I Am Finley


Why ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ Sound So Similar in So Many Languages


It’s tempting to imagine this means that the first humans called their parents mama and dada, and that those two warm, hearty words have survived the slings and arrows of human history to remain in use today. But the notion is too good to be true. Over time in language, sounds smush along their way to becoming new ones, and even the meanings people assign to a word drift all over the place.


The answer lies with babies and how they start to talk. The pioneering linguist Roman Jakobson figured it out. If you’re a baby making a random sound, the easiest vowel is ah because you can make it without doing anything with your tongue or lips. Then, if you are going to vary things at all, the first impulse is to break up the stream of ahhh by closing your lips for a spell, especially since you’ve been doing that to nurse. Hence, mmmm, such that you get a string of mahs as you keep the sound going while breaking it up at intervals.


Papa and dada happened for a similar pan-human reason. After babies begin making m with their lips, they pick up making a sound that involves a little more than just putting their lips together—namely, putting them together, holding them that way for a second, and then blowing out a puff of air. That’s p—or, depending on your mood, b. Alternatively, babies also start playing with their mouths a little further back from the lips—on that ridge behind the upper teeth that we burn inconveniently by sipping soup when it’s too hot. That’s where we make a t or a d. The order in which babies learn to make sounds explains why the next closest usual caretaker to mom is so often called papa or baba (or tata or dada).

The Atlantic

Yes, it is tempting to imagine that the first humans called their parents mama and dada. You can believe that evolution made babies start with two sound groups and emotions immediately tie them to people, or you can believe that God designed us to know what to call our parents from the get go. Simplest answer is likely correct.


Should All Scientists Be Militant Atheists?


When Lawrence Krauss says that no true scientist starts assumptions of God, he’s committed a fallacy called a No True Scotsman.

A No True Scotsman argument is an ad hominem fallacy, targeting the person making the argument instead of the argument at hand.

It goes as follows:
“Scientists have to be militant atheists to do their job,” which gets the response ”Michael Faraday was a believer in God and used Scripture as a source to discover electromagnetism,” to which the one bad at arguing says, “No true scientist believes in God.”

It’s a way of distracting from the argument at hand and poor form, for sure.

When Lawrence Krauss does this, he ignores the wealth of scientific understanding that has come from Christian men and women that started with the Bible as their authority.

As previously stated, Michael Faraday was the father of electromagnetism.

In a book on Faraday and electricity, Brian Bowers writes that ‘it seems likely that his religious belief in a single Creator encouraged his scientific belief in the “unity of forces”, the idea that magnetism, electricity and the other forces have a common origin.’ Faraday went on to show that the electricity produced was the same regardless of how it was produced—by a magnetic field, by a chemical battery or as static electricity.

Michael Faraday—God’s Power and Electric Power

The father of Thermodynamics, too, was a devout Christian scientist. James Joule, who is credited with Joule’s Law. Isaac Asimov called his First Law of Thermodynamics, “one of the most important generalizations in the history of science”.

But don’t forget Pascal, Pasteur, and even Newton. Much of early science was pioneered by Christian creationists, but even modern science is seeing major discoveries from creationists, such as the inventor of the MRI, Raymond Vahan Damadian.

To set a pseudo-requirement that scientists mustn’t believe in God is just another attempt to silence faith in today’s world. Because tolerance.

Response to All Scientists Should Be Militant Atheists


What Would Happen if You Were Shrunk?


Why Humans Run the World


I know without even asking that Zeldman and I differ greatly in our worldviews, and with a title like this, I likely shouldn’t have tapped the link. But I did. And it was awesome.

The real difference between us and other animals is on the collective level.

This phrasing worried me. Humans are unique in their individuality, not their collectiveness.

Humans control the world because we are the only animal that can cooperate flexibly in large numbers. Ants and bees can also work together in large numbers, but they do so in a very rigid way. If a beehive is facing a new threat or a new opportunity, the bees cannot reinvent their social system overnight in order to cope better. They cannot, for example, execute the queen and establish a republic.


And then it changed. Bees and ants work collectively and, because of it, change doesn’t come easily. Why is this that humans are even different than chimps? We were designed differently. This was what we were designed for. God told us to go forth to the corners of the earth and be fruitful. Ultimately, mankind runs the world because God intended it, but this article gives many reasons why we are better suited for that role than any other creature on the planet.


Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD


French child psychiatrists, on the other hand, view ADHD as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes. Instead of treating children's focusing and behavioral problems with drugs, French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress—not in the child's brain but in the child's social context. They then choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counseling. This is a very different way of seeing things from the American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child's brain.

Love this view. Great article and something anyone with children should be looking at. My wife, for one, was prescribed ADHD medicine before her teenage years and they never had an end date on that prescription. The amount that a person changes in their teens and twenties is huge. Instead of a child learning to deal with their circumstances, their social context, and their body, we dull it with medicine. A bandaid, if you may. My wife came off her meds a couple years ago and has been doing great ever since.

Think before you take meds to solve a problem, as it may just be fixing a symptom of a greater problem.


SpaceX Falls Over


He later clarified that the rocket landed, but tipped over.


Oddly, my daughter did the same thing yesterday. She cried for a second and then tried again. We believe in you, Elon. Get back up and try again.


Robert Downey, Jr. Is a World-Class Guy


He may be Iron Man, but he’s got a heart of gold.


Questions About Martian Babies


So much information and things we’ll need to consider as we move towards possible colonies on other planets.

She wonders if the intent to be the first to conceive on Mars is even “ethically responsible.” “We don’t know what the impact of partial gravity would be, but evidence from microgravity strongly argues against pregnancy and post natal development without significant problems and risk,” Bishop told Forbes.

New York Times


Have Your Kids Eat Peanuts


With a daughter of six months, parenting and parenting-affecting articles are stored up for miles in Pocket. Growing up on the farm, I never experienced a single allergy. Not sure if those are directly related, but my parents never feared those kind of things like suburbanites today do. A new study shows that we might have an easy way to prevent these peanut allergies: feed peanuts to our babies.

Although evidence has continued to mount, even 8 or 10 years ago avoidance was already being called into question. So Lack and his colleagues set out to test whether feeding babies and young children peanut products might help them learn to tolerate the peanut protein, inhibiting an allergy. All the babies were between 4 and 11 months old when they were enrolled, and all had either an egg allergy, severe eczema, or both—putting them at high risk of a peanut allergy down the road. Indeed, 98 of them were already heading in that direction: They tested positive for mild peanut sensitivity in a skin-prick test. This meant that these babies were already churning out antibodies to the peanut protein. Eating peanuts in the future could set off an allergic reaction.

The team divided the babies into two groups. Half were to avoid eating peanut products until they were 5 years old. The other half received at least 6 grams of peanut protein a week, spread across at least three meals, until they were 5 years old. Bamba was the preferred offering, though picky eaters who rejected it got smooth peanut butter.

Around the 5th birthdays of the trial subjects came the big test. The children consumed a larger peanut portion than they were used to in one sitting, and the results were clear-cut. Among 530 children who had had a negative skin-prick test when they were babies, 14% who avoided peanuts were allergic to them, compared with 2% of those who’d been eating them. In the even higher risk group, the children who were sensitized, 35% of the peanut-avoiders were allergic versus just over 10% of the peanut eaters.


Martian Colonists


The hard part will not be staying alive but staying sane. You laugh now about your old AOL dial-up connection in college, but how about 20 minutes just to refresh your Twitter feed? You may be able to survive without oxygen, but can you live without bagels? Sex? Love? Our first colonists on Mars will have to be more than just brave and smart. They will have to be weird enough to handle extreme isolation.

Meet the people who have volunteered to die on Mars

Mars One is selecting people that will be the first interplanetary colonists on Mars. Their idea is to send people without the ability to return to Earth. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t do it. And I’m an introvert. Unlike the article seems to imply, it isn’t about sex. Despite being an introvert and relishing the idea of a good recharge— which involves being alone— I don’t think I could go 21st century monk and retreat from civilization for the rest of my life.