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Why Do We Fools Fall in Love?
Edward (Ted) Fischer is the Director of Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University.
Fischer studies cultural anthropology, specializing in matters of economics and moralities. Most of his fieldwork has been in Guatemala (with the Maya) but he has also worked in and written on Germany and the United States. His books include “Cultural Logics and Global Economies,” “Maya Cultural Activism,” and “Broccoli and Desire.” With Peter Benson he is now working on a project titled “Markets and Moralities.” He also has a video series out from The Teaching Co. titled “Peoples and Cultures of the World.”
He received his PhD, in anthropology at Tulane University and his undergraduate degree from University of Alabama at Birmingham after studying at Birmingham-Southern College.
Question: What is romantic love?
Ted Fischer: We define romantic love as an intense for another with the expectation that it’s going to persist into the future. And that distinguishes it from lust, which is generally fleeting, and also from more companionship love, which doesn’t the intensity of desire that you want to possess the other in some way. Often it’s characterized by some sort of irrationality. Not doing what a rational person would do in those circumstances. Buying a large gift when you really don’t have the money, or going out to a really nice restaurant, or making that that extra sign of one’s love that you hope will attract the other. And so, really it’s a bit of craziness, romantic love. We’re a little bit off kilter when we’re in love. And that’s the way we talk about it. It’s like we’re under water in some way, or we’re overwhelmed by love. Crazy in love.
Question: What’s the evolutionary advantage of romantic love?
Ted Fischer: Well there’s some clear evolutionary advantage to falling in love, and especially for pair-bonding, a male/female bond, and let’s think back, you know, 20 - 30,0000 years ago when our ancestors were living on the Savannahs in Africa. Human infants are incredibly helpless, and it’s very hard for one person to take care of an infant and also gather food, and hunt food, and run from predators. And so, having some sort of core or familial group makes lots of sense. And so, there are evolutionary psychologists and biologists who would say, “we evolved a propensity for romantic love to create families. So that it’s not just the mother taking care of the child, but a father as well.” Mothers have this natural need to take care of children. The child comes from the mother, has to breastfeed with the mother. Fathers are less inherently attached to the child. And so, there is a theory that males evolved this propensity to fall in love so that they would stick with their partners.
Question: Are there drawbacks to romantic love?
Ted Fischer: An evolutionary biologist would say, “Yeah, we have this propensity that’s evolved that creates all of these positive side effects for us socially,” creating for example. But sometimes those propensities can go out of control. We seem to have a propensity to eat fatty foods, for example, and yet in the society in which we live that’s not so adaptive as it was 10,000 years ago, we should have eaten fat every chance we got. And now we have to sort of fight against ourselves and resist all of that fat. And so it doesn’t necessarily -- it’s not necessarily a contradiction that we could have evolved -- I keep saying propensity, we could have evolved a propensity for romantic love, and yet it’s counter-adaptive some times, too. But you do find suicides, for example, and that’s as about as dramatic as it gets. A number of cases in India, for example, of young men and young women in arranged marriages or going into arranged marriages and committing suicide rather than spend their life without their truly beloved.
Vanderbilt anthropologist Ted Fischer describes the evolutionary reasons for falling in love and how modernity has urged it along.
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- The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
- Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
- The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Seriously sustainable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDIzNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjM4NTMzMX0.BCEfYnn6C3z1zUHIS38xOWjXktgamNBi5iyqklSMYK8/img.png?width=980" id="ea524" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50533380eeb18eb5833b6b6aa3abec38" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>Solar Foods makes Solein by extracting CO₂ from air using <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90356326/we-have-the-tech-to-suck-co2-from-the-air-but-can-it-suck-enough-to-make-a-difference" target="_blank">carbon-capture technology</a>, and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 percent renewable solar energy from partner <a href="https://www.fortum.com" target="_blank">Fortum</a> to promote a natural fermentation process similar to the one that produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria.</p><p>When the company claims its single-celled protein is "free from agricultural limitations," they're not kidding. Being produced indoors means Solar Foods is not dependent on arable land, water (i.e., rain), or favorable weather.</p><p>The company is already working with the European Space Agency to develop foods for off-planet production and consumption. (The idea for Solein actually began at NASA.) They also see potential in bringing protein production to areas whose climate or ground conditions make conventional agriculture impossible.</p><p>And let's not forget all those <a href="https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper" target="_blank">beef-free burgers</a> based on pea and soy proteins currently gaining popularity. The environmental challenge of scaling up the supply of those plants to meet their high demand may provide an opening for the completely renewable Solein — the company could provide companies that produce animal-free "meats," such as <a href="https://www.beyondmeat.com/products/" target="_blank">Beyond Meat</a> and <a href="https://impossiblefoods.com" target="_blank">Impossible Foods</a>, a way to further reduce their environmental impact.</p>
The larger promise<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDI0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjU4MTg2OX0.7dZZYT5WEV_EupBuLVFwHynarTiz8RYR9aJtC6Ts2C4/img.jpg?width=980" id="3415d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e6eebe06d795f844752f9e9d30040d7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>The impact of the beef — and for that matter, poultry, pork, and fish — industries on our planet is widely recognized as one of the main drivers behind climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and antibiotic-resistant illness. From the cutting down of rainforests for cattle-grazing land, to runoff from factory farming of livestock and plants, to the disruption of the marine food chain, to the overuse of antibiotics in food animals, it's been disastrous.</p><p>The advent of a promising source of protein derived from two of the most renewable things we have, CO₂ and sunlight, <a href="https://solarfoods.fi/environmental-impact/" target="_blank">gets us out of the planet-destruction business</a> at the same time as it offers the promise of a stable, long-term solution to one of the world's most fundamental nutritional needs.</p>
Solar Foods' timetable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MTEzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTU1OTMwMn0.wnXh56iO_77x2XKV2uIPf78BKw4AJLUpmiyq_JBVGvo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=172%2C146%2C62%2C135&height=700" id="0297c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="125c9a98ec818f5c241fa28ef1423e67" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Lubsan / Shutterstock / Big Think<p>While company plans are always moderated by unforeseen events — including the availability of sufficient funding — Solar Foods plans a global commercial rollout for Solein in 2021 and to be producing two million meals annually, with a revenue of $800 million to $1.2 billion by 2023. By 2050, they hope to be providing sustenance to 9 billion people as part of a $500 billion protein market.</p><p>The project began in 2018, and this year, they anticipate achieving three things: Launching Solein (check), beginning the approval process certifying its safety as a Novel Food in the EU, and publishing plans for a 1,000-metric ton-per-year factory capable of producing 500 million meals annually.</p>
The protein powder Solein. Image source: SOLAR FOODS
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