As we near the limits of human strength and speed, technology and culture keep moving the finish line.
In 1896 Charilaos Vasilakos won the first modern marathon, a qualifying race for Greece’s Olympic team, with a time of three hours and eighteen minutes. Today that would not even qualify him for the Boston Marathon. Since the beginning of the modern Olympic Games world records in every sport have advanced sharply, driven by factors as disparate as global conflicts, social change, technological improvements and changing rules.
The general upward trend in performance is largely due to advances in our understanding of fitness, conditioning, diet and nutrition, says Mark Williams, a professor of sport, health and exercise science at Brunel University in London.
Continue reading “Are We Reaching the End of World Records?”
How are humans progressing? Be it resolved humankind’s best days lie ahead…
Progress. It is one of the animating concepts of the modern era. From the Enlightenment onwards, the West has had an enduring belief that through the evolution of institutions, innovations and ideas, the human condition is improving. This process is supposedly accelerating as new technologies, individual freedoms and the spread of global norms empowers individuals and societies around the world. But is progress inevitable? Its critics argue that human civilization has become different, not better, over the last two and a half centuries. What is seen as breakthrough or innovation in one period becomes a setback or limitation in another. In short, progress is an ideology not a fact; a way of thinking about the world as opposed to a description of reality. Continue reading “Progress! Do mankind’s best days lie ahead?”
While measuring brain activity with magnetic resonance imaging during blood pressure trials, researchers found that men and women had opposite responses in the right front of the insular cortex, a part of the brain integral to the experience of emotions, blood pressure control and self-awareness.
While measuring brain activity with magnetic resonance imaging during blood pressure trials, UCLA researchers found that men and women had opposite responses in the right front of the insular cortex, a part of the brain integral to the experience of emotions, blood pressure control and self-awareness.
The insular cortex has five main parts called gyri serving different roles. The researchers found that the blood pressure response in the front right gyrus showed an opposite pattern in men and women, with men showing a greater right-sided activation in the area while the women showed a lower response. Continue reading “More evidence that male and female brains are wired differently”
Humans. We have been around for a while now. When we think about our past we think about ancient civilizations, the pyramids, stuff like that. But this is only a tiny, tiny part of our history.