The Speed of Change

In an article by Nicholas Wade in the NY Times yesterday, he writes that homo sapiens and Neanderthals never actually integrated. New carbon dating techniques suggest that the two groups did not co-exist in the same areas at the same time and that any gene sequencing that shows Neanderthal heritage actually dates much farther back in time to before Neanderthals and homo sapiens became two distinct species.

One aspect about English furniture of the 18th century that is a little mystifying is how and why new styles just seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Pedestal dining tables, for example, became the preferred dining table by 1760. When was the first pedestal table? The Pembroke table was at first a supper table with a lower shelf and wire mesh. By 1785 it was a standard, but without the lower shelf.

I spent about two months reading James Joyce’s, “Ulysses”. Joyce is someone that I could imagine being able to drop into the 21st century without a hiccough. He seems so keenly aware of everything, so facile with the world. Change seems imperceptible on a quotidian basis, but it isn’t. Did Joyce see this? I doubt the Neanderthals did. I don’t think most of the rest of the world does either. How could they?

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