Saturday, August 20

Why do the most flamboyant males have the evolutionary edge? – Alex Riley | Aeon Essays

Something relating to our Ecuador visit. And to Darwin of course. A most fascinating overview of why males spend so much time in impressing females. And other males so that they are frightened away from the females. We aren't that different from animals or peacocks and this has driven our behaviours. 
Very interesting to note how human behaviour is also aligned to ensuring our mitochondria is aligned with our partner's. 

Why do the most flamboyant males have the evolutionary edge? – Alex Riley | Aeon Essays
(via Instapaper)

For a large part of his life, Charles Darwin didn't like peacocks. It wasn't their loud vocalisations – a high-pitched, piercing combo of laughter and screaming. That he could deal with. What kept him up at night was the peacocks' tails. As he wrote to a friend in 1860, the sight of those ornate feathers made him feel sick whenever he gazed at them. Why? Because he couldn't explain them. The plumes of turquoise, blue and brown, trailing behind many times the bird's body length or spread into a wide fan of flamboyancy, was an affront to his theory of evolution by natural selection, a process founded on efficiency and removal of extravagance.
Not only is such a train of feathers metabolically costly, it is also readily visible to any carnivore looking for an easy meal. With all the predation, pathogens and diseases that living things need to overcome, Darwin wondered, how could such self-destructive beauty evolve? Why would an animal go to such extremes to make life harder, and death more likely? He finally hit on a plausible answer in 1871. In the second part of his book The Descent of Man, he explained that there is more to life than mere survival. Animals need to have sex, too. And because females are often more heavily invested than males in egg production and parental care, they are more likely to take the lead in choosing mates, too. As Darwin wrote: 'It's not a struggle for existence, but a struggle between the males for the possession of the females.'

Friday, August 19

The Japanese after action report from the battle of Midway

My knowledge of the battle of midway comes mostly from American sources. But this was from Japanese sources. Amazing to read it.

They were basically shite after coral sea. Go read the entire thing. 

Thursday, August 18

‘A Man of very surprising Genius’: John Bagford, Bookseller and Collector - Untold lives blog

So a month back, kids, I went for a walk around London. It was lead by this librarian who took us around buildings and places where bagford had an association with. I've written about him earlier to you. 
I can understand why people are not happy with him. For him to cut out title pages is a crime. Heinous. 
But compared to that, he did help create some of the great libraries of London so that's good. 
Interesting chap :)


'A Man of very surprising Genius': John Bagford, Bookseller and Collector - Untold lives blog
(via Instapaper)

[H]e was a Man of very surprising Genius, and, had his education...been equal to his natural Genius, he would have proved a much greater Man than he was. And yet, without this Education, he was, certainly, the greatest Man in the World in his way...
So wrote the Oxford antiquary Thomas Hearne of his friend John Bagford (b. 1650/51, d. 1716): a man of humble background and little formal education, a one-time shoemaker who made a career as a bookseller. Since he counted among his customers such luminaries as Hans Sloane and Robert Harley – whose libraries went on to form foundation collections of the British Museum – Bagford's activities are of no little interest in the history of the British Library and its books. Bagford is principally remembered today for amassing important collections of early printed ballads and title-pages. The latter he gathered with the object – unfulfilled at his death – of writing 'an Historical Account of that most Universally Celebrated, as well as Useful Art of Typography'.

Engraving of John Bagford by George Vertue, after the painting by Hugh Howard. © National

Wednesday, August 17

A Terrifying Journey Through the World's Most Dangerous Jungle

This was a difficult read. I'm a family of migrants. Going back several generations. Crossing internal and external boundaries. Burma. Bangladesh. Nepal. India. It's a strange feeling. To read about bangladeshis being in Panama and Columbia. Going through very tough situations. And then can you imagine? Being forced to go back after crossing the ferocious most dangerous jungle? Will kill your spirit :(

A Terrifying Journey Through the World's Most Dangerous Jungle
(via Instapaper)

"Huelo chilingos," the boatman shouts over the drone of an outboard motor. I smell migrants.
I turn around and see nothing but a wall of dark, unruly jungle, then I slump back into the bow of the canoe. Five days we've been out here, waiting for a group of foreigners to appear on this godforsaken smuggler's route in the Darién Gap, and all we have to show for it is sunburn and trench foot. Our search is starting to feel futile.
For centuries the lure of the unknown has attracted explorers, scientists, criminals, and other dubious characters to the Gap, a 10,000-square-mile rectangle of swamp, mountains, and rainforest that spans both sides of the border between Colombia and Panama. Plenty of things here can kill you, from venomous snakes to murderous outlaws who want your money and equipment. We've come to find the most improbable travelers imaginable: migrants who, by choice, are passing through the Darién region from all over the world, in a round-about bid to reach the United States and secure refugee status

Tuesday, August 16

Historical GDP growth rates

these figures are very thought-provoking.

Forget the current situation where we have seen a significant change in the GDP figures, but nations rely on a very long history to develop. Patents. Universities. Infrastructure. Dams. Irrigation Networks. Institutions. All those help and have a very long chain. 

Look at the UK, its growth rate was extraordinary and that is what provides you hope that the UK will prosper and develop much more. It will have to rely on the institutions, infrastructure, universities to keep on developing further.