Re: Guest Post - The Veldt Strikes Again

1

The bad boyfriend link is busted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:29 AM
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On the veldt, readers of blog posts had to edit their own URLs to make them work.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:29 AM
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LB, you have the power to fix it, you know.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:30 AM
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But that's ok. I'll fix it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:30 AM
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Not from work I don't (or, strictly, only from my phone at work, and reception is spotty at my desk). My PC is blocked from the back-end of the site.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:37 AM
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Even as evo-psych bullshit, this doesn't seem very good. It isn't even internally consistent, or it is incomplete. Because it doesn't explain why the daughter would want to partner with somebody less supportive since she'd get more with a supportive partner and a portion of her parents' support than if her parents balanced out support within between siblings. I guess it's assumed that siblings are more interested in besting each other than absolute gains.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:38 AM
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Right. And of course, siblings should be aiming quite a lot of altruism at each other, sharing 50% of their genes. As much altruism as parents have for children, if we're going by the logic of kin selection.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:41 AM
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Are parents who are unable to provide resources to their adult daughters fine with the daughters partnering with unsupportive men because they can't be asked to take up the slack? That doesn't seem right either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:43 AM
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One of the greatest things to happen to my relationship with my mother was my brother having a child. Mom's now focusing most of her, uh, resources in the toddler's direction, which is quite all right from my perspective. We're good on resources, thanks.

By "resources", we mean nagging and prodding, right?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:48 AM
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6: actually it does address that:
"A daughter who was less picky than her sisters would accept a less helpful partner, but since her parents picked up the slack she ended up with a similar amount of support, while sparing herself the costs of holding out for the perfect man. "

Though they also say that their model "allowed a female's parents to interfere with her choice of a male" which doesn't seem to be the case from the rest of the discussion. The argument about daughters getting less picky holds if and only if parents don't have any influence, because from the parents' point of view they want their daughters to be picky enough to get optimally supportive spouses, which will maximise their grandchildren. How picky this is depends on non-obvious assumptions about the cost of waiting around vs. the expected paternal support.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:49 AM
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The gentiles-who-want-to-be-Jewish stuff goes on the other thread.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:49 AM
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I feel slightly bad for your brother and his partner.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:50 AM
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11 to 9.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:50 AM
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9 is completely wrong in my experience. The appetite for grandchildren is fed by that which it desires. It's like crack. Now that they've got two, my parents are like MOAR GRANDLINGS MOAR NOW CAN HAZ MOAR PLSTHX.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:51 AM
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I built a model which concludes that parents should kill all their children so they can keep the resources for themselves. It sustained over 0 generations.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:51 AM
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14: My parents are utterly indifferent to the grandchildren, which they keep accumulating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:52 AM
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More indifferent than I expected them to be, and I wasn't expecting much.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:52 AM
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16: I'm sure we could come to some agreement here.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:53 AM
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12 > 9.

But dear FSM in the holy Ragu, how many times are the forces of sanity going to have to revisit this shit before it stops!? It makes a laughing stock of evolutionary biology. I notice one of the perps is a grad student. I hope somebody formats the disk with his thesis on it the day before he's due to submit and the fills it up with reptile porn.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:54 AM
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I particularly enjoy it when stuff like this comes up at Crooked Timber. The Evo-Psych fanboys show up and act so hurt that everyone makes fun of them.

"But we are totally scientific scientists! We are we are we are!"


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:57 AM
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10: Not completely it doesn't. Let's say Y is the amount of support you can get from a supportive partner and X is the amount of support parents are capable of providing to their adult children. If there are N sisters in the family, the sister in question (S) gets the following amount of support if her partner is supportive: S = Y + X/N. If she has an non-supportive partner, she gets only X and is it asserted that X = Y (because they say the parents will make things equal). Therefore, picking a supportive partner is making things better for the sister. It's only an advantage relative to the siblings to pick a less supportive partner.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 7:57 AM
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Really agent-based simulations are worse than regular bad ad-hoc ev psych because they make everything sound so math-y but it's still often nonsense. Also, it's a really good way to get a bad paper into Nature, apparently.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:01 AM
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"My PC is blocked from the back-end of the site."
What exactly do you see when you visit the back-end? (LHF)
"More indifferent than I expected them to be"
It's probably Jammies' fault.
Is there any translation of an unsupportive mate becoming an unsupportive grandparent? That seems like it would wipe out those evolutionary detours pretty quickly since now children won't have backup support from their parents when they choose a bad mate.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:02 AM
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19: I wonder if it isn't somebody's plea for splitting a family inheritance evenly even thought his sister married a man who does nothing except meth or hunting for Bigfoot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:02 AM
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22: I've never heard that before. Do you have any references?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:02 AM
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I built a model using the Lorentz Equations which says they should all be optimizing their Lorentzes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:03 AM
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Always.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:03 AM
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Could you share them with me?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:09 AM
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Not without breaking IP laws.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:11 AM
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Really agent-based simulations are worse than regular bad ad-hoc ev psych because they make everything sound so math-y but it's still often nonsense.[1] Also, it's a really good way to get a bad paper into Nature, apparently.[2]

[1] Personal opinion of the author based on a couple of recent talks that can't really be linked due to pseudonymity issues.

[2] Private communication between the author and people in his lab.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:11 AM
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Which is to say, after a crappy agent-based simulation talk recently my lab-mates were talking about how we should do some agent-based simulation that purports to solve something incredibly broad but makes hilariously poorly-motivated simplifying assumptions and then get it published in Nature as a Sokal-style hoax, 'cuz Nature eats that shit up. Apparently. My labmates could be wrong, in theory.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:15 AM
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On the veldt, researchers who weren't published in Nature would try to increase their mating potential by pointing out bad some the papers in it were.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:17 AM
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+ of


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:17 AM
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21: but they also ascribe a cost to looking around for a supportive partner rather than the cheaper option of resigning oneself to becoming a mother based on the sole qualification of possessing a womb that happens to catch the sperm of a passing truck driver. (Generation Kill)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:17 AM
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34: If that cost of search were high enough to equalize the two outcomes, then I'd think that the polygamous partnering of all the sisters with the first useful guy to walk along would be the optimal option for everybody but the bad partners.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:24 AM
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36

What gets me about this is that obviously you can make the simulation turn out however you like, depending on how you set the costs (Like, making the natural assumption that couples with unsupportive men are short on resources to provide to their own adult children, how reproductively successful do women selecting unsupportive men look in terms of how their grandchildren do? Baking that into the model could easily change things. Or a thousand other things I haven't thought of offhand). How on earth could you ever connect your results to actual data about real people living in the world, to see if your model made sense?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:26 AM
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36 is a better way of making the point I was trying to make.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:30 AM
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Nature publishes that stuff and didn't like my crazy paper? Sigh. Such an unjust world. (After all, their stated reason for rejecting our paper was lack of strong evidence for the hypothesis, which surely applies to those guys too?)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:35 AM
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The talk I gave just went over like a lead balloon. I never understand generic European audiences.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:36 AM
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38: did you do an agent-based simulation? No? Well then.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:39 AM
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I could do one where the agents are comets.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:40 AM
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40 also to 39.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:40 AM
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40 to everything.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:42 AM
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40 and a mule to everyone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:43 AM
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45

Sifu should go heckle this.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:45 AM
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40 ounces to 4-Loko


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:45 AM
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I could do one where the agents are comets.

In tonight's episode, Shoemaker and Levy discover that the killer strikes at regular 76-year intervals - but can they stop him before he kills again?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:46 AM
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In my discipline nobody even considers submitting a paper to Nature unless there's evidence of at least five man-years of labor put into the experiments. You also have to conclusively prove some established point while conclusively disproving some other established point. Sure, things that are obviously wrong get in there, but at least the people in the lab put a lot of work into it so they might as well get rewarded.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:47 AM
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I never understand generic European audiences.

Maybe you should try modeling them using agent based simulations.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:47 AM
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We have one guy who wants to send everything to JAMA or NEJM, which is effectively just asking for a few months of delay before publication. I'll withdraw my objection if it ever works because I'd really like to be on a paper appearing in JAMA or NEJM.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:52 AM
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In my discipline the sense is that Nature tends to take things where the result is both novel and unexpected and the method is completely novel.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:56 AM
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52

Let's all post pictures of the publication with the highest impact factor in which we've appeared.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:58 AM
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In my discipline the sense is that Nature is not a journal in my discipline.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:58 AM
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51: Generally I think the "novel method" papers go to the top biomedical-specific journals instead of Nature. As you know, Nature/Science/PNAS have a requirement that manuscripts must be 1/3 the length of the manuscripts in other journals, while containing 3 times the amount of data. In most cases people are able to comply simply by making all the figures unreadable, and eliminating all the words that would enable more than 500 people in the world to understand it. But when it's a new method, it may actually be impossible to compress it that much.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:00 AM
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52: done!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:01 AM
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and eliminating all the words that would enable more than 500 people in the world to understand it

These journals also claim that they want papers to be written in a manner accessible to a general audience, though.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:02 AM
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What's sad about 55 is that it isn't even true.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:03 AM
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56: I've always assumed that's an obvious lie.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:04 AM
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Or 57 to 56.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:05 AM
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58: But it's also one of the reasons they give for rejecting papers ("better suited for a specialist journal").


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:06 AM
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52. Easy choice from a field of 1.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:07 AM
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In my discipline the sense is that Nature tends to take things where the result is both novel and unexpected and the method is completely novel.

Sounds like urple.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:07 AM
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Because if they said, "It's not your paper, it's my journal" people wouldn't take them seriously.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:08 AM
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63 to 60. Anyway, we get that all the time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:08 AM
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36: You find some IRL data and see whether your simulation predicts it well.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:13 AM
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61: Dude.

65: But in this case, what on earth would that IRL data look like?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:15 AM
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Reductionist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:15 AM
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67 to 65.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:16 AM
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I never understand generic European audiences.

American exceptionalist.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:21 AM
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Maybe it's just that I don't understand Germanic audiences. I seem to do okay with Italians and have mixed but mostly positive results with Spaniards.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:44 AM
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|| Sigh. Did not get the job. The person who would have been my supervisor called to tell me how much he wanted me on his team, wished they could create a job for me--not possible with their current funding stream, but "we felt that your lack of supervisory experience meant that we can't offer you the position at this time." Hope you'll consider us in the future. In other words, his boss didn't like me.

|>

||

VOTING.

Anyone voting today? I haven't picked a candidate yet.

Sciortino or Spilka? Clarke?

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:48 AM
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70: You do well with peninsular people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:51 AM
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71.1: I'm sorry to hear that. Good luck in future attempts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:51 AM
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70.--Did they knock on the table when you were done?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:51 AM
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In other words, his boss didn't like me.

Ugggh, sorry to hear that. Frustrating and demoralizing.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:52 AM
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71.1: Sorry, that sucks.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:53 AM
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On the veldt again
The life I love is makin' hypotheses with my friends


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:54 AM
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So sorry, BG!!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:56 AM
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Knock on the table? Didn't essear flip the table over when the talk was over? Isn't that how it is done?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 9:58 AM
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80

Clearly Essear needs new entrance music and a better pyro show.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:06 AM
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81

"Let's get physical" is played out and kind of lame at this point.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:08 AM
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81 is wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:09 AM
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Mobes and Halford are about to get physical, physical.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:12 AM
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If you really go for it, with the backup dancers dressed as in the video, it's got some power left to it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:13 AM
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I think the first time I heard that song, I didn't know what she meant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:18 AM
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Stupid latency period.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:21 AM
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From the perspective of the selfish gene, parents would try very hard to steer their children towards partners who share as many genes as themselves. This would differ significantly from the offspring's predilection for mates who will make the most awesome type of baby and extract resources for it most fiercely. And it explains why effete fathers are always pushing effete mates on their indifferent daughters.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:39 AM
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Is being the only candidate who said unequivacally that he would vote against a war in Syriaa enough of a reason to vote for Sciortino?

Spilka was a labor lawyer and says that organized labor is the most effective anti-poverty program that we have.

Sorry to threadjack, but I have about 45 minutes before I need to go vote. I should have wonkily watched all of the debates like I normally would.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:39 AM
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85: it's about doing lots of burpies, right?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:40 AM
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87: Have you invented a completely novel stereotype?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:41 AM
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90: I hope so. Will you help me spread it around?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:44 AM
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Men with small floppy penises would, for instance, be very much at odds with the evolutionary desires of their daughters.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:45 AM
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So, you're dating again?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:52 AM
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92: THIS IS WHY WE HATE EV-PSYCH THEORIES!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SMALL FLOPPY PENISES | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:52 AM
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93: I am at odds with many fathers. It is a blessing and a curse.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 10:55 AM
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Oh, Bostoniangirl, I'm sorry! But maybe watching Sciortino's commercial (and then voting for him) will cheer you up.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 11:13 AM
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I hesitated to interrupt the thread to lobby seriously, but now that I see what the alternative is penis jokes. . . Sciortino was endorsed by the progressive caucus and by all the other move-the-party to the left groups, so if that's your thing you should vote for him.
Also, he's running a strong second to Clark, whereas the others don't have a chance.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 11:18 AM
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Shorter 97: Don't vote for any dicks.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 11:21 AM
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I read this article in the actual paper on Sunday, like a civilized person, and thought they weren't even trying very hard. It almost would have been better if they had left out the description of the experiment altogether and just jumped up and down on the claim. It's too bad my dead-tree paper doesn't have a share button, so thanks for the thread.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 12:08 PM
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Vaguely apropos the OP, slatepitchman Malcolm Gladwell should really refrain from doing radio interviews. The faux-profond theorizing is bad enough without his coming across as such a weenie.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 12:17 PM
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Throughout history (it's like they're not fb friends with any English professors) I have grown less and less likely to keep reading things with appalling first paragraphs.

||
Peak Moose! Agh!
|>


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 12:32 PM
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101: The truck bearing down on the moose is a nice touch. I see Onion comedy video.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 12:38 PM
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97: Done


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 12:40 PM
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98: hurr hurr, you said shorter.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 12:49 PM
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On the vague topic of the sciences:

A friend just shared this post for Ada Lovelace day.

The linked Static Map Maker is very nice.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 2:09 PM
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Because it doesn't explain why the daughter would want to partner with somebody less supportive since she'd get more with a supportive partner and a portion of her parents' support than if her parents balanced out support within between siblings.

Great. Now you tell me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 3:21 PM
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What gets me about this is that obviously you can make the simulation turn out however you like, depending on how you set the costs

Yup, what annoyed me was that the cost to the daughter of bothering to find a non-deadbeat mate is the critical parameter here, but this doesn't even get explicitly mentioned in the article until the 13th of 15 paragraphs. Basically the argument is, "Your daughter dates deadbeats because finding a good man is hard and if she ends up with a deadbeat you're just going to help her out more, so why bother?" But this is fairly obscured, the article is mainly touting evolutionary theory as a way to explain behavior.

And that's just taking the research on its own terms. Nothing about this silly story resonates with my personal experience, and I don't even think it's obvious that mate search costs on the veldt were primarily borne by interested women (as opposed to their parents!), much less that this search cost is so evolutionarily significant that it would make sense to divert substantital resources that would directly benefit other biological relatives.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:10 PM
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The Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses was a delight. One highlight was the ASL interpreter, splendidly communicating concepts like "aerodynamically optimized babies" and "infanta-pulting."


Posted by: Grant | Link to this comment | 10-15-13 8:50 PM
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If it's about maximization of parental resources, wouldn't incest make the most sense? If the parents distributed resources equally across all siblings, then the daughter who married her brother would get twice as many resources as her sisters.* Now, if the son were an ineffectual deadbeat, the parents would concentrate proportionally more resources, so the daughter's children would be even more successful.

*It appears the model only assumes that parents give resources to female children, for no apparent reason, except we're assuming the veldt was matriarchal and matrilocal? Anyways, incest would still make sense. First, since we're assuming matrilocality, the parents wouldn't help out the sons' children since they are living with his baby mama's parents. But if the parents are raising the son's children anyways (because they are also offspring of their daughter,) it would make sense to invest resources into independently of the mother's identity. Alternatively, assuming parents never invest in the son's kids no matter what, the daughter still comes out ahead because the searching costs of mating with your brother are almost nil. If resources are split equally, then the daughter is getting the same resources as her sisters but has lower mate-finding costs, thus coming out ahead. If her brother is a deadbeat, then she gets more resources with less costs, so she also comes out ahead. Also, after several generations of 1st degree incest, the likelihood that her brother would be a terrible mate increases, thus increasing the likelihood that this is a good way to get extra parental resources. Finally, since ev psych assumes that care is directly proportional to amount of shared genetic material, the grandchildren who are a production of two children share all their genetic material with both grandparents, as opposed to simply half, thus giving an extra incentive (this is related to, but slightly different from, reason one).

I am open to collaborating with any of you to publish this paper in Nature, and no, you don't have to thank me.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 10-16-13 12:25 AM
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109. Everybody who has commented on this thread should be a co-author.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-16-13 12:50 AM
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110: the author list might already exceed Nature's page limit.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-13 12:54 AM
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I have always been highly attracted to parsimony though I honestly don't know how often I've achieved it.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-16-13 1:12 AM
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I am open to collaborating with any of you to publish this paper in Nature

I'll do it. Because I'm a eupheminist.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 10-16-13 3:15 AM
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