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I want to get a blog going for this website where viewers can leave comments. I am still learning how to do this.

In the meantime I will copy some of the emails I receive and my responses.

From Noel, 1/22/12 3:43pm

Friday night I neglected to tell you how much I appreciated your book.  You raise so many interesting and important questions and speculations.  People should read it.  It gets you thinking of just what comes next - not that I expect to find out.  When was the bottle neck?
Any mutations to carry us through?

Noel

My Response, 1/22/12 5:43pm

Noel,

Glad the book touched a nerve. Keep looking at what is happening. Now to your questions.

"Bottle-neck" is a term used by some to describe a situation in genealogy where the number of individuals in a tribe/species becomes so few that the genetic traits of those individuals become dominate. Most of the descendents of that tribe exhibit the genetic traits of those who survived the bottle-neck. Very often this is the result of some kind of geographical separation of the group from the main body of the species.

Darwin noticed this condition in his studies of the finches on the Galapagos Islands. Studies indicate that the Sami people in the north of Scandinavia and Russia exhibit the characteristics of a limited selection of genes and are thought to have gone through a genetic bottleneck about the time of the Black Death plague when the population was reduced by over 90%. The Ashkenazi Jews apparently went through a bottle-neck about 2,500 years ago and did not intermix with the other Jews to any great extent after that. Members of that group are noted for their accomplishments and include Einstein, Freud, Gershwin, and von Neumann.

In my book I postulate a group of survivors numbering maybe 25 in the 22nd century who are traveling from Oregon to Hudson Bay. They are dominated by the Hardy clan who all had the genetic traits of rational thought, red hair and freckles, and a tail. With the inbreeding that would result, the traits become even stronger and as their tribe reaches northern Canada and grows, most of their descendants exhibit those traits.

Some have asked why those traits all happened at the same time. The way our DNA is built, very often a mutation that affects one trait also affects some other unrelated trait. So taking author privileges, I determined that tails, red hair, and rational thought could all be tied into the same mutation.

Editorial note: One mutation the human species certainly needs it is to begin to think rationally and realistically about our situation. We must understand the true meaning of risk. I see so much of our society in a state of denial of the problems we face and enmeshed in unrealistic hope. I spent years trying to explain to the people in the Central US that they should be worried about the gigantic fault under the Mississippi, but what I found was a complete rejection that there may be some kind of risk. I do not know how to induce such a mutation. I hope it can be trained into people's minds.

sam

 

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