Social Evolution - The Ritual Animal "Praying, fighting, dancing, chanting — human rituals could illuminate the growth of community and the origins of civilization." [more inside]
Chimp Fights and Trolley Rides from Radiolab's morality episode: "try to answer tough moral quandaries. The questions--which force you to decide between homicidal scenarios--are the same ones being asked by Dr. Joshua Greene. He'll tell us about using modern brain scanning techniques to take snapshots of the brain as it struggles to resolve these moral conflicts. And he'll describe what he sees in these images: quite literally, a battle taking place in the brain. It's 'inner chimp' versus a calculator-wielding rationale."
"when i went into cyberspace i went into it thinking that it was a place like any other place and that it would be a human interaction like any other human interaction. i was wrong when i thought that. it was a terrible mistake." Pandora's Vox: On Community in Cyberspace [more inside]
Fifteen years ago this week, programmer Ron Britvich launched version 1.0 of Active Worlds. Started as an autonomous project of Worlds, Inc. (a spinoff of educational gamesmaker Knowledge Adventure), Active Worlds was one of the first and most ambitious attempts to create a 3D virtual community on the web. Built on the architecture of Britvich's Worlds Chat beta, Active Worlds debuted in the form of Alphaworld, a sunny green infinite plane open to public building. In its opening years Alphaworld experienced a land rush of construction, resulting in an anarchic starfish sprawl larger than the state of California. A sister company, Circle of Fire, was soon founded to craft additional themed hubs, and once individual ownership of worlds became possible the AW community spawned a veritable universe of hundreds of worlds. Although the company has seen its ups and downs since those heady times and its fortunes have slowly dwindled, the Active Worlds platform survives to this day. Look inside for a simple guide on how to log in to the (free) service, rundowns of the best worlds, links to essays analyzing the program's legacy, and other content summing up its venerable community. [more inside]
What if our economy was not built on competition? Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom talks about her work on cooperation in economics. [more inside]
Blogs about India (from an expats perspective): Welcome to India! Namaste, Namaste... please come in and enjoy yourselves... you must've heard a lot about us, but you ain't seen nothing yet. [more inside]
Ask 500 (or 100) people: Random participants answer each other's polls on prayer in school, the bible, philosophers, iraq, social habits, love & marriage, materialism, freedom of speech, or whatever topic of interest someone wants to open up for a very momentary spotlight, and reasonably accurate data. [more inside]