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Blog Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

Thinking on a Global Scale to Conserve Endangered Species

by Ahmed Kabil 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.

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Nicky Case: The Attractors Behind Disasters

by Ahmed Kabil 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.
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Audio is up on the Naam Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast.
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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

Conway’s Game of Life and Three Millennia of Human History

by Austin Brown on October 8th, 02013

In 01970 John Conway developed a computer program called The Game of Life. The idea behind it was that the process of biological life is, despite its apparent complexity, reduceable to a finite set of rules. The game is made up of a grid of squares, or “cells,” in one of two states: “alive” or. . .   Read More

Grandparents may have been an evolutionary boon

by Austin Brown on September 20th, 02013

About 30,000 years ago, humans started living past the age of 30 at a rate never before seen. Laura Helmeth, writing at Slate about the findings of a study by Rachel Caspari, recently reported that cultural shifts at this point in human history allowed humans to live long enough to become grandparents and that. . .   Read More

Teaching old dogs new tricks

by Austin Brown on February 20th, 02013

Humanity’s success as a species is often credited to intellect: our uniquely large and capable brains, evolved relatively recently in biological terms, allowed us to reason our way to technological innovation and ecological domination.

Or so the story goes. Stephen Asma, for Aeon Magazine, writes that we might owe an even deeper debt, however. . .   Read More

Charles Mann on the State of the Species

by Austin Brown on November 26th, 02012

Charles Mann, a former SALT speaker, asks (and gets pretty deep into answering):
Why and how did humankind become “unusually successful”? And what, to an evolutionary biologist, does “success” mean, if self-destruction is part of the definition? Does that self-destruction include the rest of the biosphere? What are human beings in the grand. . .   Read More

Our Story in 1 Minute

by Austin Brown on November 8th, 02012

Our Story in 1 Minute – a quick, inspiring reminder of how far we’ve come, with original music by MelodySheep aka John Boswell.

(Thanks, Stuart. . .   Read More