There has been a pretty steady drumbeat of news coming out of Latin America recently surrounding the possibility of war between Venezuela and Colombia. In most of this media coverage, the blame here has been placed pretty squarely on Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president, who is portrayed as a possible warmonger against our valiant ally in the War on Drugs (TM), Colombia. However, recent developments have raised the somewhat alarming prospect of further destabilization in the region, and, not surprisingly, the US seems to be behind it all.
The story is fairly straightforward–the US and Colombia have signed a new agreement that would expand the ability of the US to station forces on Colombian territory, and the range of what possible military operations might be. Continue reading →
The first human-like creature to pick up a pointed stick and use it as a tool to slay another creature changed everything. Instead of waiting for the accumulation of random genetic variations to impart gradually improving biological tools our creature could create tools itself.
The advantage to humans of being able to organise, teach and use weapons to catch food may initially have been slight. That marginal advantage has allowed a single species to migrate, settle and dominate their entire planet; something unprecedented in all of Earth history.
The study of human evolution covers a period of six million years, during which a semi-upright-walking woodland ape eventually developed tools, learning, and culture, and survived ice-ages, earthquakes and climate disruption. Adding to the complexity of this epic tale is that there appears to have been overlap between at least two intelligent species of human-like creatures in the last 50,000 years. Continue reading →