Saturday, April 10, 2010

Random things I found interesting in GGS

(In talking about why some animals are able to be domesticated.) “In contrast, members of most solitary territorial animal species cannot be herded. They do not tolerate each other, they do not imprint on humans, and they are not instinctively submissive. Who ever saw a line of cats (solitary and territorial in the wild) following a human or allowing themselves to be herded by a human?”

“Had Africa’s rhinos and hippos been domesticated and ridden, they would not only have fed armies but also have provided an unstoppable cavalry to cut through the ranks of European horsemen. Rhino-mounted Bantu shock troops could have over-thrown the Roman Empire. It never happened.”

I love the idea that instead of “Necessity is the mother of invention,” he believes that “many or most of inventions were developed by people driven by curiosity or by a love of tinkering, in the absence of any initial demand for the product they had in mind.” I think that is a much better fit to human behavior—I think we are hardwired to explore and wish to learn.

Other random tidbit, I never knew Sequoyah wasn’t literate when he invented the Cherokee language alphabet. I always assumed he could read English. He actually just saw writing and thought it was a good idea and so invented his own system of writing. That’s incredible.

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