Are Lucy’s bones those of the mother of mankind?

Lucy, three-foot-tall with an ape-like skull, jaws and teeth, and long dangling arms could be humanity’s most famous ancestor — the Mother of Mankind — or a distant relative. That’s right. The possibility she may have been human relates to the fact she walked upright just like we do.

Her bones were discovered in Ethiopia over 40 years ago, and she lived 3.2 million years ago.

But it’s the mystery of how she died that researchers are trying to unravel.

The manner of her death is significant because it provides important insight into how our ancestors evolved from tree-dwelling apes into bipeds that roamed the African savanna.

After poring over the bones and meticulously turning recent scans into 3D models, scientists analysed what they believed to be breaks in her right arm, left shoulder, right ankle and left knee.

These injuries, they hypothesised, were the result of an impact following a fall from considerable height.

“Lucy has been at the centre of a vigorous debate about the role, if any, of arboreal locomotion in early human evolution,” the research paper says. “It is therefore ironic that her death can be attributed to injuries resulting from a fall, probably out of a tall tree, thus offering unusual evidence for the presence of arborealism in this species.”

Lead researcher John Kappelman theorized that Lucy’s walking ability may have caused her to be less adept at climbing trees, making her more vulnerable to falling from heights.

But several other researchers, including Lucy’s discoverer, disagree. They contend most of the cracks in Lucy’s bones are well documented and came after her death from the fossilisation process and natural forces such as erosion.

Even if they find a way to prove Lucy died from a fall from a high place, that still wouldn’t help much in terms of her ability to climb trees. She could have fallen from a cliff instead of a tree, in which case her adeptness, or otherwise, at climbing trees wouldn’t be a factor.

And I can’t see how it could ever be determined whether it was a tree she fell from — or some other high place.

So it beats me why those guys are still arguing about what caused Lucy’s death, when it won’t in any case prove definitively whether or not she lived in trees.

By researching the treatment her doctor was prescribing, this mother of two saved her own life

Doctors are like mechanics. There are good ones and bad ones. The bad ones on both sides make mistakes. But, unlike the bad mechanics, the bad doctors bury their mistakes — often without anyone ever being the wiser.

A mother-of-two was given four rounds of chemotherapy she didn’t need — and only found out when she researched the treatment herself.

Jodi Huggett underwent the treatment after an operation to remove a low-grade form of bowel cancer. The grueling therapy caused her to go into anaphylactic shock twice.

But she discovered she had been put through the extra suffering after her doctor failed to investigate the most suitable treatment for her.

Now, after taking legal action against Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital’s NHS Trust, the Trust has agreed to pay a compensation settlement to the 41-year-old.

As she faced the fifth session, Mrs. Huggett researched her tumor only to find that chemotherapy had never been used for her condition.

And thanks to Google and the internet, Jodi Huggett was able to take matters into her own hands before it was too late.

Ben Carson Wants Trump to Stop Hurling Childish Insults at Hillary

I can’t help wondering whether Donald Trump genuinely wants to win the looming presidential election. I say that because if indeed he does, he’s going about it in a strange way — behaving like a boor.

And I also can’t help wondering whether he genuinely wants to win the election when he keeps harping on the fact that he doesn’t need to be doing this presidential race thing — that he was having a great life before he got into politics and that if he loses the election it would be no skin off his nose because he would simply go back to having a great life.

Maybe, consciously or subconsciously, Donald Trump really does miss the great life he had before his venture into the ugly world of politics.

Or, alternatively, maybe Trump behaves like a boor because he is one.

Take your pick.

On Thursday, during a CNN interview, The Donald called Hillary Clinton a “bigot,” his favorite term for her lately.

And Ben Carson, former candidate and adviser to Donald Trump, wants him to stop with the insults:

“I don’t generally get into the name-calling thing,” Carson said in a phone interview with The Daily Beast on Friday morning. “I kind of left that behind in the third grade. I certainly don’t encourage it because the issues that we’re facing are incredibly important — for us and for the future generations.”

That’s right. There’s a whole lot more at stake than The Donald’s precious ego.

During a rally in New Hampshire, on the same day at which Carson introduced him, Trump was again banging on at length about Hillary — this time over apparently calling his supporters racists:

“That’s what people do who don’t have anything to talk about,” Carson said of name-calling on both sides of the aisle. He said that it is the media’s responsibility to help guide candidates away from such attacks, despite the fact that Trump himself is the one who often perpetuates these self-inflicted errors.

I can’t think of a time, ever, when this country was in as bad a place, politically speaking, as it is right now, what with having to choose between two such unsatisfactory candidates for the presidency of the United States of America.

That said, Hillary Clinton is a known quantity. She was at best a mediocre senator, without doubt a disastrous secretary of state, and she revealed herself to be a compulsive liar while answering questions about her personal email server.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a newly minted politician and not yet a fully known quantity. So, unlike Hillary, there’s always at least the possibility that he might make a good president.

Therefore, considering the ghastly alternative, what have you got to lose by voting for Trump?

In the final analysis, Hillary Clinton’s disastrous track record as a secretary of state, added to the email and Clinton Foundation scandals swirling around her, may prove to be her undoing — just as long as Donald Trump doesn’t gaffe himself out of contention between now and election day.

The Clinton Foundation Has Made the Clintons “Beholden to Scumbags”

A liberal journalist who has moderated forums hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative offered a brutal takedown of the organization, describing it as “creepy,” “disgusting” and “gross.”

Adam Davidson, who hosts a show for NPR and has written for New York Magazine, also said during an appearance on Slate’s “Political Gabfest” podcast this week, that the Bill and Hillary Clinton-controlled group’s events are “all about buying access.”

‘And later in the podcast, he said that the Clinton Foundation has made the Clintons “beholden to scumbags.”’

Shades of the old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Davidson’s harsh critique comes as Hillary Clinton faces accusations that her family charities are massive pay-for-play schemes. An AP investigation found that more than half of the private individuals Clinton met with as secretary of state were Clinton Foundation donors.

Yet, ‘despite his grievances with the Clinton organizations, Davidson says he still supports Hillary Clinton for president.’

He said, “Obviously, I fully support Hillary Clinton. I can’t wait to vote for her.”

Yeah, that’s a dyed-in-the-wool liberal for you.

Hillary, however, would most likely prefer to hang on to the votes she’s potentially about to lose as a result of Davidson’s public denunciation of her family charities, than the one measly vote he’s offering her in return.

Chris Christie’s Role in Donald Trump’s Softened Approach to Illegal Immigrants

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told a media outlet that Chris Christie was an influential force behind Donald Trump’s pivot this week to a more humane approach to dealing with illegal immigrants living in the country.

What happened was that The Donald paid attention to some sound advice given during a pow-wow.

Trump’s about-face on working with — rather than deporting — an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants came after policy meetings with his inner circle, led by Christie, that encouraged a more moderate tone, according to NJ.com. Trump this week said he’d work with the “great ones” on a plan that included paying back taxes.

While the wall can be non-negotiable, and while there is justification for deporting illegal immigrants who have committed crimes in the U.S., it’s insane to think the civilized world would stand idly by while some 11 million undocumented, but otherwise law-abiding immigrants, are physically rounded up like cattle and driven out of the country.

There would be hell to pay, possibly even economic sanctions imposed against us.

Huma Abedin’s Muslim Journal Claimed Bill Clinton Bombed Saddam to Distract From the Monica Lewinsky Scandal

An article published in the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs claimed Bill Clinton ordered the bombing of Iraq in December 1998 in order to draw attention away from the Monica Lewinsky scandal:

He ordered four days of strikes by bombers and cruise missiles at the height of his impeachment trial, brought in the wake of his admission that he had had a ‘not appropriate’ relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

The strikes — known as Operation Desert Fox — were ordered the day after the House of Representatives issued a report accusing the president of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ and ended on the day the articles of impeachment were passed.

And at the time — get this — Huma Abedin was on the editorial board that decided to publish the article.

Donald Trump’s “Union With Europe’s Right Is Official”

The appearance of former Ukip leader Nigel Farage at a Trump rally has spurred Guardian columnist Lucia Graves to equate “Donald Trump’s movement” with “that of a rightwing European party.”

She writes:

Donald Trump’s movement has often been compared to that of a rightwing European party. Now, his union with Europe’s right is official. At a rally on Wednesday Trump presented himself as America’s Nigel Farage, holding the former Ukip leader up as his populist, nationalist twin.

And adds:

The architects of Brexit like to frame the vote as a righteous backlash against powerful elites. As Farage put it on Wednesday: “You can beat the pollsters. You can beat the commentators … Anything is possible if enough decent people are prepared to stand up against the establishment.”

According to this oft trotted-out framing, Trump’s reviled Washington establishment is a parallel for Farage’s European Commission. But the hyper-focus on anti-elitism obscures the far less righteous xenophobia, racism and anti-immigrant sentiment that were also elements of the leave campaign.

Such uninspiring qualities are the core of Trump’s movement too, and that was apparent in no small number of crowd-pleasing lines. “Why do our leaders spend so much more time talking about how to help people [who are] here illegally than they spend trying to help American citizens?” Trump asked. “The media ignores the plight of Americans who have lost their children to illegal immigrants, but spends day after day pushing for amnesty for those here in violation of the law.”

The bigotry of Trump’s campaign is, if anything, more extreme. While leave campaign leaders such as Boris Johnson would at least distance themselves from the anti-immigrant rhetoric espoused by Farage and others, Trump has embraced it. And even Farage himself has suggested that some of Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric goes too far.

But here’s the thing. Trump is only saying what millions of Americans are thinking. That’s the reason for the traction he’s been getting.

The media have tried in vain to turn public opinion against Trump, and are even running out of fresh exaggerations — such as those we see above — with which to malign the man and his campaign.

That said, Trump can also be his own worst enemy; he absolutely must curb his proclivity to mouth off.

And he needs to understand that he’s very bad at making off-the-cuff speeches; when he does that, he rambles all over the place.

Teleprompters are there for that very reason.

Is Trump Softening His Stance on Illegal Immigrants Who Are Already in the Country?

It seems The Donald is reconsidering his position regarding at least some categories of illegal immigrants.

In comments that run counter to his previous stance on the signature issue of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that although undocumented immigrants living in the United States will get “no citizenship”, they will pay back taxes in exchange for possible legal status.

“They’ll pay back taxes, they have to pay taxes, there’s no amnesty, as such, there’s no amnesty, but we work with them,” Trump said, in remarks set to air tonight on Hannity’s show.

Trump reiterated that the “bad ones” are going to be deported, no two ways about that. But with regard to law-abiding undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for a long time, there were humanitarian aspects to consider:

“But when I go through and meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject,” he continued, “and they’ve said, ‘Mr Trump, I love you, but to take a person who’s been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it’s so tough, Mr. Trump’. I have it all the time! It’s a very, very hard thing.”

It’s doubtful Trump ever intended to actually round up and deport eleven million people.

In the first place, such an operation would probably be logistically impossible. In the second place, only a monster would want to do such a thing. And The Donald is no monster by any stretch of the imagination.

Besides, families who are hard-working, productive members of society are an asset to the country and not a liability.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not a dyed-in-the-wool Trump supporter. Not by a long shot. I support him because he seems the lesser of two evils. If he were to pack it in and hand over the reins to his running mate Mike Pence — a much more suitable candidate for president of the United States, in my view — I’d jump for joy.

The Donald slams Hillary over “Third World” style corruption  

Donald Trump has accused Hillary Clinton of “Third World” style corruption following an Associated Press report that “more than half the people outside government who met Clinton while she was secretary of state donated money to the Clinton Foundation.”

“It is a total embarrassment if our secretary of state can be bought or bribed or sold,” he told a rally in Austin, Texas after a damaging Associated Press report raised questions about whether donors to the Clinton Foundation paid cash for access to America’s top diplomat.

“It’s a disgrace, this is a threat to the foundation of democracy,” said Trump. “This is what happens in Third World countries.”

While there’s no proof at this stage that anyone broke the law — nevertheless, “the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton.”

A New York Post article makes no bones about its interpretation of the AP report. The title, “New revelations show a nation for sale under Hillary Clinton,” couldn’t be more explicit.

And the article hammers home, throughout, its title’s assertion.

Here are some excerpts:

The Democratic Party often warns us that mixing big money and politics will corrupt democracy. They must have nominated Hillary Clinton to prove it.

The Clinton Foundation was ostensibly set up to solve the world’s most pressing problems. Though it’s done some fine work, its most fruitful program has been leveraging Clinton’s position in the State Department to enrich her family, friends and cronies.

And:

It is becoming clear the foundation was a center of influence peddling. Rock stars. Soccer players. Conglomerates. Crown princes. All of them paid in. All of them expected access to the US government.

Want a seat on a government intelligence advisory board even though you have no relevant experience? The Clinton Foundation may be able to help.

And:

Recently, the foundation announced it would ban donations from corporations and foreign countries if Hillary is elected president. The question is: If it’s a conflict of interest when Hillary will be president, why wasn’t it a problem when she was secretary of state?

Let’s also not forget that during Clinton’s tenure at State, she failed to disclose that regimes across the world were giving her charity hundreds of millions. Because she needed to hide this, she ended up sending 110 emails containing classified information — eight of which had “top secret” information, according to the FBI.

The question is, how much more of this stuff needs to come out before it finally sinks in with a potential majority of the voting public that Hillary Clinton is the last person on earth who should be entrusted with the most powerful office in the world?

Saudi women are fighting to break the chains of male guardianship

I read somewhere that people only rise up to break the bonds of oppression once they have been given a few rights they didn’t have before.

The first taste of freedom, albeit limited, makes them hungry for more.

And that certainly seems to be the case in Saudi Arabia where women were for the first time granted a few rights in 2009 that they didn’t have before, such as the right to occupy certain positions and to choose their professions without the opproval of their guardians.

This has led Saudi women to want to break all, not just some, of the shackles of oppression that have made their lives a misery.

Saudi women still suffer many social violations within their families, mainly from their male guardians, whether their husbands, fathers or brothers. These violations include physical assault, preventing them from getting married so that the guardian can continue to take the women’s salary if she is employed, or taking over their inheritance in case of the father’s death. Women are also given a hard time when visiting governmental departments if they are not accompanied by a male figure. Other violations in the workplace include sexual harassment and extortion from their bosses.

So now:

Saudi women are not just calling for the end of male guardianship in marriage contracts or the transfer of guardianship from one abusive husband or oppressive father to another better man who could be a brother or uncle, like it was for women a few years ago in some Saudi courts.

In fact, women are calling for dropping all forms of supervision and control from brothers, fathers or grandfathers as guardianship limits women’s freedom and willpower.