Thoughts on quirky news and life in Buenos Aires and Washington, DC

Out of Africa or out of Bulgaria and Greece?

The Telegraph (whose pro-Brexit readers will have to avert their eyes) brings us the news that humans may have originated in Bulgaria and Greece, not Africa, as previously thought.

Currently, most experts believe that our human lineage split from apes around seven million years ago in central Africa, where hominids remained for the next five million years before venturing further afield.

But two fossils of an ape-like creature which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and Greece, dating to 7.2 million years ago.

The discovery of the creature, named Graecopithecus freybergi, and nicknameded [sic] ‘El Graeco’ by scientists, proves our ancestors were already starting to evolve in Europe 200,000 years before the earliest African hominid.

Not long ago, we looked at how genealogy sites such as 23andme call into question family lore about ethnic origins.  But these new findings take things to a whole new level.

Seen in DC

Porn videos at Union Station, according to The Washington Post.

God goes cashless in Sweden

Swedish churches are switching to digital donations in an increasingly cashless society, Bloomberg reports.

In the most cashless society on the planet, even God now accepts digital payments.

A growing number of Swedish parishes have started taking donations via mobile apps. Uppsala’s 13th-century cathedral also accepts credit cards.

The churches’ drive to keep up with the times is the latest sign of Sweden’s rapid shift to a world without notes and coins. Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash; some shops and museums now only accept plastic; and even Stockholm’s homeless have started accepting cards as payment for their magazine. Go to a flea market, and the seller is more likely to ask to be paid via Sweden’s popular Swish app than with cash.

This is changing mass dynamics in interesting ways:

“One thing that’s quite funny is that when you collect these days, there are some who will raise their mobile phone in the air to show that they are giving,” said Mats Lagergren, a spokesman for the Swedish Church’s Uppsala parish.


Seen in Florida

Move over, Molotov! Venezuelan protesters throw “Puputov” cocktails

El País reports:

The devices have been dubbed “Puputov cocktails” on social media, and they are becoming the trending weapon at anti-government protests in Venezuela. That is pronounced  “poo-poo-tov,” and as the name indicates, they are nothing more and nothing less than bombs made with feces.

This low-tech weapon is now being used by protesters facing riot officers from the National Guard and the Bolivarian National Police on the streets of a country in the grip of social, political and economic upheaval. The next protest is scheduled for Wednesday, and posters are calling it “La Marcha de la Mierda,” literally the Shit March.

Cheblogudo will sit this one out.

Austrian Green Party to teach women how to pee standing up

After a German court upheld men’s right to pee standing up, the Green Party of Austria wants to help women do the same.

The Green Party in Perchtoldsdorf, Lower Austria, which periodically holds “women’s breakfasts” to discuss social and political issues, announced that the theme of the coming Saturday’s meeting will be “everything that concerns the pelvic base.”

The party said the discussion will include instructions on how to urinate from a standing position at music festivals, sporting events, and other locations where unclean restrooms are likely to be found.

UPI has the full story.

Learning the difference between miles and kilometers could save you $940

From UPI:

A North Dakota man, unfamiliar with the metric system, received a $940 speeding ticket in Canada after traveling nearly twice the posted speed limit.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Manitoba shared a photo of an officer’s radar clocking the driver traveling 168 kmh, the equivalent of 100 mph, in a 100-kph zone.

“Didn’t realize we use the metric system. Fined $940,” the police department wrote alongside the hashtag #noexcuses.

Luckily for the driver, the fine was in Canadian dollars, another peculiarity of the Great White North, so the damage was much lower in real money.