Why did we start farming? The quest for answers in a harsh cosmos…

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The reason that humans shifted away from hunting and gathering, and to agriculture – a much more labor-intensive process – has always been a riddle. “A lot of evidence suggests domestication and agriculture doesn’t make much sense,” says Elic Weitzel, a Ph.D. student in UConn’s department of anthropology. “Hunter-gatherers are sometimes working fewer hours a day, their health is better, and their diets are more varied, so why would anyone switch over and start farming?”

Weitzel sought to get to the root of the shift in his new paper in American Antiquity, by looking at one area of the world, the Eastern United States. In a nutshell, he looked for evidence to support either of two popular theories.

One theory posits that in times of plenty there may have been more time to start dabbling in the domestication of plants like squash and sunflowers. The other theory argues that domestication may have happened out of need to supplement diets when times were not as good. As the human population grew, perhaps resources shifted due to reasons such as over-exploitation of resources or a changing climate. “Was there some imbalance between resources and the human populations that lead to domestication?”

Weitzel tested both hypotheses. And the findings are… mixed. Despite the mixed results though, the findings supporting domestication happening in times when there was less than an ideal amount of food are significant, says Weitzel. (1)

Easy times…

Hard times…

Man moves on no matter what.

Lighting up fires, because we are afraid of the dark.

Staying together because we are afraid being alone.

Have we really moved on?

Easy times…

Hard times…

Are we any different now than then?

At the end, we just want to live.

Trapped in the same mindset from the beginning.

As all animals, trying to pass over our genes.

Except some people who…

Choose to die.

People who see something different beyond the looking glass of reality.

These people do not hunt, nor farm.

Sitting by the edge of the abyss.

Watching people trying to live.

Laughing.

For they will soon meet…

[Written on 2019-04-04]

Societies… Cooperation… A lone man in the forest…

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Researchers are exploring how cooperation arises in human societies, where people tend to cluster into various group types — political, religious, familial, professional, etc. Within such groups, people can cooperate or ‘defect’ and receive payoffs based on those exchanges. Cooperation, they observed, is most favored when allowing for the existence of ‘loners’ — people who are temporarily not members of any group.

Chu and Tarnita found that cooperation still emerges, but that it is most favored when they allow for the existence of “loners” in the population – people who, due to barriers, are temporarily not members of any group. Loners are essential, Chu explained, “because they keep group sizes lower than they would have been without barriers to group entry.”

Smaller groups allow cooperation to thrive, while making the system as a whole more resilient, by limiting the destructive influence of a defector exploiting a group of cooperators. Chu cautions against drawing too much from one model amid a sea of evolutionary game theory models. Nevertheless, their recent work shows, reassuringly, that there may be hope for maintaining cooperation in our world. (1)

Societies thrive.

But only because there are people outside of them.

It is those people who drive societies along the dark paths of history.

By holding the light on while others are too preoccupied gazing at it.

For the dark forest is far away.

We may fear it, but we want to go back in.

We left it a long time ago.

We gathered together because we felt lonely outside of it.

And we never stopped thinking about it.

So many people gathered together.

Secretly longing to be lost in the woods again.

That’s why society will always need those people.

Staying where we once were.

A constant reminder that societies exist for no other reason,

Than to remind us that there is no reason for them to exist…

Worms… Deep below…

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The sea bed in the deep ocean during the Cambrian period was thought to have been inhospitable to animal life because it lacked enough oxygen to sustain it.

But research published in the scientific journal Geology reveals the existence of fossilized worm tunnels dating back to the Cambrian period – 270 million years before the evolution of dinosaurs.

The discovery, by USask professor Brian Pratt, suggested that animal life in the sediment at that time was more widespread than previously thought.

The worm tunnels – borrows where worms lived and munched through the sediment – are invisible to the naked eye. But Pratt “had a hunch” and sliced the rocks and scanned them to see whether they revealed signs of ancient life. Pratt digitally enhanced images of the rock surfaces so he could examine them more closely. Only then did the hidden ‘superhighway’ of burrows made by several different sizes and types of prehistoric worm emerge in the rock. (1)

Under every rock you will find something.

Even when nothing is to be seen.

Worms, bacteria, microbes, viruses…

The cosmos is full of life.

We are not here as its culmination.

But as agents of death.

We are not standing at the peak of existence.

But we bear news of its end.

For only through death can the meaning of existence be revealed.

And it is our mission to reveal its meaning to anyone not able to grasp it.

Look at those bacteria.

Still alive.

So dead!

Invisible table…

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Making objects invisible is no longer the stuff of fantasy but a fast-evolving science. ‘Invisibility cloaks’ using metamaterials now exist, and are beginning to be used to improve the performance of satellite antennas and sensors. Many of the proposed metamaterials, however, only work at limited wavelength ranges such as microwave frequencies.

Now, scientists report a way of making a cylinder invisible without a cloak for monochromatic illumination at optical frequency.

Scientists determined that invisibility would occur when the refractive index of the cylinder ranges from 2.7 to 3.8. Some useful natural materials fall within this range, such as silicon (Si), aluminum arsenide (AlAs) and germanium arsenide (GaAs), which are commonly used in semiconductor technology. By taking a close look at the magnetic field profiles, they inferred that “the invisibility stems from the cancellation of the dipoles generated in the cylinder.”

Although rigorous calculations of the scattering efficiency have so far only been possible for cylinders and spheres, Kajikawa notes there are plans to test other structures, but these would require much more computing power. (1)

A world full of things we see.

A world full of invisible things.

Right next to you, a table.

It is clearly there. Is it?

Deep inside yourself, you.

You do clearly exist, don’t you?

Extend your hand.

Funny.

When I touch this table,

it feels like it is touching me…

Colour where there is no colour… A cosmos where there is no cosmos…

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Engineers have found that under the right conditions, ordinary clear water droplets on a transparent surface can produce brilliant colors, without the addition of inks or dyes. By tuning size, illumination angle, and curvature, MIT engineers can produce brilliant colors, in patterns they can predict, in otherwise transparent droplets. (1)

Under the right angle, everything changes.

Look at a mountain from the sky and it will look like a tiny dot.

Look at a small chair from up-close and it will look like a mountain.

A colored cosmos. A cosmos in black and white.

At the end, it makes no difference.

Because the cosmos is nothing.

Until you start looking at it…

Open your eye.

Are you afraid of what you want to see?