Are We Still Evolving?
Ever since Charles Darwin formulated his theory of evolution, scientists have wondered whether the process still applies to humans. At some point, did we stop evolving?
Olly Bootle explains the current scientific view of evolution by natural selection when a vast majority of babies born in industrialized countries live to an age suitable for reproduction: "Scientists suspected that by adapting to environmental change—the driver of natural selection—using our ingenuity, we might have stopped ourselves evolving. The late Stephen Jay Gould, one of the most respected of evolutionary biologists, once said: 'There has been no biological change in humans in 40,000 or 50,000 years. Everything we call culture and civilisation we've built with the same body and brain.' It turns out that he, and many others, were wrong."
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.