Also this week: a thing that does not appear to be Trump’s fault, statistics vs. menstrual cycle synchronization, journal EiC caught on camera trap, Canadians vs. snow, and more.
Here at my uni we’re celebrating Darwin Day today. In honor of the day, here are some charming anecdotes from a visit to Darwin’s village in 1909.
Debating de-extinction. (ht @noahpinion)
Remember Martha McClintock’s famous result that women’s menstrual synchronize when they live in close proximity? It doesn’t hold up, due to an inappropriate statistical null model (aside: unlike the linked piece, I wouldn’t characterize the problem as “pseudoreplication”). Will need to add this to my list of statistical vignettes. Good example of how tricky it can be to define an appropriate null model. (ht @noahpinion)
I dunno, this looks like a data journalism fail to me. It looks to me like the percentages of Americans who believe in, and worry about, climate change have been trending upwards for several years, with no discernible change in the trend associated with Trump’s election. But what do you think?
I’m only linking to this because it got me wondering: are there any circumstances in which the evolutionary equivalent of Uber (i.e. a company that’s losing money to try to grow rapidly, so that it can eventually become a money-making monopoly) would be favored by selection? I know that there are circumstances that select for rapid-but-inefficient growth in bacteria. But are there circumstances that would select for rapid growth because the long-term reward is an eventual uninvadable equilibrium (the equivalent of an economic monopoly)? It’s tempting to say no, obviously not, because evolution by natural selection doesn’t have foresight. But could you get something like the same effect in a system in which the eventual competitive dominant will be determined by a priority effect? Or maybe in a system in which some or all of the competitors receive an exogenous subsidy? Surely some theoretician must’ve looked into this, but casual googling doesn’t turn anything up. Perhaps the
force google is weak with me…
Restoring a species to a country it used to inhabit isn’t just a matter of ecology. It’s also a matter of using creative financial engineering to find win-win solutions for all stakeholders. Ok, this is a very minor story about something that (if I understand correctly) has merely been proposed rather than actually happened. But still, I found it interesting. Note that I don’t have any strongly-held opinions about it, as I don’t have enough relevant background knowledge. (ht Matt Levine)
We now go live to video of Am Nat EiC Dan Bolnick dealing efficiently with a burst of new submissions to the journal. “The results were made easily digestible by the clear crisp prose…and my large canines.” 🙂