Strange but True: Future of economics may lie in 'Zipcar capitalism'

BILL SONES AND RICH SONES: In an emerging economic model called “collaborative consumption,” consumers rent, share or trade services, extending the old idea of “time-sharing” for resort properties into “communal purchases” that give people “fractional ownership” of expensive items,
BY BILL SONES AND RICH SONES, PH.D. Published: December 4, 2012
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Collaborative consumption leans heavily on social networking and depends on the “reputation trails” we all leave behind us testifying to our trustworthiness.

Which is the smarter beast?

Q. Who says dogs are smarter than pigs?

A. Isn't it just like us humans to want to rank everybody and everything in terms of speed, size, beauty, intelligence, you name it, ponders Mr. Know-It-All of “Wired” magazine. The trivially true answer to the dogs-pigs question is that they're equally smart, as both are equally well adjusted to their niche in life, even though they took dramatically different evolutionary paths to domestication — one a hunter, the other a forager, says David Washburn of the Georgia State University Language Research Center. So it makes sense that their mental gifts would differ. Pigs seem to enjoy playing video games, for example, while dogs intuitively understand addition and subtraction of small numbers.

But such a standoff is hardly likely to satisfy our competitive species, meaning we've got to lean on facts like the following: When body sizes are considered, canines have slightly larger brains, “a trait that does seem to matter.” More to the point, dogs have obviously been far more successful at convincing human beings not to eat them. Says Mr. Know-It-All, “That's got to count for something, right?”

Send questions to strangetrue@cs.com.