How Long Should We Wait?

I am having a quiet day while I wait for the inauguration of doom to deal with itself. I am staying away from TV, and YouTube, and keeping a distance from Facebook. I have decided, along with many people, to not lend my attention to the debacle that culminates this tortuous election season. I am also engaging in a bit of sacredness. I am enjoying some hot dogs on this Friday, with buns as a way to re-focus on my most beloved religion. (For those of you who don’t know what this means, see here.) While I enjoyed my repast, I offered prayers and good wishes for those on the front lines of the protests today. If Eris, the Goddess of Confusion, can’t help out today I don’t know a divinity who can! This election has ignited a great many … Continue reading

Evolution Moves In Leaps

The normal understanding of evolution is that it proceeds through random mutations imparting an advantage to individual members of a species who are then able to leverage that advantage to more success than their fellows, thus passing the mutation on. The trouble with that theory is that if it’s the case that mutants are constantly being produced, and constantly being more successful, you would expect to see a steady progress to evolution. A particular species would progress with each generation without interruption. However, evolution does not work like that. It moves forward in fits and spurts. Quantum steps, not steady rotations of the wheel. What happens is that the mutants are always present to some degree in each species’ pool of potential. Each species is always under exposure to mutagens in the form of cosmic radiation and fluctuations in cell … Continue reading

Back in my day!

“Back in my day!” How many of us have heard that admonition? It’s so commonplace that it’s gone beyond a cliche, and recently seems to be fading from the general zeitgeist. I think there are interesting reasons for that. Perhaps there was even a time before such a sentiment could exist. Buckminster Fuller (building on the work of Claude Shannon, and others) wrote about the rate of doubling of information in his book, “Critical Path.” Taking all information available to human-kind at the year 1 AD as one unit, Buckminster calculated that the amount of information available to be known by humans took 1500 years to double. Information doubled again by 1750 AD. Then again by 1900 AD. As we can see, the rate at which information is doubling appears to be accelerating. That falls in line with the general … Continue reading