I know, I know, you’d rather be born smart and rich (and charming, and with a lustrous head of hair, and a voice like Michael Bolton’s). But if you had to choose? Chances are, your answer depends on whether you think the U.S. economy is a meritocracy—that intelligence and ambition are more important to lifelong success than the circumstances of your birth.
A recent Brookings paper gives reasons for optimism. Over the long term, it finds, smart kids earn more than rich kids. But sadly, there’s a big catch.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
iPhones, staplers, aluminum foil. Humans are surrounded and defined by their technologies. We might even say: Technology makes us human.
But that’s not quite true, because we know that other animals employ and deploy tools, too. Primates use twiggy Roto-Rooters to search for bugs. All sorts of creatures make homes for themselves; bowerbirds sculpt fantastical ones.
And now we know it’s not quite true either, historically. New archeological evidence indicates that our ancestors used a certain kind of tool—a “complex tool,” in the parlance of anthropologists—when they were still our ancestors.
That is: They threw spear-tipped javelins, to catch and kill animals.
Read more. [Image: José-Manuel Benito Álvarez]
Every single word of this.