Weekly Round up: Muddles, Complexity and a British National Treasure

issues beyond the daily news cycle

Resolving the muddle in the middle– Human evolution has always been a mess, with warring tribes of anthropologists fighting over every bone. Latest attempt at clarity comes from Mirjana Roksandic and colleagues who identify a line leading to modern humans and lump the rest into the Neanderthals. Two links for you: the first has a diagram which tries to show how all the different early humans link over the last million years. It’s alright going forwards-but any first year student of Complexity Theory would ask:”where are your feedback loops, Dr Roksandic?”

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/evan.21929

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/oct/28/human-species-homo-bodoensis-who-lived-500000-years-ago-is-named

Complexity Theory Talking of which, here’s a whole field of human learning which makes you think again about what you know and how you think about it. It comprises the work of Computer Scientists, Linguists, Information experts, physicist, mathematicians and many others. Many of whom are so bright that, frankly, we struggle to understand. But their work will be vital in umderstanding big data, markets, fluid dynamics and many aspects of biology. Maybe you, gentle reader will do better than us. But to start we are going to recommend a book. Clearly written, but by an absolute doyenne, we think it makes a complex world comprehensible, at least for starters

John H Holland Complexity;a very short introduction Oxford 2013

Private Eye on Prime Ministers Foreign readers may not have heard of a very British Institution called Private Eye. Maybe certain newspapers can tell you a bit about how the country is run. But if you want to know about what the people who run the country actually do, and who gets what contracts, you need to read Private Eye, We think that its editor, Ian Hislop is one of the most fearless, clear-sighted and honest people working in Britain today. But they do lots of jokes too, and nowhere better than their lampoons of our Prime Ministers of the last sixty years. Martin Farr explains in The Conversation

https://theconversation.com/private-eye-at-60-the-prime-ministerial-parodies-that-tell-a-history-of-modern-britain-170416?

No drinks this week Sorry that for personal reasons we were unable to run a Cocktail Hour this week. But why not raise a glass tonight to the COP26 conference in Glasgow and hope against hope that they might come up with something to save us all? Otherwise how will you explain to all those early humans in item #1 “sorry all your brave efforts to come through the ice age were in vain. We blew it !”

#private eye #evolution #complexity theory

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