Support Long-term Thinking
Support Long-term Thinking

Blog Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

Childhood as a solution to explore–exploit tensions

by Michael Garfield - Twitter: @michaelgarfield on August 6th, 02020

Big questions abound regarding the protracted childhood of Homo sapiens, but there’s a growing argument that it’s an adaptation to the increased complexity of our social environment and the need to learn longer and harder in order to handle the ever-raising bar of adulthood. (Just look to the explosion . . .   Read More

Predicting the Animals of the Future

by Michael Garfield - Twitter: @michaelgarfield on July 31st, 02020

Gizmodo asks half a dozen natural historians to speculate on who is going to be doing what jobs on Earth after the people disappear. One of the streams that runs wide and deep through this series of fun thought experiments is how so many niches stay the same through catastrophic changes . . .   Read More

The Unexpected Influence of Cosmic Rays on DNA

by Michael Garfield - Twitter: @michaelgarfield on July 29th, 02020

Living in a world with multiple spatiotemporal scales, the very small and fast can often drive the future of the very large and slow: Microscopic genetic mutations change macroscopic anatomy. Undetectably small variations in local climate change global weather patterns (the infamous “butterfly effect”). And now, one more . . .   Read More

Enormous Dormice Once Roamed Mediterranean Islands

by Michael Garfield - Twitter: @michaelgarfield on July 24th, 02020

Pleistocene dormouse Leithia melitensis was the size of a house cat. New computer-aided reconstructions show a skull as long as an entire modern dormouse. It’s a textbook example of “island gigantism,” in which, biologists hypothesize, fewer terrestrial predators and more pressure from predatory birds selects for a much larger . . .   Read More

A Useful Primer for Complexity Science

by Alice Riddell on February 6th, 02020

Complexity Explained is a new project that distills key aspects of complexity science, also known as complex science systems, into an easy-to-digest, interactive visual explainer. The explainer is also available as a free booklet, downloadable at this link. . .   Read More

Thinking on a Global Scale to Conserve Endangered Species

by Ahmed Kabil - Twitter: @ahmedkabil on July 26th, 02018

What makes a species invasive? What makes a species native? Ecologist and evolutionary biologist Chris Thomas on the need to think on a global, international scale when it comes to conservation. From Chris Thomas’s Long Now Seminar “Are We Initiating the Great Anthropocene Speciation Event,” which you can watch in full here.

&nbsp. . .   Read More

Nicky Case: The Attractors Behind Disasters

by Ahmed Kabil - Twitter: @ahmedkabil on January 25th, 02018

Why do disasters like blackouts and financial crises cascade so quickly, but fixing them takes so long? The answer, game developer Nicky Case says, is “attractors”—the parts of a complex system that attract the system towards failure.

This is an excerpt from Nicky Case’s August 02017 Long Now talk, “Seeing Whole Systems.” Watch. . .   Read More

Ramez Naam, “Enhancing Humans and Humanity”

by Danielle Engelman on August 7th, 02015

This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

Enhancing Humans, Advancing Humanity
Wednesday July 22, 02015 – San Francisco

Video is up on the Naam Seminar page.
*********************
Audio is up on the Naam Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast.
*********************

Enhancing humans and humanity. . .   Read More

Time Bottled in a Dozen 50-Milliliter Flasks

by Catherine Borgeson on August 21st, 02014

For most living organisms, 60,000 generations is an extensive amount of time. Go back that many human generations, or about 1,500,000 years, and there are fossils suggesting Homo erectus were widespread in East and Southeast Asia at that time. Even for the fruit flies, which geneticists have studied for over a century. . .   Read More

Ecological Anachronisms

by Austin Brown on June 24th, 02014

Evolution is a diligent innovator and the diversity it has achieved offers the curious seemingly unending marvels. In some cases, though, a particular innovation might not make much sense on initial consideration. In those cases, zooming out in time can be instructive.

Whit Bronaugh, writing for American Forests, demonstrates this using the concept of ecological. . .   Read More