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45 minutes ago, Old Man said:

Didn't realize he was that old.


His 2000 yard season was 1973.  The helicopter coverage of the Bronco chase...that was '94.  And even the last time any of us heard anything...the memorabilia break-in that landed him in jail.  Once the sensation over that faded, well...he wasn't newsworthy any more.

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10 hours ago, Old Man said:


So heartbreaking, so unnecessary. And that nine-year-old is going to have to figure out how to live with it all. 


Mental illness is real. I wish she'd been able to see she needed help. 

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Disclaimer:  It is a point of pride with me that I have never, and will never, deliberately watched 1 minute of one episode of ANY of the made-for-TV romance shows.  Unfortunately, I have had their ads inflicted on my long-suffering brain, or what's left of it.


So...after an even MORE sappy than usual run, the Golden Bachelor ended with a wedding.


And now, 3 months later, the marriage is over.  The two people involved announced they intend to divorce.  NYT story suggests it was family issues...not that the families objected, but that they both liked spending time with their families, and...those families don't live in the same place.  OOPS!


Another NYT story noted that the track record for the franchise is...umm...bad.  In the 20 year run...44 separate groups...there were 34 proposals.  There are 6 couples still married.


Count me in the large group that just says "duh!"

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A Dentist Found a Jawbone in a Floor Tile


Recently, a man visiting his parents’ newly renovated home recognized an eerily familiar white curve in their tile floor. To the man, a dentist, it looked just like a jawbone. He could even count the teeth—one, two, three, four, five, at least. They seemed much like the ones he stares at all day at work.

The jawbone appeared at once very humanlike and very old, and the dentist took his suspicions to Reddit. Could it be that his parents’ floor tile contains a rare human fossil? Quite possibly. It’s “clearly hominin,” John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who also bloggedabout the discovery, told me in an email. (Hominin refers to a group including modern humans, archaic humans such as Neanderthals, and all of their ancestors.) It is too soon to say exactly how old the jawbone is or exactly which hominin it belonged to, but signs point to something—or someone—far older than modern humans. “We can see that it is thick and with large teeth,” Amélie Vialet, a paleoanthropologist at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, wrote in an excited email to me about the jawbone. “That’s archaic!”

An international team of researchers, including Vialet, is now in contact with the dentist to study the floor tile. (I’m not naming him for privacy reasons.) This thin slice of jawbone has a story to tell—about a life lived long ago, in a world very different from ours. It is in fragments of hominin bone like this one that we begin to understand our past as humans.

How could a hominin bone have ended up in someone’s tiled floor in the first place? Travertine, the type of rock from which this tile was cut, is a popular building material used perhaps most famously by ancient Romans to construct the Colosseum. Today, a good deal of the world’s travertine—including the floor tile with the jawbone, according to the dentist—is quarried in Turkey, from a region where the stone famously forms natural thermal pools that cascade like jewels down the hillside. Travertine tends to be found near hot springs; when mineral-rich water gurgles to the surface, it leaves a thin shell over everything that it touches. In time, the layers accrue into thick, opaque travertine rock. If in the middle of this process a leaf falls in or an animal dies nearby, it too will become entombed in the rock. “Fossils are relatively common in travertine,” says Andrew Leier, a geologist at the University of South Carolina.

Hominin fossils, specifically, are rare, but at least one has been found in Turkish travertine before. In 2002, a Turkish geologist named M. Cihat Alçiçek discovered a slice of human-looking skull sitting on a shelf in a tile factory. He brought the 35-millimeter-thick fragment to John Kappelman, an anthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin, and later also to Vialet in Paris. The skull turned out to belong to Homo erectus, an archaic human species that walked the Earth more than 1 million years ago, long before modern humans. Vialet thinks the newly discovered jawbone could be just as old.

Vialet and her collaborators are now hoping to extract the tile, ideally intact, from the hallway where it’s been cemented in place. (The dentist is soliciting suggestions on Reddit for how to do so without also destroying his parents’ floor.) Then, chemical signatures in the rock can be used to date the fossil. Vialet also hopes to generate a 3-D model of the jawbone with micro-CT scanning, tracing the curve of the mandible and the roots of the teeth to find anatomical clues about its origin.


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