Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Path Becomes Clearer By Running Into The Guardrails


I went to the Colo.Sci.Cafe meeting at the Wynkoop last night.
subject: Neanderthals

It was a pretty good meeting. The speakers were aware of their speaking time for once, and the beer was tasty as usual. I bet you want to see my notes (random collection of quotes from the lectern and around our table of listeners).


Too bad, you have no choice:

Where are the Neanderthals?

"You may as well not talk to me. You're on the wrong side."
(tapping his right ear)
"I don't have the reading material!"
-older couple sitting next to us

"If I keep turning around, I'm going to get dizzy and fall down."

Neanderthal: large FACES, large NOSES, protruding lower face;

adapting to glacial, cold environments;

they were capable individuals, effective hunters;

fossils show same injury patterns as rodeo riders, ie. they got close to large animals;

not much evidence for art, though they did color some things;

did bury their dead, at least once in a while;

maintained injured (though... no evidence of caring for leg injuries...if you couldn't walk, you were done) and old people, ie. some individuals survived their teeth;

less likely to think about things;

coexisted in Europe with homo sapiens for approximately 10,000 years
"One wouldn't think genocide would take ten thousand years."
(That was the most revealing comment of the night in my opinion...
we humans get so good at things.)

"Get another beer."

"Twin studies in India, ya know, a billion people, a lot of twins"

"I don't know much about the brain."

Executive Functions: sophisticated decisions, one gene's difference

Strangers at a table
10 people
4 conversations

Neanderthals were laconic (look it up),
lacked skill of thinking in the subjunctive
or affecting themselves with personal ornamentation.

"typical objects"

"suite of behaviors"

"As I understand it, but you can correct me."
-host of Colo.Sci.Cafe

Two stage change for modern humans; brains took a bit longer to sophisticate.

Ice ages and the brain
Environment and change
Analogy and thought experiments
(Reflective qualities of consciousness, episodic thinking, time travel in your head)

After the meeting, over more beer, we wondered:
Was Humor an emergent property of consciousness?
-Irony is paradox
-Humor is the realization of irony
-To laugh at a paradox is to hold what should or normally happens in your head, along side the inappropriate, opposite something that shouldn't or wouldn't normally happen
-The brain experiences tension from holding such conflicting scenarios
-The release of such tension is Laughter

They say the ability to play and joke is a sign of intelligence in animals (otters, dogs, etc.).
Maybe getting the joke was one of our first steps toward consciousness?

Ok, enough heavy, random crap for ya?


And no, I don't know what this blog is about either.

the following is something I'll try to end most every post with...

***Jay & Dread's One-Liners***

"When THEY control flint, we're fucked."


Mr Bob said...

very nice first "real" post. I look forward to your postings, I have added your blog to my RSS reader, blogspot creates them automatically

Helskel said...

Well thank you, Mr. Bob.

Anonymous said...

I think That Mr bob Like you... lol

Helskel said...

I think I like Mr. Bob.

do you have a problem with our torrid love affair?