Vegan Diets, Intestinal Bacteria, Bad Behavior, Neanderthals, and the Moon

Vegan Diets, Intestinal Bacteria, Bad Behavior, Neanderthals, and the Moon December 14, 2018


A forest scene in Germany’s Neander Valley (which, in German, is the “Neandertal,” or, in older spellings, “Neanderthal”).  //  Wikimedia Commons public domain


To me, the phenomena described in this article raise intriguing questions about the nature of intelligence or consciousness, but also, in a sense, about the nature of ant “personhood”:  Is the colony itself the unit of “personhood” in the case of ants, rather than the individual ant?  Would this be true of other insects?  Especially, perhaps, in biologically related social insects such as wasps and bees?


“An Ant Colony Has Memories That Individual Ants Don’t”




Some humans seem to lack memories, though.  And some of those have claimed that NASA’s landings on the Moon were all mere hoaxes.  My weirdest critics are, I would judge, pretty much the same sorts of folks who deny the Moon landings, so I offer this piece as a charitable attempt to help them:


“Here’s Your Proof That We Landed On The Moon, Steph Curry”


It turns out, though, that Steph Curry was joking:


“Steph Curry says moon landing comments were a joke, but he will take NASA up on its offer of a tour”


My weirdest critics, though, may be entirely serious.  And that, in turn, may be at least partially genetic:


Narrower Skulls, Oblong Brains: How Neanderthal DNA Still Shapes Us: Two genes inherited from our evolutionary cousins may affect skull shape and brain size even today. What that means for human behavior is a mystery.”




Whether the risk is “minimal” or not, it may be urgently necessary that some of my weirder critics be quarantined for the safety of the general public, or at least tagged and fitted with GPS tracking devices:


“‘Transmissible’ Alzheimer’s theory gains traction: Mouse tests confirm that sticky proteins associated with degenerative brain diseases can be transferred — but researchers say risks for humans are likely to be minimal.”




Help may be on its way to them, though.  (Despite the title of the article immediately below, the situation isn’t completely without hope.)  But that help, if it’s really out there at all, is still a considerable distance off:


“Why You Can’t Blame Your Behavior On Your Gut Microbiome”




On quite another note:  If you imagine that going vegan or even just going organic is a step toward better health and a better environment, you might want to at least consider the two items below.


“Organic food worse for the climate”


To create inadequate diet in the midst of unprecedented wealth and plenty is no small achievement:


“Vegan Diets Adding to Malnutrition in Wealthy Countries”



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