Resident Experts
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


CharonY last won the day on August 18

CharonY had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

1591 Glorious Leader

About CharonY

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    somewhere in the Americas.
  • Interests
    Breathing. I enjoy it a lot, when I can.
  • College Major/Degree
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Biology/ (post-)genome research
  • Biography
    Labrat turned grantrat.

Recent Profile Visitors

53936 profile views
  1. It generally does not. In a single application you just kill off a given proportion which can grow back once the treatment stops. Even worse, resistant subpopulations may start outcompeting sensitive strains. Short or underdosed treatments increase the chance of this happening and at some point resistant strains will be dominant, at which point medication will be ineffective. As such, antibiotics really should only be used when really indicated and if used, the aim is to kill everything off as thoroughly as possible. Moreover, harmful bacterial infections often (though not always) get progressively worse and typically have a mucoid discharge. As such, bacterial infections are usually somewhat easy to diagnose. I am wondering whether you have tried antihistamines first.
  2. What Is Americas Biggest Problem?

    I think this is a poor argument from several angles. First, from a public health perspective all people deserve health care. Excluding people from access can result in disproportionate health burden for the public as a whole. To me it does not make sense to frame it in terms of whether someone deserved it or not, but rather whether it is good policy or not. Second, how would any policy be based on what folks deserve or not. Does anyone deserve more because one was born in a wealthy family with access to good education? Does someone with less means deserve less? Or vice versa? In my mind, policies should be outcome based and one has to decide on which metrics to be used for the latter. I.e. what can be done to optimize health of everyone under a given set of constraints?
  3. What Is Americas Biggest Problem?

    Ehem. The speech was also in front of stakeholders and she referred to how they would see the benefits only after the bill is passed. Right now the situation is a) rushed (esp. compared to the lengthy process of ACA) and not even those guys who are going to vote know in detail what the bill entails or what it is going to do.
  4. What Is Americas Biggest Problem?

    Also don't forget to vote before the full CBO score can come out.
  5. what is science, bad science, junk science

    Another aspect is taking scientific data, but extrapolate or misinterpret their meaning. This is usually the case when the offender is not trained to understand the scope and limitation of said data.
  6. lenski experiment

    The key word you keep missing is "neutral conditions". If we do not have selection or other shaping factors, populations separate purely by stochastic means. That is where the link provided by Arete comes in (take a look at it). Divergence then takes much longer. Also take a look at Hardy Weinberg to see when divergence never happens.
  7. Male rape

    Rape is not just about the physicality of it. It also about non-voluntarily yielding control over ones body to someone else. The issue with male rape (and as a side note, I believe that also in these cases the majority of perpetrators are male) with female perpetrators is that is commonly assumed that women cannot force themselves on men. This view is borne out of assumptions of physical differences but also (at least from a feminist viewpoint) do to the patriarchal structure of (most) societies. I.e. a society that has an easier time accepting power coming from men rather than women, has also a harder time seeing a men in a victim role. So even if legally the situation was reversible (which is still not the case everywhere), society provides different measures of assumptions in reversed gender roles. In that context it also should be mentioned that rape is often difficult to prove, which makes societal interference more troublesome.
  8. Taxation

    My guess it is based on his earlier assumption that all deficits are caused by spending and that all spending is stimulative. However, he did not take into account that deficits are also caused by reduced income (e.g. tax cuts) and not all government spending is stimulative. In a paper from 1990 Aschauer ( Contemporary Economic Policy 8(4):30-46 ) showed that: I.e. military spending (which saw quite an increase under Bush) is mostly non-stimulative, or potentially disruptive (when the multiplier is below one).
  9. Investigate whether switching the granting system (funding high-scorers based on reviews and panel evaluation) to a more simplified, partially randomized system would actually impact research output and quality.
  10. The heritability of attitudes: a study found

    No, where do you get that from the paper? They looked at attitude, as written in the title. This includes whether they liked big parties, crossword puzzles, reading books, attitude to abortion among other questions. They found some potential heritability effect (and keep in mind that the latter is not a fixed value but changes with the relative loading of the environment). However glimpsing at the statistic it seems to be fairly weak and not e.g. accounting for multiple hypothesis testing (may have missed that, though).
  11. White-washing

    That is why in science we have experimental designs to get data, rather than use our gut feeling or personal observations. And here there are two problems. If we are bad observers (and have little data) what do we use to determine what the nature is? And second, what does it actually mean to deny ones nature and why must it be bad? It is in our nature to crave sweets. But obviously we also learn to curb our intake (if we want to live healthy). And there are many situations where curbing inclinations is actually beneficial. Should we lash physically out each time we feel angered? In that second it does feel good and it is often so reflexive that one can assume biological functions behind it (plus there are certain physiological responses that we can measure). Yet in the long run I think it would be beneficial to learn to control such reflexes. After all, isn't a big part of our upbringing learning how to function within society? And is that a bad thing?
  12. White-washing

    I am absolutely not saying we are blank slates. What I am saying is that we are quite malleable in many aspects, less so in others. The issue is most of our non-malleable aspects are shared by most individuals. Whether the remaining differences can a) be observed reliably and b) play a significant role is the matter of contention. Just to re-iterate, it is not about blank slate vs fixed behaviour as both extremes are almost certainly not applicable. It is a question of nuance and how significant it is. I think we are actually in agreement, as I stated that despite the changes in our environment compared to those in the dawn of humanity are able to navigate these changes without the need for evolutionary adaptation. Which in turn indicates that individuals (as opposed to species) exhibit the variability to e.g. acquire the ability to communicate, in the abstract via the internet. Again, not talking about blank slates, but about the degree of flexibility we have because of our evolutionary history. That alone, is a big question and trying to pinpoint specific differences among groups of people is likely to be even more difficult. Conversely, as certain things can be learned (such as reading and writing) it is also likely to assume that certain aspects where we observe differences are due to training. The gender issue is therefore difficult to resolve as both genders share a big chunk (obviously) of biology. Where there are differences, especially in cognitive abilities, the malleability of the brain (and which function is known to be extremely dependent on input and usage) makes it difficult to pinpoint to how much it is due to base ability and how much due to training. In fact, if the latter can overcome the former how relevant is that in the end (depends on the question, of course)? There may be things in which it is noticeable. But again, in most studies I found the average differences are annoyingly small (and even worse, they often tend to become smaller or vanish in meta-analyses). On the other hand, the societal assumptions (such as girls are more collaborative or even differences in mathematical abilities) seem to far outpace the data we got. Maybe to describe the issue a bit: what we got is essentially noisy data. There maybe a gender specific component, but it is overlaid with a lot of noise arising from e.g. upbringing, personal learning, society and so on. Moreover, the overall effect size (e.g. the measurable factor distinguishing gender) is fairly small. As a whole it is therefore difficult to tell whether a) the effect is relevant and b) if so, how much of it is due to gender biology rather than all the other factors. Differences in gender demographics are even more complicated as they add even more factors to the mix and using that information and trying to trace back to a simple biological origin is even more complicated or close to impossible. Just to be clear, it does not mean that there are absolutely no gender differences. Rather I want to caution the presupposition of differences and heavily extrapolate assumptions based on scant, non-existing or misunderstood data.
  13. White-washing

    There are several issues with trying an evolutionary perspective of things. And no, I do not mean that anyone should be offended by it, but rather with the difficulty to properly contextualize and quantify the relevance. For example, we, as a species, are utterly not evolutionarily adapted to modern life. Yet we seem to navigate it decently enough. How do put our ability read and talk in the abstract into perspective? Obviously, for the longest time of the evolution of our species it did not play a role? And these are qualitative differences. The difference between men and women in many aspects are quantitative at best. And in many cases the data is conflicted, despite the fact that they are commonly assumed to be true by society. For example, meta analyses do not find strong evidence that women are more cooperative than men. Which means, even if they truly were, the difference is so small that studies are not able to reliably trace them. Especially small cognitive differences, which at best show modest differences on the population level, are incredibly extrapolated to certain outcomes (I know that certain evo-psych people like to do so, but I have been getting quite disillusioned by the handwaving-to-data-ratio in that field). Of course the ability of women to bear children and feed them with milk is a strong indicator that in principle they have at least some qualitative advantages in terms of child-rearing. But then, modern amenities. including baby formula and modern lifestyles may modulate it to a large degree. My point being that our ability to learn and the fact that behaviour is strongly moulded by the environment makes it very difficult to identify what seems to be assumed to be a "natural" state (based on our evolutionary history). Moreover, it may be quite pointless to do so, as our way of living has diverged massively to what most of our evolutionary history used to be. Are there evolutionary parts of our lizard brains that may make us more likely to be inclined to do certain things (say, craving sugar)? Most likely. Yet at the same time we seem to be pretty good at navigating it to some degree (sure, we have obesity problems, but despite the almost free availability of sugar, education has led to moderation to some degree). Considering the overall huge flexibility of our behaviour (we are not evolved to typing and spellcheck, darnit), I do not see a whole lot of explanatory power by assuming a fixed biological component. Unless, of course, there is strong data indicating biological mechanisms (rather than environmental factors, including societal norms) as the main factors. After all, if in biology we would say that whatever we observe is just genetics, rather than looking into the physiological side of things, we would pretty much explain nothing.
  14. White-washing

    It still is not really an answer as the question still remains, why? Is there an innate barrier or, is it because it is not seen as feminine? There is still a barrier in our society that ascertains certain traits as male and others as female and crossing the barrier comes at a social cost. For example, do men have less interest in raising children, or are there fewer men that take over household roles (or are single parents) because raising children is still predominantly seen as a female trait and men that want to take on this role face major social challenges? In other words, "interest" in itself explains preciously little why certain gender distributions exist. As I said before, it is still a numbers game. If you have 100,000 players there is a higher chance that there is one with those exceptional devotion to the game than if your starting pool is only a 100 individuals. Actually in many aspects, especially with regard to learned traits, the plasticity in the brain makes it really difficult to spot biological differences. For the longest time I erroneously assumed that there are marked differences in brain physiology between men and women (similar maybe to certain skeletal features). As it turns out, the plasticity is so large that it is really difficult to figure out the gender of a person by looking at a brain. On average there may be certain differences, but those differences in itself are not predictive. MRI studies tried to find typically male or female features but largely failed. There is one model that claims to be able to do so, but I suspect that due to the high-dimensionality of MRI data there may be some overfitting (and also there are not fixed structures that are diagnostic just a higher prevalence of certain patterns of unknown function). There are studies that have looked at certain tasks, the performance difference is often quite minor (often within 10-20%) whereas differences in gender distribution in certain areas is far larger (~70% in tech for example). More problematic than that is the fact that these differences may come from different training (e.g. in spatial perception tests there may be more men with jobs that use that skill more often than women). If we look at early studies, such as tests in infants which have indicated a higher interest of boys in things rather than faces, we have an even bigger issue. At least one study was severely flawed as the parents had a large influence on the behaviour and some follow up-studies showed that about a third of the cohort had not difference in interest (and the data seemed to be tossed) while the remaining data seemed to again indicate a slightly higher interest of boys in things. But then the effect was about a difference of 5-10 seconds (ignoring the group that showed not interest preference to begin with). Again, it is almost impossible to translate those findings into defining gender differences. In the end it appears that also biology does not help to explain observed differences satisfactory. The big issue is that we assume certain distributions as given, whereas neglecting that there is a big feedback issue going on. Men that want to take on nurturing roles, for example face challenges as do women who want to take on leadership roles in predominantly male jobs.The underlying assumption is often that there is some natural order to things, driven by some sort of biological factors. In truth most data in gender differences show remarkable small effect sizes (I have vastly overestimated those myself) and even where differences exist, it is entirely impossible to draw a direct line to a given gender difference within society. This is not to say that learning and societal interactions explain everything, but considering the plasticity of the brain and the almost constant feedback we get from other people during learning processes, it is clearly to have some effect.
  15. Qualitative effects of different alcohol and cannabis

    Don't forget to take samples for BAC measurements.