Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex

Burt Rutan sent this video to me last night, along with the following note:

“I have recently become a fan of the preeminent UK science writer Matt Ridley, formerly an editor of The Economist and author of the best-selling Genome and other books. His TED talk is one of the most engaging lectures you might ever see. TED allows only 15 minutes for a talk, so their talks are concise and fun to watch.”

Matt Ridley - Stone-age axe

In the video, Matt shows us a stone age axe almost identical in size to a computer mouse. Then he shows how that computer mouse was made possible because we humans have learned to trade our goods and services.

Matt Ridley - Computer mouse

Here’s a short quote from the video:

“When the sea level rose and Tasmania became an island 10,000 years ago, the people on it not only experienced slower progress than people on the mainland, they actually experienced regress. They gave up the ability to make stone tools, and fishing equipment, and clothing, because the population of about 4,000 people was simply not large enough to maintain the specialized skills necessary to keep the technology they had. It’s as if the people in this room were plumped on a desert island – how many of the things in our pockets could we continue to make after 10,000 years?”


You can also view the TED video here:

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