Aamer Rahman (Fear of a Brown Planet) - Reverse Racism (by FEAR OF A BROWN PLANET)
If you really want to, you can reach me at
Hi guys. Before you ask, I’m white too. Someone wise said social activism tastes better when the waiter is white, and while this is unfortunate, you clearly aren’t listening to your professor, Shannon Gibney, so I thought I’d take a moment to clear some things up, mano-a-mano. You know, Caucasian-a-Caucasian.
Let me make something clear right up front: you have no real idea what it’s like to be discriminated against on the basis of race. Neither do I. You know why? Because we’re white.
If there is one fact that I wish we could all accept early in life, I would vote for drumming in the idea that memory is not like a tape recorder. If we learn this truth about the human mind, we could avoid so much trouble.
Memory is constructed. Pause a moment and let that sink in.
Memory is not objective, it is constructed by our own brains. It is not burned, or ingrained, or seared into it, as much as we would like to think that is the case. The truth is less precise, uncertain, and disturbing.
Most of us rely on our short- and long-term memories nearly every moment of the day. For the most part, our recollections are simple and good enough to get us through situations and day-to-day activities without much trouble, but false memories are ubiquitous.
A few centuries ago, there were just a few widely used materials: wood, brick, iron, copper, gold, and silver. Today’s material diversity is astounding. A chip in your smartphone, for instance, contains 60 different elements. Our lives are so dependent on these materials that a scarcity of a handful of elements could send us back in time by decades.
If we do ever face such scarcity, what can be done? Not a lot, according to a paper published in PNAS.
Don’t get excited. This car doesn’t actually exist. (via Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo. - Mercedes-Benz.com)
Getting DNA out of bones that old isn’t easy, but Svante Pääbo’s group at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has been honing its technique on other ancient remains. And in this case, they confirmed they could extract DNA from the samples at the site by obtaining sequences from a cave bear skeleton found there.
That turned out to be a relatively easy task, primarily because they did not have any bears working as technicians in the lab. In contrast, their attempts to amplify ancient human DNA from the bones kept ending up with contamination by modern human DNA. By careful sampling, they determined that the vast majority of ancient DNA fragments were less than 45 base pairs long and had a high frequency of a specific type of damage. (Near the ends, over half of the C residues had been converted to Ts.) So, they set a computer to filter out anything that was over 45 bases and wasn’t badly damaged.