BBC News: The first people who populated the Americas

The first people who populated the Americas – http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170328-the-first-people-who-populated-the-americas

The Story We Don’t Talk About: On Irishness, Immigration, and Race

By Maeve Higgins

Picture from the Literary Hub – https://lithub.com/the-story-we-dont-talk-about-on-irishness-immigration-and-race/ 

In January of 2014, a girl who had left from Cobh in Ireland (formerly known as Queenstown) journeyed across the Atlantic, and skipped rosy-cheeked off an airplane at John F. Kennedy Airport to start her new life. That was me, compensating for my indoor ghost face with too much blush in a shade aspirationally entitled “orgasm.” In January of 1892, a girl who had left from Queenstown (now known as Cobh) skipped rosy-cheeked off a boat at Ellis Island to start her new life. That was Annie Moore, flushed with embarrassment at the unexpected fuss being made over her by the officials on the island. She was the first immigrant through the new processing center that opened its doors on January 1 of that year.

Maeve Higgins’s article comes at a time (at least in Canada) where ‘whiteness’ is seen as a collective condition wherein everyone ‘white’ apparently shares a common history and culture – not only with other ‘white’ Canadians, but with ‘the old country’.  It’s an important critique on not only what it means to call one’s self Irish-American (or Canadian) and the reality of a homeland that has dramatically changed from the idyllic vision we often have in our minds of, in this case, the hometown in Ireland.

Read Maeve Higgins’s provocative article here.

What does it mean to be human?

By Martha C. Nussbaum
from The New York Times, The Big Ideas – Opinion

Melissa Golden for The New York Times

Over time, the idea of “being human” has surely meant — and will continue to mean — many things. There is and has never been just one answer. But surely one thing it ought to involve today is the ability to recognize that the question itself is a problem.

…. 

We share a planet with billions of other sentient beings, and they all have their own complex ways of being whatever they are. All of our fellow animal creatures, as Aristotle observed long ago, try to stay alive and reproduce more of their kind. All of them perceive. All of them desire. And most move from place to place to get what they want and need. Aristotle proposed that we should strive for a common explanation of how animals, including human animals, perceive, desire and move.

Read Ms. Nussbaum’s fascinating article in full here.

All life on Earth, in one staggering chart

From Vox

“All life on Earth, in one chart

What you’ll see below is a kind of tower of life. Each large block of this tower represents a gigaton of life, and the blocks are grouped into broad kingdoms. There are the protists (think microscopic life like amoebae), archaea (single-celled organisms somewhat similar to bacteria), fungi (mushrooms and other types of fungus), bacteria (you’re familiar with these, right?), plants, and animals.

As you can see, plants dominate our world. If the tower of life were an office building, plants would be the main tenants, taking up dozens of floors. Comparatively, all the animals in the world — seen in gray in the tower — are like a single retail shop (a trendy one, to be sure) on the ground floor.” – from vox.com

See the chart and read Vox’s entire article here.

Geologists find clues that early humans island-hopped their way into the Americas

How and when did early humans first arrive in the Americas? The answer may lie along the Northern America’s Pacific Coast. Experts believe early humans travelled from Siberia to Alaska across a land bridge. But what happened next has been far more difficult to pinpoint. The conventional story suggests the earliest North American settlers then…

via Geologists find clues that early humans island-hopped their way into the Americas — Quartz

Human race just 0.01% of all life but has eradicated most other living things

Human race just 0.01% of all life but has eradicated most other living things

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/human-race-just-001-of-all-life-but-has-destroyed-over-80-of-wild-mammals-study?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPress

Ancient DNA Study Pokes Holes in Horse Domestication Theory — National Geographic News

A long-held theory on how horse domestication and language spread across Asia has been disrupted by a look at our genetic past.

via Ancient DNA Study Pokes Holes in Horse Domestication Theory — National Geographic News

Full article here