Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Registered by futurecat of Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on 7/11/2009
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by futurecat from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Saturday, July 11, 2009
If my calculations are correct, this is the 4000th book I have registered.

I wanted a special book for my 4000th registration, so I went to my favourite second hand bookshop this morning to see if I could find something suitable. None of my favourite authors were on the shelves, but then I spotted this book mis-shelved among the science fiction. Carl Sagan has always been one of my scientific heroes, and just a few weeks ago MrPloppy managed to track down the inspiring series Cosmos on DVD as a present for my 40th birthday. So this is the perfect book to be my 4000th registration.

The only trouble is, it's not one I've read before, and I suspect once I have read it, I'll be wanting to put it into my permanent collection rather than release it...

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Journal Entry 2 by futurecat from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Sunday, September 06, 2009
In the midst of the Cold War, with the nuclear clock edging ever closer to midnight, Sagan and Druyan set out to discover what it is that seems to predispose humanity to warfare, and whether wiping ourselves out is as inevitable as it seemed (and still seems, though the immediate threats have altered slightly).

The result is an extended history of our family tree, starting from the beginning of the universe, through the formation of our solar system, the first self-replicating molecules, and the evolutionary forces that lead to Homo sapiens. A fascinating journey, but after all that they don't really come to a conclusion on their original question. Perhaps this was because (as is hinted towards the end of the book) they anticipated a second volume, dealing more closely with the last few hundred thousand years of our evolution. The conclusion they seemed to have been leading up to was that yes, our genes do predispose us to xenophobia, hierarchical social structures, and easily pressed emotional triggers, but that more importantly, our intelligence and development of culture allows us to learn from our mistakes, and ignore these maladaptive behaviours in favour of ones with more survival potential.

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