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Messages - Kai

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 ... 470
16
Richard Nixon Presents: Alaska / Re: Seriously, Mr. Dawkins?
« on: November 04, 2013, 12:45:18 pm »
He is an unmitigated arsehole. Actually, I think he always has been - a smart one back in the day, but he's gradually lost that. The Selfish Gene is terribly overrated. The anthropomorphizing title itself does untold damage to the understanding of evolution.

The Selfish Gene is /excellent/. I had the same opinion as you, after the first time I read it. A few years ago I reread it with a more critical eye. It was the first time I understood how cheaters could exist in equilibrium in a population, and how Mult-Level Selection was unnecessary to the retention of any trait, even apparent altruism. There's no "good of the group", and the title, as anthropomorphic as it seems, is a good summary of the book: Evolution is going on at the genetic level, and since their only impetous is continuation (as much as any bit of replicating hydrocarbons can said to be "teleological"), they are fundamentally selfish. In the genetic sense, the only thing that matters in evolution is what alleles/genes are carried forward in time, and what are not.

Maybe this isn't a big revelation for anyone else, but during my masters degree I had several mentors who were very much in the Steven Jay Gould Multi-Level Selection camp, and I was mired in that ideology until I realized it was unnecessary.

17
Richard Nixon Presents: Alaska / Re: Seriously, Mr. Dawkins?
« on: November 04, 2013, 03:56:33 am »
Dawkins needs to just stop talking. Forever.

Agreed. He said some worthy things back in the 1970s, and now, 40 years later, he is speaking like he's senile and needs to /get out of the way/ before he destroys the last smigin of reputation he has. If he hasn't already.

18
Alty's too cool for school!

Roger is made out of whiskey, friendship, and possibly peyote.

And snot.

And back hair. Loads of it.

19
Or Kill Me / Re: In those days Pt. 7.
« on: November 02, 2013, 12:56:46 am »
You don't really want to know.

They sound non-Euclidean.

20
Or Kill Me / Re: In those days Pt. 7.
« on: November 01, 2013, 11:44:12 pm »
SOME WHEN LATE 80's -90'S there did exist a volume of books
on the PSU Library shelves carrying the official title Iran/Contra

they were of light brown-tan color each the same size & weight to the
one to their left Extending for probably 15 to 20 feet occupying a complete
shelf. By the turn of the century? Biologically speaking they had been removed
& so now i return to the evening news hour on PBS/OPB at 4pmpdT

"Biologically speaking"? What kind of libraries do you /have/ in Portland.  :eek:

21
Or Kill Me / Re: In those days Pt. 7.
« on: November 01, 2013, 01:41:47 pm »
Bump, because this is going to be the basis of my NaNoWritMo. They say write what you know, so....


In this version of the world/universe, Names have power. The ancients knew it, it's a long standing thing. Aristotle wrote of it in detail. But, Names are tricky. They have to actually be Bound to something in a universal way and based around actual knowledge of the thing. Names of individuals are pretty much impossible to work with. But Names of species are within the realm of possibility.

In this world, Linnaeus is looked upon as almost a demigod like figure due to his figuring out the solution: the creation of universal names, Binomial Nomenclature. The universal Binding meant that the names could be used over time. After 200 years there were many Naming Universities, which are very much like natural history museums. Taxonomy had become extremely important, since species are constantly changing (Darwin, a great Namer himself, and Wallace, figured this out). You not only needed to know how to Bind, but to Unbind names so that groups could be revised. And you needed taxonomist scholars to do this.

There's also the practical sense of Naming, which is called Guiding. It's not quite control, more like suggestion. By using the name in combination with intent, Guiding could attract, repel, and suggest organisms into growing or behaving a certain way. I should add, all of this is not treated as mysticism, but as a science, though not all the fundamentals are understood. One could talk about how to Bind a Name with description to a particular species, how to determine the Name of species that an individual belongs to via knowledge and practice, how to Guide organisms with intent and words and Names, and it was all very organized despite not knowing how the fundamental physical interactions made it so. Science had also progressed, and technology was about at 1980s stage, but that doesn't mean that what Naming was doing was understood. And technology and Naming are not at odds. Governments are of course very interested. Thank Linnaeus that the name for the human species is incredibly complicated and difficult to Guide, and that only a few are skilled enough to do this on a very local level. But biological warfare is a distinct possibility, and has been used in the past.

So, in this world you have the Heroine, who something like a PhD student at a Naming University, pretty much a natural history institution. And she's working on Binding and Unbinding, and very much a taxonomist and entomologist, focusing on Syrphid flies. Part of the conflict I think is going to be based around the "megafauna bias", and her proving her worth, maybe some Old Order vs New Order, maybe some romance, probably not fulfilled romance. Overall, just a story about an insect taxonomist grad student in a world where Names hold power.

22
Richard Nixon Presents: Alaska / Re: Your top 4 threads
« on: November 01, 2013, 01:25:45 pm »
I don't have a top 4 list, but this is probably the best rant I've ever written. At least in terms of energy. Wait, there was the banana one, someone was trying to break my brain with stupid and open the rage floodgates.

23
Richard Nixon Presents: Alaska / Re: The Problem with the Paleo diet.
« on: November 01, 2013, 11:25:45 am »
I wonder if Paleo-humans had fad diets. In 400,000 BC were sun-dried purple bugs all the rage? Did cooking food with fire start out as a fad diet?

For that matter, were there cave-Ron Popiels traveling from cave to cave trading skins for the latest hide-scraping, spear-sharpening, berry-smashing multi-tool?

People in 400,000 BC didn't have time for fad diets. They were too busy trying to eat anything edible to avoid starving to death and running for their lives from saber cats, giant sloths, and dire wolves.

24
Richard Nixon Presents: Alaska / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: November 01, 2013, 01:16:59 am »

25
Whoa. What happened?  :eek:

Back then?  Coyotes.  Certainly wasn't me.

Ian caved the driver's side door in.

Keelin more or less wrecked the front axle.

The huge dent in the roof is still there, but that wasn't my fault.

Like Father, like children. Blood of your blood, for sure.  :lol:

They are careless and they are bad people.  I had accidents.  THEY are willfully reckless.

I seem to remember a certain police cruiser you damaged while riding around reading PD...  :lulz:

26
Whoa. What happened?  :eek:

Back then?  Coyotes.  Certainly wasn't me.

Ian caved the driver's side door in.

Keelin more or less wrecked the front axle.

The huge dent in the roof is still there, but that wasn't my fault.

Like Father, like children. Blood of your blood, for sure.  :lol:

27
Richard Nixon Presents: Alaska / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 31, 2013, 03:40:38 am »
Thought: maybe what we need is some old fashioned free market. Monsanto has a virtual monopoly right now. But what happens when these first gen lines go out of style and other companies step in to compete? On one hand we'll have even more GMOs on the market. On the other hand, Monsanto won't be able to hold court anymore.

What's stopping others from entering the market?

That's a good question and I don't know the answer.

28
Richard Nixon Presents: Alaska / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 31, 2013, 03:39:36 am »
The history of cultivars is one of those "dull until you spend three days researching it on wikipedia and suddenly best thing ever" things. I was always confused why the wax fruit in my grandparents' basement had these weird looking bananas until I found out that cultivar ("Big Mikes") got wiped out in the 50s and has been replaced with the ones you see now (Cavendishes). Also, oranges. The whole thing.

I, personally, am fascinated by potatoes. There are hundreds of cultivars in South America, all suited for different conditions. What do we get up here? Pretty much just Russett Burbank. THANKS MCDONALD'S!

Over four THOUSAND registered edible cultivars at the International Potato Center in Lima!



So beautiful.  :fap:

29
Richard Nixon Presents: Alaska / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 31, 2013, 02:12:08 am »
The history of cultivars is one of those "dull until you spend three days researching it on wikipedia and suddenly best thing ever" things. I was always confused why the wax fruit in my grandparents' basement had these weird looking bananas until I found out that cultivar ("Big Mikes") got wiped out in the 50s and has been replaced with the ones you see now (Cavendishes). Also, oranges. The whole thing.

I, personally, am fascinated by potatoes. There are hundreds of cultivars in South America, all suited for different conditions. What do we get up here? Pretty much just Russett Burbank. THANKS MCDONALD'S!

30
Richard Nixon Presents: Alaska / Re: something NEW* to fight about
« on: October 31, 2013, 12:49:39 am »
Thought: maybe what we need is some old fashioned free market. Monsanto has a virtual monopoly right now. But what happens when these first gen lines go out of style and other companies step in to compete? On one hand we'll have even more GMOs on the market. On the other hand, Monsanto won't be able to hold court anymore.

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