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Biomedical and Electrical Engineer with interests in information theory, evolution, genetics, abstract mathematics, microbiology, big history, Indieweb, and the entertainment industry including: finance, distribution, representation







I've uploaded my notes, highlights, & annotations of "Maps of Time" by @davidgchristian


Christian is without a doubt a historian through and through, and is quite upfront about his general lack of scientific expertise and background. He has however spent quite a bit of time working with and consulting physicists, chemists, biologists, and other scientists to supplement the appropriate portions of his bigger thesis. I would say though, that he's got firm footing in both of C.P. Snow's "Two Cultures."

Christian references Prigogine only once, though includes two Prigogine related footnotes in the last quarter of the text. He's not as Prigogine-centric as [author:C├ęsar Hidalgo|13831217] is in his recent [book:Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies|25472587], which touches on some of the related physics of information theory and entropy (and general complexity theory - although I don't recall him using this specific term) as they relate to economics. I'd classify Why Information Grows as a "big history" book, though Hidalgo wasn't aware of the conceptualization of "big history" when he wrote it.

I wrote a slightly longer review of Christian's book(s) on my blog: (Perhaps I'll have to move more detail over into my GoodReads review.)


Over the past several years, there's been a growing movement of "citizen science" and a handful of related games which send data back to scientists to assist in various areas of work, including primarily genetics. Googling for "games" and "citizen science" will bring back some interesting possibilities for you. Many should be integrateable into a big history program, particularly the genetics related ones which explore some of the evolutionary related space along with curricula in biology, chemistry, and physics. In particular, students may be able to experience first hand how physics influences evolution in the mid-level thresholds from the start of life onwards.

Here's a particular example that was recently in Scientific American:


I recall a few other resources in the same category as this. Here are a few links for meta-coverage on them, which may provide more beneficial than spending hours trying to delve into how to use them:

Other tools of interest, which you'll see notes on in the comments to the two above articles:
ULBPodcast: and (open source code available) Particularly take a look at which is a great tool for classrooms to do small scale shared annotations and close reading with the benefit of full texts (in particular, try looking up the various creation stories, eg: Gilgamesh [; Letters of Paul [], which was part of HarvardX religious studies course and is an excellent example of using the platform for education]). There's also


I've seen that same article floating around for the past several weeks (in some part because I had the originating professor in college). The trouble with the experiment as it relates to early human societies is that most of them were kinship based, and for basic functionality, they all were forced to intercommunicate and typically put family first in a sense. In this exercise, there is no communication, nor any real speakable "community"- everyone is truly out for themselves.

I've recently been reading Francis Fukuyama's The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011) [] and in it he provides some references to various cultures which to a great extent refutes the broader general existence for the tragedy of the commons. Naturally it does exist in some cultures, but only those with some specific forms of values, beliefs, and property ownership rules. In particular, since many early human political structures are kinship based, their societies simply didn't face such tragedies. It primarily seems to be a more modern problem, based on western rules of ownership.

In short, the interesting exercise here to me seems to be what constructs in society lead to creating the tragedy of the commons and which don't? Figuring this problem out will help to maintain stability in our current culture for generations to come.

I'd mentioned his books previously as very Big History focused here:


@davidgchristian meet @cesifoti; vice versa. You should be aware of each others' work.