This post contains loads of articles categorised under Humans and Culture. These are handpicked articles over the course of years for CAT Aspirants. This is the first of 2 posts. This post contains articles I had shared in 2018. Click on the following link to go to the next post: LINK here.
Every Article will have blurb, either written by me or an extract from the original post (mostly the latter) followed by the link to reach the article.
“The two studies found significant overlap between genes implicated in insomnia and those related to psychiatric and metabolic traits. Genes for traits, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes were sometimes the same. The findings suggest insomnia is more strongly related to neuropsychiatric disorders than to other sleep-related traits such as whether someone is a morning person. “That was a big surprise,” Saxena says. “Implying that at the genetic level it’s a disorder that’s likely linked to psychiatric disease and mood regulation, and it’s not necessarily just about sleep regulation.””
“Now, you’re more likely to know Macias as r.m. drake, the New York Times-bestselling poet with 1.9 million followers on Instagram. He has published 14 collections of poetry, has a number of celebrity followers, and his poems have been repeatedly shared by the Kardashians. While working at Univision, Macias wrote in his spare time. In 2012, he started sharing his work on Instagram – taking short excerpts, typing them on to handmade paper with his 1940s Royal typewriter in lower case, and signing off with “r.m. drake”. He would photograph the page and post the result, such as: “the best kind/of humans are/the ones who/stay”. By the end of 2014, he had over half a million followers and quit his job to write full time.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not someone who resents my profession. My career has taken me places, provided me with what some may call intellectually stimulating work, and led me to interact with many brilliant individuals. But the more I interacted with these individuals, the more I realised that our system was increasingly creating insecurity amongst a majority of our generation.”
“The problem with marriage, we all know, is the endlessness of it. Plenty of things we do will have long-term repercussions, but in what other situation do you promise to do something for the rest of your life? Not when you choose a college. Not when you take a job. Not when you buy a house. During childhood, you pick up many habits that are probably going to be lifelong, like walking, talking, reading, and sleeping, but once you’ve got those down, you start to feel like you’re at greater liberty to decide what things you want to do and what things you want to stop doing. Especially when you’re a young adult the apparently infinite multiplicity of possible choices—possible jobs, possible friends, possible cities, possible girlfriends or boyfriends—can sometimes fool you into thinking you have an infinite amount of time to try out everything.”
“According to a local union representative, factory jobs could bring in some US$70,000 a year plus benefits. In comparison, the minimum hourly wage is piddling: The current minimum wage in Baltimore is officially US$10.10 an hour, which, for full-time work, would yield an annual salary well below the poverty line. Yet even such hourly work is scarce in south Baltimore, which leaves many to labor illegally. That’s why some residents, including Arthur, draw a direct connection between industrial decline and the drug and sex trade that now overwhelms his part of the city.”
“Food allergy prevalence seems to be increasing, and the surge of food allergic children of the last two decades are now in college and careers. Coping with the unique set of problems that confront allergic people has only recently started to affect the average flyer.”
“until 10 years ago, we had neglected to try to understand this trait, due to the misguided assumption that it was of no significance – indeed, that it was dispensable. This trait is human fatherhood, and the fact that it doesn’t immediately spring to mind is symptomatic of the overwhelming neglect of this key figure in our society.”
“I open my Instagram account to post on my Instagram Story feed that I’m writing this essay about internet nostalgia. There I can attach kitschy gifs to my story like fancy stickers – I look at my options, and the offerings remind me of various moments from my online past. There’s an image of sparkles that takes me back to the flash-based dress-up games I once played as a tween. There’s another gif with glitzy text that reads “Don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful,” recalling the emotional trials of my Myspace days. And there is yet another gif that features a computer that bears a suspicious resemblance to the “My Computer” icon from Windows 95. These gifs come from Giphy, which has been integrated with Instagram for years. They’re lores, imperfect, and entirely decontextualized. These disembodied ghosts – ancient in computer years – blink back at me because tech companies know that, based on my age, I like them. And I do like them. I miss where they came from – it’s a place I’ve found is no longer there.”
“Research has shown that some key autism genes are part of a shared ape heritage that predates the “split” that led us along a “human” path. This was when our ancient ape ancestors separated from other apes that are alive today. Other autism genes are more recent in evolutionary terms—though they are still more than 100,000 years old.”
“Such a beautiful interaction. Does not claim that doomsday is on the horizon. But gives a good birds eye view of where we are supposedly headed to, and even more importantly where we are right now.
“The system can monitor not just what goes wrong. It can monitor your moods, your emotions, your thoughts. That means an external system can get to know you much better than you know yourself. You go to therapy for years to get in touch with your emotions, but this system, whether it belongs to Google or Amazon or the government, can monitor your emotions in ways that neither you nor your therapist can approach in any way.”
“When you combine the limitless resource of human stupidity with amazing new powers that humankind will gain in the 21st century, this can be a recipe for disaster.””
Usually I write a small blurb of the article we post for daily RC practice. We also give a small para / excerpt from the passage shared. But what do we do when the passage is about blurbs? Click to read this interesting passage on blurbs. A wonderful read. I’m tempted to quote a couple of paragraphs from the article, however, will refrain from doing that, and stop my blurbing here.
“It’s also a reminder of the role culture plays in raising people to cope with their aggressive side. As a Tamilian sitting in Mumbai, I would love to make this a North versus South issue. But that would be lazy stereotyping given that some of the most genteel people I’ve met have been from the North and some of the craziest, belligerent people I’ve met belonged to the Southern states. Therefore, as much as conventional wisdom would quickly justify Kohli’s “Delhi boy level” obnoxiousness that masquerades as constructive aggression, that cannot and should not be the primary marker of what is essentially, being poor mannered.”
““Cuttlefish squirting out ink?”; “We’re in hot water”; “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”; “a leopard cannot change its spots”: What exactly makes a cliché a cliché? A beautiful read about clichés.
“Even highly subjective facts, such as a person’s ‘furtive behaviour’ or presence in a ‘high-crime neighbourhood’ will suffice. But the Court’s permissive attitude toward police stops has serious repercussions: it is often during these short stops that fatal shootings and other violence between citizens and police occur. Such violence ensues with strikingly higher frequency in the US than in other countries. One study estimated that in 2014 police in the US killed 458 people. In that same year, police in Germany killed eight people; in Britain, zero people; and in Japan, zero people. By failing to regulate police stops, the US Supreme Court is enabling this astonishing number of civilian deaths at the hands of police.””
“Did the hippies actually solve this problem? My colleague Jonathan Schooler (University of California, Santa Barbara) and I think they effectively did, with the radical intuition that it’s all about vibrations … man. Over the past decade, we have developed a “resonance theory of consciousness” that suggests that resonance—another word for synchronized vibrations—is at the heart of not only human consciousness but of physical reality more generally.”
“South America is the only continent (besides Antarctica) on which no civilization invented a system of graphical writing for more than 10,000 years after the first people arrived. We are yet to confirm a pre-conquest event knotted in contemporaneous records. The Incas have even earned a spot on the list of original “pristine” civilizations—commonly identified as Egypt, Shang China, Mesopotamia, the Mayas, and the Incas—despite being the only nation that never invented the wheel, markets, or writing.”
A wonderful long form article that traces the history of how and when city birds started to adapt when compared to rural birds, their ability to explore new things and solve puzzles in real life.
“But all this flying up and down is tiring, and sometimes the nuts need to be dropped repeatedly before they split. So, at some point, these crows came up with a better idea. They would drop nuts among the wheels of slow-driving cars, and pick up the flesh after the car had passed. The behaviour started at the Kadan driving school, where there are plenty of slow-moving cars, was copied by other crows, and so spread to other places in the city where slow-moving giant nutcrackers were common, such as near sharp bends in the road, and at intersections.”
“The average dive lasts for just half a minute, but the Bajau can hold their breath for far longer. In the clip below, from the BBC documentary Human Planet, a man named Sulbin stays underwater for almost three minutes. “I focus my mind on breathing,” he told the BBC. “I only dive once I’m totally relaxed.””
Not every article has to convey a tangible final thought/idea or a stream of thoughts that lead to some conclusion. Some are good at being open ended, This I feel, is one such.
“I Googled myself – I was trying to take a short cut to something I’d written, though I won’t pretend I haven’t done it for other reasons – and noticed an image of my 17-year-old self at the top of the page. I clicked through, and realised it was taken from my Myspace profile, abandoned for 11 years, but, mortifyingly, still publicly accessible. My immediate reaction was to try to delete it, but I couldn’t – still can’t – remember my password, or the email address I used. So, anyone can see the picture I chose as my best face to the world in the early part of 2007.”
This article describes in detail about urbanisation, and how sociology and geography has contributed to the understanding of Urbanisation, while History has not, and why is it necessary for historians to pitch in and make the stream of “study of cities” more robust and understandable, than what it is today. It also cites multiple examples to prove the case in point, and does a real good job of doing so.
“Usually, the lumps have been located in specific parts of specific cities. The 19th-century commodity entrepôts of the global South, such as Buenos Aires or Singapore, provide telling examples of how bridgeheads of globalisation work. Their city centres were pivots of power and wealth, while their outskirts accommodated the neverending stream of rural poor migrating towards cities. Urban theory today would be well advised to learn from such precedents.”
“Some of this has to do with Millennial marriage trends more generally. Compared to previous generations, Millennials get married later in life, and thus significantly more of them live together before marriage. Because cohabiting couples are far more likely than married couples to keep finances separate, a certain inertia develops. “Once you’ve established your relationship norms,” Pepin asked, “why would you change them?””
This posthumous absorption into fiction strikes one as somehow fitting for a man whose life often seems in its quiet way “infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.”
“In News from Nowhere, Morris imagined a world in which human happiness and economic activity coincided. He reminds us that there needs to be a point to labour beyond making ends meet – and there is. Unalienated labour creates happiness for all – consumer and creator; whereas modern capitalism, in contrast, has created a treadmill in which this aspect of work has been lost. Capitalism, he explains, locks the capitalist into a horrible life, which leads nowhere but the grave.”
“When education isn’t making the pie bigger, bigger slices for some necessarily mean smaller slices for others. As signaling’s share of the value of education rises, education becomes an incinerator that burns society’s money, time, and brains in a futile attempt to make everyone look better than average.”After reading this article one should be able to conceptually grasp what is signalling, and in what context is signalling used in this piece. Adding to signalling is “sheepskin effect”. A thought provoking article. I personally love the last part in the Quotes where the author claims about education’s attempt to make “everyone” look better than average.
“Yet another problem is the one identified by mid-century thinkers: Most people haven’t been taught to find fulfillment in their free time. To the contrary, rather than learning how to cultivate lifelong interests, students—both in primary and secondary schooling—are increasingly being educated to meet specific labor-market demands, demands that may also disappear or be automated away. Meanwhile, “It just is assumed that everyone knows how to handle their free time,” Henderson laments. “Not true!””
“State recognition of marriage is thus discriminatory against the unmarried. It is also anachronistic. While some people do bundle together their relationship practices into one marital relationship, most people (including married people) live more diversified lives. We typically juggle blended families, care for elderly relatives, face family separation by migration, and manage multiple financial dependencies. It is no longer apt to regulate relationships on the assumption of marriage.”
“The phenomenon of female anger has often been turned against itself, the figure of the angry woman reframed as threat — not the one who has been harmed, but the one bent on harming. She conjures a lineage of threatening archetypes: the harpy and her talons, the witch and her spells, the medusa and her writhing locks. The notion that female anger is unnatural or destructive is learned young; children report perceiving displays of anger as more acceptable from boys than from girls. According to a review of studies of gender and anger written in 2000 by Ann M. Kring, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, men and women self-report “anger episodes” with comparable degrees of frequency, but women report experiencing more shame and embarrassment in their aftermath.”
“He already knew from prior research that the more you hear a thing repeated, the more reliable it seems: Familiarity breeds truthiness. Now the study of the flyer suggested this effect would hold even when the thing you’ve heard before has been explicitly negated. Imagine a debunking like one shown on the CDC flyer: The flu shot doesn’t cause the flu. Over half an hour, Skurnik’s study argued, the word doesn’t fades away, while the rest of the message sounded ever more familiar—and thus more true.His CDC flyer data suggested this all happens very quickly—that debunking can boomerang in minutes.”
“However, when the situation is reversed—when traditional knowledge is seen to challenge scientific “truths”—then its utility is questioned or dismissed as myth. Science is promoted as objective, quantifiable, and the foundation for “real” knowledge creation or evaluation, while TK may be seen as anecdotal, imprecise, and unfamiliar in form.”
“In fact, acquiring the exact meaning of number words is a painstaking process that takes children years. Initially, kids learn numbers much like they learn letters. They recognize that numbers are organized sequentially but have little awareness of what each individual number means. With time, they start to understand that a given number represents a quantity greater by one than the preceding number. This “successor principle” is part of the foundation of our numerical cognition but requires extensive practice to understand.”
“There’s so much tied up in taste that it’s easy to overlook the fact that our ancestors likely evolved it as a way to make sure we recognized sweet foods with lots of calories and avoided bitter, poisonous things after trying a tiny bite. We are born with a love of sweetness and a dislike of bitterness “
“Most people don’t have this broad vantage. We all occupy our own bubbles. Trust in others, even our neighbors, is at an historic low. Much of society has become like an airplane boarding line, with different rights and privileges for zones one to ninety-seven, depending on your wealth, frequent-flier miles, credit rating, and S.A.T. scores; and many of those in line think—though no one likes to admit it—that they deserve what they have more than the others behind them. Then the boarding agent catches some people from zone eighty-four jumping ahead of the people in zone fifty-seven, and all hell breaks loose.
We’ve divided the world into us versus them—an ever-shrinking population of good people against bad ones. But it’s not a dichotomy. People can be doers of good in many circumstances. And they can be doers of bad in others. It’s true of all of us. We are not sufficiently described by the best thing we have ever done, nor are we sufficiently described by the worst thing we have ever done. We are all of it.”
One area where there was a lot of debate was the amount of time one should wait to text back. Several people subscribed to the notion of doubling the response time. (They write back in five minutes, you wait 10, etc.) This way you achieve the upper hand and constantly seem busier and less available than your counterpart. Others thought waiting just a few minutes was enough to prove you had something important in your life besides your phone. Some thought you should double, but occasionally throw in a quick response to not seem so regimented (nothing too long, though!). Some people swore by waiting 1.25 times longer. Others argued they found three minutes to be just right. There were also those who were so fed up with the games that they thought receiving timely responses free of games was refreshing and showed confidence.
“Eugenics survivors are those who have lived through eugenic interventions, which typically begin with being categorised as less than fully human – as ‘feeble-minded’, as belonging to a racialised ethnic group assumed to be inferior, or as having a medical condition, such as epilepsy, presumed to be heritable. That categorisation enters them into a eugenics pipeline.
Each such pipeline has a distinctive shape. The Alberta pipeline involved institutionalisation at training schools for the ‘feeble-minded’ or mentally deficient, followed by a recommendation of sterilisation by a medical superintendent, which was then approved by the Eugenics Board, and executed without consent. Alberta’s introduction of guidance clinics also allowed eugenic sterilisation to reach into the non-institutionalised population, particularly schools”
“The real villains in his story are less the health practitioners, coroners, or funeral directors, than Western capitalism as a whole with its obsession with material success and longevity. The irony for Toolis is that amid all this “eager capitalism” there isn’t more cutthroat competition: a FixUpYourFuneral.com price comparison website or an UberHearse app. And, writing from the frontline of Toolis’s “Western Death Machine”, Doughty, who runs a funeral parlour in Los Angeles, agrees. America is home to the most commercial, corporate death culture in modern times. In Doughty’s words, the US is now the best in the world at separating the grieving from their dead. Americans have become “squeamish”, which makes death both expensive and emotionally unsatisfactory. Doughty is on the side of angels: her funeral home enables mourners to do death in the old style, involving friends and family in traditional rites such as washing and dressing the corpse and building the coffin.”
“A common example is the way we talk in a job interview versus at a bar with friends. Typically, a speaker will use much more formal language in an interview than when hanging out with peers. If you talked to your friends the same way you talked during a job interview, it would probably give a stilted, distant feeling to the conversation.
Scholars originally investigated situational code-switching in spoken language because spoken language was used in both casual and formal settings. In the past, written language was almost always tinged with a level of formality because it was associated with permanence in books and written documents.”
In a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode from 2007, Larry David and his wife Cheryl and their friends attend a ceremony to celebrate his public donation to the National Resources Defense Council, a non-profit environmental advocacy group. Little does he know that the actor Ted Danson, his arch-frenemy, also donated money, but anonymously. “Now it looks like I just did mine for the credit as opposed to Mr. Wonderful Anonymous,” David tells Cheryl. David feels upstaged, as if his public donation has been transformed from a generous gesture to an egotistical one. Cheryl says, about Danson, “Isn’t that great? He donated the whole wing. Didn’t want anybody to know.” “I didn’t need the world to know either!” David says. “Nobody told me I could be ‘anonymous’ and tell people!” He would have done it Danson’s way, he says, but, realizing the contradiction, he fumes, “You can’t have it halfway! You’re either anonymous, or you’re not.” What Danson did, David concludes, is “fake philanthropy and faux anonymity!”
“In fact, tolerance has never escaped its origins as a means for the majority to regulate the minority. It continues to be the case that in today’s national state system the overwhelming majority of governments associate the state directly or indirectly with the majority religion. This is even true in states with legal neutrality on matters of religion such as the US and France. As such, tolerance remains a one-way relationship between the tolerating and the tolerated that, intended or not, keeps the tolerated outside of full membership in the dominant group. In contrast to tolerance, reciprocity recognises that strong and dynamic societies are based on social and cultural exchange.”
Finding the roots of ‘natural’ in our past might suggest, to some, the so-called ‘paleo-diet’. The problem with this diet is that it is too narrowly focused on the hunter-gatherer stage in human evolutionary development, before agriculture developed some 10,000 years ago. Evolution has continued to shape our design since then. For example, dairy farming in Scandinavia some 10,000 years ago has designed Scandinavian people to be highly lactose tolerant. There are isolated African communities with a similar heritage and a similar inheritance. Most Asians, on the other hand, become lactose intolerant as adults, not having had a history of dairy. Our bodies testify to evolution’s quick handiwork. They also testify to evolution’s long-term storage, so we’re designed to flourish from foods such as those that would pre-date any human environment.
The call to restore Bali’s kingdom is a key window on these contradictions. Rural Maharashtrians identify deeply with this figure who, according to Hindu classical texts and living folklore, was profoundly honorable and unfairly deposed by the powerful Brahminical gods. But while Shetkari Sanghatana supporters were unanimous in their calls for Bali’s return, they differed sharply in their interpretations of what Bali and his kingdom meant as an ideal. For some, Bali represented the interests of “rural folk” in general. For others, he characterized the historically dominant and better-off agrarian castes. For still others, he embodied the poorest, most oppressed members of rural society.
“He followed Kantu’ augurers. He watched omen birds. He measured the size of each household’s harvest. And he became more and more confused. Kantu’ augury is so intricate, so dependent on slight alterations and is-the-bird-to-my-left-or-my-right contingencies that Dove soon found there was no discernible correlation at all between Piculets and Trogons and the success of a Kantu’ crop. The augurers he was shadowing, Dove told me, ‘looked more and more like people who were rolling dice’.”
“Beneath the ridicule was something more serious: a concerted effort to delegitimize black claims to the holiday. African Americans did not observe the Fourth, white critics sneered, out of a sincere sense of patriotism or an accurate understanding of what the day meant. After all, they insisted, the Fourth of July did not apply to black Americans. It neither represented their freedom nor testified to their status as people worthy of equal citizenship.”
“My recommendation is, if you really want your child to choose reading, there are two strategies you can use. One is, you can look at environments that are already impoverished environments, where there’s not much to do, and put books there — like the car, like the bathroom. My wife’s a teacher, and she tells parents all the time: Put books in your child’s bathroom. And it’s amazing how much kids will read when there are books in the bathroom.”
Archeologists have found evidence of Neanderthal fire pits. They have even found tar that Neanderthals likely made by deliberately heating birch bark. What they have never found are tools that Neanderthals could have used to start fires on demand. Without it, Neanderthals would have needed to collect fire from natural sources such as lightning strikes, which would have required walking long distances to find fuel to keep fires going and enduring cold spells with raw food when they went out. The mastery of fire would have made life much easier. Many think it was a key turning point in human evolution.
“Maybe sleep is not so bad after all. Maybe Sleep increases productivity!
“According to the sleep neuroscientist Matthew Walker at the University of California at Berkeley: ‘The number of people who can survive on six hours of sleep or less without measurable impairment, rounded to a whole number and expressed as a per cent, is zero.’ In fact, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to be healthy.””
“Survivors of the disaster soon began seeing and feeling ghostly presences. Men and women dressed in warm clothes at the height of summer, hailing taxis and then disappearing from the back seat. A toy truck, belonging to a young boy killed in the tsunami, pushing itself haltingly around the room. One woman answered her door to a sopping wet stranger, who asked for a change of clothes. She went off to find something. When she came back, a whole host of people were standing there, all of them soaked to the skin.”
Eliade also developed the concepts of ‘sacred time’ and ‘sacred space’. According to Eliade, archaic man, or Homo religiosus, always told stories of what the gods did ‘in the beginning’. They consecrated time through repetitions of these cosmogonic myths, and dedicated sacred spaces according to their relationship to the ‘symbolism of the Centre’. This included the ‘sacred mountain’ or axis mundi – the archetypal point of intersection between the sacred and the profane – but also holy cities, palaces and temples. The exact myths, rituals and places were culturally and historically specific, of course, but Eliade saw them as examples of a universal pattern.
“How societies cope with the unpredictability of volcanic eruptions depends on how they organize themselves. The Valdivia and Chorrera cultures, for example, were relatively small-scale communities that lived in settlements dispersed across the valley. While they had been growing domesticated crops for millennia, their reliance on floodplain agriculture (the cultivation of crops along annually inundated river banks) left them particularly vulnerable to volcanic ash clogging the river system and killing their crops. Food would become scarce, and emigration was the only viable solution.”
Needless to say, there is a great deal of diversity in both the kinds of change being experienced in these places and the local reactions. To some, change offers job opportunities, peace, and improved infrastructure; to others, it means pollution, eviction, and a loss of livelihood. What all residents have in common is a loss of political autonomy. The decisions shaping their lives are being made further and further away from the specific locales where they live.
“One of Cortés’ solders, Bernal Díaz del Castillo, wrote, “I swear that all the houses on the lake were full of heads and corpses … The streets, squares, houses, and courts were filled with bodies so that it was almost impossible to pass.” Native Americans fought on, but they could not overcome wave after wave of disease, resulting food shortages, and superior Spanish warfare technology. So ended a fast-expanding empire that was the same size as modern-day Italy, 300,000 square kilometers, and whose population numbered somewhere between 11 and 25 million people. Only about 2 million survived the conquest.”
“A good read about sleep.
“The Industrial Revolution radically transformed our perception of sleep from a gracious, transcendent experience to a mechanistic, biomedical process. With mechanistic philosophies on the rise, the machine emerged as a new hero, with its promise of salvation from all human ills. And energy became gold.””
“A brilliant read. About women, how the society calls the cause for their misery as themselves. Longish read. Didn’t start off well for me. But got me hooked to soon enough and was a great read.
“to be successful you have to separate yourself from 98 percent of the rest of the world. Sure, you can get into that special 2 percent at the top, and it is not just by being smart, working hard, and investing wisely. There is a formula, a recipe for success that the top 2 percent live by and you too can follow.””
Article that talks about how Doctors need a check to validate that they are not falling into any trap like others (here patients). Well written article. Something bothered him. As he said later, “Hyperthyroidism is a classic cause of an irregular heart rhythm, but hyperthyroidism is an infrequent cause of an irregular heart rhythm.” Hearing that the young woman had a history of excess thyroid hormone production, the emergency room medical staff had leaped, with seeming reason, to the assumption that her overactive thyroid had caused the dangerous beating of her heart. They hadn’t bothered to consider statistically far more likely causes of an irregular heartbeat. In Redelmeier’s experience, doctors did not think statistically. “Eighty percent of doctors don’t think probabilities apply to their patients,” he said. “Just like 95 percent of married couples don’t believe the 50-percent divorce rate applies to them, and 95 percent of drunk drivers don’t think the statistics that show that you are more likely to be killed if you are driving drunk than if you are driving sober applies to them.”
A detailed analysis into the personality of Adolf Hitler. Well structured, detailed and engaging!
“Hitler was a man too weak to work in the fields or enlist in the military or even learn how to ride a horse properly, yet a man who, by 1939, had emerged as the most dangerous personality in the world. Murray spent many sleepless nights wondering how Hitler had managed to do it. Physically, he resembled nothing more than a high-strung bird, what with his hunched back, his skittish footing, and his dead, dusky eyes. Emotionally, he was totally unhinged, Murray believed. When things did not go his way, he threw temper tantrums, slammed doors, and locked himself in his bedroom at the Berghof, his home in the Bavarian Alps, where he would sulk until he felt well enough to plan his revenge against the person or people who had wronged him.”
But then, just a few pages later, he is an adult who is—what the hell?—cursed to live in “a civilization which allows a man of twenty-five to court a girl of sixteen but not a girl of twelve.” One had heard certain things about Lolita—but 12? Here was Humbert extolling “certain East Indian provinces [where men of] eighty copulate with girls of eight, and nobody minds.” And here he was on his habit of seeking out very young girls wherever he could find them, in orphanages and reform schools and public places: “Ah, leave me alone in my pubescent park, in my mossy garden. Let them play around me forever. Never grow up.”
Research has shown that some primate species, such as vervet monkeys, use “words” to label things (what we would call semantics in human language). Some species even combine calls into simple “sentences” (what we would think of as syntax). This can tell us a lot about the early evolution of language, and the elements of language that might have already been present in our common ancestors with these species some millions of years ago.
A light read on evolution of Human kind and connection with Milk products from prehsitoric era.
“A solid white mass found in a broken jar in an ancient Egyptian tomb has turned out to be the world’s oldest example of solid cheese.
Probably made mostly from sheep or goat milk, the cheese was found several years ago by archaeologists in the ancient tomb of Ptahmes, who was a high-ranking Egyptian official. The substance was identified after the archaeology team carried out biomolecular identification of its proteins.”
“The debate sits at the center of an ongoing war in the world of color research. On the one side stand “universalists,” including the authors of The World Color Survey and their colleagues, who believe in a conformity of human perceptual experience: that all people see and name colors in a somewhat consistent way. On the other side are “relativists,” who believe in a spectrum of experience and who are often offended by the very notion that a Westerner’s sense of color might be imposed on the interpretation of other cultures and languages. Many researchers, like Surrallés, say they stand in the middle: While there are some universals in human perception, Surrallés argues, color terms don’t seem to be among them”
“We have perceptual systems that we use to get information about the world. We’re thinking about the fact that there’s stuff on this table, there are trees with leaves on them behind me, and I can use that perceptual information to figure out the facts that are out there. The way humans represent the world goes way beyond that. We can think in terms of things that are not here around us. We can think of stuff that’s outside here: I could picture a hot air balloon, or a time travel device, all this stuff that’s not here. That gets us beyond the scope of just thinking about the things that are in the here and now in a way that’s pretty cool. We can also think about the facts of the world in the past. For instance, in winter these trees didn’t look like this; there was snow all over them. We can think about the context of what it’s going to look like in the future, in a few months’ time.”
“Let’s suppose that this idea of death originated alongside language and symbolism about 100,000 years ago, and that it spread rapidly across human culture. The consequences for people’s hold on life must have been momentous. For those who, like Roth, would fear oblivion, it could provide a new reason to stay alive. But for others so unfortunate that they would welcome oblivion, it could provide a reason to die. Thus, a major advance in human knowledge could have had a dangerous outcome for human fitness: It could have made suicide—self-serving, egoistic suicide—a potentially attractive option.”
“From the beginning, punning has been considered the lowest form of wit, a painful fall from conversational grace. What other form of speech is so widely reviled that we must immediately apologize for using it? “Sorry, no pun intended.”
But puns do not deserve such a bitter appellation. Indeed, puns point to the essence of all true wit—the ability to hold in the mind two different ideas about the same thing at the same time.”