Posts Tagged: evolution
If you’ve never heard of Whit Taylor, then now is the perfect time to discover her. Ghost (2015) is her understated masterpiece, self-published just months ago. As I began reading the book, I thought I was in for a nice little story about a young woman who wanted to meet her idols—Charles Darwin, Joseph Campbell et....more
Do video games undermine empathy? Or are they just a comfortable scapegoat for a violent culture?
Scientists search for an evolutionary reason for art. Spoiler alert: The answer is men and sex....more
Literary history has two sides, I think. One is the normative side: deciding what is good and what is less good. The other is the explanatory side. It’s two very different modalities of thought, and I’ve always been inclined toward the explanatory.
What role can a knowledge of scientific concepts play in understanding literature? It comes as no surprise that “biological science remains more-or-less completely un-talked about in English seminar,” as M.M. Owen writes in a piece featured on The Millions, but does this mean that science should be ignored in discussions of literature?...more
Using a series of timelines that represent increasingly large amounts of time, this blog post puts everything in perspective. Everything.
It starts out simple—timelines of the last 24 hours, the last week, and so on—and works its way up through recorded history and human evolution from apes all the way to the existence of the universe....more
Here is a map to help you visualize human migration over the course of our 200,000 year existence. Using data based on mitochondrial DNA difference, the map models migratory patterns as humans “moved outward from Africa into Asia, and later the Americas, Indonesia and Australia.” The visual distinguishes between land and water or temporary land/ice bridges, while highlighting genetic populations and the extent of ice....more
Fossils found in a South African cave may be “the most plausible known ancestor of archaic and modern humans,” argue the scientists who discovered the bones, citing the combination of apelike and human features in the newfound species—dubbed Australopithecus sediba.
Some scientists disagree that the fossils represent a transitional link between the australopithecines and humans, suggesting instead that the discovery provides important evidence of the extensive diversity of australopithecine apes and the difficulty of determining which is actually the ancestral species....more
Next time you’re basking in the glory of your ability to reason, thinking that you’re closer to arriving at some sort of ultimate truth, consider this first.
Apparently, our reasoning instincts come from a primordial impulse to win arguments, a “hard-wired compulsion to triumph in the debating arena,” or at least that’s the theory....more
A new documentary paints Italy as “a democracy of boobs (in all senses).”
“That’s not what countries think of when they go to war.” Why no one ever cleans up the environmental mess they make after sending their citizens off to kill each other....more
The Context Project is seeking to blur the line between industrial design and fine art. It is also totally rad.
Yesterday marked the 31st anniversary of the first robot homicide and the 50th of bubble wrap. So watch out I guess....more
Lots of fascinating science news this week. Here we go.
The IgNobel Prizes were given out last night, and the honored research included a bra that doubles as a gas mask, diamonds made from tequila, and the discovery that an empty beer bottle can cause more damage as a weapon than a full one....more
Dr. Wolfgang Enard, head of a team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, announced that genetically engineered mice who have had their FOXP2 gene swapped out for a human one (this gene is believed to play an important role in language) “speak” differently than mice with the regular gene....more