"Humans (variously Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens sapiens) are primates of the family Hominidae, and the only extant species of the genus Homo. Humans are distinguished from other primates by their bipedal locomotion, and especially by their relatively larger brain with its particularly well developed neocortex, prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes, which enable high levels of abstract reasoning, language, problem solving, and culture through social learning. Humans use tools to a much higher degree than any other animal, and are the only extant species known to build fires and cook their food, as well as the only known species to clothe themselves and create and use numerous other technologies and arts."
"All that is certain is that we alone survived to claim the Earth. We won the planet. But at a cost: We are without close family. We are a species racked by survivor’s guilt. We are a lonely ape."
Paul Salopek, “Out of Eden”, National Geographic December 2013.
The first installment of Salopek’s walking journey out of Africa, through Asia, and down to the tip of the Americas, is the best thing I read today.
"The merchant marine’s story about the youngman he had picked up—and the implied offer of sexmoney to me—have acted on me like a narcotic that makes me crave it."
John Rechy, City of Night.
I don’t know if it’s the ePub formatting or the way Rechy writes, but I love the compound words regardless.
"Cloning would give you a single animal, which would live all alone in a park, a zoo, or a lab—not in its native habitat, which no longer exists. You’re basically creating a curio."
"[Bill] Melendez said he remained somewhat embarrassed to see the show repeated every year with all its problems, but Schulz vetoed his idea of “fixing” the program years later."
When you start stargazing with a telescope, two experiences typically ensue. First, you are astonished by the view—Saturn’s golden rings, star clusters glittering like jewelry on black velvet, galaxies aglow with gentle starlight older than the human species—and by the realization that we and our world are part of this gigantic system.
Second, you soon want a bigger telescope."