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Arete

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Arete last won the day on November 20 2019

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1249 Glorious Leader

About Arete

  • Rank
    Biology Expert

Profile Information

  • Location
    USA
  • Interests
    Ecological speciation, functional genomics, phylogenetics, population genetics and evolution.
  • College Major/Degree
    PhD
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Evolutionary Biology
  • Occupation
    Assistant Professor

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  1. From a conceptual level, an understanding of basic neutral theory is also a good place to start. If you can wrap your brain around the concepts of how stochastic changes occur at the molecular level in populations, it becomes easier to layer on selective evolution, game theory and other increasingly complex models of evolution. The seminal paper is Kimura 1968. http://dosequis.colorado.edu/Courses/MethodsLogic/papers/Kimura1968.pdf but this review is probably more accessible. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/evo.13650
  2. Can Trump and Biden just wear dressing gowns and slippers, and beat each other with nursing home meal trays instead of any more debates? It would be as informative, but vastly better entertainment.
  3. The President didn't "give" anyone squat. It was taxpayer dollars approved by congress to be given back to taxpayers for the purpose of economic stimulus. Trying to infer that it was somehow a generous gift from the coffers of Santa Trump that we should be grateful for is just... well kind of on brand. Oh and the fact he's holding up further economic stimulus until "he gets re-elected"? Yeah screw that. It's our money. Stimulus is a provision to keep businesses afloat and people in their jobs though economic crises. Holding it hostage is despicable. Does anyone else feel like they're stuck in a really dark rendition of the Emperor's New Clothes?
  4. Err, E. faecalis is a commensal member of a healthy gut microbiome, tetanus has a vaccine can be treated with antibiotics. I would argue that the vast majority of the RNA viruses I listed are harder to treat and more virulent. But my point was that virulence and nucleic acid packaging are not correlated in any sensible way. Saying a pathogen is "puny" because it happens to be an RNA virus rather than a DNA virus, prokaryote, parasite, etc is nonsensical.
  5. I was actually drinking with a cognitive science professor friend of mine tonight who explained it like this: "They can't articulate it but what they mean by "bullshit" is the democratic process - having to explain and argue your position to ideological opponent. The "bullshit" is a lack of authoritarianism. If they can simply dictate a worldview - "shut up snowflake this is how it is" into law and policy the Trump base has achieved its goals. While I think the choice between sexually harassing, mentally declining grandpas is unpalatable, especially given the field of dynamic and inspiring presidential contenders, I do think it is coming down to a choice between authoritarian populism and democracy, and I am genuinely scared at the proportion of US citizens who want an authoritarian leader, and don't understand what the actual implications of that are.
  6. Seems like the accessory to have in our small red rural town is a giant "Trump 2020: No more bullshit" flag. I can't help but think "You know he's the incumbent, right?" I suspect it's too late for this to move the needle, unfortunately.
  7. Just like Ebola, Polio, HIV, Influenza, Rabies, Dengue virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, Zika virus, Marburg virus, Japanese Encephalitis, Congo hemorrhagic fever, Herpesvirus, Hepatitis, Rift Valley fever, Colorado tick fever, Ross river fever and of course SARS and MERS. All puny RNA viruses not worth worrying about.
  8. I guess being trashy and tactless in reference to the death of a political rival is pretty on point for the republican base these days.
  9. From a statistical perspective, your personal observations are anecdotes. That is not to say they are "wrong", but they are biased by your own personal predilections, where you personally travel, your habits, etc and so on. That is to say, that the observations of one individual, be it you or anyone else do not generate a representative sample. Non-representative sampling is statistically worthless. Further, purely correlative sampling is of limited worth - for a famous example, the increase in global temperature correlates with the decrease in the prevalence of pirates. I would say that using anecdotes about physical appearance to predict people's behavior would lead to a high degree of false positive and false negative results -and also a great way to amplify one's predilection for bigotry.
  10. Speaking as a lab head, it doesn't matter what I think of your offense. For e.g. My lab has stocks of chemicals on the DEA restricted list. If someone has a felony drug conviction, I can't hire them. It wouldn't matter if they were the best molecular biologist in the country and their offense was smoking a joint at a Grateful Dead show in 1968, I legally can't hire them. If your conviction restricts you in a manner that prevents you doing the job (i.e. working with clinical patients) then no one can hire you to do it. Sex offenders are allowed to work on campus where I am, but have to register with campus police and face certain restrictions. My work personally doesn't face any of these restrictions and it would be illegal for me to not employ someone because of their conviction history.
  11. I always thought it was a dimwitted plagiarism of Michelle Obama's "Be Better" slogan.
  12. Only my armchair perspective, but the fact that a military-industrial complex with a $720 billion annual cost to the taxpayer, more than the next ten largest national military budgets combined, has bipartisan support requires the entire political system of the US to be skewed to the authoritarian right. If the US elected a genuinely left wing government, or genuinely fiscally conservative government, a level of demilitarization would inherently be a core policy, however the established political propaganda machine has made that position political suicide in the US. Most US Democrats would fall into the center right based on ideology and policy positions in most western democracies - I've lived in the US and it still boggles my mind that policies like nationalized health care are seen as a far left policy. Virtually every other western nation has support across the board for a universal healthcare system.
  13. I hate the Nanodrop with a passion. So many failed library preps due to poor quantification - especially if you have any contaminants in your sample, which it sounds like you may. It's very simple and easy to use, but the data from a Qubit is superior - we just bought a Qubit flex, which takes 8 strip tubes instead of a single sample. Of course it depends on what you're doing downstream with your DNA - are you just doing PCR/Sanger, whole genome sequencing, cDNA, etc. If you're just doing standard PCR, Nanodrop data will be fine and save you a lot of time on gels, but if you're doing any sort of illumina/PacBio/Nanopore library prep, you'd want super clean extractions, like phenol chloroform extractions, and be prepared to have a high failure rate - which given the cost of library prep/sequencing kits, is going to make the $3K for a Qubit worth it pretty fast.
  14. No one has ever turned into their cousin, or given birth to their nephew, so therefore no one is related to their cousins, nieces or nephews /s. If an organism spontaneously evolved into a distantly related species (fish into amphibians, flies into elephants, etc) our current understanding of evolution would be proven drastically wrong. The assumption of evolutionary theory is SHARED ANCESTRY. I.e. in the above example, that you and your cousin share the same grandparents, not that you can turn into each other or swap lineages. The evidence for shared ancestry is pretty darn strong - as an example, you share approximately 50% of your genes with a banana. That means you share metabolic pathways, cellular structures, developmental pathways, and many other life history traits that all strongly suggest that you share a distant ancestor.
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