Modern humans have been on the planet for about 200,000 years. Civilization is only about 6,000 years old. We are still very much a product of that 194,000 years. We’ve adapted to our new surroundings surprisingly well given how rapidly our environment continues to change, yet we often and inevitably fail ourselves—or at least the version of ourselves we’re trying to be –because we are still subject to crushing biological law that has been part of our genetic makeup since before we were even the species we know ourselves to be today.

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I’ve been spread thin these past few months. I slipped away a bit from my intellectual pursuits. When that happens, I can always feel a part of myself being dragged away. It’s like watching someone you love drift off on a boat whilst standing on shore, belting out a tearful goodbye. There I go. This kind of stuff […]

The things we do during the holidays are completely absurd. In this video, I explain why we have such strange Christmas customs and how it got to be the corporate monster it is today.

The sixth century was a time of extreme crisis and extraordinary survival for the Eastern Roman Empire. Justinian I’s reign is the height of this empire. This is his story.

Knowing the history of infectious disease epidemics and pandemics like plague, smallpox, cholera, etc. is important when it comes to understanding whatever new disease comes our way. In this video, I discuss how the plague thwarted Justinian’s efforts to make the Mediterranean a Roman lake again in the middle of the sixth century.