The biology of woman in fact holds the key to the story of the
human race. The triumph of evolution occurred in the female body,
in one critical development that secured the future of the species. This
was the biological shift from primate oestrus, when the female comes
on heat, to full human menstruation. Although generally unsung,
indeed unmentioned, female monthly menstruation was the evolutionary adaptation that preserved the human species from extinction and ensured its survival and success.

For female oestrus in the higher primates is a highly inefficient
mechanism. The great female primates, chimpanzees, gorillas and
orangutans, come on heat rarely, and produce one infant every five or
six years. This puts the whole species dangerously at risk of extinction,
and the great apes today survive only in small numbers and in
the most favorable environments. With twelve chances of conceiving
in every year, instead of one every five years, the human female has a
reproductive capacity sixty times higher than that of her primate sisters. Menstruation, not hunting, was the great evolutionary leap forward. It was through a female adaptation, not a male one, that ‘man’ throve, multiplied and conquered the globe.

—  Who Cooked the Last Supper by Rosalind Miles (p. 24)

Time for some post-Leave your Lovers fluff.

Andy came to Las Vegas after years of coaching serious and competitive teenagers. The switch to teaching Mites and Squirts was a little tough. Kent, meanwhile, had been skating with the Li'l Aces for years, and throve in it; his favourite days had always been the ones with the kids, and dating their coach meant he had even more excuses now. He was even helpful setting up practice plans; she’d spent the summer reading through materials for younger kids, but felt more at home with complicated plays and drills, not getting the kids to connect stick to puck.

Keep reading

Name: Houri Stonehammer

Race: Surface Dwarf from Minrathous

Class: Rogue. Since she’s not traned for combat she relies greatly on her creations such as bombs, traps and an automatic crossbow. During the game she struggles to use daggers with some hilarious results.

Physical description: She’s quite an average dwarven woman, squared face, big nose, really curvy and short. So short that she tries to gain height with heels. She dresses with some unique clothes expecially made to combine Tevinter elegance and the space to put all her tools.

Background: Houri was born in a surface dwarf family, her father was a well known inventor that was actively supplying the Imperium Army with deadly weapons. Shortly after her first year of life Houri beginned to play with explosive and traps (for her father’s great joy) and in no time she was able to help her dad with his inventions. Life passed quite calmly until her twenties when she meeted the charming merchant Lucius Lafrenius. He didn’t make much effort to win her and after two years they happily married. Houri was at the top: her prestige in the Ambassadoria was growing strongly thanks to her inventions, and her husband was actively helping her expanding the family business. Maybe too actively. A couple years after their marriage Houri finds that not only her dear husband was stealing the family’s money but he also was selling the blueprints of her weapons to the Carta. Completely outraged she made up a plan to bring Lucius to justice, but shortly after her talk with the guards she finds that Lucius is gone with all her blueprints and her parents no way to be found.

Motivation and Goals: She cares little for the elven rebellion that is throving the entire Tevinter in confusion; Her goal is to know where are her parents and give justice to her bastard husband. To do such things she needs a good quantity of explosives, and a bunch of trustworthy people. She join the hero with a promise: she’ll handle reparations, trapmaking, and enchanting if he/she will help her settle the “little marriage problem”.

Romance: She’s an available romance for both female and male heroes after winning her complete trust.

Siegfried and the Twilight of the Gods, by Richard Wagner. (1813-1883).
Illustrated by Arthur Rackham.(1867-1939).
Translated by Margaret Armour.
London, William Heinemann.
New York, Doubleday Page & Co.

Mime finds the mother of Siegfried in the forest :

A woman once I found
Who wept in the forest wild ;
I helped her here to the cave,
That by the fire I might warm her.
The woman bore a child here ;
Sadly she gave it birth.
She writhed about in pain ;
I helped her as I could.
Bitter her plight ; she died.
But Siegfried lived and throve.

A New Storm Against Imperialism” by Chairman Mao Tse-tung (April 16, 1968)

Some days ago, Martin Luther King, the Afro-American clergyman, was suddenly assassinated by the U.S. imperialists. Martin Luther King was an exponent of nonviolence. Nevertheless, the U.S. imperialists did not on that account show any tolerance toward him, but used counter-revolutionary violence and killed him in cold blood. This has taught the broad masses of the Black people in the United States a profound lesson. It has touched off a new storm in their struggle against violent repression sweeping well over a hundred cities in the United States, a storm such as has never taken place before in the history of that country. It shows that an extremely powerful revolutionary force is latent in the more than twenty million Black Americans.

The storm of Afro-American struggle taking place within the United States is a striking manifestation of the comprehensive political and economic crisis now gripping U.S. imperialism. It is dealing a telling blow to U.S. imperialism, which is beset with difficulties at home and abroad.

The Afro-American struggle is not only a struggle waged by the exploited and oppressed Black people for freedom and emancipation, it is also a new clarion call to all the exploited and oppressed people of the United States to fight against the barbarous rule of the monopoly capitalist class. It is a tremendous aid and inspiration to the struggle of the people throughout the world against U.S. imperialism and to the struggle of the Vietnamese people against U.S. imperialism. On behalf of the Chinese people, I hereby express resolute support for the just struggle of the Black people in the United States.

Racial discrimination in the United States is a product of the colonialist and imperialist system. The contradiction between the Black masses in the United States and the U.S. ruling circles is a class contradiction. Only by overthrowing the reactionary rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and destroying the colonialist and imperialist system can the Black people in the United States win complete emancipation. The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progessives in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.

In 1963, in the “Statement Supporting the Afro-Americans in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism,” I said that the “the evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the Black people.” I still maintain this view.

At present, the world revolution has entered a great new era. The struggle of the Black people in the United States for emancipation is a component part of the general struggle of al the people of the world against U.S. imperialism, a component part of the contemporary world revolution. I call on the workers, peasants, and revolutionary intellectuals of all countries and all who are willing to fight against U.S. imperialism to take action and extend strong support to the struggle of the Black people in the United States! People of the whole world, unite still more closely and launch a sustained and vigorous offensive against our common enemy, U.S. imperialism, and its accomplices! It can be said with certainty that the complete collapse of colonialism, imperialism, and all systems of exploitation, and the complete emancipation of all the oppressed peoples and nations of the world are not far off.

Irregular Verbs in English

(Excerpt from Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Cuture)

English verb conjugation is, at first glance, a walk in the park. To form the part tense of an English verb, all you have to do is add -ed: jump becomes jumped. Hundreds of thousands of verbs obey this simple rule. When new verbs enter the language, they obey this rule by default. I may have never heard of flamboozing before, but I know that if you choose to flambooze yesterday, then yesterday you flamboozed.  

Except - much to the chagrin of English learners - for the pesky irregular verbs. Verbs like to know. Even before you read this sentence, you probably knew that we don’t say knowed. About three hundred in all, the irregular verbs - sometimes called strong verbs by linguists - include the ten most frequent verbs in the English language: be/was, have/had, do/did, say/said, go/went, get/got, make/made, know/knew, see/saw, think/thought. They are so frequent that, when you use a verb, there is a 50 percent chance that it will be irregular.

Where did the irregulars come from? It’s a long story. Sometime between six thousand and twelve thousand years ago, a language known to modern scholars as Proto-Indo-European was spoken. An astonishing array of modern languages, including English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Greek, Czech, Persian, Sanskrit, Urdu, Hindi, and hundreds of others, descend from Proto-Indo-European. Proto-Indo-European had a system, known to scholars as the ablaut, that transformed a word into a related one by changing its vowels according to fixed rules. In English, the ablaut can still be seen in the form of subtle patterns among the irregular verbs.

Here is an example of one pattern: Today I sing, yesterday I sang, the song was sung. Similarly: Today I ring, yesterday I rang, the phone has rung. Here’s another pattern: Today I stick, yesterday I stuck. Today I dig, yesterday I dug. When the rules of conjugation die, they leave behind fossils. We call these fossils irregular verbs.

What sort of grammatical asteroid wiped out these ancient rules, leaving behind only the dry bones of the irregulars?

That asteroid was the so-called dental suffix, written -ed in Modern English. The use of -ed to signify the past tense emerged in Proto-Germanic, a language spoken between 500 and 250 BCE in Scandinavia.

Proto-Germanic was the linguistic ancestor of all the modern Germanic languages, including English, German, Dutch, and many others. Because it was a descendent of Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Germanic inherited the old ablaut scheme for conjugating verbs. And this worked fine most of the time. But occasionally, new verbs entered the language, and some of these didn’t quite fit any of the old ablaut patterns. So the speakers of Proto-Germanic invented something new, forming the past tense of these young, nonconformist verbs by adding that -ed. In Proto-Germanic, the regular verbs were the exception.

But not for long. Use of the dental suffix to mark the past tense was a tremendously successful invention, and it began to spread rapidly. Like any disruptive technology, the new rule started at the margins, serving funky-looking verbs that the ablaut could not. But once it established this beachhead, it did not stop. Simple and memorable, the dental suffix began to attract additional adherents, as verbs that had always used the venerable ablaut patterns started making the switch.

Thus, by the time that the classic Old English text Beowulf was written, about 1,200 years ago, more than three-quarters of English verbs obeyed the new rule. With its strength eroded, the old ablaut was now on the run, the upstart -ed rule everywhere nipping at its heels. More and more irregular forms defected over the next thousand years. A millennium ago, I would have holp you. Just yesterday, though, I would have helped you. 

This is a process that today’s linguists, with the benefit of hindsight, call regularization. And it’s still going on. Consider the verb thrive. About ninety years ago, a headline in the New York Times read “Gambling Halls Throve in Billy Busteed’s Day.” But in 2009, the Times ran an article in its Science section titled “Some Mollusks Thrived After a Mass Extinction.” Unlike those lucky mollusks, throve was a victim of the mass extinction of the ablaut. There is no going back. Once they are regular, verbs almost never irregularize. For every sneak that snuck in, there are many flews that flied out. 

Like the three hundred Spartans at Thermopylae, the English irregular verbs - three hundred, strong - have been resolutely holding off a merciless assault on their kind that began in 500 BCE. It is a battle they have waged every day, in every city, in every town, along every street where English is spoken. They have been waging it for 2,500 years. They are not merely exceptions: They are survivors. 

Odin’s Quest After The Runes

I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.
None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.

Nine mighty songs I learned from the great
son of Bale-thorn, Bestla’s sire;
I drank a measure of the wondrous Mead,
with the Soulstirrer’s drops I was showered.

Ere long I bare fruit, and throve full well,
I grew and waxed in wisdom;
word following word, I found me words,
deed following deed, I wrought deeds.

Hidden Runes shalt thou seek and interpreted signs,
many symbols of might and power,
by the great Singer painted, by the high Powers fashioned,
graved by the Utterer of gods.

For gods graved Odin, for elves graved Daïn,
Dvalin the Dallier for dwarfs,
All-wise for Jötuns, and I, of myself,
graved some for the sons of men.

Dost know how to write, dost know how to read,
dost know how to paint, dost know how to prove,
dost know how to ask, dost know how to offer,
dost know how to send, dost know how to spend?

Better ask for too little than offer too much,
like the gift should be the boon;
better not to send than to overspend.
Thus Odin graved ere the world began;
Then he rose from the deep, and came again.

In 1926, a Chicago pediatrician by the name of Clara Davis undertook one of the most amazing experiments in the annals of nutritional research when she persuaded several teenage mothers and widows to place their infants in her care for six years. Fifteen babies, ranging in age from six to eleven months and who’d never been exposed to ‘the ordinary foods of adult life,’ were put on an experimental diet in which they could eat whatever they wanted so long as whatever they wanted appeared on a list of thirty-four foodstuffs that included water, potatoes, cornmeal, barley, beef, lamb, bone jelly, carrots, turnips, haddock, peaches, apples, fish, orange juice, bananas, brains, milk, and cabbage. The foods were all 'natural food materials.’ There was no sugar, no cream, butter, or cheese, and no potato chips, but there was salt for sprinkling. Each item was presented over the course of a single day.

The experiment measured 'self-selection.’ Children were presented with the food but in no way encouraged to eat this or that. If they wanted to eat with their fingers, no problem. What they ate and how much was up to them. The prevailing scientific view at the time was that children were guilty of the gravest nutritional idiocy. Frantic mothers pleaded with doctors about children who wouldn’t eat their vegetables. The leading doctors of the day advised that these children be starved until they did. So Dr. Davis set out to discover what babies transitioning from breast milk to food would eat if it was all left up to them. The answer: everything. At first, anyway. During the initial two weeks, children sampled a little of all thirty-four foods. (This is exactly what goats would do, according to Fred Provenza.) But over time, they each developed favorites, although these would change suddenly and unpredictably.

There were generalities—the children came to prefer protein from milk, meat, liver, and kidney, for example, over vegetable protein. And some meals were strikingly unconventional. One child had a pint of orange juice and liver for breakfast. Another had eggs, bananas, and milk for dinner. Taken as a whole, however, the children chose remarkably balanced diets. They 'throve,’ as Davis put it. Constipation was 'unknown.’ Colds lasted for only three days. When the children were growing and needed protein, their protein intake shot up. When the growing slowed and activity increased, their energy intake increased. During the one 'epidemic'—an outbreak of 'acute glandular fever of Pfeiffer’ (now called mononucleosis) during which every child 'came down like ninepins'—there was a curious spike in the consumption of raw beef, carrots, and beets as the children convalesced.

Several babies began the study in poor condition. Four were undernourished and three had rickets, a vitamin D deficiency. The very first infant Davis received, in fact, had a severe case of rickets and with each meal was given a small glass of cod liver oil, which contains vitamin D. Children’s hatred of cod liver is legendary, but this child consumed it 'irregularly and in varying amounts’ of his own free will until he was better, then never touched another drop.

These children, Davis found, were master nutritionists. By the end of the study, their overall state of health was so good that another pediatrician, one Dr. Joseph Brennemann, called them 'the finest group of specimens from the physical and behavior standpoint that I have ever seen in children that age.’

—  Mark Schatzker, The Dorito Effect


“Absurdism throve in the Soviet era. When the censors go through everything you say with a fine-tooth comb looking for a reason to kill you, it’s a natural impulse to spit gibberish. Sometimes it’s the only way you can say anything.”

“Eheh. The other option of course being not to say anything, equally subversive. I was once beaten with a clipboard for not singing the Internationale.”