The Outsourced Brain - New York Times by By DAVID BROOKS Published: October 26, 2007
"Until that moment, I had thought that the magic of the information age was that it allowed us to know more, but then I realized the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less. It provides us with external cognitive servants — silicon memory systems, collaborative online filters, consumer preference algorithms and networked knowledge. We can burden these servants and liberate ourselves."
"I’ll be in the way Amazon links purchasing Dostoyevsky to purchasing garden furniture. And when memes are spreading, and humiliation videos are shared on Facebook — I’ll be there, too."
"I am one with the external mind. Om."
A number of articles have recently reflected on the biological and social evolutionary development of human communication. The Los Angeles Times writer Karen Kaplan looks at the genetic origin of language in Did Neanderthals natter? The human forebears had a key language gene, researchers report on October 22, 2007 (requires free registration).
In summary, Corballis claims that handedness emerged only after speech, which was itself lateralized due to preexisting dominance of the left-hemisphere for communicative behaviors.First the externalization of speech and then the internal rewiring of the brain to be lateralized to handedness.
The Los Angles Times had an article Researchers discover that irregular verbs change in a predictable manner -- just like genes and living organisms. By Denise Gellene, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer back on October 11, 2007.
Tracing the evolution of English verbs over 1,200 years -- from the Old English of "Beowulf" to the modern English of "The Princess Diaries" -- researchers have found that the majority of irregular verbs are going the way of Grendel, falling to the linguistic equivalent of natural selection.
Seems reasonable. In our travels across Europe, we found that "yes" and "no" were very similar in different languages -- until we got to Greece, where their word for yes was pronounced "neh," and the word for no was "ochi." But despite anomalies such as this, overall more frequently used words tend to be more similar across Indo-European languages.
Why might this be? Mr. Munger cites one author of the study who explains,
As to how frequency of word use would affect evolution, Dr. Pagel said a possibility is that if errors are made in speaking common words, they may tend to be corrected, precisely because they are so common and so important for communication.