December 23, 2003

Notes: Life as a Hunter Gatherer

Andrew Flood writes:

The book Guns, Germs, and Steel has some quite useful material on HG populations in Poynesia (where the geography meant thousands of micro experiments and Australasia).

Posted by DeLong at December 23, 2003 09:22 AM | TrackBack


Fifty percent mortality rate in the first fifteen years of life in hunter-gatherers. Maybe the traffic isn't so bad after all. . .

Posted by: j rossi on December 23, 2003 01:23 PM


Try "Lest Darkness Fall", a science fiction novel by L. Sprague de Camp, in which the protagenist is zapped back to Rome circa 200 BC and decides to try to prevent the Dark Ages.

The first thing he "invents" is brandy, which is good for fund raising. Somewhere along the way he builds a system of semaphores/telegraphs. Both of these would be good candidates for this discussion.

Posted by: Hal Varian on December 23, 2003 06:35 PM



It seems to me the Romans, like the Israelites earlier, had a system of long distance singalling by fires on hilltops.

Not terribly informative, of course. The British Empire was administered at 55 baud, but obviously you don't get close to that with one-bit signal fires.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on December 25, 2003 06:03 PM


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