By Robert M. Sapolsky
Publish 12 months note: First released in 2001
In the culture of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, Robert Sapolsky, a top-rated technology author and recipient of a MacArthur Genius supply, tells the captivating tale of his twenty-one years in distant Kenya with a troop of Savannah baboons.
"I had by no means deliberate to develop into a savanna baboon while I grew up; as an alternative, I had constantly assumed i'd turn into a mountain gorilla," writes Robert Sapolsky during this witty and riveting chronicle of a scientist's coming-of-age in distant Africa.
An exhilarating account of Sapolsky's twenty-one-year research of a troop of rambunctious baboons in Kenya, A Primate's Memoir interweaves critical clinical observations with wry observation concerning the demanding situations and pleasures of dwelling within the wilds of the Serengeti—for guy and beast alike. Over 20 years, Sapolsky survives culinary atrocities, gunpoint encounters, and a surreal kidnapping, whereas witnessing the encroachment of the vacationer mentality at the farthest vestiges of unspoiled Africa. As he conducts extraordinary physiological examine on wild primates, he turns into evermore enamored of his subjects—unique and compelling characters of their personal right—and he returns to them summer season after summer season, till tragedy eventually prevents him.
By turns hilarious and poignant, A Primate's Memoir is a magnum opus from considered one of our ultimate technology writers.
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Extra resources for A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons
Food scarcity and social disorder brought about major migrations of people and caused wars and massive cultural disruption. Conversely, when scarcity was relieved, major cultural advances were made. About 1 000 years ago, new varieties of rice were taken to southern China from the Champa Kingdom (now Viet Nam). These were not sensitive to photoperiod, and produced two crops a year instead of only one. When these varieties were grown, the intensive techniques that had developed slowly in China to increase productivity per unit of land, although requiring more labour, resulted in dramatic production gains.
However, the costs paid in human suffering by three or four generations of impoverished families were considerable. An understanding of the ethical issues involved in intensification can take both a prospective and a retrospective outlook, and ethical standards for evaluating intensification can take either a broad outlook on the general trend of events or a specific focus on the particular responsibilities of key actors. There are three general ethical questions to be posed. First, it is possible to ask whether intensification in a given situation is good or bad, all things considered, without pointing to specific decisions or activities undertaken by particular people or organizations.
In the simple case where new technology or farming methods allow a farmer or landowner to produce more food, consequential reasoning shows why this is ethically a good thing. As already stated, European agricultural intensification immediately prior to the Industrial Revolution was accomplished not only by applying a package of new production technologies to farming, but also by the Enclosure Acts, which disestablished a system of rights and duties that permitted commoners to live on and farm lands as long as their crops were shared according to an ancient formula.
A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons by Robert M. Sapolsky