For 97% of human history, equality was the norm. What happened? | Aeon Essays

How equality slipped away | Aeon
Most of us live in social worlds that are profoundly unequal, where small elites have vastly more power and wealth than everyone else. Very few of the have-nots find this congenial. As experimental economists have shown, we tend to enter social situations prepared to take a chance and cooperate in collective activities. But if others take more than their share, we resent being played for a sucker. We live in unequal worlds, and few of us are unaware of, or indifferent to, that fact.

Since the elites are massively outnumbered, the origins and stability of unequal divisions of the cake are puzzling, especially once we realise that this is a very recent aspect of our social existence. Our particular species of humans has been around for about 300,000 years and, best as we can tell, for about 290,000 of those years we lived materially poorer but much more equal lives. For most of our life as a species, most communities lived as mobile foragers, shifting camps when local resources became scarce, but probably sticking to a regular pattern over a defined territory.

Source: For 97% of human history, equality was the norm. What happened? | Aeon Essays

How extreme weather feeds inflation | Axios


This summer’s extreme weather is having ripple effects that could raise food prices in the U.S. and disrupt diets around the world.

Why it matters: Climate scientists and food supply experts, like those at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, have long warned about the impact of human-caused global warming on prices, food shortages and hunger.

Driving the news: Sugar, pinto beans and flour prices are all trending up due to dry conditions in the West.

  • Coffee hit the highest prices seen in over six years due to ongoing frost and drought during the Brazilian winter, Reuters reports.

Source: How extreme weather feeds inflation – Axios

National plan to allow battery cages until 2036 favours cheap eggs over animal welfare


Eggs laid by battery hens would be phased out within 15 years under a plan to improve poultry welfare in Australia. The proposal signals some relief for the 10 million or so egg-laying hens still kept in battery cages in Australia. But it doesn’t go far enough.

Among the recommendations of an independent panel were to phase out battery cages between 2032 and 2036. Egg producers will have the option of transitioning to larger furnished cages, or may decide to move straight to cage-free systems, such as barn-laid and free-range eggs.

Source: National plan to allow battery cages until 2036 favours cheap eggs over animal welfare

French champagne houses cry foul over Russian label rule | EURACTIV.com


Champagne houses in France on Monday (5 July) issued a plea for diplomatic help over a new Russian law reserving the term “champagne” for Russian-produced sparkling wines, which led to a temporary interruption of supplies from the market leader Moët Hennessy.

French producers are fiercely jealous of the AOC, or Controlled Appellation of Origin, that is supposed to give them exclusive use of the word in countries that adhere to the Lisbon Agreement on distinctive geographical indications.

But Russia is not a signatory, and on Friday President Vladimir Putin signed a law that will forbid the use of the Russian translation of champagne — “Shampanskoe” — on imported bottles.

Source: French champagne houses cry foul over Russian label rule – EURACTIV.com

Perfect Mess Cookbook | Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes presents its first digital cookbook: “Perfect Mess: Cooking up Tasty Grub with Military Families”. The cookbook features 25 recipes submitted by our valued readers in the U.S. military community and includes starters, entrees, and desserts. This publication also features recipes and a Q&A with world-class chef, entrepreneur and proud supporter of our nation’s military, Robert Irvine.

Source: Perfect Mess Cookbook | Stars and tripes

The Brief – Cod War II | EURACTIV.com


Nothing stirs Anglo-Gallic passions quite like the sight of gunboats in the Channel. The presence of several hundred patrol boats in the waters around Jersey – one of the picturesque Channel islands that provides offshore banking to the mega-rich – is the latest act in the Brexit farce.

Jersey is one of the most patriotic and most pro-Brexit places you will find. Although, adding to the irony, it isn’t even part of the UK.

Unfortunately, this foolish bravado in a spat over fishing rights is a sign of things to come. Until 2026, the UK is transitioning away from the Common Fisheries Policy. After that, an annual agreement with the EU on fishing quotas will need to be negotiated. That looks like wishful thinking.

The truth is that both sides are losing out, and this trend is likely to continue.

Source: The Brief, powered by GIE – Cod War II – EURACTIV.com

How clothing and climate change kickstarted agriculture | Aeon Essays


Archaeologists and other scientists are beginning to unravel the story of our most intimate technology: clothing. They’re learning when and why our ancestors first started to wear clothes, and how their adoption was crucial to the evolutionary success of our ancestors when they faced climate change on a massive scale during the Pleistocene ice ages. These investigations have revealed a new twist to the story, assigning a much more prominent role to clothing than previously imagined. After the last ice age, global warming prompted people in many areas to change their clothes, from animal hides to textiles. This change in clothing material, I suspect, could be what triggered one of the greatest changes in the life of humanity.

Not food but clothing lead to the agricultural revolution.

Source: How clothing and climate change kickstarted agriculture | Aeon Essays

EU gives green light to bloc’s first edible insect | EURACTIV.com


Dried yellow mealworms have become the first edible insect to get the go-ahead for marketing authorization in the EU after receiving the approval of member states in a landmark decision.

The first EU wide approval of insects for human consumption was granted on Monday (3 May) by the standing committee on Plant, Animals, Food and Feed (scoPAFF) that brings together representatives of member states and chaired by a Commission representative.

The decision came after a positive risk assessment of yellow mealworm – which refers to the larvae of the beetle Tenebrio molitor – that the EU food safety agency (EFSA) gave in January.

Source: EU gives green light to bloc’s first edible insect – EURACTIV.com

Have you tried these European chain restaurants? | Stripes Europe


European chain restaurants have gained popularity over the years. The reasons behind the popularity of such establishments in Europe mirror their recipe for success back home in the U.S.—name recognition, affordable prices, a consistent product and, if they’re lucky, a menu item or two that enjoys something of a cult status.

It may be easy to find a McDonald’s, Subway or KFC in your travels, but why not branch out a bit? The next time you suffer a grumbly tummy, turn to one of these tried-and-true places the locals enjoy too. A bonus in these uncertain times when a pandemic continues to run its course: many of these places offer take-away!

Source: Have you tried these European chain restaurants? | Stripes Europe

On the EU’s plate every day: deforestation and natural destruction | EURACTIV.com


The EU is responsible for 16% of ‘imported’ tropical deforestation, writes Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove. Will the new deforestation EU law live up to its promises?

Anke Schulmeister-Oldenhove is the senior forest policy officer at the WWF European Policy Office, and one of the lead authors of the recent WWF report Stepping up: The continuing impact of EU consumption on nature.

It’s official: The EU is playing a massive role in the destruction of tropical forests, savannahs and wetlands around the world. New research shows quite how huge our responsibility is; in fact, EU consumption has accounted for as much as 16% of nature destruction associated with global trade in the period between 2005-2017, second only to China.

Source: On the EU’s plate every day: deforestation and natural destruction – EURACTIV.com