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1670 Glorious Leader

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About CharonY

  • Rank
    Biology Expert

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  • 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.

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  1. I am not sure about the natural history of how folks first determined it. But rather obviously it was known that dogs are a domesticated species and that it would have to originated from some wild forms and the most likely candidate (geographically and morpohologically) were wolves or perhaps coyotes. As genetic analyses have shown that grey wolves and dogs are most closely related, the conclusion seems rather obvious. However, if we want to be very precise, it is actually quite a bit more complicated. It is not clear, for example if the ancestor of the dog is actually the gey wolf we see today, or perhaps a common ancestor of the modern grey wolf. Also, there is potential admixture afterward. I am not sure how well that has been resolved, though.
  2. No, even without knowledge we would know that they are a kind of wolves (i.e. same species). The distinction into subspecies is somewhat arbitrary. I do not know specifically on the genetic level how divergent they are, but the morphological differences would be quite obvious. But again, subspecies distinctions are a wobbly concept at best. No, dogs are a subspecies, i.e. they are wolves. They are just a specific sub-group of wolves. They are not a different species. It would make more sense you if you look at e.g. jackals, foxes, coyotes and other canidae. If you look at relationship on this level you will see that dog and gray wolves group together as one species, the next relatives are coyotes, then the golden Jackal, then the Ethiopian wolf and so on. Maybe this can help you in looking at these things. No, molecular clocks are only good in measuring large divergence. For short-time changes they are usually rather unreliable. And again, wolves and dogs are too close to each other to make real distinctions on that level. Edit: I should add, that it is not impossible, it just requires very careful calibration of mutation rates. What one need is basically genetic information from ancestors of current wolves and dogs (which would be found ca. 20-30k years ago) . While that has not been traditionally possible, nowadays one could obtain such information from somewhat well-preserved specimen (especially dry and cold areas).
  3. Just skimmed through the thread and I see two concepts being confused here a bit. The first is ancestry. I.e. direct line of descent as e.g. determined by paternity testing. Here, we look at very closely related individuals. It can be extended to populations though then it becomes more diffuse. In all cases it is contained to closely related groups but with sufficient genetic information we could build, with relatively high confidence, the relationship between individuals within a population. Standard techniques being used currently are based on a handful of genetic markers, so depending on method it will a varying degree of resolution. Dogs are a subspecies of wolves. For all intents on purposes, they are the same species. However, we do know the timeline when dogs arose (as they are domesticated). However, in natural populations defining timelines for populations within a species is always problematic as there is usually a lot of genetic flow between populations (i.e. interbreeding). That makes classification and especially timing a very difficult proposition. When we talk about phylogeny, we are looking at relationship between species. Here, it is important to note that in most cases the different species arose from a common ancestor, which is usually not around anymore. I.e. existing (extant) species are not derived from each other and therefore are not the ancestor of each other. With regards to how to reconstruct phylogenies, you will need to delve a bit into concepts of DNA, its mutation rate and population genetics a bit. In short, typically conserved sequences (e.g. genes or genetic loci that are found in all species under investigation) are compared. The basic assumption is that the farther they are apart, the more the sequences diverge. There is also the concept of molecular clocks where we can use the divergence as a means to estimate when the respective species split (though that is even trickier).
  4. Ketoacidosis is primarily caused by the accumulation of beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate themselves. The accumulation of these acids in the extracellular fluid lead to loss of bicarbonate ions, thus reducing the buffer capacity of blood. Keywords you may want to look up if you want to see the viewpoint from the medical side are the serum anion gap and the delta-delta gap.
  5. Cryptocurrency mining.
  6. We can fix this World

    To be fair, Pinker is not well regarded in historic circles and he is one of the cases where folks (in this case again a psychologist) ventures far outside his/her area of expertise. One of the issues is poor sourcing of material and data. That being said, more recent statistics have backed up a decline in armed conflict deaths in the beginning of the 21st century. However, recent conflicts have resulted in an uptick in deaths. Before you guys take another swing at it, why don't you both look at some UN data (e.g. this one here for starters). The overall state is actually rather complex (e.g. democratization does not automatically result in less conflict, especially during transitional phases).
  7. We can fix this World

    Well, if starvation is added in, then there are actually good news as the rate of undernourishment has been reduced by almost half since the 90s (see various studies from the IFPRI). Virtually every country has made improvements and in some, these improvements were extreme. As a whole, the economy-related issues have been improving (which does include food safety, disease prevention etc.). I do not see how that could not matter. Also, I think there is evidence that by working with the respective governments and the local people has shown to improve the situation of people much more than the still rather colonial attitude exhibited in the 20th century. If you look at the policy of successful intervention they are all based on understanding local systems and e.g. support local farmers than simply drowning the market with goods, increase education levels
  8. We can fix this World

    As I said, individual examples don't account to much. Otherwise one could see Hitler's rise to power as a failure of democracy. Likewise, Mao's failing does not explain away the economic successes that China had since Xiaoping. And make not mistake, it is still very much a dictatorship. That being said the number of countries with a democracy has been rising between the the postwar time (ca. 30%) to about 50% in the 2000s (depending on data set and definition of democracy). Your definition of of enlightenment does not make help to clarify your position, either. Enlightenment contain a number of different ideals, but one important thing was the idea of liberty in opposition to absolute monarchy and religious dogma (with the catholic church being the representative of the latter). Within the era of enlightenment and the eventual rise of science different thoughts arose. Science resulted in a materialistic view of the world. There are those such as Descartes who advocated a kind of dual approach in which there is things have an innate essence (i.e. essentially allowing an a priori method of knowledge). But as a whole the development of enlightenment carried a strong materialistic direction. Humanism then follows a different, but connected trajectory. While secular from its conception, it was meant more as a criticism of the institution of the Church, rather than of faith itself. Yet through merging of ideas probably most exemplified through Hegelian philosophers such as Feuerbach it morphed eventually into a rejection of religion of sorts with strong roots in a materialistic worldview. In other words, where you seem to see opposition, there is a strong interconnection. While this is a very short and likely incorrect account of the various terms, it should illustrate why I do not think that using the term(s) is particularly helpful in this context. With regard to violent deaths, if we look at battle related death there is info (the dept. of peace and conflict research in Uppsala has some nice graphs, for example). Essentially post WWII there were peaks in the 70s and 80s and smaller peaks around 2000. Until ~2010 it was fairly low, but the recent wars have increased the numbers somewhat. One could argue there is a general decline. Yet, it is also possible to see the recent times as expected dips between conflicts. The data on poverty as a whole is more indicative of a relatively clear trend.
  9. We can fix this World

    This is a big question and it really depends on what you mean with "enlightened". The term has been used and abused to mean virtually nothing. Also, while dicatorships are problematic if the endgoal is to have a free population, it should be noted that some do indeed try to improve the lives of their population (if only to maintain power). Without doubt, the conditions in China have massively improved. Other countries with dictatorship but high economic success include Singapore, Qatar and Brunei, for example. On the other hand, we have countries sliding into authoritarian dictatorship (such as Russia and Turkey). So there is not a direct conflict between dictatorship/authoritarian regimes and economy/wealth. The issue is probably more on the axis of stability (though improving living conditions is a step to maintain it) and of course, personal freedom. My major point is that the premise in OP is seriously flawed.
  10. We can fix this World

    The general world trend since the 80s is, in fact favorable on many levels. The amount of people living in extreme poverty has sharply decline. As of 201 ~700 million (or 10% of the world population) are living in extreme poverty, down from a peak of 2.2 billion (~60%) in 1970. Part of it is because at some point strategy switched away from destabilizing nations (either due to neo-colonialism or in proxy conflicts within the cold war), but much was also improvement in self- governance. Other indicators of improved living conditions are the reduction of infant deaths cut by half between 1990 and 2016 as well as a slow-down in population growth (the latter being strongly correlated with women's rights). Further, the participation of women in education has increased worldwide and so has their participation rate in work and governance. So if we take the bird's eyes view, the situation has been improving, in some cases massively, compared to about a generation ago. It is, however important not to view it exclusively from a Western lens. On that note, it should also be acknowledged that even in industrialized nations a fraction of the populations lives in extreme poverty. Almost exclusively those with extreme income inequality or recent economic issues. Eexamples include USA and Italy with about 1%, Greece ~2%. Germany and Canada have about 0.2 and 0.3% (using 2013 data). Though it should be noted that due to a variety of factors the consumption level (and thus living standard) is still higher than in poor countries due to welfare and other mechanisms.
  11. It should be noted that in microbiology a strain can be distinguished by minimal differences. Everything not being genetically identical (i.e. clonal) can be considered a different strain. For example, every mutation you introduce into a given bacterium results in a new strain.
  12. Serogroup is a classification above the serotype. A tricky bit is that the original definitions and classifications have shifted in various species due to the use of modern genetic tools. However, in the medical field, the immunoresponse (or the identificaiton of antigens) is still the gold standard (in academic research there are calls for a more unified view, however). If we use Salmonella again, The sergroups are based on the presence of specific O antigens (part of the cell wall). But each serogroup is further divided into serotypes based on flagellar antigens.
  13. My job is more marketing than science...what to do?

    You generally do get paid (at least in natural sciences). However, MSc and PhD is essentially training. While your work contributes to research, typically it is a bumbling process in which you slowly learn how to do things (and perhaps more importantly, how not to do things). Typically only at the end or in retrospect do they get a real grasp at what they are doing (and quire a few not to a satisfying degree). That being said, there are rare exceptions who kind of do some level of self-directed research (typically by getting really knowledgeable in a small area) so that they can use the last bits of their PhD to do actual research. In the end it really depends on where you are. In some labs you are cheap labor where you just work your way through existing pipelines. These are typically good for building careers as you can get a decent output. In others you may be more or less independent but for the vast majority of students it means dealing with a string of failures combined with a slow learning process. However, the rare few come out of it with quite a decent set of problem solving skills. Though their CV may look less impressive. Even as a postdoc that issue crops up. As whole, the image of a researcher as someone who ponders about problems and solves them is mostly a myth. There is a short, transient phase when your skills are actually adequate to do it and you actually got time allows to do it. But rather quickly your career dictates a different direction. The rare exception to this in my mind are permanent research scientist positions, which are quite rare (but you can find them in some larger institutions and at the NIH, for example). It is a pity that the middle layer in academic research is so thing, as I do think that it would alleviate a lot of limitations in academic research. But that is probably going far too off-topic already.
  14. My job is more marketing than science...what to do?

    I have friends and colleagues working in various biotech and pharma companies. Almost none are doing significant proportions of fundamental research. At most, there is product/process development and optimization. The reason is rather trivial, actual research is expensive with no guarantee of a return. Sometimes they get to a point where they hit a place where they think it could help them to do some more academic-like research. That type of research is typically outsourced to specialized labs and academic groups. Rather obviously, the goal is to generate profit and any research will have to be very applied to be useful to that goal. Also note that in academia there is not a lot of space for full-time bench scientists. Most of the bench work is conducted by students (i.e. transient workers) whereas the PI (if successful) can be less and less involved in the actual science but becomes more of managerial role (to various degrees, typically dependent on funding). The only job that could fit the bill would be technicians, but everyone below a PhD is not necessarily expected to have a self-directed project.
  15. Light: visible or invisible?

    The discussion goes in circles because it is down to semantics. But considering the rest of the discussion one can make a the distinction that they can only see light (i.e. differences in brightness) but are unable to see objects. Or, as has been mentioned, we perceive light directly (on the retina) but need additional information (and mechanisms) to perceive objects. As most have conceded, that is a meaningless distinction in terms of OP, but it is pretty much one of the distinctions that spawned these nine pages. Obviously, we always need the former to be able to do the latter. But if we wanted to make a distinction, we could.