Evolution of the homonids

On the evolution of hominids. One species in mind is worthy of a second look. Homo erectus, arguably the most successful of all hominids, went through an evolutionary process that saw an upgrade of the species (leaving the archaic specimens extinct, paving way for the newer models).

This process, took place during the more than two million year life span of the species. During this time, they received (or rather earned) an upgrade in cranial capacity and the larger brains that this signifies and they also became better tool users. It took nearly a million years to place a handle on the hand axes they used. In addition homo erectuses once matured in a fashion similar to apes, reaching maturity at eight.

This sort of development parallels that of humanity’s evolutionary advancement. Scientists agree that there was an upgrade in humanity’s hardware that allowed for symbolic thought. The disagreement is when this took place, some says as far as seventy thousand years ago while others place this date as recently as twenty thousand years. Whatever the date, this is the advantage that made true learning possible as complexideas could be recorded using symbols. This would first expand language and later allow for written language. This ability to code would later lead to computers.

As written language progressed, it would go through phrases. First was photographs, pictures representing objects, people, animals, places. Find for nouns, but verbs can be tedious and modifiers are subjective. (the perception of size, strength, good and evil are left to the interpreter). This natural imperfection would lead to individuals finding ways to standardize terminology, which leads us to the next development.

Ideography is the use of ideas based on visual depictions that are simplified. The use of ideography allows for standardization never before seen, allowing those with less artistic talent the ability to write and be understood.

Next, there is syllabary. This a dead end in human literary development as many societies skip over it, and those that used it (the Minoans and for example, died out). Not all advancements are good in the long run, if it provides an advantage in the current environment then it will survive. The question is will it be useful over time?

Finally, we have the alphabet. As sounds are formed into words, letters each with a sound that can be combined to form a word are utilized. This allows for the recording of information in a more efficient fashion. Only a couple or several dozen symbols need be memorized, once you understand their pronunciation and have grasped the concept of writing them, you can read and write any word that you can accurately pronounce ( that’s why sounding things out is so important). Now that you have thirds, the language can be revised and updated by anyone clever enough to do so.

While all of this may seem obvious, each of these steps represents hundreds and sometimes thousands of years of advancements. Humanity has experienced the rise and fall of many civilizations, all of whom failed to grasp the changing environment and adapt. For humans, whose vision is their primary sense, written language represents the combination of audio and visual. An event or phenomena can be experienced, transcribed and then carried to another location where those events can be heard. As our primary sense cannot be used for communication, this represents a boon for humanity’s survival.

Writing, now gives us the ability to code. We can right figures down and perform math equations that we couldn’t do in our head. When these leads to computers, this is the last in a step of progressions that leads up to now.

The question to ask is, were there biological differences between the people who advanced and those who didn’t. The answer for the past is uncertain, at least at a measurable level, but for the future it is yes (at least eventually). The same way those erectuses, who didn’t advance to larger cranium went extinct, will those of us who do not learn to use computers go extinct. The computer is the latest in a long list of inventions made possible by the symbolic thought that is the mark and birth of our species, homo sapiens sapiens.

Any thoughts and ideas. As always donations are appreciated.

It’s been a while

Haven’t posted in a long time, but I’m back. I intend to have more content soon. Stay tuned for my movie and book reviews, and an installment fantasy series to start in the next few weeks. Also in store will be opinion pieces (including discussions speculating the course of everything, including technology and human evolution). Please stay tuned in.

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Worldbuilding

This is a must for aspiring authors, particularly in the scifi and fantasy genres. A detailed history of the world you will write in will save you a great deal of time in the long run.

Ideally this will include geography, meteorology, history (including mythology and religion) , zoology, botany, astronomy (esp. for scifi) and an analysis of all major political entities.

Once accomplished, you have a template from which you can create a fictional work. This is the canvas upon which you will create your masterpiece.

As a student of political science and history with a strong background in science and math,  I am able to do this for you.  Contact me at GHWright.author@yahoo.com for a quote. See you out there.

 

 

 

Star Trek: An Oater in Space

When Star Trek was first pitched by Gene Roddenberry, I believe he said ‘Have Gun Will Travel’ in space (or some other Western). I just recently thought about how well that description fits.

First you have to get past the type of organization that prevailed in the Old West. The US Marshalls and their deputies, with the aid and sometimes detriment of local sheriffs and their deputies. The only regular military force was the US Army and they were a handful of regiments sent to deal with the Indigenous American ‘threat’. The well to do landowners, are a third force (with the wealthiest capable of fielding troops or squadrons of light cavalry, roughly thirty and ninety men respectively). Although, they were just as likely to serve as a manpower source for the aforementioned. Their ability to operate as a third force depended on the corruptibility and/or willingness of the deputizing official to work outside the constraints of the law. In any event this led to the predominance of small bands of men committing most acts of violence.

When you look at Star Trek, you have large vessels travelling the cosmos. Despite the ‘tall ship’ analogy waiting to be made, this is not Hornblower in Space or any other high seas adventure tale. The vessels, the Enterprise and those of the adversaries serve to get them planet side where the adventure occurs. This leads to so much action being performed by small bands of men and women. Thus making this a tale of a small few struggling, not just against the elements but adversity.

The Marshalls Service and Starfleet are different organizations. What then, is the common thread? It is in fact the similarity of the USA and the UFP (United Federation of Planets); for where the Marshalls and Starfleet are different, the UFP is a fair analogy for the USA. Or at least Earth is, with the other planets resembling the core of an international framework. Think of Tellar and Andor as Britain and France, not respectively. Vulcan could be Italy (formerly violent now dedicated to knowledge, arts and science) or perhaps Germany is a better fit (a formerly unruly people shaped by discipline and regimentation).

How are they similar? If you look at key hints like travel times( days or weeks between destinations); the existence of radio (instantaneous in system but not so in deep space e.g. the equivalent of message packets) and the big one the founding of the Federation. The Federation was founded in the mid-22nd century, approximately a hundred years before the series is set in the 23rd century making its founding correspond with the Revolutionary War. It is hinted that prior to the Federation, Earth went through Troubles (analogous to the Colonial Era). In this sense Vulcan can be seen as Enlightenment Era Europe supporting America, if only out of curiosity to see where she is headed. Fast forward a century and you have a Federation similar to 19th century America; both being centralized organizations with security/military/exploration outfits composed of the unorthodox, responsible for operating in an expanding frontier and tasked with keeping the peace. Two seemingly unalike settings that make for great storytelling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Purge: Election Year

When I saw that the third installment of the Purge franchise was out I had to see it. In for a penny in for a pound as they say. Produced by Michael Bay  the action scenes kept you on the edge of your seat and the fight scenes were riveting. This movie was made by and for those who can’t sit still. Further, this film brings back the white/black buddy film with a little brown thrown in the mix, at a time when this nation desperately needs it.

I was disappointed with the a couple of the stereotypes, mainly the Italian who’s good with knives and carries a lot of them (cause that’s the best way to fight racist violence, get an Italian that’s good with knives), and the lecherous old black man. The former thug with a heart of gold is a draw.

One plus is the sacrifial lambs in each movie. A white guy, another white guy (though I believe the actor is Latino) and two black guys. Both races get a chance to show their grief, at the loss of a comrade. Although for once I’d like to see a movie where a multiracial crew all gets out alive.

Another peculiarity is a scene where the homeless are fed discount sugary snacks. These will purge more people than any bullet or knife. Then there is the argument that the insurance companies can make money on premiums and that the rich don’t want to support the poor. What insurance company wants to tangle with the bankers who own all the property that stands to get damaged. And as for the poor, someone has to build all the subsidized housing they will live in.

Still, this trilogy has proven to be an interesting study in the viciousness and savageness that are a part of human nature as well as compassion and strengthens the argument that societies must bend before they break.

 

 

 

 

 

The Oxford Companion to Black British History

Found this little gem in my local public, library. Well not little, it’s darn near textbook size. Can’t wait to read what it has to say about Arthur Murray and Dido aka Belle.

This volume serves as an encyclopedia of sorts, to subjects in Black British history. It is a must have for anyone wishing to research this topic. Simply look up an entry then head to the bibliography for more in depth info.

Rachel Miner and that ‘peculiar institution’

She was amazing in Roots; playing a southern planter’s wife who is secretly opposed to slavery. This is the sort of three dimensional portrayal I discussed in the prior post, although her character opposes the ‘peculiar institution’ for moral reasons and not the self interest that I mentioned before.

It may have been possible to show her attempting to appeal to other Southern women’s self interest and this potentially leading to her downfall. But that’s just me.

Roots

Watching Roots,got to admit I like this new interpretation. Especially, the way they used the same actor for Kunta Kinte. More believable that he never lost his accent. Wish, they’d done the same with Kizzy.

Another interesting point, is that they portray the female characters using a more feminist approach. Missy is shown to develop a friendly yet unequal relationship with Kizzy. Looking for a companion that will never turn on her, someone she can confide in who will never betray her to her peers, because she can never be one.

Later Kizzy has another similar relationship with the wife of her new master (despite her knowledge of his dalliances), teaching her to read. She does this, knowing that Kizzy has more knowledge of the upper class than she as well as the ability to read.

This is a curious viewpoint. White Women in slave narratives are often shown to be vengeful harpies, not as actors in their own right. They are, after all, the second most powerful group in 19th century American society,  albeit a distant second. We can assume they would make accomodations and foster relationships advantageous to themselves.

Finally, why this portrayal. Is it merely our more modern sensibilities that cause us to show women as not being so one-dimensional or is it to insure Black and White Women vote for Hillary, maybe a little bit of both.