30 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Mitochondria and Chloroplasts

Margulis believes that mitochondria were originally parasites (or predators - the distinction is not important at this level) which attacked the larger bacteria that were destined to provide the shell of the eucaryotic cell. There are still some bacterial parasites that do a similar trick, burrowing through the prey's cell wall, then, when safely inside, sealing up the wall and eating the cell from within. The mitochondrial ancestors, according to the theory, evolved from parasites that kill ...
Folksonomies: evolution symbiosis
Folksonomies: evolution symbiosis
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22 FEB 2014 by ideonexus

 Nature Doesn't Need Our Help to Destroy the Earth

For me, the most paralyzing news was that Nature was no conservationist. It needed no help from us in taking the planet apart and putting it back together some different way, not necessarily improving it from the viewpoint of living things. It set fire to forests with lightning bolts. It paved vast tracts of arable land with lava, which could no more support life than big-city parking lots. It had in the past sent glaciers down from the North Pole to grind up major portions of Asia, Europe, a...
Folksonomies: nature environmentalism
Folksonomies: nature environmentalism
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Observation by Kurt Vonnegut that nature does a fine job of making the Earth uninhabitable regularly on its own.

19 NOV 2013 by ideonexus

 The Selfish Gene as a New Perspective on an Old Hypothesis

The selfish gene theory is Darwin's theory, expressed in a way that Darwin did not choose but whose aptness, I should like to think, he would instantly have recognized and delighted in. It is in fact a logical outgrowth of orthodox neo-Darwinism, but expressed as a novel image. Rather than focus on the individual organism, it takes a gene's-eye view of nature. It is a different way of seeing, not a different theory. In the opening pages of The Extended Phenotype, I explained this using the me...
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It is Darwin's theory, but a story told from the gene's point of view.

22 MAR 2012 by ideonexus

 Save Species to Eat Them

The creativity behind social marketing can be alarming. A recent television ad depicted water disappearing into a storm drain as a voice warned that lawn fertilizer in the spring can wind up in the Chesapeake Bay. "No crab should die like this," the announcer opines. Later, the announcer appears on screen with a small tub in hand, exclaiming "they should perish in some hot, tasty melted butter!" This promotion by the Chesapeake Bay Program, a subsidiary of the U.S. Environmental Protection Ag...
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A different way to reach people concerning endangered species is to point out they will no longer be available as lunch.

29 JUN 2011 by ideonexus

 Mother-Baby Social Play

But there is more to the interaction than a matter of adults putting on i a show. When babies and adults interact, they are partners in an interactive social dance in which they jointly regulate each other, and this dance is essential for the baby's social and psychological development Renowned pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton noticed in his practice that babies and mothers seem to follow a typical pattern of play, a synchronized score that moves from attention to nonattention with both partne...
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How babies actively seek to engage with mothers socially, connecting with them.

29 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Three Categories for Memes

What kinds of memes are there? I've divided memes into three classes: distinctions, knives used to slice up reality; strategies, beliefs about which causes will produce which effects; and associations, attitudes about everything in life. Each class of meme works to program you in a different way. [...] Distinction-memes The universe is full of stuff. However, anything we say about that stuff is purely a concept-a set of memes-invented by human beings. All concepts are composed of memes. Fo...
Folksonomies: memetics memes
Folksonomies: memetics memes
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Distinction, Strategy, and Association

19 APR 2011 by ideonexus

 It Wasn't the Apple that Newton Used to Discover Gravity

Science finds order and meaning in our experience, and sets about this in quite a different way. It sets about it as New¬ ton did in the story which he himself told in his old age, and of which the schoolbooks give only a caricature. In the year 1665, when Newton was twenty-two, the plague broke out in southern England, and the University of Camb] idge was closed. Newton therefore spent the next eighteen months at home, removed from traditional learning, at a time when he was impatient for k...
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Gravity was already known, Newton's vision was extending the force of gravity up to the Moon.

14 FEB 2011 by ideonexus

 "Kill Your Darlings" in Computer Science

George Malamidis taught me something about code attachment a few years ago: You always gain by allowing someone to show you an alternative solution. If someone wants to solve a problem in a different way, there are several gains to be had. If their way is inferior, you have an opportunity to mentor a team-mate. If their way is equally elegant, you've gained another solution, or point of view that may be superior in the future. If their way is superior you learn something new and the codebase ...
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The "Kill Your Darlings" concepts applies not only to writing, but to code, frameworks, and languages as well; although, the concept has more to do with opening up the world to improved versions of these things.

08 FEB 2011 by ideonexus

 Distinguishing the Meme Content from the Meme's Effect on...

[Cloak] defined the i-culture as the instructions in people's heads, and the m-culture as the features of people's behaviour, their technology and social organization. he explicitly likened his i-culture to the genotype and m-culture to the phenotype... in The Extended Phenotype [Dawkins] says 'Unfortunately, unlike Cloak... I was insufficiently clear about the distinction between the meme itself, as replicator, on the one hand, and its "phenotypic effects" or "meme products" on the other' (D...
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A survey of different scientists exploring varying metaphors to express the difference between the meme as an idea and the manifestation of the meme in society.