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Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective

The blog is a view of life, science, politics and education from an engineering perspective. As engineers, we are taught to view the world objectively. We can hope, believe and calculate a particular outcome, but natural laws are inflexible and pay no heed to who we are or what we believe. We must approach the objective dispassionately, while compensating for our own distorted perceptions. Balance is also a key element; balancing between the ideal and the pragmatic, balancing cost and functionality, balancing analysis with action, etc.

Scheduling routine critical self-analysis is the foundation to objectivity. If we do not fully understand and compensate for our own failures, tendencies, habits and skewed thought processes, we will not see the world as it is. Without a regular critical self-analysis we will see the world as we are and then fall prey to self-delusion.

Failure is a great teacher. When failure is coupled with perseverance, it produces the fruit of patience and humility. An engineer, fresh out of engineering school is typically set up for failure early and often. The failure breaks the new engineer of any ideas of self-importance, arrogance and book smarts. Only then can the new engineer be formed and molded into a productive element in the industry.


The deterioration of humanity

It's not just our deteriorating morals.

A recent research by Cambridge University was completed that reveals just how far humanity has fallen in just a couple of millennia.

The research describes how modern humans have become WEAKLINGS compared with our ancient ancestors who could outrun and outlift today's top athletes and outthink our top students in academia.

  • Human leg bones have grown weaker since farming was invented
  • Scientists found bone structure declined after agriculture emerged
  • Male farmers 7,300 years ago had legs of cross-country runners
  • But just 3,000 years later, they had legs comparable to 'sedentary' students
  • Brains are 10% smaller in comparison to our ancestors

Even our most highly trained athletes pale in comparison to these ancestors of ours,’ Dr. Colin Shaw told Outside Magazine.  ‘We’re certainly weaker than we used to be.’

The study looked at skeletons dating back to around 5,300 BC with the most recent to 850 AD - a time span of 6,150 years.

It then compared the bones to that of Cambridge University students, and found the leg bones of male farmers 5,300 BC were just as good as those of highly-trained cross-country runners.

But just 3,000 years later, the study found our ancestors had leg bone structures closer to that of the Netflix-watching generation.

When our ancestors made the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural ones, their lower limb strength and overall mobility decreased.

This study confirms an earlier study by Cambridge University which found that mankind is shrinking in size significantly.

Experts say humans are past their peak and that modern-day people are 10 per cent smaller and shorter than their hunter-gatherer ancestors.

And if that’s not depressing enough, our brains are also smaller. 

The findings reverse perceived wisdom that humans have grown taller and larger, a belief which has grown from data on more recent physical development.

The decline, said scientists, has happened over the past 10,000 years. They blame agriculture, with restricted diets and urbanisation compromising health and leading to the spread of disease.

The theory has emerged from studies of fossilised human remains found in Africa, Europe and Asia.

‘My results suggest that, following the transition to agriculture in central Europe, males were more affected than females by cultural and technological changes that reduced the need for long-distance travel or heavy physical work,’ said lead researcher Alison Macintosh, from the department of archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University.

‘This also means that, as people began to specialise in tasks other than just farming and food production, such as metalworking, fewer people were regularly doing tasks that were very strenuous on their legs.’

Macintosh used a portable 3D laser surface scanner to study the femurs, or thigh bones, and tibiae, or shin bones, of skeletons from Germany, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Serbia.

She found that male tibiae became less rigid and the bones of both men and women became less strengthened to loads in one direction more than another.

‘Both sexes exhibited a decline in anteroposterior, or front-to-back, strengthening of the femur and tibia through time, while the ability of male tibiae to resist bending, twisting, and compression declined as well,’ said Macintosh.

She presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Calgary, Canada.

These results defy Darwin’s theory that living organisms are evolving, not devolving.   His theory maintains that the organisms that are not improving or evolving will die out in favor of the organisms that are evolving.   Since the ‘survival of the fittest’ theory isn’t holding water, perhaps a new theory could be put forth called the ‘survival of the unfit’. 


The results of this study from Cambridge appear to affirm the theory that humanity is on a long slide downwards. We are deteriorating physically and mentally. The deterioration can be seen in the bone structure, size of the brain and in our DNA.   Fortunately, we have technology to aid us in our infirmities.

But this research also begs the question of how much longer does humanity have before even the best technology can’t compensate for the rapid deterioration of humanity. 

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