Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for June 2nd, 2017

Darwinian Evolution Explains Lamarckism

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Extremely interesting article by Pradeep Mutalik in Quanta:

Our May Insights puzzle was inspired by recent discoveries of some rare, intriguing patterns of inheritance that hark back to Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s theory of evolution and its emphasis on the “inheritance of acquired characteristics.” Elementary textbooks often present Lamarck’s theory as a failed 19th-century rival to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. But reality, as usual, is far more complicated. There is indeed a great deal of evidence that most acquired characteristics are not inherited, but as the new findings have shown, this proscription is not absolute. The famous Överkalix study, for example, showed that men who were exposed to a poor food supply between the ages of 9 and 12 were found, two generations later, to have conferred a measurably lower risk of diabetes and cardiovascular death to their grandchildren. Adaptive Lamarckian inheritance does seem to be possible, and epigenetic mechanisms for it have been found. These mechanisms modify DNA in ways that differ from those of heredity.

But at a deeper level this kind of inheritance can be naturally selected for in the traditional Darwinian way, provided certain environmental conditions are satisfied. So Darwinian natural selection remains the fundamental basis of evolution and can produce Lamarckian inheritance: The theories are not rivals after all! Using simple models, our puzzles show how natural selection can sustain Lamarckian inheritance. The requirement is that environmental conditions, such as famines, follow patterns that persist across several generations and are repeated over long stretches of evolutionary time.

Question 1:

Imagine there exists an animal that has a new generation every year. Every normal individual has . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2017 at 7:21 pm

Posted in Evolution, Science

Becoming overtly a constitutional crisis: White House orders agencies to ignore Democrats’ oversight requests

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Burgess Everett and Josh Dawsey report in Politico:

The White House is telling federal agencies to blow off Democratic lawmakers’ oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be weaponized against President Donald Trump.

At meetings with top officials for various government departments this spring, Uttam Dhillon, a White House lawyer, told agencies not to cooperate with such requests from Democrats, according to Republican sources inside and outside the administration.

It appears to be a formalization of a practice that had already taken hold, as Democrats have complained that their oversight letters requesting information from agencies have gone unanswered since January, and the Trump administration has not yet explained the rationale.

The declaration amounts to a new level of partisanship in Washington, where the president and his administration already feels besieged by media reports and attacks from Democrats. The idea, Republicans said, is to choke off the Democratic congressional minorities from gaining new information that could be used to attack the president.

“You have Republicans leading the House, the Senate and the White House,” a White House official said. “I don’t think you’d have the Democrats responding to every minority member request if they were in the same position.”

A White House spokeswoman said the policy of the administration is “to accommodate the requests of chairmen, regardless of their political party.” There are no Democratic chairmen, as Congress is controlled by Republicans. . .

Continue reading. There’s a lot more.

Congress exercises oversight, and it is mandated in the Constitution for the very reason that the Framers wanted to protect our nation against a tyrant. Which is what we have now.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2017 at 7:15 pm

Medicaid Is the Most Widely Used Benefit Program in Existence

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By all means read Kevin Drum’s post. Includes charts.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2017 at 6:55 pm

Revisited and revised: Turkey Thighs with Bacon, Tomatoes, and Porcini

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Previous recipe has been revised to reflect changes, which are:

  • pour off fat after browning thighs so only 1-2 Tbsp remain in pan
  • optionally add 3-4 chopped mushrooms and/of 1/4 cup barley, pearled or hulled
  • optionally add one “preserved” lemon, and that recipe is now included

I just made it again and it is simply wonderful.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2017 at 6:28 pm

Posted in Daily life

Homemade childproof razor case for DE razor—and it’s easy

with 2 comments

Take a look.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2017 at 5:35 pm

Posted in Shaving

The Biggest Beneficiaries of “America First” Are . . . Russia and China

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Trump is giving away the store. I am beginning to understand why he had such a string of bankruptcies: he makes bad decisions. Kevin Drum posts at Mother Jones:

Donald Trump is addicted to dramatic announcements, and he’s had a bunch. He killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his first day in office. He’s weakened ties with Europe and trashed NATO. He’s cozied up with autocrats and given short shrift to our usual democratic allies. He’s focused all of his attention in Asia on North Korea. Yesterday he pulled out of the Paris climate accord. Who do these actions benefit?

TPP: Mostly China, which was left out of TPP and now has an open road to create its own trading bloc. The benefit to the US is minuscule at best.

NATO: Russia, of course. I assume this needs no explanation?

Paris: Mostly China, which can now take the high ground and bill itself as the global leader in combating climate change. The benefit to America is probably zero or negative.

North Korea: China. They’re pretty obviously stringing Trump along, doling out tiny claims of progress in return for concessions by Trump. I’m guessing their claims in the South China Sea are very safe as long as they keep up this charade with Trump the global bumpkin.

Autocrats: China and Russia, which very much like the idea of the leader of the free world affirming that human rights are for suckers. America gets nothing from this policy of alienating the allies we have in return for kowtowing to autocrats who share no values with us and have no intention of becoming allies.

I’m not saying this is a deliberate policy from Trump. I doubt he really has one. But it’s pretty remarkable that America gets nothing from “America First,” while China and Russia are big beneficiaries.

For a more coherent take on this, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2017 at 12:40 pm

Antica Barbiera Colla and the RazoRock Mentor (I think)

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Antica Barbiera Colla is a very nice shaving soap indeed, with a clean and light almond fragrance. The lather is very high quality, make this morning with a Maggard 24mm synthetic brush.

I’m pretty sure that razor shown is the RazoRock Mentor, and it corresponds in feel and performance to the Maggard V3A. Both razors provide a lot of blade feel and are very efficient, but are also reasonably comfortable. This (and the V3A) would work well with dense, thick beards (after good prep, always important but particularly for thick, tough beards).

Three passes left my face totally smooth, and a very small, very thin (almost transparent) dot of Antica Barbiera Colla’s aftershave balm made a fine finish. I like this balm more the less of it I use in an application—”less is more,” as people like to say.

A fine shave to start the day.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 June 2017 at 8:18 am

Posted in Shaving

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