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Scooting through the headlines, I like at least two stories in today’s Independent. How Europeans evolved to have white skin, starting from around 8,000 years ago is great clickbait. With an election in Britain just over a month away, it can be sure of attracting voters of all shades and prejudices, as you can’t quite tell if it’s going to be rabidly right wing, or intellectually patronising. The most amazing bit about it is how all this science fails to explain why so many of those evolutionary whites head down to the beaches, here in the south of Spain, trying to get their skin brown again. Very interesting that. Maybe they all went north on holiday to get white 8,000 years ago.
And then there’s this one: “I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade,” Nasa chief scientist Ellen Stofan said to somebody, somewhere, at some point. “We know where to look. We know how to look.” In We will have definitive evidence of alien life in 20 years, Stofan stopped short of saying, “And when we find it, we’ll kill it.” But, looking at the way things are going here on Earth, we can all sleep safe in our beds tonight, knowing that’s probably the underlying message. Finding aliens right here in the Milky Way is like finding cockroaches under your sink, or weevils in your muesli. It’s comforting to know our NASA chief scientists are as vigilant as pest control operatives. The real reason they’re looking for extra-terrestrial life is to eliminate it.
More from Scooting through the headlines … soon.
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