evolution

The Latest

Were our ancestors ‘aquatic apes’?
via Guardian
It is one of the most unusual evolutionary ideas ever proposed: humans are amphibious apes who lost their fur, started to walk upright and developed big brains because they took to living the good life by the water’s edge.
This is the aquatic ape theory and although treated with derision by some academics over the past 50 years, it is still backed by a small, but committed group of scientists. Next week they will hold a major London conference when several speakers, including David Attenborough, will voice support for the theory.
May 4, 2013 / 3 notes

Were our ancestors ‘aquatic apes’?

via Guardian

It is one of the most unusual evolutionary ideas ever proposed: humans are amphibious apes who lost their fur, started to walk upright and developed big brains because they took to living the good life by the water’s edge.

This is the aquatic ape theory and although treated with derision by some academics over the past 50 years, it is still backed by a small, but committed group of scientists. Next week they will hold a major London conference when several speakers, including David Attenborough, will voice support for the theory.

Why Your Brain Craves Music
via Time
From an evolutionary point of view, however, music doesn’t seem to make sense. Unlike sex, say, or food, it did nothing to help our distant ancestors survive and reproduce. Yet music and its effects are in powerful evidence across virtually all cultures, so it must satisfy some sort of universal need—often in ways we can’t begin to fathom. A few years ago, a single composition lifted Valerie Salimpoor almost instantaneously out of a deep funk (it was Brahms’ Hungarian Dance # 5, to be precise), and from that moment, she decided it would be her life’s work to figure out music’s mysteries.
Apr 18, 2013

Why Your Brain Craves Music

via Time

From an evolutionary point of view, however, music doesn’t seem to make sense. Unlike sex, say, or food, it did nothing to help our distant ancestors survive and reproduce. Yet music and its effects are in powerful evidence across virtually all cultures, so it must satisfy some sort of universal need—often in ways we can’t begin to fathom. A few years ago, a single composition lifted Valerie Salimpoor almost instantaneously out of a deep funk (it was Brahms’ Hungarian Dance # 5, to be precise), and from that moment, she decided it would be her life’s work to figure out music’s mysteries.


Do Rules Save Our Lives By Destroying Our Brains?
via the Institute for Emerging Ethics and Technologies
Ultimately, the most structured society will be a society in which every action has to comply with some rules, i.e. its citizens will de facto be robots with no brains. Why does brain/mind want to get rid of brain/mind?
Mar 29, 2013 / 2 notes

Do Rules Save Our Lives By Destroying Our Brains?

via the Institute for Emerging Ethics and Technologies

Ultimately, the most structured society will be a society in which every action has to comply with some rules, i.e. its citizens will de facto be robots with no brains. Why does brain/mind want to get rid of brain/mind?

We’re Becoming Dumber and Dumber
via Natural Society
Would you be surprised to hear that the human race is slowly becoming dumber, and dumber? Despite our advancements over the last tens or even hundreds of years, some ‘experts’ believe that humans are losing cognitive capabilities and becoming more emotionally unstable. One Stanford University researcher and geneticist, Dr. Gerald Crabtree, believes that our intellectual decline as a race has much to do with adverse genetic mutations. But there is more to it than that.
Mar 17, 2013 / 1 note

We’re Becoming Dumber and Dumber

via Natural Society

Would you be surprised to hear that the human race is slowly becoming dumber, and dumber? Despite our advancements over the last tens or even hundreds of years, some ‘experts’ believe that humans are losing cognitive capabilities and becoming more emotionally unstable. One Stanford University researcher and geneticist, Dr. Gerald Crabtree, believes that our intellectual decline as a race has much to do with adverse genetic mutations. But there is more to it than that.

Mar 6, 2013
The Global Awakening
Currently a huge change in human consciousness is undeniably underway. Its most obvious cause is the internet, or more accurately the “communications revolution” which also includes mobile phones and other technologies. Some think it is connected to ancient prophecies relating to “the great year,” an astrological concept describing the passage of time recorded by a phenomena called the procession of the equinox [*1]. Most people from that background refer to this change as “The Awakening” 
Nov 19, 2012 / 2 notes

The Global Awakening

Currently a huge change in human consciousness is undeniably underway. Its most obvious cause is the internet, or more accurately the “communications revolution” which also includes mobile phones and other technologies. Some think it is connected to ancient prophecies relating to “the great year,” an astrological concept describing the passage of time recorded by a phenomena called the procession of the equinox [*1]. Most people from that background refer to this change as “The Awakening” 

Jun 29, 2012
Jun 2, 2012
Has Human Evolution Stopped?
Via Wall Street Journal:
If you write about genetics and evolution, one of the commonest questions you are likely to be asked at public events is whether human evolution has stopped. It is a surprisingly hard question to answer.
I’m tempted to give a flippant response, borrowed from the biologist Richard Dawkins: Since any human trait that increases the number of babies is likely to gain ground through natural selection, we can say with some confidence that incompetence in the use of contraceptives is probably on the rise (though only if those unintended babies themselves thrive enough to breed in turn).
May 26, 2012 / 1 note

Has Human Evolution Stopped?

Via Wall Street Journal:

If you write about genetics and evolution, one of the commonest questions you are likely to be asked at public events is whether human evolution has stopped. It is a surprisingly hard question to answer.

I’m tempted to give a flippant response, borrowed from the biologist Richard Dawkins: Since any human trait that increases the number of babies is likely to gain ground through natural selection, we can say with some confidence that incompetence in the use of contraceptives is probably on the rise (though only if those unintended babies themselves thrive enough to breed in turn).

jtotheizzoe:

Don’t believe everything you think - The Evolutionary Challenges of Lying
Self-deception is a uniquely human cognitive trait. You have to be able to fool your own brain into a false truth to come up with a lie. It’s also an incredible challenge for us. Robert Trivers studies how our brains overcome the self-deception hump:

Deceiving consciously is cognitively demanding. I’ve got to invent a false story while being aware of the truth, it’s got to be plausible, it cannot contradict anything you already know or are going to find out and I’ve got to be able to remember it so that I don’t contradict myself.
This takes concentration and I may give off cues that I’m lying. If I try to slip something by you I may not be able to meet your gaze. For linguistic cues, there are more pauses and fillers while I try to come up with my story. I’ll choose simple action words and avoid qualifiers. Another thing that gives us away us is the effort to control ourselves. Let’s say I’m coming to a key word in a lie. I tense up, but tensing up automatically raises my voice. That’s a very hard thing to fight.

(via New Scientist)
Oct 25, 2011 / 451 notes

jtotheizzoe:

Don’t believe everything you think - The Evolutionary Challenges of Lying

Self-deception is a uniquely human cognitive trait. You have to be able to fool your own brain into a false truth to come up with a lie. It’s also an incredible challenge for us. Robert Trivers studies how our brains overcome the self-deception hump:

Deceiving consciously is cognitively demanding. I’ve got to invent a false story while being aware of the truth, it’s got to be plausible, it cannot contradict anything you already know or are going to find out and I’ve got to be able to remember it so that I don’t contradict myself.

This takes concentration and I may give off cues that I’m lying. If I try to slip something by you I may not be able to meet your gaze. For linguistic cues, there are more pauses and fillers while I try to come up with my story. I’ll choose simple action words and avoid qualifiers. Another thing that gives us away us is the effort to control ourselves. Let’s say I’m coming to a key word in a lie. I tense up, but tensing up automatically raises my voice. That’s a very hard thing to fight.

(via New Scientist)

(via jtotheizzoe)

Sep 30, 2011 / 604,257 notes
Sep 23, 2011 / 20 notes

The global brain

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

Internet map of the Middle East

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 distribute it. The fall of the Soviet Union may have been driven, in part, by the fax machine; today, revolutions are driven by Wikileaks, Facebook, and Twitter. (You say you want a revolution? Google it.) Or, as Ken Jennings wrote on his monitor when he lost at Jeopardy to IBM’s Watson: “I for one welcome our new computer overlords.”

Some recent news articles about information overload — as well as some additional stories:

1. “A whopping 94% of global data is now stored digitally, up from 0.8% 25 years ago”: As computer capacity soars, users drowning in data

2. It tripled in 2010: Worldwide mobile data traffic exploding

3. The Internet = us: World’s total CPU power: one human brain

4. Or maybe, surpasses us: Robots replace teachers at 21 schools in South Korea

5. Meanwhile: maybe our energy problems are solvable: Today’s clean tech could power the world by 2050

6. Unsettling news for climate change deniers and creationists: Global warming may reroute evolution

7. Shocking how many Americans don’t believe in evolution (this time, it’s the science teachers):Evolution still struggling in public schools

8. That’s okay, we can rewrite evolution anyway: Mammoth ‘could be reborn in four years’

We invite you to submit Long News story suggestions here.


Sep 21, 2011 / 8 notes
Sep 17, 2011 / 9 notes
Sep 13, 2011 / 24 notes