In "The Prophet Mohammed has lots of venerated relics associated with him."

Mohammed was a pirate. He had a peg leg and a parrot. Mo hid out on an islet, and fed his bird curds with a carrot.

In "Evidently 3D TV requires many warnings."

MonkeyFilter: rather gimmicky, like heated seats or condoms

In "A Venn diagram of mythical creatures."

What about those bourgeoisie areas where pigs overlap with dogs? -and humans, I suppose... Goddamn! Now I understand the dialectic...

In "There once was a Curious George..."

To all the girls I've loved before Who traveled in and out my door I'm glad they came along I dedicate this song To all the girls I've loved before

In "A Doctor, a Mutation and a Potential Cure for AIDS."

Did anyone else laugh in shock at the line: "...researchers discovered that some gay men astonishingly remained uninfected despite..."? It probably should have read "...some gay men, despite engaging in risky sexual behavior with hundreds of partners, astonishingly remained uninfected..." considering that the carriage return divorced the qualifiers for "astonishingly" from the word for a split second; enough time for me to think I was about to see an after school special. The more you know.

In "PoliticalFilter"

ya. besides, good dialog re: politics doesn't erupt from [i]pursuing[/i] dialog re: politics.

In "Hinterland Who's Who:"

When I was seven, these docs were the set up to a punchline that came 14 years later when I saw Mondo Cane for the first time. Either that movie was hilarious or those films were dryer than a nun's arid desert. Both?

In "Debunking Latest Anti-Pot Quack Science"

Well, that's kind of moot when we're talking about the capacity to understand technology, which was my reason for mentioning. I don't understand why you're talking about evolutionary brain development and the "gap" between h-g's and agriculture in the same thought because the former happened long before the latter. The rift btw. h-g's and hierarchies begins and ends in the last 5% of the time depth of this current species but in the last 25% of the same measure we're solidly evidenced to be cognitvely similar. Human evolution to modern H. sapiens either spread out from an area which did not have cannabis or evolved in separate areas of the Old World. Cannabis developed in Asia and likely spread by human interaction because of its anthrophillic nature. No evidence for cannabis in Africa at the time of these evolutionary stages would mean that H. erectus (the only potential cannabinoid carrier at the time) would not have migrated from Asia back into Africa, meaning that the H. sapiens that did evolve into modern H. sapiens in Africa have "uncannabinized" brains (or whatever you like) and "stunted" by their lack of potential for technology (should "cannabinized" brains beget technological marvel). Walking this line follows old cultural evolutionary theory which was founded on patently racist sentiments that underscored the zeitgeist. I'm not calling you a racist, by any means, I'm just pointing out the potential danger. Besides, we know that modern H. sapiens in Africa developed "civilized" cultures by the evidence found at Greater Zimbabwe which exhibited sedentism, hierarchical structures, domestication and sculpture. Although, of course, similar to the Moundbuilders, many people would like to discredit indigenous Africans with the development of such culture (esp. the British who tried to maintain occupation and land claim by right of "superior intellect" over the "dumb, uncivilized savages" of what was then called Rhodesia). The human DNA evidence does not support admixture from outside of Africa. All this political bullshit aside, evolution needs to have selection in order to occur and the presence of an anthrophillic plant doesn't seem to have an adaptive advantage, unless its presence frightened predators which selected for the mutants which were more creative (maybe it kept aggressors peaceful due to good feelings during forest fires?). Even then, there's no reason that it shouldn't perpetuate a less creative or stupider breed instead by the same mechanisms. As far as I know, pot isn't a mutagen. Of course, our understanding of evolution may be flawed. But I have to apologize for all of these posts. I believe I've been thread-jacking mostly as a knee-jerk reaction to what I saw as potential for misrepresentation of the archaeological record for agenda. I fear and loathe the potential for information to be used for justifications of activity. It's been the justification for WWII, genocide, theft, rape, goddess cults, wicca, biblical "reality", antiquity looting (aka collecting), UFO's (I already forgive you this one) and all manner of grand things under the sun. Personally, I think all action should stand on its own merit: if you want to smoke pot, do it - not because it's your ancestral symbiote, but because you want to get high or hungry or relief from bulgy eyes. If you want a goddess cult, go nuts, they might make you feel good or empower you, but don't forge fiction from the armchair that you will assert as fact and tarnish the heritage that we all share with misrepresentations, obfuscations or flat-out inventions. Hank, I know what I just described isn't what you were doing. I know you were simply musing, but again, this is why I apologize. I really am a pedantic asshole.

There are really huge gaps in the science where early man leaps from hunter-gatherer to suddenly sedentary, technologically exploding groups all around the fertile crescent & up into central asia almost all at once. The gaps aren't as massive as you might think. Take for example Pueblo cultures where seasonal occupations are suggested for certain sites due to low yield seasons. In some of these sites, those who did not own the land returned to h-g lifestyles when the land could not yield enough to sustain a large population. Complex h-gs are the link between egalitarian h-gs and sedentary societies. Many people see this as black and white due to the terms "egalitarian" and "hierarchical". The problem is that these are just labels for ease of use when comparing apples and oranges. The truth is that all cultural change is a gradient of color, which may have a different frequency depending upon the ecological niche it has to fill. For example: at Jericho, a Natufian base camp was established due to the location of an oasis. As time passed the same regularly used location became the site of a Neolithic village which subsisted on agriculture from the floodplain. The choice for sedentism here was likely influenced by its proximity to water for growing and its location as a trade hub which it was used for during the Natufian period. There are many exceptions to the marijuana influence rule, as well. Tonga, for example, had no psychoactive plant use, but developed into large, agricultural Cheifly polities which were eventually united into a kingdom. Their knowledge of seafaring since the time of colonization might shame navies of today considering the technological limitations at the time. South and Central American tribes like the Waika had many psychoactive plants at their disposal and many of them didn't even bother with agriculture. Further, the Maya, an agricultural civilization within that region of the globe, had dense populations, advanced mathematics and knowledge of the wheel yet collapsed, possibly due to population pressures. Their poison was chocolate, which was associated with the god of fertility. Tobacco was considered a psychoactive plant by Native Americans, who also practiced domestication and temporary sedentism in many areas. Tobacco may actually be linked to the onset of agriculture in North America. Tobacco, of course, no one will defend today because of the detrimental effects shown by medical studies. Associating a single psychotropic plant to agriculture and "progress" is a bit of cherry picking. While it certainly may be that the desire for specific plants (especially the cultivation of psychoactives) caused agriculture, which then led to other agriculturally influenced phenomena, marijuana may have played a role only in one part of the world, the biggest part of the human world when considering raw numbers of non-isolated and diverse populations - Eurasia. That's why you might see a disproportionate role. As an anthrophillic plant it could easily be one of the earliest cultivars, but that's just favorable odds, luck and opportunism, what followed with its use was likely more of the same. But I can agree that agriculture may have originated from the pursuit of cultivating pleasurable plants just as equally that it may have originated from economic competition at the complex h-g level. Maybe a bit of both. Just like this post was part masturbation and part agreeing with you while harping on the specifics of exactly where I agree. I do find the "high cultural pursuits" joke hilarious tho'.

It's interesting to note that early human societies that used cannabis for various things were the same groups that developed agriculture, the wheel, animal husbandry, urban dwelling and other high cultural pursuits. Cultures that did not have access to cannabis did not develop these advances. Hank, as much as I agree with you (and always have and always will) on the harmlessness and benefits of pot I have to point out a flaw in this path of thought: agriculture originates from fertile areas where plants grow. Cultivation of plants goes hand in hand with agriculture. The massive resource investment of agriculture (and yield) requires sedentism for cultivation, harvest, conflict resolution (by way of land ownership) and storage of surplus. Animal domestication is heavily reliant in many areas on hand feeding (esp. for non-grazing species, such as pig and chicken) and thus reliant on agricultural surplus. Agriculture gives the benefit of massive (albeit risky) yields of food and can benefit a much larger group than simple or complex hunter-gatherers, leading to much larger civilizations which spread out to reduce chances of collapse by crop failure (i.e. adaptive based trade relations) and often the arable lands were found in specific and restricted areas (such as the Levant, Huang Ho basin and Fertile Crescent) which caused higher population densities. As for the wheel, the need for such a device is completely lacking in highly mobile groups of hunter-gatherers who have an incredibly small tool-kit and have other means of burden such as dogs (which are a pre-agricultural domesticate) and possibly hand sleds or travois. The usefulness of a wheel comes into play when large amounts of relatively inexpensive goods (such as grain) need to be transported - the need of which is usually a result of agricultural complexity. Agriculture is actually somewhat maladaptive: you tend to invest more energy into production than you are returned. This might explain why during the Mesolithic Linear Bandkeramik groups along the Danube practiced agriculture while hunter-gatherer groups which they traded with in the uplands area away from the river co-existed with them without the desire to adopt the same technology. The cultivation or use of marijuana leading to agriculture is sort of affirming the consequent when there are much more readily plausible reasons why agriculture arose rather than pipe dreaming. It's a dangerous assertion to state that marijuana is a catalyst for human action. It's equally dangerous to look at technology or craft specialization (aka "high culture" - also a by-product of agriculture by way of sedentism) as a boon to all cultures, because frankly it isn't. Face it, we're opportunists - what works for some in certain circumstances just doesn't cut it for others. Not to say that the sticky-icky doesn't inspire me to be creative.

In "How To Make a Real-Looking Ghost"

This ghost would look better with stink lines.

In "Roy Scheider dead at 75."

Farewell and adieu to ye fine works, Roy Scheider, Farewell and adieu and that's all she wrote, Although you've been Benway and Levy and Russo, Your eulogy will need a bigger boat.

In "Last vinyl record factory in Canada closes"

It struck me a while back that whole generations of kids are growing up without the simple but fulfilling joy of playing records at the wrong speed. Bzuh? It struck me that everyone in this thread has overlooked one of the four elements of hip-hop: turntablism. The kids still love vinyl at the wrong speed. pete, a friend of mine just released his latest album on vinyl here in the frozen north. I have no idea where he had it done, but he paid a lot more for it. Mostly for aesthetic love of vinyl. Mostly.

In ""

Let the dialectic flow...

In "Curious George:"

There is nothing wrong with being a fan of the Sens (not that I'd walk down that alley), but if you're from TO and you're a fan of the Leafs... well, I hope you're sterile. If you're from the Maritimes and you root for the Leafs, that's pretty much par for the dollar. The reason that it's Leafs and not Leaves, by the way, is because it's short for Leafblowers. You know, those wind machines that run on gas. I think they also have a suck setting. As seen on TV.

psst, curieux, it's NL, not NF, my pa c'rected me on it t'other day, b'y.

In "What makes us moral."

I'm amazed that those kids got to preschool without being socialized one iota by their parents, lucky barstads. Morality is as fictional as red beans and rice.

In "The Spelling bee champ"

Okay, okay. We all see it different. Sometimes chickens, sometimes feathers. And you're right, Koko: there's no point wasting any more of our time on why he's obnoxious.

In "Mutating pictures."

I think they're kinda predispositioning you to see faces with the question: How much does this look like a face? Yeah; don't think of an elephant.

In "The Spelling bee champ"

You say assertive, I say hostile. Po-tay-toes, po-tay-toes. Assertive would mean he actually let the interviewer know how he felt or got his message, whatever that should be, across in spite of the poor interview. More like passive-assertive. However you paint it: asshole. Decades of experience are no excuse for Lou Reed; inexperience is no excuse for this kid. Shitty behaviour is shitty behaviour; I don't care whether you're a seasoned pro or a snotty kid: you're a bastard. Fuck excusing people because you identify with them. Maybe I did that kind of anti-social shit when I was 13; I don't anymore because I have respect for other people which doesn't diminish for minor slights in spite of my knowledge that we are all essentially garbage - in fact that is what makes us all somewhat equal.

(limited to the most recent 20 comments)