The Union-Tribune’s Scott LaFee kept the Charles Darwin celebration alive with this piece on Darwin’s interest in the phenomenon of blushing. In case you didn’t know, 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publishing of his landmark treatise on evolution “On the Origin of Species.”

LaFee also filed this story about reports on the worldwide decennial census of the world’s oceans. The flurry of scientific studies coming out document human exploitation of the world’s oceans through the last millennia.

Here is an excerpt from the story:

The studies will describe seas once teeming with incredibly large and abundant life, from thousands of right whales hunkering off New Zealand to sharks darkening English coastal waters and groupers as big as cows in the Florida Keys.

Most of these species are now smaller and more rare — and in some cases, threatened with extinction.

And finally this morning, Wired Magazine has a special issue on the post-bubble economy that describes a new paradigm in which the small and nimble survive while the large and rigid don’t do so well.

Here is a snippet:

This crisis is not just the trough of a cycle but the end of an era. We will come out not just wiser but different.

What we have discovered over the past nine months are growing diseconomies of scale. Bigger firms are harder to run on cash flow alone, so they need more debt (oops!). Bigger companies have to place bigger bets but have less and less control over distribution and competition in an increasingly diverse marketplace. Those bets get riskier and the payoffs lower. And as Wall Street firms are learning, bigger companies are going to get more regulated, limiting their flexibility. The stars of finance are fleeing for smaller firms; it’s the only place they can imagine getting anything interesting done.

As venture capitalist Paul Graham put it: “It turns out the rule ‘large and disciplined organizations win’ needs to have a qualification appended: ‘at games that change slowly.’ No one knew till change reached a sufficient speed.”

The result is that the next new economy, the one rising from the ashes of this latest meltdown, will favor the small.

Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly stated how many years had passed since Darwin’s birth and since the publication of “On the Origin of Species.” We regret the error.


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