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Topics - ravenscape

You know what to do.
Genetic analysis of 11,500-year-old DNA from an infant found at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in Interior Alaska is evidence of a previously unknown population of ancient people in North America. The researchers - whose findings were published January 3, 2018 in the journal Nature - have named the new group "Ancient Beringians."

Nature Article for those who have access:

Popsci article for the rest of us:

And an essay by Professor Ben Potter, a lead scientist on the study.

Cool pictures:

Good article.  I can so relate to the sense that some weeks are months long.  The stress of staying informed, involved and aware of all the insanity that we have no control over right now is overwhelming sometimes.

You're probably angry, too. And likely also frustrated, and sad, and so tired you could burst into tears at any given moment. Hours feel like days, and last week was approximately seven months ago. The Trump administration is bombarding the country with so much cruelty and incompetence that simply following the news for a day carries the stress of anywhere from five to seven major breakups.

Keeping track of national political headlines can be a Sisyphean task, as we respond to each new emergency, regularly questioning what is and isn't "normal" based on the metric of an ever-shifting status quo. Indeed, keeping your eye on the ball has become a task best suited for Argus Panoptes, the mythological beast whose hundred eyes would probably still lose track of a few tertiary developments in the Russia investigation. Sometimes simply staying up to speed is an accomplishment. And yet we must.

This is what is required of us now, but really, it was required of us all along. Democracy was always intended to be a dynamic process fueled by active civic engagement. Perhaps the one optimistic take on this godforsaken year is that we've begun to recall that the American project is not a historical accomplishment to be celebrated but instead an ongoing process of figuring out how we ought to live together.

In the several decades since November 8, 2016, we have begun to reinterrogate the meaning of lowercase-d democratic citizenship. Propelled by the necessity of feeling some type of way about Trump, we are a nation newly engaged in the stuff of participatory democracy. This was set off with the bright flare of the Women's March, which, with estimates of between 3 million and 5 million participants in this country, was "likely the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history," according to The Washington Post. Since then, we've settled into a national habit of regularly contacting elected officials, which began the week following the inauguration. In just the first week of February, the Senate received as many as 1.5 million calls per day, according to the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Lots more at the link above.
When it's all said and done, is this a tax cut or tax increase for you?

On the off chance that we're not looking at the final version, or you learn more about how the bill affects you personally, you can change your vote in this poll.

Suspect is from Bangladesh.  The detonation caused burns on the suspect's hands and abdomen and gave two victims headaches/ringing ears.

Judge Alex Kozinski, former chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Yes that 9th circuit.

As a judge, Kozinski has addressed the topic of sexual harassment in important ways. In 1991, he joined an opinion that decided such cases should be judged from the perspective of the victims, using what was then called the "reasonable woman" standard. The opinion, written by then-Judge Robert R. Beezer, noted pointedly, "Conduct that many men consider unobjectionable may offend many women."

Beezer died in 2012. Kozinski himself wrote about sexual harassment in 1992, commenting on how legal remedies could come with unforeseen consequences.

He wrote that men "must be aware of the boundaries of propriety and learn to stay well within them," while women "must be vigilant of their rights, but must also have some forgiveness for human foibles: misplaced humor, misunderstanding, or just plain stupidity."

He acknowledged, though, that the problem of harassment was a real one.

"But who knew, who understood, that it was quite so pervasive," Kozinski wrote. "Apparently most women did, while most men did not. It was the best-kept secret of modern times."

What an utter slimeball :(

That's all the 9th circuit needs - a Trump appointed appeals court judge.
Mafia / Omelas: Day 4
A child of nine or ten sits at
the edge of the crowd, alone, playing on a wooden flute. People pause to listen, and they smile,
but they do not speak to him, for he never ceases playing and never sees them, his dark eyes
wholly rapt in the sweet, thin magic of the tune.

He finishes, and slowly lowers his hands holding the wooden flute.

As if that little private silence were the signal, all at once a trumpet sounds from the
pavilion near the starting line: imperious, melancholy, piercing

As if awakened by the trumpet, the crowd moves onward to the Green.  The child with the flute stays seated on the wall.  He holds the flute like it has suddenly become a strange object, fingers exploring the keys and eyes taking in every detail of it's construction.

Abruptly, he stands and places the flute gently down on the wall.  Without a backward glance, he walks slowly northward, eyes fixed on the mountains beyond the hills

teeming brown mass was a

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

In Omelas
1. ksen
2. borealis
4. Y.B
5. Nostrum
7. divagreen
12. laughingdog
13. nesb
14. MikeS

11. rachmarie, Horse Rider,
9. Magicziggy, Brewer
8. timewave, Drooz merchant
10. gib, Farmer
6. TestyCalibrate, Horse Rider
3. teeming brown mass, Flautist

Day 4 Begins!

Nightfall is at Noon US Eastern TIme (8 PM GMT) Saturday, December 9
Mafia / Omelas: Day 3
What else, what else belongs in the joyous city? The sense of victory, surely, the celebration of courage. But as we did
without clergy, let us do without soldiers. The joy built upon successful slaughter is not the right
kind of joy; it will not do; it is fearful and it is trivial. A boundless and generous contentment, a
magnanimous triumph felt not against some outer enemy but in communion with the finest and
fairest in the souls of all men everywhere and the splendor of the world's summer; this is what
swells the hearts of the people of Omelas, and the victory they celebrate is that of life. I really
don't think many of them need to take drooz.

Excitement is in the air as you make your way back to the great field.  You stop at a provisioner's booth and select a sweet, buttery pastry stuffed with fresh figs and cheese.  You munch happily as you watch the youth on their horses line up for the first race of the day.  The horses' hindquarters are bunched, ready to leap forward.  The wait goes on...and on.  Anticipation turns to anxiety as you scan your neighbors in the crowd.  Someone is missing.  Your eyes leap to the northern hills.  And yes, a figure makes its way to the top of steep trail. Just before descending on the other side, he looks back.  His hand raises, but stops short of a wave.  And then he turns and is gone.

Gib was a

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

In Omelas
1. ksen
2. borealis
3. teeming brown mass
4. Y.B
5. Nostrum
6. TestyCalibrate
7. divagreen
12. laughingdog
13. nesb
14. MikeS

11. rachmarie, Horse Rider,
9. Magicziggy, Brewer
8. timewave, Drooz merchant
10. gib, Farmer

Day 3 Begins!

Nightfall is at Midnight US Eastern TIme (8 PM GMT) Friday, December 8
Mafia / Omelas: Day 2
Omelas sounds in my words like a city in a fairy tale, long ago and far away, once upon a time.
Perhaps it would be best if you imagined it as your own fancy bids, assuming it will rise to the
occasion, for certainly I cannot suit you all. For instance, how about technology? I think that
there would be no cars or helicopters in and above the streets; this follows from the fact that the
people of Omelas are happy people. Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is
necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive. In the middle
category, however - that of the unnecessary but undestructive, that of comfort, luxury,
exuberance, etc. -- they could perfectly well have central heating, subway trains,. washing
machines, and all kinds of marvelous devices not yet invented here, floating light-sources,
fuelless power, a cure for the common cold. Or they could have none of that: it doesn't matter.
As you like it. I incline to think that people from towns up and down the coast have been coming
in to Omelas during the last days before the Festival on very fast little trains and double-decked
trams, and that the train station of Omelas is actually the handsomest building in town, though
plainer than the magnificent Farmers' Market. But even granted trains, I fear that Omelas so far
strikes some of you as goody-goody. Smiles, bells, parades, horses, bleh. If so, please add an
orgy. If an orgy would help, don't hesitate. Let us not, however, have temples from which issue
beautiful nude priests and priestesses already half in ecstasy and ready to copulate with any man
or woman, lover or stranger who desires union with the deep godhead of the blood, although that
was my first idea. But really it would be better not to have any temples in Omelas - at least, not
manned temples. Religion yes, clergy no. Surely the beautiful nudes can just wander about,
offering themselves like divine souffles to the hunger of the needy and the rapture of the flesh.
Let them join the processions. Let tambourines be struck above the copulations, and the glory of
desire be proclaimed upon the gongs, and (a not unimportant point) let the offspring of these
delightful rituals be beloved

You gather once more on the field.  Youths are once again cantering their horses about, and the aroma of delicious pastries waft from the colorful food tents.  The crowd seems smaller than yesterday.  You look about, wondering who is missing, and notice a solitary figure toiling up the hillside to the north of Omelas.  With a squint, you can make out that the figure is Magicziggy. 

He has left Omelas.  Somehow, you're not sure he left voluntarily.  He keeps looking back over his shoulder wistfully.

Magicziggy was a

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

In Omelas
1. ksen
2. borealis
3. teeming brown mass
4. Y.B
5. Nostrum
6. TestyCalibrate
7. divagreen
8. timewave
10. gib
12. laughingdog
13. nesb
14. MikeS

11. rachmarie, Horse Rider,
9. Magicziggy, Brewer

Day 2 Begins!

Nightfall is at Noon US Eastern TIme (8 PM GMT) Wednesday, December 6
Mafia / Omelas: Day 1
With a clamor of bells that set the swallows soaring, the Festival of Summer came to the
city Omelas, bright-towered by the sea. The rigging of the boats in harbor sparkled with flags. In
the streets between houses with red roofs and painted walls, between old moss-grown gardens
and under avenues of trees, past great parks and public buildings, processions moved. Some were
decorous: old people in long stiff robes of mauve and grey, grave master workmen, quiet, merry
women carrying their babies and chatting as they walked. In other streets the music beat faster, a
shimmering of gong and tambourine, and the people went dancing, the procession was a dance.
Children dodged in and out, their high calls rising like the swallows' crossing flights, over the
music and the singing. All the processions wound towards the north side of the city, where on the
great water-meadow called the Green' Fields boys and girls, naked in the bright air, with mudstained
feet and ankles and long, lithe arms, exercised their restive horses before the race. The
horses wore no gear at all but a halter without bit. Their manes were braided with streamers of
silver, gold, and green. They flared their nostrils and pranced and boasted to one another; they
were vastly excited, the horse being the only animal who has adopted our ceremonies as his own.
Far off to the north and west the mountains stood up half encircling Omelas on her bay. The air
of morning was so clear that the snow still crowning the Eighteen Peaks burned with white-gold
fire across the miles of sunlit air, under the dark blue of the sky. There was just enough wind to
make the banners that marked the racecourse snap and flutter now and then. In the silence of the
broad green meadows one could hear the music winding through the city streets, farther and
nearer and ever approaching, a cheerful faint sweetness of the air that from time to time trembled
and gathered together and broke out into the great joyous clanging of the bells.


1. ksen
2. borealis
3. teeming brown mass
4. Y.B
5. Nostrum
6. TestyCalibrate
7. divagreen
8. timewave
9. Magicziggy
10. gib
11. rachmarie
12. laughingdog
13. nesb
14. MikeS

Day 1 Begins!

Nightfall is at Midnight US Eastern TIme (8 AM GMT) Tuesday, December 5
Mafia / Omelas Peanut Gallery
The "usual" rules apply:

1. Do not talk about this game outside the thread, unless your role PM allows you to do so.
2. Do not quote your role PM or any other PM's sent by me in the game thread. This includes screenshots.
3. Do not edit or delete your own or anyone else's posts.
4. Do not use tiny font or otherwise hard-to-read text.
5. Do not use any ciphers or codes to encrypt in plain sight.
6. To vote, type "##VOTE <Player Name>##" in bold text.  If you choose to elect a mayor, use the same format, but make the font blue as well as bold.
7. This is a timed game. Majority is not required for a lynch or mayor vote. Whoever has the most votes at nightfall will be lynched unless some other game mechanic takes precedence.
8. Players who do not post enough in my judgement will be subbed out or godkilled at my discretion.

Day 1 will be 48-ish hours long.  Night 1 will be 12 hours long.  All subsequent days will be 24 hours long, and all subsequent nights will be 12 hours long.

I reserve the right to add to this list of rules and make other on-the-fly changes to the game.  I don't anticipate doing either.
Mafia / Omelas Mafia Sign-ups
You know the drill.
Politics and Current Events / Home grown Vote tampering
A computer server crucial to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials was quietly wiped clean by its custodians just after the suit was filed, The Associated Press has learned.

The server's data was destroyed July 7 by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University, which runs the state's election system. The data wipe was revealed in an email sent last week from an assistant state attorney general to plaintiffs in the case that was later obtained by the AP. More emails obtained in a public records request confirmed the wipe.

The lawsuit, filed on July 3 by a diverse group of election reform advocates, aims to force Georgia to retire its antiquated and heavily criticized election technology. The server in question, which served as a statewide staging location for key election-related data, made national headlines in June after a security expert disclosed a gaping security hole that wasn't fixed six months after he reported it to election authorities.

Science / Breakthrough Pain Treatment or Snake Oil?

You may have heard of resveratrol. It's a compound in red wine that was supposed to have all sorts of healthful properties. Wine, however, doesn't have enough resveratrol to provide any real benefits. But Price and his colleagues were able to show that using concentrated resveratrol in a cream applied to the skin relieved pain in animals.

When something appears to work in animals, the next step is typically a clinical trial to test it in people. "The reason we couldn't do that is pretty simple," Price says. Clinical trials are expensive, and "we couldn't raise the money to do it."

So he's selling it on the internet.

For $19 you can conduct your own personal clinical trial.
Politics and Current Events / Putin: To the US with Love?
If I'm reading the article correctly, the WH isn't exactly denying this is a thing that happened.

I thought about lumping this into one of the mega threads, but I think this article discusses some overarching stuff that really doesn't deserved to be buried in those threads.

Mines concluded that the United States faces a sixty-per-cent chance of civil war over the next ten to fifteen years. Other experts' predictions ranged from five per cent to ninety-five per cent. The sobering consensus was thirty-five per cent. And that was five months before Charlottesville.
"We keep saying, 'It can't happen here,' but then, holy smokes, it can," Mines told me after we talked, on Sunday, about Charlottesville. The pattern of civil strife has evolved worldwide over the past sixty years. Today, few civil wars involve pitched battles from trenches along neat geographic front lines. Many are low-intensity conflicts with episodic violence in constantly moving locales. Mines's definition of a civil war is large-scale violence that includes a rejection of traditional political authority and requires the National Guard to deal with it. On Saturday, McAuliffe put the National Guard on alert and declared a state of emergency.
Based on his experience in civil wars on three continents, Mines cited five conditions that support his prediction: entrenched national polarization, with no obvious meeting place for resolution; increasingly divisive press coverage and information flows; weakened institutions, notably Congress and the judiciary; a sellout or abandonment of responsibility by political leadership; and the legitimization of violence as the "in" way to either conduct discourse or solve disputes.
Politics and Current Events / Guillotine Insurance

Conservative elites appear to be noticing the tang of sharp metal on the early morning breeze.

This sounds horrific.  I feel terrible for the friends and families of those who haven't made it out.
Politics and Current Events / Macron
Emmanuel Macron takes lessons from the Sun King

Very curious as to idea of Harambe's take on this article.

sneak peek

Emmanuel Macron's decision to open up Louis XIV's palace in Versailles for Russia's Vladimir Putin at the end of May made perfect sense for the newly elected French leader who once defined his future presidential style as "Jupiterian".

As a matter of fact, the Hall of Mirrors features a painting by Charles Le Brun depicting Louis the Great holding thunder, the symbol of the king of the Roman gods, French historian Joël Cornette tells me. There are further similarities. It looks very much, Mr Cornette observes, as though the president -- who has hailed Charles de Gaulle and François Mitterrand as model "republican monarchs" -- has carefully studied the Sun King.

"President Macron seems keen to look impenetrable, distant, sovereign -- the trademark of Louis XIV," he says. Like the absolute monarch, who was the first king to take communication seriously (with Jean-Baptiste Colbert as France's first communication, or propaganda, adviser), Mr Macron appears intent on carefully crafting his image.
A neo-Nazi with explosives and a framed photo of Timothy McVeigh is not a threat, judge rules

Brandon Russell is capable of making a bomb -- and he admitted doing so.

Officials believe he also participated in neo-Nazi chat rooms where he threatened to kill people and blow up places.

Investigators found guns, ammunition and white supremacist propaganda in his bedroom, court records say. A framed photograph of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was on his dresser.

Prosecutors believe those reasons should keep Russell behind bars while he awaits trial on federal charges. A judge, however, disagreed and decided that Russell can be released on bond.

In a ruling Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas McCoun III of a federal-district court in Tampa said he does not believe there's "clear and convincing evidence" that Russell is a threat to the community. Russell, 21, was charged last month with possession of unregistered destructive devices and unlawful storage of explosive material.