a respected anatomist, will turn out to be wrong for a number of reasons. One is that Brown and his colleagues are also respected anatomists, and they have had access to the fossil and many months in which to study it. Brown considered the possibility of microcephaly even before Henneberg raised it, and rejected it: It's more difficult to rule out, I suppose, the analogy with abnormal modern humans, like pituitary dwarfs or microcephalic dwarfs, because there you can have small-bodied people who have small brain sizes as well. Very few of these people actually reach adulthood and they have a range of distinctive features, depending upon which particular syndrome they have, throughout the cranial vault and rest of the skeleton. None of these features are found in Liang Bua. It has a suite of clearly archaic traits which are replicated in a variety of early hominids and these archaic traits are not found in any abnormal humans which have ever been recorded. We now have the remains of 5 or 6 other individuals from the site, so it's not just one. There's a population of these things now and they all share the same features. (Peter Brown, in an interview with Scientific American) Second, microcephaly is a rare condition - the probability of finding a fossil which happened to have microcephaly would be very low. If other specimens similar to LB1 in the skull turn up, we can effectively rule out microcephaly as an explanation. Thirdly, Brown's article on floresiensis passed an extensive peer review from 12 other experts before publication. That doesn't prove it's right, but it does give it considerable credibility. In other news about H. floresiensis, Indonesia's most prominent paleoanthropologist Teuku Jacob has stirred up controversy by taking the fossils from the center where they were stored to his own laboratory for study. Jacob had also been previously reported in newspapers as being skeptical that the Hobbit was a new species; he believed that it was a member of the "Australomelanesid race", and only 1,300 to 1,800 years old. In other news about H. floresiensis, Indonesia's most prominent paleoanthropologist Teuku Jacob has stirred up controversy by taking the fossils from the center where they were stored to his own laboratory for study. Jacob had also been previously reported in newspapers as being skeptical that the Hobbit was a new species; he believed that it was a member of the "Australomelanesid race", and only 1,300 to 1,800 years old. And, there was an article in the Dec 5th Sydney Morning Herald (http://smh.com.au/articles/2004/12/05/1
In other news, I was just outside of work and this woman was giving her infant kid a cookie or cracker or some such thing. She handed it to the kid, and suggested to the kid that they say, 'thank you' in return.
Now, it struck me: is it really that good of an idea to just get the kid to say 'thank you' purely as a matter of rote? As in, such that they don't really get the concept of why they're saying it? I'd almost think it best to sit the kid down while you have something that they like. Have them ask you for it, give it to them, then ask, "Now, was that nice of me to give you that? If so, it'd be nice of you to thank me for giving you that." That way, they're not learning to just say the ritualistic 'thank you' after folks do things, but instead learn the notion of being grateful (and leaving it up to them to decide how they want to phrase it).
I think it stems from my annoyance at telemarketers and suchlike who start off with 'How are you today?', but don't pause so you can answer them before they continue on. It's like that bit in Brave New World.
EDIT TO ADD: Or better yet! When the kid does something nice for you, thank them but in different ways. So that way, they'll be more likely to get the gist of why you're thanking them. And after a bit of this, make a point of -not- thanking them for a particular something.. ..then ask them if it would've been better if you had thanked them. Aha! I like that! Hrm.. now I just need a kid to test this theory on. Two, actually, so I can use one as a control.