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Blog Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

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

Tim Flannery, “Here on Earth”

by Stewart Brand on May 4th, 02011

Wallace beats Darwin
A Summary by Stewart Brand

The great insight of natural selection was published simultaneously by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace in 1858, Flannery pointed out, but their interpretations of the insight then diverged.

Darwin’s harsh view of “survival of the fittest” led too easily to social Darwinism, eugenics societies, neo. . .   Read More

Matt Ridley, “Deep Optimism”

by Stewart Brand on March 24th, 02011

Undeniable Progress
A Summary by Stewart Brand
Hominids had upright walking, stone tools, fire, even language but still remained in profound stasis. What led to humanity’s global takeoff, Ridley argues, was the invention of exchange about 120,000 years ago. “That’s ten times older than agriculture.”

The beginnings of trade encouraged specialization and. . .   Read More

The global brain

by Kirk Citron on February 21st, 02011

The Long News: stories that might still matter fifty, or a hundred, or ten thousand years from now.

A computer defeats humans on a television game show. An information network brings down a series of dictatorships. We are witnessing a massive explosion in data, and an equally massive explosion in our ability to process and. . .   Read More

Mary Catherine Bateson, “Live Longer, Think Longer”

by Stewart Brand on February 10th, 02011

Parenting Earth

A Summary by Stewart Brand

The birth of a first child is the most intense disruption that most adults experience. Suddenly the new parents have no sleep, no social life, no sex, and they have to keep up with a child that changes from week to week. “Two ignorant adults learn from the. . .   Read More

The Evolution of our Matriarchs

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on May 8th, 02010

Our newest board member and recent Seminar speaker David Eagleman has published his very Long Now Mothers Day essay over at Slate.  Happy Mothers Day to the long line of Mothers who brought us all here!

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m going to spend five seconds thinking about each woman in the. . .   Read More

Sander van der Leeuw’s “The Archaeology of Innovation”

by Danielle Engelman on November 25th, 02009

History of Innovation

The development of human mental ability can be tracked through the
progressive crafting of stone tools, Van der Leeuw explained. First
we learned to shape an edge—a line—then the surface, then the
whole volume of the tool, then the sophisticated sequence required to
make a superb spear point. It took. . .   Read More

History of Life in 60 seconds

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on March 5th, 02009

Video by Claire Evans
As part of SEED Magazine’s Darwin anniversary articles here is “a video experiment in scale, condensing 4.6 billion years of history into a minute.” I thought it a worthy entry into our “Long Shorts” category.
The Evolution of Life in 60 Seconds is an experiment in scale: By condensing. . .   Read More

The Future of Man

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on December 23rd, 02008

Scientific American has a nice piece on how humans may still be evolving over the next millennium.  Since we can now adapt our environment to ourselves, we often assume that evolution has basically ended.  However the article points out:
“But DNA techniques, which probe genomes both present and past, have unleashed a revolution in studying. . .   Read More