Oh, the Humanity

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So, in my deep dive into human origins (it’s all Francis Turner’s fault, really) and the origins of various groups in Europe I came across what seems now to be a more or less established fact: that modern Europeans are the result of a mix between Early European Farmers ( likely immigrated from somewhere near Anatolia, btw the group that Otzi belonged too.  They looked, and genetically resemble modern Sardinians.) and the Indo European herder invaders, the Yamnaya.

The curious thing is that Europeans have mostly maternal lines from Early European Farmers and paternal lines from the Yamnaya.

The conclusion drawn (and not wrong, though probably not absolutely right either) is that the Yamnaya killed the EEF and took their women.

This is part of the view of man as the killer ape that shaped so much of the thought in the seventies, and incidentally gave rise to — if not the whole — an entire strain of New Wave Science fiction.

Incidentally this helped shape the idea that humans should never go to other planets, and over time poisoned generations with a hatred for their own species and a drive to self-extinction which we unfortunately see a lot of in the new generation.

Pinches nose bridge.

Yeah, okay I fell for it.  Remember I was very young. At fourteen the idea that humans were uniquely bad and killers wasn’t implausible.  After all, you know, adults who had degrees were saying this stuff, they probably knew something I didn’t know.

Turns out not so much.  It was mostly hysteria from the (then) most pampered generation in history at the idea that war existed and they might be required to serve, or worse, they might die in a nuclear exchange.  The second was scary, admittedly, and no one who didn’t grow up with the hammer hanging over them can know how scary it was that all authorities told us we were most likely to be killed in our beds because we wouldn’t roll over for communism.  (And I’m sorry, yes, that’s what every authority and entertainer said.  Bah.)  It was made scarier and crazier by propaganda from the soviet union that targeted mostly the young and convinced them pacifism (which is known as surrender) was some kind of an answer.)  Those who kept an eye on the fall of the Sov Union (difficult as our press here didn’t really cover it) or who keep an eye on China agree that war is scary but it’s not the scariest thing.  And there are things worth fighting for.

Maybe I shouldn’t judge.  It was a concerted propaganda front from Imagine to New Wave post apocalyptic stories.  Most humans don’t want to think everything out for themselves.  We are social apes, if not particularly killer ones. (More on that later.) So we absorb the ethos of our time and tribe through our senses and bypass our thought to belong.

But the truth is that it’s all a load of Marshall’s pre-school teacher (second son had the improbably named Mrs. Hooey for pre-school.)  I mean, all of it.

Are humans killers?  All animals are.  Even so called herbivores.  Periodically people get pictures of cows chomping on bunnies and are shocked.  Every one who has kept chickens knows the dastardly creatures haven’t forgotten they were once dinosaurs.  To see a flock pursuing a lizard is a thing of beauty, but they will even turn on their mates and eat large chunks. With chickens, ladies and gentlemen it’s a matter of size.  Forget Godzilla and King Kong.  If Aliens wanted to exterminate us, they’d create T- Rex sized chickens, and we’d be running away frantically, as they laid our cities to waste.

And apes?  Dear lord, apes.  Far from being uniquely killer apes, we’re somewhat restrained and controlled.  Chimps will tear baby chimps from their mothers’ arms, rip them to shreds and eat them.  Mostly when the female is a stranger to the group, and sure there’s an evolutionary reason there.  But sometimes they seem to do it to a member of their own band and just chomp them.

So, no, we’re not uniquely bad.  And if the voluntary extinction movement had their way, we’d only be leaving the Earth to those worse than us.  Never mind.

But then there’s the whole “EVERY MAN WAS SLAUGHTERED, EVERY CUTE AND YOUNG WOMAN TAKEN” which the right proposes in the idea they’re being “realistic” while the left embraces with “See how evil humans are!” and both of which give me a headache and a pain in… wherever rationality is located.

Yeah, sure, one of the strains — paternal — was almost completely eliminated.  The question is… over how long, and how widespread an area?

Are we really studying ONLY the generation immediately after the invasions, and finding no paternal EEF strains?  Are we studying it everywhere?

If we were then that conclusion would be warranted.  But…

No, of course we aren’t.  Good heavens.  Yeah, we have a lot more remains showing up every day, and our tools are getting better.  But the preservation of human remains is an iffy thing, and great strides though we’re making, it’s not that fine a tool or an exploration.

I suspect that yes, in many places there were raids that killed every man and took every woman.  The rape of the Sabines is not a unique thing in the world (and the women had their revenge.  The grandmother’s told stories, remember?  And maybe the invaders influenced the new generation less than they thought) and for primitive tribes or nomadic tribes, or the Middle East until very very recently, it was the pattern.

I’m sure those isolated EEF hamlets and farms got trounced suddenly, in the night, without any idea what was coming.  And my mind can conjure up quite vivid and scary images, thank you so much, of being a young woman and seeing her whole family slaughtered and what came after.  The farm burning in the night, the wagons, the mistreatment  over the next few years till she acquired Stockholm syndrome and identified with the oppressor.  (Did you know there is a mechanism in humans that can replace the native tongue with a learned one, given enough trauma.  Given I’ve pretty much done it it makes me wonder about “enough trauma.”)  The plains Indians did that, and read the stories of young female abductees to get the full force of their condition.

There is a reason nomadic herding cultures, and primitive cultures of all kinds keep their women covered up or in the back of the house.  And no, it’s not “evil patriarchy” (though it is evil patriarchy, in the sense of father-the-protector.)  It’s because the casual travelers who drop by for a drink and the sacred host’s duty offering of a bite to eat might be scouts for a whole tribe on the move.  Showing them your beautiful women is inviting one of those raids in the night.  It’s the way the world is, outside our very fortunate and technological life. And until 90 lb women can reliably trounce 200 lb men, it will be.  We have what keeps the tribe going.  We will be coveted. The more primitive and savage a people is, the worse that turns out.)

I’m sure there were horrors there, too, like the things we’ve learned from the Middle East and which echo some of the less savory Greek legends: parents served their children’s flesh, cannibalism and human sacrifice and indescribable tragedy.

In fact, in many ways, for many of us from European extraction (and even those who are only partially so) you could say this was the invasion our collective unconscious comes from, the place where the dreams and nightmares fester, and a lot of our legends originate.

But EVERY village?  EVERY hamlet of EEF?  Oh, please.  If you’re going to maintain that, you have to tell me which innovation caused the Yamnaya to be so devastating in battle.  And don’t tell me bronze weapons, because the EEF had that.  And don’t tell me that it was because the EEF were peaceful agriculturalists, because we have proof they weren’t  They seemed to conduct lively raiding and stealing among themselves, just to keep their hand in.

If you’re going to make that kind of claim, you surely best show your work.

No, the people who say it was ONLY the hypergamic nature of women that did it aren’t right either.

But knowing what difference a difference in the “attractiveness” of a population can make over a thousand years and that women were and are hypergamic, and also, honestly, that women instinctively prefer brutal men (though those of us who are rational have let that far behind), yeah…

Some village, hamlets, farms were completely obliterated except for the cute women.  But a preference over say 50 generations for Yamnaya men would do the rest of the work, till EEF farmer male contributions were mostly trace.

Which, of course, brings us to “Humans, who we are.”

Yeah, I’m sure there was unimaginable horror in that invasion.  There’s been unimaginable horror all through history.

But there are other things.  Man is not the killer ape.  Man is the killer MAN.  By which I mean a self-tamed ape, who sure indulges in violence but usually has a reason for it (good or bad, as future generations might judge it.) and a goal, and who tells himself stories about who he is.  Stories that make us more noble, braver, but also less bound by instincts, more able to temper them in the ways we wish we were.

Was that already operating in that ur-invasion.  I think yes, because, as I said that’s where our legends come from (ah, those grandmothers!)  So I suspect there were other feats, our deeds in those dark nights when the wagons full of young fighting men descended on the sleeping villages: bravery and altruism; young men dying for their women and friends; young men dying for the village, and sometimes, yes, young women insisting on fighting alongside brothers and husbands; but also less futile sacrifices,  mothers running into the forest with male children who would otherwise be killed, and men fighting so their women could run away.  But there would be other behaviors, too, from the invaders: unexpected mercy, unwonted and sudden kindness to the very old and very young, and yeah, occasionally, falling in love with one of the young women taken in the raid, and giving her more power over your culture and your young than she would ever have got otherwise.

Do I have proof of this?  No. It’s not the sort of thing that leaves a mark in the bone and the gene.  (And btw, most Jews have Egyptian paternal DNA.  And every Jewish male wasn’t killed.  It’s just women are hypergamic, and over time it tells.  But the culture, the culture was still not Egyptian.  Or they’d not be around now.)

But it is almost guaranteed, because they’re human and we’re human.

Humans are not Killer Apes.  Sure, they’re that too, but that doesn’t distinguish them from other apes, who are just as killer or more.

Humans are story telling apes.  And some of the stories we tell ourselves are about a morality that’s probably anti-evolution, but is part of civilization, of what allows us to live together in numbers and make scientific progress.  To the extent it is present, society, and innovation functions more.

The west seems to be the wedge of this storytelling, this self-taming, this innovation.

To beat our chests and/or cry over our origin story is just zany.  To say we can’t go to the stars due to our horrible taint is goofy.

What do we know about the morality or killer instincts of the crustaceans of Antares or the lizardoids of Proxima?  Do we have any reason to think that any species made of flesh and come through the crucible of evolution would be like unto angels of gentleness and light?

Pfui.

It’s time to quit the disparaging stories and the self hatred.  Killer Ape?  Builder Ape! Dreamer Ape! Lover Ape! Poet Ape! Engineer Ape! Traveler Ape!

We deserve the stars, and they wait us.

 

 

 

393 responses to “Oh, the Humanity

  1. Good news Sarah, turns out the Stanford Prison Experiment was horse shit.

    http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.com/2018/06/good-news-stanford-prison-experiment.html

    Kathy Shaidle informed me by email that the “press a button to electrocute strangers” one was horse shit too. I’d link it but WordPress will send me to spam-hell.

    Really, the whole underpinnings of the Killer Ape myth, I won’t dignify it with “hypothesis”, are coming unglued. The whole thing was a construction of lies told by hippies and other Lefty scumbags.

    External reality check, you can tell because every time there’s a disaster pretty much anywhere, you get 12 looters and the whole rest of the town helping each other out. Newzies focus on the looters, of course. Because narrative.

      • Well, yeah. But let us not forget that these studies form the foundation of every lunatic social policy of the Left from gun control to “Heather has two mommies.”

        It also forms the basis of every SF/F story written since 2000, absent those damn Puppies who just won’t get with the program.

    • https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23731691-000-the-shocking-truth-of-stanley-milgrams-obedience-experiments/

      Paywalled at New Scientist, but the Wikipedia article includes the debunking. Performance art, not science.

      • I found a few news articles not behind a paywall explaining that Lord of the Flies experiment a bit.

        Funny: one modern writer was appalled, totally appalled by the fact that –

        – even ten year old boys got SHARP knives as rewards in some of the competitions they were made to participate in. Sure, the rest of it was quite questionable and bad and so forth, but those knives seemed to be equally bad as everything else that got done on those camps.

        I had a sharp folding knife given to me by my parents when I was eight or so. Even though I’m a girl and all… Sure, I nicked a finger a couple of times with a knife, that folding knife, my mom’s kitchen knives and so on, back then. I have also kept doing that, especially when gutting fish I am almost certain to get a small cut or two on a finger or two, lots of small scars on them. But I wasn’t really any worse with knives when I was eight than when I was 30. Or now. Have to admit I seem to be somewhat clumsy by nature.

        • All through elementary thru high school I wore a 6” folding locking buck knife in a leather belt sheath.

        • Even before boy scouts, we had knives and were expected to be safe with them. They were just one more tool to be careful with, and if we weren’t, the consequences were sure to follow.

          Somehow, we managed not to cut important bits off. Even when we were beating the ever loving snot out of each other.

          Come to think on it, getting into fights as a kid probably made me a calmer adult. I’ve a good notion of what can happen when a man takes it in mind to do harm to another. It isn’t something to take lightly. Nor is it a one to avoid at *all* costs.

          • In Flyover country, or culturally similar areas outside it in the U.S., kids at 8 or 9 still get pocket knives. Both sexes. (Cue “God bless America” music here. Feel free to sub in your country’s theme song if it shares the sentiment.)

            I mention this because there is still hope. We’re in dire straits, it’s going to get harder, but the #Resistance is real.

            • Going from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts didn’t just mean a new uniform and campouts that weren’t in our Den Mother’s backyard, it also meant a Boy Scout Knife to replace the Cub Scout Knife. But that was back in the Dark Ages, and I feared with the creeping changes the Cub Scout Knife was no more. I was pleased to find that I was wrong. 🙂
              https://www.scoutshop.org/bsa-official-cub-scouts-pocket-knife-615775.html

                • I’m not the biggest fan of Marttiini puukkos though, they use a bit harder steel and while their knives stay sharp longer the tip in them breaks more easily than with some other producers’ puukkos. I have had a couple and that happened with both, and they were the only ones I have had that happen. Although it was over 20 years ago, with the second one, so I suppose it’s possible they have improved since then.

              • “Boy Scout Knife to replace the Cub Scout Knife.”

                Plus the training to use it properly & safely, with the card to prove it. Our unit, & we weren’t the only one, required Adults, registered or not, who carried a knife at functions, to have the same card. Everyone lost corners if caught using a knife unsafely, or ax yard violations. Not just Adults watching Youth, but Youth watching Adults. Imagine a 10 1/2 year-old who just earned their Wood Chip Card, seeing an Adult incorrectly doing something with a knife, pointing it out, then being asked, “what is suppose to happen now?” Then being informed they witnessed it, they need to ask for the corner off of the Adults card. Sometimes we even had to set up the situation (obviously safely), but not normally, there were (are) always adults that didn’t think rules applied to them. Yes, setup situations were easier because Adult setting it up complied willingly, latter we made sure said scout had overt backup. Imagine the impact on young scouts that even Adults were held to the same safety standard. Note, once you lost all 4 corners, your knife was “stored” (i.e. we had a bin it was put in) until you retook the knife & ax yard safety coarse & re-earned the card. Note, not done immediately (after all there was a point to make), but usually before the end of the outing. We also weren’t above having the newer scouts teach latter sessions (with older scout supervision); after all: Learn it. Teach it & remember it.

                Largest problem with scouts & knifes these days? A day pack used for scouts & school & knife not removed; say a product award that is about 1″ (dumped in bottom of pack & forgotten, “cute” but …). Or, older scout, car not emptied before driving said car to school, parked on campus or not (in news). Stupid zero tolerance policies. Or a parent carrying one onto campus (say in one’s purse? Luckily our campuses don’t have metal detectors, yet.)

        • Silly writer. Sharp knives are SAFER than dull ones.

          • Not in my hands!

            But yes, in general, that’s true. Thanks for the laugh.

          • Yep. I really want to get a better knife-sharpener for my kitchen knives – and good whetstones are expensive. Between rather dull knives and the fact that I don’t actually fit in a kitchen built for someone two feet or so taller than I, I’m close to setting up a kitchen work area on the damn floor.

            • “…good whetstones are expensive.”

              Nyet!

              Hie thee to the carpentry/woodworking store, where they have CHEAP Japanese water stones.

              Example here of not-cheap stones. https://www.japanesetools.com.au/collections/sharpening-stones

              There are cheaper ones. The one you want is called a slip stone. Usually for sharpening gouges, the slip stone is small and cheap, and good enough for bringing a fine edge on a kitchen knife.

              Now, if you are -really- scant you get a sheet of 800-1000 grit water sandpaper for sanding the paint on cars. You get it wet and slap it on a piece of plate glass. Even a broken piece of glass, if big enough and if you tape the sides. That sandpaper will sharpen your knife quite nicely. Several times too, before you need new sandpaper.

              MacGyver out.

          • For those who don’t know. A dull knife means the user has to exert more force to make the cut. With tool usage, more force is generally inversely related to accuracy. Cut hard and sloppy (including slicing into your hand or knee holding the work), or cut lightly and with fine detail and precision.

            (By the way, the same principle holds true for fencing. Hold your sword with a death grip, and you can’t hit the broad side of a barn.)

            • In addition if the knife is dull and you slip the cut it makes is not only larger (due to excess force) but considerably more ragged and uneven making repair and healing less effective.

              I spent a summer working at a Deli/ butcher shop and one of my main tasks (when not coaxing little old ladies to by fancier cuts of meat 🙂 ) was sharpening the Knives used in breaking down sides and quarters of beef.

              And as for fencing my instructor always said hold the foil/epee like you are holding a bird. Hard enough to keep it from escaping, but not so hard you crush the life out of it.

            • Also, a sharp blade is more likely to go into the thing you are cutting. A dull one, to glance off.

              More important for axes than for knives. Still important for knives.

        • ‘You can’t give her that!’ she screamed. ‘It’s not safe!’

          IT’S A SWORD, said the Hogfather. THEY’RE NOT MEANT TO BE SAFE.

          ‘She’s a child!’ shouted Crumley.

          IT’S EDUCATIONAL.

          ‘What if she cuts herself?’

          THAT WILL BE AN IMPORTANT LESSON.

          -pterry, “Hogfather”

    • I don’t think narrative is the reason they focus on the looters. Newsies really do believe that the way to get eyeballs is to talk about the bad stuff.

      • That’s certainly true. But if you look at the cumulative effect, people who have never lived in the USA think everyone there is a murderous lunatic. I know it isn’t true, because I did live in the USA and its actually quieter than Canada. (Yes it is, Canadians are fricking maniacs.)

        • A case could be made that we ARE murderous…but not lunatics. The peace is kept through mutual deterrence. 🙂

          • An armed society is a polite society?

          • Ah — the humans are the true monsters! They can live without combat for decades on end! Often even when there are wars, large inhabited regions remain at peace. They use this time to build up material goods — which they can then deploy in such wars as they DO fight.

          • Dan Hamilton

            You MUST remember that the Police in the US are there to protect the ACCUSED not the Victim. I really can’t understand why so many people refuse to recognize that and want to do away with the police.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Well, they are largely also the silly fellows who want socialized medicine for the sake of the homeless mentally ill, and the homeless substance abusers, and at the same time want the substance abusers out of the prisons.

            • Patrick Chester

              Oh heck, a month or two ago I got into a “discussion” (as if it’s possible to do so with someone who repeatedly says you’re “trash” to him, though he didn’t seem to realize I was goading him) with some idiot who wanted “due process” for the victims of crimes.

              Um… *facepalm*

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Yeah, that’s probably why the range wars etc died down. Highways, telephone, and tv made it too easy to provoke a passel of folks to come in on the other side, so the thinking fighting man at least got circumspect about throwing his weight around. The unthinking ones are in prison, the ground, or free thanks to criminal justice ‘reform’.

    • Fairness to the news, I’d focus on the looters, too. That’s human, focus on the threat.

      …I’d just actually DO SOMETHING about it, not jaw about how terrible it is!

      • The number of looters is largely irrelevant. That you have any means you have a need for pest and parasite control. And the best defense against a number of looters is an active, well-armed and alert offense. i.e. private owners defending their own with fully modern firearms.

    • I’m going to recommend Maria Gripe’s classic story The Glassblowers Children again. It has a story idea of uncommon power: that creatures have a day eye and a night eye.

      See mankind with only your day eye and you get the rainbow pooping unicorn Star Trek “economics”. See them with only your night eye and you get Killer Apes. It’s almost as if we were made for (metaphysical) bifocal vision 🙂

      It’s almost as if the world we live in rewards an accurate perception of it.

  2. …  it makes me wonder about “enough trauma.” 

    Being isolated in a different culture even when done of one’s own choosing can still be traumatic.

  3. Feather Blade

    Having been exposed to the strain of archaeology that says “Everything the ancients recorded had religious or ritual significance”, I’m sure the picture on the urn is of a sacrifice.

    But it looks like a potluck barbecue.

    • Bingo. One of my biggest pet peeves about archeology.

      • That was already considered passé by all the professors whom I took archaeology courses from in 2010-2012. Also discussed were the types of inferences that can reasonably be drawn from grave goods and excavations of midden heaps, and which cannot.

        • Yes, sure. But what is Gobleki Tepe? “A temple!”
          Is it? F*cked if I know. Or they either. All those pillars could be places to put the cattle for auction. Bah.

          • The archeologists’ default answer to anything that doesn’t have an obvious answer is “religion.”

            “Yes, the ancient western Tennesseans were obviously followers of the old Egyptian gods; they built a giant pyramid out of stainless steel to host their ceremonies…”

            • A tendency which was wonderfully lampooned in a book called “Motel of the Mysteries.”

            • I would give much to be able to hear what future archeologists will say when they excavate Las Vegas.

              • Terry Sanders

                “I perceive that you Las Vegans are highly religious. For as I passed by observing your devotions I saw a dozen temples devoted to…”
                –ACTS OF THE ELVIS IMPERSONATORS xii,9

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            The answer is, as always: aliens.

          • Stage for something like Olympic games, or some forgotten group sports? “Our men are stronger than yours, don’t you dare to try and invade.” 😀

            Or the yard of some ancient billionaire with eccentric taste.

          • The CBS Radio Workshop did a show in 1956 (I found it MUCH later, I was only 2 then) entitled “Report on the Weans.” It’s a radio show within a radio show where future archeologists are entering sites all over what used to be the US while accompanied by radio reporters. One of the places they break into is Macy’s Bargain Basement, which the archeologist tells the audience is the tomb of the great king May See, filled with funeral goods. The interpretations of other sites are likewise odd. It runs about 25 minutes and can be listened to or downloaded here: https://free-classic-radio-shows.com/Drama/CBS-Radio-Workshop/1956-11-11-Report-on-the-Weans/index.php

          • Oh, the problem with the overuse “ceremonial object” and “temple” explanations is still with us, but there are a lot of people in the archaeological field who are quite well aware of the problem and decry it. I think part of the reason for its perpetuation is that when the archaeologist makes interesting conclusions it draws lots of attention. When an archaeologist produces a dry report consisting merely of diagrams, a few hard facts, a very limited number of inferences that could reasonably be drawn, and more questions than answers, it doesn’t usually garner as much attention.

        • Also discussed were the types of inferences that can reasonably be drawn from grave goods and excavations of midden heaps, and which cannot.”

          Well, to be sure this is after the Meade debacle, and the Goddess
          Figurine debacle, and… yeah. Archaeologists are a different discipline within anthropology. Professionals and clued in amateurs know when to point and laugh. Usually right after the bright young grad student utters a variation of “and these potsherds mean the anceint people *believed*…”

          *chuckle*

          Reconstructing ancient behavior from physical objects is chancy business at best, more a form of art than science. Historical archaeologists have a leg up in that there are often scraps of *writing* that were penned somewhere around the time the bits were found. For ancient peoples? Your guess is as good as mine…

          • Related to that bits of writing thing, check this out:
            http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2018/06/keeping-tabs-on-things.html

            1. Remember Çatalhöyük?
            Who could forget that remarkable discovery that gave Anatolia pride of place for the world’s first big city? It turns out that one of its investigators may have fudged a bit. A bit of a Piltdown situation, eh what? Though a bit more clever. Now, like the DNA lab that faked some of its results or the detective that planted some of his evidences, all of the data now needs to be revisited. What a bummer.

            Hit the first link:
            I have been reading with some interest various news items that have been trickling out about a major archeological scandal. James Mellaart (1925-2012) was one of the world’s greatest experts in prehistoric Anatolia, making a major splash in archeology with his discovery of a Neolithic site, Çatalhöyük, in Turkey. It revolutionized the field, and, more than that, the exciting discoveries to come out of the site made Çatalhöyük a fairly significant tourist site — not a minor thing in an academic discipline whose funding is as closely tied to public interest as archeology’s is. One of the things Mellaart argued was that the 9000-year-old settlement was matriarchal and had a Mother Goddess religion, because there were a lot of female figurines in goddess-like portrayals. This was called into question with more careful study in the 2000s, when it became clear that, while a lot of figurines were being uncovered, they were almost all animals, and very rarely women, and nothing about the few female figurines really suggested any major religious character. What is more, the evidence of social status that kept being turned up did not indicate any significant difference between men and women — if Çatalhöyük was matriarchal, or for that matter patriarchal, it was not showing up in the evidence. The difference between Mellaart’s claim and the increasingly clear disposition of the evidence was treated as march of science — the techniques were better, the work far more extensive, speculations had been proven wrong by new evidence.

            But Mellaart had an interesting way of showing up around controversy.

            And then several paragraphs more, long story short, dude has taken a sledge to what we “know”…in the impressive-but-not-good way.

          • There is a commercial here that makes fun of that. They excavate a golfing club, and posit that it is a tool from the forgotten age of retirement.

      • What’s the line from the Instagram thread about the difficulties of translating ancient languages?

        “This part could be a prayer. Or a dick joke. Knowing the ancients, it’s probably both.”

        • Oh, Lord. Looking at Roman ruins with kids kind of took their innocence at 12 or so. Nice reconstructed living room with mural. Guys poking around. Robert stops in front of mural that explains is was fashionable and where it had been found. “Mom, is that monkeys f*cking children on the living room wall.” Me “Well, yes, you see, Rome was…”
          Robert “Yeah, I know, I read. Very much like us, very much like us, very much like us GOODLORDWHAT’STHAT? They can’t have been the same species.”

        • Having seen graffiti scrawled in the Temple of Hatshepsut (via photographs, I’ve never been to Egypt) by some of it’s builders…yeah. Graffiti dicks and their accompanying jokes haven’t changed in 2000 years…

          (Okay, I grant you that there are probably a limited number of ways to draw a graffiti dick. But still. THEY HAVEN’T CHANGED.)

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      I’m reminded of the myth that Prometheus tricked Zeus into accepted the “bad parts” of a sacrificed animal leaving the “good eating parts” for humans. 😉

      • Always be wary of myths — or any accounts — that explain a custom. They are often ex post facto.

        One explanation for the division I’ve heard is that they burned the fat because, well, it burned the best.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          But of course, Prometheus & Zeus don’t exist. 😀

          • It applies more generally. Also, there’s the question of how far back the myth has to go — and the answer is, not so far back as the practice.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Nod.

              I was attempting a bit of humor there.

              But you’re correct. The story about Prometheus tricking Zeus is only an explanation of sacrificial practices that existed prior to the story.

              Of course, I think somebody here (you?) talked about bronze metal working often crippling bronze-smiths which lead to myths about smiths being crippled by others.

    • There is a great spoof book on this style of archaeology written in the 1970’s, called the Motel of Mystery. In it archeologists of the future are excavating a roadside motel after all knowledge of our era is lost and assigning religious meanings to what they find. For example they believe the bathroom is an inner shrine.

    • The archaeologists that have always bothered me most were the ones who talked about cultures from thousands of years ago in intimate detail. Then you find out they somehow learned all that from six broken pieces of pottery, and three hand-fashioned tools (one of which is probably just a funny shaped rock, and has never been anything BUT a funny shaped rock).

      • I’m a tool guy. As in, I cut, weld, forge, and sand cast metal. I have lathes and milling machines and machines most people wouldn’t recognize. I’ve had projects where I’ve made a tool to make a fixture to make a tool to make a part…

        So, I’m looking at displays of “ancient stone tools”, and I’m going, “really?” Granted you have sharp limits when you’re working with Flintstone technology, but if your rock is some kind of hammer, it has to have a place to hold it and a surface for hammering with. If it’s some kind of cutter or chopper, it has to have an edge.

        Some of the “tools” were obviously flaked or chipped, but unless the people claiming they’re tools can demonstrate what they might be used for, they’re just rocks. Maybe practice pieces while someone was learning how to make tools, but they have no useful purpose.

    • Ah, but the potluck barbecue is a community bonding ritual. 🙂

    • A lot of times the sacrifice did wind up as a barbecue. The gods got their bit, and the worshipers got to eat the rest.

      • Something like if churches now always had a grill in place of an altar, and the priest started the whole thing by accepting the things to be grilled from the congregation, maybe small game, or maybe one big animal, said some litany over them, possibly butchered them, and then started grilling? And after everything was done they’d all eat…

        Doesn’t actually sound that bad an idea. And I’m hungry now.

    • It was both. There were occasional holocausts — sacrifices where you burned the whole thing — but those were a BIG DEAL. Normally you burned part and ate the rest. Eating it was of such importance than Pythagoreans, normally vegetarians, would eat meat for this. And it was a major flash point in the Hellenizing efforts recorded in Maccabees.

      Why, some of the meat would be just plain sold. Hence the Pauline letters discussing the eating of meat sacrificed to idols.

    • Apparently Americans had a religion of worship of a place called China and Japan. They even inscribed it on all their eating utensils, serving ware and cookware. Later period Americans expanded their worship to places like Korean and a mythical city called Singapore. We believe that they prayed before every feast with the invocation “Made in China” as both a benediction and an incantation against poison and disease.

  4. Patrick Chester

    I remember something from one of Larry Niven’s writings saying something like since it is much more difficult to create than destroy, humans are innately creative creatures.

    Else there would be nothing left but rubble around the world.

  5. The conclusion drawn (and not wrong, though probably not absolutely right either) is that the Yamnaya killed the EEF and took their women.

    Or maybe…
    There’s this thing I’ve seen supposedly written by someone in early medieval England complaining about the Viking settlers stealing their women because they, they bathed!

    Add in another pic going around with the caption: “Norse women, because the Vikings didn’t take the ugly ones home.” And you’ve got an alternative explanation for that genetic mix.

    Mind you, I have no idea how it actually played out, probably a little of this, a little of that, sprinkled with hybrid vigor, and seasoned to taste.

    • In other words, not slaughter and conquest, but simple sexual selection.

      • There would be some slaughter, duh, with new population coming in, but yeah. It could be taller, bigger, stronger. Sexual selection.

        • The “in other words” was really directed at the first part. Real history is rarely all of one thing or another. It’s messy. Thus my “a little of this, a little of that…”

        • The pissed of wife who had gotten married to the balding and toothless guy who also turned out not to be quite as wealthy as everybody had thought against her will because her older sisters had gotten all the good catches, gets her new Viking lover to finish off the old husband and loot the house too? Not her fault, she’s the victim, if she ever has to deal with anybody from the old village, and no, nobody from there will try to go on a punishing raid against the Vikings because hey, Vikings, can’t piss them off. 😀

        • Mongo want big woman, with strong ankles and back. Need her to help haul fish nets in summer, plow garden in spring, move boulders out of garden in fall, and keep Mongo warm in winter!

    • That “Vikings bathed” thing is most likely a canard. Think of ships and long voyages.

      • This wasn’t talking about raiders, but about settlements. So “Viking” is technically incorrect but rather “people of Northern Extraction establishing settlements in the British Isles”.

        • I’d understood that one famous middle eastern guy wrote about Vikings and said they didn’t bathe after sex and it was gross. OTOH, there are all these little personal hygiene kits that the Norse supposedly carried around that included an ear wax scoop and tiny scissors.

          And of course, why even have a legend about the ship coming to destroy the world made out of toenail clippings if it wasn’t to terrify your children into not just leaving them all over the lodge?

          • Sighs.
            Synova, those kits proves they didn’t bathe. Guess how many times I’ve needed to scoop out/clean out ear wax since I started bathing daily? ZERO.
            Before that? Occasionally. I bathed weekly.
            People who needed them and used them constantly? Bathed maybe every couple of months.
            Double sigh. It would be helpful if ethnographers were NOT all raised in first world, yes?

            • We shower daily. That’s a really weird thing, historically, water from above over our heads and raining down while we scrub from top to bottom. Take a bath? What a pain, which is why the proverbial, one tub – reused water – starting with Dad and moving down until the water is so dirty you don’t want to miss seeing the baby in the murkiness. I think that washing almost certainly would involve a bucket and a wash cloth and almost never a bath tub. Wash your hair? Almost certainly not.

              It doesn’t make sense to me to see “bathe” as some sort of total immersion or it doesn’t count.

              I also know that people stop smelling the normal smells so that body odor would be mostly unnoticeable up until a level of major rankness anyway.

              • In the “Little House” books, once-a-week bath started with the kids and ended with Pa. Doing it the other way around would have left the kids more dirty rather than less.

            • Also sigh. I’ve bathed daily (admittedly under protest whilst Younger) and scooping out ear wax and trimming nails has always been a part of my life.

              I’ll check with my mom to be sure (she has you coming and going when it comes to Easy First World Life. Because dollars to donuts, your home town didn’t view the outhouse as a crazy newfangled innovation from the Pastor from down south)

              Until then, this might be one of those “different cultures are different” phenomenon.

          • I seem to remember reading somewhere that Napoleon once wrote to his wife, “Coming home in two weeks. Stop bathing.”

        • Possible. Maybe. Still don’t buy it. Where in the frozen North would they acquire the habit. Village: belief bathing in winter caused deathly colds probably justified. So no one bathed in winter. Suspect same of Vikings. There’s been a movement to make Vikings enlightened lately. Probably started with Romance writers.
          Don’t buy it, sorry.

          • They wouldn’t have to bathe often, just *more* often…

            • People even in medieval Europe, except the truly filthy tribes (some Germanic tribes had rules saying you HAD to bathe before your wedding, because they might not do it before or after ever) bathed on average once a month, though maybe less during winter.
              Nah. I think Vikings were average, though granted might have stuck out in some regions.
              The reason I say this is the suspicious movement to make Vikings AMAZING. (I don’t even know why, except it’s one of those lefty things. Maybe they think it justifies socialist norse countries?
              We get “Women were more free in Scandinavia” and “Vikings were actually mostly farmers.” And then I roll my eyes too much and they roll out.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                On the “Vikings were mostly farmers” thing.

                Well, I take the position that “Viking” was a profession (so to speak) not a tribe.

                IE “To go a Viking” meant “To go raiding the people across the sea”.

                Thus they weren’t peaceful farmers but after they got home with the loot, they may have become Rich peaceful farmers. 👿

                • They weren’t anyway. Farming was “low work” and engaged in by slaves.

                  • eh, farmers in the way plantation owners were farmers . . . democrats then?
                    I’ve seen where some supposedly were farmers but not very good or suffered disaster and went a viking to just survive, and hopefully get rich enough they didn’t need to farm any longer,
                    possibly all theories are about right in some small part.

                  • And much of the Viking was to capture slaves.

                • I would imagine that most Norse were fishermen.

                  • My Danish ancestors came from Schleswig-Holstein, which was Danish or German, depending on who won the latest war. Apparently they were farmers. Grampa Pete’s family lived inland (Jutland area) and were farming, though he got a good case of wanderlust and ended up a carpenter in Chicago.

                • Patrick Chester

                  There was a signature on Usenet I remember from the 90s. Went something like:

                  “What? Vikings? No we’re just simple farmers who’ve been here for decades. Everyone was dead when we got here. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.”

              • I think it’s the fad cycle; next up, going off of the pop mythology=> fantasy books=> attribute modern stuff to them cycle, is going to be Russia.

          • This link is not where I got it from, but she cites the same source. I find the “Viking Answer Lady” is usually pretty good about backing up her claims with sources. How reliable those sources are is another matter, but she’s not just pulling stuff out of her ear.

            http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/hairstyl.shtml#01

            The relevant passage (which, cited elsewhere, is where I got it, although I can’t find my original source at the moment):

            It is reported in the chronicle attributed to John of Wallingford that the Danes, thanks to their habit of combing their hair every day, of bathing every Saturday and regularly changing their clothes, were able to undermine the virtue of married women and even seduce the daughters of nobles to be their mistresses.

            She cites the following in support of that:
            Gwyn Jones. A History of the Vikings. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1968. p. 177.

            A quick look would seem to indicate that the “John of Wallingford” referred to here would be the chronicler of the mid-thirteenth century who is purported (wikipedia calls it the “so-called chronica joannas wallingford”) to have written a history of England from Brutus to Cnut.

            I am unable to find a more extensive rendition of the chronicle this is supposed to be from at the moment so I don’t know if the text (presuming it’s accurately reported) refers to Viking Age Danes or those more contemporary to John but even if the latter, the basic concept remains: the newcomers simply presenting themselves as cleaner and better groomed than the locals can make them more attractive to the women.

            Then there’s the reason “your mother wears army shoes” was a longstanding insult.

            • Look: HERDERS. Milk. Meat. Bigger. Yeah, sure more would die as babies and children, because more feast or famine, but the surviving Yamnaya men would be bigger and stronger. Women are wired to prefer that.

              • I should, perhaps, point out that the whole “they bathed” thing was not intended literally but as a placeholder for simply “they were more sexually desirable” and harking back to John of Wallingford’s “they bathed every week, they combed their hair, they changed their clothes!“.

                “Every girl goes crazy for a sharp dressed man.” 😉

          • Sauna?

          • Sauna. Nice and warm when it gets cold. Has a Finnish name because we kept them while almost everybody else around us gave them up.

            On the other hand, traditionally used just once a week for cleaning up. On third hand – it is damn nice when you are cold. And you don’t need all that much water to clean up after sweating in there. Except maybe for washing your hair.

            • Hm. Ancient Norse word laugardagr – for Saturday – means bath day. Finnish word for Saturday is lauantai, and that had traditionally been the day we use sauna. I also found some mentions that sauna and bathing once a week may be mentioned in some of the sagas. I don’t remember, but I have some of the Finnish translations, could check.

            • Apparently most ex-roman towns kept their baths too, though so that would wring “similar” not “cleaner.” Except in particular places.

              • The warmth, and getting warm, actually makes cleaning up a bit more likely during the winter. There is no faster way to get warm than hot water. As hot as you can possibly stand it.

                Also it’s easier to stay warm when you are fairly clean and wearing clean clothes.

                • At least that holds true with wool clothing.

                  Practical experience. 🙂

                  • And looking at what I could find: maybe the Vikings did bathe at least once a week when home, and not busy with something. But they may have spend most of their raiding trips unwashed. Clean up once when leaving, then again only if they got back home alive. :/

                • “Clean clothes are warmer” is true of cotton, too– one of my mom’s rage buttons.

                  Makes sense since body oil would conduct cold very nicely, and to dangerous areas…..

            • A good sauna is hot enough that you can rinse off in the lake if you have a nice big hole chopped through the ice. Don’t stay in the water so long that you get chilled, but if you do the sauna is right there to warm back up. Where I am from in Minnesota all the old Swedes and Finns swear by the health benefits of a good sauna. Similar hot baths are common right across northern Russia.

              Commercial saunas in the city are usually kept at much to low a temperature, sometimes no more than 130 degrees when they should be fifty degrees hotter.

              • Or just stand on the porch of it to cool off in minus 25 C for more than a couple of minutes before you notice it’s cold outside. 😀

                I’m not big fan of going to the ice hole FROM sauna, the big difference in temperatures going that way is not necessarily good for your heart (have done it a few times though, when there was a longer walk to the lake. Or, in that case, swimming pool. I haven’t seen that anywhere else, but at least one small town pool had an ice hole in their filled small outside pool during winter).

                Other way around is great though. Swim first, then go to sauna to get warm. Or the way I used to wash myself in Lapland when our camp had a tent sauna – get wet in it, soap myself and shampoo my hair, get to the not exactly warm lake to rinse off as much as possible, back to the sauna to rinse the last bits with warm water (as there was not a lot of it, and it took ages to get it warm). In my defense I did use as environmentally friendly soap and shampoo as you could find here in the 80’s. 🙂

                • My all time favorite sauna was located just a couple of steps from the edge of the lake. Very convenient for an extended swim in summer or a very quick dash to the hole in the ice in winter.

                • tregonsee314

                  There is a story (perhaps apocryphal) of the 300 degree club in Antarctica. During the depth of the winter (i.e. about now) the seriously bored denizens of the Antarctic base wait for a day with a -100 F temperature. They then climb into the very hot Sauna and sit for as long
                  as they can tolerate. Finally they dash out into the -100 degree antarctic night. As Pohljainen has noted this is probably a really good way to have a heart attack, and being winter in Antarctica no one can come for you until like mid October. As I said bored denizens :-).

      • Ah, but just how long were Vikings at sea? If you look at the geography, they worked like the Greeks and Romans, hopping from one shore camp to the next. Real blue-water sailing was a late medieval development. Columbus, de Gama, Magellan…seamen who had the nerve to cross oceans with one long jump.

        • I’m looking at a map of Scandinavia, and it seems a lot of a viking voyage would entail short trips (a day or two), with a long haul near Britain or some of the other islands.

          Speed on the ships seems to be 5 to 10 knots, so that long leg to Iceland or similar might be 400 to 500 miles, and would take a few days. Much longer, and you’d have to trade off crew size to keep adequate provisions. Somehow, landing a great big raiding party of starving warriors strikes me as a non-optimal solution.

          Still, longer journeys were made, to colonize Greenland, Iceland and eastern Canada. OTOH, you could carry a bunch of cargo with a smaller crew for trips like that.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            IIRC, the Norse had several types of sea-going ships.

            The stereotypical Dragon-Headed Raiding ship wasn’t the only type and wasn’t the type that was used to sail to Iceland, Greenland and other far-away places. Many of the other types had more cargo space than the raiding ships.

            • Yep. The smallest ones were primarily used for fishing and local trade, though in general, they all seemed to have the similar concept; open construction, square sail, and relatively long for the beam. (The early designs were about 60′ long, but only 6′ wide. Should be fast, but not a cargo hauler. One would assume that such a ship would be supported by either a land base or a group of slower cargo vessels. I’m starting to think of MacArthur’s island hopping campaign in WW II.)

              One of the articles mentioned that the vessels were frequently dual-purpose, and could be used for military applications at need.

          • Precisely. Norway to the Orkneys, the Orkneys to Iceland or Western Scotland (where a bunch set up shop an begat some of my forebears). Iceland to Greenland, Greenland to Vinland the Good (and Well Defended). Each leg is 2-4 days.

            • tregonsee314

              2-4 days in the North Sea in an open vessel ANY time of the year sounds quite unpleasant. It’s clear my Viking ancestors were either crazy or seriously bad ass (or probably both).

  6. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
    Death in Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather.

  7. My Kindergarten teacher was Miss Beaver. That’s much funnier when in junior high than in kindergarten.

    Back when we were looking for a church, we stopped by one of the larger Baptist ones in town. The pastor’s sermon turned me off to the point I was ready to walk out in the middle of it. It was on the ‘Lies of Evolution’. One of his main points was that humans are the only animal to wage war or rape. I knew right then he has never studied anything in the animal kingdom. Chimps wage war against other tribes quite often, even going so far as genocide. Ants do the same. Don’t get me started on those Aholes known as dolphins. If he was going to lecture us on something, and expect me to take him seriously, he shouldn’t have used examples easily debunked in a 5 second internet search.

    • The weird thing is, those ‘facts’ come from the Progressive Left, or at least they did in the 1970’s when I first heard them.

      The ants counter argument occurred to me almost immediately, the chimps I discovered later.

      These days when sone fool is rhapsodizing about ‘natural’ i tell him “We are social apes. For us, Natural is crouching in trees, picking parasites off of our relatives, and lotting to murder the alpa male and his minor children, so we can rape and impregnate his females.

      You can keep ‘natural’, I want no part of it.”

      • “All natural!”

        “Just like asbestos and hemlock!”

        • Plutonium is ‘natural’. Bubonic Plague is ‘natural’, Botulism is ‘natural’, Nuclear fusion and fission are ‘natural’ (don’t think so? Look up!).

          Natural is not only overrated, it is next to meaningless.

      • The whole thing about the monkeys… You don’t take small children along while hunting them. You make sure the little ones don’t get too far from the village – they get eaten by monkeys. Whenever I hear about those places that have swarms of thieving monkeys because the damn tourists keep feeding them, I think “You only hear about them stealing things or bags of food. You don’t hear about them stealing children and eating them.” Given that the damn apes scamper over rooftops, how many children they’ve stolen from the crib is probably something you don’t hear about.

        I’ve run into a few people surprised about my attitude about monkeys; and my retort is ‘feel free to take your infant out on a safari if you think they’re nice and harmless and cute. Monkeys are omnivorous animals.”

        • Anything ne who thnks minieys and apes are cute needs to be sat down to a couple of hours worth of documentary film about baboons.

          *shudder*

          Whenever I think of them, I give thanks that I don’t live in a part of the world where they are a local nuisance animal. Racoons are bad enough, thanks.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        It is natural that we kill the Hippies, for their customs are not of us, and they do not stand with us against our foe.

  8. c4c

  9. How about renting helicopter (with pilot), pretending to be a Lt. General, and a flying a woman around for thirty minutes? What do you call that—not doing your homework (married woman), over the top Latin, desperate (middle aged man), or a cup of pecans short of fruitcake? True story—-see https://www.wral.com/man-will-admit-to-impersonating-general-for-helicopter-ride/17635838/.

  10. Regarding chickens, there is a TV commercial running lately that always makes me chuckle. Their boast is that their chickens are raised free range, antibiotics free, and vegan. The background video shows a flock happily pecking away at the ground. Having grown up in midwestern farm country I know precisely what those peckers are harvesting. Vegan my aunt Fanny.
    As for chickens the size of T-Rex, yum! I’d expect some debate as to the best way to harvest the beasts, and there would of course be considerable mayhem in the cities, but sooner rather than later I’d expect chicken fillets to be dirt cheap.
    Several golden age authors wrote time travel stories focusing on the hunting of dinosaurs, and the issue of how best to bring down a T-Rex or similar beast involved the same argument as with African big and dangerous game, go with slow large caliber slugs, or smaller caliber faster bullets. Both opinions had their proponents.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      On hunting dinosaurs (or being hunted by dinosaurs).

      Do you want to deal with a single large T-Rex that you might be able to hide from or do you want to deal with a “pack” of raptors who might be smart enough to attack you from their hiding place? 😈

    • Free range and vegan? Their range would have to be free of bugs, worms, and other assorted creepy crawlies in order to be vegan, which strikes me as implausible. And no, chickens are not all that cute and cuddly. I’ve heard too many stories of children who are grateful because the tough stringy old bird is now soup instead of the terror of the yard…

    • Golden age authors wrote about dinosaur hunts and then we had an “Earth 2” television show where a colony of humans go back some millions of years before the mass extinction and the whole thing is how they won’t kill the dinosaurs. Even the one that had killed and eaten a human was humanely drugged and done surgery on to retrieve the guy’s ID, sewn up and let go again.

      Why is it that shows that ought to be “Wow! This is my sort of thing!” are so clearly not, right from the get-go. You KNOW the stupid will reign and there is no point in watching. Instead of “man against nature” it’s going to be “whiny teenaged angst and interpersonal drama.”

      • I realize that no one here will need the extra information but the “environmental” impact of the colonists actually *colonizing* in the scenario of that show is factually and objectively going to be zip to none, even if they clear ever T-Rex to the distance of their transportation limits.

        It’s not just an inappropriate importation of modern sensibilities, it’s illogical and irrational.

        • Ah, but not if you grew up, were educated, and now live in a very select bi-coastal bubble. That fantasy land where everyone is either vegan or knows without doubt that meat comes prepackaged from the meat factory. And that of course Trump must have cheated since not a single person in their elite circle could possibly have voted for him.

        • Well, that’s because ‘Modern Sensibilities’ have become ostentatiously illogical and irrational.

          See, when the 19th Century colonials felt that imposing Christian sensibilities and modern civilization on the natives was A Good Thing, there was a certain amount of sweet reason on their side. Oh, it was far from ALL good, but damnit, the Caste system of India is barbaric. So is Suttee (or Sati, these PC days). The British did their best to eradicate the West African slave trade, from Christian sensibilities.

          A lot of what the Victorians imposed on various Native groups boils down to lessons we in the West learned the hard way. Late 19th century Protestant Christianity, for all its flaws, produced societies with much to recommend them.

          By contrast, 20th Century Progressivism produces little of worth unless you like treating populations of humans like ant colonies you intend to pour boiling water into. Its impuses are based on denial of experience, its racism is as bad as or worse than that of the Antibellum South, and it solutions do not stand up to even passing scrutiny.

          • ‘Twasn’t only the West African slave trade they did a number on, but the East African one as well.

          • Which is why I like to think of myself as a 19th Century gentleman with 21st Century technology.

            And have long considered the modern era the Age of Sin and Folly – a moral Dark Age.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              I like to think of myself as a barbarian tied to civilization only by my ties of citizenship to the Republic.

            • Tom Wolfe expressed the belief that in retrospect the 21st century would be known as “The 20th Century’s hangover”.

              I have hopes.

      • …I’d venture to guess it’s because they’re writing what they know. The writers, actors, and directors haven’t spent much time with nature actively trying to kill them*, but they’ve spent a lot of time exposing and perpetuating whiny teenaged drama.

        * At least, not without a thick layer of safeguards. Nature is always trying to kill you, but you usually have to be at the thinner edges of civilization to notice.

        • The Little House books were very much about how nature was trying to kill them. Hail or bugs or injuries… it didn’t take much. I love a nice Louis L’Amour Western. Some of the death in those was human sourced but nature was always there, waiting to bleach your bones, unmourned, if you were careless in a moment you ought not to have been.

          • If you read _Pioneer Girl_, you can see even more nature and human nature they dealt with. The time of _The Long Winter_, another couple lived with the Ingalls in their kitchen. They were lazy and shiftless and did nothing to help with survival. The Bouchies, who she lived with while teaching we’re way more dysfunctional than in _These Happy Golden Years_. The sickness that took their brother and the ones left them ill as well are described rather thanked out or skimmed over.

            The Little House books had been toned down to appeal toore people.

            • Well, they were kids’ books.

            • I really need to read that. Didn’t she also have a cousin try to rape her? The one who was attacked by a hornet’s nest in the Little House books?

              • The late Gordon Dickson’s book “Wolf and Iron” (highly recommended) had a section where we see that a simple sprained ankle was a life-threatening emergency and the main character may well have only survived because he was accompanied by a wolf that brought him food–the way wolves in the wild bring meat back for their young.

                • Sprained ankle. Mauled by a bear. Wolf not only brought him food as a youngster to an injured alpha, but cleaned the open wounds. Also example of getting caught out in a prairie in a blizzard knowing there was no one to come look for him; finding his significant other after she left “safety” of a cabin homestead, also in/or just after a blizzard. Quotes intended. You can imply how safe she was.

                  Not taking time to bury the victims of the raid on the near by homestead, even, after (by then) their survival was assured. My sister pointed this out. My response was “Well, yes. What if the raiders came back? Items they were scavenging being missed by said raiders, was unlikely, as the items were ignored as worthless. However, graves … who is around that would care enough & how close are they?”

        • Or aboard a ship. Or airplane.

        • The thing with a lot of 1960s through 1980s TV was that the people in charge were probably WWII vets. Even Gene Roddenberry was a Navy pilot, so at least he’d been exposed to shipboard life and had seen someone actually in an actual day-to-day command role.

          That’s one of the problems with the ST-Disco reboot: It’s really very clear that no one involved with that production at any level has ever actually been exposed to a military hierarchy. They make stupid mistakes like treating “Lt. Commander” as a job instead of a rank, and that you get to be considered to command a commissioned StarFleet starship by being accepted on board by the captain as a favor to the Vulcans and then doing some kind of five year ride-along apprenticeship.

          And the non-exposure Dorothy mentions to any situation that will kill you if you express your individuality at the wrong moment shows too.

          Hollywood is a bubble. Very occasionally some outside influence intrudes, and some deal maker connects a script by a writer with outside experience to the right technical advisors under a director who has skill so they actually get stuff right outside of their experience. And don’t get me started about “reboots”.

          But mostly it’s just writing and producing what they know, i.e. cut-throat corporate politics with wild parties against a backdrop of a decaying city. Change the CGI and costumes around and bingo is SciFi, but it’s all the same stories.

          • Every single SciFi movie or TV show with a robot in it is Frankenstein. Every single fricking time.

          • Roddenberry was actually Air Force (B-17 pilot), but your point is dead on the money. An old book that is well worth reading is “The Making of Star Trek”. Which has a lot of information on how the TOS universe was created – and ground rules. One of which was to transpose your SF scenario into the current day and see if the characters’ actions make sense.

            • Thanks, I had recalled incorrectly – Roddenberry was in the USAAF in the Pacific. But to my point, in addition to Roddenberry, it looks like ST:TOS producer Gene L. Coon was in the USMC stateside during WWII, and TOS season 3 producer Fred Freiberger was an 8th AF crewman who was shot down and spent the rest of the war as a German POW. All had direct contact with the traditions and operations in the military.

              Huge contrast to the (recently fired) showrunners on ST: Discovery, whose experience was writing together for 90210

        • Ahh, the “let’s take a selfie with the buffalo in Yellowstone” level of stupidity.

          • Let’s have the child pose for a picture beneath the bear cub in that tree!

            • Ahhh, mommy bear went off & left 3 year old, all alone because she wanted a tryst. Poor baby is hungry, lets feed her.

              What is happening now with ‘Snow’, a 3 year-old grizzly whose mother cut her loose this summer. A very popular bear whose picture has been on the internet since she was presented to the world via Facebook pictures, the year she was born. Word on the ground that the crowds are not happy that she is being harassed away from the road.

              For those in the know: “A fed bear is a dead bear” are rooting for the rangers & wildlife managers. Her current actions are such that is suspected she has been fed by people, somewhere, somehow; but not proven. Thus, they are harassing her to try & change her perceptions about vehicles & people. May they succeed. If they don’t, they have to kill her; OTOH loose a few tourists, maybe crowding of Yellowstone & Tetons would be solved.

              • Just photos as far as the couple seeing it saw. Also, they did not in fact hear stories later about how they all got mauled to deaht.

    • I’ve raised chickens. All you have to do is look those little bastards in the eye, and you just KNOW they would murder you if only they could manage it.

      They’re psychotic little murder-birds, and even the occasional sweet-tempered one doesn’t change that fact. (And I’m pretty sure the sweet ones only turn up so because they’re a bit smarter than the others: they’ve twigged to the fact that Humans bring Food, and if they give you attention, you’re more likely to be protected from the rest of your vicious, cannibal kind…)

    • The classic of them is L. Sprague de Camp’s “A Gun for Dinosaur.”

      And it’s a free read at Baen: https://www.baen.com/Chapters/9781625793614/9781625793614___2.htm

    • Dan Hamilton

      “go with slow large caliber slugs, or smaller caliber faster bullets. ”
      No, No, NO!!!!!! Go with LARGE High Caliber FAST Bullets!
      Those others are for hunters that DIE!!

    • I guess those fluffwits forget that chickens will eat their own eggs, if the eggs break.

      Some chickens are cute and cuddly and sweet – we had a number. Then we also had these aggressive bastards who needed to be beaten down the pecking order (and yes, I had to ensure that ‘the humans are the top’) with the liberal application of a lifting kick: Hook rooster with foot, send flying. If attacked again, grab, avoid stabbing beak by slapping rooster in face a few times, tuck head under wing and swing in large circles in the air, bodily. Put now docile and dizzy chicken on ground, and watch as he falls onto his side. The REALLY aggressive ones got tied around the legs, by the spurs and hung by their perches for five minutes.

      I looked at the screen door that’s at the front of my mother’s house, and remembered how the entire damn flock (free range, would come home for feeding when called, or come home when it was time for feeding) would cluster in front of the door, on the porch and around the front of the house, and there was this aggressive rooster who would attack the door with his spurs to let us know “OI! WE ARE HERE AND YOU ARE LATE WITH FEED!” He’d hit the door so hard, there were dents that remain to this day. He’d fruff his feathers then look indignant and aggressive when I’d open the door.

      The females were just as bad at bullying – there was a bantam rooster who got regularly bullied by three normal sized brown hens, so my mother would put some feed on top of the water barrel and pick him up so he could eat there. She would stand guard over him while those three hens tried (and failed) to find a way around Mom. That same rooster, who was normally a grumbly, grumpy thing ended up fostering a chick that liked to try eat his wattles. We always had the impression of a long suffering older bachelor, grumping his way through life with that one. He was one of our more memorable pet chickens.

    • Rich Rostrom

      “Several golden age authors”? AFAIK, the only author to address dinosaur hunting was L. Sprague de Camp, with “A Gun for Dinosaur” (1956). He revisited the theme many years late R(1993), with a set of nine additional stories in the collection Rivers of Time.

      I do recall a Poul Anderson(?) story in which a colony is being established in the Mesozoic. The colonists must defend themselves against marauding dinosaurs with small arms, which are sometimes inadequate.

    • Best way to kill a T-Rex is to grab it by the head, stretch its neck across a good solid block of wood, and whack its head off with a big honking hatchet. Thank goodness you don’t have to dip them in boiling water for a few seconds and have to pluck the feathers off them.

  11. It was mostly hysteria from the (then) most pampered generation in history at the idea that war existed and they might be required to serve, or worse, they might die in a nuclear exchange.

    There is a theory that the extended western “ant-war movement” against the U.S. effort to save the South Vietnamese was a confluence of external funding (Look! Kremlin interference in US politics, but with actual proof!!) and the effects of Johnson not doing a general draftee call-up, with deferments eliminated, when he expanded the war in Vietnam.

    Those young men with draft deferrals for college, raised in the patriotic era prior to the 1960s, were faced with an internalized accumulation of guilt for avoiding what had been generally taught as a universal societal obligation*. To maintain their self-image, the deferred self-justified their avoidance of any service obligation not by fear, but by putting themselves on the side of true and honorable rightness, opposing the evil Johnson and his evil war to subjugate the poor honest democratic minions of Uncle Ho and rape and murder and other invented nastiness (see Kerry, John).

    And so we got the whole “speak truth to power” meme to cover “I studied at six different universities across the country, never completing that Ph.D. I was pursuing, in order to maintain my draft deferment, purely out of fear – but I marched to protest Johns and the War, so I’m an honorable man”.

    When you apply that back to Sarah’s observation, that even with all the extensive gymnastics performed by a significant portion of the became-adults-in-the-1960s generation to weasel out of any possibility of danger, they still might be subject to dying in a nuclear exchange, and why can’t we just do anything they want to make the USSR not threaten us, the connection is pretty obvious.

    And I’ll also note that anti-nuke movement of the 70s and 80s was a fully funded Kremlin agitprop campaign of interference in U.S. and Western European politics.

    * Note that, as in prior wars, there was a path for true conscientious objectors that was available, to go provide service somewhere else. I know of people who worked in hospitals to fill this obligation. Most males of service age did not bother to pursue this route.

    • I knew a draftee who did not dodge or such… but I can say he was mighty happy to wind up guarding the border between Germany and.. Germany.

      • Eldest brother was in basic training during the Tet Offensive, and was rather happy to be a REMF in Seoul when he went overseas.

        Middle brother had a poorly healed ankle that netted a 1Y, then a 4F deferment, and my 2S lasted until the draft ended in the early-ish 1970s. If the war had gone on longer, I suppose I’d have ended in the Signal Corps after graduation. Maybe. As it stood, I was in Silicon Valley, trying to persuade integrated circuits to behave well enough to be used in military applications.

      • On the other hand, if the Soviets had come pouring through the Fulda Gap, he’d have been toast.

        • The BIL was happy keeping a (radar) eye on the other Koreans.

          I can’t recall off hand whether he was still overseas when Saigon fell – his cohort was pulled at the very end of the draft, I think only one or two numbers shy. I do recall him mentioning that many of the locals were worried that they were next.

          Must remember to ask him, if this current negotiation actually works out, what he thinks of the POTUS now. (He’s a just barely mellowed socialist, so I know he never voted for DT. If he voted, he probably wrote in Bernie.)

    • I was of draft age in the late 1960s, right around when Nixon was in the White House. I cannot recall ever feeling a sense of guilt. What I felt was deep anger that the United States government thought it was entitled to compel me to serve without my voluntary consent (since I shared Heinlein’s view that conscription violated the Fifteenth Amendment), coupled with the belief that a war that could not get enough volunteers to fight it was almost certainly neither morally nor politically justified. I must say that Nixon’s doing away with the draft strikes me as a redeeming feature of his presidency.

      • There were a fair number of redeeming features of Nixon’s term. Though his economics (Price controls? Really?!) sucked. And he was an idiot to get tangled up in Watergate: Nixon should have disavowed the Plumbers – that’s what they were for.

        And the theory I mentioned mostly applies to the early on draft and protestors – by the time you were faced with the lottery drawing the die was pretty much cast.

        A lot of the stuff on Vietnam is predicated on the war being “unwinnable”, but even after the Vietnamization process was pretty much complete in the late 1970s, the U.S. could have at least not-lost if Nixon had not gotten tangled up in Watergate, which allowed Teddy Kennedy and the other radical left Dems in Congress to block ammunition resupply to the ARVN and prevent the USAF from knocking out the NVA armored columns as had happened in 1972.

        The U.S. had built a South Vietnamese Army optimized for local anti-insurgency warfare that was light on armor and totally dependant on US air power and logistical supply specifically so it would be structurally incapable of going off leash and invading the North. Then when the South came under massive Soviet-style armored attack for the second time in 1975, the U.S. removed all supporting air power and logistical supply. In my view that was one of the most shameful acts in U.S. history, with guidance right off the bridge by Chappaquiddick Teddy, setting back relations with U.S. allies for many years.

        If Nixon (and then Ford) had not been hobbled by Watergate, untainted President Nixon would likely have just said “The War Powers Act is unconstitutional, and as Commander in Chief I am sending massive resupply and releasing the full weight of the USAF,” and there would be a democratic government in Saigon today.

        • On the other hand, Nixon continued the expansion of the Nanny State that Johnson started. It wasn’t until Reagan that things even slowed down.

          • I said there were a fair number of redeeming features – not enough for the full “strange new respect” syndrome, but Nixon was accorded some of the elder statesman mojo in the media toward the end of his life, mostly for his China gambit.

            Nixon was no conservative on his best of days. I’m not sure what would have happened had he lost to Humphrey (or, hey, alt-hist: Bobby Kennedy) in 1968, but losing to McGovern in 1972 would have been a horrific disaster for the country. Now that would have been the Russians influencing US politics.

        • Tip O’Neill’s “Man of the House” has a fair bit about how the Democratic Party sabotaged the war effort. O’Neill bragged about it.

      • The problem with the Vietnam War is that it had us defending a corrupt regime from an unspeakable one. As one Veteran said to me “The only decent people in the whole country were the Montagnard tribes in the middle. We should have set up headquarters THERE are fought in both directions.”

        The thing being that the anti-Communists were right. The spread of Communism was a serious peril, and needed to be fought. The Left HATED that reality, and did it’s level best to erase it, but the outlines of a multi-National tragedy much bigger than the Holocaust are still pretty clear if you bother to look.

        Trump is not Hitler (though his resemblance to Tom Pendergast is harder to deny) but far too many demagogues of the Left would be Stalin if they had the chance.

        • “The problem with the Vietnam War is that it had us defending a corrupt regime from an unspeakable one.”

          Except you could have said the same thing about the Korean War. Rhee isn’t going to be on anyone’s list of kindly rulers. But the thing about free markets is that they allow people to become rich enough to resent being told what to do by an arbitrary cabal and do something about it. I would bet that if South Vietnam had survived it would have become quite democratic by the end of the Cold War.

          • I wouldn’t look too closely at the ‘democracy’ of any Asian nation.

            But then, our own probably wouldn’t bear close examination either….which is one reason Teh Elites foind themselves saddled with Trump. They started to run things a tad too openly, and the electorate got tired of them and decided to throw a fox in the henhouse.

            • I find I wasn’t done….

              For all the analysis that’s been lavished on the 2016 election, I have yet to see this factor given prominence:

              Both Parties had in their lineups popular candidates who branded themselves as ‘outsiders’. One can certainly argue about the actual outiser status of either Trump or Sanders, but that’s a brand they both wore. The Democrat establishment ran scared from a Sanders nomination and scuttled it in favor of Hillary, who was almost the definition of an ‘insider’. The Republicans accepted Trump, with (sometimes loud) reservations.

              Now, Hillary ran an awful campaign. She clearly (to me, anyway) had contempt for the election process and expected that her fellow insiders would see to it that she won. This expectation was a trifle blatant, and gave short shrift to questions about her behavior as Sec. State, her health problems, and so on.

              I believe that those Democrat voters who had been enthusiastic for Sanders never warmed to Hillary, and I think many stayed home on election day, having been assured by Teh Polls that Hillary would win.

              Oops.

              OTOH those Republicans who were enthusiastic about Trump had been ostentatiously insulted by Hillary and probably made it to the polls if they had to drag their iron lungs with them.

              Could Sanders have won? I don’t know. But it seems clear to me that the Democrats made a major mistake by running an insider against a (nominal, anyway) outsider. It was one mistake among many, but they really need to address it if they don’t want another four years of Trump.

              • It’s worth pointing out that the GOP Establishment did a worse-than-usual job of Establishment-ing. You do NOT allow 16 candidates into your Presidential primary, not without a plan to winnow them down fast. You do NOT let a significant issue like illegal immigration just lie there for someone to pick up and run with. And you do NOT let a candidate detested by the base (Jeb Bush) soak up a mountain of early donor’s cash.

                But then, the party of Lincoln let the Democrats steal the Black vote, too. Incompetence, thy name is GOP Establishment.

                • The GOP establishment is in flux. The ‘old guard’ of ‘loyal opposition, win a few but the Democrats are in charge’ is being replaced by people who actually want to win. Slowly, but it is happening.

              • Your analysis missed the fact that, given the Dems put up the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, this was a Syphilitic Camel election, where for many voters, they would have voted for the aforementioned Infected Camel instead of Her Chappaquaness.

                Trump turning out to be surprisingly not so bad in many areas was and is a happy surprise, but purely a bonus.

            • South Korea can manage the peaceful transition of power between political rivals. That’s close enough to democracy for my book. What’s depressing is how close we are to failing that definition.

              • We failed that definition in 2000 with “selected not elected”. It’s taken some people longer to recognize what’s continued to happen since.

        • Bernie Saunders would totally go full Stalin given the chance. You can see it in his piggy little eyes. He’s a fricking fruitcake.

          • It was still a mistake to disrespect his supporters quite so openly in handing the nomination to Hillary….who would go, if not full Stalin, at least Mussolini of given the chance.

    • Re: “There is a theory that the extended western “ant-war movement” against the U.S. effort to save the South Vietnamese was a confluence of external funding (Look! Kremlin interference in US politics, but with actual proof!!) and the effects of Johnson not doing a general draftee call-up, with deferments eliminated, when he expanded the war in Vietnam.”

      There’s probably a lot of truth in that…. but there’s another factor that I think should be considered. We all know the antiwar movement really started in Europe, and was then imported to the States. I don’t know how many of y’all reading this are Americans by birth, but I am. I know WW2 only through the history books – and mostly through American history books, in which Our Boys went Over There and beat the evil Nazis and came home in triumph.

      Then one day I sat down and really thought about what European people who were alive during WW2 must have experienced. Whole cities dying in firestorms set off by Allied incendiary bombs. A big percentage of men of military age dead, and their kids growing up with the knowledge that “Father went to war and didn’t come home.” Crops dying in the fields because there weren’t enough people to tend or harvest them. Infrastructure wrecked. Roads, railroads, canals, factories, anything of military value destroyed by Allied bombers — our bombers, you know, the good guys’ bombers.

      Y’know, if I had lived through that, I’d probably be pretty much “no war, no way, nohow” too. And pass that on to my kids.

    • I knew several high school and college classmates in the late ’60s who registered 1-AO and were drafted; most sent to Ft. Sam Houston for basic. Some served in CONUS, some in Germany or Korea, a couple ended up in the Army’s “Operation Whitecoat” program, the rest were parceled out as medics to various units sent to Viet Nam, several earning various combat decorations while there.

    • After learning about Desmond Doss, so-called pacifists have a LOT to live up to, in my opinion.

      (Not that they all should be exactly like him. But he was definitely on the extreme end of ‘conscientious objector still serving his country’)

    • Dan Hamilton

      I worked with an anti-war guy. The only one I ever really respected.
      He didn’t believe in the war and refused to go. Didn’t run away, didn’t try to get out of it, just walked up and said “NO, I will not go!”. Pled guilty, convicted spent 2 years in Fed Pen. He stood by what he believed.

      • I worked for an extended deferment guy – he went A.B.D. (All But Dissertation) three times at three different Universities after he got his masters until he ran out the clock on the draft. Never got his PhD – no need to stay at school after that point.

        I learned a lot about how to manage people by watching what he did and doing the opposite.

        • My lottery number was 43. If the draft had continued, I’d have been inducted sometime in 1974. Some years earlier, I thought about it, and wouldn’t enlist, but would not have tried to avoid the draft.

          Found myself wondering just how I’d have reacted to combat. The situation hasn’t arrived just yet. With luck, I won’t have to discover. OTOH, I’ve learned about age and treachery versus youth and enthusiasm.

  12. Oh, humans. Killers? Oh yes. But not hardly all.
    Killers? And damned good at at, when called to be? Oh yes.

    And… yet not.

    So much the “only human” cannot do – so you make do.
    Humans have not the strength or endurance of the horse or the ox.
    So humans tamed and harnessed and used their strength and endurance.
    Humans could swim, but not all that well.
    So they built boats. And ships. And even submarines.
    Humans could not fly.
    So they made kites, then balloons, dirigibles, and the various heavier-than-air craft.
    Human computation is limited. So they invented branches of mathematics to the impossible possible, the difficult easier. Log tables. Slide rules. Adding machines. Computers.
    Humans only climb so far… but some decades ago, they managed to use computational, and flight aids and… climbed to the moon.

    Other creatures use tools, sure. Some precious few might even use tools to make tools. Humans have a term for most of such tools. They call them the Simple Machines. Simple!

    The killer ape… that has said, “Enough!” and tried, and sometimes even succeeded, in avoiding causing extinctions. Humans: The MORAL Ape.

    • Humans have not the strength or endurance of the horse or the ox.
      So humans tamed and harnessed and used their strength and endurance.

      Quibble, less endurance than raw power– humans can walk a horse to the ground, all else being equal. They’re just strong enough that they can carry a good bit more than we can while doing it.

      Pursuit predators, we’re funky. 🙂

      • I seem to recall that horses can at least keep up with us–but only under the right conditions. If the weather is cool enough that you don’t need to sweat much to keep your body temperature, the horse is going to be able to go faster even over long distances.

        In the African Savannah, on the other hand, nothing is going to out-endurance us.

        • They can go much faster, even at basically a fast walk– but they’ll die if they do it day after day, while we won’t.

      • We are space orcs. Space orcs with a bad case of insatiable curiosity and a willingness to drag anyone else around (human or not) along for the ride. All other species in the galaxy hide when a human says “Hey… I have an Idea.”

        • I love those memes!

        • “It can’t be used as a weapon? Are you sure? Hold my Romulan Ale.”

          • No, just give it to the Federation. And they’ll come up with this insane use for it that was nowhere near the concept or design specifications’ capabilities.

          • “Dude. You realize that you just said that to the species that plays war games, of all sorts – historic, current, futuristic, fantastic, even magical – for fun, right? They have two categories for things. Things that are weapons, and things that will be weapons.”

            “Oh, how about clothing – and not camouflage or armor.”

            “Clothing, huh? Made from fibers, such as ‘cotton’ which is cellulose… they treated it with acids and got nitrocellulose, ‘gun cotton’.”

            “Egad, that’s right. Uh oh.”

            • He covered up the cell cameras with his socks. He used his pants to yank the bars out of his cell window. He used the braided strips of his torn up shirt as a rope to let himself far enough down the wall to drop safely the last dozen feet. He killed 3 guards with his belt, distracted two others by tossing his shoes, and delayed the lead pursuit vehicle just long enough by stuffing his t-shirt up the tail pipe. What he did with his underwear is just too unmentionable!

      • Humans are smart enough to ride the horse into the ground, and then continue the pursuit (or flight) on foot.

  13. If Aliens wanted to exterminate us, they’d create T- Rex sized chickens…

    “Wow, double electrified fences around the holding area, and is that a minefield between the two fences?”

    “Yep. And we’ve also got auto-targeted gigajoule tasers there and there before the outside protection gun turrets.”

    “But why go to all this trouble?”

    “We need the eggs.”

  14. I’ve been reading about this subject a bit in recent months, and the version I’ve seen has three main European populations: The two you mention, and an older still population of foragers who came up from Africa very, very early and got mixed with the Near Eastern farmers.

    Cochran’s blog cites Latin America as an example of the genetic pattern where you get your Y chromosomes from one population and your mitochondrial genomes from a different population. That suggests that the Spanish colonization of the Western hemisphere might be comparable in its demographic effects to what happened when the Indo-Europeans drove in in their chariots. Though of course the technological disparity was probably smaller back at the start of the Bronze Age.

    • Yeah, and even then the Spaniards did NOT kill every male.

      • No, but it appears as if the Spaniards passed on their Y chromosomes to a lot of indigenous women, in numbers way out of proportion to their representation in the total male population. Whether that was by killing the indigenous men, raping or enslaving the women, enslaving the men and not letting them breed, monopolizing the land so that the indigenous men were too poor to marry, or having native mistresses through the benefit of their greater wealth, the Spaniards seem to have shut a lot of indigenous men out of the gene pool. Evolutionarily that’s equivalent to killing them, and it seems that it feels like it to a lot of men, too, even though there are freaks like me who aren’t motivated to pass on their genes.

        And most of those lesser repressions are only possible if you’re willing to enforce them by killing people, even if you don’t kill everybody.

        • You don’t even need to shut them out of the gene pool. Just get their first. In a society where the first born generally inherit…

          • “society where the first born generally inherit…” & subsequent sons don’t have offspring, or acknowledged ones, because they can’t afford to setup households.

            • which is not an unusual setup at subsistence level

              • Yes. & its the heirs & their heirs that carry the story. Everyone else gets left behind after a few generations. I someways it could be implied that each heir was an only child. A falsehood, but perception.

    • The East Germans used to refer to the various Soviet monuments as “statues of the Unknown Rapist.”

      It would be interesting to know how that affected east/west German populations…

  15. The myth of the noble beast versus the man the killer was prominent in Burrough’s Tarzan stories. Although I am not a Burroughs expert, I thought it came mostly from the 18th and 19th century Romantic tradition of literature.

  16. Alright, anyone think of the (in)famous reporting of the Hindenburg?

  17. So then we got Star Trek which had all the “boldly go” but safely lobotomized by the Prime Directive so that people could have their cake and eat it too.

    I can’t say that it wasn’t a winning combo. It was.

    • Yeah, and it was hopeful, but we need more realistic. Star Trek’s founding principles had it crawl up its own ass. It was inevitable.

      • B5 is realistic but came around 30 years later.

        • I’ve been watching B5 on Amazon and one of the trivia cards in the X-Ray feature was that people were outraged that the show had homeless people on a space station.

          • Hehehe, there’s several episodes where the folks in “Down Below” are part of the action. A particularly memorable one involving a fellow who is utterly convinced that he’s King Arthur returned…

            And other episodes where the main cast discuss how to make sure these folks don’t starve/run out of air/etc or help. Or sometimes hinder. The doctor sets up a free clinic down there.

            And the totalitarian government that takes over Earth pulls the “we have no homeless back home, what’s your problem” propaganda schtick, much to the station commander’s disbelief.

            I do love that series. Hands down, probably my favorite scifi series–despite or perhaps because it’s also pretty much Lord of the Rings IN SPACE!!! 😀 (Well, and other sources. But the show’s writer admitted pretty freely that Tolkien was his biggest inspiration.)

            Also a fine example of “the show’s writer might consider himself an atheist but is well aware of and respectful of people of faith and why faith is so important, whatever form it takes.”

  18. The curious thing is that Europeans have mostly maternal lines from Early European Farmers and paternal lines from the Yamnaya.

    *chuckles* Funny, how they fixate on the “dudes killed all the men and took the women” side, and ignore…wait, where did the Yamnaya women go?

    Even if you assume they were something like “where they send the annoying young men,” they didn’t have women coming with them, even once they did settle in? Eeeeeeh…..

    We know right now that some couples are just really fertile together, and some aren’t, without any obvious problems– they just ARE. Birth weight and health problems and…. there are all kinds of stuff that can influence who ends up leaving kids, even if it’s stuff like my family’s tendency to bounce back from childbirth or major injury very quickly, even though we’re not generally all that healthy.

    Some cows tend to have male offspring, some tend to have female; going off of how some families will “run to” boys or girls for generations*, there’s probably something similar in humans, even beyond the whole near legendary “so and so and his Symbolically Powerful number of sons, possibly from the same woman.”

    Add in DNA linked diseases and oof.

    *My dad’s family is overwhelmingly male except with what I suspect is ladies with a lot of Neanderthal in them, and the ones who married ladies with Mediterranean ancestry tend to not have kids at all. Sample is kinda old, though, because birth control and tiny families in general.

    • My theory on why folks work so hard for the “wiped out the men and took the women” thing– same reason that we get excited about the white knight riding in, slaying the dragon and going forth, or that there is a gazillion gigs of hurt/comfort fic, and just as hard to nail down into sane speech– you can describe it as liking tough guys, hypergamy, a variation on the “a guy will kill for you,” guys taking charge/dude in uniform syndrome, “that’s just so hot,” etc. Lizard brain time!

    • Our family is overwhelmingly male.
      They’re assuming these were “young male raiding parties.” BUT still…

      • Meh, hybrid vigor, and/or the locals were adapted to the local conditions so the Mighty Conquerors’ children with their (rather ugly) Farmer wives survived the local diseases and climate better than their (beautiful) Yamnaya wives children.

        • Oh, dear, I just had a horrible thought– hybrid vigor combined with the newer folks not having a tradition of, oh, “cats will eat the child’s soul” or “feeding women pork will make them die,” so the children of the women who came with the new guys all died of local parasite threats.

    • Are you assuming that the Yamnaya invaders were monogamous? Or that being married to a Yamnaya woman prevented their getting it on with indigenous captive women? Because without one of those assumptions, where the Yamnaya women were doesn’t seem to be germane.

      • More… if there were Yamnaya women present in Europe why doesn’t the genome show a MIX of ancestries from the maternal line rather than an almost exclusive one?

      • I think you skimmed over the bit about the maternal lines being similarly limited.

        If you can conclude the passes-only-down-paternal line being A means that all B were eliminated, then you’ve got to conclude the passes-only-down-maternal line being B means that all A were eliminated.

        Just “maternal” doesn’t lend itself to explanations like “raiding party.”

        • Well, that’s a fair point. It does make it seem likely that they sent their inconvenient young men west and kept their daughters home, kind of like what the Europeans did with younger sons of the nobility during the First Crusade.

          • Now imagine how large of a population they’d have to have for that kind of pattern to be how it happened, and…yeah, it’s a just-so story.

  19. Another interesting bit I found reading about the pre-Proto Indo-European people’s in what is now Ukraine, Romania, and Hungary is that their culture seems to have been having trouble before the dudes on horseback arrived. There was a climate burp in progress that made things harder for farmers. Things seem to have been in a cooler and wetter phase, then cooler and drier. Moving around with livestock might have been a better survival pattern. YMMV, IANA specialist, I just researched a paper in the topic.

  20. I did the DNA thing out of curiosity, the results were amusing. My mtDNA belongs to the U5 group, even earlier hunter-gatherers. My dad is an R1b, the incomers. It’s not an exact fit but “The cowboys and the farmers should be friends” is what I thought of first when I got the results. Plus, I have more Neanderthal than “98% of 23andme customers”.

    • EVERYONE on this blog has that level of Neanderthal, pretty much. It’s enough to make you wonder…

      • You know that “neanderthal in a business suit” exhibit? I know a computer programmer who looks just like that exhibit, to the point that when I saw it, I said, “Hey, when did Joe* model for that exhibit?”

        * Not his real name, of course.

      • I don’t, apparently, but my husband and eldest son do. (Haven’t tested the other kids, since this was principally a thing for the eldest’s interests.)

  21. And until 90 lb women can reliably trounce 200 lb men, it will be.
    Thanks to JMBrowning, Messrs Smith and Wesson, Samuel Colt etc, We finally have that, but the left hates armed women

    • Don’t kid yourself. The Left HATES armed serfs. And the Left’s women are still having trouble with the observable fact that the Left’s men consider them ‘serfs attractive enough to bed’.

      • well, some are . . . many of the ones on their side are “wouldn’t touch with someone else’s 20 foot pole” aside from being bat guano insane

        • Of course they’re insane. They live in a subculture that tells them one thing to their face and then treats them as badly as they are told the general culture will.

          If they would jump to the broader culture they would find that the men there often treat women with the respect that their subculture pays lip service to, but given how badly they are treated by the men of the Left they have to assume that their ‘enemies’ are WORSE.

  22. They clearly don’t like competition, much less resistance.

  23. After all, you know, adults who had degrees were saying this stuff, they probably knew something I didn’t know.

    My experience has been that you shouldn’t give much credence to somebody simply because he has a degree. You will find that most such poseurs are not truly reliable until they’ve been given the third degree.

  24. Greg Cochran did three hour podcast with James Miller recently on history of European genes, and then a week later they did a two hour podcast on prehistoric America, which are ever so interesting.

  25. Here is the nuclear standoff from the other side, as learned around 1980 – I was 10. None of it was official, more like stuff kids told each other to laugh together.

    The jokes: “What do you do in the case of nuclear war? Wrap youself in a bedsheet and calmly proceed towards the nearest cemetery”. “What is a soldier supposed to do if he sees a nuclear explosion? Hold his rifle away from his body so that molten metal does not damage the governmet-issued boots”.

    The song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxmtynbNzbE . The tuine was from Micky Mouse-level Russian carton, the rough translation:

    Slowly the rockets are floating away
    Don’t expect to see them again
    And while it’s a pity about America,
    China still has it coming.

    Chorus:
    Like a tablecloth the Fosgen gas spreads
    And gets under the gas mask
    Everybody hopes for a better future
    The nuclear MOAB is falling from the sky (sorry, translated Russian “fugass” as MOAB)

    Maybe we hurt someone’s feelings wrongly,
    Dropped 15 megaton
    But the earth is melting and concrete burning
    Where Washington used to be
    Chorus

    10-year olds were wery happy to sing it in small groups during recess.

    I really don’t remember the fear. I guess the official propaganda downplayed that part. It was more “The Americans want to kill us all, but the peaceful people of the Earth will prevail!”

    • That snapshot from the other side is fascinating, Arkadiy.

      Where I grew up (what is now Silicon Valley, just pre-Silicon) we had so many strategic targets in the region (primary Navy antisubmarine warfare air base, the Blue Cube satellite control center, lost of different defense contractors including Lockheed’s Trident sub-launched missile plant, not to mention Alameda Naval Air Station and the Mare Island sub base further up along San Francisco Bay) that we figured there were lots and lots and lots of warheads targeted quite close to us. That made the “duck and cover” drills of some interest, and when they stopped holding them (~1970 or so – I was still in elementary school for the last one I recall), we students figured the teachers just wanted us all to die horribly.

      I know some people in my neighborhood had fallout shelters in their yards, and where my brother now lives (not far away) his next door neighbor has a sealed-up former shelter out back. The Cuban Missile Crisis got a lot of that construction going in the 1960s, but there was also criticism and peer pressure to try and prevent having a shelter.

      I know we had some grisly playground songs, but most of those had to do with Vietnam rather than Thermonuclear Warfare.

      I do know one classmate of mine was fairly successful with the young ladies using his “my Dad says we’re all going to die in just a couple years” romantic gambit. OK, he did target the less-deep-thinking girls, but still.

      • Reminds me of an argument we used to have high school.

        You’re in the middle of a huge field, and a nuclear bomb is about to go off close enough to flash fry you. It’s too far for you to run off the field to shelter. There is a large cardboard box (fridge/washer sized) next to you. Do you hide under the box, or just stand in the open and die?

        I always argued for getting in the box. At least it would protect from the initial flash, and the heat wave might burn itself out on the cardboard instead of your hide, Of course the air blast will be following so closely behind the heat that you’re likely to be shredded with debris or smashed into something yourself. That does imply that you’re within the moderate to heavy damage area.

        • Well, we know from acclaimed scholar Indiana Jones that fridges are magically atom-bomb-proof, so it is possible the fridge box could have picked up some of that Hollywood magic just by proximity during shipping.

          Seriously, laying flat on the ground inside the box is better than nothing, but not much. Any dip in the field would be better by a tiny amount. If it’s an airburst the angle would be bad – a groundburst could be a bit better for flash but worse for debris in the shockwave.

          But I’d say trying anything is better than nothing.

          • But I’d say trying anything is better than nothing.

            “When you’re falling off a cliff, you might as well try to fly.” John Sheridan

            • I remember reading a funny story on Pinterest, where a dwarf fell off the side of a narrow path and into the abyss. The player of the dwarf said “I start flapping my arms really hard, because what else can I do?” The GM tells him to roll the dice. Natural 20. Reroll. 20 again.

              “The other members of your party watch speechless, as your character rises out of the abyss, flapping his arms really hard.”

          • There are quite a few papers about that sort of thing; many of them at DTIC, and Los Alamos used to have some on their web site.

            We nuked a lot of our own soldiers in Nevada and Utah, finding out the survivability range.

            The primary thing is to be out of line-of-sight if possible, or *any* protection – even a cardboard box – from the flash. (not just visible light…)

            • The people who make fun of “duck and cover” drills are (purposely) disregarding two things: One, that the “duck and cover” recommendations were the result of lessons learned from the bombing surveys after WWII, where flying glass was a major cause of injury, followed by “hit by falling stuff”, so getting down away from windows and under something to protect you from falling debris is just common sense, and Two, that aside from “don’t look at the flash” (which is the really hard one to comply with in my opinion), there’s nothing unique about avoiding injury from a nuclear explosion vs. a conventional explosion in eth immediate effects pahse – get away from windows and under cover, or if outside get down flat in any depression, with something between you and the blast if possible.

              Yes, there’s a radius where nothing will protect you from a nuclear detonation, but that’s the case with any explosion – the radius just varies.

              Now fallout and radiological effects are something different, but “duck and cover” was all about “Gee, why don’t we train the little ones so they have a better chance of survival if at all possible.”

              Those who opposed (and to this day oppose) “duck and cover” training and drills, at heart, are in favor of more little kids dying.

              • The duck and cover they were taught wasn’t that one, though.

                The one they were taught was more of a magic totem– or, slightly more charitably, have you heard the story of the lady who always cut the ends off of her roast?
                Long story short, she tracked it down to her grandmother…who explained the only pan that was deep enough was too short, but she wanted the roast to look pretty.

                The people teaching us to duck and cover didn’t understand what they were doing, so if there was any protection from glass it was accidental.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      My impression, born in the US almost too late to remember the Cold War, is that American pacifism was largely fomented by the Soviets, who weren’t stupid enough to permit the same thing to be done to their own population.

      The US did have a native pacifist tradition, the conscientious objectors, who were last a major part of those avoiding combat back in WWII or maybe Korea. The WWII socialists stopped talking about being pacifists when Hitler broke the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

      • Don’t forget Representative Jeannette Rankin (R-MT), one of the few in Congress to vote against declaring war and entering WWI, and the only one to vote against declaring war after Pearl Harbor.

  26. So, no, we’re not uniquely bad.

    Welllllll … most animals engage in random acts of gratuitous violence, but humans organize and engage in corporate violence. We are prone toward being soldiers, not warriors, as the Dorsai would note.

    I am not entomologist enough to declare our behaviour significantly different in form from various hive critters although it is noteworthy our behaviour is voluntary.

    • Uniquely efficient, then.

    • The study of hive creatures has been tainted by the Progressive conviction that they are Perfect Communists. I seriously doubt that any data to the contrary gets much attention. Hell, maybe their behavior IS voluntary.

    • I think it’s important to note that from an evolutionary perspective a hive is a single organism. Watching the various worker and soldier bees cooperating isn’t much more impressive than watching your individual cells cooperate.

    • Hive insect behavior increasingly appears to be fancy machine-learning and hardware-level algorithms. Bees have very efficient search patterns and communication protocols to govern their food collecting, as an example.

      Humans, by contrast, know what a flower looks like. We skip the search and go right to the prize.

    • but humans organize and engage in corporate violence.

      Dolphins vs porpoises. That is all.

  27. Heh. To quote Jack Benny, “I’m thinking, I’m thinking!”

    Should Publishers Buy the Best Books or Books By the Right People?
    By Sarah Hoyt
    masks drop. All the masks. And some of the masks they are dropping are things they’ve told us for years didn’t exist. Things they denied for decades that they did are now being brought forth as the greatest, highest good possible and flaunted about as a kind of precious jewel that makes them important.

    This is good, not only because it reveals their past lies and their more or less secret modus operandi, but also the hollowness of their delusions.

    Take “diversity.” For years those of us in publishing would observe (and sometimes say, in safe environments) that it was easier to break into writing if you were female, of an interesting color or had an interesting characteristic, of the sort the Left views as “diverse.” I.e. you were raised in another culture, you were not straight, you had anti-western political opinions.

    This was strenuously denied by the establishment, who kept telling us that those people had a much, much harder time getting in (weirdly they’re still saying those people had a harder time getting in.) But it was nonsense. Those of us who weren’t enormous racists, sexists or homophobes knew the only reasons such people’s books were usually not quite… as mature as those of other people had to be that they were picked earlier in the process and often promoted well above the place they were at.

    Of course, the establishment of publishing like most places dominated by the Left, are hotbeds of racism, sexism, and homophobia, though it’s disguised under the “soft discrimination of low expectations.” So they didn’t know what they were doing was obvious to all of us. Because they didn’t expect “those people” to be as good as white males.

    Oh, and the interesting thing about this drive for “diversity” is that it was purely diversity of superficial characteristics. If you refused to be “authentic” that is, if you refused to write about victimhood and your unique culture’s victimhood, you were functionally a white male and didn’t count towards diversity. Which again shows the enormously racist/sexist/homophobic nature of the publishers’ culture, since they thought that those superficial characteristics should dictate how you think and feel.

    Well, we should rejoice, because this craziness is out, and is displayed in its full contradictory glory.

    Penguin Random House (or as authors who have worked for both of those clusters before they merged call it Random Penguin, or alternately Randy Penguin) got out front and proud with a new “diversity policy” which is the old diversity policy, but now with hobnail boots on and naked for all to see (it looks much like Trigglypuff.) What is it? Well… According to an internal policy email they want both our new hires and the authors we acquire to reflect UK society by 2025.’ …

    • So, they are deliberately going to try to hire a quota of terra-cotta toothed semi-literate imbecile football (soccer) fans?

      They’re still lying. No surprise there.

  28. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Killer Ape is something to aspire to.

    We have social and instinctual inhibitions against killing humans. Part of the Roman genius, in Rome’s quarrels, in the brave old days of old, was ruthlessly suppressing those inhibitions, without taking it so far as to become a fratricidal extermination.

    That is one of the paths we must continue to walk generation after generation, if we are to continue finding Western Civilization.

    Whether falling Angel or rising Ape, an Angel of Death and a Killer Ape.

    Very much less seriously, if the genes are proof of kill men, rape women, then that is the culture in my blood, and it would be racist of you to object. Of course, this cultural imperative conflicts with my sexual preference, which isn’t to rape women. 🙂

    • Very much less seriously, if the genes are proof of kill men, rape women, then that is the culture in my blood, and it would be racist of you to object. Of course, this cultural imperative conflicts with my sexual preference, which isn’t to rape women. 🙂

      Important thing to keep in mind when reading about raping the women– what gets translated as “rape” is often more accurately “unlawful intercourse.”

      So, if the culture holds that she needs to be married no further out than her third cousin, then marriage to anybody else would be “rape.” If the culture requires parental blessing to bed her, and the guy talks her into bed anyways, then you get rules about how a rapist can escape punishment if his victim agrees to marry him lawfully. If the women are property, and end up anywhere that the owners didn’t want them to be, then that’s rape…..

    • Well, killing the women and raping the men would be counter-reproductive; unless the invaders were alien Amazons.

  29. Relating to the ‘violent humans’ thing… should it surprise anyone at all that this comes from Occupy Wall Street people? (I’m surprised they’re even still a thing.)

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      If you could pick only one response to trumpet at the highest volume, which would you pick?:
      a. Separation of adults from children at the border is necessary to prevent sexual trafficking of children.
      b. The mention of heart removal is a concession that even those illegal immigrants accompanied by children are in fact revanchist revivalists of the state cult of the Aztec Triple Alliance, a regime on par with the Confederate States of America or Nazi Germany.
      c. The families can be reunited in hell, as soon as justice is done.
      d. Former First Lady Laura Bush’s description of the detainment as being the same as the Internment of Japanese during WWII is a stunning recognition of the state of war that exists between Mexico and the United States of America. So we can bomb Mexican cities until Mexico’s unconditional surrender.
      e. All of the above.

    • Feather Blade

      I like the assumption that the ICE agent is going to stand still and just let his heart be torn out.

    • The stupid, it burns.
      Thing is, I never considered signing up for ICE, because I regard the limits we put on immigration as an unfortunate necessity, and would rather not spend all my time enforcing the things. I also think that the “separate the kids from their parents at the border, no discretion involved” is a Really Bad Idea.
      But if ever there was a meme that might cause me to join ICE and support said policy simply as a two finger salute, one on each hand, it would be that one.
      (Also, side note, as Bob referenced, does anyone think it’s a coincidence that the method of killing the ICE agent bears a remarkable resemblance to Mesoamerican methods of human sacrifice?)

      • I think it probably IS a coincidence. For it not to be, the twerp who made the poster from and old Heimlich Manouver workplace sheet would have to have a sense of humor and be sort of clever.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          And the Aztecs had so many different ways of killing people for specific rituals that it would be easy to random walk into one.

          I’ll admit that the particular ritual was significant.

          The Aztecs had four guys hold the victim down while the fifth cut out the heart with a sharp obsidian blade. That the OWS meme shows a different process may be laziness, lack of research, or having internalized waif-fu to a degree that they don’t realize they are full of shit. And the OWS poster is enabling sexual trafficking by suggesting that the children are related to the adults.

          • Eh, that’s usually a fairly safe bet. When it’s not, though–that’s a problem.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Suggesting that there is any possibility that people would cross the border illegally with their actual relatives undermines the notion that all the complainers could be prosecuted under SESTA.

              Plus, if SESTA is law and harm could be established, civil RICO lawsuits. 🙂

    • Please to note that ICE agents are armed and they will shoot you if you do that. Or try to do that, so that you can’t do that. (OWS wants you to die.)

    • I get “that page does not exist”.

  30. I love this! Your writing keeps hope alive in our otherwise dystopian memescape. Thank you for that!

  31. One thing I recall is that there are a certain set of characteristics that domesticated species share, including childlike features into adulthood, the ability to handle larger groups in close proximity, and the ability to grasp the concept of pointing. (An undomesticated animal will look at your finger when you point; a domesticated one will look at where you are pointing.)

    What struck me was how many of the features are human features too, which leads me to wonder if we first, in fact, domesticated ourselves?

    On War, one of the things I value so much about David Drake’s books is that he clearly expresses both how terrible wars are, and that there are things that are even worse. I find them a good perspective for someone who did not grow up with war, but may need to make rational decisions on whether they should be waged: only as a last resort, but if necessary, waged fully until done.

    • What’s your documentation for finger pointing? I’ve read about it for dogs, yes, but has it been shown for cats, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens? I’d kind of bet against it for chickens, somehow! But even for mammals, is it a general finding for all or most domesticated species?

  32. I was watching an attractive young woman on TV saying that she was ugly and hideous. And yes, her self-talk was hideous. I believe stories are important to the health of our psyche. The self-talk imho is self-programming. We change the self-talk, then we change the results of our lives. (DAMN, I haven’t gotten the negative self-talk out of myself either).

    So stories are very important to us…