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civilization and brain size, emma’s old fishing boat wallpaper, print yourself

I have doubts about the findings in this article. Though it might be useful to deceptive parents as a way to get their kids to read more and study harder for school. See Johnny civilization is already going to hell in hand basket, you have to do your part to get us outta this mess, Civilisation is making humanity less intelligent, study claims

Intelligence and the capacity for abstract thought evolved in our prehistoric ancestors living in Africa between 50,000 and 500,000 years ago, who relied on their wits to build shelters and hunt prey.

But in more civilised times where we no longer need to fight to survive, the selection process which favoured the smartest of our ancestors and weeded out the dullards is no longer in force.

Harmful mutations in our genes which reduce our “higher thinking” ability are therefore passed on through generations and allowed to accumulate, leading to a gradual dwindling of our intelligence as a species, a new study claims.

Prof Gerald Crabtree, a developmental biologist at Stanford University, explained in the Trends in Genetics journal that a mutation in any one of 2,000 to 5,000 particular genes could lower our intellectual and emotional ability.

Our development of intelligence genes “probably occurred in a world where every individual was exposed to nature’s raw selective mechanisms on a daily basis,” he said, but the same pressures do not apply today.

The development of agriculture thousands of years ago led to larger community life, and “the need for intelligence was reduced as we began to live in supportive societies that made up for lapses of judgment or failures of comprehension,” he said.

Going back 50,000 years ago to pick a pinnacle of human challenges and thus achievement seems like a few millenniums too far. Even a hundred years ago daily life was a grind for most people and that would have been at the peak of the initial industrial revolution. How many genes does it take to figure out that in 1902 you needed food, shelter and clothing, just as you did in 1000 BC. He also claims that a member of Ancient Greek society – the golden age of Greek learning ( Plato, Sophocles, Pythagoras) would be more intellectually lively and informed than the average person today. That is a difficult argument to prove one way or the other. When we read about Ancient Greece we do so largely through what is preserved of their greatest minds in philosophy, drama and the arts. We have no extensive records of the thinking of the average Jane or Joe. A thousand years from now students of history, culture, philosophy and literature will know us by reading Richard Feynman, Barbara McClintock, T.S Eliot, Herman Melville and Shafi Goldwasser. Not the average person. We’ll all be seen in the light of their achievements. While Ancient Greek philosophers are not easy to digest, try reading some Wittgenstein or some of Bertrand Russel’s analytical proofs. Back in the 17th century there were two people who could understand and do calculus Leibniz and Newton. This year alone we’re graduate a few thousand engineers and scientists that will know what Leibniz and Newton knew with the addition of all the advances in mathematics made in the last 300 years. It might be that we have a lot of not well-informed or well-educated people today as a proportion of the population simply because there are seven billion of us.

Prof Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist at Oxford University, said: “[Prof Crabtree] takes the line that our intelligence is designed to allow us to build houses and throw spears straighter at pigs in the bush, but that is not the real driver of brain size.

“In reality what has driven human and primate brain evolution is the complexity of our social world [and] that complex world is not going to go away. Doing things like deciding who to have as a mate or how best to rear your children will be with us forever.

landscape, seashore

emma’s old fishing boat wallpaper

Some economics meets culture, The Conservative Republican Plutocrats Don’t Understand That Economic Collapse Happens When They Get All the Money. All the pointed fingers, and the heads that go with them, along with shouts of creeping Marxism are guilty of the most juvenile projecting. Conservative plutocrats no more want a competitive capitalistic system than a pig wants to be your morning bacon. This is a good post on delusions and projecting, Bad day for bigots.

In the Future, You Will 3D Print Yourself as an Action Figure

This headline is somewhat misleading, since it is actually already true in the present—for a few lucky Japanese people—that you can have a 3D-printed miniature version of yourself. A Tokyo-based company called Omote 3D will soon debut their next-level photo booth at a pop-up shop Harajuku, one of the world’s most fertile seeding grounds for new style trends.

Suddenly one day, the phrase play with yourself becomes family friendly. Though no one will want their sibling play with them. That will still be creepy.

Ten-year-old Mollie Steuben topping beets, 1915 by Lewis Wickes Hine. “Many children of this age put in a full day’s work, and many begin younger. The work is hard and the children sometimes cut themselves or are “hooked” by the long tooth on the end of the blade. Mollie and her two sisters, 12 and 14 yrs. old, work from 6 A.M. to 5 P.M., near Sterling, Colorado.”

Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder

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