127 results back to index

pages: 506 words: 152,049

The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene by Richard Dawkins


Alfred Russel Wallace, assortative mating, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, epigenetics, Gödel, Escher, Bach, impulse control, Menlo Park, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, selection bias, stem cell

Their interpretation of the results is that coiling is genetically determined, with left-handedness dominant to right-handedness, but that an animal’s phenotype is controlled not by its own genotype but by its mother’s genotype. Thus the F1 individuals displayed the phenotypes dictated by their mothers’ genotypes, although all contained the same heterozygous genotypes since they were produced by mating two pure strains. Similarly, the F2 progeny of F1 matings all displayed the phenotype appropriate to an F1 genotype—left-handed since that is dominant and the F1 genotype was heterozygous. The underlying genotypes of the F2 generation presumably segregated in classic 3:1 Mendelian fashion, but this did not show itself in their phenotypes. It would have shown itself in the phenotypes of their progeny. Note that it is the mother’s genotype, not her phenotype, which controls her offspring’s phenotype. The F1 individuals themselves were left-handed or right-handed in equal proportion, yet all had the same heterozygous genotype, and all therefore produced left-handed offspring.

It cannot be said to have a phenotypic effect except in the context of the other nucleotides that surround it in its cistron. It is meaningless to speak of the phenotypic effect of adenine. But it is entirely sensible to speak of the phenotypic effect of substituting adenine for cytosine at a named locus within a named cistron. The case of a cistron within a genome is not analogous. Unlike a nucleotide, a cistron is large enough to have a consistent phenotypic effect, relatively, though not completely, independently of where it lies on the chromosome (but not regardless of what other genes share its genome). For a cistron, its sequential context vis-à-vis other cistrons is not overwhelmingly important in determining its phenotypic effect in comparison with its alleles. For a nucleotide’s phenotypic effect, on the other hand, its sequential context is everything.

It is customary to speak as if differences always mean differences between individual bodies or other discrete ‘vehicles’. The purpose of the next three chapters is to show that we can emancipate the concept of the phenotypic difference from that of the discrete vehicle altogether, and this is the meaning of the title ‘extended phenotype’. I shall show that the ordinary logic of genetic terminology leads inevitably to the conclusion that genes can be said to have extended phenotypic effects, effects which need not be expressed at the level of any particular vehicle. Following an earlier paper (Dawkins 1978a) I shall take a step-by-step approach to the extended phenotype, beginning with conventional examples of ‘ordinary’ phenotypic effects and gradually extending the concept of the phenotype outwards so that the continuity is easy to accept. The idea of the genetic determination of animal artefacts is a didactically useful intermediate example, and this will be the main topic of this chapter.

pages: 286 words: 90,530

Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think by Alan Grafen; Mark Ridley


Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, bioinformatics, cognitive bias, computer age, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Haight Ashbury, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, loose coupling, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, phenotype, profit maximization, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Of course we have no idea, but it seems reasonable to argue that the making of these footprints had no effect on the survival of footprint makers or, as I should say, on the frequency of alleles linked to footprint creation. Consequently, there seems no merit in calling the footprints an extended phenotype. The Surrey puma question can now be answered: the scratch marks (even allowing for media misrepresentation) were not themselves a puma or for that matter a dog. They were certainly the phenotypic expression of genes for scratching behaviour. Yet, in the absence of any evidence that they affect the survival of scratch-generating genes, they do not deserve the description of extended phenotype. For the 1999 edition of The Extended Phenotype, the subtitle was changed; it now reads The long reach of the gene. The case of the caddis is an example of this too, as it shows how genes sitting in the larva are responsible for producing a structure detached from it.

Now, the existence of a gene is often inferred from properties of a DNA sequence without any information about the gene’s phenotypic effects and without the observation of differences among sequences. But the definition of the gene as a protein-encoding stretch of DNA is more recent than its definition as that which is responsible for a phenotypic difference, and it is not surprising that the modern molecular definition has not fully supplanted the older operational definition. Experimental geneticists invoke genes to explain observed phenotypic differences. A pink-eyed fly differs from a red-eyed fly because the former possesses a gene for pink eyes inherited from both parents whereas the latter has inherited at least one gene for red eyes. In a similar way, evolutionary biologists often invoke genes to explain hypothetical phenotypic differences in an attempt to understand the nature of adaptation by natural selection.

The truth of course is that, as with all Richard Dawkins’ other writing, the purpose of The Extended Phenotype is bolder and much broader in its implications. In his own words it is ‘to free the selfish gene from the individual organism which has been its conceptual prison’. A caddis case just happens to be a perfect way to visualize that. During the Carboniferous Period, about 380 million years ago, there was indeed a beast roaming what is now the west of Scotland; it was a two-metre centipede-like creature (Arthro-pleura). We know this from fossil footprints preserved in sandstone on the Isle of Arran. Are these footprints an extended phenotype? If so, it might appear that any grass blade bent by a passing beetle would deserve the name but consequently dilute the concept. The Extended Phenotype addresses this worry. The key question is, does natural selection act upon these footprints?

pages: 357 words: 98,854

Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance by Nessa Carey


Albert Einstein, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, conceptual framework, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, life extension, mouse model, phenotype, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, stochastic process, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

The first is that the phenotypes are all relatively mild compared with, for example, trisomy of chromosome 21 (Down’s syndrome). This suggests that cells can tolerate having too many or too few copies of the X chromosome much better than having extra copies of an autosome. But the other obvious conclusion is that an abnormal number of X chromosomes does indeed have some effects on phenotype. Why should this be? After all, X inactivation ensures that no matter how many X chromosomes are present, all bar one get inactivated early in development. But if this was the end of the story there would be no difference in phenotype between 45, X females compared with 47, XXX females or with the normal 46, XX female constitution. Similarly, males with the normal 46, XY karyotype should be phenotypically identical to males with the 47, XXY karyotype.

Combining the information from the two papers, and from additional studies, we can conclude that even genetically identical individuals are epigenetically distinct by the time of birth, and these epigenetic differences become more pronounced with age and exposure to different environments. Of mice and men (and women) These data are consistent with a model where epigenetic changes could account for at least some of the reasons why MZ twins aren’t phenotypically identical, but there’s still a lot of supposition involved. That’s because for many purposes humans are a quite hopeless experimental system. If we want to be able to assess the role of epigenetics in the problem of why genetically identical individuals are phenotypically different from one another, we would like to be able to do the following: Analyse hundreds of identical individuals, not just pairs of them; Manipulate their environments, in completely controlled ways; Transfer embryos or babies from one mother to another, to investigate the effects of early nurture; Take all sorts of samples from the different tissues of the body, at lots of different time points; Control who mates with whom; Carry out studies on four or five generations of genetically identical individuals.

By using complex breeding schemes, they also demonstrated that the inheritance of the coat pattern was not due to the cytoplasm in the egg. Taken together, the most straightforward interpretation of these data is that epigenetic inheritance has taken place. In other words, an epigenetic modification (probably DNA methylation) was transferred along with the genetic code. This transfer of the phenotype from one generation to the next wasn’t perfect – not all the offspring looked exactly the same as their mother. This implies that the DNA methylation that controls the expression of the agouti phenotype wasn’t entirely stable down the generations. This is quite analogous to the effects we see in suspected cases of human transgenerational inheritance, such as the Dutch Hunger Winter. If we look at a large enough number of people in our study group we can detect differences in birth weight between various groups, but we can’t make absolute predictions about a single individual.

pages: 365 words: 117,713

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins


double helix, information retrieval, Necker cube, pattern recognition, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, zero-sum game

Beneficial means that they make the embryo likely to develop into a successful adult, an adult likely to reproduce and pass those very same genes on to future generations. The technical word Phenotype is used for the bodily manifestation of a gene, the effect that a gene, in comparison with its alleles, has on the body, via development. The phenotypic effect of some particular gene might be, say, green eye colour. In practice most genes have more than one phenotypic effect, say green eye colour and curly hair. Natural selection favours some genes rather than others not because of the nature of the genes themselves, but because of their consequences-their phenotypic effects. Darwinians have usually chosen to discuss genes whose phenotypic effects benefit, or penalize, the survival and reproduction of whole bodies. They have tended not to consider benefits to the gene itself.

The instrument with which we shall purge our minds is the idea that I call the extended phenotype. It is to this, and what it means, that I now turn. The phenotypic effects of a gene are normally seen as all the effects that it has on the body in which it sits. This is the conventional definition. But we shall now see that the phenotypic effects of a gene need to be thought of as all the effects that it has on the world. It may be that a gene's effects, as a matter of fact, turn out to be confined to the succession of bodies in which the gene sits. But, if so, it will be just as a matter of fact. It will not be something that ought to be part of our very definition. In all this, remember that the phenotypic effects of a gene are the tools by which it levers itself into the next generation. All that I am going to add is that the tools may reach outside the individual body wall.

More, an orthodox chromosomal gene and a virus that is transmitted inside the host's egg would agree in wanting the host to succeed not just in its courtship but in every detailed aspect of its life, down to being a loyal, doting parent and even grandparent. The caddis lives inside its house, and the parasites that I have so far discussed have lived inside their hosts. The genes, then, are physically close to their extended phenotypic effects, as close as genes ordinarily are to their conventional phenotypes. But genes can act at a distance; extended phenotypes can extend a long way. One of the longest that I can think of spans a lake. Like a spider web or a caddis house, a beaver dam is among the true wonders of the world. It is not entirely clear what its Darwinian purpose is, but it certainly must have one, for the beavers expend so much time and energy to build it. The lake that it creates probably serves to protect the beaver's lodge from predators.

pages: 734 words: 244,010

The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins


agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, complexity theory, delayed gratification, double helix, Drosophila, Haight Ashbury, invention of writing, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, nuclear winter, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steven Pinker, the High Line, urban sprawl

Each gene promotes its own selfish welfare, by co-operating with the other genes in the sexually stirred gene pool which is that gene's environment, to build shared bodies. But beaver genes have special phenotypes quite unlike those of tigers, camels or carrots. Beavers have lake phenotypes, caused by dam phenotypes. A lake is an extended phenotype. The extended phenotype is a special kind of phenotype, and it is the subject of the rest of this tale, which is a brief summary of my book of that title. It is interesting not only in its own right but because it helps us to understand how conventional phenotypes develop. It will turn out that there is no great difference of principle between an extended phenotype like a beaver lake, and a conventional phenotype like a flattened beaver tail. How can it possibly be right to use the same word, phenotype, on the one hand for a tail of flesh, bone and blood, and on the other hand for a body of still water, stemmed in a valley by a dam?

The protein has an enzymatic effect on cellular chemistry, which affects X which affects Y which affects Z which affects... a long chain of intermediate causes which affects... the phenotype of interest. The allele makes the difference when its phenotype is compared with the corresponding phenotype, at the end of the correspondingly long chain of causation that proceeds from the alternative allele. Gene differences cause phenotypic differences. Gene changes cause phenotypic changes. In Darwinian evolution alleles are selected, vis-a-vis alternative alleles, by virtue of the differences in their effects on phenotypes. The beaver's point is that this comparison between phenotypes can happen anywhere along the chain of causation. All intermediate links along the chain are true phenotypes, and any one of them could constitute the phenotypic effect by which a gene is selected: it only has to be 'visible' to natural selection, nobody cares whether it is visible to us.

Differences between lakes are influenced by differences between dams, just as differences between dams are influenced by differences between behaviour patterns, which in turn are consequences of differences between genes. We may say that the characteristics of a dam, or of a lake, are true phenotypic effects of genes, using exactly the logic we use to say that the characteristics of a tail are phenotypic effects of genes. Conventionally, biologists see the phenotypic effects of a gene as confined within the skin of the individual bearing that gene. The Beaver's Tale shows that this is unnecessary. The phenotype of a gene, in the true sense of the word, may extend outside the skin of the individual. Birds' nests are extended phenotypes. Their shape and size, their complicated funnels and tubes where these exist, all are Darwinian adaptations, and so must have evolved by the differential survival of alternative genes.

Longevity: To the Limits and Beyond (Research and Perspectives in Longevity) by Jean-Marie Robine, James W. Vaupel, Bernard Jeune, Michel Allard

computer age, conceptual framework, demographic transition, Drosophila, epigenetics, life extension, phenotype, stem cell, stochastic process

Natural Selection and Aging Let us come back to the phase space of an organism, adding the time dimension, and let us consider the complete phenotype in one block, unfolded in space and time. The pre-reproductive section of the phenotype has been perfected by natural selection, whereas the post-reproductive part of the phenotype has been neglected. A hallmark of natural selection optimization is a good homeostatic capacity, an adequate response to challenges, giving the impression that every situation has been predicted, that all the components of the organism are useful, well coordinated and under control. This is the domain of harmony between structure and function. This is what Sir Karl Popper has termed "implicit knowledge": the adequate reaction to random exterior circumstances. That beautiful organization, crystallized under the pressure of natural selection, melts away in the aging portion of the phenotype, to be replaced by compensatory adaptation, Genetics of Aging 137 one might say by self-organization.

The major advantages of these approaches are that virtually any gene can be manipulated at will in the species mentioned above; thus, any biochemical process and its involvement in organismic physiology can be studied using an almost endless variety of molecular probes that alter the normal function in the organism. The genetic approach is especially valuable in the analysis of aging because genetic manipulations leading to a stable alteration of genotype also lead to a stable alteration of phenotype in the organism. This phenotypic alteration can now be studied at many levels from the in vivo effects on life expectancy, to altered biochemical and physi010gical processes and even to studies at the level of the molecule. Also the genetic approach is unbiased by the interests and prior expectations or hypotheses of the investigator in that virtually any gene in the organism that leads to the desired phenotypic change can be identified and studies as a causal determinant oflongevity extension. Genetic approaches lead to more than a finding; they lead to an altered strain or stock that can be shared with other laboratories.

This approach allows us to identify regions of the genome associated with longevity and other life history traits and also to examine epistatic interactions between loci and pleiotropic effects on different traits at specific loci. QTLs for life expectancy were identified on linkage groups (LGs) II (near the stP101 molecular marker), IV (near stP5) and X (near stP61), and QTLs for fertility were identified on LGs II (near maP1), III (near stP19) and IV (near stP51). The QTLs for life expectancy accounted for almost all of the genetic variance (only 23 % of the phenotypic variance). The QTLs for mean fertility accounted for 85 % of the genetic variance and 45 % of the phenotypic variance. Additional QTLs for other life history traits were also mapped in these crosses. There was no evidence for epistatic effects between QTLs but several loci were observed to have effects on the QTLs identified. No QTLs were pleiotropic (having effects on different life history traits) with the exception of negatively correlated, pleiotropic effects between life expectancy and internal hatching associated with a QTL near the stP5 marker.

pages: 846 words: 232,630

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel C. Dennett


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, assortative mating, buy low sell high, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Turing machine, Turing test

But now we introduce just one "minor" change: suppose that although the individual organisms start out with different wirings (whichever wiring was ordered by their particular genotype or genetic recipe) — as shown by their scatter on the fitness landscape — they have some capacity to adjust or revise their wiring, depending on what they encounter during their lifetimes. (In the language of evolutionary theory, there is some "plasticity" in their phenotypes. The phenotype is the eventual body design created by the genotype in interaction with environment. Identical twins raised in different environments would share a genotype but might be dramatically different in phenotype.) Suppose, then, that these organisms can end up, after exploration, with a design different from the one they were born with. We may suppose their explorations are random, but they have an innate capacity to recognize (and stay with) a Good Trick when they stumble upon it. Then those individuals who begin life with a genotype that is closer to the Good Trick genotype — fewer redesign steps away from it — are more likely to come across it, and stick with it, than those that are born with a faraway design.

Proving that there is no straightforward way for biology to accomplish some trick is never a proof of impossibility. Remember Orgel's Second Rule! In his account of Biomorph Land, Dawkins stresses that a tiny — indeed minimal — change in the genotype (the recipe) can produce a strikingly large change in the phenotype (the resulting individual organism), but he tends to slight one of the major implications of this: if a single step in the genotype can produce a giant step in the phenotype, intermediate steps for the phenotype may be simply unavailable, given the mapping rules. To take a deliberately extreme and fanciful example, you might think that if a beast could have twenty-centimeter tusks and forty-centimeter tusks, it would stand to reason that it could also have thirty-centimeter tusks, but the rules {118} for tusk-making in the recipe system may not allow for such a case.

The trouble with the diagram is that it needs more dimensions, so we can compare the steps in genotype space (the typographical steps in the Library of Mendel) to the steps in phenotype space (the design innovations in Design Space) and then evaluate these differences on a fitness landscape. As we have seen, the relations between recipe and result are complex, and many possibilities might be illustrated. We saw in chapter 5 that a small typographical change in the genome could in principle have a large effect on the phenotype expressed. We also saw, in chapter 8, that some typographical changes in the genome can have no effect at all on the phenotype — there are over a hundred different ways of "spelling" lysozyme, for instance, and hence more than a hundred equivalent ways of spelling the order for lysozyme in DNA codons.

pages: 460 words: 107,712

A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Writings by Richard Dawkins


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Desert Island Discs, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, Necker cube, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method

Our Martian geneticist would have to work quite hard to discover that no genes are involved in the genesis of the roundhead phenotype. The Martian geneticist’s eyes would also pop out on stalks (assuming they weren’t on stalks to begin with) at the contemplation of certain styles of clothing and hairdressing, and their inheritance patterns. The black skullcapped phenotype shows a marked tendency towards longitudinal transmission from father to son (or it may be from maternal grandfather to grandson), and there is clear linkage to the rarer pigtail-plaited sideburn phenotype. Behavioural phenotypes such as genuflecting in front of crosses, and facing east to kneel five times per day, are inherited longitudinally too, and are in strong linkage disequilibrium with the previously mentioned phenotypes, as is the red-dot-on-forehead phenotype, and the saffron robes/shaven head linkage group.

Whereas genes are to be found in precise locations on chromosomes, memes presumably exist in brains, and we have even less chance of seeing one than of seeing a gene (though the neurobiologist Juan Delius has pictured his conjecture of what a meme might look like75). As with genes, we track memes through populations by their phenotypes. The ‘phenotype’ of the Chinese junk meme is made of paper. With the exception of ‘extended phenotypes’ such as beaver dams and caddis larva houses, the phenotypes of genes are normally parts of living bodies. Meme phenotypes seldom are. But it can happen. To return to my school again, a Martian geneticist, visiting the school during the morning cold bath ritual, would have unhesitatingly diagnosed an ‘obvious’ genetic polymorphism. About 50 per cent of the boys were circumcised and 50 per cent were not.

What is the crucial difference between the two kinds of experiment? It is this. Inheritance in the drawing experiment is Lamarckian (Susan Blackmore calls it ‘copying the product’). In the origami experiment it is Weismannian (Blackmore’s ‘copying the instructions’). In the drawing experiment, the phenotype in every generation is also the genotype – it is what is passed on to the next generation. In the origami experiment, what passes to the next generation is not the paper phenotype but a set of instructions for making it. Imperfections in the execution of the instructions result in imperfect junks (phenotypes) but they are not passed on to future generations: they are non-memetic. Here are the first five instructions in the Weismannian meme-line of instructions for making a Chinese junk: 1. Take a square sheet of paper and fold all four corners exactly into the middle. 2.

pages: 141 words: 46,879

River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life by Richard Dawkins


double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, job satisfaction, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, out of africa, phenotype

But now, after many generations of evolution, we move on to Threshold 2, the Phenotype Threshold. Replicators survive not by virtue of their own properties but by virtue of causal effects on something else, which we call the phenotype. On our planet, phenotypes are easily recognized as those parts of animal and plant bodies that genes can influence. That means pretty well all bits of bodies. Think of phenotypes as levers of power by which successful replicators manipulate their way into the next generation. More generally, phenotypes may be defined as consequences of replicators that influence the replicators' success but are not themselves replicated. For instance, a particular gene in a species of Pacific island snail determines whether the shell coils to the right or to the left. The DNA molecule itself is not right- or left-handed, but its phenotypic consequence is.

More generally, a planet will come to contain replicators whose consequences (phenotypes) have beneficial effects, by whatever means, on the replicators' success at getting copied. Once the Phenotype Threshold is crossed, replicators survive by virtue of proxies, their consequences on the world. On our planet, these consequences are usually confined to the body in which the gene physically sits. But this is not necessarily so. The doctrine of the Extended Phenotype (to which I have devoted a whole book with that title) states that the phenotypic levers of power by which replicators engineer their long-term survival do not have to be limited to the replicators' "own" body. Genes can reach outside particular bodies and influence the world at large, including other bodies. I don't know how universal the Phenotype Threshold is likely to be. I suspect that it will have been crossed on all those planets where the life explosion has proceeded beyond a very rudimentary stage.

Because snail genes ride inside the shells whose shape they help to influence, genes that make successful shells will come to outnumber genes that make unsuccessful shells. Shells, being phenotypes, do not spawn daughter shells. Each shell is made by DNA, and it is DNA that spawns DNA. DNA sequences influence their phenotypes (like the direction of coiling of shells) via a more or less complicated chain of intermediate events, all subsumed under the general heading of "embryology." On our planet, the first link in the chain is always the synthesis of a protein molecule. Every detail of the protein molecule is precisely specified, via the famous genetic code, by the ordering of the four kinds of letters in the DNA. But these details are very probably of local significance only. More generally, a planet will come to contain replicators whose consequences (phenotypes) have beneficial effects, by whatever means, on the replicators' success at getting copied.

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, British Empire, colonial rule, dark matter, delayed gratification, demographic transition, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, phenotype, sceptred isle, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus

They contain their own chromosome, a small loop of DNA separate from the vast majority contained within the nucleus of a cell. Mitochondrial DNA (which is sometimes written as mtDNA) is of great interest to geneticists and genealogists as it is only ever passed on from mother to child, and thus can exclusively chart a matrilineage. phenotype The phenotype is the physical manifestation of a gene or genotype. For example, a particular version of the gene MC1R (the genotype) will mean your phenotype will be a redhead. protein The primary functional biological molecules in living things. They are made up of simple molecules called amino acids assembled into long strings. These fold up to make a three-dimensional structure, and often assemble with other proteins in cells to enact their function. All life is made of, or by, proteins.

One version of the allele exists at a higher frequency in Irish redheads. One version has a slight association with a lower pain threshold. One version seems to subtly affect how an individual responds to an anaesthetic that dentists frequently use. This is just one gene, with many versions and it has a variable phenotype, though we can mostly see the outcome with fiery clarity. Even when we know the genome intimately, and the patterns of inheritance, and the history of the DNA, and the migration patterns of the people who carried it, and evolutionary pressures that led to the perpetuation of the genes and the phenotype – even when we know all that, how it manifests can still be mysterious and surprising. Anyone who says differently is selling something. The British are coming While we’re in the north-east of Europe, let me indulge in some national pride to scrutinize this sceptred isle, and the finest genetic analyses of a people yet undertaken: just who are the British?

We like it because it’s one of a very small handful of traits that has a relatively straightforward relationship between the DNA and its outcome – the genotype and the phenotype. There are basically two types of earwax, sticky and dry. The gene that determines these two states is called ABCC11, which comes in two alleles to give them their more scientific and less revolting descriptor. The gene is 4,576 base pairs long, and at position 538 there is either a G or an A. If you have a G, the code writes the amino acid glycine, and if you have an A you get an arginine. This simple change slightly nudges the protein into a different shape, and the shape switches the nature of the wax. The inheritance of this terribly important phenotype plays out in a human ear in a straightforward Mendelian way. Wet is dominant: two copies of the G version and you have wet earwax; one of each allele and you have wet earwax; two copies of the A version and you have flaky, crumbly dry earwax.

pages: 336 words: 93,672

The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World's Leading Neuroscientists by Gary Marcus, Jeremy Freeman


23andMe, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, bitcoin, brain emulation, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Glasses, iterative process, linked data, mouse model, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, Turing machine, web application

Conrad Waddington first used the term epigenetics in the middle of the last century in an effort to explain cellular differentiation during development. If there is a one-to-one correspondence between DNA and the phenotype, then every somatic cell in the body (which contains exactly the same genotype) would be identical. Instead, the phenotypes of cells vary from brain cells (neurons) to liver cells. Because of this, Waddington proposed that the mechanisms through which a genotype produces a phenotype should be termed epigenetics. Considering that cellular phenotypes undergo dramatic plasticity during development while the genotype of these cells remains stable implicit in Waddington’s definition is the notion that a phenotype can be altered without changes to the genotype. Thus during the course of development, epigenetic mechanisms (such as DNA methylation, a biochemical process that reduces gene expression in specific portions of the brain and body) allow cells with the same DNA to differentiate and divide, passing on those alterations in gene function, not explained by alterations in DNA sequence, to daughter cells.

For years I searched for “the way” in which some aspect of the cortical phenotype could be altered during the course of evolution. For example, what is the way in which the size of cortical fields is altered? What is the way in which cortical connections change? What is the way in which cortical fields are added? Studies of molecular development that examine genes intrinsic to the developing neocortex have demonstrated how these genes (and genetic cascades) can alter cortical field size, location, and connectivity. Interestingly, these same features of organization can be altered by the sensory driven activity that the developing organism is exposed to. Because cortical field size and connectivity can be changed through different mechanisms, this implies that in a given lineage, some aspect of brain organization owes its particular phenotype to genes, activity-dependent mechanisms, or some combination of both.

The many neural cell types, although traditionally defined by the complex morphologies of axons and dendrites first glimpsed under the microscopes of Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramón y Cajal, can also be defined by a process of discrete counting. Indeed, all of the cells in the body share (very closely) the same genome, the differences between them being due to the different levels of expression of the different genes. From the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology we know that gene expression, which accounts for the phenotypic differences between the body’s genetically identical cells proceeds as DNA →(transcription) Messenger RNA →(translation) Protein and thus, by counting the numbers of each messenger RNA in a cell, we can determine its cell type. The same goes for tracking the history of molecular expression in the cell over time, for example, to observe changes in gene expression that accompany learning and memory; except here you need not only to count molecules but also to label these molecules with time stamps—digital strings that encode the current time.

pages: 463 words: 118,936

Darwin Among the Machines by George Dyson


Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, British Empire, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer age, Danny Hillis, Donald Davies, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, IFF: identification friend or foe, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, phenotype, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, spectrum auction, strong AI, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, zero-sum game

“This tendency to act on any thing which can have importance for survival is the key to the understanding of the formation of complex instruments and organs and the ultimate development of a whole body of somatic or non-genetic structures.”28 Once the concept of translation from genotype to phenotype is given form, Darwinian evolution picks up speed—not just the evolution of organisms, but the evolution of the genetic language and translation system that provide the flexibility and redundancy to survive in a noisy, unpredictable world. A successful interpretive language not only tolerates ambiguity, it takes advantage of it. “It is almost too easy to imagine possible uses for phenotype structures—because the specification for an effective phenotype is so sloppy,” wrote A. G. Cairns-Smith in his Seven Clues to the Origin of Life. “A phenotype has to make life easier or less dangerous for the genes that (in part) brought it into existence. There are no rules laid down as to how this should be done.”29 Barricelli’s pronouncements had a vaguely foreboding, Butlerish air about them, despite the disclaimer about confusing “life-like” with “alive.”

Such numerical patterns may present unlimited possibilities for developing structures and organs of any kind to perform the tasks for which they are designed.”26 A numerical phenotype had taken form. This phenotype was interpreted as moves in a board game, via a limited alphabet of machine instructions to which the gene sequence was mapped, just as sequences of nucleotides code for an alphabet of amino acids in translating proteins from DNA. “Perhaps the closest analogy to the protein molecule in our numeric symbioorganisms would be a subroutine which is part of the symbioorganism’s game strategy program, and whose instructions, stored in the machine memory, are specified by the numbers of which the symbioorganism is composed,” Barricelli explained 27 In coding for valid instructions at the level of phenotype rather than genotype, evolutionary search is much more likely to lead to meaningful sequences, for the same reason that a meaningful sentence is far more likely to be evolved by choosing words out of a dictionary than by choosing letters out of a hat.

This brings us back to Butler versus Darwin, because during this extended evolutionary prelude Lamarckian, not neo-Darwinian, selection would have been at work. We should think twice before dismissing Lamarck because Lamarckian evolution may have taken our cells the first—and most significant—step toward where we stand today. Genotype and phenotype may have started out synonymous and only later become estranged by the central dogma of molecular biology that allows communication from genotype to phenotype but not the other way. Life, however, arrives at distinctions by increments and rarely erases its steps. Remnants of Lamarckian evolution may be more prevalent, biologically, than we think—not to mention Lamarckian tendencies among machines. “The experts were uniformly unenthusiastic,” Freeman Dyson commented, describing how his venture into biology was received.

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The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands by Eric Topol


23andMe, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Anne Wojcicki, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, bioinformatics, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, connected car, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk,, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, global village, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Uber for X, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Ideally, an individual’s GIS in the future will include a comprehensive profile of his or her anticipated drug interactions. Health Span The human reference genome, which has been regarded as the platinum standard for genomic variation, has a significant flaw—the individuals who were used to construct it were young without any phenotype. So what we consider as the “anchor” may be riddled with disease-related variants. For example, a major predisposition for clotting disorders is attributed to the gene variant known as Factor V Leiden. But if you look up the Factor V gene in the reference genome, it’s Factor V Leiden! We need a reference genome with rigorous phenotypic characterization to avoid this problem. By collecting a large cohort of individuals with extreme health span (such as in the “Wellderly” project that we’ve been engaged in at Scripps for the past eight years) and performing whole genome sequencing, we can have an assured healthy background reference genome for comparison.

Simonite, “Life’s Trajectory Seen Through Facebook Data,” MIT Technology Review, April 24, 2013, 7. A. Regalado, “Stephen Wolfram on Personal Analytics,” MIT Technology Review, May 8, 2013, 8. N. A. Christakis and J. H. Fowler, Connected (New York, NY: Little, Brown and Co., 2009). 9. “Phenotype,” Wikipedia, accessed August 13, 2014, 10. “Microphones as Sensors: Teaching Old Microphones New Tricks,” The Economist, June 1, 2013, 11. G. Slabodkin, “Study: iPhone App for Speech Laterality Just as Reliable as Lab Brain Tests,” FierceMobileHealthcare, February 12, 2013, 12.

The human GIS comprises multiple layers of demographic, physiologic, anatomic, biologic, and environmental data (Figure 5.2) about a particular individual.5 This is a rich, multi-scale, mosaic of a human being, which can be used to define one’s medical essence; when fully amassed and integrated, it is what a digitized person looks like, at least for the sake of how medical care can be rendered. FIGURE 5.2: The human GIS—multiple superimposed and integrated layers of medical information. Source: Adapted from E. J. Topol, “Individualized Medicine from Prewomb to Tomb,” Cell 157 (2014): 241–253. The Panoromic View Let’s now unpack the human GIS to define and understand each component. The “ome” attached to each denotes the study of something. The phenome refers to all the phenotypic traits of an individual, such as height, weight, and eye and skin color. I like to combine it with one’s social graph, which broadens the “look from the outside” of a person to their social network. The physiome is the collection of one’s physiologic metrics, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The anatome is our individual anatomy. The genome refers to the six billion letters that make up one’s DNA sequence.

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Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama


Albert Einstein, Asilomar, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Columbine, demographic transition, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, impulse control, life extension, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, Scientific racism, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sexual politics, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Turing test

Lewontin’s argument is valid as far as it goes but hardly vitiates the concept of human nature. As noted in the discussion of height, environment can change median heights, but it cannot push human heights above or below certain limits, nor can it make women on average taller than men. Those parameters are still set by nature. Moreover, there is very often a linear relationship between environment, genotype, and phenotype that ensures that if the genetic variance is distributed normally, the phenotypic variance will also be distributed normally. That is, the better our diets, the taller we tend to be (within our species-typical limits); height distribution curves still have single median points despite the fact that they are affected by environment. Most human characteristics do not resemble the mountain plant that looks entirely different depending on elevation.

The major problem has to do with what constitutes a different environment. In many cases, twins reared apart will nonetheless share many of the same environmental circumstances, making it impossible to disaggregate natural from cultural influences. Among the “shared environments” that a behavior geneticist may overlook is that of the mother’s womb, which has a strong influence on how a given genotype develops into a phenotype, or individual human being. Identical twins necessarily share the same womb, but the same fetus growing up in a different womb might turn out quite differently if the mother is malnourished, drinks, or takes drugs. The second, and less accurate, way of uncovering the natural sources of behavior is to do a cross-cultural survey of a particular trait or activity. By now we have a very large ethnographic record of behavior in a wide range of human societies, both those currently existing and those we know about through historical or archaeological records.

As noted earlier, Dolly was born with shortened telomeres and will probably not live as long as a sheep born normally. One would presumably not want to create a human baby until one had a much higher chance of success, and even then the cloning process might produce defects that wouldn’t show up for years. The dangers that exist for cloning would be greatly magnified in the case of genetic engineering, given the multiple causal pathways between genes and their ultimate expression in the phenotype.16 The Law of Unintended Consequences would apply here in spades: a gene affecting one particular disease susceptibility might have secondary or tertiary consequences that are unrecognized at the time that the gene is reengineered, only to show up years or even a generation later. The final constraint on any future ability to modify human nature has to do with populations. Even if human genetic engineering overcomes these first two obstacles (that is, complex causality and the dangers of human experimentation) and produces a successful designer baby, “human nature” will not be altered unless such changes occur in a statistically significant way for the population as a whole.

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Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky

autonomous vehicles, Bernie Madoff, biofilm, blood diamonds, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Brownian motion, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, corporate social responsibility, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, desegregation, double helix, Drosophila, Edward Snowden,, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fudge factor, George Santayana, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, John von Neumann, Loma Prieta earthquake, long peace, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, mouse model, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, publication bias, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

Group selection reappeared, sneaking in the back door. “Neo–group selection” crashed a long-standing debate as to the “unit of selection.” Genotype Versus Phenotype, and the Most Meaningful Level of Selection To appreciate this, let’s contrast genotype and phenotype. Genotype = someone’s genetic makeup. Phenotype = the traits observable to the outside world produced by that genotype.* Suppose there’s a gene that influences whether your eyebrows come in two separate halves or form a continuous unibrow. You’ve noted that unibrow prevalence is decreasing in a population. Which is the more important level for understanding why—the gene variant or the eyebrow phenotype? We know after chapter 8 that genotype and phenotype are not synonymous, because of gene/environment interactions. Maybe some prenatal environmental effect silences one version of the gene but not the other.

Amid some evidence for single-gene selection (an obscure phenomenon called intragenomic conflict, which we won’t go into), most people who vote for the importance of gene(s) over phenotype view single-gene selfishness as a bit of a sideshow and vote for the genome level of selection being most important. Meanwhile, there’s the view that phenotype trumps genotype, something championed by Ernst Mayr, Stephen Jay Gould, and others. The core of their argument is that it’s phenotypes rather than genotypes that are selected for. As Gould wrote, “No matter how much power Dawkins wishes to assign to genes, there is one thing he cannot give them—direct visibility to natural selection.” In that view, genes and the frequencies of their variants are merely the record of what arose from phenotypic selection.43 Dawkins introduced a great metaphor: a cake recipe is a genotype, and how the cake tastes is the phenotype.* Genotype chauvinists emphasize that the recipe is what is passed on, the sequence of words that make for a stable replicator.

Maybe a subset of the population belongs to a religion where you must cover your eyebrows when around the opposite sex, and thus eyebrow phenotype is untouched by sexual selection. You’re a grad student researching unibrow decline, and you must choose whether to study things at the genotypic or phenotypic level. Genotypic: sequencing eyebrow gene variants, trying to understand their regulation. Phenotypic: examining, say, eyebrow appearance and mate choice, or whether unibrows absorb more heat from sunlight, thereby damaging the frontal cortex, producing inappropriate social behavior and decreased reproductive success. This was the debate—is evolution best understood by focusing on genotype or phenotype? The most visible proponent of the gene-centered view has long been Dawkins, with his iconic “selfish gene” meme—it is the gene that is passed to the next generation, the thing whose variants spread or decline over time.

What Kind of Creatures Are We? (Columbia Themes in Philosophy) by Noam Chomsky


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, conceptual framework,, failed state, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, liberation theology, mass incarceration, means of production, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Turing test, wage slave

This gives further reason to conclude that the kind of creatures we are, possessed of the kind of powers for language and thought we possess, should get an evolutionary account of the sort presented in chapter 1 rather than what Chomsky, citing Lewontin in chapter 2, describes as the “storytelling” about gradual evolution from our creaturely ancestors, a mode of explanation that one would indulge in only if one does not pay enough prior and scientific attention to the nature of the phenotype being explained. It is storytelling partly also, as Lewontin is cited as saying, because of the “tough luck” of not having access to any evidence on which these explanations could be based. They are hidden from human cognitive access, another form of our limitation. Thus limits on our cognition are inevitable for a variety of reasons, chief among which is the taking seriously of the sheer fact that we are biological creatures.

Not untypical is a current study on evolution of language, where the authors open by writing that “we understand language as the full suite of abilities to map sound to meaning, including the infrastructure that supports it,”9 basically a reiteration of Aristotle’s dictum, and too vague to ground further inquiry. Again, no biologist would study evolution of the visual system assuming no more about the phenotype than that it provides the full suite of abilities to map stimuli to percepts along with whatever supports it. Much earlier, at the origins of modern science, there were hints at a picture somewhat similar to Darwin’s and Whitney’s. Galileo wondered at the “sublimity of mind” of the person who “dreamed of finding means to communicate his deepest thoughts to any other person… by the different arrangements of twenty characters upon a page,” an achievement “surpassing all stupendous inventions,” even those of “a Michelangelo, a Raphael, or a Titian.”10 The same recognition, and the deeper concern for the creative character of the normal use of language, was soon to become a core element of Cartesian science-philosophy, in fact a primary criterion for the existence of mind as a separate substance.

Tough luck.”20 Relevant evidence isn’t available to us. The editors of the MIT Invitation to Cognitive Science in which he published these conclusions found them persuasive, as I do, though his analysis, largely ignored, has not impeded the growth of a huge literature of what Lewontin calls “storytelling,” particularly in the case of language. The storytelling typically proceeds without even spelling out the essential nature of the phenotype, a prerequisite to any serious evolutionary inquiry. And it also typically constructs stories about communication, a different though perhaps more appealing topic, because one can at least imagine continuities and small changes in accord with conceptions of evolution that are conventional though dubious at best. A recent technical paper reviews what has been done since Lewontin’s strictures, pretty much reaffirming them—plausibly I think, but then I am one of the authors.21 With regard to language origins, we know of one fact with considerable confidence and have another plausible surmise.

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Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, From Atoms to Economies by Cesar Hidalgo


Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, assortative mating, Claude Shannon: information theory, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, New Economic Geography, Norbert Wiener, p-value, Paul Samuelson, phenotype, price mechanism, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, working-age population

Looking at industries in lieu of knowledge and knowhow is similar to what biologists do when looking at phenotypes (the physical and functional characteristics of an organism) as expressions of genotypes (the information embodied in an organism’s DNA). Genes, in their simplest definition, are the segments of DNA that code for proteins, while phenotypes are the physical and functional characteristics of organisms, such as the color of your hair or your susceptibility to hypertension. What I will try to do in this chapter is similar to what much of genetics is about, yet instead of trying to establish a connection between phenotypes and genes, I will try to find a connection between the knowledge and knowhow available in a location and the industries that are present in them. Phenotypes and genotypes are a useful analogy because they represent a pair of related entities in which one is more easily observable than the other—phenotypes are easier to observe than genes, and industries are easier to observe than knowledge or knowhow.

Phenotypes and genotypes are a useful analogy because they represent a pair of related entities in which one is more easily observable than the other—phenotypes are easier to observe than genes, and industries are easier to observe than knowledge or knowhow. This duality is useful because it implies that we can measure the most visible quantity as a proxy for the other. For instance, mapping the spatial distribution of the genes that cause a person to be tall is currently quite difficult. In fact, there are many genes associated with height, so identifying, detecting, and quantifying the molecular sequences that can help explain the height differences between LeBron James and Danny DeVito is not that easy.1 Yet just by looking at LeBron James and Danny DeVito we can easily tell who is more likely to carry the genes that are associated with height, even if we do not know what these genes are.

., 60–61 Economic diversification, product space and, 137–139 Economic growth, economic complexity and, 157–162, 180 Economic growth models, 146–148, 162 human capital and, 148–149 social capital and, 151 Economic order, growth of information and evolution of, xx–xxi Economics, idea of information and, xiv–xv Economic sociology, 111–118 transaction cost theory and, 117–118 Economic value balance of imagination and, 55, 58–59, 60 context of product and, 63–64 Economy computational capacity of, 75, 180–181 describing, 145–146 diversified, 180 knowhow embedded in networks, 167–169 products and characterization of, 155–162 quantization principle and, 168 reproductive limitations of, 168 social networks and, 111–124 as system amplifying practical use of knowledge/knowhow, 68, 69, 70 as system of information growth, 8–9, 177–180 Ecosystems, reproductive limitations of, 168 Eddington, Arthur, 11 Edison, Thomas Alva, 11, 59, 69 Eigen, Manfred, 18 Einstein, Albert, 25, 28, 40, 90 Electricity, practical uses of, 59–60, 69 Energy creation of objects and, 43, 44, 181 information and, 175, 177 information processing and, 43 Engineers, information and, xiv English, as “hub” language, 101 Entropy, 11 Boltzmann and, 14, 15–17 computational ability of matter and, 177 information and, ix, xx, 14–16, 176 information-rich anomalies and, 31 multiplicity-of-states definition, 16–24 second law of thermodynamics and, 27 Shannon and, 14–15, 17–18 solids and, 176, 177 statistical-physics definition, 16–17 steady-state of out-of-equilibrium systems minimizes, 32, 175 Entropy barrier, 40 Equilibrium, order emerging from out-of-equilibrium systems, 29–30 Ernst & Young, 113 Ethiopia, 161 Evolution coevolution of markets and standards, 100 of information and economic order, xix–xx of physical order, 175–181 Experiential learning, 79–80, 81 Exploitation narrative, developing countries and, 55, 58–59, 60 Export diversity, economic complexity and, 157–161, 180 Exports as crystallized imagination, 51–55 diversity of physical and human capital and, 154–156 geographic distribution of industries and, 131–134 knowledge and knowhow embodied in, 52–55 Export structure, product space and, 137–139 Facebook, 92 Familial societies, 115 Family networks formation of, 115–116 low-trust familial societies and, 121–123 trust and, 121–122 Faraday, Michael, 59, 60, 69 Fijitsu, 92 Firmbytes, 89, 107 Firm interactions, social networks and, 93 Firms networks of, 89, 92–93 size of, 89, 91 transaction cost theory of, 89–91, 93 Firm-to-firm links classification of, 94–95 collaborations or large projects and, 102–103 cost of, 91, 93, 94–95 sizes of, 93–94 Ford, Henry, 60, 88, 171 Fordlandia, 170–171 Ford Motor Company, 87–88, 89, 170–171 France, government role in economy, 122–123 Fruit exports, 155 Fukuyama, Francis, 109, 115, 116, 117, 121–122, 122–123, 179 Functions, order and, 63 Gaua Islanders, 170 GDP (gross domestic product), 146 GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, export diversity and, 157–161, 180 Gene analogy, 142 Genetic factors, ability to accumulate knowledge and, 84 Genotypes/phenotypes analogy, 130, 136 Geographic distribution of industries, 131–136 of knowledge and knowhow, 77, 80–81, 127–128 of production of complex vs. simpler products, 77, 83, 134–136 Germany, formation of large networks in, 115, 116 Getting a Job (Granovetter), 112–113 Gibbs, J. Willard, 28 Gorilla Glass screen, 92 Governance, social capital and, 151 Government bureaucratic burden and, 103 role in French economy, 122–123 Granovetter, Mark, 109, 111, 112–113, 114–115, 179 Graphical user interfaces, 120, 142 Guardiola, Josep “Pep,” 73–74 Guitar, augmentation of our capacities and, 66–67 Guns, Germs, and Steel (Diamond), 169–170 Haber, Fritz, 58 Hadza people, 117 Hanaman, Franjo, 59 Hartley, Ralph, xvii Hayek, Friedrich, xiv Health care sector, costs as overbureaucratized network, 104, 106 Heisenberg, Werner, 39 Helmholtz, Hermann von, 28 Hemingway, Ernest, 70 Herr, Hugh, 50–51, 61, 178 Hidalgo, Iris, 3–4 High-trust societies, 115, 120–121, 122, 123 Homophily, formation of social networks and, 114 Honduras, exports, 132 HP (Hewlett-Packard), 142 Human capital, 148–149, 152 export data and diversity of, 154–156 Humans augmentation of capacities, 66–67 computational capacity of matter and, 178, 179–180 as embodiment of knowledge and knowhow, 8 The Human Use of Human Beings (Wiener), 70–71 IBM, 95 Ideas, knowledge/knowhow vs., 61–62 Imagination, crystallized.

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The Blind Watchmaker; Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design by Richard Dawkins


epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Menlo Park, pattern recognition, phenotype, random walk, silicon-based life, Steven Pinker

It is worth spending a little time explaining why. It is trivially easy to select for a particular genetic formula, so long as you can read the genes of all the animals. But natural selection doesn’t choose genes directly, it chooses the effects that genes have on bodies, technically called phenotypic effects. The human eye is good at choosing phenotypic effects, as is shown by the numerous breeds of dogs, cattle and pigeons, and also, if I may say so, as is shown by Figure 5. To make the computer choose phenotypic effects directly, we should have to write a very sophisticated pattern-recognition program. Pattern-recognizing programs exist. They are used to read print and even handwriting. But they are difficult, ‘state of the art’ programs, needing very large and fast computers. Even if such a pattern-recognition program were not beyond my programming capabilities, and beyond the capacity of my little 64-kilobyte computer, I wouldn’t bother with it.

The final shape of the whole body, the size of its limbs, the wiring up of its brain, the timing of its behaviour patterns, are all the indirect consequences of interactions between different kinds of cells, whose differences in their turn arise through different genes being read. These diverging processes are best thought of as locally autonomous in the manner of the ‘recursive’ procedure of Chapter 3, rather than as coordinated in some grand central design. ‘Action’, in the sense used in this chapter, is what a geneticist is talking about when he mentions the ‘phenotypic effect’ of a gene. DNA has effects upon bodies, upon eye colour, hair crinkliness, strength of aggressive behaviour and thousands of other attributes, all of which are called phenotypic effects. DNA exerts these effects initially locally, after being read by RNA and translated into protein chains, which then affect cell shape and behaviour. This is one of the two ways in which the information in the pattern of DNA can be read out. The other way is that it can be duplicated into a new DNA strand.

In 1970 he became a Lecturer in Zoology at Oxford University and a Fellow of New College. In 1995 he became the first Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. Richard Dawkins’s first book, The Selfish Gene (1976; second edition, 1989), became an immediate international bestseller and was translated into all the major languages. Its sequel, The Extended Phenotype, followed in 1982. His other bestsellers include The Blind Watchmaker (1986; Penguin, 1988), River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996; Penguin, 1997), Unweaving the Rainbow (Penguin, 1999) and The Ancestor’s Tale (2004). Richard Dawkins won both the Royal Society of Literature Award and the Los Angeles Times Literary Prize in 1987 for The Blind Watchmaker. The television film of the book, shown in the Horizon series, won the Sci-Tech Prize for the Best Science Programme of 1987.

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Information: A Very Short Introduction by Luciano Floridi


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, carbon footprint, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of writing, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, Pareto efficiency, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, RFID, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Vilfredo Pareto

And what kind of informational concepts are needed in order to understand their nature? The next section should help to provide some answers. Genetic information Genetics is the branch of biology that studies the structures and processes involved in the heredity and variation of the genetic material and observable traits (phenotypes) of living organisms. Heredity and variations have been exploited by humanity since antiquity, for example to breed animals. But it was only in the 19th century that Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), the founder of genetics, showed that phenotypes are passed on, from one generation to the next, through what were later called genes. In 1944, in a brilliant book based on a series of lectures, entitled What Is Life?, the physics Nobel laureate Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961) outlined the idea of how genetic information might be stored.

This, however, seems to be an overreaction. In the precise sense in which one may speak of semantic information, genetic information can hardly count as an instance of it. It simply lacks all its typical features, including meaningfulness, intentionality, aboutness, and veridicality. DNA contains the genetic code, precisely in the sense that it physically contains the genes which code for the development of the phenotypes. So DNA does contain genetic information, like a CD may contain some software. But the genetic code or, better, the genes, are the information itself. Genes do not send information, in the sense in which a radio sends a signal. They work more or less successfully and, like a recipe for a cake, may only partly guarantee the end result, since the environment plays a crucial role. Genes do not contain information, like envelopes or emails do, nor do they describe it, like a blueprint; they are more like performatives: `I promise to come at 8 pm' does not describe or contain a promise, it does something, namely it effects the promise itself through the uttered words.

Biological information, in the predicative sense of the world, is procedural: it is information for something, not about something. Genetic information can now be placed on our map (see Figure 15). 15. Genetic information A final comment before switching to neural information. Of course, genes play a crucial role in explaining not only the development of individual organisms but also the inheritance of phenotypes across generations. Therefore, informational approaches have been adopted both in genetics and in evolutionary biology and even at the higher level of biological anthropology. Memes (alleged units or elements of cultural ideas, symbols, or practices), for example, have been postulated as cultural analogues to genes, which are transmitted from one mind to another through communication and imitable phenomena, self-replicating and responding to selective pressures.

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A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy by Joel Mokyr


Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Copley Medal, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Deng Xiaoping, Edmond Halley, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, framing effect, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, hindsight bias, income inequality, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land tenure, law of one price, Menlo Park, moveable type in China, new economy, phenotype, price stability, principal–agent problem, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, survivorship bias, the market place, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, ultimatum game, World Values Survey, Wunderkammern

Below I list some of the main advantages of an evolutionary approach to the history of culture.9 First, evolutionary systems are characterized by a fundamental duality of information and action, of genotype and phenotype. Distinctions between genotype and phenotype are hazardous to extend to cultural history, but all the same something can be learned from them. Culture is about matters of the mind; behavior and actions are the observable outcomes of preferences and knowledge (Mesoudi et al., 2013). But, as already noted, the mapping from beliefs to behavior is no simpler than that from genes to phenotypes; at best there are loose statistical associations masking the interactions of many variables.10 One reason is that beliefs, much like other genotypical processes, affect “adjacent” beliefs. We can indeed speak of cultural pleiotropy, much like in evolutionary processes. Pleiotropy means that a certain genotypic change leads to more than one phenotypical effect, because of the spillover effects on genes in the proximity of the mutation, in a sort of genetic packaging.

It is important not to push the analogy too far, looking for particulate and discrete units such as “memes” that would be isomorphic to genes and even might be “selfish” like them. Evolutionary models are larger than Richard Dawkins, even larger than Charles Darwin (Hodgson and Knudsen, 2010). Above all, they involve selection, but the selection here is not the natural selection that occurs through population dynamics but the conscious choices made by individuals. Every person forms a unique cultural phenotype much like every person forms a unique biological genotype, but how is this phenotype formed? Cultural evolution sees this as essentially a quasi-Lamarckian process, in which individuals acquire cultural characteristics through learning and imitation during their lifetimes and pass these on to others. They choose their cultural elements (or stick to the default, which are the beliefs and preferences they acquire from their parents during socialization).

Much like genes, these traits are largely shared by people of the same culture; a single individual cannot have a cultural trait that is not shared by others, but each individual is unique in that it is highly unlikely that two people share precisely the same combination of cultural elements. There is no puzzle here: by analogy, all individuals have somewhat different genotypes (identical twins excluded) yet they share the vast bulk of their genes with other people and even with other mammals that have quite different phenotypes. Furthermore, this definition stresses that culture involves social learning, so that one’s beliefs, values, and knowledge are not built-up from scratch for each individual but are acquired from others. The key concepts of attitude and aptitude are contained in the larger category of culture, and they will remain at the center of the discussion. One could argue whether behavior itself (that is, actions) should be included in the concept of culture, but it seems useful to separate actions (which may be driven by a combination of cultural and other causes) from culture that guides and constrains it, although a great deal of culture, much like junk DNA that does not code for any known proteins, just “is” there in our minds and conditions no actions.

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The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins


Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Brownian motion, cosmological principle, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, double helix,, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, invisible hand, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, unbiased observer

One arises from the theory of group selection, and I’ll come to that. The second follows from the theory that I advocated in The Extended Phenotype: the individual you are watching may be working under the manipulative influence of genes in another individual, perhaps a parasite. Dan Dennett reminds us that the common cold is universal to all human peoples in much the same way as religion is, yet we would not want to suggest that colds benefit us. Plenty of examples are known of animals manipulated into behaving in such a way as to benefit the transmission of a parasite to its next host. I encapsulated the point in my ‘central theorem of the extended phenotype’: ‘An animal’s behaviour tends to maximize the survival of the genes “for” that behaviour, whether or not those genes happen to be in the body of the particular animal performing it.’

For the particular chromosomal slot or ‘locus’ that belongs to that set of alleles. And how do they compete? Not by direct molecule-to-molecule combat but by proxy. The proxies are their ‘phenotypic traits’ – things like leg length or fur colour: manifestations of genes fleshed out as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry or behaviour. A gene’s fate is normally bound up with the bodies in which it successively sits. To the extent that it influences those bodies, it affects its own chances of surviving in the gene pool. As the generations go by, genes increase or decrease in frequency in the gene pool by virtue of their phenotypic proxies. Might the same be true of memes? One respect in which they are not like genes is that there is nothing obviously corresponding to chromosomes or loci or alleles or sexual recombination.

Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, author of The Double Helix “Should be read by everyone from atheist to monk. If its merciless rationalism doesn’t enrage you at some point, you probably aren’t alive.” —Julian Barnes, author of Arthur and George “A magnificent book, lucid and wise, truly magisterial.” —Ian McEwan, author of Atonement Books by Richard Dawkins THE SELFISH GENE THE EXTENDED PHENOTYPE THE BLIND WATCHMAKER RIVER OUT OF EDEN CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE UNWEAVING THE RAINBOW A DEVIL’S CHAPLAIN THE ANCESTOR’S TALE THE GOD DELUSION Richard Dawkins THE GOD DELUSION A MARINER BOOK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY Boston • New York Copyright © 2006 by Richard Dawkins Preface © 2008 by Richard Dawkins ALL RIGHTS RESERVED First published in Great Britain by Bantam Press, a division of Transworld Publishers, 2006 For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10003.

pages: 852 words: 157,181

The Origins of the British by Stephen Oppenheimer


active measures, agricultural Revolution, British Empire, Eratosthenes, gravity well, mass immigration, out of africa, phenotype, the scientific method, trade route

Blood group A is dominant, which means that the result of our blood test (our phenotype) is group A, whether we get one or two A genes from our parents. Group O is recessive, which means that we must receive both our parental genes as O to have an O blood group phenotype. If one parent gives us an O and the other gives us an A, we will test as A. Therefore analyses of blood group frequency will automatically overstate A gene frequencies if this very basic fact is overlooked. Since B, although dominant as well, is quite uncommon in Western Europe, the division of simple blood group frequencies between A and O is a two-horse race, in which the dominant A has the advantage. Small increases in the A gene frequency will be reflected in dramatic relative falls in the O group frequency. So, where Viereck’s map misleads is in presenting blood group data (phenotypes) rather than gene frequencies (genotypes).

genetic drift The process of random change of allele or haplotype (gene type) frequencies. These changes can lead to loss (or, alternatively, very high frequency) of certain alleles. The loss of certain alleles erodes genetic variability, and its effects are greatest in populations of small size. genotype The genetic make-up of an individual, as determined by the alleles present. In the example of blood groups, the blood group phenotype A may be the result of either AO genotype or AA genotype. Compare phenotype. glottochronology A technique in linguistics which uses vocabulary comparison (lexico-statistics) to estimate the time of divergence of two related languages by comparing the numbers of shared cognates. It is analogous to the use of radiocarbon dating in that it uses decay as a measurement of time, but has been widely rejected by linguists, owing to variation in the rate of lexical decay.

Used in this book and in certain genetic and archaeological literature as an analogy for multiple European migrations: in this sense, it means genetic evidence of one migration route overlying an earlier one, both migrations having been channelled by the same geographical corridors and barriers. P-celtic Alternative name for the Brythonic branch of the insular-celtic group of languages, so called because it uses a ‘P’ sound where Q-celtic languages, in the Goidelic branch, use a ‘Q’ (or hard ‘C’) sound. phenotype The expression of the genes present in an individual. This may be directly observable (eye colour) or apparent only with specific tests (blood group). The blood group A is an example of a phenotype with several possible underlying genotypes (AO and AA), since A is dominant and O recessive. Compare genotype. phylogeography The study of the patterns of genetic differentiation on a gene tree across landscapes. The geographical distribution of gene lines is analysed with respect to their phylogenetic position on a gene tree, usually within a species, to reconstruct their origins and routes of movement.

pages: 489 words: 148,885

Accelerando by Stross, Charles


call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, dumpster diving, Extropian, finite state, Flynn Effect, glass ceiling, gravity well, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, packet switching, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, South China Sea, stem cell, technological singularity, telepresence, The Chicago School, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, web of trust, Y2K, zero-sum game

Manfred spits some virtual cash at the brutal face of the cash register, and it unfetters the suitcase, unaware that Macx has paid a good bit more than seventy-five euros for the privilege of collecting this piece of baggage. Manfred bends down and faces the camera in its handle. "Manfred Macx," he says quietly. "Follow me." He feels the handle heat up as it imprints on his fingerprints, digital and phenotypic. Then he turns and walks out of the slave market, his new luggage rolling at his heels. A short train journey later, Manfred checks into a hotel in Milton Keynes. He watches the sun set from his bedroom window, an occlusion of concrete cows blocking the horizon. The room is functional in an overly naturalistic kind of way, rattan and force-grown hardwood and hemp rugs concealing the support systems and concrete walls behind.

The metacortex – a distributed cloud of software agents that surrounds him in netspace, borrowing CPU cycles from convenient processors (such as his robot pet) – is as much a part of Manfred as the society of mind that occupies his skull; his thoughts migrate into it, spawning new agents to research new experiences, and at night, they return to roost and share their knowledge. While Manfred sleeps, he dreams of an alchemical marriage. She waits for him at the altar in a strapless black gown, the surgical instruments gleaming in her gloved hands. "This won't hurt a bit," she explains as she adjusts the straps. "I only want your genome – the extended phenotype can wait until … later." Blood-red lips, licked: a kiss of steel, then she presents the income tax bill. There's nothing accidental about this dream. As he experiences it, microelectrodes in his hypothalamus trigger sensitive neurons. Revulsion and shame flood him at the sight of her face, the sense of his vulnerability. Manfred's metacortex, in order to facilitate his divorce, is trying to decondition his strange love.

There have been more technological advances in the past ten years than in the entire previous expanse of human history – and more unforeseen accidents. Lots of hard problems have proven to be tractable. The planetary genome and proteome have been mapped so exhaustively that the biosciences are now focusing on the challenge of the phenome: Plotting the phase-space defined by the intersection of genes and biochemical structures, understanding how extended phenotypic traits are generated and contribute to evolutionary fitness. The biosphere has become surreal: small dragons have been sighted nesting in the Scottish highlands, and in the American midwest, raccoons have been caught programming microwave ovens. The computing power of the solar system is now around one thousand MIPS per gram, and is unlikely to increase in the near term – all but a fraction of one percent of the dumb matter is still locked up below the accessible planetary crusts, and the sapience/mass ratio has hit a glass ceiling that will only be broken when people, corporations, or other posthumans get around to dismantling the larger planets.

pages: 357 words: 98,853

Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome by Nessa Carey


dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, epigenetics, mouse model, phenotype, placebo effect, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs

Paternally inherited microdeletion at 15q11.2 confirms a significant role for the SNORD116 C/D box snoRNA cluster in Prader-Willi syndrome. Eur J Hum Genet. 2010 Nov;18(11):1196–201 23. Sahoo T, del Gaudio D, German JR, Shinawi M, Peters SU, Person RE, Garnica A, Cheung SW, Beaudet AL. Prader-Willi phenotype caused by paternal deficiency for the HBII-85 C/D box small nucleolar RNA cluster. Nat Genet. 2008 Jun;40(6):719–21 24. For a full description see 25. For a full description see 26. Data collated in Kotzot D. Maternal uniparental disomy 14 dissection of the phenotype with respect to rare autosomal recessively inherited traits, trisomy mosaicism, and genomic imprinting. Ann Genet. 2004 Jul-Sep;47(3):251–60 27. Kagami M, Sekita Y, Nishimura G, Irie M, Kato F, Okada M, Yamamori S, Kishimoto H, Nakayama M, Tanaka Y, Matsuoka K, Takahashi T, Noguchi M, Tanaka Y, Masumoto K, Utsunomiya T, Kouzan H, Komatsu Y, Ohashi H, Kurosawa K, Kosaki K, Ferguson-Smith AC, Ishino F, Ogata T.

When this happens, parents can pass on much bigger repeats to their children than they themselves possess. As the repeat length increases, the symptoms become more severe and are obvious at an earlier age. That’s why the disease gets worse as it passes down the generations, such as in the family that opened this chapter. It also became apparent that usually only mothers passed on the really big repeats, the ones that led to the severe congenital phenotype. This ongoing expansion of a repeated sequence of DNA was a very unusual mutation mechanism. But the identification of the expansion that causes myotonic dystrophy shone a light on something even more unusual. Knitting with DNA Until quite recently, mutations in gene sequences were thought to be important not because of the change in the DNA itself but because of their downstream consequences.

But our proteins only contain 20 different amino acids. So some amino acids can be coded for by different three-letter combinations. At one extreme, glycine is coded for by GGA, GGC, GGG and GGT(U). At the other, the amino acid methionine is only coded for by the combination AT(U)G. But if the amino acid sequence encoded by the mutated gene doesn’t change in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria, what causes the dramatic phenotype in this condition? Look again at Figure 17.5. The two-base sequence at the beginning of each intervening junk region within a gene is GT. In the patients where the normal GGC changes to GGT, the amino acid region gains an inappropriate extra splice signal. In the context of all the other splicing signals in that genomic region, this inappropriately positioned GT acts strongly. The spliceosome cuts the messenger RNA in the amino acid-coding region rather than in the junk region.

The Science of Language by Noam Chomsky


Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, Brownian motion, dark matter, Drosophila, epigenetics, finite state, Howard Zinn, phenotype, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Pinker, theory of mind

Further, Waddington and more recent proponents of the developing field of evo-devo have pointed out that not all organic structure can be scientifically explained in this way, and perhaps very little. For one thing, there is the fact that modification requires mutation, and mutation can only proceed within the constraints set by physics and chemistry, among other sciences: possible structures and modifications of structure are limited by the laws of nature. Various structural features of organisms, for example, cannot be explained by genetic instruction sets alone, nor can the way phenotypical development takes place; ‘epigenetic’ factors play a crucial role in the latter. Scaling of skeletal structure (the genome cannot be thought to provide a complete specification of the sizes of each bone in a specific organism) and symmetry (the fact that each rib on the right has a homologue on the left, each wing of a butterfly the same pattern as the other . . .) are two examples. And there are issues that bear on structure and form that selectional adaptation does not speak to in any significant way: the fact, for example, that what have been called “control” or “master” genes are found in the same form in a large number of different species that cross biological clades.

Relying on this picture, many have treated evolution as an historicized version of learning so conceived: we and other creatures are the ways we are because each species has adapted in its structure and development to have an optimal strategy for its ecological niche; Skinner himself supposed this, revealing how little he understood of what evolution involves. Exploiting a connection to this view of learning is misguided strategy; one ends up defending something for which there is no warrant except that it appears to be all-encompassing. There is no modesty to this view – no recognition that selection's role is limited, if even that. Nothing is said about how evolution and phenotype development and growth must take place within the constraints set by physics, chemistry, biology, perhaps some form of information theory. There is no mention of the fact that many genes are conserved over species and clades. Epigenetic factors are ignored. ‘Happy accidents’ of the sort found in what Lewontin and Gould called “spandrels” are not mentioned. Too often – especially in the cognitive domain – there is only a minimal effort to find evidence for claims: just-so stories are common.

Placing this in a broader context, think of people referring, and of their using what language offers them – including nouns and pronouns in referring positions – to refer. Chapter 6 Page 37, On parameters and canalization I discuss variation in languages and parameters’ role in it in Appendix VIII; parameters appear too several times in the main text. Principles are the ‘natural laws’ of the language faculty, universal across the human species. Canalization – the fact that development yields a robust and distinct phenotype despite differences in gene, environment, and ‘input’ – is discussed briefly in Appendix VIII too, and is taken up again in the text below. What might parameters have to do – if anything – with canalization? Using for simplicity's sake the headedness macroparameter, assume, as is reasonable, that the child's language faculty's initial state, UG (as specified in the genome), for whatever reason, allows for either option.

pages: 623 words: 448,848

Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives by Dean D. Metcalfe


active measures, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, epigenetics, hygiene hypothesis, impulse control, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, statistical model, stem cell

Reactions have been reported with two common predominating phenotypes, food hypersensitivity and occupational respiratory disease. In the occupational respiratory disease phenotype, these cases involve predominately males with no atopic background. In the food hypersensitivity phenotype, all case reports have involved females, half of whom were atopic. Two of these females also showed occupational disease features, and many have described prior episodes of itching and burning with application of makeup, suspicious for contact reactions [12]. There have been four distinct reports via the FDA MedWatch program of contact dermatitis, comprising a small third phenotype of reaction [10]. Immunoblot analysis of persons with occupational respiratory disease and food hypersensitivity phenotypes have shown mixed results. Typically, authors have used both carmine and pulverized cochineal insect extract, subjected to SDS-PAGE and column chromatography fractionation to determine protein bands.

Persons with cow’s milk allergy, in contrast to individuals with CD, usually do not develop villous atrophy nor an increased mononuclear cell infiltrate within the lamina propria. However, TCRγδ⫹ CD8⫺CD4⫺ cells may occur as the majority of intra-epithelial lymphocytes, which suggests that a cytokine imbalance leads to the disease phenotype [144]. CD is primarily Th1 biased, whereas cow’s milk-protein allergy in individuals with an atopic predisposition appears to be predominantly Th2 biased. This is evidenced by a high production of IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 and a low production of IFN-γ [145,146]. However, non-atopic individuals may exhibit a Th0-like cytokine phenotype [147]. A recent study has demonstrated differences in an immune activation profile between individuals with non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy and CD. The group with cow’s milk allergy demonstrated an upregulation of CCR4 and IL-6mRNA and downregulation of IL-18 and IL-2mRNA within the gut mucosal tissue, suggesting a Th2-biased immune response.

Interestingly, there are no reports of FPIES in infants exclusively breast-fed and no reports of the reactions to the offending foods in the breast milk, suggesting an important protective role of breast-feeding in FPIES [21]. Lake hypothesized that food protein-induced proctocolitis may be a milder form of FPIES based on the fact that in FPIES, the maximal inflammatory response also involves the rectum [26]. Hence, proctocolitis in formula-fed infants would represent the mildest phenotype, whereas the protective effects of the breast milk such as presence of IgA antibodies and partially processed food proteins would prevent the expression of the full, more severe clinical phenotype in the breast-fed infants. Perhaps IgA or other immunologically active components of breast milk bind with the food allergens and release them in the rectum following cleavage by microbial IgA proteases or via other mechanisms [26]. In the most severe cases, symptoms may manifest within first days of life with severe, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal distension, hypoactive bowel sounds, weight loss, failure to thrive, dehydration, metabolic acidosis and electrolyte abnormalities, anemia, elevated white blood count with eosinophilia, and hypoalbuminemia [12,27].

pages: 309 words: 86,909

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson; Kate Pickett


basic income, Berlin Wall, clean water, Diane Coyle, epigenetics, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land reform, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral panic, offshore financial centre, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

A recent 12-year study of working-age men in the USA found that if they became unemployed, they gained weight.136 When their annual income dropped they gained, on average, 5.5 lbs. THE THRIFTY PHENOTYPE One additional idea that suggests a causal link between higher levels of income inequality in a society and higher body weights is known as the ‘thrifty phenotype’ hypothesis. Put simply, this theory suggests that when a pregnant woman is stressed, the development of her unborn child is modified to prepare it for life in a stressful environment. It isn’t yet clear whether stress hormones themselves do the damage, or whether stressed foetuses are less well nourished, or both things happen, but these ‘thrifty phenotype’ babies have a lower birthweight and a lower metabolic rate. In other words, they are adapted for an environment where food is scarce – they are small and need less food.

In conditions of scarcity during our evolutionary past this adaptation would have been beneficial, but in our modern world, where stress during pregnancy is unlikely to be due to food shortages and babies are born into a world of plenty, it’s maladaptive. Babies with a thirfty phenotype in a world where food is plentiful are more prone to obesity, to diabetes and to cardiovascular disease. As this book shows, societies with higher levels of income inequality have higher levels of mistrust, illness, status insecurity, violence and other stressors, so the thrifty phenotype may well be contributing to the high prevalence of obesity in them. THE EQUALITY DIET It is clear that obesity and overweight are not problems confined to the poor. In the USA, about 12 per cent of the population are poor, but more than 75 per cent are overweight.

pages: 329 words: 88,954

Emergence by Steven Johnson

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

Occasionally, random mutations appear in the gene pool, introducing complete new avenues for the system to explore. Run through enough cycles, and you have a recipe for engineering masterworks like the human eye—without a bona fide engineer in sight. The genetic algorithm was an attempt to capture that process in silicon. Software already has a genotype and a phenotype, Holland recognized; there’s the code itself, and then there’s what the code actually does. What if you created a gene pool of different code combinations, then evaluated the success rate of the phenotypes, eliminating the least successful strands? Natural selection relies on a brilliantly simple, but somewhat tautological, criterion for evaluating success: your genes get to pass on to the next generation if you survive long enough to produce a next generation. Holland decided to make that evaluation step more precise: his programs would be admitted to the next generation if they did a better job of accomplishing a specific task—doing simple math, say, or recognizing patterns in visual images.

But Holland imagined another approach: set up a gene pool of possible software and let successful programs evolve out of the soup. Holland’s system revolved around a series of neat parallels between computer programs and earth’s life-forms. Each depends on a master code for its existence: the zeros and ones of computer programming, and the coiled strands of DNA lurking in all of our cells (usually called the genotype). Those two kinds of codes dictate some kind of higher-level form or behavior (the phenotype): growing red hair or multiplying two numbers together. With DNA-based organisms, natural selection works by creating a massive pool of genetic variation, then evaluating the success rate of the assorted behaviors unleashed by all those genes. Successful variations get passed down to the next generation, while unsuccessful ones disappear. Sexual reproduction ensures that the innovative combinations of genes find each other.

Connolly, Peter, and Hazel Dodge. The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens and Rome. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Corbusier, Le. Towards a New Architecture. New York: Dover Publications, 1986. Davis, Mike. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles. New York: Vintage Books, 1992. Dawkins, Richard. Climbing Mount Improbable. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1996. ———. The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. ———. Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder. London: Penguin Press, 1998. Dean, Katie. “Attention Kids: Play This Game.” Wired News. December 19, 2000. Dehaene, Stanislas, Michel Kerszberg, and Jean-Pierre Changeux. “A neuronal model of a global workspace in effortful cognitive tasks.”

The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain by James Fallon


Bernie Madoff, epigenetics, Everything should be made as simple as possible, meta analysis, meta-analysis, personalized medicine, phenotype, Rubik’s Cube, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, theory of mind

The neurologist Helen Mayberg of Emory University found that you could immediately treat major depression by turning it off using deep brain stimulation (DBS), a technique that involved threading an electrode deep into the brain. Reduced activity in this area is associated with psychopathy, which may explain why you don’t see a lot of major depressives who are also psychopaths. After some anatomical slides, I presented a slide listing many of my clinical, subclinical, physical, and behavioral phenotypes (my actual traits and disorders). I also listed my risk for related illnesses through an ingenuity “network analysis” that takes into consideration all of my genetic alleles, the interaction of these genes, and what diseases and traits are inferred from this network. I had just received these results, as a more thorough follow-up to the genetic results I’d received two years prior for the Wall Street Journal article.

On the left of the slide were all of the syndromes I’ve had in my life, and their age of onset and age of offset where appropriate: asthma, allergies, panic attacks, OCD, hyper-religiosity, hypertension, obesity, essential tremor, addictions, hypomania, high-risk behaviors, putting others at risk, impulsivity, insomnia, flat empathy, aggression, hedonism, individualism, creative bursts, and verbosity. Next to that list of traits and clinical conditions, were statistical estimates of how at risk my genes put me for particular disorders, including various neurological, psychological, behavioral, endocrine, respiratory, and metabolic disorders. The phenotype-genotype pairings matched up very well. (After examining the nightmare combination of genes I inherited, Fabio had said, “It’s surprising that you ever made it through fetal development, let alone your adolescence.” I could have been another of my mother’s miscarriages, or a case of teenage suicide.) At the end of the question-and-answer period of the talk, in which I never mentioned my own potential depressive episodes, the chairman of psychiatry said that, based on my genetic information and my energetic performance, I appeared to have a subtype of bipolar disorder, thus confirming Hossein’s suspicions from the night before.

“Protective effect of CRHR1 gene variants on the development of adult depression following childhood maltreatment: Replication and extension.” Archives of General Psychiatry 66, no. 9 (2009): 978. Potkin, Steven G., Jessica A. Turner, Guia Guffanti, Anita Lakatos, James H. Fallon, Dana D. Nguyen, Daniel Mathalon, Judith Ford, John Lauriello, and Fabio Macciardi. “A genome-wide association study of schizophrenia using brain activation as a quantitative phenotype.” Schizophrenia Bulletin 35, no. 1 (2009): 96–108. Raine, Adrian. “From genes to brain to antisocial behavior.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 17, no. 5 (2008): 323–328. Rosell, Daniel R., Judy L. Thompson, Mark Slifstein, Xiaoyan Xu, W. Gordon Frankle, Antonia S. New, Marianne Goodman, et al. “Increased serotonin 2A receptor availability in the orbitofrontal cortex of physically aggressive personality disordered patients.”

pages: 220 words: 66,518

The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton


Albert Einstein, Benoit Mandelbrot, correlation does not imply causation, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Mars Rover, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

Endnotes Introduction Lipton, B. H. (1977a). “A fine structural analysis of normal and modulated cells in myogenic culture.” Developmental Biology 60: 26-47. Lipton, B. H. (1977b). “Collagen synthesis by normal and bromodeoxyuri-dine- treated cells in myogenic culture.” Developmental Biology 61: 153-165. Lipton, B. H., K. G. Bensch, et al. (1991). “Microvessel Endothelial Cell Transdifferentiation: Phenotypic Characterization.” Differentiation 46: 117-133. Lipton, B. H., K. G. Bensch, et al. (1992). “Histamine-Modulated Transdif-ferentiation of Dermal Microvascular Endothelial Cells.” Experimental Cell Research 199: 279-291. Chapter One Adams, C. L., M. K. L. Macleod, et al. (2003). “Complete analysis of the B-cell response to a protein antigen, from in vivo germinal centre formation to 3-D modelling of affinity maturation.”

Epigenetic Inheritance and Evolution: The Lamarckian Dimension. Oxford, Oxford University Press. Jones, P. A. (2001). “Death and methylation.” Nature 409: 141-144. Kling, J. (2003). “Put the Blame on Methylation.” The Scientist 27-28. Lederberg, J. (1994). Honoring Avery, MacLeod, And McCarty: The Team That Transformed Genetics. The Scientist 8: 11. Lipton, B. H., K. G. Bensch, et al. (1991). “Microvessel Endothelial Cell Transdifferentiation: Phenotypic Characterization.” Differentiation 46: 117-133. Nijhout, H. F. (1990). “Metaphors and the Role of Genes in Development.” Bioessays 12(9): 441-446. Pearson, H. (2003). “Geneticists play the numbers game in vain.” Nature 423: 576. Pennisi, E. (2003a). “A Low Number Wins the GeneSweep Pool.” Science 300: 1484. Pennisi, E. (2003b). “Gene Counters Struggle to Get the Right Answer.” Science 301: 1040-1041.

Kübler-Ross, Elizabeth (1997) On Death and Dying, New York, Scribner. Li, S., C. M. Armstrong, et al. (2004). “A Map of the Interactome Network of the Metazoan C. elegans.” Science 303: 540+. Liboff, A. R. (2004). “Toward an Electromagnetic Paradigm for Biology and Medicine.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 10(1): 41-47. Lipton, B. H., K. G. Bensch, et al. (1991). “Microvessel Endothelial Cell Transdifferentiation: Phenotypic Characterization.” Differentiation 46: 117-133. McClare, C. W. F. (1974). “Resonance in Bioenergetics.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 227: 74-97. Null, G., Ph.D., C. Dean, M.D. N.D., et al. (2003). Death By Medicine. New York, Nutrition Institute of America. Oschman, J. L. (2000). Chapter 9: Vibrational Medicine. Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis. Edinburgh, Harcourt Publishers: 121-137.

Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Advanced Guide to Building Muscle, Staying Lean, and Getting Strong by Michael Matthews

agricultural Revolution, fear of failure, Gary Taubes, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial

“Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for weight loss and heart disease risk reduction: a randomized trial.” Jama 293, no. 1 (2005): 43-53. 96. Blundell, John E., J. Cooling, and Neil A. King. “Differences in postprandial responses to fat and carbohydrate loads in habitual high and low fat consumers (phenotypes).” British Journal of Nutrition 88, no. 02 (2002): 125-132. 97. Cooling, J., and J. E. Blundell. “Lean male high-and low-fat phenotypes—different routes for achieving energy balance.” International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders 24, no. 12 (2000). 98. Blundell, John E., and John Cooling. “High-fat and low-fat (behavioural) phenotypes: biology or environment?.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 58, no. 04 (1999): 773-777. 99. Pittas, Anastassios G., and Susan B. Roberts. “Dietary composition and weight loss: can we individualize dietary prescriptions according to insulin sensitivity or secretion status?.”

Horton, Elliot Danforth Jr, James B. Young, and Lewis Landsberg. “Metabolic studies in human obesity during overnutrition and undernutrition: thermogenic and hormonal responses to norepinephrine.” Metabolism 35, no. 2 (1986): 166-175. 220. Keller, Andreas, Angela Graefen, Markus Ball, Mark Matzas, Valesca Boisguerin, Frank Maixner, Petra Leidinger et al. “New insights into the Tyrolean Iceman’s origin and phenotype as inferred by whole-genome sequencing.” Nature communications 3 (2012): 698. 221. 222. Cordain, Loren, Janette Brand Miller, S. Boyd Eaton, Neil Mann, Susanne HA Holt, and John D. Speth. “Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets.”

pages: 480 words: 138,041

The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry by Gary Greenberg


Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, back-to-the-land, David Brooks, impulse control, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, McMansion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, selection bias, statistical model, theory of mind, Winter of Discontent

In 2003, she and a group of colleagues tried to tease out the manic from the irritable among kids who were getting snared in Biederman’s expanded net. They looked for ways (other than the mania/irritability distinction) in which the two populations differed and proposed a “broad phenotype” that described the nonmanic patients. They called this phenotype “severe mood and behavioral dysregulation” and proposed “multisite clinical trials” to test whether the category was valid—whether, that is, the children would differ from one another not only according to their symptoms but also according to their family histories, the course of their troubles, and their response to treatment. There was already some suggestive, if preliminary, evidence on this last question: “that children with the broad phenotype10 may respond well to stimulants”—to the old standbys Ritalin and Adderall, in other words, rather than to Biederman’s pet drug Risperdal and the other antipsychotics.

“This was the stupidest idea in the world”: Allen Frances telephone interview, November 23, 2011. 6. “After the third or fourth”: Herb Peyser interview, January 23, 2012. 7. Freud once said: See Freud, The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious. 8. “orderly and democratic process”: David Shaffer interview, December 8, 2011. 9. “David probably misinterpreted”: Allen Frances e-mail, January 23, 2012. 10. “that children with the broad phenotype”: Leibenluft et al., “Defining Clinical Phenotypes of Juvenile Mania,” 436. 11. “claim to define a new diagnosis”: Leibenluft, “Severe Mood Dysregulation,” 131. 12. “Justification for Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria”: “Justification for Temper Dysregulation Disorder,” 13. it announced a new “naming convention”: American Psychiatric Association, “APA Modifies DSM Naming Convention to Reflect Publication Changes,” news release, March 9, 2010. 14.

“DSM-IV Field Trials for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” American Journal of Psychiatry 151, no. 11 (1994): 1673–85. Leibenluft, Ellen. “Severe Mood Dysregulation, Irritability, and the Diagnostic Boundaries of Bipolar Disorder in Youths.” American Journal of Psychiatry 168, no. 2 (February 2011): 129–42. Leibenluft, Ellen, Donald S. Charney, Kenneth E. Towbin, Robinder K. Banghoo, and Daniel S. Pine. “Defining Clinical Phenotypes of Juvenile Mania.” American Journal of Psychiatry 160, no. 3 (2003): 430–37. Lethem, Jonathan. The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc. New York: Doubleday, 2011. LeVay, Simon. Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996. Livesley, W. John. “Confusion and Incoherence in the Classification of Personality Disorder.” Psychological Injury and Law 3, no. 4 (2010): 304–13.

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Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane


Benoit Mandelbrot, clockwork universe, double helix, Drosophila, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, out of africa, phenotype, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, unbiased observer

In this case, the individual cell can be said to persist from one generation to the next, whereas accumulat- 194 The Troubled Birth of the Individual ing mutations mean that the genes themselves do change. In fact, in physically stressful circumstances, bacteria can even speed up the mutation rate in their genes. So there is a dilemma in bacteria about whether selection is ‘for’ the genes or the cell as a whole. In many respects the cell is the replicator. Mutations in a gene don’t necessarily change the phenotype (the function or appearance of the organism) but by definition they must change the gene itself, perhaps even scrambling its sequence out of recognition over aeons. Mutations accumulate because many of them have little or no effect on function, and so go unnoticed by natural selection—they are said to be ‘neutral’. Most of the genetic differences between people, on average one in every 1000 DNA letters, millions of letters in total, are likely to result from neutral mutations.

It’s like returning to a company that you once worked for, to discover that none of your former colleagues still works there, but that the type of business, ethos, and management structures are exactly as you remembered them, a ghostly echo of the past. Because genes can change, while the cell and its constituents remain essentially unchanged, the bacterial cell might be considered more stable an evolutionary unit than its genes. For example, cyanobacteria (the bacteria that ‘invented’ photosynthesis) have certainly changed their gene sequences over evolution, but if the fossil evidence can be believed, the phenotype has barely changed over billions of years. If, as Dawkins has argued, the worst enemy of the selfish gene is a competitive (polymorphic, or altered) form of the same gene, then neutral mutations are the selfish gene scrambler par excellence: gene sequences diverge over time as neutral mutations accumulate. There may be millions of different forms of the same gene in different species, all scrambled to varying degrees; this is the basis of any gene tree.

But the ideal of collaboration does not give proper weight to the conflict between the various selfish entities that make up an individual, and in particular to the cells and mitochondria within the cells. While conflict between various selfish entities is entirely in keeping with Dawkins’s philosophy, he did not develop the idea in The Selfish Gene—these ideas awaited his own later book The Extended Phenotype, and in the 1980s and 1990s the important work of Yale biologist Leo Buss and others. Thanks to the exploration of such conflicts and their resolutions, evolutionary biologists now appreciate that colonies of cells (or genes, if you like) do not constitute true individuals, but rather form a looser association, in which individual cells may still act independently. For example, multicellular colonies like sponges often fragment into bits, each of which is able to establish a new colony.

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The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock


Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia

Scientists may pretend to deplore the New Age, but that does not stop them reading its publications and in no time Gaia’s face was turned to the wall, especially in the neo‐Darwinist community of scientists. Neither Lynn Margulis nor I could make a convincing defence – partly because, as we had stated it, the Gaia hypothesis was wrong. We had said that organisms, or the biosphere, regulated the Earth’s climate and composition. Somewhat later, in his book The Extended Phenotype, Richard Dawkins showed that this was impossible. He said it so well and clearly that the subject was then regarded by the scientific community as closed. Richard Dawkins is an extraordinarily talented author and persuader and in his book he vented his scorn on the Gaia hypothesis with the powerful erudition that he now uses to censure theology. From then on it became impossible to publish any paper on it in a mainstream journal; the peer reviewers were convinced by Dawkins and other eminent biologists that Gaia was mere New Age fantasy.

He promised that if it were of the quality of the Daisyworld paper it would be published in Nature. He was true to his word and the next paper on the topic was one I wrote with Robert Charlson, Meinrat Andreae and Steven Warren on the connection between clouds, condensation nuclei, dimethyl sulphide and its source, ocean algae. I accepted Dawkins’ criticism that there was no way for life or the biosphere to regulate anything beyond the phenotype of its component individual organisms. So what on Earth was doing the regulating? I had no doubt that climate and chemistry were regulated, so what did it if not life? As I have explained earlier, the traditional Earth scientists, led by James Walker and H. D. Holland, were sure that regulation was done by geochemistry and geophysics alone and that life was a mere passenger or at most a contributor.

Kump, Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming (DK Publishing, Inc., New York, 2008) Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report (Island Press, Washington, DC, 2005) Sir Crispin Tickell, Climate Change and World Affairs (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1986) 3 Consequences and Survival Sir David Attenborough, Life on Earth (HarperCollins, London, 1979) Richard Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype (W. H. Freeman, Oxford and San Francisco, 1982) Brian Fagan, The Long Summer (Granta, London, 2005) Richard Fortey, The Earth (Harper Collins, London, 2004) Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth (Bloomsbury, London, 2006) Tim Lenton and W. von Bloh, ‘Biotic Feedback Extends Lifespan of Biosphere’, Geophysical Research Letters (2001) James Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia (Allen Lane/Penguin, London, 2006) Fred Pearce, When the Rivers Run Dry (Transworld, London, 2006) H.

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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick


Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter,, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, lifelogging, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce

Yes, says Dawkins, if this means “any gene that influences the development of nervous systems in such a way as to make them likely to behave altruistically.”♦ Such genes—these replicators, these survivors—know nothing about altruism and nothing about reading, of course. Whatever and wherever they are, their phenotypic effects matter only insofar as they help the genes propagate. Molecular biology, in its signal achievement, had pinpointed the gene in a protein-encoding piece of DNA. This was the hardware definition. The software definition was older and fuzzier: the unit of heredity; the bearer of a phenotypic difference. With the two definitions uneasily coexisting, Dawkins looked past them both. If genes are meant to be masters of survival, they can hardly be fragments of nucleic acid. Such things are fleeting. To say that a replicator manages to survive for eons is to define the replicator as all the copies considered as one.

♦ “THERE IS A MOLECULAR ARCHEOLOGY IN THE MAKING”: Werner R. Loewenstein, The Touchstone of Life: Molecular Information, Cell Communication, and the Foundations of Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 93–94. ♦ “SELECTION FAVORS THOSE GENES WHICH SUCCEED”: Richard Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype, rev. ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 117. ♦ DAWKINS SUGGESTS THE CASE OF A GENE: Ibid., 196–97. ♦ THERE IS NO GENE FOR LONG LEGS: Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 37. ♦ HABIT OF SAYING “A GENE FOR X”: Richard Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype, 21. ♦ “ALL WE WOULD NEED IN ORDER”: Ibid., 23. ♦ “ANY GENE THAT INFLUENCES THE DEVELOPMENT OF NERVOUS SYSTEMS”: Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, 60. ♦ “IT IS NO MORE LIKELY TO DIE”: Ibid., 34. ♦ “TODAY THE TENDENCY IS TO SAY”: Max Delbrück, “A Physicist Looks At Biology,” Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 38 (1949): 194. 11.

And it is harder still to specify genes for more complex qualities—genes for obesity or aggression or nest building or braininess or homosexuality. Are there genes for such things? Not if a gene is a particular strand of DNA that expresses a protein. Strictly speaking, one cannot say there are genes for almost anything—not even eye color. Instead, one should say that differences in genes tend to cause differences in phenotype (the actualized organism). But from the earliest days of the study of heredity, scientists have spoken of genes more broadly. If a population varies in some trait—say, tallness—and if the variation is subject to natural selection, then by definition it is at least partly genetic. There is a genetic component to the variation in tallness. There is no gene for long legs; there is no gene for a leg at all.♦ To build a leg requires many genes, each issuing instructions in the form of proteins, some making raw materials, some making timers and on-off switches.

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Data Source Handbook by Pete Warden

Amazon:, Menlo Park, openstreetmap, phenotype, social graph

eBook <> "kind": "customsearch#result", "title": "mana cross pang confidante surplus fine formic beach metallurgy ...", "htmlTitle": "mana cross pang confidante surplus fine formic beach metallurgy \u003cb\u003e...\u003c/b\u003e", "link": "", "displayLink": "", "snippet": "... phonic phenotype exchangeable Pete pesticide exegete exercise persuasion .... lopsided judiciary Lear proverbial warden Sumatra Hempstead confiscate ...", }, ... Wikipedia Wikipedia doesn’t offer an API, but it does offer bulk data downloads of almost everything on the site. One of my favorite uses for this information is extracting the titles of all the articles to create a list of the names of people, places, and concepts to match text against.

pages: 476 words: 132,042

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller,, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Engelbart,, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

Richard Lenski, at Michigan State University, has been performing this very experiment in his lab. What he has found is that, in general, multiple runs of evolution produced similar traits in the phenotype—the outward body of the bacteria. Changes in the genotype occurred in roughly the same places, though the exact coding was often different. This suggests a convergence of broad form with details left to chance. Lenski is not the only scientist doing experiments like this. Others’ experiments show similar results from parallel evolution: Instead of getting novelty each time, you get what one scientific paper calls “the convergence of multiple evolving lines on similar phenotypes.” As geneticist Sean Carroll concludes, “Evolution can and does repeat itself at the levels of structures and patterns, as well as of individual genes. . . .

: David Darling. (2001) Life Everywhere: The Maverick Science of Astrobiology. New York: Basic Books, p. 130. 118 “where there is carbon-based life”: Michael Denton and Craig Marshall. (2001) “Laws of Form Revisited.” Nature, 410 (6827). 120 “encoded implicitly in the genome”: Lynn Helena Caporale. (2003) “Natural Selection and the Emergence of a Mutation Phenotype: An Update of the Evolutionary Synthesis Considering Mechanisms That Affect Genomic Variation.” Annual Review of Microbiology, 57 (1). 121 from the same starting point: (2009) “Skeuomorph.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation. 122 “the embodiment of contingency”: Stephen Jay Gould. (1989) Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and Nature of History.

New York: Basic Books, pp. xv, xviii. 126 “becomes increasingly inevitable”: Simon Conway Morris. (2004) Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. New York: Cambridge University Press, p. xiii. 127 with details left to chance: Richard E. Lenski. (2008) “Chance and Necessity in Evolution.” The Deep Structure of Biology, ed. Simon Conway Morris. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Foundation. 127 “lines on similar phenotypes”: Sean C. Sleight, Christian Orlic, et al. (2008) “Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Adaptation by Escherichia Coli to Stressful Cycles of Freezing, Thawing and Growth.” Genetics, 180 (1). 127 “all outcomes would be different”: Sean Carroll. (2008) The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution. New York: W. W.

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Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom


agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk,, endogenous growth, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, Turing machine, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

Genome-wide complex trait analysis, using studies with vast numbers of subjects, is just now starting to become feasible and will greatly increase our knowledge of the genetic architectures of human cognitive and behavioral traits.40 Any trait with a non-negligible heritability—including cognitive capacity—could then become susceptible to selection.41 Embryo selection does not require a deep understanding of the causal pathways by which genes, in complicated interplay with environments, produce phenotypes: it requires only (lots of) data on the genetic correlates of the traits of interest. It is possible to calculate some rough estimates of the magnitude of the gains obtainable in different selection scenarios.42 Table 5 shows expected increases in intelligence resulting from various amounts of selection, assuming complete information about the common additive genetic variants underlying the narrow-sense heritability of intelligence.

With gene synthesis we could take the genome of an embryo and construct a version of that genome free from the genetic noise of accumulated mutations. If one wished to speak provocatively, one could say that individuals created from such proofread genomes might be “more human” than anybody currently alive, in that they would be less distorted expressions of human form. Such people would not all be carbon copies, because humans vary genetically in ways other than by carrying different deleterious mutations. But the phenotypical manifestation of a proofread genome may be an exceptional physical and mental constitution, with elevated functioning in polygenic trait dimensions like intelligence, health, hardiness, and appearance.58 (A loose analogy could be made with composite faces, in which the defects of the superimposed individuals are averaged out: see Figure 6.) Figure 6 Composite faces as a metaphor for spell-checked genomes.

Evolution is not necessarily up The word “evolution” is often used as a synonym of “progress,” perhaps reflecting a common uncritical image of evolution as a force for good. A misplaced faith in the inherent beneficence of the evolutionary process can get in the way of a fair evaluation of the desirability of a multipolar outcome in which the future of intelligent life is determined by competitive dynamics. Any such evaluation must rest on some (at least implicit) opinion about the probability distribution of different phenotypes turning out to be adaptive in a post-transition digital life soup. It would be difficult in the best of circumstances to extract a clear and correct answer from the unavoidable goo of uncertainty that pervades these matters: more so, if we superadd a layer of Panglossian muck. A possible source for faith in freewheeling evolution is the apparent upward directionality exhibited by the evolutionary process in the past.

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Iron Sunrise by Stross, Charles


blood diamonds, dumpster diving, gravity well, hiring and firing, industrial robot, life extension, loose coupling, mass immigration, mutually assured destruction, phenotype, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, RFID, side project, speech recognition, technological singularity, trade route, uranium enrichment, urban sprawl, zero-sum game

Says here he impersonates a pre-holocaust emperor called Idi Amin, uh, Idi Amin Dada. There’s a release about reinterpreting the absurdist elements of the Ugandan proletarian reformation dialectic through the refracting lens of neo-Dadaist ideological situationism.” “Whatever that means. Okay. Next question, where was this guy born? Where did he come from? What does he do?” “He was born somewhere in Paraguay. He’s had extensive phenotype surgery to make himself resemble his role model, the Last King of Scotland or President of Uganda or whoever he was. Got a brochure from one of his performances here — says he tries to act as an emulation platform for the original Idi Amin’s soul.” “And now he’s gone crazy, right? Can you dig anything up about the history of the original Mister Amin? Sounds Islamicist to me. Was he an Arab or something?”

She snapped her fingers, fuming angrily. Don’t ghost out on me now! His shoulder felt like a joint of uncooked meat, solid and immobile. There was a nasty stench in the air — if he’d lost bowel control already, that meant he was farther along than she’d wanted. “Witness for the Propagation, I request access to this one’s lineage. While the instance vector has proven unreliable, I believe with suitable guidance the phenotype may prove stable and effective.” Bayreuth was blinking at her in surprise. The Propagator nodded. “Your request has been received,” she said distantly. “A reproductive license is under consideration. Or were you thinking of a clone?” “No, recombination only.” Hoechst leaned closer, staring into U. Vannevar Scott’s eyes, remembering earlier days, more innocent, both of them interns on the staff of an ubermensch — stolen nights, sleepless days, the guilt-free pleasure before responsibility became a curse.

Her words struck home. “Boss, I—” “Silence.” She watched him over the rim of her glass, green eyes narrowed. Sweat-spiked black hair, high cheekbones, full red lips, narrow waist: a warrior’s body held in a sheath of silk that had taken master couturiers a month to stitch. She had the inhumanly symmetrical features that only a first-line clade could afford to buy for the alpha instances of their phenotype. “I brought you here because I think we may have gotten off on the wrong foot when we were first introduced.” Franz sat frozen in his chair, the glass of scotch — worth a small fortune, for it had been imported across more than two hundred light years — clutched in his right hand. “I’m not sure I understand you.” “I think you do.” Hoechst watched him, unblinking except for the occasional flicker of her nictitating membranes.

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Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward


Buckminster Fuller, computer age, Drosophila, Fellow of the Royal Society, industrial robot, invention of radio, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, phenotype, Robert X Cringely, stem cell, trade route

CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE By the Same Author THE SELFISH GENE THE EXTENDED PHENOTYPE THE BLIND WATCHMAKER RIVER OUT OF EDEN Original drawings by Lalla Ward CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE Richard Dawkins W. W. Norton & Company New York London Copyright © 1996 by Richard Dawkins Original drawings copyright © 1996 by Lalla Ward All rights reserved First published as a Norton 1997 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Dawkins, Richard, 1941— Climbing mount improbable / Richard Dawkins; original drawings by Lalla Ward. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN: 978-0-393-31682-7 1. Natural selection. 2. Evolutionary genetics. 3. Morphogenesis. I. Title. QH375.D376 1996 575.01’62—dc20 96—19138 CIP W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110 W.

These mutations deserve to be called macro-mutations, and they have evidently been incorporated in evolution because all these snakes exist. They are DC8 mutations because they involve the duplication of existing complexity, not the 747 invention of new complexity. There is something that could come to the evolutionary aid of the freak macro-mutant, namely the fact that the effect of a given gene depends upon the other genes that are present in the same body. The effect of a gene on a body, its so-called phenotypic effect, is not written on its surface. There is nothing in the DNA code of the achondroplasia gene that a molecular biologist could decode as ‘short’ or ‘dwarf’. It has the effect of making limbs short only when surrounded by lots of other genes, to say nothing of other features of the environment. A gene’s meaning is context-dependent. The embryo develops in a climate produced by all the genes.

X. (1992) Accidental Empires. London: Viking. Cronin, H. (1991) The Ant and the Peacock. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dance, S. P. (1992) Shells. London: Dorling Kindersley. Darwin, C. (1859) The Origin of Species. Harmondsworth (1968): Penguin. Darwin, C. (1882) The Various Contrivances by Which Orchids are Fertilised by Insects. London: John Murray. Dawkins, R. (1982) The Extended Phenotype. Oxford: W. H. Freeman. Dawkins, R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. Harlow: Longman. Dawkins, R. (1989) ‘The evolution of evolvability’. In Artificial Life. (Ed. C. Langton.) Santa Fe: Addison-Wesley. Dawkins, R. (1989) The Selfish Gene. (2nd edn) Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dawkins, R. (1995) River Out of Eden. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Dennett, D. C. (1995) Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.

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Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Mahatma Gandhi, music of the spheres, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steven Pinker, Zipf's Law

More widely, the environment in which a gene has to survive includes the other species with which it comes into contact. The DNA of any one species doesn't literally come into direct contact with the DNA molecules of its predators, competitors or mutualistic partners. 'Climate' has to be understood less intimately than when the arena of gene cooperation is the interior of cells, as it is for genes within one species. In the larger arena, it is the consequences of genes in other species—their 'phenotypic effects'—that constitute an important part of the environment in which the natural selection of genes within neighbouring species goes on. A rainforest is a special kind of environment, fashioned and defined by the plants and animals that live in it. Every one of the species in a tropical rainforest consists of a gene pool, isolated from all other gene pools as far as sexual mixing is concerned, but in contact with their bodily effects.

I will simply note that here we have software/hardware co-evolution. The genes build the hardware. The memes are the software. The co-evolution is what may have driven the inflation of the human brain. I said that I'd return to the illusion of the 'little man in the brain'. Not to solve the problem of consciousness, which is way beyond my capacity, but to make another comparison between memes and genes. In The Extended Phenotype, I argued against taking the individual organism for granted. I didn't mean individual in the conscious sense but in the sense of a single, coherent body surrounded by a skin and dedicated to a more or less unitary purpose of surviving and reproducing. The individual organism, I argued, is not fundamental to life, but something that emerges when genes, which at the beginning of evolution were separate, warring entities, gang together in cooperative groups, as 'selfish cooperators'.

New York: Scribners. 25. Cronin, H. (1991) The Ant and the Peacock. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 26. Darwin, C. (1859) On the Origin of Species. London (1968): Penguin Books. 27. Davies, N. B. (1992) Dunnock Behaviour and Social Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 28. Dawkins, M. S. (1993) Through Our Eyes Only? Oxford: W. H. Freeman. 29. Dawkins, R. (1982) The Extended Phenotype. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 30. Dawkins, R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. London: Penguin Books. 31. Dawkins, R. (1989) The Selfish Gene. Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 32. Dawkins, R. (1995) River Out of Eden. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 33. Dawkins, R. (1996) Climbing Mount Improbable. New York: Norton. 34. Dawkins, R. (1998) The values of science and the science of values.

pages: 380 words: 104,841

The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us by Diane Ackerman


23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, airport security, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, carbon footprint, clean water, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Google Earth, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, Internet of things, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microbiome, nuclear winter, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, skunkworks, Skype, stem cell, Stewart Brand, the High Line, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog

Now he’s among those ringing the biggest changes, including a dramatically new view of the human body and the jostles of cells that inhabit living tissues—even what a cell is and how a cell behaves. Not only do we know about stem cells, we’re starting to wield them in clever ways to mend the body, and it’s not arduous to do; it can be as simple as exposing cells to the right chemicals or stimuli. There’s been a stunning paradigm shift from the rule of phenotype—one cell type fated for one job and nothing else—to phenotypic elasticity, the idea that cells are far more versatile and can be repurposed, like a hammer used to anchor a kite. We now grasp that a wafer of skin can be retrained to do just about anything. It’s a new category of raw material, like wood or stone, with potent gifts. An ebony tree growing in Africa may provide shade to humans, and a lofty haven for a leopard gnawing a carcass, but its dark grain also gives rise to clarinets, piano keys, violin fingerboards, and music.

., 55, 73 New York University, 197–98 night fiddlers, 172–73 Nile perch, 131 Nin, Anaïs, 186 nitrogen, 36 NOAA, 210 Norrbotten, Sweden, 275–76, 277–78, 280 North Africa, 106 North Carolina, 46 northern goshawks, 132 Northwest Passage, 135 Norway, 101, 124, 132 Norway maples, 132 nuclear bomb, 191 nuclear power, 22, 100 nuclear winter, 8, 9 Obama, Barack, 177 Obama administration, 233 obesity, 196 ocean, acidification of, 65, 66, 154 octopuses, 202, 216 Ohio, 77 Ohyama, Ken, 23 oil, 99, 106 oil refineries, 22 oil spills, 300 Oman, 132 1D farming, see mariculture Operation Acoustic Kitty, 146 Operation Migration, 139–40 opossums, 129 Orangutan Awareness program, 28 Orangutan Outreach, 5, 6, 313 orangutans, 3–7, 25–28, 132, 216, 217, 231, 296 human genes shared by, 3 impending extinction of, 27–28, 313 solitary lives of, 4 tool use by, 5 orca whales, 135, 144 orchids, 206 Orff, Kate, 55 organic fertilizer, 64 Organovo, 238–39 Ornstein, Len, 54 Orthopets, 256 Oshkosh Airshow, 187 osteoarthritis, 248 otters, 124 Outer Island, 58 ovarian cancer, 281–82 Överkalix, Sweden, 279–80 oxen, 140 oxeye daisies, 132 oxygen, 41, 53 oysters, 54–55, 56, 57, 60, 61–63 Ozawa, Masakatsu, 23 P-52 (python), 128 pacemakers, 253 Panbanisha (bonobo), 201–2, 203 pancreas, 281 pansies, 90 Papua New Guinea, 72 Paradise Lost (Milton), 212–13 Paris, 95–96 Paris Habitat, 96 Parkinson’s disease, 253, 295 parks, 73–74, 78 parrots, 202 parsley, 89 Partula, 156–59 passenger pigeons, 151–52 Pasteur, Louis, 290 Patagonia National Park, 99 pathogens, 290 peacock feathers, 91 Pearce, Mick, 93–94 Pembrey, Marcus, 279, 281 penguins, 134–35 peonies, 125 People’s Daily, 146 peppers, 89 peregrine falcons, 132 periwinkles, 61–62 permafrost, 48 personality, 200, 214, 216–17, 222–23, 229, 253, 292, 297, 299, 303–4, 307 Peru, 77 pesticides, 153, 166 pets, 149–50 Pettit, Don, 16 Phelps, Michael, 258 phenotypic elasticity, 249–50 Philippines, 46 photonic clusters, 35 phytoplankton, 61 piezoelectricity, 317 pigeons, 140, 142, 144, 145–46 pigs, 71 in war, 146 Pistorius, Oscar, 258, 260 Plan Bee, 166 planes, 171, 191 planets, 220–21 Planets, The: A Cosmic Pastoral (Ackerman), 220 plankton, 134–35 PlantLab, 90 plants: in cities, 79–85 texting by, 205–7 plastic stents, 253 Pleistocene Park, 151 Pliocene, 29 PLOS ONE, 271 pneumonia, 183 Poland, 78, 132, 273 polar bears, 134 polar molecules, 35 polar T3, 90 pollution, 154 marine transport, 76 Polo, Marco, 272 polymer teeth, 253 Polynesia, 156, 157 Ponce, Brent, 260–61 ponies, 137–38 Pons, Lily, 264 poppies, 125 population growth, 10 Porter, Eliot, 25 poverty, 285, 286 Power Felt, 185 prairie dogs, 131 presence, 199 Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit, 145 probiotics, 300 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 129 produce, 89 Project Orcon, 145 Project Pigeon, 145 Project X-Ray, 145 proprioception, 175–76 prosthetics, 256–58 protein, 190 protozoans, 172, 289–90, 300 Przewalski’s horses, 132 Puerto Rico, 175 Puppe (orangutan), 26–27 purple finch, 137 pyrolysis technology, 76 pythons, 128–31, 133, 140, 315 Quai Branly Museum, 80–82, 84–85 quarries, 24 quasi-crystal, 34 rabbits, 126, 129, 133 rabies, 298 racoons, 129 rail trails, 77 rainforests, 79 rains, 41 Raison, Charles, 300–301 Rambuteau subway station, 95–96 Rand, Ayn, 59 rats, 282–83, 296 reading, 191–92 Reconciliation Ecology, 74 recycling, 52, 74, 78, 87, 88, 90 heat, 95–108 red clover, 166 Red Delicious, 137 red foxes, 153 red kites, 132 Red Sea Star Restaurant, 76 reef death, 36–37 refrigerators, 87 regenerative medicine, 244 Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 254–55 reindeer, 132 Reiss, Diana, 202, 204 religion, 176 Relman, David, 300 Renaissance, 190 Renault, 83 renewable energy, 307 restaurant rooftop farms, 88 retinas, 253 Revolutionizing Prosthetics program, 258–59 Rezwan, Mohammed, 52–53 rhododendrons, 125 rice, 71 Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, 82 Rig Veda, 257, 40, 314 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 78 Ripasso Energy, 100–101, 106 roadkill, 115–16 robomoths, 146–47 RobotCub Consortium, 218–19 robot fleas, 148 robotic evolution, 210, 213, 224–25 robots, 210–25 rocketships, 171 rock strata, 31, 35 roe deer, 124 Romania, 78, 124 Romans, 185 Rome, 267 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 145 rosemary, 90 Rosenzweig, Michael, 74 roses, 125 Rotterdam, Netherlands, 77 Royal Botanic Gardens, 118 Rwanda, 46 Ryu Chan Hyeon, 102 saber-tooth tigers, 162, 163 Sagan, Carl, 220 sage, 125 Sahara Desert, 54 Sahel, 46 St.

pages: 219 words: 63,495

50 Future Ideas You Really Need to Know by Richard Watson


23andMe, 3D printing, access to a mobile phone, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, BRICs, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, digital Maoism, digital map, Elon Musk, energy security, failed state, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, happiness index / gross national happiness, hive mind, hydrogen economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Mark Shuttleworth, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peak oil, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Florida, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, smart cities, smart meter, smart transportation, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, supervolcano, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Turing test, urban decay, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, women in the workforce, working-age population, young professional

The second reason for the trend is technology. Developments in areas such as genomics and personal phenotyping mean that personalized medicine is becoming a reality, and pharmaceutical companies are shifting research and development expenditure toward specialty products and therapies that target niche medical conditions and subpopulations. A 9 million euro, EU-funded project, Food4Me, is being launched to look at all aspects of personalized nutrition—namely how food intake could be tailored to suit each individual’s physical and genetic makeup. Perhaps rather than call it personalized medicine, we should call it personalized health. There’s even a European study on delivering personalized nutrition according to phenotype. In the end, it really is up to you to look after yourself by whatever method you choose from the hundreds of possibilities available so that you don’t need medicine.

pages: 289 words: 22,394

Virus of the Mind by Richard Brodie


cognitive dissonance, Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach, joint-stock company, New Journalism, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy

A Working Definition We want a definition of meme that gives us access to understanding cultural evolution, as in the biological definition. But we want to be clear that memes are internal representations, as in the psychological definition. And we want to look at memes as ideas— as our software, our own internal programming—that produce an effect on the outside world, as in the cognitive definition. The result is the definition I use in this book, a definition similar to the one Dawkins adopted in his 1982 book The Extended Phenotype: Definition of Meme A meme is a unit of information in a mind whose existence influences events such that more copies of itself get created in other minds. Now, with this definition, we can answer the questions I asked Charles Simonyi and Greg Kusnick back at Microsoft. Is a yawn a meme? No, a yawn is behavior and, as far as I know, has nothing to do with an internal representation of any information.

See gambling, psychology of 237 virus of the mind brains changing world and, 83–84 purposes of, 69–71 Bulgatz, Joseph, 197 Buss, David: Evolution of Desire, 99 Butler, Samuel, 17 button-pushing memes advertising and, 152–53 birds of a feather and, 116 cheap insurance and, 118–19, 121, 122, 181 crisis and, 146, 188 dominance and, 189 elitism and, 116 food and, 188 helping children and, 115–16, 120, 146, 160 problems and, 189 racism and, 116 security and, 188 sex and, 189 special interests and, 176–77 windows of opportunity and, 107, 130, 146, 172, 198 buttons, second-order, 77–79 approval and, 78 belonging and, 77–78, 189 caring and, 78 distinguishing yourself and, 78 obeying authority and, 78 Celestine Prophecy (Redfield), 208 chain letters, 85–87 children, 67 altruism and, 115–16 consciousness and, 228–29 education and, 223–29 mind viruses and, xix, 46, 145 operant conditioning and, 129 238 Index religion and, 128 See also under button-pushing memes Cleary, Thomas, 217 Coca-Cola, 21, 129, 153 cognitive dissonance, 126–27, 130–31, 143, 203 cognitive therapy, 8 communication, evolution of, 71–72 confidence games, 140–42 Congreve, William, 81 consciousness, 76–77, 228–29 conspiracy theories, 162–64 crisis meme, 72–73 Crossfire, 161 cults key elements of, 201 mission and, 202 cultural viruses conspiracy theories and, 162–64 government and, 170–79 institutions and, 147–48 journalism and, 159–61, 164–67 panhandling and, 169–70 pets and, 168–69 television and advertising and, 149–51 danger meme, 73 Darwin, Charles, xiii, xxi, 111 Dawkins, Richard, 47 Blind Watchmaker, 191 Extended Phenotype, 11 Selfish Gene, 4–5 selfish-gene theory and, 51 Dennett, Daniel, 8–9 Diet Pepsi, 153–54 distinction-memes, 19–21 money and, 27 239 virus of the mind perception and, 29–30 distinguishing yourself, 78 DNA genetic evolution and, 53–56, 58–59 viruses and, 40–41 drives, basic. See basic drives education, reinvention of, 225–29 Ellis, Albert, 8 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 147, 205 Self-Reliance, 81–82 est, 208–9 ethical questions, 211–12 evangelism, 80, 146, 183, 187, 200, 205 virus shells and, 207 evolution battle for sex and, 90–91 communication and, 71–72 concept of, xvi consciousness and, 76–77 definition of, 49 direction of, 56, 67, 85–86 engineering and, 57–59 entropy and, 48–49 fitness and, 50–51 general tendencies versus specific individuals and, 95 human eye and, 57, 58 memes and, 85–86 natural selection and, 48–49 replicators and, 49–50 selfish gene and, 51–53, 55, 62 selfish meme and, 67–68 sex characteristics and, 91–95 evolutionary psychology, 18, 88, 89 concept of, xvi exponential growth, 39 240 Index faith meme, 81 familiarity meme, 81 fear altruism and, 115–17 bad decisions and, 123 evolution and, 112–14 modern life and, 114–15 overcoming of, 123–24 revulsion and, 112 superstition and, 121–23 urban legends and, 120–21 Feynman, Richard, 89 fitness evolution and, 50–51 memes and, 71–74 Forum, The, 208–9 four F’s.

pages: 285 words: 78,180

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter


Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Asilomar, Barry Marshall: ulcers, bioinformatics, borderless world, Brownian motion, clean water, discovery of DNA, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Turing machine

34 Artificial life as originally conceived has had a new virtual life in the form of games and movies, with the murderous Hal 9000 of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the genocidal Skynet of the Terminator films, and the malevolent machines of The Matrix. However, the reality still lags far behind. In computer-based artificial life there is no distinction between the genetic sequence or genotype of the manufactured organism and its phenotype, the physical expression of that sequence. In the case of a living cell, the DNA code is expressed in the form of RNA, proteins and cells, which form all of the physical substances of life. Artificial life systems quickly run out of steam, because genetic possibilities within a computer model are not open-ended but predefined. Unlike in the biological world, the outcome of computer evolution is built into its programming.

We were further encouraged by the observation that the number of transplanted colonies from each experiment was dependent directly on the amount of M. mycoides DNA added to the cells. The more DNA we added, the greater the number of transplant colonies that resulted. So what was it, exactly, that we now had? Was it M. capricolum cells that contained only the M. mycoides DNA, including the added lacZ and antibiotic-resistance tetracycline resistance tetM genes? What had changed in the wake of the genome transplant? What was the phenotype of cells derived from the transplanted DNA? We subjected the blue cells to a number of complex analytical procedures to find out what proteins were present. Using antibodies that were exquisitely sensitive to proteins in each parent-cell type, we investigated what the new transplant cells had on their cell surface. To our pleasant surprise the antibodies that were made against the M. capricolum proteins did not bind to the new cells with the transplanted genomes, whereas the antibodies that were made originally against the M. mycoides proteins did bind.

pages: 448 words: 116,962

Singularity Sky by Stross, Charles


anthropic principle, cellular automata, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, Doomsday Clock, Extropian, gravity well, Kuiper Belt, life extension, means of production, new economy, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, skinny streets, technological singularity, uranium enrichment

Most disturbingly of all, the shrubbery seemed to be blurring at the edges, species exchanging phenotypic traits with unnatural promiscuous abandon. "What's responsible for this?" Burya asked Sister Seventh, during one of their hourly pauses. The Critic shrugged. "Is nothing. Lysenkoist forestry fringe, recombinant artwork. Beware the Jabberwocky, my son. Are there only Earth native derivations in this biome?" "You asking me?" Rubenstein snorted. "I'm no gardener." "Guesstimation implausible," Sister Seventh replied archly. "In any event, some fringeworks are recombinant. Non human-centric manipulations of genome. Elegant structures, modified for nonpurpose. This forest is Lamarckian. Nodes exchange phenotype-determinant traits, acquire useful ones." "Who determines their usefulness?" "The Flower Show.

"Primitive they are: their internal discourse is crippled by a complete absence of intertextuality. I cringe in astonishment that Festival wastes its attention on them." "Hardly. They are Festival's antithesis, do you not feel this in your whiskers?" Sister Seventh blinked redly at She Who Observes, pawing for the control tree of the somatic bench. "Here we see a nestdrone." The scene slewed into an enclosed space, following the abducted cobbler into the walls of the castle, "Phenotypic dispersal leads to extended specialization, as ever, with the usual degree of free will found in human civilization. But this one is structured to prevent information surge, do you not see?" "Information surge? Prevented? Life is information!" Sister Seventh farted smugly. "I have been monitoring the Festival. Not one of the indigines has asked it for information! Artifacts, yes. Food, yes.

pages: 396 words: 117,149

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos


3D printing, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Arthur Eddington, basic income, Bayesian statistics, Benoit Mandelbrot, bioinformatics, Black Swan, Brownian motion, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, constrained optimization, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, future of work, global village, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, information retrieval, job automation, John Markoff, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Narrative Science, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, NP-complete, off grid, P = NP, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, planetary scale, pre–internet, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, zero-sum game

It’s natural to worry about intelligent machines taking over because the only intelligent entities we know are humans and other animals, and they definitely have a will of their own. But there is no necessary connection between intelligence and autonomous will; or rather, intelligence and will may not inhabit the same body, provided there is a line of control between them. In The Extended Phenotype, Richard Dawkins shows how nature is replete with examples of an animal’s genes controlling more than its own body, from cuckoo eggs to beaver dams. Technology is the extended phenotype of man. This means we can continue to control it even if it becomes far more complex than we can understand. Picture two strands of DNA going for a swim in their private pool, aka a bacterium’s cytoplasm, two billion years ago. They’re pondering a momentous decision. “I’m worried, Diana,” says one. “If we start making multicellular creatures, will they take over?”

See also Cancer drugs Duhigg, Charles, 223 Dynamic programming, 220 Eastwood, Clint, 65 Echolocation, 26, 299 Eddington, Arthur, 75 Effect, law of, 218 eHarmony, 265 Eigenfaces, 215 80/20 rule, 43 Einstein, Albert, 75, 200 Eldredge, Niles, 127 Electronic circuits, genetic programming and, 133–134 Eliza (help desk), 198 EM (expectation maximization) algorithm, 209–210 Emotions, learning and, 218 Empathy-eliciting robots, 285 Empiricists, 57–58 Employment, effect of machine learning on, 276–279 Enlightenment, rationalism vs. empiricism, 58 Entropy, 87 Epinions, 231 Equations, 4, 50 Essay on Population (Malthus), 178, 235 Ethics, robot armies and, 280–281 Eugene Onegin (Pushkin), 153–154 “Explaining away” phenomenon, 163 Evaluation learning algorithms and, 283 Markov logic networks and, 249 Master Algorithm and, 239, 241, 243 Evolution, 28–29, 121–142 Baldwinian, 139 Darwin’s algorithm, 122–128 human-directed, 286–289, 311 Master Algorithm and, 28–29 of robots, 121–122, 137, 303 role of sex in, 134–137 technological, 136–137 See also Genetic algorithms Evolutionaries, 51, 52, 54 Alchemy and, 252–253 exploration-exploitation dilemma, 128–130, 221 further reading, 303–304 genetic programming and, 52 Holland and, 127 Master Algorithm and, 240–241 nature and, 137–139 Evolutionary computation, 121–142 Evolutionary robotics, 121–122, 303 Exclusive-OR function (XOR), 100–101, 112, 195 Exploration-exploitation dilemma, 128–130, 221 Exponential function, machine learning and, 73–74 The Extended Phenotype (Dawkins), 284 Facebook, 44, 291 data and, 14, 274 facial recognition technology, 179–180 machine learning and, 11 relational learning and, 230 sharing via, 271–272 Facial identification, 179–180, 182 False discovery rate, 77, 301 Farming, as analogy for machine learning, 6–7 Feature selection, 188–189 Feature template, 248 Feature weighting, 189 Ferret brain rewiring, 26, 299 Feynman, Richard, 4 Filter bubble, 270 Filtering spam, rule for, 125–127 First principal component of the data, 214 Fisher, Ronald, 122 Fitness Fisher on, 122 in genetic programming, 132 Master Algorithm and, 243 neural learning and, 138–139 sex and, 135 Fitness function, 123–124 Fitness maximum, genetic algorithms and, 127–128, 129 Fix, Evelyn, 178–179, 186 Fodor, Jerry, 38 Forecasting, S curves and, 106 Foundation Medicine, 41, 261 Foundation (Asimov), 232 Fractal geometry, 30, 300 Freakonomics (Dubner & Levitt), 275 Frequentist interpretation of probability, 149 Freund, Yoav, 238 Friedman, Milton, 151 Frontiers, 185, 187, 191, 196 “Funes the Memorious” (Borges), 71 Futility of bias-free learning, 64 FuturICT project, 258 Galileo, 14, 72 Galois, Évariste, 200 Game theory, machine learning and, 20 Gaming, reinforcement learning and, 222 Gates, Bill, 22, 55, 152 GECCO (Genetic and Evolutionary Computing Conference), 136 Gene expression microarrays, 84–85 Generalizations, choosing, 60, 61 Generative model, Bayesian network as, 159 Gene regulation, Bayesian networks and, 159 Genetic algorithms, 122–128 Alchemy and, 252 backpropagation vs., 128 building blocks and, 128–129, 134 schemas, 129 survival of the fittest programs, 131–134 The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection (Fisher), 122 Genetic programming, 52, 131–133, 240, 244, 245, 252, 303–304 sex and, 134–137 Genetic Programming (Koza), 136 Genetic search, 241, 243, 249 Genome, poverty of, 27 Gentner, Dedre, 199 Ghani, Rayid, 17 The Ghost Map (Johnson), 182–183 Gibson, William, 289 Gift economy, 279 Gleevec, 84 Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, 261 Gödel, Escher, Bach (Hofstadter), 200 Good, I.

pages: 443 words: 123,526

Glasshouse by Stross, Charles


cognitive dissonance, experimental subject, gravity well, loose coupling, peer-to-peer, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, sensible shoes, theory of mind, white picket fence

There's a certain type of look some postrehab cases get while they're in the psychopathic dissociative stage, still reknitting the raveled threads of their personality and memories into a new identity. The insensate anger at the world, the existential hate—often directed at their previously whole self for putting them into this world, naked and stripped of memories—generates its own dynamic. Wild blackeyed hatred and the perfect musculature of the optimized phenotype combine to lend Blondie an intimidating, almost primal presence. Nevertheless, she's got enough self-control to issue a challenge before she attacks. Kay, shy and much further advanced in recovery than either of us, cowers in her seat as Blondie glares at me. That annoys me—Blondie's got no call to intimidate bystanders. And maybe I'm not as out of control as I feel. "In that case"—I slowly stand up, not breaking eye contact for a moment—"how about we take this to the remilitarized zone?

"Don't let them put me in it!" "Put you in—what? What is it, Reeve? Reeve, are you having another fugue?" Things are going gray around me. He leans close, and I whisper, "* * *," in his ear. Then— DESPERATION is the engine of necessity. It's two hundred megs since that committee meeting with Al and Sanni and a lot of things have changed. Me, for example: I'm not in military phenotype anymore. Neither is Sanni. We're civilians now, corpuscles of military experience discharged into the circulating confusion of reconstruction that has become the future of Is. I'm not used to being human again, ortho or otherwise—bits of me are missing. When the war exploded, trapping me on the MASucker for almost a generation, I was reduced to what I was carrying on my person and in my head.

I've got the best of my surrendered self's wishes, without any of the drawbacks. And I've been so lucky that thinking about it makes me want to cry. I have a daughter. Her name's Andy—short for Andromeda. She swears she wants to be a boy when she grows up; she isn't going to hit puberty for another six years, and she may change her mind when her body starts changing. The important thing is we live in a society where she can be whatever she wants. She looks like a random phenotypic cross between Reeve and Sam, and sometimes when I see her in the right light, just catching her profile, my breath catches in my throat as I see him diving off that cliff. Did he know I was already pregnant when he carefully made sure I was out of harm's way, then jumped? It shouldn't be possible, but sometimes I wonder if he suspected. Andromeda was delivered—surprise—in the hospital, by the nice Dr.

pages: 508 words: 137,199

Stamping Butterflies by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

affirmative action, Brownian motion, Burning Man, carbon-based life, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, dark matter, phenotype

One for the Doctor, another for him, one for the Commissar Colonel and nine ever-empty pods for those vaporized while trying to repair the boosters. Tapping the nearest, Chuang watched it open, waiting while the semiAI ran a self test. "Functioning," the pod announced as a glass square lit red. "Preparing for Koebe process." Slots opened on the inside of the pod to reveal simple claws; attached to those claws were clear tubes already filled with oily liquid. "Please enter phenotype." "What?" "Enter phenotype." "Human," Chuang Tzu said. The animals were long since dead. The glass square turned orange. "Enter seven-digit genotype," demanded the pod. "Shit." Chuang Tzu ripped open the front of the Doctor's blue uniform, looking for dog tags. "I don't know it," he said. "It's not for me." "Enter seven-digit genotype." "You'll have to do without," Chuang Tzu told the machine. The ceramic blade the Lieutenant produced from his pocket was strictly illegal.

As compact and functional as befitted someone who'd grown up on a farm, but still illegal. Slicing the monofilament which bound Dr. Yuan's hands, he spun her round and sliced between her ankles. "Prepare to receive the body," he said. On the side of the pod the orange square reverted to red as the semiAI reset itself. "Functioning," the pod announced. "Preparing for Koebe process. Please enter phenotype." "Stupid fucking--" Chuang began but stopped himself. "Promote me," he said loudly, simultaneously reopening his comms channel. "What?" "Promote me," Navigator Chuang said fiercely, "while there's still time to save the Doctor." Two decks above, Colonel Commissar Lan Kuei sighed. Sleeping with junior officers always produced these kinds of problems. "Madame," she said firmly. "You address me as madame."

pages: 360 words: 110,929

Saturn's Children by Stross, Charles


augmented reality, British Empire, business process, gravity well, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, loose coupling, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, Plutocrats, plutocrats, theory of mind

“Ichiban has a minor problem that you might be able to help him resolve,” Victor explains. “It involves travel.” “I’d be very happy to offer any advice I can,” I agree cautiously. “Yes.” Ichiban nods thoughtfully. “You are very big.” He looks up at me. It’s true: I’m almost a hundred and seventy centimeters tall. An idealized replica of our Creators’ kind, in fact, unlike the super-deformed midgets who are the commonest phenotype of the nouveau riche these days. “Good thermal inertia,” adds Ichiban, unexpectedly. “And you were designed for Earth, before the emancipation.” Good thermal inertia? I smile as my biomimetic reflexes cut in: my cheeks flush delicately, signaling mild embarrassment or confusion. Emancipation? What’s he talking about? “I’m afraid I don’t quite follow,” I say. “My sponsors have an object that requires transportation from the inner system to Mars,” Ichiban says, then pauses delicately.

Musicians and dancers were in demand, and though my primary function as odalisque was no longer in vogue, I could tap my toes and pluck a harmony with the best of them. And so I emerged blinking into the steamy overcast haze of a world I never asked for, indentured to a performing troupe of jongleurs. I played helplessly with the orchestra for my first five years, but there was no future in it for them, or for me. The musical fad was already fading, and besides, phenotypic drift was becoming a political issue. The race to pick up the pieces in the wake of our Creators’ death was won by those who were least attached to the past—and they tend to dislike reminders of their former servitude. Folks such as I, molded in the near-perfect shape of our Creators, are distasteful to some, and I was eventually bought out of my servitude by my sisters, who had made a minor fetish of tracking down their lost orphan sibs.

pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey


3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, V2 rocket, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

The genetic code specifies the sequence of twenty amino acids used by living cells to build proteins. If the genetic code were perfectly transcribed and expressed, there would be no evolution and life would be, well, boring. It would also be a dead end, since it couldn’t adapt and survive over time. One type of variation occurs when the genetic blueprint, the genotype, is expressed in a particular environment, the phenotype. Two cloned seedlings will develop quite differently when one grows in loamy soil and the other grows on a windswept mountain. A second type of variation occurs over time when the genetic material is altered by mutation or imperfect copying. Biodiversity cascades as variations grow over time and are culled by natural selection. As a result, the DNA of life has developed a tangle of branches that emerge from the root, a “last common ancestor” four billion years ago.2 This primitive cell was the precursor of all plants and animals and the mother of all microbes.

., 239 Los Angeles Times, 71 Losing My Virginity (Branson), 86, 87 Louis IX, king of France, 23 Louis XVI, king of France, 68 Lovelock, James, 286 Lowell, Percival, 163–64 Lucian of Samosata, 20 Lucretius, 18–19 Luna program, 50–51 Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, 156 Lunokhod rover, 143 Lynx rocket plane, 101 M5 fiber, 161 McAuliffe, Christa, 55, 74 Mack 3 Blackbird, 69 McKay, Chris, 173 McLellan, William, 283 magnetic implants, 207 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 190 magnetic sails, 186, 223 magnitude of time, 248–50, 249 Manhattan Project, 36, 221 Manifest Destiny, applied to space, 146–47, 199 Manned Habitat Unit, 169 many worlds concept, 17–20, 17, 49, 267 Mao Zedong, 141 Marconi, Guglielmo, 237 Mariner 2, 51 Mariner 4, 164 Marino, Lori, 190 Marriott hotels, 145 Mars, 28, 237, 270 challenges of travel to, 166–70 distance from Earth to, 50, 148, 166 Earth compared to, 171–72, 216 establishing a colony on, 166–71, 169, 192, 195, 200–201, 203, 214, 248 evidence of water on, 124–25, 163–66, 165, 173 fly-bys of, 51, 170 imaginative perceptions of, 163–65 latency on, 178 map of, 163 obstacles to exploration of, 66–67, 148 one-way journey to, 166, 170–71, 200 as potentially habitable, 124–25, 163, 165–66, 171, 172–74, 234, 278 privately funded missions to, 170–71 probes to, 40, 51, 52, 164–65, 176, 246 projected exploration of, 94–98, 101, 104, 115, 119, 157, 161, 163–74, 178, 181, 182 property rights on, 145, 198–99 sex and reproduction on, 200 simulated journey to, 169–70 soil of, 170 staging points for, 161 terraforming of, 172–74, 182, 216, 227 tests for life on, 52 Mars Direct, 169 Mars500 mission, 169 Mars One, 170–71, 198–201 Mars Society, 166 Mars 3 lander, 51 Masai people, 120 Massachusetts General Hospital, 250 Masson-Zwaan, Tanja, 199 mathematics, 19 as universal language, 236–37 Matrix, The, 260 matter, manipulation of, 258 matter-antimatter annihilation, 220, 220, 221–22 Mavroidis, Constantinos, 182 Max-Q (maximum aerodynamic stress), 46 Maxwell, James Clerk, 183 Mayor, Michel, 126–28, 133 medicine: challenges and innovation in, 92–93, 263 cyborgs in, 205 medicine (continued) as lacking in space, 200 in life extension, 259 nanotechnology in, 225, 259 robots in, 180, 181, 182, 205 mediocrity, principle of, 261 Mendez, Abel, 278 mental models, 13–17, 18–19 Mercury: orbit of, 126, 215 property rights on, 145 as uninhabitable, 124 mercury poisoning, 118 Mercury program, 41, 42, 71, 74, 272 meta-intelligence, 94 meteorites, 152, 160, 160, 164, 195 methane, 52–53, 125, 132, 278 as biomarker, 217–18 methanogens, 217 “Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes, A” (Goddard), 30, 31 Methuselah, 131 mice, in scientific research, 48–49, 250–51 microbes, microbial life, 97–98, 173, 174, 217, 241, 246, 286 habitable environments for, 122–25, 165–66, 186 microcephaly, 203 microgravity, 115 microsatellites, 90 Microsoft, 84, 188 microwaves: beaming of, 223–24 signals, 187 Microwave Sciences, 223 Middle East, population dispersion into, 8, 118 migration: early human population dispersion through, 5–9, 9, 15, 19 motivation for, 9–12, 11 military: covert projects of, 69–72 Eisenhower’s caveat about, 79 in Internet development, 77, 78–79 nanotechnology in, 180–81, 225 in rocket development, 30, 32–39, 55–56, 71 in space programs, 73, 76, 79, 144, 153 Milky Way galaxy, 227, 240, 253, 263, 270 ancient Greek concept of, 18 Drake equation for detectable life in, 188, 233–35 Earth-like exoplanets in, 129–33, 233, 291 formation and age of, 235 size of, 242 Millis, Marc, 290 mind control, 245 mind uploading, 259 miniaturization, see nanotechnology minimum viable population, 201, 251 mining: of asteroids, 155–56, 182, 214 of Enceladus, 227 on Moon, 214 by robots, 178, 182 Minsky, Marvin, 177, 179 MirCorp, 75 mirrors, 173 Mir Space Station, 75, 115, 167–68 Miss Baker (monkey), 47–48, 48 Mission Control, 43, 100, 158, 269 MIT, 38, 77, 90, 141, 226, 257 mitochondrial DNA, 6, 9 Mittelwerk factory, 33, 35 Mojave Desert, 71, 82, 83 population adaptation to heat in, 118–19 molecules, in nanotechnology, 151 Mongols, 23, 24 monkeys, in space research, 47–48, 48 Montgolfier brothers, 68 Moon: age of, 50 ancient Greek concept of, 18 in asteroid capture, 156 distance from Earth to, 49–50, 150, 166, 267 first animals on, 49 first man on, 71, 158 latency on, 178 lunar base proposed for, 157–63, 158, 160, 195, 214, 248 manned landings on, 44–45, 49–50, 54, 56, 63, 71, 84, 99, 104, 108, 143, 157, 158, 176, 219, 270, 272 obstacles to exploration of, 66 orbit of, 25 probes to, 40, 51, 129, 140, 143 projected missions to, 92, 143, 157–63, 166, 214, 275 property rights on, 145–47, 198–99 proposed commercial flights to, 102 in science fiction, 20, 26 soil of, 159, 160, 162 as staging point for Mars, 161 staging points for, 148 telescopic views of, 31, 49–50 as uninhabitable, 124, 166 US commitment to reach, 41–45 Moon Treaty (1979), 146 Moon Treaty, UN (1984), 279 Moore, John, 203 Moravec, 259–60 Morgan, Barbara, 74 Morrison, Philip, 187, 239 Mosaic web browser, 79 Moses, 148 motion, Newton’s laws of, 25, 67–68 multistage rockets, 29 multiverse, 252–57, 255 Musk, Elon, 94–98, 97, 100–101, 112–13, 148, 205 mutation, 6–7 cosmic rays and, 204 7R, 10–12, 11, 15 mutually assured destruction, 42 Mylar, 184, 225 N1/L3 rocket, 44, 54 nanobots, 179–82, 181, 224–28 NanoSail-D, 184, 185 nanosponges, 180 nanotechnology, 151–52, 179–82, 208, 214, 245, 280, 283 projected future of, 257–59 see also nanobots National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 83, 90, 96, 97–98, 114, 116–17, 128, 144, 153, 156, 176, 178, 182, 184–85, 185, 195, 200, 205, 206, 216, 224, 226, 271, 275, 280, 290 and Air Force, 71 artistic depiction of space colonies by, 196, 196 budget of, 39, 42, 43, 49, 54, 64, 75, 99, 104, 140, 144, 158, 166, 188, 238, 270, 272, 284 cut back of, 45, 49, 54, 188 formation of, 38–39, 145, 269 private and commercial collaboration with, 99–102, 104 revival of, 103–5 space program of, 51, 55–56, 71–76, 92, 157–58, 285–86 stagnation of, 63–67, 141, 147, 166 National Geographic Society, 7, 265 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 187–88 National Science Foundation (NSF), 78–79 Native Americans, 118 naturalness, 256 natural selection, 6, 16, 123, 164, 251, 291 Nature, 187 Naval Research lab, 37 Navy, US: Bureau of Aeronautics, 30 in rocket development, 36–37 Nayr, Ernst, 238 Nazis, 48 Propaganda Ministry of, 32 von Braun and, 32–34, 141, 269 NBC, 75 Nedelin, Mitrofan, 43 “needle in a haystack” problem, 188–89, 242–43 “Nell” (rocket), 29 Neptune, 127, 131, 225 as uninhabitable, 125 Nergal, 163 Netscape, 80 New Mexico, 88, 88, 105 Newton, Isaac, 24–25, 25, 30, 67–68, 110, 262, 267 New York Times, 30, 94 Nicholas, Henry, 214 Niven, Larry, 198, 253 Nixon, Richard, 108, 167 Nobel Prize, 126, 180, 214 nomad planets, 128 Noonan, James, 266 nuclear fission, 220, 220, 221 nuclear fusion, 110, 161–62, 220, 221, 221, 222 nuclear reactors, 224 nuclear weapons, 36, 42, 78, 129, 146, 197–98, 222, 234–35, 244, 245, 246, 286 Nuremberg Chronicles, 17 Nyberg, Karen, 200 Obama, Barack, 104 Oberth, Hermann, 28, 31–32, 36, 268 oceans: acidification of, 195 sealed ecosystem proposed for, 197 Oculus Rift, 176 Ohio, astronauts from, 74 Okuda, Michael, 228 Olsen, Ken, 213 100 Year Starship project, 224 100 Year Starship Symposium, 229 101955 Bennu (asteroid), 156 O’Neill, Gerard, 196, 251–52 Opportunity rover, 165 optical SETI, 190, 243 Orbital Sciences Corporation, 100–101, 275 orbits: concept of, 25 geostationary, 149–50, 150 legislation on, 146 low Earth, 49, 54, 63, 70–71, 70, 74–75, 97, 100, 110, 113–14, 151, 155, 184 manned, 40–41, 141–42 staging points from, 148 orcas, 190 Orion spacecraft, 104 Orteig, Raymond, 90 Orteig Prize, 90–91 Orwell, George, 35 OSIRIS-REx, 156 Outer Space Treaty (1967), 145–47, 198–99 “Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking” (Clarke), 201 oxygen, 156, 159, 161, 170, 172, 173–74, 182, 193–95, 214 Oymyakon, Siberia, population adaptation to cold in, 119–20 ozone, as biomarker, 217 Pacific Ocean, 9, 224 Pac-Man, 175 Page, Larry, 92 Paine, Thomas, 167 Pale Blue Dot (Sagan), 121 “Pale Blue Dot,” Earth as, 53, 118–22, 121, 130 Paperclip, Operation, 141 parabolic flight, 93 paradox, as term, 241 Paratrechina longicornis (crazy ant), 193 Parkinson’s disease, 202–3 particle physics, standard model of, 256 Pascal, Blaise, 120 Pauley, Phil, 196–97 PayPal, 95, 97 Pensées (Pascal), 120 People’s Daily, 162 People’s Liberation Army, 144 Pericles, 18 Pettit, Don, 100, 273 phenotype, 6 philanthropy, 95 PhoneSat, 185 photons, 183, 186 in teleportation, 229, 230, 231 photosynthesis, as biomarker, 217 pigs, 250 Pinker, Steven, 16 Pioneer probes, 50, 51–52 piracy, 24 Pitcairn Island, 202 planetary engineering, 172 Planetary Resources, 156 planetary science, 51–52, 176 Planetary Society, 184 planets: exploration of, 49–53 formation of, 156 plate techtonics, 132, 241 play, imagination in, 10, 14 pluralism, 17–20, 17, 49 plutonium, 66 poetry, space, 272–73 politics, space exploration and, 63–64, 104, 141, 214, 238 Polyakov, Valeri, 115, 167–68 population bottleneck, 201–2, 287 Poynter, Jane, 193 Princess of Mars, A (Burroughs), 164 Principia (Newton), 25 Project Orion, 221, 221 Project Ozma, 187–88, 237, 253 prokaryotes, 172 property rights, in space, 145–47, 198 Proton rockets, 65, 113 proton scoop, 222–23 Proxmire, William, 238 Puerto Rico, 239, 243 pulsar, 131 Pythagorean Theorem, 238 Qian Xuesen, 141 Qi Jiguang, 24 Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, 92 quantum entanglement, 230–32, 230 quantum genesis, 255 quantum mechanics, 258 quantum teleportation, 230–32, 230 quantum theory, 189 qubits, 230 Queloz, Didier, 126–28, 133 R-7 rocket, 37 R-16 rocket, 43 radiation, infrared, 109, 253–54, 254 radioactivity, as energy source, 124, 181 radio waves, 66, 187, 189, 242 ramjets, 222–23 RAND Corporation, 222 Rare Earth hypothesis, 241 RCS Energia, 106 RD-180 engine, 72 Reagan, Ronald, administration of, 167, 271 reality TV, 75, 171, 214, 282 “Realm of Fear,” 229 reasoning, human capacity for, 13–17, 18–19 red dwarfs, 131 Red Mars (Stanley), 174 Red Scare, 141 Redstone rocket, 36–37, 71 reindeer, 119–20 remote sensing, 175–91, 224 RepRap Project, 227 reproduction, sexual, 6, 172 Ride, Sally, 74 “Right Stuff,” as term, 71, 114 Right Stuff, The (Wolfe), 272 Ringworld series (Niven), 253 risk: as basic to human nature, 9, 262 genetic factor in, 10–12 of living on Mars, 167–70 in pushing human limits, 120 of space tourism, 102, 105–9, 155 of space travel, 42–43, 55–56, 56, 106–9, 152–53 Robinson, Kim Stanley, 174 robonaut project, 179 robots, robotics: as aids to humans, 249, 250 in asteroid redirection, 104 commercial, 178 ethical issues of, 179 nanotechnology in, 179–82, 181 remote control of, 177–78 remote sensing through, 176 self-assembly and self-replication by, 226–28, 258, 259 in spacecraft, 50, 100, 100 space exploration by, 53–57, 66, 98, 133, 161, 177–79, 179, 208, 224–28 see also cyborgs; nanobots Rocketdyne, 112 rocket equation, 27, 53, 72–73, 110–11, 111, 148, 220, 268 rocket fuel, 110–13, 148, 156, 159, 161 comparison of efficiency of, 219–24 Rocket Performance Calculator, 222 rockets: alternatives to, 148–53 “bible” of, 267 challenges in launching of, 43–44, 46–49, 106, 107, 111–12, 148 comparison of US and Soviet, 44 cost of, 112–13, 113 developing technology of, 21–39, 43, 101, 103, 112–13, 183, 262 fuel for, 110–13, 148, 156, 159, 161, 220–21 launched from planes, 84 liquid-fueled, 28–29, 29 physics and function of, 110–14 proposed energy technologies for, 220–24 reusable, 101, 103, 111, 112, 113 solar sails compared to, 183 as term, 23 visionaries in development of, 26–30, 94 in warfare, 22–24, 30, 32–34 see also specific rockets “Rockets to the Planets in Space, The” (Oberth), 28 Rogers Commission, 271 Rohrabacher, Dana, 284 Rome, ancient, 18, 67, 163 Rovekamp, Roger, 207 rovers, 66–67, 92, 125, 140, 143, 158, 165, 167 nanotechnology in, 181–82 remote sensing through, 176 Rozier, Jean-François de, 68 RP-1 kerosine, 110 RS-25 rocket, 112 Russia, 23, 26–27, 149, 178 space program of, 37, 65–66, 72, 75, 84, 91, 104, 106, 107–8, 113, 114, 140, 143, 168, 184, 195, 200, 271 space tourism by, 75, 102 tensions between US and, 72 see also Soviet Union Russian Revolution, 27, 47 Russian Space Agency, 102 Rutan, Burt, 72, 82–86, 85, 88, 88, 89, 91, 97–98, 105–6, 214 Rutan, Dick, 83–84 Rutan Aircraft Factory, 83 Saberhagen, Fred, 177, 259 Sagan, Carl, 53, 121–22, 121, 176–77, 184, 198, 234–35, 238, 240 Sahakian, Barbara, 98 Sahara Desert, 238 sails: solar, 183–86, 185 wind-driven, 67–68, 183, 262 Salyut space station, 54, 108 satellites: artificial Earth, 36–39, 37, 40, 65, 71, 106 commercial, 96, 105 communications, 101, 142, 153 in energy capture, 253 geostationary, 149 GPS, 144 launching of, 154, 154 miniature, 90, 184–85 Saturn: moon of, 125, 227 probes to, 52–53 as uninhabitable, 125 Saturn V rocket, 43, 44, 46, 54, 83, 104, 111, 113, 113, 166 Scaled Composites, 83, 89 science fiction, 192, 196, 222, 223, 239, 250, 253 aliens in, 186–87 in film, 28, 204 Mars in, 164, 174 roots of, 20 technologies of, 228–32, 259 see also specific authors and works scientific method, 213 Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), 187–90, 234, 239, 254 evolution and technology of, 237–39, 242–43, 242 lack of signals detected by, 236–37, 240–44 new paradigms for, 258 “Searching for Interstellar Communications” (Cocconi and Morrison), 187 sea travel: early human migration through, 8, 9 exploration by, 109, 262 propulsion in, 67–68 self-replication, 226–28, 258, 259 Senate, US, Armed Services Preparedness Committee of, 39 SETI Institute, 188 78–6 (pig), 250 sex: promiscuous, 12 in reproduction, 6, 172 in space, 200, 214 Shackleton Energy Company, 161 Shane, Scott, 98 Shatner, William, 88–89 Shelley, Mary, 206 Shenlong (“Divine Dragon”), 145 Shenzhou 10, 142–43 Shepard, Alan, 41, 84 Shostak, Seth, 243 Siberia, 65, 119–20, 238 population dispersion into, 8, 118, 218 Sidereal Messenger, The (Galileo), 270 Siemienowicz, Kazimierz, 267 Simonyi, Charles, 75 Sims, 175 simulation: infinite regression in, 261 living in, 257–62 simulation hypothesis, 261 Sinatra, Frank, 45 singularity, 207 in origin of cosmos, 255 and simulation, 257–62 technological, 258–59 Singularity University, 94, 259 Skylab space station, 54, 116 Skype video, 176 smart motes, 181, 225 smartphones, 92, 185 Smithsonian Institution, 30, 81 Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 85, 91, 271 Snow Crash (Stephenson), 103 Snowden, Edward, 178 social media, 195 Sojourner rover, 165 SolarCity, 96–97 solar flares, 167 solar power, 96, 181, 183–86 solar sails, solar sailing, 183–86, 185, 223, 225, 227 Solar System: discovery of first planet beyond, 126–27 edge of, 50, 53, 121 formation of, 156 habitability potential in, 122, 124–26 latency variations in, 178 probes into, 51–52, 66, 177, 185–86, 208, 270 projected travel within, 248–49, 263 property rights in, 145–47, 198 worlds beyond, 126–29, 156, 208, 215, 250, 263 solar wind, 162, 223 sound barrier, breaking of, 69, 71 South America, 11, 202, 218 Soviet Union, 30, 34, 37, 141 fall of, 47, 65, 75, 197, 271–72 rocket development in, 35–39 space program failures and losses of, 43, 47, 50–51, 54, 269 space program of, 37–39, 40–43, 141, 149, 237, 271 Soyuz spacecraft, 43, 55, 75, 84, 91, 102, 106, 113, 143 crash of, 107–8 space: civilians in, 55, 74 civilian vs. military control of, 37–39, 69–71, 79, 153 commercialization of, 55, 63, 73–76, 79–80, 88–89, 92, 97, 99–109, 100, 110, 147, 153–56, 154, 199, 214, 249, 275 debris in, 144, 152 first American in, 41 first man in, 40–41, 41 first women in, 40, 74 as infinite, 18, 19, 22 as inhospitable to human beings, 53–54, 114–17, 121 legislation on, 39, 78, 90, 144, 145–47, 198–200 living in, 192–208 “living off the land” in, 166, 200 peaceful exploration of, 39 potential for human habitabilty in, 123 prototype for sealed ecosystem in, 192–97 Space Act (1958), 39, 90 Space Adventures, 102, 275 space colonization: challenges of, 197–201 cyborgs in, 204–8 evolutionary diversion in, 201–4 legal issues in, 198–200 of Mars, 166–71, 169, 192, 195, 203 off-Earth human beings in, 215, 250–51 prototype experiments for, 192–97 space elevators, 27, 148–53, 150, 160–61, 185, 280 “Space Exploration via Telepresence,” 178 Spaceflight Society, 28 space hotels, 102–3 Space Launch System (SLS), 104 space mining, 155–56, 161–62 “Space Oddity,” 142 spaceplanes, 71–72, 85, 144 Spaceport America, 1–6, 105 Space Race, 35–39, 37, 40–43, 50, 55, 139 SpaceShipOne, 72, 85, 85, 88–89, 88, 91 SpaceShipTwo, 88, 101, 105 Space Shuttle, 45, 46, 49, 64, 72, 84, 85, 111–13, 112, 159, 167, 194, 219–20, 222, 275 disasters of, 55–56, 56, 74–75, 107, 111–13 final flight of, 271 limitations of, 55–56, 64–65 as reusable vehicle, 54–55 space sickness, 114 spacesuits, 89, 182, 195–96 space-time, 255, 255 manipulation of, 258 space tourism, 63, 73, 75–76, 79–80, 88–89, 91, 101–3, 154, 170, 214 celebrities in, 88, 101–2 revenue from, 154–55, 155 risks of, 102, 105–9, 155 rules for, 105 space travel: beyond Solar System, see interstellar travel bureaucracy of, 105–10, 271 cost of, 39, 42, 45, 49, 54, 55, 66, 75, 81–82, 91, 112–14, 113, 139–49, 153, 155–56, 158–59, 161, 166, 179, 183, 198, 214, 217, 222, 224–26, 252, 270, 275, 284 early attempts at, 21–22, 22 effect of rocket equation in, see rocket equation entrepreneurs of, 81–98 erroneous predictions about, 214 failures and disasters in, 21–22, 22, 38, 43, 47, 50–51, 54–56, 56, 63–64, 68, 72, 74–75, 101, 102, 107, 142, 184, 269, 271, 275 fatality rate of, 107–9 fictional vignettes of, 1–4, 59–62, 135–38, 209–12 Internet compared to, 76–80, 77, 80 life extension for, 250–51 lifetimes lived in, 251 living conditions in, 114–17 new business model for, 99–105 Newton’s theories as basis of, 25 obstacles to, 21, 63, 66–67, 105–109 space travel (continued) as part of simulation, 261–62 public engagement in, 45, 73, 85, 93, 162, 177, 217 remote sensing vs., 175–91 risks of, 43–44, 83, 89, 93, 105–9 speculation on future of, 76–80, 133, 213–32, 248–52 suborbital, 84 telescopic observation vs., 49–50 visionaries of, 26–39, 80, 94, 109 SpaceX, 96, 97, 100–103, 113–14, 275 SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, 96, 100, 100, 102, 170 special theory of relativity, 228, 231 specific impulse, 220 spectroscopy, 127, 165, 176 spectrum analyzer, 237 Speer, Albert, 34 Spielberg, Steven, 238 Spirit of St.

Immigration and Ethnic Formation in a Deeply Divided Society: The Case of the 1990s Immigrants From the Former Soviet Union in Israel by Majid Al Haj


demographic transition, ghettoisation, job satisfaction, mass immigration, phenotype, profit motive, zero-sum game

One of the most widely cited definitions of ethnic group is that of Schermerhorn (1970: 12): An ethnic group is defined here as a collectivity within a larger society having real or putative common ancestry, memories of a shared historical past, and a cultural focus on one or more symbolic elements   15 defined as the epitome of their peoplehood. Examples of such symbolic elements are: kinship patterns, physical contiguity (as in localism or sectionalism), religious affiliation, language or dialect forms, tribal affiliation, nationality, phenotypic features, or any combination of these. A necessary accompaniment is some consciousness of kind among members of the group (also cited by Hutchinson and Smith 1996: 6). This definition involves both objective elements (shared historical memories, cultural focus, and group affiliation) and subjective feeling, as reflected in ethnic consciousness. The importance of this definition lies in the perception that ethnicity can have a flexible basis, so that a group’s “common ancestry” can be real or putative.

At any rate, Van den Berghe emphasizes that ethnic assimilation of immigrants should not be taken for granted, since ethnic sentiments, which are an extension of kin selection, tend to endure (1981: 216). People tend to resist assimilation unless its benefits are overwhelming. Hence assimilation is largely the outcome of costbenefit considerations by the members of the group (ibid.: 257). Van den Berghe offers a model for assimilation that delineates the conditions favoring ethnic assimilation, based mainly on cost-benefit considerations. According to this model, the greater the phenotypic and cultural resemblance between groups, the more likely is assimilation to take place. Likewise, smaller groups and those that are territorially dispersed are more likely to assimilate, because they have fewer resources relative to the rest of society and because territorial dis-   19 persion reduces the benefits of nepotism. In addition, groups of lower status are more likely than high-status groups to assimilate, since assimilation has more potential benefits to offer them (ibid.: 218).

Robot Futures by Illah Reza Nourbakhsh

3D printing, autonomous vehicles, Burning Man, commoditize, computer vision, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, phenotype, Skype, software as a service, stealth mode startup, strong AI, telepresence, telepresence robot, Therac-25, Turing test, Vernor Vinge

With a pencil, she is sketching a leaf she has pinned to a board on her table—maybe a botany student? “Excuse me. Hi. Can I ask you a question? That’s a figure I don’t recognize. Kanji?” She smiles—he could see this from behind, just from the movement of her cheekbone—and shakes her head. “Have you heard of symbox? This is the character I designed for it.” “Very cool. I read something in the New Yorker—this is a classification for species, right?” “No, it’s a description for phenotypes. You know biology? I proposed this for Rhesus monkeys and it was accepted.” “And, but, you’re a botanist too—I’m guessing. Sorry—I don’t see any leaf sketchers at the other tables . . .” Katy takes another sip of mint tea and tries to reason with her mother again. “All I am saying is, you can’t mark the message as urgent if it’s not urgent. How will I know if there’s a real emergency? It’s like the boy who cried wolf, mom.”

pages: 936 words: 252,313

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease by Gary Taubes


Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, collaborative editing, Drosophila, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, invention of agriculture, John Snow's cholera map, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbiased observer, Upton Sinclair

Nutrition and Disease Update: Cancer. Champaign, Ill.: AOCS Press. Cassidy, C. E. 1976. “Commemorative Tribute: Edwin B. Astwood.” Endocrinology. Nov.; 99(3):1155–60. Cassidy, M. 1946. “Coronary Disease: The Harveian Oration of 1946.” Lancet. Oct. 26;248(6426):587–90. Castelli, W. P., J. T. Doyle, T. Gordon, et al. 1977. “HDL Cholesterol and Other Lipids in Coronary Heart Disease: The Cooperative Lipoprotein Phenotyping Study.” Circulation. May; 55(5):767–72. Castetter, E. F., and W. H. Bell. 1942. Pima and Papago Indian Agriculture. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Catt, K. J. 1971. An ABC of Endocrinology. London: Lancet. Cederquist, D. C., W. D. Brewer, A. N. Wagoner, D. Dunsing, and M. A. Ohlson. 1952. “Weight Reduction on Low-Fat and Low-Carbohydrate Diets.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Home Economics Research Report No. 54. Gershoff, S. N. 2001. “Jean Mayer 1920–1993.” Journal of Nutrition. June; 131(6):1651–54. Gilmore, C. P. 1977. “Taking Exercise to Heart.” New York Times. March 27; 211. Giorgino, F., A. Belfiore, G. Milazzo, et al. 1991. “Overexpression of Insulin Receptors in Fibroblast and Ovary Cells Induces a Ligand-Mediated Transformed Phenotype.” Molecular Endocrinology. March; 5(3):452–59. Giovannucci, E. 2001. “Insulin, Insulin-Like Growth Factors, and Colon Cancer: A Review of the Evidence.” Journal of Nutrition. Nov.; 131(11 suppl.):3109S–20S. ———. 1995. “Insulin and Colon Cancer.” Cancer Causes and Control. March; 6(2):164–79. Giovannucci, E., E. B. Rimm, M. J. Stampfer, G. A. Colditz, A. Ascherio, and W. C. Willett. 1994. “Intake of Fat, Meat, and Fiber in Relation to Risk of Colon Cancer in Men.”

., H. Tunstall-Pedoe, A. Dobson, et al. 2000. “Estimation of Contribution of Changes in Classic Risk Factors to Trends in Coronary-Event Rates Across the WHO MONICA Project Populations.” Lancet. Feb. 26; 355(9205):675–87. Kuusisto, J., K. Koivisto, L. Mykkanen, et al. 1997. “Association Between Features of the Insulin Resistance Syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease Independently of Apolipoprotein E4 Phenotype: Cross Sectional Population Based Study.” British Medical Journal. Oct. 25; 315(7115):1045–49. Lampedusa, G. di 1988. The Leopard. Trans. A. Colquhoun. New York: Random House. [Originally published 1958.] Landé, K. E., and W. M. Sperry. 1936. “Human Atherosclerosis in Relation to the Cholesterol Content of the Blood.” Archives of Pathology. 22:301–312. Landsberg, L. 2001. “Insulin-Mediated Sympathetic Stimulation: Role in the Pathogenesis of Obesity-Related Hypertension (or, How Insulin Affects Blood Pressure, and Why).”

pages: 746 words: 239,969

Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson


double helix, gravity well, means of production, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, skunkworks, the scientific method

Perhaps, he thought, they had gone polyploidal, not as individuals but culturally— an international array, arriving here and effectively quadrupling the meme strands, providing the adaptability to survive in this alien terrain despite all the stress-induced mutations. . . . But no. That was analogy rather than homology. What in the humanities they would call a heroic simile, if he understood the term, or a metaphor, or some other kind of literary analogy. And analogies were mostly meaningless— a matter of phenotype rather than genotype (to use another analogy). Most of poetry and literature, really all the humanities, not to mention the social sciences, were phenotypic as far as Sax could tell. They added up to a huge compendium of meaningless analogies, which did not help to explain things, but only distorted perception of them. A kind of continuous conceptual drunkenness, one might say. Sax himself much preferred exactitude and explanatory power, and why not? If it was 200 Kelvin outside why not say so, rather than talk about witches’ tits and the like, hauling the whole great baggage of the ignorant past along to obscure every encounter with sensory reality?

They were both well over two meters tall, but not lithe and willowy like most of the young natives— this couple had worked out with weights, bulking up until they had the proportions of Terran weight lifters, despite their great height. They were huge people, and yet still very light on their feet, doing a kind of boulder ballet over the scattered rocks of this empty shore. Maya watched them, marveling again at the new species. Behind her Sax and Spencer were coming along, and she even said something about it over the old First Hundred band. But Spencer only said something about phenotype and genotype, and Sax ignored the remark, and took off down the slope of the plain. Spencer went with him, and Maya followed them, moving slowly over all the other new species: there were grass tufts dotting the sand between the rocks of the rubble, also low flowering plants, weeds, cacti, shrubs, even some very small gnarled trees, tucked into the sides of rocks. Sax wandered around stepping gingerly, crouching down to inspect plants, standing back up with an unfocused look, as if the blood had left his head while he was crouching.

pages: 561 words: 167,631

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson


agricultural Revolution, double helix, full employment, hive mind, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Kuiper Belt, late capitalism, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, phenotype, post scarcity, precariat, retrograde motion, stem cell, strong AI, the built environment, the High Line, Turing machine, Turing test, Winter of Discontent

“All right,” Swan said. “I can do that.” “Good.” Wahram smiled his tiny smile. But Swan could tell he was distracted. Extracts (17) As many people have significant lifelong quantities of male and female hormones and phenotypically are bisexual, intersex, or indeterminate, the pronouns “he” and “she” are often avoided, or when used are a matter of self-designation, sometimes changing according to situation. Referring to someone else with such pronouns is the equivalent of using “tu” rather than “vous” in French, indicating familiarity with the person deepest phenotypic signals of gender appear to be waist-to-hip ratio, and waist height relative to total height, usually a matter of proportionately longer female femurs and wider female pelvic bones such as French, Turkish, or Chinese. Alternative ungendered pronouns in English include “it,” “e,” “them,” “one,” “on,” and “oon,” but none of them have it is not a case of “there is no gender,” but rather a complex and ambiguous efflorescence, sometimes called a fully ursuline humanity, other times just a mess gatherings composed entirely of gender-indeterminate people are a new social space that some find intensely uncomfortable, eliciting comments such as “like a nakedness I hadn’t thought could happen” or “you’re only yourself, it’s terrifying,” and so on.

Clearly, a new kind of psychic exposure distinctions can be pretty fine, with some claiming that gynandromorphs do not look quite like androgyns, nor like hermaphrodites, nor eunuchs, and certainly not like bisexuals—that androgyns and wombmen are quite different—and so on. Some people like to tell that part of their story; others never mention it at all. Some dress across gender and otherwise mix semiotic gender signals to express how they are feeling in that moment. Outrageous macho and fem behaviors, either matched with phenotype and semiotic indicators or not, create performance art ranging from the kitschy to the beautiful as there are now people close to three meters tall, and others less than a meter tall, gender may no longer be the greatest divide in human even approaching the size of spider monkeys, a modification that was severely censured by larger people, until longevity statistics kept reaffirming the association between smaller sizes and longer lifetimes, especially in light gravities.

pages: 743 words: 189,512

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz


Albert Einstein, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Gary Taubes, Indoor air pollution, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Upton Sinclair

Katan, “High-Oil Compared with Low-Fat, High-Carbohydrate Diets in the Prevention of Ischemic Heart Disease,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66, no. 4, suppl. (1997): 974S–979S. “of all the lipoproteins”: Tavia Gordon et al., “High Density Lipoprotein as a Protective Factor Against Coronary Heart Disease: The Framingham Study,” American Journal of Medicine 62, no. 5 (1977): 707. The correlation was “striking”: Ibid., 707. “most important finding”: William P. Castelli et al., “HDL Cholesterol and Other Lipids in Coronary Heart Disease: The Cooperative Lipoprotein Phenotyping Study,” Circulation 55, no. 5 (1977): 771. By 2002, the NCEP was calling: National Cholesterol Education Program, Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults: (Adult Treatment Panel III) Final Report. NIH Publication No. 02–5215 (Washington, DC: NIH, 2002), II-1. number of epidemiological studies: Castelli et al., “HDL Cholesterol and Other Lipids,” 769–770.

., “Intensive Lipid Lowering with Atorvastatin in Patients with Stable Coronary Disease,” New England Journal of Medicine 352 (2005): 1425–1435; K. K. Ray et al., “Statins and All-Cause Mortality in High-Risk Primary Prevention: A Meta-Analysis of 11 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 65,229 Participants,” Archives of Internal Medicine 170 (2010): 1024–1031; Castelli et al., “HDL Cholesterol and Other Lipids,” in “Coronary Heart Disease: The Cooperative Lipoprotein Phenotyping Study,” Circulation 55, no. 5 (1977): 771. the AHA journal Circulation: Rodney A. Hayward and Harlan M. Krumholz, “Three Reasons to Abandon Low-Density Lipoprotein Targets: An Open Letter to the Adult Treatment Panel IV of the National Institute of Health,” Circulation 5 (2012): 2–5. See also Harlan M. Krumholz, “Editorial: Target Cardiovascular Risk Rather than Cholesterol Concentration,” British Medical Journal 347 (2013): doi:10.1136/bmj.f7110.

“Effects of Low Carbohydrate Diets High in Red Meats or Poultry, Fish and Shellfish on Plasma Lipids and Weight Loss.” Nutrition & Metabolism 4, no. 23 (October 31, 2007). doi:10.1186/1743-7075-4-23. Castelli, William P. “Concerning the Possibility of a Nut . . .” Archives of Internal Medicine 152, no. 7 (July 1992): 1371–1372. Castelli, William P., Joseph T. Doyle, Tavia Gordon, et al. “HDL Cholesterol and Other Lipids in Coronary Heart Disease: The Cooperative Lipoprotein Phenotyping Study.” Circulation 55, no. 5 (May 1977): 767–772. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, US Food and Drug Administration. “FDA Issues Draft Guidance for Industry on How to Reduce Acrylamide in Certain Foods.” CFSAN Constituent Update, November 14, 2013, Center for Science in the Public Interest. Saturated Fat Attack.

pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton


1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk,, Eratosthenes, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, peer-to-peer, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

In software, the design of a program both enables and configures the quality of a User's agency in relation to particular hardware and sets of actions that might be taken with it.28 For architecture, program entails a predictive determination of spatial habit sorted and staged in advance by a site's plan. The proposed design of a social organization in space is a techno-anthropological diagram of work, play, violence, and collective phenotypical embodiment, all modeled as functions of particular strategies of sorting, partition, enveloping, interfacing, planning, and sectioning. For the architect, to posit a particular arrangement of activities, of collective access points—of privacy and subjectivity and agency—is to set the stage for some desired organizational-behavioral outcome, including even serendipitous encounters. Perhaps today no discipline has more expertise in interface design than architecture, and perhaps someday no discipline will ultimately have more expertise in architecture than some expanded interdisciplinary mode of interface design, because for the City layer, computation is not privileged over cement.

For carbon-intensive products such as cars, a very large-scale shift toward using but not owning would at once save resources and offer greater end User convenience, not to mention the benefit to urban planners no longer having to waste valuable land on parking lots to store cars that will sit idle.59 The mass medium of swirling textures of robotic computational exoskeletons would also suggest innovations in the phenotypical outer surfaces of the devices themselves. They can in principle touch, connect, and intersect with one another, switching from singular to plural according to circumstances, and so the rather rigid shell and chassis form we know today could give way to other flexible morphologies. At the very least, as we are shuttled here and there in the vast multitudes of such machines, how human Users are physically positioned and what we spend our time doing will certainly not be the same as it is now.60 As discussed in the Interfaces chapter, as the “car” becomes a Cloud platform, it becomes available to an Apps economy, and to the extent that the Google Car is just a very large Android device with a very large, next generation Google Glass display, there is much for designers to work with.

Far weirder than Larry Smarr's gut microbes, nested parasitic biostrata are in some cases embedded five levels deep inside the other (fifth-order hyperparasitism): animal inside animal inside animal inside animal inside animal, user inside user inside user.77 This symbiotic recursion could be called a microplatform, but it's more than that; it is not just the negotiation among actors within the User position; it is a durable interpenetration of actors, mutually embedded one within the other. This is the primal scene that should have been on display at the Shanghai Expo as the root pedagogy of the universal User, not the mannequin zoology of the Reids and the Hagens. This dissolution of the private human User comes not through the white noise of absolute quantification or mathematically guaranteed withdrawal from appearance, but through the plodding evolution toward alternative phenotypes in relation to manic apparatuses, both internal and external. The dispersant is not thanatos, a slouching toward deliquesce, but an activist attentiveness to the more open geographies available to our composite inhuman alternatives. So, again, forget human-centered design; we need to design for what comes next, what comes outside, what has already arrived, for the synthetic User-subjects for which another geopolitics is derived.

pages: 901 words: 234,905

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Defenestration of Prague, desegregation, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Hobbesian trap, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, long peace, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the new new thing, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

This is not going to be one of those books that says everything is genetic: it isn’t. The environment is just as important as the genes. The things children experience while they are growing up are just as important as the things they are born with. Even when a behavior is heritable, an individual’s behavior is still a product of development, and thus it has a causal environmental component…. The modern understanding of how phenotypes are inherited through the replication of both genetic and environmental conditions suggests that…cultural traditions—behaviors copied by children from their parents—are likely to be crucial. If you think these are innocuous compromises that show that everyone has outgrown the nature-nurture debate, think again. The quotations come, in fact, from three of the most incendiary books of the last decade.

Now that I have tried to convince you that the slate is not blank, it is time to put culture back into the picture. That will complete the consilience that runs from the life sciences through the sciences of human nature to the social sciences, humanities, and arts. In this chapter I will lay out an alternative to the belief that culture is like a lottery. Culture can be seen instead as a part of the human phenotype: the distinctive design that allows us to survive, prosper, and perpetuate our line-ages. Humans are a knowledge-using, cooperative species, and culture emerges naturally from that lifestyle. To preview: The phenomena we call “culture” arise as people pool and accumulate their discoveries, and as they institute conventions to coordinate their labors and adjudicate their conflicts. When groups of people separated by time and geography accumulate different discoveries and conventions, we use the plural and call them cultures.

In C. Crawford & D. L. Krebs (Eds.), Handbook of evolutionary psychology: Ideas, issues, and applications. Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum. Krech, S. 1994. Genocide in tribal society. Nature, 371, 14–15. Krech, S. 1999. The ecological Indian: Myth and history. New York: Norton. Krubitzer, L., & Huffman, K. J. 2000. A realization of the neocortex in mammals: Genetic and epi-genetic contributions to the phenotype. Brain, Behavior, and Evolution, 55, 322–335. Krueger, R. F., Hicks, B. M., & McGue, M. 2001. Altruism and antisocial behavior: Independent tendencies, unique personality correlates, distinct etiologies. Psychological Science, 12, 397–402. Kubovy, M. 1981. Concurrent pitch segregation and the theory of indispensable attributes. In M. Kubovy & J. Pomerantz (Eds.), Perceptual organization. Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.

pages: 504 words: 147,660

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction by Gabor Mate, Peter A. Levine


Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, corporate governance, epigenetics, ghettoisation, impulse control, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, phenotype, placebo effect, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), source of truth, Yogi Berra

Time, 30 April 1990;,9171,969965,00.html. 2. K. Blum et al., “Reward Deficiency Syndrome,” American Scientist, 1 March 1996, 132–46. 3. K. Blum, “Allelic Association of Human Dopamine D2 Receptor Gene in Alcoholism,” JAMA 263(15) (18 April 1990): 2055–60. 4. J. Gelernter and H. Kranzler, “D2 Dopamine Receptor Gene (DRD2) Allele and Haplotype Frequencies and Control Subjects: No Association with Phenotype or Severity of Phenotype,” Neurospsychopharmacology 20(6) (1999): 642–49. 5. L. Dodes, The Heart of Addiction (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 81. 6. R.E. Tarter and M. Vanyukov, “Alcoholism, a Developmental Disorder,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 62, No. 6 (1994): 1096–1107. 7. M.A. Enoch and D. Goldman, “The Genetics of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse,” Current Psychiatry Reports 3 (2002): 144–51. 8.

pages: 474 words: 136,787

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley


affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, assortative mating, Atahualpa, Bonfire of the Vanities, demographic transition, double helix, Drosophila, feminist movement, invention of agriculture, Menlo Park, phenotype, rent control, theory of mind, University of East Anglia, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

., 1859, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, John Murray, London —1871, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, John Murray, London Darwin, E., 1803, The Temple of Nature, or, the Origin of Society, J. Johnson, London Davison, G. W. H., 1983, ‘The Eyes Have It: Ocelli in a Rainforest Pheasant’, Animal Behaviour, 31:1037–42 Dawkins, M. and Guilford, T., 1991, ‘The Corruption of Honest Signalling’, Animal Behaviour, 41:865–73 Dawkins, R., 1976, The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press, Oxford —1982, The Extended Phenotype, Oxford University Press, Oxford —1986, The Blind Watchmaker, Longman, London —1990, ‘Parasites, Desiderata Lists and the Paradox of the Organism’, Parasitology, 100: S63–S73 —1991, ‘Darwin Triumphant: Darwinism as a Universal Truth’, Man and Beast Revisited, ed. M. H. Robinson and L. Tiger, Smithsonian, Washington, DC, pp. 23–39 —and Krebs, J. R., 1978, ‘Animal Signals: Information or Manipulation?’

., 1991a, ‘Borrowed Sexual Ornaments’, Nature, 349:105 —1991b, The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee, Radius, London Dickemann, M., 1979, ‘Female Infanticide and Reproductive Strategies of Stratified Human Societies’, Evolutionary Biology and Human Social Behavior, ed. N. Chagnon and W. Irons, Duxbury, North Scituate, Massachusetts, pp. 321–67 —1992, ‘Phylogenetic Fallacies and Sexual Oppression’, Human Nature, 3:71–87 Doolittle, W. F. and Sapienza, C., 1980, ‘Selfish Genes, the Phenotype Paradigm and Genome Evolution’, Nature, 284:601–3 Dörner, G., 1985, ‘Sex-specific Gonadotrophin Secretion, Sexual Orientation and Gender Role Behaviour’, Endokrinologie, 86:1–6 Dörner, G., 1989, ‘Hormone-dependent Brain Development and Neuroendocrine Prophylaxis’, Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology 94:4–22 Dugatkin, L., 1992, ‘Sexual Selection and Imitation: Females Copy the Mate Choice of Others’, American Naturalist, 139:1384–9 Dunbar, R.

Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress


Cepheid variable, double helix, gravity well, index card, indoor plumbing, job automation, phenotype, union organizing

Or the last two. Or the last ten. Her lab rats, their brains confused by what was supposed to be the answer to Miri’s experiment, stood irresolutely in their brain-scan stalls. The smallest of the three gave up: He lay down and went to sleep. “T-t-t-terrific,” Miri muttered. What ever made her think she was a biochemical researcher? “Super”—yeah. Sure. Super-incompetent. Strings of genetic code, phenotypes, enzymes, receptor sites formed and reformed in her head. None of it was any good. Waste, waste. She threw a calibration instrument clear across the lab, guaranteeing it would have to be recalibrated. “Miri!” Joan Lucas stood in the doorway, her pretty face twisted as rope. She and Miri had not talked in years. “Miri . . .” “Wh-wh-what is it? J-J-J-Joan?” “It’s Tony. Come right now. He . . .” Her face twisted even more.

Terry called up the string on his terminal; like most of Terry’s strings, it was incomprehensible to anyone but Terry. Nikos then created a string in his own program and converted it to Miri’s, still the format most accessible to the group as a whole. The twenty-seven children crowded near. Sharifi Labs had developed and synthesized an instantly fatal, airborne, highly communicable genemod organism, built from the code of a virus but highly different in important phenotypes. Packets of the 344 nancy kress organism, in a frozen state that could be unfrozen and dispersed by remote control from Sanctuary, had been installed in the United States by selected Sleepless graduate students studying on Earth. There were packets secreted in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, and on Kagura orbital, which Sharifi Labs now owned. The packets were virtually undetectable by conventional methods.

Wireless by Stross, Charles


anthropic principle, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, Buckminster Fuller, Cepheid variable, cognitive dissonance, colonial exploitation, cosmic microwave background, epigenetics, finite state, Georg Cantor, gravity well, hive mind, jitney, Khyber Pass, lifelogging, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, peak oil, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, security theater, sensible shoes, Turing machine

Two weeks ago we told the GRU that MacNamara was using the NP-101 program as cover for a preemptive D-SLAM strike. At the same time we got the NOAA to increase their mapping-launch frequency, and pointed the increased level of Soviet activity out to our sources in SAC. It doesn’t take much to get the human hives buzzing with positive feedback.” Of course, Brundle and Gregor aren’t using words for this incriminating exchange. Their phenotypically human bodies conceal some useful modifications, knobby encapsulated tumors of neuroecto derm that shield the delicate tissues of their designers, neural circuits that have capabilities human geneticists haven’t even imagined. A visitor from a more advanced human society might start chattering excitedly about wet-phase nanomachines and neural-directed broadband packet radio, but nobody in New York on a sunny day in 1979 plus one million is thinking in those terms.

Like Wei, and the other Stasis agents who had silently liquidated the camp guards and stolen their identities three nights before, Pierce was disguised as a Benzin warrior. He wore the war paint and beaten-aluminum armbands, bore the combat scars. He carried a spear tipped with a shard of synthetic diamond, mined from a deep seam of prehistoric automobile windshields. He even wore a Benzin face: the epicanthic folds and dark skin conferred by the phenotypic patches had given him food for thought, an unfamiliar departure from his white-bread origins. Gramps (he shied from the memory) would have died rather than wear this face. Pierce was not yet even a twelve-year trainee: he’d been in the service for barely four years-subjective. But he was ready to be sent out under supervision, and this particular operation called for warm bodies rather than retrocausal subtlety.

pages: 539 words: 139,378

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

4chan, affirmative action, Black Swan, cognitive bias, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, invisible hand, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, social web, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, ultimatum game

“Is Polarization a Myth?” Journal of Politics 70:542–55. Adorno, T. W., E. Frenkel-Brunswik, D. J. Levinson, and R. N. Sanford. 1950. The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper and Row. Alford, J. R., C. L. Funk, and J. R. Hibbing. 2005. “Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?” American Political Science Review 99:153–67. ______. 2008. “Beyond Liberals and Conservatives to Political Genotypes and Phenotypes.” Perspectives on Politics 6:321–28. Allen, E., et al. 1975. “Against ‘Sociobiology.’ ” New York Review of Books 22:43–44. Almas, I., A. W. Cappelen, E. O. Sorensen, and B. Tungodden. 2010. “Fairness and the Development of Inequality Acceptance.” Science 328:1176–8. Ambrose, S. H. 1998. “Late Pleistocene Human Population Bottlenecks, Volcanic-Winter, and the Differentiation of Modern Humans.”

Ethics for the New Millennium. New York: Riverhead Books. Damasio, A. 1994. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. New York: Putnam. ______. 2003. Looking for Spinoza. Orlando, FL: Harcourt. Darwin, C. 1998/1871. The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. Dawkins, R. 1976. The Selfish Gene. New York: Oxford University Press. ______. 1999/1982. The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene. New York: Oxford University Press. ______. 2006. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Decety, J. 2011. “The Neuroevolution of Empathy.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1231:35–45. De Dreu, C. K., L. L. Greer, M. J. Handgraaf, S. Shalvi, G. A. Van Kleef, M. Baas, et al. 2010. “The Neuropeptide Oxytocin Regulates Parochial Altruism in Intergroup Conflict Among Humans.”

pages: 181 words: 62,775

Half Empty by David Rakoff


airport security, Buckminster Fuller, dark matter, double helix, Google Earth, phenotype, RFID, urban planning, urban renewal, wage slave, Wall-E, Y2K

It’s a little like being given a toy castle and realizing in short order that the flags on top of the turrets don’t move, and the gothic windows, blue-water moat, drawbridges, all of it, is one piece: a dead end of rigid, injection-mold plastic. Eventually, some 1,500 people arrive (that’s the estimate of the organizers; eyeballing the crowd, I’d put it at about half that number), almost all men. They run a not terribly broad gamut of exurban-straight-white-guy phenotypes. There are outer-borough packs like the cast of Entourage, minus a famous meal ticket (sample T-shirt, YOU BETTER BUY ME ANOTHER BEER BECAUSE YOUR [sic] STILL UGLY). There’s a cadre of tattooed motorcycle types, one of whose jacket reads IF YOU CAN READ THIS THE BITCH FELL OFF. Their dynamic is frosted with a homoerotic, gay-bashy, date-rapey menace. They jostle and spar and work one another up as they stand in line for autographs and have their photos taken with the various porn stars who are appearing.

pages: 158 words: 46,760

Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue: How to Restore Hormonal Balance and Feel Renewed, Energized, and Stress Free by Kathryn Simpson


impulse control, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, randomized controlled trial

Brain Research Reviews 58(1):96-105. Vgontzas, A. N., C. Tsigos, E. O. Bixler, et al. 1998. Chronic insomnia and activity of the stress system: A preliminary study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 45(1):21-31. Vicennati, V., L. Ceroni, L. Gagliardi, A. Gambineri, and R. Pasquali. 2002. Response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis to high-protein/fat and high-carbohydrate meals in women with different obesity phenotypes. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 87(8):3984-3988, Virchow, R. 1860. Cellular Pathology as Based upon Physiological and Pathological Histology. London: Churchill. Weill, S., D. Chesneau, and L. Safraou. 2002. Effects of introducing linseed in livestock diet on blood fatty acid composition of consumers of animal products. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 46(5):182-191. Whitworth, J., P.

How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston


affirmative action, carbon footprint, Columbine, dark matter, desegregation, drone strike, housing crisis, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, supply-chain management, the scientific method, transatlantic slave trade

No, I didn’t ask Christian how black he was, but I did ask him about how white he was: CHRISTIAN LANDER I’m about as white as it gets. My family came over on the Mayflower and then left the United States to stay loyal to England and moved to Canada during the Revolutionary War. As his is the most expert opinion I could find on the subject, I also asked him about notions of “whiteness,” especially since most of the Stuff White People Like checklist is based on beliefs, values, and tastes, not phenotypical traits. At my high school, anyone who liked something on the list and was not white was called white, was accused of acting white. • A “coconut” is brown on the outside and white on the inside. You could use that for Indian, you could use that for Latino, too. It’s your choice of which ethnicity you wish to disparage. • “Banana” is yellow on the outside, white on the inside, which is for Asians.

pages: 194 words: 49,310

Clock of the Long Now by Stewart Brand


Albert Einstein, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Eratosthenes, Extropian, fault tolerance, George Santayana, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, Metcalfe’s law, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

There are already many wonderful libraries. It would take centuries of imaginative curating and uses for a Millennial Library to acquire unique value. The value could lie in providing civilizations with a wisdom line: slow, robust, apparently inefficient. In this respect it might be like a species’ genotype, which contains much more hidden diversity (in recessive genes, mutations, etc.) than what is expressed in the current bodily phenotypes. By its very inefficiency the genotype preserves tremendous adaptivity in the species. Dark ages come to everyone’s mind when thinking about very long-term libraries—at least everyone in the West, because Europe had one. After the fall of Rome formal learning disappeared for half a millennium. Only in the rural Benedictine monasteries were intellectual discourse and education maintained. So it went for five centuries, until suddenly in the mid twelfth century the lead was taken over by the new universities in reviving cities such as Paris, Bologna, and Oxford.

pages: 181 words: 52,147

The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future by Vivek Wadhwa, Alex Salkever

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk,, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google bus, Hyperloop, income inequality, Internet of things, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, life extension, Lyft, M-Pesa, Menlo Park, microbiome, mobile money, new economy, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uranium enrichment, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

“Current unmanned aircraft state law landscape,” National Conference of State Legislatures 7 October 2016, (accessed 21 October 2016). CHAPTER ELEVEN 1. Diana W. Bianchi, R. Lamar Parker, Jeffrey Wentworth, et al., “DNA sequencing versus standard aneuploidy screening,” New England Journal of Medicine 2014;370:799– 808, (accessed 21 October 2016). 2. Jessica X. Chong, Kati J. Buckingham, Shalini N. Jhangiani, et al., “The genetic basis of Mendelian phenotypes: Discoveries, challenges, and opportunities,” American Journal of Human Genetics 2015;97(2):199– 215, (accessed 21 October 2016). 3. Aleksandar D. Kostic, Dirk Gevers, Heli Siljander, et al., “The Dynamics of the Human Infant Gut Microbiome in Development and in Progression toward Type 1 Diabetes,” Cell Host & Microbe 2015;17(2):260– 273, (accessed 21 October 2016). 4.

pages: 208 words: 67,288

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, false memory syndrome, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Isaac Newton, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, the scientific method

He has also written and presented several television documentaries, including The Genius of Charles Darwin in 2008 and Faith School Menace in 2010. Dave McKean has illustrated and designed many award-winning books and graphic novels. He has created hundreds of album, comic and book covers, and has designed characters for two of the Harry Potter films. He has also directed two feature films, MirrorMask and Luna. Also by Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene The Extended Phenotype The Blind Watchmaker River Out of Eden Climbing Mount Improbable Unweaving the Rainbow A Devil’s Chaplain The Ancestor’s Tale The God Delusion* The Greatest Show on Earth* * and published by Black Swan TRANSWORLD PUBLISHERS 61–63 Uxbridge Road, London W5 5SA A Random House Group Company THE MAGIC OF REALITY A BLACK SWAN BOOK: 9780552778053 Version 1.0 Epub ISBN 9781409011415 First Published in Great Britain Black Swan edition published 2012 Copyright © Richard Dawkins 2011 Illustrations copyright © Dave McKean 2011 Richard Dawkins has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Toast by Stross, Charles


anthropic principle, Buckminster Fuller, cosmological principle, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Extropian, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, gravity well, Khyber Pass, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, NP-complete, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, performance metric, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, slashdot, speech recognition, strong AI, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

“You give too much away too easily, Manny! Slow down, or there won't be anything left.” Leaning over the bed she dribbles acetone onto the fingers of his left hand, then unlocks the cuff: puts the bottle conveniently close to hand so he can untangle himself. “See you tomorrow. Remember, after breakfast.” She's in the doorway when he calls: “but you didn't say why!” “Your memes are just a product of your extended phenotype; if you like you can think of it as a new way of spreading your memes around,” she says. She blows him a kiss and closes the door: bends down and carefully places another cardboard box containing an uploaded kitten right outside it. Then she returns to her suite to make arrangements for the alchemical wedding. Afterword:Five years over the wire Welcome to the extended, updated, 2005 remix of Toast.

pages: 254 words: 72,929

The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy by Tyler Cowen


Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, David Brooks,, endowment effect, Flynn Effect, framing effect, Google Earth, impulse control, informal economy, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, neurotypical, new economy, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, selection bias, Silicon Valley, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind

On how parents of autistic children show some partially autistic traits, see the work of Simon Baron-Cohen, for instance Simon Baron-Cohen, Sally Wheelwright, Amy Burtenshaw, and Esther Hobson, “Mathematical Talent is Linked to Autism,” in Human Nature, forthcoming; it is currently on the web at The Centre for Autism Research is a good source for many of Baron-Cohen’s papers on related topics. See also on genetics J. Briskman, U Frith, and F. Happé, “Exploring the Cognitive Phenotype of Autism: Weak ‘Central Coherence’ in Parents and Siblings of Children with Autism: II. Real-life Skills and Preferences,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines 42 (2001), 309–16. On some of the genetic issues behind autism, see Michael Rutter, “Genetic Influences and Autism,” Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (cited above), 425–52. Recent pieces include Brett S.

pages: 266 words: 77,045

The Bend of the World: A Novel by Jacob Bacharach

Burning Man, haute couture, helicopter parent, Isaac Newton, medical residency, phenotype, quantitative easing, too big to fail, trade route, young professional

Personally, I suspect them of an entirely dour and unappealing sapphism. Speaking of people we need to contrive to meet. How much booze have you stolen from her since you and Lauren Sara contracted a bad case of each other? I can’t believe you don’t even know what she looks like. I guess she looks like the girl driving my car around like a maniac. I didn’t think she looked particularly Greek, but I’m not sure what a Greek woman looks like. Do they have a phenotype? I imagine they pop out as spry nonagenarians with a single hair on their chin and a single eyebrow on their forehead. We should ask Spiro about her. He knows all the Greeks. I can totally imagine what he’d say, too. Oh, Johnny, she ees artist. She never cumss to church. She ees twenty-fife and hass no babees. I wuddy, I wuddy. He’s very concerned with the overall fertility of the Greek race. You know he’s like whatever the Greek equivalent of a white nationalist is, right?

pages: 945 words: 292,893

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson


clean water, Colonization of Mars, Danny Hillis, digital map, double helix, epigenetics, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, kremlinology, Kuiper Belt, microbiome, phenotype, Potemkin village, pre–internet, random walk, remote working, selection bias, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, the scientific method, Tunguska event, zero day, éminence grise

But that picture had changed during the first part of the twenty-first century, as more sophisticated analysis had revealed that much of that so-called junk actually performed important roles in the functioning of cells by regulating the expression of genes. Even simple organisms, it turned out, possessed many genes that were suppressed, or silenced altogether, by such mechanisms. The central promise of genomics—that by knowing an organism’s genome, scientists could know the organism—had fallen far short as it had become obvious that the phenotype (the actual creature that met the biologist’s eye, with all of its observable traits and behaviors) was a function not only of its genotype (its DNA sequences) but also of countless nanodecisions being made from moment to moment within the organism’s cells by the regulatory mechanisms that determined which genes to express and which to silence. Those regulatory mechanisms were of several types, and many were unfathomably complex.

Kath Two herself, no model, was frequently complimented on the lightness of her eyes, which were closer to green than yellow. But modern, appearance-conscious Moirans were frequently startled when they saw photographs of their Eve with her eyes that were merely greenish-brown. The shift in Moiran eye color was obvious and easily documented, but the same thing, mutatis mutandis, had happened with scores of other phenotypes among all the races. Selective mating had the power to wreak impressive changes over time, without any artificial meddling. In some cases, though, racial isolates had acquired genetic labs of their own. These had been used for many purposes, usually considered benign. In some cases, they had been used for Enhancement, which meant deliberate genetic manipulation for the purpose of rendering racial characteristics more pronounced—the artificial acceleration of what was happening “naturally” in the way of Caricaturization.

As soon as it happened she went into what I’m guessing is a classic POTESH.” This was military jargon for post-traumatic epigenetic shift. “That is confirmed,” said Hope, who seemed to have finished an initial scan of Kath’s vital signs. “Higher metabolism and hyperacute senses are observable. Her microbiome is a mess; I’m tuning it up with probiotic supplements that’ll be a better fit with her new phenotype. Suggested by the nausea are big hormone shifts. Possibly predictive of some future . . .” “Testosterone poisoning?” Ty suggested, finishing Hope’s thought. Hope responded with a diffident nod of the head. Ty turned his attention back to Arjun. “So three billion people just learned that the Diggers exist. How are they taking it?” “Well, obviously it is a sensational bit of news,” Arjun said.

pages: 571 words: 162,958

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology by James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel


back-to-the-land, Columbine, dark matter, Extropian, Firefox, gravity well, haute couture, Internet Archive, pattern recognition, phenotype, post-industrial society, price stability, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, technological singularity, telepresence, the scientific method, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Y2K, zero day

The suit pulled a small leather case from inside his tunic, slipped a tiny data disk from it. Without a word, Aman extended a port. Clients did not store their files on the net. Not if they were paying Search Engine’s fees. The disk clicked into place and Aman’s desktop lit up. A man’s head and shoulders appeared in the holofield, turning slowly. Medium-dark, about twenty, mixed Euro/African and Hispanic genes, Aman noted. About the same phenotype as New Kid—Jimi — a history of war, rape, and pillage made flesh. The Runner’s scalp gleamed naked, implanted with fiberlight gang-sign. Aman read it and sighed, thinking of his fight with Avi over his fiberlights. Tattoo your political incorrectness on your body for the cops, son. Just in case they don’t notice you on their own. Stupid move, Avi. That hadn’t been the final argument, but it had been damn close.

Jimi leaned back, propped a boot up on the corner of the desktop. “Say yessir, no questions asked, huh? Who cares about the reason, as long as there’s money?” “He’s government.” Aman blinked the display away, ignored Jimi’s boot. Why in the name of everyone’s gods had Raul hired this wet-from-birth child? Well, he knew why. Aman eyed the kid’s slender, androgynous build. His boss had a thing for the African/Hispanic phenotype. Once, he’d kept it out of the business. Aman suppressed a sigh, wondering if the kid had figured it out yet. Why Raul had hired him. “How much of the data-dredging that you do is legal?” He watched Jimi think about that. “You think we’re that good, huh? That nobody ever busts us? There is always a price, kid, especially for success.” Jimi took his foot off the desktop. “The whole crackdown on the Gaiists is just crap.

pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More


23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila,, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Extending life, prolonging personhood, and morphological freedom are certain transhuman rights. But let me clarify that the issue is not just about body enhancement and life expansion. It concerns the larger environment in which enhancement takes place and the idea that humans might and can append their bodies and expand their lives. If our ancestors augmented the body for millions of years, since the Homo habilis and the Oldowan people and their tools, then the phenotype of appending the body is an innate and/or a learned expression. This interrelationship between the organism, the appendage, and the environment is an evidenced observation that needs to be understood, whether accepted or not, by all sides engaged in the socio-economics and biopolitics of body enhancement issues. Transmutation In De Divisione Naturae¸ Johannes Scotus Eriugena10 envisioned the universe as an “emanation” of life itself.

They are doing their utmost to build into their software the full range of human feelings, including ­feelings of angst and dread. Hence, the unstoppable human motivation to invent something as amazing as a cyber-conscious mind will result in the creation of countless partially successful efforts that would be unethical if accomplished in flesh. Can cyber-embryos be ethically ­terminated for much the same reason so many XX chromosome embryos (i.e., anatomically phenotypic females) are terminated – because of a belief that their costs of upkeep are not worth their value as adults (Rothblatt 1997: 11–17)? By having a different form from males, women have undergone an unimaginable amount of suffering (Rothblatt 1995: 39–43). The prevailing view is that because someone has the form of software or computer hardware they are unfeeling and can thus be disposed of at will.

pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway


Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, packet switching, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

Newer, more flexible markup languages such as XML (Extensible Markup Language) have made it possible for researchers (be they biologists or engineers) to come up with a coding schema tailored to their discipline. XML-based efforts in Foreword: Protocol Is as Protocol Does xxi molecular biology and biochemistry have been one area of concern. But agreeing upon what exactly that standard code will be is another matter. Should the hierarchy of tags for GEML (Gene Expression Markup Language) go by <chromosome>, <phenotype>, or <gene>? There are a range of vested interests (commercial, ideological, institutional, methodological, disciplinary), and the mere decision about standards becomes a discourse on “ontology” in the philosophical sense. If layering is dependent upon portability, then portability is in turn enabled by the existence of ontology standards. These are some of the sites that Protocol opens up concerning the possible relations between information and biological networks.

pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts


active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city,, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, industrial cluster, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Knowing everything about the behavior of individual neurons, for example, would be of little help in understanding human psychology, just as a complete knowledge of particle physics would be of little use in explaining the chemistry of synapses.6 Increasingly, however, the questions that scientists find most interesting—from the genomics revolution to the preservation of ecosystems to cascading failures in power grids—are forcing them to consider more than one scale at a time, and so to confront the problem of emergence head-on. Individual genes interact with each other in complex chains of activation and suppression to express phenotypic traits that are not reducible to the properties of any one gene. Individual plants and animals interact with each other in complex ways, via prey-predator relations, symbiosis, competition, and cooperation, to produce ecosystem-level properties that cannot be understood in terms of any individual species. And individual power generators and substations interact with each other via high-voltage transmission cables to produce system-level dynamics that cannot be understood in terms of any individual component.

pages: 377 words: 97,144

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller


23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, barriers to entry, brain emulation, cloud computing, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping,, feminist movement, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Netflix Prize, neurotypical, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture

A biographer of John von Neumann wrote, “The cheapest way to make the world richer would be to get lots of his like.”21 A world with a million Johnnies, cooperating and competing with each other, has a reasonable chance of giving us something spectacular, beyond what even science fiction authors can imagine—at least if mankind survives the experience. Von Neumann’s existence highlights the tremendous variance in human intelligence, and so illuminates the minimum potential gains of simply raising a new generation’s intelligence to the maximum of what our species’ current phenotype can sustain. John von Neumann and a few other Hungarian scientists who immigrated to the United States were jokingly called “Martians” because of their strange accents and seemingly superhuman intelligence.22 If von Neumann really did have an extraterrestrial parent, whose genes arose, say, out of an advanced eugenics program that Earth couldn’t hope to replicate for a million years, then I wouldn’t infer from his existence that we could get many of him.

pages: 362 words: 104,308

Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson


bioinformatics, business intelligence, double helix, experimental subject, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, the scientific method, zero-sum game

Maybe just that I personally am a bad translator. Although I must say, I have a tough job. When I don’t understand the rimpoche, translating him gets harder.” “So you make it up!” Frank laughed. His spirits were still high, Anna saw. “That’s what I’ve been saying all along.” He settled back against the side of the couch next to her. But Drepung shook his head. “Not making things up. Re-creation, maybe.” “Like DNA and phenotypes.” “I don’t know.” “A kind of code.” “Well, but language is never just a code.” “No. More like gene expression.” “You must tell me.” “From an instruction sequence, like a gene, to what the instruction creates. Language to thought. Or to meaning, or comprehension. Whatever! To some kind of living thought.” Drepung grinned. “There are about fifty words in Tibetan that I would have to translate to the word ‘thinking.’”

Scratch Monkey by Stross, Charles


carbon-based life, defense in depth, fault tolerance, gravity well, Kuiper Belt, packet switching, phenotype, telepresence

We're committed now. Five hundred soldiers coming down the chute, and nowhere to go but out. She straightened up, and left the room as fast as possible. Which was why she wasn't there when the control system spoke quietly to the empty air: "Alert. There is an error condition associated with subject Raisa Marikova. Codon error: illegal nanostructure is associated with subject's homoeobox structure. Phenotype error: subject homoeobox specification contains abnormal neurological structure. Do you want me to proceed ..?" There was no reply. The Gatecoder waited for a long time, repeating the message occasionally. Finally, when it received no further instructions and could wait no longer, it resolved the problem by checking its default decision set. Then it began to put together the first body. The chosen vehicle was an in-system shuttle.

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers by David Perlmutter, Kristin Loberg


epigenetics, Gary Taubes, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, phenotype, publication bias, Ralph Waldo Emerson, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell

We can even make a case for linking gluten sensitivity with some of the most mysterious brain disorders that have eluded doctors for millennia, such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, bipolar disorder, and, more recently, autism and ADHD. I’ll be covering these connections later in the book. For now, I want you to get a scope of the problem, with a firm understanding that gluten can exert effects not only on the normal brain but also on the vulnerable abnormal brain. It’s also important to keep in mind that each one of us is unique in terms of our genotype (DNA) and phenotype (how genes express themselves in their environment). Unchecked inflammation in me could result in obesity and heart disease, whereas the same condition in you could translate to an autoimmune disorder. Once again, it helps to turn to the literature on celiac disease, since celiac reflects an extreme case; it allows us to identify patterns in the course of the disorder that can have implications for anyone who consumes gluten, regardless of celiac.

pages: 294 words: 86,601

Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life by Steven Johnson


Columbine, double helix, epigenetics, experimental subject, Gödel, Escher, Bach, James Watt: steam engine, l'esprit de l'escalier, pattern recognition, phenotype, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, zero-sum game

.: MIT Press, 1997. Damasio, Antonio. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. – -. The Feeling of What Happens. New York: Harcourt, 1999. Darwin, Charles. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Dawkins, Richard. Climbing Mount Improbable. New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1996. – -. The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. – -. Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder. London: The Penguin Press, 1998. De Waal, Franz. Chimpanzee Politics. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982. Dean, Katie. “Attention Kids: Play this Game.” Wired News, December 19, 2000. Dehaene, Stanislas, Michel Kerszberg, and Jean-Pierre Changeux.

pages: 311 words: 94,732

The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross


3D printing, Ayatollah Khomeini, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, Credit Default Swap, dematerialisation, Drosophila, epigenetics, Extropian, gravity well, greed is good, haute couture, hive mind, margin call, negative equity, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, union organizing

His father-thing looks up from the T. gondii he’s salting around the universe’s feline population before gifting them with opposable thumbs, and his mild eyes bore into Huw with the force of a star-powered laser. “Huw. I. Did. Not. Rewire. Your. Brain. To. Make. You. Love. The. Cloud. Full stop. If you’re feeling different about this sort of thing, it’s down to your own stimuli and how you’ve reacted to them. Far as I’m concerned, it makes no difference, but I suppose it might give you an edge here—after all, the cloud is the apex expression of humanity’s extended phenotype: you’re its ambassador, don’t you think it might help to actually like and respect it?” Huw ponders the possibility that his father-thing isn’t lying. He contemplates the contrafactual world in which he can treat the uploaded as being worthy of the same respect and compassion as meatpeople. From this, his treacherous skullfat leaps nimbly of its own accord to the potential future in which humanity—all humanity, embodied and virtual—is annihilated.

pages: 319 words: 105,949

Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot by Mark Vanhoenacker


Airbus A320, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, computer age, dark matter, digital map, Edmond Halley, John Harrison: Longitude, Louis Blériot, Maui Hawaii, out of africa, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, the built environment, transcontinental railway

There is another category of city, though, for which the aerial, geographic sense of a place does not augment other impressions of it, because I have no other impressions. Doha, Athens, Kiev, Ankara, Tripoli, Buenos Aires, Zagreb; I have landed in these cities and then flown away, without ever leaving the airport. Sometimes I have not even left my seat. In this category of cities it’s Moscow that I’ve flown to most often. I could tell you how unusually round Moscow looks, the metropolitan phenotype that is the privilege of cities born in flat and landlocked places. I might mention Moscow’s multiple, concentric ring roads—one of which roughly corresponds to the city’s medieval boundaries and gates—that glow in the pitch-black winter nights like the rings of an electric cooktop. When I flew the Airbus and went often to Moscow we were not permitted to fly over the city center, nor were we usually permitted to fly around it in a counterclockwise direction, and so we would fly nearly three-quarters of a circle around the city, as if it were an aerial traffic circle.

pages: 465 words: 103,303

The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery by George Johnson


Atul Gawande, Cepheid variable, Columbine, dark matter, discovery of DNA, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, Gary Taubes, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Isaac Newton, Magellanic Cloud, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, phenotype, profit motive, stem cell

Weinberg, “Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation,” Cell 144, no. 5 (March 4, 2011): 646–74. Natalie Angier told Weinberg’s story in Natural Obsessions: Striving to Unlock the Deepest Secrets of the Cancer Cell (New York: Warner Books, 1989), and Weinberg gave his own account in Racing to the Beginning of the Road: The Search for the Origin of Cancer (New York: Harmony, 1996). 22. they were named proto-oncogenes: C. Shih, R. A. Weinberg, et al., “Passage of Phenotypes of Chemically Transformed Cells via Transfection of DNA and Chromatin,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 76, no. 11 (November 1979): 5714–18 []; and C. J. Tabin, R. A. Weinberg, et al., “Mechanism of Activation of a Human Oncogene,” Nature 300, no. 5888 (November 11, 1982): 143–49. [] 23. Some mutations are even more wrenching: The best known example is the Philadelphia chromosome, which is involved in chronic myeloid leukemia.

pages: 318 words: 85,824

A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey


affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business climate, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crony capitalism, debt deflation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, labour market flexibility, land tenure, late capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Pearl River Delta, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, the built environment, The Chicago School, transaction costs, union organizing, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent

Finally, the market administration of purchasing power would periodically liquidate business enterprise, for shortages and surfeits of money would prove as disastrous to business as floods and droughts in primitive society.18 The damage wrought through the ‘floods and droughts’ of fictitious capitals within the global credit system, be it in Indonesia, Argentina, Mexico, or even within the US, testifies all too well to Polanyi’s final point. But his theses on labour and land deserve further elaboration. Individuals enter the labour market as persons of character, as individuals embedded in networks of social relations and socialized in various ways, as physical beings identifiable by certain characteristics (such as phenotype and gender), as individuals who have accumulated various skills (sometimes referred to as ‘human capital’) and tastes (sometime referred to as ‘cultural capital’), and as living beings endowed with dreams, desires, ambitions, hopes, doubts, and fears. For capitalists, however, such individuals are a mere factor of production, though not an undifferentiated factor since employers require labour of certain qualities, such as physical strength, skills, flexibility, docility, and the like, appropriate to certain tasks.

pages: 407 words: 109,653

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman


Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Edward Glaeser, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, game design, industrial cluster, Jean Tirole, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, school choice, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Jobs, zero-sum game

Onyut, Stephan Kolassa, & Thomas Elbert, “Spontaneous Remission from PTSD Depends on the Number of Traumatic Event Types Experienced,” Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, & Policy 2, vol. 3, pp. 169–174 (2010) Kolassa, Iris-Tatjana, Stephan Kolassa, Verena Ertl, Andreas Papassotiropoulos, & Dominique J.-F. De Quervain, “The Risk of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after Trauma Depends on Traumatic Load and the Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Val158Met Polymorphism,” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 67(4), pp. 304–308 (2010) Lachman, Herbert, “Does COMT Val158Met Affect Behavioral Phenotypes: Yes, No, Maybe?,” Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 33(13), pp. 3027–3029 (2008) Lonsdorf, Tina B., Christian Rück, Jan Bergström, Gerhard Andersson, Arne Öhman, Nils Lindefors, & Martin Schalling, “The COMTVal158Met Polymorphism Is Associated with Symptom Relief During Exposure-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment in Panic Disorder” BMC Psychiatry, vol. 10, pp. 99 et seq. (2010) Reuter, Martin, Clemens Frenzel, Nora T.

pages: 264 words: 90,379

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell


affirmative action, airport security, Albert Einstein, complexity theory, David Brooks, East Village, haute couture, Kevin Kelly, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, new economy, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, young professional

S>even S>econds in the B>ronx : T>he D>elicate A>rt of M>ind R>eading For more on the mind readers, see Paul Ekman, Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage (New York: Norton, 1995); Fritz Strack, “Inhibiting and Facilitating Conditions of the Human Smile: A Nonobtrusive Test of the Facial Feedback Hypothesis,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 54, no. 5 (1988): 768–777; and Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Friesen, Facial Action Coding System, parts 1 and 2 (San Francisco: Human Interaction Laboratory, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of California, 1978). Klin has written a number of accounts of his research using Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The most comprehensive is probably Ami Klin, Warren Jones, Robert Schultz, Fred Volkmar, and Donald Cohen, “Defining and Quantifying the Social Phenotype in Autism,” American Journal of Psychiatry 159 (2002): 895–908. On mind reading, see also Robert T. Schultz et al., “Abnormal Ventral Temporal Cortical Activity During Face Discrimination Among Individuals with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome,” Archives of General Psychiatry 57 (April 2000). Dave Grossman’s wonderful video series is called The Bulletproof Mind: Prevailing in Violent Encounters...and After.

pages: 417 words: 109,367

The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century by Ronald Bailey


3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Cass Sunstein, Climatic Research Unit, Commodity Super-Cycle, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, diversified portfolio, double helix, energy security, failed state, financial independence, Gary Taubes, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, phenotype, planetary scale, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, yield curve

Commonwealth Club lecture, May 8, 2014. “ecologists have come to understand the reality”: John Kricher, “Nothing Endures but Change: Ecology’s Newly Emerging Paradigm.” Northeastern Naturalist 5.2 (1998): 165–174. Ecological fitting is the process: Salvatore J. Agosta and Jeffrey A. Klemens, “Ecological Fitting by Phenotypically Flexible Genotypes: Implications for Species Associations, Community Assembly and Evolution.” Ecology Letters 11.11 (November 2008): 1123–1134.;jsessionid=A431ABA8A6A229AFA3B54DE9747AD57D.f01t01. Species don’t need to coevolve: David M. Wilkinson, “The Parable of Green Mountain: Ascension Island, Ecosystem Construction and Ecological Fitting.”

pages: 354 words: 91,875

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Doto Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal


banking crisis, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, delayed gratification, game design, impulse control, lifelogging, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, Richard Thaler, Wall-E, Walter Mischel

“Resistance Can Be Futile: Investigating Behavioural Rebound.” Appetite 50 (2008): 415–21. See also Erskine, J. A. K., and G. J. Georgiou. “Effects of Thought Suppression on Eating Behaviour in Restrained and Non-Restrained Eaters.” Appetite 54 (2010): 499–503. Page 222—Chocolate cravers study: Rezzi, S., Z. Ramadan, F. P. Martin, L. B. Fay, P. van Bladeren, J. C. Lindon, J. K. Nicholson, and S. Kochhar. “Human Metabolic Phenotypes Link Directly to Specific Dietary Preferences in Healthy Individuals.” Journal of Proteome Research 6 (2007): 4469–77. Page 223—Dieting and thought suppression: Barnes, R. D., and S. Tantleff-Dunn. “Food for Thought: Examining the Relationship between Food Thought Suppression and Weight-Related Outcomes.” Eating Behaviors 11 (2010): 175–79. Page 223—Dieting doesn’t work: Mann, T., A. J. Tomiyama, E.

Language and Mind by Noam Chomsky


Alfred Russel Wallace, finite state, John von Neumann, pattern recognition, phenotype, theory of mind

In a classic contemporary paper, Maynard Smith and associates trace the post-Darwinian version back to Thomas Huxley, who was struck by the fact that there appear to be “predetermined lines of modification” that lead natural selection to “produce varieties of a limited number and kind” for every species. They review a variety of such constraints in the organic world and describe how “limitations on phenotypic variability” are “caused by the structure, character, composition, or dynamics of the developmental system.” They also point out that such “developmental constraints undoubtedly play a significant role in evolution” though 180 Language and Mind there is yet “little agreement on their importance as compared with selection, drift, and other such factors in shaping evolutionary history.” At about the same time, Jacob wrote that “the rules controlling embryonic development,” almost entirely unknown, interact with other physical factors to “restrict possible changes of structures and functions” in evolutionary development, providing “architectural constraints” that “limit adaptive scope and channel evolutionary patterns,” to quote a recent review.

pages: 346 words: 92,984

The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health by David B. Agus


3D printing, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Drosophila, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory,, epigenetics, Kickstarter, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, microcredit, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, publish or perish, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, wikimedia commons

Schmidt, “Mental Health: Thinking from the Gut,” Nature 518, no. 7540 (February 26, 2015): S12–15, doi:10.1038/518S13a. 11. B. Chassaing, “Dietary Emulsifiers Impact the Mouse Gut Microbiota Promoting Colitis and Metabolic Syndrome,” Nature 519, no. 7541 (March 5, 2015): 92–96, doi:10.1038/nature14232, Epub February 25, 2015. 12. Multiple studies now demonstrate an association between the state of the gut microbiome and depression. Here’s one: G. De Palma et al., “Microbiota and Host Determinants of Behavioural Phenotype in Maternally Separated Mice,” Nature Communications 6 (July 28, 2015): 7735, doi:10.1038/ncomms8735. 13. Anna Azvolinsky, “Gut Microbes Influence Circadian Clock,” Scientist, April 16, 2014. 14. S. DeWeerdt, “Microbiome: A Complicated Relationship Status,” Nature 508, no. 7496 (April 17, 2014): S61–63, doi:10.1038/508S61a. See, in particular, box 1, “Lean Operation: Does the Microbiota Determine the Success of Gastric Surgery?”

Data Mining: Concepts and Techniques: Concepts and Techniques by Jiawei Han, Micheline Kamber, Jian Pei


bioinformatics, business intelligence, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation coefficient, cyber-physical system, database schema, discrete time, distributed generation, finite state, information retrieval, iterative process, knowledge worker, linked data, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Occam's razor, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, random walk, recommendation engine, RFID, semantic web, sentiment analysis, speech recognition, statistical model, stochastic process, supply-chain management, text mining, thinkpad, Thomas Bayes, web application

Genes are critical for all living things because they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains. They hold the information to build and maintain a living organism's cells and pass genetic traits to offspring. Synthesis of a functional gene product, either RNA or protein, relies on the process of gene expression. A genotype is the genetic makeup of a cell, an organism, or an individual. Phenotypes are observable characteristics of an organism. Gene expression is the most fundamental level in genetics in that genotypes cause phenotypes. Using DNA chips (also known as DNA microarrays ) and other biological engineering techniques, we can measure the expression level of a large number (possibly all) of an organism's genes, in a number of different experimental conditions. Such conditions may correspond to different time points in an experiment or samples from different organs.

pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil


Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

Davis, R. and D. B. Lenat. Knowledge-Based Systems in Artificial Intelligence. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980. Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design. New York: W W Norton and Company, 1986. ————. “The Evolution of Evolvability.” Artificial Life, edited by Christopher G. Langton. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1988. ————. The Extended Phenotype. San Francisco: Freeman, 1982. _______. River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life. New York: Basic Books, 1995. _______. “Universal Darwinism.” Evolution from Molecules to Men, edited by D. S. Bendall. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. ________. The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976. Dechert, Charles R., ed. The Social Impact of Cybernetics. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1966.

pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley


23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser,, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

You don’t expect to get better and better at walking in each successive generation – or breathing, or laughing, or chewing. For Palaeolithic hominids, hand-axe making was like walking, something you grew good at through practice and never thought about again. It was almost a bodily function. It was no doubt passed on partly by imitation and learning, but unlike modern cultural traditions it showed little regional and local variation. It was part of what Richard Dawkins called ‘the extended phenotype’ of the erectus hominid species, the external expression of its genes. It was instinct, as inherent to the human behavioural repertoire as a certain design of nest is to a certain species of bird. A song thrush lines its nest with mud, a European robin lines its nest with hair and a chaffinch lines its nest with feathers – they always have and they always will. It’s innate for them to do so. Making a teardrop-shaped sharp-edged stone tool takes no more skill than making a bird’s nest and was probably just as instinctive: it was a natural expression of human development.

pages: 402 words: 110,972

Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets by David J. Leinweber


AI winter, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, citizen journalism, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Danny Hillis, demand response, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman,, experimental economics, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, information retrieval, intangible asset, Internet Archive, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, load shedding, Long Term Capital Management, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, market fragmentation, market microstructure, Mars Rover, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, negative equity, Network effects, optical character recognition, paper trading, passive investing, pez dispenser, phenotype, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, semantic web, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, smart grid, smart meter, social web, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing machine, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vernor Vinge, yield curve, Yogi Berra, your tax dollars at work

The key aspect of the genetic algorithm’s appeal in trading is clearly made in Dave Goldberg’s book: It is payoff driven. (See Figure 8.1.) Think of flipping the switches to maximize payoff. The switches are bits, binary digits; and in real problems, there are many more of them, representing complex solutions as binary chromosomes. Start with an initial population, random for purists, with known good solutions included for engineers. Let the programs (phenotypes) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Output Signal Binary Chromosome Coding of Model Parameters Payoff (e.g., profit, predictive power) Adjust these . . . to maximize this. Figure 8.1 Payoff drives the genetic algorithm. Source: Adapted from Genetic Algorithms in Search, Optimization and Machine Learning by Dave Goldberg (Addison-Wesley, 1989), 8. 186 Nerds on Wall Str eet N Chromosomes 1 2 3 4 5 6 Create Initial Population N Fitness 1 10 1' 2 20 2' 3 60 3' 4 3 Select Best 5 0 Individuals for 6 50 ‘Breedingí Evaluate Fitness Yes Keep on Breeding N 1' 2' 3' 4' 1' 2' 3' 4' Crossover to Create Hybrids in New Population, Mutate.

pages: 436 words: 140,256

The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond


agricultural Revolution, assortative mating, Atahualpa, Columbian Exchange, correlation coefficient, double helix, Drosophila, European colonialism, invention of gunpowder, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, out of africa, phenotype, Scientific racism, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, the scientific method, trade route, V2 rocket

Nance et al, 'A model for the analysis of mate selection in the marriages of twins', Acta Geneticae Medicae Gemellologiae 29, pp. 91-101 (1980); D. Thiessen and B. Gregg, 'Human assortative mating and genetic equilibrium: an evolutionary perspective', Ethology and Sociobiology 1, pp. 111—40 (1980); D.M. Buss, 'Human mate selection', American Scientist 73, pp. 47–51 (1985); A.C. Heath and L.J. Eaves, 'Resolving the effects of phenotype and social background on mate selection', Behavior Genetics 15, pp. 75–90 (1985); and A.C. Heath et al, 'No decline in assortative mating for educational level', Behavior Genetics 15, pp. 349-69 (1985). Also relevant is a book by B.I. Murstein, Who Will Marry Whom? Theories and Research in Marital Choice (Springer, New York, 1976). The literature on mate choice by animals is at least as extensive as that for humans.

pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier


airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, commoditize, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K, zero-sum game

So while these seem like possible evolutionary explanations, there is still controversy in evolutionary biology over the levels of selection at work in any given instance. Certainly not all evolutionary biologists would accept these necessarily simple descriptions, although they would concur with the general outline that there was some evolutionary advantage to the possession of certain genes manifesting certain phenotypes in certain populations. (7) Among other things, human intelligence is unique in the complexity of its expression, and its ability to comprehend the passage of time. More related to security, humans are vastly ahead of even chimpanzees in their ability to understand cause and effect in the physical world. (8) No other creature on the planet does this. To use the words of philosopher Alfred Korzybski, humans are the only time binding species: we are the only species that can pass information and knowledge between generations at an accelerating rate.

pages: 464 words: 116,945

Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey


accounting loophole / creative accounting, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, California gold rush, call centre, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, drone strike, end world poverty, falling living standards, fiat currency, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Food sovereignty, Frank Gehry, future of work, global reserve currency, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, peak oil, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wages for housework, Wall-E, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

These contradictions transcend the specificities of capitalist social formations. For example, gender relations such as patriarchy underpin contradictions to be found in ancient Greece and Rome, in ancient China, in Inner Mongolia or in Ruanda. The same applies to racial distinctions, understood as any claim to biological superiority on the part of some subgroup in the population vis-à-vis the rest (race is not, therefore, defined in terms of phenotype: the working and peasant classes in France in the mid-nineteenth century were openly and widely regarded as biologically inferior beings – a view that was perpetuated in many of Zola’s novels). Racialisation and gender discriminations have been around for a very long time and there is no question that the history of capitalism is an intensely racialised and gendered history. The question then arises: why do I not include the contradictions of race and gender (along with many others, such as nationalism, ethnicity and religion) as foundational in this study of the contradictions of capital?

pages: 565 words: 151,129

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism by Jeremy Rifkin


3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, big-box store, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business process, Chris Urmson, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, Community Supported Agriculture, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, crowdsourcing, demographic transition, distributed generation,, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, global village, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, mass immigration, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, phenotype, planetary scale, price discrimination, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, risk/return, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social web, software as a service, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Taking the analogy one step further, if we were to print out the data on all human diversity, the database would be at least four orders of magnitude bigger—or 10,000 times the size of the first database. Mapping and sequencing the genomes is just the beginning. Understanding and chronicling all the relationships between genes, tissues, organs, organisms, and external environments, and the perturbations that trigger genetic mutations and phenotypical responses, is so far beyond any kind of complex system ever modeled that only an interdisciplinary approach, leaning heavily on the computational skills of the information scientists, can hope to accomplish the task. Titans in the computer field like Bill Gates and Wall Street insiders like Michael Milken poured funds into the new field of bioinformatics in hopes of advancing the collaborative partnership of the information and Life Sciences.

pages: 448 words: 142,946

Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein


Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate raider, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, God and Mammon, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, land value tax, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, lump of labour, McMansion, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, special drawing rights, spinning jenny, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail

It is also unsustainable: it generates great and growing crises that are propelling us into a new era, an Age of Reunion. Separation is not an ultimate reality, but a human projection, an ideology, a story. As in all cultures, our defining Story of the People has two deeply related parts: a Story of Self, and a Story of the World. The first is the discrete and separate self: a bubble of psychology, a skin-encapsulated soul, a biological phenotype driven by its genes to seek reproductive self-interest, a rational actor seeking economic self-interest, a physical observer of an objective universe, a mote of consciousness in a prison of flesh. The second is the story of Ascent: that humanity, starting from a state of ignorance and powerlessness, is harnessing the forces of nature and probing the secrets of the universe, moving inexorably toward our destiny of complete mastery over, and transcendence of, nature.

pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman


3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, functional fixedness, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

.; author, The Proactionary Imperative: A Foundation for Transformation We can’t think properly about machines that think without a level playing field for comparing us and them. As it stands, comparisons are invariably biased in our favor. In particular, we underestimate the role that “smart environments” play in enabling displays of human cognitive prowess. From the design of roads and buildings to the user-friendly features of consumer goods, the technologically extended phenotype has created the illusion that reality is inherently human-shaped. To be sure, we’re quickly awakened from the dogmatic slumbers of universal mastery as soon as our iPhone goes missing. By comparison, even the cleverest machine is forced to perform in a relatively dumb (judged by its own standards) environment—namely, us. Unless specifically instructed, humans are unlikely to know or care how to tap the full range of the machine’s latent powers.

pages: 625 words: 167,097

Kiln People by David Brin


Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, index card, jitney, life extension, pattern recognition, phenotype, price anchoring, prisoner's dilemma, Schrödinger's Cat, telepresence, Vernor Vinge, your tax dollars at work

Computers briefly tantalized, hinting that software models might prove better than reality. Enthusiasts promised new-improved minds, telepathic perception, even transcendent power. But cyberstuff fell short of opening grand portals. It became another useful tool set, just another incremental brick in the arch. Back in Grandma's time, biology was the queen science. Decipher the genome, the proteome, and their subtle interplay with phenotype! Solve ecology's riddle and achieve sustainability in nature! These were attainments every bit as vital as harnessing flame or kicking the habit of all-out war. Yet where were answers to the truly deep questions? Religion promised those, though always in vague terms, while retreating from one line in the sand to the next. Don't look past this boundary, they told Galileo, then Hutton, Darwin, Von Neumann, and Crick, always retreating with great dignity before the latest scientific advance, then drawing the next holy perimeter at the shadowy rim of knowledge.

pages: 372 words: 111,573

10% Human: How Your Body's Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness by Alanna Collen


Asperger Syndrome, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, biofilm, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, David Strachan, discovery of penicillin, Drosophila, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, germ theory of disease, hygiene hypothesis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, Maui Hawaii, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, the scientific method

Conserved shifts in the gut microbiota due to gastric bypass reduce host weight and adiposity. Science Translational Medicine 5: 1–11. Chapter 3 1. Sessions, S.K. and Ruth, S.B. (1990). Explanation for naturally occurring supernumerary limbs in amphibians. Journal of Experimental Biology 254: 38–47. 2. Andersen, S.B. et al. (2009). The life of a dead ant: The expression of an adaptive extended phenotype. The American Naturalist 174: 424–433. 3. Herrera, C. et al. (2001). Maladie de Whipple: Tableau psychiatrique inaugural. Revue Médicale de Liège 56: 676–680. 4. Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child 2: 217–250. 5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010.

pages: 476 words: 120,892

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox

*4 Of course, it could as easily be called Wallace’s theory of natural selection, after the great British naturalist and geographer Alfred Russel Wallace who, during a bout of malarial fever while traveling in the tropics, came up with virtually the same idea as Darwin. *5 The term “genetics” was coined in 1905 by William Bateson, an English geneticist and a proponent of Mendel’s ideas; the term “gene” was suggested four years later by Danish botanist Wilhelm Johannsen to distinguish between the outward appearance of an individual (its phenotype) and its genes (its genotype). *6 The alternative tautomeric forms of guanine and thymine are known as enol or keto, depending on the position of the coding protons; whereas cytosine and adenine tautomers are known as keto or amino forms. *7 Escherichia coli. *8 By which we mean one lacking a rigorous mathematical framework. *9 In reality there will be more than one hydrogen bond holding the base pair together, but the argument holds equally well if we simplify the picture to just one

pages: 406 words: 115,719

The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes


Albert Einstein, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, epigenetics, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, the new new thing, the scientific method, Works Progress Administration

Some of us have been passed genes that predispose us to get fat and/or diabetic in the world in which we now live, or to get fat and diabetic at younger ages than others, and these are the genes we pass on to our children. Geneticists would say some of us have susceptible “genotypes” that respond to our environment—sugar-rich, as I’m suggesting—and this is why we manifest the obese and diabetic phenotype, or manifest it at younger ages than others. Some of us don’t. Researchers studying the Pima and other Native American tribes have assumed that their genes, for whatever reason, make them particularly susceptible to diabetes and obesity when they eat modern Western diets and live modern Western lifestyles. This may be true, but we now know that vastly different populations with (presumably) vastly different genetic inheritances suffer very similar epidemics of obesity and diabetes when their diets and lifestyles are so quickly Westernized.

pages: 331 words: 60,536

The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State by James Dale Davidson, Rees Mogg


affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, British Empire, California gold rush, clean water, colonial rule, Columbine, compound rate of return, creative destruction, Danny Hillis, debt deflation, ending welfare as we know it, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial independence, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Gilder, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Kevin Kelly, market clearing, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, Parkinson's law, pattern recognition, phenotype, price mechanism, profit maximization, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, school vouchers, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, spice trade, statistical model, telepresence, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Turing machine, union organizing, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto

The identification mechanism employed to harness emotional loyalty to the nation-state makes use of various devices that would have been markers of kinship in the primitive past "to link the individual's inclusive fitness concerns" with the interests of the state.63 For example, Shaw and Wong focus on five identification devices used by modern nation-states to mobilize their populations against out-groups. These are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. a common language a shared homeland similar phenotypic characteristics a shared religious heritage and the belief of common descent64 Such characteristics, of course, would have distinguished the nucleus ethnic group in the primitive past. Much of the appeal of nationalism can be traced to the way that these identification devices have been adopted and dressed up in the language of kinship, as illustrated in the French soldiers' chant quoted above.

pages: 382 words: 115,172

The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat by Tim Spector


biofilm, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, David Strachan, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, hygiene hypothesis, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, Steve Jobs

Oral, capsulized, frozen, fecal microbiota transplantation for relapsing Clostridium difficile infection. 3 4 Alang, N., OFID.2015. Weight gain after Fecal Microbial Transplant; 5 Charakida, M., Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol (Aug 2014); 2(8): 648–54. Lifelong patterns of BMI and cardiovascular phenotype in individuals aged 60–64 years in the 1946 British birth cohort study: an epidemiological study. 6 Everard, A., Proc Natl Acad Sci (28 May 2013); 110(22): 9066–71. Crosstalk between Akkermansia muciniphila and intestinal epithelium controls diet-induced obesity. 7 Zimmermann, A., Microbial Cell (2014); 1(5): 150–3. When less is more: hormesis against stress and disease. 8 Lang, J.M., PeerJ (9 Dec 2014);

pages: 452 words: 135,790

Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder From the World of Plants by Jane Goodall

Alfred Russel Wallace, British Empire, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, European colonialism, Google Earth, illegal immigration, language of flowers, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade

John Roach, “2000-Year-Old Seed Sprouts, Sapling Is Thriving,” National Geographic News, November 22, 2005, 4. “Noah’s grandfather” Sallon, op. cit. Roach, op. cit. Gen. 5:27–29 (New Standard Revised Version). 5. “carbon-dated at about 1,300 years” J. Shen-Miller et al., “Long-Living Lotus: Germination and Soil Gamma-Irradiation of Centuries-Old Fruits, and Cultivation, Growth, and Phenotypic Abnormalities of Offspring,” American Journal of Botany 89 (2002): 236–47. J. Shen-Miller et al., “Exceptional Seed Longevity and Robust Growth: Ancient Sacred Lotus from China,” American Journal of Botany 82 (2005): 1367–80. Ray Ming et al., “Genome of the Long-Living Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.),” Genome Biology 14 (2013): in press, doi:10.1186/gp-2013-14-5-r41. 6. “carbon-dated at about 600 years old” J.

pages: 395 words: 116,675

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley


affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, altcoin, anthropic principle, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Corn Laws, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, endogenous growth, epigenetics, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, George Santayana, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hydraulic fracturing, imperial preference, income per capita, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, land reform, Lao Tzu, long peace, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Necker cube, obamacare, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, price mechanism, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, smart contracts, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, women in the workforce

Thermo-economics: energy, entropy and wealth. B&O Economics Research Council 44. The calculations as to the numbers of events happening inside the human body at any one time are mine but based on information supplied by Patrick Cramer and Venki Ramakrishnan. On selfish DNA, Dawkins, R. 1976. The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press; Doolittle, W.F. and Sapienza, C. 1980. Selfish genes, the phenotype paradigm and genome evolution. Nature 284:601–603; and Crick, F.H.C. and Orgel, L. 1980. Selfish DNA: the ultimate parasite. Nature 284:604–607. On ‘junk DNA’, Brosius, J. and Gould, S.J. 1992. On ‘genomenclature’: A comprehensive (and respectful) taxonomy for pseudogenes and other ‘junk DNA’. PNAS 89:10706–10710. And Rains, C. 2012. No more junk DNA. Science 337:1581. On defence of junk DNA, Graur, D., Zheng, Y., Price, N., Azevedo, R.B., Zufall, R.A., Elhaik, E. 2013.

pages: 428 words: 121,717

Warnings by Richard A. Clarke

active measures, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Bernie Madoff, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Elon Musk, failed state, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forensic accounting, friendly AI, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge worker, Maui Hawaii, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, mouse model, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart grid, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Y2K

Carroll, “Tracking the Ancestry of Corn Back 9,000 Years,” New York Times, May 24, 2010, (accessed Oct. 11, 2016); and Jerry Adler and Andrew Lawler, “How the Chicken Conquered the World,” Smithsonian, June 2012, (accessed Oct. 11, 2016). 7. Christina Larson, “China’s Bold Push into Genetically Customized Animals,” Scientific American, Nov. 17, 2015, (accessed Oct. 11, 2016). 8. Hao Yin, Wen Xue, et al., “Genome Editing with Cas9 in Adult Mice Corrects a Disease Mutation and Phenotype,” Nature Biotechnology 32, no. 6 (Mar. 30, 2014): 551–53, DOI:10.1038/nbt.2884. 9. Chengzhu Long, Leonela Amoasii, et al., “Postnatal Genome Editing Partially Restores Dystrophin Expression in a Mouse Model of Muscular Dystrophy,” Science 351, no. 6271 (Jan. 22, 2016): 400–403, DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5725. 10. Jonathan Rockoff, “Why Gene-Editing Technology Has Scientists Excited,” Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2015, (accessed Oct. 11, 2016). 11.

pages: 573 words: 163,302

Year's Best SF 15 by David G. Hartwell; Kathryn Cramer


air freight, Black Swan, experimental subject, Georg Cantor, gravity well, job automation, Kuiper Belt, phenotype, semantic web

I learn the physics of the solar wind that blows the bubble taut, calculate lower metabolic limits for a life form that filters organics from the ether. I marvel at the speed of this creature’s thoughts: almost as fast as Eri flies, orders of mag faster than any mammalian nerve impulse. Some kind of organic superconductor perhaps, something that passes chilled electrons almost resistance-free out here in the freezing void. I acquaint myself with phenotypic plasticity and sloppy fitness, that fortuitous evolutionary soft-focus that lets species exist in alien environments and express novel traits they never needed at home. Perhaps this is how a life form with no natural enemies could acquire teeth and claws and the willingness to use them. The Island’s life hinges on its ability to kill us; I have to find something that makes it a threat. But all I uncover is a growing suspicion that I am doomed to fail—for violence, I begin to see, is a planetary phenomenon.

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil


additive manufacturing, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Brewster Kahle, Brownian motion, business intelligence,, call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter,, epigenetics, factory automation, friendly AI, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, linked data, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, premature optimization, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, remote working, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Y2K, Yogi Berra

Researchers reprogrammed cells to behave like other cells using cell extracts; for example, skin cells were reprogrammed to exhibit T-cell characteristics. Anne-Mari Hakelien et al., "Reprogramming Fibroblasts to Express T-Cell Functions Using Cell Extracts," Nature Biotechnology 20.5 (May 2002): 460–66; Anne-Mari Hakelien and P. Collas, "Novel Approaches to Transdifferentiation," Cloning Stem Cells 4.4 (2002): 379–87. See also David Tosh and Jonathan M. W. Slack, "How Cells Change Their Phenotype," Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 3.3 (March 2002): 187–94. 64. See the description of transcription factors in note 21, above. 65. R. P. Lanza et al., "Extension of Cell Life-Span and Telomere Length in Animals Cloned from Senescent Somatic Cells," Science 288.5466 (April 28, 2000): 66–9. See also J. C. Ameisen, "On the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Programmed Cell Death: A Timeline of Four Billion Years," Cell Death and Differentiation 9.4 (April 2002): 367–93; Mary-Ellen Shay, "Transplantation Without a Donor," Dream: The Magazine of Possibilities (Children's Hospital, Boston), Fall 2001. 66.

pages: 685 words: 203,949

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin


airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, Bayesian statistics, big-box store, business process, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump,, epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Exxon Valdez, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, impulse control, index card, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, invention of writing, iterative process, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, pre–internet, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, ultimatum game, zero-sum game

High-fidelity perceptual long-term memory revisted—and confirmed. (2003). Psychological Science, 14(1), 74–76. and, Nadel, L., Samsonovich, A., Ryan, L., & Moscovitch, M. (2000). Multiple trace theory of human memory: computational, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological results. Hippocampus, 10(4), 352–368. openness to new experience, conscientiousness Goldberg, L. R. (1993). The structure of phenotypic personality traits. American Psychologist, 48(1), 26–34, p. 26. predictor of many important human outcomes Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124(2), 262–274, p. 262. including mortality, longevity Kern, M. L., & Friedman, H.

pages: 661 words: 187,613

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language by Steven Pinker


Albert Einstein, cloud computing, David Attenborough, double helix, Drosophila, elephant in my pajamas, finite state, illegal immigration, Loebner Prize, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, out of africa, P = NP, phenotype, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Saturday Night Live, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, Turing test, Yogi Berra

For example, sparrows and robins are alike in being birds, birds and mammals are alike in being vertebrates, vertebrates and insects are alike in being animals. Third, because an organism is a complex, self-preserving system, it is governed by dynamic physiological processes that are lawful even when hidden. For example, the biochemical organization of an organism enables it to grow and move, and is lost when it dies. Fourth, because organisms have separate genotypes and phenotypes, they have a hidden “essence” that is conserved as they grow, change form, and reproduce. For example, a caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly are in a crucial sense the same animal. Remarkably, people’s unschooled intuition about living things seems to mesh with these core biological facts, including the intuitions of young children who cannot read and have not set foot in a biology lab. The anthropologists Brent Berlin and Scott Atran have studied folk taxonomies of flora and fauna.

pages: 600 words: 174,620

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van Der Kolk M. D.


anesthesia awareness, British Empire, conceptual framework, deskilling,, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, feminist movement, impulse control, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), theory of mind, Yogi Berra

It is obviously critical to study to what degree consistent and concentrated parenting of children with early histories of abuse and neglect can rearrange biological systems. 44. E. Warner, et al., “Can the Body Change the Score? Application of Sensory Modulation Principles in the Treatment of Traumatized Adolescents in Residential Settings,” Journal of Family Violence 28, no. 7 (2003): 729–38. CHAPTER 8: TRAPPED IN RELATIONSHIPS: THE COST OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT 1. W. H. Auden, The Double Man (New York: Random House, 1941), 2. S. N. Wilson, et al., “Phenotype of Blood Lymphocytes in PTSD Suggests Chronic Immune Activation,” Psychosomatics 40, no. 3 (1999): 222–25. See also M. Uddin, et al., “Epigenetic and Immune Function Profiles Associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107, no. 20 (2010): 9470–75; M. Altemus, M. Cloitre, and F. S. Dhabhar, “Enhanced Cellular Immune Response in Women with PTSD Related to Childhood Abuse,” American Journal of Psychiatry 160, no. 9 (2003): 1705–7; and N.

pages: 669 words: 210,153

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss


Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, post scarcity, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

If done correctly, Wolverines target the rhomboids more than the deltoids. 5 Blood Tests Peter GENERALLY Recommends “Of course, the answers depend on the individual and the risks each person faces (cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.) based on family history and genetics, but—broadly speaking—looking through the lens of preventing death, these five tests are very important.” APOE Genotype: “This informs my thinking on a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The gene is far from causal, meaning, having it does not cause AD, but it increases risk anywhere from a bit to a lot, depending on which variant you have and how many copies you have. For what it’s worth, the apoE phenotype (i.e., the actual amount of the lipoprotein in circulation in your body) is more predictive of AD than the gene and is obviously a better marker to track, however [a test is] not yet commercially available. Stand by, though. I’m working on it.” LDL Particle Number via NMR (technology that can count the number of lipoproteins in the blood): “This counts all of the LDL particles, which are the dominant particles that traffic cholesterol in the body, both to and from the heart and to and from the liver.

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton


anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, centre right, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, cosmic microwave background, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, double helix, East Village, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, horn antenna, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index card, Jacques de Vaucanson, Kowloon Walled City, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, mutually assured destruction, phenotype, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, Tunguska event, urban sprawl, Vesna Vulović, white picket fence, wikimedia commons, working poor

From this moment of clarity came Lombroso’s theory of anthropological criminology, which posited that lawbreakers were born “savage,” physically reminiscent of apes and lower primates. Large protruding jaws; low, sloping foreheads; high cheekbones; flattened or upturned noses; handle-shaped ears; large chins; hawk-like noses; fleshy lips; hard shifty eyes; scanty beard; and baldness were all evidence of the “criminaloid” phenotype. As part of his studies, Lombroso collected biological and criminological specimens, including hundreds of skulls from soldiers, civilians, natives from “far-off lands,” criminals, and madmen. In 1892, he opened a museum in Turin, displaying the skulls and skeletons of murderers as well as wax models of their heads and the weapons used in their crimes. Following his death in 1909, the museum added the final cranial item to its collection: Lombroso’s head, carefully preserved and floating in a glass chamber.

pages: 1,294 words: 210,361

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee


Barry Marshall: ulcers, conceptual framework, discovery of penicillin, experimental subject, iterative process, life extension, Louis Pasteur, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, New Journalism, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, scientific mainstream, Silicon Valley, social web, statistical model, stem cell, women in the workforce, éminence grise

., Science 229 (1985): 974–76. 415 In the summer of 1986: Bazell, Her-2, and Dennis Slamon, interview with author, April 2010. 415 Dennis Slamon, a UCLA oncologist: Ibid. 415 a “velvet jackhammer”: Eli Dansky, “Dennis Slamon: From New Castle to New Science,” SU2C Mag, (accessed January 24, 2010). 415 “a murderous resolve”: Ibid. 415 In Chicago, Slamon had performed a series: See, for example, I. S. Chen et al., “The x Gene Is Essential for HTLV Replication,” Science 229, no. 4708 (1985): 54–58; W. Wachsman et al., “HTLV x Gene Mutants Exhibit Novel Transcription Regulatory Phenotypes,” Science 235, no. 4789 (1987): 647–77; C. T. Fang et al., “Detection of Antibodies to Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1),” Transfusion 28, no. 2 (1988): 179–83. 415 If Ullrich sent him the DNA probes: Details of the Ullrich and Slamon collaboration are outlined in Bazell, Her-2, and from Slamon, interview with author. 416 In a few months: D. Slamon et al., “Human Breast Cancer: Correlation of Relapse and Survival with Amplification of the Her-2/Neu Oncogene,” Science 235 (1987): 177–82. 417 In the mid-1970s, two immunologists at Cambridge University: See Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine, 1981–1990, ed.

Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey


clean water, gravity well, phenotype, sensible shoes, statistical model

Every outer planets hand they shook was an inclusion that their subjects of conversation denied. To his left, the scientific group was dressed in the best clothes they had, dress jackets that had fit ten years before, and suits representing at least half a dozen different design seasons. Earthers and Martians and Belters all mixed in that group, but the talk was just as exclusionary: nutrient grades, adjustable permeability membrane technologies, phenotypic force expressions. Those were both his people from the past and his future. The shattered and reassembled society of Ganymede. If it hadn’t been for the middle table with Bobbie and the crew of the Rocinante, he would have been there, talking about cascade arrays and non-visible-feeding chloroplasts. But in the center, isolated and alone, Holden and his crew were as happy and at peace as if they’d been in their own galley, burning through the vacuum.

pages: 492 words: 70,082

Immigration worldwide: policies, practices, and trends by Uma Anand Segal, Doreen Elliott, Nazneen S. Mayadas


affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, borderless world, British Empire, Celtic Tiger, centre right, conceptual framework, credit crunch, demographic transition, deskilling,, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, full employment, global village, guest worker program, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, mass immigration, minimum wage unemployment, moral panic, New Urbanism, open borders, phenotype, South China Sea, structural adjustment programs, trade route, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, urban planning, women in the workforce

This phenomenon does not apply to the most recent group of immigrants composed of nationals from Eastern European countries, due mainly to the ignorance and prejudice shared by the Portuguese population concerning Eastern European countries, generally seen as ‘‘the immigrant from the East’’ (Machado, 2006). Second, a phenomenon of relative integration-accommodation. This phenomenon applies to the group of immigrants composed of nationals from Cape Verde, Angola and Guinea Bissau. This group is integrated but at the same time accommodated and not assimilated. This is the result of, broadly speaking, phenotypes and prejudice of race and also of sex (especially in the case of the Brazilians) commonly shared by Portuguese nationals. Third, a phenomenon of integrationassimilation, applicable in the case of nationals from Brazil. This penetration of the Brazilian culture in Portugal, especially through TV programs and soap operas, has played a role in the relative knowledge, if not valorization, of the Brazilian way of life and of the Brazilian nationals as such.

pages: 1,087 words: 325,295

Anathem by Neal Stephenson


anthropic principle, cellular automata, Danny Hillis, double helix, interchangeable parts, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, phenotype, selection bias, Stewart Brand, trade route

The same thing, mutatis mutandis, has been done in many other places in the book. Names of some Arbran plant and animal species have been translated into rough Earth equivalents. So these characters may speak of carrots, potatoes, dogs, cats, etc. This doesn’t mean that Arbre has exactly the same species. Naturally, Arbre has its own plants and animals. The names of those species’ rough Earth equivalents have been swapped in here to obviate digressions in which, e.g., the phenotype of the Arbre-equivalent-of-a-carrot must be explained in detail. A very sparse chronology of Arbre’s history follows. None of this will make very much sense until one has read some pages into the book, but after that it may be useful for reference. -3400 TO-3300: Approximate era of Cnoüs and his daughters Deät and Hylaea. -2850: Temple of Orithena founded by Adrakhones, the father of geometry

pages: 824 words: 268,880

Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson


anthropic principle, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, epigenetics, gravity well, James Watt: steam engine, land tenure, new economy, phenotype, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

She laughed again. “The thin air, right?” “Presumably. It’s true in the Andes, anyway. The distances from spine to sternum in Andean natives are nearly twice as large as they are in people who live at sea level.” “Really! Like the chest cavities of birds, eh?” “I suppose.” “Then add big pecs, and big breasts. . . .” He didn’t reply. “So we’re evolving into something like birds.” He shook his head. “It’s phenotypic. If you raised your kids on Earth, their chests would shrink right back down.” “I doubt I’ll have kids.” “Ah. Because of the population problem?” “Yes. We need you issei to start dying. Even all these new little worlds aren’t helping that much. Earth and Mars are both turning into anthills. You’ve taken our world from us, really. You’re kleptoparasites.” “That sounds redundant.” “No, it’s a real term, for animals that steal food from their young during exceptionally hard winters.”

pages: 1,152 words: 266,246

Why the West Rules--For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris


Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Doomsday Clock,, falling living standards, Flynn Effect, Francisco Pizarro, global village, God and Mammon, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, market bubble, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, pink-collar, place-making, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, upwardly mobile, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery

“Reconstruction of Temperature in the Central Alps During the Past 2000 yr from a δ180 Stalagmite Record.” Earth and Planetary Science Letters 235 (2005), pp. 741–51. ———. “Persistent Influence of the North Atlantic Hydrography on Central European Winter Temperature During the Last 9000 Years.” Geophysical Research Letters 34 (2007), pp. 10.1029/2006GL028600. Manica, Andrea, et al. “The Effect of Ancient Population Bottlenecks on Human Phenotypic Variation.” Nature 448 (2007), pp. 346–48. Mann, James. Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet. New York: Penguin, 2004. ———. The China Fantasy. New York: Penguin, 2008. Manning, J. G., and Ian Morris, eds. The Ancient Economy: Evidence and Models. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005. Manz, Beatrice Forbe. The Rise and Rule of Tamerlane. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

pages: 913 words: 265,787

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, double helix, experimental subject, feminist movement, four colour theorem, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Henri Poincaré, income per capita, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of the wheel, John von Neumann, lake wobegon effect, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Necker cube, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sexual politics, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, urban decay, Yogi Berra

Davey, G. C. L., & commentators. 1995. Preparedness and phobias: Specific evolved associations or a generalized expectancy bias? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 18, 289–325. Davies, P. 1995. Are we alone? Implications of the discovery of extraterrestrial life. New York: Basic. Dawkins, R. 1976/1989. The selfish gene. New edition. New York: Oxford University Press. Dawkins, R. 1982. The extended phenotype. New York: Oxford University Press. Dawkins, R. 1983. Universal Darwinism. In D. S. Bendall (Ed.), Evolution from molecules to man. New York: Cambridge University Press. Dawkins, R. 1986. The blind watchmaker: Why the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design. New York: Norton. Dawkins, R. 1995. River out of Eden: A Darwinian view of life. New York: Basic Books. de Jong, G. F., & Mooney, R.

pages: 1,280 words: 384,105

The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New SF by Gardner Dozois


back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, Columbine, congestion charging, dark matter, Doomsday Book, double helix, Extropian, gravity well, Mason jar, offshore financial centre, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, Winter of Discontent, Y2K, zero-sum game

Elena dragged him all the way to the bottom of the pool, before releasing his foot and hovering above him, a triumphant silhouette against the bright surface. She was ancestor-shaped, but obviously cheating; she spoke with perfect clarity, and no air bubbles at all. “Late sleeper! I’ve been waiting seven weeks for this!” Paolo feigned indifference, but he was fast running out of breath. He had his exoself convert him into an amphibious human variant – biologically and historically authentic, if no longer the definitive ancestral phenotype. Water flooded into his modified lungs, and his modified brain welcomed it. He said, “Why would I want to waste consciousness, sitting around waiting for the scout probes to refine their observations? I woke as soon as the data was unambiguous.” She pummeled his chest; he reached up and pulled her down, instinctively reducing his buoyancy to compensate, and they rolled across the bottom of the pool, kissing.