We Are All Africans (With Some Neanderthal Thrown In)

The BBC website has a fascinating article on a scientific study of human ancestry that strongly supports the notion that all humans come from Africa — and that at some point in the past there was some interbreeding between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.  The evidence of interbreeding is found in many of us, because humans of Eurasian stock carry a small percentage of Neanderthal genes.

A Neanderthal skull

The conclusions are the result of a four-year study, in which numerous universities from around the world participated, that sought to sequence Neanderthal genomes.  The project suggests that a hardy band of humans left Africa between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago, did some limited interbreeding with Neanderthals, and then spread across the globe, eventually reaching and populating every continent.  The fact of interbreeding should not be surprising, because the fossil record indicates that humans and Neanderthals lived together in Europe for some 10,000 years, before Neanderthals died out.

Applying Mom’s Wisdom To The Greek Debt Crisis

The dominoes set in motion by the Greek debt crisis totter and topple. The credit ratings of other European states with debt problems similar to those of Greece get revised downward, and the costs of servicing their debt soar.  Cracks in the facade of the European Union continue to appear, as the frugal states question bailing out the profligate borrower states — especially those with economies, and debt burdens, that are much larger in real terms than are found in Greece.  The value of the Euro drops like an anvil directed at Wile E. Coyote’s noggin.   Nervous creditors wonder if a wave of government bond defaults are in the future.  And, across the globe, stock market indices drop with sickening speed as investors question whether the world could be plunged into an even more severe recession.

It is clear that unsustainable and unsupportable government borrowing is what led to the Greek crisis and the dire predicaments of other European countries.  The choice for the United States is whether to chart a different course and start making serious spending cuts right now and or to continue our massive federal borrowing and potentially follow the Greeks and other European states into the debt abyss.

On this Mother’s Day, it seems appropriate to apply some of Mom’s wisdom to this issue.

We all remember the scenario.  You were a kid who wanted to get your Mom’s permission to do something.  She was not cooperating because she perceived, rightly, that it seemed like an ill-fated and stupidly risky venture.  As she resisted all of your persuasive powers, you eventually said:  “But Mom!  Everyone else is doing it!”  And her inevitable response was:  “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?”  That ended the argument — and usually, either right away or after a while, you knew deep down that your Mom’s judgment was the right call.

In the United States, we can listen to Mom or we can join other countries in jumping off the cliff.  I’m for listening to Mom.