My "background" as such things get described by fancy academic types is technically in neuroscience which is technically a part of nature (and we all know how much Paul loves technical stuff; almost as much as parentheses and semicolons).
I have tried and failed a few times to get started and I think it might be because I was trying to make some deep point or something and not go with usual perspective of "Hey, isn't this [insert natural history phenomenon] really darn cool!"
So, without further ado: aren't ideas cool!?! I've been watching a lot of TED talks recently (if you haven't heard about ted talks check out: http://www.ted.com/talks but make sure you've got some time to kill...) and that's what got me thinking about ideas. They're really what separate us from all other organisms on the planet. We think, we have complex thoughts and we can quite easily, after a certain age, express them to one another. We've developed vast institutions and organizations simply for the purpose of talking to one another and spreading and developing ideas (read: universities). I know there's folks out there that think that there are other animals that have similar intelligence but until you show me a dolphin that philosophizes then I fully disagree that their intelligence is the same thing AT ALL.
You may ask "but, Paul, what is the point of all that philosophizing?" Personally learning and knowing philosophy has made me a happier and, more importantly, a nicer person. That's a long story and probably not appropriate for this blog. (I am trying to get back to natural history here.) But above all: like all the true bugs, chelicerates and witch hazel in the world I just think it's darn cool that we evolved this capability to describe our neurological experience with such precision AND express that experience to each other. We will probably never know the exact selection pressures that influenced our evolution towards these massive living computers and that's also kinda cool because we can imagine a plethora of situations in which we might have begun to evolve to be the smarty pants that we are.
I'm off for about a week to get some relaxin' in the Adirondack Mountains. I hope to return with some images and post ideas! As always, leave your ideas below.