"A study led by Thomas and Randall Thompson ... examined mummies from four drastically different climates and diets -- and from cultures that mummified regular people, including ancient Peruvians, Ancestral Puebloans, the Unangans of the Aleutian Islands and ancient Egyptians. Overall, the researchers found probable or definite atherosclerosis in 34 percent of the mummies studied. "We found that heart disease is a serial killer that has been stalking mankind for thousands of years ... A common assumption is that the rise in levels of atherosclerosis is predominantly lifestyle-related, and that if modern humans could emulate pre-industrial or even pre-agricultural lifestyles, that atherosclerosis, or at least its clinical manifestations, would be avoided. Our findings seem to cast doubt on that assumption, and at the very least, we think they suggest that our understanding of the causes of atherosclerosis is incomplete, and that it might be somehow inherent to the process of human aging."Second item: Northwest coast natives were definitely smoking tobacco 1000 years ago. And what were they eating? Fatty meat, no greens. (Actually the interesting thing about this story is the picture of the pipe they used for smoking. Sophisticated ceramic work.) In other words, we ARE imitating the ancients, at least some of them. Eating lots of greasy food and smoking tobacco. Seems to be a general human tendency.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.