Were The Neanderthals Smarter Than Us?

Neanderthals are often pictured as simple, brutish and violent creatures. But really how accurate is that description? Virtually all of modem man’s accomplishments stem from the fact that he lives in larger social groups. This has allowed for much greater specialization, and more skills available to teach the young. Often the tools being used and the techniques of the two groups at that time is sited as a reason why modern man is smarter but such only come about because of the greater numbers living together.

But consider that Neanderthals were smart enough that they did not need same number of people to survive and thrive in that same area. Their social organization was much more family than tribe and so more likely to split up and move on when conditions permitted. The level of trade that was going on were quite significant for such small groups. This is indication that the relationships between the . different groups was quite a bit more peaceful that is often assumed. Often you see them portrayed as raiding each other for mates. Intermarriage from the different groups is a much more likely occurrence from groups that trade that much. The lack of as many superstitions can also be inferred since thing that likely had overt religious significance is far far less in the Neanderthals settlements. So were they actually smarter? No one can say for sure but they might not have been the simple brutish violent creature that so many have assumed.

There has been a great many studies done that suggest population totals only in the thousands and spread out all across Europe. This was inconsistent with how often Neanderthals artifacts are found. Newer techniques for analyzing the genetic material put the minimum population at 10,000 and probably greater than that closer to 100,000 at its height. Yet even this may be a low number as more sited and and populations are discovered each decade.. Also they were around for roughly 250,000 years. This is far from the species on the verge of extinction it whole existence that was popular in science just a few years ago.

The family nature verse the tribal will have quite a significant effect on the types of artifact that will be common. Art work and personal decorations will have far less importance and far less time spent on them. Yet it is the very lack of these that is most often sighted as reasons they were not as smart. The nearly complete lack of religious artifacts is not taken of a lack of religious superstition but a lack to express those with out ever considering that they may have simply been intelligent enough not to be superstitious. If you don’t have spirits, gods and things to appease there is even less reason to go in for the levels of adornments that were common in the other tribal societies. If they know that carrying a charm or idol has no effect what so ever on their outcome why go to all that expense and time to create such that fill the tribal sites of modem man? Yet it is this very lack of religious items that has lead so many to say that they were simple minded.

Probably the two things that never occurred in the neanderthals were the office of chief and the office of priest something that was almost certainly presence in every tribe. Because of this they are less intelligent? Not necessarily. Some might even consider that a sign of more intelligence. However with out these two factors binding the social groups together small family groups would be much more likely to simply go their own way. Small groups of 30 to 60 will never have the level of specialization that the tribes of 200 to 500 had. A tribe will have more innovation in a century than such groups will have in a thousand years. It will have more time to spend on art work in that same century than such groups of the same population will have to spend on such in over a thousand years. The specialization will allow skills to be developed in a tribe far in advance of a level that such family groups could possible have. It could easy be argued that the tribe made up for lack of intelligence of the neanderthals by use of greater numbers. At this point we simply don’t know. Far to many people are trying to prove their own ideas instead of looking to figure out what was really happening.

War like brute or peaceful hunter trader? Both are still possibilities at this point. Family groups tend to be a bit more territorial than tribes but are also more able to come to terms with their neighbors before bloodshed happens. It will take a lot more time considering various possibilities and gathering even more information about them before we know how smart they actually were.


The Hardships of One Veteran

Once upon a time, in a far off land called Iraq, there was a little sulfur mine called Al-Mishrak near Mosul. In June of 2003, unknown parties, most likely Iraqi insurgents, working in the name of, or at the behest of Saddam Hussein, set the mine ablaze. It was the largest release of sulfur dioxide in all of recorded human history.

The 101st Airborne Division was based in Northern Iraq at the time, spread between Mosul, Qayyarah West Airfield, and a few other smaller bases. As the winds shifted throughout the day, it would blow a plume of dense sulfur dioxide across the land. For Qayyarah West Airfield, it would blow right at us from just before sunrise until around lunchtime or early afternoon. We would wake up choking in a yellow fog, as though we had woken up on the planet Venus (without the diamond rain, unfortunately).

For several days to a week, we would still get up and do physical training at 0630, then got about our daily duties, unaware of the danger we were surrounded by. Eventually, the Division surgeon put a stop to it, after which, when we woke up in the morning, we would don our gas masks and go back to sleep.

Fast forward a bit. Upon redeployment back to Fort Campbell, a large number of soldiers were having varying degrees of breathing issues. Several were sent to a pulmonary specialist at Vanderbilt for testing and investigation. After countless tests and invasive lung biopsies, it was determined that they had a condition known as constrictive bronchiolitis. The symptoms include, but are not limited to, shortness of breath, and occasionally coughing, due to obliterated air sacs in the lungs. It is frequently misdiagnosed as asthma, but there is no airway restriction common to asthma. Asthma medications have little to no effect (unless there is pre-existing asthma), as they open the bronchial tubes, but constrictive bronchiolitis is an issue with the air sacs themselves. There is no cure.

Since 2003, I have had issues with shortness of breath from moderate exertion, snoring and sleep apnea. I didn’t take note of it until a few years later, because of the uncontrolled pain from my back injury. As we found a medication that helped with my back, other issues became more apparent, because I could no longer write them off as being related to the strain from my back pain. In 2015, I was diagnosed officially with sleep apnea and “asthma”, prescribed steroidal inhalers, and a CPAP machine. The meds didn’t help, but the CPAP did help me (and my wife 😉 ) sleep.

Today, I met with the doctor who made the discovery. I had a chest x-ray, pulmonary function tests, exercise while connected to a pulse oximeter, and a CT scan. I’m still waiting on the results of the CT scan, but two things were made abundantly clear; I do not have asthma, and my lung capacity is only at 80%. To be 100% sure of a diagnosis of constrictive bronchiolitis, I will have to undergo invasive lung biopsies. We’ve put that off for now, for at least 6 more months, as it is a major surgical procedure, that will have me down for weeks. Dr. Miller also told me that not only has he discovered this condition with those exposed to the Mishrak sulfur mine fire, but also those heavily exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2003, before we had port-a-potties, we would build our own outhouses and place them over metal barrels or holes in the ground, and would have to burn our own shit with diesel fuel, to sterilize it before it was dumped into the burn pits, which we then burned. Tens of thousands of us we’re exposed to the Mishrak sulfur mine fire, but many times that number were exposed to the burn pits.

What’s the point of all of this? I don’t know an exact number, nor do I even have an educated estimate, but there are likely countless thousands of us who served in Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from this ailment. The Veterans Administration doesn’t even recognize that it exists. Some of us have been denied service connection for our condition. Some of us they have been misdiagnosed. Some of us they have ignored outright. This ends now.

Our country sent us off to fight a war. There are diverse opinions on to it’s legality, morality, execution and conclusion. This isn’t about that. This is about the negligence of our government in not taking precautions, and not even acknowledging and taking care of the result after the fact. Constrictive bronchiolitis from the Mishrak sulfur mine fire and burn pits is the Agent Orange of the Global War on Terrorism. The government must be held accountable.

If you are one of the affected service members, and are exhibiting these symptoms, get checked out. If the VA blows you off, go see a private pulmonary doctor, and take this information with you. If you get a diagnosis of constrictive bronchiolitis, take that to the Veterans Administration, and force them to finally acknowledge this. If you live within driving distance to Nashville, Tennessee, go see Dr. Miller (link below), as he is the foremost expert on this condition.





republished here with permission  of the author David Watson.










What are we going to do?






A man walks in to the Sheriff office

Man: I was robbed !

Sheriff: Did you Shoot him?


Sheriff:Why not?

Man:I don’t believe in owning a gun.

Sheriff: If you don’t believe in protecting yourself why should anyone else?

This piece of fiction demonstrates part of the problem that is happening in this country. The law enforcement is there to handle the problems they you can not. More and more people are coming to rely on the government to take care of things they do want to do. They are relying on the government for protection, providing them with water, with heat, with food, with health care, with schooling, and on and on. People are relying on the government to tell them which cars they can buy, what foods they are allowed to eat, how much is the minimum that should work for, what medicines they are allowed, whose advice they may ask, what people they may hire, what defenses they are permitted, what is proper child raising, what kind of home you may have, and on and on. Every year the things that the government is expected to provide get larger and larger. Every year the choices that you are allowed to make gets smaller and smaller.

This is becoming a serious problem in the United State for many different reasons. Those that are providing these things for themselves are now expected to provide these things for themselves and  now being expected to provide them for everyone else. Quite often at an even higher quality than they are providing them for themselves for some of them. The percentage of the population that is providing all of this is shrinking. Indeed it has been stated by many that only 1% of the population now provides for more than 70% of these cost. A great many of them have become so fed up with it that they have closed up their businesses and gone else where with them. The percentage of people that either can or will no longer provide for themselves goes up every year as besides the things that are expected to be provided. So far The increased productivity of the top few percentage has been almost able to keep up but it is not expected to last much longer. The remaining 30% come from people that can ill-afford to pay these cost.

The limited choice have had their effect also. The rates of suicide, mental health problems, violence and high prison population are things that be attributed to both the lack of choices the the bullying necessary to enforce these restriction. More and more of the population is in need for drugs, prescription or otherwise to curb their frustrations at these lack of choices or to sustain them in the depression that this results from not having choices. Yet drugs are less than the most effective means and all cause other types of problems. It also creates a population filled with fear believing in every possible charlatan out there and his promise that if you only do what I tell you things will be much better.

The answers are not simple far too much of the population has become utterly dependent one what the government provides and what choices that it makes for them. Fixing the system will be a long and complicated thing. Some of the Doom Sayers say it is already too late. Other Doom Sayers will say I can fix this if you only do it my way. Many are saying the next generation can fix this, rather than trying to fix it themselves. But there is hope. There are people working on fixing the problem and there is technology. Block chain is taking some of the decisions that people were forbidden to make and giving it to those that wish to make those decisions. 3D printing is now allowing people to by pass more and more regulation and laws on what products they are allowed to have. The internet is allowing people to access tremendous libraries and study what ever they wish and lean skills that were at one time reserved only to those that were part of a profession. The tools needed to do many different things have gotten better and come down to a level that more and more people can afford them. So there is certainly hope that this mess will come to an end.

At least that is what I think.

Rape Prevention Kit

Each year in the United States hundreds of thousands of young men and women are raped each year. In a large percentage of those a rape prevention kit would have made a tremendous amount of difference. Rape prevention kits have been available for more than one hundred years yet only a small faction of people have them. And while it is certainly true that rape prevention kits are not 100% effective there is very little doubt that when used correctly they do drastically reduce the chances of someone being successfully raped.

If you have a daughter or son fifteen years old or older you might one to see about getting them one.

If you think you loved one might possible be a target then you may want to see about getting them one.

If you believe you yourself might possible be a target then you might want a rape prevention kit for you self.

With rapes numbering in the hundreds of thousands each year a rape prevention kit as something every person need. The number of manufactures of such and the various style mean there is one out there to fit your needs. Buying or giving one however is not enough. You or the person you give it to need to learn how to operate it or it does little good. Indeed many people who do not bother often suffer grievous injuries because of that.

The Inevitable End of Gun Control

Right now even in poverty level places people can make guns such as the one pictured which was actually fired at security guards in Papua New Guinea. In most countries you can easily go into the local hardware store buy what you need to make a far more effective gun that this one in just a few hours. To make something the quality of a cheap Gun Store gun takes about a week unless you are already skilled at such and have the tools readily to hand. To make and AR15 takes a bit longer but not all that much. As the average wealth goes up and the technology improves the actually cost to make and the time to make a serviceable gun drops.. Indeed within 20 year most people will have home 3d printers that will turn out a AR-15 within a day. Already there are versions of guns that can be printed on a home 3d printer. These are no better than the gun pictured above at present.

This 3d printed gun any kid with a 3d printer can look up on the internet then print it at home.  Indeed thousand of kids probably already have done so. It is not a very good gun but is will certainly kill someone. 3d printers get better every year the materials they can make things out of and the quality of the product they can make get better and better.

It is quite simple; anyone that desires a gun will be able to get one even easier than they can now and there is not a damn thing you can do to change that fact. Criminalizing gun ownership will do nothing to prevent this and only increase the number of criminals. Also it will increase numbers of people willing to resort to violence and the numbers of people that will support them. Then United States already has the world largest prison population such measures as to try in control such will easily double the already staggering amount in prison.

Technology ended the control of people by the church when it make the bible more accessible to more people. Technology ended Slavery when it made the need for having slave much less. Now Technology is ending the ability of govenments to tell people what they can and can not have.

People will have guns if they want them. People will have drugs if they want them and many many other things. You either lean to deal with the fact that people will have these things or you keep on attacking them in keep the violence high.

Do you want a Society based on Justice?

Do you want a society based on Justice or Injustice?

The gut reaction from most every persons is to say Justice. Don’t kid yourselves. The vast majority of people prefer injustice to justice and most probably you do to. It is simply which flavor of injustice you prefer.

Here are some examples:

If you oppose gay marriage, polygamy, poly-marriage or any of the various relationships then you favor injustice in favor of your on beliefs.

If you favor vice laws such as gambling, alcohol, prostitution, pornography or drug laws you favor injustice.

If you support gun control you support injustice.

If you support mandatory limits and restriction on free travel to and from this country you support injustice.

If you support limits on wealth or uneven taxes on such you support in justice

If you support the public education system as is exist today you support injustice.

If you support the sending of our troop over sea in none declared wars you support injustice.

If you support spending of tax money on social programs you support injustice.

Roughly 90+ percentage of the population supports one from of injustice or another. They always have and probably always will. The flavors or which they support and how important those are to them varies constantly. Catering to the bias in what form of injustice the most people favor is the essence of the democratic process. Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Democracy works as well as it does because those that it is causing injustice for can sway public opinion to get them to pick on someone else for a while. However it is not a system for peaceful non violent exchange. Injustice and violence go hand in hand. Indeed injustice is often the rallying cry to create even further injustice because of this. Economic injustice and social injustice have often been used as rallying cries to reek further injustices. Economic political or social, injustice is injustice. But by trying to separate justice in to these groups you can ignore the injustice that you are doing and the people harmed but it.

The men that founded this county were racist, sexist men that had leaned that injustice is always the result of power in any form. They tried to create something unique a system strong enough to govern but not strong enough to keep or create even more injustice. They were only partially successful due mainly to their own prejudices but they came far far closer than anyone had ever thought possible to setting up a system of justice.

But people often forget that if you do not give people justice they will often settle for vengeance. Indeed most of the rioting in this county past and presence is because people have given up on getting justice and are settling for vengeance even though they may have been the very ones that vote for that injustice.

People vote for the injustice they favor. I myself would rather the government be one of justice but that doesn’t look like it is going to happen.

One More School Shooting, One More Knee Jerk Reaction

Yet again a teen has shot up their school and yet again the same arguments have been brought out.

Would gun control make that much of difference? No more than the drug laws have curtailed drugs.

Would armed teacher and or guard have stop this from happening. No but in most cases would cut down on the number of injured and how often they happen.

The school shooting are a symptom of what is going on in America not a cause. Until that cause is addressed the symptoms will continue. Most everything being proposed is like putting a bandage on thorn. No matter many bandages you want to put on it until you remove the thorn you are still going to have the problem.. If you remove the thorn the problem goes away though you may still need the bandage until the problem is gone.

You have many people pointing to the mental health crises as the problem yet that too is only a symptom. The medication and bandage that are being offered for this are often time making the situation worse.

These are fearful angry teens doing this and that only thing that is going to stop this type of action is something that reduces that fear and anger. Will gun control do that.. no in fact it will actually make the problem worse. This is a from of bullying and it raises the level of fear of guns. Both factors increase the anger and the like-hood of such happening.

Will more guards stop this.. No, again just increase the anger though it will cut down on the number of successful attempts.

This is caused by the constant battling of the two parties for control of the popular vote. Both are using the tactic that if we can raise enough fear and hate of the other side we can get enough votes. The school shooting is one of the result. But it is the suicide rates and the rates of the mental health problems that this fear mongering is causing that is the real killer of out youth. The are opting out of this fight between the grownup in the only way that many of them see.

Most every American is at least complicit in this because of their unwavering support of these two parties. When you support either a democrat or a republican you have made the situation worse. When you offer support they will keep on using the very same tactics. Unfortunately most Americas don’t care as long as the fear gets what they want passed passed. I often see when this generation passes things will be better. I have been alive since the 60s and they said the exact same thing then.

These constant attack on people by both groups is taking it toll and will continue to do so. The balance of power keeps shifting back and forth on who can make the most people fear the other side.

Something for you to think about.