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Ted Houk's profile photo
 
I made 2 redheads, 2 Blondie's w my wife. Oh. I mean kids.
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Woot Woot!
💃💃💃

#lovewins
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Jamega Jam's profile photoJM W's profile photoMy Sin's profile photolucy Guerra's profile photo
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Karl W.
 
Seriuosly !? Does that mean we'll see burning priests and divorced christians everywhere ? It's gonna be fun!
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Dan Bennett's profile photohawk art's profile photoKinjal Patel's profile photoAaron Henfling's profile photo
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Very cool
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Tut tut, creationists!
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Empirical evidence of one species to another, we knew it wouldn't be long for this to emerge, and it's finally here!
In 2002, cavers unearthed a jawbone in Peștera cu Oase of southwestern Romania. While it had some Neanderthal features, the bone belonged to an anatomically modern human male who lived 37,000 to 42,000 years ago. Now, according to researchers analyzing DNA extracted from the bone, this modern human – one of the earliest humans in Europe – had a Neanderthal relative just four to six generations ago.
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Peter Gilbert's profile photoJeff Rago's profile photo
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The 2nd amendment, the "Founding Fathers," and firepower.

Back in the early days of the internet I posted an explanation of how to load and fire a musket during the time when the U.S. ratified the bill of rights. In light of current events I will re-create that here.

 The damn thing would not fire in rainy or even damp weather or if you did not load it just right, which took the best trained and disciplined soldiers in the world (the British Army) about 20 seconds but most everyone else at least 30 and some a full minute. And even the world's best expert loading a musket in combat had a misfire rate of at least 40% (the average was 60% and some of the less capable 80%). And then there's not even the pretense of accuracy. Before spiral grooves inside the barrel called "rifling" the uneven shape and density of the lead balls created such a chaotic reaction with the air resistance that musket balls zinged off into different random directions. Beyond 20 feet hitting a target relied on dumb luck or in practice a group of soldiers firing at once, using the "shotgun" effect.

Here's what you had to do before you could take that shot:

1. clean the barrel. You have to do this because the old black powder did not burn completely. Firing a musket left a residue of unburned power coating the inside of the barrel. If you fired it without cleaning it first the compression generated ahead of the ball moving at speed raised the temperature ahead of the ball to ignition point, setting off the residue thereby blowing up the musket in your face.
 
You clean the barrel by taking one end of your ramrod which has a bit of rag attached to it and wetting it, either with a container of water or put it in your mouth. Then you have to push it all the way down the barrel and out again.

2. Put the power in. By the revolutionary war soldiers used paper cartridges which contained a pre-measured quantity of black powder and a lead ball. You opened one side of the cartridge, typically by ripping off a tab with your mouth, then poured the powder down the barrel.

3. Pack the powder. The powder granules had to be packed in tightly enough to burn at nearly the same time but if you packed them in too tightly then there would not be enough air between them for most of them to burn. This is the bit you can't screw up if the baddies are coming at you. You take the other side of the ramrod and gently tamp down the powder.

4. Put in the wad. You have to keep the powder in its not to tight, not too loose state by tearing off half the paper cartridge you just emptied into the barrel, wad it up into a ball then shove it down with the ramrod. Be careful not to press it against the powder too hard or you will pack the powder too tightly for it to ignite. Remember, the baddy is coming up to you with a bayonet on his musket, and let's just say he's way bigger and stronger than you are. But no pressure.

5. Put in the ball. Really, you would not believe the number of people who managed to screw this part up, especially when under stress. Imagine the embarrassment of getting run through with a bayonet while bent over looking for where you dropped that damn ball.

6. More wadding. You take the remainder of the paper cartridge, crumple it into a wad then push it down with the ramrod to keep the ball in place. This is especially important if you need to shoot at a downward angle. If the musket ball rolls out of the barrel before you shoot, well, let's just say the big guy in the other color uniform coming for you will be happy.

7. Half-cock the hammer. This is necessary to let you fill the "pan" with primer. You do not cock the hammer all the way as what passes for a safety measure to try to avoid having the hammer fall on the striker plate prematurely, setting off the primer and then the gunpowder. This is where the expression "going off half-cocked" comes from. You just can't believe your not done yet, can you?

8. Put in the primer. Primer is a powder like sulfur (the same substance as the heads of matches). Later, before the Civil War, firearm technology came up with the percussion cap which generated a tiny fire when a hammer crushed it. But before and for many years after the Revolutionary war you had a small void at the breach of the musket called the "pan" which had a small hole leading to the inside of the barrel. Carefully put a little bit of primer in the pan. Don't spill any because you will likely need to re-load this bloody thing again.

8. Cock the hammer. OK, you're almost ready. The big nasty in the different color uniform is getting close now. He's going to take his chances that you can't do steps 1-7 without screwing it up then once he's on top of you you're done.

9. Aim and fire. When you pull the trigger the hammer, which has a vice-grip at the end to hold a piece of flint, slams down on a metal outcropping next to the pan. The flint generates a spark when it hits the striker plate. Most times the spark ignites the primer, and most of the time the primer burns hot and fast bringing enough heat down the small hole to the gunpowder you packed in there. Sometimes the primer ignites but something goes wrong and the gunpowder does not detonate. This is called "a flash in the pan," an expression for a lot of wasted effort. But if all goes well then as each granule of gunpowder burns the charcoal that makes up about 10% of its mass releases oxygen, feeding the burning of the granules next to it. If your packing of the powder left enough space between the granules then the heat of the burning of a granule ignites hundreds more around it, which then combines into nearly all 50,000 or so granules burning nearly all at once, creating enough pressure to propel the musket ball at about 3 times the speed of sound out of the muzzle. Chances are the big nasty guy in the different color uniform has come quite close by this time, making it less likely that you'll miss, regardless of how well you aim.

Of course, this assumes that this shot is not one of the 40% that are misfires that you will experience no matter how well and carefully you pack the powder.

Given this technology, best of luck pulling off a mass murder spree. There's a reason Lizzie Borden used an Axe.
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Steven Dunlap's profile photoAlwyn Reeve's profile photoGuanqing Pan's profile photoJeff Rago's profile photo
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So let's get this straight, there is no way at all that you can change an amendment to the constitution? Please tell me what the definition of the word amendment is, because I could swear that other amendments have been (for lack of a better word) amended, prohibition springs to mind as does slavery...

But hey, what do I know, I'm just a foreigner living in a country with restrictions in place and surprisingly few gun deaths.
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//But Prof Arthur said in his statement that "an honorary appointment is meant to bring honour both to the person and to the university".
"Sir Tim has apologised for his remarks, and in no way do they diminish his reputation as a scientist.
"However, they do contradict the basic values of UCL - even if meant to be taken lightly - and because of that I believe we were right to accept his resignation.
"Our commitment to gender equality and our support for women in science was and is the ultimate concern."//

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33294053
The president of University College London says that Prof Sir Tim Hunt will not be reinstated after his controversial comments about women.
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Keith Pollock's profile photoOwen Roberts's profile photo~Keep Calm Evolution is True~'s profile photo
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I'm not sure why they think we're like kittens stuck on a freaking tree. 
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Human Evolution by +Neal Mackie 

 
One of the earliest known ancestors of Homo sapiens was Sahelanthropus tchadensis. This species, discovered in Chad (Western Africa), lived around 7 to 6 million years ago. Estimated to be a similar size to the chimpanzee and with a similar size brain, this early human ancestor was bipedal and lived in both forest and grasslands. They had small, human-like canine teeth and a spinal cord opening below the skull, instead of behind the skull as in other apes.

Next came Orrion tugenesis, nicknamed the Millenium Man. This species was discovered in Kenya (East Africa) and lived around 6.2 to 5.8 million years ago. They too were similar in size to the chimpanzee, but had enamel on their teeth, as we do.

Following in the Millenium Man's wake came Ardipithecus kadabba. Discovered in Ethiopia (East Africa), this species lived around 5.8 to 5.2 million years ago. Still the size of a chimpanzee, this fossil has evidence of a robust toe, suggesting use as a push off for bipedal walking.

The next in our family tree was Ardipithecus ramidus, nicknamed Ardi and was also discovered in Ethiopia. Ardi lived around 4.4 million years ago and shows more evidence of bipedal emergence. The reconstructed hip fossils (they were crushed) indicate adaptations to both tree climbing and bipedal walking. The fossil was discovered alongside woodland environmental fauna, which challenges the long held view that it was the movement to grasslands, which forced us towards bipedalism. Dental remains indicate that there was little difference in size between the male and female of this species.

Australopithecus anamensis is one of the first species to indicate a mostly bipedal mode of existence. Whilst this species still had long forearms and wrist bones indicating climbing, orientation of the ankle joint and an expanded tibia (shin bone) are good indications of regular walking. Fossils have been discovered in Kenya and Ethiopia aging to around 4.2 to 3.9 million years ago.

Australopithecus afarensis, or the infamous Lucy, is next in line and over 300 individuals have been discovered of this species. They have been discovered in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania and range from 3.85 to 2.95 million years old. With both ape and human-like characteristics, this species had a brain size of up to 500 cubic centimeters, about 1/3 of our current brain size. They still had the long arms for tree climbing but strong legs for regular walking, and small canine teeth similar to other early human ancestors. Sexual dimorphism existed in this species with males averaging 151cm (4ft 11) and females 105cm (3ft 5). The males weighed around 42kg (92lbs) and the females 29kg (64lbs).

Next came Australopithecus africanus, ranging from 3.3 to 2.1 million years ago with other species such as Paranthropus aethiopicus (3.3 to 2.7 million years ago) and Australopithecus garhi (2.5 million years ago) coexisting at the same time. It is in this time frame, around 2.6 million years ago, that evidence of tool use was first uncovered.

We then have multiple species coexisting with Homo habilis (2.4 to 1.4 million years ago), Homo rudolfensis (1.9 to 1.8 million years ago), Australopithecus sediba (1.95 to 1.78 million years ago), Paranthropus boisei (2.3 to 1.2 million years ago) and Paranthropus robustus (1.8 to 1.2 million years ago) although it was the genus Homo that would go on to dominate. All have slightly enlarged brain cavities and each have specialised skulls for their particular environment. For example Paranthropus robustus had a large jaw and broad cheek teeth for chewing towards the back of the jaw, whilst Paranthropus boisei had a skull adapted for heavy chewing with large chewing muscles anchoring the jaw in place. The various Homo species have larger brain cavities than the species of any other genus, with Homo rudolfensis having a 775 cubic centimetre brain case.

Homo erectus is the next species to emerge and dominate ranging from 1.89 million years ago to a mere 143,000 years ago. They are the earliest known fossils to contain modern human-like proportions with elongated legs and shortened arms. This indicates they had lost their tree life adaptations favoring ground living instead. The best-recovered fossil of this species is nicknamed the “Turkana Boy” and is almost complete, missing only the hand and foot bones. There is also fossil evidence indicating that this species cared for its old and infirm. This is also the first of our ancestors to have been discovered outside of Africa with fossils being discovered in China (Peking Man). Fire was also discovered and harnessed by this species.

Homo heidelbergensis also lived partially during the period of Homo erectus (700,000 to 200,000 years ago) and DNA evidence suggests this species diverged into Neanderthal and modern day humans some time around 400,000 to 350,000 years ago. It is thought that the European branch leads to Homo neanderthalis whilst the African branch led to Homo sapiens.

We are then left with three Homo species living at the same time. Homo neanderthalis also known as Neanderthals (200,000 to 28,000 years ago), Homo floresiensis (95,000 to 17,000 years ago) and, of course, us, Homo sapiens (200,000 years ago to present). Whilst the Neanderthals were our closest relatives and their fame is quite wide spread, few people know of Homo floresiensis, nicknamed The Hobbit. They have been discovered solely in Indonesia and stood a mere 3 feet 6 inches tall. Their brain size was relatively small compared to other Homos yet they still used tools and had to deal with formidable predators such as the Komodo Dragon. It is believed that their isolation on the islands caused dwarfism, a phenomenon common in species that live on islands with limited food, resources and a lack of predators.

Our common friend the Neanderthal was similar to us in many ways. They had a similar brain size, used tools and harnessed fire. They wore clothes and lived in shelters but they generally lived in colder climates than our own species. There is evidence that they buried their dead and wore symbolic or ornamental jewelry.

And now we finish our journey through time with Homo sapiens, us! Need I describe yourself to you? Our species evolved and then moved out of Africa to populate the globe. We have very large brains, which vary across the globe and averages out at 1300 cubic centimeters. This large brain reshaped our skulls, thinning the bone and giving us a high, vaulted skull. We have less of the pronounced brow of previous species and our jaws are smaller.

http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-evolution-timeline-interactive

I gathered most of the information from the above site and the link itself takes you to an interactive timeline of our evolution, highlighting key evolutionary points. Below is a link discussing new research which implies that parasites and pathogens may have had a larger than thought influence on human evolution. The paper in question can be found here:
http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.1002355

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2011/11/16/did-parasites-drive-human-evolution/

Bonus Topic

Endogenous retroviruses (ERV)

ERVs are a wonderful tool in helping us follow DNA evidence of our evolution. Every now and then a virus works its way into our DNA and changes it forever. Every species has them, but more importantly, the odds of two different species having the same ERV is astronomical. ERVs are yet another wonderful piece of evidence in favor of evolution. For example, we have a species A. Species A has a virus get into its DNA (let's call it V1). Species A evolves into two new species A1 and A2. Both A1 and A2 will have V1. Now A1 gets a new virus, V2 whereas A2 does not. A1 again splits into A11 and A12, each containing both V1 and V2. A2 gets a virus into its DNA, V3 and again splits into A21 and A22. We now have four species, A11 and A12 with V1 and V2 and species A21 and A22 with V1 and V3. This means that we can trace back where the splits occurred based on which ERVs are in which species' DNA. We shave ERVs with Chimpanzees (from our mutual ancestors), but where we split, we have ERVs, which they don't have and they have ERVs, which we don't have (from our own and their own ancestors).

For a more detailed look please visit here:
http://www.retrovirology.com/content/3/1/67
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Christina BlackFeather's profile photoJeff Lewis's profile photoGreatHeathenArmy I's profile photosteve cooksey's profile photo
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Thanks for sharing this +Neal Mackie 
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I know this is cheesy but I absolutely love this video!

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Do you sometimes wish there really was an eternal torturous hell for these senseless murderers who commit horrible human atrocities? 
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David Coulter's profile photoJim Bob (Infidel)'s profile photomanmadegod100's profile photo~Keep Calm Evolution is True~'s profile photo
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+Jim Bob
I'm not sharing that post. It's too depressing...
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General Discussion  - 
 
 
What's a Dinosaur?
What's a dinosaur? That question was a joke I made while working on a straight play two years ago. But all joking aside, it is a very good question. Any average Joe will tell you that tyrannosaurs like T. rex and chasmosaurs like Triceratops are dinosaurs. ...
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Spencer Zweber's profile photo
 
Thanks for the re-share but please keep in mind that I'm an expert at nothing and that my opinions are usually wrong.
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Gosh! These ethical approval application forms take forever! I'm nearly done though. Phew!!
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Do you think that the statement 'There is no supportive evidence for the existence of your God' is the same as 'Your God does not exist'? Which one of these is more accurate? 
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manmadegod100's profile photoJim Bob (Infidel)'s profile photo
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+manmadegod100​ sounds good to me!

“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens.
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