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Image Hosted by Tonight on TDS, Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano, promoting A Book Whose Title Plainly Advertises Its Wingnutitude; and on TCR,  Paleoanthropologist, Anthropologist And Author Chris Stringer, Lone Survivors: How We Came To Be The Only Humans On Earth.
sausage grinder of snark
(edit -- hey, I forgot these!)

Instead of wasting all our time with Napolitano, here's a kitten livestream! Let's see if it'll embed:

John Bartlett

The kittens are Basil (mostly orange), Mace (orange & white), Sage (tan/buff), and Pepper (B&W and the only girl). Mama is Rosemary and her tail has been called "Ralph"; she was a stray. They were born October 5th. When they all hit 2 lbs (32 oz) & 2 months, they will have their neuter/spay scheduled if they are currently healthy. The adoption event is typically scheduled the following Saturday. The yellow & red toy is "Chickenfish" and has a cult following and an online store. Seriously. A detailed FAQ created by our wonderful viewers can be found at

Stephen's got an interesting guest tonight -- big-shot paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer:
The Natural History Museum's Research Leader in Human Origins, Professor Chris Stringer, is one of London's 1,000 most influential people in 2012, the Evening Standard announced this week.

Chris Stringer joins Brian Cox, Stephen Hawking and 7 others in the group Innovators, Scientists. Chris is Britain's leading expert on human evolution and 'he is a pioneer in this rapidly changing field,' the newspaper reports.

Chris has been a palaeoanthropologist at the Museum for 43 years in total, and 39 years continuously, investigating human evolution through the study of fossils - carrying out fascinating research, publishing award-winning books, and devising important theories. He was one of the architects of Out of Africa, the theory that all humans living today share a recent African origin....

There's plenty about him floating around out there, should you be intrigued.

His newest book is Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth (Amazon, B&N). Here's the publisher's thing:

leading researcher on human evolution proposes a new and controversial theory of how our species came to be

In this groundbreaking and engaging work of science, world-renowned paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer sets out a new theory of humanity's origin, challenging both the multiregionalists (who hold that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) and his own "out of Africa" theory, which maintains that humans emerged rapidly in one small part of Africa and then spread to replace all other humans within and outside the continent. Stringer's new theory, based on archeological and genetic evidence, holds that distinct humans coexisted and competed across the African continent—exchanging genes, tools, and behavioral strategies.

Stringer draws on analyses of old and new fossils from around the world, DNA studies of Neanderthals (using the full genome map) and other species, and recent archeological digs to unveil his new theory. He shows how the most sensational recent fossil findings fit with his model, and he questions previous concepts (including his own) of modernity and how it evolved.

Lone Survivors will be the definitive account of who and what we were, and will change perceptions about our origins and about what it means to be human.

Here's Publisher's Weekly:
How did modern humans beat out Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and other early humans to become the only people on Earth? That’s the big question paleoanthropologist Stringer (The Complete World of Human Evolution) probes in this scholarly yet accessible survey of contemporary knowledge about human evolution. Some other questions: How did humans and Neanderthals interact? What forces produced our modern genes and behavior? Stringer explores these along with the major trends in human evolutionary theory since Darwin’s time, following the pendulum of scientific opinion as it swings from multiregionalism—the idea that humans evolved through various phases around the globe, with no place serving as a particular origin—to recent African origin theory, and back. Though a prominent out of Africa proponent, Stringer refines his earlier ideas, still focusing on an African beginning, but investigating the possibility that humans interbred with Neanderthals and other ancient humans. The book digs into fossil finds, advanced dating methods, and genetic tools, and shows how experts can deduce so much about our millennia-dead ancestors. Yet, as Stringer reminds us, even experts have only managed to obtain a small part of the picture. More than anything, the book impresses us with how much we still have to learn about our roots.
And Kirkus:
Not an overall history of human evolution but the story of the last million years, which began with three or four Homo species roaming the world but ended about 30,000 years ago with the disappearance of all but one. British paleoanthropologist Stringer (Homo Britannicus, 2006, etc.) points out that most scientists agree that our first hominid ancestors appeared in Africa 5 million years ago; many species evolved, and a few wandered north about 2 million years ago. Where Homo sapiens originated and how it came out on top remains a matter of intense debate, but Stringer marshals the latest evidence and concludes that his own opinion is correct: Modern humans appeared in a small area of Africa about 200,000 years ago and then moved across the world exchanging genes, tools and behavior with rival human species before supplanting them. Besides trying to make sense of headline-producing fossil and archeological discoveries, the author explains dazzling advances that have solved many problems: precise techniques for dating, DNA studies (we have the complete Neanderthal genome), isotope analysis to determine an ancient species' diet and travels, CT scans to reveal hidden and even microscopic details and geometric morphometrics and stereolithography to re-create, manipulate and compare skulls and other structures. The book's title remains a subject of controversy, but readers seeking to advance beyond the usual flamboyant field researchers will enjoy this intense, detailed account of what the world's anthropologists are doing, thinking and quarreling about.
There are almost certainly more reviews (etc) out there (at goodreads, for one), but I got distracted & ended up buying a copy for Dad -- his birthday's coming up (one gifting occasion gift accounted for! Yay!). And then my internet started playing games again, and one of the cats is quite disturbed that I'm out of her gushyfood (there's plenty of food, just not the kind she wants. It's a limited-diet thing I have to get at the vet, & the order will arrive Monday. So yay, a weekend of being intensely thought at).
Coming up:(and after the break):
11/12: Mike Huckabee (former Governor of AR, host of “Huckabee” on Fox News Channel & author – promoting book “Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett: A Grandfather's Thoughts on Faith, Family, and the Things That Matter Most”) 11/12/12 Ken Burns - Documentary Mini-Series, “The Dust Bowl” And Documentary, “The Central Park Five”
11/13: Jason Sudeikis 11/13/12 Newt Gingrich - Co-Author, “victory At Yorktown: A Novel (George Washington)”
11/14: Jon Meacham (Executive Editor at Random House & author – promoting book “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power”) 11/14/12 Tony Kushner - Wrote Screenplay, “lincoln”
11/15: Judge Andrew Napolitano (Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News & author – promoting book “Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom”)
11/15/12 Chris Stringer - Paleoanthropologist, Anthropologist And Author, “lone Survivors: How We Came To Be The Only Humans On Earth”
Week of 11/19: DARK!
Mo 11/26: TBA
Tu 11/27: Warren Buffett, Carol Loomis
We 11/28: Neil Young

Mo 11/26: Jake Tapper
Tu 11/27: Dolly Parton
We 11/28: Frank Oz
Th 11/29: Sean Carroll

(listings and occasional links  via The Late Night TV Page, some links & more guest info available at,, and a judiciously-used
And sometimes even maybe DuckDuckGo. 'Cause.)

(Note: Whenever reading reviews from the NYTimes (particularly Janet Maslin), remember this.)

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