Was agriculture a good thing?

Before I went to college, I learned a simple narrative about early human sociological and technological development: our earliest proto-human ancestors were like apes. Then we started making tools, like spears. Then we had fire, which allowed us to get more calories from the same amount of meat. Then we developed agriculture, which allowed us to get more calories from the same number of hours and amount of exertion. These increased efficiencies led to art, culture, writing, civilization, etc.

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Explain things two ways

Somewhere I remember learning that a good way to help audiences understand things is to explain it two ways. This works most naturally in speech, and I find that getting it into text requires a little more finesse.

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I went to the Boston science rally

There was a rally for science in Boston this past Sunday. I had a few reasons for going. I won’t deny a selfish motivation: I do science for a living, and I like doing science for a living, and my ability to do science for a living is strongly dependent on federal funding for science. The NIH, where my funding will mostly come from, is not particularly on the chopping block, in part because the value of healthcare research is more broadly recognized than the value of other kinds of research. That’s the second reason I was at the rally: solidarity for my peers who, selfishly, want to do their work.

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