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Blog Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

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

Steven Pinker Seminar Primer

by Austin Brown on September 26th, 02012

“The Decline of Violence”
Monday October 8, 02012 at the Herbst Theater, San Francisco

Steven Pinker’s prolific output for both academic and popular audiences has made him one of the most well-known evolutionary psychologists in the world. Trained formally in cognitive psychology, Pinker has tirelessly applied lessons from his groundbreaking research to a. . .   Read More

Edward O. Wilson, “The Real Creation Story”

by Austin Brown on May 7th, 02012

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

The Social Conquest of Earth
Friday April 20, 02012 – San Francisco


Video is up on the Wilson Seminar page.

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

The Real. . .   Read More

Wilson Seminar Primer

by Austin Brown on April 6th, 02012

“The Social Conquest of Earth”
Presented by The Long Now Foundation and the Exploratorium 
Friday April 20, 02012 at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, San Francisco

Edward O. Wilson started small. As a young man interested in biology, the lowly ant was his passion. Ubiquitous, diverse, and socially complex, however, ants provided Wilson with. . .   Read More