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Blog Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

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

Urban Evolution

by Alex Mensing on August 12th, 02011

Cities are often hotbeds of creativity and innovation, where the pace of life is faster and the diversity of people is greater. But humans aren’t the only things living in our cities – recent research by evolutionary biologists indicates that the processes of evolution and ecological change can also speed up in urban environments. In. . .   Read More

Evolvability and 50,000 Generations of E. Coli

by Austin Brown on July 14th, 02011

Adapting to one’s environment may be essential to survival, but environments themselves change, and retaining adaptability can mean the difference between short- and long-term success. A team of researchers was recently able to observe and analyse the benefits to bacteria of different mutational strategies along these lines.

The key was an ongoing experiment. . .   Read More

Carl Zimmer, “Viral Time”

by Stewart Brand on June 9th, 02011

What’s time to a virus?
A Summary by Stewart Brand

“Everything about viruses is extreme,” Zimmer began. The number of viruses on Earth is estimated to be 1 followed by 31 zeroes. Small as they are, if you stacked them all up, the stack would reach 100 million light years. They are the planet. . .   Read More