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This page features brief excerpts of news stories published by the mainstream media and, less frequently, blogs, alternative media, and even obviously biased sources. The excerpts are taken directly from the websites cited in each source note. Quotation marks are not used.
This page features brief excerpts of news stories published by the mainstream media and, less frequently, blogs, alternative media, and even obviously biased sources. The excerpts are taken directly from the websites cited in each source note. Quotation marks are not used. Because most of our readers read the NYT we usually do not include the paper's stories in HIGHLIGHTS.
Name of source: Observer
The motive for our ancestors' African exodus is not known, though scientists suspect food shortages, triggered by climate change, were involved. However, its impact cannot be overestimated. Two thousand generations later, descendants of these African emigres have settled our entire planet, wiped out all other hominids including the Neanderthals and have reached a population of 6.5 billion.
Now scientists are completing a massive study of DNA samples from a quarter of a million volunteers in different continents in order to create the most precise map yet of mankind's great diaspora. Last week, in Tallinn, Estonia, they outlined their most recent results. 'As the ultimate ancestor begat son, who begat son and so on, they picked up mutations in their DNA that we can now pinpoint by gene analysis,' said project leader Dr Spencer Wells. 'When we look at these markers' distributions we can see how our ancestors moved about.'
Scientists have known for several years that modern humans emerged from sub-Saharan Africa within the past 100,000 years. However, the £25m Genographic project - backed by National Geographic, IBM and the Waitt Family Foundation - has recently transformed that knowledge by painting in a mass of highly detailed information about our African exodus.
After emerging into the Arabian peninsula, some of our ancestors took sea routes along the south Asian coast to reach Australia 50,000 years ago. Only later, about 40,000 years ago, did we enter Europe - its cold and its Neanderthals making it far less hospitable - while one group of Asians headed farther east over the land bridge that then connected their continent to America.
One file states that in 1940 Lonsdale-Bryans went 'with the connivance if not the approval of the Foreign Office in order to make contact with a highly placed German ambassador in Italy, Ulrich von Hassel. Lonsdale-Bryans thought the ambassador might be sympathetic to the negotiation of peace if a rightwing anti-Nazi government could be established in Germany.'
Elements of the plan were known by the then Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, but it quickly became a major source of embarrassment for the government when, according to the files, Lonsdale-Bryans 'far exceeded his brief' by attempting to contact senior Nazis including Hitler'.
For Helensburgh has 'Heroes' - 75 of them at the last count, and rising. Residents believe it is the most talented town in Britain and are looking to create a Hollywood-style 'Walk of Fame' to shout it from their elegant Victorian rooftops.
The Glasgow town, on the north shore of the Firth of Clyde, is laying claim to a gallery of actors, poets, inventors, writers, sportsmen and women and the odd Prime Minister. Hollywood star Deborah Kerr, TV inventor John Logie Baird, the steamship pioneer Henry Bell and the least known of Britain's PMs, Andrew Bonar Law - all have links to Helensburgh.
'For a population of less than 20,000, we seem to have produced or inspired more than our fair share of talented and historical people,' said Phil Worms, originally from London, who is spearheading the 'Helensburgh Heroes' campaign. 'We believe no other town of a similar size could match Helensburgh for talent.'
No association is too tenuous to prevent acceptance as a son or daughter of the town, along with a bronze star on its esplanade. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish architect, is included because he designed Hill House on Helensburgh's outskirts. Bonar Law, the Canadian-born Tory who succeeded David Lloyd George but held office for just seven months, married there. WH Auden, who briefly taught at the Larchfield School - as did former Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis - is forgiven despite writing of Helensburgh's reputation as 'a snob town'. Emma Sanderson, the first British woman and youngest person to finish the Around Alone, a solo round-the-world yacht race, lived in the town as a child and competed in dinghy world championships.
'Not everyone on the roll of honour was born here, but when we drew up the list we included people who were either from here or were living here at the time they were going through their meteoric rise to fame and fortune,' explained Worms. 'The only one who is possibly contentious is Mackintosh. But although he wasn't born or lived in Helensburgh, the town is forever associated with one of the best examples of his work.'
Others are hardly household names. But veterinary parasitologist George Urquhart and mathematician Horatio Carslaw were, no doubt, giants in their field.