Wednesday, October 14, 2009


She won’t take him back,
he beats her and
stabs her pet fish.

An Australian anthropologist, Peter McAllister has apparently written a book entitled Manthropology The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male. I have not yet seen this book but I read some brief comments about it on the web today. He points out, among a great many other things I guess, that Australian Aboriginal men could probably run faster than our fastest sprinters today, and no doubt for longer distances as well. This is of course because Aboriginal men had to run while they were hunting and did it just as a matter of course. Similarly, he points out that in certain African tribes all the men could high jump at least their height, as they had to do so for male initiations. He also claims that any Neanderthal would be able to beat Arnold Schwartzenegger in arm wrestling. Some of his data come from measurements of ancient footprints and estimates of the body characteristic s of earlier people, which may or may not be highly questionable. In any case, I confess I do not find it surprising at all that at least some earlier humans were physically superior to modern men, although this was not a conclusion reached by Francois Peron when he set out very early to test his hypothesis that “moral perfection must be in inverse ratio to physical perfection.” At the time (the early 1800’s) it was generally believed that “savages” were much better physically than moderns but were less moral. Peron concluded that moderns were both physically stronger as well as more moral (I don’t know precisely how Peron measured physical strength), he “measured” morality simply by comparing the beliefs of “savages” to the then moral beliefs of Europeans. I also do not know which groups Peron studied as there is little doubt that some “savages” were probably much healthier and stronger than others. Australian aborigines and many Africans had to be strong to survive and no doubt could run and jump at unusually high levels. What I do find most surprising is that it took someone so long to write a book about this subject.

Actually, I don’t think you have to go very far back in time to know that even our most recent ancestors, like the pioneers and explorers, were also much stronger with greater physical abilities as well. If you read accounts of early explorations it is pretty obvious the explorers had to endure conditions that would very quickly have been unendurable to modern men, and engaged in feats of strength far beyond what most men would be capable of doing now. When reading such accounts I often marvel they endured at all. Of course the same goes for pioneer women who had to put up with hardships modern women can hardly imagine. Those who were not strong enough just didn’t survive. I guess I might say this book is only telling us the obvious, but having not read it as yet that would seem unfair. Of course we can justify our own physical inadequacies rather easily by simply pointing out there is much more to life than mere physical strength and that modern technology makes possible many things that previously required more physical prowess. Interestingly enough, I believe it might be possible to argue that earlier men and women were also equally as intelligent as moderns but simply lacked all the information they would have needed to develop more rapidly. There probably is no such thing as a “primitive mind,” in spite of Piaget, Levy-Bruhl, and others. If this book was published in Australia it probably won’t reach us for some time, if ever.

That great fat barrel of pompous bullshit, Rush Limbaugh, has been turned down as part of a group trying to buy the Rams. You can bet the reasons are purely financial as the NFL owners are all conservatives and must have simply concluded it would be bad for business (I suspect they could care less if he is a racist). Limbaugh’s racism has come back to haunt him and he cannot deny it because there are tapes of his blatantly racist remarks made over the years. In the age of audio and videotape it is not as easy to lie as it once was. It’s actually kind of fun watching how Congresspersons and others get exposed lying as much as they do, having apparently not yet realized how times have changed.

Now it appears the stage is finally set for a great showdown between the citizens of the U.S. and the Insurance Companies. It appears to me to be about that simple. The problem is the fact that we have Congress in the middle of this gargantuan battle and some of them, perhaps many of them, will side with the Insurance Companies because they have been bribed to do so. In a sense it is not a battle about health care as much as it is a battle between rapacious profit-driven corporations and ordinary citizens. It is also complicated by the idea held by many that government is simply unable to do anything right and therefore would not be able to handle health care (falsely labeled socialized medicine). One of the things I find interesting about this argument is that it seems to be predicated on the idea that huge corporations, and even businesses in general, are paragons of organization and efficiency and therefore more able to manage health care than the government. My experiences over the years with large corporations like telephone companies, banks, insurance companies, and even aircraft industries, do not allow me to believe in their greater efficiency, and although the government does have its bureaucratic and other flaws, it is just as well suited for managing health care as private enterprise and a whole lot less expensive.

We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read.
Mark Twain

Forty percent of all described insect species are beetles (350,000) and new species are continually being found.

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