Bang Goes the Theory’s Liz Bonnin recently used mitochondrial DNA to trace her ancestry right back to the earliest humans. It’s a subject co-presenter Dr Yan Wong knows plenty about, and a great excuse for him to meet up with his old tutor Prof Richard Dawkins. The pair collaborated on a book, The Ancestor’s Tale, and here they chat about one of its main themes: how lineages of different genes can reveal surprisingly different histories.
WASHINGTON–In the continuing controversy surrounding the president’s U.S. citizenship, a new fringe group informally known as “Afterbirthers” demanded Monday the authentication of Barack Obama’s placenta from his time inside his mother’s womb. “All we are asking is that the president produce a sample of his fetal membranes and vessels—preferably along with a photo of the crowning and delivery—and this will all be over,” said former presidential candidate and Afterbirthers spokesman Alan Keyes, later adding that his organization would be willing to settle for a half-liter of maternal cord plasma. “To this day, the American people have not seen a cervical mucus plug, let alone one that has been signed and notarized by a state-certified Hawaiian health official. If the president was indeed born in the manner in which he claims, then where is his gestation sac?” Keyes said that if Obama did not soon produce at least a bloody bedsheet from his conception, Afterbirthers would push forward with efforts to exhume the president’s deceased mother and inspect the corpse’s pelvic bone and birth canal.
Yesterday I dropped some movie recommendations and avoid-a-mendations. Read them here.
I thought of two more recommendations.
The Godless Girl. It’s Cecille B. DeMille’s 1929 (mostly) silent film about the atheist vs. Christian debate from a 1929 perspective. It was released right on the cusp of talkies, so there are a couple sound scenes in the movie. The perspective is pro-religion, and if you’re not religious, you should be violently persuaded to think otherwise. It’s interesting to see how they try to stuff god’s loving message into the most violent, unappetizing, highest level of scare tactics available. Not to mention, there is a blog written by “Godless Girl.” I’m pretty sure it’s the girl from the movie and Satan is keeping her alive 80 years later to further his diabolical message. Not really. I know Godless Girl. She’s a local, and really quite cool. Her blog is great. Her tweets are good too.
Twin Peaks the TV show. The gods of netflix have answered one of my many atheist prayers, and that’s to make Twin Peaks available via their streaming service. When I was in 11th grade, I would race home and watch “my story,” which was the demonically great David Lynch psycho soap opera about the subsequent events that happen after the death of a local school girl named Laura Palmer. On the surface it’s a parody of daytime soap operas, but the horror (and the plot) is better than most horrors available even now. The story lines were rich with incredible characters. I remember going to bed terrified more often than necessary. And each cliffhanging episode ended with me standing their screaming at the TV. Okay, maybe I wasn’t screaming. But I would stand there tugging on my hair wishing for time travel into the next Thursday’s time slot. Tina and I have been rewatching the series, and it’s incredible. It still holds its weight in greatness, and if it weren’t for a few bad costume decisions, some of the makeup and wardrobe are timeless and beautiful. It’s the kind of show that makes you think, “If David Lynch produced the bible, it might have given it some better street cred.”