Sticks and stones

Sticking up for the stick
Where are the sticks? The archaeological record is incomplete

Wood decays, so sticks haven’t reached through the archaeological record quite as successfully as stones have to tell us how they were fashioned, and how used, by our early ancestors. There must have been sharp sticks for poking stuff, clubby sticks for bashing things, hooked sticks for back scratching — or indeed pulling a fruit-laden branch within the easy orbit of a languorous arm.

ALEXANDER LANGLANDS provides a whistle-stop tour of the Stone Age from the Paleo- to-Neolithic in The Stick Is an Unsung Hero of Human Evolution: Stone’s silent sister in the archaeological record.  Not only does he lament the absence of the stick, but also the fading knowledge and skills needed to hand-craft stick-oriented tooling, such as fishing rods and flint-tipped spears.

We shouldn’t fix everything (even if we could)

While tech billionaires set out to cure disease and save the world, Jim Kozubek argues that “making ourselves too perfect could mean our doom”.

Why fix everything?

“In evolution everything is grasping for its purpose.”

In a recent Aeon article (Billionaires say they’ll end disease: evolution says otherwise)  he points out that humans are not machines to be bug fixed and optimised.  Genetic variation is important and brings long term benefits.

“In evolution, everything is grasping for its purpose. Parts that break down can become the next best thing.” Jim Kozubek