Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Some links. And the fulfillment of our telos.

More on genes and origins at Aeon.

Ed Yong, who is on fire with some good articles, has a piece on the 3-D structure of chromosomes.

Also Ed Yong on the electric eel. Exotic sensory systems are good gateways into how evolution proceeds and the diverse life forms and neuronal systems that can be created.

Ken Weiss on the unknowables of Biology

Two articles on free will. Greg Caruso has a new blog at Psychology Today. Jerry Coyne responds to his first post.

This New Yorker article, "The Strangers in Your Brain," about the expression of transposon genes in neurons, is rather fascinating. An aside on the article, Clancy brings in a study about measuring the behavior of genetically identical mice. I always find this study to be underwhelming. I read it as they released ten mice into the same cage or environment and then measured their behavioral programs. They then point to the expression of vast differences of behavior in genetically identical mice. It is underwhelming because once you release identical creatures into an environment together, you are already gearing up for significant behavioral differences. For instance, say we have bad tasting water over here. Well, the first mouse, by chance, goes and tastes it. His identical sibling is slightly behind and watches him (his facial expressions). These identical siblings just had a significantly different “environmental” experience. When you have multiple beings together, and they are not perfectly mirrored somehow (if such is possible), then you are already gearing up for a “significantly different environment” between them. That is, you quickly lose the idea that these identical creatures were released into the “same environment.” Now, if you release identical mice into their own banal environment, and you see significant behavioral differences, that may be more informative, but you would still have a great many confounds. 


Though it's a bit obsolete now, John Oliver had a good segment on the Canadian elections, urging people not to vote for the Conservative candidate Harper.

And lastly, humans have now fulfilled the purpose they were put on this planet to fulfill: Star Wars.

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