Tag Archives | Evolution

Consciousness In The Age Of Digital Dystopia

Vijay Kalakoti (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Vijay Kalakoti (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This was originally published on Jan Wellmann’s website. You can follow him on Twitter: @janwe

It’s Monday morning and you’re preparing your first cup of coffee when the tanks roll into your neighborhood. Phone lines are cut, curfew is activated, and doors are broken down.

You sigh. It’s another “cleanout day” in the not too distant future.

The War On Terror has infiltrated every layer of society. Internet sites track the spread of extremism like the CDC tracks a lethal virus. The threat is pandemic and online news sources agree: In order to keep you safe, weekly cleanout campaigns must ramp up all across the nation – yet again.

Today you just happen to be in the red zone.

The main annoyance about being in a red zone is usually the loss of your phone signal. But today is different.

A close friend has gone missing – along with his past.… Read the rest

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Amphibious Ichthyosaur Fossil Found in China Fills Evolutionary “Missing Link”

Ichthyosaur-fossil

via Inhabitat:

A team in China led by researchers from the University of California, Davis have discovered the first fossil of an amphibious ichthyosaur. Ichthyosaurs were dolphin-like marine reptiles that thrived for around 150 million years during the Age of the Dinosaurs. The discovery dates to the Lower Triassic period and marks the creature’s transition from land back to the sea. As the first evidence linking the marine ichthyosaur to its terrestrial ancestors it fills a significant gap in the fossil record.

The discovery of the fossil, named Cartorhynchus lenticarpus, is described in a paper recently published in the journal Nature. The fossil is about 248 million years old and measures roughly 16 inches (40 cm) long. UC Davis professor Ryosuke Motani and his colleagues discovered the specimen in China’s central-eastern Anhui Province. Unlike the later ichthyosaurs that were fully adapted to living in the sea, the fossil has unusually large flippers with flexible wrists, which could have allowed it to move around on land like a seal.

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Politics can interact with evolution to shape human destiny

Image from page 47 of "The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex" (1871)

Image from page 47 of “The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex” (1871)

Press Release via Eureka Alert:

Politics can have unintentional evolutionary consequences that may cause hastily issued policies to cascade into global, multigenerational problems, according to political scientists.

“Most western democracies look at policies as if they are bandages, we fix what we can and then move on,” said Pete Hatemi, associate professor of political science, Penn State. “But we need to consider generational policies so that we can fix what we can now, but also be prepared for what comes next.”

The researchers said that there is an interaction between political and cultural forces and evolutionary results. Genes can shape culture and political institutions, which in turn can shape biology and physiology, passing on certain traits to future generations. The environment’s influence on adaptation and how it changes biology is better known and often easier to observe, said Hatemi, but the way culture can affect gene expressions in future generations is often harder to show and may take longer to reveal itself.

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New Tor Drug Kingpin In Town

Silk_Road_Marketplace_Item_Screen

Via Wired:

In the digital drug trade as in the physical one, taking out one kingpin only makes room for another ready to satisfy the market’s endless demand. In the case of the FBI’s takedown of the Silk Road, the latest of the up-and-coming drug kingpins is far more evolved than its predecessor—and far less principled.

Since it launched early this year, the anonymous black market bazaar Evolution has grown dramatically, nearly tripling its sales listings in just the last five months. It now offers more than 15,000 mostly illegal products ranging from weapons to weed, cocaine, and heroin. That’s thousands more than the Silk Road ever hosted. And Evolution’s popularity has been driven not only by a more secure and professional operation than its competitors, but also by a more amoral approach to the cryptomarket than the strict libertarian ethos the Silk Road preached. Case in point: About 10 percent of Evolution’s products are stolen credit card numbers and credentials for hacked online accounts.

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Dennis McKenna – Plants Fueled Neural Evolution

Via The Nexian:

‘Plants have an incredibly symbiotic relationship with insects to complete their life cycle….There was a very specific symbiosis with us, and whatever other animals that ate these fruits. We did them a favor by disseminating the seeds. They did us a favor by providing us with this neurochemical rich environment that contributed to the complexification of the human neural structure.’ – DM

Here Dennis McKenna outlines some elements of consciousness researcher Tony Wright’s theory of symbiotic neural evolution (and degeneration), as outlined in his book Left in the Dark (recently republished as Return to the Brain of Eden).

Symbiosis and cooperation within nature is arguably a feature more prevalent than even competition…something Darwin himself seemed to understand. In recent times our perception of nature’s true interwoven depth has become distorted, retreating to the mere surfaces of things, whereas this symbiotic environment often operates within the invisible landscape of molecular communication.… Read the rest

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TB Bacteria May Have Once Helped Break Down Nutrients Needed For Bigger Brains

Sputum sample containing Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Sputum sample containing Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Talk about unforeseen consequences: A group of scientists think that tuberculosis started out as a symbiotic bacteria that extracted food nutrients  needed to grow bigger, more powerful brains. Scientific American has an article on the study, but it’s behind a pay wall. I’ve just pulled the abstract from the study they cited, and can remember just enough from my neurological psychology classes to sort of piece it together. Interesting stuff. (Note: The paragraph breaks are my own. I have trouble absorbing information what I read when it’s presented in a giant block of text.)

Meat eating has been an important trigger for human evolution however the responsible component in meat has not been clearly identified. Here we propose that the limiting factors for expanding brains and increasing longevity were the micronutrient nicotinamide (vitamin B3) and the metabolically related essential amino-acid, tryptophan.

Meat offers significant sourcing challenges and lack causes a deficiency of nicotinamide and tryptophan and consequently the energy carrier nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) that gets consumed in regulatory circuits important for survival, resulting in premature ageing, poor cognition and brain atrophy.

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Human Ancestors Caught Herpes From Chimp Ancestors

Someone did the nasty in the pasty. [Pic: Lillyundreyfa -cc]

Someone did the nasty in the pasty. [Pic: Lillyundreyfa -cc]

Chimps. Herpes. Cherpes. And you thought “catching it from a toilet seat” was bad…

A herpes virus that infects humans originated in chimpanzees before it jumped into our early human ancestors, according to a new study.

Researchers found that herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) infected hominids before their evolutionary split from chimpanzees 6 million years ago, whereas herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) was transferred from ancient chimpanzees to human ancestors such as Homo erectus about 1.6 million years ago, long before the rise of early modern humans about 200,000 years ago.

via The Evolution of Herpes Revealed.

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Why Did Our Brains Stop Expanding?

Via Reality Sandwich:children of the forest

Tony Wright will be joining host Dennis McKenna for the live, interactive video course, “What Plants Can Teach You: Consciousness and Intelligence in Nature.” A new paradigm is emerging that recasts how we relate to and understand nature, supported by new scientific evidence. Plants instruct us through their behavior, through their interdependence with the environment, and through direct transmissions conveyed by spirit.  Along with Tony and Dennis, the course gathers  some of the leading experts in the emerging field of plant intelligence, including: Chris Kilham, Stephen Harrod Buhner, Dayna Baumeister, and Simon G. Powell. This 5-part Evolver webinar starts on June 17. Click here to learn more.

The following is excerpted from Return to the Brain of Eden: Restoring the Connection between Neurochemistry and Consciousness by Tony Wright and Graham Gynn, recently published by Inner Traditions. 

In the forest the human brain was expanding and expanding at a phenomenal rate.… Read the rest

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Muscle Growth Sacrificed For Increased Brain Power In Human Evolution

Photo: Snowyowls (CC)

Photo: Snowyowls (CC)

A study suggests that human beings evolved toward the development of larger brains instead of muscles.

To gain insights into how the human brain evolved, scientists compared the metabolisms of humans and animals such as chimpanzees, mice and rhesus monkeys. They focused on how much energy each species devoted to the brain and body.

The researchers analyzed more than 10,000 compounds known as metabolites, which are small molecules formed by, or necessary to, metabolism, such as sugars and fats; the building blocks of proteins, DNA and cell membranes; and chemical signals given off by cells. They investigated metabolite levels in the kidney, thigh muscle and three brain regions — the primary visual cortex, which is involved in vision; the cerebellar cortex, which helps coordinate muscular activity; and the prefrontal cortex, which plays a major role in complex mental behavior, decision making and social behavior.

The investigators next compared how much the metabolisms of these animals differed with how far apart these species are evolutionarily.

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On the Origins of Money: Darwin and the Evolution of Cryptocurrency

Source: CoinDesk.com

Source: CoinDesk.com

Who knew Bitcoin and other varieties of so-called cryptocurrency could be so interesting? Writing for CoinDesk, Ryan Walker, an independent consultant and cryptocurrency enthusiast based out of Denver, Colorado, joins the dots between Darwin’s theory of evolution, fiat money and the rise of cryptocurrencies:

Charles Darwin first published his theory of natural selection in his book On the Origin of Species in 1859. The result of over 30 years of research, Darwin delivered to the world a new understanding of how modern species came to be, evolving over generations.

The son of a wealthy English family, Darwin was not a man in need of money. Nonetheless, for On the Origin of Species and his other publications, Darwin received royalties that were most likely paid in British Sterling.

Still in existence, the British Pound has origins dating back as far as 750 A.D. making it the world’s longest-surviving active currency.

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