Later On

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

Archive for June 29th, 2022

How Did Consciousness Evolve? An Illustrated Guide

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Two posts back, I blogged an article on how the grand synthesis of evolutionary theory seemed to require some reworking. The MIT Press Reader has an article adapted from Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka’s book Picturing the Mind: Consciousness Through the Lens of Evolution that reflects a similar view. That article begins:

What is consciousness, and who (or what) is conscious — humans, nonhumans, nonliving beings? Which varieties of consciousness do we recognize? In their book “Picturing the Mind,” Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka, two leading voices in evolutionary consciousness science, pursue these and other questions through a series of “vistas” — over 65 brief, engaging texts, presenting some of the views of poets, philosophers, psychologists, and biologists, accompanied by Anna Zeligowski’s lively illustrations.

Each picture and text serves as a starting point for discussion. In the texts that follow, excerpted from the vista “How Did Consciousness Evolve?” the authors offer a primer on evolutionary theory, consider our evolutionary transition from nonsentient to sentient organisms, explore the torturous relation between learning studies and consciousness research, and ponder the origins and evolution of suffering and the imagination.

Evolutionary Theory

Evolutionary theory is a deceptively simple theory, which is why many people who have only a cursory acquaintance with it are nevertheless convinced that they fully understand it. Its basic assumptions are indeed simple. The first assumption, which was systematically explored first by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and then by Charles Darwin, is that there was a single ancestor, or very few ancestors, of all living organisms. This is the principle of Descent with modification: all organisms are descended, with modifications, from ancestors that lived long ago.

The second principle, which is central to Darwin’s theory, is the principle of Natural selection: organisms with hereditary variations that render them better adapted to their local environment than others in their population leave behind more offspring. Darwin showed that this simple process, when applied recursively, can account for the evolution of complex organs like the eye, and, with the addition of some plausible auxiliary hypotheses, can explain the diversity of living species and their geographic distribution. In the last paragraph of “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,” Darwin summarized his ideas:

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less- improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Once he put forward his ideas, various scientists tried to crystallize and summarize Darwin’s view. For example, in the twentieth century, John Maynard Smith suggested that four basic processes underlie evolution by natural selection:

(i) Multiplication: an entity gives rise to two or more others.
(ii) Variation: not all entities are identical.
(iii) Heredity: like usually begets like. Variant X usually begets offspring X, but infrequently begets offspring Y.
(iv) Competition: some heritable variations affect the success of entities in persisting and multiplying more than others.

Although it sounds simple, when we unpack these processes, we appreciate how complex evolutionary theory actually is. There are multiple ways in which reproduction occurs and there are different types of inherited variations. Maynard Smith, like most 20th-century biologists, focused on DNA- based genetic variability, but since the early 2000s, the idea that variations in DNA drive all evolutionary change has been abandoned; it is now recognized that heritable variations in DNA, in patterns of gene expression, in behavior, and in culture are all important. Variation in these hereditary units can arise randomly or can be partially directed because heredity and development can be coupled. For example, stressful conditions during development can induce changes in gene expression that can be transmitted to the next generation. It has also been accepted that there are multiple targets and levels of selection within individuals, between individuals and between lineages, and that organisms have fuzzy boundaries. (Are the symbiotic bacteria in your gut part of you?) Crucially, organisms are not passive subjects of natural selection — they actively construct the environment in which they are selected and bequeath these ecological legacies to their offspring.

How, then, should evolutionary analysis proceed? We could start by tracing evolutionary change at the molecular-genetic, physiological-developmental, behavioral, or cultural levels. However, since organisms adjust to changing conditions in the external world and in their own genome by altering their behavior and physiology, cultural and behavioral adaptations frequently precede genetic changes and shape the conditions in which variations are selected. Genetic changes that stabilize or fine tune the behavioral or developmental changes follow. As evolutionary biologist Mary Jane West-Eberhard put it: “Genes are followers, not leaders, in evolution.”

In the 21st century, this integrative approach to evolutionary reasoning, which incorporates the effects of variations in DNA, development, behavior, and culture is being embraced by a growing number of biologists, including us.

Evolutionary Transitions

How should we think about the evolutionary transition from nonsentient to sentient organisms? There are several useful ways of carving up the living world and thinking about evolutionary transitions between forms and ways of life. Ecologists distinguish . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2022 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Books, Evolution, Science

Paranoia on Parade, audio version with commentary

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I earlier blogged Dave Troy’s long article on the history of right-wing paranoia and how it has affected politics in the US. He now has a three-part audio version, with commentary. At that second link, Troy writes:

For the last several months, I’ve been working on a story for publication in the Washington Spectator about the history of the “goldbug” movement in the United States from the New Deal to today. That story“Paranoia on Parade: How Goldbugs, Libertarians and Religious Extremists Brought America to the Brink” was published this week as a lead feature, along with a 3-part podcast series that features the story along with extra commentary.

In the words of Washington Spectator editor Hamilton Fish:

Dave Troy’s masterful essay Paranoia on Parade highlights our May-June issue. Against the backdrop of the January 6 Committee hearings, Troy traces the roots of the insurrection to the wealthy industrialists, oil barons and tech entrepreneurs and whose century-long crusade to dismantle the government and assert control over the currency wound up on the Capitol steps.

Opponents of the New Deal and leaders of the American business community looked to European fascism for models that would enable them to thwart social democracy and the democratization of America. They recruited aggrieved veterans, conservative Christians, anti-communists, anti-Semites and white nationalists to their cause, one that ultimately failed to excite a nation in thrall to Roosevelt’s program.

After WW I, industrialists called for the gold standard, which would protect their wealth from the corrosive effects of inflation and prevent governmental expansion at a time of national economic crisis; right-wing business and political interests aligned in the John Birch Society; in Texas the Hunt family hoarded silver, and later assorted ex-military and extreme right-wing fortune hunters chased rumors of Filipino gold; and the allure of the new world of crypto caused a stir in a culture gone mad for anything digital. The protagonists all shared the goal of easing the currency out from under government oversight and control, and the whole paranoid circus, their disciples, descendants and derivatives, in one guise or another, converged on Washington on January 6.

This longform piece is, I think, the most important thing I’ve ever written. It is my attempt to make sense of what’s gotten us here, through the lens of paranoid politics — in the sense of the term coined by Richard Hofstadter in his landmark 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”—covering 1933–2022.

It’s a wild story, covering everything from goldbugs, the “I AM” cult, to Birchers, QAnon, cryptocurrency, and January 6th — and importantly, asserts they are all expressions of a single unified reactionary phenomenon. . .

Continue reading. The links to the audio version are found at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2022 at 10:02 pm

Do we need a new theory of evolution?

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Stephen Buranyi writes in the Guardian:

Strange as it sounds, scientists still do not know the answers to some of the most basic questions about how life on Earth evolved. Take eyes, for instance. Where do they come from, exactly? The usual explanation of how we got these stupendously complex organs rests upon the theory of natural selection.

You may recall the gist from school biology lessons. If a creature with poor eyesight happens to produce offspring with slightly better eyesight, thanks to random mutations, then that tiny bit more vision gives them more chance of survival. The longer they survive, the more chance they have to reproduce and pass on the genes that equipped them with slightly better eyesight. Some of their offspring might, in turn, have better eyesight than their parents, making it likelier that they, too, will reproduce. And so on. Generation by generation, over unfathomably long periods of time, tiny advantages add up. Eventually, after a few hundred million years, you have creatures who can see as well as humans, or cats, or owls.

This is the basic story of evolution, as recounted in countless textbooks and pop-science bestsellers. The problem, according to a growing number of scientists, is that it is absurdly crude and misleading.

For one thing, it starts midway through the story, taking for granted the existence of light-sensitive cells, lenses and irises, without explaining where they came from in the first place. Nor does it adequately explain how such delicate and easily disrupted components meshed together to form a single organ. And it isn’t just eyes that the traditional theory struggles with. “The first eye, the first wing, the first placenta. How they emerge. Explaining these is the foundational motivation of evolutionary biology,” says Armin Moczek, a biologist at Indiana University. “And yet, we still do not have a good answer. This classic idea of gradual change, one happy accident at a time, has so far fallen flat.”

There are certain core evolutionary principles that no scientist seriously questions. Everyone agrees that natural selection plays a role, as does mutation and random chance. But how exactly these processes interact – and whether other forces might also be at work – has become the subject of bitter dispute. “If we cannot explain things with the tools we have right now,” the Yale University biologist Günter Wagner told me, “we must find new ways of explaining.”

In 2014, eight scientists took up this challenge, publishing an article in the leading journal Nature that asked “Does evolutionary theory need a rethink?” Their answer was: “Yes, urgently.” Each of the authors came from cutting-edge scientific subfields, from the study of the way organisms alter their environment in order to reduce the normal pressure of natural selection – think of beavers building dams – to new research showing that chemical modifications added to DNA during our lifetimes can be passed on to our offspring. The authors called for a new understanding of evolution that could make room for such discoveries. The name they gave this new framework was rather bland – the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) – but their proposals were, to many fellow scientists, incendiary.

In 2015, the Royal Society in London agreed to host New Trends in Evolution, a conference at which some of the article’s authors would speak alongside a distinguished lineup of scientists. The aim was to discuss “new interpretations, new questions, a whole new causal structure for biology”, one of the organisers told me. But when the conference was announced, 23 fellows of the Royal Society, Britain’s oldest and most prestigious scientific organisation, wrote a letter of protest to its then president, the Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse. “The fact that the society would hold a meeting that gave the public the idea that this stuff is mainstream is disgraceful,” one of the signatories told me. Nurse was surprised by the reaction. “They thought I was giving it too much credibility,” he told me. But, he said: “There’s no harm in discussing things.”

Traditional evolutionary theorists were invited, but few showed up. Nick Barton, recipient of the 2008 Darwin-Wallace medal, evolutionary biology’s highest honour, told me he “decided not to go because it would add more fuel to the strange enterprise”. The influential biologists Brian and Deborah Charlesworth of the University of Edinburgh told me they didn’t attend because they found the premise “irritating”. The evolutionary theorist Jerry Coyne later wrote that the scientists behind the EES were playing “revolutionaries” to advance their own careers. One 2017 paper even suggested some of the theorists behind the EES were part of an “increasing post-truth tendency” within science. The personal attacks and insinuations against the scientists involved were “shocking” and “ugly”, said one scientist, who is nonetheless sceptical of the EES.

What accounts for the ferocity of this backlash? For one thing, this is a battle of ideas over the fate of one of the grand theories that shaped the modern age. But it is also a struggle for professional recognition and status, about who gets to decide what is core and what is peripheral to the discipline. “The issue at stake,” says Arlin Stoltzfus, an evolutionary theorist at the IBBR research institute in Maryland, “is who is going to write the grand narrative of biology.” And underneath all this lurks another, deeper question: whether the idea of a grand story of biology is a fairytale we need to finally give up.

ehind the current battle over evolution lies a broken . . .

Continue reading.

And see also this earlier post. And see also “How Did Consciousness Evolve? An Illustrated Guide.”

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2022 at 3:58 pm

Posted in Evolution, Science

How Big Sugar Manipulated the Science for Dietary Guidelines

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Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2022 at 3:43 pm

Why we need rituals, not routines

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On reading the title, my first thought was of my own rituals — my morning shave, for example, or my morning breakfast (making tea, picking out the three pieces of fruit, and so on). And on starting the article, the idea of having a ritual as a way of being productive (in writing, for example) made me think at once of Stephen Wolinksky’s book Trances People Live, which I have discussed in the blog and which is now included in the list of books I find myself repeatedly recommending.

Being in a trance does not mean one is unconscious. Rather, it denotes a state of mind in which there’s a focus that reduces awareness of things outside the focus (for example, one may not be at all aware of the passage of time). I daresay that “flow” is a species of trance (one describe by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, also on that list of books), and what the article quoted below describes is using ritual as a way to enter a state of flow — or a productive trance. Or so it seems to me.

Terry Nguyen writes in Vox:

Mason Currey’s interest in rituals grew out of his inability to write without distraction. Currey, a Los Angeles-based writer, became fascinated with the working habits of famous writers, whose days were seemingly subsumed by creative work. How were they so devoted and consistent with their craft? What magical brain powers did they possess that he didn’t?

It turns out, even great writers like Franz Kafka and Virginia Woolf found writing to be an arduous task. What made the work a little bit easier, he discovered, was their commitment to a daily ritual.

In 2013, Currey published Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, a compendium of mini-biographies that documented the idiosyncratic habits and lives of artists. For the artists that Currey researched, repetition was crucial to sustaining ritual. This practice, however, is not exclusive to the creative class, nor does — or should — it only operate in the realm of work. With life returning to a new post-pandemic normal, rituals, whether personal or communal, can help enrich people’s lives.

Anyone can devise a simple ritual and integrate it into their day, week, or even month. In Zen monasteries, even ordinary activities, like bathing and eating, are ritualized and given the complete attention of practitioners. This encourages a mindful approach to basic tasks, imbuing them with a transformational ethos. It can be as simple as taking a walk at a certain time of day, baking bread, or cleaning your space. You might not feel moved or changed by a ritual the first time you attempt one; you might be self-conscious or distracted. This is where repetition or experimentation could help.

Currey’s morning ritual for writing, for example, starts with him waking up at 5:30 am. He goes to the kitchen, pours himself a cup of coffee brewed the night before, and sits down to write at his desk with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled up. Some days, the process feels more like a slog than others, but the early morning habit instills a sense of calm. The repetition ensures an easy transition to his desired writerly mindset.

Currey describes a ritual as an activity that eases a person into a focused mindset, a liminal state that is conducive for thinking, creating, or just being. “Rituals create and mark a transition towards a different kind of mental or emotional state,” he said. This can look different for every person, but it’s helpful to approach rituals as a soothing, meditative activity that allows the participant to be physically and mentally present. Here’s how to think about finding and maintaining one yourself.

What’s the difference between a ritual and a routine?

In cases like Currey’s, a ritual might resemble a common routine. (Currey confessed that his book’s original title was Daily Routines, but an editor proposed to change it to Daily Rituals at the last minute.) The difference, according to ritualists, is distinguished by one’s intent.

The word “routine” carries a connotation distinct from that of ritual. It implies a rigid sense of structure, with time management and productivity prioritized. A person might rely on routine for the sake of accomplishment — an ideal tied to capitalist ideals of labor and production — rather than personal enjoyment or spiritual fulfillment. Society is fascinated by the inner lives of highly successful people and their adherence to unyielding habits. Self-help books and articles encourage readers to emulate the ambitious morning routines of entrepreneurs, often attributing their financial success to this regimented mindset. Meanwhile, productivity tools and apps are marketed to consumers as a shortcut to optimize the self to work more efficiently.

In her seminal writing on rituals, religion scholar Catherine Bell advised against . . .

Continue reading.

I would say that a ritual is a routine which provides pleasure and enjoyment, and perhaps also a reconnection to an inspiration or purpose. A ritual is in itself enjoyable, while a routine is a pattern that has proven efficient.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2022 at 2:34 pm

How Parents’ Trauma Leaves Biological Traces in Children

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Rachel Yehuda, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience and director of the Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, writes in Scientific American:

After the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001, in a haze of horror and smoke, clinicians at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan offered to check anyone who’d been in the area for exposure to toxins. Among those who came in for evaluation were 187 pregnant women. Many were in shock, and a colleague asked if I could help diagnose and monitor them. They were at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD—experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, emotional numbness or other psychiatric symptoms for years afterward. And were the fetuses at risk?

My trauma research team quickly trained health professionals to evaluate and, if needed, treat the women. We monitored them through their pregnancies and beyond. When the babies were born, they were smaller than usual—the first sign that the trauma of the World Trade Center attack had reached the womb. Nine months later we examined 38 women and their infants when they came in for a wellness visit. Psychological evaluations revealed that many of the mothers had developed PTSD. And those with PTSD had unusually low levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol, a feature that researchers were coming to associate with the disorder.

Surprisingly and disturbingly, the saliva of the nine-month-old babies of the women with PTSD also showed low cortisol. The effect was most prominent in babies whose mothers had been in their third trimester on that fateful day. Just a year earlier a team I led had reported low cortisol levels in adult children of Holocaust survivors, but we’d assumed that it had something to do with being raised by parents who were suffering from the long-term emotional consequences of severe trauma. Now it looked like trauma leaves a trace in offspring even before they are born.

In the decades since, research by my group and others has confirmed that adverse experiences may influence the next generation through multiple pathways. The most apparent route runs through parental behavior, but influences during gestation and even changes in eggs and sperm may also play a role. And all these channels seem to involve epigenetics: alterations in the way that genes function. Epigenetics potentially explains why effects of trauma may endure long after the immediate threat is gone, and it is also implicated in the diverse pathways by which trauma is transmitted to future generations.

The implications of these findings may seem dire, suggesting that parental trauma predisposes offspring to be vulnerable to mental health conditions. But there is some evidence that the epigenetic response may serve as an adaptation that might help the children of traumatized parents cope with similar adversities. Or could both possible outcomes be true?


My first encounter with intergenerational transmission of trauma was in the 1990s, soon after my team documented high rates of PTSD among Holocaust survivors in my childhood community in Cleveland. The first study of its kind, it garnered a lot of publicity; within weeks I found myself heading a newly created Holocaust research center at Mount Sinai staffed largely by professional volunteers. The phone was ringing off the hook. The callers weren’t all Holocaust survivors, though; most were the adult children of Holocaust survivors. One particularly persistent caller—I’ll call him Joseph—insisted that I study people like him. “I’m a casualty of the Holocaust,” he claimed.

When he came in for an interview, Joseph didn’t look like a casualty of anything. A handsome and wealthy investment banker in an Armani suit, he could’ve stepped off the pages of a magazine. But Joseph lived each day with a vague sense that something terrible was going to happen and that he might need to flee or fight for his life. He’d been preparing for the worst since his early 20s, keeping cash and jewelry at hand and becoming proficient in boxing and martial arts. Lately he was tormented by panic attacks and nightmares of persecution, possibly triggered by reports of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.

Joseph’s parents had met in a displaced-persons camp after surviving several years at Auschwitz, then arrived penniless in the U.S. His father worked 14 hours a day and said very little, never mentioning the war. But almost every night he woke the family with shrieks of terror from his nightmares. His mother spoke endlessly about the war, telling vivid bedtime stories about how relatives had been murdered before her eyes. She was determined that her son succeed, and his decision to remain unattached and childless infuriated her. “I didn’t survive Auschwitz so that my own child would end the family line,” she’d say. “You have an obligation to me and to history.”

We ended up talking to many people like Joseph: adult children of Holocaust survivors who suffered from anxiety, grief, guilt, dysfunctional relationships and intrusions of Holocaust-related imagery. Joseph was right—I needed to study people like him. Because those who were calling us were (in research-speak) self-selecting, we decided to evaluate the offspring of the Holocaust survivors we had just studied in Cleveland. The results were clear. Survivors’ adult children were more likely than others to have mood and anxiety disorders, as well as PTSD. Further, many Holocaust offspring also had low cortisol levels—something that we had observed in their parents with PTSD.


What did it all mean? Unraveling the tangle of trauma, cortisol and PTSD has occupied me and many other researchers for the decades since. In the classic fight-or-flight response, identified in the 1920s, a threatening encounter triggers the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. The hormones prompt a cascade of changes, such as quickening the pulse and sharpening the senses to enable the threatened person or animal to focus on and react to the immediate danger. These acute effects were believed to dissipate once the danger receded.

In 1980, however, psychiatrists and other advocates for Vietnam War veterans won a prolonged struggle to get post-traumatic stress included in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). It was the first official recognition that trauma could have long-lasting effects. But the diagnosis was controversial. Many psychologists believed that its inclusion in the DSM-III had been politically, rather than scientifically, driven—in part because there were no scientific explanations for how a threat could continue to influence the body long after it was removed.

Complicating matters, studies of Vietnam veterans were generating perplexing results. In the mid-1980s  . . .

Continue reading.

And see also this later post.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2022 at 11:43 am

At the shore, learn to spot — and avoid — rip currents

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The above video is from a fascinating and informative article by Chloe Williams that appeared in Hakai Magazine. Her article begins:

On a sweltering day in July 2019, Summer Locknick plodded along Prince Edward Island’s Cavendish Beach among hundreds of people lounging on the red-tinted sand. The air smelled of sunscreen as the visitors worked on their tans, blew up inflatable rafts, and cooled off in the sea. Locknick, however, was not there to relax. With a GPS unit and a tablet in hand, she circulated in the crowd, asking people if they knew about an often-overlooked threat slinking through the surf.

Rip currents are one of the deadliest hazards along the coast, yet beachgoers rarely pause to consider them before heading into the water. “Most people who go to a beach aren’t aware of what a rip current is,” Locknick says. These belts of seawater, often wider than a four-lane highway, cut through the surf and flow away from the shore, pulling unsuspecting bathers beyond their depth. Rips, as they’re known colloquially, can occur on any beach with breaking waves—even on the shores of North America’s Great Lakes—and have been measured to flow as fast as a raging river, including some whitewater sections of the Colorado River. Struggling against a rip current leads to exhaustion for even the strongest swimmers.

Worldwide, rips cause hundreds of drownings and necessitate tens of thousands of rescues every year. In Australia, where 85 percent of the population lives within an hour’s drive of the coast, rips cause more fatalities than floods, cyclones, and shark attacks combined. In 1938, one of the country’s most popular beaches, Sydney’s Bondi Beach, was the site of an infamous rip-current tragedy: within minutes, roughly 200 swimmers were swept away by a rip, leaving 35 people unconscious and five dead. More often, however, rips take one life at a time, garnering little media attention. For many casual beach visitors, the toll of rip currents goes unnoticed.

Locknick had only vaguely heard about rips as an undergraduate student at the University of Windsor in Ontario. During a stint as a research assistant in a coastal geomorphology lab, she grew increasingly intrigued by the currents and the reasons people get caught in them. During her graduate studies in 2019, she surveyed 500 people at Cavendish Beach and nearby Brackley Beach to learn how beachgoers perceive the hazard in Prince Edward Island, a province where rips have caused several drownings in recent years. Although almost three-quarters of beach users said they knew what a rip current is, only 54 percent could correctly define it. In addition, only half of the people she surveyed remembered seeing either the warning signs or the colored flags denoting surf conditions that were posted on or near the main access point to each beach. An even smaller percentage could recall what color the flags had been—green for calm, yellow for moderate, or red for dangerous conditions. “I was genuinely shocked,” Locknick says.

Chris Houser, a professor in the department of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Windsor, who oversaw the work, has seen the same trend throughout his research. Houser started his academic career studying the physical processes that shape the coast but has since branched out to explore the human side of beach safety. While living in the United States in the late 2000s, he began examining public perceptions of rip currents and warning signs, later expanding his work to Australia and Costa Rica, where he has collaborators, and, most recently, to Canada. Many people disregard, misunderstand, or fail to notice warning signs, he says. And sometimes signs are misleading. A major pitfall in many communities’ attempts to save lives from rips is assuming that the warnings work. “You can have the signs, you can have the flags,” Houser says, “but they’re not going to fix the problem.”

Deciding what to put on a sign is not straightforward either: rips are  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2022 at 11:38 am

Ingenious numerals

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And there’s more to this than just the system of numerals. Some links from the video description:


Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2022 at 11:29 am

Posted in Daily life, Math

Cuir et Épices and the stainless Mamba, with Italian Stallion

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My little Vie-Long mystery brush (boar? horsehair?) had no trouble at all in creating a wonderful lather from Declaration Grooming’s Milksteak formula in the Cuir et Épices fragrance. And my stainless Mamba is a wonderful razor — three easy passes to a perfect result. A splash of Mickey Lee Soapworks (now, sadly, no longer in operation) Italian Stallion aftershave milk, and I’m ready for the day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Lemon: “the flavour of fresh lemon on rich Ceylon, Darjeeling, Keemun, and Nepal black teas.”

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2022 at 11:20 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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