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Apr 02 2012

The warm ancient glow

When I was a kid, fire was one of my favorite things, I loved starting them and feeding them, I still do. Maybe there’s a reason for that: A million years of hominid evo could make a pyro out of anyone.

LA Times) — The ability to control fire marks an evolutionary turning point: It would have kept our ancient relatives warm in unforgiving climes and allowed them to cook their food, releasing trapped nutrients and getting more caloric bang per bite. “Fire is more than simply a pleasant luxury — we have pretty good evidence that it was the basis for a tremendous number of changes in human evolution,” said Richard Wrangham, an evolutionary anthropologist at Harvard University who was not involved in the study.

Flames are so alluring that almost any glowing object appears beautiful to us. We can stare into the flickering plasma for hours, mesmerized, when many animals are spooked by the same sight. Another thing would have happened around those early campfires, the circle. The sense of us and them, the stirring of language and culture, unseen monsters lurking in the dimly lit horizon just out of sight. In some ways out present day cyber culture is a fractal representation of that age-old pattern. With flat monitors standing in for the fire and branching networks joining the circle.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I was thinking that the LA Times was really stretching for some “news” here, but I see in the article that the speculation is that there may be some more evidence for fire use by homo erectus.

    On a completely separate note, I miss the Weekly World News, and wish I had my copy with the Oral Roberts 900 foot Jesus report.

  2. 2
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Call me a pyromaniac but there’s nothing like a good fire!

  3. 3
    jamessweet

    And that’s why when I read this, I chose to simply file it away along with flossing, weight loss, and not drinking too much: I’m not going to argue over the effects on my health, but I’m going to completely ignore it anyway.

  4. 4
    ambassadorfromverdammt

    Cause Effect:
    Is it not possible that a fascination with fire led to manipulation, then control of it?

    Chimps are not spooked by fire. (At least, not all of them).

  5. 5
    Francisco Bacopa

    I used to have that CD. One of my favorites ever. My favorite tracks are Dali’s Handgun and Falling elevators.

  6. 6
    wilsim

    TY for the video. I use to have that album on cassette way back in the day, sadly i never repurchased it or downloaded any digital versions. One of my favorite alternate rap artists of all time.

    Fire is hypnotic. Thinking of fire… now i want some s’mores.

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