Alfred Russel Wallace

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pages: 582 words: 136,780

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester


Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, cable laying ship, global village, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, South China Sea, spice trade, trade route

In making an eastward journey from Sumatra to Irian, though he may not once pass out of sight of land, the traveller will have most decidedly left one world and entered another one utterly different. Alfred Russel Wallace. It would be forty more years before Sclater, working then with his son, would draw a map with the formal delineation, as the pair saw it, that separated the two avian worlds. But his work, which culminated in the reading of his 1857 paper outlining but not quite delineating their meeting-place, excited the interest of a much older, bolder and less well-educated Briton who was then living in the Indies. It was Alfred Russel Wallace who came swiftly to understand that it was not simply birds who inhabited two quite different worlds: plants and animals did also. And, just like the birds, they all met – collided, even – somewhere among the maze of jungles of the myriad islands of the Dutch East Indies. Alfred Russel Wallace – who at the time was collecting, studying and living on the spice-rich island of Ternate in a grass hut – would take the observations of this young naturalist and, adding a vast amount of information from his own observations and collections, transform them into a theory and a grand cartographic creation that would survive to this very day.

Auden CONTENTS List of Illustrations and Maps Maps Prelude 1 ‘An Island with a Pointed Mountain’ 2 The Crocodile in the Canal 3 Close Encounters on the Wallace Line 4 The Moments When the Mountain Moved 5 The Unchaining of the Gates of Hell 6 A League from the Last of the Sun 7 The Curious Case of the Terrified Elephant 8 The Paroxysm, the Flood and the Crack of Doom 9 Rebellion of a Ruined People 10 The Rising of the Son Epilogue: The Place the World Exploded Recommendations for (and in One Case, against) Further Reading and Viewing Acknowledgements, Erkenningen, Terima Kasih Illustration Acknowledgements Index LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS Endpapers: Frederic Edwin Church's Sunset over the Ice on Chaumont Bay, Lake Ontario (p. xiv) Map of South-East Asia (p. xv) Map of South-East Asia, with the western islands of the immense archipelago of what is now Indonesia (p. xvi) Map of the islands of the Krakatoa group before the 1883 eruption (p. 11) Syzygium aromaticum, the clove (p. 11) Nutmeg and mace (p. 12) Piper nigrum, pepper (p. 14) The Tordesillas Line (p. 26) Jan Huyghen van Linschoten's 1595 map of the Far East (p. 33) Jan Pieterszoon Coen (p. 38) Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie logo (p. 43) A milliner weaving topis and bonnets from alang-alang grass (p. 56) Alfred Russel Wallace (p. 61) Charles Darwin (p. 65) The Wallace Line (p. 71) Alfred Lothar Wegener (p. 74) Pangaea beginning its division into Laurasia and Gondwanaland (p. 81) Greenland (p. 85) A crystal of magnetite (p. 91) The process of convection inside the earth's mantle (p. 94) The magnetic ‘zebra stripes’ discovered on the seabed of the north-western Pacific in 1955 (p. 106) J.

Philip Lutley Sclater, learned, patrician and well connected, might have thought he had some vague right to have this 2,000 miles of tracery named after him, in recognition of his pioneering work on the region's bird-geography. But the honour was eventually to be given to his very much more capable successor, the lowly born, hugely tall genius from the town of Usk in south Wales, remembered today mainly for having imagined and then drawn this vast and invisible line in the sea. Mainly, but not solely: Alfred Russel* Wallace has a trench off Java named after him too, as well as a 13,300-foot peak in the Sierra Nevada, a garden in Wales, an aviary in Bristol, a bird of paradise, biology prizes in both Kansas and Australia, countless lecture theatres and university halls, and craters on both Mars and the Moon. Whoever named a lunar crater in his honour was a man with a mordant wit, or an ear for the laboured pun.

pages: 232 words: 67,934

The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death by John Gray


Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-communist, dematerialisation, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Nikolai Kondratiev, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, the scientific method

p. 16 The characteristic of these cases …to meet the sceptics’ objections: Alice Johnson, ‘On the Automatic Writing of Mrs Holland’, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 21 (1908), 374–7. p. 17 Alfred Russel Wallace …my views as to the origin and nature of human faculty: Alfred Russel Wallace, Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, Three Essays, London: James Burn, 1875, vii–viii. Wallace’s statements about Spiritualism are cited in Michael Shermer, In Darwin’s Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 199. p. 18 I shall be intensely curious to read the Quarterly: I hope you have not murdered too completely your own and my child: See ibid., 161. p. 18 Though they admired and respected one another …only increased with time: See Martin Fichman, An Elusive Victorian: The Evolution of Alfred Russel Wallace, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2004. p. 18 man is divided by an insuperable barrier from all the lower animals in his mental faculties: Quoted by Luckhurst, The Invention of Telepathy, 40.

JOHN GRAY The Immortalization Commission Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death ALLEN LANE an imprint of PENGUIN BOOKS Contents List of Illustrations Foreword: Two Attempts to Cheat Death 1 Cross-correspondences Darwin attends a seance – F. W. H. Myers and Henry Sidg-wick, founders of the Society for Psychical Research, arrange to send messages after they have died – Automatic writing and the cross-correspondences – Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer of natural selection and convert to Spiritualism – Sidgwick on the search for an afterlife and a black hole in ethics – Darwin on the immortality of the soul – George Eliot discourses on Duty at twilight in Trinity College garden – Some varieties of the afterlife – Myers and posthumous evolution – Sidgwick’s message from beyond the grave: ‘I seek still’ – Two versions of the unconscious – The subliminal self and the power of impersonation – Henry Sidgwick and Madame Blavatsky – Sidgwick, Myers and gay sex – Myers and a secret love – Arthur Balfour on science, faith and doubt – Balfour’s long-dead love sends him a message – Palm Sunday – The cross-correspondences, the Story and the Plan – Post-mortem eugenics and a messianic child – A letter from Mars – The appearance and disappearance of ‘Clelia’, Myers’ unearthly muse – A subliminal romance comes to an end – Ouspensky on eternal recurrence – Flames over London 2 God-builders H.

Wells arrives in Russia and falls in love – Moura, Maxim Gorky’s confidante and Wells’ ‘Lover-Shadow’ – Robert Bruce Lockhart, Moura and the ‘Lockhart plot’ – Wells discovers Moura’s secret life – Moura’s laughter – The smell of honey – Wells, Darwin and Dr Moreau: ‘beasts that perish’ – ‘There is no “pattern of things to come”’ – Maxim Gorky, God-builder – Anatoly Lunacharsky, occultist and Soviet Commissar of Enlightenment – Vladimir Bekhterev, neurologist and parapsychologist, pays a visit to Stalin – Lamarck and Lysenko – The humanism of the White Sea Canal – Gorky on the extermination of rodents – Immortality and rocket science: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky – Stalin, an enormous flea – Gorky’s travelling suitcase – Gorky’s last word – Leonid Krasin, Soviet minister, money-launderer and cryogenics pioneer – Nikolai Federov, Orthodox mystic and techno-immortalist – The Immortalization Commission – Kazimir Malevich, Cubo-Futurist and inspirer of Lenin’s tomb – Victory over the Sun – Two Chekist supermen – Stalin’s coffee machine – The death machine – Eau de Cologne, ashes and freshly baked bread – Walter Duranty, disciple of Aleister Crowley and apologist for Stalin – Method acting and the show trials – Moura’s bonfire 3 Sweet Mortality From automatic writing to cryonic suspension – Freezing and starving yourself to everlasting life – Global warming and the mortal Earth – Ray Kurzweil and the Singularity – Artificial intelligence and virtual evolution – Immortalism, a programme for human extinction – Science as a machine for generating insoluble problems – Natural laws or primordial chaos – Rain – The sweet scent of death in Casablanca – The fall of a leaf Acknowledgements Permissions Notes Illustrations 1. Henry Sidgwick (Getty) 2. F. W. H. Myers 3. Alfred Russel Wallace (Corbis) 4. Balfour with George V (Lady Kremer) 5. Mary Lyttelton 6. Winifred Coombe-Tennant with Henry (Lady Kremer) 7. Street scene in Petrograd (from Russia in the Shadows) 8. Robert Bruce Lockhart (Corbis) 9. Wells, Gorky and Moura Budberg (Special Collections Library, University of Illinois) 10. Lenin and Wells (from Russia in the Shadows) 11.

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Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, false memory syndrome, Gary Taubes, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Most biologists would even call evolution a fact. Through the scientific method, we aim for objectivity: basing conclusions on external validation. And we avoid mysticism: basing conclusions on personal insights that elude external validation. There is nothing wrong with personal insight as a starting point. Many great scientists have attributed their important ideas to insight, intuition, and other mental leaps hard to pin down. Alfred Russel Wallace said that the idea of natural selection "suddenly flashed upon" him during an attack of malaria. But intuitive ideas and mystical insights do not become objective until they are externally validated. As psychologist Richard Hardison explained, Mystical "truths," by their nature, must be solely personal, and they can have no possible external validation. Each has equal claim to truth. Tealeaf reading and astrology and Buddhism; each is equally sound or unsound if we judge by the absence of related evidence.

Ontological, where in the deepest sense "what there is depends crucially on what paradigm you hold. For Priestley, there literally was no such thing as oxygen.... In the case of Lavoisier, he not only believed in oxygen: oxygen existed" (pp. 125-126). Similarly, for Georges Buffon and Charles Lyell, varieties in a population were merely degenerates from the originally created kind; nature eliminated them to preserve the essence of the species. For Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, varieties were the key to evolutionary change. Each view depends on a different ontological paradigm: Buffon and Lyell could not see varieties as evolutionary engines because evolution did not exist for them; Darwin and Wallace did not view varieties as degenerative because degeneration is irrelevant to evolution. My definition of a paradigm holds for the sociological, psychological, and epistemological uses.

The more subjective the endeavor, the more individual it becomes, and therefore difficult if not impossible for someone else to produce. The more objective the pursuit, the more likely it is that someone else will duplicate the achievement. Science actually depends upon duplication for verification. Darwin's theory of natural selection would have occurred to another scientist—and, in fact, did occur to Alfred Russel Wallace simultaneously—because the scientific process is empirically verifiable. In the Industrial West, the emphasis on scientific and technological progress has affected Western cultures deeply—so much so that we now define a culture as progressive if it encourages the development of science and technology. In science, useful features are retained and nonuseful features are abandoned through the confirmation or rejection of testable knowledge by the community of scientists.

pages: 347 words: 99,969

Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages by Guy Deutscher


Alfred Russel Wallace, correlation does not imply causation, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker

And while these effects may be less wild than those flaunted in the past, we shall see that some of them are no less striking for all that. But first—off to the fighting over the rainbow. PART I The LANGUAGE MIRROR 1 Naming the Rainbow London, 1858. On the first of July, the Linnean Society, in its magnificent new quarters at Burlington House in Piccadilly, will hear two papers by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace announcing jointly a theory of evolution by natural selection. Before long, the flame will flare up and illuminate the intellectual firmament, leaving no corner of human reason untouched. But although the wildfire of Darwinism will catch up with us soon enough, we do not begin quite there. Our story starts a few months earlier and a few streets away, in Westminster, with a rather improbable hero.

Gladstone, now an ex–prime minister and at the height of his fame, was gratified to find a scientific authority so enthusiastically championing his findings of twenty years earlier and wrote a favorable review in the popular journal The Nineteenth Century, which ensured that the debate spilled over to other popular magazines and even the daily press. The claim that the color sense evolved only in the last millennia also received a considerable amount of support from eminent scientists, including some of the brightest luminaries in the evolutionary movement. Alfred Russel Wallace, the codiscoverer with Darwin of the principle of evolution by natural selection, wrote in 1877 that “if the capacity of distinguishing colours has increased in historic times, we may perhaps look upon colour-blindness as a survival of a condition once almost universal; while the fact that it is still so prevalent is in harmony with the view that our present high perception and appreciation of colour is a comparatively recent acquisition.”

These successive improvements are then passed down the generations and eventually lead to the formation of new species. The giraffe, Lamarck wrote, contracted a habit of stretching itself up to reach the high boughs, “and the results of this habit in all the individuals of the race, and over many generations, was that its neck became so elongated that it could raise its head to the height of six meters [nearly twenty feet] above the ground.” In 1858, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace jointly published papers that outlined the idea of evolution by natural selection, and proposed an alternative mechanism to Lamarck’s evolution-through-stretching: the combination of accidental variations and natural selection. The giraffe, they explained, did not get its long neck by attempting to reach the foliage of higher shrubs and constantly stretching its neck for the purpose but rather because some of its ancestors that were accidentally born with longer necks than usual secured some advantage in mating or survival over their shorter-necked peers, and so when the going got tough, the longer-necked giraffes could outlive the shorter-necked ones.

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Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson


Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

Unlike more technically intricate scientific breakthroughs, it seems somehow appropriate that the basic evolutionary algorithm should just pop into the mind in a moment of recognition. (Darwin’s great supporter, T. H. Huxley, is said to have exclaimed, on hearing the natural selection argument for the first time, “How incredibly stupid not to think of that.”) Darwin’s account also possesses a strangely poetic symmetry, because years later, when Alfred Russel Wallace independently hit upon the theory of natural selection, he claimed his breakthrough had been inspired by Malthus as well. For almost a century, the Malthusian epiphany was the canonical story of Darwinism’s roots. But in the early 1970s, a psychologist and intellectual historian named Howard Gruber decided to revisit Darwin’s copious notebooks from the period, reconstructing the elaborate dance of speculation, fact-marshaling, and internal debate that led to Darwin’s breakthrough in the fall of 1838.

LEAD-ACID BATTERY (1859) French physicist Gaston Plante invented the first rechargeable battery while experimenting with the conductive power of rolled sheets of lead and sulfuric acid. NATURAL SELECTION (1859) Natural selection was first formulated by Charles Darwin in the late 1830s, though he did not publish his ideas until 1859 in his book The Origin of Species, after being spurred on by the very similar theories that had been independently developed by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. GATLING GUN (1861) Laboring under the belief that a revolving machine gun would create less bloodshed on battlefields by reducing the number of soldiers needed, inventor Richard Gatling created the Gatling gun, a hand-cranked continuously and rapidly firing weapon drawn on two wheels. VACUUM CLEANER (1861) Though many inventors created versions of what we know today as a vacuum cleaner in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Ives W.

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Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham


Alfred Russel Wallace, experimental subject, means of production, out of africa

His gritty experiences taught him that “hard and stringy roots can be rendered digestible, and poisonous roots or herbs innocuous.” He understood the value of cooked food. But Darwin showed no interest in knowing when fire was first controlled. His passion was evolution, and he thought fire was irrelevant to how we evolved. Like most people, he simply assumed that by the time our ancestors first controlled fire they were already human. He cited his fellow evolutionist Alfred Russel Wallace approvingly: “man is enabled through his mental faculties ‘to keep with an unchanged body in harmony with the changing universe.’” The control of fire was just another way for an unchanged body with an adept mental faculty to respond to a natural challenge. “When he migrates into a colder climate he uses clothes, builds sheds, and makes fires; and, by the aid of fire, cooks food otherwise indigestible . . . the lower animals, on the other hand, must have their bodily structure modified in order to survive under greatly changed conditions.”

Recent advocates for the importance of meat eating in human evolution and adaptation include Stanford (1999), Kaplan et al. (2000), Stanford and Bunn (2001), and Bramble and Lieberman (2004). O’Connell et al. (2002) provide a critique. 10 “probably the greatest [discovery], excepting language, ever made by man”: Darwin (1871 [2006]), p. 855. Accounts of learning to make fire, and reports of camping days that ended with a cooked evening meal, are in Darwin (1888). 10 He cited his fellow evolutionist Alfred Russel Wallace: Darwin (1871 [2006]), p. 867. 12 “People do not have to cook their food”: Lévi-Strauss (1969); Leach (1970), p. 92. 12 The celebrated French gastronomist Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin: Brillat-Savarin (1971), p. 279. 12 ideas suggesting how the control of fire: Coon (1962), Brace (1995), Perlès (1999), Goudsblom (1992). Quotes are from Symons (1998), pp. 213, 223; Fernandez-Armesto (2001), p. 4. 14 Those claims constitute the cooking hypothesis: Wrangham et al. (1999), Wrangham (2006).

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A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Writings by Richard Dawkins


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Desert Island Discs, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, Necker cube, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method

The ostensible connection between sexual selection and the descent of man is that Darwin believed the first was a key to understanding the second; especially to understanding human races, a topic which preoccupied Victorians more than it does us. But, as the historian and philosopher of science Michael Ruse has remarked to me, there was a tighter thread binding the two topics. They were the only two sources of disagreement between Darwin and his co-discoverer of natural selection. Alfred Russel Wallace never took kindly to sexual selection, at least in its full-blooded Darwinian form. And Wallace, though he coined the word Darwinism and described himself as ‘more Darwinian than Darwin’, stopped short of the materialism implied by Darwin’s view of the human mind. These disagreements with Wallace were all the more important to Darwin because these two great men agreed on almost everything else.

Lloyd (eds.), Keywords in evolutionary biology (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1992) 38 Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, chapter XX of 1st edn, chapter XIX of 2nd edn 39 40 41 Fisher (1930), ibid. 42 Letter dated ‘Tuesday, February, 1866’. Published in James Marchant, Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences, vol. 1 (London, Cassell, 1916). Reproduced by courtesy of the British Library, thanks to Dr Jeremy John 43 Fisher (1930), ibid. 44 W. D. Hamilton, ‘Extraordinary Sex Ratios’ (1966). Reprinted in his Narrow Roads of Gene Land, vol. 1 (Oxford, W. H. Freeman, 1996) 45 E. L. Charnov, The Theory of Sex Allocation (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1982) 46 A.

pages: 312 words: 86,770

Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo by Sean B. Carroll


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Brownian motion, dark matter, Drosophila, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the scientific method

Darwin was so consumed that he later claimed that all he thought, spoke, or dreamt about were schemes to get to see the sights of the Tropics that Humboldt described. He leaped at the chance when the opportunity to sail on the Beagle arose in 1831. Darwin later wrote to Humboldt, “My whole course of life is due to having read and re-read as a youth, this personal narrative.” Two other Englishmen, Henry Walter Bates, a twenty-two-year-old office clerk and avid bug collector, and his self-taught naturalist friend, Alfred Russel Wallace, also dreamt of travel abroad to collect new species. Upon reading an American’s account of a journey to Brazil, Bates and Wallace immediately decided to head there (in 1848). Darwin’s voyage lasted five years, Bates remained in the Tropics for eleven years, and Wallace spent fourteen years over the course of two journeys. These dreamers would, based upon the thousands of species that they saw and collected, launch the first revolution in biology.

Bates received great encouragement from Darwin, especially to write and publish a narrative of his travels. Not only did Bates draw upon Darwin’s views, but Darwin even reviewed, edited, and wrote an “appreciation” for the one book Bates produced in his entire career, Naturalist on the River Amazons (1863). Darwin had predicted it to be a great success and he was right, for Bates’s writing proved to be superior to either Darwin or his original companion in the Amazon, Alfred Russel Wallace. Bates’s book is still a terrific read today. Among those 14,000 plus species collected were many butterflies, over 550 species from the region of Ega alone. Bates saw the value of his treasures through a Darwinian lens: “no descriptions can convey an adequate notion of the beauty and diversity in form and colour of this class of insects in the neighborhood of Ega. I paid special attention to them, having found that this tribe was better adapted than almost any other group of animals or plants, to furnish facts in illustration of the modifications which all species undergo in nature under changed local conditions.”

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With Liberty and Dividends for All: How to Save Our Middle Class When Jobs Don't Pay Enough by Peter Barnes


Alfred Russel Wallace, banks create money, Buckminster Fuller, collective bargaining, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, diversified portfolio,, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Jaron Lanier, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, oil shale / tar sands, profit maximization, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, the map is not the territory, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Upton Sinclair, winner-take-all economy

—Milton Friedman Building a dividend system as proposed here is well within America’s financial and technical capabilities. The ingredients to do it lie at hand. The organizing principles are over two centuries old and have been road tested in Alaska. Our challenge now is to scale the concept to a meaningful size. That said, the current political environment makes such scaling all but impossible. It therefore behooves us to take a longer view. As Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace noted in the nineteenth century, living systems evolve through a process of variation and selection. Many nonliving systems, including economies, evolve in a similar way. Capitalism in particular has been characterized as a system of “creative destruction.”1 One aspect of evolution that remained unclear for decades after Darwin and Wallace was whether the vary-and-select process proceeds gradually or in sudden bursts.

pages: 661 words: 169,298

Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Cepheid variable, Chance favours the prepared mind, Commentariolus, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, delayed gratification, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, Gary Taubes, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Karl Jansky, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, planetary scale, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Wilhelm Olbers

It was, then, a reluctant Darwin who at Lyell’s urging finally began writing an exhaustive account of the origin of species through natural selection. He intended it to be a massive tome, the completion of which could safely be expected to take years; perhaps, like Copernicus, he would not have to live to read the reviews. But then, on June 3, 1858, when he had written only the first few chapters, everything changed. A letter bearing the postmark of the Malay Archipelago arrived at Darwin’s home. It came from the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. It contained the draft of an essay by Wallace titled, “On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type.” Wallace asked for Darwin’s reactions to the paper. Darwin had a reaction, all right, and it was one of horrified astonishment: The theory outlined in the essay was identical to Darwin’s own. “I never saw a more striking coincidence,” he wrote to Lyell that afternoon.23 Wallace, like Darwin, was an indefatigable collector of plants and insects.* He, too, had been impressed by reading Lyell’s book, had long pondered “the question of how changes of species could have been brought about,” and had hit upon the answer after reading Malthus.

.: Stanford University Press, 1970. Describes Marco Polo’s sixteen years in Hangchow. Garnett, Christopher B. The Kantian Philosophy of Space. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1965. Gell-Mann, Murray, and Yuval Ne’eman. The Eightfold Way. New York: Benjamin, 1964. Application of symmetry precepts to the study of the strong interaction. George, Wilma. Biologist Philosopher: A Study of the Life and Writings of Alfred Russel Wallace. New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1964. Geroch, Robert. General Relativity from A to B. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978. Nonmathematical introduction. Geymonat, Ludovico. Galileo Galilei: A Biography and Inquiry into His Philosophy of Science, trans. Stillman Drake. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965. Ghani, Abdul. Abdus Salam. Karachi: Ma’aref, 1982. Ghyka, Matila. The Geometry of Art and Life.

An Essay on the Principle of Population, ed. Philip Appleman. New York: Norton, 1976. Mandelbrot, Benoit B. The Fractal Geometry of Nature. New York: Freeman, 1983. Introduction to fractal geometry, by its founder. Manier, E. The Young Darwin and His Cultural Circle. Boston: Reidel, 1978. Manuel, Frank E. A Portrait of Isaac Newton. Washington, D.C.: New Republic, 1968. Psychological study. Marchant, James. Alfred Russel Wallace: Utters and Reminiscences. 2 vols. London: Cassel & Co., 1916. Marques, A.H. de Oliveira. History of Portugal. New York: Columbia University Press, 1972. Marshak, Robert Eugene. Conceptual Foundations of Modern Particle Physics. River Edge, N.J.: World Scientific, 1993. Martins, J.P. Oliveira. The Golden Age of Prince Henry the Navigator, trans. James Johnston Abraham and William Edward Reynolds.

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The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley


affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, Bonfire of the Vanities, demographic transition, double helix, Drosophila, feminist movement, invention of agriculture, Menlo Park, phenotype, rent control, theory of mind, University of East Anglia, women in the workforce

Naturalists were quite happy to accept the notion that male weapons, such as antlers, could have arisen to help males in the battle for females, but they instinctively recoiled at the frivolous idea that a peacock’s tail should be there to seduce peahens. They wanted, rightly, to know why females would find long tails sexy, what possible value they could bring the hens. For a century after he proposed it, Darwin’s theory of female choice was ignored while biologists tied themselves in furious knots to come up with other explanations. Darwin’s contemporary, Alfred Russel Wallace’s preference was initially that no ornaments, not even the peacock’s tail, required any explanation other than that they served some useful purpose of camouflage. Later he thought they were the simple expression of surplus male vigour. Julian Huxley, who dominated discussion of the matter for many years, much preferred to believe that almost all ornaments and ritual displays were for intimidating other males.

The Fisherians derive their ideas mostly from Sir Ronald Fisher’s great insight about despotic fashion, and they follow Darwin in thinking the female’s preference for gaudiness to be arbitrary and without purpose. Their position is that, especially on leks, females choose males according to the gaudiness of their colours, the length of their plumes, the virtuosity of their songs or whatever, because the species is ruled by an arbitrary fashion for preferring beauty that none dares buck. The Good-gene people follow Alfred Russel Wallace (though they do not know it) in arguing that, arbitrary and foolish as it may seem for a female to choose a male because his tail is long or his song loud, there is method in her madness. The tail or the song tells each female exactly how good are the genes of each male. The fact that he can sing loudly or grow and look after a long tail proves that he can father healthy and vigorous daughters and sons just as surely as the fishing ability of a tern tells his mate that he can feed a growing family.

pages: 404 words: 131,034

Cosmos by Carl Sagan


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, clockwork universe, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, germ theory of disease, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, planetary scale, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, spice trade, Tunguska event

In less than ten thousand years, domestication has increased the weight of wool grown by sheep from less than one kilogram of rough hairs to ten or twenty kilograms of uniform, fine down; or the volume of milk given by cattle during a lactation period from a few hundred to a million cubic centimeters. If artificial selection can make such major changes in so short a period of time, what must natural selection, working over billions of years, be capable of? The answer is all the beauty and diversity of the biological world. Evolution is a fact, not a theory. That the mechanism of evolution is natural selection is the great discovery associated with the names of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. More than a century ago, they stressed that nature is prolific, that many more animals and plants are born than can possibly survive and that therefore the environment selects those varieties which are, by accident, better suited for survival. Mutations—sudden changes in heredity—breed true. They provide the raw material of evolution. The environment selects those few mutations that enhance survival, resulting in a series of slow transformations of one lifeform into another, the origin of new species.* Darwin’s words in The Origin of Species were: Man does not actually produce variability; he only unintentionally exposes organic beings to new conditions of life, and then Nature acts on the organisation, and causes variability.

He imagined the Martian temperatures a little on the chilly side but still as comfortable as “the South of England.” The air was thin, but there was enough oxygen to be breathable. Water was rare, but the elegant network of canals carried the life-giving fluid all over the planet. What was in retrospect the most serious contemporary challenge to Lowell’s ideas came from an unlikely source. In 1907, Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection, was asked to review one of Lowell’s books. He had been an engineer in his youth and, while somewhat credulous on such issues as extrasensory perception, was admirably skeptical on the habitability of Mars. Wallace showed that Lowell had erred in his calculation of the average temperatures on Mars; instead of being as temperate as the South of England, they were, with few exceptions, everywhere below the freezing point of water.

pages: 506 words: 152,049

The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene by Richard Dawkins


Alfred Russel Wallace, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, epigenetics, Gödel, Escher, Bach, impulse control, Menlo Park, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, stem cell

Experientia 29, 1045–1058. Daly, M. (1979). Why don’t male mammals lactate? Journal of Theoretical Biology 78, 325–345. Daly, M. (1980). Contentious genes. Journal of Social and Biological Structures 3, 77–81. Darwin, C. R. (1859). The Origin of Species. 1st edn, reprinted 1968. Harmondsworth, Middx: Penguin. Darwin, C. R. (1866). Letter to A. R. Wallace, dated 5 July. In James Marchant (1916), Alfred Russel Wallace Letters and Reminiscences, Vol. 1, pp. 174–176. London: Cassell. Davies, N. B. (1982). Alternative strategies and competition for scarce resources. In Current problems in sociobiology (ed. King’s College Sociobiology Group), pp. 363–380. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dawkins, R. (1968). The ontogeny of a pecking preference in domestic chicks. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 25, 170–186.

London: Heinemann. Waddington, C. H. (1957). The Strategy of the Genes. London: Allen & Unwin. Wade, M. J. (1978). A critical review of the models of group selection. Quarterly Review of Biology 53, 101–114. Waldman, B. & Adler, K. (1979). Toad tadpoles associate preferentially with siblings. Nature 282, 611–613. Wallace, A. R. (1866). Letter to Charles Darwin dated 2 July. In J. Marchant (1916) Alfred Russel Wallace Letters and Reminiscences, Vol. 1, pp. 170–174. London: Cassell. Watson, J. D. (1976). Molecular Biology of the Gene. Menlo Park: Benjamin. Weinrich, J. D. (1976). Human reproductive strategy: the importance of income unpredictability, and the evolution of non-reproduction. PhD dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Weizenbaum, J. (1976). Computer Power and Human Reason. San Francisco: W.

pages: 210 words: 56,667

The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity From Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs by Alexa Clay, Kyra Maya Phillips


3D printing, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, collaborative consumption, conceptual framework, double helix, fear of failure, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Occupy movement, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar

How often have you had what you were certain was an original thought or concept only to discover that others had it, too, either prior or simultaneously? The discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA is one example—James Watson and Francis Crick are known to have been working on the problem at the University of Cambridge while Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins at the University of London did the same.10 The theory of evolution, while largely accredited to Charles Darwin, was independently conceived by British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace sent Darwin a letter outlining his theories of evolution. Darwin was shocked to find that Wallace’s theories were almost identical to his own, which at the time were unpublished. The two went on to coauthor On the Tendency of Species to Form Varieties, and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection, the first publication about natural selection, in 1858.

pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger


airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix,, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

In 1844, he wrote a 189-page manuscript that he kept private, but that he instructed his wife to publish in case he died.59 In the next fifteen years, he worked on barnacles, published eight books, fathered nine children, and corresponded frequently with colleagues. He also took up experimental science—testing, for example, how long snails could stay attached to a duck’s foot, to see if that could explain their geographic distribution.60 But he did not publish his theory of evolution. Then Alfred Russel Wallace wrote him a letter. Wallace was a young naturalist who, among other adventures, had watched from a lifeboat as the ship sank that contained all his work from four years in the Amazon. In 1857, Darwin received a letter from Wallace, followed by a correspondence that resulted in Wallace sending Darwin a 20-page manuscript that laid out essentially the same theory as Darwin’s. Wallace had probably never met Darwin,61 but he admired his work, and simply had to share his idea.

Exploring Everyday Things with R and Ruby by Sau Sheong Chang


Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, business process, butterfly effect, cloud computing, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Debian, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Gini coefficient, income inequality, invisible hand, p-value, price stability, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, text mining, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, We are the 99%, web application, wikimedia commons

Evolution Evolution is a scientific theory that most scientists have come to accept as the only possible explanation for the enormous biodiversity on Earth. It basically describes a process of change in living things over a period of time. While the idea of evolution has been around in some form or another since the time of the ancient Greeks, it’s really Charles Darwin (and independently, Alfred Russell Wallace) who came up with a scientific argument for evolution through natural selection, the familiar theory we know today. Evolution by natural selection is one of the cornerstones of modern biology. Variations occur naturally among individuals in any population of living organism, and such differences affect those individuals’ chances of survival. A famous example is the peppered moth, which is found in both light and dark colors in the United Kingdom.

pages: 285 words: 78,180

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bioinformatics, borderless world, Brownian motion, clean water, discovery of DNA, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine

In 1880 the German evolutionary biologist August Weismann (1834–1914) introduced an important corollary to the Biogenic Law which pointed back to the ultimate origin: “Cells living today can trace their ancestry back to ancient times.” In other words, there must be a common ancestral cell. And that, of course, takes us to Charles Darwin’s revolutionary work, On the Origin of Species (1859). Darwin (1809–1882), along with the British naturalist and explorer Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913), argued that there exists within all creatures’ variations or changes in the species characteristics that are passed down through the generations. Some variations result in advantageous forms that thrive with each successive generation, so they—and their genes—become more common. This is natural selection. In time, as novel versions accumulate, a lineage may evolve to such an extent that it can no longer exchange genes with others that were once its kin.

pages: 212 words: 68,754

Thinking in Numbers by Daniel Tammet


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, computer age, dematerialisation, Edmond Halley, four colour theorem, Georg Cantor, index card, Isaac Newton, Paul Erdős, Searching for Interstellar Communications

When he scanned the planet’s surface, he picked out a ‘network of fine, straight dark lines’. Canals. ‘All this,’ the astronomer conceded, ‘of course, may . . . signify nothing; but the probability seems the other way . . . that Mars seems to be inhabited is not the last, but the first word on the subject.’ Lowell’s claims found many sympathetic ears. ‘Probability’, he knew, was a sesame word: it opened ears and minds. But its magic did not work on everyone. The biologist Alfred Russel Wallace, who independently of Darwin discovered the principle of natural selection, was among his fiercest critics. Yes, Mars appeared to have polar icecaps, and a day only half an hour longer than our own, and lengthy seasons that vanished one into the next. But according to Wallace’s calculations, the planet was in fact too cold to have rivers, seas or canals. The features observed by Lowell were natural landforms, all products of normal geological processes.

pages: 284 words: 79,265

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date by Samuel Arbesman


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Wiles, bioinformatics, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Galaxy Zoo, guest worker program, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nicholas Carr, p-value, Paul Erdős, Pluto: dwarf planet, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, social graph, social web, text mining, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation

Far from duplication of discovery being a strange, isolated situation common only during times of war (or at least cold war), this seems to occur quite often. Known as multiple independent discovery, some have occurred five or more times simultaneously and can make innovation seem nearly inevitable. Classic examples of simultaneous innovation are the telephone, for which two patents were filed on the same day, the discovery of helium, and even the theory of natural selection, which was proposed by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. In some of these cases (though by no means all), there was a certain amount of delay: A discovery was simply not known by one party and ended up being duplicated, sometimes years later. If knowledge had spread widely, such a thing would not have occurred. But knowledge can be hidden for other reasons. There are occasions in science when knowledge is hidden because it is so far ahead of its time. . . .

On Nature and Language by Noam Chomsky


Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, complexity theory, dark matter, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Turing test

This “association of sounds and ideas” is the “marvelous invention” of seventeenth-century commentators, which 46 Perspectives on language and mind Darwin hoped would somehow be incorporated within the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution, not necessarily the workings of natural selection; and surely not these alone, since, trivially, they operate within a physical “channel,” the effects of which are to be discovered, not stipulated. It is also worth recalling that Darwin firmly rejected the hyperselectionism of his close associate Alfred Russell Wallace, which has been revived in some contemporary popular versions of so-called “neo-Darwinism.” Darwin repeatedly emphasized his conviction “that natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification,” taking explicit note of a range of possibilities, including non-adaptive modifications and unselected functions determined from structure, all topics that are alive in contemporary theory of evolution.

pages: 846 words: 232,630

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel C. Dennett


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, buy low sell high, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test

Why couldn't the most important thing of all be something that arose from unimportant things? Why should the importance or excellence of anything have to rain down on it from on high, from something more important, a gift from God? Darwin's inversion suggests that we abandon that presumption and look for sorts of excellence, of worth and purpose, that can emerge, bubbling up out of "mindless, purposeless forces." Alfred Russel Wallace, whose own version of evolution by natural selection arrived on Darwin's desk while he was still delaying publication of Origin, and whom Darwin managed to treat as codiscoverer of the principle, never quite got the point.1 Although at the outset Wallace was much more forthcoming on the subject of the evolution of the human mind than Darwin was willing to be, and stoutly maintained at first that human minds were no exception to the rule that all features of living things were products of evolution, he could not see the "strange inversion of reasoning" as the key to the greatness of the great idea.

A sample sentence: "In spite of all the obstacles that Teilhard perhaps wisely puts in our way, it is possible to discern a train of thought in The Phenomenon of Man" The problem with Teilhard's vision is simple. He emphatically denied the fundamental idea: that evolution is a mindless, purposeless, algorithmic process. This was no constructive compromise; this was a betrayal of the central insight that had permitted Darwin to overthrow Locke's Mind-first vision. Alfred Russel Wallace had been tempted by the same abandonment, as we saw in chapter 3, but Teilhard embraced it wholeheartedly and made it the centerpiece of his alternative vision.3 The esteem in which Teilhard's book is still held by nonscientists, the respectful tone in which his ideas are {321} alluded to, is testimony to the depth of loathing of Darwin's dangerous idea, a loathing so great that it will excuse any illogicality and tolerate any opacity in what purports to be an argument, if its bottom line promises relief from the oppressions of Darwinism.

pages: 286 words: 90,530

Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think by Alan Grafen; Mark Ridley


Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, bioinformatics, cognitive bias, computer age, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Haight Ashbury, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, loose coupling, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, phenotype, profit maximization, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Yogi Berra

Michael Ruse, Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University, author of The Evolution—Creation Struggle, Darwin and Design, and other books. Ullica Segerstråle, Professor of Sociology, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, author of Defenders of the Truth, and editor of other books. Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, contributing editor of Scientific American, author of How We Believe: The Science of Good and Evil, and In Darwin’s Shadow: The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace. Kim Sterelny, Professor of Philosophy, Victoria University, Wellington, and the ANU, Canberra, author of Thought in a Hostile World: The Evolution of Human Cognition, Dawkins vs Gould: Survival of the Fittest, and other books. Margo Wilson, Professor of Psychology, McMaster University, Canada, co-author of The Truth About Cinderella and other books. Preface In 1976, a young Oxford biologist published a book called The Selfish Gene.

pages: 250 words: 83,367

Methland by Nick Reding


Alfred Russel Wallace, call centre, crack epidemic, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, trade route, union organizing

In a May 12, 2008, New Yorker article, Malcolm Gladwell observes that world-shifting ideas, far from occurring to just one person at a time, crop up in something more akin to clusters. Alexander Graham Bell, Gladwell points out, is credited with inventing the telephone, though Elisha Gray filed a patent for the same invention on the same day. Calculus was discovered independently by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz; the theory of evolution was formulated by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace at approximately the same time. For Gladwell, “the sheer number of multiples could mean only one thing: discoveries must, in some sense, be inevitable.” Lori Arnold had certainly had an enormous impact on Ottumwa in her day, as well as on a good deal of the greater Midwest. But who knows how many others had spearheaded drug routes in the rest of the country—with or without the help of a superlab hidden on a horse farm.

pages: 266 words: 86,324

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Atul Gawande, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, feminist movement, forensic accounting, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, index fund, Isaac Newton, law of one price, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Offered the services of a local physician, he refused because the man was French, and so he died. Buckle hadn’t finished his treatise. But he did complete the initial two volumes, the first of which presented history from a statistical point of view. It was based on the work of Quételet and was an instant success. Read throughout Europe, it was translated into French, German, and Russian. Darwin read it; Alfred Russel Wallace read it; Dostoyevsky read it twice.26 Despite the book’s popularity, the verdict of history is that Quételet’s mathematics proved more sensible than his social physics. For one thing, not all that happens in society, especially in the financial realm, is governed by the normal distribution. For example, if film revenue were normally distributed, most films would earn near some average amount, and two-thirds of all film revenue would fall within a standard deviation of that number.

pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason


Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey,, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, wages for housework, women in the workforce

Wages, prices and profits were no longer things to be investigated by social science, they were just there, to be described and counted. Ricardo was out, but all that replaced him was theoretical confusion.9 If, as a result, mid-nineteenth-century economics was reduced to ‘describing and counting’, there is a parallel with natural science. Charles Darwin formulated the theory of natural selection in 1844 and Alfred Russel Wallace three years later. Yet such were its implications – chiefly, rubbishing the Creation myth – that both men resorted to a routine of ‘collecting, naming and categorizing’ their specimens until 1858, when they both suddenly rushed to publication with an earth-shaking theory. In economics, the earth-shaking theory arrives with Marx. It’s often claimed that Marx built on the theories of Smith and Ricardo.

pages: 377 words: 110,427

The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz by Aaron Swartz, Lawrence Lessig


affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, Benjamin Mako Hill, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brewster Kahle, Cass Sunstein, deliberate practice, Donald Trump, failed state, fear of failure, Firefox, full employment, Howard Zinn, index card, invisible hand, John Gruber, Lean Startup, More Guns, Less Crime, post scarcity, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, semantic web, single-payer health, SpamAssassin, SPARQL, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Toyota Production System, unbiased observer, wage slave, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor

But this is measuring against the wrong baseline. The real question is not what effect your work had, but what things would be like had you never done it. The two are not at all the same. It is rather commonly accepted that there are “ideas whose time has come,” and history tends to bear this out. When Newton invented the calculus, so did Leibniz. When Darwin discovered evolution through natural selection, so did Alfred Russel Wallace. When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, so did Elisha Gray (before him, arguably). In these cases the facts are plain: had Newton, Darwin, and Bell never done their work, the result would have been largely the same—we’d still have calculus, evolution, and the telephone. And yet such people are hailed as major heroes, their legacies immortalized. Perhaps, if one only cares about such things, this is enough.

pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman


23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog

Often, several people create essentially the same device or discover the same scientific law at about the same time, but for various reasons, including sheer luck, history sometimes remembers only one of them. In 1858, the German mathematician August Möbius independently discovered the Möbius strip simultaneously with another German mathematician, Johann Benedict Listing. Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz independently developed calculus at roughly the same time. British naturalists Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace both developed the theory of evolution by natural selection independently and simultaneously. Similarly, Hungarian mathematician János Bolyai and Russian mathematician Nikolai Lobachevsky seem to have developed hyperbolic geometry independently and at the same time. The history of materials science is replete with simultaneous discoveries. For example, in 1886, the electrolytic process for refining aluminum using the mineral cryolite was discovered simultaneously and independently by American Charles Martin Hall and Frenchman Paul Héroult.

pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey


3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, V2 rocket, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Burroughs wrote ten more Mars stories, and his lurid fantasies inspired Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury to launch a grand tradition of Mars science fiction. In 1938, Orson Welles revisited The War of the Worlds with a radio show. His realistic live broadcast scared tens of thousands of people in the greater New York area; many raced from their homes at the prospect of a Martian invasion. Meanwhile, Alfred Russel Wallace, codiscoverer of natural selection, had rebutted Percival Lowell, insisting that a freezing Mars could never support liquid water. This argument got stronger with remote sensing in the middle of the twentieth century. Mars fever finally cooled in 1965, when Mariner 4 swooped within 10,000 kilometers of the planet’s surface and saw an arid, crater-pocked terrain with no signs of life. The twin Viking landers cemented this picture in 1976.

pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson


Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Landlord's Game, lone genius, megacity, Minecraft, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition,, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

New York: Knopf, 2004. Voskuhl, Adelheid. Androids in the Enlightenment: Mechanics, Artisans, and Cultures of the Self. University of Chicago Press, 2013. Wallin, Nils Lennart, and Björn Merker. The Origins of Music. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001. Walsh, Claire. “Shop Design and the Display of Goods in Eighteenth-Century London.” Journal of Design History 8:3 (1995): 157–76. Weber, Thomas P. “Alfred Russel Wallace and the Antivaccination Movement in Victorian England.” Emerging Infectious Diseases 16:4 (2010): 664. Whittington, E. Michael, and Douglas E. Bradley. The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame. London: Thames & Hudson, 2001. Winchester, Simon. Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories. New York: Harper, 2010.

pages: 327 words: 97,720

Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo


Alfred Russel Wallace, biofilm, butterfly effect, Celebration, Florida, corporate governance, delayed gratification, experimental subject, impulse control, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, Rodney Brooks, Ted Kaczynski, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Walter Mischel

In other words, Darwin might never have arrived at the major structural principle in our modern scientific understanding of life had it not been for the very human problem of loneliness. In 1839 Darwin published an account of his adventures that became known as The Voyage of the Beagle. In 1859, after years of anguish about the religious and cultural implications of his ideas (and then only because a competitor, Alfred Russel Wallace, was nipping at his heels), he published his primary account of natural selection, The Origin of Species. Little more than a decade later, in 1872, he turned to the issues of human psychology in his last major work, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. But it was in his notebooks rather than in his published writings that he expressed the deeper question that remains central to our effort to understand the particular “cause at a distance” that underlies our most intimate and powerful social connections.

Language and Mind by Noam Chomsky


Alfred Russel Wallace, finite state, John von Neumann, pattern recognition, phenotype, theory of mind

I will not enter into this chapter of contemporary intellectual history here, but will simply assume that crucial aspects of language can be studied as part of the natural world in the sense of the biolinguistic approach that took shape half a century ago, and has been intensively pursued since, along various different paths. The language faculty is one component of what the co-founder of modern evolutionary theory, Alfred Russel Wallace, called “man’s intellectual and moral nature” : the human capacities for creative imagination, language and 176 Language and Mind other modes of symbolism, mathematics, interpretation and recording of natural phenomena, intricate social practices and the like, a complex of capacities that seem to have crystallized fairly recently, perhaps a little over 50,000 years ago, among a small breeding group of which we are all descendants – a complex that sets humans apart rather sharply from other animals, including other hominids, judging by the archaeological record.

pages: 476 words: 132,042

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller,, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping,, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

And further, these self-generated biases also create a degree of autonomy, much like the autonomy earned by living creatures. And finally, this naturally emergent autonomy in technological systems also creates a suite of “wants.” By following the long-term trends in evolution we can show what technology wants. 7 Convergence In 2009, the world celebrated the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and honored his theory’s impact upon our science and culture. Overlooked in the celebrations was Alfred Russel Wallace, who came up with the same theory of evolution, at approximately the same time, 150 years ago. Weirdly, both Wallace and Darwin found the theory of natural selection after reading the same book on population growth by Thomas Malthus. Darwin did not publish his revelation until provoked by Wallace’s parallel discovery. Had Darwin died at sea on his famous voyage (a not uncommon fate at that time) or been killed by one of his many ailments during his studious years in London, we would be celebrating the birthday of Wallace as the sole genius behind the theory.

pages: 418 words: 128,965

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu


accounting loophole / creative accounting, Alfred Russel Wallace, Apple II, barriers to entry, British Empire, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Menlo Park, open economy, packet switching, PageRank, profit motive, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Upton Sinclair, urban planning

By Bell’s time, others had invented wires and the telegraph, had discovered electricity and the basic principles of acoustics. It lay to Bell to assemble the pieces: no mean feat, but not a superhuman one. In this sense, inventors are often more like craftsmen than miracle workers. Indeed, the history of science is full of examples of what the writer Malcolm Gladwell terms “simultaneous discovery”—so full that the phenomenon represents the norm rather than the exception. Few today know the name Alfred Russel Wallace, yet he wrote an article proposing the theory of natural selection in 1858, a year before Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species. Leibnitz and Newton developed calculus simultaneously. And in 1610 four others made the same lunar observations as Galileo.4 Is the loner and outsider inventor, then, merely a figment of so much hype, with no particular significance? No, I would argue his significance is enormous; but not for the reasons usually imagined.

pages: 532 words: 133,143

To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science by Steven Weinberg


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Astronomia nova, Brownian motion, Commentariolus, cosmological constant, dark matter, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, fudge factor, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, music of the spheres, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, retrograde motion, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Even if we can avoid a supernatural explanation of the capabilities of plants and animals, it long seemed inevitable that an understanding of life would rest on teleological principles very different from those of physical theories like Newton’s. The unification of biology with the rest of science first began to be possible in the mid-nineteenth century, with the independent proposals by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace of the theory of evolution through natural selection. Evolution was already a familiar idea, suggested by the fossil record. Many of those who accepted the reality of evolution explained it as a result of a fundamental principle of biology, an inherent tendency of living things to improve, a principle that would have ruled out any unification of biology with physical science. Darwin and Wallace instead proposed that evolution acts through the appearance of inheritable variations, with favorable variations no more likely than unfavorable ones, but with the variations that improve the chances of survival and reproduction being the ones that are likely to spread.* It took a long time for natural selection to be accepted as the mechanism for evolution.

pages: 476 words: 120,892

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox

It isn’t clear whether the current glacier replaced earlier glaciers or the lake experienced ice-free periods between ice ages. *2 Organisms that live in extreme (from our perspective) environments. *3 Cancers are caused by mutations in genes that control cell growth, leading to uncontrolled cell growth and thereby tumors. *4 Of course, it could as easily be called Wallace’s theory of natural selection, after the great British naturalist and geographer Alfred Russel Wallace who, during a bout of malarial fever while traveling in the tropics, came up with virtually the same idea as Darwin. *5 The term “genetics” was coined in 1905 by William Bateson, an English geneticist and a proponent of Mendel’s ideas; the term “gene” was suggested four years later by Danish botanist Wilhelm Johannsen to distinguish between the outward appearance of an individual (its phenotype) and its genes (its genotype)

pages: 410 words: 114,005

Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn From Their Mistakes--But Some Do by Matthew Syed


Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, British Empire, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, deliberate practice, double helix, epigenetics, fear of failure, fundamental attribution error, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, Isaac Newton, iterative process, James Dyson, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Lean Startup, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum viable product, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, Wall-E, Yom Kippur War

The mathematical calculus was developed by both Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz in the 1670s. The forerunner to the first electric battery was invented by Ewald Georg von Kleist in 1745 and Andreas Cuneus of Leyden in 1746. Four people independently proposed the law of the conservation of energy in the 1840s. The theory of evolution through natural selection was proposed independently by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace (an extraordinary, unsung polymath) in the mid-nineteenth century.11 S. Korschinsky in 1889 and Hugo de Vries in 1901 independently established the significance of genetic mutation. Even Einstein’s pioneering work has echoes in the work of his contemporaries. The French mathematician Henri Poincaré wrote about the “Principle of Relativity” in 1904, a year before Einstein published his landmark paper on the Special Theory.

The Science of Language by Noam Chomsky


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, Brownian motion, dark matter, Drosophila, epigenetics, finite state, Howard Zinn, phenotype, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Pinker, theory of mind

So there has to be something that gives that person an advantage that leads to advantages for his or her offspring. JM: They get thought. In that vein, you've sometimes speculated, suggested – I'm not sure what the right word is – that along with Merge come the natural numbers, comes some successor function. Merge in the limiting case where you simply join one element to itself might effectively lead to the successor function. NC: This is an old problem. Alfred Russell Wallace was worried about it. He recognized that mathematical capacities could not have developed by natural selection; it's impossible, because everybody's got them, and nobody's ever used them, except for some very tiny fringe of people in very recent times. Plainly, they developed some other way. Well, a natural expectation is that they're an offshoot of something. They're an offshoot of – probably like most of the rest of what's called “the human intellectual capacity” [or reason] – something like language.

pages: 734 words: 244,010

The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins


agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, complexity theory, delayed gratification, double helix, Drosophila, Haight Ashbury, invention of writing, Louis Pasteur, nuclear winter, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steven Pinker, the High Line, urban sprawl

Darwin believed that ancestral men found hairy women unattractive. Generations of men chose the most naked women as mates.* Nakedness in men was dragged along in the evolutionary wake of nakedness in women, but never quite caught up, which is why men remain hairier than women. For Darwin, the preferences that drove sexual selection were taken for granted -- given. Men just prefer smooth women, and that's that. Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of natural selection, hated the arbitrariness of Darwinian sexual selection. He wanted females to choose males not by whim but on merit. He wanted the bright feathers of peacocks and birds of paradise to be tokens of underlying fitness. For Darwin, peahens choose peacocks simply because, in their eyes, they are pretty. Fisher's later mathematics put that Darwinian theory on a sounder mathematical footing.

pages: 654 words: 204,260

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Arthur Eddington, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Brownian motion, California gold rush, Cepheid variable, clean water, Copley Medal, cosmological constant, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Attenborough, double helix, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, Louis Pasteur, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, supervolcano, Thomas Malthus, Wilhelm Olbers

The Edinburgh Review devoted nearly an entire issue—eighty-five pages—to pulling it to pieces. Even T. H. Huxley, a believer in evolution, attacked the book with some venom, unaware that the author was a friend.*42 Darwin's manuscript might have remained locked away till his death but for an alarming blow that arrived from the Far East in the early summer of 1858 in the form of a packet containing a friendly letter from a young naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace and the draft of a paper, On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type, outlining a theory of natural selection that was uncannily similar to Darwin's secret jottings. Even some of the phrasing echoed Darwin's own. “I never saw a more striking coincidence,” Darwin reflected in dismay. “If Wallace had my manuscript sketch written out in 1842, he could not have made a better short abstract.”

Southeast Asia on a Shoestring Travel Guide by Lonely Planet


active transport: walking or cycling, airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwatching, colonial rule, Google Earth, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, large denomination, low cost carrier, Mason jar, megacity, Skype, South China Sea, spice trade, superstar cities, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban sprawl, women in the workforce

This is a good place to stay while sorting Togean ferry options. Getting There & Away Lion Air ( has daily flights from Manado (40 minutes) and Makassar (90 minutes). The main bus terminal is 3km north of town. There are direct buses to Manado (from 80,000Rp, 10 hours); minibuses are more comfortable and cost 150,000Rp. Manado 0431 / POP 485,000 Once described by anthropologist Alfred Russel Wallace as ‘one of the prettiest [cities] in the East’, Manado has sold its soul to commerce. However, it remains a necessary base for exploring North Sulawesi. Along Jl Sam Ratulangi, the main north–south artery, you’ll find restaurants, hotels and supermarkets. The shopping-mall blitz dominates parallel Jl Piere Tendean (aka ‘The Boulevard’) closer to the waterfront, which is one vast construction site – though even the new sidewalks are perilous!

From the low-lying coastal areas, the country rises through no fewer than 129 active volcanoes – more than any country in the world – to the snow-covered summit of Puncak Jaya (4884m) in Papua. Despite the incredible diversity of its landscapes, it is worth remembering that Indonesia is predominantly water; Indonesians refer to the country as Tanah Air Kita (literally ‘Our Earth and Water’). Wildlife In his classic study, The Malay Archipelago, British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace divided Indonesia into two zones. To the west of the so-called Wallace Line (which runs between Kalimantan and Sulawesi and south through the straits between Bali and Lombok) the flora and fauna resemble that of the rest of Asia, while the species and environments to the east become increasingly like those of Australia. Scientists have since fine-tuned Wallace’s findings, but while western Indonesia is known for its orang-utan, rhinos and tigers, as well as spectacular Rafflesia flowers, eastern Indonesia boasts fauna such as the komodo dragon and marsupials, including Papuan tree kangaroos