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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
Coalescent gene trees have helped resolve a long-standing debate over human origins. The 'Out of Africa' theory holds that all surviving peoples outside Africa are descended from a single exodus around a hundred thousand years ago, more or less. At the other extreme are the 'Separate Origins' theorists or 'Multiregionalists', who believe that the races still living in, say, Asia, Australia and Europe are anciently divided, separately descended from regional populations of the earlier species, Homo erectus. Both names are misleading. 'Out of Africa' is unfortunate because everybody agrees that our ancestors are from Africa if you go back far enough. 'Separate Origins' is also not an ideal name because, again if you go back far enough, the separation must disappear on any theory. The disagreement concerns the date when we came out of Africa. It might be better to call the two theories 'Young Out of Africa' (YOOA) and 'Old Out of Africa' (OOOA).
Fossils indicate that Modern anatomy passed to the rest of the world via young out-of-Africa migrations. But Alan Templeton's work (described in Eve's Tale) suggests that we are also partly 'descended from' non-African Archaics, possibly even non-African Homo erectus. The description is both simpler and more powerful if we switch from people talk to gene talk. The genes that determine our Modern anatomy were carried out of Africa by the YOOA migrants, leaving fossils in their wake. At the same time, Templeton's evidence suggests that other genes we now possess were flowing around the world by different routes, but left little anatomical evidence to show for it. Most of our genes probably took the young out-of-Africa route, while just a few came to us through other routes. What could be a more powerful way to express it?
It might be better to call the two theories 'Young Out of Africa' (YOOA) and 'Old Out of Africa' (OOOA). This has the added advantage of emphasising the continuum between them. If today's non-Africans all stem from a single recent emigration from that continent, we would expect modern gene distributions to demonstrate a recent, Africa-centred, small-population 'bottleneck'. Coalescence points would be concentrated around the time of the exodus. If we are separately descended from regional H. erectus, however, then genes should instead show evidence of anciently separated genetic lineages in each region. At the time when YOOA supporters claim an exodus, we would instead see a dearth of coalescence points. Which is it? By expecting a single answer to this question we have fallen into the same trap as the Motherland television documentary.
Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader
agricultural Revolution, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, clean water, colonial rule, discovery of the americas, illegal immigration, land reform, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, new economy, out of africa, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, surplus humans, the market place, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, urban sprawl, women in the workforce
By AD 200 numbers are said to have risen to 20 million, of whom more than half lived in North Africa and the Nile valley (and thus would have been part of the Roman Empire population in AD 14), leaving a sub-Saharan population of under 10 million.2 By AD 1500 the population of the continent is estimated to have been 47 million and in a state of ‘stable biological equilibrium’, with population growth fulfilling the potential of the environments that people occupied.3 Meanwhile, the out-of-Africa population of the world had risen to just over 300 million by AD 1500. A massive disparity in population growth rates is evident. While the out-of-Africa population soared from just hundreds to 200 million in 100,000 years, and rose to just over 300 million in the next 1,500 years, the African population increased from 1 million to no more than 20 million 100,000 years later, and to only 47 million in AD 1500. And yet both groups were descendants of the same evolutionary stock. Both groups inherited the talents and physiological attributes that evolution had bestowed during the preceding 4 million years in Africa. So why did the migrant population grow so much faster? Answer: because they moved out of Africa. By leaving the tropical environments of the cradle-land in which humanity had evolved, the migrants also left behind the many parasites and disease organisms that had evolved in parallel with the human species.
Such an impressive growth of numbers is quite within the range of human reproductive capacity (see Chapter 14) and it begs the question: if this was the extent to which the out-of-Africa human population had expanded, how fared the population which had remained within the continent? It has been estimated that about 1 million people inhabited Africa when the emigrants left the continent 100,000 years ago (see Chapter 10). By AD 200 numbers are said to have risen to 20 million – of whom more than half lived in North Africa and the Nile valley (and thus would have been part of the Roman Empire population in AD 14), leaving a sub-Saharan population of under 10 million.4 By AD 1500 the population of the continent is estimated to have been 47 million and in a state of ‘stable biological equilibrium’, with population size fulfilling the potential of the environments that people occupied.5 Meanwhile, the out-of-Africa population had risen to just over 300 million.
The facts are only that while the robusts and the graciles dwindled to extinction, Homo erectus thrived. Homo erectus is known from sites in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco and Algeria. At an early but unrecorded date, some representatives of the species took the human line out of Africa for the first time. Their fossil remains have been found in Europe, Java and China; the oldest dates from 1.8 million years ago (Java); 8 the youngest (200,000 years old) comes from China. Homo erectus is a prime candidate for the immediate ancestry of the Neanderthals, Homo neanderthalensis, who populated Europe from about 120,000 years ago; if this is true, then the Homo erectus line persisted out of Africa until about 30,000 years ago, when the Neandertals became extinct. Homo erectus individuals were significantly bigger than their antecedents and contemporary cousins. Increased size was potentially beneficial, but successful exploitation of that potential depended heavily upon keeping benefits ahead of costs.
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
But it seems to me that the fuzzy boundaries of the numerous sets (and no one agrees on how many there are) are becoming so broad and overlapping that this distinction is mostly dictated by cultural factors and not biological ones. What race is Tiger Woods? Today we may view him as an unusual blending of ethnic backgrounds, but a thousand years from now all humans may look like this, and historians will look back upon this brief period of racial segregation as a tiny blip on the screen of the human career spanning hundreds of thousands of years. If the "Out of Africa" theory holds true, then it appears a single race migrated out of Africa (probably "black") that then branched out into geographically isolated populations and races with unique features to each, and finally merged back into a single race with the onset of global exploration and colonization beginning in the late fifteenth century. From the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries the racial sets became fuzzier through interracial marriages and other forms of sexual interaction, and some time over the next millennium the fuzzy boundaries will be so blurred that we will have to abandon race altogether as a means of discrimination (in both uses of the word).
Further, the abduction experience itself is often a memory reconstructed through "regression hypnosis," which makes external validation even more difficult. Yet historical events can be tested. External validation is possible. For example, classicist Mary Lefkowitz has written a thoughtful reply to Afrocentric claims that Western civilization, philosophy, science, art, literature, and so on came out of Africa, not Greece and Rome. Her book, Not Out of Africa, raised storms across America, and she was accused of being everything from racist to politically incorrect. Lefkowitz wrote her book after attending a lecture given in February 1993 at Wellesley College (where she teaches) by Dr. Yosef A. A. ben-Jochannan, a noted extreme Afrocentrist. Among the outrageous statements made in the lecture was the claim that Aristotle stole the ideas that became the foundation of Western philosophy from the library of Alexandria, where Black Africans had deposited their philosophical works.
For one thing, "American" is not a race, so labels such as "Asian-American" and "African-American" are still exhibits of our confusion of culture and race. For another thing, how far back does one go in history? Native Americans are really Asians, if you go back more than twenty or thirty thousand years to before they crossed the Bering land bridge between Asia and America. And Asians, several hundred thousand years ago probably came out of Africa, so we should really replace "Native American" with "African-Asian-Native American." Finally, if the Out of Africa (single racial origin) theory holds true, then all modern humans are from Africa. (Cavalli-Sforza now thinks this may have been as recently as seventy thousand years ago.) Even if that theory gives way to the Candelabra (multiple racial origins) theory, ultimately all hominids came from Africa, and therefore everyone in America should simply check the box next to "African-American."
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
The time had come to learn what it meant to be a Pilgrim. To be an emissary of Earth in the late twenty-first century. To be in a small group chosen for a unique experiment. The experiment was designed by sober scientists and engineers but it had the trappings of madness. We were human seedlings, charged with taking root in a new world. 1 Dreaming of Beyond _______________________ Out of Africa When we were just one million strong, did we dream about what lay beyond? Two hundred thousand years ago, anatomically modern humans first emerged in Northeast Africa.1 The cradle of our creation was the place now known as Ethiopia. Over the next hundred thousand years, these humans spread across Africa. Our distant ancestors kept no journals and, as far as we know, they had no written language.
Those artifacts speak of a rugged, doughty species that ceremonially buried their dead, hunted with sharpened flints made into spears and arrows, and daubed paint on cave walls to record the iconography of their lives. Their evocative images, which must have seemed kinetic in the flickering glow of an oil lamp or a fire, speak to us across the millennia of their fears and dreams. Modern genetic techniques have allowed us to reconstruct their journey out of Africa—an epic migration as audacious as our first steps into space many millennia later. Life on Earth is united by a single genetic code. A four-letter alphabet of base pairs encodes the unique function and form of every organism. The four bases—A for adenine, C for cytosine, G for guanine, and T for thymine—form the rungs of the twisted ladder that is DNA. A pairs with T and C pairs with G across the ladder; when the ladder splits down the middle, each side is the template for a new DNA molecule.
Our DNA tells the story of the profound human urge to explore. Around 65,000 years ago, we first ventured out of the continent of our origin. The route from the Horn of Africa to the Arabian Peninsula was probably across the Bab el-Mandeb strait. Today that strait is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes; at that time, after the last ice age had lowered sea levels, it was merely a narrow, shallow channel. The tribe that ventured out of Africa may have been only a few thousand strong. It was not a single expedition but a series of small clans of loosely related family members leaving over a period of centuries. They prospered as they dispersed, starting settlements in Central Asia and then in Europe. By 50,000 years ago, they had spread to southern China and Australia. By 40,000 years ago, they’d spread throughout Europe. Populations prospered thanks to hospitable conditions in southern Europe and Asia.
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Doomsday Clock, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Flynn Effect, Francisco Pizarro, global village, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, market bubble, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, pink-collar, place-making, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, upwardly mobile, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery
Instead of dying out so often, bands of modern humans grew big enough and numerous enough to stay in regular contact, pooling their genes and know-how. Change became cumulative and the behavior of Homo sapiens diverged rapidly from that of other ape-men. And once that happened, the days of biological distinctions between East and West were numbered. OUT OF AFRICA—AGAIN Figure 1.3. The unity of mankind restored: the spread of fully modern humans out of Africa between roughly 60,000 and 12,000 years ago. The numbers show how many years ago humans arrived in each part of the world and the coastlines represent those of the late Ice Age, around 20,000 years ago. Climate change is rarely simple, and while Homo sapiens’ homelands in eastern and southern Africa were getting wetter seventy thousand years ago, North Africa was drying out.
The Chinese junk Qiying in London, 1848. (Reproduced from the Illustrated London News volume 12, April 1, 1848, p. 222) Figure I.2. The British ship Nemesis in action on the Yangzi River, 1842. (National Maritime Museum. Copyright © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London) Figure 1.1. Locations mentioned in Chapter 1 Figure 1.2. The Movius Line Figure 1.3. The spread of modern humans out of Africa, 60,000–14,000 years ago Figure 1.4. The Altamira cave paintings. (Kenneth Garrett/National Geographic Image Collection) Figure 1.5. Finds of cave paintings and portable art in Europe Figure 1.6. The Hohle Fels “Venus” figurine. (Copyright © University of Tübingen, photo by H. Jensen) Figure 2.1. Locations mentioned in Chapter 2 Figure 2.2. Temperatures across the last 20,000 years Figure 2.3.
Movius noticed that while Acheulean hand axes were common in Africa, Europe, and southwest Asia, none had been found in East or Southeast Asia. Instead, Eastern sites produced rougher tools much like the pre-Acheulean finds associated with Homo habilis in Africa. If the so-called Movius Line (Figure 1.2) really does mark the beginning of separate Eastern and Western ways of life, it could also provide an astonishingly long-term lock-in theory—one holding that almost as soon as ape-men moved out of Africa, they divided between Western/technologically advanced/Acheulean hand ax cultures in Africa and southwest Asia and Eastern/technologically less advanced/flake-and-chopper cultures in East Asia. No wonder the West rules today, we might conclude: it has led the world technologically for a million and a half years. Figure 1.2. The beginnings of East and West? This map shows the Movius Line, which for about a million years separated Western hand-ax-using cultures from Eastern flake-and-chopper-using cultures.
The Origins of the British by Stephen Oppenheimer
So, for example, the male gene group R1a1, which is strongly associated with the Ukraine, I have called ‘Rostov’. I have also retained some alliterative and biblical names from my previous book, Out of Eden, such as the out-of-Africa Y-line founder Adam and his three descendent lines, Cain, Abel and Seth. There is no intention in adopting such names to infer any deeper meaning – they are simply aides-mémoires. The mtDNA picture is slightly easier. Many of the different labs agreed at an early stage to try to use a single nomenclature (perhaps there was less testosterone involved in the process!). For instance, there are two agreed non-African daughter and granddaughter lines relevant to the colonization of Europe and Western Eurasia in general: N, from the single out-of-Africa line L3, and her daughter R. In Out of Eden I called them Nasreen, in keeping with a southern Arabian origin, and Rohani, to be consistent with an Indian subcontinental origin.
European intrusions 437–8 Viking intrusions 450–1, 461 Welsh Bronze Age 269–71 York 195, 420, 455 Younger Dryas Event (YD) British survivors 115, 148 climate changes 141–2, 151–5 human activity 153 Scandinavia 177–8 Also available from Constable & Robinson OUT OF EDEN – THE PEOPLING OF THE WORLD Stephen Oppenheimer In a brilliant synthesis of genetic, archaeological and climatic evidence, Stephen Oppenheimer shows for the first time that all modern non-Africans sprang from a single exodus out of Africa, rather than multiple waves of migration. ‘I can put my finger on a map and say that is where my people came from – research by Dr Oppenheimer and others has now given us all the right to say that.’ Economist ‘The thrill of this book lies in the vast reaches of time and space that one is deftly guided through.’ Sunday Telegraph ‘Telling the tale of humanity’s takeover of the world over the last 100,000 years means synthesizing fragments of evidence from many disciplines, and Oppenheimer is a master synthesizer. To discover the real daughters of Eve, read on.’ Martin Richards, University of Huddersfield ‘Oppenheimer strongly argues for a single movement out of Africa. He tells his story with pace and authority, combining the personal and the scientific.’
This has made it possible, during the late 1990s and in the new century, for us to do something that anthropologists of the past could only have dreamt of: we can now trace the migrations of modern humans around our planet. It turns out that the oldest changes in our mtDNA (i.e. the earliest in the tree) took place in Africa between 190,000 and 150,000 years ago. Then new mutations start to appear in Asia, about 80,000 to 60,000 years ago. This tells us that modern humans evolved in Africa, and that 80,000 years ago some of us began to migrate out of Africa into Asia. It is important to realize that because of the random nature of individual mutations, the dating is only approximate. Various mathematical ways of dating population migrations were tried during the 1990s with varying degrees of success, but in 1996 a method was established which dates each branch of the gene tree by averaging the number of new mutations in daughter types of that branch.2 This method (estimation of rho) has stood the test of time, and is the main approach used to calculate the mtDNA genetic dates I give in this book.
Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism by Elizabeth Becker
airport security, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, BRICs, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, computer age, corporate governance, Costa Concordia, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, Masdar, Murano, Venice glass, open borders, out of africa, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, statistical model, sustainable-tourism, the market place, union organizing, urban renewal, wage slave, young professional, éminence grise
., 363–64 Nippon Television of Japan, 39 Nissan Shipping Building, 325 Noble Radiance, A (Leon), 85 nonprofits, cruise ship industry and, 165 Normandy, France, 51 Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, 112 North Luangwa Park, 223 Norway, 162–63 Zambian aid from, 224–25 Nouvel, Jean, 191 nuclear power, 195 Nuseibeh, Sari, 28 Obama, Barack, 134, 244, 271–72, 348, 387, 388 in 2012 election, 364–65, 366–67 and 2016 Olympics bid, 361–62 U.S. tourism industry and, 360–65 Obama, Michelle, 361 Obama administration, National Travel and Tourism strategy of, 365–66 oceans, pollution of, 20, 34, 156–63, 196–97 Oduber, Daniel, 258 Ofer, Sammy, 134 Olympic National Park, 383–84 Olympics: of 1992 (Barcelona), 350 of 1996 (Atlanta), 350, 351 of 2008 (Beijing), 163, 293–94, 322, 323, 333 of 2010 (Vancouver), 163, 293 of 2016 (Rio de Janeiro), 273, 276, 362 U.S. travel restrictions and, 361–62 Oman, 172 Ondaatje, Michael, 282 Oppenheimer, Nicky, 240 Oppenheimer, Strilli, 240 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 16, 348–49 Organization of American States, 251 Orlando, Fla., 370 Orly airport, 171 Orset, Christophe, 73–74 Osa Peninsula, 258–60 Ottoman Empire, 182 Out of Africa (Dinesen), 207 Out of Africa (film), 207, 211, 220 Out of the Rock Comes Life, 336 overconsumption, in UAE, 169–70, 196 Owen-Edmunds, Libby, 280 Pacheca island, 248 Pachequilla island, 248 Pacific Asia Travel Association, 287 Paggiarin, Claudio, 35–36, 78–79, 82 Palestinians, 185 Palin, Sarah, 165 Palm Jumeirah, 178 Panama, 157, 161 national parks of, 249 ship registry of, 140 Panama Canal, 247–48 Pan American Airways, 27 pandas, 335–38 “panther path,” 262 Papi, Daniela Ruby, 103 Parayil, Gopinath, 263 Paris, France, 70–72 as center for business meetings, 53 Twain’s love of, 50 Universal Exposition (1889) in, 50 Parker, Robert, 65–66 Park West Gallery, 131, 147–48 Parnell, Sean, 161 partisan politics, tourism policy and, 366–67 Patients Beyond Borders, 379 Patrick, Deval L., 374 Payton, Donald L., 148 Peace Corps, 228 Pei, I.
It was so civilized we rarely got a whiff of the rank circus smell from large animal excrement. Eventually those endless hours spent looking at animals in well-appointed enclosures rearranged my images of wildlife. The raccoons and possums that prowled our backyard at night were wild. The animals in those cages were not. That could be one reason why I never jumped at the suggestion of going on an African safari. I’d read Isak Dinesen’s autobiographical novel Out of Africa about her life in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Kenya and saw the movie adaptation starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. This was beautiful, romantic Africa seen through the eyes of privileged Europeans who killed buffalo, lions and antelope, who eventually understood the harm being done and, too late, mended their ways. Public television specials on Africa showed the opposite picture of wild Africa, with aerial footage of animals galloping across the savannahs, unmolested by humans while they stalked and ate each other.
To attract more tourists and encourage them to spend more days and money on the continent, the industry offers packages of visits to three and four wildlife camps in different countries, trumpeting what officials call their sublime “nature base” tourism. One visit to the Johannesburg airport, the massive air hub of the region, says it all. The shopping area of the terminal is kiosk after kiosk of safari-themed clothes, toys, gadgets and books. It is called, naturally, “Out of Africa.” Despite some attractive marketing, the parks are not on firm footing. The checkered history and modern pressures have created considerable problems: poaching, corruption, deforestation and, above all, encroaching human settlements. The promise is singular for the industry: without those animals, the industry would shrink, and with it the $76 billion in revenue tourism brings to the continent every year.
agricultural Revolution, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial exploitation, complexity theory, computer age, crony capitalism, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, Khyber Pass, manufacturing employment, megacity, Mercator projection, out of africa, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, special economic zone, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, UNCLOS, UNCLOS
Postulate that, and you conclude that something drove one of those branches—the one leading to the gorilla and EARTH'S CHANGEABLE ENVIRONMENTS 67 chimpanzee among others—to tropical Africa, while the other, leading to the orangutan, was pushed into tropical Southeast Asia. What could have been the impetus for this dual migration? The worsening of Cenozoic Ice Age conditions, of course. Before Miocene climatic conditions deteriorated, the global environment, though cooler than it had been during the Oligocene, remained fairly stable (Fig. 3-4). During that time, the descendants of Proconsul and other early apes probably moved out of Africa into environmentally diverse Eurasia, where forest habitats varied widely and relatively warm temperatures ensured an ample supply of fruits and other forage. Now Eurasia, not Africa, was the heartland of differentiation and adaptation for the great apes, and numerous lineages evolved, some of them now part of the known fossil record. But in the late Miocene the Cenozoic Ice Age took a turn for the worse, dropping global temperatures, freezing over the Arctic Ocean, drying up vast stretches of once-forested Eurasia, and destroying habitats that had for millions of years nurtured the great-ape families.
In any case, no comparable evolutionary drama occurred here: the orangutan does not share a hominid ancestry and is the end of its line. Eventually and ironically, descendants of Dryopithecus and Sivapithecus would come face to face—but not ape to ape. When interglacials in the late Pliocene warmed the Earth enough to revive forests and refill desiccated lakes, Africa's hominids did what early Miocene apes had done before them: migrate WHY GEOGRAPHY MATTERS EARLY PRIMATE DISPERSALS Fig. 3-5 out of Africa into Eurasia. And so the first of these emigrants, Homo erectus, moved across Arabia and southern Asia and, one day somewhere in Malaya or on Java or Borneo, saw a creature that, if the trip had been swifter, would have reminded her of the chimpanzees and gorillas left behind in Africa. Orangutan and hominid had closed a 9-million-year circle. THE FRIGID PLEISTOCENE Earlier we noted that the temperature plunge that began in the late Miocene and continued during the Pliocene (when early hominids made their appearance in Africa) set the stage for the Pleistocene epoch, beginning less than 2 million years ago with a series of the most severe glaciations of the entire Cenozoic Ice Age interrupted by short, warm interglacials.
When the first modern humans (the Cro-Magnons, as they are known) reached Europe from India via the Middle East and found the Neanderthals, and earlier Homo species, on the scene, they quickly overwhelmed them with their complex culture ranging from cave art to tool kits and from EARTH'S CHANGEABLE ENVIRONMENTS 71 Fig. 3-7 inventive fishing gear to sewn clothing. They lived in cooperative communities and used sophisticated language, and thus modern humans had all the advantages over the survivors of earlier out-of-Africa migrations. Their technology gave them the opportunity to cope with the Wisconsinan's climatic swings: in milder times they expanded their frontiers, and when it got colder they devised ways to cope with increasingly harsh environments. That is why paleoanthropologists are finding fossil evidence of human settlements in Europe that survived through pretty severe cold periods. Humans were finding ways to combat the rigors of changeable climate.
A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright
Albert Einstein, Atahualpa, Bretton Woods, British Empire, clean water, Columbian Exchange, cuban missile crisis, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, invention of agriculture, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, nuclear winter, out of africa, Parkinson's law, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Malthus, urban sprawl
Perhaps fewer than 100,000 people, scattered in family bands, were all that stood between evolutionary failure and the 6 billion of us here today.24 After Homo erectus the evolutionary path gets muddy, trodden into a mire by rival tribes of anthropologists. One camp, that of the “multiregional” hypothesis, sees Homo erectus evolving by fits and starts into modern humanity wherever he happened to be through gene diffusion, otherwise known as mating with strangers. This view seems to fit well with many of the fossil finds but less well with some interpretations of DNA. Another camp — the “Out of Africa” school — sees most evolutionary change taking place on that continent, then erupting over the rest of the world.25 In this second view, successive waves of new and improved humans kill off, or, at any rate, outcompete, their forerunners wherever they find them, until all the lowbrows are gone. This theory implies that each new wave of African man was a separate species, unable to breed with other descendants of the previous kind — which may be plausible if different types evolved without contact for long periods but is less likely over shorter spans of time.26 The debate over the path of human progress gets most heated when we reach our controversial cousins, the Neanderthals.
Genetic data suggest that at one point, “our species became as endangered as the mountain gorilla is today … reduced to only about 10,000 adults.” Christopher Stringer and Robin McKie, African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity (New York: Henry Holt/John Macrae, 1997), p. 11. At the start of the Upper Palaeolithic, about 35,000 years ago, Stringer estimates that Homo sapiens had “a breeding population of at least 300,000.” Ibid., p. 163. 25. For the Out of Africa hypothesis, see Stringer and McKie, African Exodus. For opposing views, see recent works by M. Wolpoff, G. A. Clark, J. Relethford, and F. H. Smith. For a balanced overview, see Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin, Origins Reconsidered: In Search of What Makes Us Human (New York: Doubleday, 1992). 26. Animal species as different from one another as horses, zebras, and donkeys can interbreed, as can lions and tigers, even though the crosses are seldom fertile.
See also bronze; iron Mexico City, 92, 111, 161n22 migrations of humans, 37, 102–3, 138n1, 147n48 missionary projects, 7 Moby Dick (Melville), 38, 142n21 moderation, 131 Monte Verde, 41, 143n26 morals of civilization, 4, 33–34 myth of progress, 4–5, 124 myths, 4 natural capital, 83, 84, 101, 117, 125, 129 natural regeneration, 102 Neanderthals, 18–26, 27, 136n29, 136n30, 137n31, 137n33, 138n37 characteristics and customs, 20, 21, 22, 137n35 relations with Cro-Magnons, 20–21, 23–26, 31, 36, 66, 138n39 need and greed, 8 New Right, 127 News from Nowhere (Morris), 120 Newton, Sir Isaac, 11, 134n14 Old Stone Age, 8, 14, 31, 32, 34–35 Olmecs, 95 onslaught of progress, 124–25 Origin of Species (Darwin), 19 Oryx and Crake (Atwood), 123 Our Final Century (Rees), 125–26, 182n54 “Out of Africa” hypothesis, 17–18, 135n25 Ovid, 88–89 Palaeolithic era, see Old Stone Age Palenque, 98, 167n55 patriotism, 49 pesticides, 181n51 Pincher Martin (Golding), 35–36, 140n12 Pisistratus, 87 plants, cultivated, see crops; domestication; farming Pollard, Sidney, 3, 4 pollen studies, 97, 169n66 pollution, 7 Polynesia, 51, 85 Pope, Alexander, 7 Popol Vuh (Maya creation epic), 118, 179n37 population Americas, 111, 113, 175n18 China, 104 cities, 91–92, 94, 160n20, 161n22 early humans, 17, 135n24 Egypt, 68–69, 103–4 and food supply, 44 Sumerian, 68, 154n38, 157n2 world, 17, 30, 44, 109, 162n33, 171n2 population growth, 32, 100, 101, 103–4, 108, 115, 128, 130, 170n71 acceleration, 109, 171n3 and warfare, 48–49 potatoes, 114, 145n33, 176n21, 176n22 poverty, 128.
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
September 14, 2001, p. 1981. 16 “all present-day humans are descended from that population . . .” Swisher et al., p. 189. 17 “people began to look a little more closely . . .” Scientific American, “Is Out of Africa Going Out the Door?” August 1999. 18 “DNA from the arm bone of the original Neandertal man . . .” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Ancient DNA and the Origin of Modern Humans,” January 16, 2001. 19 “all modern humans emerged from Africa . . .” Nature, “A Start for Population Genomics,” December 7, 2000, p. 65, and Natural History, “What's New in Prehistory,” May 2000, pp. 90–91. 20 “more diversity in one social group of fifty-five chimps . . .” Science, “A Glimpse of Humans' First Journey Out of Africa,” May 12, 2000, p. 950. 21 “In early 2001, Thorne and his colleagues . . .” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Mitochondrial DNA Sequences in Ancient Australians: Implications for Modern Human Origins,” January 16, 2001. 22 “the genetic record supports the out of Africa hypothesis.”
The hypothesis is that the higher landscape was not only cooler, but diverted winds in a way that made them flow north and toward North America, making it more susceptible to long-term chills. Then, beginning about five million years ago, Panama rose from the sea, closing the gap between North and South America, disrupting the flows of warming currents between the Pacific and Atlantic, and changing patterns of precipitation across at least half the world. One consequence was a drying out of Africa, which caused apes to climb down out of trees and go looking for a new way of living on the emerging savannas. At all events, with the oceans and continents arranged as they are now, it appears that ice will be a long-term part of our future. According to John McPhee, about fifty more glacial episodes can be expected, each lasting a hundred thousand years or so, before we can hope for a really long thaw.
Acheul, a suburb of Amiens in northern France, where the first examples were found in the nineteenth century, and contrast with the older, simpler tools known as Oldowan, originally found at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. In older textbooks, Oldowan tools are usually shown as blunt, rounded, hand-sized stones. In fact, paleoanthropologists now tend to believe that the tool part of Oldowan rocks were the pieces flaked off these larger stones, which could then be used for cutting. Now here's the mystery. When early modern humans—the ones who would eventually become us—started to move out of Africa something over a hundred thousand years ago, Acheulean tools were the technology of choice. These early Homo sapiens loved their Acheulean tools, too. They carried them vast distances. Sometimes they even took unshaped rocks with them to make into tools later on. They were, in a word, devoted to the technology. But although Acheulean tools have been found throughout Africa, Europe, and western and central Asia, they have almost never been found in the Far East.
agricultural Revolution, Anne Wojcicki, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Drosophila, food miles, invention of gunpowder, out of africa, personalized medicine, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, Skype, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, X Prize
Some leaders simply reject Western products on principle, particularly those, like drugs and engineered crops, that are hyped as vehicles of salvation. Commerce, too, plays a role, and so does history. “The governments and citizens of Europe continue to exercise considerable postcolonial influence in Africa through a range of mechanisms,” Robert Paarlberg wrote in his 2008 book Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa. Paarlberg, who has long studied the impact of science and technology on farmers in the developing world, noted that European countries provide a great deal of technical assistance, financial aid, and nongovernmental advocacy to Africa. But nothing comes without strings attached, and African governments learned quickly that nobody in European countries had any intention of purchasing exports grown with modified seeds.
Collins, the renowned geneticist who led the federal effort to map the genome, pointed out that the data showed there were probably more significant genetic differences within racial groups than between them. (In 2009, Collins was named by Barack Obama as director of the National Institutes of Health.) All those comments provide support for the comforting idea of a family of man, even a society without race. Nor should such findings be surprising; we are a young species, one that migrated out of Africa and throughout the world only about one hundred thousand years ago—relatively recently in evolutionary terms. Many scientists already understood this well. In fact, during the first decade of the Human Genome Project some participants were so convinced of the homogeneity of humanity that they insisted that the genomic sequence of any one person could be used as a basic reference template for everyone else on earth.
The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to the Growing Vaccine Crisis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005. ———. Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. ———. Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. Paarlberg, Robert. Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008. Pauly, Philip J. Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb and the Engineering Ideal in Biology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Pennock, Robert T., ed. Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001. Perrin, Noel. Giving Up the Gun: Japan’s Reversion to the Sword, 1543-1879.
Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya by Nicholas Best
He was played, not entirely convincingly, by Robert Redford in the film Out of Africa. He is said to have been deep on safari once, hundreds of miles from anywhere, when a telegram reached him all the way from London. It had been carried in a cleft stick from Nairobi by relays of sweating natives who had strained every nerve to get the message to him. The telegram consisted of just one sentence: ‘Do you know Gervase Pippin-Linpole’s address?’ Finch-Hatton thought hard, then apparently scribbled a reply for the runner to carry through the bush back to civilisation. ‘Yes,’ he wrote. When not on safari, he spent long evenings with Karen at her house, teaching her Latin and an appreciation Greek poetry. He struck a chord in Karen that was to inspire her in later years to write what is still one of the great classics of African literature, Out of Africa. The book is the story of her farm at Ngong, of her servants and animals, of the waifs and strays both black and white who came knocking at her door for help, of attempts to juxtapose civilisation with a culture still locked firmly into the Dark Ages.
Almost the first thing Macleod did on taking office was to set up a constitutional conference aimed at preparing Kenya for independence as quickly and as decently as possible. Up until then, 1975 had been regarded as the earliest conceivable date for independence. But Macleod was a radical Tory – a bloody Communist, in the revised opinion of most settlers. He understood that the time had come for Britain to stop playing the imperial game and get out of Africa at top speed. With the full approval of the cabinet, he tore up a whole sheaf of pledges given to European settlers by previous administrations. He made it clear that the 999-year-leased white highlands were henceforth to be opened to Africans. As for compensation, if anybody was going to reimburse the settlers for all the money they had poured into their farms, it certainly wouldn’t be the British taxpayer.
Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast
business climate, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Honoré de Balzac, land reform, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, open economy, out of africa, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Ronald Reagan, The Great Good Place, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, women in the workforce
Encouraged by the popularity of instant coffee, many African colonies increased robusta growth dramatically. Out of Africa With the European powers weakened by World War II and natives eager to share in the wealth around them, the traditional method of rule—white Europeans applying an iron-fisted Bula Matari (“rock crusher,” in Kikongo)—clearly would not work anymore. As one African politician told the French National Assembly in 1946, “The colonial fact, in its brutal form . . . is impossible today. This historical period of colonization is over.” In 1947 the British granted independence to India, and pressure grew for Britain, France, Portugal, and Belgium to release the colonies they had carved out of Africa in the late nineteenth century. In 1951 Britain gave Libya its independence, and the next year a military coup in Egypt severed its ties to England as well.
Industry Survives the War Good Neighbors No Longer The Legacy of World War II PART THREE - BITTER BREWS Chapter 13 - Coffee Witch Hunts and Instant Nongratification Guy Gillette’s Coffee Witch Hunt Instant, Quick, Efficient, Modern—and Awful Invention of the Coffee Break The Boob Tube Price Wars, Coupons, and Fourteen-Ounce Pounds Neglecting a Generation The Land That Smelled Like Money The Great Fourth of July Frost A CIA Coup in Guatemala Suicide in Brazil Chapter 14 - Robusta Triumphant Out of Africa Hot Coffee, Cold War Regular Robusta The Chock-Full Miracle The Coffeehouse: A Saving Grace London Espresso European Coffee in the Fifties Japan Discovers Coffee Googie Coffee In Denial Scared into Agreement Stumbling Toward Ratification Boomer Bust Merger Mania The Maxwell Housewife The Decline of Hills Brothers The Creation of Juan Valdez In a Vortex PART FOUR - ROMANCING THE BEAN Chapter 15 - A Scattered Band of Fanatics Zabar’s Beans Mentors, Fathers, and Sons Tourist Coffee and Other Problems The Think Drink Thunks The GI Coffeehouses “Caution: Coffee May Be Hazardous to Health” Gold Floats, Coffee Sinks Coffee Inroads in Japan and Europe The King of the Robustas and the Burundi Massacres Starbucks: The Romantic Period God’s Gift to Coffee A Coffee Love Affair The Ultimate Aesthete Specialty Proliferates Mrs.
., 1985), by Ralph Lee Woodward Jr. For Africa and Asia: The Decolonization of Africa (1995), by David Birmingham; The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective (1994), by Crawford Young; Black Harvest (film about Papua New Guinea coffee, 1992), by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson; Max Havelaar (1860), by “Multatuli,” Eduard Douwes Dekker; Decolonization and African Independence (1988), edited by Prosser Gifford; Out of Africa (1938), by Isak Dinesen; Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East (1985), by Ralph S. Hattox; Coffee, Co-operatives and Culture (1992), by Hans Hedlund; The Flame Trees of Thika (1982), by Elspeth Huxley; Coffee: The Political Economy of an Export Industry in Papua New Guinea (1992), by Randal G. Stewart; The Pioneers 1825-1900: The Early British Tea and Coffee Planters (1986), by John Weatherstone; In Bad Taste?
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize
And I got to thinking about how my thinking on world peace and transnational violence has been shaped by the Internet, and how the advent of the Internet has framed my view of human history and destiny. I’m aware that I’m living on the cusp of perhaps the third great tipping point in human history, and that this is an awesome and lucky thing to experience. First, I imagine myself with a small band moving out of Africa into the Fertile Crescent around 60,000 years ago, when humans mastered language and began to conquer the globe. More than half a million years ago, the Neanderthal and human branches of evolution began to split from our common ancestor Homo erectus (or perhaps Homo ergaster). Neanderthals, like H. erectus before, spread out of Africa and across Eurasia. But our ancestors, who acquired fully human body structures about 200,000 years ago, remained stuck in the savanna grasslands and scrub of first eastern and then southern Africa. Recent archaeological and DNA analyses suggest that our species may have tottered on the verge of extinction as recently as 70,000 years ago, dwindling to fewer than 2,000 souls.
Recent archaeological and DNA analyses suggest that our species may have tottered on the verge of extinction as recently as 70,000 years ago, dwindling to fewer than 2,000 souls. Then, in an almost miraculous change of fortune about 60,000 to 50,000 years ago, one or a few human bands moved out of Africa for good. This beginning of human wanderlust was likely stirred by global cooling and the attendant parching of the African grasslands, which led to loss of game and grain. But there is also the strong possibility, based on circumstantial evidence relating to a “cultural explosion” of human artifacts and technologies, that a mutation rewired the brain for computational efficiency. This rewiring allowed for recursion (embedding whole bundles of perceptions and thought within other bundles of perceptions and thoughts), which is an essential property of both human language (syntactic structures) and mind-reading skills (or Theory of Mind, the ability to infer other people’s thoughts and perceptions: “I know that she knows that I know that he knows that . . . ,” etc.).
Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot by Mark Vanhoenacker
British Empire, Cape to Cairo, computer age, dark matter, Edmond Halley, John Harrison: Longitude, Louis Blériot, Maui Hawaii, out of africa, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, the built environment, transcontinental railway
They suggest that even now, when many of us so regularly leave one place on the earth and cross the high blue to another, we are not nearly as accustomed to flying as we think. These questions remind me that while airplanes have overturned many of our older sensibilities, a deeper part of our imagination lingers and still sparks in the former realm, among ancient, even atavistic, ideas of distance and place, migrations and the sky. Flight, like any great love, is both a liberation and a return. Isak Dinesen wrote in Out of Africa: “In the air you are taken into the full freedom of the three dimensions; after long ages of exile and dreams the homesick heart throws itself into the arms of space.” When aviation began, it was worth watching for its own sake; it was entertainment, as it still is for many children on their early encounters with it. Many of my friends who are pilots describe airplanes as the first thing they loved about the world.
On the way we flew down the Somali coastline—I had never before seen a land of such colors, mixed yellow and deep red—and I realized that one reason for my particular excitement about this journey was that it required two flights, not one. Perhaps, even, I was more excited about flying to Kenya than about what I hoped to find in a dusty archive there. My mother and I both loved Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa. My mom had left her small hometown in Pennsylvania for work and college, and later lived in Paris; her love for the book was perhaps because it’s a tale of a great life-journey that starts and ends in a small place. Personally I loved the book best for its descriptions of flight, and as the plane descended over the hills around Nairobi I half-seriously asked myself whether, if the book had not contained such elegiac descriptions of aviation, I might have picked a different branch of history, if I might now be flying to a different country or continent.
Penguin Random House: Excerpt from “The Poem of Flight” from New Selected Poems by Philip Levine, copyright © 1991 by Philip Levine; excerpt from Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck (Penguin Books, 1992), copyright © 1961, 1962 by The Curtis Publishing Company Inc., copyright © 1962 by John Steinbeck, copyright renewed 1989, 1990 by Elaine Steinbeck, Thom Steinbeck and John Steinbeck IV. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Random House LLC. Rungstedlund Foundation: Excerpts from Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. Reprinted by permission of the Rungstedlund Foundation. A Note About the Author Mark Vanhoenacker is a pilot and writer. A regular contributor to The New York Times and a columnist for Slate, he has also written for Wired, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Independent. Born in Massachusetts, he trained as a historian and worked as a management consultant before starting his flight training in Britain in 2001.
River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life by Richard Dawkins
Whether Mitochondrial Eve was an African or not, it is important to avoid a possible confusion with another sense in which it is undoubtedly true that our ancestors came out of Africa. Mitochondrial Eve is a recent ancestor of all modern humans. She was a member of the species Homo sapiens. Fossils of much earlier hominids, Homo erectus, have been found outside as well as inside Africa. The fossils of ancestors even more remote than Homo erectus, such as Homo habilis and various species of Australopithecus (including a newly discovered one more than four million years old), have been found only in Africa. So if we are the descendants of an African diaspora within the last quarter of a million years, it is the second African diaspora. There was an earlier exodus, perhaps a million and a half years ago, when Homo erectus meandered out of Africa to colonize parts of the Middle East and Asia. The African Eve theory is claiming not that these earlier Asians didn't exist but that they leave no surviving descendants.
Bakken shale, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, deindustrialization, energy security, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income per capita, means of production, mutually assured destruction, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, out of africa, peak oil, price discovery process, rising living standards, South China Sea, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War
On what principle is it that, when we see nothing but improvement behind us, are we to expect nothing but deterioration before us? —Thomas Macaulay, 1830 When modern human beings made their way out of Africa 50,000 years ago, the different branches of humanity that formed from that exodus spread out over the continents. Those branches became separated for tens of thousands of years but evolved to become agricultural societies within a few thousand years of each other. They went on to produce massive stone buildings a few thousand years after that—without knowing what the other branches of humanity had achieved, or even being aware that they existed. It was as if there was an alarm clock going off in human development—as if the development of agriculture and civilization was encoded in our genetic makeup when we made that first step out of Africa, as if there is a trajectory of inevitable material progress in human affairs.
A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer, Charles Fishman
4chan, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Asperger Syndrome, Bonfire of the Vanities, en.wikipedia.org, game design, Google Chrome, Howard Zinn, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, out of africa, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple
So there would be six or eight of us, from totally different disciplines, spending the day in a relaxed atmosphere, trading our problems and our experiences and our questions. What a fabulous idea. And we did it. Dr. Salk invited a robotics expert from Caltech and Betty Edwards, the theorist and teacher who wrote the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I brought director and producer Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa, Tootsie) and producer George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and George brought Linda Ronstadt, the singer who was his girlfriend at the time. The whole thing was Dr. Salk’s idea. He was curious—in particular, he was curious about how the “media mind” worked, how people like Lucas and Pollack thought about the world and what they created, and he was curious about storytelling.
Seuss story, 113 fear and, 116 to Grazer, 101, 102, 103–5, 106–7, 114 Grazer saying, 178 in Hollywood/entertainment business, 33, 61, 101–2, 169 as inside your head, 114, 116, 118 persistence and, 109, 114, 118 reactions to, 101–2 Splash and, 103–5, 106–7, 109 ways to beat, 102, 114, 116–18 Noah (movie), 78, 280 Obama, Barack, 13, 207, 209–11, 212 obstacles, Grazer’s views about overcoming, 167–69 open-ended questions, 139–40, 198–99, 261 openness, 181–85, 198–99, 200 opinions, 177–78, 179, 180 optimism, 172 others: curiosity on behalf of, 162–66 See also: point of view; relationships Out of Africa (movie), 157 Ovitz, Michael, 121 Page, Larry, 146 painful topics: and when not to be anti-curious, 175 Paley, William, 204 The Paper (movie), 128 Paramount Studios: Grazer as producer at, 28–31 Parenthood (movie), 31, 45, 128, 213 Parker, Dorothy, 1, 273 parochialism, 44–45 passion, 172, 173, 180 Penn, Sean, 93 persistence, 108–9, 114, 118 perspective of others. See point of view physics: Grazer’s interest in, 89–90 Picker, David, 21 Pink Flamingos (movie), 174 Pinochet, Augusto, 70, 71, 72 Places in the Heart (movie), 107–8 point of view: curiosity about others, 53–67 and disruptions to your own point of view, 53–67 storytelling and, 35, 45–46 Police Department, Los Angeles (LAPD), 39–40, 41, 46 polio, 153–54 political campaigns: “opposition research” in, 59 Pollack, Sydney, 157 Pop, Iggy, 174 power, curiosity and, 11, 13, 15, 40, 125, 195–96 Presley, Elvis, 217 Price, Jeff, 111 Proctor & Gamble, 57, 58, 59 producers: as “boss,” 141 collective persona of Hollywood, 120 job of, 102, 111–12 progress, human, 83–84 Public Enemy, 48 public sphere: curiosity in, 15, 183–85, 195–96 questions: and admitting ignorance, 118, 123 answers as point of, 152 and asking questions of boss, 150 atmosphere around, 152 benefits of using, 144–45 in classrooms, 14 complex, 160 creativity and, 37, 55 culture of, 148–49, 150–52 for curiosity conversations, 46, 261, 263, 264, 265 as dangerous, 11–13 disadvantages of asking, 149 and familiarity as enemy of curiosity, 158, 159 fear of asking, 114, 115, 151 freedom to ask, 15 of Grazer as child, 3 Grazer’s management style and, 28, 32–33, 134–37 about Grinch movie, 111 and Howard’s curiosity, 32 as impertinence, 196 importance of asking, 33, 63, 109, 116, 148–49, 193 as instinctive, 32 as intrinsic to curiosity, 10–11 and making the case, 139–40 as management tool, 134–37, 144–53, 161 open-ended, 139–40, 198–99, 261 and paying attention to answers, 9 preparing, 261 purpose of, 62, 111–12, 114–15, 116, 137, 149–50, 152 reality and, 78 and relationships, 158–60 stories and, 35, 37, 137 teaching people to ask good, 63 underappreciation of, 151 unwelcome, 14 as urgent and trivial, 7–8 values and, 144 Walton’s, 56 as way to uncover ideas, 147–48, 149 in workplace, 134–37, 144–52, 161, 193 See also: answers to questions radio: “driveway moments” and, 79, 80, 280 reading: Grazer and, 84–87, 162, 188 Reagan, Ronald, 25, 64 real estate agents: curiosity of, 94 reality: curiosity as connection to, 76–79, 118 Reitman, Ivan: Bronfman’s call to, 128 rejection.
Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places by Paul Collier
Government soldiers are usually very badly paid, and so they are tempted to sell their guns or steal from stockpiles. Government armies buy Kalashnikovs most vigorously when they are fighting a rebellion. So the guns are officially imported into Africa, stolen, and so become illegal, but cannot easily be re-exported to the markets in which secondhand Kalashnikovs fetch a high price. That is because to export the guns out of Africa they have to be imported into countries that generally have sufficiently good border controls to make it difficult. But the guns do not just stay in the country whose government first imported them to Africa. Africa’s internal borders are highly porous, and so the cheap guns slosh around the continent going to 116 WARS, GUNS, AND VOTES where there is currently demand: which means wherever there is a war.
But precisely because of these concerns, it is surely better to have these forces bound by clear rules of use. While the governments of South Africa and Nigeria might well not wish to host foreign forces with an unclear mandate, they should welcome them for the specified purpose of protection from coups against governments that have committed themselves to proper standards of democratic elections. “Keep out of Africa” is irresponsible if it condemns the continent to unaccountable government. Finally, I turn to my most demanding readers: those presidents who, having read the section that sets out strategies for reducing the risk of a coup, still could not sleep soundly. Gentlemen, I promised you that if you read on you would find a fully reliable protection from your own army. You now have it: you no longer have to trust your brother-in-law.
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Then I got this book I was reading and sat down in my chair. There were two chairs in every room. I had one and my roommate, Ward Stradlater, had one. The arms were in sad shape, because everybody was always sitting on them, but they were pretty comfortable chairs. The book I was reading was this book I took out of the library by mistake. They gave me the wrong book, and I didn't notice it till I got back to my room. They gave me Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen. I thought it was going to stink, but it didn't. It was a very good book. I'm quite illiterate, but I read a lot. My favorite author is my brother D.B., and my next favorite is Ring Lardner. My brother gave me a book by Ring Lardner for my birthday, just before I went to Pencey. It had these very funny, crazy plays in it, and then it had this one story about a traffic cop that falls in love with this very cute girl that's always speeding.
And Ring Lardner, except that D.B. told me he's dead. You take that book Of Human Bondage, by Somerset Maugham, though. I read it last summer. It's a pretty good book and all, but I wouldn't want to call Somerset Maugham up. I don't know, He just isn't the kind of guy I'd want to call up, that's all. I'd rather call old Thomas Hardy up. I like that Eustacia Vye. Anyway, I put on my new hat and sat down and started reading that book Out of Africa. I'd read it already, but I wanted to read certain parts over again. I'd only read about three pages, though, when I heard somebody coming through the shower curtains. Even without looking up, I knew right away who it was. It was Robert Ackley, this guy that roomed right next to me. There was a shower right between every two rooms in our wing, and about eighty-five times a day old Ackley barged in on me.
Benoit Mandelbrot, clockwork universe, double helix, Drosophila, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, out of africa, phenotype, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, unbiased observer
If this latter view is correct, then the evolutionary transition from archaic to anatomically modern humans must have happened in parallel in different parts of the old world. These two views carry a potent political charge. If all modern humans came from Africa less than 200 000 years ago, then we are all the same under the skin. We have barely had time, in an evolutionary sense, to diverge, but we can perhaps be held responsible for the extinction of our closest relatives, such as the Neanderthals. This theory is known as the ‘Out of Africa’ hypothesis. On the other hand, if the human races evolved in parallel then the differences between us are not skin deep, and our unique racial and cultural identities are ﬁrmly grounded in biology, challenging our ideals of equality. Both scenarios could have been offset by interbreeding, to an unknown degree. The dilemma is exempliﬁed by the fate of the Neanderthals. Were they a separate subspecies driven to extinction, or did they interbreed with anatomically modern CroMagnons, who arrived in Europe around 40 000 years ago?
Most populations from outside Africa had ‘multiple origins’, in other words, peoples living in the same place had different mitochondrial DNA sequences, implying that many areas were colonized repeatedly. In sum, Wilson’s group concluded that Mitochondrial Eve lived fairly recently in Africa, and the rest of the world was populated by repeated waves of migration from that continent, lending support to the ‘Out of Africa’ hypothesis. Not surprisingly these unprecedented ﬁndings gave birth to a dynamic new ﬁeld, which dominated genealogy in the 1990s. The unresolved questions raised by skeletal morphology, by linguistic and cultural studies, by anthropology and population genetics, could at last all be answered with ‘hard’ scientiﬁc objectivity. Many technical reﬁnements have been introduced, and calibrated dates modiﬁed (Mitochondrial Eve is now dated to about 170 000 years ago), but the basic tenets presented by Wilson and his colleagues underpinned the entire ediﬁce.
S 154–5, 171, 192, 271, 285, 297 Hall, Alan 102 Halliwell, Barry 275 Hamilton, William 192, 221, 234 Harden, Sir Arthur 79 Harman, Denham 274–5, 278 Harold, Franklin 92, 103, 195–6 heart disease, vulnerability to 255–6 heat production, by uncoupling respiration 92, 183–4, 254–6, 305–6 Helmholtz, Hermann von 73 Hemmingsen, A. M. 167 hermaphrodite lifestyle 232–3, 238 Heusner, Alfred 159, 167 Heyerdahl, Thor 246 histones 10, 32, 48–9 Hochachka, Peter 176 Horovitz, Bob 204 Hulbert, Tony 181 human evolution: mitochondrial DNA studies 244–7 ‘Out of Africa’ hypothesis 242–3, 246 population genetic studies 243–4 human genome project 68 nuclear mitochondrial sequences (numts) 132–3, 252 n. human mitochondrial genome 16, 135–9, 141–4, 281 Huntington’s disease 285, 298 Hurst, Laurence 234 Hussein, Saddam, identiﬁcation of 4 Jacob, François 114 Jacobs, Howard 299–300 Jaffe, Bernard 71 Jagendorf, André 89–90 Jansen, Robert 263 Jones, Laura 38 Joule, James Prescott 73 immune function, and apoptosis 204 infertility 260 male cytoplasmic sterility 238 male infertility (asthenozoospermia) 256 ooplasmic transfer 4, 240, 264 intelligence, evolution of 23, 24 iron, as a catalyst 73–4 iron-sulphur minerals, and the ﬁrst cells 99–102, 101, 103–4 isoprenes 99, 135 isoprenoids 135 Kalckar, Herman 80 Karr, Timothy 239 Keilin, David 74–7, 85, 209 Kennedy, Eugene 13, 72 Kerr, John 203 Khrapko, Konstantin 250 Kingsbury, B.
What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly
Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, 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
The dozen tools you carried would have been bone drills, awls, needles, bone knives, a bone hook for fish on a spear, some stone scrapers, maybe some stone sharpies. A number of your blades would be held by bone or wood handles, hafted with cane or hide cord. When you crouched around the fire, someone might play a drum or bone flute. Your handful of possessions might be buried with you when you died. But don’t take this progress for harmony. Within 20,000 years of the great march out of Africa, Sapiens helped exterminate 90 percent of the then-existing species of megafauna. Sapiens used innovations such as the bow and arrow, spear, and cliff stampedes to kill off the last of the mastodons, mammoths, moas, woolly rhinos, and giant camels—basically every large package of protein that walked on four legs. More than 80 percent of all large mammal genera on the planet were completely extinct by 10,000 years ago.
A world without technology had enough to sustain survival but not enough to transcend it. Only when the mind, liberated by language and enabled by the technium, transcended the constraints of nature 50,000 years ago did greater realms of possibility open up. There was a price to pay for this transcendence, but what we gained by this embrace was civilization and progress. We are not the same folks who marched out of Africa. Our genes have coevolved with our inventions. In the past 10,000 years alone, in fact, our genes have evolved 100 times faster than the average rate for the previous 6 million years. This should not be a surprise. As we domesticated the dog (in all its breeds) from wolves and bred cows and corn and more from their unrecognizable ancestors, we, too, have been domesticated. We have domesticated ourselves.
Romans, ancient road width established by slums decried by Romer, Paul Roszak, Theodore Rothschild, Nathan Rowe, John Rowling, J. K. Saffo, Paul Sagan, Carl Sahlins, Marshall Sale, Kirkpatrick San Francisco slums of Sapiens clothing of cooking by diet of diverse niches occupied by early inventions of grandmother effect and hominins displaced by increased longevity of items traded by language invented by megafauna extinctions and out of Africa migration of population growth of sedentism of tools of see also hunter-gatherers satellites night photography by Schachter-Shalomi, Rabbi Zalman Scheele, Carl Schwartz, Barry science fringe increase in journal articles of information compressed by in progress simultaneous discoveries in as structured global knowledge science fiction scientific method scissors Scott, W. B.
Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future by Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron, Meera Balarajan
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, conceptual framework, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, guest worker program, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Lao Tzu, life extension, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, Malacca Straits, microcredit, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, open borders, out of africa, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, spice trade, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, women in the workforce, working-age population
McNeill, “that when our ancestors first became fully human they were already migratory.”3 Migrants initially moved throughout Africa, before leaving the continent between 50,000–60,000 years ago to populate the world.4 As populations of hunter–gatherer groups grew to their geographical limits, members moved to settle new groups, and the process of expansion across the world continued.5 The development of agriculture and sedentary communities prompted the second stage in migration: connecting humanity. Despite the global dispersion of humans, communities remained connected through trade networks and conquest. Diversity emerged through the separate development of populations, but cross-cultural contact ensured continuing interaction between scattered human communities. EARLY MIGRATION Out of Africa Every one of us has migrant blood running through our veins. As Spencer Wells put it, “We all have an African great-great…grandmother who lived approximately 150,000 years ago.”6 Around 80,000 years ago, the archaeological record of homo sapiens grows vague, and Wells argues that the human population dwindled to around 2,000 people. Genetic mutations within this small group of humans led to rapid brain development, giving us the power of abstract thought.
Around 40,000 years ago, people began to occupy the relatively colder, though still temperate, regions of Europe and inner Eurasia through several different routes. One involved movement along the rivers and valleys of the Himalayas from South China into the Eurasian steppes. Another would have followed the Pacific shore before turning inland. A final western route may have come more directly out of Africa toward the Black Sea. An ice age between 30,000 and 15,000 years ago, however, led human populations that had initially settled the warmer parts of Eurasia to retreat farther south. The evidence for how humans occupied northern Eurasia and the Americas is unclear, and there are many competing accounts based on genetic tracing, linguistics, and archaeology. Human settlements were restricted to Africa, Asia, and Oceania until about 40,000 years ago, in part by the formidable mountain ranges of Asia.
If we agree that prosperity and social welfare are primary goals of government policy, then governments and electorates may well prefer to accept more social, linguistic, and cultural diversity that higher rates of migration will produce in the interests of a more dynamic and secure future.119 The global governance of migration is still relatively underdeveloped and immature in the context of the increasingly transnational character of international migration and relative to trade and financial flows. In the concluding chapter, we will examine global migration governance and proposals for reform. 8 A Global Migration Agenda In the preceding chapters, we have contended that migration is a defining characteristic of human societies and a driving force of global history. The audacious movement of our common ancestors out of Africa launched the settlement of diverse ecologies, forcing adaptation, innovation, and learning. Before the advent of modern communications technologies, migrants and travelers served as the broadcast medium connecting settlements and civilizations. They carried knowledge and know-how across cultural and geographic boundaries, transmitting the ideas that animate human progress. Information traveled at the pace of steady steps advancing forward.
Escape from Hell by Larry Niven; Jerry Pournelle
Fifth Circle ELSE FRENKEL–BRUNSWICK Austrian–born American psychoanalyst and author. Died twentieth century. GEORGE LINCOLN ROCKWELL Commander, USNR. Leader of the American Nazi Party. Died 1967. PHLEGYAS Legendary king of the Lapiths, grandfather of Asclepius. Died second millennium B.C. KAREN BLIXEN AKA ISAK DINESEN (alluded) Danish author who wrote primarily in English. Her works include Out of Africa and “Babette’s Feast.” Died 1962. The City of Dis JAMES GIRARD One–time deputy district attorney of New Orleans, now an official in the Prosecutor’s Office in Hell. Died twenty–first century. HENRI LEBEAU Professor of civil and canon law, Tulane University, assigned to the Prosecutor’s Office in Hell. Died twenty–first century. ANTHONY GLICKA Experimental medicine coordinator, UCLA.
I have been told that the rape was necessary to produce him, and I had no right to interfere with the will of Zeus and the gods by taking revenge for my daughter’s rape.” “Don’t tempt the gods,” Rosemary said. “Be watchful and don’t tempt the gods,” Phlegyas said. “I recall saying that. Where did you hear that?” “A story we read in college mentioned you,” Rosemary said. “By the Danish woman who wrote Out of Africa. This was a really scary story.” I asked, “So Minos put you here?” “He did.” “As king?” He didn’t answer. The boat was slowing now. The fog was clearing, and I could see we were coming to a landing. Chapter 11 Fifth Circle The City Of Dis * * * And my good Master said: “Even now, my son, The city draweth near whose name is Dis, With the grave citizens, with the great throng.”
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Somewhere along the way, as Australopithecus was begetting Homo, we learned not only to follow the fires that opened up savannas that we’d learned to inhabit, but how to make them ourselves. For some 3 million years more, we were too few to create more than local patchworks of grassland and forests whenever distant ice ages weren’t doing it for us. Yet in that time, long before Pan prior s most recent descendant, surnamed sapiens, appeared, we must have become numerous enough to again try being pioneers. Were the hominids who wandered out of Africa again intrepid risk-takers, their imaginations picturing even more bounty beyond the savanna’s horizon? Or were they losers, temporarily out-competed by tribes of stronger blood cousins for the right to stay in our cradle? Or were they simply going forth and multiplying, like any beast presented with rich resources, such as grasslands stretching all the way to Asia? As Darwin came to appreciate, it didn’t matter: when isolated groups from the same species proceed in their separate ways, the most successful among them learn to flourish in new surroundings.
When vandals set it on fire 10 years later, the fossil dung heap was so enormous that it burned for months. Martin mourned, but by then he had been setting blazes of his own in the paleontology world with his theory of what had wiped out millions of ground sloths, wild pigs, camels, Proboscidea, multiple species of horses—at least 70 entire genera of large mammals throughout the New World, all vanished in a geologic twinkling of about 1,000 years: “It’s pretty simple. When people got out of Africa and Asia and reached other parts of the world, all hell broke loose.” Martin’s theory, soon dubbed the Blitzkrieg by its supporters and detractors alike, contended that, starting with Australia about 48,000 years ago, as humans arrived on each new continent they encountered animals that had no reason to suspect that this runty biped was particularly threatening. Too late, they learned otherwise.
Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand
agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, working-age population, Y2K
In 2000, GE soybeans were legal in Argentina but outlawed in Brazil. The difference in productivity was so obvious that Brazilian farmers smuggled the seeds across the border, until their government relented and legalized GE agriculture. • Why do environmentalists want to deny the advantages of GE crops to farmers in the developing world, who need it most? Robert Paarlberg, author of Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa (2008), theorizes that rich countries have the luxury of debating the nuances of economics and perceived risk around GE crops, whereas poor countries don’t:The technology is directly beneficial to only a tiny number of citizens in rich countries—soybean farmers, corn farmers, a few seed companies, patent holders. Consumers don’t get a direct benefit at all, so it doesn’t cost them anything to drive it off the market with regulations.
Organic farming marries genetic engineering and lives happily ever after. The book has a real-life texture missing in most works about GE or organic. The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the Twenty-first Century (1999), Gordon Conway. Experience tells. Conway has seen it all and knows exactly how GE fits into simultaneously feeding the world and protecting the environment. Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa (2008), Robert Paarlberg. Anatomy of an ongoing Green-sponsored atrocity in Africa. Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist’s View of Genetically Modified Foods (2006), Nina Fedoroff. Geneticist Federoff gives a much fuller background for how GE works with food crops than I could. CropBiotech Update (online). The successes of GE throughout the world, along with entanglements it meets, are chronicled on a daily basis here.
The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans by Mark Lynas
back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Haber-Bosch Process, ice-free Arctic, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Negawatt, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, planetary scale, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, special drawing rights, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia
For this transgression he was punished by being chained to a rock and having his liver eaten out each day by an eagle. And rightly so, for fire dramatically changed our relationship with the natural world. Acquiring the power of gods separated humans permanently and irretrievably from all other species. As well as cooked food, it afforded protection against predators and warmth on cold nights, allowing early humans to spread north out of Africa during the depths of the last ice age. Fire may have facilitated the spread of genes for hairlessness, as the need for body insulation diminished. However, once our hair was lost and our guts had shrunk, we were tied to the hearth—we could no longer exist without it. No human can hope to survive in the wild today without fire, and this dependence marks a major qualitative shift in human relations with the biosphere.
In what looks like a prehistoric bout of all-too-modern ethnic cleansing, Homo sapiens probably drove its closest hominid relatives, Homo neanderthalensis and Homo erectus, to oblivion. A minority of archaeologists cling to the notion that some interbreeding must have taken place, but genetic studies show this is unlikely.7 Modern human DNA instead confirms that all of us are descended from the same small initial Homo sapiens population that migrated out of Africa 50,000 years ago.8 The last Neanderthals hung on in remote mountainous parts of France until 38,000 years ago, and in southern Spain until about 30,000 years ago. The very last families died a few thousand years later in Gorham’s Cave in what is now Gibraltar, when their final refuge on the extreme southern edge of the continent was overrun.9 Officially, the direct cause of their ultimate demise is a mystery, but I think we can guess who the culprit was.
Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal
1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog
A notable exception was Japan, which, having escaped colonization and having become a world power early in the twentieth century, never relinquished its old attitudes about racial supremacy and homogeneity.78 Interestingly, in recent years there have been controversies about the alleged African origins of Western (especially Greek) science and technology and condemnations of the supposed Western theft of these intellectual and material treasures (despite that post-World War I skepticism about modern developments). But 170 Utopia Reconsidered such attempted revisionism had been decisively refuted, especially in Mary Lefkowitz’s superb Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History (1996). Meanwhile, in a throwback to that skepticism about Western science, South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki (born in 1942), the successor to Nelson Mandela and the nation’s second black president, set back his country’s response to its widespread AIDS epidemic during his administration. Mbeki repeatedly questioned what was the scientiﬁc consensus on the causes and treatment of AIDS, condemning these as remnants of Western colonial oppression, and simultaneously insisted on the use instead of traditional African medical remedies.
Bradley 92 Lane, Robert 106–107, 108, 109, 114, 117–118, 119, 122 Laos 104 Lartigue, Jacques-Henri 165 Las Vegas 36 Lasser, David 9 Last Hero, The: A Life of Henry Aaron (Bryant) 191 Latin America 102 and European ideas 21–22 indigenous cultures and movements 21, 23 liberation theology and communities 52 Spanish conquest 21 utopias in 21–23 Lawrence, Francis 212 Lea, Homer 98 278 Index League of Nations 251 Lease, Mary 98 Lee, Ann 26 Lefkowitz, Mary 171 Left Hand of Darkness, The (LeGuin) 92 legitimation crisis in US science and technology 122 LeGuin, Ursula 92 LeMay, General Curtis 105 Lemontey, Pierre Edouard 60 Lenin, Vladimir 104 Lessing, Doris 9 Levitas, Ruth 7 Levittown, Long Island 244 Ley, Willy 9 library usage 218 Life in a Technocracy: What It Might Be Like in 1933 (Loeb) 89, 106, 239, 240 limits to growth 234, 237 Literary Digest 97 “literary intellectuals” 114 “living the dream” 254 Loeb, Harold Albert 89, 90, 95, 96, 239 and politics 109 Loewy, Raymond 34 London, Jack 98 Longxi, Zhang 18 Looking Backward: 2000–1887 (Bellamy) 10, 13, 24, 27, 31–32, 34, 90, 194 attitudes toward 59–60, 254 Lost Horizon 13 Lucas, George 204 Luddites 240, 241 Maastricht Treaty 252 Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America, The (Leo Marx) 84 Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance (Adas) 169 Macnie, John 82, 87 Maine and nuclear power 142–157 Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company 142–143, 145, 146–148, 149, 151 as “cargo cult” 147 closure of 148 opposition to 156–157 referenda on 147, 155 utopian and dystopian aspects 156 views of 156–157 Malthus, Thomas 63 Mandela, Nelson 171 Manhattan Project 156 “Manifest Destiny,” American 11 Manuel, Frank and Fritzie 16 Manuel, Frank 6 Mao Tse-Tung 18, 243 utopian vision 19 Mao’s Great Famine (Dikotter) 19 Maraniss, David 191 marginalizing utopias 29, 245 Marx, Karl 32, 53, 60, 66–67, 105, 250–251 Marxism 22 Marx, Leo 84, 85 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 52 Massey, Ranymond 240, 241 Mauchly, John 160 Mayer, Anna-K. 98, 114 Mbeki, Thabo, President of South Africa 171 McDonald, Michael J. 111 McIntyre, Vonda N. 9 McKinley, President William 94 McNamara, Robert 104–105, 106, 112, 113, 166 “McNamara Line” 105 Medieval Machine, The: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages (Gimpel) 236 “megachurches” 11 megaprojects: and climate change 187–188 retreat from 139ff, 157 skepticism toward 141–142 taxpayer support for 122, 150 Megatrends and Megatrends 2000 (Naisbitt and Aburdene) 168 Men Like Gods (Wells) 251 mercantilism 77 Metamorphosis (Ovid) 47 Mexico 23 mice, as subjects of research 125 Micklethwait, John 11 Microsoft 158, 192 “middle landscape” 85 military technology 238 millenarian movements 8 God and millenarianism 8, 10 Christians and millenarianism 8, 10 Judaism and millenarianism 8, 10 Mormonism 10 and Pansophism 54–55 and utopia 55 Miller, Lisa 12 Mitchell, General Billy 142 Mizora: A Prophecy (Lane) 92 Model T car 165 Modern Times in Maine and America, 1890–1930 191 “Modernization” theory 102ff, 114 over-reliance on technology 105 Index 279 Mojave Desert, California 151 monkeys, genetically modiﬁed 125 Montgomery, David 212 Montreal Expo 1967 246 Moon and the Ghetto: An Essay on Public Policy Analysis, The (Nelson) 117 Moon landing 139, 140, 141, 190, 200 moon landing fraud claims 141 More, Thomas 23, 42, 58, 247 coining of term utopia 5 and history 164 and utopias 251 utopia described 48–50 see also Utopia Morison, George Shattuck 89–90 Mormonism 10 Morozov, Evgeny 189 Morris, William 17, 32, 58–59, 60, 237, 254 see also News from Nowhere Mosquito Coast, The 202 Mumford, Lewis 1, 106, 245, 246 music, digitization of 221 Mussolini, Benito 98 MySpace 205 Naisbitt, John 161, 162, 168, 186 Nantucket Sound 150 NASA 7, 140 National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) 213–214 National Park Service 238–239 National Science Foundation (NSF) 99, 100, 115 Native Americans 81 natural user interface 220 Nazi Germany 104, 244 Nazism and utopia 188 280 Index Negroponte, Nicholas 161–162, 163, 186 Nehru, Jawaharlal 172 Nelson, Richard 117 Neo-Confucian thought 19–20 Net Delusion, The: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom (Morozov) 189 Neumann, Franz 109 Neumann, John Von 160 New Atlantis, The (Bacon) 53, 251 Condorcet on 56 New Christianity, The (Le Nouveau Christianisme) (SaintSimon) 57 New Deal 106, 159 New England 3, 24, 27, 147, 150, 156, 249 New Harmony, Indiana. settlement at 60 New Lanark Mills, Scotland 60, 62, 64 New View of Society A (Owen) 62 New World and Old World compared 24, 244 New World Order 242 New World, The; Or, Mechanical System to Perform the Labours of Man and Beast by Inanimate Powers, that Cost Nothing (Etzler) 78 New York City’s New School for Social Research 97 New York Public Library 242, 245, 254 New York World’s Fair World of Tomorrow 1939–1940 164, 240 News from Nowhere (Morris) 17, 32, 59–60, 237 newspapers and digital media 218, 221–222 Newton Message Pad 219 Newton, Isaac 55, 219 Nexi the robot 126 Nixon, President Richard 108, 155 Noble, David F 187, 190, 207, 216 non-utopian reform 244 North Americans, early European perceptions of 244 North Vietnam 105–106 Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History (Lefkowitz) 171 Noyce, Robert 158 Noyes, John Humphrey 10, 27, 28 nuclear industry: France 152 Germany 152 Japan 152 US 142–156 nuclear power 142–157 being “too cheap to meter” 156 changing attitudes toward 146–147 experts and 155–156 leakage of tritium 153 and power station decommissioning 148, 149–150 possibility of disaster 154–155 nuclear weaponry 187 Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) 148, 149, 153, 154 Nutty Professor, The 201 Nye, David 81, 168, 169, 190, 237 Nyhan, David 148–149 O’Neil, Gerard 9 Obama, President Barack 140, 151 Ofﬁce of Science and Technology Policy 108 Ofﬁce of Technology Assessment (OTA) 117–119, 121 One Laptop per Child 161 Oneida community 10, 24, 27–28 daughter communities 28 open marriage in 27, 199 Oneida Limited 28 “Oneida Perfectionists” 28 ordinary readers and utopian writings 11, 139, 254 Organization Man, The (Whyte) 114–115 original sin 8 Orwell, George 14, 124, 166 Other America, The (Harrington) 101 Ovid 47 Owen, Robert 53, 60–64, 66, 67 and drawbacks of industrialization 62 inﬂuence on Japan 196 utopian plans 62–63 see also New Harmony, Indiana, New Lanark Mills ozone layer, monitoring of 121 paciﬁsm 26 Packard, David 158 Page, Larry 158 Palestine 25, 35 Pansophists 48, 52, 53–55 Paradise Within the Reach of All Men, Without Labor, By Powers of Nature and Machinery, The (Etzler) 79 parents, children, and technology 239 Paris exposition 1937 35, 251–252 Paris Peace Conference 1919 251 Paris World’s Fair 1900 251, 253 Pasteur, Louis 120–121 Index 281 Pasteur’s Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation (Stokes) 120 patriot missiles 238 Peale, Norman Vincent 168, 208 Pelle, Kimberly 36 Pentagon 109 People of Plenty: Economic Abundance and the American Character (Potter) 101 Performance Measurement for World Class Manufacturing 212 Perrin, Noel 234, 235 Perry, Commodore Matthew 20 Persian Gulf War 1991 238 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life 11–12 Pew Research Center for the People 116 phalansteries 29, 64–65 Physics of Star Trek, The (Krauss) 202 Picasso, Pablo 35, 252 Piercy, Marge 92 Pilgrims, US 24 Pindar 47 Plato 13, 47, 48, 50, 123 podcast 218–219 Point East Maritime Village, Wiscasset 150 Pol Pot 243 “Politics of Consensus in an Age of Afﬂuence, The” 106 politics, afﬂuence, and knowledge 106–107 signiﬁcance of political power 109 Positivism 58 Post Shredded Wheat 191 post-9/11 period 142 “post-colonial” critique of Western imperialism 169–173 post-Millennialists 8, 27 282 Index post-modern skepticism and relativism 160 Postrel, Virginia 161, 164, 186 post-World War II period, beliefs, and projects 160 Potter, David 101, 102 poverty and progress 82 Prague Spring 1968 268 Prakash, Gyan 171, 172 Preface to Democratic Theory, A (Dahl) 106 pre-Millennialists 8 Press and the American Association 116 primitivism 92 Productivity for the Academic World 212 Productivity Press 212 professional forecasting 160–169 failures of 160–161 Progress and Poverty (George) 82 proletariat 66 public faith in government and scientiﬁc-technological advance 113 Puffer, Erma 145 Puritans, US 24 “Quick Technological Fixes” 107–108, 117 Quindlen, Anna 221 racism 9, 169, 172 radiation, issues with 144–145, 155 Ramo, Simon 110–111, 112, 113, 122, 160 utopian vision of 110, 166 rationalism 55 Reactionary Modernism (Herf) 104 Read and Go 220 Reader Pocket Edition and Reader Touch Edition 220 Reagan, President Ronald 8, 108, 115, 140, 142, 248 real world and the internet 194–195 Recent Social Trends in the United States (Hoover) 102 recovery narrative 81, 237 Reevely, David 221–222 Religion of Technology, The: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention (Noble) 187 religion 169 attitudes toward belief 56 declining beliefs 11–12 freedom of religion 168 religious beliefs and utopianism 9–12, 24, 29–30, 31, 90, 96, 239 in US 25, 26, 103 Western 172 Report to the County of Lanark (Owen) 62, 63 Republic (Plato) 13, 47, 48, 50, 123 Rescher, Nicholas 239–240 Research Applied to National Needs” 115 “Returning to Our Roots” 215, 216 Revenge of the Nerds 201 revolution of rising expectations 50 Ricardson, Ralph 240 Rittel, Horst 112 Road Ahead, The (Gates) 163 Robinson, Kim Stanley 9 robotics, development of 126–127 Roddenberry, Gene 200, 201, 202 Rodriquez, Simon 22 Roebling, John 79 Roemer, Kenneth 254 Rogers, Deborah 193 Rome 1960: The Olympics that Changed the World (Maraniss) 191 Roosevelt, President Franklin 102, 159 Rosas, Juan Manuel de 22 Rostow, Walt 104, 105 Roszak, Theodore 111, 112 Rural Electriﬁcation Administration 94 Ruskin, John 58, 59, 60 Russ, Joanna 92 Rydell, Robert 36, 37 94, Saddam Hussein 11 Saint-Simon, Henri de 22, 52, 56–58, 65, 66 Sale, Kirkpatrick 117 “salvation by technology” 248 Samurai “technology assessment” 235 Sargent, Lyman Tower 16, 253 Satellite (machine developed by Etzler) 79–80, 81 Saunders, Doug 105 Schindler, Solomon 10 Schuller, Robert 168 Science Advisory Committee 106 science and technology 57 science ﬁction 8–9, 199–203, and utopias 201 Science in the National Interest 119–122 Science Wars” 159 “science-driven globalization” 8 Science – The Endless Frontier (V.
Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, California gold rush, Colonization of Mars, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, index card, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, music of the spheres, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, planetary scale, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, Solar eclipse in 1919, technological singularity, the scientific method, transcontinental railway
Imagine, as the writer Bill Bryson has, stepping into a time machine to venture back to the Phanerozoic dawn at a rate of 1 year per second. After ninety minutes, you would find yourself in the Bronze Age, around the time of the construction of Stonehenge, the domestication of the horse, and the founding of Abrahamic religions. A day later, you would be in the middle of the Stone Age, just as small bands of foraging humans began to migrate out of Africa. To reach the beginning of the Cambrian, the base of the Phanerozoic, would take you about 17 years. Now remember that almost a decade of earlier Precambrian time underlies each and every passing Phanerozoic year—departing from the far-distant Cambrian, your year-per-second time machine would take another 125 years to transport you to our planet’s first moments. Or try mapping the Earth’s 4.5 billion years onto a calendar year.
An observer somewhere among the trillion stars of Andromeda, our nearest neighboring spiral, would today see the Earth of 2.5 million years ago, when the forerunners of Homo sapiens were perfecting the production of crude stone tools in sub-Saharan Africa. Seen from the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy swooping near the Milky Way, our world would be locked in the glacial advance of 160,000 B.C., with our ancestors poised to migrate out of Africa as the ice sheets retreated. Within our own galaxy, the echoes are closer to home. Among the open clusters and blue hypergiant stars of the Carina Nebula, somewhere between 6,500 and 10,000 light-years away, the Earth appears as it was during the rise of agriculture and the Bronze Age civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley. Light from the Earth of Thales, Democritus, and other ancient Greeks now washes over the blazing newborn stars and shimmering molecular clouds of the Christmas Tree Cluster, just over 2,500 light-years distant.
QI: The Third Book of General Ignorance (Qi: Book of General Ignorance) by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson
Albert Einstein, British Empire, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, dark matter, double helix, epigenetics, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, music of the spheres, out of africa, Ronald Reagan, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route
Lions don’t live in jungles and they sleep during the day. Almost all wild lions live on the African savannah (apart from the 400 in Gir Forest National Park in India, which isn’t a jungle either). Some lions may have to move as their habitat shrinks – one lioness was spotted in the Ethiopian jungle in 2006, but there’s no evidence she was hunting and breeding there. ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ is the most famous song ever to have come out of Africa. Originally called ‘Mbube’ (Zulu for ‘lion’) it was recorded in 1939 by Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds. During the studio session the Birds sang ‘Mbube, uyiMbube’ (‘Lion, you’re a lion’) while Solomon improvised over the top. It sold 100,000 copies in South Africa alone. It has since been translated into Danish, Japanese, Congolese and Navaho, and broadcast on US radio for the equivalent of 300 years of continuous play.
Tambora’s eruption also led, indirectly, to the writing of Frankenstein – Mary Shelley was on holiday with her husband and Lord Byron near Lake Geneva. If the weather had been nicer, they might have spent the time going on bracing walks. As it was, they were forced to stay inside and think up ghost stories. But Krakatoa and Tambora both pale into insignificance beside the most violent of all volcanic eruptions: Lake Toba in Sumatra (also west of Java). It happened 70,000 years ago, when Homo sapiens had just emerged out of Africa. The eruption ejected nearly 700 cubic miles of debris into the sky – the equivalent of 19 million Empire State Buildings. Toba’s eruption appears to have had a devastating effect on the human race. Genetic analysis shows the population fell to no more than 10,000 and, according to some estimates, as few as 40 breeding couples. There is no definite proof the two are linked, but it seems likely that Toba came very close to wiping out all human life on the planet.
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra
Yet even now there was no hint of what was to come, no clue that this was anything but another evolutionary avatar of a precariously successful predatory ape. The new African form, with its fancy tools, ochre paint and shell-bead ornaments, might have displaced its neighbours, but it would now settle down to enjoy its million years in the sun before gracefully giving way to something new. This time, however, some of the L3 people promptly spilled out of Africa and exploded into global dominion. The rest, as they say, is history. Starting to barter Anthropologists advance two theories to explain the appearance in Africa of these new technologies and people. The first is that it was driven by climate. The volatility of the African weather, sucking human beings into deserts in wet decades and pushing them out again in dry ones, would have placed a premium on adaptability, which in turn selected for new capabilities.
p. 51 ‘the erectus hominid species’. For simplicity, I am going to call all the species of hominid that lived between about 1.5 million and 300,000 years ago ‘erectus hominid’ after the longest-established and most comprehensive name used for hominids of this period. The current fashion is to include four species within this group: H. ergaster earliest in Africa, H. erectus a little later in Asia, H. heidelbergensis coming out of Africa later into Europe and its descendant, H. neanderthalensis. See Foley, R.A. and Lahr, M.M. 2003. On stony ground: Lithic technology, human evolution, and the emergence of culture. Evolutionary Anthropology 12:109–22. p. 51 ‘it was a natural expression of human development’. See Richerson, P. and Boyd, R. 2005. Not by Genes Alone. Chicago University Press: ‘Perhaps we need to entertain the hypothesis that Acheulean bifaces were innately constrained rather than wholly cultural and that their temporal stability stemmed from some component of genetically transmitted psychology.’
Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, megacity, Mercator projection, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day
Jackhammers pound away day and night to construct a giant granite addition to the mosque, as well as a multistory elevated walkway for the throngs of pilgrims walking in centripetal circles around the giant black Kaaba. The fastest-growing source of new visitors to Saudi is not surprisingly the continent with the most rapidly growing number of converts to Islam: Africa. Sixty thousand years ago, there were two main passages for man’s earliest migration out of Africa into Mesopotamia: the Sinai Peninsula and across the Red Sea over the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which like the Bering Strait was as much as a hundred meters lower before the current cycle of climate change. A decade or two from now, that crossing will be much easier again with the planned construction of an ambitious fifty-four-kilometer bridge connecting Djibouti to Yemen. This new Afro-Arabian linkage will feature a strikingly quantum phenomenon: twin cities on either side of the strait—both called Al-Noor, referring to the light of Allah’s guidance.
To my dismay, it turns out my genetic ancestry is a blur of 22 percent Mediterranean (Sampras’s family emigrated from Greece), 17 percent Southeast Asian, 10 percent northern European, and only about 50 percent Southwest Asian. And I thought I was just an un-exotic Punjabi. National Geographic’s data suggests that mankind’s ancestry is mixed in ways few anthropologists even realized. Since man wandered out of Africa over sixty thousand years ago—the first wave of globalization—large-scale genetic mixing has occurred at regular junctures. Native Americans, for example, are descended as much from European and Middle Eastern genes as from the Altai region of Siberia. Maps 35, 36, and 37, corresponding to this chapter, appear in the map insert. — OUR GLOBAL GENETIC DILUTION is not a new phenomenon but a continuous process—accelerating through global connectivity.
It's Our Turn to Eat by Michela Wrong
Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, Doha Development Round, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, Kibera, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shock, out of africa, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, upwardly mobile, young professional, éminence grise
This pre-eminence can in part be traced to Britain's colonial role and the astonishingly resilient memory of ‘a sunny land for shady people’, where English aristocrats swapped wives and downed gin-and-tonics while snorting quantities of recreational drugs. Long before Barack Obama's ancestry came to intrigue the Western public, a pith-helmeted fantasy woven from Ernest Hemingway's tales and Martha Gellhorn's writings, the escapades of the Delamere family, stories of the man-eating lions of Tsavo, Karen Blixen's Out of Africa and the White Mischief cliché – all references irrelevant to ordinary Kenyans but stubbornly sustained by the tourism industry – guaranteed the country a level of brand recognition other African states could only dream about. But there are less romantic reasons for Kenya's disproportionately high profile. The most advanced economy in the region – thanks in part to the network of roads, cities, railroads and ports left by the British – Kenya has held linchpin status ever since independence by mere dint of what it is not.
Kenyans might be killing each other, slum-dwellers occupying one another's shacks and entire neighbourhoods upping sticks on purely tribal lines, but the local media still coyly refused to tell their audience who was doing what to whom. No one, in any case, was listening to the press. Having refused to surrender State House, Kibaki was bent on entrenching his position. Much of the eventual 1,500 death toll could be laid at the door of the government, which announced an unnecessary ban on public demonstrations and then ordered the mainly Kikuyu GSU, issued with live ammunition, to ruthlessly enforce it. Taking the wind out of Africa Union mediation efforts, Kibaki named a partial cabinet whose members, among them Kiraitu Murungi, George Saitoti, John Michuki, Amos Kimunya and Martha Karua, included not only a host of Mount Kenya Mafia hardliners, but any survivors of the Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg scandals who had managed to hold on to their parliamentary seats. Having tumbled into the ditch, the drunk had hauled himself to his feet and headed straight back to the bar to order another beer.
The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman
Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Black Swan, business intelligence, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, follow your passion, future of work, game design, Jeff Bezos, job automation, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, rolodex, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs
Mother Jones (November/December 2010), http://motherjones.com/print/79151 13. John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, Duleesha Kulasooriya, and Dan Elbert, “Measuring the Forces of Long-term Change: The 2010 Shift Index,” Deloitte Center for the Edge (2010), 2, http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-UnitedStates/Local%20Assets/Documents/TMT_us_tmt/Shift%20Index%202010/us_tmt_si_shift%20Index2010_110310.pdf 14. Reed Hastings, as told to Amy Zipkin, “Out of Africa, Onto the Web,” New York Times, December 17, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/jobs/17boss.html 15. Rick Newman, “How Netflix (and Blockbuster) Killed Blockbuster,” U.S. News & World Report, September 23, 2010, http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/flowchart/2010/9/23/how-netflix-and-blockbuster-killed-blockbuster.html 16. Greg Sandoval, “Blockbuster Laughed at Netflix Partnership Offer,” CNET News, December 9, 2010, http://news.cnet.com/8301–31001_3–20025235–261.html 17.
Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine
Attitudes have changed so much now that it is unlikely he would be allowed to escape again. Other species are still poached, but intensive protection over the past five years has at last begun to have an effect. In fact, there have been a number of rhino births and the population now stands at a slightly better twenty-two. Twenty-two. An astounding feature of the situation is this: the eventual value of a rhino horn, by the time it has been shipped out of Africa and fashioned into a piece of tasteless costume jewelry for some rich young Yemeni to strut around and pull girls with, is thousands of dollars. But the poacher himself, the man who goes into the park and risks his life to shoot the actual rhino that all of this time, effort, and money are going into protecting, will get about ten or twelve or fifteen dollars for the horn. So the difference between life or death for one of the rarest and most magnificent animals in the world is actually about twelve dollars.
Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham
Various modern behaviors are seen for the first time around this transition, such as the use of red ocher (presumably as a form of personal decoration), making tools out of bone, and long-distance trade. Increasing behavioral sophistication could also have happened in cooking techniques. An early form of earth oven is the kind of innovation that could have been influential because it would have marked an important advance in cooking efficiency. Hunter-gatherers worldwide used earth ovens that employed hot rocks. The ovens do not appear to have been used by the people who expanded out of Africa more than sixty thousand years ago and colonized the rest of the world, since they are not recorded in Australia until thirty thousand years ago. However, it is possible that a simpler design, now vanished and forgotten, may have been used in earlier times. In recent earth ovens the hot rocks provide an even, long-lasting heat. A typical procedure recorded in 1927 among the Aranda of central Australia involved digging a hole, filling it with a pile of dry wood, and topping that with large stones that did not crack when heated—often river cobblestones that had to be carried from a distance.
The Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman
By luck I found David Wambugo, lounging in his taxi in downtown Nairobi, his feet up on the open doorway. There were thousands of taxis and they were all hustling me, but something about Wambugo caught my eye. He had shoulder-length dreadlocks and the whites of his eyes were as red as if they’d been caught by a too-close camera flash, but there was kindness in them. I hired him take me to the house where Karen Blixen, the author of Out of Africa, had lived, and on the way back into town I asked him if he knew any matatu drivers that I could spend the day with. Yes, he said, and in minutes he was on his cell phone and it was all arranged: he’d pick me up at my hotel at five the following morning. It was still dark the next morning when I left my hotel, and there he was. “Come on,” he said, “they have picked up the matatu and they are on their way.”
What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live by Rachel Botsman, Roo Rogers
Airbnb, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bike sharing scheme, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, George Akerlof, global village, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, information retrieval, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, out of africa, Parkinson's law, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Simon Kuznets, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, South of Market, San Francisco, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, web of trust, women in the workforce, Zipcar
Jeffrey Taylor, “The History of Leasing,” http://fbibusiness.com/history_of_leasing.htm. 8. Statistics taken from the American Rental Association. Retrieved August 2009, www.ararental.org. 9. R. Meijkamp, Changing Consumer Behavior Through Eco-Efficient Services: An Empirical Study of Car Sharing in the Netherlands,” Design for Sustainability Research Programme, Delft University of Technology (2000), 296. 10. Reed Hastings quoted in Amy Zipkin, “Out of Africa, onto the Web,” New York Times (December 17, 2006), www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/jobs/17boss.html?_r=2. 11. Joan O’C. Hamilton, “Home Movies,” Stanford Magazine, www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2006/janfeb/features/netflix.html. 12. Statistics retrieved from Netflix.com, September 2009, www.netflix.com/MediaCenter?id=5379&hnjr=8#facts. 13. Ibid. 14. Quote taken from interview with Zilok CEO on NBC (June, 3 2008).
Surrender or Starve: Travels in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea by Robert D. Kaplan
The Wall Street Journal, “The Battle for North Yemen.” Kaplan, Robert D. (June 1986). The American Spectator “Behind Ethiopia's Hunger.” Kaplan, Robert D. October 29, 1986. Wall Street Journal/Europe, “Why Sudan Starves on Western Aid.” Kaplan, Robert D. (April 1987). (Book Review). The American Spectator “The Harvest of Sorrow by Robert Conquest” Kaplan, Robert D. July 6, 1987. The New Republic, “Out of Africa.” Keating, Robert. (July 1986). Spin “Live Aid: The Terrible Truth.” Keating, Robert. (September 1986). Spin “Sympathy for the Devil.” Legum, Colin. May 20, 1986. International Herald Tribune, “Ethiopia: A Regime of Torture.” Matthews, Christopher J. January 21, 1985. The New Republic, “The Road to Korem.” May, Clifford D. September 29, 1985. The New York Times, “War Rivals Drought in Africa's Hunger Crisis.”
air freight, Asian financial crisis, British Empire, Doha Development Round, failed state, falling living standards, income inequality, out of africa, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, trade liberalization
Those in power loot public money and get it safely abroad. This is surely part of the story, but it is not at the heart of what is going on. For example, Indonesia had corruption on a world-class scale. President Suharto took what we might politely term “Asian family values” to extraordinary heights of paternalistic generosity. But most of the money stayed in the country. Africans took their money, whether corruptly acquired or honestly acquired, out of Africa because the opportunities for investment were so poor. One reason why the investment opportunities were so poor was because the countries were stuck in one or another of the traps. Capital flight was a response to the traps. In the sophisticated language of professional economics, capital flight was a “portfolio choice”: people were holding their assets where they would yield a reasonable and a safe return.
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
Berlin Wall, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, Copley Medal, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, laissez-faire capitalism, Lao Tzu, multiplanetary species, out of africa, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade
They survive in our homes today as living reminders of bygone eras, fluid testaments to the forces that shaped the modern world. Uncover their origins, and you may never look at your favorite drink in quite the same way again. BEER in MESOPOTAMIA and EGYPT 1 A Stone-Age Brew Fermentation and civilization are inseparable. —John Ciardi, American poet (1916-86) A Pint of Prehistory THE HUMANS WHO migrated out of Africa starting around 50,000 years ago traveled in small nomadic bands, perhaps thirty strong, and lived in caves, huts, or skin tents. They hunted game, caught fish and shellfish, and gathered edible plants, moving from one temporary camp to another to exploit seasonal food supplies. Their tools included bows and arrows, fishhooks, and needles. But then, starting around 12,000 years ago, a remarkable shift occurred.
How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance by Parag Khanna
Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, bank run, blood diamonds, borderless world, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, don't be evil, double entry bookkeeping, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, global village, Google Earth, high net worth, index fund, informal economy, invisible hand, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, Masdar, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, private military company, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, sustainable-tourism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, X Prize
Because he shares commissions on investments fifty-fifty with local brokers, he provides a great incentive for them to act professionally. “In sixteen years in Africa I’ve never had a customer fail, a trade not fulfilled. They have the same Bloomberg terminals in Zambia and do the trades in real time like rich countries do.” When the public sector alone ran the show in Africa, more capital fled out of Africa and into European banks than came into Africa in investment. Now, growth in Burundi and Tanzania has been greater than 7 percent for several years straight, savings rates are increasing, and cell phone and Internet usage have doubled every year. When Botswana’s president Festus Mogae visits the United States, he courts private equity firms and hedge fund managers and reminds them that investments in Africa can return more than 300 percent, impossible anywhere else in the world.
The South American sequences of Cobra Verde always felt heavy to me; the African part of the story is much more interesting. What audiences see of the continent are things they aren’t used to, like court rituals and flag signals along the coast, and the wonderfully anarchic and chaotic crowd scenes have real life to them. In most films set in Africa the place is portrayed either as a crumbling, primitive and dangerous place full of savages, or with a kind of Out of Africa nostalgia. Cobra Verde deviates from all that. I set out to show things that had been ignored, like the continent’s sophisticated and complex social structures, its kingdoms, tribes and hierarchies. I even managed to get His Royal Highness Nana Agyefi Kwame II, the real king of Nsein, to play the king of Dahomey. He was a wonderful and dignified man who brought three hundred members of his court with him to the set.
., 1, 2, 3, 4 Music Room, The (Ray), 1, 2 My Best Fiend: filming, 1, 2, 3; Fitzcarraldo material, 1, 2; Golder’s role, 1, 2, 3n; material and stories, 1, 2, 3; opening, 1; relationship between Herzog and Kinski, 1; responses to, 1 My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5n Nain et géant (Méliès), 1 Nana Agyefi Kwame II, 1 Nanga Parbat, 1, 2 NASA, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 National Enquirer, 1 Nazarin (Buñuel), 1 Nazism: Aguirre question, 1; attitudes to, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; capital punishment, 1; Eisner’s career, 1, 2; German cinema, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; Jewish survivors, 1; Nosferatu rats, 1; occupation of Greece, 1; origins, 1; rise, 1, 2; threat, 1, 2 New German Cinema, 1, 2 New York Film Festival, 1, 2, 3 Newton, Isaac, 1, 2 Nicaragua, 1, 2, 3, 4 Nicholson, Jack, 1 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 1, 2 Nigger of the Narcissus, The (Conrad), 1 No One Will Play with Me, 1 Nosferatu: cameraman, 1; casting, 1; character of Nosferatu, 1; filming, 1, 2; image of Renfield, 1; importance to Herzog, 1; Kinski in, 1, 2; landscapes, 1, 2; language, 1; light and darkness in, 1; material in Aguirre, 1; mummies in, 1; Murnau’s film, 1, 2, 3; music, 1, 2; place in Herzog’s career, 1, 2; rats in, 1, 2; rejected by Cannes, 1; Renfield role, 1; responses to, 1, 2; script, 1, 2; Twentieth Century Fox, 1, 2, 3, 4; vampire myth, 1 Oberhausen Film Festival, 1, 2, 3, 4 Oberhausen Manifesto, 1, 2n, 3, 4 O’Connor, Flannery, 1 Ode to the Dawn of Man, 1 Of Walking in Ice, 1, 2 Okello, John, 1 On the Black Hill (Chatwin), 1 On Death Row, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Ondaatje, Michael, 1 Ophüls, Marcel, 1 Oppenheimer, Joshua, 1 Oresteia (Aeschylus), 1, 2 Orwell, George, 1 Out of Africa (Pollack), 1 Oxford English Dictionary, 1, 2 Pabst, Georg Wilhelm, 1 Pacheco, David, 1 Pachelbel, 1 Pacific Film Archive, 1, 2 Padre Padrone (Taviani brothers), 1, 2 Paganini, Niccolò, 1, 2 Palovak, Jewel, 1 Parsifal (Wagner), 1, 2 Pascal, Blaise, 1 Pashov, Stefan, 1 Pasolini, Pier Paolo, 1, 2 Passion of the Christ (Gibson), 1 Passion of Joan of Arc, The (Dreyer), 1, 2 Penn, Zak, 1, 2 Pepin the Short, 1 Peregrine, The (Baker), 1 Perry, Michael, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Perth Film Festival, 1 Peters, Jon, 1 Petit, Philippe, 1 Petrarch, 1 Physics of Star Trek, The (Krauss), 1, 2n Picasso, Pablo, 1, 2 Pilgrimage, 1, 2 Pinochet, Augusto, 1 Pitt, Brad, 1 Pittsburgh, 1, 2, 3 Plage, Dieter, 1 Plainfield, Wisconsin, 1 Planète sauvage, La (Laloux), 1 Plateau, Joseph, 1 Poetic Edda, 1, 2 Pohle, Rolf, 1 Popol Vuh, 1 Popol Vuh (band), 1, 2 Prawer, S.
The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language by Steven Pinker
Albert Einstein, cloud computing, David Attenborough, double helix, Drosophila, elephant in my pajamas, finite state, illegal immigration, Loebner Prize, Maui Hawaii, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, out of africa, P = NP, phenotype, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, Turing test, Yogi Berra
Strikingly, this non-obvious racial grouping corresponds to the non-obvious linguistic grouping of Japanese, Korean, and Altaic with Indo-European in Nostratic, separate from the Sino-Tibetan family in which Chinese is found. The branches of the hypothetical genetic/linguistic family tree can be taken to depict the history of Homo sapiens sapiens, from the African population in which mitochondrial Eve was thought to evolve 200,000 years ago, to the migrations out of Africa 100,000 years ago through the Middle East to Europe and Asia, and from there, in the past 50,000 years, to Australia, the islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and the Americas. Unfortunately, the genetic and migrational family trees are almost as controversial as the linguistic one, and any part of this interesting story could unravel in the next few years. A correlation between language families and human genetic groupings does not, by the way, mean that there are genes that make it easier for some kinds of people to learn some kinds of languages.
Homo erectus, which spread from Africa across much of the old world from 1.5 million to 500,000 years ago (all the way to China and Indonesia), controlled fire and almost everywhere used the same symmetrical, well-crafted stone hand-axes. It is easy to imagine some form of language contributing to such successes, though again we cannot be sure. Modern Homo sapiens, which is thought to have appeared about 200,000 years ago and to have spread out of Africa 100,000 years ago, had skulls like ours and much more elegant and complex tools, showing considerable regional variation. It is hard to believe that they lacked language, given that biologically they were us, and all biologically modern humans have language. This elementary fact, by the way, demolishes the date most commonly given in magazine articles and textbooks for the origin of language: 30,000 years ago, the age of the gorgeous cave art and decorated artifacts of Cro-Magnon humans in the Upper Paleolithic.
QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John
Ada Lovelace, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, clean water, double helix, Etonian, ghettoisation, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, out of africa, the built environment, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman
Neanderthals had barrel-shaped chests and broad, projecting noses – traits some palaeoanthropologists believe helped them breathe better when chasing prey in cold environments. They had bigger brains than modern humans, but they couldn’t run as fast and were shorter and less adept at using tools. What they lacked in height they made up for in strength: Neanderthal females had bigger biceps than the average male human does today. Humans and Neanderthals diverged into separate species somewhere between 440,000 and 270,000 years ago. Early Neanderthals moved out of Africa into the Middle East and northern Europe much sooner than Homo sapiens did, and lived there for four times as long. They became extinct 30,000 years ago (the last recorded Neanderthal community was on Gibraltar), which means that humans and Neanderthals coexisted for at least 12,000 years. No one knows why the Neanderthals died out. Were they out-competed by humans or did they (for some unknown reason) fail to adapt to the last Ice Age, when Europe became a frozen, sparsely vegetated semi-desert?
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
I have always dreamed of returning to the site of this unwitting baptism, not because there was anything remarkable about the place, but because my memory is void before it. That garden with the two whitewashed huts was my infant Eden and the Mbagathi my personal river. But on a larger timescale Africa is Eden to us all, the ancestral garden whose Darwinian memories have been carved into our DNA over millions of years until our recent worldwide ‘Out of Africa’ diaspora. It was at least partly the search for roots, our species’ ancestors and my own childhood garden, that took me back to Kenya in December 1994. My wife Lalla happened to sit next to Richard Leakey at a lunch to launch his The Origin of Humankind 141 and by the end of the meal he had invited her (and me) to spend Christmas with his family in Kenya. Could there be a better beginning to a search for roots than a visit to the Leakey family on their home ground?
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith
British Empire, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Drosophila, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, Gary Taubes, Haber-Bosch Process, McMansion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, peak oil, placebo effect, Rosa Parks, the built environment
He corresponded with doctors in Africa who witnessed the increase in cancer in populations that had been cancer-free, concomitant with their acculturation to European foods. My favorite Tanchou quote: “Cancer, like insanity, seems to increase with the progress of civilization.” Doctors across Africa submitted reports detailing essentially the same observations to publications like the British Medical Journal and The Lancet. And not just out of Africa. Articles and indeed entire books on the health of Native Americans from across North America appeared during the beginning of the twentieth century, drawing the same conclusions. Farther afield, British doctors reported from distant Fiji, where, among 120,000 Aborigines, there were exactly two reported cancer deaths.171 This continued on into the mid-twentieth century. As late as 1952, an article out of Queen’s University in Ontario opened with, “It is commonly stated that cancer does not occur in Eskimos, and to our knowledge no case has so far been 206 The Vegetarian Myth reported.”172 Remember, those people were eating a diet that was 80 percent animal fat.
barriers to entry, corporate social responsibility, currency peg, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, full employment, illegal immigration, new economy, out of africa, price discrimination, unpaid internship, urban planning
When one woman, a tall redhead, stopped and looked dispassionately at the display, I asked her if she thought they were. “They’re real all right,” she said, surprised that I would be working at the exhibition but did not seem to know the difference. She then explained how you could tell. It had to do with how the light refracted from the diamonds. I thanked her for the easy lesson, and I asked her what she was doing at the show. She was from Dallas, Texas, but worked primarily out of Africa. Her business had her joining safaris there, and she sought out a particular kind of high-end adventure, one that put her in the company of big-game hunters who were spectacularly wealthy. On these hunting trips, she wore jewelry she had designed herself. Looking at just the necklace she wore, I could imagine her decked out in a safari outfit with jewels dangling about her neck, ears, and wrists, while holding an elephant gun.
Living in a Material World: The Commodity Connection by Kevin Morrison
barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, clean water, commodity trading advisor, diversified portfolio, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, energy security, European colonialism, flex fuel, food miles, Hernando de Soto, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, hydrogen economy, Long Term Capital Management, new economy, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, out of africa, peak oil, price mechanism, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, young professional
This cartel also appeared to have the blessing of Western governments and the US called for an international agreement to coordinate production and marketing of copper (Walters, 1944). But even government agreements lost their meaning upon the outbreak of the Second World War, which terminated the cartel. The 1930s saw the emergence of copper supplies from more countries. The American grip on the copper market loosened, and African copper production started to take hold. 202 | LIVING IN A MATERIAL WORLD Out of Africa From 1870 to 1939 global copper production rose twenty-fold, far greater than the increases in lead, tin and zinc (Fetter, 1999), with the higher output coming from Chile, Canada, Northern Rhodesia and Belgian Congo. Just as in the battles of antiquity, copper was again used in warfare, but on a bigger scale during the Second World War: ‘Copper played a fundamental part in the slaughter that took place during the war with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth devoured by the assembly lines that made brass cartridges and cannon shells.
Culture Shock! Costa Rica 30th Anniversary Edition by Claire Wallerstein
THE COUNTRY For its size, Costa Rica is one of the most physically diverse countries imaginable. Local newspaper advertisements announce houses for sale just 15 minutes outside San José and boast of their ‘great climate’. It’s not a joke, as within the space of just a few miles, the topography, vegetation and temperature can go from being strongly reminiscent of rolling Devon hills to something more like Out of Africa. 38 CultureShock! Costa Rica One of the country’s most distinctive features is its volcanoes. Seven of them are active and straddle the meeting place of two tectonic plates along the Paciﬁc Rim of Fire. These also give rise to frequent earth tremors, occasional quakes and have helped build the three mountain ranges that run through the country. Costa Rica’s spine is the continental divide, rising to 3,820 m (12,533 ft) at Mount Chirripó in the Talamanca range, the second highest peak in Central America.
Dreaming in Public: Building the Occupy Movement by Amy Lang, Daniel Lang/levitsky
Bay Area Rapid Transit, bonus culture, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, housing crisis, Kibera, late capitalism, Naomi Klein, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Port of Oakland, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, the medium is the message, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, white flight, working poor
When I was invented I was told I was less because I am Nigerian, that I did not have certain opportunities. I will not go to a good school. I will live with the fact of darkness, without electricity. Etc etc. Now I am reinventing my own dialogue, I am taking apart my absence-and-hole-shaped existence. I am filling up the blank spaces. I am writing my story, my essence, my self. I am a young Nigerian. ‘Out of Africa always comes something new,’ some ancient Roman historian is supposed to have said. Because I am young I am burdened by the New. I know of the past injustices, the failed sunsets. I know of being labeled, being called a money-monger because I am Ibo, a fraudster because I am Nigerian, futureless because I am African. Yet, I am willing to look to the New, I am willing to constructively forget, to walk through the past and leave the past in the past.
An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies by Tyler Cowen
agricultural Revolution, big-box store, business climate, carbon footprint, cognitive bias, cross-subsidies, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, food miles, guest worker program, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, informal economy, iterative process, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, price discrimination, refrigerator car, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Upton Sinclair, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce
You Decide (Los Angeles: Keats Publishing, 1998), p. 45. On ecoterrorism in Spain, see http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/uprooting-ecoterrorism-syngenta-gm-crops-sabotaged-in-spain/. On the Amish and GMOs, see for instance http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7745726.stm. On GMOs in Africa, and also on European regulations, see Robert Paarlberg, Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009). 8. Eating Your Way to a Greener Planet On Ed Begley, see for instance http://www.johnnyjet.com/folder/archive/I-Flew-with-Ed-Begley-Jr-Possibly-the-Greenest-Person-Alive.html, http://www.edbegley.com/environment/tipsandfaq.html. On Mathias Gelber, see http://greenmanplanet.blogspot.com/. For one article on Mike Duke and Wal-Mart, see Tom Rooney, “The greenest man alive is… Mike Duke of Wal-Mart!”
agricultural Revolution, Columbian Exchange, demographic transition, double helix, European colonialism, food miles, Francisco Pizarro, Haber-Bosch Process, Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, out of africa, planetary scale, premature optimization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade
Smithsonian Institution. N.d. What does it mean to be human? http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-evolution-timeline-interactive. Sol, D., R. Duncan, T. Blackburn, P. Cassey, and L. Lefebvre. 2005. Big brains, enhanced cognition, and response of birds to novel environments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102:5460–5465. Stewart, J., and C. Stringer. 2012. Human evolution out of Africa: The role of refugia and climate change. Science 335:1317–1321. Strimling, P., M. Enquist, and K. Eriksson. 2009. Repeated learning makes cultural evolution unique. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106:13870–13874. Sweeney, M., and S. McCouch. 2007. The complex history of the domestication of rice. Annals of Botany 100:951–957. Tanno, K., and G. Willcox. 2006. How fast was wild wheat domesticated?
Hidden Family by Stross, Charles
“Old masters,” Paulette said promptly. “Huh?” “Old masters.” She put her mug down. “Listen, they haven’t had a world war, have they?” “Nope, I’m afraid they have,” Miriam said, checking her watch to see if she could take another pain killer yet. “In fact, they’ve had two. One in the eighteen-nineties that cost them India. The second in the nineteen-fifties that, well, basically New Britain got kicked out of Africa. Africa is a mess of French and Spanish colonies. But they got a strong alliance with Japan and the Netherlands, which also rule most of northwest Germany. And they rule South America and Australia and most of East Asia.” “No tanks? No H-bombs? No strategic bombers?” “No.” Miriam paused. “Are you saying—” “Museum catalogues!” Paulie said excitedly. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot while you’ve been gone.
The Places in Between by Rory Stewart
I was thinking in phrases that resembled the names of motor rallies: "Isfahan—Herat," "Kabul—Multan," "Istanbul—Hanoi." I designed a journey around the world that would finish where I began in Turkey. I thought about evolutionary historians who argued that walking was a central part of what it meant to be human. Our two-legged motion was what first differentiated us from the apes. It freed our hands for tools and carried us on the long marches out of Africa. As a species, we colonized the world on foot. Most of human history was created through contacts conducted at walking pace, even when some rode horses. I thought of the pilgrimages to Compostela in Spain; to Mecca; to the source of the Ganges; and of wandering dervishes, sadhus, and friars who approached God on foot. The Buddha meditated by walking and Wordsworth composed sonnets while striding beside the lakes.
The Weather of the Future by Heidi Cullen
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, air freight, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, availability heuristic, back-to-the-land, bank run, California gold rush, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, energy security, illegal immigration, Isaac Newton, megacity, millennium bug, out of africa, Silicon Valley, smart cities, trade route, urban planning, Y2K
The dessication is considered by many scientists to be one of the most striking examples of climate variability the world has seen. A looming question now facing climate scientists is: when will another drought of this magnitude occur? Another question is: if and when such a drought recurs, who will emerge as the winner—the people or the sand? During the 1970s, striking images of this crisis made their way out of Africa and reached television screens and magazine covers all over the world. The pictures of barren landscapes and children with haunting eyes and distended bellies led to coordinated international humanitarian efforts to help reduce the suffering. The crisis also revived a long-standing debate within the scientific community over the fundamental causes of drought. The debate centered on the concept of desertification, a process whereby productive land is transformed into desert as a result of human mismanagement.9 The issue of desertification dates back to the 1930s, during colonial rule in west Africa.
Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
It lingered in my mind, the secondhand memory of someone else’s memories, as strange and unresolved as the memory of a dream. Three years later, I saw Deo again. I had arranged to meet him at a coffee shop in Hanover, New Hampshire, and I asked him for the story of his escape. He told it briefly at first. His six months on the run, with all their horrors, went by in only minutes. But then, once he was safely out of Africa and had arrived at JFK, his accounting grew detailed. As he went on, telling me how he had stood alone in line at Immigration, I began to sense he was no longer in the coffee shop with me. He was describing the moment when he understood that the Russian journalist wasn’t going to help him. His voice was steady. He didn’t seem to realize that tears were rolling down his cheeks. Deo told me details of his story gradually, over the next two years.
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
If the strains come from different continents, they should be quite different from each other. One possibility is that the Reston strain originated in Africa and flew to the Philippines on an airplane not long ago. In other words, Ebola has already entered the net and has been traveling lately. The experts do not doubt that a virus can hop around the world in a matter of days. Perhaps Ebola came out of Africa and landed in Asia a few years back. Perhaps—this is only a guess—Ebola traveled to Asia inside wild African animals. There have been rumors that wealthy people in the Philippines who own private estates in the rain forest have been importing African animals illegally, releasing them into the Philippine jungle, and hunting them. If Ebola lives in African game animals—in leopards or lions or in Cape buffalo—it might have traveled to the Philippines that way.
West With the Night by Beryl Markham
Ostrich and civet cat have contributed more to the requirements of civilized society, but I think it not unjust to say that the zebra clan, in spite of it all, is unaffected by its failure to join in the march of time. I base this conclusion on a very warm friendship that developed, not too long ago to remember, between myself and a young zebra. My father, who has raised and trained some of the best Thoroughbreds to come out of Africa, once had a filly named Balmy. He chose all of the names for his horses with painstaking care, sometimes spending many evenings at his desk on our farm at Njoro jotting down possibilities by the light of a kerosene lamp. Balmy was selected for this particular filly because no other name suited her so precisely. She was neither vicious nor stubborn, she was very fast on the track, and she responded intelligently to training.
Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century by James R. Flynn
The correlations are preceded by a minus because there was a negative correlation between untreated parasitic conditions and mean IQ. The correlation was −0.82 for both the set of 113 nations and the set of 192. They also found correlations of similar size within the world’s six major geographic regions with the exception, oddly, of South America. Eppig et al. controlled for temperature and distance from Africa to test an evolutionary scenario called “out of Africa.” Lynn (1987) and Rushton (1995) posit that extreme cold creates a more challenging environment, one that maximizes selection for genes for intelligence. During the Ice Ages, the ancestors of East Asians are supposed to have been north of the Himalayas where the cold was most intense, the ancestors of whites north of the Alps where the cold was next worst, and the ancestors of blacks still in Africa where it was relatively warm.
Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford
affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, Inbox Zero, income inequality, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, microbiome, out of africa, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Turing test, urban decay
• • • Come the Second World War, the Italians were the Germans’ allies, but they seemed as prone as ever to losing battles. At the end of 1940 and beginning of 1941, a small British army under General Richard O’Connor had destroyed a vastly larger Italian force in North Africa, taking 130,000 prisoners and pushing the Italians back from the borders of Egypt to the middle of Libya. It seemed likely that the British would soon advance to Tripoli itself, driving the Italians out of Africa entirely. Faced with this alarming prospect, the Italians accepted Hitler’s offer of assistance—a small, defensive detachment, just one division of tanks and one division of mechanized infantry. It was led by General Rommel.16 Rommel was flushed with success after the Blitzkrieg* invasion of France, when his panzer tanks had surged far ahead of their own troops, roaming freely behind French lines and taking 97,000 prisoners.
The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money by Frederik Obermaier
banking crisis, blood diamonds, credit crunch, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Snowden, family office, high net worth, income inequality, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, out of africa, race to the bottom, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks
Half the world’s diamond deposits are found on African territory, along with a quarter of the world’s gold reserves, 10 per cent of oil reserves and 9 per cent of gas reserves. And then there’s uranium, mineral ores, and much more. The population gets virtually nothing from it: the money simply disappears, into the accounts of large multinational companies or the safes of the elite. Experts estimate that more than $50 billion flows out of Africa every year. $50 billion! On top of that, the African states avoid paying about $38 billion in taxes, because companies operating there divert their profits to tax havens, as revealed in 2013 by a group of experts led by Kofi Annan. After the meeting in Johannesburg, we and our colleagues continue to find links to Africa on an almost daily basis. We find a company founded by Mossfon that the government of Gabon accuses of having evaded taxes worth $85 million, then we find the wife of a former president of Ghana in the data, and then a former Nigerian president of OPEC.
Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama
Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Columbine, demographic transition, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, impulse control, life extension, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, Scientific racism, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Turing test
We know, for example, that different population groups around the world have different distributions of blood types; roughly 40 percent of Europeans have type O blood, while Native Americans have almost exclusively type O.12 The alleles that are linked to sickle-cell anemia are more common among African-Americans than among whites. The population geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza has mapped out a speculative history of past migrations of early humans as they wandered out of Africa to different parts of the globe, based on distributions of mitochondrial DNA (that is, DNA that is contained within the mitochondria, outside the cell nucleus, which is inherited from the mother’s side).13 He has gone further, linking these populations to the development of languages, and has provided a history of early language evolution in the absence of written records. This kind of scientific knowledge, even in the absence of a technology that makes use of it, has important political implications.
Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible by Stephen Braun, Douglas Farah
air freight, airport security, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, Mikhail Gorbachev, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Plutocrats, plutocrats, private military company
It’s up to the individual member states to act.”25 By 1993, Bout had turned to South Africa as a base of operations on the continent. Although many of his aircraft were already operating out of Sharjah in the UAE, Bout began using Pietersburg Airport, 180 miles northeast of Johannesburg, as a hub from which he could ply his assorted trades. Bout was already flying gladiolas and other flower species out of Africa to the UAE, at a considerable profit. He began flying beef and poultry from South Africa to other African nations. On a continent with little transportation infrastructure, air freight was the only way to move perishable goods any distance, and Bout’s companies soon grew from the original three to several dozen. Aircraft that Bout could acquire for $30,000 would pay for themselves after just two or three flights.
The Post-American World: Release 2.0 by Fareed Zakaria
affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, airport security, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, global reserve currency, global supply chain, illegal immigration, interest rate derivative, knowledge economy, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, mutually assured destruction, new economy, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Washington Consensus, working-age population, young professional
The familiar theme of imperial decline is playing itself out one more time. History is happening again. But whatever the apparent similarities, the circumstances are not really the same. Britain was a strange superpower. Historians have written hundreds of books explaining how London could have adopted certain foreign policies to change its fortunes. If only it had avoided the Boer War, say some. If only it had stayed out of Africa, say others. Niall Ferguson provocatively suggests that, had Britain stayed out of World War I (and there might not have been a world war without British participation), it might have managed to preserve its great-power position. There is some truth to this line of reasoning (World War I did bankrupt Britain), but to put things properly in historical context, it is worth looking at this history from another angle.
The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization by Richard Baldwin
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, buy low sell high, call centre, Columbian Exchange, Commodity Super-Cycle, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, domestication of the camel, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial intermediation, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Henri Poincaré, imperial preference, industrial robot, invention of agriculture, invention of the telegraph, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Dyson, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, low skilled workers, market fragmentation, New Economic Geography, out of africa, paper trading, Pax Mongolica, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Second Machine Age, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, telerobotics, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus
., “Orbital and Millennial Antarctic Climate Variability over the Past 800,000 Years,” Science 317, no. 5839 (2007): 793–797; based on Arctic Dome C ice cores. The DNA and archaeological data suggest that about forty millennia ago, humans were continuously present in Africa, Asia, and Australia (Figure 5). Northern Europe was settled somewhat later, say, 35,000 years ago. Around fifteen millennia ago, people entered the Americas; by 12,000 years ago they had reached Patagonia. This phase of globalization—within Africa and then out of Africa—lasted about 185 millennia. FIGURE 5: Globalization of the human race. The human race dispersed across the Middle East, Asia, and Australia over a span of tens of thousands of years. Europe, which was much less hospitable to human life, was populated tens of thousands of years later, sometime after 30,000 years ago. Much later, modern humans reached the Americas by crossing over an ice bridge that connected Asia to North America.
The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New SF by Gardner Dozois
back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, Columbine, congestion charging, dark matter, Doomsday Book, double helix, Extropian, gravity well, Mason jar, offshore financial centre, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, Winter of Discontent, Y2K
“I can assure you that the Byzantines do no such thing.” “Really?” said Bagayoko. “Well, our Christians do.” “That’s just the doctor’s little joke,” said Manimenesh. “Sometimes strange rumors spread about us, because we raid our slaves from the Nyam-Nyam cannibal tribes on the coast. But we watch their diet closely, I assure you.” Watunan smiled uncomfortably. “There is always something new out of Africa. One hears the oddest stories. Hairy men, for instance.” “Ah,” said Manimenesh. “You mean gorillas, from the jungles to the south. I’m sorry to spoil the story for you, but they are nothing better than beasts.” “I see,” said Watunan. “That’s a pity.” “My grandfather owned a gorilla once,” Manimenesh said. “Even after ten years, it could barely speak Arabic.” They finished the appetizers.
Gaby thought it must be like this on one of the UNECTA mobile bases; minimal, monastic. She did something to her face and went up to the party on the roof. It had been running for three days. It would only end when the hotel did. The party at the edge of the end of the world. In one glance she saw thirty newsworthy faces and peeked into her bag to check the charge level on her disc recorder. She talked to it as she moved between the faces to the bar. The Out of Africa look was the thing among the newsworthy this year: riding breeches, leather, with the necessary twist of twenty-first-century knowing with the addition of animal-skin prints. Gaby ordered a piña colada from the Kenyan barman and wondered as he shook it what incentive the management had offered him – all the staff – to stay. Family relocation to other hotels, on the Coast, down in Zanzibar, she reckoned.
Even the animals are fake; they bulldozed a water hole so Americans would have elephants to photograph. Irony is: Now the tourists are gone, there’ve never been so many bloody animals, all headed in. Counted forty-five elephant in one day; no one gives a stuff anymore. Tell me, how can it be alien if the animals are going in there? How could gas know how to build something like that? Feels to me like it’s something very old, that animals knew once and have never forgotten, that’s come out of Africa itself. Everything starts here, in East Africa; the land is very old, and has a long memory. And strong: Maybe Africa has had enough of what people are doing to it – enough thinking – and has decided to claim itself back. That’s why the animals aren’t afraid. It’s giving it back to them.” “But taking yours away,” Gaby said. “Not my Africa.” Prenderleith glanced around at the famous and beautiful people.
Albert Einstein, banking crisis, cognitive bias, endowment effect, energy security, experimental subject, framing effect, hindsight bias, impulse control, John Nash: game theory, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, ultimatum game, World Values Survey
These were the first members of our species to exhibit the technical and social innovations made possible by language.3 Genetic evidence indicates that a band of perhaps 150 of these people left Africa and gradually populated the rest of the earth. Their migration would not have been without its hardships, however, as they were not alone: Homo neanderthalensis laid claim to Europe and the Middle East, and Homo erectus occupied Asia. Both were species of archaic humans that had developed along separate evolutionary paths after one or more prior migrations out of Africa. Both possessed large brains, fashioned stone tools similar to those of Homo sapiens, and were well armed. And yet over the next twenty thousand years, our ancestors gradually displaced, and may have physically eradicated, all rivals.4 Given the larger brains and sturdier build of the Neanderthals, it seems reasonable to suppose that only our species had the advantage of fully symbolic, complex speech.5 While there is still controversy over the biological origins of human language, as well as over its likely precursors in the communicative behavior of other animals,6 there is no question that syntactic language lies at the root of our ability to understand the universe, to communicate ideas, to cooperate with one another in complex societies, and to build (one hopes) a sustainable, global civilization.7 But why has language made such a difference?
China into Africa: trade, aid, and influence by Robert I. Rotberg
barriers to entry, BRICs, colonial rule, corporate governance, Deng Xiaoping, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, global supply chain, global value chain, income inequality, Khartoum Gordon, labour market flexibility, land reform, megacity, microcredit, offshore financial centre, out of africa, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, trade route, Washington Consensus
The United States needs Chinese cooperation geostrategically and economically. Therefore, Washington may be prepared (within limits) to observe and remain untroubled by an Africa more dependent than ever upon ramped up Chinese trade and aid, major military assistance, and Chinese labor. Indeed, Chin-Hao Huang suggests that as of 2008, Washington was largely ill-prepared to assess what the Chinese really want out of Africa, and how Chinese policies are formulated and executed. Likewise, Washington has little knowledge of African opinion regarding China’s new thrust into their continent. Chin-Hao Huang urges Washington to “be sensitive to the many and long-standing, positive legacies and images of the Chinese in various parts of Africa,” particularly in sharp contrast to Western colonial practices.46 Throughout the Bush administration, top officials from Washington and Beijing talked regularly about their mutual interests in Africa.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond
agricultural Revolution, Atahualpa, Columbian Exchange, correlation coefficient, double helix, Drosophila, European colonialism, invention of gunpowder, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, out of africa, phenotype, Scientific racism, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, the scientific method, trade route, V2 rocket
Chapter Eighteen looks more closely at the biggest, most dramatic, and most controversial of these 'Golden Age mass extinctions'. Around 11,000 years ago most of the large mammals of two entire continents, North America and South America, became extinct. Around the same time appears the first unequivocal evidence for human occupation of the Americas, by the ancestors of American Indians. It was the biggest expansion of human territory since Homo erectus spread out of Africa to colonize Europe and Asia a million years ago. The temporal coincidence between the first Americans and the last big American mammals, the lack of mass extinctions elsewhere in the world at that same time, and proofs that some of the now-extinct beasts were hunted have suggested what is termed the New World blitzkrieg hypothesis. According to this interpretation, as the first wave of human hunters multiplied and spread from Canada to Patagonia, they encountered big animals that had never seen humans before, and they exterminated as they marched.
She hadn’t read the YA books since middle school, but she couldn’t bring herself to get rid of them. The other large bookshelf was her literary shelf: Tolstoy, Orwell, Rand, Dickens, Hardy, Lessing, Faulkner, Proust, Shakespeare, Austen, Saramago, García Márquez, both Brontës. She kept her favorite books on a shelf attached to her headboard. There she could find Gone with the Wind, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Out of Africa, and Into the Wild. Danielle treated her books like museum treasures, cringing if a book cover so much as creased. When a classmate borrowed her Les Misérables paperback and told her the cover fell off, she gave him the book permanently and bought herself a new, unblemished hardback. Books were so sacred to Danielle that she wouldn’t check them out from the library. She wasn’t “some creepy book worshipper,” as she phrased it; she just didn’t like the idea of touching things with unknown histories.
Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety by Marion Nestle
Garrett L. Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health. New York: Hyperion, 2000. Quotation: 558. EPILOGUE 1. Nestle M. Writing the food studies movement. Food, Culture, and Society 2010;13(2):162–70. Martin A. Is a food revolution now in season? NYT, March 21, 2009:BU1. 2. Monsanto is at www.monsanto.com. Paarlberg R. Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009. Lotter D. The genetic engineering of food and the failure of science—Part 1: The development of a flawed enterprise. International J Sociology of Agriculture and Food 2009;16:31–49. Gurian-Sherman D, Robinson E. Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops. Union of Concerned Scientists, April 2009. Online: www.ucsusa.org.
The Land Grabbers: The New Fight Over Who Owns the Earth by Fred Pearce
Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, big-box store, blood diamonds, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, carbon footprint, clean water, credit crunch, Deng Xiaoping, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, index fund, Jeff Bezos, land reform, land tenure, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, megacity, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nikolai Kondratiev, offshore financial centre, out of africa, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, smart cities, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks
Under glass roofs, he has created the world’s largest rose-growing business, selling 650 million stems a year. This is a stunning 10 percent of the global market. He employs ten thousand people in Africa alone. But Karuturi reckons he cannot sell any more roses. The market is sated. So he is moving into mainstream agriculture. “I want to be among the top four or five integrated agri-product companies in the world. And I will implement this vision out of Africa,” he says. He plans on having two and a half million acres of land under his plows in Africa—a third of them in Ethiopia and, he suggested in late 2011, another third in Tanzania. Karuturi promises to invest a billion dollars in the virgin fields of Gambella alone. Flash floods from the River Baro obliterated thousands of acres of the first corn harvest in late 2011, but his response was to bring in Dutch consultants to prevent a repetition.
airport security, Atahualpa, back-to-the-land, Bartolomé de las Casas, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, dematerialisation, diversified portfolio, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, joint-stock company, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, trade route, urban renewal
The sagas devote only a few lines to this epochal moment: the first recorded encounter between Europeans and Native Americans, two branches of humanity that had been separated so long they barely recognized each other as kin. When and how the first people reached America is a subject of keen debate, roiled by recent archaeological finds and new genetic and linguistic evidence. It’s generally believed that early humans migrated out of Africa some fifty thousand years ago, with one stream eventually reaching northeast Asia, at about the same time and latitude as others settled the northwest corner of Europe. Near the end of the last Ice Age, roughly twelve thousand years ago, hunters crossed from Asia to today’s Alaska before spreading across the Americas. Then another eleven thousand years passed before the family of man reunited—or, rather, collided—on a beach in eastern Canada.
The River at the Centre of the World by Simon Winchester
There was an inescapable conclusion to be drawn from what, to the world of anthropology, was a spectacular set of discoveries. The hominid found in the Yangtze valley was of a far more primitive kind than had been found either at Peking or in Java, and in the absence of any other discovery it was reasonable to suspect that it was the original Asian hominid, the ancestor of all Asian mankind. The little stone-bearing beasts had evidently limped out of Africa, travelled across the southern part of what is now the Arabian peninsula and spread, slowly and steadily, all the way to Asia. The first evidence of their having arrived in the East was thus to be found here at Longgupo, in a half-collapsed and newly discovered cave a few miles south of the Yangtze – a river that now, if still not able to claim a role as the cradle of any specifically Chinese civilization, can at least in all certainty lay claim to being the cradle of all the world's Asians.
additive manufacturing, air freight, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, demographic transition, Fall of the Berlin Wall, food miles, ghettoisation, Isaac Newton, Kibera, megacity, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, profit motive, race to the bottom, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, the built environment, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce
There was Homo erectus, who had left Africa and walked the plains of Asia almost 2 million years before. He had seen out more than a dozen ice ages. There were the hunched and hairy Neanderthals, in caves from Europe to Siberia. And Homo floresiensis, the tiny people dubbed hobbits, on the Indonesian island of Flores, just east of Toba. And there was Homo sapiens, the newest and nakedest species, who had emerged out of Africa about 70,000 years before Toba. On the day Toba blew, these tribes of hominid hunters and gatherers would have been confronted by a world in which temperatures plunged, hot volcanic ash rained down, the plants were dead and animals were dying all around. The first hours were the worst. As Michael Rampino, an earth scientist at New York University, puts it: ‘Breathing in volcanic ash is like breathing in tiny needles.
Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, capital controls, central bank independence, Chance favours the prepared mind, commodity trading advisor, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, diversification, diversified portfolio, family office, fixed income, glass ceiling, high batting average, implied volatility, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate derivative, inventory management, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, new economy, Nick Leeson, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, out of africa, paper trading, Peter Thiel, price anchoring, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve, zero-coupon bond
So there are several reasons why I like Africa.There are plenty of great stories, but the major theme of Africa is that they have a lot of natural resources and I’m bullish on raw materials.They do not have an automobile industry, they do not make a lot of laptops, but they have a lot of raw materials. If I am right, the raw material bull market will last another 15 years or so, so there are going to be some great fortunes coming out of Africa.A lot of those stories are going to be spectacular but will not last because the bull market in Africa will not last.When the bear market in commodities comes again,Africa will suffer. It is interesting that you brought up the KGB.The investment community seems worried that Putin is taking Russia back to its KGB roots.Also, you say they do not have any money, but the recent oil move is making Russia a lot of money.
Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
Out Of Africa by Isak Dinesen (1938) (Version 1.0) * * * Table of Contents BOOK ONE: KAMANTE AND LULU Chapter 1 THE NGONG FARM Chapter 2 A NATIVE CHILD Chapter 3 THE SAVAGE IN THE IMMIGRANT'S HOUSE Chapter 4 A GAZELLE BOOK TWO: A SHOOTING ACCIDENT ON THE FARM Chapter 1 THE SHOOTING ACCIDENT Chapter 2 RIDING IN THE RESERVE Chapter 3 WAMAI Chapter 4 WANYANGERRI Chapter 5 A KIKUYU CHIEF BOOK THREE: VISITORS TO THE FARM Chapter 1 BIG DANCES Chapter 2 A VISITOR FROM ASIA Chapter 3 THE SOMALI WOMEN Chapter 4 OLD KNUDSEN Chapter 5 A FUGITIVE RESTS ON THE FARM Chapter 6 VISITS OF FRIENDS Chapter 7 THE NOBLE PIONEER Chapter 8 WINGS BOOK FOUR: FROM AN IMMIGRANT'S NOTEBOOK Chapter 1 THE WILD CAME TO THE AID OF THE WILD BOOK FIVE: FAREWELL TO THE FARM Chapter 1 HARD TIMES Chapter 2 THE DEATH OF KINANJUI Chapter 3 THE GRAVE IN THE HILLS Chapter 4 FARAH AND I SELL OUT Chapter 5 FAREWELL * * * BOOK ONE KAMANTE AND LULU From the Forests and Highlands we come, we come.
The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World by Steven Radelet
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Berlin Wall, Branko Milanovic, business climate, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, colonial rule, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, income inequality, income per capita, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil shock, out of africa, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, women in the workforce, working poor
Economists Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, and James Robinson argued that where European colonizers faced serious health threats from disease (think the Belgian Congo in the late nineteenth century), they set up repressive institutions to extract resources through violence, and that these tactics and institutions established hundreds of years ago are central to understanding institutions in developing countries today.5 Other researchers suggest that differences in income today date back to inventions from three thousand years ago, or even further to the timing of the migration of different groups out of Africa to form new societies around the world. These hotly debated studies are helpful in understanding the historical origins of the large differences between rich and poor countries today. But their conclusions provide little help for people in today’s developing countries, as they suggest that their fate is tied to decisions and actions taken centuries ago or factors outside their control. They do not help us understand the recent acceleration of development progress or the reasons why so many developing countries began to turn at roughly the same time in the 1990s.
The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz
access to a mobile phone, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, business process, business process outsourcing, clean water, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, Hernando de Soto, Kibera, Lao Tzu, market design, microcredit, out of africa, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, transaction costs
Of course, I kept my guitar and a boxful of poetry books, both of which I deemed essential for saving the world. Though I was supposed to go to Côte d’Ivoire, my new boss informed me that I was to first fly to Nairobi to attend a women’s conference, where I would meet a lot of African women in the network and get a better sense of the organization itself. I could imagine Kenya much more easily than Côte d’Ivoire, especially since the film Out of Africa had recently been released (I didn’t have a clue about how little Kenyans cared for it at the time). Starting in Nairobi might be a gentler introduction to the continent. I remember making my way through the streets of Nairobi for the first time, stunned by the gentle shower of purple jacaranda flowers floating around me in Uhuru Park. Nairobi looked much more modern than I’d imagined, with its tall buildings and wide streets.
The confusion by Neal Stephenson
correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, out of africa, Socratic dialogue, South China Sea, spice trade, urban planning, web of trust
He gestured to the aloe-plant, or rather the stump of it, as Jack had just snapped off the last remaining branch. It was growing in a pot of damp dirt, which was carried on its own wee palanquin: a plank supported at each end by a boy. “The Portuguese brought it out of Africa,” Jack explained. “Truly you are thinking like an Alchemist, then,” muttered van Hoek, staring morosely at his rotting digits. “Everyone knows that the only treatment for burns is butter. It is proof of how far gone you are in outlandish ways, that you would rather use some occult potion out of Africa!” “When do you think you’ll amputate?” Jack inquired. “This evening,” said van Hoek. “That way I shall have twenty-four hours to recuperate before the battle.” He looked to Surendranath for confirmation. “If our objective were to make time, and to cross the Narmada by day, we could do it tomorrow,” said Surendranath.
New York by Edward Rutherfurd
Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, illegal immigration, margin call, millennium bug, out of africa, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, rent control, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, the market place, urban renewal, Y2K, young professional
For I have learned that in Africa, from where my people come, a child is often named for the day on which it is born. In Africa, I have been told, my name would be Kwasi. If I had been born on a Friday, it would be Kofi, which in English is Cuffe. Monday’s child is Kojo, which in English they say Cudjo; and there are other similar names. I believe I was born around the year of Our Lord 1650. My father and my mother were both sold out of Africa as slaves, to work in the Barbadoes. When I was about five years old, my mother and I were taken from my father to be sold again. In the market, my mother and I were separated. From that moment, I have never known what became of her; but I was bought by a Dutch sea captain; and this was fortunate for me, because the Dutch captain brought me to New Amsterdam, as it was then called; whereas if I had remained where I was, it is not likely I should be alive today.
The men would often be passing in the street, and especially in the evening, you would see them talking to the slave women over the fences as the dusk fell. As you might imagine, children were sometimes the result of this conversing. But although it was against their religion, the owners did not seem to mind that these children were born. And I believe the reason for this was plain enough. For the trade in slaves is very profitable. A slave bought fresh out of Africa in those days might fetch more than ten times his purchase price if he was brought to the wharf at Manhattan, and in other places even more. So that even if a good part of the cargo was lost upon the way, a merchant might do uncommonly well in the selling of slaves. It was surely for this reason that both old Governor Stuyvesant and our new ruler, the Duke of York, had had such hopes of making Manhattan a big slave market.
The uplift war by David Brin
He bowed low, hands crossed in front of him, and got his first close look at the invaders. They did not seem all that impressive up close. True, the sharp yellow beak and razorlike talons looked formidable. But the stick-legged creatures were hardly much taller than Fiben, and their bones looked hollow and thin. No matter. These were starfarers—senior patrons-class beings whose Library-derived culture and technology were all but omnipotent long, long before humans rose -up out of Africa’s savannah, blinking with the dawnlight of fearful curiosity. By the time man’s lumbering slowships stumbled upon Galactic civilization, the Gubru and their clients had wrested aposition of some eminence among the powerful interstellar clans. Fierce conservatism and facile use of the Great Library had taken them far since their own patrons had found them on the Gubru homeworld and given them the gift of completed minds.
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, British Empire, carbon footprint, collaborative economy, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, feminist movement, global village, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, planetary scale, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, supply-chain management, surplus humans, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, working poor, World Values Survey
Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center. “Magnitude 9.1—Off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra.” http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/eqinthenews/2004/usslav/#summary 12 Musil, Steven. “Tech Community Joins Tsunami Relief Effort.” cnet news.com. January 3, 2005. 13 MacMillan, Robert. “Tsunami Prompts Online Outpouring.” Washington Post. January 3, 2005. 14 Owen, James. “Modern Humans Came out of Africa, ‘Definitive’ Study Says.” National Geographic News. July 18, 2007. www.nationalgeographic.com/news; “Effects of Ecology and Climate on Human Physical Variations.” CultureChange.org. www.culturechange.org 15 Steele, James, and Stephen Shennan. The Archaeology of Human Ancestry: Power, Sex, and Tradition. New York: Routledge, 1996. p. 385. 16 Gimbutas, Marija. The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe.
The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, currency manipulation / currency intervention, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, invention of agriculture, invention of the printing press, Khyber Pass, labour market flexibility, land reform, land tenure, means of production, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, principal–agent problem, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Washington Consensus
EVOLUTION AND MIGRATION Paleoanthropologists have been able to trace the descent of man from primate forebears to what are labeled “behaviorally modern human beings,” while population geneticists have done a remarkable job tracing the movements of human populations as they migrated through the different regions of the planet. There is broad agreement that the transition from ape to human being took place in Africa, but the exit out of Africa that led to the populating of the rest of the world happened in two separate waves. What are labeled archaic human beings—species like Homo erectus and Homo ergaster—left that continent as much as 1.6–2 million years ago and found their way to northern Asia. An ergaster descendant, Homo heidelbergensis, may have left Africa and reached Europe around 300,000–400,000 years ago, and was the progenitor of later species like the famous Neanderthals who inhabited much of Europe.37 Anatomically modern human beings—that is, humans who had the same rough size and physical characteristics as contemporary humans—appeared on the scene approximately two hundred thousand years ago.
Albert Einstein, Columbine, Donald Trump, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, game design, illegal immigration, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, out of africa, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, upwardly mobile
I knew which character was running away from which character; I knew which character stabbed which character. The audience might not have known that, but they really should have known or else the point is gone. It's one of the most beautiful comedies I think I've ever seen. It's gorgeous to look at. It is great to look at. David Watkin was the cinematographer, and I love the Watkin look. He also did Chariots of Fire and Out of Africa. It's very beautiful and very moving in its own way. But maybe it was moving in the wrong way for a comedy. I don't think you can do laugh-out-loud comedy that is beautifully backlit. That's an interesting point — early comedies aren't necessarily beautiful. Not at all. No one gives a shit. If you look at those early films, such as Laurel and Hardy or Chaplin movies, you can see shadows where there shouldn't be shadows.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Atahualpa, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, British Empire, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, conceptual framework, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, land reform, land tenure, life extension, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, means of production, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, new economy, open economy, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, Port of Oakland, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, price discrimination, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, women in the workforce, World Values Survey
This produces speciation; Charles Darwin’s famous finches were the result of the birds’ adaptation to a host of microenvironments. In the process of general evolution, disparate species evolve similar characteristics because they have to solve similar problems: thus sensory organs like eyes evolved independently across different species. So too with human beings. When the first small group of behaviorally modern humans walked out of Africa into the Middle East about fifty thousand years ago, they began to diverge, to some extent genetically but more dramatically in terms of culture. There was a real precedent for the story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible: as humans spread to Europe, Asia, South Asia, Oceana, and eventually to the Americas, their languages and cultural practices began to differentiate as they settled into a wide variety of ecological niches.
The system that I was sure was foolproof has failed in every way. We can’t depend on anyone but ourselves.” THE NEXT DAY, February 21, 1974, the men of the 55th Brigade gathered along the Egyptian shore of the Suez Canal, near the spot where the paratroopers had first crossed. The farewell ceremony had almost been canceled: a tank brigade had been given the honor of being the last Israeli unit out of Africa, and the paratroopers revolted. We were the first ones into Africa, Danny Matt insisted, and we won’t leave unless we are the last ones out. The IDF relented. In June 1967 the paratroopers had ended their war by lining up, parade style, on the Temple Mount. Now they simply gathered around as Danny addressed them. “We, the paratroopers’ brigade,” he said, “were entrusted with being the lead unit in the force that brought about the turning point in the war and returned the initiative to the IDF. . . .
Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
Danny Hillis, dark matter, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, retrograde motion, short selling, the scientific method, trade route, urban planning
“I mean the Restoration coinage,” the Israelite said, “or perhaps your professors have neglected to inform you that Cromwell is dead, and Interregnum coins demonetized these last three years.” “Why, I believe I have heard that the King is beginning to mint new coins,” Isaac said, looking to Daniel for confirmation. “My half-brother in London knows someone who saw a gold carolus ii dei gratia coin once, displayed in a crystal case on a silken pillow,” Daniel said. “People have begun to call them Guineas, because they are made of gold that the Duke of York’s company is taking out of Africa.” “I say, Daniel, is it true what they say, that those coins are perfectly circular?” “They are, Isaac—not like the good old English hammered coins that you and I carry in such abundance in our pockets and purses.” “Furthermore,” said the Ashkenazi, “the King brought with him a French savant, Monsieur Blondeau, on loan from King Louis, and that fellow built a machine that mills delicate ridges and inscriptions into the edges of the coins.”
Sadness: May 20 Ultimately, to grieve our losses means to surrender to our feelings. So many of us have lost so much, have said so many good-byes, have been through so many changes. We may want to hold back the tides of change, not because the change isn’t good, but because we have had so much change, so much loss. Sometimes, when we are in the midst of pain and grief, we become shortsighted, like members of a tribe described in the movie Out of Africa. “If you put them in prison,” one character said, describing this tribe, “they die.” “Why?” asked another character. “Because they can’t grasp the idea that they’ll be let out one day. They think it’s permanent, so they die.” Many of us have so much grief to get through. Sometimes we begin to believe grief, or pain, is a permanent condition. The pain will stop. Once felt and released, our feelings will bring us to a better place than where we started.
Executive Orders by Tom Clancy
affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, card file, defense in depth, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, experimental subject, financial independence, friendly fire, Monroe Doctrine, out of africa, Own Your Own Home, Plutocrats, plutocrats, rolodex, South China Sea, trade route
He grunted. Yeah, that was about right. First stop was the embassy, where they changed clothes. American military uniforms weren't all that welcome here. In fact, the station chief warned, few things American were. Chavez noted that a car followed them in from the airport. Don't sweat it. We'll lose him at the embassy. You know, sometimes I wonder if it wasn't a good deal when my folks got kidnapped out of Africa. Don't tell anybody I said that, okay? South Alabama is like heaven on earth compared to this shithole. He parked the car in the embassy's back lot and took them inside. A minute later one of his people walked out, started the Chevy, and headed right back out. The tail car went with him. Shirts, the CIA resident officer said, handing them over. I suppose you can leave the pants on. Have you talked to MacGregor?
England by David Else
active transport: walking or cycling, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, colonial rule, Columbine, congestion charging, David Attenborough, David Brooks, Etonian, food miles, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Mahatma Gandhi, new economy, New Urbanism, out of africa, place-making, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Stephen Hawking, the market place, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, unbiased observer, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Winter of Discontent
The Townhouse is set on a quiet street just out of the centre, but the spacious rooms and sparkling bathrooms make it worth the trip. Beaumont House (01242-223311; www.bhhotel.co.uk; 56 Shurdington Rd; s £63-184, d £86-201; ) Set in a large garden just a short way from the centre of town, this boutique gues thouse is a memorable place with a range of carefully designed rooms with opulent decor. Go for the full-on safari look in Out of Africa, sultry boudoir in Out of Asia or more subtle design in the Prestbury Suite. Hotel Kandinsky (01242-527788; www.aliashotels.com; Bayshill Rd; s £95, d £125-155; ) Gloriously quirky, keenly priced and extravagantly decked out, this is a ‘funkier than average’ hotel, with lots of eclectic modern art, exotic furniture, designer style and an extremely efficient but laid-back attitude. The slick, modern Cafe Paradiso (mains £14 to £19) serves an ambitious modern British menu.