human menopause and cetaceans, historical reunions and typos, to rebuild by diego rivera

Killer whales and the mystery of human menopause

The evolutionary mystery of menopause is a step closer to being solved thanks to research on killer whales. A study by the Universities of Exeter and Cambridge has found a link between killer whales, pilot whales and humans — the only three known species where females stop breeding relatively early in their lifespan.

Despite very different social structures between the three species, the research shows that in each case females become increasingly genetically related to those they live with as they get older. Because of this, there is a motivation for older females to do what is best for the survival of those around them.

This creates a ‘grandmother’ role, where the success rate of breeding in the group can be helped by older females sharing parenting knowledge and stopping breeding to allow younger females easier access to resources.

In most animal groups it is usually males that leave the group thus diversifying the gene pool. The last part of the excerpt strongly suggests a tendency. One in which orcas and pilot whales throw a wrench. Females do not tend to leave those groups. That could be explained by genetic drift.

transfer pears

Some of us still seem to be fighting the Civil War. Back in 1913 some soldiers were more gracious than modern revisionists, The Great Reunion of 1913

The largest combined reunion of Civil War veterans ever held occurred at Gettysburg in 1913. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hosted the event and extended invitations to every surviving honorably discharged Union and Confederate veteran in the nation. It was scheduled to be a unique encampment, a combined reunion of members of the Grand Army of the Republic and United Confederate Veterans. The response was overwhelming and despite efforts to limit the numbers attending, over 50,000 veterans came to Gettysburg and settled into the great camp situated on the battlefield. Former foes walked together over the old battlefield and re-lived the terrible days where so many of their comrades had lost their lives.

Even towering intellectuals write typos, Jefferson changed ‘subjects’ to ‘citizens’ in Declaration of Independence


That’s what Thomas Jefferson first wrote in an early draft of the Declaration of Independence to describe the people of the 13 colonies.

But in a moment when history took a sharp turn, Jefferson sought quite methodically to expunge the word, to wipe it out of existence and write over it. Many words were crossed out and replaced in the draft, but only one was obliterated.

Over the smudge, Jefferson then wrote the word “citizens.”

to rebuild by diego rivera. i didn’t care much for his politics, but his art work was remarkable.