Google and The Red Queen – An Essay By Extropia DaSilva

extropia-at-thinkers-20090302_001No, it’s not about Google Wave — but you still might find it entertaining reading! — Gwyn

“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”

– Lewis Carrol.

INTRODUCTION

This essay, which is all about the evolution of search engines, begins (peculiarly enough) with the extraordinarily toxic rough-skinned newt, which can be found in the Pacific Northwest. Of all the things you might be tempted to eat, this orange-bellied critter is not one of them. It produces a nerve toxin powerful enough to kill 17 fully-grown humans. All of which seems rather over-the-top. After all, a fraction of the poison would be sufficient to kill most natural predators. Why, then, has the rough-skinned newt evolved such a powerful toxin?

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