phenotype

206 results back to index


pages: 506 words: 152,049

The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene by Richard Dawkins

Alfred Russel Wallace, assortative mating, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, epigenetics, Gödel, Escher, Bach, impulse control, Menlo Park, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, selection bias, stem cell

Their interpretation of the results is that coiling is genetically determined, with left-handedness dominant to right-handedness, but that an animal’s phenotype is controlled not by its own genotype but by its mother’s genotype. Thus the F1 individuals displayed the phenotypes dictated by their mothers’ genotypes, although all contained the same heterozygous genotypes since they were produced by mating two pure strains. Similarly, the F2 progeny of F1 matings all displayed the phenotype appropriate to an F1 genotype—left-handed since that is dominant and the F1 genotype was heterozygous. The underlying genotypes of the F2 generation presumably segregated in classic 3:1 Mendelian fashion, but this did not show itself in their phenotypes. It would have shown itself in the phenotypes of their progeny. Note that it is the mother’s genotype, not her phenotype, which controls her offspring’s phenotype. The F1 individuals themselves were left-handed or right-handed in equal proportion, yet all had the same heterozygous genotype, and all therefore produced left-handed offspring.

It cannot be said to have a phenotypic effect except in the context of the other nucleotides that surround it in its cistron. It is meaningless to speak of the phenotypic effect of adenine. But it is entirely sensible to speak of the phenotypic effect of substituting adenine for cytosine at a named locus within a named cistron. The case of a cistron within a genome is not analogous. Unlike a nucleotide, a cistron is large enough to have a consistent phenotypic effect, relatively, though not completely, independently of where it lies on the chromosome (but not regardless of what other genes share its genome). For a cistron, its sequential context vis-à-vis other cistrons is not overwhelmingly important in determining its phenotypic effect in comparison with its alleles. For a nucleotide’s phenotypic effect, on the other hand, its sequential context is everything.

It is customary to speak as if differences always mean differences between individual bodies or other discrete ‘vehicles’. The purpose of the next three chapters is to show that we can emancipate the concept of the phenotypic difference from that of the discrete vehicle altogether, and this is the meaning of the title ‘extended phenotype’. I shall show that the ordinary logic of genetic terminology leads inevitably to the conclusion that genes can be said to have extended phenotypic effects, effects which need not be expressed at the level of any particular vehicle. Following an earlier paper (Dawkins 1978a) I shall take a step-by-step approach to the extended phenotype, beginning with conventional examples of ‘ordinary’ phenotypic effects and gradually extending the concept of the phenotype outwards so that the continuity is easy to accept. The idea of the genetic determination of animal artefacts is a didactically useful intermediate example, and this will be the main topic of this chapter.


pages: 742 words: 166,595

The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40 by Jonathon Sullivan, Andy Baker

complexity theory, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, indoor plumbing, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, phenotype, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), the scientific method, Y Combinator

He doesn’t know it yet, but he also has a ticking time bomb in his left anterior descending coronary artery. Three years from now, this lesion will clamp off the blood flow to Phil’s left ventricle in the middle of a Die Hard movie marathon. He’ll breathe his last in the cardiac ICU 6 weeks later, age 58. Same genotype. Very different phenotypes. More specifically, Will and Phil have different aging phenotypes and different death phenotypes. Phil’s aging phenotype is an unsightly and miserable catastrophe, while his brother’s is an exemplar of healthy aging. Will’s death phenotype is be envied: he’s healthy, vigorous, active and happy until the minute a tired, tiny vessel in his brainstem switches him off in the middle of a great final adventure at the end of his ninth decade, many years from now. Will is going to pack all of his dying into about 7 seconds.

Instead, the distribution is skewing away from Will and toward Phil.7 The “average” human genotype has not changed substantially in many thousands of years, but in the postmodern era, the human phenotype of industrialized nations has undergone a staggering and destructive transformation.8 Will’s Healthy Aging Phenotype is more achievable than at any time in human history. But Phil’s Sick Aging Phenotype, as defined below, is well on the way to becoming the norm. Because this is a phenotypic transformation, and not a genotypic one, most scientists and physicians have concluded that the blame for this slow-motion public health catastrophe falls squarely on environmental and behavioral variables.9 I believe this conclusion is correct in general, although there remains considerable controversy about the particulars, especially with regard to the role of cultural influences, medical interventions, and diet.10 It appears the modern aging phenotypes are profoundly sensitive to a number of external and behavioral variables.

In this chapter, we’ll see just how badly things can go wrong for the aging adult in a world of wonder drugs, leisure, plenty, and peace. * * * Wellness Will and Phat Phil Phenotype is an unfamiliar but useful word. It’s a biological term, a construction from the Greek: phainen + typos, or “show” + “type.” It’s the “show type” of an organism: the appearance, traits, behaviors, and overall structural and biochemical peculiarities we observe when we look at that organism. The phenotype of a creature is to be distinguished from its genotype: the inherited instructions (genes) encoded in its DNA. Two organisms of the same species with identical or nearly identical genotypes will tend to have very similar phenotypes. But their phenotypes can also be very different. Allow me to give you an example. Consider a pair of identical twins, Will and Phil. Will and Phil both develop from the same fertilized egg.


pages: 286 words: 90,530

Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think by Alan Grafen; Mark Ridley

Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, bioinformatics, cognitive bias, computer age, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Haight Ashbury, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, loose coupling, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, phenotype, profit maximization, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Of course we have no idea, but it seems reasonable to argue that the making of these footprints had no effect on the survival of footprint makers or, as I should say, on the frequency of alleles linked to footprint creation. Consequently, there seems no merit in calling the footprints an extended phenotype. The Surrey puma question can now be answered: the scratch marks (even allowing for media misrepresentation) were not themselves a puma or for that matter a dog. They were certainly the phenotypic expression of genes for scratching behaviour. Yet, in the absence of any evidence that they affect the survival of scratch-generating genes, they do not deserve the description of extended phenotype. For the 1999 edition of The Extended Phenotype, the subtitle was changed; it now reads The long reach of the gene. The case of the caddis is an example of this too, as it shows how genes sitting in the larva are responsible for producing a structure detached from it.

Now, the existence of a gene is often inferred from properties of a DNA sequence without any information about the gene’s phenotypic effects and without the observation of differences among sequences. But the definition of the gene as a protein-encoding stretch of DNA is more recent than its definition as that which is responsible for a phenotypic difference, and it is not surprising that the modern molecular definition has not fully supplanted the older operational definition. Experimental geneticists invoke genes to explain observed phenotypic differences. A pink-eyed fly differs from a red-eyed fly because the former possesses a gene for pink eyes inherited from both parents whereas the latter has inherited at least one gene for red eyes. In a similar way, evolutionary biologists often invoke genes to explain hypothetical phenotypic differences in an attempt to understand the nature of adaptation by natural selection.

The truth of course is that, as with all Richard Dawkins’ other writing, the purpose of The Extended Phenotype is bolder and much broader in its implications. In his own words it is ‘to free the selfish gene from the individual organism which has been its conceptual prison’. A caddis case just happens to be a perfect way to visualize that. During the Carboniferous Period, about 380 million years ago, there was indeed a beast roaming what is now the west of Scotland; it was a two-metre centipede-like creature (Arthro-pleura). We know this from fossil footprints preserved in sandstone on the Isle of Arran. Are these footprints an extended phenotype? If so, it might appear that any grass blade bent by a passing beetle would deserve the name but consequently dilute the concept. The Extended Phenotype addresses this worry. The key question is, does natural selection act upon these footprints?


pages: 357 words: 98,854

Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance by Nessa Carey

Albert Einstein, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, conceptual framework, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, life extension, mouse model, phenotype, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, stochastic process, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, twin studies

The first is that the phenotypes are all relatively mild compared with, for example, trisomy of chromosome 21 (Down’s syndrome). This suggests that cells can tolerate having too many or too few copies of the X chromosome much better than having extra copies of an autosome. But the other obvious conclusion is that an abnormal number of X chromosomes does indeed have some effects on phenotype. Why should this be? After all, X inactivation ensures that no matter how many X chromosomes are present, all bar one get inactivated early in development. But if this was the end of the story there would be no difference in phenotype between 45, X females compared with 47, XXX females or with the normal 46, XX female constitution. Similarly, males with the normal 46, XY karyotype should be phenotypically identical to males with the 47, XXY karyotype.

Combining the information from the two papers, and from additional studies, we can conclude that even genetically identical individuals are epigenetically distinct by the time of birth, and these epigenetic differences become more pronounced with age and exposure to different environments. Of mice and men (and women) These data are consistent with a model where epigenetic changes could account for at least some of the reasons why MZ twins aren’t phenotypically identical, but there’s still a lot of supposition involved. That’s because for many purposes humans are a quite hopeless experimental system. If we want to be able to assess the role of epigenetics in the problem of why genetically identical individuals are phenotypically different from one another, we would like to be able to do the following: Analyse hundreds of identical individuals, not just pairs of them; Manipulate their environments, in completely controlled ways; Transfer embryos or babies from one mother to another, to investigate the effects of early nurture; Take all sorts of samples from the different tissues of the body, at lots of different time points; Control who mates with whom; Carry out studies on four or five generations of genetically identical individuals.

By using complex breeding schemes, they also demonstrated that the inheritance of the coat pattern was not due to the cytoplasm in the egg. Taken together, the most straightforward interpretation of these data is that epigenetic inheritance has taken place. In other words, an epigenetic modification (probably DNA methylation) was transferred along with the genetic code. This transfer of the phenotype from one generation to the next wasn’t perfect – not all the offspring looked exactly the same as their mother. This implies that the DNA methylation that controls the expression of the agouti phenotype wasn’t entirely stable down the generations. This is quite analogous to the effects we see in suspected cases of human transgenerational inheritance, such as the Dutch Hunger Winter. If we look at a large enough number of people in our study group we can detect differences in birth weight between various groups, but we can’t make absolute predictions about a single individual.


pages: 741 words: 199,502

Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class by Charles Murray

23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asperger Syndrome, assortative mating, basic income, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, feminist movement, glass ceiling, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, Kenneth Arrow, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, p-value, phenotype, publication bias, quantitative hedge fund, randomized controlled trial, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, school vouchers, Scientific racism, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, twin studies, universal basic income, working-age population

Along with prior work on how FT influences behavior, this work highlights FT as an important developmental mechanism contributing to sex differences in neuroanatomy.”107 There’s more on this topic that I will not try to cover (the note has some more sources for the curious), nor will I try to cover the continuing debate about the details.108 My limited point is that the debate is being conducted within a consensus among neuroscientists that the male brain is more lateralized than the female brain. The differences are consistent with observed phenotypic sex differences in visuospatial and verbal skills. Sex Differences in Emotional Cognition and Memory I promised that I would give you a glimpse of the progress that is being made in directly linking sex differences in the brain to sex differences in the phenotype. I chose progress in understanding sex differences in emotional response because an extensive technical literature has been accumulating and because of the intriguing links between the female phenotypic advantage in certain kinds of memory and the greater female vulnerability to depression.[109] The story that is emerging has not reached the level of settled science, but progress has been remarkable.

A Personal Interpretation of the Material in Part I I reserve an entire chapter at the end of the book for my own interpretation of larger issues, but I also end Parts I, II, and III with personal statements of my reading of the material. Males and females are different. A lot different. The distinctions that show up in the phenotypic evidence on personality, abilities, educational choices, vocational choices, and career paths are interconnected both conceptually and empirically. The links between these phenotypic differences and the sex differences in the brain are still only partly understood, but what we have learned so far also hangs together. I expect that the more we learn, the more closely phenotypic differences will match up with genetic differences. I will also assert without trying to demonstrate it that this coherent picture fits seamlessly within the context of evolutionary pressures over millions of years that shaped Homo sapiens.

That’s where the hype over epigenetics originated and why it has been so attractive to the media. Epigenetics seems to promise release from genetic determinism. It seems to offer new explanations for phenotypic differences and new possibilities for remediation. At the extremes, it seems to offer hope for greater equality of capabilities and outcomes across groups. As these potential extensions of findings about gene expression sank in during the 2000s, the use of the term epigenetics expanded to include all forms of transmission of the phenotype by mechanisms that did not involve changes in the DNA sequence—in other words, to expand beyond Nanney’s emphasis on cellular memory and instead treat the larger realm of transmission of the phenotype through RNA and transcription factors as part of epigenetics.66 For John Greally, director of the Center for Epigenomics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, this is too broad a definition, conflating changes in transcription regulatory effects with cellular memory.


pages: 365 words: 117,713

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

double helix, information retrieval, lateral thinking, Necker cube, pattern recognition, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, zero-sum game

Beneficial means that they make the embryo likely to develop into a successful adult, an adult likely to reproduce and pass those very same genes on to future generations. The technical word Phenotype is used for the bodily manifestation of a gene, the effect that a gene, in comparison with its alleles, has on the body, via development. The phenotypic effect of some particular gene might be, say, green eye colour. In practice most genes have more than one phenotypic effect, say green eye colour and curly hair. Natural selection favours some genes rather than others not because of the nature of the genes themselves, but because of their consequences-their phenotypic effects. Darwinians have usually chosen to discuss genes whose phenotypic effects benefit, or penalize, the survival and reproduction of whole bodies. They have tended not to consider benefits to the gene itself.

The instrument with which we shall purge our minds is the idea that I call the extended phenotype. It is to this, and what it means, that I now turn. The phenotypic effects of a gene are normally seen as all the effects that it has on the body in which it sits. This is the conventional definition. But we shall now see that the phenotypic effects of a gene need to be thought of as all the effects that it has on the world. It may be that a gene's effects, as a matter of fact, turn out to be confined to the succession of bodies in which the gene sits. But, if so, it will be just as a matter of fact. It will not be something that ought to be part of our very definition. In all this, remember that the phenotypic effects of a gene are the tools by which it levers itself into the next generation. All that I am going to add is that the tools may reach outside the individual body wall.

More, an orthodox chromosomal gene and a virus that is transmitted inside the host's egg would agree in wanting the host to succeed not just in its courtship but in every detailed aspect of its life, down to being a loyal, doting parent and even grandparent. The caddis lives inside its house, and the parasites that I have so far discussed have lived inside their hosts. The genes, then, are physically close to their extended phenotypic effects, as close as genes ordinarily are to their conventional phenotypes. But genes can act at a distance; extended phenotypes can extend a long way. One of the longest that I can think of spans a lake. Like a spider web or a caddis house, a beaver dam is among the true wonders of the world. It is not entirely clear what its Darwinian purpose is, but it certainly must have one, for the beavers expend so much time and energy to build it. The lake that it creates probably serves to protect the beaver's lodge from predators.


Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society by Nicholas A. Christakis

agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, assortative mating, Cass Sunstein, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, different worldview, disruptive innovation, double helix, epigenetics, experimental economics, experimental subject, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, invention of writing, iterative process, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, joint-stock company, land tenure, Laplace demon, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, out of africa, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, replication crisis, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, social web, stem cell, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, twin studies, ultimatum game, zero-sum game

However, the vast majority of human phenotypes are much more complicated. For example, a person’s height depends on the actions of dozens of genes working together. Imagine that there is a set of a hundred spinning rollers on a slot machine, all of which have to line up just right for the jackpot but other combinations of which yield smaller payoffs. Each combination of rollers produces a slightly different result, making it extremely hard to predict the outcome each time the machine is played. The effects of genes are thus hard to discern—because there are many ways genes can influence phenotypes, especially in the case of behaviors. To complicate matters, just as many genes can affect a single phenotype (making that trait polygenic), a single gene can affect many phenotypes—for example, a gene that affects obesity might also affect the ability to process cholesterol.

Our evolved psychology reflects both these competing ancestral strategies based on our species’ having faced different ecological and evolutionary pressures in the distant past.25 Behavior Genetics Over the past fifty years, scientists working in the field of behavior genetics have amassed increasing evidence that genes shape human behavior. The study of genetics and heredity began with how genotypes (genes and their variants) shape phenotypes (an organism’s physical appearance and function). But phenotypes eventually came to be seen as any manifestations of genes, moving beyond physical appearance to include the way the brain works and, ultimately, human personalities and behaviors. Using a variety of techniques, such as studying twins and analyzing tiny variations in DNA, behavior geneticists have explored whether the genome as a whole and also certain genes in particular help to explain complex phenotypes like neuroticism, decision-making, and friendliness. So broad and powerful is the impact of genes on behavior that, in 2000, psychologist Eric Turkheimer formulated this “first law” of behavior genetics: “All human behavioral traits are heritable.”26 One extraordinary study combined data from 2,748 publications involving over fourteen million twin pairs and 17,804 human traits.

Still, figuring out which genes really matter for a given complex behavioral trait (or any phenotype) can be difficult. It can be like trying to learn what makes a car run if you have never seen one before. You might discover that cars without ignition keys do not run and that those with keys do run, but that does not mean that the ignition key determines whether the car runs or not or that the ignition key is the “cause” of the car’s operation. There are many parts in a car that must work together to make it move. Some phenotypes are indeed simple, however. You might remember from high-school biology that different variants of the hemoglobin gene encode the production of different kinds of hemoglobin, and some variants result in sickle-cell disease. This is the classic example of the way genes work, because a single gene encodes a single phenotype—in this case, whether the hemoglobin is normal or sickled.


Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend by Barbara Oakley Phd

agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Barry Marshall: ulcers, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, impulse control, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Norbert Wiener, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, prisoner's dilemma, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stanford prison experiment, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, twin studies, union organizing, Y2K

Depending on the stress and our genetic predisposition, we can be pushed toward depression, eating disorders, drug abuse, or cancer.8 If a person already has a mild form of a personality disorder, he or she can be pushed into a full-blown version. Intermediate Phenotype Intermediate phenotype is a concept used by researchers who are wrestling with the relationship between genes and phenotype. To understand “intermediate phenotype,” it's helpful to remember that there is often an intermediate case between a full-blown manifestation of a disease and a less harmful variant. In personality disorders, intermediate phenotypes, sometimes called endophenotypes, are used to describe people with subclinical symptoms of diseases like schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder. The stipulation for an intermediate phenotype is that it be found in mildly ill but not “certifiable” siblings and other relatives, and that it even be found in some psychiatrically well relatives. This establishes that the phenotypes are related to risk for an illness and are not the illness itself.

imaging genetics. A medical imaging technique that involves figuring out the size, shape, and function of organs such as the amygdala and cingulate cortex and then evaluating the same person's genes to see how they compare. intermediate phenotype. Phenotype generally refers to a trait you can see on the outside of a body, such as red hair. Intermediate phenotype is related to a trait or part on the inside of the body, such as the liver or the amygdala. Many times it's easier to see if a gene has an effect on the intermediate phenotype inside the body than on the phenotype visible outside the body. junk DNA. Molecules of DNA that seem to serve no useful purpose and lie around generally being bored. Occasionally, however, they turn out to control important activities in the cell. limbic system. An older part of the brain, in evolutionary terms, that all mammals share; it is an area below our level of awareness.

This happened in every person sampled, whether or not the person had schizophrenia. Egan's study was one of the first times that a correlation of an intermediate phenotype with a gene was shown to clarify how a gene related to a complex clinical diagnosis.9 “What's so surprising,” marvels Daniel Weinberger, Egan's colleague at the National Institute of Mental Health, “is that it works.”10 It appears that the next step beyond imaging genetics may relate to the synergistic use of genotyping, neuroimaging, and intermediate phenotypes. It will be exciting to see what future studies reveal when these techniques are applied to antisocial personality disorder, other related syndromes, and their subclinical “intermediate phenotypes.” Faced with the overwhelming variety of phenotypes that can arise from this mixture of genes and environment, it's hard to know where to even begin looking at a person's genome to determine which alleles might be key in motivating behavioral traits.


pages: 824 words: 218,333

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, longitudinal study, medical residency, moral hazard, mouse model, New Journalism, out of africa, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Scientific racism, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Malthus, twin studies

To explain the intersection of genetics, natural selection, and evolution in formal terms, Dobzhansky resurrected two important words—genotype and phenotype. A genotype is an organism’s genetic composition. It can refer to one gene, a configuration of genes, or even an entire genome. A phenotype, in contrast, refers to an organism’s physical or biological attributes and characteristics—the color of an eye, the shape of a wing, or resistance to hot or cold temperatures. Dobzhansky could now restate the essential truth of Mendel’s discovery—a gene determines a physical feature—by generalizing that idea across multiple genes and multiple features: a genotype determines a phenotype But two important modifications to this rule were necessary to complete the scheme. First, Dobzhansky noted, genotypes were not the sole determinants of phenotypes. Obviously, the environment or the milieu that surrounds an organism contributes to its physical attributes.

Eugenicists such as Galton had hoped to select complex phenotypes—intelligence, height, beauty, and moral rectitude—as a biological shortcut to enrich genes for intelligence, height, beauty, and morality. But a phenotype was not determined by one gene in a one-to-one manner. Selecting phenotypes was going to be a flawed mechanism to guarantee genetic selection. If genes, environments, triggers, and chance were responsible for the ultimate characteristics of an organism, then eugenicists would be inherently thwarted in their capacity to enrich intelligence or beauty across generations without deconvoluting the relative effects of each of these contributions. Each of Dobzhansky’s insights was a powerful plea against the misuse of genetics and human eugenics. Genes, phenotypes, selection, and evolution were bound together by cords of relatively basic laws—but it was easy to imagine that these laws could be misunderstood and distorted.

Individual organelles are usually separately enclosed within their own membranes. Mitochondria are organelles dedicated to the production of energy. Penetrance: The proportion of organisms that carry a particular variant of a gene that also expresses the associated trait or phenotype. In medical genetics, penetrance refers to the proportion of individuals carrying a genotype that manifest the symptoms of an illness. Phenotype: The set of an individual’s biological, physical, and intellectual traits, such as skin color or eye color. Phenotypes can also include complex traits, such as temperament or personality. Phenotypes are determined by genes, epigenetic alterations, environments, and random chance. Protein: A chemical comprised, at its core, of a chain of amino acids that is created when a gene is translated. Proteins carry out the bulk of cellular functions, including relaying signals, providing structural support, and accelerating biochemical reactions.


Epigenetics: How Environment Shapes Our Genes by Richard C. Francis

agricultural Revolution, cellular automata, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, experimental subject, longitudinal study, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, stem cell, twin studies

James Barker proposed that when the fetus receives insufficient nutrition through the placenta, it becomes programmed in the womb for a thrifty phenotype.9 As was proposed for the thrifty-genes hypothesis, those with a thrifty phenotype have a more efficient metabolism than babies born at a normal birth weight. But the thrifty phenotype can result from diverse genetic backgrounds and without the aid of specific obesity genes. It is, rather, simply a function of the intrauterine environment. The thrifty phenotype works out well in traditional non-Western cultures where the postnatal environment is often one of scarcity. In those cases, the prenatal environment predicts the postnatal environment in an adaptive way. Problems arise, however, if the postnatal environment is enriched food-wise relative to the prenatal environment. When this mismatch occurs, thrifty phenotypes result in obesity and its consequences.

Kim, et al. (2010). “Influence of parental origin of the X chromosome on physical phenotypes and GH responsiveness of patients with Turner syndrome.” Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 73(1): 66–71. Kochanska, G., R. A. Barry, et al. (2009). “Early attachment organization moderates the parent-child mutually coercive pathway to children’s antisocial conduct.” Child Dev 80(4): 1288–1300. Koornneef, M., C. J. Hanhart, et al. (1991). “A genetic and physiological analysis of late flowering mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana.” Mol Gen Genet 229(1): 57–66. Kraemer, S. (2000). “The fragile male.” BMJ 321(7276): 1609–1612. Kulesa, P. M., J. C. Kasemeier-Kulesa, et al. (2006). “Reprogramming metastatic melanoma cells to assume a neural crest cell-like phenotype in an embryonic microenvironment.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103(10): 3752–3757.

Roux, Wilhelm sainthood, criteria for schizophrenia: in Dutch famine cohort gene mutation and stress biasing and Scruggs, Jan sea urchins self-esteem, maternal style and self-nonself distinction, in immune system self-organization, of developmental processes September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks sex-linked traits see also X chromosome sexual development: genomic imprinting and Kallmann syndrome and Silver-Russell syndrome small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) Smith, Clement social inheritance social interactions: gene regulation and in gorillas infant-parent relationship in somatic mutation theory (SMT) of cancer somatic stem cells cancer and, see somatic mutation theory (SMT) of cancer spatial cognition sperm cells: in egg fertilization epigenetic attachments removed in production of sperm development spina bifida stamping, genetic stature, genomic imprinting and stem cells blood induced pluripotent neural see also embryonic stem cells; somatic stem cells stress, maternal stress axis hyperresponsiveness in, see stress biasing stress biasing epigenetic gene regulation and maternal style and in mice and rat studies in primates stress response to chronic stressors fight or flight hyperactivity of, see stress biasing in monozygotic twins substance abuse maternal style and Suomi, Steven tactile stimulation Tanganyika, Lake Tasmanian devils cancer in, see devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) healing capacity of immune response in Tatum, Edward teratocarcinoma cells testes endocrine disruptors and steroid abuse and shrinkage of testosterone competitive interactions and Thailand, diet and obesity in “thrifty genes” hypothesis thrifty phenotype thymine tigons tissue-based theory of cancer Toguchi, Audrey Toronto zoo totipotent cells traits: genes as linked to sex-linked transcription transcription factors transdifferentiation transgenerational epigenetic processes translation translocation tumor suppressor genes Turner neurocognitive phenotype Turner syndrome unipotent cells viable yellow (Avy) agouti allele Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vietnam War vinclozolin Vindicated (Canseco) violence, steroid use and vision, color, see color vision vitalism vitamin B12 Waddington, Conrad war, epigenetic changes induced by Washington, George Watson, James Wayne, John weed killers Weismann, August Western lifestyle: obesity and stress in Wilhelmina Gasthuis Hospital Wilms’ tumor Wolf, Caspar Friedrich womb, see fetal environment World Trade Center, 9/11 attack on World War I, shell shock in World War II: battle fatigue in Dutch famine in, see Dutch famine Wright, Sewall X chromosome opsins on see also sex-linked traits X inactivation epigenetic processes in histones in in marsupials methylation in randomness in X-inactivation center (Xic) X-inactive-specific transcript (Xist) XO females “X-women,” Y chromosome zebras zinc zorse zygote epigenesis theory of in preformationist theory in stem cell controversy as totipotent Copyright © 2011 by Richard C.


pages: 420 words: 130,714

Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist by Richard Dawkins

agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Boris Johnson, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Google Earth, John Harrison: Longitude, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mahatma Gandhi, mental accounting, Necker cube, nuclear winter, out of africa, p-value, phenotype, place-making, placebo effect, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, twin studies

Direction (order) imposed on random variation by natural selection Darwinism – the non-random selection of randomly varying replication entities by reason of their ‘phenotypic’ effects – is the only force I know that can, in principle, guide evolution in the direction of adaptive complexity. It works on this planet. It doesn’t suffer from any of the drawbacks that beset the other five classes of theory, and there is no reason to doubt its efficacy throughout the universe. The ingredients in a general recipe for Darwinian evolution are replicating entities of some kind, exerting phenotypic ‘power’ of some kind over their replication success. In The Extended Phenotype I referred to these necessary entities as ‘active germ-line replicators’ or ‘optimons’. It is important to keep their replication conceptually separate from their phenotypic effects, even though, on some planets, there may be a blurring in practice. Phenotypic adaptations can be seen as tools of replicator propagation.

The metaphor is a superficially happy one: it is easy to see the genetic changes that accompany evolution as book-keeping entries, mere accountant’s records of the really interesting phenotypic events going on in the outside world. Deeper consideration, however, shows that the truth is almost the exact opposite. It is central and essential to Darwinian (as opposed to Lamarckian) evolution that there shall be causal arrows flowing from genotype to phenotype, but not in the reverse direction. Changes in gene frequencies are not passive book-keeping records of phenotypic changes: it is precisely because (and to the extent that) they actively cause phenotypic changes that evolution of the phenotype can occur. Serious errors flow, both from a failure to understand the importance of this one-way flow,*18 and from an over-interpretation of it as inflexible and undeviating ‘genetic determinism’.

An individual organism, such as a clonally reproducing aphid or stick insect, would be a true replicator only if blemishes in the phenotype – say an amputated leg – were reproduced in the next generation. And of course they are not. Note that a blemish in the genotype – a mutation – is reproduced in the next generation. Of course it may then show itself in the phenotype too, but it is not the phenotypic blemish itself which is copied. This is no more than the familiar principle of the non-inheritance of acquired characteristics, or – its molecular version – Crick’s Central Dogma. I have described a replicator as ‘active’ if something about its nature affects its proficiency in being copied, which implies that blemished replicators may be less proficient, or more proficient, than the original (in practice because of what we are accustomed to calling ‘phenotypic effects’). The true unit of selection in any Darwinian process, on any planet, is an active germ-line replicator.


Longevity: To the Limits and Beyond (Research and Perspectives in Longevity) by Jean-Marie Robine, James W. Vaupel, Bernard Jeune, Michel Allard

computer age, conceptual framework, demographic transition, Drosophila, epigenetics, life extension, longitudinal study, phenotype, stem cell, stochastic process

Natural Selection and Aging Let us come back to the phase space of an organism, adding the time dimension, and let us consider the complete phenotype in one block, unfolded in space and time. The pre-reproductive section of the phenotype has been perfected by natural selection, whereas the post-reproductive part of the phenotype has been neglected. A hallmark of natural selection optimization is a good homeostatic capacity, an adequate response to challenges, giving the impression that every situation has been predicted, that all the components of the organism are useful, well coordinated and under control. This is the domain of harmony between structure and function. This is what Sir Karl Popper has termed "implicit knowledge": the adequate reaction to random exterior circumstances. That beautiful organization, crystallized under the pressure of natural selection, melts away in the aging portion of the phenotype, to be replaced by compensatory adaptation, Genetics of Aging 137 one might say by self-organization.

The major advantages of these approaches are that virtually any gene can be manipulated at will in the species mentioned above; thus, any biochemical process and its involvement in organismic physiology can be studied using an almost endless variety of molecular probes that alter the normal function in the organism. The genetic approach is especially valuable in the analysis of aging because genetic manipulations leading to a stable alteration of genotype also lead to a stable alteration of phenotype in the organism. This phenotypic alteration can now be studied at many levels from the in vivo effects on life expectancy, to altered biochemical and physi010gical processes and even to studies at the level of the molecule. Also the genetic approach is unbiased by the interests and prior expectations or hypotheses of the investigator in that virtually any gene in the organism that leads to the desired phenotypic change can be identified and studies as a causal determinant oflongevity extension. Genetic approaches lead to more than a finding; they lead to an altered strain or stock that can be shared with other laboratories.

This approach allows us to identify regions of the genome associated with longevity and other life history traits and also to examine epistatic interactions between loci and pleiotropic effects on different traits at specific loci. QTLs for life expectancy were identified on linkage groups (LGs) II (near the stP101 molecular marker), IV (near stP5) and X (near stP61), and QTLs for fertility were identified on LGs II (near maP1), III (near stP19) and IV (near stP51). The QTLs for life expectancy accounted for almost all of the genetic variance (only 23 % of the phenotypic variance). The QTLs for mean fertility accounted for 85 % of the genetic variance and 45 % of the phenotypic variance. Additional QTLs for other life history traits were also mapped in these crosses. There was no evidence for epistatic effects between QTLs but several loci were observed to have effects on the QTLs identified. No QTLs were pleiotropic (having effects on different life history traits) with the exception of negatively correlated, pleiotropic effects between life expectancy and internal hatching associated with a QTL near the stP5 marker.


pages: 846 words: 232,630

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel C. Dennett

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, assortative mating, buy low sell high, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test

But now we introduce just one "minor" change: suppose that although the individual organisms start out with different wirings (whichever wiring was ordered by their particular genotype or genetic recipe) — as shown by their scatter on the fitness landscape — they have some capacity to adjust or revise their wiring, depending on what they encounter during their lifetimes. (In the language of evolutionary theory, there is some "plasticity" in their phenotypes. The phenotype is the eventual body design created by the genotype in interaction with environment. Identical twins raised in different environments would share a genotype but might be dramatically different in phenotype.) Suppose, then, that these organisms can end up, after exploration, with a design different from the one they were born with. We may suppose their explorations are random, but they have an innate capacity to recognize (and stay with) a Good Trick when they stumble upon it. Then those individuals who begin life with a genotype that is closer to the Good Trick genotype — fewer redesign steps away from it — are more likely to come across it, and stick with it, than those that are born with a faraway design.

Proving that there is no straightforward way for biology to accomplish some trick is never a proof of impossibility. Remember Orgel's Second Rule! In his account of Biomorph Land, Dawkins stresses that a tiny — indeed minimal — change in the genotype (the recipe) can produce a strikingly large change in the phenotype (the resulting individual organism), but he tends to slight one of the major implications of this: if a single step in the genotype can produce a giant step in the phenotype, intermediate steps for the phenotype may be simply unavailable, given the mapping rules. To take a deliberately extreme and fanciful example, you might think that if a beast could have twenty-centimeter tusks and forty-centimeter tusks, it would stand to reason that it could also have thirty-centimeter tusks, but the rules {118} for tusk-making in the recipe system may not allow for such a case.

The trouble with the diagram is that it needs more dimensions, so we can compare the steps in genotype space (the typographical steps in the Library of Mendel) to the steps in phenotype space (the design innovations in Design Space) and then evaluate these differences on a fitness landscape. As we have seen, the relations between recipe and result are complex, and many possibilities might be illustrated. We saw in chapter 5 that a small typographical change in the genome could in principle have a large effect on the phenotype expressed. We also saw, in chapter 8, that some typographical changes in the genome can have no effect at all on the phenotype — there are over a hundred different ways of "spelling" lysozyme, for instance, and hence more than a hundred equivalent ways of spelling the order for lysozyme in DNA codons.


pages: 734 words: 244,010

The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins

agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, complexity theory, delayed gratification, double helix, Drosophila, Haight Ashbury, invention of writing, lateral thinking, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, nuclear winter, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steven Pinker, the High Line, urban sprawl

Each gene promotes its own selfish welfare, by co-operating with the other genes in the sexually stirred gene pool which is that gene's environment, to build shared bodies. But beaver genes have special phenotypes quite unlike those of tigers, camels or carrots. Beavers have lake phenotypes, caused by dam phenotypes. A lake is an extended phenotype. The extended phenotype is a special kind of phenotype, and it is the subject of the rest of this tale, which is a brief summary of my book of that title. It is interesting not only in its own right but because it helps us to understand how conventional phenotypes develop. It will turn out that there is no great difference of principle between an extended phenotype like a beaver lake, and a conventional phenotype like a flattened beaver tail. How can it possibly be right to use the same word, phenotype, on the one hand for a tail of flesh, bone and blood, and on the other hand for a body of still water, stemmed in a valley by a dam?

The protein has an enzymatic effect on cellular chemistry, which affects X which affects Y which affects Z which affects... a long chain of intermediate causes which affects... the phenotype of interest. The allele makes the difference when its phenotype is compared with the corresponding phenotype, at the end of the correspondingly long chain of causation that proceeds from the alternative allele. Gene differences cause phenotypic differences. Gene changes cause phenotypic changes. In Darwinian evolution alleles are selected, vis-a-vis alternative alleles, by virtue of the differences in their effects on phenotypes. The beaver's point is that this comparison between phenotypes can happen anywhere along the chain of causation. All intermediate links along the chain are true phenotypes, and any one of them could constitute the phenotypic effect by which a gene is selected: it only has to be 'visible' to natural selection, nobody cares whether it is visible to us.

Differences between lakes are influenced by differences between dams, just as differences between dams are influenced by differences between behaviour patterns, which in turn are consequences of differences between genes. We may say that the characteristics of a dam, or of a lake, are true phenotypic effects of genes, using exactly the logic we use to say that the characteristics of a tail are phenotypic effects of genes. Conventionally, biologists see the phenotypic effects of a gene as confined within the skin of the individual bearing that gene. The Beaver's Tale shows that this is unnecessary. The phenotype of a gene, in the true sense of the word, may extend outside the skin of the individual. Birds' nests are extended phenotypes. Their shape and size, their complicated funnels and tubes where these exist, all are Darwinian adaptations, and so must have evolved by the differential survival of alternative genes.


pages: 141 words: 46,879

River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life by Richard Dawkins

double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, job satisfaction, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, out of africa, phenotype

But now, after many generations of evolution, we move on to Threshold 2, the Phenotype Threshold. Replicators survive not by virtue of their own properties but by virtue of causal effects on something else, which we call the phenotype. On our planet, phenotypes are easily recognized as those parts of animal and plant bodies that genes can influence. That means pretty well all bits of bodies. Think of phenotypes as levers of power by which successful replicators manipulate their way into the next generation. More generally, phenotypes may be defined as consequences of replicators that influence the replicators' success but are not themselves replicated. For instance, a particular gene in a species of Pacific island snail determines whether the shell coils to the right or to the left. The DNA molecule itself is not right- or left-handed, but its phenotypic consequence is.

More generally, a planet will come to contain replicators whose consequences (phenotypes) have beneficial effects, by whatever means, on the replicators' success at getting copied. Once the Phenotype Threshold is crossed, replicators survive by virtue of proxies, their consequences on the world. On our planet, these consequences are usually confined to the body in which the gene physically sits. But this is not necessarily so. The doctrine of the Extended Phenotype (to which I have devoted a whole book with that title) states that the phenotypic levers of power by which replicators engineer their long-term survival do not have to be limited to the replicators' "own" body. Genes can reach outside particular bodies and influence the world at large, including other bodies. I don't know how universal the Phenotype Threshold is likely to be. I suspect that it will have been crossed on all those planets where the life explosion has proceeded beyond a very rudimentary stage.

Because snail genes ride inside the shells whose shape they help to influence, genes that make successful shells will come to outnumber genes that make unsuccessful shells. Shells, being phenotypes, do not spawn daughter shells. Each shell is made by DNA, and it is DNA that spawns DNA. DNA sequences influence their phenotypes (like the direction of coiling of shells) via a more or less complicated chain of intermediate events, all subsumed under the general heading of "embryology." On our planet, the first link in the chain is always the synthesis of a protein molecule. Every detail of the protein molecule is precisely specified, via the famous genetic code, by the ordering of the four kinds of letters in the DNA. But these details are very probably of local significance only. More generally, a planet will come to contain replicators whose consequences (phenotypes) have beneficial effects, by whatever means, on the replicators' success at getting copied.


Genesis: The Deep Origin of Societies by Edward O. Wilson

biofilm, out of africa, phenotype, social intelligence

Let us turn now to another subject of sociobiology of basic importance to understanding the evolution of biological organization. It is phenotypic flexibility, the amount of change in a phenotype (the trait prescribed by a gene) through differences in the environment. The kind and amount of flexibility—since these are also genetic traits—can also evolve. At one extreme, the genes prescribing flexibility can be shaped by natural selection to allow only one trait out of many conceivable, such as one eye color inherited by a particular person. At the opposite extreme, flexibility can also evolve to generate multiple possible responses, each fitted to a particular challenge from the environment. In this case the phenotypic flexibility still prescribes a rigidly genetic rule, as in eat fresh food, avoid spoiled food (unless you are a blowfly or a vulture). Programmed phenotypic plasticity can be much more subtle than any brief description is able to convey.

., 72 evolutionary biology, 10–11 evolution by natural selection, 17–18 altruism and, see altruism composite (mosaic), 111, 113 dragon challenge of, 44, 48 of eusociality, 63–66, 68–70, 72, 73, 74–78, 82–83 genes and, 87 great transitions of, see great transitions of evolution groups and, see group selection heredity vs. environment in, 19–20 homosexuality and, 69 individuals and, 18, 26, 48, 87 kin selection and, 36, 99–100 multilevel, 18, 48 phenotypic flexibility and, 22–24, 26–27 rate of change in, 22 as scientific fact, 21 speed of change in, 44, 46 see also biological evolution experimentation, 21, 48, 78, 88–89, 91–92, 103 extinctions, 107 feeding groups, 52, 54–55, 56, 57 field observation, 21, 48, 78, 88–89, 103 fire, control of, 112, 113–14, 115, 123 fire ants (Solenopsis invicta), 89–90 Fire Ants, The (Tschinkel), 89 flexibility, phenotypic, 22–24, 26–27 French Guiana, 60 Gadagkar, Raghavendra, 93 Gat, Azar, 119 genes, 88 group selection and, 87 mutations of, see mutations natural selection and, 18, 87 genes, frequency of, in populations, 17 genome, eusociality as requiring basic change in, 83–86 genome mapping, 90 gods, 10, 11 great transitions of evolution, 31–40 altruism as necessary for, 45, 47–48 Gromphadorhina (hissing cockroaches), 98 groups: altruism and, see altruism competition between, 81, 112 cooperation in, see cooperation as defense against predators, 55, 56, 57, 58 individual vs. group benefit in, 87 kin selection and, 36 origin of, 18, 31, 35–38, 46 potential immortality of, 60 reciprocity and, 36, 38 see also eusociality; societies group selection, 26–27, 79–106 altruism and, 81–82, 86 competition and, 86–87, 88–89, 90 cooperation and, 86, 89–90 division of labor and, 85–86 genes and, 87 in human evolution, 116 individuals and, 18, 48 social evolution and, 90 social traits and, 88 warfare and, 118 grouse, 52 Haldane, J.

., 101–2 nuclear membranes, 32, 34–35 Old World monkeys, investment strategies of, 59–60 On the Origin of Species (Darwin), 24, 26, 81 organelles, 32, 34–35 organized religions, 10 human condition and, 10 monastic orders in, 69 tribalism and, 10 Paleogene Epoch, 70 paleontology, paleontologists, 10–11, 64 Paleozoic Era, 23, 66, 68, 71 Pan paniscus (bonobos), 109, 116 Pan troglodytes, see chimpanzees Pemphigus obesinymphae (aphid), 92–93 “personality” castes, 95–96, 97 phenotypes, 22 phenotypic flexibility, 22–24, 26–27 pheromones, 94 philosophy, 9 ultimate question of, 17 Plains Indians, berdache system of, 69 policing, in eusocial colonies, 90–91 Polypterus bichir (Nile bichir), 23–24, 25 population genetics, 87 populations, of species, 17, 18 preadaptation: eusociality and, 72, 74–75, 115–16 progressive care of young and, 72, 74–75 predators, cooperation as defense against, 55, 56, 57, 58 prepared learning, 23 primates, 108 evolution of, 107 Pristomyrmex punctatus (ant), 91–92 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 101–2 prokaryotic cells, 32 Pruitt, Jonathan N., 95, 96 Psaronius (tree fern), 71 psychology, 10–11 queens, in eusocial colonies, 67, 68, 73, 78, 84–85 in fire ants, 89–90 genetic mutation in, 85 virgin, 52, 85 quorum sensing, 57–58 race, 20, 22 ravens, reciprocity among, 36, 38 reciprocity, 36, 38 “relicts,” 22 reproductive (royal) castes, 60, 84–85 see also queens, in eusocial colonies restraint, altruistic, 47–48 ribosomes, 32, 34–35 Rising Star Cave, South Africa, 111 Robinson, Gene M., 83–84 Ropalidia marginata (wasp), 93 Saturn, 34 savannas, human evolution and, 112, 113 science: experimentation in, 21, 48, 78, 88–90, 91–92, 103 field observation in, 21, 48, 78, 88–89, 103 human condition and, 9 scientific theory, testing of, 77 Scolytidae (bark beetles), 68 sexual reproduction: DNA exchange in, 31, 35 eusociality and, 63 invention of, 35 mating swarms in, 51 social behavior, 9 evolution of, 71–72, 73, 74–75 in insects, 71–72 origin of, 77 see also eusociality social evolution, 87, 90, 121 competition and, 112 group selection and, 90 social insects, 26, 64, 70 colonies of, see eusocial insect colonies competition in, 91–93 cooperation in, 93–94 evolution of larvae in, 84–85 policing and, 90–91 worker population size and, 89–90 social intelligence, 123 social interaction, 125 social mammals, cooperation among, 58–59 social spiders, 95 social wasps, 67, 93–94 societies: biological evolution of, 18 see also eusociality; groups societies, evolution of: in chironomid midges, 51 evidence for, 51–61 societies, origin of, 31, 32, 35–38 altruism and, 48 sociobiology, sociobiologists, 22, 64, 99, 103 solitary bees, as preadapted to eusociality, 75, 77–78 speciation, 110 see also evolution by natural selection species: definition of, 17, 18 populations of, 17, 18 sphecid (mud dauber) wasps, 69, 73, 74–75 Sphecomyrma, 111 Standen, Emily M., 24 starlings, 52, 54–55, 56, 57 stingless bees (tribe Meliponini), 70 storytelling, 122, 123–25 superorganisms, 18, 78 termites, 18, 24, 64, 67, 69, 70 cockroaches as ancestors of, 96, 98–99 eusocial colonies of, 35–38, 60 evolution of eusociality in, 96–97 Teseo, Serafino, 91 theory, scientific testing of, 77 Theridiidae (cobweb spiders), 95 thrips, 64, 69 Tianmen Mountain, 44 tribalism, 10 Tschinkel, Walter R., 89 Tsuji, Kazuki, 91 vervets, reciprocity among, 36 vespid wasps, 68, 73 warfare, 120 among chimpanzees, 116–18 group selection and, 118 among human societies, 118–19, 120–21, 121 wasps, see also specific species wasps, social, 64 evolution of eusociality in, 73 Wiessner, Polly W., 123–25 Wilson, David Sloan, 87 wolves, pack competition among, 89 worker castes, 24, 60, 67–68, 78, 84–85 Yanomamö, 119, 121 Yellowstone National Park, 89 young, progressive care of, 72, 74–75 ALSO BY EDWARD O.


pages: 460 words: 107,712

A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Writings by Richard Dawkins

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Desert Island Discs, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, Necker cube, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method

Our Martian geneticist would have to work quite hard to discover that no genes are involved in the genesis of the roundhead phenotype. The Martian geneticist’s eyes would also pop out on stalks (assuming they weren’t on stalks to begin with) at the contemplation of certain styles of clothing and hairdressing, and their inheritance patterns. The black skullcapped phenotype shows a marked tendency towards longitudinal transmission from father to son (or it may be from maternal grandfather to grandson), and there is clear linkage to the rarer pigtail-plaited sideburn phenotype. Behavioural phenotypes such as genuflecting in front of crosses, and facing east to kneel five times per day, are inherited longitudinally too, and are in strong linkage disequilibrium with the previously mentioned phenotypes, as is the red-dot-on-forehead phenotype, and the saffron robes/shaven head linkage group.

Whereas genes are to be found in precise locations on chromosomes, memes presumably exist in brains, and we have even less chance of seeing one than of seeing a gene (though the neurobiologist Juan Delius has pictured his conjecture of what a meme might look like75). As with genes, we track memes through populations by their phenotypes. The ‘phenotype’ of the Chinese junk meme is made of paper. With the exception of ‘extended phenotypes’ such as beaver dams and caddis larva houses, the phenotypes of genes are normally parts of living bodies. Meme phenotypes seldom are. But it can happen. To return to my school again, a Martian geneticist, visiting the school during the morning cold bath ritual, would have unhesitatingly diagnosed an ‘obvious’ genetic polymorphism. About 50 per cent of the boys were circumcised and 50 per cent were not.

What is the crucial difference between the two kinds of experiment? It is this. Inheritance in the drawing experiment is Lamarckian (Susan Blackmore calls it ‘copying the product’). In the origami experiment it is Weismannian (Blackmore’s ‘copying the instructions’). In the drawing experiment, the phenotype in every generation is also the genotype – it is what is passed on to the next generation. In the origami experiment, what passes to the next generation is not the paper phenotype but a set of instructions for making it. Imperfections in the execution of the instructions result in imperfect junks (phenotypes) but they are not passed on to future generations: they are non-memetic. Here are the first five instructions in the Weismannian meme-line of instructions for making a Chinese junk: 1. Take a square sheet of paper and fold all four corners exactly into the middle. 2.


pages: 302 words: 92,546

Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health by H. Gilbert Welch, Lisa M. Schwartz, Steven Woloshin

23andMe, double helix, Google Earth, invisible hand, life extension, longitudinal study, mandelbrot fractal, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

The same genotypes in the same environment may still yield quite different people. This leads to a key distinction that is relevant to genetic testing: the distinction between genotype and phenotype. The complete set of genetic instructions contained in your DNA is your genotype. The human that others can observe—your physical, biochemical, and behavioral characteristics—is your phenotype. You don’t experience your genotype; you experience your phenotype. And it is the combination of your genotype, your environment, and luck that determines your phenotype. Genetic testing attempts to predict your phenotype based solely on your genotype. While there’s really no reason to have a genetic test to predict an aspect of your phenotype you already know about—you wouldn’t, for example, do a genetic test to see if you had blue eyes—some genetic-testing companies are in fact promoting tests just like this.

In their systematic review of the medical literature, they found that, unlike cystic fibrosis, the C282Y gene does not have 100 percent penetrance. In fact, they recognized that the concept of penetrance itself was far more complicated. It was not clear whether penetrance should refer to the probability that the gene will lead to the symptomatic phenotype (disease) or to the probability that it will lead to the asymptomatic phenotype of iron overload. They considered both probabilities and determined that penetrance was incomplete both from genotype to asymptomatic phenotype and even more so from genotype to symptomatic phenotype. Less than half of those inheriting C282Y from both parents develop the biochemical abnormality of iron overload, and less than half of those with iron overload go on to develop the clinical disease.13 Figure 9.3 presents a more accurate picture of the disorder.

Geneticists are the first to point out that phenotype trumps genotype.3 Abnormal gene does not equal disease The only compelling reason to test the genotypes in healthy individuals is to predict their future phenotypes, specifically, whether or not they will develop particular diseases (or pass them on to their children). But what is true for individual characteristics is also true for diseases. While some diseases are determined solely by the presence or absence of specific genes, most reflect the interaction among genetics, environment, and pure chance. The public (not to mention doctors) can fall into the trap of equating a genetic abnormality with a disease. Certainly, some genotypes predict which individuals develop certain phenotypes almost perfectly, but others are weak predictors at best. The measure of how well genotype predicts phenotype is called penetrance, or the frequency with which a particular gene produces its effect in a group of individuals.


pages: 228 words: 119,593

Practical Manual of Thyroid and Parathyroid Disease by Asit Arora, Neil Tolley, R. Michael Tuttle

Drosophila, epigenetics, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, selection bias

The maternal allele is preferentially expressed in kidney, pituitary, thyroid and gonads, but not in the bone. 159 Type 1a disease is inherited from the mother; all tissues are affected and the patient shows the AHO phenotype with the above biochemical derangements. Type 1b disease is also inherited from the mother, but the mutation is essentially a switch of imprinting to a paternal pattern. Thus, tissues have two ‘paternal alleles’. In most tissues this is of no consequence as there is no AHO phenotype. However, in the kidneys and specific endocrine tissues there is almost no gene expression, which results in the characteristic biochemical derangements. Interestingly, bone exhibits features of HPT because the paternal alleles are active in bone. Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism cases inherit the abnormal gene from the father. They have the AHO phenotype but biochemistry is normal. Occasionally, only severe heterotopic ossification rather than the full AHO phenotype is seen. This is termed progressive osseous heteroplasia (POH) when it affects muscles, joints and connective tissue, or osteoma cutis when it only affects skin.

Oncogenesis and molecular targeted therapy in thyroid cancer MEN2B 918 883 804+806 804+904 MEN2A 635 637 FMTC 609 611 618 620 634 790 791* V804L 891 532 533 630† 768 V804M 844 912 Fig. 9.3 Correlation of specific RET codon mutations with the phenotypic expression of hereditary MTC. *Development of pheochromocytoma has not been reported. †Distinction between MEN2A and FMTC cannot be made. Adapted from: Kouvaraki, MA, et al. RET proto-oncogene: a review and update of genotype-phenotype correlations in hereditary medullary thyroid cancer and associated endocrine tumors. Thyroid 2005;15:531–44. methionine to a threonine. This initiates tyrosine kinase activity, although a ligand is still required for full activation of the receptor.185 These different mechanisms of RET oncogene activation may account for the phenotypic variation between MEN2A and MEN2B. Known RET mutations in familial MTC and their biological aggressiveness are summarized in Fig. 9.3 and Plate 9.1.186 NEW MOLECULAR TARGETED THERAPIES IN THYROID CANCER Thyroid cancer serves as a good model for targeted therapies.

Parathyroid hormone resistance Pseudohypoparathyroidism is a rare autosomal dominant condition first recognized by Albright in 1942. Patients have biochemical features consistent with hypoparathyroidism (i.e. hypocalcaemia and hyperphosphataemia) but the PTH levels are elevated. This represents resistance to PTH action.86 There are two key elements to the diagnosis. The phenotypic features, termed the Albright hereditary osteodystrophy (AHO) phenotype, consist of: • somatic features: short stature, brachydactyly, rounded facies • developmental delay • heterotopic ossification. The biochemical features include: • hypocalcaemia with hyperphophataemia • elevated PTH levels • lack of renal cAMP and phosphaturic response to PTH infusion • reduced tissue response to GHRH, TSH, LH and FSH hormones. The underlying defect is a mutation in the GNAS gene, which codes for the Gs α-subunit.


A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, British Empire, colonial rule, dark matter, delayed gratification, demographic transition, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, phenotype, sceptred isle, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, twin studies

They contain their own chromosome, a small loop of DNA separate from the vast majority contained within the nucleus of a cell. Mitochondrial DNA (which is sometimes written as mtDNA) is of great interest to geneticists and genealogists as it is only ever passed on from mother to child, and thus can exclusively chart a matrilineage. phenotype The phenotype is the physical manifestation of a gene or genotype. For example, a particular version of the gene MC1R (the genotype) will mean your phenotype will be a redhead. protein The primary functional biological molecules in living things. They are made up of simple molecules called amino acids assembled into long strings. These fold up to make a three-dimensional structure, and often assemble with other proteins in cells to enact their function. All life is made of, or by, proteins.

One version of the allele exists at a higher frequency in Irish redheads. One version has a slight association with a lower pain threshold. One version seems to subtly affect how an individual responds to an anaesthetic that dentists frequently use. This is just one gene, with many versions and it has a variable phenotype, though we can mostly see the outcome with fiery clarity. Even when we know the genome intimately, and the patterns of inheritance, and the history of the DNA, and the migration patterns of the people who carried it, and evolutionary pressures that led to the perpetuation of the genes and the phenotype – even when we know all that, how it manifests can still be mysterious and surprising. Anyone who says differently is selling something. The British are coming While we’re in the north-east of Europe, let me indulge in some national pride to scrutinize this sceptred isle, and the finest genetic analyses of a people yet undertaken: just who are the British?

We like it because it’s one of a very small handful of traits that has a relatively straightforward relationship between the DNA and its outcome – the genotype and the phenotype. There are basically two types of earwax, sticky and dry. The gene that determines these two states is called ABCC11, which comes in two alleles to give them their more scientific and less revolting descriptor. The gene is 4,576 base pairs long, and at position 538 there is either a G or an A. If you have a G, the code writes the amino acid glycine, and if you have an A you get an arginine. This simple change slightly nudges the protein into a different shape, and the shape switches the nature of the wax. The inheritance of this terribly important phenotype plays out in a human ear in a straightforward Mendelian way. Wet is dominant: two copies of the G version and you have wet earwax; one of each allele and you have wet earwax; two copies of the A version and you have flaky, crumbly dry earwax.


Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake

biofilm, buy low sell high, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of penicillin, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late capitalism, low earth orbit, Mason jar, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral panic, NP-complete, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, the built environment, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman

It’s possible to make sense of this sort of shape-shifting within a scientific framework. In The Extended Phenotype, Richard Dawkins points out that genes don’t just provide the instructions to build the body of an organism. They also provide instructions to build certain behaviors. A bird’s nest is part of the outward expression of the bird’s genome. A beaver’s dam is part of the outward expression of a beaver’s genome. And an ant’s death grip is part of the outward expression of the genome of Ophiocordyceps fungi. Through inherited behaviors, Dawkins argues, the outward expression of an organism’s genes—known as its “phenotype”—extends into the world. Dawkins was careful to place “stringent requirements” on the idea of the extended phenotype. Although it is a speculative concept, he dutifully reminds us, it is a “tightly limited speculation.”

He takes pains to ensure that his speculation about extended phenotypes remains “disciplined” and “tightly limited.” He is clear that phenotypes can extend beyond the body, but they can’t be too extended. By contrast, McKenna speculates at dawn. His requirements are less stringent, his explanations less tightly limited. Between the two poles lies a continent of possible opinion. How do psilocybin mushrooms stand up to Dawkins’s three “stringent requirements”? A mushroom’s ability to produce psilocybin is certainly inherited. It is also an ability that varies from mushroom species to mushroom species, and between individual mushrooms. However, for the bemushroomed state—the visions, the mystical experiences, the ego dissolution, the loss of a sense of self—to count as part of the extended phenotype of the fungi, the final key condition must be met.

Psilocybin-producing mushrooms, like LSD, do so too, but in the most intimate possible setting: the inside of our own minds. * * * — IN THE CASE of Ophiocordyceps, an infected ant’s behavior can be thought of as fungal behavior. The death grip, summit disease—these are extended characteristics of the fungus, part of its extended phenotype. Can the alterations in human consciousness and behavior brought about by psilocybin mushrooms be thought of as part of the extended phenotype of the fungus? The extended behavior of Ophiocordyceps leaves an imprint in the world in the form of fossilized scars on the underside of leaves. Can the extended behavior of psilocybin mushrooms be thought of as leaving an imprint in the world in the form of ceremonies, rituals, chants, and the other cultural and technological outgrowths of our altered states?


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Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again by Eric Topol

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, blockchain, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks, digital twin, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Google Glasses, ImageNet competition, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Joi Ito, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nudge unit, pattern recognition, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Rubik’s Cube, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, text mining, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, working-age population

The sequence encompassed 125 gigabytes of data, including nearly 5 million locations where the child’s genome differed from the most common one. It took twenty seconds for a form of AI called natural-language processing to ingest the boy’s electronic medical record and determine eighty-eight phenotype features (almost twenty times more than the doctors had summarized in their problem list). Machine-learning algorithms quickly sifted the approximately 5 million genetic variants to find the roughly 700,000 rare ones. Of those, 962 are known to cause diseases. Combining that information with the boy’s phenotypic data, the system identified one, in a gene called ALDH7A1, as the most likely culprit. The variant is very rare, occurring in less than 0.01 percent of the population, and causes a metabolic defect that leads to seizures. Fortunately, its effects can be overridden by dietary supplementation with vitamin B6 and arginine, an amino acid, along with restricting lysine, a second amino acid.

This might include all of one’s medical, social, behavioral, and family histories, as well as one’s biology: anatomy, physiology, and environment. Our biology has multiple layers—our DNA genome, our RNA, proteins, metabolites, immunome, microbiome, epigenome, and more. In the biomedical research community, the term that is frequently used is “deep phenotyping”; we saw an example of the approach in the case of the newborn boy with status epilepticus. Deep phenotyping is both thick, spanning as many types of data as you can imagine, and long, covering as much of our lives as we can, because many metrics of interest are dynamic, constantly changing over time. A few years ago, I wrote a review in which I said we needed medical data that spanned “from prewomb to tomb.”3 A former mentor told me that I should have called the span “from lust to dust.”

Woebot had more users in its first few months than would see a psychologist in a hundred years.8 Until recent years, our assessment of behavior, mood, and cognition was largely subjective, during brief episodic visits in a contrived, clinical environment. When this did occur, it usually was to respond to mental health difficulties rather than to prevent them. Table 8.1 lists some of the various and still proliferating ways we can now collect objective data to deeply phenotype mood and mental health state. The term “digital phenotyping” conveys the point that each feature can be digitized and produce a variety of metrics. Most of these can be obtained passively via smartphones in a patient’s real world. With the addition of connected sensors, many of the physiological parameters can be unobtrusively gathered, often on a continuous basis. This would mean a large body of data for each individual that AI could process.


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The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World's Leading Neuroscientists by Gary Marcus, Jeremy Freeman

23andMe, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, bitcoin, brain emulation, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, Drosophila, epigenetics, global pandemic, Google Glasses, iterative process, linked data, mouse model, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, Turing machine, twin studies, web application

Conrad Waddington first used the term epigenetics in the middle of the last century in an effort to explain cellular differentiation during development. If there is a one-to-one correspondence between DNA and the phenotype, then every somatic cell in the body (which contains exactly the same genotype) would be identical. Instead, the phenotypes of cells vary from brain cells (neurons) to liver cells. Because of this, Waddington proposed that the mechanisms through which a genotype produces a phenotype should be termed epigenetics. Considering that cellular phenotypes undergo dramatic plasticity during development while the genotype of these cells remains stable implicit in Waddington’s definition is the notion that a phenotype can be altered without changes to the genotype. Thus during the course of development, epigenetic mechanisms (such as DNA methylation, a biochemical process that reduces gene expression in specific portions of the brain and body) allow cells with the same DNA to differentiate and divide, passing on those alterations in gene function, not explained by alterations in DNA sequence, to daughter cells.

For years I searched for “the way” in which some aspect of the cortical phenotype could be altered during the course of evolution. For example, what is the way in which the size of cortical fields is altered? What is the way in which cortical connections change? What is the way in which cortical fields are added? Studies of molecular development that examine genes intrinsic to the developing neocortex have demonstrated how these genes (and genetic cascades) can alter cortical field size, location, and connectivity. Interestingly, these same features of organization can be altered by the sensory driven activity that the developing organism is exposed to. Because cortical field size and connectivity can be changed through different mechanisms, this implies that in a given lineage, some aspect of brain organization owes its particular phenotype to genes, activity-dependent mechanisms, or some combination of both.

The many neural cell types, although traditionally defined by the complex morphologies of axons and dendrites first glimpsed under the microscopes of Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramón y Cajal, can also be defined by a process of discrete counting. Indeed, all of the cells in the body share (very closely) the same genome, the differences between them being due to the different levels of expression of the different genes. From the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology we know that gene expression, which accounts for the phenotypic differences between the body’s genetically identical cells proceeds as DNA →(transcription) Messenger RNA →(translation) Protein and thus, by counting the numbers of each messenger RNA in a cell, we can determine its cell type. The same goes for tracking the history of molecular expression in the cell over time, for example, to observe changes in gene expression that accompany learning and memory; except here you need not only to count molecules but also to label these molecules with time stamps—digital strings that encode the current time.


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Darwin Among the Machines by George Dyson

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, British Empire, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer age, Danny Hillis, Donald Davies, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, IFF: identification friend or foe, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, low earth orbit, Menlo Park, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, phenotype, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, spectrum auction, strong AI, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, zero-sum game

“This tendency to act on any thing which can have importance for survival is the key to the understanding of the formation of complex instruments and organs and the ultimate development of a whole body of somatic or non-genetic structures.”28 Once the concept of translation from genotype to phenotype is given form, Darwinian evolution picks up speed—not just the evolution of organisms, but the evolution of the genetic language and translation system that provide the flexibility and redundancy to survive in a noisy, unpredictable world. A successful interpretive language not only tolerates ambiguity, it takes advantage of it. “It is almost too easy to imagine possible uses for phenotype structures—because the specification for an effective phenotype is so sloppy,” wrote A. G. Cairns-Smith in his Seven Clues to the Origin of Life. “A phenotype has to make life easier or less dangerous for the genes that (in part) brought it into existence. There are no rules laid down as to how this should be done.”29 Barricelli’s pronouncements had a vaguely foreboding, Butlerish air about them, despite the disclaimer about confusing “life-like” with “alive.”

Such numerical patterns may present unlimited possibilities for developing structures and organs of any kind to perform the tasks for which they are designed.”26 A numerical phenotype had taken form. This phenotype was interpreted as moves in a board game, via a limited alphabet of machine instructions to which the gene sequence was mapped, just as sequences of nucleotides code for an alphabet of amino acids in translating proteins from DNA. “Perhaps the closest analogy to the protein molecule in our numeric symbioorganisms would be a subroutine which is part of the symbioorganism’s game strategy program, and whose instructions, stored in the machine memory, are specified by the numbers of which the symbioorganism is composed,” Barricelli explained 27 In coding for valid instructions at the level of phenotype rather than genotype, evolutionary search is much more likely to lead to meaningful sequences, for the same reason that a meaningful sentence is far more likely to be evolved by choosing words out of a dictionary than by choosing letters out of a hat.

This brings us back to Butler versus Darwin, because during this extended evolutionary prelude Lamarckian, not neo-Darwinian, selection would have been at work. We should think twice before dismissing Lamarck because Lamarckian evolution may have taken our cells the first—and most significant—step toward where we stand today. Genotype and phenotype may have started out synonymous and only later become estranged by the central dogma of molecular biology that allows communication from genotype to phenotype but not the other way. Life, however, arrives at distinctions by increments and rarely erases its steps. Remnants of Lamarckian evolution may be more prevalent, biologically, than we think—not to mention Lamarckian tendencies among machines. “The experts were uniformly unenthusiastic,” Freeman Dyson commented, describing how his venture into biology was received.


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The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands by Eric Topol

23andMe, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Anne Wojcicki, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, bioinformatics, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, connected car, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, global village, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize

Ideally, an individual’s GIS in the future will include a comprehensive profile of his or her anticipated drug interactions. Health Span The human reference genome, which has been regarded as the platinum standard for genomic variation, has a significant flaw—the individuals who were used to construct it were young without any phenotype. So what we consider as the “anchor” may be riddled with disease-related variants. For example, a major predisposition for clotting disorders is attributed to the gene variant known as Factor V Leiden. But if you look up the Factor V gene in the reference genome, it’s Factor V Leiden! We need a reference genome with rigorous phenotypic characterization to avoid this problem. By collecting a large cohort of individuals with extreme health span (such as in the “Wellderly” project that we’ve been engaged in at Scripps for the past eight years) and performing whole genome sequencing, we can have an assured healthy background reference genome for comparison.

Simonite, “Life’s Trajectory Seen Through Facebook Data,” MIT Technology Review, April 24, 2013, http://www.technologyreview.com/view/514186/lifes-trajectory-seen-through-facebook-data/. 7. A. Regalado, “Stephen Wolfram on Personal Analytics,” MIT Technology Review, May 8, 2013, http://www.technologyreview.com/news/514356/stephen-wolfram-on-personal-analytics/. 8. N. A. Christakis and J. H. Fowler, Connected (New York, NY: Little, Brown and Co., 2009). 9. “Phenotype,” Wikipedia, accessed August 13, 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenotype. 10. “Microphones as Sensors: Teaching Old Microphones New Tricks,” The Economist, June 1, 2013, http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21578518-sensor-technology-microphones-are-designed-capture-sound-they-turn-out. 11. G. Slabodkin, “Study: iPhone App for Speech Laterality Just as Reliable as Lab Brain Tests,” FierceMobileHealthcare, February 12, 2013, http://www.fiercemobilehealthcare.com/story/study-iphone-app-speech-laterality-just-reliable-lab-brain-tests/2013-02-12. 12.

The human GIS comprises multiple layers of demographic, physiologic, anatomic, biologic, and environmental data (Figure 5.2) about a particular individual.5 This is a rich, multi-scale, mosaic of a human being, which can be used to define one’s medical essence; when fully amassed and integrated, it is what a digitized person looks like, at least for the sake of how medical care can be rendered. FIGURE 5.2: The human GIS—multiple superimposed and integrated layers of medical information. Source: Adapted from E. J. Topol, “Individualized Medicine from Prewomb to Tomb,” Cell 157 (2014): 241–253. The Panoromic View Let’s now unpack the human GIS to define and understand each component. The “ome” attached to each denotes the study of something. The phenome refers to all the phenotypic traits of an individual, such as height, weight, and eye and skin color. I like to combine it with one’s social graph, which broadens the “look from the outside” of a person to their social network. The physiome is the collection of one’s physiologic metrics, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The anatome is our individual anatomy. The genome refers to the six billion letters that make up one’s DNA sequence.


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Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Columbine, demographic transition, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, impulse control, life extension, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, Scientific racism, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sexual politics, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Turing test, twin studies

Lewontin’s argument is valid as far as it goes but hardly vitiates the concept of human nature. As noted in the discussion of height, environment can change median heights, but it cannot push human heights above or below certain limits, nor can it make women on average taller than men. Those parameters are still set by nature. Moreover, there is very often a linear relationship between environment, genotype, and phenotype that ensures that if the genetic variance is distributed normally, the phenotypic variance will also be distributed normally. That is, the better our diets, the taller we tend to be (within our species-typical limits); height distribution curves still have single median points despite the fact that they are affected by environment. Most human characteristics do not resemble the mountain plant that looks entirely different depending on elevation.

The major problem has to do with what constitutes a different environment. In many cases, twins reared apart will nonetheless share many of the same environmental circumstances, making it impossible to disaggregate natural from cultural influences. Among the “shared environments” that a behavior geneticist may overlook is that of the mother’s womb, which has a strong influence on how a given genotype develops into a phenotype, or individual human being. Identical twins necessarily share the same womb, but the same fetus growing up in a different womb might turn out quite differently if the mother is malnourished, drinks, or takes drugs. The second, and less accurate, way of uncovering the natural sources of behavior is to do a cross-cultural survey of a particular trait or activity. By now we have a very large ethnographic record of behavior in a wide range of human societies, both those currently existing and those we know about through historical or archaeological records.

As noted earlier, Dolly was born with shortened telomeres and will probably not live as long as a sheep born normally. One would presumably not want to create a human baby until one had a much higher chance of success, and even then the cloning process might produce defects that wouldn’t show up for years. The dangers that exist for cloning would be greatly magnified in the case of genetic engineering, given the multiple causal pathways between genes and their ultimate expression in the phenotype.16 The Law of Unintended Consequences would apply here in spades: a gene affecting one particular disease susceptibility might have secondary or tertiary consequences that are unrecognized at the time that the gene is reengineered, only to show up years or even a generation later. The final constraint on any future ability to modify human nature has to do with populations. Even if human genetic engineering overcomes these first two obstacles (that is, complex causality and the dangers of human experimentation) and produces a successful designer baby, “human nature” will not be altered unless such changes occur in a statistically significant way for the population as a whole.


What Kind of Creatures Are We? (Columbia Themes in Philosophy) by Noam Chomsky

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, conceptual framework, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, liberation theology, mass incarceration, means of production, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Turing test, wage slave

This gives further reason to conclude that the kind of creatures we are, possessed of the kind of powers for language and thought we possess, should get an evolutionary account of the sort presented in chapter 1 rather than what Chomsky, citing Lewontin in chapter 2, describes as the “storytelling” about gradual evolution from our creaturely ancestors, a mode of explanation that one would indulge in only if one does not pay enough prior and scientific attention to the nature of the phenotype being explained. It is storytelling partly also, as Lewontin is cited as saying, because of the “tough luck” of not having access to any evidence on which these explanations could be based. They are hidden from human cognitive access, another form of our limitation. Thus limits on our cognition are inevitable for a variety of reasons, chief among which is the taking seriously of the sheer fact that we are biological creatures.

Not untypical is a current study on evolution of language, where the authors open by writing that “we understand language as the full suite of abilities to map sound to meaning, including the infrastructure that supports it,”9 basically a reiteration of Aristotle’s dictum, and too vague to ground further inquiry. Again, no biologist would study evolution of the visual system assuming no more about the phenotype than that it provides the full suite of abilities to map stimuli to percepts along with whatever supports it. Much earlier, at the origins of modern science, there were hints at a picture somewhat similar to Darwin’s and Whitney’s. Galileo wondered at the “sublimity of mind” of the person who “dreamed of finding means to communicate his deepest thoughts to any other person… by the different arrangements of twenty characters upon a page,” an achievement “surpassing all stupendous inventions,” even those of “a Michelangelo, a Raphael, or a Titian.”10 The same recognition, and the deeper concern for the creative character of the normal use of language, was soon to become a core element of Cartesian science-philosophy, in fact a primary criterion for the existence of mind as a separate substance.

Tough luck.”20 Relevant evidence isn’t available to us. The editors of the MIT Invitation to Cognitive Science in which he published these conclusions found them persuasive, as I do, though his analysis, largely ignored, has not impeded the growth of a huge literature of what Lewontin calls “storytelling,” particularly in the case of language. The storytelling typically proceeds without even spelling out the essential nature of the phenotype, a prerequisite to any serious evolutionary inquiry. And it also typically constructs stories about communication, a different though perhaps more appealing topic, because one can at least imagine continuities and small changes in accord with conceptions of evolution that are conventional though dubious at best. A recent technical paper reviews what has been done since Lewontin’s strictures, pretty much reaffirming them—plausibly I think, but then I am one of the authors.21 With regard to language origins, we know of one fact with considerable confidence and have another plausible surmise.


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Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, From Atoms to Economies by Cesar Hidalgo

"Robert Solow", Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, assortative mating, business cycle, Claude Shannon: information theory, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, New Economic Geography, Norbert Wiener, p-value, Paul Samuelson, phenotype, price mechanism, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, working-age population

Looking at industries in lieu of knowledge and knowhow is similar to what biologists do when looking at phenotypes (the physical and functional characteristics of an organism) as expressions of genotypes (the information embodied in an organism’s DNA). Genes, in their simplest definition, are the segments of DNA that code for proteins, while phenotypes are the physical and functional characteristics of organisms, such as the color of your hair or your susceptibility to hypertension. What I will try to do in this chapter is similar to what much of genetics is about, yet instead of trying to establish a connection between phenotypes and genes, I will try to find a connection between the knowledge and knowhow available in a location and the industries that are present in them. Phenotypes and genotypes are a useful analogy because they represent a pair of related entities in which one is more easily observable than the other—phenotypes are easier to observe than genes, and industries are easier to observe than knowledge or knowhow.

Phenotypes and genotypes are a useful analogy because they represent a pair of related entities in which one is more easily observable than the other—phenotypes are easier to observe than genes, and industries are easier to observe than knowledge or knowhow. This duality is useful because it implies that we can measure the most visible quantity as a proxy for the other. For instance, mapping the spatial distribution of the genes that cause a person to be tall is currently quite difficult. In fact, there are many genes associated with height, so identifying, detecting, and quantifying the molecular sequences that can help explain the height differences between LeBron James and Danny DeVito is not that easy.1 Yet just by looking at LeBron James and Danny DeVito we can easily tell who is more likely to carry the genes that are associated with height, even if we do not know what these genes are.

., 60–61 Economic diversification, product space and, 137–139 Economic growth, economic complexity and, 157–162, 180 Economic growth models, 146–148, 162 human capital and, 148–149 social capital and, 151 Economic order, growth of information and evolution of, xx–xxi Economics, idea of information and, xiv–xv Economic sociology, 111–118 transaction cost theory and, 117–118 Economic value balance of imagination and, 55, 58–59, 60 context of product and, 63–64 Economy computational capacity of, 75, 180–181 describing, 145–146 diversified, 180 knowhow embedded in networks, 167–169 products and characterization of, 155–162 quantization principle and, 168 reproductive limitations of, 168 social networks and, 111–124 as system amplifying practical use of knowledge/knowhow, 68, 69, 70 as system of information growth, 8–9, 177–180 Ecosystems, reproductive limitations of, 168 Eddington, Arthur, 11 Edison, Thomas Alva, 11, 59, 69 Eigen, Manfred, 18 Einstein, Albert, 25, 28, 40, 90 Electricity, practical uses of, 59–60, 69 Energy creation of objects and, 43, 44, 181 information and, 175, 177 information processing and, 43 Engineers, information and, xiv English, as “hub” language, 101 Entropy, 11 Boltzmann and, 14, 15–17 computational ability of matter and, 177 information and, ix, xx, 14–16, 176 information-rich anomalies and, 31 multiplicity-of-states definition, 16–24 second law of thermodynamics and, 27 Shannon and, 14–15, 17–18 solids and, 176, 177 statistical-physics definition, 16–17 steady-state of out-of-equilibrium systems minimizes, 32, 175 Entropy barrier, 40 Equilibrium, order emerging from out-of-equilibrium systems, 29–30 Ernst & Young, 113 Ethiopia, 161 Evolution coevolution of markets and standards, 100 of information and economic order, xix–xx of physical order, 175–181 Experiential learning, 79–80, 81 Exploitation narrative, developing countries and, 55, 58–59, 60 Export diversity, economic complexity and, 157–161, 180 Exports as crystallized imagination, 51–55 diversity of physical and human capital and, 154–156 geographic distribution of industries and, 131–134 knowledge and knowhow embodied in, 52–55 Export structure, product space and, 137–139 Facebook, 92 Familial societies, 115 Family networks formation of, 115–116 low-trust familial societies and, 121–123 trust and, 121–122 Faraday, Michael, 59, 60, 69 Fijitsu, 92 Firmbytes, 89, 107 Firm interactions, social networks and, 93 Firms networks of, 89, 92–93 size of, 89, 91 transaction cost theory of, 89–91, 93 Firm-to-firm links classification of, 94–95 collaborations or large projects and, 102–103 cost of, 91, 93, 94–95 sizes of, 93–94 Ford, Henry, 60, 88, 171 Fordlandia, 170–171 Ford Motor Company, 87–88, 89, 170–171 France, government role in economy, 122–123 Fruit exports, 155 Fukuyama, Francis, 109, 115, 116, 117, 121–122, 122–123, 179 Functions, order and, 63 Gaua Islanders, 170 GDP (gross domestic product), 146 GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, export diversity and, 157–161, 180 Gene analogy, 142 Genetic factors, ability to accumulate knowledge and, 84 Genotypes/phenotypes analogy, 130, 136 Geographic distribution of industries, 131–136 of knowledge and knowhow, 77, 80–81, 127–128 of production of complex vs. simpler products, 77, 83, 134–136 Germany, formation of large networks in, 115, 116 Getting a Job (Granovetter), 112–113 Gibbs, J. Willard, 28 Gorilla Glass screen, 92 Governance, social capital and, 151 Government bureaucratic burden and, 103 role in French economy, 122–123 Granovetter, Mark, 109, 111, 112–113, 114–115, 179 Graphical user interfaces, 120, 142 Guardiola, Josep “Pep,” 73–74 Guitar, augmentation of our capacities and, 66–67 Guns, Germs, and Steel (Diamond), 169–170 Haber, Fritz, 58 Hadza people, 117 Hanaman, Franjo, 59 Hartley, Ralph, xvii Hayek, Friedrich, xiv Health care sector, costs as overbureaucratized network, 104, 106 Heisenberg, Werner, 39 Helmholtz, Hermann von, 28 Hemingway, Ernest, 70 Herr, Hugh, 50–51, 61, 178 Hidalgo, Iris, 3–4 High-trust societies, 115, 120–121, 122, 123 Homophily, formation of social networks and, 114 Honduras, exports, 132 HP (Hewlett-Packard), 142 Human capital, 148–149, 152 export data and diversity of, 154–156 Humans augmentation of capacities, 66–67 computational capacity of matter and, 178, 179–180 as embodiment of knowledge and knowhow, 8 The Human Use of Human Beings (Wiener), 70–71 IBM, 95 Ideas, knowledge/knowhow vs., 61–62 Imagination, crystallized.


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Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky

autonomous vehicles, Bernie Madoff, biofilm, blood diamonds, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Brownian motion, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, corporate social responsibility, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, desegregation, different worldview, double helix, Drosophila, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fudge factor, George Santayana, global pandemic, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, John von Neumann, Loma Prieta earthquake, long peace, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mouse model, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, publication bias, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, twin studies, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

Group selection reappeared, sneaking in the back door. “Neo–group selection” crashed a long-standing debate as to the “unit of selection.” Genotype Versus Phenotype, and the Most Meaningful Level of Selection To appreciate this, let’s contrast genotype and phenotype. Genotype = someone’s genetic makeup. Phenotype = the traits observable to the outside world produced by that genotype.* Suppose there’s a gene that influences whether your eyebrows come in two separate halves or form a continuous unibrow. You’ve noted that unibrow prevalence is decreasing in a population. Which is the more important level for understanding why—the gene variant or the eyebrow phenotype? We know after chapter 8 that genotype and phenotype are not synonymous, because of gene/environment interactions. Maybe some prenatal environmental effect silences one version of the gene but not the other.

Amid some evidence for single-gene selection (an obscure phenomenon called intragenomic conflict, which we won’t go into), most people who vote for the importance of gene(s) over phenotype view single-gene selfishness as a bit of a sideshow and vote for the genome level of selection being most important. Meanwhile, there’s the view that phenotype trumps genotype, something championed by Ernst Mayr, Stephen Jay Gould, and others. The core of their argument is that it’s phenotypes rather than genotypes that are selected for. As Gould wrote, “No matter how much power Dawkins wishes to assign to genes, there is one thing he cannot give them—direct visibility to natural selection.” In that view, genes and the frequencies of their variants are merely the record of what arose from phenotypic selection.43 Dawkins introduced a great metaphor: a cake recipe is a genotype, and how the cake tastes is the phenotype.* Genotype chauvinists emphasize that the recipe is what is passed on, the sequence of words that make for a stable replicator.

Maybe a subset of the population belongs to a religion where you must cover your eyebrows when around the opposite sex, and thus eyebrow phenotype is untouched by sexual selection. You’re a grad student researching unibrow decline, and you must choose whether to study things at the genotypic or phenotypic level. Genotypic: sequencing eyebrow gene variants, trying to understand their regulation. Phenotypic: examining, say, eyebrow appearance and mate choice, or whether unibrows absorb more heat from sunlight, thereby damaging the frontal cortex, producing inappropriate social behavior and decreased reproductive success. This was the debate—is evolution best understood by focusing on genotype or phenotype? The most visible proponent of the gene-centered view has long been Dawkins, with his iconic “selfish gene” meme—it is the gene that is passed to the next generation, the thing whose variants spread or decline over time.


pages: 420 words: 143,881

The Blind Watchmaker; Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design by Richard Dawkins

epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, lateral thinking, Menlo Park, pattern recognition, phenotype, random walk, silicon-based life, Steven Pinker

It is worth spending a little time explaining why. It is trivially easy to select for a particular genetic formula, so long as you can read the genes of all the animals. But natural selection doesn’t choose genes directly, it chooses the effects that genes have on bodies, technically called phenotypic effects. The human eye is good at choosing phenotypic effects, as is shown by the numerous breeds of dogs, cattle and pigeons, and also, if I may say so, as is shown by Figure 5. To make the computer choose phenotypic effects directly, we should have to write a very sophisticated pattern-recognition program. Pattern-recognizing programs exist. They are used to read print and even handwriting. But they are difficult, ‘state of the art’ programs, needing very large and fast computers. Even if such a pattern-recognition program were not beyond my programming capabilities, and beyond the capacity of my little 64-kilobyte computer, I wouldn’t bother with it.

The final shape of the whole body, the size of its limbs, the wiring up of its brain, the timing of its behaviour patterns, are all the indirect consequences of interactions between different kinds of cells, whose differences in their turn arise through different genes being read. These diverging processes are best thought of as locally autonomous in the manner of the ‘recursive’ procedure of Chapter 3, rather than as coordinated in some grand central design. ‘Action’, in the sense used in this chapter, is what a geneticist is talking about when he mentions the ‘phenotypic effect’ of a gene. DNA has effects upon bodies, upon eye colour, hair crinkliness, strength of aggressive behaviour and thousands of other attributes, all of which are called phenotypic effects. DNA exerts these effects initially locally, after being read by RNA and translated into protein chains, which then affect cell shape and behaviour. This is one of the two ways in which the information in the pattern of DNA can be read out. The other way is that it can be duplicated into a new DNA strand.

In 1970 he became a Lecturer in Zoology at Oxford University and a Fellow of New College. In 1995 he became the first Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. Richard Dawkins’s first book, The Selfish Gene (1976; second edition, 1989), became an immediate international bestseller and was translated into all the major languages. Its sequel, The Extended Phenotype, followed in 1982. His other bestsellers include The Blind Watchmaker (1986; Penguin, 1988), River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996; Penguin, 1997), Unweaving the Rainbow (Penguin, 1999) and The Ancestor’s Tale (2004). Richard Dawkins won both the Royal Society of Literature Award and the Los Angeles Times Literary Prize in 1987 for The Blind Watchmaker. The television film of the book, shown in the Horizon series, won the Sci-Tech Prize for the Best Science Programme of 1987.


pages: 687 words: 189,243

A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy by Joel Mokyr

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business cycle, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Copley Medal, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Deng Xiaoping, Edmond Halley, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, framing effect, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, hindsight bias, income inequality, information asymmetry, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land tenure, law of one price, Menlo Park, moveable type in China, new economy, phenotype, price stability, principal–agent problem, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, survivorship bias, the market place, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, ultimatum game, World Values Survey, Wunderkammern

Below I list some of the main advantages of an evolutionary approach to the history of culture.9 First, evolutionary systems are characterized by a fundamental duality of information and action, of genotype and phenotype. Distinctions between genotype and phenotype are hazardous to extend to cultural history, but all the same something can be learned from them. Culture is about matters of the mind; behavior and actions are the observable outcomes of preferences and knowledge (Mesoudi et al., 2013). But, as already noted, the mapping from beliefs to behavior is no simpler than that from genes to phenotypes; at best there are loose statistical associations masking the interactions of many variables.10 One reason is that beliefs, much like other genotypical processes, affect “adjacent” beliefs. We can indeed speak of cultural pleiotropy, much like in evolutionary processes. Pleiotropy means that a certain genotypic change leads to more than one phenotypical effect, because of the spillover effects on genes in the proximity of the mutation, in a sort of genetic packaging.

It is important not to push the analogy too far, looking for particulate and discrete units such as “memes” that would be isomorphic to genes and even might be “selfish” like them. Evolutionary models are larger than Richard Dawkins, even larger than Charles Darwin (Hodgson and Knudsen, 2010). Above all, they involve selection, but the selection here is not the natural selection that occurs through population dynamics but the conscious choices made by individuals. Every person forms a unique cultural phenotype much like every person forms a unique biological genotype, but how is this phenotype formed? Cultural evolution sees this as essentially a quasi-Lamarckian process, in which individuals acquire cultural characteristics through learning and imitation during their lifetimes and pass these on to others. They choose their cultural elements (or stick to the default, which are the beliefs and preferences they acquire from their parents during socialization).

Much like genes, these traits are largely shared by people of the same culture; a single individual cannot have a cultural trait that is not shared by others, but each individual is unique in that it is highly unlikely that two people share precisely the same combination of cultural elements. There is no puzzle here: by analogy, all individuals have somewhat different genotypes (identical twins excluded) yet they share the vast bulk of their genes with other people and even with other mammals that have quite different phenotypes. Furthermore, this definition stresses that culture involves social learning, so that one’s beliefs, values, and knowledge are not built-up from scratch for each individual but are acquired from others. The key concepts of attitude and aptitude are contained in the larger category of culture, and they will remain at the center of the discussion. One could argue whether behavior itself (that is, actions) should be included in the concept of culture, but it seems useful to separate actions (which may be driven by a combination of cultural and other causes) from culture that guides and constrains it, although a great deal of culture, much like junk DNA that does not code for any known proteins, just “is” there in our minds and conditions no actions.


Never Bet Against Occam: Mast Cell Activation Disease and the Modern Epidemics of Chronic Illness and Medical Complexity by Lawrence B. Afrin M. D., Kendra Neilsen Myles, Kristi Posival

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, epigenetics, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, megacity, microbiome, mouse model, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, pre–internet, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

The curious thing about sickle cell anemia, though, is that even though every sickle cell anemia patient has exactly the same beta globin mutation, roughly 15% of such patients have a really rough course (a “poor phenotype”) of the disease, while the other 85% or so have a much easier time (though certainly no picnic), implying that there must be something else going on in the 15% that makes their course so much worse. A few years ago I began realizing that most poor-phenotype sickle cell anemia patients have symptoms that are much easier for MCAS to explain than sickle cell anemia, and when I tested them for MCAS, I found it in most of them, and I also began finding that treating such MCAS would sometimes enable a poor-phenotype sickle cell anemia patient to “transform” into a good-phenotype sickle cell anemia patient. (Yes, I did eventually publish these findings, in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences in late 2014.)

On the other hand, inflammation clearly worsens not only the vaso-occlusive crises themselves but also the risk for development of such crises, and it’s clear that some SCA patients are chronically more inflamed than others and thus have chronically worse courses of the disease – patients I will call “the poor-phenotype sicklers.” Inflammation is an awfully complex phenomenon, though, and we remain just as far from a complete understanding of why some SCA patients are chronically inflamed as we do for non-SCA patients. Regardless of why they are more inflamed, though, poor-phenotype sicklers on average clearly suffer not only more frequent and severe crises but also incur more frequently and severely the complications of SCA beyond vaso-occlusive crises, a few examples of which are strokes and other blood clots, a type of respiratory failure called acute chest syndrome, and kidney failure.

Regardless of why they are more inflamed, though, poor-phenotype sicklers on average clearly suffer not only more frequent and severe crises but also incur more frequently and severely the complications of SCA beyond vaso-occlusive crises, a few examples of which are strokes and other blood clots, a type of respiratory failure called acute chest syndrome, and kidney failure. As mentioned earlier in this book, soon after I began recognizing MCAS in many of my chronically ill patients whose known diagnoses didn’t account for many of their symptoms, I began seeing much the same pattern in most of the poor-phenotype sicklers already under my care. Wondering if MCAS might be one significant source of inflammation in them which might be controllable to the point of turning them into good-phenotype sicklers, I began looking for MCAS in them, and the more I looked for it, the more I found it, and the more I found it, the more I treated it, and the more I treated it, the better they got. I reported my findings in 32 such patients in an article, which the American Journal of the Medical Sciences was kind enough to publish in 2014.


pages: 478 words: 142,608

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Brownian motion, cosmological principle, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, invisible hand, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, unbiased observer

One arises from the theory of group selection, and I’ll come to that. The second follows from the theory that I advocated in The Extended Phenotype: the individual you are watching may be working under the manipulative influence of genes in another individual, perhaps a parasite. Dan Dennett reminds us that the common cold is universal to all human peoples in much the same way as religion is, yet we would not want to suggest that colds benefit us. Plenty of examples are known of animals manipulated into behaving in such a way as to benefit the transmission of a parasite to its next host. I encapsulated the point in my ‘central theorem of the extended phenotype’: ‘An animal’s behaviour tends to maximize the survival of the genes “for” that behaviour, whether or not those genes happen to be in the body of the particular animal performing it.’

For the particular chromosomal slot or ‘locus’ that belongs to that set of alleles. And how do they compete? Not by direct molecule-to-molecule combat but by proxy. The proxies are their ‘phenotypic traits’ – things like leg length or fur colour: manifestations of genes fleshed out as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry or behaviour. A gene’s fate is normally bound up with the bodies in which it successively sits. To the extent that it influences those bodies, it affects its own chances of surviving in the gene pool. As the generations go by, genes increase or decrease in frequency in the gene pool by virtue of their phenotypic proxies. Might the same be true of memes? One respect in which they are not like genes is that there is nothing obviously corresponding to chromosomes or loci or alleles or sexual recombination.

Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, author of The Double Helix “Should be read by everyone from atheist to monk. If its merciless rationalism doesn’t enrage you at some point, you probably aren’t alive.” —Julian Barnes, author of Arthur and George “A magnificent book, lucid and wise, truly magisterial.” —Ian McEwan, author of Atonement Books by Richard Dawkins THE SELFISH GENE THE EXTENDED PHENOTYPE THE BLIND WATCHMAKER RIVER OUT OF EDEN CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE UNWEAVING THE RAINBOW A DEVIL’S CHAPLAIN THE ANCESTOR’S TALE THE GOD DELUSION Richard Dawkins THE GOD DELUSION A MARINER BOOK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY Boston • New York Copyright © 2006 by Richard Dawkins Preface © 2008 by Richard Dawkins ALL RIGHTS RESERVED First published in Great Britain by Bantam Press, a division of Transworld Publishers, 2006 For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.


pages: 137 words: 36,231

Information: A Very Short Introduction by Luciano Floridi

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, carbon footprint, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of writing, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Laplace demon, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Nelson Mandela, Norbert Wiener, Pareto efficiency, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, RFID, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Vilfredo Pareto

And what kind of informational concepts are needed in order to understand their nature? The next section should help to provide some answers. Genetic information Genetics is the branch of biology that studies the structures and processes involved in the heredity and variation of the genetic material and observable traits (phenotypes) of living organisms. Heredity and variations have been exploited by humanity since antiquity, for example to breed animals. But it was only in the 19th century that Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), the founder of genetics, showed that phenotypes are passed on, from one generation to the next, through what were later called genes. In 1944, in a brilliant book based on a series of lectures, entitled What Is Life?, the physics Nobel laureate Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961) outlined the idea of how genetic information might be stored.

This, however, seems to be an overreaction. In the precise sense in which one may speak of semantic information, genetic information can hardly count as an instance of it. It simply lacks all its typical features, including meaningfulness, intentionality, aboutness, and veridicality. DNA contains the genetic code, precisely in the sense that it physically contains the genes which code for the development of the phenotypes. So DNA does contain genetic information, like a CD may contain some software. But the genetic code or, better, the genes, are the information itself. Genes do not send information, in the sense in which a radio sends a signal. They work more or less successfully and, like a recipe for a cake, may only partly guarantee the end result, since the environment plays a crucial role. Genes do not contain information, like envelopes or emails do, nor do they describe it, like a blueprint; they are more like performatives: `I promise to come at 8 pm' does not describe or contain a promise, it does something, namely it effects the promise itself through the uttered words.

Biological information, in the predicative sense of the world, is procedural: it is information for something, not about something. Genetic information can now be placed on our map (see Figure 15). 15. Genetic information A final comment before switching to neural information. Of course, genes play a crucial role in explaining not only the development of individual organisms but also the inheritance of phenotypes across generations. Therefore, informational approaches have been adopted both in genetics and in evolutionary biology and even at the higher level of biological anthropology. Memes (alleged units or elements of cultural ideas, symbols, or practices), for example, have been postulated as cultural analogues to genes, which are transmitted from one mind to another through communication and imitable phenomena, self-replicating and responding to selective pressures.


The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease by Lanius, Ruth A.; Vermetten, Eric; Pain, Clare

conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, delayed gratification, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, impulse control, intermodal, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, p-value, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), social intelligence, Socratic dialogue, theory of mind, twin studies, yellow journalism

Results from animal models are now supporting the concept of phenotypic plasticity, where offspring phenotypes are seen to vary as a function of environmental context, despite similar genotypes [55]. Studies from Meaney and colleagues have repeatedly demonstrated that maternal care behaviors in rats, such as pup licking and grooming, foster enduring alterations of offspring gene expression [43,56]. Changes in genetic expression associated with decreased maternal care are evident as early as during the first week of the pup’s life, and they can last through to adulthood. These findings provide support for a theoretical critical period model, in which adequate maternal care during the critical period activates various pathways of genetic development to express phenotypes that are optimally adaptive for the offspring.

One oft-cited example is phenylketonuria, a hereditary metabolic disorder caused by mutations in the gene that codes for the enzyme responsible for metabolizing the amino acid phenylalanine. One could argue that the heritability estimate of phenylketonuria is 100%, since individuals who are carrying two defective copies of the gene are bound to express the phenotype (autosomal recessive heritance pattern). However, if the individual’s diet is devoid of phenylalanine, then the mutation will have no effect in practice. In this case, both the genetic vulnerability (mutation) and the environmental factor (phenylalanine) are required for the full expression of the phenotype. Unfortunately, the field of molecular genetics has only recently begun to investigate gene–environment interactions as they pertain to psychiatric disorders. The findings of Caspi et al. [62] indicating that serotonin transporter promotor polymorphism influences liability for major depression by increasing a person’s susceptibility to stressful life events were initially received with great enthusiasm.

Our understanding of the connection between emotional trauma in childhood and the pathways to biomedical and psychopathology in adulthood is still being formed as neuroscientists begin to describe the changes that take place on the molecular level as a result of events or ongoing states of life that occurred hours, months or decades earlier. xiii Foreword The editors have paid attention to all parts of our enquiry into the significance of the earliest years of human development:€to the roles of abuse and attachment, to genetics and to the epigenetic effects of parenting and other experiences of early life that lead to phenotypic plasticity, to the distinctly partial process of resiliency, and to diagnosis and treatment. The chapter authors, a mix of the internationally distinguished and those on a clearly rising trajectory, provide a blend of clinical observation and highly specific technical information in this bold attempt to bring together what is becoming known by clinical study and by sophisticated technical approaches such as functional imaging.


pages: 623 words: 448,848

Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives by Dean D. Metcalfe

active measures, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, epigenetics, hygiene hypothesis, impulse control, life extension, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, statistical model, stem cell, twin studies

Reactions have been reported with two common predominating phenotypes, food hypersensitivity and occupational respiratory disease. In the occupational respiratory disease phenotype, these cases involve predominately males with no atopic background. In the food hypersensitivity phenotype, all case reports have involved females, half of whom were atopic. Two of these females also showed occupational disease features, and many have described prior episodes of itching and burning with application of makeup, suspicious for contact reactions [12]. There have been four distinct reports via the FDA MedWatch program of contact dermatitis, comprising a small third phenotype of reaction [10]. Immunoblot analysis of persons with occupational respiratory disease and food hypersensitivity phenotypes have shown mixed results. Typically, authors have used both carmine and pulverized cochineal insect extract, subjected to SDS-PAGE and column chromatography fractionation to determine protein bands.

Persons with cow’s milk allergy, in contrast to individuals with CD, usually do not develop villous atrophy nor an increased mononuclear cell infiltrate within the lamina propria. However, TCRγδ⫹ CD8⫺CD4⫺ cells may occur as the majority of intra-epithelial lymphocytes, which suggests that a cytokine imbalance leads to the disease phenotype [144]. CD is primarily Th1 biased, whereas cow’s milk-protein allergy in individuals with an atopic predisposition appears to be predominantly Th2 biased. This is evidenced by a high production of IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 and a low production of IFN-γ [145,146]. However, non-atopic individuals may exhibit a Th0-like cytokine phenotype [147]. A recent study has demonstrated differences in an immune activation profile between individuals with non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy and CD. The group with cow’s milk allergy demonstrated an upregulation of CCR4 and IL-6mRNA and downregulation of IL-18 and IL-2mRNA within the gut mucosal tissue, suggesting a Th2-biased immune response.

Interestingly, there are no reports of FPIES in infants exclusively breast-fed and no reports of the reactions to the offending foods in the breast milk, suggesting an important protective role of breast-feeding in FPIES [21]. Lake hypothesized that food protein-induced proctocolitis may be a milder form of FPIES based on the fact that in FPIES, the maximal inflammatory response also involves the rectum [26]. Hence, proctocolitis in formula-fed infants would represent the mildest phenotype, whereas the protective effects of the breast milk such as presence of IgA antibodies and partially processed food proteins would prevent the expression of the full, more severe clinical phenotype in the breast-fed infants. Perhaps IgA or other immunologically active components of breast milk bind with the food allergens and release them in the rectum following cleavage by microbial IgA proteases or via other mechanisms [26]. In the most severe cases, symptoms may manifest within first days of life with severe, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal distension, hypoactive bowel sounds, weight loss, failure to thrive, dehydration, metabolic acidosis and electrolyte abnormalities, anemia, elevated white blood count with eosinophilia, and hypoalbuminemia [12,27].


pages: 573 words: 157,767

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel C. Dennett

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Andrew Wiles, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, computer vision, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fermat's Last Theorem, Gödel, Escher, Bach, information asymmetry, information retrieval, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, social intelligence, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

Much of it sticks because it is designed to stick, by advertisers and propagandists and other agents whose interests are served by building outposts of recognition in other agents’ minds, and, as Sterelny notes, much of the rest of it sticks because it has some non-zero probability (according to our unconscious evaluations) of being adaptive someday. People—real or mythical—with truly “photographic memories” are suffering from a debilitating pathology, burdening their heads with worse than useless information.28 Evolution by natural selection churns away, automatically extracting tiny amounts (not “bits”) of information from the interactions between phenotypes (whole, equipped organisms) and their surrounding environments. It does this by automatically letting the better phenotypes reproduce their genes more frequently than the less favored.29 Over time, designs are “discovered” and refined, thanks to these encounters with information. R&D happens, designs are improved because they all have to “pay for themselves” in differential reproduction, and Darwinian lineages “learn” new tricks by adjusting their form.

Richard Gregory, whose reflections on intelligence and equipment inspired me to name Gregorian creatures after him, emphasized that it not only took intelligence to use a pair of scissors, the pair of scissors enhanced the “intelligence” of users by giving them a large increase in available competence. These tools, like the hermit crab’s shell, the bird’s nest, the beaver’s dam, are acquired design improvements, but they are not part of our extended phenotypes (Dawkins 1982, 2004b); the general talent to recognize such things and put them to good use is the phenotypic feature that is transmitted by our genes. I sometimes suggest to my students that evolution by natural selection is nothing but “universal plagiarism”: if it’s of use to you, copy it, and use it. All the R&D that went into configuring whatever it is that you copy is now part of your legacy; you’ve added to your wealth without having to “reinvent the wheel.”

Some day in the future we may find that there is a natural interpretation of transmission in the nervous system that yields a measure of bandwidth or storage capacity, in bits, of an encoding of whatever is being transmitted, processed, and stored, but until then the concept of information we use in cognitive science is semantic information, that is, information identified as being about something specific: faces, or places, or glucose, for instance. In other words, cognitive scientists today are roughly in the position that evolutionary theorists and geneticists were in before the analysis of the structure of DNA: they knew that information about phenotypic features—shapes of bodily parts, behaviors, and the like—was somehow being transmitted down through the generations (via “genes,” whatever they were), but they didn’t have the ACGT code of the double helix to provide them with a Shannon measure of how much information could be passed from parent to offspring as genetic inheritance. Some thinkers, perhaps inspired by DNA, think that there must be an encoding in the nervous system like the DNA code, but I have never seen a persuasive argument for this, and as we will soon see, there are reasons for skepticism.


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The Ape That Understood the Universe: How the Mind and Culture Evolve by Steve Stewart-Williams

Albert Einstein, battle of ideas, carbon-based life, David Attenborough, European colonialism, feminist movement, financial independence, gender pay gap, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, out of africa, Paul Graham, phenotype, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, twin studies

Despite this, females are more cooperative and less aggressive with full sisters than with half-sisters.17 Early-life cohabitation can’t explain this, because the females cohabited with both types of sisters. The squirrels seem to be following a second rule as well: “Be nice to individuals who are similar to you.” This strategy is known as phenotype matching. (The phenotype is the collection of observable features of an organism, shaped by the interaction of its genes with the local environment.) Phenotype matching works because the more similar an individual is to oneself, the more probable it is that that individual is a relative. (Attentive readers will notice that early-life cohabitation and phenotypic similarity are also used as kinship cues in another context: incest avoidance. In a range of species, statistical indicators of relatedness appear to upregulate altruism but downregulate sexual attraction. As mentioned in Chapter 4, this fine-grained pattern of responses is difficult to explain without the gene’s-eye view of evolution.)

What might these rules be? First, like many other animals, humans seem to be especially willing to lend a helping hand to individuals they were raised with, or those they helped to raise. Second, also like many other animals, humans seem to be especially willing to help individuals who resemble them more closely than the average person in their social environment. To use the vernacular, early-life cohabitation and phenotypic similarity seem to function as kinship cues in our species, just as they do in many others. A responsiveness to these stimuli is plausibly a part of our species-typical mental architecture.29 It’s worth acknowledging that many of the research findings related to human kinship are utterly unsurprising. No one is the slightest bit taken aback, for example, to learn that will makers leave more of their estates to relatives than to non-relatives.

It’s especially common in Northern Europe, and gets progressively less common as you move south to the Mediterranean or east to India. It’s also found in certain parts of East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. More precisely, lactose tolerance is found in people who trace their ancestry to these parts of the world, wherever they happen to live today. These people are the exceptions, though. Almost everyone else, including most Africans, Australian Aborigines, Asians, and Native Americans, have the typical mammalian phenotype: They can only digest lactose efficiently in infancy and early childhood. The fact that people of European ancestry tend to assume that most humans are lactose tolerant reflects a kind of ethnocentrism: a biological ethnocentrism. It also reflects historical myopia. Until recently, no one could digest lactose post-weaning. But then, in the last several thousand years, various groups began herding animals such as cows, goats, and camels.


pages: 225 words: 70,180

Humankind: Solidarity With Nonhuman People by Timothy Morton

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, David Brooks, Georg Cantor, gravity well, invisible hand, means of production, megacity, microbiome, phenotype, planetary scale, Richard Feynman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, Turing test, wage slave, zero-sum game

(New York: Fordham University Press, 2015), 24–25. 14.Marx, Capital, 1.638. 15.Richard Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). 16.Marx, Capital, 1.620. 17.I concur with Aimé Césaire on decolonization: “Discourse on Colonialism,” in Postcolonial Criticism, 82. 18.Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, trans. E. B. Ashton (New York: Continuum, 1973), 5 (“Dialectics is the consistent sense of nonidentity”), 147–48, 149–50. 19.My argument here resembles Jacques Derrida’s: “Economimesis,” Diacritics 11.2 (Summer 1981), 2–25. 20.Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts in Early Writings, trans. Rodney Livingstone and Gregor Benton, introduction by Lucio Colletti (London: Penguin, 1992), 279–400 (328). 21.Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype. 22.Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, trans.

So, Milton was an “unproductive” worker because he didn’t produce any surplus value.8 Surplus value is produced when the capitalist obtains abstract homogeneous surplus labor time. Milton’s automated, nonhuman, algorithmic behavior—the poem just poured out of him—is valued, while the deliberate, “imaginative” entering into of a contract by a paid author is devalued. Paradise Lost was part of Milton the Silkworm’s “extended phenotype,” the expression of his artistic genome, just as a beaver’s genes don’t end at its whiskers but at her or his dam. This is an astounding reversal of the architect and the bee. It is the contract writer whose labor has been reduced upwards to an abstract, bland, homogeneous unit of labor time, so that it doesn’t much matter what the writer is expressing. Marx uses “behave” (what bees do) in a positive sense in his notes on Adolph Wagner, in which he defines production differently than the commonly accepted notion, which seems to have much more to do with the reified production socialism is meant to oppose, rather like how we have confused time with the measurement of time: Men do not by any means begin by “finding themselves in this theoretical relationship to the things of the outside world.”

As Marx says in the chapter on machines in Capital, capitalism produces the misery of the worker and the depletion of the soil: All progress in capitalist agriculture is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the worker, but of robbing the soil; all progress in increasing the fertility of the soil for a given time is a progress towards ruining the more long-lasting sources of that fertility … Capitalist production, therefore, only develops the techniques and the degree of combination of the social process of production by simultaneously undermining the original sources of all wealth—the soil and the worker.14 Soil is decomposing life forms and the bacteria whose extended phenotype these life forms are.15 Marx implies nonhumans, yet he erases them—it’s the fertility of the soil whose loss he laments, and this fertility is keyed to human metabolism; the soil is seen as it is accessed by humans. This is anthropocentric soil. But the good news is that the implication of nonhumans means that we might be able to un-erase them within Marxism; such an action seems highly unlikely within the realm of strict capitalist economic theory.


pages: 524 words: 120,182

Complexity: A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, discrete time, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, Paul Erdős, peer-to-peer, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, scientific worldview, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine

After many bitter arguments between the early Darwinists and Mendelians, this false opposition was cleared up by the 1920s when it was discovered that, unlike the traits of Mendel’s pea plants, most traits in organisms are determined by many genes, each with several different alleles. The huge number of possible combinations of these many different alleles can result in seemingly continuous variation in an organism. Discrete variation in the genes of an organism can result in continuous-seeming variation in the organ-ism’s phenotype—the physical traits (e.g., height, skin color, etc.) resulting from these genes. Darwinism and Mendelism were finally recognized as being complementary, not opposed. One reason the early Darwinists and Mendelians disagreed so strongly is that, although both sides had experimental evidence supporting their position, neither side had the appropriate conceptual framework (i.e., multiple genes controlling traits) or mathematics to understand how their respective theories fit together.

Soon after this, it was worked out how the code was translated by the cell into proteins, how DNA makes copies of itself, and how variation arises via copying errors, externally caused mutations, and sexual recombination. This was clearly a “tipping point” in genetics research. The science of genetics was on a roll, and hasn’t stopped rolling yet. The Mechanics of DNA The collection of all of an organism’s physical traits—its phenotype—comes about largely due to the character of and interactions between proteins in cells. Proteins are long chains of molecules called amino acids. Every cell in your body contains almost exactly the same complete DNA sequence, which is made up of a string of chemicals called nucleotides. Nucleotides contain chemicals called bases, which come in four varieties, called (for short) A, C, G, and T.

This seems like a bad idea, yet G does better than M overall! The key, it turns out, is not these isolated genes, but the way different genes interact, just as has been found in real genetics. And just as in real genetics, it’s very difficult to figure out how these various interactions lead to the overall behavior or fitness. It makes more sense to look at the actual behavior of each strategy—its phenotype—rather than its genome. I wrote a graphics program to display Robby’s moves when using a given strategy, and spent some time watching the behavior of Robby when he used strategy M and when he used strategy G. Although the two strategies behave similarly in many situations, I found that strategy G employs two tricks that cause it to perform better than strategy M. First, consider a situation in which Robby does not sense a can in his current site or in any of his neighboring sites.


pages: 357 words: 98,853

Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome by Nessa Carey

dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, epigenetics, Kickstarter, mouse model, phenotype, placebo effect, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs

Paternally inherited microdeletion at 15q11.2 confirms a significant role for the SNORD116 C/D box snoRNA cluster in Prader-Willi syndrome. Eur J Hum Genet. 2010 Nov;18(11):1196–201 23. Sahoo T, del Gaudio D, German JR, Shinawi M, Peters SU, Person RE, Garnica A, Cheung SW, Beaudet AL. Prader-Willi phenotype caused by paternal deficiency for the HBII-85 C/D box small nucleolar RNA cluster. Nat Genet. 2008 Jun;40(6):719–21 24. For a full description see http://omim.org/entry/180860 25. For a full description see http://omim.org/entry/130650 26. Data collated in Kotzot D. Maternal uniparental disomy 14 dissection of the phenotype with respect to rare autosomal recessively inherited traits, trisomy mosaicism, and genomic imprinting. Ann Genet. 2004 Jul-Sep;47(3):251–60 27. Kagami M, Sekita Y, Nishimura G, Irie M, Kato F, Okada M, Yamamori S, Kishimoto H, Nakayama M, Tanaka Y, Matsuoka K, Takahashi T, Noguchi M, Tanaka Y, Masumoto K, Utsunomiya T, Kouzan H, Komatsu Y, Ohashi H, Kurosawa K, Kosaki K, Ferguson-Smith AC, Ishino F, Ogata T.

When this happens, parents can pass on much bigger repeats to their children than they themselves possess. As the repeat length increases, the symptoms become more severe and are obvious at an earlier age. That’s why the disease gets worse as it passes down the generations, such as in the family that opened this chapter. It also became apparent that usually only mothers passed on the really big repeats, the ones that led to the severe congenital phenotype. This ongoing expansion of a repeated sequence of DNA was a very unusual mutation mechanism. But the identification of the expansion that causes myotonic dystrophy shone a light on something even more unusual. Knitting with DNA Until quite recently, mutations in gene sequences were thought to be important not because of the change in the DNA itself but because of their downstream consequences.

But our proteins only contain 20 different amino acids. So some amino acids can be coded for by different three-letter combinations. At one extreme, glycine is coded for by GGA, GGC, GGG and GGT(U). At the other, the amino acid methionine is only coded for by the combination AT(U)G. But if the amino acid sequence encoded by the mutated gene doesn’t change in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria, what causes the dramatic phenotype in this condition? Look again at Figure 17.5. The two-base sequence at the beginning of each intervening junk region within a gene is GT. In the patients where the normal GGC changes to GGT, the amino acid region gains an inappropriate extra splice signal. In the context of all the other splicing signals in that genomic region, this inappropriately positioned GT acts strongly. The spliceosome cuts the messenger RNA in the amino acid-coding region rather than in the junk region.


pages: 852 words: 157,181

The Origins of the British by Stephen Oppenheimer

active measures, agricultural Revolution, British Empire, Eratosthenes, gravity well, mass immigration, out of africa, phenotype, the scientific method, trade route

Blood group A is dominant, which means that the result of our blood test (our phenotype) is group A, whether we get one or two A genes from our parents. Group O is recessive, which means that we must receive both our parental genes as O to have an O blood group phenotype. If one parent gives us an O and the other gives us an A, we will test as A. Therefore analyses of blood group frequency will automatically overstate A gene frequencies if this very basic fact is overlooked. Since B, although dominant as well, is quite uncommon in Western Europe, the division of simple blood group frequencies between A and O is a two-horse race, in which the dominant A has the advantage. Small increases in the A gene frequency will be reflected in dramatic relative falls in the O group frequency. So, where Viereck’s map misleads is in presenting blood group data (phenotypes) rather than gene frequencies (genotypes).

genetic drift The process of random change of allele or haplotype (gene type) frequencies. These changes can lead to loss (or, alternatively, very high frequency) of certain alleles. The loss of certain alleles erodes genetic variability, and its effects are greatest in populations of small size. genotype The genetic make-up of an individual, as determined by the alleles present. In the example of blood groups, the blood group phenotype A may be the result of either AO genotype or AA genotype. Compare phenotype. glottochronology A technique in linguistics which uses vocabulary comparison (lexico-statistics) to estimate the time of divergence of two related languages by comparing the numbers of shared cognates. It is analogous to the use of radiocarbon dating in that it uses decay as a measurement of time, but has been widely rejected by linguists, owing to variation in the rate of lexical decay.

Used in this book and in certain genetic and archaeological literature as an analogy for multiple European migrations: in this sense, it means genetic evidence of one migration route overlying an earlier one, both migrations having been channelled by the same geographical corridors and barriers. P-celtic Alternative name for the Brythonic branch of the insular-celtic group of languages, so called because it uses a ‘P’ sound where Q-celtic languages, in the Goidelic branch, use a ‘Q’ (or hard ‘C’) sound. phenotype The expression of the genes present in an individual. This may be directly observable (eye colour) or apparent only with specific tests (blood group). The blood group A is an example of a phenotype with several possible underlying genotypes (AO and AA), since A is dominant and O recessive. Compare genotype. phylogeography The study of the patterns of genetic differentiation on a gene tree across landscapes. The geographical distribution of gene lines is analysed with respect to their phylogenetic position on a gene tree, usually within a species, to reconstruct their origins and routes of movement.


pages: 489 words: 148,885

Accelerando by Stross, Charles

business cycle, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, dumpster diving, Extropian, finite state, Flynn Effect, glass ceiling, gravity well, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, knapsack problem, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, MITM: man-in-the-middle, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, packet switching, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, South China Sea, stem cell, technological singularity, telepresence, The Chicago School, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, web of trust, Y2K, zero-sum game

Manfred spits some virtual cash at the brutal face of the cash register, and it unfetters the suitcase, unaware that Macx has paid a good bit more than seventy-five euros for the privilege of collecting this piece of baggage. Manfred bends down and faces the camera in its handle. "Manfred Macx," he says quietly. "Follow me." He feels the handle heat up as it imprints on his fingerprints, digital and phenotypic. Then he turns and walks out of the slave market, his new luggage rolling at his heels. A short train journey later, Manfred checks into a hotel in Milton Keynes. He watches the sun set from his bedroom window, an occlusion of concrete cows blocking the horizon. The room is functional in an overly naturalistic kind of way, rattan and force-grown hardwood and hemp rugs concealing the support systems and concrete walls behind.

The metacortex – a distributed cloud of software agents that surrounds him in netspace, borrowing CPU cycles from convenient processors (such as his robot pet) – is as much a part of Manfred as the society of mind that occupies his skull; his thoughts migrate into it, spawning new agents to research new experiences, and at night, they return to roost and share their knowledge. While Manfred sleeps, he dreams of an alchemical marriage. She waits for him at the altar in a strapless black gown, the surgical instruments gleaming in her gloved hands. "This won't hurt a bit," she explains as she adjusts the straps. "I only want your genome – the extended phenotype can wait until … later." Blood-red lips, licked: a kiss of steel, then she presents the income tax bill. There's nothing accidental about this dream. As he experiences it, microelectrodes in his hypothalamus trigger sensitive neurons. Revulsion and shame flood him at the sight of her face, the sense of his vulnerability. Manfred's metacortex, in order to facilitate his divorce, is trying to decondition his strange love.

There have been more technological advances in the past ten years than in the entire previous expanse of human history – and more unforeseen accidents. Lots of hard problems have proven to be tractable. The planetary genome and proteome have been mapped so exhaustively that the biosciences are now focusing on the challenge of the phenome: Plotting the phase-space defined by the intersection of genes and biochemical structures, understanding how extended phenotypic traits are generated and contribute to evolutionary fitness. The biosphere has become surreal: small dragons have been sighted nesting in the Scottish highlands, and in the American midwest, raccoons have been caught programming microwave ovens. The computing power of the solar system is now around one thousand MIPS per gram, and is unlikely to increase in the near term – all but a fraction of one percent of the dumb matter is still locked up below the accessible planetary crusts, and the sapience/mass ratio has hit a glass ceiling that will only be broken when people, corporations, or other posthumans get around to dismantling the larger planets.


pages: 309 words: 86,909

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett

basic income, Berlin Wall, clean water, Diane Coyle, epigenetics, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land reform, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral panic, offshore financial centre, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

A recent 12-year study of working-age men in the USA found that if they became unemployed, they gained weight.136 When their annual income dropped they gained, on average, 5.5 lbs. THE THRIFTY PHENOTYPE One additional idea that suggests a causal link between higher levels of income inequality in a society and higher body weights is known as the ‘thrifty phenotype’ hypothesis. Put simply, this theory suggests that when a pregnant woman is stressed, the development of her unborn child is modified to prepare it for life in a stressful environment. It isn’t yet clear whether stress hormones themselves do the damage, or whether stressed foetuses are less well nourished, or both things happen, but these ‘thrifty phenotype’ babies have a lower birthweight and a lower metabolic rate. In other words, they are adapted for an environment where food is scarce – they are small and need less food.

In conditions of scarcity during our evolutionary past this adaptation would have been beneficial, but in our modern world, where stress during pregnancy is unlikely to be due to food shortages and babies are born into a world of plenty, it’s maladaptive. Babies with a thirfty phenotype in a world where food is plentiful are more prone to obesity, to diabetes and to cardiovascular disease. As this book shows, societies with higher levels of income inequality have higher levels of mistrust, illness, status insecurity, violence and other stressors, so the thrifty phenotype may well be contributing to the high prevalence of obesity in them. THE EQUALITY DIET It is clear that obesity and overweight are not problems confined to the poor. In the USA, about 12 per cent of the population are poor, but more than 75 per cent are overweight.


Psychopathy: An Introduction to Biological Findings and Their Implications by Andrea L. Glenn, Adrian Raine

epigenetics, longitudinal study, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), statistical model, theory of mind, twin studies

If MZ twins are more similar than DZ twins, then it can be inferred that the trait being measured is at least partly due to genetic factors. Across large samples, statistical modeling techniques can determine the proportion of the variance in a particular trait or phenotype (in this case, psychopathy or a subcomponent of it) that is accounted for by genetic versus environmental factors. Genetic factors either can be additive or nonadditive. Additive means that genes summate to contribute to a phenotype. For example, hypothetically, alleles at five different locations may contribute to the determination of an individual’s height (the phenotype). An additive effect means that the individual’s height is the sum of the effect of each of these alleles on height. Additive effects are passed on in families. The more alleles you have that are similar to your parent or sibling (e.g., alleles coding for height), the more similar you are on a given trait (e.g., height).

Nonadditive effects come in three types—dominance, epistasis, and emergensis. Dominance means that if one of two alleles is dominant, the phenotype will reflect the dominant allele, rather than a summation of the two alleles. For example, alleles for brown eyes tend to be dominant, whereas alleles for blue eyes are recessive. If an individual has one allele for brown eyes and one allele for blue eyes, the result is that the individual will have brown eyes, rather than a mix between brown and blue. In the case of dominance, DZ twin correlations are expected to be about 25 percent of the MZ correlations. Epistatic and emergenic effects simply mean that multiple genes must interact or be configured in a specific way in order for the phenotype to be present. Because these configurations are so specific, these types of effects do not run in families and can be thought of as random; thus, the correlation between DZ twins is typically close to zero, whereas the effect will be present in MZ twins who share the exact same genes.


pages: 290 words: 82,871

The Hidden Half: How the World Conceals Its Secrets by Michael Blastland

air freight, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, central bank independence, cognitive bias, complexity theory, Deng Xiaoping, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, epigenetics, experimental subject, full employment, George Santayana, hindsight bias, income inequality, manufacturing employment, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum wage unemployment, nudge unit, oil shock, p-value, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, randomized controlled trial, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, selection bias, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, twin studies

It’s tempting to speculate that one crayfish – eventually the biggest – grabbed the first food, ate more, grew bigger, then threw its weight or energy around to take the lion’s share and grow bigger still, so an initial advantage was compounded. Except that they all had more than enough to eat, all the time; the researchers made sure of it. The genetic make-up of an individual is called the genotype. How it turns out to look and behave is the phenotype. The emergence of multiple, varied phenotypes from a single genotype in the same environment is one of the latest, greatest of nature’s curiosities to crave attention. The secret life of causes We’re left to wonder if the causes lie beyond discovery, maybe hidden in the minute detail of the marmorkrebs’ experience. You find yourself groping for obscure possibilities, like which one was first to sense the sunlight through the window in the morning, which was nearest the lab door or the air-con.

I can also imagine a more fine-toothed classification of different types of cancer, for example, implying different treatments depending on which type we have. But ‘personalized’ in a general sense is a huge step beyond what we now know, or quite possibly can know. Even if we knew everyone’s exact genotype, we have to remember the marmorkrebs’ astonishing variation – from identical genotypes to radically different phenotypes – and rightly wonder how far knowing everyone’s personal genotype can take us in the prediction of what will happen to each person or how they will respond to treatment. My instincts – you can tell – are with the sceptics, and after waving a finger in the air of the argument I’d say that precision or personalized medicine is about one part promise to an equal part hype. If we could settle for talking more modestly of ‘more precise’ medicine, rather than ‘precision’ or ‘personalized’ medicine, I’d feel more comfortable.

., ‘Ecology: Parthenogenesis in an Outsider Crayfish’, Nature, vol. 421, 2003. 5 Frank Lyko, head of epigenetics at the German Cancer Research Center, in comments to Newsweek magazine, February 2018. 6 Unless there are more significant mutations which also cause marked differences, but you would not expect this to be an everyday, every-creature event. 7 G. Vogt et al., ‘Production of Different Phenotypes from the Same Genotype in the Same Environment by Developmental Variation’, Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 211, 2008, pp. 510–523. 8 The paper is less cited than you would expect. Even Google scholar, which I’m reliably informed tends to overestimate, records 120 citations in 10 years – not nearly as often as it deserves. In the mainstream media it made no impact. 9 Others include cloned mice, guinea pigs and cloned pigs.


Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking by Cecilia Heyes

Asperger Syndrome, complexity theory, epigenetics, intermodal, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, phenotype, social intelligence, the built environment, theory of mind, twin studies

Similarly, the still-thriving field of human behavioral ecology (Cronk, 1991; Laland and Brown, 2011) largely ignores the mind as it uses mathematical modeling to investigate whether distinctively human behaviors, especially foraging behaviors, are likely to be adaptive (to enhance reproductive fitness) and, if so, to be adaptations (to have evolved because they enhance reproductive fitness). Adopting a strategy that has been described as the “phenotypic gambit” (Grafen, 1984; Hoppitt and Laland, 2013) and “blackboxing” (Heyes, 2016a), human behavioral ecologists sometimes allude to the brain, but very rarely to the mind, and when they do say something about the mind, they usually reach for folk psychology. Consequently, although sociobiology and human behavioral ecology have provided valuable information about human evolution, I think evolutionary psychologists were right to point out, some twenty years ago, that it was high time the mind was taken more seriously.

CONCLUSION The framework introduced in this book, cultural evolutionary psychology, combines the strengths of evolutionary psychology and cultural evolutionary theory to answer the question: What makes us such peculiar animals? Like evolutionary psychology at its best, cultural evolutionary psychology takes this to be a question about the mind, drawing on cognitive science, rather than folk psychology, for information about how the mind works. Like cultural evolutionary theory, cultural evolutionary psychology embraces the evidence that human phenotypes are shaped not only by genetic inheritance and learning, but also by cultural evolution. However, unlike both of its conceptual ancestors, cultural evolutionary psychology finds evidence—in social cognitive neuroscience and a broad range of other fields—that the influence of cultural evolution is not confined to the grist of human thought. It has also shaped the mills. Distinctively human cognitive processes are products of cultural group selection.

(2012). Language-selective and domain-general regions lie side by side within Broca’s area. Current Biology, 22(21), 2059–2062. Fernald, A. (1991). Prosody in speech to children: Prelinguistic and linguistic functions. Annals of Child Development, 8, 43–80. Fernandes, H. B., Woodley, M. A., and te Nijenhuis, J. (2014). Differences in cognitive abilities among primates are concentrated on g: Phenotypic and phylogenetic comparisons with two meta-analytical databases. Intelligence, 46, 311–322. Ferrari, P. F., Rozzi, S., and Fogassi, L. (2005). Mirror neurons responding to observation of actions made with tools in monkey ventral premotor cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17(2), 212–226. Fiorito, G., and Scotto, P. (1992). Observational learning in Octopus vulgaris. Science, 256, 545–547.


The Science of Language by Noam Chomsky

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, Brownian motion, dark matter, Drosophila, epigenetics, finite state, Howard Zinn, phenotype, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Pinker, theory of mind

Further, Waddington and more recent proponents of the developing field of evo-devo have pointed out that not all organic structure can be scientifically explained in this way, and perhaps very little. For one thing, there is the fact that modification requires mutation, and mutation can only proceed within the constraints set by physics and chemistry, among other sciences: possible structures and modifications of structure are limited by the laws of nature. Various structural features of organisms, for example, cannot be explained by genetic instruction sets alone, nor can the way phenotypical development takes place; ‘epigenetic’ factors play a crucial role in the latter. Scaling of skeletal structure (the genome cannot be thought to provide a complete specification of the sizes of each bone in a specific organism) and symmetry (the fact that each rib on the right has a homologue on the left, each wing of a butterfly the same pattern as the other . . .) are two examples. And there are issues that bear on structure and form that selectional adaptation does not speak to in any significant way: the fact, for example, that what have been called “control” or “master” genes are found in the same form in a large number of different species that cross biological clades.

Relying on this picture, many have treated evolution as an historicized version of learning so conceived: we and other creatures are the ways we are because each species has adapted in its structure and development to have an optimal strategy for its ecological niche; Skinner himself supposed this, revealing how little he understood of what evolution involves. Exploiting a connection to this view of learning is misguided strategy; one ends up defending something for which there is no warrant except that it appears to be all-encompassing. There is no modesty to this view – no recognition that selection's role is limited, if even that. Nothing is said about how evolution and phenotype development and growth must take place within the constraints set by physics, chemistry, biology, perhaps some form of information theory. There is no mention of the fact that many genes are conserved over species and clades. Epigenetic factors are ignored. ‘Happy accidents’ of the sort found in what Lewontin and Gould called “spandrels” are not mentioned. Too often – especially in the cognitive domain – there is only a minimal effort to find evidence for claims: just-so stories are common.

Placing this in a broader context, think of people referring, and of their using what language offers them – including nouns and pronouns in referring positions – to refer. Chapter 6 Page 37, On parameters and canalization I discuss variation in languages and parameters’ role in it in Appendix VIII; parameters appear too several times in the main text. Principles are the ‘natural laws’ of the language faculty, universal across the human species. Canalization – the fact that development yields a robust and distinct phenotype despite differences in gene, environment, and ‘input’ – is discussed briefly in Appendix VIII too, and is taken up again in the text below. What might parameters have to do – if anything – with canalization? Using for simplicity's sake the headedness macroparameter, assume, as is reasonable, that the child's language faculty's initial state, UG (as specified in the genome), for whatever reason, allows for either option.


Turing's Cathedral by George Dyson

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Benoit Mandelbrot, British Empire, Brownian motion, cellular automata, cloud computing, computer age, Danny Hillis, dark matter, double helix, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, housing crisis, IFF: identification friend or foe, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, phenotype, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, SETI@home, social graph, speech recognition, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture

No matter how many mutations we make, the numbers will always remain numbers. They will never become living organisms!”28 Missing was the distinction between genotype (an organism’s coded genetic sequence) and phenotype (the physical expression of that sequence) that allows Darwinian selection to operate at levels above the genes themselves. In selecting for instructions at the level of phenotype rather than genotype, an evolutionary search is much more likely to lead to meaningful sequences, for the same reason that a meaningful sentence is far more likely to be constructed by selecting words out of a dictionary than by choosing letters out of a hat. To make the leap from genotype to phenotype, Barricelli concluded, “We must give the genes some material they may organize and may eventually use, preferably of a kind which has importance for their existence.”

“This tendency to act on any thing which can have importance for survival is the key to the understanding of the formation of complex instruments and organs and the ultimate development of a whole body of somatic or non-genetic structures.”29 Translation from genotype to phenotype was required to establish a presence in our universe, if numerical organisms were to become more than laboratory curiosities, here one microsecond and gone the next. No matter how long you wait, numbers will never become organisms, just as nucleotides will never become proteins. But they may learn to code for them. Once the translation between genotype and phenotype is launched, evolution picks up speed—not only the evolution of the resulting organisms, but the evolution of the genetic language and translation system itself. A successful interpretive language both tolerates ambiguity and takes advantage of it.

In 1963, using the Atlas computer at Manchester University, at that time the most powerful computer in the world, this objective was achieved for a short time, but without further improvement, a limitation that Barricelli attributed to “the severe restrictions … concerning the number of instructions and machine time the symbioorganisms were allowed to use.”33 In contrast to the IAS experiments, in which the organisms consisted solely of genetic code, the Tac-Tix experiments led to “the formation of non-genetic numerical patterns characteristic for each symbioorganism. Such numerical patterns may present unlimited possibilities for developing structures and organs of any kind.” A numerical phenotype had taken form, interpreted as moves in a board game, via a limited alphabet of machine instructions to which the gene sequence was mapped, just as sequences of nucleotides code for an alphabet of amino acids in translating to proteins from DNA. “Perhaps the closest analogy to the protein molecule in our numeric symbioorganisms,” Barricelli speculated, “would be a subroutine which is part of the symbioorganism’s game strategy program, and whose instructions, stored in the machine memory, are specified by the numbers of which the symbioorganism is composed.”34 “Since computer time and memory still is a limiting factor, the non-genetic patterns of each numeric symbioorganism are constructed only when they are needed and are removed from the memory as soon as they have performed their task,” Barricelli explained.


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Emergence by Steven Johnson

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, social intelligence, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

Occasionally, random mutations appear in the gene pool, introducing complete new avenues for the system to explore. Run through enough cycles, and you have a recipe for engineering masterworks like the human eye—without a bona fide engineer in sight. The genetic algorithm was an attempt to capture that process in silicon. Software already has a genotype and a phenotype, Holland recognized; there’s the code itself, and then there’s what the code actually does. What if you created a gene pool of different code combinations, then evaluated the success rate of the phenotypes, eliminating the least successful strands? Natural selection relies on a brilliantly simple, but somewhat tautological, criterion for evaluating success: your genes get to pass on to the next generation if you survive long enough to produce a next generation. Holland decided to make that evaluation step more precise: his programs would be admitted to the next generation if they did a better job of accomplishing a specific task—doing simple math, say, or recognizing patterns in visual images.

But Holland imagined another approach: set up a gene pool of possible software and let successful programs evolve out of the soup. Holland’s system revolved around a series of neat parallels between computer programs and earth’s life-forms. Each depends on a master code for its existence: the zeros and ones of computer programming, and the coiled strands of DNA lurking in all of our cells (usually called the genotype). Those two kinds of codes dictate some kind of higher-level form or behavior (the phenotype): growing red hair or multiplying two numbers together. With DNA-based organisms, natural selection works by creating a massive pool of genetic variation, then evaluating the success rate of the assorted behaviors unleashed by all those genes. Successful variations get passed down to the next generation, while unsuccessful ones disappear. Sexual reproduction ensures that the innovative combinations of genes find each other.

Connolly, Peter, and Hazel Dodge. The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens and Rome. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Corbusier, Le. Towards a New Architecture. New York: Dover Publications, 1986. Davis, Mike. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles. New York: Vintage Books, 1992. Dawkins, Richard. Climbing Mount Improbable. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1996. ———. The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. ———. Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder. London: Penguin Press, 1998. Dean, Katie. “Attention Kids: Play This Game.” Wired News. December 19, 2000. Dehaene, Stanislas, Michel Kerszberg, and Jean-Pierre Changeux. “A neuronal model of a global workspace in effortful cognitive tasks.”


The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain by James Fallon

Bernie Madoff, epigenetics, Everything should be made as simple as possible, meta analysis, meta-analysis, personalized medicine, phenotype, Rubik’s Cube, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, theory of mind

The neurologist Helen Mayberg of Emory University found that you could immediately treat major depression by turning it off using deep brain stimulation (DBS), a technique that involved threading an electrode deep into the brain. Reduced activity in this area is associated with psychopathy, which may explain why you don’t see a lot of major depressives who are also psychopaths. After some anatomical slides, I presented a slide listing many of my clinical, subclinical, physical, and behavioral phenotypes (my actual traits and disorders). I also listed my risk for related illnesses through an ingenuity “network analysis” that takes into consideration all of my genetic alleles, the interaction of these genes, and what diseases and traits are inferred from this network. I had just received these results, as a more thorough follow-up to the genetic results I’d received two years prior for the Wall Street Journal article.

On the left of the slide were all of the syndromes I’ve had in my life, and their age of onset and age of offset where appropriate: asthma, allergies, panic attacks, OCD, hyper-religiosity, hypertension, obesity, essential tremor, addictions, hypomania, high-risk behaviors, putting others at risk, impulsivity, insomnia, flat empathy, aggression, hedonism, individualism, creative bursts, and verbosity. Next to that list of traits and clinical conditions, were statistical estimates of how at risk my genes put me for particular disorders, including various neurological, psychological, behavioral, endocrine, respiratory, and metabolic disorders. The phenotype-genotype pairings matched up very well. (After examining the nightmare combination of genes I inherited, Fabio had said, “It’s surprising that you ever made it through fetal development, let alone your adolescence.” I could have been another of my mother’s miscarriages, or a case of teenage suicide.) At the end of the question-and-answer period of the talk, in which I never mentioned my own potential depressive episodes, the chairman of psychiatry said that, based on my genetic information and my energetic performance, I appeared to have a subtype of bipolar disorder, thus confirming Hossein’s suspicions from the night before.

“Protective effect of CRHR1 gene variants on the development of adult depression following childhood maltreatment: Replication and extension.” Archives of General Psychiatry 66, no. 9 (2009): 978. Potkin, Steven G., Jessica A. Turner, Guia Guffanti, Anita Lakatos, James H. Fallon, Dana D. Nguyen, Daniel Mathalon, Judith Ford, John Lauriello, and Fabio Macciardi. “A genome-wide association study of schizophrenia using brain activation as a quantitative phenotype.” Schizophrenia Bulletin 35, no. 1 (2009): 96–108. Raine, Adrian. “From genes to brain to antisocial behavior.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 17, no. 5 (2008): 323–328. Rosell, Daniel R., Judy L. Thompson, Mark Slifstein, Xiaoyan Xu, W. Gordon Frankle, Antonia S. New, Marianne Goodman, et al. “Increased serotonin 2A receptor availability in the orbitofrontal cortex of physically aggressive personality disordered patients.”


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The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton

Albert Einstein, Benoit Mandelbrot, correlation does not imply causation, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Mars Rover, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

Endnotes Introduction Lipton, B. H. (1977a). “A fine structural analysis of normal and modulated cells in myogenic culture.” Developmental Biology 60: 26-47. Lipton, B. H. (1977b). “Collagen synthesis by normal and bromodeoxyuri-dine- treated cells in myogenic culture.” Developmental Biology 61: 153-165. Lipton, B. H., K. G. Bensch, et al. (1991). “Microvessel Endothelial Cell Transdifferentiation: Phenotypic Characterization.” Differentiation 46: 117-133. Lipton, B. H., K. G. Bensch, et al. (1992). “Histamine-Modulated Transdif-ferentiation of Dermal Microvascular Endothelial Cells.” Experimental Cell Research 199: 279-291. Chapter One Adams, C. L., M. K. L. Macleod, et al. (2003). “Complete analysis of the B-cell response to a protein antigen, from in vivo germinal centre formation to 3-D modelling of affinity maturation.”

Epigenetic Inheritance and Evolution: The Lamarckian Dimension. Oxford, Oxford University Press. Jones, P. A. (2001). “Death and methylation.” Nature 409: 141-144. Kling, J. (2003). “Put the Blame on Methylation.” The Scientist 27-28. Lederberg, J. (1994). Honoring Avery, MacLeod, And McCarty: The Team That Transformed Genetics. The Scientist 8: 11. Lipton, B. H., K. G. Bensch, et al. (1991). “Microvessel Endothelial Cell Transdifferentiation: Phenotypic Characterization.” Differentiation 46: 117-133. Nijhout, H. F. (1990). “Metaphors and the Role of Genes in Development.” Bioessays 12(9): 441-446. Pearson, H. (2003). “Geneticists play the numbers game in vain.” Nature 423: 576. Pennisi, E. (2003a). “A Low Number Wins the GeneSweep Pool.” Science 300: 1484. Pennisi, E. (2003b). “Gene Counters Struggle to Get the Right Answer.” Science 301: 1040-1041.

Kübler-Ross, Elizabeth (1997) On Death and Dying, New York, Scribner. Li, S., C. M. Armstrong, et al. (2004). “A Map of the Interactome Network of the Metazoan C. elegans.” Science 303: 540+. Liboff, A. R. (2004). “Toward an Electromagnetic Paradigm for Biology and Medicine.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 10(1): 41-47. Lipton, B. H., K. G. Bensch, et al. (1991). “Microvessel Endothelial Cell Transdifferentiation: Phenotypic Characterization.” Differentiation 46: 117-133. McClare, C. W. F. (1974). “Resonance in Bioenergetics.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 227: 74-97. Null, G., Ph.D., C. Dean, M.D. N.D., et al. (2003). Death By Medicine. New York, Nutrition Institute of America. Oschman, J. L. (2000). Chapter 9: Vibrational Medicine. Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis. Edinburgh, Harcourt Publishers: 121-137.


Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity by Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods

Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, Law of Accelerating Returns, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, out of africa, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, smart cities, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, white flight, zero-sum game

Petraglia, “Inter-continental Variation in Acheulean Bifaces,” in Asian Paleoanthropology (New York: Springer, 2011), 49–55. 27. W. Amos, J. I. Hoffman, “Evidence That Two Main Bottleneck Events Shaped Modern Human Genetic Diversity,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2009). 28. A. Manica, W. Amos, F. Balloux, T. Hanihara, “The Effect of Ancient Population Bottlenecks on Human Phenotypic Variation,” Nature 448, 346–48 (2007). 29. S. H. Ambrose, “Late Pleistocene Human Population Bottlenecks, Volcanic Winter, and Differentiation of Modern Humans,” Journal of Human Evolution 34, 623–51 (1998), published online Epub1998/06/01/. 30. J. Krause, C. Lalueza-Fox, L. Orlando, W. Enard, R. E. Green, H. A. Burbano, J.-J. Hublin, C. Hänni, J. Fortea, M. De La Rasilla, “The Derived FOXP2 Variant of Modern Humans Was Shared with Neandertals,” Current Biology 17, 1908–12 (2007). 31.

Geiger, A. Evin, M. R. Sánchez-Villagra, D. Gascho, C. Mainini, C. P. Zollikofer, “Neomorphosis and Heterochrony of Skull Shape in Dog Domestication,” Scientific Reports 7, 13443 (2017). 5. E. Tchernov, L. K. Horwitz, “Body Size Diminution Under Domestication: Unconscious Selection in Primeval Domesticates,” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 10, 54–75 (1991). 6. L. Andersson, “Studying Phenotypic Evolution in Domestic Animals: A Walk in the Footsteps of Charles Darwin” in Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology (2010). 7. Helmut Hemmer, Domestication: The Decline of Environmental Appreciation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990). 8. Jared Diamond, “Evolution, Consequences and Future of Plant and Animal Domestication,” Nature 418, 700–707 (2002). 9. Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (New York: W.

Zollikofer, “Neomorphosis and Heterochrony of Skull Shape in Dog Domestication,” Scientific Reports 7, 13443 (2017). 12. L. Trut, I. Oskina, A. Kharlamova, “Animal Evolution During Domestication: The Domesticated Fox as a Model,” Bioessays 31, 349–60 (2009). 13. A. V. Kukekova, L. N. Trut, K. Chase, A. V. Kharlamova, J. L. Johnson, S. V. Temnykh, I. N. Oskina, R. G. Gulevich, A. V. Vladimirova, S. Klebanov, “Mapping Loci for Fox Domestication: Deconstruction/Reconstruction of a Behavioral Phenotype,” Behavior Genetics 41, 593–606 (2011). 14. A. V. Kukekova, J. L. Johnson, X. Xiang, S. Feng, S. Liu, H. M. Rando, A. V. Kharlamova, Y. Herbeck, N. A. Serdyukova, Z.J.N. Xiong, “Red Fox Genome Assembly Identifies Genomic Regions Associated with Tame and Aggressive Behaviours,” Evolution 2, 1479 (2018). 15. E. Shuldiner, I. J. Koch, R. Y. Kartzinel, A. Hogan, L. Brubaker, S. Wanser, D.


Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Advanced Guide to Building Muscle, Staying Lean, and Getting Strong by Michael Matthews

agricultural Revolution, fear of failure, G4S, Gary Taubes, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial

“Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for weight loss and heart disease risk reduction: a randomized trial.” Jama 293, no. 1 (2005): 43-53. 96. Blundell, John E., J. Cooling, and Neil A. King. “Differences in postprandial responses to fat and carbohydrate loads in habitual high and low fat consumers (phenotypes).” British Journal of Nutrition 88, no. 02 (2002): 125-132. 97. Cooling, J., and J. E. Blundell. “Lean male high-and low-fat phenotypes—different routes for achieving energy balance.” International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders 24, no. 12 (2000). 98. Blundell, John E., and John Cooling. “High-fat and low-fat (behavioural) phenotypes: biology or environment?.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 58, no. 04 (1999): 773-777. 99. Pittas, Anastassios G., and Susan B. Roberts. “Dietary composition and weight loss: can we individualize dietary prescriptions according to insulin sensitivity or secretion status?.”

Horton, Elliot Danforth Jr, James B. Young, and Lewis Landsberg. “Metabolic studies in human obesity during overnutrition and undernutrition: thermogenic and hormonal responses to norepinephrine.” Metabolism 35, no. 2 (1986): 166-175. 220. Keller, Andreas, Angela Graefen, Markus Ball, Mark Matzas, Valesca Boisguerin, Frank Maixner, Petra Leidinger et al. “New insights into the Tyrolean Iceman’s origin and phenotype as inferred by whole-genome sequencing.” Nature communications 3 (2012): 698. 221. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/08/100831-cannibalism-cannibal-cavemen-human-meat-science/ 222. Cordain, Loren, Janette Brand Miller, S. Boyd Eaton, Neil Mann, Susanne HA Holt, and John D. Speth. “Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets.”


A Natural History of Beer by Rob DeSalle

agricultural Revolution, British Empire, double helix, Drosophila, Louis Pasteur, microbiome, NP-complete, phenotype, placebo effect, wikimedia commons

But they much prefer to absorb fat from food because carb conversion from fat costs ten times more in energy expenditure. Some researchers contend that this insulin system evolved as a product of natural selection during times of periodic starvation. This is the basis of the so-called thrifty phenotype. Thrifty individuals have the physiological capacity to store fat very efficiently and can easily become overweight in bountiful times—although they will get by better in times of shortage. Non-thrifty phenotypes use up their fat stores more rapidly and tend to be leaner, but will starve more readily. Figure 12.2. The human gastrointestinal tract. When beer enters the mouth, its components start a circuitous route through the body (Figure 12.2). Once past the mouth, the beverage enters a part of the throat called the pharynx, then slides into the esophagus.

Six thousand years ago, barley farmers knew nothing of formal genetics, but they were smart and clearly knew enough about their plants to achieve the results they wanted. Breeders continue to grapple with the same two major kinds of traits: yield and quality. Yield traits include features like numbers of seeds set, capacity to breed multiple times a year, or the brittle seed character that, if mutated, allows for more efficient harvesting. Quality traits are those that impact the protein content, oil content, or any other phenotype concerned with the nutritive content of the plant. During the twentieth century, barley breeders were still using their knowledge of classical genetics to facilitate breeding in a tedious and labor-intensive process. With the rise of genomic technology, and the ease with which it can be applied to large numbers of lines and landraces, a very different approach to barley and other grain breeding has now become possible, using cheaper and faster techniques.

As noted previously, aldehyde is toxic to our bodies; and if someone with the ALDH2.2 variant drinks a beer, acetaldehyde will accumulate in his or her tissues. An array of physiological responses results, the most visible being flushing of the face. People with this variant learn to shun alcohol because it causes discomfort and even pain. The CYP2E1 gene, too, has variants that have been implicated in alcohol avoidance. The protein this gene produces is active in the brain, and people with the variant phenotype become tipsy with very little alcohol in their systems. If they are smart, they stop drinking after the first couple of beers. People with variant CYP2E1 and ALDH2.2 genes tend not to become alcoholics, for obvious reasons. Among the rest of the population, any tendency toward alcoholism seems to be determined in a very complex manner. In an attempt to decipher its genetic basis, scientists have used an approach called a genome-wide association study (GWAS), which allows comparison of whole genome sequences of hundreds of individuals both with and without alcoholism.


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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, lifelogging, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce

Yes, says Dawkins, if this means “any gene that influences the development of nervous systems in such a way as to make them likely to behave altruistically.”♦ Such genes—these replicators, these survivors—know nothing about altruism and nothing about reading, of course. Whatever and wherever they are, their phenotypic effects matter only insofar as they help the genes propagate. Molecular biology, in its signal achievement, had pinpointed the gene in a protein-encoding piece of DNA. This was the hardware definition. The software definition was older and fuzzier: the unit of heredity; the bearer of a phenotypic difference. With the two definitions uneasily coexisting, Dawkins looked past them both. If genes are meant to be masters of survival, they can hardly be fragments of nucleic acid. Such things are fleeting. To say that a replicator manages to survive for eons is to define the replicator as all the copies considered as one.

♦ “THERE IS A MOLECULAR ARCHEOLOGY IN THE MAKING”: Werner R. Loewenstein, The Touchstone of Life: Molecular Information, Cell Communication, and the Foundations of Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 93–94. ♦ “SELECTION FAVORS THOSE GENES WHICH SUCCEED”: Richard Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype, rev. ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 117. ♦ DAWKINS SUGGESTS THE CASE OF A GENE: Ibid., 196–97. ♦ THERE IS NO GENE FOR LONG LEGS: Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 37. ♦ HABIT OF SAYING “A GENE FOR X”: Richard Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype, 21. ♦ “ALL WE WOULD NEED IN ORDER”: Ibid., 23. ♦ “ANY GENE THAT INFLUENCES THE DEVELOPMENT OF NERVOUS SYSTEMS”: Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 60. ♦ “IT IS NO MORE LIKELY TO DIE”: Ibid., 34. ♦ “TODAY THE TENDENCY IS TO SAY”: Max Delbrück, “A Physicist Looks At Biology,” Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 38 (1949): 194. 11.

And it is harder still to specify genes for more complex qualities—genes for obesity or aggression or nest building or braininess or homosexuality. Are there genes for such things? Not if a gene is a particular strand of DNA that expresses a protein. Strictly speaking, one cannot say there are genes for almost anything—not even eye color. Instead, one should say that differences in genes tend to cause differences in phenotype (the actualized organism). But from the earliest days of the study of heredity, scientists have spoken of genes more broadly. If a population varies in some trait—say, tallness—and if the variation is subject to natural selection, then by definition it is at least partly genetic. There is a genetic component to the variation in tallness. There is no gene for long legs; there is no gene for a leg at all.♦ To build a leg requires many genes, each issuing instructions in the form of proteins, some making raw materials, some making timers and on-off switches.


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Life's Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code by Matthew Cobb

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, anti-communist, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, phenotype, post-materialism, Stephen Hawking

Nearly forty years on, I am still interested in the non-genetic transmission of information down the generations and the underlying mechanisms – one of my PhD students, Becky Lockyer, has recently studied them in Drosophila.17 The existence of intergenerational transmission of environmentally induced changes is now well established, and it is known that these effects can buffer populations of organisms against rapid environmental change before new adaptations evolve.18 They form part of the complex route from DNA to phenotype, presenting biologists with fascinating examples of plasticity – how a given DNA sequence can generate a variety of different phenotypes. Some of these effects can be thought-provoking, like the study I heard about in 1977. For example, in 2009 Larry Feig’s group at Tufts University in Boston reported that if female rats were given an enriched environment during their adolescence, their offspring – conceived after the enrichment had ceased – showed an increased learning ability.

In his 1957 talk, Crick pointed to the handful of proteins that had thus far been sequenced in more than one organism and made a leap of the imagination that eventually transformed how we study evolution: Biologists should realise that before long we shall have a subject which might be called ‘protein taxonomy’ – the study of the amino acid sequences of the proteins of an organism and the comparison of them between species. It can be argued that these sequences are the most delicate expression possible of the phenotype of an organism and that vast amounts of evolutionary information may be hidden away within them.34 Crick was right. Today, protein fragments from the depths of time, such as bits of collagen from Tyrannosaurus rex, can be used to study evolution.35 Burnet’s contribution to evolutionary biology was less dramatic but equally insightful. In the pages of Enzyme, Antigen and Virus, Burnet described the Watson–Crick model of the genetic code – that is, of a relation between a sequence of four nucleotide bases in the nucleic acid and the near-infinite structure of proteins – as ‘faintly unsatisfactory’.36 What exactly was ‘unsatisfactory’ – apart from the fact that the genetic code was still unbroken – Burnet did not explain.

As a consequence, some philosophers and scientists have suggested that we need a new definition of ‘gene’, and have come up with various complex alternatives.86 Most biologists have ignored these suggestions, just as they passed over the argument by Pontecorvo and Lederberg in the 1950s that the term ‘gene’ was obsolete.87 In 2006, a group of scientists came up with a cumbersome definition of ‘gene’ that sought to cover most of the meanings: ‘A locatable region of genomic sequence, corresponding to a unit of inheritance, which is associated with regulatory regions, transcribed regions and/or other functional sequence regions.’88 In reality, definitions such as ‘a stretch of DNA that is transcribed into RNA’, or ‘a DNA segment that contributes to phenotype/function’, seem to work in most circumstances.89 There are exceptions, but biologists are used to exceptions, which are found in every area of the study of life. The chaotic varieties of elements in our genome resist simple definitions because they have evolved over billions of years and have been continually sieved by natural selection. This explains why nucleic acids and the cellular systems that are required for them to function do not have the same strictly definable nature as the fundamental units of physics or chemistry


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The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry by Gary Greenberg

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, back-to-the-land, David Brooks, impulse control, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, Kickstarter, late capitalism, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, McMansion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, selection bias, statistical model, theory of mind, Winter of Discontent

“Ellen said, ‘Oh, God, what a terrible name!’” Ellen was Ellen Leibenluft, a psychiatrist at NIMH. In 2003, she and a group of colleagues tried to tease out the manic from the irritable among kids who were getting snared in Biederman’s expanded net. They looked for ways (other than the mania/irritability distinction) in which the two populations differed and proposed a “broad phenotype” that described the nonmanic patients. They called this phenotype “severe mood and behavioral dysregulation” and proposed “multisite clinical trials” to test whether the category was valid—whether, that is, the children would differ from one another not only according to their symptoms but also according to their family histories, the course of their troubles, and their response to treatment. There was already some suggestive, if preliminary, evidence on this last question: “that children with the broad phenotype10 may respond well to stimulants”—to the old standbys Ritalin and Adderall, in other words, rather than to Biederman’s pet drug Risperdal and the other antipsychotics.

“This was the stupidest idea in the world”: Allen Frances telephone interview, November 23, 2011. 6. “After the third or fourth”: Herb Peyser interview, January 23, 2012. 7. Freud once said: See Freud, The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious. 8. “orderly and democratic process”: David Shaffer interview, December 8, 2011. 9. “David probably misinterpreted”: Allen Frances e-mail, January 23, 2012. 10. “that children with the broad phenotype”: Leibenluft et al., “Defining Clinical Phenotypes of Juvenile Mania,” 436. 11. “claim to define a new diagnosis”: Leibenluft, “Severe Mood Dysregulation,” 131. 12. “Justification for Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria”: “Justification for Temper Dysregulation Disorder,” http://www.dsm5.org/Proposed%20Revision%20Attachments/Justification%20for%20Temper%20Dysregulation%20Disorder%20with%20Dysphoria.pdf. 13. it announced a new “naming convention”: American Psychiatric Association, “APA Modifies DSM Naming Convention to Reflect Publication Changes,” news release, March 9, 2010. 14.

“DSM-IV Field Trials for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” American Journal of Psychiatry 151, no. 11 (1994): 1673–85. Leibenluft, Ellen. “Severe Mood Dysregulation, Irritability, and the Diagnostic Boundaries of Bipolar Disorder in Youths.” American Journal of Psychiatry 168, no. 2 (February 2011): 129–42. Leibenluft, Ellen, Donald S. Charney, Kenneth E. Towbin, Robinder K. Banghoo, and Daniel S. Pine. “Defining Clinical Phenotypes of Juvenile Mania.” American Journal of Psychiatry 160, no. 3 (2003): 430–37. Lethem, Jonathan. The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc. New York: Doubleday, 2011. LeVay, Simon. Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996. Livesley, W. John. “Confusion and Incoherence in the Classification of Personality Disorder.” Psychological Injury and Law 3, no. 4 (2010): 304–13.


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The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock

Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia

Scientists may pretend to deplore the New Age, but that does not stop them reading its publications and in no time Gaia’s face was turned to the wall, especially in the neo‐Darwinist community of scientists. Neither Lynn Margulis nor I could make a convincing defence – partly because, as we had stated it, the Gaia hypothesis was wrong. We had said that organisms, or the biosphere, regulated the Earth’s climate and composition. Somewhat later, in his book The Extended Phenotype, Richard Dawkins showed that this was impossible. He said it so well and clearly that the subject was then regarded by the scientific community as closed. Richard Dawkins is an extraordinarily talented author and persuader and in his book he vented his scorn on the Gaia hypothesis with the powerful erudition that he now uses to censure theology. From then on it became impossible to publish any paper on it in a mainstream journal; the peer reviewers were convinced by Dawkins and other eminent biologists that Gaia was mere New Age fantasy.

He promised that if it were of the quality of the Daisyworld paper it would be published in Nature. He was true to his word and the next paper on the topic was one I wrote with Robert Charlson, Meinrat Andreae and Steven Warren on the connection between clouds, condensation nuclei, dimethyl sulphide and its source, ocean algae. I accepted Dawkins’ criticism that there was no way for life or the biosphere to regulate anything beyond the phenotype of its component individual organisms. So what on Earth was doing the regulating? I had no doubt that climate and chemistry were regulated, so what did it if not life? As I have explained earlier, the traditional Earth scientists, led by James Walker and H. D. Holland, were sure that regulation was done by geochemistry and geophysics alone and that life was a mere passenger or at most a contributor.

Kump, Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming (DK Publishing, Inc., New York, 2008) Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report (Island Press, Washington, DC, 2005) Sir Crispin Tickell, Climate Change and World Affairs (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1986) 3 Consequences and Survival Sir David Attenborough, Life on Earth (HarperCollins, London, 1979) Richard Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype (W. H. Freeman, Oxford and San Francisco, 1982) Brian Fagan, The Long Summer (Granta, London, 2005) Richard Fortey, The Earth (Harper Collins, London, 2004) Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth (Bloomsbury, London, 2006) Tim Lenton and W. von Bloh, ‘Biotic Feedback Extends Lifespan of Biosphere’, Geophysical Research Letters (2001) James Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia (Allen Lane/Penguin, London, 2006) Fred Pearce, When the Rivers Run Dry (Transworld, London, 2006) H.


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The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter by Joseph Henrich

agricultural Revolution, capital asset pricing model, Climategate, cognitive bias, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, demographic transition, endowment effect, experimental economics, experimental subject, Flynn Effect, impulse control, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Nash equilibrium, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, profit maximization, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, side project, social intelligence, social web, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, ultimatum game

One of the debates in this literature involves opposing “innate” and “learned” in explaining our abilities and behaviors. As we’ll see, much behavior is both 100% innate and 100% learned. For example, humans have clearly evolved to walk on two legs, and it’s one of our species’ behavioral signatures. Yet we also clearly learn to walk. From natural selection’s point of view, it only cares that the phenotype it “wants” emerges when it needs it. To get there, it will use learning, attention biases, motivational changes, anatomical adjustments, inferential biases, and pain responses to make sure that the required developmental processes run to completion, on schedule. Thus, showing that something is learned only tells us about the developmental process but not about whether it was favored by natural selection acting on genes.

For a textbook treatment of this aspect, see Boyd and Silk 2012. 18. Recently, the journalist Nicholas Wade (2014) has sought to argue that continental races do indeed capture behaviorally important genetic variation in humans. Wade combines three lines of evidence: (1) analyses of global genetic variation, (2) specific cases of natural selection favoring locally or regionally adaptive traits, as discussed in this chapter, and (3) phenotypic differences in behavior, psychology, or biology (IQ, Aggression, etc.). His first line of evidence uses recent analyses of global samples to establish a genetic reality for classical continental races. And, yes, there is continental-level genetic variation, but as I’ll explain, that doesn’t imply natural selection is operating to differentiate these continental populations. Then Wade points to the local cases in which natural selection can be more or less isolated as the cause of particular genetic changes.

Vallone, and A. Tversky. 1985. “The hot hand in basketball: On the misperception of random sequences.” Cognitive Psychology 17 (3):295–314. Giuliano, P., and A. Alesina. 2010. “The power of the family.” Journal of Economic Growth 15 (2):93–125. Gizer, I. R., H. J. Edenberg, D. A. Gilder, K. C. Wilhelmsen, and C. L. Ehlers. 2011. “Association of alcohol dehydrogenase genes with alcohol-related phenotypes in a Native American community sample.” Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 35 (11):2008–2018. Gneezy, A., and D. M. T. Fessler. 2011. “Conflict, sticks and carrots: war increases prosocial punishments and rewards.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.0805. Gneezy, U., and A. Rustichini. 2000. “A fine is a price.” Journal of Legal Studies 29 (1):1–17.


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Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane

Benoit Mandelbrot, clockwork universe, double helix, Drosophila, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, out of africa, phenotype, random walk, Richard Feynman, stem cell, unbiased observer

In this case, the individual cell can be said to persist from one generation to the next, whereas accumulat- 194 The Troubled Birth of the Individual ing mutations mean that the genes themselves do change. In fact, in physically stressful circumstances, bacteria can even speed up the mutation rate in their genes. So there is a dilemma in bacteria about whether selection is ‘for’ the genes or the cell as a whole. In many respects the cell is the replicator. Mutations in a gene don’t necessarily change the phenotype (the function or appearance of the organism) but by definition they must change the gene itself, perhaps even scrambling its sequence out of recognition over aeons. Mutations accumulate because many of them have little or no effect on function, and so go unnoticed by natural selection—they are said to be ‘neutral’. Most of the genetic differences between people, on average one in every 1000 DNA letters, millions of letters in total, are likely to result from neutral mutations.

It’s like returning to a company that you once worked for, to discover that none of your former colleagues still works there, but that the type of business, ethos, and management structures are exactly as you remembered them, a ghostly echo of the past. Because genes can change, while the cell and its constituents remain essentially unchanged, the bacterial cell might be considered more stable an evolutionary unit than its genes. For example, cyanobacteria (the bacteria that ‘invented’ photosynthesis) have certainly changed their gene sequences over evolution, but if the fossil evidence can be believed, the phenotype has barely changed over billions of years. If, as Dawkins has argued, the worst enemy of the selfish gene is a competitive (polymorphic, or altered) form of the same gene, then neutral mutations are the selfish gene scrambler par excellence: gene sequences diverge over time as neutral mutations accumulate. There may be millions of different forms of the same gene in different species, all scrambled to varying degrees; this is the basis of any gene tree.

But the ideal of collaboration does not give proper weight to the conflict between the various selfish entities that make up an individual, and in particular to the cells and mitochondria within the cells. While conflict between various selfish entities is entirely in keeping with Dawkins’s philosophy, he did not develop the idea in The Selfish Gene—these ideas awaited his own later book The Extended Phenotype, and in the 1980s and 1990s the important work of Yale biologist Leo Buss and others. Thanks to the exploration of such conflicts and their resolutions, evolutionary biologists now appreciate that colonies of cells (or genes, if you like) do not constitute true individuals, but rather form a looser association, in which individual cells may still act independently. For example, multicellular colonies like sponges often fragment into bits, each of which is able to establish a new colony.


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In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer's by Joseph Jebelli

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, double helix, epigenetics, global pandemic, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, phenotype, placebo effect, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Skype, stem cell, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

., ‘Effect of curcumin-associated and lipid ligand-functionalized nanoliposomes on aggregation of the Alzheimer’s Aβ peptide’. 10. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, p. 316. Chapter 21: Clues from Colombia 1. Lemere, Lopera, et al., ‘The E280A presenilin 1 Alzheimer mutation produces increased A beta 42 deposition and severe cerebellar pathology’. 2. Sepulveda-Falla, Glatzel, Lopera, ‘Phenotypic profile of early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease caused by presenilin-1 E280A mutation’. 3. Belluck, ‘Alzheimer’s Stalks a Colombian Family’. Chapter 22: Alzheimer’s Legacy 1. Brookmeyer, Johnson, et al., ‘Forecasting the global burden of Alzheimer’s disease’. 2. Zissimopoulos, Crimmins, St Clair, ‘The value of delaying Alzheimer’s disease onset’. 3. De Strooper and Karran, ‘The cellular phase of Alzheimer’s disease’. 4.

., ‘Prion-like behavior of amyloid-β’, Science, 330 (6006), 2010, 918–19 Klunk, W. E., Engler, H., Nordberg, A., Wang, Y., Blomqvist, G., Holt, D. P.,… Långström, B., ‘Imaging brain amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease with Pittsburgh Compound-B’, Annals of Neurology, 55 (3), 2004, 306–19 Kondo, T., Asai, M., Tsukita, K., Kutoku, Y., Ohsawa, Y., Sunada, Y.,… Inoue, H., ‘Modeling Alzheimer’s disease with iPSCs reveals stress phenotypes associated with intracellular Abeta and differential drug responsiveness’, Cell Stem Cell, 12 (4), 2013, 487–96 Kuhn, T. S., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, 2012 Lambert, J. C., Ibrahim-Verbaas, C. A., Harold, D., Naj, A. C., Sims, R., Bellenguez, C.,… Amouyel, P., ‘Meta-analysis of 74,046 individuals identifies 11 new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer’s disease’, Nature Genetics, 45 (12), 2013, 1452–8 Lane, N., Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, Oxford University Press, 2006 Lapillonne, H., Kobari, L., Mazurier, C., Tropel, P., Giarratana, M.

., The Stress of Life, McGraw-Hill/Schaum’s Outlines, 1978 Seok, J., Warren, H. S., Cuenca, A. G., Mindrinos, M. N., Baker, H. V., Xu, W.,… Host Response to Injury, L. S. C. R. P., ‘Genomic responses in mouse models poorly mimic human inflammatory diseases’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 (9), 2013, 3507–12 Sepulveda-Falla, D., Glatzel, M., Lopera, F., ‘Phenotypic profile of early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease caused by presenilin-1 E280A mutation’, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 32 (1), 2012, 1–12 Shahim, P., Tegner, Y., Wilson, D. H., Randall, J., Skillback, T., Pazooki, D.,… Zetterberg, H., ‘Blood biomarkers for brain injury in concussed professional ice hockey players’, JAMA Neurology, 71 (6), 2014, 684–92 Shelley, M., Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus, Penguin Classics, 2003 Shen, H., ‘Studies cast doubt on cancer drug as Alzheimer’s treatment’, Nature, 23 May 2013, online: www.nature.com/news/studies-cast-doubt-on-cancer-drug-as-alzheimer-s-treatment-1.13058 Shenk, D., The Forgetting: Alzheimer’s: Portrait of an Epidemic, Anchor Books, 2001 Sherrington, R., Rogaev, E.


When Computers Can Think: The Artificial Intelligence Singularity by Anthony Berglas, William Black, Samantha Thalind, Max Scratchmann, Michelle Estes

3D printing, AI winter, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, blue-collar work, brain emulation, call centre, cognitive bias, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, create, read, update, delete, cuban missile crisis, David Attenborough, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, factory automation, feminist movement, finite state, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, industrial robot, Isaac Newton, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, natural language processing, Parkinson's law, patent troll, patient HM, pattern recognition, phenotype, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, zero day

There are also heterochromatic portions of the human genome which are so repetitive and long that they cannot be accurately sequenced with current technology. These regions contain few genes, and probably have no significant effect on an organism’s phenotype (i.e. its observable embodiment as opposed to its DNA or genotype). Non gene-producing fragments tend to be much more variable between individuals, which is what one would expect if there is no evolutionary pressure to keep them consistent. That said, more recent research (such as the ENCODE project) suggests that about 18% of the non-coding regions may indeed have some phenotypic effect. It appears that evolution takes what it finds, and if some random sequence of DNA can be interpreted in a meaningful way then that interpretation is utilized. Chimpanzee intelligence Whatever the exact proportion of DNA that is meaningful, only a small proportion appears to have anything to do with intelligence (say 10%).

Evidence for this includes the recently discovered small 1,200 base pair non-gene segment of human DNA known as HARE 5 which substantially increase the size of the neocortex of genetically modified mice. If we assume that there is a total of 700 megabytes of information in the genome, of which 20% is meaningful, 10% relates to intelligence, and 2% is different from Chimpanzees, then the total difference between human and chimpanzee intelligence forming DNA is about 0.3 megabytes of real data. In computer software terms this is very tiny indeed. Yet the difference in phenotype could not be more remarkable. While chimpanzees can be taught basic sign language skills and solve non-trivial problems, their basic intelligence seems much closer to that of dogs and horses than man’s. Chimpanzees can learn to use simple tools and form social groups, but man can solve differential equations and fly to the moon. Chimps are an endangered species while man rules the planet. There is something very special about that 0.3 megabytes of genome.

Moreover, minor changes to the formula produce wildly different pictures, most of which are quite uninteresting. This limits the ability of similar tricks to be used in the mapping between our genome and our intelligence. Natural selection works by making small, incremental changes to an organism’s DNA, which may result in small, incremental improvements to the organism. This means there has to be a relatively direct and robust relationship between our genotype and our phenotype. Evolution just could not work with a too highly-packed, fractal-like representation because making any small change to the gene sequence would produce a radically different brain. It would require chancing upon just the right formula in one go, which is virtually impossible. Repeated patterns What does happen is that genes define a pattern that then gets replicated multiple times. There are 86 billion neurons, but only a few dozen different types of neurons.


Global Catastrophic Risks by Nick Bostrom, Milan M. Cirkovic

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, availability heuristic, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black Swan, carbon-based life, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, death of newspapers, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, Doomsday Clock, Drosophila, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, feminist movement, framing effect, friendly AI, Georg Cantor, global pandemic, global village, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, P = NP, peak oil, phenotype, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, South China Sea, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Tunguska event, twin studies, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty, Westphalian system, Y2K

The task of changing even a tiny fraction of these genes would be enormous, especially since each such change could lead to dangerous and unexpected side effects. It is far more likely that our growing understanding of gene function will enable us to design specific drugs and other compounds that can produce desirable changes in our phenotypes and that these changes will be sufficiently easy and inexpensive that they will not be confined to a genetic elite (Wills, 1998) . Even such milder phenotypic manipulations are fraught with danger, however, as we have seen from the negative effects that steroid and growth hormone treatments have had on athletes. Second, the likelihood that a 'genetic elite' will become established seems remote. The modest narrow (selectable) heritability of IQ mentioned earlier shows the difficulty of establishing a genetic elite through selection.

Evolution depends on the fact that genetic material does not replicate precisely, and that errors are inevitably introduced as genes are passed from one generation to the next. I n the absence o f mutation, evolutionary change would slow and eventually stop. The effects of mutations are not necessarily correlated with the sizes of the mutational changes themselves. Single changes in the base sequence of DNA can have no effect or profound effects on the phenotype - the allelic differences that affect skin colour, as discussed in Section 3 . 1 , can be traced to a single alteration in a base from G to A, changing one amino acid in the protein from an alanine to a threonine. At the other end ofthe spectrum, entire doublings of chromosome number, which take place commonly in plants and less often in animals, can disturb development dramatically - human babies who have twice the normal number of chromosomes die soon after birth.

One intriguing direction for current and future human evolution that has received little or no attention is selection for intellectual diversity. The measurement of human intellectual capabilities, and their heritability, is at a primitive stage. The heritability of i Q has received a great deal of attention, but a recent meta-analysis estimates broad heritability of IQ to be 0.5 and narrow heritability (the component of heritability that measures selectable phenotypic variation) to be as low as 0.34 (Devlin et al., 1997). But IQ is only one aspect of human intelligence, and other aspects of intelligence need investigation. Daniel Goleman has proposed that social intelligence, the ability to interact with others, is at least as important as I Q (Goleman, 1995 ), and Howard Gardner has explored multiple intelligences ranging from artistic and musical through political to mechanical (Gardner, 1993).


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What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

Richard Lenski, at Michigan State University, has been performing this very experiment in his lab. What he has found is that, in general, multiple runs of evolution produced similar traits in the phenotype—the outward body of the bacteria. Changes in the genotype occurred in roughly the same places, though the exact coding was often different. This suggests a convergence of broad form with details left to chance. Lenski is not the only scientist doing experiments like this. Others’ experiments show similar results from parallel evolution: Instead of getting novelty each time, you get what one scientific paper calls “the convergence of multiple evolving lines on similar phenotypes.” As geneticist Sean Carroll concludes, “Evolution can and does repeat itself at the levels of structures and patterns, as well as of individual genes. . . .

: David Darling. (2001) Life Everywhere: The Maverick Science of Astrobiology. New York: Basic Books, p. 130. 118 “where there is carbon-based life”: Michael Denton and Craig Marshall. (2001) “Laws of Form Revisited.” Nature, 410 (6827). http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/35068645. 120 “encoded implicitly in the genome”: Lynn Helena Caporale. (2003) “Natural Selection and the Emergence of a Mutation Phenotype: An Update of the Evolutionary Synthesis Considering Mechanisms That Affect Genomic Variation.” Annual Review of Microbiology, 57 (1). 121 from the same starting point: (2009) “Skeuomorph.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Skeuomorph&oldid=340233294. 122 “the embodiment of contingency”: Stephen Jay Gould. (1989) Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and Nature of History.

New York: Basic Books, pp. xv, xviii. 126 “becomes increasingly inevitable”: Simon Conway Morris. (2004) Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. New York: Cambridge University Press, p. xiii. 127 with details left to chance: Richard E. Lenski. (2008) “Chance and Necessity in Evolution.” The Deep Structure of Biology, ed. Simon Conway Morris. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Foundation. 127 “lines on similar phenotypes”: Sean C. Sleight, Christian Orlic, et al. (2008) “Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Adaptation by Escherichia Coli to Stressful Cycles of Freezing, Thawing and Growth.” Genetics, 180 (1). http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/abstract/180/1/431. 127 “all outcomes would be different”: Sean Carroll. (2008) The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution. New York: W. W.


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Iron Sunrise by Stross, Charles

blood diamonds, dumpster diving, gravity well, hiring and firing, industrial robot, life extension, loose coupling, mass immigration, mutually assured destruction, phenotype, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, RFID, side project, speech recognition, technological singularity, trade route, urban sprawl, zero-sum game

Says here he impersonates a pre-holocaust emperor called Idi Amin, uh, Idi Amin Dada. There’s a release about reinterpreting the absurdist elements of the Ugandan proletarian reformation dialectic through the refracting lens of neo-Dadaist ideological situationism.” “Whatever that means. Okay. Next question, where was this guy born? Where did he come from? What does he do?” “He was born somewhere in Paraguay. He’s had extensive phenotype surgery to make himself resemble his role model, the Last King of Scotland or President of Uganda or whoever he was. Got a brochure from one of his performances here — says he tries to act as an emulation platform for the original Idi Amin’s soul.” “And now he’s gone crazy, right? Can you dig anything up about the history of the original Mister Amin? Sounds Islamicist to me. Was he an Arab or something?”

She snapped her fingers, fuming angrily. Don’t ghost out on me now! His shoulder felt like a joint of uncooked meat, solid and immobile. There was a nasty stench in the air — if he’d lost bowel control already, that meant he was farther along than she’d wanted. “Witness for the Propagation, I request access to this one’s lineage. While the instance vector has proven unreliable, I believe with suitable guidance the phenotype may prove stable and effective.” Bayreuth was blinking at her in surprise. The Propagator nodded. “Your request has been received,” she said distantly. “A reproductive license is under consideration. Or were you thinking of a clone?” “No, recombination only.” Hoechst leaned closer, staring into U. Vannevar Scott’s eyes, remembering earlier days, more innocent, both of them interns on the staff of an ubermensch — stolen nights, sleepless days, the guilt-free pleasure before responsibility became a curse.

Her words struck home. “Boss, I—” “Silence.” She watched him over the rim of her glass, green eyes narrowed. Sweat-spiked black hair, high cheekbones, full red lips, narrow waist: a warrior’s body held in a sheath of silk that had taken master couturiers a month to stitch. She had the inhumanly symmetrical features that only a first-line clade could afford to buy for the alpha instances of their phenotype. “I brought you here because I think we may have gotten off on the wrong foot when we were first introduced.” Franz sat frozen in his chair, the glass of scotch — worth a small fortune, for it had been imported across more than two hundred light years — clutched in his right hand. “I’m not sure I understand you.” “I think you do.” Hoechst watched him, unblinking except for the occasional flicker of her nictitating membranes.


A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna, Samuel H. Sternberg

3D printing, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, carbon footprint, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, double helix, Drosophila, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, mouse model, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker

Unlike micropigs, whose health is no different than their normal-size relatives, extensive inbreeding of dogs has had devastating health consequences. Labradors are prone to some thirty genetic conditions, 60 percent of golden retrievers succumb to cancer, beagles are commonly afflicted with epilepsy, and Cavalier King Charles spaniels suffer from seizures and persistent pain due to their deformed skulls. These poignant medical problems haven’t kept humans from letting tastes dictate the genotype and phenotype of humankind’s best friend. Whatever one thinks of them, gene-edited cats and dogs—created with the help of biotechnology—are just around the corner. In late 2015, scientists in Guangzhou, China, reported the first application of CRISPR in beagles, using it to enhance muscle mass by knocking out the same myostatin gene linked to double muscling in whippet dogs and Belgian Blue cows. The two puppies that contained the intended mutations were named Hercules and Tiangou, in honor of the superhuman hero of Greek mythology and the heavenly dog in Chinese mythology.

Thus, unlike CRISPR, the technology of somatic cell nuclear transfer was effectively self-limiting due to the extensive expertise it required. Finally, enthusiasm for making changes to the DNA of future humans was a natural outgrowth of breakthroughs in human genetics, especially the sequencing of the human genome. This incredible development made many people think that geneticists would soon be able to find the root causes of once-mysterious diseases as well as the genetic code for a much broader range of human phenotypes, from physical traits to cognitive ones. Once we fully understood the genetic factors that determine human health and performance, we might be able to select for—or perhaps even engineer—embryos with a genetic composition different than that of their parents. Better than that of their parents. Or so some scientists hoped. I, for one, was skeptical about what I saw as blind optimism in this pre-CRISPR era, with some gushing about the possibilities of reshaping the germline without pausing to consider the consequences.

., “Myostatin Mutation Associated with Gross Muscle Hypertrophy in a Child,” New England Journal of Medicine 350 (2004): 2682–88. editing the myostatin gene in normal individuals to unleash enhanced, superhuman strength: E. P. Zehr, “The Man of Steel, Myostatin, and Super Strength,” Scientific American, June 14, 2013. gene-edited pigs had over 10 percent more lean meat than their unedited counterparts: L. Qian et al., “Targeted Mutations in Myostatin by Zinc-Finger Nucleases Result in Double-Muscled Phenotype in Meishan Pigs,”Scientific Reports 5 (2015): 14435. The scientists performed gene editing in a breed of goats known as Shannbei: X. Wang et al., “Generation of Gene-Modified Goats Targeting MSTN and FGF5 via Zygote Injection of CRISPR/Cas9 System,”Scientific Reports 5 (2015): 13878. so that chickens produce only females: S. Reardon, “Welcome to the CRISPR Zoo,” Nature News, March 9, 2016. porcine genomes are being modified so that pigs can be fattened with less food: A.


pages: 309 words: 101,190

Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward

Buckminster Fuller, computer age, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, industrial robot, invention of radio, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, phenotype, Robert X Cringely, stem cell, trade route

CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE By the Same Author THE SELFISH GENE THE EXTENDED PHENOTYPE THE BLIND WATCHMAKER RIVER OUT OF EDEN Original drawings by Lalla Ward CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE Richard Dawkins W. W. Norton & Company New York London Copyright © 1996 by Richard Dawkins Original drawings copyright © 1996 by Lalla Ward All rights reserved First published as a Norton 1997 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Dawkins, Richard, 1941— Climbing mount improbable / Richard Dawkins; original drawings by Lalla Ward. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN: 978-0-393-31682-7 1. Natural selection. 2. Evolutionary genetics. 3. Morphogenesis. I. Title. QH375.D376 1996 575.01’62—dc20 96—19138 CIP W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110 www.wwnorton.com W.

These mutations deserve to be called macro-mutations, and they have evidently been incorporated in evolution because all these snakes exist. They are DC8 mutations because they involve the duplication of existing complexity, not the 747 invention of new complexity. There is something that could come to the evolutionary aid of the freak macro-mutant, namely the fact that the effect of a given gene depends upon the other genes that are present in the same body. The effect of a gene on a body, its so-called phenotypic effect, is not written on its surface. There is nothing in the DNA code of the achondroplasia gene that a molecular biologist could decode as ‘short’ or ‘dwarf’. It has the effect of making limbs short only when surrounded by lots of other genes, to say nothing of other features of the environment. A gene’s meaning is context-dependent. The embryo develops in a climate produced by all the genes.

X. (1992) Accidental Empires. London: Viking. Cronin, H. (1991) The Ant and the Peacock. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dance, S. P. (1992) Shells. London: Dorling Kindersley. Darwin, C. (1859) The Origin of Species. Harmondsworth (1968): Penguin. Darwin, C. (1882) The Various Contrivances by Which Orchids are Fertilised by Insects. London: John Murray. Dawkins, R. (1982) The Extended Phenotype. Oxford: W. H. Freeman. Dawkins, R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. Harlow: Longman. Dawkins, R. (1989) ‘The evolution of evolvability’. In Artificial Life. (Ed. C. Langton.) Santa Fe: Addison-Wesley. Dawkins, R. (1989) The Selfish Gene. (2nd edn) Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dawkins, R. (1995) River Out of Eden. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Dennett, D. C. (1995) Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.


The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins

Alfred Russel Wallace, Andrew Wiles, Arthur Eddington, back-to-the-land, Claude Shannon: information theory, correlation does not imply causation, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Danny Hillis, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental subject, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, invisible hand, Louis Pasteur, out of africa, phenotype, Thomas Malthus

Also by Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene The Extended Phenotype The Blind Watchmaker River Out of Eden Climbing Mount Improbable Unweaving the Rainbow A Devil’s Chaplain The Ancestor’s Tale The God Delusion THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH THE EVIDENCE FOR EVOLUTION RICHARD DAWKINS For Josh Timonen FREE PRESS A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1230 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 Copyright © 2009 by Richard Dawkins Originally published in Great Britain in 2009 by Bantam Press an imprint of Transworld Publishers All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Free Press Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 First Free Press hardcover edition September 2009 FREE PRESS and colophon are trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

At the same time, paradoxically, ill-informed opposition is also stronger than I can remember. This book is my personal summary of the evidence that the ‘theory’ of evolution is actually a fact – as incontrovertible a fact as any in science. It is not the first book I have written about evolution, and I need to explain what’s different about it. It could be described as my missing link. The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype offered an unfamiliar vision of the familiar theory of natural selection, but they didn’t discuss the evidence for evolution itself. My next three books, in their different ways, sought to identify, and dissolve, the main barriers to understanding. These books, The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden and (my favourite of the three) Climbing Mount Improbable, answered questions like, ‘What is the use of half an eye?’

Please provide us with evidence of this or explain how it is linked to the advancement of humanism and rationalism.’ Religious organizations, by contrast, are assumed to benefit humanity without any obligation to demonstrate it and even, apparently, if they are actively engaged in promoting scientific falsehood. NOTES PREFACE p. vii offered an unfamiliar vision: The Selfish Gene (1976; 30th anniversary edn 2006) and The Extended Phenotype (rev. edn 1999). p. vii My next three books: The Blind Watchmaker (1986), River Out of Eden (1995) and Climbing Mount Improbable (1996). p. vii My largest book: The Ancestor’s Tale (2004). CHAPTER 1: ONLY A THEORY? p. 5 In 2004 we wrote a joint article in the Sunday Times : ‘Education: questionable foundations’, Sunday Times, 20 June 2004. p. 12 ‘Occasionally, I get a letter from someone’: Sagan (1996).


pages: 694 words: 197,804

The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis by Julie Holland

Berlin Wall, Burning Man, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, mandatory minimum, Maui Hawaii, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, publication bias, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Stephen Hawking, University of East Anglia, zero-sum game

Cannabis plants can also be grown from vegetative cuttings (asexual reproduction, also known as cloning, in which a small part of a plant is used to develop a complete plant) (Clarke 1993; Potter 2004). The use of vegetative cuttings is used to preserve unique characteristics, as the new plant will have the same genotype (genetic composition) and thus the potential for the same phenotypic characteristics as the plant it was taken from, though a different environment may change the plant appearance and chemistry. Offspring of sexually propagated plants (those grown from seed) will have genotypes different from the parent plants, as inheritable characteristics (genes) that determine the plant phenotype come from both the male and the female plant. Planned plant crosses (mating of male and female plants by transfer of pollen from a specific male to a specific female) are used to develop new varieties. Figure 4.4. A female flower head showing glandular trichomes and pistils Cannabis plants used for fiber production are strains that produce only very small quantities of cannabinoids (Rannali 1999; Schultes 1970).

Other authorities (Schultes and Hofmann 1991) insist that morphological differentiation (narrower leaflets, thinner cortex, and more branches) and lack of cannabinoids within plants of European origin, as compared with plants in India, indicate two species, C. sativa (historically identified as the source of hemp fibers) and C. indica (historically identified as the source of canabinoid-containing resin). Additional species have been distinguished: C. ruderalis (wild/naturalized accessions) and C. chinensis (currently thought to be a subset of C. indica) have been proposed due to differentiation in phenotypic traits of the plants (Schultes and Hofmann 1991). A recent investigation on allozyme (an enzyme that differs by one amino acid from other forms of the same enzyme) variation within 157 populations of Cannabis (Hillig 2005) strongly suggests that the genus Cannabis consists of only two species, C. sativa and C. indica. The relationships within Cannabis species and the production of fiber and cannabinoids, however, are not completely understood, making absolute assignment of C. sativa as the source of fiber and C. indica as the source of the resin unwarranted until more complete chemotaxonomic data is available.

Strains of Cannabis approved for industrial hemp production in Europe and elsewhere have been selected to produce only minute amounts of psychoactive constituents, while strains of Cannabis used for medicinal and recreational use have been selected for production of cannabinoids (Small and Marcus 2002). A study of ninety-seven Cannabis accessions (de Meijer et al. 2003) indicated that plants produced for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) demonstrated a continuous variation in content of these constituents among the accessions with no phenotypic characteristic (physical appearance) that could accurately separate those with high THC from those with low THC content. All species of Cannabis can seemingly be bred to produce fiber or cannabinoids. BOTANICAL HISTORY Historically, botanical interest in Cannabis undoubtedly began as the plant became recognized as a source of food, fiber, and medicine. Archaeological evidence indicates use of the plant in China as a fiber some twelve thousand years ago (Nelson 1996; Schultes 1970).


pages: 339 words: 112,979

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Mahatma Gandhi, music of the spheres, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steven Pinker, Zipf's Law

More widely, the environment in which a gene has to survive includes the other species with which it comes into contact. The DNA of any one species doesn't literally come into direct contact with the DNA molecules of its predators, competitors or mutualistic partners. 'Climate' has to be understood less intimately than when the arena of gene cooperation is the interior of cells, as it is for genes within one species. In the larger arena, it is the consequences of genes in other species—their 'phenotypic effects'—that constitute an important part of the environment in which the natural selection of genes within neighbouring species goes on. A rainforest is a special kind of environment, fashioned and defined by the plants and animals that live in it. Every one of the species in a tropical rainforest consists of a gene pool, isolated from all other gene pools as far as sexual mixing is concerned, but in contact with their bodily effects.

I will simply note that here we have software/hardware co-evolution. The genes build the hardware. The memes are the software. The co-evolution is what may have driven the inflation of the human brain. I said that I'd return to the illusion of the 'little man in the brain'. Not to solve the problem of consciousness, which is way beyond my capacity, but to make another comparison between memes and genes. In The Extended Phenotype, I argued against taking the individual organism for granted. I didn't mean individual in the conscious sense but in the sense of a single, coherent body surrounded by a skin and dedicated to a more or less unitary purpose of surviving and reproducing. The individual organism, I argued, is not fundamental to life, but something that emerges when genes, which at the beginning of evolution were separate, warring entities, gang together in cooperative groups, as 'selfish cooperators'.

New York: Scribners. 25. Cronin, H. (1991) The Ant and the Peacock. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 26. Darwin, C. (1859) On the Origin of Species. London (1968): Penguin Books. 27. Davies, N. B. (1992) Dunnock Behaviour and Social Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 28. Dawkins, M. S. (1993) Through Our Eyes Only? Oxford: W. H. Freeman. 29. Dawkins, R. (1982) The Extended Phenotype. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 30. Dawkins, R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. London: Penguin Books. 31. Dawkins, R. (1989) The Selfish Gene. Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 32. Dawkins, R. (1995) River Out of Eden. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 33. Dawkins, R. (1996) Climbing Mount Improbable. New York: Norton. 34. Dawkins, R. (1998) The values of science and the science of values.


pages: 323 words: 107,963

Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain by Abby Norman

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, double helix, Downton Abbey, feminist movement, financial independence, Kickstarter, period drama, phenotype, Saturday Night Live, the scientific method, women in the workforce

Noémie channeled her frustration, however, seamlessly into her work. Her current research project at Columbia, the development of a tracking app called Phendo, was her attempt to quantify the unquantifiable, not only for herself, but for the collective. For science, and for patients. One thing that’s missing from our understanding of endometriosis at every level, as Noémie pointed out, is its phenotype. For a disease like endo, a phenotype is the set of characteristics that can be observed: symptoms, test results, and microscopic evidence from tissue samplings, for example. Noémie and her team developed Phendo in the hope that they would be able to utilize a “citizen science” initiative to gather information about endo patients’ experiences, histology, and biomarkers. Unlike most tracking apps of its kind, it isn’t menstruation-centric, because endometriosis, Noémie believes, is not a menstruation-specific disease.

Saying that endometriosis (like hysteria before it) is a disease exclusive to women, or even of uteruses, isn’t just noninclusive—it’s not true. Endometriosis has been found in men. Take this clinical portrait: an eighty-five-year-old man had an endometrioma in his abdomen, and for ten years, it was believed to be a carcinoma of the prostate. When they studied this patient’s chromosomes, he was phenotypically male, and, as it turned out, he did in fact have prostate cancer. But he also had an endometrioma that was independent of the cancer. Another more recent case involved a fifty-two-year-old man who came to the emergency room with stabbing pain in his lower abdomen and pelvis which had been ongoing for about three weeks. He had a history of advanced liver disease and had had several surgeries to fix an inguinal hernia over the past two years.


pages: 380 words: 104,841

The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us by Diane Ackerman

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, Internet of things, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microbiome, nuclear winter, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the High Line, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog

Now he’s among those ringing the biggest changes, including a dramatically new view of the human body and the jostles of cells that inhabit living tissues—even what a cell is and how a cell behaves. Not only do we know about stem cells, we’re starting to wield them in clever ways to mend the body, and it’s not arduous to do; it can be as simple as exposing cells to the right chemicals or stimuli. There’s been a stunning paradigm shift from the rule of phenotype—one cell type fated for one job and nothing else—to phenotypic elasticity, the idea that cells are far more versatile and can be repurposed, like a hammer used to anchor a kite. We now grasp that a wafer of skin can be retrained to do just about anything. It’s a new category of raw material, like wood or stone, with potent gifts. An ebony tree growing in Africa may provide shade to humans, and a lofty haven for a leopard gnawing a carcass, but its dark grain also gives rise to clarinets, piano keys, violin fingerboards, and music.

., 55, 73 New York University, 197–98 night fiddlers, 172–73 Nile perch, 131 Nin, Anaïs, 186 nitrogen, 36 NOAA, 210 Norrbotten, Sweden, 275–76, 277–78, 280 North Africa, 106 North Carolina, 46 northern goshawks, 132 Northwest Passage, 135 Norway, 101, 124, 132 Norway maples, 132 nuclear bomb, 191 nuclear power, 22, 100 nuclear winter, 8, 9 Obama, Barack, 177 Obama administration, 233 obesity, 196 ocean, acidification of, 65, 66, 154 octopuses, 202, 216 Ohio, 77 Ohyama, Ken, 23 oil, 99, 106 oil refineries, 22 oil spills, 300 Oman, 132 1D farming, see mariculture Operation Acoustic Kitty, 146 Operation Migration, 139–40 opossums, 129 Orangutan Awareness program, 28 Orangutan Outreach, 5, 6, 313 orangutans, 3–7, 25–28, 132, 216, 217, 231, 296 human genes shared by, 3 impending extinction of, 27–28, 313 solitary lives of, 4 tool use by, 5 orca whales, 135, 144 orchids, 206 Orff, Kate, 55 organic fertilizer, 64 Organovo, 238–39 Ornstein, Len, 54 Orthopets, 256 Oshkosh Airshow, 187 osteoarthritis, 248 otters, 124 Outer Island, 58 ovarian cancer, 281–82 Överkalix, Sweden, 279–80 oxen, 140 oxeye daisies, 132 oxygen, 41, 53 oysters, 54–55, 56, 57, 60, 61–63 Ozawa, Masakatsu, 23 P-52 (python), 128 pacemakers, 253 Panbanisha (bonobo), 201–2, 203 pancreas, 281 pansies, 90 Papua New Guinea, 72 Paradise Lost (Milton), 212–13 Paris, 95–96 Paris Habitat, 96 Parkinson’s disease, 253, 295 parks, 73–74, 78 parrots, 202 parsley, 89 Partula, 156–59 passenger pigeons, 151–52 Pasteur, Louis, 290 Patagonia National Park, 99 pathogens, 290 peacock feathers, 91 Pearce, Mick, 93–94 Pembrey, Marcus, 279, 281 penguins, 134–35 peonies, 125 People’s Daily, 146 peppers, 89 peregrine falcons, 132 periwinkles, 61–62 permafrost, 48 personality, 200, 214, 216–17, 222–23, 229, 253, 292, 297, 299, 303–4, 307 Peru, 77 pesticides, 153, 166 pets, 149–50 Pettit, Don, 16 Phelps, Michael, 258 phenotypic elasticity, 249–50 Philippines, 46 photonic clusters, 35 phytoplankton, 61 piezoelectricity, 317 pigeons, 140, 142, 144, 145–46 pigs, 71 in war, 146 Pistorius, Oscar, 258, 260 Plan Bee, 166 planes, 171, 191 planets, 220–21 Planets, The: A Cosmic Pastoral (Ackerman), 220 plankton, 134–35 PlantLab, 90 plants: in cities, 79–85 texting by, 205–7 plastic stents, 253 Pleistocene Park, 151 Pliocene, 29 PLOS ONE, 271 pneumonia, 183 Poland, 78, 132, 273 polar bears, 134 polar molecules, 35 polar T3, 90 pollution, 154 marine transport, 76 Polo, Marco, 272 polymer teeth, 253 Polynesia, 156, 157 Ponce, Brent, 260–61 ponies, 137–38 Pons, Lily, 264 poppies, 125 population growth, 10 Porter, Eliot, 25 poverty, 285, 286 Power Felt, 185 prairie dogs, 131 presence, 199 Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit, 145 probiotics, 300 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 129 produce, 89 Project Orcon, 145 Project Pigeon, 145 Project X-Ray, 145 proprioception, 175–76 prosthetics, 256–58 protein, 190 protozoans, 172, 289–90, 300 Przewalski’s horses, 132 Puerto Rico, 175 Puppe (orangutan), 26–27 purple finch, 137 pyrolysis technology, 76 pythons, 128–31, 133, 140, 315 Quai Branly Museum, 80–82, 84–85 quarries, 24 quasi-crystal, 34 rabbits, 126, 129, 133 rabies, 298 racoons, 129 rail trails, 77 rainforests, 79 rains, 41 Raison, Charles, 300–301 Rambuteau subway station, 95–96 Rand, Ayn, 59 rats, 282–83, 296 reading, 191–92 Reconciliation Ecology, 74 recycling, 52, 74, 78, 87, 88, 90 heat, 95–108 red clover, 166 Red Delicious, 137 red foxes, 153 red kites, 132 Red Sea Star Restaurant, 76 reef death, 36–37 refrigerators, 87 regenerative medicine, 244 Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 254–55 reindeer, 132 Reiss, Diana, 202, 204 religion, 176 Relman, David, 300 Renaissance, 190 Renault, 83 renewable energy, 307 restaurant rooftop farms, 88 retinas, 253 Revolutionizing Prosthetics program, 258–59 Rezwan, Mohammed, 52–53 rhododendrons, 125 rice, 71 Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, 82 Rig Veda, 257 RinkWatch.org, 40, 314 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 78 Ripasso Energy, 100–101, 106 roadkill, 115–16 robomoths, 146–47 RobotCub Consortium, 218–19 robot fleas, 148 robotic evolution, 210, 213, 224–25 robots, 210–25 rocketships, 171 rock strata, 31, 35 roe deer, 124 Romania, 78, 124 Romans, 185 Rome, 267 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 145 rosemary, 90 Rosenzweig, Michael, 74 roses, 125 Rotterdam, Netherlands, 77 Royal Botanic Gardens, 118 Rwanda, 46 Ryu Chan Hyeon, 102 saber-tooth tigers, 162, 163 Sagan, Carl, 220 sage, 125 Sahara Desert, 54 Sahel, 46 St.


pages: 39 words: 4,665

Data Source Handbook by Pete Warden

en.wikipedia.org, Menlo Park, openstreetmap, phenotype, social graph

eBook <www.wowebook.com> "kind": "customsearch#result", "title": "mana cross pang confidante surplus fine formic beach metallurgy ...", "htmlTitle": "mana cross pang confidante surplus fine formic beach metallurgy \u003cb\u003e...\u003c/b\u003e", "link": "http://www.cs.caltech.edu/courses/cs11/material/advjava/lab4/unsorted_words.txt", "displayLink": "www.cs.caltech.edu", "snippet": "... phonic phenotype exchangeable Pete pesticide exegete exercise persuasion .... lopsided judiciary Lear proverbial warden Sumatra Hempstead confiscate ...", }, ... Wikipedia Wikipedia doesn’t offer an API, but it does offer bulk data downloads of almost everything on the site. One of my favorite uses for this information is extracting the titles of all the articles to create a list of the names of people, places, and concepts to match text against.


pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson

23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, digital map, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Mark Shuttleworth, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peak oil, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Florida, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, smart transportation, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, supervolcano, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Turing test, urban decay, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, young professional

The second reason for the trend is technology. Developments in areas such as genomics and personal phenotyping mean that personalized medicine is becoming a reality, and pharmaceutical companies are shifting research and development expenditure toward specialty products and therapies that target niche medical conditions and subpopulations. A 9 million euro, EU-funded project, Food4Me, is being launched to look at all aspects of personalized nutrition—namely how food intake could be tailored to suit each individual’s physical and genetic makeup. Perhaps rather than call it personalized medicine, we should call it personalized health. There’s even a European study on delivering personalized nutrition according to phenotype. In the end, it really is up to you to look after yourself by whatever method you choose from the hundreds of possibilities available so that you don’t need medicine.


pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, different worldview, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, Turing machine, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

Genome-wide complex trait analysis, using studies with vast numbers of subjects, is just now starting to become feasible and will greatly increase our knowledge of the genetic architectures of human cognitive and behavioral traits.40 Any trait with a non-negligible heritability—including cognitive capacity—could then become susceptible to selection.41 Embryo selection does not require a deep understanding of the causal pathways by which genes, in complicated interplay with environments, produce phenotypes: it requires only (lots of) data on the genetic correlates of the traits of interest. It is possible to calculate some rough estimates of the magnitude of the gains obtainable in different selection scenarios.42 Table 5 shows expected increases in intelligence resulting from various amounts of selection, assuming complete information about the common additive genetic variants underlying the narrow-sense heritability of intelligence.

With gene synthesis we could take the genome of an embryo and construct a version of that genome free from the genetic noise of accumulated mutations. If one wished to speak provocatively, one could say that individuals created from such proofread genomes might be “more human” than anybody currently alive, in that they would be less distorted expressions of human form. Such people would not all be carbon copies, because humans vary genetically in ways other than by carrying different deleterious mutations. But the phenotypical manifestation of a proofread genome may be an exceptional physical and mental constitution, with elevated functioning in polygenic trait dimensions like intelligence, health, hardiness, and appearance.58 (A loose analogy could be made with composite faces, in which the defects of the superimposed individuals are averaged out: see Figure 6.) Figure 6 Composite faces as a metaphor for spell-checked genomes.

Evolution is not necessarily up The word “evolution” is often used as a synonym of “progress,” perhaps reflecting a common uncritical image of evolution as a force for good. A misplaced faith in the inherent beneficence of the evolutionary process can get in the way of a fair evaluation of the desirability of a multipolar outcome in which the future of intelligent life is determined by competitive dynamics. Any such evaluation must rest on some (at least implicit) opinion about the probability distribution of different phenotypes turning out to be adaptive in a post-transition digital life soup. It would be difficult in the best of circumstances to extract a clear and correct answer from the unavoidable goo of uncertainty that pervades these matters: more so, if we superadd a layer of Panglossian muck. A possible source for faith in freewheeling evolution is the apparent upward directionality exhibited by the evolutionary process in the past.


pages: 448 words: 116,962

Singularity Sky by Stross, Charles

anthropic principle, cellular automata, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, Doomsday Clock, Extropian, gravity well, Kuiper Belt, life extension, means of production, new economy, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, skinny streets, technological singularity, uranium enrichment

Most disturbingly of all, the shrubbery seemed to be blurring at the edges, species exchanging phenotypic traits with unnatural promiscuous abandon. "What's responsible for this?" Burya asked Sister Seventh, during one of their hourly pauses. The Critic shrugged. "Is nothing. Lysenkoist forestry fringe, recombinant artwork. Beware the Jabberwocky, my son. Are there only Earth native derivations in this biome?" "You asking me?" Rubenstein snorted. "I'm no gardener." "Guesstimation implausible," Sister Seventh replied archly. "In any event, some fringeworks are recombinant. Non human-centric manipulations of genome. Elegant structures, modified for nonpurpose. This forest is Lamarckian. Nodes exchange phenotype-determinant traits, acquire useful ones." "Who determines their usefulness?" "The Flower Show.

"Primitive they are: their internal discourse is crippled by a complete absence of intertextuality. I cringe in astonishment that Festival wastes its attention on them." "Hardly. They are Festival's antithesis, do you not feel this in your whiskers?" Sister Seventh blinked redly at She Who Observes, pawing for the control tree of the somatic bench. "Here we see a nestdrone." The scene slewed into an enclosed space, following the abducted cobbler into the walls of the castle, "Phenotypic dispersal leads to extended specialization, as ever, with the usual degree of free will found in human civilization. But this one is structured to prevent information surge, do you not see?" "Information surge? Prevented? Life is information!" Sister Seventh farted smugly. "I have been monitoring the Festival. Not one of the indigines has asked it for information! Artifacts, yes. Food, yes.


pages: 396 words: 117,149

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos

Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Arthur Eddington, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, Black Swan, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, constrained optimization, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, future of work, global village, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, information retrieval, job automation, John Markoff, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, NP-complete, off grid, P = NP, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, planetary scale, pre–internet, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, scientific worldview, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, zero-sum game

It’s natural to worry about intelligent machines taking over because the only intelligent entities we know are humans and other animals, and they definitely have a will of their own. But there is no necessary connection between intelligence and autonomous will; or rather, intelligence and will may not inhabit the same body, provided there is a line of control between them. In The Extended Phenotype, Richard Dawkins shows how nature is replete with examples of an animal’s genes controlling more than its own body, from cuckoo eggs to beaver dams. Technology is the extended phenotype of man. This means we can continue to control it even if it becomes far more complex than we can understand. Picture two strands of DNA going for a swim in their private pool, aka a bacterium’s cytoplasm, two billion years ago. They’re pondering a momentous decision. “I’m worried, Diana,” says one. “If we start making multicellular creatures, will they take over?”

See also Cancer drugs Duhigg, Charles, 223 Dynamic programming, 220 Eastwood, Clint, 65 Echolocation, 26, 299 Eddington, Arthur, 75 Effect, law of, 218 eHarmony, 265 Eigenfaces, 215 80/20 rule, 43 Einstein, Albert, 75, 200 Eldredge, Niles, 127 Electronic circuits, genetic programming and, 133–134 Eliza (help desk), 198 EM (expectation maximization) algorithm, 209–210 Emotions, learning and, 218 Empathy-eliciting robots, 285 Empiricists, 57–58 Employment, effect of machine learning on, 276–279 Enlightenment, rationalism vs. empiricism, 58 Entropy, 87 Epinions, 231 Equations, 4, 50 Essay on Population (Malthus), 178, 235 Ethics, robot armies and, 280–281 Eugene Onegin (Pushkin), 153–154 “Explaining away” phenomenon, 163 Evaluation learning algorithms and, 283 Markov logic networks and, 249 Master Algorithm and, 239, 241, 243 Evolution, 28–29, 121–142 Baldwinian, 139 Darwin’s algorithm, 122–128 human-directed, 286–289, 311 Master Algorithm and, 28–29 of robots, 121–122, 137, 303 role of sex in, 134–137 technological, 136–137 See also Genetic algorithms Evolutionaries, 51, 52, 54 Alchemy and, 252–253 exploration-exploitation dilemma, 128–130, 221 further reading, 303–304 genetic programming and, 52 Holland and, 127 Master Algorithm and, 240–241 nature and, 137–139 Evolutionary computation, 121–142 Evolutionary robotics, 121–122, 303 Exclusive-OR function (XOR), 100–101, 112, 195 Exploration-exploitation dilemma, 128–130, 221 Exponential function, machine learning and, 73–74 The Extended Phenotype (Dawkins), 284 Facebook, 44, 291 data and, 14, 274 facial recognition technology, 179–180 machine learning and, 11 relational learning and, 230 sharing via, 271–272 Facial identification, 179–180, 182 False discovery rate, 77, 301 Farming, as analogy for machine learning, 6–7 Feature selection, 188–189 Feature template, 248 Feature weighting, 189 Ferret brain rewiring, 26, 299 Feynman, Richard, 4 Filter bubble, 270 Filtering spam, rule for, 125–127 First principal component of the data, 214 Fisher, Ronald, 122 Fitness Fisher on, 122 in genetic programming, 132 Master Algorithm and, 243 neural learning and, 138–139 sex and, 135 Fitness function, 123–124 Fitness maximum, genetic algorithms and, 127–128, 129 Fix, Evelyn, 178–179, 186 Fodor, Jerry, 38 Forecasting, S curves and, 106 Foundation Medicine, 41, 261 Foundation (Asimov), 232 Fractal geometry, 30, 300 Freakonomics (Dubner & Levitt), 275 Frequentist interpretation of probability, 149 Freund, Yoav, 238 Friedman, Milton, 151 Frontiers, 185, 187, 191, 196 “Funes the Memorious” (Borges), 71 Futility of bias-free learning, 64 FuturICT project, 258 Galileo, 14, 72 Galois, Évariste, 200 Game theory, machine learning and, 20 Gaming, reinforcement learning and, 222 Gates, Bill, 22, 55, 152 GECCO (Genetic and Evolutionary Computing Conference), 136 Gene expression microarrays, 84–85 Generalizations, choosing, 60, 61 Generative model, Bayesian network as, 159 Gene regulation, Bayesian networks and, 159 Genetic algorithms, 122–128 Alchemy and, 252 backpropagation vs., 128 building blocks and, 128–129, 134 schemas, 129 survival of the fittest programs, 131–134 The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection (Fisher), 122 Genetic programming, 52, 131–133, 240, 244, 245, 252, 303–304 sex and, 134–137 Genetic Programming (Koza), 136 Genetic search, 241, 243, 249 Genome, poverty of, 27 Gentner, Dedre, 199 Ghani, Rayid, 17 The Ghost Map (Johnson), 182–183 Gibson, William, 289 Gift economy, 279 Gleevec, 84 Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, 261 Gödel, Escher, Bach (Hofstadter), 200 Good, I.


pages: 443 words: 123,526

Glasshouse by Charles Stross

cognitive dissonance, experimental subject, gravity well, lateral thinking, loose coupling, peer-to-peer, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, sensible shoes, theory of mind, white picket fence

There's a certain type of look some postrehab cases get while they're in the psychopathic dissociative stage, still reknitting the raveled threads of their personality and memories into a new identity. The insensate anger at the world, the existential hate—often directed at their previously whole self for putting them into this world, naked and stripped of memories—generates its own dynamic. Wild blackeyed hatred and the perfect musculature of the optimized phenotype combine to lend Blondie an intimidating, almost primal presence. Nevertheless, she's got enough self-control to issue a challenge before she attacks. Kay, shy and much further advanced in recovery than either of us, cowers in her seat as Blondie glares at me. That annoys me—Blondie's got no call to intimidate bystanders. And maybe I'm not as out of control as I feel. "In that case"—I slowly stand up, not breaking eye contact for a moment—"how about we take this to the remilitarized zone?

"Don't let them put me in it!" "Put you in—what? What is it, Reeve? Reeve, are you having another fugue?" Things are going gray around me. He leans close, and I whisper, "* * *," in his ear. Then— DESPERATION is the engine of necessity. It's two hundred megs since that committee meeting with Al and Sanni and a lot of things have changed. Me, for example: I'm not in military phenotype anymore. Neither is Sanni. We're civilians now, corpuscles of military experience discharged into the circulating confusion of reconstruction that has become the future of Is. I'm not used to being human again, ortho or otherwise—bits of me are missing. When the war exploded, trapping me on the MASucker for almost a generation, I was reduced to what I was carrying on my person and in my head.

I've got the best of my surrendered self's wishes, without any of the drawbacks. And I've been so lucky that thinking about it makes me want to cry. I have a daughter. Her name's Andy—short for Andromeda. She swears she wants to be a boy when she grows up; she isn't going to hit puberty for another six years, and she may change her mind when her body starts changing. The important thing is we live in a society where she can be whatever she wants. She looks like a random phenotypic cross between Reeve and Sam, and sometimes when I see her in the right light, just catching her profile, my breath catches in my throat as I see him diving off that cliff. Did he know I was already pregnant when he carefully made sure I was out of harm's way, then jumped? It shouldn't be possible, but sometimes I wonder if he suspected. Andromeda was delivered—surprise—in the hospital, by the nice Dr.


pages: 289 words: 22,394

Virus of the Mind by Richard Brodie

cognitive dissonance, Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach, joint-stock company, New Journalism, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy

A Working Definition We want a definition of meme that gives us access to understanding cultural evolution, as in the biological definition. But we want to be clear that memes are internal representations, as in the psychological definition. And we want to look at memes as ideas— as our software, our own internal programming—that produce an effect on the outside world, as in the cognitive definition. The result is the definition I use in this book, a definition similar to the one Dawkins adopted in his 1982 book The Extended Phenotype: Definition of Meme A meme is a unit of information in a mind whose existence influences events such that more copies of itself get created in other minds. Now, with this definition, we can answer the questions I asked Charles Simonyi and Greg Kusnick back at Microsoft. Is a yawn a meme? No, a yawn is behavior and, as far as I know, has nothing to do with an internal representation of any information.

See gambling, psychology of 237 virus of the mind brains changing world and, 83–84 purposes of, 69–71 Bulgatz, Joseph, 197 Buss, David: Evolution of Desire, 99 Butler, Samuel, 17 button-pushing memes advertising and, 152–53 birds of a feather and, 116 cheap insurance and, 118–19, 121, 122, 181 crisis and, 146, 188 dominance and, 189 elitism and, 116 food and, 188 helping children and, 115–16, 120, 146, 160 problems and, 189 racism and, 116 security and, 188 sex and, 189 special interests and, 176–77 windows of opportunity and, 107, 130, 146, 172, 198 buttons, second-order, 77–79 approval and, 78 belonging and, 77–78, 189 caring and, 78 distinguishing yourself and, 78 obeying authority and, 78 Celestine Prophecy (Redfield), 208 chain letters, 85–87 children, 67 altruism and, 115–16 consciousness and, 228–29 education and, 223–29 mind viruses and, xix, 46, 145 operant conditioning and, 129 238 Index religion and, 128 See also under button-pushing memes Cleary, Thomas, 217 Coca-Cola, 21, 129, 153 cognitive dissonance, 126–27, 130–31, 143, 203 cognitive therapy, 8 communication, evolution of, 71–72 confidence games, 140–42 Congreve, William, 81 consciousness, 76–77, 228–29 conspiracy theories, 162–64 crisis meme, 72–73 Crossfire, 161 cults key elements of, 201 mission and, 202 cultural viruses conspiracy theories and, 162–64 government and, 170–79 institutions and, 147–48 journalism and, 159–61, 164–67 panhandling and, 169–70 pets and, 168–69 television and advertising and, 149–51 danger meme, 73 Darwin, Charles, xiii, xxi, 111 Dawkins, Richard, 47 Blind Watchmaker, 191 Extended Phenotype, 11 Selfish Gene, 4–5 selfish-gene theory and, 51 Dennett, Daniel, 8–9 Diet Pepsi, 153–54 distinction-memes, 19–21 money and, 27 239 virus of the mind perception and, 29–30 distinguishing yourself, 78 DNA genetic evolution and, 53–56, 58–59 viruses and, 40–41 drives, basic. See basic drives education, reinvention of, 225–29 Ellis, Albert, 8 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 147, 205 Self-Reliance, 81–82 est, 208–9 ethical questions, 211–12 evangelism, 80, 146, 183, 187, 200, 205 virus shells and, 207 evolution battle for sex and, 90–91 communication and, 71–72 concept of, xvi consciousness and, 76–77 definition of, 49 direction of, 56, 67, 85–86 engineering and, 57–59 entropy and, 48–49 fitness and, 50–51 general tendencies versus specific individuals and, 95 human eye and, 57, 58 memes and, 85–86 natural selection and, 48–49 replicators and, 49–50 selfish gene and, 51–53, 55, 62 selfish meme and, 67–68 sex characteristics and, 91–95 evolutionary psychology, 18, 88, 89 concept of, xvi exponential growth, 39 240 Index faith meme, 81 familiarity meme, 81 fear altruism and, 115–17 bad decisions and, 123 evolution and, 112–14 modern life and, 114–15 overcoming of, 123–24 revulsion and, 112 superstition and, 121–23 urban legends and, 120–21 Feynman, Richard, 89 fitness evolution and, 50–51 memes and, 71–74 Forum, The, 208–9 four F’s.


pages: 285 words: 78,180

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bioinformatics, borderless world, Brownian motion, clean water, discovery of DNA, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, global pandemic, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine

34 Artificial life as originally conceived has had a new virtual life in the form of games and movies, with the murderous Hal 9000 of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the genocidal Skynet of the Terminator films, and the malevolent machines of The Matrix. However, the reality still lags far behind. In computer-based artificial life there is no distinction between the genetic sequence or genotype of the manufactured organism and its phenotype, the physical expression of that sequence. In the case of a living cell, the DNA code is expressed in the form of RNA, proteins and cells, which form all of the physical substances of life. Artificial life systems quickly run out of steam, because genetic possibilities within a computer model are not open-ended but predefined. Unlike in the biological world, the outcome of computer evolution is built into its programming.

We were further encouraged by the observation that the number of transplanted colonies from each experiment was dependent directly on the amount of M. mycoides DNA added to the cells. The more DNA we added, the greater the number of transplant colonies that resulted. So what was it, exactly, that we now had? Was it M. capricolum cells that contained only the M. mycoides DNA, including the added lacZ and antibiotic-resistance tetracycline resistance tetM genes? What had changed in the wake of the genome transplant? What was the phenotype of cells derived from the transplanted DNA? We subjected the blue cells to a number of complex analytical procedures to find out what proteins were present. Using antibodies that were exquisitely sensitive to proteins in each parent-cell type, we investigated what the new transplant cells had on their cell surface. To our pleasant surprise the antibodies that were made against the M. capricolum proteins did not bind to the new cells with the transplanted genomes, whereas the antibodies that were made originally against the M. mycoides proteins did bind.


The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin, Richard Panek

Asperger Syndrome, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, double helix, ghettoisation, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, impulse control, Khan Academy, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, neurotypical, pattern recognition, phenotype, Richard Feynman, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, theory of mind, twin studies

Their parents can always tell them apart, and in some cases the differences are obvious enough that anyone can tell them apart. One reason is that even when the genotype—the DNA at conception—is identical in both twins, the genes might work differently inside the cell. The other reason is that the genotypes might not be identical at birth, due to spontaneous mutations in the DNA of one or both of the twins. Both sets of genetic differences contribute to an individual’s phenotype—the person’s physical appearance, intellect, and personality. Knowing that genetics plays a role in autism, of course, is only a start. The next question is, Which gene or genes? Even into the early years of the twenty-first century, some researchers held out hope that autism might be the result of one or just a handful of gene deviations in an individual’s DNA. Maybe autism was like Down syndrome, which, as researchers discovered in 1959, is directly attributable to an extra copy of chromosome 21—the first time that a copy number variation was recognized as a cause of intellectual disability.

See also picture thinking; verbal (word-fact) thinking; visual (picture) thinking as category, [>]–[>], [>]–[>] chess and, [>]–[>] education and, [>]–[>] employment and, [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>] examples of, [>]–[>], [>]–[>] mathematics and, [>], [>], [>]–[>], [>]–[>] object vs. spatial imagery and, [>]–[>], [>]–[>] origami and, [>]–[>] research and, [>]–[>] PDD. See pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), [>]–[>], [>]. See also Asperger syndrome; autism spectrum disorder (ASD) pervasive developmental disorders not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), [>], [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>] pesticide exposure, [>] pharmacological treatment. See antidepressants; drugs phenotype, [>] Physical Therapy (journal), [>] picture thinking. See also pattern thinking; verbal (word-fact) thinking; visual (picture) thinking education and, [>]–[>] employment and, [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>] plasticity of brain, [>]–[>] Pollock, Jackson, [>] prefrontal cortex, [>] psychoanalytic approach to diagnosis, [>]–[>] public views of autism, [>], [>]–[>] Pythagorean theorem, 147–[>], [>] Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay, Tito, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], [>] Raven’s Progressive Matrices, [>]–[>], [>]–[>] reading.


pages: 508 words: 137,199

Stamping Butterflies by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

affirmative action, Brownian motion, Burning Man, carbon-based life, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, dark matter, phenotype

One for the Doctor, another for him, one for the Commissar Colonel and nine ever-empty pods for those vaporized while trying to repair the boosters. Tapping the nearest, Chuang watched it open, waiting while the semiAI ran a self test. "Functioning," the pod announced as a glass square lit red. "Preparing for Koebe process." Slots opened on the inside of the pod to reveal simple claws; attached to those claws were clear tubes already filled with oily liquid. "Please enter phenotype." "What?" "Enter phenotype." "Human," Chuang Tzu said. The animals were long since dead. The glass square turned orange. "Enter seven-digit genotype," demanded the pod. "Shit." Chuang Tzu ripped open the front of the Doctor's blue uniform, looking for dog tags. "I don't know it," he said. "It's not for me." "Enter seven-digit genotype." "You'll have to do without," Chuang Tzu told the machine. The ceramic blade the Lieutenant produced from his pocket was strictly illegal.

As compact and functional as befitted someone who'd grown up on a farm, but still illegal. Slicing the monofilament which bound Dr. Yuan's hands, he spun her round and sliced between her ankles. "Prepare to receive the body," he said. On the side of the pod the orange square reverted to red as the semiAI reset itself. "Functioning," the pod announced. "Preparing for Koebe process. Please enter phenotype." "Stupid fucking--" Chuang began but stopped himself. "Promote me," he said loudly, simultaneously reopening his comms channel. "What?" "Promote me," Navigator Chuang said fiercely, "while there's still time to save the Doctor." Two decks above, Colonel Commissar Lan Kuei sighed. Sleeping with junior officers always produced these kinds of problems. "Madame," she said firmly. "You address me as madame."


pages: 288 words: 81,253

Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke

banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Filter Bubble, hindsight bias, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, loss aversion, market design, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, p-value, phenotype, prediction markets, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, urban planning, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

But this comparison of our results to others isn’t confined to zero-sum games where one player directly loses to the other (or where one lawyer loses to opposing counsel, or where one salesperson loses a sale to a competitor, etc.). We are really in competition for resources with everyone. Our genes are competitive. As Richard Dawkins points out, natural selection proceeds by competition among the phenotypes of genes so we literally evolved to compete, a drive that allowed our species to survive. Engaging the world through the lens of competition is deeply embedded in our animal brains. It’s not enough to boost our self-image solely by our own successes. If someone we view as a peer is winning, we feel like we’re losing by comparison. We benchmark ourselves to them. If their kids are doing better in school than ours, what are we doing wrong with our kids?

Published information about the Bartman play and its aftermath is plentiful, and the game and the play are available on YouTube. The behavior of the fans at Wrigley Field and the quotes appear in Alex Gibney’s 2014 ESPN Films documentary, Catching Hell. Other people’s outcomes reflect on us: For some of the places in which Dawkins has written about natural selection proceeding by competition among the phenotypes of genes, see Current Problems in Sociobiology and The Greatest Show on Earth, cited in the Selected Bibliography and Recommendations for Further Reading. For an examination of whether people would choose to earn $70,000 in 1900 or in 2010, see (and listen to) “Would You Rather Be Rich in 1900, or Middle-Class Now?,” NPR.org, October 12, 2010, http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2010/10/12/130512149/the-tuesday-podcast-would-you-rather-be-middle-class-now-or-rich-in-1900.


Immigration and Ethnic Formation in a Deeply Divided Society: The Case of the 1990s Immigrants From the Former Soviet Union in Israel by Majid Al Haj

demographic transition, ghettoisation, job satisfaction, mass immigration, phenotype, profit motive, zero-sum game

One of the most widely cited definitions of ethnic group is that of Schermerhorn (1970: 12): An ethnic group is defined here as a collectivity within a larger society having real or putative common ancestry, memories of a shared historical past, and a cultural focus on one or more symbolic elements   15 defined as the epitome of their peoplehood. Examples of such symbolic elements are: kinship patterns, physical contiguity (as in localism or sectionalism), religious affiliation, language or dialect forms, tribal affiliation, nationality, phenotypic features, or any combination of these. A necessary accompaniment is some consciousness of kind among members of the group (also cited by Hutchinson and Smith 1996: 6). This definition involves both objective elements (shared historical memories, cultural focus, and group affiliation) and subjective feeling, as reflected in ethnic consciousness. The importance of this definition lies in the perception that ethnicity can have a flexible basis, so that a group’s “common ancestry” can be real or putative.

At any rate, Van den Berghe emphasizes that ethnic assimilation of immigrants should not be taken for granted, since ethnic sentiments, which are an extension of kin selection, tend to endure (1981: 216). People tend to resist assimilation unless its benefits are overwhelming. Hence assimilation is largely the outcome of costbenefit considerations by the members of the group (ibid.: 257). Van den Berghe offers a model for assimilation that delineates the conditions favoring ethnic assimilation, based mainly on cost-benefit considerations. According to this model, the greater the phenotypic and cultural resemblance between groups, the more likely is assimilation to take place. Likewise, smaller groups and those that are territorially dispersed are more likely to assimilate, because they have fewer resources relative to the rest of society and because territorial dis-   19 persion reduces the benefits of nepotism. In addition, groups of lower status are more likely than high-status groups to assimilate, since assimilation has more potential benefits to offer them (ibid.: 218).


pages: 287 words: 92,194

Sex Power Money by Sara Pascoe

Albert Einstein, call centre, Donald Trump, Firefox, gender pay gap, invention of movable type, Louis Daguerre, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Neil Kinnock, phenotype, telemarketer, twin studies, zero-sum game

By the time I started secondary school I’d also heard some confusing stuff about ‘penis envy’, because my dad was studying Freud, and ‘bleeding from the site of a torn-off organ’, because my mum liked quoting Germaine Greer. I was informed, explicitly and implicitly, that there were two kinds of human: the haves and have-nots. And unless you’re reading this in a distant genderless future, so were you. In the broadest sense Homo sapiens is composed of two phenotypes, two biological sexes. There are arguably many more sexes: people with extra chromosomes, solo chromosomes, intersex genitalia, etc. But for most intents and purposes humans are divided in two, and this is due to how we reproduce. We’re split into As and Bs because that’s how Cs are made. A + B = C. Reproduction. Or in Ikea terms, plank + legs = table. In our species the two types are referred to as ‘man’ and ‘woman’, and together they make ‘babies’, which are a great drain on the resources of our planet lovely.

It’d be like a very long, very creepy episode of Quantum Leap, which is why I’ve decided against having kids via hermaphrodite gene replication. Also, did you know mushrooms have thirty-six thousand sexes? It’s incredible but, as this book isn’t about the interrelation of economics, autonomy and sex in mushrooms, not especially relevant. The reason most animals are As and Bs is because having two phenotypes ensures the jumbling of DNA with each coupling. Asexual reproduction makes evolution much, much slower. In Ikea terms, dual-sexed breeding gives the possibility of moving around the bits and pieces; you can make mutant tables with legs on the top or with doors and drawers attached to them. Being asexual means following the instructions very closely every time. If my clone children had clone children who had clone children who had clone children† and so on for thousands of years, then yes, planet Earth would be populated entirely with good-looking cool people, but we’d also be less healthy.


pages: 561 words: 167,631

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

agricultural Revolution, double helix, full employment, hive mind, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Kuiper Belt, late capitalism, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, pattern recognition, phenotype, post scarcity, precariat, retrograde motion, stem cell, strong AI, the built environment, the High Line, Turing machine, Turing test, Winter of Discontent

“All right,” Swan said. “I can do that.” “Good.” Wahram smiled his tiny smile. But Swan could tell he was distracted. Extracts (17) As many people have significant lifelong quantities of male and female hormones and phenotypically are bisexual, intersex, or indeterminate, the pronouns “he” and “she” are often avoided, or when used are a matter of self-designation, sometimes changing according to situation. Referring to someone else with such pronouns is the equivalent of using “tu” rather than “vous” in French, indicating familiarity with the person deepest phenotypic signals of gender appear to be waist-to-hip ratio, and waist height relative to total height, usually a matter of proportionately longer female femurs and wider female pelvic bones such as French, Turkish, or Chinese. Alternative ungendered pronouns in English include “it,” “e,” “them,” “one,” “on,” and “oon,” but none of them have it is not a case of “there is no gender,” but rather a complex and ambiguous efflorescence, sometimes called a fully ursuline humanity, other times just a mess gatherings composed entirely of gender-indeterminate people are a new social space that some find intensely uncomfortable, eliciting comments such as “like a nakedness I hadn’t thought could happen” or “you’re only yourself, it’s terrifying,” and so on.

Clearly, a new kind of psychic exposure distinctions can be pretty fine, with some claiming that gynandromorphs do not look quite like androgyns, nor like hermaphrodites, nor eunuchs, and certainly not like bisexuals—that androgyns and wombmen are quite different—and so on. Some people like to tell that part of their story; others never mention it at all. Some dress across gender and otherwise mix semiotic gender signals to express how they are feeling in that moment. Outrageous macho and fem behaviors, either matched with phenotype and semiotic indicators or not, create performance art ranging from the kitschy to the beautiful as there are now people close to three meters tall, and others less than a meter tall, gender may no longer be the greatest divide in human even approaching the size of spider monkeys, a modification that was severely censured by larger people, until longevity statistics kept reaffirming the association between smaller sizes and longer lifetimes, especially in light gravities.


pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, private space industry, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

The genetic code specifies the sequence of twenty amino acids used by living cells to build proteins. If the genetic code were perfectly transcribed and expressed, there would be no evolution and life would be, well, boring. It would also be a dead end, since it couldn’t adapt and survive over time. One type of variation occurs when the genetic blueprint, the genotype, is expressed in a particular environment, the phenotype. Two cloned seedlings will develop quite differently when one grows in loamy soil and the other grows on a windswept mountain. A second type of variation occurs over time when the genetic material is altered by mutation or imperfect copying. Biodiversity cascades as variations grow over time and are culled by natural selection. As a result, the DNA of life has developed a tangle of branches that emerge from the root, a “last common ancestor” four billion years ago.2 This primitive cell was the precursor of all plants and animals and the mother of all microbes.

., 239 Los Angeles Times, 71 Losing My Virginity (Branson), 86, 87 Louis IX, king of France, 23 Louis XVI, king of France, 68 Lovelock, James, 286 Lowell, Percival, 163–64 Lucian of Samosata, 20 Lucretius, 18–19 Luna program, 50–51 Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, 156 Lunokhod rover, 143 Lynx rocket plane, 101 M5 fiber, 161 McAuliffe, Christa, 55, 74 Mack 3 Blackbird, 69 McKay, Chris, 173 McLellan, William, 283 magnetic implants, 207 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 190 magnetic sails, 186, 223 magnitude of time, 248–50, 249 Manhattan Project, 36, 221 Manifest Destiny, applied to space, 146–47, 199 Manned Habitat Unit, 169 many worlds concept, 17–20, 17, 49, 267 Mao Zedong, 141 Marconi, Guglielmo, 237 Mariner 2, 51 Mariner 4, 164 Marino, Lori, 190 Marriott hotels, 145 Mars, 28, 237, 270 challenges of travel to, 166–70 distance from Earth to, 50, 148, 166 Earth compared to, 171–72, 216 establishing a colony on, 166–71, 169, 192, 195, 200–201, 203, 214, 248 evidence of water on, 124–25, 163–66, 165, 173 fly-bys of, 51, 170 imaginative perceptions of, 163–65 latency on, 178 map of, 163 obstacles to exploration of, 66–67, 148 one-way journey to, 166, 170–71, 200 as potentially habitable, 124–25, 163, 165–66, 171, 172–74, 234, 278 privately funded missions to, 170–71 probes to, 40, 51, 52, 164–65, 176, 246 projected exploration of, 94–98, 101, 104, 115, 119, 157, 161, 163–74, 178, 181, 182 property rights on, 145, 198–99 sex and reproduction on, 200 simulated journey to, 169–70 soil of, 170 staging points for, 161 terraforming of, 172–74, 182, 216, 227 tests for life on, 52 Mars Direct, 169 Mars500 mission, 169 Mars One, 170–71, 198–201 Mars Society, 166 Mars 3 lander, 51 Masai people, 120 Massachusetts General Hospital, 250 Masson-Zwaan, Tanja, 199 mathematics, 19 as universal language, 236–37 Matrix, The, 260 matter, manipulation of, 258 matter-antimatter annihilation, 220, 220, 221–22 Mavroidis, Constantinos, 182 Max-Q (maximum aerodynamic stress), 46 Maxwell, James Clerk, 183 Mayor, Michel, 126–28, 133 medicine: challenges and innovation in, 92–93, 263 cyborgs in, 205 medicine (continued) as lacking in space, 200 in life extension, 259 nanotechnology in, 225, 259 robots in, 180, 181, 182, 205 mediocrity, principle of, 261 Mendez, Abel, 278 mental models, 13–17, 18–19 Mercury: orbit of, 126, 215 property rights on, 145 as uninhabitable, 124 mercury poisoning, 118 Mercury program, 41, 42, 71, 74, 272 meta-intelligence, 94 meteorites, 152, 160, 160, 164, 195 methane, 52–53, 125, 132, 278 as biomarker, 217–18 methanogens, 217 “Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes, A” (Goddard), 30, 31 Methuselah, 131 mice, in scientific research, 48–49, 250–51 microbes, microbial life, 97–98, 173, 174, 217, 241, 246, 286 habitable environments for, 122–25, 165–66, 186 microcephaly, 203 microgravity, 115 microsatellites, 90 Microsoft, 84, 188 microwaves: beaming of, 223–24 signals, 187 Microwave Sciences, 223 Middle East, population dispersion into, 8, 118 migration: early human population dispersion through, 5–9, 9, 15, 19 motivation for, 9–12, 11 military: covert projects of, 69–72 Eisenhower’s caveat about, 79 in Internet development, 77, 78–79 nanotechnology in, 180–81, 225 in rocket development, 30, 32–39, 55–56, 71 in space programs, 73, 76, 79, 144, 153 Milky Way galaxy, 227, 240, 253, 263, 270 ancient Greek concept of, 18 Drake equation for detectable life in, 188, 233–35 Earth-like exoplanets in, 129–33, 233, 291 formation and age of, 235 size of, 242 Millis, Marc, 290 mind control, 245 mind uploading, 259 miniaturization, see nanotechnology minimum viable population, 201, 251 mining: of asteroids, 155–56, 182, 214 of Enceladus, 227 on Moon, 214 by robots, 178, 182 Minsky, Marvin, 177, 179 MirCorp, 75 mirrors, 173 Mir Space Station, 75, 115, 167–68 Miss Baker (monkey), 47–48, 48 Mission Control, 43, 100, 158, 269 MIT, 38, 77, 90, 141, 226, 257 mitochondrial DNA, 6, 9 Mittelwerk factory, 33, 35 Mojave Desert, 71, 82, 83 population adaptation to heat in, 118–19 molecules, in nanotechnology, 151 Mongols, 23, 24 monkeys, in space research, 47–48, 48 Montgolfier brothers, 68 Moon: age of, 50 ancient Greek concept of, 18 in asteroid capture, 156 distance from Earth to, 49–50, 150, 166, 267 first animals on, 49 first man on, 71, 158 latency on, 178 lunar base proposed for, 157–63, 158, 160, 195, 214, 248 manned landings on, 44–45, 49–50, 54, 56, 63, 71, 84, 99, 104, 108, 143, 157, 158, 176, 219, 270, 272 obstacles to exploration of, 66 orbit of, 25 probes to, 40, 51, 129, 140, 143 projected missions to, 92, 143, 157–63, 166, 214, 275 property rights on, 145–47, 198–99 proposed commercial flights to, 102 in science fiction, 20, 26 soil of, 159, 160, 162 as staging point for Mars, 161 staging points for, 148 telescopic views of, 31, 49–50 as uninhabitable, 124, 166 US commitment to reach, 41–45 Moon Treaty (1979), 146 Moon Treaty, UN (1984), 279 Moore, John, 203 Moravec, 259–60 Morgan, Barbara, 74 Morrison, Philip, 187, 239 Mosaic web browser, 79 Moses, 148 motion, Newton’s laws of, 25, 67–68 multistage rockets, 29 multiverse, 252–57, 255 Musk, Elon, 94–98, 97, 100–101, 112–13, 148, 205 mutation, 6–7 cosmic rays and, 204 7R, 10–12, 11, 15 mutually assured destruction, 42 Mylar, 184, 225 N1/L3 rocket, 44, 54 nanobots, 179–82, 181, 224–28 NanoSail-D, 184, 185 nanosponges, 180 nanotechnology, 151–52, 179–82, 208, 214, 245, 280, 283 projected future of, 257–59 see also nanobots National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 83, 90, 96, 97–98, 114, 116–17, 128, 144, 153, 156, 176, 178, 182, 184–85, 185, 195, 200, 205, 206, 216, 224, 226, 271, 275, 280, 290 and Air Force, 71 artistic depiction of space colonies by, 196, 196 budget of, 39, 42, 43, 49, 54, 64, 75, 99, 104, 140, 144, 158, 166, 188, 238, 270, 272, 284 cut back of, 45, 49, 54, 188 formation of, 38–39, 145, 269 private and commercial collaboration with, 99–102, 104 revival of, 103–5 space program of, 51, 55–56, 71–76, 92, 157–58, 285–86 stagnation of, 63–67, 141, 147, 166 National Geographic Society, 7, 265 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 187–88 National Science Foundation (NSF), 78–79 Native Americans, 118 naturalness, 256 natural selection, 6, 16, 123, 164, 251, 291 Nature, 187 Naval Research lab, 37 Navy, US: Bureau of Aeronautics, 30 in rocket development, 36–37 Nayr, Ernst, 238 Nazis, 48 Propaganda Ministry of, 32 von Braun and, 32–34, 141, 269 NBC, 75 Nedelin, Mitrofan, 43 “needle in a haystack” problem, 188–89, 242–43 “Nell” (rocket), 29 Neptune, 127, 131, 225 as uninhabitable, 125 Nergal, 163 Netscape, 80 New Mexico, 88, 88, 105 Newton, Isaac, 24–25, 25, 30, 67–68, 110, 262, 267 New York Times, 30, 94 Nicholas, Henry, 214 Niven, Larry, 198, 253 Nixon, Richard, 108, 167 Nobel Prize, 126, 180, 214 nomad planets, 128 Noonan, James, 266 nuclear fission, 220, 220, 221 nuclear fusion, 110, 161–62, 220, 221, 221, 222 nuclear reactors, 224 nuclear weapons, 36, 42, 78, 129, 146, 197–98, 222, 234–35, 244, 245, 246, 286 Nuremberg Chronicles, 17 Nyberg, Karen, 200 Obama, Barack, 104 Oberth, Hermann, 28, 31–32, 36, 268 oceans: acidification of, 195 sealed ecosystem proposed for, 197 Oculus Rift, 176 Ohio, astronauts from, 74 Okuda, Michael, 228 Olsen, Ken, 213 100 Year Starship project, 224 100 Year Starship Symposium, 229 101955 Bennu (asteroid), 156 O’Neill, Gerard, 196, 251–52 Opportunity rover, 165 optical SETI, 190, 243 Orbital Sciences Corporation, 100–101, 275 orbits: concept of, 25 geostationary, 149–50, 150 legislation on, 146 low Earth, 49, 54, 63, 70–71, 70, 74–75, 97, 100, 110, 113–14, 151, 155, 184 manned, 40–41, 141–42 staging points from, 148 orcas, 190 Orion spacecraft, 104 Orteig, Raymond, 90 Orteig Prize, 90–91 Orwell, George, 35 OSIRIS-REx, 156 Outer Space Treaty (1967), 145–47, 198–99 “Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking” (Clarke), 201 oxygen, 156, 159, 161, 170, 172, 173–74, 182, 193–95, 214 Oymyakon, Siberia, population adaptation to cold in, 119–20 ozone, as biomarker, 217 Pacific Ocean, 9, 224 Pac-Man, 175 Page, Larry, 92 Paine, Thomas, 167 Pale Blue Dot (Sagan), 121 “Pale Blue Dot,” Earth as, 53, 118–22, 121, 130 Paperclip, Operation, 141 parabolic flight, 93 paradox, as term, 241 Paratrechina longicornis (crazy ant), 193 Parkinson’s disease, 202–3 particle physics, standard model of, 256 Pascal, Blaise, 120 Pauley, Phil, 196–97 PayPal, 95, 97 Pensées (Pascal), 120 People’s Daily, 162 People’s Liberation Army, 144 Pericles, 18 Pettit, Don, 100, 273 phenotype, 6 philanthropy, 95 PhoneSat, 185 photons, 183, 186 in teleportation, 229, 230, 231 photosynthesis, as biomarker, 217 pigs, 250 Pinker, Steven, 16 Pioneer probes, 50, 51–52 piracy, 24 Pitcairn Island, 202 planetary engineering, 172 Planetary Resources, 156 planetary science, 51–52, 176 Planetary Society, 184 planets: exploration of, 49–53 formation of, 156 plate techtonics, 132, 241 play, imagination in, 10, 14 pluralism, 17–20, 17, 49 plutonium, 66 poetry, space, 272–73 politics, space exploration and, 63–64, 104, 141, 214, 238 Polyakov, Valeri, 115, 167–68 population bottleneck, 201–2, 287 Poynter, Jane, 193 Princess of Mars, A (Burroughs), 164 Principia (Newton), 25 Project Orion, 221, 221 Project Ozma, 187–88, 237, 253 prokaryotes, 172 property rights, in space, 145–47, 198 Proton rockets, 65, 113 proton scoop, 222–23 Proxmire, William, 238 Puerto Rico, 239, 243 pulsar, 131 Pythagorean Theorem, 238 Qian Xuesen, 141 Qi Jiguang, 24 Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, 92 quantum entanglement, 230–32, 230 quantum genesis, 255 quantum mechanics, 258 quantum teleportation, 230–32, 230 quantum theory, 189 qubits, 230 Queloz, Didier, 126–28, 133 R-7 rocket, 37 R-16 rocket, 43 radiation, infrared, 109, 253–54, 254 radioactivity, as energy source, 124, 181 radio waves, 66, 187, 189, 242 ramjets, 222–23 RAND Corporation, 222 Rare Earth hypothesis, 241 RCS Energia, 106 RD-180 engine, 72 Reagan, Ronald, administration of, 167, 271 reality TV, 75, 171, 214, 282 “Realm of Fear,” 229 reasoning, human capacity for, 13–17, 18–19 red dwarfs, 131 Red Mars (Stanley), 174 Red Scare, 141 Redstone rocket, 36–37, 71 reindeer, 119–20 remote sensing, 175–91, 224 RepRap Project, 227 reproduction, sexual, 6, 172 Ride, Sally, 74 “Right Stuff,” as term, 71, 114 Right Stuff, The (Wolfe), 272 Ringworld series (Niven), 253 risk: as basic to human nature, 9, 262 genetic factor in, 10–12 of living on Mars, 167–70 in pushing human limits, 120 of space tourism, 102, 105–9, 155 of space travel, 42–43, 55–56, 56, 106–9, 152–53 Robinson, Kim Stanley, 174 robonaut project, 179 robots, robotics: as aids to humans, 249, 250 in asteroid redirection, 104 commercial, 178 ethical issues of, 179 nanotechnology in, 179–82, 181 remote control of, 177–78 remote sensing through, 176 self-assembly and self-replication by, 226–28, 258, 259 in spacecraft, 50, 100, 100 space exploration by, 53–57, 66, 98, 133, 161, 177–79, 179, 208, 224–28 see also cyborgs; nanobots Rocketdyne, 112 rocket equation, 27, 53, 72–73, 110–11, 111, 148, 220, 268 rocket fuel, 110–13, 148, 156, 159, 161 comparison of efficiency of, 219–24 Rocket Performance Calculator, 222 rockets: alternatives to, 148–53 “bible” of, 267 challenges in launching of, 43–44, 46–49, 106, 107, 111–12, 148 comparison of US and Soviet, 44 cost of, 112–13, 113 developing technology of, 21–39, 43, 101, 103, 112–13, 183, 262 fuel for, 110–13, 148, 156, 159, 161, 220–21 launched from planes, 84 liquid-fueled, 28–29, 29 physics and function of, 110–14 proposed energy technologies for, 220–24 reusable, 101, 103, 111, 112, 113 solar sails compared to, 183 as term, 23 visionaries in development of, 26–30, 94 in warfare, 22–24, 30, 32–34 see also specific rockets “Rockets to the Planets in Space, The” (Oberth), 28 Rogers Commission, 271 Rohrabacher, Dana, 284 Rome, ancient, 18, 67, 163 Rovekamp, Roger, 207 rovers, 66–67, 92, 125, 140, 143, 158, 165, 167 nanotechnology in, 181–82 remote sensing through, 176 Rozier, Jean-François de, 68 RP-1 kerosine, 110 RS-25 rocket, 112 Russia, 23, 26–27, 149, 178 space program of, 37, 65–66, 72, 75, 84, 91, 104, 106, 107–8, 113, 114, 140, 143, 168, 184, 195, 200, 271 space tourism by, 75, 102 tensions between US and, 72 see also Soviet Union Russian Revolution, 27, 47 Russian Space Agency, 102 Rutan, Burt, 72, 82–86, 85, 88, 88, 89, 91, 97–98, 105–6, 214 Rutan, Dick, 83–84 Rutan Aircraft Factory, 83 Saberhagen, Fred, 177, 259 Sagan, Carl, 53, 121–22, 121, 176–77, 184, 198, 234–35, 238, 240 Sahakian, Barbara, 98 Sahara Desert, 238 sails: solar, 183–86, 185 wind-driven, 67–68, 183, 262 Salyut space station, 54, 108 satellites: artificial Earth, 36–39, 37, 40, 65, 71, 106 commercial, 96, 105 communications, 101, 142, 153 in energy capture, 253 geostationary, 149 GPS, 144 launching of, 154, 154 miniature, 90, 184–85 Saturn: moon of, 125, 227 probes to, 52–53 as uninhabitable, 125 Saturn V rocket, 43, 44, 46, 54, 83, 104, 111, 113, 113, 166 Scaled Composites, 83, 89 science fiction, 192, 196, 222, 223, 239, 250, 253 aliens in, 186–87 in film, 28, 204 Mars in, 164, 174 roots of, 20 technologies of, 228–32, 259 see also specific authors and works scientific method, 213 Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), 187–90, 234, 239, 254 evolution and technology of, 237–39, 242–43, 242 lack of signals detected by, 236–37, 240–44 new paradigms for, 258 “Searching for Interstellar Communications” (Cocconi and Morrison), 187 sea travel: early human migration through, 8, 9 exploration by, 109, 262 propulsion in, 67–68 self-replication, 226–28, 258, 259 Senate, US, Armed Services Preparedness Committee of, 39 SETI Institute, 188 78–6 (pig), 250 sex: promiscuous, 12 in reproduction, 6, 172 in space, 200, 214 Shackleton Energy Company, 161 Shane, Scott, 98 Shatner, William, 88–89 Shelley, Mary, 206 Shenlong (“Divine Dragon”), 145 Shenzhou 10, 142–43 Shepard, Alan, 41, 84 Shostak, Seth, 243 Siberia, 65, 119–20, 238 population dispersion into, 8, 118, 218 Sidereal Messenger, The (Galileo), 270 Siemienowicz, Kazimierz, 267 Simonyi, Charles, 75 Sims, 175 simulation: infinite regression in, 261 living in, 257–62 simulation hypothesis, 261 Sinatra, Frank, 45 singularity, 207 in origin of cosmos, 255 and simulation, 257–62 technological, 258–59 Singularity University, 94, 259 Skylab space station, 54, 116 Skype video, 176 smart motes, 181, 225 smartphones, 92, 185 Smithsonian Institution, 30, 81 Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 85, 91, 271 Snow Crash (Stephenson), 103 Snowden, Edward, 178 social media, 195 Sojourner rover, 165 SolarCity, 96–97 solar flares, 167 solar power, 96, 181, 183–86 solar sails, solar sailing, 183–86, 185, 223, 225, 227 Solar System: discovery of first planet beyond, 126–27 edge of, 50, 53, 121 formation of, 156 habitability potential in, 122, 124–26 latency variations in, 178 probes into, 51–52, 66, 177, 185–86, 208, 270 projected travel within, 248–49, 263 property rights in, 145–47, 198 worlds beyond, 126–29, 156, 208, 215, 250, 263 solar wind, 162, 223 sound barrier, breaking of, 69, 71 South America, 11, 202, 218 Soviet Union, 30, 34, 37, 141 fall of, 47, 65, 75, 197, 271–72 rocket development in, 35–39 space program failures and losses of, 43, 47, 50–51, 54, 269 space program of, 37–39, 40–43, 141, 149, 237, 271 Soyuz spacecraft, 43, 55, 75, 84, 91, 102, 106, 113, 143 crash of, 107–8 space: civilians in, 55, 74 civilian vs. military control of, 37–39, 69–71, 79, 153 commercialization of, 55, 63, 73–76, 79–80, 88–89, 92, 97, 99–109, 100, 110, 147, 153–56, 154, 199, 214, 249, 275 debris in, 144, 152 first American in, 41 first man in, 40–41, 41 first women in, 40, 74 as infinite, 18, 19, 22 as inhospitable to human beings, 53–54, 114–17, 121 legislation on, 39, 78, 90, 144, 145–47, 198–200 living in, 192–208 “living off the land” in, 166, 200 peaceful exploration of, 39 potential for human habitabilty in, 123 prototype for sealed ecosystem in, 192–97 Space Act (1958), 39, 90 Space Adventures, 102, 275 space colonization: challenges of, 197–201 cyborgs in, 204–8 evolutionary diversion in, 201–4 legal issues in, 198–200 of Mars, 166–71, 169, 192, 195, 203 off-Earth human beings in, 215, 250–51 prototype experiments for, 192–97 space elevators, 27, 148–53, 150, 160–61, 185, 280 “Space Exploration via Telepresence,” 178 Spaceflight Society, 28 space hotels, 102–3 Space Launch System (SLS), 104 space mining, 155–56, 161–62 “Space Oddity,” 142 spaceplanes, 71–72, 85, 144 Spaceport America, 1–6, 105 Space Race, 35–39, 37, 40–43, 50, 55, 139 SpaceShipOne, 72, 85, 85, 88–89, 88, 91 SpaceShipTwo, 88, 101, 105 Space Shuttle, 45, 46, 49, 64, 72, 84, 85, 111–13, 112, 159, 167, 194, 219–20, 222, 275 disasters of, 55–56, 56, 74–75, 107, 111–13 final flight of, 271 limitations of, 55–56, 64–65 as reusable vehicle, 54–55 space sickness, 114 spacesuits, 89, 182, 195–96 space-time, 255, 255 manipulation of, 258 space tourism, 63, 73, 75–76, 79–80, 88–89, 91, 101–3, 154, 170, 214 celebrities in, 88, 101–2 revenue from, 154–55, 155 risks of, 102, 105–9, 155 rules for, 105 space travel: beyond Solar System, see interstellar travel bureaucracy of, 105–10, 271 cost of, 39, 42, 45, 49, 54, 55, 66, 75, 81–82, 91, 112–14, 113, 139–49, 153, 155–56, 158–59, 161, 166, 179, 183, 198, 214, 217, 222, 224–26, 252, 270, 275, 284 early attempts at, 21–22, 22 effect of rocket equation in, see rocket equation entrepreneurs of, 81–98 erroneous predictions about, 214 failures and disasters in, 21–22, 22, 38, 43, 47, 50–51, 54–56, 56, 63–64, 68, 72, 74–75, 101, 102, 107, 142, 184, 269, 271, 275 fatality rate of, 107–9 fictional vignettes of, 1–4, 59–62, 135–38, 209–12 Internet compared to, 76–80, 77, 80 life extension for, 250–51 lifetimes lived in, 251 living conditions in, 114–17 new business model for, 99–105 Newton’s theories as basis of, 25 obstacles to, 21, 63, 66–67, 105–109 space travel (continued) as part of simulation, 261–62 public engagement in, 45, 73, 85, 93, 162, 177, 217 remote sensing vs., 175–91 risks of, 43–44, 83, 89, 93, 105–9 speculation on future of, 76–80, 133, 213–32, 248–52 suborbital, 84 telescopic observation vs., 49–50 visionaries of, 26–39, 80, 94, 109 SpaceX, 96, 97, 100–103, 113–14, 275 SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, 96, 100, 100, 102, 170 special theory of relativity, 228, 231 specific impulse, 220 spectroscopy, 127, 165, 176 spectrum analyzer, 237 Speer, Albert, 34 Spielberg, Steven, 238 Spirit of St.


pages: 114 words: 30,715

The Four Horsemen by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett

3D printing, Andrew Wiles, cognitive dissonance, cosmological constant, dark matter, Desert Island Discs, en.wikipedia.org, phenotype, Richard Feynman, stem cell, Steven Pinker

As the first holder of Oxford University’s Simonyi Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science, he acquired a worldwide reputation as a sceptic, ‘passionate rationalist’, ‘proud atheist’, and witty exposer of charlatanism and fakery couched in pseudoscientific language. In all that time, he has pursued an academic career as a leading ethologist and biologist. He gave our language the word ‘meme’, and in his work as a scientist has hugely expanded our understanding not just of the genotype but of the whole evolutionary package that makes life, the phenotype. His Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science stands as a global cynosure for free thought. CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS (Porthos) was – and how it will always grieve me to have to use the past tense – a journalist, essayist, polemicist, contrarian, debater, political historian, author and thinker. His preternaturally fluent articulacy, breadth of learning, extraordinary recall, diablerie, sauciness, and panache raised his mastery of debate to a level unmatched in his lifetime.


pages: 372 words: 110,208

Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past by David Reich

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, European colonialism, Google Earth, invention of agriculture, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, out of africa, phenotype, Scientific racism, supervolcano, the scientific method, transatlantic slave trade

J. Novembre and M. Stephens, “Interpreting Principal Component Analyses of Spatial Population Genetic Variation,” Nature Genetics 40 (2008): 646–49. 7. O. François et al., “Principal Component Analysis Under Population Genetic Models of Range Expansion and Admixture,” Molecular Biology and Evolution 27 (2010): 1257–68. 8. A. Keller et al., “New Insights into the Tyrolean Iceman’s Origin and Phenotype as Inferred by Whole-Genome Sequencing,” Nature Communications 3 (2012): 698; P. Skoglund et al., “Origins and Genetic Legacy of Neolithic Farmers and Hunter-Gatherers in Europe,” Science 336 (2012): 466–69; I. Lazaridis et al., “Ancient Human Genomes Suggest Three Ancestral Populations for Present-Day Europeans,” Nature 513 (2014): 409–13. 9. J. K. Pickrell and D. Reich, “Toward a New History and Geography of Human Genes Informed by Ancient DNA,” Trends in Genetics 30 (2014): 377–89. 10.

., “Massive Migration”; M. E. Allentoft et al., “Population Genomics of Bronze Age Eurasia,” Nature 522 (2015): 167–72. 37. Templeton, “Biological Races.” 5 The Making of Modern Europe 1. B. Bramanti et al., “Genetic Discontinuity Between Local Hunter-Gatherers and Central Europe’s First Farmers,” Science 326 (2009): 137–40. 2. A. Keller et al., “New Insights into the Tyrolean Iceman’s Origin and Phenotype as Inferred by Whole-Genome Sequencing,” Nature Communications 3 (2012): 698. 3. W. Muller et al., “Origin and Migration of the Alpine Iceman,” Science 302 (2003): 862–66. 4. P. Skoglund et al., “Origins and Genetic Legacy of Neolithic Farmers and Hunter-Gatherers in Europe,” Science 336 (2012): 466–69. 5. Albert J. Ammerman and Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, The Neolithic Transition and the Genetics of Populations in Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984). 6.


pages: 381 words: 111,629

The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, Dr. Elissa Epel

Albert Einstein, epigenetics, impulse control, income inequality, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, survivorship bias, The Spirit Level, twin studies

There are many reasons why this occurs, such as proteins becoming damaged. One other common cause of inflamm-aging involves telomere damage. When a cell’s genes are damaged or its telomeres are too short, that cell knows its precious DNA is in danger. The cell reprograms itself so that it emits molecules that can travel to other cells and call for help. These molecules, together called senescence-associated secretory phenotype, or SASP, can be useful. If a cell has become senescent because it’s been wounded, it can send signals to neighboring immune cells and other cells with repair functions, to call in the squads that can get the healing process going. And here’s where things go terribly wrong. Telomeres have an abnormal response to DNA damage. The telomere is so preoccupied with protecting itself that even though the cell has called out for help, the telomere won’t let the help in.

Wang, “The Effects of Mind-Body Therapies on the Immune System: Meta-analysis,” PLOS ONE 9, no. 7 (2014): e100903, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100903. 2. Conklin, Q., et al., “Telomere Lengthening After Three Weeks of an Intensive Insight Meditation Retreat,” Psychoneuroendocrinology 61 (November 2015): 26–27, doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.07.462. 3. Epel, E., et al. “Meditation and Vacation Effects Impact Disease-Associated Molecular Phenotypes,” Translational Psychiatry (August 2016): 6, e880, doi: 10.1038/tp.2016.164. 4. Kabat-Zinn, J., Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, rev. ed. (New York: Bantam Books, 2013). 5. Lengacher, C. A., et al., “Influence of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Telomerase Activity in Women with Breast Cancer (BC),” Biological Research for Nursing 16, no. 4 (October 2014): 438–47, doi:10.1177/1099800413519495. 6.


pages: 378 words: 107,957

Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody by Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, centre right, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, desegregation, Donald Trump, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, feminist movement, germ theory of disease, Isaac Newton, late capitalism, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, neurotypical, phenotype, sexual politics, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, transatlantic slave trade, white flight, women in the workforce

Kramer, Bernard Zinman, and Ravi Retnakaran, “Are Metabolically Healthy Overweight and Obesity Benign Conditions?: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis,” Annals of Internal Medicine 159 no. 11 (December 03, 2013), annals.org/aim/article-abstract/1784291/metabolically-healthy-overweight-obesity-benign-conditions-systematic-review-meta-analysis?doi=10.7326/0003-4819-159-11-201312030-00008; Lara L. Roberson et al., “Beyond BMI: The ‘Metabolically Healthy Obese’ Phenotype and Its Association with Clinical/Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease and All-Cause Mortality—A Systematic Review,” BMC Public Health 14, no. 1 (2014): article 14. 33.The ASDAH website states that its commitment to inclusion encompasses diversity based on ethnicity, race, nationality, immigration status, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, spirituality, abilities, education, economic class, social class, body shape and size, and others.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Rich, Adrienne. Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence. Denver, CO: Antelope Publications, 1982. Riley, Donna. Engineering and Social Justice. San Rafael, CA: Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2008. Roberson, Lara L., et al. “Beyond BMI: The ‘Metabolically Healthy Obese’ Phenotype and Its Association with Clinical/Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease and All-Cause Mortality—A Systematic Review.” BMC Public Health 14, no. 1 (2014): Article 14. Rorty, Richard. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979. ———. Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Rothblum, Esther D., and Sondra Solovay, eds.


pages: 743 words: 189,512

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz

Albert Einstein, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Gary Taubes, Indoor air pollution, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Upton Sinclair

Katan, “High-Oil Compared with Low-Fat, High-Carbohydrate Diets in the Prevention of Ischemic Heart Disease,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66, no. 4, suppl. (1997): 974S–979S. “of all the lipoproteins”: Tavia Gordon et al., “High Density Lipoprotein as a Protective Factor Against Coronary Heart Disease: The Framingham Study,” American Journal of Medicine 62, no. 5 (1977): 707. The correlation was “striking”: Ibid., 707. “most important finding”: William P. Castelli et al., “HDL Cholesterol and Other Lipids in Coronary Heart Disease: The Cooperative Lipoprotein Phenotyping Study,” Circulation 55, no. 5 (1977): 771. By 2002, the NCEP was calling: National Cholesterol Education Program, Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults: (Adult Treatment Panel III) Final Report. NIH Publication No. 02–5215 (Washington, DC: NIH, 2002), II-1. number of epidemiological studies: Castelli et al., “HDL Cholesterol and Other Lipids,” 769–770.

., “Intensive Lipid Lowering with Atorvastatin in Patients with Stable Coronary Disease,” New England Journal of Medicine 352 (2005): 1425–1435; K. K. Ray et al., “Statins and All-Cause Mortality in High-Risk Primary Prevention: A Meta-Analysis of 11 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 65,229 Participants,” Archives of Internal Medicine 170 (2010): 1024–1031; Castelli et al., “HDL Cholesterol and Other Lipids,” in “Coronary Heart Disease: The Cooperative Lipoprotein Phenotyping Study,” Circulation 55, no. 5 (1977): 771. the AHA journal Circulation: Rodney A. Hayward and Harlan M. Krumholz, “Three Reasons to Abandon Low-Density Lipoprotein Targets: An Open Letter to the Adult Treatment Panel IV of the National Institute of Health,” Circulation 5 (2012): 2–5. See also Harlan M. Krumholz, “Editorial: Target Cardiovascular Risk Rather than Cholesterol Concentration,” British Medical Journal 347 (2013): doi:10.1136/bmj.f7110.

“Effects of Low Carbohydrate Diets High in Red Meats or Poultry, Fish and Shellfish on Plasma Lipids and Weight Loss.” Nutrition & Metabolism 4, no. 23 (October 31, 2007). doi:10.1186/1743-7075-4-23. Castelli, William P. “Concerning the Possibility of a Nut . . .” Archives of Internal Medicine 152, no. 7 (July 1992): 1371–1372. Castelli, William P., Joseph T. Doyle, Tavia Gordon, et al. “HDL Cholesterol and Other Lipids in Coronary Heart Disease: The Cooperative Lipoprotein Phenotyping Study.” Circulation 55, no. 5 (May 1977): 767–772. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, US Food and Drug Administration. “FDA Issues Draft Guidance for Industry on How to Reduce Acrylamide in Certain Foods.” CFSAN Constituent Update, November 14, 2013, http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm374601.htm. Center for Science in the Public Interest. Saturated Fat Attack.


pages: 692 words: 189,065

The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall by Mark W. Moffett

affirmative action, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, California gold rush, delayed gratification, demographic transition, eurozone crisis, George Santayana, glass ceiling, Howard Rheingold, invention of agriculture, invention of writing, Kevin Kelly, labour mobility, land tenure, long peace, Milgram experiment, out of africa, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, shared worldview, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, World Values Survey

Gerontol 3:76–90. Darwin C. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: John Murray. . 1871. The Descent of Man. London: John Murray. . 1872. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. London: John Murray. Davis G. 2009. Vikings in America. Edinburgh: Berlinn Ltd. Dawkins R. 1982. The Extended Phenotype. San Francisco: WH Freeman. Dawson J. 1881. Australian Aborigines: The Languages and Customs of Several Tribes of Aborigines in the Western District of Victoria. Melbourne: George Robertson. DeCasien AR, et al. 2017. Primate brain size is predicted by diet but not sociality. Nature Ecol Evol 1:112. De Dreu CKW, et al. 2011. Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism. Proc Nat Acad Sci 108:1262–1266.

Vocal, gestural and locomotor responses of wild chimpanzees to familiar and unfamiliar intruders: A playback study. Anim Behav 78:1389–1396. Hernandez-Aguilar RA, J Moore, TR Pickering. 2007. Savanna chimpanzees use tools to harvest the underground storage organs of plants. Proc Nat Acad Sci 104:19210–19213. Heth G, J Todrank, RE Johnston. 1998. Kin recognition in golden hamsters: Evidence for phenotype matching. Anim Behav 56:409–417. Hewlett BS. 1991. Intimate Fathers: The Nature and Context of Aka Pygmy Paterna Infant Care. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Hewlett BS, JMH van de Koppel, LL Cavalli-Sforza. 1986. Exploration and mating range of Aka Pygmies of the Central African Republic. In LL Cavalli-Sforza, ed. African Pygmies. New York: Academic Press. pp. 65–79. Hewstone M, R Brown, eds. 1986.

., Cohen (2012): McElreath et al. (2003); Riolo et al. (2001). 3 Womack (2005). Synonyms for “marker” include words like “label” and “tag.” 4 de Waal & Tyack (2003); Fiske & Neuberg (1990); Machalek (1992). 5 For details on different levels of human social connections, see Buys & Larson (1979); Dunbar (1993); Granovetter (1983); Moffett (2013); Roberts (2010). 6 This is the cultural version of the idea of an extended phenotype proposed by Dawkins (1982). 7 Wobst (1977). 8 Alessia Ranciaro, pers. comm.; Tishkoff et al. (2007). 9 Simoons (1994). 10 Wurgaft (2006). 11 Baumard (2010); Ensminger & Henrich (2014). 12 Poggi (2002). 13 Iverson & Goldin-Meadow (1998). 14 Darwin (1872). 15 Marsh et al. (2003). People in prolonged social contact can converge in facial appearance as well, perhaps through repeated similar use of the same facial muscles (Zajonc et al. 1987). 16 Marsh et al. (2007). 17 Sperber (1974). 18 Eagleman (2011). 19 Bates et al. (2007). 20 Allport (1954), 21. 21 Watanabe et al. (1995). 22 Nettle (1999). 23 Pagel (2009), 406. 24 Larson (1996). 25 Tajfel et al. (1970). 26 Dixon (2010), 79. 27 Sometimes the language spoken by a Pygmy group does not correspond to the farmers to which they are currently connected, suggesting the Pygmies sometimes migrate (Bahuchet 2012 & 2014).


Robot Futures by Illah Reza Nourbakhsh

3D printing, autonomous vehicles, Burning Man, commoditize, computer vision, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, phenotype, Skype, social intelligence, software as a service, stealth mode startup, strong AI, telepresence, telepresence robot, Therac-25, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

With a pencil, she is sketching a leaf she has pinned to a board on her table—maybe a botany student? “Excuse me. Hi. Can I ask you a question? That’s a figure I don’t recognize. Kanji?” She smiles—he could see this from behind, just from the movement of her cheekbone—and shakes her head. “Have you heard of symbox? This is the character I designed for it.” “Very cool. I read something in the New Yorker—this is a classification for species, right?” “No, it’s a description for phenotypes. You know biology? I proposed this for Rhesus monkeys and it was accepted.” “And, but, you’re a botanist too—I’m guessing. Sorry—I don’t see any leaf sketchers at the other tables . . .” Katy takes another sip of mint tea and tries to reason with her mother again. “All I am saying is, you can’t mark the message as urgent if it’s not urgent. How will I know if there’s a real emergency? It’s like the boy who cried wolf, mom.”


pages: 137 words: 37,066

Permafrost by Alastair Reynolds

mass immigration, phenotype

Sending you back in, putting you into Tatiana Dinova, caused some upset.” No arguing with that. At least one of you has some basic human empathy. He means a different kind of upset. I gathered. “It was getting harder for the time-probes to get a positive lock,” Antti went on. “Even when we managed to inject, the telemetry was much too noisy to be sure who we were in. We couldn’t analyse the biochemical environment properly, couldn’t get a clear phenotypic signature. With you, Cho knew you were going to mesh with a female host subject. With me, it was more a question of taking our chances.” He paused. “I’m all right. I got used to this body pretty quickly. It works for me.” “Who are you? Downstream, I mean.” “Tibor’s my host.” “And this . . . Tibor. Have you had any . . . contact . . . ?” He looked at me carefully, only part of his attention on the road ahead.


pages: 360 words: 110,929

Saturn's Children by Charles Stross

augmented reality, British Empire, business process, gravity well, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, loose coupling, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, plutocrats, Plutocrats, theory of mind

“Ichiban has a minor problem that you might be able to help him resolve,” Victor explains. “It involves travel.” “I’d be very happy to offer any advice I can,” I agree cautiously. “Yes.” Ichiban nods thoughtfully. “You are very big.” He looks up at me. It’s true: I’m almost a hundred and seventy centimeters tall. An idealized replica of our Creators’ kind, in fact, unlike the super-deformed midgets who are the commonest phenotype of the nouveau riche these days. “Good thermal inertia,” adds Ichiban, unexpectedly. “And you were designed for Earth, before the emancipation.” Good thermal inertia? I smile as my biomimetic reflexes cut in: my cheeks flush delicately, signaling mild embarrassment or confusion. Emancipation? What’s he talking about? “I’m afraid I don’t quite follow,” I say. “My sponsors have an object that requires transportation from the inner system to Mars,” Ichiban says, then pauses delicately.

Musicians and dancers were in demand, and though my primary function as odalisque was no longer in vogue, I could tap my toes and pluck a harmony with the best of them. And so I emerged blinking into the steamy overcast haze of a world I never asked for, indentured to a performing troupe of jongleurs. I played helplessly with the orchestra for my first five years, but there was no future in it for them, or for me. The musical fad was already fading, and besides, phenotypic drift was becoming a political issue. The race to pick up the pieces in the wake of our Creators’ death was won by those who were least attached to the past—and they tend to dislike reminders of their former servitude. Folks such as I, molded in the near-perfect shape of our Creators, are distasteful to some, and I was eventually bought out of my servitude by my sisters, who had made a minor fetish of tracking down their lost orphan sibs.


Wireless by Charles Stross

anthropic principle, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, Buckminster Fuller, Cepheid variable, cognitive dissonance, colonial exploitation, cosmic microwave background, epigenetics, finite state, Georg Cantor, gravity well, hive mind, jitney, Khyber Pass, lifelogging, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, MITM: man-in-the-middle, peak oil, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, security theater, sensible shoes, Turing machine, undersea cable

Two weeks ago we told the GRU that MacNamara was using the NP-101 program as cover for a preemptive D-SLAM strike. At the same time we got the NOAA to increase their mapping-launch frequency, and pointed the increased level of Soviet activity out to our sources in SAC. It doesn’t take much to get the human hives buzzing with positive feedback.” Of course, Brundle and Gregor aren’t using words for this incriminating exchange. Their phenotypically human bodies conceal some useful modifications, knobby encapsulated tumors of neuroecto derm that shield the delicate tissues of their designers, neural circuits that have capabilities human geneticists haven’t even imagined. A visitor from a more advanced human society might start chattering excitedly about wet-phase nanomachines and neural-directed broadband packet radio, but nobody in New York on a sunny day in 1979 plus one million is thinking in those terms.

Like Wei, and the other Stasis agents who had silently liquidated the camp guards and stolen their identities three nights before, Pierce was disguised as a Benzin warrior. He wore the war paint and beaten-aluminum armbands, bore the combat scars. He carried a spear tipped with a shard of synthetic diamond, mined from a deep seam of prehistoric automobile windshields. He even wore a Benzin face: the epicanthic folds and dark skin conferred by the phenotypic patches had given him food for thought, an unfamiliar departure from his white-bread origins. Gramps (he shied from the memory) would have died rather than wear this face. Pierce was not yet even a twelve-year trainee: he’d been in the service for barely four years-subjective. But he was ready to be sent out under supervision, and this particular operation called for warm bodies rather than retrocausal subtlety.


pages: 691 words: 203,236

Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities by Eric Kaufmann

4chan, affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, anti-communist, anti-globalists, augmented reality, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Haight Ashbury, illegal immigration, immigration reform, imperial preference, income inequality, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberal capitalism, longitudinal study, Lyft, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Nate Silver, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, open borders, phenotype, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steven Pinker, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, twin studies, uber lyft, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, white flight, working-age population, World Values Survey, young professional

Current thinking on the role of racial appearance in nationalism divides primordialists, who think race matters because of our tribal instincts to cooperate with those who share more of our genes, and instrumentalists, who think it counts only because it serves people’s material interests. I don’t think evolutionary psychology on its own can tell us much about why group boundaries take the form they do. True, certain physical characteristics, such as white skin and blue eyes, co-occur together more often than black skin and blue eyes. But this clustering comes in the form of gradations from North to South, or East to West. Blood types and other genetic traits cut across these phenotypical traits, and there has been considerable gene flow since the Dawn of Man some 100,000 years ago. Cultural tradition, not genes, tells us which markers matter and which don’t. On the other hand, the view that groups like the antebellum Irish ‘became white’ when they served political purposes such as the interests of the southern Democrats is, in my opinion, overstated.42 The Irish or Jews in America, though outside the Anglo-Protestant ethnic core, were distinguished from African-Americans or Chinese in daily social interactions.

Benjamin Franklin worried about the ‘white and red’ skin tone of the English being overwhelmed by ‘tawny’ Swedes and Germans in colonial Pennsylvania, but ultimately placed his faith in anglicization. More problematic were Catholics, who represented a seemingly indigestible element. Catholicism represented what the Czech-British sociologist of nationalism, Ernest Gellner, calls a ‘counter-entropic’ trait.7 That is, retained through generations and resisting decomposition over time. Whereas language or accent tends to fade in the second generation, religion and phenotype are often inherited and therefore endure. The share of foreign-born in the United States has fluctuated, but, apart from the earliest years of British and Scotch–Irish colonization in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, never exceeded 15 per cent of the total. Immigration slowed during the early years of the American republic between 1776 and 1820, contributing just 3 per cent of population growth in 1810.

Humans have mapped the genome, have cloned animals and are selecting against embryos with genetic errors that produce cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anaemia, and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The next stage, which may be no more than a decade or two away, is to use biotechnology to design our offspring. This has implications for ethnic movements because ethnicity concerns ancestry, which has a basis in genetic traits that manifest themselves as phenotypical markers. The genetic frequencies of ethnic groups have been extensively mapped.27 Like many, I’ve done a cheek swab to find out more about my ancestors. While some of the ones I expected – South American Indian, Chinese, Jewish – appeared, many others, such as Swedish, Hungarian and Lowland Scots, surprised me. This was done a decade ago, so I’m not sure the sampling was fine-grained enough!


Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress

Cepheid variable, Charles Lindbergh, double helix, gravity well, index card, indoor plumbing, job automation, phenotype, union organizing

Or the last two. Or the last ten. Her lab rats, their brains confused by what was supposed to be the answer to Miri’s experiment, stood irresolutely in their brain-scan stalls. The smallest of the three gave up: He lay down and went to sleep. “T-t-t-terrific,” Miri muttered. What ever made her think she was a biochemical researcher? “Super”—yeah. Sure. Super-incompetent. Strings of genetic code, phenotypes, enzymes, receptor sites formed and reformed in her head. None of it was any good. Waste, waste. She threw a calibration instrument clear across the lab, guaranteeing it would have to be recalibrated. “Miri!” Joan Lucas stood in the doorway, her pretty face twisted as rope. She and Miri had not talked in years. “Miri…” “Wh-wh-what is it? J-J-J-Joan?” “It’s Tony. Come right now. He…” Her face twisted even more.

Terry called up the string on his terminal; like most of Terry’s strings, it was incomprehensible to anyone but Terry. Nikos then created a string in his own program and converted it to Miri’s, still the format most accessible to the group as a whole. The twenty-seven children crowded near. Sharifi Labs had developed and synthesized an instantly fatal, airborne, highly communicable genemod organism, built from the code of a virus but highly different in important phenotypes. Packets of the organism, in a frozen state that could be unfrozen and dispersed by remote control from Sanctuary, had been installed in the United States by selected Sleepless graduate students studying on Earth. There were packets secreted in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, and on Kagura orbital, which Sharifi Labs now owned. The packets were virtually undetectable by conventional methods.


pages: 473 words: 124,861

Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm by Isabella Tree

agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, British Empire, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype

Though still a good eight to twelve inches shorter than the massive aurochs of old, and, with a Heck bull typically weighing in at 1,300lb, at least 220lb lighter than a bull aurochs, they are, nevertheless, imposing animals. Konik ponies, a short, stocky breed with dun coats and a dorsal stripe, originally from the Biłgoraj region of Poland, were chosen for the Oostvaardersplassen experiment for their hardiness and their supposed phenotypical resemblance to the extinct tarpan. They, too, had been the subject of a ‘breed-back’ experiment, started by a Polish count in 1936. Roe deer were already naturally present in the Oostvaardersplassen in small numbers, and red deer were added to the mix. ‘We wanted to introduce the kind of grazing variation you find in Africa and that would once have prevailed in Europe. Of course, this is an imperfect representation of all the animals that would have originally been here but there are still huge positives from bringing these species together.

Whether or not these claims are valid (Joep is dubious), he feels there is a strong genetic and ecological argument for using more than one breed in conservation grazing projects as a replacement for the extinct wild horse – Hucul horses in the Carpathians, for example; Norwegian Fjord ponies or Swedish Gotlandruss ponies in Northern Europe, Koniks in lowland Eastern Europe; and Exmoors in Western Europe. There is little doubt about the Exmoor’s credentials as an equine aboriginal. Fossil remains have been found in the area of Exmoor dating back to around 50,000 BC . Roman carvings in Somerset depict ponies phenotypically similar to Exmoors, and the Domesday Book records ponies on Exmoor in 1086. Whether Exmoors have been pure-bred since the ice age remains a subject of debate. The DNA evidence is inconclusive and there are stories of domesticated stallions over the centuries breaking out onto the moor to breed with wild Exmoor mares – one is said to have been an Arab, Katerfelto, who swam ashore after the wrecking of the Spanish Armada.


pages: 316 words: 117,228

The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality by Katharina Pistor

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bilateral investment treaty, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business cycle, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Glaeser, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, global reserve currency, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, intangible asset, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, land tenure, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, means of production, money market fund, moral hazard, offshore financial centre, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, price stability, profit maximization, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Wolfgang Streeck

A few years later, he suggested linking the Utah Mormon Genealogy to the Utah Cancer Registry to facilitate the process of identifying genes.64 After Myriad had identified the BRCA sequence and patented it, the company did not just offer the test, but it collected detailed data from every patient, including her specific variation of the defective gene, the manifestation or phenotype of the cancer, her family history, and the gene pool to which she belonged. This database became Myriad’s greatest asset. In 2005, the company stopped contributing information to public databases and stopped sharing its own data with others.65 As Simon and Sichelman observed, “[w]hat began with patent protection over genetic information now includes trade secret protection for Myriad’s databases of 128 c h a P te r 5 patients’ full genetic sequences and phenotypic information, as well as correlations and algorithms resulting from access to that wealth of data.”66 In essence, “data-generating patents” give the patentee a head start over others in building a huge, private database that will be enforced through trade secrecy law long after the patent itself has expired.


pages: 158 words: 46,760

Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue: How to Restore Hormonal Balance and Feel Renewed, Energized, and Stress Free by Kathryn Simpson

impulse control, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, randomized controlled trial

Brain Research Reviews 58(1):96-105. Vgontzas, A. N., C. Tsigos, E. O. Bixler, et al. 1998. Chronic insomnia and activity of the stress system: A preliminary study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 45(1):21-31. Vicennati, V., L. Ceroni, L. Gagliardi, A. Gambineri, and R. Pasquali. 2002. Response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis to high-protein/fat and high-carbohydrate meals in women with different obesity phenotypes. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 87(8):3984-3988, Virchow, R. 1860. Cellular Pathology as Based upon Physiological and Pathological Histology. London: Churchill. Weill, S., D. Chesneau, and L. Safraou. 2002. Effects of introducing linseed in livestock diet on blood fatty acid composition of consumers of animal products. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 46(5):182-191. Whitworth, J., P.


pages: 474 words: 136,787

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley

affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, assortative mating, Atahualpa, Bonfire of the Vanities, demographic transition, double helix, Drosophila, feminist movement, invention of agriculture, Menlo Park, phenotype, rent control, theory of mind, twin studies, University of East Anglia, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

., 1859, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, John Murray, London —1871, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, John Murray, London Darwin, E., 1803, The Temple of Nature, or, the Origin of Society, J. Johnson, London Davison, G. W. H., 1983, ‘The Eyes Have It: Ocelli in a Rainforest Pheasant’, Animal Behaviour, 31:1037–42 Dawkins, M. and Guilford, T., 1991, ‘The Corruption of Honest Signalling’, Animal Behaviour, 41:865–73 Dawkins, R., 1976, The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press, Oxford —1982, The Extended Phenotype, Oxford University Press, Oxford —1986, The Blind Watchmaker, Longman, London —1990, ‘Parasites, Desiderata Lists and the Paradox of the Organism’, Parasitology, 100: S63–S73 —1991, ‘Darwin Triumphant: Darwinism as a Universal Truth’, Man and Beast Revisited, ed. M. H. Robinson and L. Tiger, Smithsonian, Washington, DC, pp. 23–39 —and Krebs, J. R., 1978, ‘Animal Signals: Information or Manipulation?’

., 1991a, ‘Borrowed Sexual Ornaments’, Nature, 349:105 —1991b, The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee, Radius, London Dickemann, M., 1979, ‘Female Infanticide and Reproductive Strategies of Stratified Human Societies’, Evolutionary Biology and Human Social Behavior, ed. N. Chagnon and W. Irons, Duxbury, North Scituate, Massachusetts, pp. 321–67 —1992, ‘Phylogenetic Fallacies and Sexual Oppression’, Human Nature, 3:71–87 Doolittle, W. F. and Sapienza, C., 1980, ‘Selfish Genes, the Phenotype Paradigm and Genome Evolution’, Nature, 284:601–3 Dörner, G., 1985, ‘Sex-specific Gonadotrophin Secretion, Sexual Orientation and Gender Role Behaviour’, Endokrinologie, 86:1–6 Dörner, G., 1989, ‘Hormone-dependent Brain Development and Neuroendocrine Prophylaxis’, Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology 94:4–22 Dugatkin, L., 1992, ‘Sexual Selection and Imitation: Females Copy the Mate Choice of Others’, American Naturalist, 139:1384–9 Dunbar, R.


pages: 539 words: 139,378

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

affirmative action, Black Swan, cognitive bias, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, invisible hand, lateral thinking, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Necker cube, Nelson Mandela, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, social intelligence, social web, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, ultimatum game

“Is Polarization a Myth?” Journal of Politics 70:542–55. Adorno, T. W., E. Frenkel-Brunswik, D. J. Levinson, and R. N. Sanford. 1950. The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper and Row. Alford, J. R., C. L. Funk, and J. R. Hibbing. 2005. “Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?” American Political Science Review 99:153–67. ______. 2008. “Beyond Liberals and Conservatives to Political Genotypes and Phenotypes.” Perspectives on Politics 6:321–28. Allen, E., et al. 1975. “Against ‘Sociobiology.’ ” New York Review of Books 22:43–44. Almas, I., A. W. Cappelen, E. O. Sorensen, and B. Tungodden. 2010. “Fairness and the Development of Inequality Acceptance.” Science 328:1176–8. Ambrose, S. H. 1998. “Late Pleistocene Human Population Bottlenecks, Volcanic-Winter, and the Differentiation of Modern Humans.”

Ethics for the New Millennium. New York: Riverhead Books. Damasio, A. 1994. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. New York: Putnam. ______. 2003. Looking for Spinoza. Orlando, FL: Harcourt. Darwin, C. 1998/1871. The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. Dawkins, R. 1976. The Selfish Gene. New York: Oxford University Press. ______. 1999/1982. The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene. New York: Oxford University Press. ______. 2006. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Decety, J. 2011. “The Neuroevolution of Empathy.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1231:35–45. De Dreu, C. K., L. L. Greer, M. J. Handgraaf, S. Shalvi, G. A. Van Kleef, M. Baas, et al. 2010. “The Neuropeptide Oxytocin Regulates Parochial Altruism in Intergroup Conflict Among Humans.”


pages: 473 words: 130,141

The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution by Richard Wrangham

agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Defenestration of Prague, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, impulse control, income inequality, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Steven Pinker, twin studies, ultimatum game

Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 157: 197–224. Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. 1997. Preventing Deadly Conflict: Final Report. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Carneiro, Miguel, Carl-Johan Rubin, Federica Di Palma, Frank W. Albert, Jessica Alföldi, Alvaro Martinez Barrio, Gerli Pielberg, et al. 2014. “Rabbit genome analysis reveals a polygenic basis for phenotypic change during domestication.” Science 345: 1074–79. Carré, Justin M., and Cheryl M. McCormick. 2008. “In your face: Facial metrics predict aggressive behavior in the laboratory and in varsity and professional hockey players.” Proceeding of the Royal Society B 275: 2651–56. Carré, Justin M., Cheryl M. McCormick, and Ahmad R. Hariri. 2011. “The social neuroendocrinology of human aggression.”

In So Simple a Beginning: Darwin’s Four Great Books (New York: W. W. Norton). Davidson, Richard J., Katherine M. Putnam, and Christine L. Larson. 2000. “Dysfunction in the neural circuitry of emotion regulation—a possible prelude to violence.” Science 289: 591–94. Davie, Maurice R. 1929. The Evolution of War: A Study of Its Role in Early Societies. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. Dawkins, Richard. 1982. The Extended Phenotype. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. de Almeida, Rosa Maria Martins, João Carlos Centurion Cabral, and Rodrigo Narvaes. 2015. “Behavioural, hormonal and neurobiological mechanisms of aggressive behaviour in human and nonhuman primates.” Physiology & Behavior 143: 121–35. de Boer, S. F., B. Olivier, J. Veening, and J. M. Koolhaas. 2015. “The neurobiology of offensive aggression: Revealing a modular view.”


Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth by Stuart Ritchie

Albert Einstein, anesthesia awareness, Bayesian statistics, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, coronavirus, correlation does not imply causation, COVID-19, Covid-19, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Growth in a Time of Debt, Kenneth Rogoff, l'esprit de l'escalier, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Milgram experiment, mouse model, New Journalism, p-value, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, publication bias, publish or perish, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stanford prison experiment, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Pinker, Thomas Bayes, twin studies, University of East Anglia

Ceci et al., (Frontiers Research Topics: Frontiers Media SA, 2018); https://doi.org/10.3389/978-2-88945-434-1 104.  Jill B. Becker et al, ‘Female Rats Are Not More Variable than Male Rats: A Meta-Analysis of Neuroscience Studies’, Biology of Sex Differences 7, no. 1 (Dec. 2016): 34; https://doi.org/10.1186/s13293-016-0087-5 105.  International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, Natasha A. Karp, et al., ‘Prevalence of Sexual Dimorphism in Mammalian Phenotypic Traits’, Nature Communications 8, no. 1 (Aug. 2017): 15475; https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15475 106.  Rebecca M. Shansky, ‘Are Hormones a “emale Problem” for Animal Research?’, Science 364, no. 6443 (31 May 2019): pp. 825–6; https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaw7570, p. 826. As Shansky explains, many funders and journals now mandate researchers to include both males and females in their experiments.


pages: 194 words: 49,310

Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand

Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, longitudinal study, low earth orbit, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

There are already many wonderful libraries. It would take centuries of imaginative curating and uses for a Millennial Library to acquire unique value. The value could lie in providing civilizations with a wisdom line: slow, robust, apparently inefficient. In this respect it might be like a species’ genotype, which contains much more hidden diversity (in recessive genes, mutations, etc.) than what is expressed in the current bodily phenotypes. By its very inefficiency the genotype preserves tremendous adaptivity in the species. Dark ages come to everyone’s mind when thinking about very long-term libraries—at least everyone in the West, because Europe had one. After the fall of Rome formal learning disappeared for half a millennium. Only in the rural Benedictine monasteries were intellectual discourse and education maintained. So it went for five centuries, until suddenly in the mid twelfth century the lead was taken over by the new universities in reviving cities such as Paris, Bologna, and Oxford.


pages: 746 words: 239,969

Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

double helix, gravity well, means of production, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, skunkworks, the scientific method

Perhaps, he thought, they had gone polyploidal, not as individuals but culturally— an international array, arriving here and effectively quadrupling the meme strands, providing the adaptability to survive in this alien terrain despite all the stress-induced mutations. . . . But no. That was analogy rather than homology. What in the humanities they would call a heroic simile, if he understood the term, or a metaphor, or some other kind of literary analogy. And analogies were mostly meaningless— a matter of phenotype rather than genotype (to use another analogy). Most of poetry and literature, really all the humanities, not to mention the social sciences, were phenotypic as far as Sax could tell. They added up to a huge compendium of meaningless analogies, which did not help to explain things, but only distorted perception of them. A kind of continuous conceptual drunkenness, one might say. Sax himself much preferred exactitude and explanatory power, and why not? If it was 200 Kelvin outside why not say so, rather than talk about witches’ tits and the like, hauling the whole great baggage of the ignorant past along to obscure every encounter with sensory reality?

They were both well over two meters tall, but not lithe and willowy like most of the young natives— this couple had worked out with weights, bulking up until they had the proportions of Terran weight lifters, despite their great height. They were huge people, and yet still very light on their feet, doing a kind of boulder ballet over the scattered rocks of this empty shore. Maya watched them, marveling again at the new species. Behind her Sax and Spencer were coming along, and she even said something about it over the old First Hundred band. But Spencer only said something about phenotype and genotype, and Sax ignored the remark, and took off down the slope of the plain. Spencer went with him, and Maya followed them, moving slowly over all the other new species: there were grass tufts dotting the sand between the rocks of the rubble, also low flowering plants, weeds, cacti, shrubs, even some very small gnarled trees, tucked into the sides of rocks. Sax wandered around stepping gingerly, crouching down to inspect plants, standing back up with an unfocused look, as if the blood had left his head while he was crouching.


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The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Defenestration of Prague, desegregation, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Hobbesian trap, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, Joan Didion, long peace, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the new new thing, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, twin studies, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

This is not going to be one of those books that says everything is genetic: it isn’t. The environment is just as important as the genes. The things children experience while they are growing up are just as important as the things they are born with. Even when a behavior is heritable, an individual’s behavior is still a product of development, and thus it has a causal environmental component…. The modern understanding of how phenotypes are inherited through the replication of both genetic and environmental conditions suggests that…cultural traditions—behaviors copied by children from their parents—are likely to be crucial. If you think these are innocuous compromises that show that everyone has outgrown the nature-nurture debate, think again. The quotations come, in fact, from three of the most incendiary books of the last decade.

Now that I have tried to convince you that the slate is not blank, it is time to put culture back into the picture. That will complete the consilience that runs from the life sciences through the sciences of human nature to the social sciences, humanities, and arts. In this chapter I will lay out an alternative to the belief that culture is like a lottery. Culture can be seen instead as a part of the human phenotype: the distinctive design that allows us to survive, prosper, and perpetuate our line-ages. Humans are a knowledge-using, cooperative species, and culture emerges naturally from that lifestyle. To preview: The phenomena we call “culture” arise as people pool and accumulate their discoveries, and as they institute conventions to coordinate their labors and adjudicate their conflicts. When groups of people separated by time and geography accumulate different discoveries and conventions, we use the plural and call them cultures.

In C. Crawford & D. L. Krebs (Eds.), Handbook of evolutionary psychology: Ideas, issues, and applications. Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum. Krech, S. 1994. Genocide in tribal society. Nature, 371, 14–15. Krech, S. 1999. The ecological Indian: Myth and history. New York: Norton. Krubitzer, L., & Huffman, K. J. 2000. A realization of the neocortex in mammals: Genetic and epi-genetic contributions to the phenotype. Brain, Behavior, and Evolution, 55, 322–335. Krueger, R. F., Hicks, B. M., & McGue, M. 2001. Altruism and antisocial behavior: Independent tendencies, unique personality correlates, distinct etiologies. Psychological Science, 12, 397–402. Kubovy, M. 1981. Concurrent pitch segregation and the theory of indispensable attributes. In M. Kubovy & J. Pomerantz (Eds.), Perceptual organization. Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.


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The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future by Vivek Wadhwa, Alex Salkever

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google bus, Hyperloop, income inequality, Internet of things, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, life extension, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Menlo Park, microbiome, mobile money, new economy, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Thomas Davenport, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

“Current unmanned aircraft state law landscape,” National Conference of State Legislatures 7 October 2016, http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/current-unmanned-aircraft-state-law-landscape.aspx (accessed 21 October 2016). CHAPTER ELEVEN 1. Diana W. Bianchi, R. Lamar Parker, Jeffrey Wentworth, et al., “DNA sequencing versus standard aneuploidy screening,” New England Journal of Medicine 2014;370:799– 808, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1311037 (accessed 21 October 2016). 2. Jessica X. Chong, Kati J. Buckingham, Shalini N. Jhangiani, et al., “The genetic basis of Mendelian phenotypes: Discoveries, challenges, and opportunities,” American Journal of Human Genetics 2015;97(2):199– 215, http://www.cell.com/ajhg/abstract/S0002-9297%2815%2900245-1 (accessed 21 October 2016). 3. Aleksandar D. Kostic, Dirk Gevers, Heli Siljander, et al., “The Dynamics of the Human Infant Gut Microbiome in Development and in Progression toward Type 1 Diabetes,” Cell Host & Microbe 2015;17(2):260– 273, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2015.01.001 (accessed 21 October 2016). 4.


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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction by Gabor Mate, Peter A. Levine

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, corporate governance, epigenetics, ghettoisation, impulse control, longitudinal study, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, phenotype, placebo effect, Rat Park, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), source of truth, twin studies, Yogi Berra

Time, 30 April 1990; http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,969965,00.html. 2. K. Blum et al., “Reward Deficiency Syndrome,” American Scientist, 1 March 1996, 132–46. 3. K. Blum, “Allelic Association of Human Dopamine D2 Receptor Gene in Alcoholism,” JAMA 263(15) (18 April 1990): 2055–60. 4. J. Gelernter and H. Kranzler, “D2 Dopamine Receptor Gene (DRD2) Allele and Haplotype Frequencies and Control Subjects: No Association with Phenotype or Severity of Phenotype,” Neurospsychopharmacology 20(6) (1999): 642–49. 5. L. Dodes, The Heart of Addiction (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 81. 6. R.E. Tarter and M. Vanyukov, “Alcoholism, a Developmental Disorder,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 62, No. 6 (1994): 1096–1107. 7. M.A. Enoch and D. Goldman, “The Genetics of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse,” Current Psychiatry Reports 3 (2002): 144–51. 8.


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Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease by Gary Taubes

Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, collaborative editing, Drosophila, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, invention of agriculture, John Snow's cholera map, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, twin studies, unbiased observer, Upton Sinclair

Nutrition and Disease Update: Cancer. Champaign, Ill.: AOCS Press. Cassidy, C. E. 1976. “Commemorative Tribute: Edwin B. Astwood.” Endocrinology. Nov.; 99(3):1155–60. Cassidy, M. 1946. “Coronary Disease: The Harveian Oration of 1946.” Lancet. Oct. 26;248(6426):587–90. Castelli, W. P., J. T. Doyle, T. Gordon, et al. 1977. “HDL Cholesterol and Other Lipids in Coronary Heart Disease: The Cooperative Lipoprotein Phenotyping Study.” Circulation. May; 55(5):767–72. Castetter, E. F., and W. H. Bell. 1942. Pima and Papago Indian Agriculture. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Catt, K. J. 1971. An ABC of Endocrinology. London: Lancet. Cederquist, D. C., W. D. Brewer, A. N. Wagoner, D. Dunsing, and M. A. Ohlson. 1952. “Weight Reduction on Low-Fat and Low-Carbohydrate Diets.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Home Economics Research Report No. 54. Gershoff, S. N. 2001. “Jean Mayer 1920–1993.” Journal of Nutrition. June; 131(6):1651–54. Gilmore, C. P. 1977. “Taking Exercise to Heart.” New York Times. March 27; 211. Giorgino, F., A. Belfiore, G. Milazzo, et al. 1991. “Overexpression of Insulin Receptors in Fibroblast and Ovary Cells Induces a Ligand-Mediated Transformed Phenotype.” Molecular Endocrinology. March; 5(3):452–59. Giovannucci, E. 2001. “Insulin, Insulin-Like Growth Factors, and Colon Cancer: A Review of the Evidence.” Journal of Nutrition. Nov.; 131(11 suppl.):3109S–20S. ———. 1995. “Insulin and Colon Cancer.” Cancer Causes and Control. March; 6(2):164–79. Giovannucci, E., E. B. Rimm, M. J. Stampfer, G. A. Colditz, A. Ascherio, and W. C. Willett. 1994. “Intake of Fat, Meat, and Fiber in Relation to Risk of Colon Cancer in Men.”

., H. Tunstall-Pedoe, A. Dobson, et al. 2000. “Estimation of Contribution of Changes in Classic Risk Factors to Trends in Coronary-Event Rates Across the WHO MONICA Project Populations.” Lancet. Feb. 26; 355(9205):675–87. Kuusisto, J., K. Koivisto, L. Mykkanen, et al. 1997. “Association Between Features of the Insulin Resistance Syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease Independently of Apolipoprotein E4 Phenotype: Cross Sectional Population Based Study.” British Medical Journal. Oct. 25; 315(7115):1045–49. Lampedusa, G. di 1988. The Leopard. Trans. A. Colquhoun. New York: Random House. [Originally published 1958.] Landé, K. E., and W. M. Sperry. 1936. “Human Atherosclerosis in Relation to the Cholesterol Content of the Blood.” Archives of Pathology. 22:301–312. Landsberg, L. 2001. “Insulin-Mediated Sympathetic Stimulation: Role in the Pathogenesis of Obesity-Related Hypertension (or, How Insulin Affects Blood Pressure, and Why).”


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The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, peer-to-peer, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

In software, the design of a program both enables and configures the quality of a User's agency in relation to particular hardware and sets of actions that might be taken with it.28 For architecture, program entails a predictive determination of spatial habit sorted and staged in advance by a site's plan. The proposed design of a social organization in space is a techno-anthropological diagram of work, play, violence, and collective phenotypical embodiment, all modeled as functions of particular strategies of sorting, partition, enveloping, interfacing, planning, and sectioning. For the architect, to posit a particular arrangement of activities, of collective access points—of privacy and subjectivity and agency—is to set the stage for some desired organizational-behavioral outcome, including even serendipitous encounters. Perhaps today no discipline has more expertise in interface design than architecture, and perhaps someday no discipline will ultimately have more expertise in architecture than some expanded interdisciplinary mode of interface design, because for the City layer, computation is not privileged over cement.

For carbon-intensive products such as cars, a very large-scale shift toward using but not owning would at once save resources and offer greater end User convenience, not to mention the benefit to urban planners no longer having to waste valuable land on parking lots to store cars that will sit idle.59 The mass medium of swirling textures of robotic computational exoskeletons would also suggest innovations in the phenotypical outer surfaces of the devices themselves. They can in principle touch, connect, and intersect with one another, switching from singular to plural according to circumstances, and so the rather rigid shell and chassis form we know today could give way to other flexible morphologies. At the very least, as we are shuttled here and there in the vast multitudes of such machines, how human Users are physically positioned and what we spend our time doing will certainly not be the same as it is now.60 As discussed in the Interfaces chapter, as the “car” becomes a Cloud platform, it becomes available to an Apps economy, and to the extent that the Google Car is just a very large Android device with a very large, next generation Google Glass display, there is much for designers to work with.

Far weirder than Larry Smarr's gut microbes, nested parasitic biostrata are in some cases embedded five levels deep inside the other (fifth-order hyperparasitism): animal inside animal inside animal inside animal inside animal, user inside user inside user.77 This symbiotic recursion could be called a microplatform, but it's more than that; it is not just the negotiation among actors within the User position; it is a durable interpenetration of actors, mutually embedded one within the other. This is the primal scene that should have been on display at the Shanghai Expo as the root pedagogy of the universal User, not the mannequin zoology of the Reids and the Hagens. This dissolution of the private human User comes not through the white noise of absolute quantification or mathematically guaranteed withdrawal from appearance, but through the plodding evolution toward alternative phenotypes in relation to manic apparatuses, both internal and external. The dispersant is not thanatos, a slouching toward deliquesce, but an activist attentiveness to the more open geographies available to our composite inhuman alternatives. So, again, forget human-centered design; we need to design for what comes next, what comes outside, what has already arrived, for the synthetic User-subjects for which another geopolitics is derived.


She Has Her Mother's Laugh by Carl Zimmer

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, clean water, clockwatching, cloud computing, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, Elon Musk, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flynn Effect, friendly fire, Gary Taubes, germ theory of disease, Isaac Newton, longitudinal study, medical bankruptcy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral panic, mouse model, New Journalism, out of africa, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Scientific racism, statistical model, stem cell, twin studies

“Ancient Genomic Changes Associated with Domestication of the Horse.” Science 356:442–45. Lifton, Robert Jay. 2000. The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. New York: Basic Books. Ligon, Azra H., Steven D. P. Moore, Melissa A. Parisi, Matthew E. Mealiffe, David J. Harris, Heather L. Ferguson, Bradley J. Quade, and Cynthia C. Morton. 2005. “Constitutional Rearrangement of the Architectural Factor HMGA2: A Novel Human Phenotype including Overgrowth and Lipomas.” American Journal of Human Genetics 76:340–48. Lim, Jana P., and Anne Brunet. 2013. “Bridging the Transgenerational Gap with Epigenetic Memory.” Trends in Genetics 29:176–86. Lindholm, Anna K., Kelly A. Dyer, Renée C. Firman, Lila Fishman, Wolfgang Forstmeier, Luke Holman, Hanna Johannesson, and others. 2016. “The Ecology and Evolutionary Dynamics of Meiotic Drive.”

Ried, Thomas. 2009. “Homage to Theodor Boveri (1862–1915): Boveri’s Theory of Cancer as a Disease of the Chromosomes, and the Landscape of Genomic Imbalances in Human Carcinomas.” Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 50:593–601. Rietveld, Cornelius A., Tõnu Esko, Gail Davies, Tune H. Pers, and others. 2014. “Common Genetic Variants Associated with Cognitive Performance Identified Using the Proxy-Phenotype Method.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111:13790–94. ———, Sarah E. Medland, Jaime Derringer, Jian Yang, Tõnu Esko, Nicolas W. Martin, Harm-Jan Westra, and others. 2013. “GWAS of 126,559 Individuals Identifies Genetic Variants Associated with Educational Attainment.” Science 340:1467–71. Rijnink, Emilie C., Marlies E. Penning, Ron Wolterbeek, Suzanne Wilhelmus, Malu Zandbergen, Sjoerd G. van Duinen, Joke Schutte, Jan A.

Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 91:206–34. Sturtevant, A. H., and T. Dobzhansky. 1936. “Inversions in the Third Chromosome of Wild Races of Drosophila pseudoobscura, and Their Use in the Study of the History of the Species.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 22:448–50. Sudik, R., S. Jakubiczka, F. Nawroth, E. Gilberg, and P. F. Wieacker. 2001. “Chimerism in a Fertile Woman with 46,XY Karyotype and Female Phenotype: Case Report.” Human Reproduction 16:56–58. Sung, Patrick, and Hannah Klein. 2006. “Mechanism of Homologous Recombination: Mediators and Helicases Take on Regulatory Functions.” Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 7: 739–50. Sweet, James H. 1997. “The Iberian Roots of American Racist Thought.” William and Mary Quarterly 51:143–66. Syed, Sana. 2015. “Iodine and the ‘Near’ Eradication of Cretinism.”


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Half Empty by David Rakoff

airport security, Buckminster Fuller, dark matter, double helix, global pandemic, Google Earth, phenotype, RFID, twin studies, urban planning, urban renewal, wage slave, Wall-E, Y2K

It’s a little like being given a toy castle and realizing in short order that the flags on top of the turrets don’t move, and the gothic windows, blue-water moat, drawbridges, all of it, is one piece: a dead end of rigid, injection-mold plastic. Eventually, some 1,500 people arrive (that’s the estimate of the organizers; eyeballing the crowd, I’d put it at about half that number), almost all men. They run a not terribly broad gamut of exurban-straight-white-guy phenotypes. There are outer-borough packs like the cast of Entourage, minus a famous meal ticket (sample T-shirt, YOU BETTER BUY ME ANOTHER BEER BECAUSE YOUR [sic] STILL UGLY). There’s a cadre of tattooed motorcycle types, one of whose jacket reads IF YOU CAN READ THIS THE BITCH FELL OFF. Their dynamic is frosted with a homoerotic, gay-bashy, date-rapey menace. They jostle and spar and work one another up as they stand in line for autographs and have their photos taken with the various porn stars who are appearing.


How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston

affirmative action, carbon footprint, Columbine, dark matter, desegregation, drone strike, housing crisis, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, supply-chain management, the scientific method, transatlantic slave trade

No, I didn’t ask Christian how black he was, but I did ask him about how white he was: CHRISTIAN LANDER I’m about as white as it gets. My family came over on the Mayflower and then left the United States to stay loyal to England and moved to Canada during the Revolutionary War. As his is the most expert opinion I could find on the subject, I also asked him about notions of “whiteness,” especially since most of the Stuff White People Like checklist is based on beliefs, values, and tastes, not phenotypical traits. At my high school, anyone who liked something on the list and was not white was called white, was accused of acting white. • A “coconut” is brown on the outside and white on the inside. You could use that for Indian, you could use that for Latino, too. It’s your choice of which ethnicity you wish to disparage. • “Banana” is yellow on the outside, white on the inside, which is for Asians.


pages: 571 words: 162,958

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology by James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel

back-to-the-land, Columbine, dark matter, Extropian, Firefox, gravity well, haute couture, Internet Archive, pattern recognition, phenotype, post-industrial society, price stability, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, technological singularity, telepresence, the scientific method, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Y2K, zero day

The suit pulled a small leather case from inside his tunic, slipped a tiny data disk from it. Without a word, Aman extended a port. Clients did not store their files on the net. Not if they were paying Search Engine’s fees. The disk clicked into place and Aman’s desktop lit up. A man’s head and shoulders appeared in the holofield, turning slowly. Medium-dark, about twenty, mixed Euro/African and Hispanic genes, Aman noted. About the same phenotype as New Kid—Jimi — a history of war, rape, and pillage made flesh. The Runner’s scalp gleamed naked, implanted with fiberlight gang-sign. Aman read it and sighed, thinking of his fight with Avi over his fiberlights. Tattoo your political incorrectness on your body for the cops, son. Just in case they don’t notice you on their own. Stupid move, Avi. That hadn’t been the final argument, but it had been damn close.

Jimi leaned back, propped a boot up on the corner of the desktop. “Say yessir, no questions asked, huh? Who cares about the reason, as long as there’s money?” “He’s government.” Aman blinked the display away, ignored Jimi’s boot. Why in the name of everyone’s gods had Raul hired this wet-from-birth child? Well, he knew why. Aman eyed the kid’s slender, androgynous build. His boss had a thing for the African/Hispanic phenotype. Once, he’d kept it out of the business. Aman suppressed a sigh, wondering if the kid had figured it out yet. Why Raul had hired him. “How much of the data-dredging that you do is legal?” He watched Jimi think about that. “You think we’re that good, huh? That nobody ever busts us? There is always a price, kid, especially for success.” Jimi took his foot off the desktop. “The whole crackdown on the Gaiists is just crap.


pages: 208 words: 67,288

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, false memory syndrome, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, phenotype, Richard Feynman, the scientific method

He has also written and presented several television documentaries, including The Genius of Charles Darwin in 2008 and Faith School Menace in 2010. Dave McKean has illustrated and designed many award-winning books and graphic novels. He has created hundreds of album, comic and book covers, and has designed characters for two of the Harry Potter films. He has also directed two feature films, MirrorMask and Luna. Also by Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene The Extended Phenotype The Blind Watchmaker River Out of Eden Climbing Mount Improbable Unweaving the Rainbow A Devil’s Chaplain The Ancestor’s Tale The God Delusion* The Greatest Show on Earth* * and published by Black Swan TRANSWORLD PUBLISHERS 61–63 Uxbridge Road, London W5 5SA A Random House Group Company www.transworldbooks.co.uk THE MAGIC OF REALITY A BLACK SWAN BOOK: 9780552778053 Version 1.0 Epub ISBN 9781409011415 First Published in Great Britain Black Swan edition published 2012 Copyright © Richard Dawkins 2011 Illustrations copyright © Dave McKean 2011 Richard Dawkins has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.


pages: 586 words: 186,548

Architects of Intelligence by Martin Ford

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive bias, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flash crash, future of work, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hans Rosling, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, information retrieval, job automation, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, means of production, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Productivity paradox, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, self-driving car, sensor fusion, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, smart cities, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, working-age population, zero-sum game, Zipcar

If you’ve got a network with a billion weights, backpropagation is going to be a billion times faster than the dumb algorithm. The dumb algorithm works by having you adjust one of the weights slightly, followed by you measuring to see how well the network does. For evolution, that’s what you’ve got to do because the process that takes you from your genes to the finished product depends on the environment you’re in. There’s no way you can predict exactly what the phenotype will look like from the genotype, or how successful the phenotype will be because that depends on what’s going on in the world. In a neural net, however, the processor takes you from the input and the weights to how successful you are in producing the right output. You have control over that whole process because it’s all going on inside the neural net; you know all the weights that are involved. Backpropagation makes use of all that by sending information backward through the net.


How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett

airport security, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, framing effect, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, longitudinal study, luminiferous ether, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Shai Danziger, Skype, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

“Cytokine Targets in the Brain: Impact on Neurotransmitters and Neurocircuits.” Depression and Anxiety 30 (4): 297–306. Miller, Antonia Elise. 2010. “Inherent (Gender) Unreasonableness of the Concept of Reasonableness in the Context of Manslaughter Committed in the Heat of Passion.” William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law 17: 249. Miller, Gregory E., and Edith Chen. 2010. “Harsh Family Climate in Early Life Presages the Emergence of a Proinflammatory Phenotype in Adolescence.” Psychological Science 21 (6): 848–856. Mitchell, Robert W., Nicholas S. Thompson, and H. Lyn Miles. 1997. Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Mobbs, Dean, Hakwan C. Lau, Owen D. Jones, and Christopher D. Frith. 2007. “Law, Responsibility, and the Brain.” PLOS Biology 5 (4): e103. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050103. Montgomery, Ben. 2012. “Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Was Born of 2004 Case, but Story Has Been Distorted.”

“Why Faces Are Not Special to Newborns: An Alternative Account of the Face Preference.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 13 (1): 5–8. Turcsán, Borbála, Flóra Szánthó, Ádám Miklósi, and Enikő Kubinyi. 2015. “Fetching What the Owner Prefers? Dogs Recognize Disgust and Happiness in Human Behaviour.” Animal Cognition 18 (1): 83–94. Turkheimer, Eric, Erik Pettersson, and Erin E. Horn. 2014. “A Phenotypic Null Hypothesis for the Genetics of Personality.” Annual Review of Psychology 65: 515–540. U.S. Census Bureau. 2015. “Families and Living Arrangements.” http://www.census.gov/hhes/families. Vallacher, Robin R., and Daniel M. Wegner. 1987. “What Do People Think They’re Doing? Action Identification and Human Behavior.” Psychological Review 94 (1): 3–15. Van de Cruys, Sander, Kris Evers, Ruth Van der Hallen, Lien Van Eylen, Bart Boets, Lee de-Wit, and Johan Wagemans. 2014.


pages: 945 words: 292,893

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

clean water, Colonization of Mars, Danny Hillis, digital map, double helix, epigenetics, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, kremlinology, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, microbiome, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, phenotype, Potemkin village, pre–internet, random walk, remote working, selection bias, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, the scientific method, Tunguska event, zero day, éminence grise

But that picture had changed during the first part of the twenty-first century, as more sophisticated analysis had revealed that much of that so-called junk actually performed important roles in the functioning of cells by regulating the expression of genes. Even simple organisms, it turned out, possessed many genes that were suppressed, or silenced altogether, by such mechanisms. The central promise of genomics—that by knowing an organism’s genome, scientists could know the organism—had fallen far short as it had become obvious that the phenotype (the actual creature that met the biologist’s eye, with all of its observable traits and behaviors) was a function not only of its genotype (its DNA sequences) but also of countless nanodecisions being made from moment to moment within the organism’s cells by the regulatory mechanisms that determined which genes to express and which to silence. Those regulatory mechanisms were of several types, and many were unfathomably complex.

Kath Two herself, no model, was frequently complimented on the lightness of her eyes, which were closer to green than yellow. But modern, appearance-conscious Moirans were frequently startled when they saw photographs of their Eve with her eyes that were merely greenish-brown. The shift in Moiran eye color was obvious and easily documented, but the same thing, mutatis mutandis, had happened with scores of other phenotypes among all the races. Selective mating had the power to wreak impressive changes over time, without any artificial meddling. In some cases, though, racial isolates had acquired genetic labs of their own. These had been used for many purposes, usually considered benign. In some cases, they had been used for Enhancement, which meant deliberate genetic manipulation for the purpose of rendering racial characteristics more pronounced—the artificial acceleration of what was happening “naturally” in the way of Caricaturization.

As soon as it happened she went into what I’m guessing is a classic POTESH.” This was military jargon for post-traumatic epigenetic shift. “That is confirmed,” said Hope, who seemed to have finished an initial scan of Kath’s vital signs. “Higher metabolism and hyperacute senses are observable. Her microbiome is a mess; I’m tuning it up with probiotic supplements that’ll be a better fit with her new phenotype. Suggested by the nausea are big hormone shifts. Possibly predictive of some future . . .” “Testosterone poisoning?” Ty suggested, finishing Hope’s thought. Hope responded with a diffident nod of the head. Ty turned his attention back to Arjun. “So three billion people just learned that the Diggers exist. How are they taking it?” “Well, obviously it is a sensational bit of news,” Arjun said.


pages: 254 words: 72,929

The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy by Tyler Cowen

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Flynn Effect, framing effect, Google Earth, impulse control, informal economy, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, neurotypical, new economy, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, selection bias, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind

On how parents of autistic children show some partially autistic traits, see the work of Simon Baron-Cohen, for instance Simon Baron-Cohen, Sally Wheelwright, Amy Burtenshaw, and Esther Hobson, “Mathematical Talent is Linked to Autism,” in Human Nature, forthcoming; it is currently on the web at www.autismresearchcentre.com/docs/papers/2007_BC_etal_maths.pdf. The Centre for Autism Research is a good source for many of Baron-Cohen’s papers on related topics. See also on genetics J. Briskman, U Frith, and F. Happé, “Exploring the Cognitive Phenotype of Autism: Weak ‘Central Coherence’ in Parents and Siblings of Children with Autism: II. Real-life Skills and Preferences,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines 42 (2001), 309–16. On some of the genetic issues behind autism, see Michael Rutter, “Genetic Influences and Autism,” Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (cited above), 425–52. Recent pieces include Brett S.


pages: 290 words: 73,000

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, affirmative action, Airbnb, borderless world, cloud computing, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Earth, Google Glasses, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, new economy, PageRank, performance metric, phenotype, profit motive, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, Tim Cook: Apple, union organizing, women in the workforce, yellow journalism

The leading thinking about race online has been organized along either theories of racial formation6 or theories of hierarchical and structural White supremacy.7 Scholars who study race point to the aggressive economic and social policies in the U.S. that have been organized around ideological conceptions of race as “an effort to reorganize and redistribute resources along particular racial lines.”8 Vilna Bashi Treitler, a professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has written extensively about the processes of racialization that occur among ethnic groups in the United States, all of which are structured through a racial hierarchy that maintains Whiteness at the top of the social, political, and economic order. For Treitler, theories of racial formation are less salient—it does not matter whether one believes in race or not, because it is a governing paradigm that structures social logics. Race, then, is a hierarchical system of privilege and power that is meted out to people on the basis of perceived phenotype and heritage, and ethnic groups work within the already existent racial hierarchy to achieve more power, often at the expense of other ethnic groups. In Treitler’s careful study of racialization, she notes that the racial binary of White versus Black is the system within which race has been codified through legislation and economic and public policy, which are designed to benefit White Americans.


pages: 266 words: 77,045

The Bend of the World: A Novel by Jacob Bacharach

Burning Man, haute couture, helicopter parent, Isaac Newton, medical residency, phenotype, quantitative easing, too big to fail, trade route, young professional

Personally, I suspect them of an entirely dour and unappealing sapphism. Speaking of people we need to contrive to meet. How much booze have you stolen from her since you and Lauren Sara contracted a bad case of each other? I can’t believe you don’t even know what she looks like. I guess she looks like the girl driving my car around like a maniac. I didn’t think she looked particularly Greek, but I’m not sure what a Greek woman looks like. Do they have a phenotype? I imagine they pop out as spry nonagenarians with a single hair on their chin and a single eyebrow on their forehead. We should ask Spiro about her. He knows all the Greeks. I can totally imagine what he’d say, too. Oh, Johnny, she ees artist. She never cumss to church. She ees twenty-fife and hass no babees. I wuddy, I wuddy. He’s very concerned with the overall fertility of the Greek race. You know he’s like whatever the Greek equivalent of a white nationalist is, right?


pages: 314 words: 77,409

The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters by Sean B. Carroll

agricultural Revolution, British Empire, clean water, discovery of penicillin, Fellow of the Royal Society, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, Skype, Thomas Malthus

Aldous (1952) “Utilization of Carbon Dioxide in the Synthesis of Proteins by Escherichia coli. II.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 198: 173–178. Addis, J. T. (1992) “Policy and Practice in UW-WDNR Collaborative Programs.” In J. F. Kitchell (ed.), Food Web Management: A Case Study of Lake Mendota. New York: Springer-Verlag: 7–16. Alfirevic, A., D. Neely, J. Armitage, H. Chinoy, et al. (2014) “Phenotype Standardization for Statin-Induced Myotoxicity.” Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 96(4): 470–476. Anderson, N. L., and N. G. Anderson (2002) “The Human Plasma Proteome: History, Character, and Diagnostic Prospects.” Molecular and Cellular Proteomics 1: 845–867. Anker, P. (2001) Imperial Ecology: Environmental Order in the British Empire, 1895–1945. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.


pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway

Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

Newer, more flexible markup languages such as XML (Extensible Markup Language) have made it possible for researchers (be they biologists or engineers) to come up with a coding schema tailored to their discipline. XML-based efforts in Foreword: Protocol Is as Protocol Does xxi molecular biology and biochemistry have been one area of concern. But agreeing upon what exactly that standard code will be is another matter. Should the hierarchy of tags for GEML (Gene Expression Markup Language) go by <chromosome>, <phenotype>, or <gene>? There are a range of vested interests (commercial, ideological, institutional, methodological, disciplinary), and the mere decision about standards becomes a discourse on “ontology” in the philosophical sense. If layering is dependent upon portability, then portability is in turn enabled by the existence of ontology standards. These are some of the sites that Protocol opens up concerning the possible relations between information and biological networks.


Toast by Stross, Charles

anthropic principle, Buckminster Fuller, cosmological principle, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Extropian, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, gravity well, Khyber Pass, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, NP-complete, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, performance metric, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, slashdot, speech recognition, strong AI, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

“You give too much away too easily, Manny! Slow down, or there won't be anything left.” Leaning over the bed she dribbles acetone onto the fingers of his left hand, then unlocks the cuff: puts the bottle conveniently close to hand so he can untangle himself. “See you tomorrow. Remember, after breakfast.” She's in the doorway when he calls: “but you didn't say why!” “Your memes are just a product of your extended phenotype; if you like you can think of it as a new way of spreading your memes around,” she says. She blows him a kiss and closes the door: bends down and carefully places another cardboard box containing an uploaded kitten right outside it. Then she returns to her suite to make arrangements for the alchemical wedding. Afterword:Five years over the wire Welcome to the extended, updated, 2005 remix of Toast.


pages: 294 words: 86,601

Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life by Steven Johnson

Columbine, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, Gödel, Escher, Bach, James Watt: steam engine, l'esprit de l'escalier, lateral thinking, pattern recognition, phenotype, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, zero-sum game

.: MIT Press, 1997. Damasio, Antonio. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. – -. The Feeling of What Happens. New York: Harcourt, 1999. Darwin, Charles. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Dawkins, Richard. Climbing Mount Improbable. New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1996. – -. The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. – -. Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder. London: The Penguin Press, 1998. De Waal, Franz. Chimpanzee Politics. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982. Dean, Katie. “Attention Kids: Play this Game.” Wired News, December 19, 2000. Dehaene, Stanislas, Michel Kerszberg, and Jean-Pierre Changeux.


The End of Pain: How Nutrition and Diet Can Fight Chronic Inflammatory Disease by Jacqueline Lagace

longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, stem cell

., “The relationship between disease-related characteristics and conduction disturbances in ankylosing spondylitis,” Scand J Rheumatol, vol. 39, 2010, p. 38–41. M.A. Brown, S.H. Laval, S. Brophy et al., “Recurrence risk modelling of the genetic susceptibility to ankylosing spondylitis,” Ann Rheum Dis, vol. 59, 2000, p. 883–86. M.H. Sombekke, D. Arteta, M.A. van de Wiel et al., “Analysis of multiple candidate genes in association with phenotypes of multiple sclerosis,” Mult Scler, vol. 16, 2010, p. 652–59. R.A. Marrie, N. Yu, J. Blanchard et al., “The rising prevalence and changing age distribution of multiple sclerosis in Manitoba,” Neurology, vol. 74, 2010, p. 465–71. A. Ebringer, T. Rashid and C. Wilson, “Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, multiple sclerosis, and creutzfeldt-jakob disease are probably autoimmune diseases evoked by Acinetobacter bacteria,” Ann ny Acad Sci, vol. 1050, 2005, p. 417–28. 10 Seignalet’s Theory on the Phenomenon of Tissue Deposition as the Cause of Certain Chronic Inflammatory Diseases 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.


pages: 312 words: 83,998

Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society by Cordelia Fine

assortative mating, Cass Sunstein, credit crunch, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, epigenetics, experimental economics, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, publication bias, risk tolerance

See Adkins-Regan (2005), ibid., pp. 13–16, referring to both genomic (slower) and nongenomic (faster) effects. This is also well summarized in Oliveira, R. F. (2009). Social behavior in context: Hormonal modulation of behavioral plasticity and social competence. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 49(4), 423–440. See also Cardoso et al. (2015), who categorize three different types of social plasticity: fixed alternative phenotypes (not applicable in the case of humans, but in other species); developmental plasticity (such as the transition between pre- and postpubescence), and behavioral flexibility. To focus on the two categories relevant to humans, developmental plasticity is proposed to involve (re)organization of structures (including the brain) and epigenetic effects, while behavioral flexibility is activational and involves biochemical switching at the neural level, and transient changes in gene expression at the genomic level.


pages: 290 words: 86,718

The Estrogen Fix: The Breakthrough Guide to Being Healthy, Energized, and Hormonally Balanced by Mache Seibel

longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), women in the workforce, working poor, Yogi Berra

., “Skin Collagen Changes,” 123–27. 49J. B. Schmidt et al., “Treatment of Skin Aging with Topical Estrogens,” International Journal of Dermatology 35, no. 9 (September 1996): 669–74. Chapter 9: The Estrogen Fix for a Fit, Energized Body 1“Obesity and Overweight,” World Health Organization, last modified January 2015, who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en. 2P. Pajunen et al., “Metabolically Healthy and Unhealthy Obesity Phenotypes in the General Population: The FIN-D2D Survey,” BMC Public Health 11 (2011): 754. 3Ibid. 4C. C. Wee, R. B. Davis, and M. B. Hamel, “Comparing the SF-12 and SF-36 Health Status Questionnaires in Patients with and without Obesity,” Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 6 (2008): 11. 5M. Bogenrief, “Retailers Can’t Ignore 100 Million Plus-Size American Women Forever,” Business Insider, December 21, 2012, businessinsider.com/why-isnt-plus-size-bigger-2012-12. 6B.


pages: 318 words: 85,824

A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey

affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crony capitalism, debt deflation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, labour market flexibility, land tenure, late capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Pearl River Delta, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, the built environment, The Chicago School, transaction costs, union organizing, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent

Finally, the market administration of purchasing power would periodically liquidate business enterprise, for shortages and surfeits of money would prove as disastrous to business as floods and droughts in primitive society.18 The damage wrought through the ‘floods and droughts’ of fictitious capitals within the global credit system, be it in Indonesia, Argentina, Mexico, or even within the US, testifies all too well to Polanyi’s final point. But his theses on labour and land deserve further elaboration. Individuals enter the labour market as persons of character, as individuals embedded in networks of social relations and socialized in various ways, as physical beings identifiable by certain characteristics (such as phenotype and gender), as individuals who have accumulated various skills (sometimes referred to as ‘human capital’) and tastes (sometime referred to as ‘cultural capital’), and as living beings endowed with dreams, desires, ambitions, hopes, doubts, and fears. For capitalists, however, such individuals are a mere factor of production, though not an undifferentiated factor since employers require labour of certain qualities, such as physical strength, skills, flexibility, docility, and the like, appropriate to certain tasks.


pages: 298 words: 89,287

Who Are We—And Should It Matter in the 21st Century? by Gary Younge

affirmative action, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, David Brooks, equal pay for equal work, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, feminist movement, financial independence, glass ceiling, global village, illegal immigration, inflation targeting, invisible hand, liberal capitalism, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Skype, Steven Levy, upwardly mobile, Wolfgang Streeck, World Values Survey

Conventional geographic ‘racial’ groupings differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes. This means there is greater genetic variation within ‘racial’ groups than between them.” In short, we really are more alike than we are unalike. If race is an arbitrary fiction, then “race-mixing” is a conceptual absurdity. “In neighboring populations there is much overlapping of genes and their phenotypic (physical) expressions,” the AAA continues. “Throughout history whenever different groups have come into contact they have interbred. The continued sharing of genetic materials has maintained all of humankind as a single species.” Put simply, to the extent to which “mixed race” makes any sense at all, we are all mixed race. This is a fact well illustrated by this tale of two “white” girls: Bliss Broyard from Connecticut and Sandra Laing from Mpumalanga in South Africa.


pages: 346 words: 92,984

The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health by David B. Agus

active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Drosophila, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, microcredit, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, publish or perish, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, wikimedia commons

Schmidt, “Mental Health: Thinking from the Gut,” Nature 518, no. 7540 (February 26, 2015): S12–15, doi:10.1038/518S13a. 11. B. Chassaing, “Dietary Emulsifiers Impact the Mouse Gut Microbiota Promoting Colitis and Metabolic Syndrome,” Nature 519, no. 7541 (March 5, 2015): 92–96, doi:10.1038/nature14232, Epub February 25, 2015. 12. Multiple studies now demonstrate an association between the state of the gut microbiome and depression. Here’s one: G. De Palma et al., “Microbiota and Host Determinants of Behavioural Phenotype in Maternally Separated Mice,” Nature Communications 6 (July 28, 2015): 7735, doi:10.1038/ncomms8735. 13. Anna Azvolinsky, “Gut Microbes Influence Circadian Clock,” Scientist, April 16, 2014. 14. S. DeWeerdt, “Microbiome: A Complicated Relationship Status,” Nature 508, no. 7496 (April 17, 2014): S61–63, doi:10.1038/508S61a. See, in particular, box 1, “Lean Operation: Does the Microbiota Determine the Success of Gastric Surgery?”


Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers by David Perlmutter, Kristin Loberg

epigenetics, Gary Taubes, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, phenotype, publication bias, Ralph Waldo Emerson, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

We can even make a case for linking gluten sensitivity with some of the most mysterious brain disorders that have eluded doctors for millennia, such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, bipolar disorder, and, more recently, autism and ADHD. I’ll be covering these connections later in the book. For now, I want you to get a scope of the problem, with a firm understanding that gluten can exert effects not only on the normal brain but also on the vulnerable abnormal brain. It’s also important to keep in mind that each one of us is unique in terms of our genotype (DNA) and phenotype (how genes express themselves in their environment). Unchecked inflammation in me could result in obesity and heart disease, whereas the same condition in you could translate to an autoimmune disorder. Once again, it helps to turn to the literature on celiac disease, since celiac reflects an extreme case; it allows us to identify patterns in the course of the disorder that can have implications for anyone who consumes gluten, regardless of celiac.


pages: 264 words: 90,379

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

affirmative action, airport security, Albert Einstein, complexity theory, David Brooks, East Village, haute couture, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, Nelson Mandela, new economy, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, young professional

S>even S>econds in the B>ronx : T>he D>elicate A>rt of M>ind R>eading For more on the mind readers, see Paul Ekman, Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage (New York: Norton, 1995); Fritz Strack, “Inhibiting and Facilitating Conditions of the Human Smile: A Nonobtrusive Test of the Facial Feedback Hypothesis,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 54, no. 5 (1988): 768–777; and Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Friesen, Facial Action Coding System, parts 1 and 2 (San Francisco: Human Interaction Laboratory, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of California, 1978). Klin has written a number of accounts of his research using Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The most comprehensive is probably Ami Klin, Warren Jones, Robert Schultz, Fred Volkmar, and Donald Cohen, “Defining and Quantifying the Social Phenotype in Autism,” American Journal of Psychiatry 159 (2002): 895–908. On mind reading, see also Robert T. Schultz et al., “Abnormal Ventral Temporal Cortical Activity During Face Discrimination Among Individuals with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome,” Archives of General Psychiatry 57 (April 2000). Dave Grossman’s wonderful video series is called The Bulletproof Mind: Prevailing in Violent Encounters...and After.


pages: 354 words: 91,875

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Doto Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal

banking crisis, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, delayed gratification, game design, impulse control, lifelogging, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, Richard Thaler, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Walter Mischel

“Resistance Can Be Futile: Investigating Behavioural Rebound.” Appetite 50 (2008): 415–21. See also Erskine, J. A. K., and G. J. Georgiou. “Effects of Thought Suppression on Eating Behaviour in Restrained and Non-Restrained Eaters.” Appetite 54 (2010): 499–503. Page 222—Chocolate cravers study: Rezzi, S., Z. Ramadan, F. P. Martin, L. B. Fay, P. van Bladeren, J. C. Lindon, J. K. Nicholson, and S. Kochhar. “Human Metabolic Phenotypes Link Directly to Specific Dietary Preferences in Healthy Individuals.” Journal of Proteome Research 6 (2007): 4469–77. Page 223—Dieting and thought suppression: Barnes, R. D., and S. Tantleff-Dunn. “Food for Thought: Examining the Relationship between Food Thought Suppression and Weight-Related Outcomes.” Eating Behaviors 11 (2010): 175–79. Page 223—Dieting doesn’t work: Mann, T., A. J. Tomiyama, E.


Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley's Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime by Julian Guthrie

Airbnb, Apple II, barriers to entry, blockchain, Bob Noyce, call centre, cloud computing, credit crunch, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, fear of failure, game design, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, new economy, PageRank, peer-to-peer, pets.com, phenotype, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, urban decay, web application, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

They will say, “I’m just like MJ” or “I’m just like Theresia.” The women of Alpha Girls just happen to be great at math, engineering, finance, computers, and business. But like the fictional characters of Sex and the City, the real-life Alpha Girls were also trying to find their way in the world. When women see other women in positions of leadership or success, it reframes what they think is possible for them. Alpha Girls gives us the female phenotypes we need. These are regular women: daughters of immigrants, dentists, teachers, and merchants. They are women who invented, funded, and helped build companies that changed industries. They are women who made bucketloads of their own money. Now they are working to rewrite the rules for women in venture and beyond. A rebellion is under way in Silicon Valley, but it is just beginning. While there are men in this story who behaved badly, there are also wonderful men who were great allies to women and never considered gender an issue.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Extending life, prolonging personhood, and morphological freedom are certain transhuman rights. But let me clarify that the issue is not just about body enhancement and life expansion. It concerns the larger environment in which enhancement takes place and the idea that humans might and can append their bodies and expand their lives. If our ancestors augmented the body for millions of years, since the Homo habilis and the Oldowan people and their tools, then the phenotype of appending the body is an innate and/or a learned expression. This interrelationship between the organism, the appendage, and the environment is an evidenced observation that needs to be understood, whether accepted or not, by all sides engaged in the socio-economics and biopolitics of body enhancement issues. Transmutation In De Divisione Naturae¸ Johannes Scotus Eriugena10 envisioned the universe as an “emanation” of life itself.

They are doing their utmost to build into their software the full range of human feelings, including ­feelings of angst and dread. Hence, the unstoppable human motivation to invent something as amazing as a cyber-conscious mind will result in the creation of countless partially successful efforts that would be unethical if accomplished in flesh. Can cyber-embryos be ethically ­terminated for much the same reason so many XX chromosome embryos (i.e., anatomically phenotypic females) are terminated – because of a belief that their costs of upkeep are not worth their value as adults (Rothblatt 1997: 11–17)? By having a different form from males, women have undergone an unimaginable amount of suffering (Rothblatt 1995: 39–43). The prevailing view is that because someone has the form of software or computer hardware they are unfeeling and can thus be disposed of at will.


pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, business cycle, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, industrial cluster, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Laplace demon, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Knowing everything about the behavior of individual neurons, for example, would be of little help in understanding human psychology, just as a complete knowledge of particle physics would be of little use in explaining the chemistry of synapses.6 Increasingly, however, the questions that scientists find most interesting—from the genomics revolution to the preservation of ecosystems to cascading failures in power grids—are forcing them to consider more than one scale at a time, and so to confront the problem of emergence head-on. Individual genes interact with each other in complex chains of activation and suppression to express phenotypic traits that are not reducible to the properties of any one gene. Individual plants and animals interact with each other in complex ways, via prey-predator relations, symbiosis, competition, and cooperation, to produce ecosystem-level properties that cannot be understood in terms of any individual species. And individual power generators and substations interact with each other via high-voltage transmission cables to produce system-level dynamics that cannot be understood in terms of any individual component.


pages: 377 words: 97,144

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller

23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, barriers to entry, brain emulation, cloud computing, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Netflix Prize, neurotypical, Norman Macrae, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, twin studies, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture

A biographer of John von Neumann wrote, “The cheapest way to make the world richer would be to get lots of his like.”21 A world with a million Johnnies, cooperating and competing with each other, has a reasonable chance of giving us something spectacular, beyond what even science fiction authors can imagine—at least if mankind survives the experience. Von Neumann’s existence highlights the tremendous variance in human intelligence, and so illuminates the minimum potential gains of simply raising a new generation’s intelligence to the maximum of what our species’ current phenotype can sustain. John von Neumann and a few other Hungarian scientists who immigrated to the United States were jokingly called “Martians” because of their strange accents and seemingly superhuman intelligence.22 If von Neumann really did have an extraterrestrial parent, whose genes arose, say, out of an advanced eugenics program that Earth couldn’t hope to replicate for a million years, then I wouldn’t infer from his existence that we could get many of him.


Scratch Monkey by Stross, Charles

carbon-based life, defense in depth, fault tolerance, gravity well, Kuiper Belt, packet switching, phenotype, telepresence

We're committed now. Five hundred soldiers coming down the chute, and nowhere to go but out. She straightened up, and left the room as fast as possible. Which was why she wasn't there when the control system spoke quietly to the empty air: "Alert. There is an error condition associated with subject Raisa Marikova. Codon error: illegal nanostructure is associated with subject's homoeobox structure. Phenotype error: subject homoeobox specification contains abnormal neurological structure. Do you want me to proceed ..?" There was no reply. The Gatecoder waited for a long time, repeating the message occasionally. Finally, when it received no further instructions and could wait no longer, it resolved the problem by checking its default decision set. Then it began to put together the first body. The chosen vehicle was an in-system shuttle.


pages: 311 words: 94,732

The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross

3D printing, Ayatollah Khomeini, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, Credit Default Swap, dematerialisation, Drosophila, epigenetics, Extropian, gravity well, greed is good, haute couture, hive mind, margin call, negative equity, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, union organizing

His father-thing looks up from the T. gondii he’s salting around the universe’s feline population before gifting them with opposable thumbs, and his mild eyes bore into Huw with the force of a star-powered laser. “Huw. I. Did. Not. Rewire. Your. Brain. To. Make. You. Love. The. Cloud. Full stop. If you’re feeling different about this sort of thing, it’s down to your own stimuli and how you’ve reacted to them. Far as I’m concerned, it makes no difference, but I suppose it might give you an edge here—after all, the cloud is the apex expression of humanity’s extended phenotype: you’re its ambassador, don’t you think it might help to actually like and respect it?” Huw ponders the possibility that his father-thing isn’t lying. He contemplates the contrafactual world in which he can treat the uploaded as being worthy of the same respect and compassion as meatpeople. From this, his treacherous skullfat leaps nimbly of its own accord to the potential future in which humanity—all humanity, embodied and virtual—is annihilated.


pages: 362 words: 104,308

Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson

bioinformatics, business intelligence, double helix, experimental subject, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, Ronald Reagan, social intelligence, stem cell, the scientific method, zero-sum game

Maybe just that I personally am a bad translator. Although I must say, I have a tough job. When I don’t understand the rimpoche, translating him gets harder.” “So you make it up!” Frank laughed. His spirits were still high, Anna saw. “That’s what I’ve been saying all along.” He settled back against the side of the couch next to her. But Drepung shook his head. “Not making things up. Re-creation, maybe.” “Like DNA and phenotypes.” “I don’t know.” “A kind of code.” “Well, but language is never just a code.” “No. More like gene expression.” “You must tell me.” “From an instruction sequence, like a gene, to what the instruction creates. Language to thought. Or to meaning, or comprehension. Whatever! To some kind of living thought.” Drepung grinned. “There are about fifty words in Tibetan that I would have to translate to the word ‘thinking.’”


Language and Mind by Noam Chomsky

Alfred Russel Wallace, finite state, John von Neumann, lateral thinking, pattern recognition, phenotype, theory of mind

In a classic contemporary paper, Maynard Smith and associates trace the post-Darwinian version back to Thomas Huxley, who was struck by the fact that there appear to be “predetermined lines of modification” that lead natural selection to “produce varieties of a limited number and kind” for every species. They review a variety of such constraints in the organic world and describe how “limitations on phenotypic variability” are “caused by the structure, character, composition, or dynamics of the developmental system.” They also point out that such “developmental constraints undoubtedly play a significant role in evolution” though 180 Language and Mind there is yet “little agreement on their importance as compared with selection, drift, and other such factors in shaping evolutionary history.” At about the same time, Jacob wrote that “the rules controlling embryonic development,” almost entirely unknown, interact with other physical factors to “restrict possible changes of structures and functions” in evolutionary development, providing “architectural constraints” that “limit adaptive scope and channel evolutionary patterns,” to quote a recent review.


pages: 307 words: 102,477

The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep by Dr. Guy Leschziner

23andMe, Berlin Wall, British Empire, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, phenotype, stem cell, twin studies

., ‘Insomnia and incident depression: role of objective sleep duration and natural history’, J Sleep Res, August 2015, 24(4): 390—98. Li, Y., Vgontzas, A. N., Fernandez-Mendoza, J., Bixler, E. O., Sun, Y., Zhou, J., Ren, R., Li, T., Tang, X., ‘Insomnia with physiological hyperarousal is associated with hypertension’, Hypertension, March 2015, 65(3): 644—50. Vgontzas, A. N., Fernandez-Mendoza, J., Liao, D., Bixler, E. O., ‘Insomnia with objective short sleep duration: the most biologically severe phenotype of the disorder’, Sleep Мed Rev, August 2013, 17(4): 241—54. Mitchell, M. D., Gehrman, P., Perlis, M., Umscheid, C. A., ‘Comparative effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia: a systematic review’, BMC Fam Pract, 25 May 2012, 13: 40. Jarrin, D. C., Alvaro, P. K., Bouchard, M. A., Jarrin, S. D., Drake, C. L., Morin, C. M., ‘Insomnia and hypertension: A systematic review’, Sleep Med Rev., 16 February 2018. pii: S1087-0792(17)30051-5.


pages: 319 words: 105,949

Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot by Mark Vanhoenacker

Airbus A320, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, computer age, dark matter, digital map, Edmond Halley, Joan Didion, John Harrison: Longitude, Louis Blériot, Maui Hawaii, Nelson Mandela, out of africa, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, the built environment, transcontinental railway, Year of Magical Thinking

There is another category of city, though, for which the aerial, geographic sense of a place does not augment other impressions of it, because I have no other impressions. Doha, Athens, Kiev, Ankara, Tripoli, Buenos Aires, Zagreb; I have landed in these cities and then flown away, without ever leaving the airport. Sometimes I have not even left my seat. In this category of cities it’s Moscow that I’ve flown to most often. I could tell you how unusually round Moscow looks, the metropolitan phenotype that is the privilege of cities born in flat and landlocked places. I might mention Moscow’s multiple, concentric ring roads—one of which roughly corresponds to the city’s medieval boundaries and gates—that glow in the pitch-black winter nights like the rings of an electric cooktop. When I flew the Airbus and went often to Moscow we were not permitted to fly over the city center, nor were we usually permitted to fly around it in a counterclockwise direction, and so we would fly nearly three-quarters of a circle around the city, as if it were an aerial traffic circle.


pages: 424 words: 108,768

Origins: How Earth's History Shaped Human History by Lewis Dartnell

agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, clean water, Columbian Exchange, decarbonisation, discovery of the americas, Donald Trump, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, Google Earth, Khyber Pass, Malacca Straits, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Pax Mongolica, peak oil, phenotype, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spice trade, supervolcano, trade route, transatlantic slave trade

‘Genomic Tools for Evolution and Conservation in the Chimpanzee: Pan troglodytes ellioti Is a Genetically Distinct Population’, PLoS Genetics 8(3): 1–10. Bowen, G. J., W. C. Clyde, P. L. Koch, S. Ting, J. Alroy, T. Tsubamoto, Y. Wang and Y. Wang (2002). ‘Mammalian Dispersal at the Paleocene/Eocene Boundary’, Science 295(5562): 2062–5. BP (2017). BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2017. Bradley, B. J. (2008). ‘Reconstructing phylogenies and phenotypes: a molecular view of human evolution’, Journal of Anatomy 212(4): 337–53. Bramble, D. M. and D. E. Lieberman (2004). ‘Endurance running and the evolution of Homo’, Nature 432(7015): 345–52. Braudel, F. (1995). A History of Civilizations, Penguin. Brison, D. N. (2005). Caves in the Odyssey, 14th International Congress of Speleology. Kalamos, Hellas, Hellenic Speleological Society. Brooke, J.


pages: 465 words: 103,303

The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery by George Johnson

Atul Gawande, Cepheid variable, Columbine, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Gary Taubes, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, Magellanic Cloud, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, phenotype, profit motive, stem cell

Weinberg, “Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation,” Cell 144, no. 5 (March 4, 2011): 646–74. Natalie Angier told Weinberg’s story in Natural Obsessions: Striving to Unlock the Deepest Secrets of the Cancer Cell (New York: Warner Books, 1989), and Weinberg gave his own account in Racing to the Beginning of the Road: The Search for the Origin of Cancer (New York: Harmony, 1996). 22. they were named proto-oncogenes: C. Shih, R. A. Weinberg, et al., “Passage of Phenotypes of Chemically Transformed Cells via Transfection of DNA and Chromatin,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 76, no. 11 (November 1979): 5714–18 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/230490]; and C. J. Tabin, R. A. Weinberg, et al., “Mechanism of Activation of a Human Oncogene,” Nature 300, no. 5888 (November 11, 1982): 143–49. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6290897] 23. Some mutations are even more wrenching: The best known example is the Philadelphia chromosome, which is involved in chronic myeloid leukemia.


pages: 417 words: 109,367

The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century by Ronald Bailey

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Climatic Research Unit, Commodity Super-Cycle, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, double helix, energy security, failed state, financial independence, Gary Taubes, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, phenotype, planetary scale, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, yield curve

Commonwealth Club lecture, May 8, 2014. milliontrees.me/2014/05/08/dr-arthur-shapiro-composition-of-ecological-communities-is-dynamic/. “ecologists have come to understand the reality”: John Kricher, “Nothing Endures but Change: Ecology’s Newly Emerging Paradigm.” Northeastern Naturalist 5.2 (1998): 165–174. biophilosophy.ca/Teaching/2070papers/kricher.pdf. Ecological fitting is the process: Salvatore J. Agosta and Jeffrey A. Klemens, “Ecological Fitting by Phenotypically Flexible Genotypes: Implications for Species Associations, Community Assembly and Evolution.” Ecology Letters 11.11 (November 2008): 1123–1134. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01237.x/abstract;jsessionid=A431ABA8A6A229AFA3B54DE9747AD57D.f01t01. Species don’t need to coevolve: David M. Wilkinson, “The Parable of Green Mountain: Ascension Island, Ecosystem Construction and Ecological Fitting.”


pages: 407 words: 109,653

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman

Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Edward Glaeser, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, game design, industrial cluster, Jean Tirole, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, school choice, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Jobs, zero-sum game

Onyut, Stephan Kolassa, & Thomas Elbert, “Spontaneous Remission from PTSD Depends on the Number of Traumatic Event Types Experienced,” Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, & Policy 2, vol. 3, pp. 169–174 (2010) Kolassa, Iris-Tatjana, Stephan Kolassa, Verena Ertl, Andreas Papassotiropoulos, & Dominique J.-F. De Quervain, “The Risk of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after Trauma Depends on Traumatic Load and the Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Val158Met Polymorphism,” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 67(4), pp. 304–308 (2010) Lachman, Herbert, “Does COMT Val158Met Affect Behavioral Phenotypes: Yes, No, Maybe?,” Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 33(13), pp. 3027–3029 (2008) Lonsdorf, Tina B., Christian Rück, Jan Bergström, Gerhard Andersson, Arne Öhman, Nils Lindefors, & Martin Schalling, “The COMTVal158Met Polymorphism Is Associated with Symptom Relief During Exposure-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment in Panic Disorder” BMC Psychiatry, vol. 10, pp. 99 et seq. (2010) Reuter, Martin, Clemens Frenzel, Nora T.


Data Mining: Concepts and Techniques: Concepts and Techniques by Jiawei Han, Micheline Kamber, Jian Pei

bioinformatics, business intelligence, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation coefficient, cyber-physical system, database schema, discrete time, distributed generation, finite state, information retrieval, iterative process, knowledge worker, linked data, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Occam's razor, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, random walk, recommendation engine, RFID, semantic web, sentiment analysis, speech recognition, statistical model, stochastic process, supply-chain management, text mining, thinkpad, Thomas Bayes, web application

Genes are critical for all living things because they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains. They hold the information to build and maintain a living organism's cells and pass genetic traits to offspring. Synthesis of a functional gene product, either RNA or protein, relies on the process of gene expression. A genotype is the genetic makeup of a cell, an organism, or an individual. Phenotypes are observable characteristics of an organism. Gene expression is the most fundamental level in genetics in that genotypes cause phenotypes. Using DNA chips (also known as DNA microarrays ) and other biological engineering techniques, we can measure the expression level of a large number (possibly all) of an organism's genes, in a number of different experimental conditions. Such conditions may correspond to different time points in an experiment or samples from different organs.


he Wisdom of Menopause (Revised Edition) by Northrup, Christiane

epigenetics, financial independence, Kickstarter, life extension, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, women in the workforce

~ You have high triglycerides (greater than 150 mg/dl). ~ You have high blood pressure (greater than 130/85). ~ You have high levels of the amino acid homocysteine in your bloodstream. ~ You are overfat (body mass index greater than 25) with an apple-shaped figure (a preponderance of body fat above the level of the hips). ~ Your waist measures 33.5 inches or more. ~ You have a hypertrigliceridemic-waist phenotype—for women, that means a waist circumference of 85 cm (about 33.5 inches) or more and a triglyceride level of 1.5 mmol/L (about 133 mg/dl) or more.21 ~ You have periodontal disease. ~ You have diabetes. ~ You are sedentary and don’t exercise. ~ You have a history of significant clinical depression. Cholesterol A lipid profile is a measure of your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

Association of hostility with coronary artery calcification in young adults: The CARDIA Study. JAMA, 283 (19), 2546–2551. 19. Friedman, M., & Rosenman, R. (1974). Type A Behavior and Your Heart. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 20. Stampfer, M., et al. (2000). Primary prevention of coronary heart disease in women through diet and lifestyle. N Engl J Med, 343, 16–22. 21. Arsenault, B. J., et al. (July 2010; epub ahead of print). The hypertriglyceridemic-waist phenotype and the risk of coronary artery disease: Results from the EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study. Can Med Assoc J. 22. Mo-Suwan, L., & Lebel, L. (1996). Risk factors for cardiovascular disease in obese and normal school-age children: Association of insulin with other cardiovascular risk factors. Biomed Environ Sci, 9 (2–3), 269–275; Wing, R. R., & Jeffery, R. W. (1995). Effect of modest weight loss on changes in cardiovascular risk factors: Are there differences between men and women between weight loss and maintenance?


pages: 402 words: 110,972

Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets by David J. Leinweber

AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, business cycle, butter production in bangladesh, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Danny Hillis, demand response, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information retrieval, intangible asset, Internet Archive, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, load shedding, Long Term Capital Management, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, market fragmentation, market microstructure, Mars Rover, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, negative equity, Network effects, optical character recognition, paper trading, passive investing, pez dispenser, phenotype, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, semantic web, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, smart grid, smart meter, social web, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing machine, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vernor Vinge, yield curve, Yogi Berra, your tax dollars at work

The key aspect of the genetic algorithm’s appeal in trading is clearly made in Dave Goldberg’s book: It is payoff driven. (See Figure 8.1.) Think of flipping the switches to maximize payoff. The switches are bits, binary digits; and in real problems, there are many more of them, representing complex solutions as binary chromosomes. Start with an initial population, random for purists, with known good solutions included for engineers. Let the programs (phenotypes) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Output Signal Binary Chromosome Coding of Model Parameters Payoff (e.g., profit, predictive power) Adjust these . . . to maximize this. Figure 8.1 Payoff drives the genetic algorithm. Source: Adapted from Genetic Algorithms in Search, Optimization and Machine Learning by Dave Goldberg (Addison-Wesley, 1989), 8. 186 Nerds on Wall Str eet N Chromosomes 1 2 3 4 5 6 Create Initial Population N Fitness 1 10 1' 2 20 2' 3 60 3' 4 3 Select Best 5 0 Individuals for 6 50 ‘Breedingí Evaluate Fitness Yes Keep on Breeding N 1' 2' 3' 4' 1' 2' 3' 4' Crossover to Create Hybrids in New Population, Mutate.


pages: 464 words: 116,945

Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey

accounting loophole / creative accounting, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, California gold rush, call centre, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, drone strike, end world poverty, falling living standards, fiat currency, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Food sovereignty, Frank Gehry, future of work, global reserve currency, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, peak oil, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wages for housework, Wall-E, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

These contradictions transcend the specificities of capitalist social formations. For example, gender relations such as patriarchy underpin contradictions to be found in ancient Greece and Rome, in ancient China, in Inner Mongolia or in Ruanda. The same applies to racial distinctions, understood as any claim to biological superiority on the part of some subgroup in the population vis-à-vis the rest (race is not, therefore, defined in terms of phenotype: the working and peasant classes in France in the mid-nineteenth century were openly and widely regarded as biologically inferior beings – a view that was perpetuated in many of Zola’s novels). Racialisation and gender discriminations have been around for a very long time and there is no question that the history of capitalism is an intensely racialised and gendered history. The question then arises: why do I not include the contradictions of race and gender (along with many others, such as nationalism, ethnicity and religion) as foundational in this study of the contradictions of capital?


pages: 382 words: 115,172

The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat by Tim Spector

biofilm, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, David Strachan, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, hygiene hypothesis, Kickstarter, life extension, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, Steve Jobs, twin studies

Oral, capsulized, frozen, fecal microbiota transplantation for relapsing Clostridium difficile infection. 3 http://www.openbiome.org/practitioner-map/ 4 Alang, N., OFID.2015.http://ofid.oxfordjournals.org/content/2/1/ofv004.full.pdf+html. Weight gain after Fecal Microbial Transplant; http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fecal-transplants-may-up-risk-of-obesity-onset/ 5 Charakida, M., Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol (Aug 2014); 2(8): 648–54. Lifelong patterns of BMI and cardiovascular phenotype in individuals aged 60–64 years in the 1946 British birth cohort study: an epidemiological study. 6 Everard, A., Proc Natl Acad Sci (28 May 2013); 110(22): 9066–71. Crosstalk between Akkermansia muciniphila and intestinal epithelium controls diet-induced obesity. 7 Zimmermann, A., Microbial Cell (2014); 1(5): 150–3. When less is more: hormesis against stress and disease. 8 Lang, J.M., PeerJ (9 Dec 2014); https://peerj.com/articles/659/.


pages: 396 words: 112,832

Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love by Simran Sethi

Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Food sovereignty, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Louis Pasteur, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, Skype, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, women in the workforce

The seeds may have been passed on from the local agricultural extension or another farmer, or saved from another harvest. Regardless of the source, the diversity within those seeds has progressively diminished as researchers and farmers have selected crops exhibiting the small number of traits needed to sustain production. As Aaron and Peter explained, global production of arabica (and robusta) depends on just a handful of cultivated varieties, with little difference at the genetic level or in their physical (phenotypic) characteristics. This is a problem for all the reasons we now know: Reduced diversity equals increased risk. Coffee trees grow best between 19 and 25 degrees Celsius (66 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit). The productivity of arabica, as Tadesse Woldemariam Gole from the Ethiopian Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF) and Aaron Davis of Kew Royal Botanic Gardens explain in their study on coffee and climate change, is “tightly linked to climatic variability, and is thus strongly influenced by natural climatic oscillations.”50 Since 1960, the average temperature in Ethiopia has increased by 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.3 degrees Fahrenheit).51 Drought and erratic rainfall have severely compromised coffee production in the southern part of the country.52 The climate modeling done by Kew Gardens and ECFF estimates that, as a result of a warming planet, the areas that contain the highest concentration of coffee diversity could be reduced by 65 to nearly 100 percent by 2080.53 Not only would the country that gave the world coffee no longer be able to produce it, but the diversity we need to be able to access it would also be lost.


pages: 349 words: 114,914

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Broken windows theory, Charles Lindbergh, crack epidemic, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, fear of failure, Ferguson, Missouri, Gunnar Myrdal, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, jitney, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, mass incarceration, moral panic, new economy, obamacare, payday loans, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, single-payer health, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, War on Poverty, white flight

The American story, which was my story, was not the tale of triumph but a majestic tragedy. Pilgrims and revolutionaries fled oppression and dreamed of a world where they might be free. And to pull the dream out of their imaginings, to bring the theory into reality, they broke our backs, taking up the very cudgel of oppression that had first sent them to flight. And I now knew that the line dividing black and white America was neither phenotypical, nor cultural, nor even genetic. In fact, there was no line at all, no necessary division of any kind. We were not two sides of a coin. We were not the photonegative of each other. To be black in America was to be plundered. To be white was to benefit from, and at times directly execute, this plunder. No national conversation, no invocations to love, no moral appeals, no pleas for “sensitivity” and “diversity,” no lamenting of “race relations” could make this right.


Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business process, butterfly effect, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, lateral thinking, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, mail merge, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, Potemkin village, prediction markets, premature optimization, price anchoring, principal–agent problem, publication bias, recommendation engine, remote working, replication crisis, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Shai Danziger, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, survivorship bias, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, uber lyft, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

You should therefore look to accommodate these traits in the roles you select for yourself or for other people. You should also know that there are other personality dimensions besides introversion versus extroversion, though we find that one to be the most actionable on a day-to day basis. There is no widespread agreement on the aspects of personality to focus on, but Lewis Goldberg presented one leading theory in “The Structure of Phenotype Personality Traits” that suggests there are five key factors: Extroversion (outgoing versus reserved) Openness to experience (curious versus cautious) Conscientiousness (organized versus easygoing) Agreeableness (compassionate versus challenging) Neuroticism (nervous versus confident) Beyond personality, you’re probably familiar with IQ (intelligent quotient), a measure of general intelligence.


pages: 406 words: 115,719

The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes

Albert Einstein, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, epigenetics, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, the new new thing, the scientific method, Works Progress Administration

Some of us have been passed genes that predispose us to get fat and/or diabetic in the world in which we now live, or to get fat and diabetic at younger ages than others, and these are the genes we pass on to our children. Geneticists would say some of us have susceptible “genotypes” that respond to our environment—sugar-rich, as I’m suggesting—and this is why we manifest the obese and diabetic phenotype, or manifest it at younger ages than others. Some of us don’t. Researchers studying the Pima and other Native American tribes have assumed that their genes, for whatever reason, make them particularly susceptible to diabetes and obesity when they eat modern Western diets and live modern Western lifestyles. This may be true, but we now know that vastly different populations with (presumably) vastly different genetic inheritances suffer very similar epidemics of obesity and diabetes when their diets and lifestyles are so quickly Westernized.


pages: 395 words: 116,675

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, altcoin, anthropic principle, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Corn Laws, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, endogenous growth, epigenetics, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, George Santayana, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hydraulic fracturing, imperial preference, income per capita, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, land reform, Lao Tzu, long peace, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Necker cube, obamacare, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, price mechanism, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, smart contracts, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, twin studies, uber lyft, women in the workforce

Thermo-economics: energy, entropy and wealth. B&O Economics Research Council 44. The calculations as to the numbers of events happening inside the human body at any one time are mine but based on information supplied by Patrick Cramer and Venki Ramakrishnan. On selfish DNA, Dawkins, R. 1976. The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press; Doolittle, W.F. and Sapienza, C. 1980. Selfish genes, the phenotype paradigm and genome evolution. Nature 284:601–603; and Crick, F.H.C. and Orgel, L. 1980. Selfish DNA: the ultimate parasite. Nature 284:604–607. On ‘junk DNA’, Brosius, J. and Gould, S.J. 1992. On ‘genomenclature’: A comprehensive (and respectful) taxonomy for pseudogenes and other ‘junk DNA’. PNAS 89:10706–10710. And Rains, C. 2012. No more junk DNA. Science 337:1581. On defence of junk DNA, Graur, D., Zheng, Y., Price, N., Azevedo, R.B., Zufall, R.A., Elhaik, E. 2013.


pages: 372 words: 111,573

10% Human: How Your Body's Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness by Alanna Collen

Asperger Syndrome, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, biofilm, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, David Strachan, discovery of penicillin, Drosophila, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, hygiene hypothesis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, John Snow's cholera map, Kickstarter, Louis Pasteur, Maui Hawaii, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, the scientific method

Conserved shifts in the gut microbiota due to gastric bypass reduce host weight and adiposity. Science Translational Medicine 5: 1–11. Chapter 3 1. Sessions, S.K. and Ruth, S.B. (1990). Explanation for naturally occurring supernumerary limbs in amphibians. Journal of Experimental Biology 254: 38–47. 2. Andersen, S.B. et al. (2009). The life of a dead ant: The expression of an adaptive extended phenotype. The American Naturalist 174: 424–433. 3. Herrera, C. et al. (2001). Maladie de Whipple: Tableau psychiatrique inaugural. Revue Médicale de Liège 56: 676–680. 4. Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child 2: 217–250. 5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010.


pages: 396 words: 116,332

Political Ponerology (A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes) by Andrew M. Lobaczewski

anti-communist, corporate raider, en.wikipedia.org, John Nash: game theory, means of production, phenotype, Project for a New American Century

Geneticists have similarly studied the inheritance of many other features of human organisms, but they have paid scant attention to the anomalies interesting us here. Many features of human character have a hereditary bases in genes located in the same X chromosome; although it is not a rule. Something similar could apply to the majority of the psychological anomalies to be discussed below. Significant progress has recently been made in cognition of a series of chromosomal anomalies resulting from defective division of the reproductive cells and their phenotypic psychological symptoms. This state of affairs enables us to initiate studies on their ponerogenetic role and to introduce conclusions which are theoretically valuable, something which is in effect already being done. In practice, however, the majority of chromosomal anomalies are not transferred to the next generation; furthermore, their carriers constitute a very small proportion of the population at large, and their general intelligence is lower than the social average, so their ponerological role is even smaller than their statistical distribution.


pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, functional fixedness, global pandemic, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

.; author, The Proactionary Imperative: A Foundation for Transformation We can’t think properly about machines that think without a level playing field for comparing us and them. As it stands, comparisons are invariably biased in our favor. In particular, we underestimate the role that “smart environments” play in enabling displays of human cognitive prowess. From the design of roads and buildings to the user-friendly features of consumer goods, the technologically extended phenotype has created the illusion that reality is inherently human-shaped. To be sure, we’re quickly awakened from the dogmatic slumbers of universal mastery as soon as our iPhone goes missing. By comparison, even the cleverest machine is forced to perform in a relatively dumb (judged by its own standards) environment—namely, us. Unless specifically instructed, humans are unlikely to know or care how to tap the full range of the machine’s latent powers.


pages: 428 words: 121,717

Warnings by Richard A. Clarke

active measures, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Bernie Madoff, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Elon Musk, failed state, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forensic accounting, friendly AI, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge worker, Maui Hawaii, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, mouse model, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y2K

Carroll, “Tracking the Ancestry of Corn Back 9,000 Years,” New York Times, May 24, 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/science/25creature.html (accessed Oct. 11, 2016); and Jerry Adler and Andrew Lawler, “How the Chicken Conquered the World,” Smithsonian, June 2012, www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-the-chicken-conquered-the-world-87583657 (accessed Oct. 11, 2016). 7. Christina Larson, “China’s Bold Push into Genetically Customized Animals,” Scientific American, Nov. 17, 2015, www.scientificamerican.com/article/china-s-bold-push-into-genetically-customized-animals (accessed Oct. 11, 2016). 8. Hao Yin, Wen Xue, et al., “Genome Editing with Cas9 in Adult Mice Corrects a Disease Mutation and Phenotype,” Nature Biotechnology 32, no. 6 (Mar. 30, 2014): 551–53, DOI:10.1038/nbt.2884. 9. Chengzhu Long, Leonela Amoasii, et al., “Postnatal Genome Editing Partially Restores Dystrophin Expression in a Mouse Model of Muscular Dystrophy,” Science 351, no. 6271 (Jan. 22, 2016): 400–403, DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5725. 10. Jonathan Rockoff, “Why Gene-Editing Technology Has Scientists Excited,” Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2015, www.wsj.com/articles/why-gene-editing-technology-has-scientists-excited-1434985998 (accessed Oct. 11, 2016). 11.


pages: 480 words: 119,407

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, augmented reality, Bernie Sanders, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, falling living standards, first-past-the-post, gender pay gap, gig economy, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, lifelogging, low skilled workers, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, new economy, obamacare, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, phenotype, post-industrial society, randomized controlled trial, remote working, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, the built environment, urban planning, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

M. (2008), ‘Gender bias in medical textbooks: examples from coronary heart disease, depression, alcohol abuse and pharmacology’, Medical Education, 42:10, 1021–8 6 http://www.marieclaire.com/health-fitness/a26741/doctors-treat-women-like-men/ 7 Dijkstra et al. (2008) 8 Henrich, Janet B. and Viscoli, Catherine M. (2006), ‘What Do Medical Schools Teach about Women’s Health and Gender Differences?’ Academic Medicine, 81:5 9 Song, Michael M. Jones, Betsy G. and Casanova, Robert A. (2016), ‘Auditing sex- and gender-based medicine (SGBM) content in medical school curriculum: a student scholar model’, Biology of Sex Differences, 7:Suppl 1, 40 10 Marts and Keitt (2004) 11 Karp, Natasha A. et al (2017), ‘Prevalence of sexual dimorphism in mammalian phenotypic traits’, Nature Communications, 8:15475 12 Martha L. Blair (2007), ‘Sex-based differences in physiology: what should we teach in the medical curriculum?’, Advanced Physiological Education, 31, 23–5 13 Ibid. 14 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4800017/ Jan 2016 15 https://theconversation.com/man-flu-is-real-but-women-get-more-autoimmune-diseases-and-allergies-77248 16 https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-do-autoimmune-diseases-affect-women-more-often-than-men/2016/10/17/3e224db2-8429-11e6-ac72-a29979381495_story.html?


Innovation and Its Enemies by Calestous Juma

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, big-box store, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deskilling, disruptive innovation, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, global value chain, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, Marc Andreessen, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, smart grid, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Travis Kalanick

Additionally, the scientific assessments required by the current FDA regulatory process for transgenic animals are heavily focused on the potential risks, but do not pay sufficient attention to the benefits of the new technology over existing products. There are two issues with the FDA approach to transgenic animals. First, if the process for producing the technology changes without changing the product (such as the phenotype of the transgenic organism), a new risk assessment becomes necessary even though there is no substantial difference in the product. Second, the evaluation of process-based risks fails to compare the risks and benefits associated with the new product to those of existing production systems, even though it is precisely this difference that should form the basis of a regulatory decision on new technologies.26 This distorts public perceptions of the hazards of animal biotechnology.


pages: 476 words: 120,892

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox

*4 Of course, it could as easily be called Wallace’s theory of natural selection, after the great British naturalist and geographer Alfred Russel Wallace who, during a bout of malarial fever while traveling in the tropics, came up with virtually the same idea as Darwin. *5 The term “genetics” was coined in 1905 by William Bateson, an English geneticist and a proponent of Mendel’s ideas; the term “gene” was suggested four years later by Danish botanist Wilhelm Johannsen to distinguish between the outward appearance of an individual (its phenotype) and its genes (its genotype). *6 The alternative tautomeric forms of guanine and thymine are known as enol or keto, depending on the position of the coding protons; whereas cytosine and adenine tautomers are known as keto or amino forms. *7 Escherichia coli. *8 By which we mean one lacking a rigorous mathematical framework. *9 In reality there will be more than one hydrogen bond holding the base pair together, but the argument holds equally well if we simplify the picture to just one


pages: 677 words: 121,255

Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist by Michael Shermer

Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, Chelsea Manning, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, creative destruction, dark matter, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, gun show loophole, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, Laplace demon, luminiferous ether, McMansion, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, moral hazard, moral panic, More Guns, Less Crime, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, positional goods, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, WikiLeaks, working poor, Yogi Berra

Also in attendance, there to receive the $100,000 Kistler Prize “for original work that investigates the social implications of genetics,” was the Oxford University evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. (Ed Wilson was the previous year’s winner and was there to co-present the award, along with Walter Kistler, to Richard.) Dawkins was awarded a gold medal and a check for his work “that redirected the focus of the ‘levels of selection’ debate away from the individual animal as the unit of evolution to the genes, and what he has called their extended phenotypes.” Simultaneously, the award description continues, Dawkins “applied a Darwinian view to culture through the concept of memes as replicators of culture.” Finally, “Dr. Dawkins’ contribution to a new understanding of the relationship between the human genome and society is that both the gene and the meme are replicators that mutate and compete in parallel and interacting struggles for their own propagation.”


pages: 436 words: 140,256

The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond

agricultural Revolution, assortative mating, Atahualpa, Columbian Exchange, correlation coefficient, double helix, Drosophila, European colonialism, invention of gunpowder, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, longitudinal study, out of africa, phenotype, Scientific racism, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, the scientific method, trade route

Nance et al, 'A model for the analysis of mate selection in the marriages of twins', Acta Geneticae Medicae Gemellologiae 29, pp. 91-101 (1980); D. Thiessen and B. Gregg, 'Human assortative mating and genetic equilibrium: an evolutionary perspective', Ethology and Sociobiology 1, pp. 111—40 (1980); D.M. Buss, 'Human mate selection', American Scientist 73, pp. 47–51 (1985); A.C. Heath and L.J. Eaves, 'Resolving the effects of phenotype and social background on mate selection', Behavior Genetics 15, pp. 75–90 (1985); and A.C. Heath et al, 'No decline in assortative mating for educational level', Behavior Genetics 15, pp. 349-69 (1985). Also relevant is a book by B.I. Murstein, Who Will Marry Whom? Theories and Research in Marital Choice (Springer, New York, 1976). The literature on mate choice by animals is at least as extensive as that for humans.


pages: 448 words: 142,946

Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein

Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate raider, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, God and Mammon, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, land value tax, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, McMansion, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, special drawing rights, spinning jenny, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail

It is also unsustainable: it generates great and growing crises that are propelling us into a new era, an Age of Reunion. Separation is not an ultimate reality, but a human projection, an ideology, a story. As in all cultures, our defining Story of the People has two deeply related parts: a Story of Self, and a Story of the World. The first is the discrete and separate self: a bubble of psychology, a skin-encapsulated soul, a biological phenotype driven by its genes to seek reproductive self-interest, a rational actor seeking economic self-interest, a physical observer of an objective universe, a mote of consciousness in a prison of flesh. The second is the story of Ascent: that humanity, starting from a state of ignorance and powerlessness, is harnessing the forces of nature and probing the secrets of the universe, moving inexorably toward our destiny of complete mastery over, and transcendence of, nature.


pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier

airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, commoditize, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, longitudinal study, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K, zero-sum game

So while these seem like possible evolutionary explanations, there is still controversy in evolutionary biology over the levels of selection at work in any given instance. Certainly not all evolutionary biologists would accept these necessarily simple descriptions, although they would concur with the general outline that there was some evolutionary advantage to the possession of certain genes manifesting certain phenotypes in certain populations. (7) Among other things, human intelligence is unique in the complexity of its expression, and its ability to comprehend the passage of time. More related to security, humans are vastly ahead of even chimpanzees in their ability to understand cause and effect in the physical world. (8) No other creature on the planet does this. To use the words of philosopher Alfred Korzybski, humans are the only time binding species: we are the only species that can pass information and knowledge between generations at an accelerating rate.


pages: 452 words: 135,790

Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder From the World of Plants by Jane Goodall

Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, European colonialism, Google Earth, illegal immigration, language of flowers, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, transatlantic slave trade

John Roach, “2000-Year-Old Seed Sprouts, Sapling Is Thriving,” National Geographic News, November 22, 2005, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/11/1122_051122_old_seed.html 4. “Noah’s grandfather” Sallon, op. cit. Roach, op. cit. Gen. 5:27–29 (New Standard Revised Version). 5. “carbon-dated at about 1,300 years” J. Shen-Miller et al., “Long-Living Lotus: Germination and Soil Gamma-Irradiation of Centuries-Old Fruits, and Cultivation, Growth, and Phenotypic Abnormalities of Offspring,” American Journal of Botany 89 (2002): 236–47. J. Shen-Miller et al., “Exceptional Seed Longevity and Robust Growth: Ancient Sacred Lotus from China,” American Journal of Botany 82 (2005): 1367–80. Ray Ming et al., “Genome of the Long-Living Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.),” Genome Biology 14 (2013): in press, doi:10.1186/gp-2013-14-5-r41. 6. “carbon-dated at about 600 years old” J.


pages: 475 words: 134,707

The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health--And How We Must Adapt by Sinan Aral

Airbnb, Albert Einstein,