Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

Why Did Dinosaurs Get So Big? And Pterosaurs Were Such Amazing Fliers?

May 28, 2022

Pterosaurs were so incredibly good at flying, that some exceeded by a factor of ten or twenty times the maximum mass a bird can fly with (according to the laws of engineering and aerodynamics). How did pterosaurs do this? By using a number of tricks birds never found, starting with a powerful jumping four legged take off (birds lift off with only two legs).

The heaviest mammal ever, Paraceratherium, a sort of horn-less rhinoceros, was no more than 20 tons (he lived in a warmer climate than now, 20 million years ago). The heaviest dinosaurs known so far are the Titanosaurs who lived towards the end of the age of dinosaurs, and reached up to 70 metric tonnes.

 

Ten times more massive than the largest present elephants, five times more massive than the largest mammoths, more than three times more massive than the largest land mammal, ever. Notice the elephant cooling system… Titanosaurs like the one above were rendered possible probably through mesothermia, that is less generation of heat in their cells, or so I suggest. That enabled dinosaurs and pterosaurs to specialize in some advanced ways, in particular giant mass, but left them vulnerable to ecological system collapse, or severe cooling.

The answer for the achievements of these extinct giants is fascinating: it has probably to do with MESOTHERMIA: temperatures in between cold blooded and warm blooded animals. Animals who were neither cold blooded, nor warm blooded got two advantages: they could become more massive (hence less susceptible to infections and various attacks of the environment), and they were more economical: a cold blooded animal needs 30 times less fuel (food) than a warm blooded one (Lavoisier, in the 18C, discovered that animal metabolism was a slow combustion). A parallel essay will develop the more philosophical side.

Endotherm, so-called warm-blooded animals maintain a constant body temperature independent of the external temperatures. Endotherms include birds and mammals; however, some insects, fish, and reptiles can also be endothermic where or when needed, by flexing muscles: a brooding Burmese python on his nest generates heat through muscle contractions. The swim muscle of a tuna reaches mammal-like temperatures, because muscle works better around 37 Celsius. Even some plants and flowers can reach equivalent temperatures in sensitive areas… Because the chemistry is much more active at 37C than at 15 C (the latter is the biosphere average temperature).

If heat loss exceeds heat generation, metabolism increases to make up for the loss or the animal shivers to raise its body temperature: a butterfly which wants to take off in cold weather will move its wings ever more to progressively generate heat which makes the fly muscle efficient enough for taking off. 

If heat generation exceeds the heat loss, mechanisms such as panting or perspiring increase heat loss. Unlike ectotherms, endotherms can be active and survive at quite low external temperatures, but because they must produce heat continuously, they require high quantities of “fuel” (i.e., food).

However, heat loss to the environment can be decreased by the possession of larger body sizes that increase thermal inertia. This happens because surface increases like the square of linear dimension, and mass as the cube. This strategy is illustrated by leatherback turtles, Dermochelys coriacea, whose gigantic body size associated with relatively high rates of muscle metabolism allows for the maintenance of body temperature much warmer than the cold waters used for foraging.

Reciprocally, though, large animals are threatened with overheating: elephants have huge, heavily vascularized flapping ears to help cool down. 

So too big makes too much heat… Except if, to start with, one’s cells have less heat generating capability… The definition of mesotherm animals: as for dinosaurs (certainly) and pterosaurs (probably)... Paradoxically, that mesothermy was made possible by the warm climate of the Jurassic.

***

Mid-Cretaceous surface water temperatures were about 30 °C (86 °F) at the Equator year-round, but at the poles they were 14 °C (57 °F) in winter and 17 °C (63 °F) in summer. A temperature of 17 °C was possible for the ocean bottom during the Albian Age, but it may have declined to 10 °C (50 °F) by the Maastrichtian. These temperatures have been calculated from oxygen isotope measurements of the calcitic remains of marine organisms. The end of the Cretaceous was coolest, yet still much warmer than Earth is today.

This entire subject is full of unknowns: how do endotherms generate heat? Mitochondria is a big part of the answer. Eyes and brains of swordfishes, which enjoy mammal like temperatures are full of mitochondria. A team at the University of Paris 7 (one of three alma mater of mine), using new technology, published in 2017 the discovery that mitochondria would reach colossal temperatures, 50 C (this huge surprise has been sort of confirmed since).

What is clear is that the most massive animal who ever lived, our contemporary, the Blue Whale (up to 160 tons, and nearly hunted to extinction), swims in the cool ocean… So the Blue Rorqual is able to dissipate heat in said ocean (Blue Whales swim so fast, they were long out of reach to hunters). 

A way to get rid of dinosaurs and their cousins was then just to lower the temperature of the climate. And sure enough, the climate got cooler, for many million years, towards the end of dinosaurs and after. To compensate, dinosaurs could get even bigger. Is it why Titanosaurs lived at the end of the Cretaceous? Reciprocally, if the climate cooled, or if there was a burst of nuclear winter, mammals and birds, both warm blooded with high metabolism even in colder temps, could survive and eat dinosaur eggs (as I argued; mammal species surviving the extinction Cretaceous-Paleocene were… omnivorous)…

Mesothermia may have enabled dinosaurs, pterosaurs and their cousins to spare themselves the cost and waste of endothermia… and thus have the evolutionary room to specialize in other ways… Maybe even bigger brains (at this point in paleontology, claims have been made of high intelligence for some dinosaurs, including T Rx). 

All this evolutionary specialization, not to say evolutionary hubris, came to a crashing halt 66 million years ago. Brain size seem to have taken more than ten million years to recover…

So here we are, jacks of all trades, and masters of some we are busy inventing. 

Evolutionary speaking we look good, but for that little detail:

PUTIN DELENDUS EST!

Patrice Ayme

Split Brains And Multi Consciousness

April 13, 2022

Wisdom forges ahead of the self, however full of books the latter may be. New wisdom arises from beyond, and putting the mind out of the culturally expected zone.

Trail running means a potentially fully different world every couples of seconds. It takes one second to go from routine to head first at several meters per second (with potentially a terminal outcome [1]). Exactly what will happen if one quits concentrating. Foot landing is an adventure at any step, or bound, or leap (downhill mountain running is truly a succession of leaps, and a good runner can achieve dangerously high sustained speeds). Not surprisingly, command and control tends to be extremely localized and automatized. Here is an example, today:  

***

Suddenly wiggly is detected. There are no words, no thought, just wiggly is generating motion. The quickest part of the brain, and I literally felt to be in the back of the head going straight from visual area to cerebellum and legs, orders a general danger emergency jump, with particular lift of the left leg, where wiggly has been perceived. The wiggly input also launches an adrenaline burst. And a visual, directed inspection of wiggly.

Meanwhile the frontal cortex, and one literally feels it’s in the front, retorts with a slower analysis. Wiggly has got to be a root because of its general location, on a piece of asphalt, and it was not actually dynamic, and strong winds have brought innocuous wigglies down. 

Then an arbitration area kicks in, and I feel it’s in between. Arbitration decretes that the quick reaction area probably got it wrong, but it does not hurt to jump, but arbitration sends a moderation order to the jump, because emergency jumps are dangerous.

Such is the human brain.

Or more exactly, the human brains. The human brain is made of many. 

Even with half his brain dead, from strokes, bullets and what not, the bloody tyrant Lenin could provide astute opinions about his successors…  

Human brains are made of different pieces, not all equal, doing different things, and then conferring at a higher level called “consciousness” or “thinking”. 

The situation above happened April 12, 2022, but I had encountered an ultra rare snake on cement, a few miles away wiggling away very fast, a few days prior. It was of a sub-species of Garter snake, mostly jet black and scarlet red, related to the colorful one represented. A few weeks prior, on dirt, the scene above repeated, but that time there was a real snake below my left shoe! It nearly got pancaked. (Those snakes are not dangerous)

Conclusions:

  1. To speak of human consciousness is a simplification: a given brain has many coexistent consciousnesses, and they work at different speeds, in different ways, and are focused on non-intersecting inputs and outputs [2]. The wiggly = jump away is obviously a primitive form of hard wired consciousness (prehistoric men evolved in regions full of extremely dangerous snakes). 
  2. What we call “thinking” is often high level arbitrage. That doesn’t mean that lower level areas and entanglement are not conscious and thinking.
  3. The brain is a sort of democracy, with its own institutions: brain organs entangled through neural networks, and different areas get to vote.
  4. Social organizations should mimic the brain and for the same reason: neural democracy is hardwired. The brain works the world in parallel, not top down. That means democratically, not fascistically. Why? Because this way the brain can do more, and some of it at extreme speed.

Some currents of Buddhism suggest to rest the mind by doing nothing, that’s supposed to be meditative. However, rock climbers learn to rest dynamically. I believe in dynamic meditation, and putting the entire brain to work, resting dynamically, not just breathing… The Dyonisos approach, embraced by Socrates, getting drunk to reach joy and perspective, is part and parcel of this dynamical meditation (I don’t drink alcohol… no need… Crazy enough already…) 

Ah, wiggly was just a sinuous branch thrown by the strong, cold wind. And the frontal cortex was right to suspect that, in spite of the sun, it was no snake weather. 

Patrice Ayme

***

[1] Once on Mount Tamalpais in California, my right shoe caught a thin piece of steel (!) which was sticking out after a (botched) trail repair job by rangers. I crashed over the next ten meters; the trail was straight, so the crash happened on the trail rather than the precipice on the right… Last summer I crashed twice in quick succession on icy rocks at 3,500 meters (!). Bad soles on those shoes I discovered. There again I was lucky not to have fallen off trail… Just got decorated with blood… Those crashes were actually more dangerous than the ones where I broke bones…

What I nearly stepped on a few years ago. (Actually a related subspecies, even rarer, as it is found just around one hill.)

[2] I think many things in many ways, all at the same times. Does that mean that I am many, Mr. Descartes?

Corrupt Travel Industry Should be Forced To Use Hybrid, Hydrogen Planes

March 23, 2020

Civilizations decay when taken over by plutocracy, which makes their thinking heads decay into a corrupt mediocrity enabling greed and will to power, to devour deeper, more human values until the entire society sinks into idiocy.

Example? Big pharmaceutical companies spending more on advertising than on researching and developing new treatments: it should be completely unlawful. Doctors, pharmacists are the only individuals who should be appraised of treatments, and that should be done without bells, whistles, under the counter payments, and teams of pretty girls selling the products. (In some countries, such as France, pharmacists can prescribe).   

Another industry which got out of control was the travel industry, shuttling, at enormous ecological cost, people all around the world, for no good reason. When one is European, going for a week to South East Asia, just because it’s “cheap” is immoral, anti-ecological… and has turned outright homicidal.

Civilization should exact the exact price that air travel is costing the biosphere. (I can’t be accused to be anti-air travel, because I flew for the first time as a toddler; I have had a tricontinental life… Not my choice…)

The French engineer and inventor Clément Ader created the first planes (he had also created, among many other things, better telephony, the first wireless stereo, and V8 engines; as he was a formally educated engineer, Ader invented non-trivial things; he became wealthy in the process). Adler used new technology, steam engines which were the lightest ever made. He took off on 9 October, 1890. However, in the following decade, much more powerful gasoline engines were invented. After this, the pace of innovation in aviation was blistering. Between Ader’s first flight and the first jet engines, just half a century elapsed. Eighty years after Ader took off, humanity was landing on the Moon. Since then, we have pretty much stagnated.

A little dreamy vacation from the terrible Coronavirus… Flying Wing, big electric propellers in the back to supplement high bypass jet engines… Feasible now. [NASA picture.]

Hybrid propulsion for aircraft should be feasible with existing battery technology (or the one just around the corner, with twice the energy density; let alone solid state lithium, which is on the verge of industrial production; Ader invented the lightest engine: aviation should invent the lightest batteries). 

The point of aircraft hybrid propulsion is that much power is used during ascent or emergency (all engines on). Hybrid can recover much of this energy during descent (with appropriate large slow propellers working as air brakes in the back of the plane). Due to aviation needs batteries could be much improved (going to solid state, forgoing much of the present weight for cooling and isolation of the present flammable cells; in a car, battery mass is not that important).

One can easily sketch what should be done. But it would require vastly different airframes (large propellers in the back, etc.). 

Hydrogen planes are obviously feasible, as large hydrogen rockets routinely fly (as Ariane V). They just require a massive “green” hydrogen infrastructure, which is needed anyway (to store sustainable energy such as solar PV).  

Once again, different airframes would be needed. Airbus has been using the same airframe on the A320 for 40 years…. And Boeing for nearly 60 years on the 737… The whole airline industry has become corrupt, resting, fat and content, over huge subsidies, packing passengers like disease laden sardines, flying them all over the world for no good reason… 

Ader, who invented so many things, electric or not, also created the words “avion” and “aviation”… Coronavirus is showing us that flying people like sardines should be against the law. Airline subsidies should also be against the law, be they for not paying a fuel tax, for business jets, etc. High speed or not, AWE, pollution and energy cheaper electric trains should be subsidized instead.  

It goes without saying that the cruise ship industry should also be forced to go hybrid and sailing (omnidirectional sails exist)… And also slower. One large cruise ship (ironically made in France) was demonstrated to cause, anchored in Marseilles, France, as much pollution as two million cars. It should be all electric, and if that means nuclear engines, so be it. 

We know, from 99.99% sure paleontological record, and 100% from elementary geographical thermal logic that at 450 ppm CO2, oceans should be 30 meters (100 feet) higher. Now we are already at 500 ppm in CO2 equivalent. However, coronavirus is going to curb the human CO2 input this year (that may help us see how much CO2 augmentation is caused by human activity). Just as with viruses, humanity has been under the belief that this sort of thing happens to others. However, elementary logic and basic geography show we could have a breakup of the iceshileds within a few decades. 

So we need to shut down CO2 production. Air travel was expected to become a most major contributor, within a few years… Instead it’s momentarily shut down. It should not reopen was it used to be. In that respect, thanks, SARS-CoV2! 

Patrice Ayme

***

Important P/S: The question of why the effect of civilizational sinking into idiocy didn’t happen in Medieval Europe is of the utmost interest; yes, right, it was a close thing. And sinking into ever deeper idiocy is what happened to the Greco-Roman empire. Arguably, much more was thrown at Middle Age Europe, including ecological overload from large populations, the terrible plague of 1348, and the Little Ice Age (which started around 1300 CE, just when all over Europe, population were peaking. A country like France was reaching the relatively enormous population of nearly 20 millions, just when the climate brutally cooled).

So why didn’t “Europe”, the “Renovated” empire didn’t sink into idiocy? After all, it still spoke Latin! It spoke Latin longer than Rome! Well, differently from Rome, Europe’s fascist index was lower than that of Rome. Basically imperial fascist Rome had one potentate, the emperor… who also headed the state religion, starting with Diocletian, Constantine (300 CE). By contrast, after the Carolingian empire breaking into pieces, Europe was in pieces… Sixty of them in Western France (Francia Occidentalis). The ferocious competition between the potentates, especially Paris and London, brought a race to technological superiority. For example, field guns were invented by the southern French to fight the English. But lots of the competition was also in pacific technologies, like textiles…

***

P/S 2: Aircraft makers, except when working for the military, are part of the “travel industry”, of course… So are hotels, etc. Business jets get subsidies which should be cut right away.

 

Treatment For SARS 2/COVID 19?… & Don’t Take Ibuprofen/NSAID!

March 18, 2020

Crowned Creation against the Crown of Creation:

A drug used to treat influenza seems to be effective at treating the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to news reports from Japan and China. This are among the news today. Another news is my own reinterpretation of the data available, and it shows that younger people are much more hit than what has been said.

The antiviral drug, called Favipiravir or Avigan, showed positive outcomes in clinical trials involving 340 individuals in Wuhan and Shenzhen, said Zhang Xinmin, of China’s science and technology ministry, The Guardian reported.: “It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang said Tuesday (March 17).

Developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, the antiviral drug is being manufactured by Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical for treating influenza viruses. It received approval as an experimental treatment for COVID-19 infections, Pharmaceutical Technology reported.

Patients in Shenzhen who had tested positive for COVID-19 and who were given the drug got a negative virus test back with a median time of four days later. That compares with a negative test about 11 days later, as a median, for patients not on the drug. In that same trial, lung conditions (as shown in X-rays) improved in about 91% of patients taking Favipiravir, compared with just 62% who weren’t taking the antiviral drug.

In the Wuhan trial, the drug also seemed to shorten the duration of a patient’s fever from an average of 4.2 days to 2.5 days, according to Pharmaceutical Technology. When it reproduces itself, influenza lacks the ability to errors, because it is an RNA virus. RNA, unlike DNA, lacks a self-correcting mechanism. Unlike double-stranded DNA, RNA is a singlestranded molecule in many of its biological roles and consists of much shorter chains of nucleotides. As a result, influenza, and other RNA viruses tend to not be genetically stable.

Favipiravir is specifically made to treat RNA viruses like SARS-CoV-2; these are viruses whose main genetic material is RNA, not DNA. The drug stops some viruses from replicating by crippling the ubiquitous enzyme (a substance that gets chemical reactions going) called RNA polymerase, which builds RNA. Without that enzyme intact, the virus can’t duplicate its genetic material efficiently once inside a host cell, according to an article describing the drug that was published in 2017 in the journal Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Ser. B, Physical and Biological Sciences.

Naturally, the drug seems less effective in patients with severe symptoms. By then secondary infections and over-powerful immune reactions causing inflammation have set in. “We’ve given Avigan to 70 to 80 people, but it doesn’t seem to work that well when the virus has already multiplied,” a source from the Japanese Health Ministry told the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.

Doctors are using the same drug in Japan to treat coronavirus patients with mild to moderate symptoms. Results from these trials have not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Public enemy number one: Crowned Creation against the Crown of Creation

A number of other drugs should, or may work: chloroquine was demonstrated to have strong in vitro and in vivo antiviral activities against coronaviruses (as it should). Chloroquine treated HCoV-OC43, a coronavirus closely related to SARS-CoV, which infects mice (mice seem immune against SARS-Cov2). Moreover, treatment with daily doses of chloroquine has a long-lasting protective effect against lethal coronavirus OC43 infection in newborn mice. (Notice in passing that the research was financially supported by the European Union, a decade ago; private companies were not interested, of course, as quinine has been known to work for centuries…)

Remdesivir, made by Gilead Pharma, should also work, it specifically targets reproduction of such viruses. Lopinavir and ritonavir are also in WHO mandated trials.

To date, there is no officially approved or officially known drug to treat SARS-CoV-2. However, antiviral drugs developed to treat other illnesses are being tested for their use in treating the coronavirus. For instance, Remdesivir was developed to treat Ebola but it has shown promise in treating monkeys infected with another coronavirus, the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS); that drug is currently being tested in China and the U.S.. The company is rushing to build a factory to produce the drug industrially.

A problem with finding out what worked in China is that doctors there have given many drugs at the same time to save patients. Some patients were talking more than 30 pills a day (and lived!) They also used Tamiflu…

One important warning is this (aside from the fact the virus apparently can live for days on surfaces).

WHO, World Health Organization Now Officially Recommends to Avoid Taking Ibuprofen For COVID-19 Symptoms, 17 March 2020
The World Health Organization recommended Tuesday that people suffering COVID-19 symptoms avoid taking ibuprofen, and other NSAID (Non Steroid Anti Inflammatory Drugs) after French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen effects of the virus. Basically, they lower immune defenses…

The warning by French Health Minister Olivier Véran (the doctor who presides over triage, see below) followed a recent study in The Lancet medical journal that hypothesised that an enzyme boosted by anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen could facilitate and worsen COVID-19 infections. WHO says: “In the meantime, we recommend using rather paracetamol, and do not use ibuprofen as a self-medication. That’s important,”

We need more research. Unlimited funds should be provided for companies and research institutions. According to the latest observations from France and Italy, young patients are also very affected. Moreover, the French health minister Olivier Véran admitted on TV, in a fast and garbled sentence, which he covered with his hand, that young patients were given maximum treatment (extra-corporal oxygenation) not given to older patients (from lack of machines, and, or personnel). Such TRIAGE strategy automatically will make it so that more young patients will survive. Even then many surviving young patients have scarred lungs (the bane of pneumonia). It’s not Nazism, but it’s certainly part of it: eugenism (eu-gene: provides creation to what’s better).

This should cause pause in several ways. Let’s put aside the ethical, eugenics, Nazi style considerations. Another is that this may explain the high death rate of the old, at least in part: if they are not treated, sure they will die. But then statistics will lie by showing the youth to be more resistant. In truth, they are simply treated better...

This is war, the whole economy has to be mobilized, as France and Britain did in 1939, and the USA in 1942. Patents, granted government monopolies, can be suspended to make medications or machines. That the morally upright has to be willing, able and even enthusiastic to make war, is one of the most fundamental principles of humanity:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/war-can-be-good-never-so-political-correctness/

I knew this truth to be eternal, I shuddered to ever see it come alive. But it did. This pandemic should create a better world for survivors, if we learn from it to not be so superficial anymore. It’s just a warning, even though millions may die.

Patrice Ayme

 

Coronavirus, Or When European Lack Of Democracy Kills From Sheer Idiocy

March 16, 2020

The way local democracy manages government better is illustrated by comparing the US response to the virus with the European response at face value. However, the US Federal Government also behaved better. Those smarts, per se, are actually a consequence of its constant competition, Armageddon in mind, of the central government with said local governments. The comparison of the US with the EU and Switzerland are illuminative. The more war like mentality of the USA, plus its stronger local democracy, should give a much better outcome to the coronavirus pandemic in the US than in Europe. Yes, I know, here resurfaces the Jihad/War like effort, so unpalatable to the sheep. But even Macron, French president, criticized below, just said it was war…

Anyway, let me explain how local democracy comes into play. Before I go into a fuller picture, let me point out that local governments have huge local powers in the USA: To battle the virus, 6 California Counties ORDERED everyone to stay home. On Monday, six counties around Silicon Valley announced residents should not go out for three weeks except to meet “essential needs.” Across California, as the coronavirus marches through communities, life as everyone understands it in the Golden State is changing dramatically, hour by hour, minute by minute.

The state has begun enacting extreme measures to halt the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, six counties around Silicon Valley, one of the hardest-hit areas in the nation, announced a shelter-at-home order that begins Monday March 16 at midnight. Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose said that was the strongest directive yet in the United States. Residents, including those living in San Francisco, were told not to go out for three weeks except to meet “essential needs.” Going to a park in a car is forbidden*.

[*That policy seems to have been rescinded after this essay was published, as “exercising” seems to have been redefined as “essential”… The Bay Area is surrounded and penetrated by massive parks, including a national park, all of them full of giant sequoias, coyotes, deer, elks, mountain lions, even condors…]

On January 22, 2020, the Chinese government, having realized that the COVID 19/SARS 2 epidemic was out of control, decided to crush the contagion with confinement of all of Hubei. On January 31, Trump blocked all incoming travel from China (except returning US Residents & relatives; effective February 2). What did the Europeans do? Nothing. Everybody welcome. The first Coronavirus death in France was a visiting Chinese tourist. What did the French government think about that? Nothing. 

You see people who are in power are not in power so that the best be done. They are in power because power, auctoritas as the Romans said, is all what matters to them. Assuming power is all about compromise. This is why Sanders didn’t press Biden much about the Iraq War: a deal was made (so that a war criminal can run for the presidency, as long as Sanders’ issues are given lip service). Power onto other people is intrinsically unfair, so those profiting from this unfair advantage are always compromising with each other. 

On the day of maximum death in China, February 12, 254 patients died from COVID 19. On March 15, 2020, Spain had more deaths than that, and the next day the death toll climbed to 309. A week prior, lunatics in the Spanish government had claimed they didn’t need to prevent crowds. Italy got 368 deaths on March 15, 349 the next day (is confinement finally working?) On March 16, Europe, by then the core of the pandemic, started to talk about blocking entry to the EU… That’s 6 weeks after Trump… Supposedly an idiot according to most pseudo-intellectuals and Europeans with intellectual pretense. If Trump is an idiot, what are European leaders?  

This virus is contagious even when victims are asymptomatic. And some asymptomatic individuals are extremely contagious. Moreover, it is known from Chinese studies that recovered patients can still shed viruses… for weeks. In a case in Singapore, a Diamond Princess patient, who had fully recovered in Japan, and who tested negative several times, flew back. After several days, he complained of chest pains, and was put in a cardiac unit, as he had cardiac problems. After several days of aggravated conditions, he was re-tested for COVID19… and came out positive! (Pandemonium in the hospital resulted as many were exposed, from healthcare professionals to other patients.) Here is the EXPONENTIAL AT WORK:

Exponentials galore: The speed of increase of the number of viruses vectors grows proportionally to the number of virus vectors, multiplied by 3 or 4…

Why European mishandling of COVID 19? Little kinglets, like Macron or Johnson, who never studied exponentials, the most important function in modern mathematics, seriously… decide the fate of entire nations. Who should decide instead? A healthy debate, no holds barred!The fact is those two clowns are just nothing: yes, they can get themselves elected, but somebody would have been elected anyway. Even idiots such as Hitler and Mussolini got elected. Johnson was a newspaper hack and Macron a finance inspector turned plutocratic enabler in bank Rothschild (famous for financing wars around 1800, among other similar activities… and crowing about it). Make no mistake: Johnson and Macron, like Obama are superficially intelligent, it’s all the art they learned to master (Trump made a point not to bother, so he looks authentic).

If there had been a debate about COVID19, a really harsh debate, the obvious conclusion would have been that one to do exactly what China did. In particular, China blocked travel out of Hubei… And Trump duplicated this. European monkeys in charge, didn’t. 

What is at work here is the “Democratic Index”, roughly the quotient of (Number of Independent Leaders)/(Population). In France, or Britain, one guy is in charge. In the USA, the president has limited powers, local governors, quite a bit. For example, the California governor ordered ski resorts closed (same day as France, much more affected by the virus, did).

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Sunday announcement effectively shutting down bars, nightclubs, wineries and breweries in the state and cutting restaurant occupancy by half, caught local businesses off-guard. The state’s restaurant industry normally serves about 10 million meals per day…  

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut governors, all “Democrats” forced the closure of restaurants, bars and cinemas… followed within minutes, belatedly, by Washington State (2% of US population, 20% of the cases, as the governor pointed out). 

US local democracy means local empowerment. For example, on March 13, Santa Clara County authorities ordered no more gathering of 35 people (except where absolutely necessary, like airports or hospitals). Yes, just a County. Right it’s two million people and also known as “Silicon Valley”. The decision was taken under advice of the medical authorities of the County. The USA has 3142 Counties (Charlemagne set-up 300 counties throughout Europe).  

All African countries, fully conscious of the fast exponential nature of the epidemic, are barricading themselves (the first cases there were imported from Europe… not China). It is a message of hope to see the Africans being smarter and more civilized than the ex-colonial masters…

Local Democracy at work in US cities and counties: compare with Europe, which had, and has, to wait until heads of central governments take the same decision… two weeks too late!

London Breed, 45th Mayor, San Francisco:

“Effective at midnight, San Francisco will require people to stay home except for essential needs. Necessary government functions & essential stores will remain open. These steps are based on the advice of public health experts to slow the spread of #COVID19.”

All this local democracy puts various potentates in competition with each other. Two years back, the mayor of Oakland (another woman) warned illegal immigrants (some of whom no doubt should be legal residents) of impending raids ordered by the Trump administration. That made Trump quite angry, and noises were made of taking legal action against the mayor… But nothing came of it. Hundreds of cities, so-called sanctuary cities, disobey the Federal government about immigration law. All this competition among US potentates, Federal against Local, States against Federal, or corporations, etc. force all the potentates to be smarter than they otherwise would be. 

Skeptics could point out to Switzerland, which has been doing poorly in the epidemic… Although Cantons took measures, they took them too slowly, and the Swiss Federal government was even slower. How come? First, the Cantons led: that’s the local democracy effect. Why so slow? Because it’s a war. Switzerland is not war-minded, the USA, just like China, is.  The lack of bellicose spirit also reflect the slow European defense in general. Just as Europe has been desperately slow waking up to Fundamental Islam, so it was under attack by SARS 2…

This local US governance also reflects the way the Roman empire was governed: the all-powerful Roman central (=federal) government, mostly commanded the army… Local governance by cities and their elected officials did the rest (it was not a perfect system, and it was too money dependent… hence the “Curiales” crisis of the Late Empire, when no one could afford to be a local official…)

Coronavirus will force a healthy readjustment of all values. No doubt, because of more intelligent leadership, the US will do better than Europe. 

Local democracy, and there is no other, is not just a higher, or wiser, way of life. It’s also the best way to survive better. 

Patrice Ayme

***

***

P/S: Practically, serious containment should work, as it did in China… Within three (3) weeks or so, depending how effective containment is made to be at starving the virus of new bodies, the curve of cases should reach a maximum… Two and a half weeks seems to be the average time from getting the virus (typically from an asymptomatic subject) to getting a confirmed diagnostic…. It seems that Hubei went into severe lockdown when it had around real 2,000 people carrying the virus.. And still the number of patients there went up to 70,000… More exactly, by January 23, lockdowns had started in 6 Hubei cities, including Wuhan. By then the total number of SARS 2 was no more than 500, worldwide. Still, by February 12, Hubei had around 70,000 cases…

***

P/S: I met an old foggy who was hysterical about what he called the Coronavirus hysteria and compared it to the Y2K hoax (when computers were supposed to stop in 2000 CE). Then he insisted the flu kills 80,000 in the USA. What the deluded gentleman didn’t understand is that SARS 2 is more contagious than the flu, and creates much more critical cases. In an overwhelmed healthcare systems, those cases will convert into deaths. Another point: of four other known Coronaviruses which cause colds in humans, the immunity doesn’t seem to work as well as with flu (see the case above in Singapore when a thoroughly cured patient relapsed… And cured patients keep on releasing viruses…)

 

REEVALUATION OF ALL VALUES By Coronavirus

February 28, 2020

Desires, values, practice, ways, ideas and feelings are all entangled. Considering the state of the biosphere… collapsing as it is, a reevaluation is all values is required.

To avoid future, otherwise ineluctable megadeath: please humanity, gain gravitas.

No, COVID19 will not cause ultimate megadeath: the coronavirus is just a warning (following SARS, MERS, and Ebola, all aslo coronaviruses), COVID19 may cause dozens of millions of dead (HIV killed 35 millions, so far…), but that’s not billions. A full collapse of the biosphere and attendant human civilization would kill billions. Now this can all be avoided by changing our present ways… and desires. 

We have long said that what is happening would happen… Much of the world GDP is consumed by useless consumption. Plastic all over, most travel useless. Why are business jets subsidized? They emit 1% of US CO2. What is the best way to learn about Florence? The Florentine Republic? Going there? How do you go back seven centuries? By reading intelligent essays about it? Or going there, stuffed like coughing sardines breathing onto each other.

Unrestricted travel was fashionable: people thought knowing of going to the other side of the world to go to a place one was supposed to feel great to have gone to. It could be a beach, a club, a hotel, a city, a wave, a climb, a marathon: there they went on cheap airfare, “private” yet subsidized by governments.

Big meetings, huge stadiums full of gawking, brainless “supporters”. They should support themselves, not multimillionaire players.

Universitarians, again subsidized by governments, going all around the world, sometimes for just one day, to meet and greet each other… Sometimes even in expensive business class (I was direct witness, more than once).

Alaskan Forest hemlock Sawfly damage: parasites occupy forests which are not genetically adapted to them. All these will burn, contributing to world CO2… NONLINEARLY.

All over, when we talk about the biosphere being in a state of collapse under the assault of humanity, reasonable people have been nodding… and changing nothing about their lives, and, more importantly, knowledge base. 

We have long said that what is happening would happen… Mutation of all sorts of microbes, viruses, bacteria, mushrooms, parasites going faster than humanity, let alone evolution, could react. But not just this. Sea level rise and ice melting predictions depend upon optimistic hypotheses scientists keen to preserve their careers are anxious not to make. If one goes as pessimistic as possible about sub ice shelf melting by warm currents, and if one predicts that methane hydrates will erupt, then one talks about sea level rise many times greater than the most pessimistic official predictions.

Right, healthcare is the basic human right.

But, in particular, this means that a non-collapsing biosphere is a basic human right too. Much of this collapse is caused by the fact that wealth has had too much power. Not just the wealth of highly visible plutocrats like Bezos, the Walmart family, Bloomberg, etc. The main problem is the less visible wealth of trusts, foundations and influences of heirs which induce universities such as Harvard, and countless “foundations”, and “institutes” to teach or preach an erroneous world picture, from the departments of humanities, english, philosophy, history, economics, etc.

The imposition and inducement of an erroneous world picture happens not just in the USA. Places such as Britain, France or the EU are also rotten through and through: consider the Brexit debate, or the very perplexing attitude of the French elite regarding so-called pedophilia (truly raping children, no love there). Of course the rest of the world tends to be even worse of, and it’s no accident the virus came from China… but the fish rots by the head.

And the erroneous world spirit is not just a question of individuals: replacing the so-called “leaders” would not be enough. Beyond incarnated “leaders”, there are leading feelings, moods and ideas. Most of the MENTAL INERTIA which drove Nazism, was fully in force, before Hitler’s grandmother was employed by a wealthy Jew.

COVID 19 is another little warning. It’s still a disaster we can do something about. If Antarctica collapses, or LOW fails[1], that will be another story… Then there will be little we can do… Aside from Armageddon like solutions [2].

Patrice Ayme

***

***

[1] Launch On Warning: automated first strike thermonuclear rocket forces… presently deployed. Please aske “Democrat’ speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi about it, she is a self-described “Catholic”, and she prays for the president everyday (she says).

***

[2] So, besides increasing military budgets of the permanent members of the UNSC (who keep the peace)… What can we do? We can, and should, redeploy the economy is a way which promotes the survival of civilization.  So we need more research in what reality was, and is. Thus revisiting history… and not just the face of well-known fascist regimes such as Lenin’s, Stalin’s, Hitler’s, Mussolini’s etc…. But also the real forces behind them. We should also push science and teaching as much as possible.

 

 

We Are Quantum Machines, Thus Smart In Nonlocal Ways

November 9, 2018

Biological organisms are Quantum machines. That makes them completely different from 100% determined automata. There is nothing automatic about a Quantum machine. Moreover, the Quantum is intrinsically nonlocal: that makes it intelligent. And thus so it is for evolution itself! Yes, evolution is intelligent: Quantum physics made that possible.

New (Applied Quantum) Physics needs to be developed to figure out biology.

In the chlorophyll molecule, photons are absorbed and transformed into energy to transport electrons with nearly 100% efficiency: nearly every photon is absorbed. This is an  indication of Quantum in action.

Now what is a Quantum machine? Not so simple, it can work in such mysterious ways, that physicists themselves are baffled:

https://physicsworld.com/a/is-photosynthesis-quantum-ish/

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/ultrabiology/

Patrice Ayme

Ctenophora Rewriting 750 Million Years Of Neural Evolution

August 2, 2017

Ctenophora were long considered just a kind of jellyfish. Turns out that was a gross mistake. Indeed a Russian immigrant to the USA, Leonid Moroz, found that these animals were unrelated to jellyfish. In fact, ctenophora are so profoundly different from any other animal on Earth, that it has been discovered they are much older, and unrelated, to sponges (previously sponges were thought to be by far the oldest animals; now this is known to be wrong).

In 1995, Moroz tested the nerve cells of ctenophora for the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and nitric oxide, chemical messengers considered the universal instruments of the neural language of all and any animals. He didn’t find any of them.

Ctenophora were already known for having a serious nervous system, complete with neurons; but these first experiments by Moroz showed that ctenophora nerves are built from molecular building blocks – different from any other animal – using ‘a different chemical language’! says Moroz: he calls these animals ‘aliens of the sea’.

If vertebrates had not appeared, 200 million years after ctenophora, probably confining the latter into an ecological niche, civilization may have evolved from ctenophora.

An obscure force seems to compel the apparition of complex nervous systems to evolve. It is universal – not just on Earth, but also on inhabited exoplanets. And I will show roughly what it is, and where it comes from in a companion essay (to which this one is introductory).

Jellyfishes use muscles to flap their bodies and swim. Whereas ctenophora use thousands of cilia to swim. They can be very small, but the largest are 1.5 meter long (5 feet). Jellyfishes sting, ctenophora capture prey using two sticky tentacles that secrete glue. Ctenophora ambush their prey.  

Studies of ctenophora, starting 130 years ago, showed neuron masses, and, more recently, what looked like synapses. 

Ctenophore. It looks as if the ancestors of vertebrates MUSCLED out (serious pun intended!) the ctenophora. With sheer muscle power the cilia smarts ctenophora were thrown into a niche!

Moroz finally was able to make a “transcriptome” of the DNA of ctenophora in 2007.   5,000 or 6,000 gene sequences were actively turned on in the animal’s nerve cells. His team showed that Pleurobrachia lacked the genes and enzymes required to manufacture neurotransmitters seen in other animals. These missing neurotransmitters included the ones that Moroz found to be absent back in 1995 – serotonin, dopamine and nitric oxide – but also acetylcholine, octopamine, noradrenaline, etc. Ctenophora also lacked genes for receptors that to respond to conventional neurotransmitters.

As Moroz team put it in Nature:

“The origins of neural systems remain unresolved. In contrast to other basal metazoans, ctenophores (comb jellies) have both complex nervous and mesoderm-derived muscular systems. These holoplanktonic predators also have sophisticated ciliated locomotion, behaviour and distinct development. Here we present the draft genome of ten… ctenophore transcriptomes, and show that they are remarkably distinct from other animal genomes in their content of neurogenic, immune and developmental genes. Our integrative analyses place Ctenophora as the earliest lineage within Metazoa. This hypothesis is supported by comparative analysis of multiple gene families, including the apparent absence of HOX genes, canonical microRNA machinery, and reduced immune complement in ctenophores. Although two distinct nervous systems are well recognized in ctenophores, many bilaterian neuron-specific genes and genes of ‘classical’ neurotransmitter pathways either are absent or, if present, are not expressed in neurons. Our metabolomic and physiological data are consistent with the hypothesis that ctenophore neural systems, and possibly muscle specification, evolved independently from those in other animals.”

[Nature, June 2014. The ctenophore genome and the evolutionary origins of neural systems]

Further studies have confirmed that ctenophora have evolved earlier, and completely independently of other animals.

Ctenophora lack entire classes of genes that had been thought to be universal to all animals. These included so-called micro-RNA genes, which help to form specialised cell types in organs, and HOX genes, which divide bodies into separate parts, be it the segmented body of a worm or lobster, or the segmented spine and finger bones of a vertebrate.  Such genes are present in simple sponges and placozoa.

Ctenophora are the oldest type of animal known! (Moroz tried to publish a paper in 2009 which implicitly led to that conclusion; it was rejected. He then did more refined studies which led to the 2014 Nature paper.)

Moroz now counts up to 12 independent evolutionary origins of the nervous system. Including at least one in cnidaria (the group that includes jellyfish and anemones), three in echinoderms (the group that includes sea stars, sea lilies, urchins and sand dollars), one in arthropods (the group that includes insects, spiders and crustaceans), one in molluscs (the group that includes clams, snails, squid and octopuses), one in vertebrates – and now, at least one in ctenophora.

“There is more than one way to make a neuron, more than one way to make a brain,” says Moroz. In each of these evolutionary branches, different genes and proteins ensembles got elected through random gene mutations, to take part in building a nervous system. The details are completely different, yet, the big picture is the same!

And that’s no accident, as I will argue, there is an underlying Quantum force pushing towards intelligence… Thus Lamarck was right.

Moroz rejected much of what he was taught. Because his ‘initial hypothesis was exactly what was in the textbooks’, moving to the correct way of thinking about ctenophora took him 20 years.

Science is truth, but truth is not obvious. And searching for it is even more demanding.

Patrice Ayme’

IMMORAL & UNSCIENTIFIC, To Crisp CRISPR

July 24, 2017

Abstract: We can edit genetics now. Should we? Of course. It’s the moral thing to do. First, because it’s moral to try to know what we don’t know, even when, and especially when, it’s a great jump in the unknown (I will explain why in a follow-up essay). Second, because, by pushing the CRISPR technology, we can save billions of hours of quality of life for millions of human beings, very soon.

***

In 2012, a collaboration between  Jennifer Doudna (from Hawai’i; then a professor at UC Berkeley) and  Emmanuelle Charpentier (a French professor from Paris working all over Europe) brought a huge invention. The two collaborating professors harnessed CRISPR into a method to edit DNA at will. Doudna learned first from CRISPR thanks to another female professor at Berkeley.

(Doudna wrote an excellent book on this “A Crack In Creation”, which I highly recommend; the title itself has a triple meaning.)

CRISPR is the abbreviation of: Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. They are segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short, repetitive base sequences. These play a key role in a bacterial defence system: bacteria get attacked by viruses, bacteriophages. RNA harboring the spacer sequence helps Cas proteins recognize and cut the enemy (exogenous DNA) in two. Other RNA-guided Cas proteins cut enemy RNA.

Several elements intervene in CRISPR: tracing with RNA attached to a pair of scissors, adding (or not!) what DNA piece one wants, & then automatic repair DNA…

Gene editing proceeds by attaching a DNA-breaking natural bacterial defense against virus to a particular region of the DNA, thanks to a recognizing RNA. Then whatever one wants to splice is brought in by another RNA. DNA. 

The potential is to create species at will. Or to remove diseases at will. Let’s hasten to say, that the process can, and has, happened spontaneously in the wild (so to speak). Some patients have had grave genetic diseases they were affected by, disappear, from the cutting effect appearing on its own in one stem cell’s DNA. (If that stem cell had enough descendants to compensate for the deleterious effects of others, wrong-DNA cells, a cure can be achieved!)

Some “bioethicists” are all alarmed by gene editing, and use big words, about the potential damage to life for frivolous pursuits.

Technically, CRISPR alarmists are panicking too early: first, and most importantly, the phenotype does not reduce to the genotype. Human beings’ inheritance is mostly phenotype, not genotype: this is why we can share 99% of our genotype with mice, and still be quite different  (except for those addicted to plutocracy, who may as well be mice).

Granted, one should not do whatever. Fluorescent mini-pigs should be amusing, but not if their fluorescence prevents them to sleep. Worse: a very promising, but hyper dangerous technique exists, the GENE DRIVE. In a gene drive, the CRISPR itself is made part of the genetic information which is added.

Promising? Experimentally, some mosquitoes species were then infected with 99.5% success with immunity to the malaria parasite. That would make malaria disappear faster than Bill Gates takes to visit five-star hotels on his way to do whatever in the name of malaria. So it’s an excellent thing. On the danger side, species could be eradicated. That technique could also obviously be weaponized.

***

We are the astonishing the species. Stupendous astonishment is what we do.

What is predictable is not astonishing, and what is truly astonishing, is not predictable.

Such philosophical musings are actually intensely practical. I am going to show how.

***

With CRISPR all genetic diseases become potentially curable: Considering Huntington’s and Duchenne muscular dystrophy leads Doudna to write in her book: “The stakes are simply too high to exclude the possibility of eventually using germline editing.”Strange formulation: the stakes are simply too high to exclude the possibility of eventually using life saving technology?

I shall be even clearer. Those not all out for using CRISPR to cure human diseases are on the same moral side as those who didn’t go all out to prevent Auschwitz, although they knew about it. Yeah, no, I’m not exaggerating, but it’s going to be a bit difficult to explain why. 

By editing DNA at will, we become the architect of creation.

When one can alleviate human pain and suffering, absent adverse consequences, one has to do so. It’s a moral imperative. Otherwise one joins the ranks of those who could have done something about Auschwitz, and didn’t. Actually, it’s worse: opposing those who operated Auschwitz clearly had adverse consequences!

***

Same basic story as above, rolled out again to explain better…

Jennifer Doudna: “The truth is, I don’t have answers.” Doudna would like to have the public participate in the debate. However, says Doudna: “There’s a disconnect between the scientific community and mainstream culture, a real degradation in trust by the public. Many scientists — I’m guilty of this too — find it much more fun to do the next experiment in the lab than to take the time to explain to non-specialists what we do or how the scientific process actually works.”

Doudna is still searching for red lines that CRISPR technology shouldn’t cross. “I struggle with the question of crossing boundaries of speciation that are naturally in place” — For example 28,000 people are grafted every year in the USA. The demand is five times that, at least. Raising pigs with human-compatible organs becomes possible with CRISPR.  “You might decide that it would be unethical not to do that,” says Doudna, unhelpfully.

I love Doudna. She and Charpentier should get the Nobel. However, she somewhat disingenuously pretends to believe that, given our limited knowledge about the human genome, there shouldn’t be clinical use of CRISPR in the human germ line at present. (She does not really believes this, because she is not an idiot, but she affects to play a fair, Politically Correct game…) But she also admits that the balance is delicate. The same technology that might cure genetic-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Duchenne, diabetes and cancer might someday be used frivolously. Strangely Doudna pretends that “I don’t think that’s going to happen any time very soon, just because we don’t have the knowledge,” Doudna says. “But is it coming in 50 or 100 years?” She pauses to reflect, then says: “Yeah.”

However this is all a fake debate: it has been done with mice. Thus, it can be done with people. Thanks to the People’s Republic of China, it’s going to happen all over human disease. Mr. Xi just inverted the one-child policy established 40 years ago, he can earn more brownie points by curing human diseases.

CRISPR is a wonderful tool, to gather knowledge, and THEN to pontificate upon the morality this knowledge will entail. THEN.

To try to pontificate about the consequences of CRISPR now, when we don’t know so much, is unscientific. It will feed the enemy of the scientific method, by having scientists pretending to think when they can’t. As Doudna herself said, she doesn’t know.  

Indeed, the chicken-egg can’t come before the evolution which led to them. So the science has to plough ahead, and inform We The People. Then we can moralize.

Experiment, then moralize.

A reader told me, about the preceding aphorism that “Historically, you have it wrong; even though you may be right”. Right. I was expressing a moral imperative, not a historical observation of how people behaved. Experiment then moralize: the way of the thinker. Moralize, then be careful not to experiment: the way of those on the wrong side of history. 

CRISPR is on the right side of history. Follow it, to learn not just how to get more power, but how to become more moral

Patrice Ayme’

We War, Or We Are Not: Chimpanzees On Patrol

June 29, 2017

WAR AS “COLLECTIVE INTENTIONALITY” IN CHIMPANZEES, And HOW:

Most advanced animals are territorial. (It’s also true at sea: that was discovered with Orcas, Killer Whales, recently: the high sea races don’t mix genetically and culturally with the land-hugging races!)

Where does this territoriality come from? Researchers have no guesses. I do: it’s as simple as supposing that animals are smart. I run through the woods all the time among dangerous animals, and I can see them thinking fast, across many species, and adjusting their attitude accordingly.

It’s easy to see why, economically speaking, territoriality should arise. Economy means: environmental management. At this point many feel like writing a few equations that would justify everything, and such equations have been written, and those who wrote them achieved fame.

Equations tie concepts together. Concepts which can be measured. However, one has to be careful. The case of gravitation is famous. The master equation, call it Einstein’s equation, says:

Curvature = Mass-Energy

As Einstein himself pointed out, the right hand-side is not well-defined. However, one can still draw non-trivial consequences from it. But do those “prove” the equation? No.

Posing With That Special Attitude Can Speak Louder Than Words!

Researchers used 20 years of data from Ngogo in Uganda to explore collective action in chimpanzees.

When male chimpanzees patrol the boundaries of their territories they walk silently in single file.

Normally chimps are noisy: it’s a deliberate tactic to scare everybody. But on patrol they’re like silent death. They sniff the ground and stop to listen for sounds. Their cortisol and testosterone levels are jacked 25 percent higher than normal. Chances of contacting conspecific enemies are high: 30 percent.

Ten percent of patrols result in violent fights where they hold victims down and bite, tear, hit, kick and stomp them to death. It has been observed that a chimpanzee tribe could completely annihilate one next door.

The result of these savage acts of war? A large, safe territory rich with food, longer lives, and new young females wandering into the group.

Territorial boundary patrolling by chimpanzees is one of the most dramatic forms of collective action in mammals. Patrolling, and killing, together benefits the group, whether individual chimps took part in the action, or not.

Some Chimps In The ASU Study, While On Patrol

A team — led by Arizona State University Assistant Professor Kevin Langergraber of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the Institute of Human Origins — examined 20 years of data on who participated in patrols in a 200-member-strong Ngogo community of chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda.

Males joined 33 percent of patrols that occurred when they were in the group and young enough to take part. Young females have been observed to join patrols.

The behavior is evidence of what’s called group augmentation theory. What is good for the group is ultimately good for the individual. Some sacrifice from each member translates into a larger, safer group. By 2009, the Ngogo chimpanzees expanded their territory by 22 percent over the previous decade.

“Free riders may increase their short-term reproductive success by avoiding the costs of collective action,” Langergraber’s team wrote, “but they do so at the cost of decreasing the long-term survival of the group if it fails to grow or maintain its size; nonparticipants suffer this cost alongside the individuals they had cheated.”

“Cost” though, is a human concept tied to record keeping.

Chimpanzees are one of the few mammals in which inter-group warfare is a major source of mortality. Chimps in large groups have been reported to kill most or all of the males in smaller groups over periods of months or even many years, acquiring territory in the process. Territorial expansion can lead to the acquisition of females who bear multiple infants. It also increases the amount of food available to females in the winning group, increasing their fertility.

The researchers found no consequences for those chimpanzees that did not join patrols (but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist). Most studies have focused on short term benefits of cooperation, said lead researcher Kevin Langergraber, “but our study shows the benefit of long-term data collection, and also that we still have a lot to learn from these chimpanzees.”

Male chimpanzees remain in the group they were born in their entire lives (females wander to settle somewhere else). Because they can live for more than 50 years, patrolling when they’re young produces personal future benefits.

However, if they don’t patrol, there aren’t any consequences — no sidelong glances, snubs or being chased out of the group, claims anthropologist David Watts of Yale University, who worked with Langergraber on the study.

“We know from a lot of theoretical and empirical work in humans and in some other specialized, highly cooperative societies — like eusocial insects — that punishment by third parties can help cooperation evolve,” Watts said. “But it doesn’t seem to us that chimpanzees punish individuals who do not patrol. Sometimes individuals will be present when a patrol starts, and thus have the opportunity to join the patrol but fail to do so. As far as we can see, these individuals do not receive any sort of punishment when this occurs.”

Chimpanzees are extremely intelligent, but usually they aren’t considered to be capable of what’s called “collective intentionality,” which allows humans to have mutual understanding and agreement on social conventions and norms.

“They undoubtedly have expectations about how others will behave and, presumably, about how they should behave in particular circumstances, but these expectations presumably are on an individual basis,” Watts said. “They don’t have collectively established and agreed-on social norms.”

What Watts seems to want to say is that he didn’t see punishment. Thus, he says, there is no enforcement of norms. Thus there are no norms. Thus norms were not collectively established.

There are several problems with this reasoning. First all is not stick: there is also the carrot. A chimp may not be punished, but them he may lost opportunity. One opportunity lost? The pleasure of the hunt of the biggest game, fellow chimp, the pleasure of killing.

To expects animals establish norms as we do is, with all due respect, a bit silly. They do it, as we do when we don’t have language at our disposal.

“… this tendency of humans to cooperate in large groups and with unrelated individuals must have started somewhere,” Watts said. “The Ngogo group is very large (about 200 individuals), and the males in it are only slightly more related to one another than to the males in the groups with which they are competing. Perhaps the mechanisms that allow collective action in such circumstances among chimpanzees served as building blocks for the subsequent evolution of even more sophisticated mechanisms later in human evolution.”

Yes, sure. And what are these mechanisms? Can we imagine them?

We know how WE do it in civilization, and the million of years before that: we talk. We talk digitally, enabling us to communicate extremely precise information: this is the interest of equations.

What did we do before digital speech? Well we could whistle and do other sounds… which animals readily understand: a whining sound in humans of the sort my seven-year old daughter is expert at when she wants cake, is readily understood by a dog from 100 feet away. And by another 500 species besides.

There are other languages: action, gestures… They can vary. Most animals though, understand man is the top dog. I have been charged by bull elks, weighing 1,000 pounds, horns down, until they realized I was no mountain lion. Similarly, a bear or lion will immediately be reminded of human supremacy, from just the proper attitude. Then they instantaneously deduce they should moderate their rage, hunger, and other animals spirits inhabiting them.

The point is that they reason. They fear humans not “instinctively”, but because they were taught, by parents, or circumstances. Chimpanzees are also taught. From their first months on Earth. Then they deduce, in particular, friend from foe. Friends are in the tribe, foes are not in the tribe.

When I run in a National Park, all the dangerous animals out there, even the dangerous snakes, not just the bears, lions and various ungulates, know who I am, even before meeting me in person. They also know what a creature such as me is expected to do: left alone, I, and my ilk, will leave them alone.

So the missing link is that animals spent a lot of time thinking: their lives depend upon it.

“Collective Intentionality” results from all this collective thinking out of the same initial conditions. Chimps, from the earliest ager, learn that defending their traditional fruit trees enable them to survive, because they need to eat, to survive. And so on… It’s basic neurogenesis…

Patrice Ayme’


Political Reactionary

Dark Enlightenment and Neoreaction

Of Particular Significance

Conversations About Science with Theoretical Physicist Matt Strassler

Rise, Republic, Plutocracy, Degeneracy, Fall And Transmutation Of Rome

Power Exponentiation By A Few Destroyed Greco-Roman Civilization. Are We Next?

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

Political Reactionary

Dark Enlightenment and Neoreaction

Of Particular Significance

Conversations About Science with Theoretical Physicist Matt Strassler

Rise, Republic, Plutocracy, Degeneracy, Fall And Transmutation Of Rome

Power Exponentiation By A Few Destroyed Greco-Roman Civilization. Are We Next?

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

Political Reactionary

Dark Enlightenment and Neoreaction

Of Particular Significance

Conversations About Science with Theoretical Physicist Matt Strassler

Rise, Republic, Plutocracy, Degeneracy, Fall And Transmutation Of Rome

Power Exponentiation By A Few Destroyed Greco-Roman Civilization. Are We Next?

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

%d bloggers like this: