19 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 The Unmentioned Trade-Offs in Life Extention

Now it is not that the cell biologists can’t point to experiments which seem to fit their views, as is common in natural science. (After all, the Earth’s Moon does indeed have a geocentric orbit.) Good colleagues of mine like Robert Reis are able to produce nematode worms that live ten times longer than their unmutated controls, if they use ingenious genetic and environmental manipulation. But nematodes have well-developed physiological machinery for sustaining states of metabolic arrest,...
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From Michael R. Rose's "Immortalist Fictions and Strategies"

21 JUL 2014 by ideonexus

 Climate Forecasts vs Projections

"Projections are essential for giving us information on long-term trends, but the timescale is beyond what many policy makers (and the public) consider to be relevant to their decision-making processes. Climate forecasts seek to address this issue by providing information on a shorter term (decadal) that can be used directly to inform policy," he said. "As climate forecasts improve, they will become more and more important in providing reliable information on what is likely to happen to the c...
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Forecasts are short-term predictions intended to inform policymakers because projections, which predict the long-term trend, are beyond political scope.

20 SEP 2011 by ideonexus

 Evolution Predicts the Flowering of Mustard Plants

Here’s another prediction: under prolonged drought, natural selection will lead to the evolution of plants that flower earlier than their ancestors. This is because, during a drought, soils dry out quickly after the rains. If you’re a plant that doesn’t flower and produce seeds quickly in a drought, you leave no descendants. Under normal weather conditions, on the other hand, it pays to delay flowering so that you can grow larger and produce even more seeds. This prediction was tested ...
Folksonomies: evolution predictions
Folksonomies: evolution predictions
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Scientists predict how a drought will affect the flowering time of plants in California, and it comes true.

03 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Competition Causes Death

Biologists have persistently overestimated the importance of physical causes of premature death rather than biological ones. In virtually any account of evolution, drought, frost, wind, or starvation looms large as the enemy of life. The great struggle, we are told, is to adapt to these conditions. Marvels of physical adaptation—the camel's hump, the polar bear's fur, the rotifer's boil-resistant tunare held to be among evolution's greatest achievements. The first ecological theories of sex...
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Animals die from competition with other animals, few die of natural causes.