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Glimpses of History #3: Prehistoric Migration out of Africa

Glimpses of History: Prehistoric Migration out of Africa

The spreading out of modern human populations in Africa 80,000 to 60,000 years ago and their initial exodus out of Africa have been uncertainly linked to two phases of technological and behavioral innovation within the Middle Stone Age of southern Africa.

The genus Homo evolved in Africa a little less than 2.5 million years ago, characterized by increasingly large brains that equipped them better for survival—their predecessors, the australopithecines, became extinct soon thereafter. Mary and Louis Leakey became famous for their discovery of the Homo habilis site in Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge—a small ape—like biped that was skilled with stone tools (hence the name).

'Africa History Migrations' by Akan Takruri (ISBN 1976711592) These include surface and buried soils, windborne dispersal, human motion, excavation techniques and toolkits, and field attire has on archaeological sample quality. The announcement of Homo habilis was a defining moment in palaeoanthropology. It shifted the pursuit for the first humans from Asia to Africa and began a debate that persists to this day. Even with all the fossil evidence and analytical techniques from the past 50 years, a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo remains elusive.

Later hominids were larger, stronger and more anthropomorphic. The fossil record shows that hominids spread from Africa to Europe and Asia in multiple waves beginning about 2 million years ago (exactly how many species were involved, and how recently some survived, remains uncertain). They appear to have developed vocalization, hunter-gatherer social groups and the use of fire over the next million years.

The current scientific consensus, supported by DNA studies, is that modern humans arose in Africa 200,000 years ago, before spreading out, replacing and interbreeding with other hominids.

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Glimpses of History #2: The Origin of Tools, Arts, and Belief

While many animals have learned to manipulate objects such as twigs to release food from inaccessible places, humans are the clearest example of what psychologists call “theory of mind.” People’s instinctive identification of their own and other people’s minds or mental states, including beliefs and thoughts. The ability to attribute mental states to oneself and to other individuals and thereby to be able to predict the behavior of others develops from a very early age in humans.

The Origin of Tools, Arts, and Belief

Early art indicates that this is as old as humanity—depictions of people and events are physical manifestations of mental processes, made to look recognizable to others, and with this came other significant abilities.

Studies of the sociocultural backgrounds of particular art objects, forms, and styles center judiciously upon the art as part of a larger system. In other words, dedicated, anthropologically based study of art is desired, which would try to find data about art and its environments from a number of different societies and pull out all the stops to station such studies in a equivalent conceptual framework.

One is that an individual can imagine what another individual might do; verbal communication can go beyond information and orders into storytelling and attempts to guess another’s reactions: associated regions of the brain developed rapidly in this period (some have suggested that civilization began with the ability to gossip). Another is that composite and abstract notions can be communicated, containing plans for hunts or future projects—things that cannot be seen. A third significance is an awareness that this ability ends when an individual dies: surprisingly early, we find humans buried with personal objects.

Venus of Willendorf

Archaeology as a branch of learning endeavors to reconstruct the origin, prehistory, and history of the human race using objects remains such as relics, settlements, ramparts, burials, and skeletal remains. The Venus of Willendorf is an 11.1-centimeter-tall Venus limestone figurine assessed to have been made between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE. It was unearthed by Josef Szombathy on August 7, 1908 near Willendorf in Austria. It is now housed in the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum,) Vienna. Such figures are acknowledged to have been made as representations of fertility or fecundity, intended to bestow or ensure fruitfulness in some form.

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Top 10 Russian Authors and Their Masterpieces

Top 10 Russian Authors and Their Masterpieces

1. Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)

  • Anna Karenina (1875–7)—“All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
  • War and Peace (1865–9)—“The strongest of all warriors are these two—time and patience.”

2. Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821–1881)

  • Crime and Punishment (1866)—“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”
  • The Brothers Karamazov (1880)—“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

3. Anton Chekhov (1860–1904)

  • The Three Sisters (1901)—“Man must work by the sweat of his brow whatever his class, and that should make up the whole meaning and purpose of his life and happiness and contentment.”
  • Uncle Vanya (1897)—“When a woman isn’t beautiful, people always say, ‘You have lovely eyes, you have lovely hair.”
  • The Cherry Orchard (1904)—“To begin to live in the present, we must first atone for our past and be finished with it, and we can only atone for it by suffering, by extraordinary, unceasing exertion.”

4. Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837)

  • Eugene Onegin (1833)
    “A woman’s love for us increases
    The less we love her, sooth to say—
    She stoops, she falls, her struggling ceases;
    Caught fast, she cannot get away.”
  • Boris Godunov (1825)
    “Pimen [writing in front of a sacred lamp]:
    One more, the final record, and my annals
    Are ended, and fulfilled the duty laid
    By God on me a sinner. Not in vain
    Hath God appointed me for many years
    A witness, teaching me the art of letters;
    A day will come when some laborious monk
    Will bring to light my zealous, nameless toil,
    Kindle, as I, his lamp, and from the parchment
    Shaking the dust of ages will transcribe
    My true narrations.”

5. Nikolai Gogol (1809–1852)

  • Taras Bulba (1835)—“Turn around, son! What a funny figure you are! Are those priests’ cassocks you are wearing? And do they all go about like that at the academy?” With these words old Bulba greeted his two sons who had been studying at the Kiev college and had come home to their father.”
  • Dead Souls (1842)—“As you pass from the tender years of youth into harsh and embittered manhood, make sure you take with you on your journey all the human emotions! Don’t leave them on the road, for you will not pick them up afterwards!”

6. Mikhail Sholokhov (1905–1984)

  • And Quiet Flows the Don (1934)—“The grass grows over the graves, time overgrows the pain. The wind blew away the traces of those who had departed; time blows away the bloody pain and the memory of those who did not live to see their dear ones again—and will not live, for brief is human life, and not for long is any of us granted to tread the grass.”

7. Mikhail Bulgakov (1891–1940)

  • The Master and Margarita (1966-67)—“The tongue can conceal the truth, but the eyes never! You’re asked an unexpected question, you don’t even flinch, it takes just a second to get yourself under control, you know just what you have to say to hide the truth, and you speak very convincingly, and nothing in your face twitches to give you away. But the truth, alas, has been disturbed by the question, and it rises up from the depths of your soul to flicker in your eyes and all is lost.”

8. Ivan Turgenev (1818–1883)

  • Fathers and Sons (1862)—“Nature is not a temple, but a workshop, and man’s the workman in it.”
  • On the Eve (1860)—“No matter how often you knock at nature’s door, she won’t answer in words you can understand—for Nature is dumb. She’ll vibrate and moan like a violin, but you mustn’t expect a song.”

9. Maxim Gorky (1868–1936)

  • The Lower Depths (1902)—“Everybody, my friend, everybody lives for something better to come. That’s why we want to be considerate of every man—Who knows what’s in him, why he was born and what he can do?”

10. Mikhail Lermontov (1814–1841)

  • A Hero of our Time (1840)—“The love of savages isn’t much better than the love of noble ladies; ignorance and simple-heartedness can be as tiresome as coquetry.”
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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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