27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Norman Borlaug, Giga-Lifesaver

In the 1950s and ’60s, another giga-lifesaver, Norman Borlaug, outsmarted evolution to foment the Green Revolution in the developing world.21 Plants in nature invest a lot of energy and nutrients in woody stalks that raise their leaves and blossoms above the shade of neighboring weeds and of each other. Like fans at a rock concert, everyone stands up, but no one gets a better view. That’s the way evolution works: it myopically selects for individual advantage, not the greater good of the ...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Great Lifespan Escape

At the time when the lines begin, in the mid-18th century, life expectancy in Europe and the Americas was around 35, where it had been parked for the 225 previous years for which we have data.3 Life expectancy for the world as a whole was 29. These numbers are in the range of expected life spans for most of human history. The life expectancy of hunter-gatherers is around 32.5, and it probably decreased among the peoples who first took up farming because of their starchy diet and the diseases ...
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12 DEC 2017 by ideonexus

 Wheat Domesticated Homo Sapiens

Think for a moment about the Agricultural Revolution from the viewpoint of wheat. Ten thousand years ago wheat was just a wild grass, one of many, con
Folksonomies: artificial selection
Folksonomies: artificial selection
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12 DEC 2017 by ideonexus

 The Fraud of Agriculture

Scholars once proclaimed that the agricultural revolution was a great leap forward for humanity. They told a tale of progress fuelled by human brain power.Evolution gradually produced ever more intelligent people. Eventually, people were so smart that they were able to decipher nature’s secrets, enabling them to tame sheep and cultivate wheat. As soon as this happened, they cheerfully abandoned the gruelling, dangerous, and often spartan life of hunter-gatherers, settling down to enjoy the ...
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22 SEP 2017 by ideonexus

 Civilization is About Capturing Energy

Civilisation, like life itself, has always been about capturing energy. That is to say, just as a successful species is one that converts the sun’s energy into offspring more rapidly than another species, so the same is true of a nation. Progressively, as the aeons passed, life as a whole has grown gradually more and more efficient at doing this, at locally cheating the second law of thermodynamics. The plants and animals that dominate the earth today channel more of the sun’s energy thro...
Folksonomies: energy
Folksonomies: energy
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20 JUL 2017 by ideonexus

 The Need for Moral Universals in Democracy

Working societies — if they are to endure, grow, and cohere, if they are to prosper, hang together, and really mature — need moral universals. Moral universals are simply things that people believe everyone should have. In the UK, those things — those moral universals — are healthcare and media and welfare. In Germany, they are healthcare and media and welfare and higher education. And so on. Moral universals anchor a society in a genuinely shared prosperity. Not just...
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 Rise of the Useless Class

As algorithms push humans out of the job market, wealth and power might become concentrated in the hands of the tiny elite that owns the all-powerful algorithms, creating unprecedented social and political inequality. Alternatively, the algorithms might themselves become the owners. Human law already recognizes intersubjective entities like corporations and nations as “legal persons.” Though Toyota or Argentina has neither a body nor a mind, they are subject to international laws, they ca...
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30 NOV 2015 by ideonexus

 Specialization is for Insects

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Folksonomies: communism socialism
Folksonomies: communism socialism
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