“Ages: following the big bang 13.8 billion years ago, time passed two-thirds of the way to the present before the formation of the Sun 4.57 billion years ago. Rescaled to a calendar year, starting with the big bang at 00:00:00 on 1 January, the Sun forms on 1 September, the Earth on 2 September, earliest signs of life appear on 13 September, earliest true mammals on 26 December, and humans just 2 hours before year’s end. For a year that starts with the earliest true mammals, the dinosaurs go extinct on 17 August, earliest primates appear on 9 September, and humans at dawn of 25 December. For a year that starts with the earliest humans, our own species appears on 19 November, the first built constructions on 8 December, and agricultural farming begins at midday on 29 December.–C. Patrick Doncaster, “Timeline of the human condition.” https://www.southampton.ac.uk/~cpd/history.html Accessed: January 5, 2022.
The Age of Freedom, RethinkX
“During the 2020s, key technologies will converge to completely disrupt the five foundational sectors that underpin the global economy, and with them every major industry in the world today. The knock-on effects for society will be as profound as the extraordinary possibilities that emerge.
In information, energy, food, transportation, and materials, costs will fall by 10x or more, while production processes an order of magnitude (10x) more efficient will use 90% fewer natural resources with 10x-100x less waste. The prevailing production system will shift away from a model of centralized extraction and the breakdown of scarce resources that requires vast physical scale and reach, to a model of localized creation from limitless, ubiquitous building blocks – a world built not on coal, oil, steel, livestock, and concrete but on photons, electrons, DNA, molecules and (q)bits. Product design and development will be performed collaboratively over information networks while physical production and distribution will be fulfilled locally. As a result, geographic advantage will be eliminated as every city or region becomes self-sufficient. This new creation-based production system, which will be built on technologies we are already using today, will be far more equitable, robust, and resilient than any we have ever seen. We have the opportunity to move from a world of extraction to one of creation, a world of scarcity to one of plenitude, a world of inequity and predatory competition to one of shared prosperity and collaboration.
This is not, then, another Industrial Revolution, but a far more fundamental shift. This is the beginning of the third age of humankind – the Age of Freedom.James Arbib & Tony Seba, “Rethinking Humanity.” RethinkX. June 2020.
In the cryptocurrency space, the adjective, “hopium” would be used. While a post-scarcity world run by teams of super-intelligence A.I.s, like the one depicted in Iain M. Banks’ The Culture series would be a welcome development, if history is any guide, human beings tend to like inequity and predatory competition.
A Billion Years, A Galaxy
“New research published in the American Astronomical Society has confirmed through the use of a computer simulation that aliens–or humans–could potentially colonize the galaxy, a feat within the capabilities of modern Earth technology. According to the new research, doing so would only take a civilization like ours a billion years to complete.”-Liam Stewart, “New Research Suggests We Could Conquer the Galaxy In Under A Billion Years.” The Debrief. June 28, 2021.
On the plus side, it is so rare for people to think outside of the next year or next decade, that 100 or 1,000 years from now almost never features in our discussions. So, to see something with a billion year timeline? Fantastic!
On the other hand, the universe is probably teaming with life, both making this much harder than scientists think, and by the same token, will descendants living in all these different environments be, in any way, recognizable as their original species? This is the problem in thinking in long timelines, we rarely factor in the effects of adaptation response and evolution, even when we know to factor for it.
Why Captchas Are Getting Harder
Our Cults Become Our Culture
“A false theory of culture is worse than a false theory of the heavens. The planets stick to their orbits no matter what we think, but culture becomes what we believe it is. Conditioned by the prophets of data and nostalgia to imagine no further than the evidence of the past, we forget that people are self-aware and their actions shaped by a self-aware culture. Our explanations are not independent of our behavior but constitutive of it. As such, our cults of thinking become our culture.”—Greg Jackson, “Sources of Life.” The Point. March 24, 2021.
This essay is so good, and this quote is probably not the best excerpt. Worth reading in its entirety.
The Four Songs of Humanity
“In a specific society, songs differ depending on the context in which they are sung, such as lively celebrations or calmer events. But across all cultures, the team could identify four distinct, recurrent song types: dance tunes, healing songs, love ballads and lullabies.”-“Vast musical database reveals common threads in songs around the world.” Nature.com. November 21, 2019
Seven Million Years of Human Evolution (in 6 mins.)
Why Fiction Trumps Truth
“When it comes to uniting people around a common story, fiction actually enjoys three inherent advantages over the truth. First, whereas the truth is universal, fictions tend to be local. Consequently if we want to distinguish our tribe from foreigners, a fictional story will serve as a far better identity marker than a true story…
…The second huge advantage of fiction over truth has to do with the handicap principle, which says that reliable signals must be costly to the signaler. Otherwise, they can easily be faked by cheaters…
…Third, and most important, the truth is often painful and disturbing. Hence if you stick to unalloyed reality, few people will follow you.”
—Yuval Noah Harari, “Why Fiction Trumps Truth.” The New York Times. May 24, 2019.