Archive for July, 2011

July 31, 2011

July 20, 2011

From prof. Robert Sapolsky, “Human behavioral biology” course, Stanford.

Examples of:
– effects of transposable elements on promoters/tfbs;
– discreteness of cellular logic;
– discontinuity in evolution.

Remark: no such simple logic exists in cells, these are just logical examples.

Old logic: IF dehydration THEN turn on kidneys
New logic: IF dehydration THEN ovulate (seasonal mating discovered)

Old: IF it smells like me THEN don’t mate
New: IF it smells like me THEN cooperate (kin selection discovered)

Old: IF glucocorticoid (stress) THEN suppress immunity
New: IF progesterone hormone THEN suppress immunity (no immune reaction against fetus discovered)

Example of macro-changes in networks and speed in evolution: siberian silver foxes. Breed only those that are more domestic. Do this for \approx 35 generations. Result: puppy-like adults. Reason: breeding them for infantile behavior influences physical features.

July 12, 2011

« Fellowship candidates are expected to have solved a major scientific or engineering problem in their thesis work or will have provided a new approach or insight to a major problem, as evidenced by a recognized impact in their field. » ~ From a fellowship description

Via Portello

July 7, 2011

Nobody wants any more poems about… foreign cities.” ~ Mr Kingsley Amis

Rococo compositions of decay,
Each a still-life, the fruity garbag-heaps
Teem by themselves. A broad and cobbled way,
Tiepolo’s and Byron’s thoroughfare
Lies grand and empty in its sullied air,
And watches while the rest of Padua sleeps.

The conscious vista closed at either end,
Here by a palace, that way by a gate
At night pure Piranesi… Yes, my friend,
I know you have decided for your part
That poems on foreign cities and their art
Are the privileged classes’ shorthand. You must wait;

Or, traversing the colonnaded mile
Of this decayed locality, extend
The warmth of your resentment to the style
Of Padua’s poor. A civilisation broken
Around them, theirs; and want, and no word spoken —
The conscious vista closed at either end.

~ Donald Davie