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  1. #16
    Grand Slam Champion missinandre's Avatar
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    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Sigh. Any one else miss rabbit and his mathematical posts?
    ROGER / RAFA FINAL 2010 US OPEN!!!!!

  2. #17

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    I hope we won't use this thread for cosmology only. There is a lot more than that out there!
    Roger forever

  3. #18

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    Perhaps you want to open a philosophy thread, craig?
    Good one.

    Though, in some sense, I believe that philosophy exists in that place where religion and science cease to agree, so...


  4. #19

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Quote Originally Posted by missinandre View Post
    Sigh. Any one else miss rabbit and his mathematical posts?
    Where is he?

  5. #20
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    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    The fate of the universe is an interesting topic. As far as I am aware, it's still a question as to whether expansion and entropic death vs gravitational collapse vs oscillation will occur.

    Yay for a science thread!

    Here's one of my favorite evolution experiments that has been going on for years and years (still going):
    Silver Fox Experiment
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  6. #21

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Quote Originally Posted by James7 View Post
    The fate of the universe is an interesting topic. As far as I am aware, it's still a question as to whether expansion and entropic death vs gravitational collapse vs oscillation will occur.

    Yay for a science thread!

    Here's one of my favorite evolution experiments that has been going on for years and years (still going):
    Silver Fox Experiment


    Yeah, it's a great experiment, I first read about it in Freakonomics I think. I heard now you can buy on the cute and tame foxes for like $6k here in US..

    I like how she goes about one of foxes: "it's not a fox it's a dragon!" lol

  7. #22
    Grand Slam Champion missinandre's Avatar
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    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad View Post
    Where is he?
    IIRC, when the tennis season ended, he took some time off from TAT due to work, travel, life changes etc. He posted about it in random, random or in the member's thread.

    I kinda hoped we would see him (knowing how much he loves Federer) during the Aussie Open...
    ROGER / RAFA FINAL 2010 US OPEN!!!!!

  8. #23

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    I hope we won't use this thread for cosmology only. There is a lot more than that out there!
    Indeed there is. I was also thinking about things like the ethics of science, the morality of science and the philosophy of science, as points of discussion.
    Here is something that puzzles me.
    I once read one example by Carl Sagan regarding evolution and what would be considered "behavioral evolution". He pointed out that by and large, little children are afraid of the dark. And he hypothesized that there was an evolutionary reason for that: go back 10,000 years (just as an example) and any child that would NOT be afraid of the dark would be in greater peril than a child that would be. A non-afraid child would be more prone to foray into the jungle at night, where verifiable dangers awaited (predators, poisonous animals, etc). A child afraid of the dark would stay with her parents, improving her chances of survival.
    Now, I find no flaw in that reasoning. My question is, are there other traits that we can trace back to our evolution? I think there are several, and I chose one, which I believe could be a bit controversial.
    Again, as a general rule, I find that us men are less choosy than women. We do not try 50 pairs of jeans only to reject all. We take 2 looks at the menu and choose the number 5 (and just the way it comes). And specially, we look at a bunch of women and like them all, but chose one almost instantly. Women, I find, are the opposite. They DO try 50 jeans and find none that fit. They take much longer to chose from the menu, and then want it changed (one of the famous scenes in When Harry met Sally). They take much longer to chose a mate. Why?
    My theory is that we played different roles in the tribe. Men were hunters, women were gatherers. To a hunter, a gazelle is a gazelle. The point was hunting it. A little bit less meat, a little more makes not a whole lot of difference. And, if you threw your spear and missed, you picked it up and kept hunting (hey, the brunette did not like you, so try the blond). Women were different. When you are a gatherer, choosing is essential. Pick the wrong mushroom and you kill your kids. Wrong fruit, veggie or anything and you can poison your prole. And specially, pick the wrong guy and it will take 9 months (and more) to be able to start finding Mr Cro-Magnon Right again. Men? You know.

    Are there other traits that you think (in general, I know we have our differences) can be linked to evolutionary biology? Which ones?
    (Last: did I finally lose it? When? Which thread did me in?)
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  9. #24
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    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post

    Are there other traits that you think (in general, I know we have our differences) can be linked to evolutionary biology? Which ones?
    (Last: did I finally lose it? When? Which thread did me in?)
    Have you seen the video I posted? It kind of is along the lines of your question. They demonstrate, in modeling the domestication or dogs from wolves with foxes, that some behaviors and personality traits have a genetic basis independent of upbringing. They extend this further by pointing out some secondary physical characteristics that also become selected, but this is really a phenomena of loss of heterogeneity/variation in other portions of the genome as a result of a certain degree of inbreeding.

    Dogs have actually proved to be a fantastic genetic model as people have already selected for certain traits over the years and we now have the ability to isolate those real genome differences that lead to skull shape, hair texture, patterning, limb morphology, etc etc. As a bonus, you can use this information to gain insight into other related genomes (mouse, human, etc). It's really very fascinating.
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  10. #25

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Love your ideas ponchi.

  11. #26

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Quote Originally Posted by James7 View Post
    Have you seen the video I posted? It kind of is along the lines of your question.... It's really very fascinating.
    Oh, yes. Sorry I did not mention it. I thought it was fascinating indeed. Really good, and for matters that do not concern this discussion, I simply love foxes.

    I also wonder about this. It is something that does not have an answer in science, but I think (how conceited!) that I have an idea. It is the rise of mathematics in humans. Now, we are certainly very special animals, but one of the things that really sets us apart is the ability to do mathematics. But it is not software only. We have special areas in the brain devoted to mathematics. The fact that we have them DOES NOT mean we WILL do mathematics, but without them we simply can't. My question is: evolutionarily, what drove the development of these areas? What behavior prompted for the evolution of this skill?
    Last edited by ponchi101; 02-03-2011 at 09:27 AM. Reason: Correction
    Missing winter...

  12. #27

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    Oh, yes. Sorry I did not mention it. I thought it was fascinating indeed. Really good, and for matters that do not concern this discussion, I simply love foxes.

    I also wonder about this. It is something that does not have an answer in science, but I think (how conceited!) that I have an idea. It is the rise of mathematics in humans. Now, we are certainly very special animals, but one of the things that really sets us apart is the ability to do mathematics. But it is not software only. We have special areas in the brain devoted to mathematics. The fact that we have them DOES NOT mean we WILL do mathematics, but without them we simply can't. My question is: evolutionarily, what drove the development of these areas? But behavior prompted for the evolution of this skill?

    In one of the PBS Nova videos, they talk about how our jaw muscle is much smaller than those in apes. This allows for human brain to keep developing and growing, while apes' brain stops developing at age of 3 or so. This is purely physical limitations that we had that in turn proved to be beneficial for development of our brain. I am not sure however, what caused the change. Need to read up on that some more..

    Animals, however have abilities to use simple math too..
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...ility-to-count
    Last edited by Vlad; 02-03-2011 at 09:27 AM.

  13. #28

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlad View Post
    In one of the PBS Nova videos...,
    That was the one posted in the Religion Thread? Also great. But my question was not regarding the overall growth of the brain, but the development of the mathematical areas of it. What evolutionary stress was imposed on our species that it developed math? That's where I think I have an idea, but I want to present it here first to see if the collective brain of TAT (CBoT from now on) has one too.
    The link you posted is going in that same direction, so it is encouraging (Great Read, BTW)
    Last edited by ponchi101; 02-03-2011 at 09:39 AM.
    Missing winter...

  14. #29

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    That was the one posted in the Religion Thread? Also great. But my question was not regarding the overall growth of the brain, but the development of the mathematical areas of it. What evolutionary stress was imposed on our species that it developed math? That's where I think I have an idea, but I want to present it here first to see if the collective brain of TAT (CBoT from now on) has one too.
    The link you posted is going in that same direction, so it is encouraging (Great Read, BTW)

    Our ancestors needed to count the members of rivaling tribe in order to make a decision to fight them or retreat? IMO, the ability to correctly assess a threat is well a matter of life or death.

    btw, which Sagan's book is that from.. the piece about behavioral evolution?
    Last edited by Vlad; 02-03-2011 at 10:09 AM.

  15. #30

    Re: Let's Discuss Science

    Yes, Vlad, we are in agreement. I see it like this.
    Primates lived in small tribes. So the ability to count gave those that have it an advantage. For example, a mother that could gather enough food to bring back to her offsprings would be better off than one that did not, but also, she would be better off than one that brought too much. Too much food would mean an extra effort that would not gain her that much of an advantage, because the extra food could spoil and rot (also bringing a danger of disease) and would actually work against her. So not only she needed to count, but also be able to make an estimate of how much food PER offspring would be needed (hinting towards a vague concept of division).
    Your scenario of tribes fighting is also spot on with what I think. If you are in a gang of 10 apes, and you have to fight 11, there is not so much of a difference. But once they get to, lets say, 12 or 13, you are at an obvious disadvantage. In mammals that go on larger numbers (herds of cattle) the numbers were so large that it made little difference if you had 500 gazelles VS 3 cheetahs. Math did not come into the equation, only how fast you could escape.
    That's how I think math became a useful evolutionary trait. Too bad it evolved all the way into accounting.

    The Sagan book I think was Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, but I am not sure. Either that one of Dragons of Eden. I will check.
    Missing winter...

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