Humans






We don’t really know that much about how we became what we are, modern humans. John Noble Wilford talks to Chris Stringer, who is hot on the trail, for the New York…


We’re screwing with our own nature as well as that of many other species and the Earth itself, with unpredictable consequences. Matt Ridley offers his opinion on what that might mean in…





As androids/dolls/CG figures become more lifelike, flesh-and-blood humans may desire to head in the other direction. Girls (and boys) can now pick up chic joint stockings to give themselves the look of…


Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, 1903.

John Stossel writes on Fox Business:

Yesterday ESPN announced they will remove all poker-related programming and advertising (except for this year’s World Series of Poker).

Wimps. And the gambling industry is no better. Industry lobbyist, former senator Al D’Amato, claims “[poker] is a game of skill” and therefore should not be subjected to federal anti-gambling laws. “Regulate it, but don’t ban it,” he says.

Give me a break. The cowardice of business in standing up for free markets never ceases to amaze me.

What wimps! Why don’t they have the courage to say the government has NO business intervening in an activity between consenting adults? I’d hope the poker lobby and the leading sports network would defend the game and its players. Instead they push legal tricks or distance themselves from poker.

The feds accuse the companies of bank fraud and money laundering…


In this RSA Animate, Jeremy Rifkin examines our innate capacity for empathy, one of the defining traits of the human race (though we share it with a few other species). Rifkin argues that throughout history humans have progressively expanded their “spheres of empathy”, and that our survival as a species depends on expanding empathy further, rather than retreating into tribalism. Will our empathic impulses become more globalized, along with everything else? Or do the conditions of today breed a narrow self-interest which could destroy us?


Gliese 581Start your bidding now. Via NatGeo News:

The alien planet Gliese 581g set off a firestorm of controversy earlier this year when astronomers loudly declared it to be the first truly habitable planet found outside our solar system.

One of several planets known to orbit the red dwarf star Gliese 581, the headline-grabbing world was described by one researcher as being “just the right size and just at the right distance [from its star] to have liquid water on the surface.”

Not so fast, other astronomers cried. Are you sure this planet actually exists?

Even at a mere 20 light-years from Earth, Gliese 581g is too far away for us to see it directly. We have to infer its existence based on the planet’s gravitational tugs on its host star.


Here’s a chapter from my Disinformation-published book titled 50 Things You’re Not Supposed To Know: Volume 2 (2004): ________________________________ It’s long been noted that all of us start in the womb as…


Unraveling ancient human DNA must be like crack for anthropologists — they just can’t stop! Joe Palca reports for NPR: DNA taken from a pinkie bone at least 30,000 years old is…



A great extra from the fantastic movie Children of Men. Modern philosophers, political scientists, and climate scientists weigh-in on the state of the Earth, global politics, militarism, mass-migration, global warming, and the future of humanity.

(For the disinfo regular, I’d recommend the watching the movie The Constant Gardener and the documentary Darwin’s Nightmare, but perhaps you already have…)


In Entangled, Graham Hancock’s debut novel, an essential part of the story involves the so-called “Neanderthal Enigma,” a raging academic debate over what caused Homo neanderthalensis to die out some 35,000 years…



Clark KentI’m not suggesting that “shyness” means you secretly are an alien from the planet Krypton, who has to disguise one’s true nature from everyone around you … but it can feel like that at times. Reports LiveScience:

The brains of shy or introverted individuals might actually process the world differently than their more extroverted counterparts, a new study suggests.

About 20 percent of people are born with a personality trait called sensory perception sensitivity (SPS) that can manifest itself as the tendency to be inhibited, or even neuroticism. The trait can be seen in some children who are “slow to warm up” in a situation but eventually join in, need little punishment, cry easily, ask unusual questions or have especially deep thoughts, the study researchers say.

The new results show that these highly sensitive individuals also pay more attention to detail, and have more activity in certain regions of their brains when trying to process visual information than those who are not classified as highly sensitive.