This weekend, I finished off the last of the 'First Peoples' PBS miniseries on prehistoric humans. If you've watched other documentaries on human prehistory and found them interesting, then you'll want to watch this one to get the latest findings. It was fascinating. (A lot of people have mentioned 'Becoming Human' to me, which I've … Continue reading First Peoples and Neanderthals
I've posted before on prehistorical societies, and the fact that, for virtually all of human history, including the history of our particular sub-species: Homo sapiens, we lived in nomadic hunter gatherer tribes. The evidence points to anatomically modern humans first appearing in Africa over 200,000 years ago, and that much of what we consider normal human society: … Continue reading First Peoples documentary series to air on PBS starting Wednesday
Ok, I tried reblogging this from Why Evolution is True, but it just made a formatting mess. So here's the graphic. Click through to see the post with the full sized version. via How to build a human. h/t Why Evolution Is True
I've noted before that I think capabilities like human language didn't pop into being 50-75 thousand years ago, but developed over hundreds of thousands of years (if not millions). Well, it looks like another piece of behavioral modernity may predate anatomically modern humans: World's Oldest Art Identified in Half-Million-Year-Old Zigzag. A zigzag engraving on a … Continue reading World’s Oldest Art Identified in Half-Million-Year-Old Zigzag
Well, in remarks that I'm pretty sure are guaranteed to rile up philosophers, E.O. Wilson, who apparently has a new book out on the meaning of human existence, disses both philosophy and religion, saying that scientists will provide the meaning of of existence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx26k8LTCdI I can agree with a lot of what Wilson says in … Continue reading E.O. Wilson: Science, not philosophy, will explain the meaning of existence
Often, when I write about moral instincts, people respond with assertions that we're essentially selfish creatures and that nothing about morality is natural. There's a name for this concept of the solely self serving human being, "Homo economicus." The Neuroskeptic discusses a study that looked for them: Spotted at last: "Homo economicus"? - Neuroskeptic | DiscoverMagazine.com. … Continue reading The vast majority of us are not “Homo economicus”.
I finally watched the movie, Transcendence. I had commented a while back, when the trailer came out, the problems I had with what appeared to be the central premise of the film. Since then, there's been a lot of harsh reviews of the film. I did find a lot of silliness in it, but overall … Continue reading Transcendence
This a cool video on what we are and where we came from. We are, each of us, a temporary intersection of matter and energy that is part of the overall whole of the universe, patterns of elementary particles that have, at least for a while, achieved self awareness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKMQzkIiB0Y via Are You Alone? In The … Continue reading Are you alone? (In the universe)
This article is a reminder that in science, nothing is certain until you have evidence (even then, nothing is totally certain): In human evolution, changes in skin's barrier set northern Europeans apart -- ScienceDaily. The popular idea that northern Europeans developed light skin to absorb more UV light so they could make more vitamin D -- vital … Continue reading Vitamin D apparently has nothing to do with skin color
Zach Zorich has an interesting piece at Nautilus asking if the world began again, would life as we know it exist? In less than five milliseconds, a Hydromantes salamander can launch its tongue—including the muscles, cartilage, and part of its skeleton—out of its mouth to snag a hapless insect mid-flight. Among amphibians, it is the quick draw … Continue reading If evolution started over, how similar would its results be?