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Open niches | West Hunter
When I first learned that  mitochondria (and chloroplasts) have their own  DNA and their own personal DNA replication mechanism, I wondered if they had their own viruses that hijacked that replication mechanism.   It was a long time  coming, but it seems that there are indeed viruses that infect the mitochondria of some fungi. Obviously, this kind of thing is particularly likely in fungi.

Since living cells are exchanged between mother and unborn children,  and persist for decades, there is a possible niche for cells that are transmitted from mother to daughter, and on to granddaughters after that, and so on.  Probably to sons as well, but they would most likely be dead ends.  It is easy to show that a maternally transmitted host cell line would have to have effects on fitness that are no worse than neutral –  in practice, beneficial.

So humans could well carry a maternally transmitted symbiote that was originally human – something like canine venereal sarcoma.

This ought to be true of mammals generally, and  even if we don’t have one, some other mammalian species might.

interesting fact:
Cytoplasm can flow between cells in fungi. This facilitates transmission of mitoviruses: they don’t have to go through a cell wall or membrane every time in addition to the mitochondrial membrane.
west-hunter  scitariat  speculation  discussion  trivia  bio  nature  sapiens  parasites-microbiome  genetics  gender 
yesterday by nhaliday
Low-Hanging Fruit: Consider the Ant | West Hunter
Which ought to be a reminder that biomimetics is a useful approach to invention:  If you can’t think of anything yourself, steal from the products of evolution.  It’s like an an Edisonian approach, only on steroids.

Along those lines, it is well known, to about 0.1% of the population, that some ants have agriculture. Some protect and herd aphids: others gather leaves as the feedstock for an edible fungus. Those leaf-cutting ants also carry symbiotic fungicide-producing  bacteria that protect against weed fungi [ herbicides invented well before atrazine or 2-4D]  Speaking of, if you really, really want to cause trouble, introduce leaf-cutting ants to Africa.
west-hunter  scitariat  discussion  proposal  low-hanging  innovation  bio  nature  agriculture  technology 
2 days ago by nhaliday
Me and my Shadow | West Hunter
Parabiosis: the idea is connecting the circulatory systems of two animals: mostly this has been done in mice. Interestingly, if you connect an old mouse to a young mouse, the young blood seems to rejuvenate the old mouse, improving its muscles and central nervous system.
west-hunter  scitariat  speculation  discussion  medicine  wild-ideas  enhancement  longevity  embodied 
2 days ago by nhaliday
Reconstruction | West Hunter
Since power descended through the male line, you don’t expect to see the same thing happen with autosomal genes. Genghis accounts for about 25% of Mongolia’s Y-chromosomes, but the general ancestry fraction attributable to him must be a lot lower. Still, what if the average Mongol today is 0.5% Genghis? Upon sequencing lots of typical contemporary Mongols, you would notice certain chromosomal segments showing up again and again: not just in one family but in the whole country, and in other parts of inner Asia as well. If you started keeping track of those segments, you would eventually be able to make a partial reconstruction of Genghis’s genome. It would be incomplete, since any given region of the genome might have missed being transmitted to any of his four legitimate sons (Jochi, Chagatai, Ogedei, and Tolui). They certainly didn’t carry his X-chromosome. You might be able to distinguish the autosomal genes of Genghis and his wife Borte by looking at descendants of his by-blows, if you could find them. Still, even if you managed to retrieve 75% of his genome, that’s not enough to make a clone. It would however, allow sure identification if we found his tomb.

And since he’s likely buried in permafrost, his DNA could be in good shape. Then we could clone him (assuming reasonable continuing progress in genetics) and of course some damn fool would. Will.
west-hunter  scitariat  speculation  discussion  proposal  genetics  genomics  sapiens  asia  conquest  aDNA  wild-ideas 
2 days ago by nhaliday
make_shared avoids the evaluation-order leak problem
Ensures that if an exception is thrown during the evaluation of an argument, we never end-of-lifetime a raw pointer.

See also the final "Notes" bullet-point at http://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/memory/shared_ptr/make_shared
memoryManagement  Boost  discussion  StackOverflow  C++ 
3 days ago by MaxBarraclough
Graphic Design Stack Exchange
A 'question and answer site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts.'
graphics  graphicdesign  photoshop  101  design  help  discussion  drawing  Adobe  illustrator  art  StackExchange  community 
3 days ago by Puddingstone
O Canada! | West Hunter
Imagine a country with an average IQ of 100, some average amount of education (with some distribution), some average amount of capital per head (with some distribution of ownership of capital). Now add immigrants – 10% of the population – that are the same in every way. Same average IQ, same distribution of IQ, same average amount of capital and same distribution. They speak the same language. They have similar political traditions. In other words, it is as if the US had just peacefully annexed an imaginary country that’s a lot like Canada.

Would the original inhabitants gain economically from this merger? Strikes me that this could only happen from economies of scale – since nothing has changed other than a 10% increase in overall size. There might be some diseconomies of scale as well. I wouldn’t expect a big payoff. Except for Nawapa, of course.

Contrast this with a situation in which the extra 10% is fairly different – lower average IQ, much less education on average, don’t speak English. They don’t bring along a lot of capital. They have and bring along their native political traditions, like everyone, but theirs stink. I can easily see how those immigrants might have improved their economic lot but it’s kindof hard to see how bringing in people with low human capital benefits the original citizens more than bringing in people with considerably higher human capital. Yet it must, because adding more of the same clearly has a small effect, while adding in lower-skilled must have a big positive effect. Practically all the economists say so.

Caplan’s full of shit. Prosperity through favelas? Hasn’t worked anywhere else.
west-hunter  scitariat  discussion  rant  gedanken  thinking  being-right  realness  propaganda  economics  migration  assimilation  iq  hive-mind  canada  usa  latin-america  china  asia  poll  growth-econ  critique  policy  econotariat  cracker-econ  commentary  human-capital  islam  pop-diff  multi  poast  aphorism  clown-world  vampire-squid 
5 days ago by nhaliday
GRID: Times of Crisis - John Berger and Noam Chomsky (4/22/14) - YouTube
Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth

JB: "ignore. ignore the jailers' talk. of course there are bad jailers who are less bad, and in certain conditions it's useful to note the difference. but what they say -- including the less evil ones -- is bullshit. their hymns, their shibboleths, their incanted words like 'security' 'democracy' 'identity' 'civilization' 'flexibility' 'productivity' 'human rights' 'integration' 'terrorism' 'freedom' -- they are repeated and repeated in order to confuse, divide, distract, and sedate all fellow prisoners. from this side of the walls, words spoken by the jailers are meaningless, and are no longer useful... they cut through nothing. so. reject them. even when thinking silently to yourself."
JB: "for the mass prison population, the aim is not to activate them, but to keep them in a state of passive uncertainty, and to remind them, remind them remorselessly, that there is nothing in life but risk, and that the earth is an unsafe place. this is done with carefully selected information, with misinformation, commentaries, rumors, fictions. and insofar as this operation succeeds, it proposes and maintains a hallucinating paradox, for it tricks a prison population into believing that the priority, for each one of them, is to make arrangements for their own personal protection, and to acquire somehow (even though incarcerated) their own particular exemption from the common fate. and this image of mankind has transmitted through a view of the world is truly without precedent. mankind is presented as a card: only winners are brave; and in addition, there are no gifts -- there are only prizes.
"but prisoners have always found ways of communicating with one another. and in today's global prison, cyberspace can be used against the interests of those who first installed it. think about it. like this, prisoners inform themselves about what the world does each day; and they follow suppressed stories from the past; and so stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the dead.
"and in doing so, they rediscover little gifts, examples of courage: a single rose in a kitchen where there's not enough to eat; indelible pains; the indefatigability of mothers; laughter; mutual aid; silence; ever-widening resistance; willing sacrifice; more laughter."
JB: "the fact that the world's tyrants are ex-territorial explains the extent of their overseeing power, but it also indicates a coming weakness. they operate in cyberspace , and they lodge in guarded condominiums, but they have no knowledge of the surrounding earth.
"furthermore, they dismiss such knowledge as superficial, not profound, because for them only extracted resources count. they can't listen to the earth. on the ground, they are blind, and in the local, they are lost.
"for fellow prisoners, the opposite is true, because cells have walls that touch each other across the world. effective acts of sustained resistance will be embedded in the local, near and far. out back resistance. listening to the earth. liberty is slowly being found not outside, but in the depths of the prison."

NC: "...the tory government is trying to turn first-class universities into third-class commercial institutions. it's happening to a lesser extent here, as well. the mentality of the administrative -- state legislators, and trustees -- increasingly is one of improving the bottom line... so, for example, if you can save money by employing ... people who are easily exploitable, who are part of the 'precariat' ... you save money. of course there's a cost, but the cost is to individuals. the cost is to the students, and the faculty. but in the moral calculus of contemporary economics and socioeconomics, that doesn't matter."
"costs to persons just don't count -- they're not calculated. and the cost to persons is enormous. every person is subjected to this. it's the same throughout society. ... that's a certain kind of, if you like, moral calculus, built into some of the professions like economics, and a large part of the business world. people just don't count. what counts is the cost to institutions... and one of the victims will, of course, be the humanities: our cultural wealth, the reasons for living, the reasons for having a rich, creative life, a life that contributes to yourself and to society and future generations. sure, why should that exist, if it costs -- if you can't sell it on the market tomorrow?

"this, incidentally, is happening in the sciences too. very striking, what's happening... in the united states, the proportion of the national income, national wealth, devoted to research and development has declined by 25% in the last decade. that's mainly under the attack of the republican right wing, which doesn't believe in science, and the willingness of democrats to go along. it's part of the neoliberal assault...

"that's also the basis for the future economy. so, they're perfectly willing to cut out, destroy the future economy, if you can make more money tomorrow. that's the same thing as not caring about destroying the environment, if in fact we can make a little more money tomorrow, by fracking, let's say. well, that's -- it's a way of looking at the world, it's destructive, it'll lead us to destruction. and what you describe about what's happening to the humanities and the arts is just one part of it -- one part of the whole large system which is part of sociopathic society."
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5 days ago by cluebucket
Cynth: a simple C-to-Verilog compiler | Lobsters
Lots of good links in the discussion, esp. from nickpsecurity
verilog  c  programming  lobsters  discussion  fpga 
6 days ago by mechazoidal
In a handbasket | West Hunter
It strikes me that in many ways, life was gradually getting harder in the Old World, especially in the cradles of civilization.

slavery and Rome/early US: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/in-a-handbasket/#comment-80503
Rome and innovation: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/in-a-handbasket/#comment-80505
"Culture’s have flavors and the Roman flavor was unfavorable to being clever. The Greeks were clever but not interested in utility. While the central American civilizations liked to cut people’s hearts out and stick cactus spines through their penis in public. Let us all act according to national customs."
west-hunter  scitariat  history  iron-age  medieval  early-modern  discussion  europe  civilization  technology  innovation  agriculture  energy-resources  disease  parasites-microbiome  recent-selection  lived-experience  multi  mediterranean  the-classics  economics  usa  age-of-discovery  poast  aphorism  latin-america 
8 days ago by nhaliday
The Ionian Mission | West Hunter
I have have had famous people ask me how the Ionian Greeks became so smart (in Classical times, natch). In Classical times, the Greeks – particularly the Ionian Greeks – gave everybody this impression – in everyday experience, and certainly in terms of production of outstanding intellects. Everybody thought so. Nobody said this about the Persians – and nobody said it about the Jews, who never said it about themselves.

It’s an interesting question: perhaps there was some process analogous to that which we have proposed as an explanation for the high intelligence of the Ashkenazi Jews. Or maybe something else happened – a different selective process, or maybe it was all cultural. It’s hard to know – the Greek Dark Ages, the long period of illiteracy after the fall of Mycenaean civilization, is poorly understood, certainly by me.

Suppose that your biological IQ capacity (in favorable conditions) is set by a few hundred or thousand SNPS, and that we have identified those SNPS. With luck, we might find enough skeletons with intact DNA to see if the Ionian Greeks really were smarter than the average bear, and how that changed over time.

More generally, we could see if civilization boosted or decreased IQ, in various situations. This could be a big part of the historical process – civilizations falling because average competence has dropped, science being born because the population is now ready for it…

I think we’ll be ready to try this in a year or two. The biggest problems will be political, since this approach would also predict results in existing populations – although that would probably not be very interesting, since we already know all those results.
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8 days ago by nhaliday

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