Oh what a beautiful day! So far things have been less than positive. First, the weather beavers were over-optimistic, missing the morning low by several degF below the phase change of dihydrogen oxide. Hence I had to not only unplug the block heater – an invention that needs to be enshrined with the flush toilet and dental floss – but I had to manually scrape enough ice off to stave off the constabulary. And then I had to turn about and return to get my MP3 player. And then the podcast, an episode of the Ubuntu podcast was grits.
Speaking of which, I ran across a National Geographic article [Link] yesterday entitled “Sex With Humans Made Neanderthals Extinct?” While this is light years better than their program Redstone Hillbilly Engineers, I was a bit startled at the abruptness of the wording. Not displeased, mind you, just surprised that a magazine would be so forthcoming. Even one noted as paving the way for Playboy and Penthouse.
The article, which is rather dated as such go, is about the mapping of Neandertal DNA and the emergent hypothesis that neandertals disappear by being merged into contemporary sapiens. Comforting, at least to the non-religionists, that the concerns about cannibalism have been replaced with the acceptability of miscegenation. For the religionists, however, it brings a new worry to the aspect of the chosen of god.
This however, is not my chief consideration this icy morning, but rather a comment made by a colleague Normal Angular Momentum about ‘going shopping with her husband being like hunting with a game warden.’ I was rather unsure of what this meant since I have been out in field with game wardens and I found their presence to be beneficial.
Based on her response, which was more about chaperones at teen parties type of situation comedy, which of course has a basis in ‘real’ life or it would not be humor, I came to the hypothesis that she and her husband were displaying human behavior.
Sapiens has been around for a fairly good period of time, the current estimate – this is science and not bishopry here – is about 200 KY. [Link] For most of that period, until the end of the last cold phase and partly into the period following, say something on order 10 KY, or 0.05 of the total, we were hunter-gatherers. As is often the case in human social organizations, function was divided along gender lines with males predominating as the hunters and females predominating as the gatherers.
The relevant behavior here, in summary, is that hunters hunt until they find the minimally acceptable game that they can kill while gatherers have to survey all of the available vegetation and select the most suitable. This behavior, which has been ingrained into humans over 0.95 of their existence, and is still with us, carries over into the shopping activity.
If a man goes out to purchase (e.g.,) a suit, he looks at and tries on suits until he finds one that is minimally acceptable to his requirements and purchases it. If a woman goes out to purchase a suit, she looks at and tries on all the suits that she can find and then selects the best one to purchase. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with either approach although both have strengths and weaknesses. The difficulty is that are different and the can cause the adherents of each approach to clash.
The best way to avoid this clash is that developed by our ancestors. Make a list of the items to be shopped for, divide the list into things that may be minimally acceptable and those that have to be optimal and separate the shopping accordingly.
That way you can prepare for Newtonmas-Solstice with a minimum of stress and conflict.