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Glimpses of History #1: Early Humans

Australopithecus - Fossils of Early Humans The term australopithecine refers to any member of the extinct genus of human-like hominids Australopithecus, supposed to have existed between 4 million and 1 million years ago in southern and eastern Africa.

The most compete fossil material is known from the Ethiopian archaeological spot of Hadar, about 50 km (30 mi) north of Aramis, where deposits returned fossils dating between 3.4 and 2.9 Ma. In 1974, an incomplete skeleton was found and recognized as a female by its pelvic bones (and small size compared to other fossils) and nicknamed Lucy. This person would have stood only 3.5 ft (106 cm) tall and weighed possibly 65 lb (30 kg). In Ethiopia, the assembly is also known as Dinkinesh, which suggests “you are marvelous” in the Amharic language.

The history of human evolution expands both onwards and backwards from this point. Hominidae, the taxonomic ancestors that humans share with their closest living relatives, the great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos, the latter controversially proposed to be closer to Lucy than modern humans) shared a mutual ancestry up until rather recently in evolutionary terms, possibly distinguishing 6 million years or so ago. The first beings to walk erect easily seem to have been the Australopithecus genus, developing around 4 million years ago; they had smaller brains than even modern apes, and became destroyed perhaps 2 million years ago. However, they were capable of developing tools, and genus Homo (which involves contemporary humans) evolved from them.

Members of the family Hominidae, including our own species Homo sapiens, our supposed ancestors Homo erectus and Homo habilis, and forms believed to be intimately related called collectively the australopithecines. Many scientists now also incorporate the African great apes—the two chimpanzees and gorilla—in the human family, instead of grouping them with the more vaguely related Asian apes. The outmoded way of grouping the large apes (chimpanzees, gorilla, and orang-utan) is in their own family, Pongidae. Approximations of the date of divergence of the ape and human lineages vary.

The Asian apes undoubtedly branched off 8–12 million years ago and the African apes 10–5 million years ago. The stages of progress in which humans departed from ape-like ancestors and took on their current form required no less than five million years.

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Garlic Tofu and Greens

Garlic Tofu and Greens

Tofu, also called bean curd, is a gentle, comparatively bland food product made from soybeans. Tofu is an significant source of protein in the cuisines of China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Tofu is made from dried soybeans that are soaked in water, crushed, and boiled. Tofu is 7% protein and is high in calcium, potassium, and iron. It is also a good resource of calcium, manganese; a source of phosphorus, selenium.

Combine with greens, a rich source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C; a source of vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, manganese.

Ingredients for Garlic Tofu and Greens

  • 3/4 pound firm tofu, sliced in 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 bunch kale, tough ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method for Garlic Tofu and Greens

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Toss tofu cubes with 2 tablespoons of canola oil, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and half of the minced garlic, making sure the cubes are well coated.
  3. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
  4. While tofu is baking, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add penne pasta and boil for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  5. Heat the remaining oils in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the rest of the garlic and red pepper flakes and let them sizzle for just a moment.
  6. Add the kale a handful at a time, turning frequently with tongs.
  7. Once kale turns bright green and begins to wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Mix the kale with the baked tofu, tossing well.
  8. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta.

Serving Suggestion for Garlic Tofu and Greens

'The Tofu Cookbook' by Becky Johnson (ISBN 0754833720) The toasted sesame oil and garlic add depth to this simple vegetarian dish. This meal makes it easy to get greens in your diet. Try using broccoli for the kale when broccoli’s on sale. Or leave out the pasta and top the kale with poached or fried eggs for a high protein breakfast option.

Nutritional Information of Garlic Tofu and Greens

380 calories, 18 g. fat, 35 mg. cholesterol, 70 mg. sodium, 41 g. carbohydrate, 2 g. fiber, 17 g. protein

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Easy Recipe for Indonesian Nasi Kuning – Festive Yellow Turmeric Rice

Traditional Festive Indonesian Dish - Yellow Turmeric Rice Rice colored with turmeric and shaped into a cone is a common sight during festive occasions in Bali and Java. The conical shape echoes that of the mythical Hindu mountain, Meru, while yellow is the color of royalty and one of the four sacred colors for Hindus.

Even in Muslim Java, this traditional festive dish remains popular, and is accompanied by sambal trasi, classic grilled chicken, and eggs in fragrant lemongrass sauce.

Ingredients for Indonesian Nasi Kuning

  1. 2 inch fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced and two tsp ground turmeric
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 1.5 (300 g) cup uncooked rice, washed and drained
  4. 1.5 cups (375 ml) thin coconut milk
  5. 1/2 cup (150 ml) chicken stock or 1/4 tsp chicken stock granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm milk
  6. 1 salam or pandanus leaf
  7. 1 stalk lemongrass, thich bottom third only, outer layers discarded, inner part bruised
  8. 1 inch (2.5 cm) fresh galangal, peeled and sliced
  9. 1 tsp salt

Accompaniments for Indonesian Nasi Kuning

  1. Easy Recipe for Indonesian Nasi Kuning - Festive Yellow Turmeric Rice Freshly sliced cucumber and tomato
  2. 1 portion sambal trasi
  3. 1 portion grilled Indonesian chicken
  4. 1 portion sambal goreng tempeh
  5. 1 portion eggs in fragrant lemongrass sauce
  6. Emping (melinjo nut wafers)

Procedure for Indonesian Nasi Kuning

  1. Grind the turmeric and water in a mortar until fine. Strain through a sieve to extract all the juice. Discard the solids. If using ground turmeric, dissolve the powder in two tsp of water
  2. Combine the rice, turmeric juice, coconut milk, chicken stock, salam or pandanus leaf, lemongrass, galangal, and salt in pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer cooked until the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the rice is dry and fluffy. Remove from the heat and mix well. Alternatively, cook the rice and ingredients in a rice cooker.
  3. Discard the salam or pandanus leaf, lemongrass, and galangal.
  4. Press the cooked turmeric rice into a cone shaped, if desired. Serve the cooked rice with the accompaniments on the side.
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Fragrant Banarasi Pilau Recipe

Banaras or Kasi or Varanasi---Religious Pilgrimage City on the Holy River Ganges

Banaras (also Kasi or Varanasi) is a tirtha, a religious pilgrimage city on the sacred Ganges River in northern India. Pilgrims come from all over India to cleanse in the river at Banaras.

Banaras is the most distinguished and consecrated of the seven ancient holy cities of India, stationed on the west bank of the Ganga (Ganges) in modern day Uttar Pradesh in India.

Lionized in numerous Hindu texts, it is the emphasis of a whole series of homologies which at the same time place it at the center of the world, make it the complete cosmos and position it as the ford or doorway to heaven or liberation (moksha). This last transition is thought to be ensured by dying there—the explicit aim of many ageing and sickly pilgrims. Theoretically, the entire city may consequently be viewed as one great cosmic cremation ground.

Banaras is also an ageless center of long-established Sanskrit learning, since 1916 Varanasi has been home to what is now the biggest residential university in India, Benares Hindu University.

Ingredients for Banarasi Pilau

  • Fragrant Banarasi Pilau Vegetarian Recipe 1.25 cups long grain basmati rice
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup peas, thawed if frozen
  • 3/4 cup carrots, cut into small cubes (about 2 carrots)
  • 2.5 cups hot water
  • 2 strands saffron
  • 3/4 tsp salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp nuts, such as pistachios or cashews, sliced

Procedure for Banarasi Pilau

  1. Wash the rice in several changes of warm water and leave to soak in cold water for half an hour. Drain in a sieve.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan and add the cumin seeds, cloves, green cardamom pods, bay leaves
  3. After about two minutes add the rice and stir gently on medium heat.
  4. When all the grains are coated with oil) this usually takes three minutes, add the peas and carrots and pour the hot water. Add the saffron and salt. Stir and adjust the salt if necessary before leaving to cook uncovered on medium heat for 10 minutes. When most of the water has been absorbed, cover, lower the heat and continue cooking for a further 8-10 minutes.
  5. Fluff up the rice with a fork prior to serving.
  6. Sprinkle over the sliced nuts and serve piping hot
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Traditional Recipe: Baingan Aloo (Potato-Eggplant Indian Curry)

Baingan Aloo - Recipe for Potato-Eggplant Indian Curry

The simple and yet so scrumptious Aloo baingan sabji is a delicately spiced up Indian vegetarian recipe with diced aloo or potatoes stir fried with chopped baigan or brinjals. Aloo Baingan is an easy to make dish from North India. Eggplant and potato make for a fantastic combo and when roasted together in a shallow pan. Serve with bread or rice.

Ingredients

  1. 3/4 cup (170 ml) new potatoes, cut in half (1 small potato)
  2. 2 tsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
  3. 1 tsp / 5 ml black mustard seeds
  4. 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cumin seeds
  5. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  6. 2 tsp (30 ml) Patak’s Madras Curry Paste
  7. 1.25 cups (300 ml) tomatoes, chopped (about 2 tomatoes)
  8. 1 cup (230 ml) eggplants, diced (about 1/4 eggplant)
  9. Salt, to taste
  10. 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
  11. 1 tsp (1 15 ml) cilantro, chopped
  12. 1 tsp (5 ml) shredded coconut to garnish

Method

  1. Patak's Madras Curry Paste In a pan of boiling water, cook the new potatoes for 15 minutes, until they are almost cooked trough yet give some resistance when pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and the cumin seeds. When they begin to crackle, add the garlic and Patak’s Madras Curry Paste. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the aubergines (eggplants) and potatoes and cook, covered at a simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add salt to taste and stire in the sugar.
  5. Serve garnished with cilantro and shredded coconut.

Notes

  • Aubergines (eggplants) begin to discolor once cut so put them in a bowl of cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice
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Charlie Munger in Praise of Multidisciplinary Thinking

A multidisciplinary approach involves drawing appropriately from multiple disciplines to redefine problems outside of normal boundaries and reach solutions based on a new understanding of complex situations.

'Charlie Munger The Complete Investor' by Tren Griffin (ISBN 023117098X) From ‘Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor’ by Tren Griffin

No one can know everything, but you can work to understand the big important models in each discipline at a basic level so they can collectively add value in a decision-making process. Simply put, Munger believes that people who think very broadly and understand many different models from many different disciplines make better decisions and are therefore better investors.

Multidisciplinary thinking offers a schema or a philosophical template within which thinkers can find an intellectual connectedness to decompartmentalize their approach and face the new intellectual horizons with a broader perspective. Single disciplines are too narrow a perspective regarding many phenomena.

Human thought, as it has evolved in detached disciplines, and the physical systems within which we live exhibit a level of complexity across and within systems that makes it impossible to understand the important phenomena that are affecting humans today from the perspective of any single incomplete system of thought. Thus interconnected systems and high levels of complexity yield a situation in which multidisciplinary tactics to understanding and problem solving produce the real growth industry in the next generation of scholarly thought.

Disciplines develop their own internal ways of looking at the phenomena that interest them. Become broadly knowledgeable about any particular phenomenon as possible before constructing theories and asserting truth assertions. Problems arise from the lack of a viewpoint from which one can understand the relationship between various disciplines.

'Conceptual Foundations for Multidisciplinary Thinking' by Stephen Kline (ISBN 0804724091) In ‘Conceptual Foundations for Multidisciplinary Thinking’, Stanford’s Prof. Stephen Jay Kline expounds the necessity of multidisciplinary discourse:

Multidisciplinary discourse is more than just important. We can have a complete intellectual system, one that covers all the necessary territory, only if we add multidisciplinary discourse to the knowledge within the disciplines. This is true not only in principle but also for strong pragmatic reasons. This will assure the safety of our more global ideas.

Producing and applying knowledge no longer work within strict disciplinary boundaries. New dimensions of intricacy, scale, and uncertainty in technical problems put them beyond the reach of one-thought disciplines. Advances with the most impact are born at the frontiers of more than one engineering discipline.

Multidisciplinarity refers more to the internalization of knowledge. This happens when abstract associations are developed using an outlook in one discipline to transform a perspective in another or research techniques developed in one elaborate a theoretic framework in another.

To get the most out of their R&D workforce, many organizations seek persons who comprehend a range of science and engineering principles and procedures to guarantee that work will be advanced even if a specific expert were not always available.

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Yummy Tuscan White Bean Soup

Tasty Tuscan White Bean Soup

Tuscan cooking is exemplified by having simple food—food that is not covered in heavy sauces. Cooking is done with olive oil (not butter, as is used further north.) Olive oil is used as a salad dressing, is poured over bread, and is used in soups and stews. Beans are a staple. Sage, rosemary, and basil are popular spices.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup minced white onions
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 cup roasted Roma tomatoes
  • 3 cups cooked white beans (navy beans are best)
  • 1 small potato, diced (preferably Yukon Gold)
  • Water or vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch basil
  • Optional Toppings: Crispy bacon, truffle oil, kale threads, Grana Padano, fresh basil

Method

  • In a thick-bottomed pot, heat butter and olive oil
  • Cook onions and garlic until translucent. Deglaze with white wine.
  • Add tomatoes, beans and potato; cover with water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Remove from heat and puree in blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Refrigerate for one day before serving to allow flavors to build. Reheat and garnish with the options listed above or get creative.
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The Michigan Flute Orchestra

The Michigan Flute Orchestra is an ensemble of dedicated and accomplished flutists from the southeastern Michigan area. The instrumentation of the orchestra comprises the entire spectrum of the flute family: bass flute, alto flute, the conventional C flute, and piccolo. This unique orchestra performs a varied repertoire of music which displays the tonal richness and cohesiveness of the flute family.

The Michigan Flute Orchestra has performed with world-renowned flutists Jean-Pierre Rampal and Claudi Arimany and has been the guest artists at the Michigan Flute Festival and the Western Michigan Flute Festival. They have also performed on the stages of Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, the Midland Center of the Performing Arts, Calvin College, and other sites throughout the state of Michigan.

Shaul Ben-Meir of the Michigan Flute Orchestra

Shaul Ben-Meir of the Michigan Flute Orchestra Shaul Ben-Meir, the founder and music director of the Michigan Flute Orchestra, is a former flutist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In 1962 he was awarded the Silver Medal at the International Wind Competition in Helsinki, Finland. He is the former principal flutist of the Haifa Symphony, under Sergiu Comissiona from 1961 until he was invited to the United States as Visiting Professor of Music at Ithaca College in 1965. Subsequently, he was appointed Artist-in-Residence at the University of Buffalo, participating in modern music research and performance under Lucas Foss.

Mr. Ben-Meir studied both in his native Israel and in England. His teachers included Geoffrey Gilbert, Joseph Mariano, and Jean-Pierre Rampal. He has appeared frequently in solo recitals and master classes around the country, and as a member of the Renaissance Woodwind Quintet. Currently, Mr. Ben-Meir is widely recognized for his transcriptions and arrangements of symphonic repertoire for the flute orchestra medium. He has recorded solo albums and CDs with Golden Crest, Coronet, and Megido Records.

The Michigan Flute Orchestra at the Detroit Institute of Arts

On 26-Oct-2014, Sunday, at the Sunday Music Bar at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Michigan Flute Orchestra played,

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The Best Jokes from Jerry Seinfeld

  • The Best Jokes from Jerry Seinfeld “I was the best man at the wedding. If I’m the best man, why is she marrying him?”
  • “The idea behind the tuxedo is the woman’s point of view that men are all the same; so we might as well dress them that way. That’s why a wedding is like the joining together of a beautiful, glowing bride and some guy. The tuxedo is a wedding safety device, created by women because they know that men are undependable. So in case the groom chickens out, everybody just takes one step over, and she marries the next guy.”
  • “It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.”
  • “Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge.”
  • “There’s very little advice in men’s magazines, because men don’t think there’s a lot they don’t know. Women do. Women want to learn. Men think, “I know what I’m doing, just show me somebody naked.””
  • “Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason”
  • “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
  • “What is a date really, but a job interview that lasts all night? The only difference is that in not many job interviews is there a chance you’ll wind up naked.”
  • “To me, a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We’re all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box.
  • “Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women: a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom.”
  • “Men don’t care what’s on TV. They only care what else is on TV.”
  • “I once had a leather jacket that got ruined in the rain. Why does moisture ruin leather? Aren’t cows outside a lot of the time? When it’s raining, do cows go up to the farmhouse, “Let us in! We’re all wearing leather! Open the door! We’re going to ruin the whole outfit here!””
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The Surfing Mecca and Alternative Retreat at Santa Cruz, California

Surfing Mecca in Santa Cruz, California

The California beach town of Santa Cruz still has its share of surfers, hippies, and students. But in recent years the food scene has expanded to cater to the highbrow tastes of nearby Silicon Valley.

See for yourself at the Penny Ice Creamery, where Chef Kendra Baker churns flavors such as celery and black sesame. Close by, ride wooden roller coasters and vintage carousels on the boardwalk, or take a crab sandwich from The Riva Fish House out on the wharf. There you can watch sea lions come to shore and catch a glimpse of migrating humpback whales.

Santa Cruz, California

Those looking for more exercise can head to the hills above town to hike redwood groves near the University of California at Santa Cruz.

To get there, it takes less than two hours to drive 70 miles south to Santa Cruz along coast-hugging Highway 1.

Try to stay at the retro-chic Dream Inn is the only local hotel right on the beach. It’s within walking distance to the wharf and boardwalk, and all rooms have balconies or semiprivate patios with views of Monterey Bay.

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