Archive for June, 2009

Brave New World

E.O. Wilson in Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge Still, except for the rare behavioral conditions approaching total genetic determination, heritabilities are at best risky predictors of personal capacity in existing and future environments. …  The message from geneticists to intellectuals and policy-makers is this: Choose the society you want to promote, then prepare to live […]

And why would he do that?

E.O. Wilson in Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge Perhaps God did create all organisms, including human beings, in finished form, in one stroke, and maybe it all happened several thousand years ago.  But if that is true, He also salted the earth with false evidence in such endless and exquisite detail, and so thoroughly from […]

Who are we?

E.O. Wilson in Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge We know that virtually all of human behavior is transmitted by culture.  We also know that biology has an important effect on the origin of culture and its transmission.  The question remaining is how biology and culture interact, and in particular how they interact across all societies […]

Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer?

Finals were over in early May, and I was looking forward to long, warm days with time to go to work and cook and dance and read.  Unfortunately, it’s been mostly in the 60s with cloudy and sometimes rainy weather nearly every day.  Having a migraine every afternoon has made me pretty miserable and kept […]


Instead of a bunch of links to depressing stories, I’ve got a depressing (but very very lovely) poem for you this Saturday. Death of a Field Paula Meehan The field itself is lost the morning it becomes a site When the Notice goes up: Fingal County Council – 44 houses The memory of the field […]

What We Killed Thursday

Erythroxylum echinodendron was endemic to Cuba and was declared extinct in the wild in 1998.  Echinodendron means “spiny tree,” and you can see where it got its name in this herbarium specimen.  Erythroxylum is a tropical genus with about 250 species. While this particular species was declared extinct in the wild rather than extinct, this […]