Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Genographic Project

I came across this link quite by chance today and it is fairly interesting. What makes me extra interested is that I have always wondered about my ancestors, where they came from, were they like some fierce warrior types who roamed the planet pillaging and looting (that would be cool) or were they a lot like me, where did they actually come from?

Here is a short description of the project:

The National Geographic Society, IBM, geneticist Spencer Wells, and the Waitt Family Foundation have launched the Genographic Project, a five-year effort to understand the human journey—where we came from and how we got to where we live today. This unprecedented effort will map humanity's genetic journey through the ages.

The fossil record fixes human origins in Africa, but little is known about the great journey that took Homo sapiens to the far reaches of the Earth. How did we, each of us, end up where we are? Why do we appear in such a wide array of different colors and features?

Such questions are even more amazing in light of genetic evidence that we are all related—descended from a common African ancestor who lived only 60,000 years ago.

All these questions may not be answered by this study, but I am sure it would be interesting nevertheless. I am really tempted to participate in this study. Maybe I will come to know that I am descendant of a disgraced slave woman in Chengiz Khan's harem :D, or may be I will come to know that my ancestors are most related to some remote forest dwelling tribe from south of the vindhyas, or maybe they were all somehow related to some secret egyptian order that brought dead people alive.

The only problem is the cost. It is going to cost me $130!! I am thinking hard, real hard about this one :-)

Here are some interesting trivia: (Totally unrelated to the genographic project)

The origin of the military salute.
The following explanation of the origin of the hand salute is perhaps closest to the truth: It was a long-established military custom for juniors to remove their headgear in the presence of superiors. In the British Army as late as the American Revolution a soldier saluted bv removing his hat. But with the advent of more cumbersome headgear in the 18th and 19th centuries, the act of removing one’s hat was gradually converted into the simpler gesture of grasping the visor, and issuing a courteous salutation. From there it finally became conventionalized into something resembling our modern hand salute.

Which side of the road do you drive on?

From this link about the change from Left side driving to right side driving in Sweden in the early Sunday morning at 5:00 on the 3rd of September 1967.

Pamphlet from 1967 about Sweden's change to right-hand driving. By Anders Hanquist.

Of course where I live, you can choose to drive on the left side, right side, topside or under the road or wherever, drive and just dont die :D


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