Effect and Cause

A recent Writing Excuses episode to which I listened discussed the ideas of disordered storytelling, and means of writing stories that are intended to be read in an order other than from the first page to the last page. Unfortunately, it didn't really dig into the topic the way I hoped it would engage with it.

Society’s Origins

When I unearth an article that I can make applicable to writing and storytelling, I have no compulsions against sharing it with you.  This week, that’s a paper from Science Advances on how societies initially arose: “Disentangling the Evolutionary Drivers of Social Complexity: A Comprehensive Test of Hypotheses.”

Logical Fallacies

A logical fallacy is a systemic flaw in the sequential process of deriving conclusions that can occur in any application of that method of deliberation, and can result in achieving erroneous end states.  Significantly, it does not include cases of failure to implement logical processes in the first place, nor does it apply in most cases to innate traits of neurophysiology.

No Silver Bullets

Humans are lazy, short-sighted creatures, and that makes perfect evolutionary sense.  When you’re starving to death in an unfamiliar forest, you don’t have time or energy to make plans for ten years later, or to waste on superfluous activities.  In evolutionary terms, laziness is just another word for efficiency.  Long term planning and the capacity for delayed gratification came with the development of the higher reasoning cortex and the capacity for complex thought, and our brains have a constant battle between the impulsive, instinctual brain and the reasoned, thoughtful brain.  It’s no surprise, then, that we are always looking for silver bullets.

What is Life?

This might sound like a philosophical question, but I intend it more like a scientific question.  We’ve discussed this somewhat before, like in our post about the universe’s habitable zone, but I want to focus in a little closer on what life really is, on what makes one thing alive and one thing not alive, how we might go about defining the difference, and whether what we call life deserves the distinction we have hitherto applied.