Gravitational waves, the man behind them, and two of the deepest puzzles confronting humanity
9 hours ago in The Curious Wavefunction
Androgen is the generic term for any natural or synthetic compound, usually a steroid hormone, that stimulates or controls the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics in vertebrates by binding to androgen receptors. (...) The primary and most well-known androgen is testosterone.Why do I mention that? Because testosterone is of course better known as the principal male sex hormone. Recall that most traders are men, so since trading is a highly competitive high-stress line of work, men generally do better at it. One could then argue that this is culturally based, and that might be the case if women in that profession are frowned upon, or if parents (knowingly or not) encourage only their boys to become traders, etc.
"While this bill bears her name, Lilly knows this story isn't just about her," Obama said. "It's the story of women across this country still earning just 78 cents for every dollar men earn -- women of color even less --which means that today, in the year 2009, countless women are still losing thousands of dollars in salary, income and retirement savings over the course of a lifetime."As far as I understand, this huge difference is not measured between people in the same job, but is a figure of how much all men earn nationwide compared to how much women earn. Unless we expect men and women to have the same jobs, work the same amount of hours per week, take the same amount of time off to have children, and overall work the same number of years in their lives, then it may not be true that "countless women are still losing thousands of dollars in salary, income and retirement savings over the course of a lifetime," as Obama said.
Since all instinctive behaviors have an evolutionary advantage or they would not have been retained for millions of years, chances are that this one too has helped us survive as a species.There are plenty of reason why not every trait need to ever have been advantageous. Pleiotropic constraints is one that comes to mind. I wonder if there is anyone who have evidence that this should be different for behavioral traits.
Dr. Weinstock goes even further. “Children should be allowed to go barefoot in the dirt, play in the dirt, and not have to wash their hands when they come in to eat,” he said. He and Dr. Elliott pointed out that children who grow up on farms and are frequently exposed to worms and other organisms from farm animals are much less likely to develop allergies and autoimmune diseases.I do wonder, though, if the behavioral trait of eating dirt is adaptive, then why is the behavioral trait of parents to stop them from doing so adaptive, given that "all instinctive behaviors have an evolutionary advantage?"
Also helpful, he said, is to “let kids have two dogs and a cat,” which will expose them to intestinal worms that can promote a healthy immune system.
In the uninterrupted transmission of a human language, radical loss of complexity throughout the grammar is neither normal, occasional, nor rare, but impossible. The natural state of human language is one saddled with accreted complexity unnecessary to communication. Wherever this complexity is radically abbreviated overall rather than in scattered, local fashion, this is not just sometimes, but always caused by a sociohistorical situation in which non-native acquisition of the language was widespread enough that grammar was transmitted to new generations in a significantly simplified form. This is true not only in the extreme case of creoles, but also to a lesser but robust extent in many languages of the world.Languages become more complex over time when there is no outside influence on them. In McWhorter's words: grammars naturally "maintain a considerable level of complexity over time: simplifications occur, but are counterbalanced by complexifications due to grammaticalization, reanalysis, and new patterns created by phonetic erosion."
Austronesianists treat these languages’ analyticity as a matter of chance, of little inherent interest. But under my analysis, these languages are utterly bizarre. Why did a descendant of Proto-Austronesian wend its way into eschewing all affixation?Indonesia has a lot of spoken languages, and many of them are very much more complicated than they need to be. McWhorter explains that this is how languages often evolve, by picking up with 'complexifications' just because they can. Much to his surprise, he then encountered this small group of languages that are very simple, in contrast with hundreds of related languages. This mystery needed an explanation.
The reason languages like Keo and Ngada are so strangely streamlined on Flores is that an earlier ancestor of these languages, just as complex as its family members tend to be, was used as second language by these other people and simplified. Just as our classroom French and Spanish avoids or streamlines a lot of the "hard stuff," people who learn a language as adults usually do not master it entirely.McWhorter's speculation that it was contact with H. floresiensis that led to the simplification of Keo, Rongga, and Ngadh is to me astonishing. There's currently no evidence for that whatsoever, though, but just to consider these two species communicating is enticing. Imagine what we could learn about ourselves during such an encounter. It would be like speaking with animals (which has been done using sign language, in the case of both gorillas and chimpanzees). He notes that linguists could in that case add interspecies contact to the list of factors that affect how languages evolve.
Specifically, I would hypothesize that the little people were gradually incorporated into modern human society over time—perhaps subordinated in some way—such that modern human children were hearing the little people's rendition of the language as much as a native one.
Capitalism without the threat of bankruptcy is like Christianity without the threat of Hell.They were talking about the economic crisis and the stimulus package. It does really seem rather strange that a private company can run itself into destitution, and then be saved by the tax-payers in the nick of time.
"They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance," Sir David said, explaining that he is regularly asked why he does not "give credit" to the Lord for creating the flora and fauna featured in his programmes.One must give credit where it's due, and since there is no evidence that it is due the Lord, none is given to him.
"They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in East Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator."Anyhow, what I wanted to get at is that I have only ever heard of hate-mail coming from the religious. It's not that I wouldn't believe that atheists send hate-mail to religious people, but I'd want to see it before I'll believe it.
Social liberals in the country’s “blue states” tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter’s pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in “red states” generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn’t choose to have an abortion.In short, it is misguided to obtain your moral views on sexual intercourse and all that from the Bible. When we educate our children we better not ignore that they are humans with a natural desire. To do so 1) makes them unhappy adults, and 2) doesn't work anyway.
the arrogance of someone who believes they are right, in signing a decree which will open the door to abortion and thus to the destruction of human life.The Pope has rehabilitated Bishop Richard Williamson, who recently said this.
I believe there were no gas chambers. I think that two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers.Of course, the Vatican sided with Hitler, and they are monstrously scared of sex, so for themselves there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with claiming Obama is arrogant at the same time as they condone someone who said that the holocaust never took place.
The report, released days before President Obama took office, says 18 former detainees are confirmed to have participated in attacks, and 43 are suspected to have been involved in attacks.That would indeed be worrying if true. However, if this alleged fact is ever used as an argument against closing Gitmo, as ordered by President Obama, consider that what people do after they are released, because no charges were made against them, really shouldn't have any bearing on whether they should have been released or not. If there isn't enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they were terrorists, then they should be released despite fears that they might become terrorists. You can't detain people because what you suspect they might become later on.
To start with, Mr. Bush was right about Iraq. The world is safer without Saddam Hussein in power. And the former president was right to change strategy and surge more U.S. troops.No, Karl, he was wrong. There was no threat of WMDs, and there was no credible intelligence that there was. All lies and rationalizations for a war that you dupes in his administration wished for. There was no connection, as alleged, between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. America is not safer with Saddam gone. Nor is Iraq safer. Who exactly is safer now, Karl?
Iraq is now on the mend, the war is on the path to victory, al Qaeda has been dealt a humiliating defeat, and a democracy in the heart of the Arab world is emerging.The war was always on the path to victory for you dupes, wasn't it? At all times. At least as you presented it to the public. Al Qaeda was not in Iraq. Al Qaeda was not in Iraq. Al Qaeda was not in Iraq. You dupes forced democracy on Iraq. Is that the way it should have been done? Hopefully Iraq will become a functioning democracy. That would be good. But so far it only works with a US military presence. Let's see what happens there when foreign troops leave.
At home, Mr. Bush cut income taxes for every American who pays taxes. He also cut taxes on capital, investment and savings. The result was 52 months of growth and the strongest economy of any developed country.So, this dismal economy of today has nothing to do with his policies of the last eight years? I don't know which 52 months you're talking about Karl, but it sure as hell doesn't include the last 12, does it?
He was right to stand for a culture of life. And he was right to appoint conservative judges who strictly interpret the Constitution.We're getting to strictly opinions, now. I disagree. I think this was the wrong thing to do. A "culture of life" should not include the death penalty.
And Mr. Bush, a man of core decency and integrity, was right not to reply in kind when Democratic leaders called him a liar and a loser. The price of trying to change the tone in Washington was to be often pummeled by lesser men.True. He was right to ignore those who called him a liar, because a president shouldn't be lying at all to those he serve, and the only sane response would have been to admit that he was lying. Or, one could venture a guess that he wasn't lying because he wasn't informed by Cheney, Rumsfeld, or by you, Karl. You were the liars.
In the spirit of desperate bipartisanship that our entire societal breakdown has necessitationed, and in light of popularity poll numbers that make Richard Nixon look like a greased Chippendale at a bachelorette party, I just want to say that we can all agree on one thing: whether you're an immigrant terrorist or non-terrorist, a bellyaching homo, a legless Iraqazoid, a drowned corpse bloating in the New Orleans sun, an effete Huffington Post-reading urban iPhone zombie, or a Hannity-worshipping redneck patrio-fascist, a negro, a Mexi-rican, a normal guy, a feminist, a stoner, or a fixed income oldster reduced to buying Walgreens-brand Depends, odds are you're tickled pinker than Barry Manilow's boa that I'm getting the fuck outta Dodge.
And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God, and Jesus, but not Allah, JewGod, or Xenu bless this house and our next CEO. And may God bless you and our wonderful pyramid scheme of a narcissistic country. Thank you.
POTUS IS OUTUS! FUCK ALL Y'ALL!
Structural complexity is generally what we mean when we consider animals, but this seems to be the hardest measure to define. McShea(6) has studied several measures of structural complexity, based on number of cell types, different limb-pair types, and even the fractal dimension of sutures in ammonoids. [Adami, 2002]Given this problem of measuring structural complexity, Adami proposes that physical complexity is the best quantitative measure, and that this kind of complexity does increase in evolution:
Arguments for or against a trend in the evolution of complexity are weakened by the lack of an unambiguous definition of complexity. Such definitions abound for both dynamical systems and biological organisms, but have drawbacks of either a conceptual or a practical nature. Physical complexity, a measure based on automata theory and information theory, is a simple and intuitive measure of the amount of information that an organism stores, in its genome, about the environment in which it evolves. It is argued that physical complexity must increase in molecular evolution of asexual organisms in a single niche if the environment does not change, due to natural selection. It is possible that complexity decreases in co-evolving systems as well as at high mutation rates, in sexual populations, and in time-dependent landscapes. However, it is reasoned that these factors usually help, rather than hinder, the evolution of complexity, and that a theory of physical complexity for coevolving species will reveal an overall trend towards higher complexity in biological evolution. [my emphasis.]The answer to the quiz question is given like this:
Living things do not have to be perfect to survive, just good enough for a given environment. Insects evolved mouth parts adapted for chewing (A), lapping (B), and siphoning (C), all of which are different but not necessarily better. All originated from a common ancestor, driven in part by the evolution of plants. However, other organisms such as sharks have changed very little over millions of years. Also, species can evolve simplicity too. While it is true that all species originally evolved from simple cells, as time passed “less” became more beneficial. For example, humans no longer have the tails of our distant ancestors, and blind mole rats lost the vision of their ancestors.Who said anything about perfection? And the fact that sharks and many other species have evolved very little for millions of years doesn't even address the question asked. Blind mole rats (and many other blind species) have lost vision for a reason. They certainly didn't become 'simpler'. On the contrary the evidence suggest that blind cave fish lost vision because of pleiotropic constraints. Some of the genes that are involved in making eyes are also involved in jaw development. PZ Myers wrote a readable article in Seed about this loss of vision:
What we have is a perfect example of an evolutionary tradeoff. Because hedgehog and pax6 are negatively coupled to one another, one can be expanded only at the expense of the other, and what is going on in the blind cavefish is not selection for an economical reduction of the eyes, nor the accidental loss of an organ that has no effect: It is positive selection for a feature that is only indirectly related to the eyes.It's frankly a little sad that ASHG didn't make a better evolution quiz than this. As we celebrate Darwin's 200th birthday this year, we will see and hear a lot about evolution, and that's going to be exciting. However, let's strive to get it right, and when there isn't a clear consensus, make that clear as well.
Scientists at the Scripps Research Center in La Jolla, Calif., have created a self-replicating molecule that they say has the ability to "evolve and compete to win or lose."Dan may say that he is going to take a look at what exactly has been accomplished, but he never gets around to it. Saying that they were created is a far cry from the details (it's a pretty technical paper).
Before we jump on the "evolution has been proven" bandwagon, let's take a look at exactly what has been accomplished here.
These molecules were created ; that is, they had an initial cause. Secondly, the La Jolla scientists say that the molecules can evolve. I'll suspend judgement until all the facts are in, but I suspect that what is really occurring is adaptation , not evolution.
In the end, this test will probably go down as another failed attempt to justify spending huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate our children in the disproved religion of humanistic evolution.
Dan Duncan, Aiken, S.C. [My emphasis.]
To begin to appreciate the enormity of the mountaintop-removal sites--some of which stretch across 15 square miles--you have to fly over them. Even so, the scale of the destruction is hard to comprehend. That devastation is not limited to trees and mountains, but extends to the people who live among the ruin. They tell stories of poisoned water, dried-up wells, and cracked foundations. They testify to fish kills, company intimidation, and roads crumbling beneath the weight of overloaded coal trucks. They fear paid-off inspectors, 100-year floods that now happen twice a year, and above all the wide-reaching power of King Coal.And here is a shocker for those who, like me, don't know how much coal a regular household uses for electricity:
On Wednesday - with just five days left before leaving office - the Bush Administration defied previous court rulings and removed the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list. The states surrounding Yellowstone - Idaho, Wyoming and Montana - have aggressive management plans that could wipe out 2/3 of the Northern Rockies wolf population.
If female orgasm is adaptively designed for discriminating male quality, then it should be more frequent in females paired with high-quality males.And since male quality is wealth and height, their prediction is clear.
If the adaptive view of female orgasm is correct, then we predict that women will report more frequent orgasms the richer their partners are and the taller their partners are.The 1534 women in the study self-reported via computers away from the their homes, so if you think you can trust self-reporting (which is always an issue), you may agree with the authors that women have more orgasms the higher their partner's income is. But does this explain why women have orgasms at all?
The data produced so far, while apparently consistent with an adaptive role for female orgasm, are far from definitive. Moreover, even if consistent with an adaptive role for female orgasm, these data do not allow conclusive testing between two alternative proposed functions—namely, that female orgasm differentially promotes emotional bonding with high-quality males or that it differentially promotes conception with such males under conditions of sperm competition.More research is need to elucidate the function of the female orgasm. Anyone disagree with that?
From: Archer Loyd <firstname.lastname@example.org>[My emphasis.]
Sent: Fri Jan 16 12:20
Subject: They are lying you every day
Все мелкие людишки - слепые животные, которые ради денег готовы на все. Вас ежедневно унижают сильные мира сего, а вы этого не замечаете и думаете, что выбираете.
I'd like to show you the web-site about financial pyramid! Take a look, how people get dumbed by System. And the jews stand behind it! Look!! It's true!!!
[Some URL deleted.]
Intelligent design is a philosophy. There is no test we can run to check intelligent [design], so it can never be considered a scientific theory. Therefore Intelligent Design should never be taught in a science classroom. It should be taught in philosophy class instead. That's still true.Why is it that intelligent design is not a scientific theory? Is it really not?
They're just names, you know. Yeah, they (the Nazis) were bad people back then. But my kids are little. They're not going to grow up like that.However, Heath reportedly denies the Holocaust and their home is decorated with swastikas.
Homeopathy was invented by Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700s. It is based on the now-outdated principle that “like cures like,” and the lower the dose the better in homeopathy. If coffee keeps you awake, highly diluted coffee will put you to sleep. The more dilute the coffee, the better you will sleep.I should have known of this principle much earlier. Next time I have a cold I will go and drink some water without any rhinovirus in it, and expect to be cured. I'll let you all know how that works. I expect it will lower the period I am sick from the usual week to about seven days.
On New Year's Eve, Oscar Grant was murdered by a transit police officer. Grant was subdued, posed no threat, and was shot execution style.
Johannes Mehserle, Grant's killer, has not been arrested, charged with a crime, or even questioned by the Alameda District Attorney. More than 10 days later Mehserle still walks free.
Join us in demanding that California Attorney General Jerry Brown take over the case from the District Attorney and arrest Mehserle immediately. At the same time your action will result in an appeal to the US Department of Justice to investigate the repeated failures of BART Police and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office to hold officers accountable in police-killings.
the lecture method as a process whereby the lecture notes of the instructor get transferred to the notebooks of the students without passing through the brains of either.He also talks about engaging the students, which I agree is extremely beneficial. Sleeping students at lectures is not just very common, it's iconic. What's the most common adjective used with the word 'lecture?' It's 'boring,' and so it is. Having to click a little remote control throughout the 'lecture' prevents sleep, I should say.
"Bored, anonymous, pathetic bloggers who lie annoy me....I'll tell you, yesterday the Anchorage Daily News, they called again to ask — double-, triple-, quadruple-check — who is Trig's real mom. And I said, Come on, are you kidding me? We're gonna answer this? Do you not believe me or my doctor? And they said, No, it's been quite cryptic the way that my son's birth has been discussed. And I thought, Okay, more indication of continued problems in the world of journalism."I actually agree with the first line. I don't like bored. I don't like anonymous. I don't like lying. Bloggers who are those could be called pathetic with some justification. Good thing about blogs, though, is that you can just close the browser, and they're gone.
The same kind of logic that Al Gore and his people apply to the "Global Warming" theory. Oh my....I'm shaking like a leaf....and it's because the Arctic ice is at the same level now as in 1979 the same year that the same scientists predicted a possible mini Ice Age (Google it). Al Gore's theory on Global Warming is just that, not much different than Darwin's "Theory" of Evolution, but that's another article.But here's the evidence:
Eventually the unrest will culminate in a large earthquake or volcanic eruption.This is a pretty scary read. The last eruption was 640,000 years ago (unless you're a YEC, in which case it was in early 2008).
Park geologist Hank Heasler said the odds of a cataclysmic eruption at Yellowstone any time soon are astonishingly remote — about the same as a large meteorite hitting the Earth. The last such eruption occurred 640,000 years ago. The last eruption of any kind at Yellowstone was a much smaller lava flow about 70,000 years ago.But if it should erupt, consider this:
"Statistically, it would be surprising to see an eruption the next hundred years," Lowenstern said.
A super-eruption has the potential to cover the United States in 3 feet of ash from a plume. Pyroclastic flow would engulf the greater part of three states, and there is evidence that the last major 'super' eruption plunged the world into a freezing, volcanic winter that lasted a decade. An eruption would devastate world agriculture, severely effect the distribution of food and cause mass famine.
What makes you define women as "the weaker sex"? There's significant overlap in the distribution of body mass and strength between men and women. Some people are stronger than I am. Some people are weaker than I am. That includes both men and women. And I, as a woman, often hold the door for others of either gender.Yes, this woman may be stronger than some men, but that doesn't change the fact that women on average are not as strong as men, does it?
Bjorn, I can think of lots of differences on average. Considering that the traits you mention are all distributions with nearly 100% overlaps between the sexes, considering that job performance never depends on just one trait (or is evaluated on just one), and considering that any differences also result in jobs where women outperform men, I don't see how any of them would lead to an overall gender imbalance in pay.Apart from the fact that "100% overlaps" doesn't really make any sense whatsoever any which way one tries to understand it, this comment about paying men and women differently misses the point that if physical characteristics make any difference in who gets hired anywhere, then it will also contribute to a difference in salary between men and women overall.