The same goes for education — people are still uncomfortable with the idea that we've descended from apes and so, in the case of Kansas at least, students needn't be burdened with that knowledge. Until a few years ago, tracking the evolution of language was only possible for idle gentlemen: university scholars, amateur dilettantes whence arose the Oxford English Dictionary , or pompous columnists only one of whom has a weekly piece in the New York Times Magazine.
It was carried on from an elite gentleman's club perspective and consisted of deploring decline and patronizing neologism. Huge quantities of "real" language as it is spoken and written can be collected easily and subjected to sophisticated tracking analysis. Gender, class, nationality: all can be revealed and studied as never before.
The ethical and political bases of society as it is not as it imagines itself to be can be displayed and analyzed. Why is this important? Because the way we talk about ourselves and others is the way we create ourselves and our society.
fiaddaduncrumon.ml The ethical and social revolutions of the last half century have been far reaching, but it is still possible for those who prefer nostalgia to justice to wish those revolutions away. The emergence of a serious journalism of language, supported by good science, would document the way in which all classes and social groups have changed and continue to change.
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It would tell us things about ourselves that we know in our hearts but have not had the self aware and the wisdom and the courage to say to ourselves aloud. I believe we would all be happier if we knew how far we have come, and I can think of no better way of measuring and showing it.
As a result, today's typical American ear is attuned more to rhythm and vocal emotion — the strengths of rock and rap — than to melody and harmony, the strengths of classical music and Golden Age pop. This is true not just of teenagers but of people roughly fifty and under, and has been the most seismic shift in musical sensibility since the advent of ragtime introduced the American ear to syncopation a century ago.
A catchy beat is not just one element, but the sine qua non in most pop today, opening most songs instead of the instrumental prelude of the old days. The increasing popularity of rhythm-centered Third World pop pointedly called "World Beat" underscores this change in taste. Certainly folks liked a good beat before Elvis, but much of even the most crassly commercial dance music before the s was couched in melody and harmony to a degree largely unknown in today's pop.
Our expectations have so shifted that the rock music that critics today call "melodic" would sound like Gregorian chants to members of even the cheesiest little high school dance band in Yet what pop has lost in craft it has gained in psychological sophistication, and the focus on vocal emotion is part of this. In the old days, singers made their marks as individuals, no doubt, but, for example, Sinatra's artistry was in being able to suggest a range of emotions within the context of rather homogenous lyrics.
Modern pop singers like Alanis Morrisette are freed from these constraints, and the variety and individuality of many modern pop lyrics have made them America's true poetry; indeed, many listeners relate to the lyrics of their favorite rock singers with an intensity our grandparents were more likely to devote to the likes of Robert Frost. Lyrics will continue to count, but their intimate linkage to musical line will be of no more concern than individual expression or complex rhythm was to pop listeners sixty years ago.
I once attended a screening of a concert video from the mids in which Sammy Davis, Jr. Young hipsters behind me whispered "This is rad! The most unreported story deals with evolution of human lifespans and intelligence.
Although we hear news reports about how humans will live longer in the future, we rarely hear reports that our children or grandchildren will be immortal by the end of the next century. Given the tremendous advances in molecular biochemistry that will take place by , we will certainly uncover the molecular and cellular mysteries of aging, and therefore many humans will live forever, assuming they don't suffer a fatal accident. I am amazed that this obvious concept is not discussed more often or taken more seriously.
Of course, the ecological, economic, political, social, and religious implications will be extreme. Imagine an immortal Pope discussing the afterlife with his followers — or the growth of two social classes, those that can afford immortality and those too poor to gain access to the required anti-aging "treatment.
Similarly, most scientists and lay people seem to think that there is intelligent, space-faring life elsewhere in the universe.
A related unreported story is just how special human intelligence is. Despite what we see in Star Wars and Star Trek, I don't expect intelligence to be an inevitable result of evolution on other worlds. Since the beginning of life on Earth, as many as 50 billion species have arisen, and only one of them has acquired technology. If intelligence has such has high survival value, why are so few creatures intelligent?
Mammals are not the most successful or plentiful of animals. Ninety-five percent of all animal species are invertebrates.
Most of the worm species on our planet have not even been discovered yet, and there are a billion insects wandering the Earth. If humankind were destroyed in some great cataclysm, in my opinion there is very little possibility that our level of intelligence would ever be achieved on Earth again.
If human intelligence is an evolutionary accident, and mathematical, linguistic, artistic, and technological abilities a very improbable bonus, then there is little reason to expect that life on other worlds will ever develop intelligence that allows them to explore the stars. Both intelligence and mechanical dexterity appear to be necessary to make radio transmitting devices for communication between the stars.
How likely is it that we will find a race having both traits? Very few Earth organisms have much of either. As evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond has suggested, those that have acquired a little of one smart dolphins, dexterous spiders have acquired none of the other, and the only species to acquire a little of both chimpanzees has been rather unsuccessful.
The most successful creatures on Earth are the dumb and clumsy rats and beetles, which both found better routes to their current dominance. If we do receive a message from the stars, it will undermine much of our current thinking about evolutionary mechanisms.
Despite the improbabilities, we must continue to scan the stars for signs of intelligence. I agree with the ancient Persian proverb, "The seeker is a finder," which suggests we must always search in order to understand our place in our universe. After two thousand years of "civilization," women are still considered inferior to men by most cultures, whether in developed, developing, or undeveloped nations. Although the media reports on glass ceilings in the job place, they do not penetrate beyond the economic discrimination women face into the culture itself: What is it that makes most men think they are superior to women?
Why is the thought of electing a woman president of the United States so unthinkable to most of the population? Why is it surprising that most Fortune companies still lack a woman on their board of directors? Why do women athletes still lack funding and popular support on a scale that their male counterparts garner?
Because after 2, years of recorded history, and 20, years of artifact-preserved history, women have generally been relegated as breeders not leaders. And even though technological and economic advances have allowed women to have children as well as professional careers, their multimillenial image as background breeders persists. This pervasive fallacy continues to limit the creative potential of half of the world's population.
The underlying belief in women's inferiority seems to be so ingrained in our collective psyches that even the media doesn't seem motivated to investigate — let alone challenge — its roots. Whatever happened to looking for the Peace Dividend?
He, like the other 80 or 90 or million victims of the Great October Socialist Revolution, was a real human being. An apparent roadblock to quantum computation — the problem of decoherence by environmental interactions — was potentially solved in the mid 's by groups who developed quantum error correction codes which can detect and repair decoherence before quantum computation is destroyed. If only the plane in which he flew with Hitler and Goebbels had crashed, he later wrote, the history of Europe would have been very different. And when a general socialistic organization has been established, the vast, ramified, and consolidated body of those who direct its activities, using without check whatever coercion seems to them needful. The different kinds of landscape appropriation are based on rather far reaching cognitive conceptualisations that may be too wide apart to be compatible within a compact society. Or, you can think of socialism as a form of collectivism that uses a particular set of means—political control over the means of labor, capital, and land—to implement a large-scale economic plan that directs people to do things they might not have chosen. And it doesn't just settle down into the alternate mode: the transition often has a flicker like an aging fluorescent light bulb.
What if the rampant prosperity in America these years is it? Money not spent on Defense gets spent on something.
Research not sequestered into Defense applications gets loose into the world faster, and in pace with other events in technology and science. Policies not organized around paranoia can be organized around judicious optimism. The more former enemies there are, the more new customers and suppliers. Are Democrats getting credit for something that Republicans did? But maybe Democrats are exactly who you want running things when a long debilitating war ends. Question: if the Peace Dividend is prosperity, is it a blip good for only a couple years, or is it a virtuous circle that goes on and on?
The way we learn to use the Internet in the next few years or fail to learn will influence the way our grandchildren govern themselves. Yet only a tiny fraction of the news stories about the impact of the Net focus attention on the ways many to-many communication technology might be changing democracy — and those few stories that are published center on how traditional political parties are using the Web, not on how grassroots movements might be finding a voice.
Democracy is not just about voting for our leaders. Democracy is about citizens who have the information and freedom of communication the need to govern themselves. Although it would be illogical to say that the printing press created modern democratic nation-states, it would have been impossible to conceive, foment, or implement self-government without the widespread literacy made possible by printing technology.
The more we know about the kind of literacy citizens are granted by the Internet, the better our chances of using that literacy to strengthen democracy. And what could be more important? What good is health and wealth and great personal home entertainment media without liberty? Every communication technology alters governance and political processes. Candidates and issues are packaged and sold on television by the very same professionals who package and sell other commodities.
In the age of mass media, the amount of money a candidate can spend on television advertising is the single most important influence on the electoral success.