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Ardipithecus ramidus

Here's my story on a huge discovery about human origins.


Ardi lived 4.4 million years ago in the woodlands of East Africa. She spent most of her time in the trees. She stood about four feet tall, weighed 110 pounds, and had long arms, short legs, and a grasping big toe that was perfect for clambering branch to branch. She ate in the trees, raised her offspring in the trees, slept in the trees.

But sometimes she came down to the ground, and stood upright. She could walk on two legs. She was, in a sense, taking baby steps on a journey that would change the world.

"Ardi" is the nickname given to a remarkable, shattered skeleton that an international team of scientists believes is a major breakthrough in the study of human origins. The skeletal remains were painstakingly recovered from the Ethiopian desert along with bones from at least 35 other members of a species scientists call Ardipithecus ramidus. The 15-year investigation of Ardipithecus culminated Thursday in the publication of a raft of papers in the online edition of the journal Science, as well as dual press conferences in Washington and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"This is huge. This is the biggest discovery really since the 'Lucy' skeleton of the 1970s," said Carol Ward, a University of Missouri paleoanthropologist who was not involved with the research but had been given a preview so that she could offer an independent assessment.

Human origins is a field with high stakes and small bones, and the elaborate roll-out of the Ardipithecus research probably will trigger debate about the message contained in fossils so fragile they had to be excavated with dental picks and porcupine quills. If the scientists who found Ardi are correct, she represents a transitional figure, almost a hybrid -- a tree creature who could carry food in her arms as she explored the woodland floor on two legs.

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 1, 2009; 11:10 AM ET
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First? Oh, this is so cool. It brings all my memories back from my African trip. Let us not lose the fact that Ardi were a woman. . . .

Terrific news.

Posted by: -ftb- | October 1, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

How cool is this? I was just on another page on the Post, and a box popped up blaring a link to Joel's story. I think the man deserves a raise.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I am blocked from viewing any comments on all WaPo stories. Much less adding to them.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 1, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I do want to see a good artist's rendering of that big toe of Ardi's.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 1, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

And so the Death Spiral continues. Porn, NFL, evolution- JA has become a total comment hoe. Forget about any more kits on astronomy or his daughter's college choices, from now on it's going to be nothing but alien autopsies and "finding her G-spot."

Posted by: kguy1 | October 1, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

So Ardi has her own special issue of Science magazine, most of which will be free-access this afternoon. Very, very unusual.

I'm waiting for Nature to publish Aldipithecus and Asdapithecus.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 1, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Lived in trees?

I would have expected a Ramidus Inn.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 1, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm continually amazed at those palentologists who can just walk around staring at the ground and say,"Hey, this a a bone fragment, not a pebble." I haven't ever so much as found an arrowhead, let alone significant fossil.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 1, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

SCC: ..a significant fossil.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 1, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Favorite line:
"The origin of the human species via evolution from earlier primates is beyond scientific dispute."

That's gonna get some letters to the editor.

The story gonna be on A-1 above the fold tomorrow?

Posted by: wiredog | October 1, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

This is a fascinating find, and well timed for me personally. I am listening to the audiobook of "Your Inner Fish" by Neil Shubin who discusses the many insights that arise whenever a new discovery like this is made. And after reading about those dental picks and porcupine quills, I have a lot more appreciation for the precision required to uncover a fossil. I guess I can add this to the long list of jobs I would be dreadful at.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 1, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

That article by Joel's is outstanding because it subtly and elegantly corrects so much of the disinformation floating about among the general population. You know, falsehoods like the old chestnut that people evolved from monkeys. Or the idea that there was a linear progression of hominids. This is the kind of science writing that doesn't just inform, it also educates.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 1, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

We saw tons of mostly dinosaur fossils at a museum in Parrsboro, NS last summer. I have no idea how they tell a fossil from a bump or a fracture in a rock. I also agree that there is no way I'd have the patience to pick through dirt with a porcupine quill, I'd be digging with a shovel and ruin everything. I do think Ardi is a very interesting find even tho' I know nothing about this subject at all. I just don't get the 'creationists' at all. How can one not be convinced by all the evidence and why can't they believe that God could have done all of it himself - just over a much longer time period than six thousand years!

Posted by: badsneakers | October 1, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, RD -- monkeys evolved from us, the ungrateful little beasts. But do they ever write? No, it's like they never even learned how.

Picking out those pesky little bones seems like a perfect task for Aspies -- if one's interest inclines that way. An Aspie trait is the ability -- or tendency -- to hyper-focus on a subject of interest. It depends which trait is stronger -- one's OCD, or one's ADD.

I liked the precision of specifying "beyond SCIENTIFIC dispute."

ebtnut, I was stunned to discover, during my fossilized vacation in June, just how easy it was to spot dinosaur bones on the ground once I had trained my brain to see them. They were everywhere. Gastroliths, too.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 1, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

They had art?

Posted by: Boko999 | October 1, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Loved the article Joel. Speaking of the fossil past, I have a question for boodlers of scientific bent. When did tongues originate? (don't try googling "tongue origins"). I know, it's a weird question, but it cropped up after a comment about that must be like getting licked by a T-Rex. Lizards have tongues, amphibians have tongues, fish? Inquiring minds want to know, if only to make bad jokes.

Posted by: km2bar | October 1, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

RD, I agree with you, Joel's article is subtle and elegant, and I believe rather pointed in spots.

When I first read it, the phrase "beyond scientific dispute" struck me as quite deft. Those who parse science to fit their worldview may simply dispute it by bringing something other than science to bear -- such as faith.

I believe that those who have already made up their minds about cosmology, creation, evolution, or anything else having to do with the 'verse and humanity's place in it are unlikely to change them no matter how much evidence is brought to bear.

Even Einstein resisted aspects of quantum mechanics (e.g. the Copenhagen Interpretation) and the idea of a probablisitc universe.


Posted by: -bc- | October 1, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Now, if we can only find Ardi's associate Laurel, we'll have some evidence for the origin of comedy.

Posted by: byoolin1 | October 1, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I have a question related to the creationists. In the movie "Inherit the Wind" the actor playing Clarance Darrow questions how long a "day" is for God. Is it 24 hours, 24 months, 24 centuries? Did that in fact happen at the real Scopes trial?

Posted by: ebtnut | October 1, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

km2bar, my grand-mother was making a preserved cod tongues and fish-maw stew. I know from experience that trout and bass have short tongues, they're nothing like a cod's but you can't miss it. But those are modern fish, I don't know about old fish like sharks and rays.

Anyone knows waht "asdi" stands for?

Are the restaurants closed between sunrise and sunset at the Ramadan Inn?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 1, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

She's not very pretty. I was hoping for a look a bit more human-oid.,0,318701.photogallery

Posted by: nellie4 | October 1, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

California jumps on the earthquake bandwagon.

Posted by: nellie4 | October 1, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Fossill, schmossill. Guess who's coming back to the Hundred Acre Wood? No, Kate and Jon aren't re-uniting. Somebody else.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 1, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Science doesn't have the whole thing up yet. Here's the short version:

It's fun being out with different sorts of scientists. A tiger beetle specialist was probably the most fun--all sorts of activity along a little sand path in Tiger Creek Preserve, home of a very local tiger beetle.

Go around with an archaeologist and potsherds show up.

Bear footprints don't look remotely like deer. You have to adjust your brain to look for the footprints of barefooted humans, or humans wearing those weird Vibram five-toe barefoot-like shoe things. Someone wearing Vibrams will be mistaken for yeti.

Birds? You gotta listen.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 1, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The basic answer to your question about the real Scopes trial, ebt, is "no." There really was a discussion of that question, but Bryan never held to a literal interpretation of "day" as being 24 hours, etc. He said during the trial that a "day" could have been a metaphor for a geological epoch, and had in fact been saying that for years.

When Lawrence and Lee wrote the screenplay, they condensed and somewhat unfairly chopped up Bryan's testimony to reflect that.

The actual confrontation between Bryan and Darrow only lasted about two hours before the judge decided the whole thing was irrelevant and stopped the testimony.

The actor playing Darrow (the character's name was changed to Henry Drummond in the play and movie) was the late great Spencer Tracy. Frederick March was equally good playing Matthew Brady (Bryan).

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 1, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The phrase "beyond scientific dispute" doesn't sit well with me. One of the foundations of science is dispute. We thought we knew all sorts of things beyond dispute that we now know were false, or at least incomplete.

I know what Joel was trying to say, I know why he was trying to say it, and I agree that it ought to be said. But I don't think he got it exactly right, and I don't know how to phrase it for the news-consuming audience.

Posted by: tomsing | October 1, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Aw, man . . .

I just got an email from a dear friend in Stockholm who told me that she has breast cancer. The good news is that she only had to have a lumpectomy (no lymph nodes compromised), but she's had to have chemo and radiation -- full bore. She's lost her long hair, but she has luckily (!!!) had no sickness at all associated with the chemo. Nevertheless, she wrote that the level of exhaustion is unfathomable.

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I plan to make a donation in her name. It's the least I can do. She and I have known each other for 34 years. Longtime friends are good friends to have.

And so are imaginary friends.

Posted by: -ftb- | October 1, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I also wonder where that paragraph came from. When I first read it, it didn't seem to fit the tone of the rest of the article. I suppose that feeling may have resulted from a recognition that it was going to stir the pot in the article's comments, but I'm curious - was it in the first draft?

Posted by: tomsing | October 1, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

FYI, at 3 p.m. (EST) some guy named Achenbach will be having a live chat about Ardi at

Post your questions now if you wish.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 1, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Heck, there is no way to read my mind and measure my sense of self, my awareness of my place in the universe. Shear poetry.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone has dreamed of being an archeologist at least once in their lifetime... however....

"excavated with dental picks and porcupine quills"???

... must be hard on the back and eyes... glad I chose a job in a chair!

Posted by: MissToronto | October 1, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

that being said, I guess a computer screen and mouse are no better at times...

Posted by: MissToronto | October 1, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

RE: Joel's live chat This discussion has been canceled. :-(

Posted by: skiohio | October 1, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Discussion's cancelled.

I kind of like the idea of taking a huge block of rock to the lab, then picking away at it from 7:30 to 4:30 for the next decade. So much more comfy than doing things in the field.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 1, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

ftb - sorry to hear about your friend. Sounds as if she's going to be fine. Isn't it wonderful that we can now be somewhat confident that women will come through this ordeal? Just the idea of a lumpectomy reassures me - they don't think it's so bad they have to do anything *too* drastic.

I got word last night that a family member had premature rupture of membranes at 31 weeks gestation. She'll be in the hospital until delivery, which they're going to try to postpone till 34 weeks. In her case, too, the prospects look good for everything ending well.

Side note - for all of you Achenbloggers who are atheists or agnostics (as am I) - what do you say/do when someone asks you to pray for someone in trouble? I always say "I'll keep her/him in my thoughts." It sounds lame. I don't want to distract anyone by loudly trumpeting "oh no you don't, I'm an *atheist*" but I don't want to just meekly acquiesce. On the other hand, when my husband died I was strangely pleased by all of the "we're praying for you" comments. Made me feel cared for and comforted, which is what was intended. Of course I thanked people when they said that.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 1, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

They canceled it because no one sent in any questions. I guess human evolution just isn't something that people care about.

Posted by: joelache | October 1, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

We care about evolution. There just hasn't been enough time to read and digest the new development and come up with questions.

Some of us are slow. Or maybe it's just me.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 1, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

That's ridiculous. We would all have sent in questions!

I now own the condo. And speaking of the condo, I'm off to clean it. There is something luxurious about not having to move a single piece of furniture to get a house really clean.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Wheezy. I feel much the same way you do about that (are we *sure* we're not related? You know, on the lesser dysfunctional side?). It is an expression of sympathy, after all. I think that instead of fulminating, it's simply better (and easier) to thank them and ignore the more icky parts of it. "Icky" being a relative term, of course.

Posted by: -ftb- | October 1, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Seems that they forgot to tell Joel, Mudge. Or, maybe EST stands for East Siam Time.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 1, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

YAY, Yoki! Wanna come over and clean my condo, too?


Enjoy the experience, and whatever you do, do NOT run for the Board, unless everyone else on it can certify that they are not control freak idiots. Really.

Posted by: -ftb- | October 1, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy -- theist here. I feel fine about "keeping a good thought" as a saying. Very human to invoke special emotion in times of need and sorrow and worry.

I think this could be "praying" with a lower case p. Let's say that praying with an upper case P might invoke a specific deity to comfort, shelter, save, provide a miracle, soften the blow, give strength....

Not lame at all; honest, I think. And, I glad to hear that prayers said comforted you, despite being a non theist. I am sometimes uncomfortable offering prayer. However, would be odd for me to say "kind thoughts" when I am not thinking but in fact requesting from God that love and comfort and in deed a miracle descend upon the person who I name.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 1, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe the discussion was too "scientifically" oriented. Maybe if the discussion had been titled something like "Evolution Confirmed - Creation Debunked" things would have livened up a bit.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 1, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

JOEL! Is that a measure, the column of pre-chat questions. EGAHD we could have been a titanic-sized collection of tipping points....I try to do questions during that chats but then again NEVER BEEN CHOSEN save for a color idea for the Home Chat:

Pratt and Lambert's Blanc mange -- the best interior warm white/ghosted yellow for a house with lots of shade.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 1, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

VOLUME of pre chat Qs

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 1, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

They should have said "The discussion has been moved to the Achenblog."


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 1, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

House party at Yoki's! No furniture means easy clean-up on the merlot spills.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Four feet tall, long arms, opposable toes. Sounds like a fun date. Any word on if her head was flat?

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Fingerling (thick) sweet potatoes scrubbed. What should I do with these? When larger, I bake and the prep into a dip or side dish with cayenne and plain yogurt.

I HATE sweetie sw.po. dishes. Any ideas for savory and tiny such comestibles?

And NO, CPBOY does not have to like this. May sequester them for my.self.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 1, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

CqP... if you are ready for a bad moment, I have some very tasty pulled pork and homemade sauce.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 1, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I have folding chairs. Bring back the TV tray!

Posted by: russianthistle | October 1, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

JA- Was there really a comments purge on the article?

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 1, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

RT -- not at all bad unless you mean "baaaaad" as in good, as in teen dude speak.

Would love some. Fax away.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 1, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

CqP, cube 'em, toss in a little olive oil, and roast with parmesan on top.

I agree with you on prayer, CqP. When I first skimmed Augustine's Confessions, oh, 35 years ago, I was rather offended at the thought that prayer should occupy much time. Now I understand better, and am better (not great) at prayer myself. I don't tell someone I will pray for them unless I actually do.

In addition to thoughts and prayers, I also ask if there is anything I can do, and do it if there is.

Posted by: slyness | October 1, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Fax'ed, miss p. Oh... this has to be bad, it is so good. Followed a caterer's recipe/approach/suggestion and it was near perfect. I did cook it a bit longer than suggested, which had it's pluses and minuses, but I wanted to get most of the fat out of the pork shoulders.

btw, hope all is well!!!

Posted by: russianthistle | October 1, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

CqP, you are making me crazy for potatoes!!! I think I might get some a bit later... dipped in a sour cream and blue cheese sauce.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 1, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Middlin, RT, thanks for hoping. Which is like a kind thought!

Slyness -- one boodle thingie for me is that I will pray for most recently

friend of FTB, with BrCA.

And, in my worldview, I do know who this person is but God does. Nice completed circle by the Deity.

I guess prayer invokes the supernatural. Thoughts invoke the natural kindness and affection that people can share, especially when suffering strikes.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 1, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Joel thanks for the thoughtful presentation of the Ardi story. I also would echo the praise of your presentation of myth and misunderstandings of evolution, science and theories.

Also, the neat thing you also present is the amount of work and effort and actual love of their task that the scientists share. Your questions and the answers that they provoke are so revealing. Again,

Posted by: russianthistle | October 1, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

DO NOT know. Sheesh...back to my corner with my dunce hat on....and me a teach and all.

I blame the 66 papers marked and commented upon....Yep that is it.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 1, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I will think whatever thoughts that will help ftb's friend whether they invoke a deity or not.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Cut down, cut up, split and stacked a hickory tree today. I guess the new dose of thyroid med works as advertised.

Funny that Project Gutenberg does not have the Scopes Trial. Here's another site:

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 1, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

So. Are all comments disabled on WaPo today excepting blogs, or are there actual comments on Joel's Ardicle that I am unable to see?

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 1, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Middlin to me is good. We all can hope for better, but anyone who has been "struck" by this economic disaster can only hope to find some comfort and some level of normalcy.

You know, CpQ, I love talking to people, but there are some folks with whom I just can't talk because our experiences have so gone in different directions and there is a sense from them that, if one is having issues, it is some personal shortcoming or fault.

Funny, I can't talk to them about health care either.

Sorry, I am getting too serious now. I will go back to silliness.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 1, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Found this on the Internet for ya CqP:

Sweet Potato Biscuit Recipe

2 cups sweet potato - cooked and mashed
4 cups self-rising flour
1 stick butter - melted
1/2 tea baking soda
1/2 tea baking powder
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3 Tablespoons sugar

Mix sweet potatoes, butter and milk until well blended. Stir in flour, baking
soda and sugar. Shape into a ball and knead 8-10 times on well floured board.
Roll out 3/4-1 inch thick and cut with 2" biscuit cutter. Bake on a greased baking pan in a preheated
400 degree oven 15-20 minutes until very lightly browned. Fill with some good Smithfield ham and you are good to go!

Makes about 15.

Note: [the author likes] to roughly mash the sweet potatoes instead of smoothly to get little flecks of sweet potato that you can see in the finished biscuits.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 1, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

There are comments on Joel's article, but none before 2:42 when the alleged purge took place. The ones that are there are the typical "God Said It, I Believe It" I-didn't-come-from-apes trash and the silly responses.

I can never see comments on the news stories under Firefox regardless of OS. I always have to fire up IE to do that which is just as well considering the quality of them most times.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Also, julienne them (with skin still on), drizzle with EVOO, and bake to make fries out of them. Consider sprinkling with McCormick's Salad Supreme before baking. Or Old Bay.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 1, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Here's for your dunce hat/cap:

Posted by: russianthistle | October 1, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

RT -- I remain stunned at the reaction of many decent people to a run of bad luck.

The unlucky are blamed at some level....this is simply astonishing to me and actually now quite a winnower of who is worth speaking to about anything important.

Me, done, too with the serious.

Thanks for recips...will divide and try them. Slyness, no baking to prep? Cubed sw.po. and under the long?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 1, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I had to go and look at the comments section of the Ardi article. I don't like NASCAR, but I suppose my desire to stake out a place over there is similar to the NASCAR fans who want to see the wrecks. And let me tell you, there were burning chassis littering the speedway--by that analogy.

Coincidentally, I'm about halfway through Richard Dawkins, "The Greatest Show on Earth" which lays out nicely (although very painstakingly) the factual basis for evolution. I'm a little more of a Steven Jay Gould guy, but I enjoy the subject so I can enjoy Dawkins too.

My favorite comment (other than the typical Genesis quotes) from the original article, "I don't believe in evolution, because what are the chances that a male and female of the same new species evolved at exactly the same time and were able to find each other and mate."

Posted by: Awal | October 1, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

When I recommended julienning "them" with skins still on, and then baking, I was referring to the sweet potatoes, not the idiotic commenters yello just mentioned. But one could julienne the commenters, too (with or without the skin still on), drizzle with EVOO, and bake. They just wouldn't be as good.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 1, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

MUDGE -- hold the presses. I will make OldBAYswpo fries.

Boy WILL EAT THEM. And boy's friends. I shall briefly reign as finest mother in the land.

Doffing my cap to you, kind sir.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 1, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"Briefly" nothing! You reign for as long as you want.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 1, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

RT -- thanks for the clip.

Enjoy Marianna Previti here:

I will see her on Sat with the Smokin Polecats. We may, just may, warm up behind the crowd back in the corner with a few Patsy Cline and Patsy Montana songs.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 1, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tip, yello. I used to leave Eugene Robinson a comment or two if I could beat the crowd. I haven't wanted to in a long time, but I thought I'd read his comments today, and no such luck. I suppose if I tweak IE some more it will start working.

Thanks Awai, now I don't have to!

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 1, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Awal. I'm just bllnd.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 1, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Okay, this is the most disturbing thing I have ever seen. And y'all know that means a lot coming from me. I wouldn't mention it but it graphically shows with the WaPo has resorted to to sell subscriptions. Do not click this link if you can be offended by anything.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Chrome works very well with the WaPo comments software. It's the only browser I have used that really does. Don't ask me why.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 1, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I do want to thank everyone who is (in a manner of speaking) sending good karma to my friend, however the "sending" is done.

As for those who demonize the poor (including after Katrina hit) -- like they deserve their lot in life, I cannot for the life of me imagine why they are doing that *UNLESS* it frightens them so much -- as in "there but the grace of g-d go I" that they think their marginalization of others somehow protects them from a similar fate.

An example is from when I was young (elementary school). My father taught Hebrew at a small new synagogue, and my brother and I were enrolled in Sunday School there. This was a reformed temple. I recall meeting the rabbi maybe once or twice and I do remember him and what he looked like. I will not repeat his name here, though, even though he's been dead for many, many decades. When I was in the second grade, we were abruptly taken out of Sunday School and my father stopped teaching and we no longer had anything to do with that synagogue. In fact, I received no further religious instruction after that (not that I received any before that, but, well, you know). My father's explanation was that the rabbit was found to be an embezzler. I heard the truth about 8 years ago at the 80th birthday party of a friend of my mother's.

The truth was that the rabbi was a Holocaust survivor, and many (I'm certain one of them was my father) turned on him. That the Holocaust was so threatening to these people who geographically was not in the midst of it -- that their first instinct was to further persecute this man -- they expressed their own fear and terror by forcing him out. He moved to Chicago where he became the head of a congregation which extended nothing but love to him, and that's where he lived the rest of his life.

When I found this out, a whole lot of things fell into place for me -- and not only about my father, but about people in general. It is fear which provokes anger and anger which provokes wanton destruction, and annihilation.

I reflect on this from time to time. The rabbi was the stronger, not only because he survived what he survived, but he found what he was looking for eventually. Those who demonized him were weaker, and I believe they knew it.

Like those who think that wearing guns out in the open think it makes them stronger, it only serves to demonstrate their weakness.


BTW, I *love* sweet potatoes. So, save some to fax to me, eh?

Hey Yoki -- Hockey season starts this weekend and the Red Wings are starting their season by playing back-to-back games against St. Louis in Stockholm! Wish I were there! Even now, when it is starting to get darker so much earlier. Nuttin' like a good hockey game to perk ya up, eh?

Posted by: -ftb- | October 1, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

yello-as a sometimes mascot costume wearer that was deeply disturbing.

In a near panic all day. Key to the hip urban loft went missing, last seen in general vicinity of cat who can't leave anything alone. Came home from a meeting and it had magically reappeared.

"I'll keep a good thought" works for me, unless I know someone well enough to offer up "kitty lovin's." Most everyone close enough to ask for intercessory prayer knows of my heathen persuasion.

Meatless Thursday is turning out to be quite enjoyable. Had butternut squash ravioli for a lunch today. Perhaps a little tomato soup for dinner.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 1, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

This science article is no-duh worthy:

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

CqP, good sweet potato fries are to die for. There is a little restaurant in the mountains that specializes in them, I have to be very very careful when I go, not to consume too many.

Posted by: slyness | October 1, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

And the latest in bear home invasion news:

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Frosty the reindeer gone wild:

One of the commenter suggests to put Santa Claus in jail as it is obvious he can't control his animals.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 1, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Discussion cancelled for lack of interest. Weird. The Science-AAAS website is acting as though it's overloaded, and they haven't even posted the good stuff yet!

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 1, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, the only thing worse would have been if that dog had been grinning with his tongue out under the newspaper.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 1, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

j2hess wrote:
"In Ardi's species, the males are not significantly different in size from the females. The males also lack the dagger-like teeth that male chimps use to fight one another for access to ovulating females. Lovejoy argues that this is a sign of a different social organization. The males, he argues, pair-bonded with females. Lovejoy sees male parental investment in the survival of offspring as a hallmark of the human lineage.

"The road to becoming human didn't start with a big brain. The road to becoming human began with setting the social conditions that would allow for the expansion of the big brain," Lovejoy said, reiterating a hypothesis he developed long before the discovery of Ardi."

As long as we are open to rank scientific speculation, my hypothesis is that the disappearance of outward estrus signs (multiplied by monthly rather than annual fertility) lead to the development of intelligence.

No matter what size, no individual male can defend all the females all the time. Not only would the social hierarchy break down, but the genes for dominance would loose reproductive opportunities as individuals of both sexes sought to subvert authority.

With concealed estrus, females can retain male attention on a more or less continual basis, rather than for a few hours or days per cycle.

The motives and opportunities for dissembling, displaying, and competing must have increased by orders of magnitude. The individuals with the greatest social skills and intelligence would have greater reproductive success.

Everything else follows.

(The idea is maybe 10 years old - but I've never had the time to collect the data to test it. Anyone care to contribute $25K so I can buy out some time to work on it?)

Posted by: j2hess | October 1, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

CqP!!! THanks. Was going to go see her old trumpet teacher Jack, but I have no energy. I figure that I will just stay home and work on things that are piling up. Meetings tomorrow and having dinner with a friend in the evening.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 1, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Can't say I didn't warn you.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Sorry the chat was cancelled. Why was it scheduled for today, with no notice? I was out and about when Mudge posted about it, a half hour before it was to start. Half an hour? And why is the word "huge" in single quotes in the headline on the home page? Is it not such a huge discovery? So many questions...

yellojkt, love the Wonkette link.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 1, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

My daughter just told me about this relatively new site (up since August) called "It Made My Day" -- I've been unable to follow the Creationist/Evolution debate on WaPo because I was over there catching up on all the IMMD posts. Here are some highlights:

"Today a ‘tricked out’ convertible drove by me. I could hear the bass line of the music from a street away and braced myself for the inevitable blast of Rap music. The driver was playing Mozart at max volume. IMMD."

"Two days ago I heard the phrase, 'When you come across a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.' IMMD."

"Today I saw a pigeon get pood on by another pigeon. Justice. IMMD"

"I saw a lady taking a power walk, and she had stashed her water bottle between her generously sized breasts. IMMD"

"Today I asked my son what was new and he told me he’s been listening to a lot of Journey lately. IMMD."

"I called my grandma to find out how long until left-over chicken goes bad, she told me to Google it. IMMD."

"Last night, the lightbulb in the bedroom went out, but instead of changing it, my husband just lit candles. IMMD."

"I was sitting in a boring, 90 degree meeting room, and my co-worker pulled out a pocket knife and spent the meeting turning his loafers into open-toed sandals. IMMD."

KB: Today my daughter told me about this new website. It made my day.

Posted by: kbertocci | October 1, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

IMMD is obviously the opposite of FML.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

kb, my daughter showed me a similar site last night, gave me hope, I think is - all uplifting stories.

j2hess - Is that Dr. Lovejoy - I am in a silly mood could not get past tht name.

Awal, loved the quote, I am not that sciency but I got the goofiness of that quote.

Doesn't Hockey start tonight Leafs vs Habs, Calgary vs Canucks? double header on CBC or so the radio I was half listening to mentioned. Sadly Leafs vs Habs does not have the cache it once did.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 1, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

It does! A lot of people in Flames jerseys walking the streets of my neighbourhood (which is a few blocks from the Saddledome and filled with bars and restaurants).

ftb, truer words were never spoke about the heart-lifting qualities of hockey. I think the Flames are doomed this season, but still.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

dmd3: j2hess - Is that Dr. Lovejoy - I am in a silly mood could not get past tht name.

In 5th? grade we had a substitute teacher for a week. She walked into the room and announced:

"Mah name is Mrs. Love - L O V E - and ah ahm from the SOW-UTH."

She was obviously used to such reactions, especially from a bunch of yankee young-uns.

Posted by: j2hess | October 1, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

OK, I just have to share this, even though it is boring to anyone but me.

In the condo there is a cooktop on the long counter that serves as a bar and faces the livingroom-like space (such as it is), and I was distressed that it didn't have a hood fan, since I do so much serious cooking and I *hate* setting off the smoke alarm every evening.

I was wrong. There is a narrow stainless strip above the burners, and when you press the subtly-demarcated button at one end, a fan gentle rises vertically out of the counter and sucks all the steam and fumes downward! It's like something out of The Jetsons!

When you're done, you press the button again and down it goes.

How cool is that?

Did I mention the really nice garbage room? Or that I have a private two-car garage *within* the underground parkade? With a "man-door" and numeric key-pad entry *and* a garage door opener? And a sort of EZ-Pass thingy with an RF chip to stick on my windshield that is scanned by the overhead doors to let me in and out of the parkade?

Everything's up-to-date in Kansas City, my friends.

Hmm. I may be a bit giddy from clean-product fumes.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like the condo is technologically advanced, Yoki. Congratulations on it, and I hope you get everything in its place quickly. Because I want to visit.


Posted by: slyness | October 1, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

SCC: too many to mention, but honourable mention goes to "gentle" and "clean-product." Gently and cleaning, please.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

So frenvious Yoki, since we cannot afford an entire kitchen reno we are redoing just the island, it will not have appliances, just prep and seating area.

However, when we do redo the rest of the kitchen new appliance on on the top of my list, along with a cooktop like yours - I am hoping induction ovens lower in price in the meantime. Cause I need an induction burner for when I make tea which is what I uses the stove for the most - I only do about 20% of the cooking in this house - I love my family way to much to subject them to my cooking.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 1, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little embarrassed by frosbitten's meatless Thursday. I served Multiple Murders in a Cauldron, a.k.a. couscous royal, for dinner. It was excellent even though I did not have ras el hanout on hand when I did it and I was too lazy to get off my lardass and go to the ras el hanout store to buy some. My substitute homemade blend of spices did work, although the finished product needed a good shot of harissa to bring the right amount of boldness to the broth. But yes some cute fuzzy/feathery animals were hurt in the making of this dish.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 1, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Any time, slyness. You are more than welcome! I anticipate visits from several Boodlers, whether for the purposes of superlative skiing (Banff/Lake Louise), fossil investigation (Royal Tyrell) or just plain visiting.

dmd, I know your self-deprecation, and I'm not buying it (re: your cooking outcomes). But you know, I actually love an island that has no amenities. I've had two like that, and one with a small veg-prep sink, and now the bar with the cooktop. There is a lot to be said for a pure expanse of prep area that has nothing overhead except light and no pitfalls like sinks or stoves. The two became all-purpose work areas; from informal serving-counters at parties to cutting fabric to wrapping presents to laying out tea-stained pieces of parchment for a high-school project on Egypt (of course, if I were an upscale-type I'd have a sewing room and a wrapping room, but I'm not).

I'm talking too much, amn't I?

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

MYE multiple murders dish is cassoulet, done right. About once every ten years.

Only for dedicated carnivores with minimal health issues. I actually require their doctors to submit a report before they're invited to that particular winter party. Usually after skiing all day.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy, Yoki. And do try to not get too fumed.

Enjoying the Caps vs. the Bruins hockey game, still 0-0 in the first.

I'm sorry I didn't notice JA's chat before now, I would have posted a question, at least. Speaking of which, I imagine my comment to the Ardicle may have been dumped.

I suggested that perhaps now there will be another race to find a lady ancestor between Lucy and Ardi, and afterwords thought of this ad for or something:

"SM paleoanthropolgist, late 40s, seeks lady 3.7-4.3 million years old for long nights of scientific study. Hopefully, you are at home on the ground as well as in the trees. Kids are OK and expected, as are big toes at a 45-degree angle and small sharp wisdom teeth. Please reply by text or email, though I expect you're more comfortable giving me an old-school hoot via voice mail. That's OK, too."


Posted by: -bc- | October 1, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and it's 1-0 Caps after the first.

Still 40 minutes of play left, lots of time left, Scottynuke.


Posted by: -bc- | October 1, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

*Hooting* at bc's 7:52.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

That ad was a hoot, bc.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 1, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Grandma Ardi
What lovely legs you have!
The better to walk with a man, my dear
What big toes you have!
The better to dance with an ape, my dear
What long arms you have!
The better to grab any mate, my dear
What an open mind you have!
The better to beget chimps or their cousins, my dear...

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 1, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Not at all, Yoki. It's nice to see you so happy you're giddy.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | October 1, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Loved your want ad, bc!

I've been trying to load the comments on Joel's WaPo Ardi article for the last half hour - it's still working on it. Most commenting systems break them up into pieces to load. I know I'm going to read one or two and ex it out in disgust, but I want to see them.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 1, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

See, I didn't think she looked so bad. No. Wait...

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Vegetarian chili almost ready. Then, because it's another late meal -- chili on rice (Kama'aina style!) while watching Flight of the Conchords. Woo-hoo!

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 1, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Watch out for Mel.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

SciTim-chili on rice, comfort food at its best.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 1, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of hooting, Ovetchkin and Laich have two goals a piece, Caps up 4-1 with 12 minutes to go in the third.


Posted by: -bc- | October 1, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I just realized that Friends Of The Achenblog Caitlin Gibson and Rachel Manteuffel are featured in Liz Kelly's Twits, Episode 3:

It's a little creepy how sexy Rachel makes Baba Wawa seem.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

CP, through backboodling, I see that you were in search of sweet potato recipes. Though two late for tonight's dinner, this recipe looks delicious.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | October 1, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Science Magazine's research article on "reexamining human evolution" by C. Owen Lovejoy covers a huge swath of knowledge. Everything from horned toads to cocaine addiction, with a comparison of us to crows.

Looks like chimps and gorillas are indeed not much like our common ancestor. So don't go 'round accusing anyone of knuckle-walking.

Almost entirely unrelated, Cambridge University Press has issued Philip Houghton's "People of the Great Ocean" in paperback. Houghton's view is that people of the Pacific islands "have evolved into large-bodied, muscular people to meet the particular demands of the region". A rather quick bit of human evolution.

Finally, AAAS sent a nice email announcing the Ardipithecus issue about 7 pm. That's a good, long time after anyone paying attention had noticed the news.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 1, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Hells Bells. Rachel has written about this. How awful it makes her feel.

Anyway, Alexander (Sasha) Ovetchkin! A dream on ice.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Chili seems to have emerged through convergent evolution in India, where dishes with kidney beans are uncannily Mexican.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 1, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Really? Where? Liz has gotten nothing but praise for it.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Does that same theory explain why my Celtic ancestors evolved into pasty lushes?

Posted by: yellojkt | October 1, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "apiece"



Posted by: -bc- | October 1, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, Joel's article is at the top of the most viewed list, no surprise there. I guess people depended on him instead of Science, at least for today.

Rainforest, you around? Hope everything is okay in your corner of the world.

Posted by: slyness | October 1, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

OMG, two Caitlins!

Posted by: seasea1 | October 1, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

The Canadiens won 4-3 over the ever hapless Maple Leafs but I barely recognized any players.
We'll get to know them eventually.

Oveshkin is probably the NHL's leading scorer right now.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 1, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

SCC Овечкин

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 1, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

yello, I've spent the last hour trying to find the Post Magazine story that Rachel wrote in, like, 2002, or something. I can't. But Gene Weingarten promoted it in a chat within the last couple/three years. It matters.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Do you mean the article about bust size, Yoki? That's this one:

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 1, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Since it appears Rachel didn't graduate from William and Mary until '06, I'm thinking she probably didn't write for WaPo mazagine in 2002.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 1, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes! And also no.

Posted by: Yoki | October 1, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, here's a bit of a shocker. According to the news a minute ago, on David Letterman's show in a few minutes, he's going to (a) admit having sex with female staffers (b) that one of them attempted to blackmail him over it, and (c) the blackmailer was arrested today during a sting when Letterman handed her a check for $2 million.

In case you thought about watching.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | October 1, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, I may have to watch Letterman tonight. I think a singer a friend of mine likes, Tom Russell, is going to be on too.

But Yoki, what does that have to do with Rachel doing Barbara Walters tweets? I don't get it.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 1, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I want d) what does his wife think about this?

DotC-- wouldn't that be more properly adaptation or microevolution? Population isolation and extreme evolution pressure could easily cause a noticeable skew in only a few generations, and Polynesian and Native American populations have had thousands of years (so hundreds of generations) to drift apart.

The real question is whether all the differences are adaptative or the result of population drift. There is some evidence that such differences are adaptative.

IGF2 (Insulin-growth factor 2) not only tends to increase diabetes risk, it can also lead to heavy muscling and easy weight gain, for instance.

A very simple mutation in growth hormone receptor underlies the small size of bush people in Africa. Such small size happens to be adaptive for very hot and humid rainforests contrasted to the much taller neighboring peoples.

A lot of western Europeans and Indians are lactose tolerant into adulthood-- another genetic mutation that provided beneficial in a heavy dairy-based environment but would not have spread above chance in other environments.

And even alcoholism seems linked to differences in genes that help metabolize sugars, which suggest that alcoholism may be a side effect of other metabolic pressures.

The major difference in ALDH2 metabolism between Asians and Caucuasians (and Native Americans) lie in the mitochondrial enzyme.

Sometimes small genes have big effects.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 1, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt-- here's an argument that pasty skin is based on eating grain in subarctic latitudes, thus lack of vitamin D in the diet and from sun.

It's interesting, would need genetic analysis to back it up, but it certainly fits.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

seasea1, it has nothing to do with Rachel twits Only with her persona, impressing, as it does

Posted by: Yoki | October 2, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

To judge from occasional news articles in Science, there's been quite a bit of controversy over human dispersal across the Pacific. Houghton suggests that a pause in Pacific colonization was due to time needed for residents of, say, Fiji, to achieve greater biological ability to survive long voyages.

Houghton (quick browse at Google Books) seems a careful scientist, though of course his book is dated. So many new DNA-based ways to assess genetics are available now.

It's easy to speculate about local human populations being adapted to something, much harder to nail anything down. I think there's recent work showing that genetic adaptation to milk-drinking originated somewhere around the Netherlands. Andean peoples seem to have no special adaptations to thin air, I think Ethiopians do. There's the malaria-resistance traits. I don't know whether Irish monks who crossed to Iceland would have had any descendants. The Vikings did; could Icelanders have some physical traits useful for fishermen? I kind of doubt it.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 2, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

I thought Rachel was trying for that effect - acting, in an exaggerated way. I don't think yellojkt meant any harm.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 2, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

I think Yoki is talking about Rachel's physical persona being impressive, not her manner. She's trying to be discreet, seasea.

I showed that article to a young family member who complained recently of being over-endowed. It's useful to read about how someone else copes and maintains her sense of humor about it.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 2, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

TMZ is reporting that the Letterman extortionist is a male staffer from 48 Hours. Weirder and weirder.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 2, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Just went back and reread those exchanges and I'm not so sure I know who's upset about what anymore, seasea.

G'night, all.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 2, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Rachel bills herself as an actress in her story credit bios and she is a pretty good one. I was referring to her cougarish mannerisms while voicing Walter's tweet as was this person on the Celebritolgy chat:

////The Twits - love the bi-polar Barbara Walters: Whose idea was it to have her run her fingernails on her pants?


Liz Kelly: But I should also add that only the fabulous Ms. Rachel Manteuffel, one of our original Twit-ters, could have pulled off the scratching thing. ///

I was making no reference to her shoe size (as Liz-ards euphemize it) which was irrelevant to the performance.

Earlier I made a very crude (and old) oral sex joke about a pre-human primate and everybody either doesn't get it or ignores it (which is probably for the best). But if I sincerely compliment a well-endowed actress for a clever performance I am some sort of leering perv (admittedly a tough charge for me to dispute in most circumstances). I can't win for losing while tip-toeing around the rather bizarre and arbitrary lines of taste around here.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 2, 2009 6:07 AM | Report abuse

While I'm on my soap box p1ssing people off, is anyone else as peeved as I am about the dropping of XX Files from WaPoMag? I didn't even like the column and I am as mad as he11.

WaPoMag used to have three columnists. Then they dropped Joel because he didn't make enough poop jokes or crank calls. I never *got* Maria Lhasa Apso, or whatever her name was, but I understood she wasn't for me and that she had a strong following.

Then they dropped her for XX Files which HAD to have been about money. It was obviously cheaper to run random columns from starving freelancers than it was to have a permanent and frequently praised regular.

I found the mere existence of the column as smacking of tokenism much like I despise the comic Six Chix (despite it being frequently funny) for its lumping women together as some sort of sop to the distaff readership. 'Of course we support women writers. We let them all share one column/comic that no one person could live off of alone, let alone all six.'

Then in the WaPoMag redesign (read massive shrinkage), they drop even that column. In an online chat, the quiet axing of XX was the major topic. The editors gave this lame excuse:

///We decided to end XX Files because we found the feature uneven week to week; it was purely an editorial decision.///

OF COURSE IT WAS UNEVEN!!! YOU DID THAT ON PURPOSE!!! The feature was set up to fail. I have a new theory that editors at WaPo are deliberately and subtly sabotaging the newspaper just to make it fail faster. These boneheaded decisions and rationalizations that insult their readers' intelligence can't be attributed to incompetence alone.

And don't even get me started on moving Cul-De-Sac from WaPoMag to Style rather than the comics while putting it in black and white on a page that was a full color ad and then saying that the choice to not color it was based on space availability. I've already vented to Cavna about that one.

To WaPo editors: You still run the weather forecast so I know that it isn't raining on my shoes. Quit trying to pass off all wholesale jettisoning of everything that made the paper an enjoyable experience as 'improvements'. Just admit that you have now resorted to chopping up the walls to keep the furnace burning.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 2, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

And a sinfest specially for yello this morning :-)

Flip back and forth for context if you must

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 2, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Everyone.

Rachel Manteuffel is one of the most fearless young writers out there. And yes, she does a mean Babs.

Anyway, I am heading out to an undisclosed location (and praying I do not get lost) today. So have a good day everyone.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 2, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

LOL, DNA_Girl. That's hilarious!

I see the Charlotte Observer picked up Joel's story on Ardi for today's paper. That's only fair, since WaPo picked up the Observer's story on Sullenburger and Skiles flying from Charlotte to New York and back yesterday.

Happy Friday, all. Cassandra, we're still missing you!

Yello, you make me glad I never really got into the WaPo magazine.

Posted by: slyness | October 2, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. It's a dreary morning, wet, foggy and cold (2C/37F). I'm looking for goods news and can't find any outside the sports pages.
The Krautster and Gerson confirm they are partisan hacks, Letterman is exposed as a skinhound, the UN mission in Afghanistan is falling apart, the body count is still going up in Sumatra, there are still perverts in the catholic bishops, etc.
Blimey, I hope something good will pop up soon.
Sinfest was fine, but just not perky enough for this dark and stomy morning.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 2, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

bc was posting a personal ad? Sharp teeth? What?? *checking the moon phase chart*

Slyness, jack, Cassandra, y'all need to take shorter showers or something:


And the comment section for the main article is finally working... sadly.

*TGIF-and-I-think-I'm-fully-back-in-the-saddle Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 2, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle!

yello-fine rant, couldn't agree more (except that I found Jean Marie Laskas hilarious, if sometimes a bit too, too)

It's a "can't believe I agreed to teach a robotics coaching workshop all day tomorrow kind of Friday."

Will fax some Coco-wheats for breakfast to anyone who thinks they can handle it.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

From Rachel's Show last night

First, the Liberty Council may very well be praying of you! if you ARE the Unknown Liberal.

Also, great video from China ... the Female mini-skirt machine gun toting militia (china) ... Rachel compares them to the larger weapon systems also on display and finishes up with "but they can do it backwards and in heels."

Posted by: russianthistle | October 2, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle. Please let me say that I never for one moment thought yellojkt meant any harm or ill. And I am sorry, yello, for obviously misinterpreting your post.

More pre-move cleaning and sorting today. It does wear thin after a while.

Posted by: Yoki | October 2, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, DNAGirl. I needed that pick-me-up.

Letterman had a long-whispered habit of trolling the intern pool, so that revelation came as a surprise but not a shock. I think he has handled a very embarrassing incident with grace and aplomb. However, the commenters on Lisa De Moraes's blog item on it smell blood in the water and are seeking revenge over Letterman's deliberately misunderstood but still tasteless Palin cracks.

The Rovestorm is particularly perplexing considering the comments section of The TV Column is usually only home to tumbleweeds. Who alerts these wingnuts about where the UmbrageFest is occurring every day?

Posted by: yellojkt | October 2, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Meant to post this link when it first aired. The Daily Show takes a stab at serious financial reporting.

TBG-what do you think your old employer would say about that?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Ardi's robust thumb musculature and flexible midcarpal (wrist) joint are perfect for text-messaging.


Posted by: MikeLicht | October 2, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Not recognizing MikeLicht's handle I was going to write him off as just another comment hoe but I encourage a visit to NotionsCapital
Here's a link from his "Blogs with Bite" post to a blog about a couple living in Brooklyn and eating on $30 a week-the pictures are some of the best food porn I've seen lately

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse


ha ha ha... that was a good one. I watched it last night and "aren't you Russian and a Geek?"

"Is that dial up?"

Actually, I think I watched it after making a huge mistake of catching some "Jim Cramer" for the other night. WOW, he did it again. I have people telling me all the time that I have no clue. I have said that there are arguments to be made that the market will go to 7,500. We have yet to have heard the really bad news about our regional banks and the on-going failure to deal with foreclosures.

Not to mention the real crisis in commercial real estate.

And, so there is Cramer pulling out editorials from every paper he can find that has said that the market will go up (well it will... when is the issue)

Doesn't Cramer read the whole paper or does he just pick his news like Dick Cheney looking at intel?

The very next day, down over 200. Today will not be a walk in the park. Employers are trying to get another bump from job cuts. Profit at all costs.

If we the people and our idiot representatives in Congress had a brain, we would reward corporations who managed to a zero profit without cutting payroll. Much better for business and country and individuals to have job stability rather than shrinking companies and bloated unemployment rolls.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 2, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

rt-it's amazing to me that while many people have realized that Stewart's "fake news show" usually serves up a huge dose of reality, most don't seem to get that Cramer hosts a fake financial show while pretending to be real.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, I took a long look at that link for the $30 a week dining and it was very good. The two things that jump out are that you have to realize that those folks aren't going to weigh 250 lbs each.

Secondly, you have to be willing to make things for multiple meals, like leftover lunches. They are also spending money to save money. I am sure that they are traveling around trying to get tofu for 2 bucks rather than 3.

Frosti, where this whole thing gets really complicated is that you have to spend a decent amount of money to be frugal ... at times. What we do here is that we make occasional runs to a Sams Club to make a $200 spree for uber large quantities of things we use so we don't buy them each 2 weeks.

Example, crushed garlic. We get a 6 months supply for a couple bucks--three times as much and half as expensive compared to what is at a grocery store.

To keep to a budget, the challenge is to hit the essentials that have to be purchased before the food. I would keep a list of things that need to be purchased and pick one thing... the top of the list... each trip.

BTW, I loved the use of beans on the site. Green beans are so good and can find their way into so many dishes. I could see that they also take an ingredient and have a couple of meals planned for it. (and saluting Legumes)

Posted by: russianthistle | October 2, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, I think Cramer is very real and often, p-ing into the wind. (sorry)

I have a very good friend who came out of FBR and has managed the finances of a number of start-up businesses and now is sitting on a commercial real estate trust that is "weathering the storm" and he claims (as of two days ago) that the market will not go down. The usual line is that it is all priced into the market.

My theory is that big banks are wizards at playing the government without having to address their true problems or serve the community. The banks are racing to a cliff and they know it but aren't really making a play to fix the problem. So far, the nation has flooded the economy with money, but that is just sitting in the banks to prop them up. The banks are not loaning money to any consumers or to the majority of businesses. They are fee-ing us to death.

The average loan rate is prime plus 20.

BUT, that isn't the problem. The problem that they can't deal with is the commercial loan market. We are talking trillions of dollars in loans that no one will make. The trouble is, you can't hang the businesses who are leasers of commercial space out to dry in this economy and just save the banks. The businesses have enough problems. What's worse, the same banks won't loan businesses any money to get through the business downturn crisis.

The net result is contraction. People are getting out of business and licking their wounds--making the crisis in commercial real estate worse.

You could say that, at least we solved the foreclosure crisis, but those numbers are actually UP 16% as of last month's number.

Not a big fan of Cramer. Stewart will have to take him down another peg. ... and another.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 2, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

RT, good points on the dining site. But most of what they're doing is what everyone does anyway...meal planning (including planning leftovers for use in a different dish), shopping etc. The big difference, I think, is that they're mindfully doing it.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 2, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

New kit?
Yes, New kit!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 2, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

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