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Posts posted by CharonY

  1. 1 hour ago, Wigberto Marciaga said:

    The term is not from me, the person responsible for the UN on these issues has called it a pandemic. That's the news.


    23 hours ago, CharonY said:

    They said it was an animal pandemic, as in it is a pandemic among animals (specifically birds). It is not a human pandemic


    19 hours ago, CharonY said:

    But it is currently an animal pandemic as opposed to a human pandemic.


    3 hours ago, CharonY said:

    Using these definitions in OP refers to an animal pandemic (i.e. a large number of animals affected over a large area), but it is not a human pandemic,

    Gosh, I must say either I am not communicating clearly or you have to increase your reading comprehension. He said it is an animal pandemic.  Do you understand the difference if he only said "pandemic" without the qualifier?

    Or in other words, do you think that we can use the terms animal pandemic and pandemic in the given context interchangeably? 


  2. 18 hours ago, Wigberto Marciaga said:

    What I found is that the difference could be explained by the greater proportion of muscle mass of the Hadza, although there is the possibility that there is an extra expenditure for exercise of approximately 8% of the total calories burned in 24 hours.

    The TEE is dependent on fat-free body mass and Hadza adults are not only leaner, but are also smaller. Specifically the component relating to fat-free body mass is the BMR. In the cited study TEE was measured, but BMR was calculated based on equation given by a paper by Henry (2007), which include age, body weight, height and sex. Physical activity was estimated as TEE/ calculated BMR. So body fat is not measured or otherwise included, from what I can tell. 



  3. Just now, Wigberto Marciaga said:

    Of course, it is a zoonotic pandemic that has no human-to-human transmission. But it's also not the opposite of usual or routine, unless you're suggesting that the WHO is being alarmist.

    You are missing my point entirely. I am saying you keep mixing up terms and using them in a wrong way. What we have here are zoonotic outbreaks, not pandemics. I.e. if you changed the word in the above quote, you would be accurate. Calling it pandemic in this context is just wrong from a technical viewpoint. 

    And every potential jump from animal influenza to humans is worrisome, regardless of scope. The reason is that it keeps mixing in animals, including farm animals and there is a chance of new variants that might be able to spread human to human. An important example was the 2009 swine flu pandemic, where H1N1 jumped to human (and pig-human is an expected route due to many similarities between these species) and spread from human to human. 


  4. 1 hour ago, Wigberto Marciaga said:

    Maybe I didn't know how to present the idea. But, it seems to me that this zoonotic pandemic thing is not something that happens every weekend either.

    You keep mixing up concepts (or using them in a bit sloppy manner) which confused matters a fair bit. To clarify things here are some rough definitions and relevant context.

    Zoonotic disease: infectious disease that can cross from non-humans to humans. They are very common and happen certainly more frequently than once a weekend. A very common infection is for example salmonellosis.

    Pandemic: generally refers to wide spread of an epidemic crossing international boundaries (especially spanning continents) and typically affecting large-ish number of people. It does not refer, for example, to severity. 

    Using these definitions in OP refers to an animal pandemic (i.e. a large number of animals affected over a large area), but it is not a human pandemic, as there are only few jumps to humans. Any zoonotic infection can be a source of worry as mutations over time could lead to human to human infections (such as the case with swine flu and SARS-CoV-2 and ebola) but certainly it cannot be a human pandemic at the current state.


  5. 1 hour ago, Wigberto Marciaga said:

    Let us remember that the coronavirus pandemic has not ended, but rather the alert level regarding it was reduced, if I am not mistaken. Now we have a second pandemic, it seems, in about 4 years.

    I think you missed a critical word in the statement. They said it was an animal pandemic, as in it is a pandemic among animals (specifically birds). It is not a human pandemic as human-to-human transmissions have not been documented yet, I believe. There are quite a few diseases circulating among e.g. migrating animals that are spreading, but most are not yet relevant to humans.

  6. Conflating cultural and biological aspects generally makes poor arguments as it pre-supposes some natural order that folks should adhere to. While I am not (yet) saying that this is the case here, it is often a tactic used to push a narrative under the guise of "just asking questions", as we have seen in the past. So far OP seems to continue to ignore clarifications and counter arguments, though.

  7. 2 hours ago, DrmDoc said:

    as I have discussed, a mind is inferred in organisms by behaviors that suggest a thought process.  In my view, the behaviors that most effectively suggest a thought process are those an organism engages that appear to be independent of its accessed instinctive behaviors.

    The issue I have is that our classification of instinctive behaviour is really only specific when we talk about (almost) reflexive behaviour. There are examples in higher vertebrates which at this point (and it took really long to establish that) are considered higher levels of thought and planning. But at a simpler level, often data is missing as we don't have good experimental designs that are not simply variations of the ways we think. This has led to the rise of newer concepts such as that of behavioral flexibility (i.e. some understanding that animal behavior is not necessarily bound by instinctual constraints).

    A challenge which behavioural scientists are looking at is how identify what an animal understands about its environment how problems are solved using that knowledge. 

  8. 16 minutes ago, JohnDBarrow said:

    It seems logical to me that if you were to double the number of child bearers within a given species by making each and every member of that species a child bearer, as opposed to just half the said species, the population rate of growth would be considerably greater than otherwise. How many babies can a single woman bear during her lifetime? How many women can a single man impregnate during his lifetime? 

    How does your assumption square with reality? Is every woman constantly pregnant? Is the availability of women limiting the size of human populations? What is the evidence? If a hypothesis does not square up with reality/data one should revise one's assumptions, rather than doubling down. Starting with wrong premises results in wrong conclusions, even if the steps in-between are logical.

    21 minutes ago, JohnDBarrow said:

    I will propose a new philosophical question here though. Why in fact is the human species composed of males and females in separate bodies? 

    Asking questions suggests that one is open to new information. What is your response to the information outlined in the posts above? In fact, have you perhaps bothered to google the term "gonochorism" and its evolution? That makes it way easier than trying to describe it the way you continue to do. Information is out there, but one has to seek it out (and be willing to learn).

  9. 50 minutes ago, exchemist said:

    That's interesting, I had not realised the extent of the outbreak internationally. But it went away on its own, apparently. At least, I don't recall any vaccination effort being publicised. I had thought that was because the transmission process was not such as to enable an exponential spread, so it became self-limiting.   

    Generally speaking, a self-limiting disease would not lead itself to a larger outbreak (essentially, if the effective reproduction number is >1.  Rather, in a typical infection model the limit is based on proportion of immune to susceptible folks and is parametrized by e.g. infectious period and basic reproduction number). 

    However, a combination of awareness training, testing and educating/isolating folks have managed to reduce the number of new infections (in the above framework it is basically reducing the effective reproduction number). Without that, it would likely have continued to circulate.

    As I said, the fact that it was going down was seen as a public health success, whereas the fact that it circulated to multiple countries was seen as a failure. The latter also showed us (together with the COVID-19 lessons) how badly most of the world is prepared to contain outbreaks.


    1 hour ago, Wigberto Marciaga said:

    I read that: "98% of the infected people were gay or bisexual, 41% were HIV positive and their average age was 38 years".

    This about the current situation, is an update on what is being said on networks.

    These numbers seem to  to come from reports published (I think New England Journal of Medicine) and were from 2022. This particular outbreak was from clade II mpox, but past infections tended to hit younger folks (especially in Africa). 


    4 hours ago, sethoflagos said:

    Either of the two main smallpox vaccines can control it, so if it were perceived as important (eg by killing white people instead), it would be easy enough to deal with. 

    That is another thing that has been discussed, mpox does occasionally break out, mostly in West in Central Africa. The 2022 outbreak also made headlines probably because it not only reached over 100 countries, but epicenters were in the Americas (especially US, but also Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) and Europe, which also explains the age demographics. Since 2022 numbers in those regions went down, but are still lingering at low numbers in Africa and a small surges in 2023 in South Asia and Western Pacific regions. Just to re-affirm that it is not simply gone. 

  10. 1 hour ago, exchemist said:

    Yes I think I recall smallpox vaccine was the solution last time it started to spread in a few Western countries. But it fizzled out pretty quickly, with or without vaccination. We had a few eyeball-rolling hysterics who thought it was armageddon, but it was a false alarm. It's going to take more than an article in the Daily Batshitograph (as I'm afraid it has now become) to get me to take this new story very seriously.  

    I think there is a distinct difference how the public and how public health are seeing these events. Here is the thing, when mpox started to spread, it was kind of a best case scenario for public health intervention. It is moderately harmful, but not catastrophic, has visible symptoms, diagnostics exists and it requires direct contact to spread.

    Especially with elevated public health control still ongoing and rapidly deployed monitoring efforts (including wastewater testing), the assumption was that it should have been easy to mount a rapid response. What actually happened is still being discussed. However, what clearly did not happen was an early containment, it ultimately spread across multiple countries and was declared a so-called public health emergency of international concern in 2022. The case numbers went down in 2023 and the emergency ended, and some consider that an success (around 100k infections in more than 100 countries). 

    But critics highlight the issue that the most effective control, early containment, failed utterly, and that just in the wake of the lessons from COVID-19, casting doubts on future outbreak control efforts with more dangerous infections.

  11. 42 minutes ago, JohnDBarrow said:


    That is not how nature works. Nature does not follow any ideals or thinks ahead. Whatever works, works. If it leads to reproductive success it will stick around. If it doesn't,  it vanishes. You cannot think of nature like a planning entity and expect to be scientific about it.

  12. 1 hour ago, JohnDBarrow said:

    It is my notion that if all humans could have babies, not just half of the species, that would pretty much double our reproductive capacity. Men can fertilize women much faster than women can bear children. Women are only about half the population within the age group of human fertility. In unisex species, reproduction rate and baby-making efficiency are measured in the female, not male, half. 

    Think about what our world numbers might be if our species was 90% women!

    If that was the case, why is hermaphroditism not the dominant reproductive strategy?

  13. I think the discussion has veered off way into the speculation area. Several points are at best misconceptions. For example:

    On 4/15/2024 at 6:49 AM, JohnDBarrow said:

    For some reason, Mother Nature provided that the vertebrate (higher-level) animals be unisexual

    This is inaccurate as certain fish species are hermaphrodites (and obviously vertebrates). 


    On 4/15/2024 at 6:49 AM, JohnDBarrow said:

    Nature may have found it most efficient to put male and female in separate human bodies if nature has any free will or reasoning power at all. 


    10 hours ago, JohnDBarrow said:

    Human hermaphroditism might not be a good thing after all. That would mean each and every person could have a baby.  Even with male and female in separate bodies, the world is way overpopulated as it stands right now. 

    This is not how evolution works. Whatever has reproductive success will exist. A predominance of gonochorism in certain groups of organisms suggests that either a) it leads to higher reproductive success than hermaphroditism (under the given environmental conditions) or perhaps that b) there are developmental constraints which limits the conversion from one system to another.

    Explanations for both have been proposed in a previous post.

  14. 24 minutes ago, MigL said:

    While CERB is not the cause, it is making the 'change' worse

    I think you are looking at the wrong cause- the combination of rising cost of living plus the pandemic pause has caused a lot of folks to re-evaluate their job situation. Quite a few people have quite (at least for a while) and there is significant amount of folks who are looking for other (better) jobs. Following the the pandemic effect, there was a rapid drop in unemployment, continuing a trend start around 2010 and is at its lowest since the 90s.

    So in that regard it is small wonder that badly paid position are hard to fill. This effect is also seen in sectors such as academia where postdocs were easy to get in the past, but now it is difficult. Those folks are not typically CERB recipients, either. So the handout is really a narrative without really any evidence (and ignoring much stronger factors).

    I will also add that 

    24 minutes ago, MigL said:

    No 'self respecting' teenager will do that now, and the Government has to subsidize foreign workers ( Mexicans, Jamaicans, etc ) to help farmers pick their fruit. Is the Government going to have to subsidize foreign workers to work in fast food restaurants and bars also ?

    I am also teetering at getting annoyed by younglings, which basically just means that I am getting old. But what I have been hearing from students is that increased cost of living basically means that such work is not necessarily beneath them (though for the more urbanized students it might be), but that they would not do it for minimum wage. The argument is that given the current cost of living, other work is a better use of their time. There is simply not a huge segment of folks that would like to take minimum wage jobs (regardless of CERB or not) and for quite some time this has been the domain of immigrants almost everywhere in the world. But with Canada's increase in cost of living, and the rising resentment against immigration (some more, some less justified), this results in a combination of unfilled lower-paid jobs but also record employment rates.

    I will also add yet another issue to the pile: service jobs are going to be hit the hardest. Generally speaking, Canada has a productivity problem, but certain jobs that are hard to automate, such as faculty but also especially small restaurants, always had the challenge of disproportionately rising salaries. This is one of the reasons why many small restaurants are family operations, for example. With increasing outward pressure (high food and housing prices), these business are unable to keep up with salary demands.


    24 minutes ago, MigL said:

    I'm starting to get the impression that 'somewhere in the Americas' is actually ( or, used to be )  in Canada, as you seem to know a lot of stuff about Canada most Americans would not. Not that that's a bad thing; arrogant Americans should know more about us 🙂 .

    You are quite correct. Been in Canada for quite a while- I have been living and working in quite a few countries by now. Also, I have never been an American. I just lived there for a while. And I often do find it curious, if unsurprising, if Americans and Canadians share similar arguments, even with different systems (I guess the cultural impact of USA shows).

  15. 47 minutes ago, Wigberto Marciaga said:

    But in reality, it is simple and the authors have said it in their own way. I have, for example, 1000 total calories expended per day, I spend 500 on exercise, compared to someone who expends 1000 total calories per day and spends 100 calories on exercise. It is simple.

    This is not how this works. You cannot simply claim something like:

    On 4/12/2024 at 4:15 PM, Wigberto Marciaga said:

    On the other hand, Pontzer and his group do maintain both in this summary and in other studies that the Hadza have a lower basal metabolism.

    While the authors state that:


    Our results indicate that active, “traditional” lifestyles may not protect against obesity if diets change to promote increased caloric consumption. Thus, efforts to supplement diets of healthy populations in developing regions must avoid inundating these individuals with highly-processed, energy-dense but nutrient-poor foods. Since energy throughput in these populations is unlikely to burn the extra calories provided, such efforts may unintentionally increase the incidence of excess adiposity and associated metabolic complications such as insulin resistance. Indeed, processed, energy-dense foods have been linked to insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease among Australian foragers transitioning to village life

    Not only is this misquoting the paper, but it is actually drawing the opposite conclusion. Misunderstanding, or even worse, misrepresentation of citations is failure of science 101. So specifically for the population outlined in OP there are no such conclusions. Again, this is science 101, we do not jump to conclusions by cherry-picking bits and pieces from different papers. 

    The main gist of Pontzer's work is fundamentally that energy expenditure remains constant and that (as mentioned before) PA does not increase expenditure by much. So the key element here is really that energy consumption is the key factor in terms of obesity (or lack thereof). The body has a lot of capabilities to regulate expenditure and it even factors such as stress can increase the expenditure. Now if you look at other papers from the same author in follow-up papers on Hadza populations (e.g. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12785) there are several hypotheses:


    Rather than changing the amount of energy expended each day, exercise may improve health by affecting the allocation of energy among physiological tasks. For example, increased physical activity expenditure might reduce energy expended on inflammation and other deleterious activity 26. Exercise may also help to regulate appetite, improving the balance between energy expenditure and intake 34, 48, and exercise has been shown to help maintain weight loss 34. The regulatory effects of exercise warrant further attention.

    The lack of correspondence between objectively measured physical activity and TEE, AEE or PAL (Fig. 2) suggests caution is warranted when interpreting these metabolic measures. Conversely, converting objective measures of physical activity to estimates of TEE, AEE or PAL should be performed with an understanding of the weak and sometimes non-intuitive relationships among these measures. As noted by Pontzer and colleagues 27, there is typically a significant but weak (r2 ≈ 0.10) relationship between accelerometer measurements of physical activity and TEE or AEE in large human samples, with far more TEE variation within quantiles of activity than between them. Among populations, there is no clear correspondence between objectively measured activity and daily expenditure (Fig. 2).

    The constancy of TEE among a diverse range of lifestyles, including living hunter-gatherers and other small-scale societies, strongly suggests that the modern obesity pandemic stems from increased energy intake rather than decreased energy expenditure. But other than reducing calorie consumption, it is not immediately clear what aspects of traditional diets are most important to emulate to promote health. The idea that there is one true, natural human diet to which we might all aspire is negated by the incredible variety of hunter-gatherer diets recorded by early ethnographers and researchers today. Specifically, the suggestion that Palaeolithic cultures invariably had low-carbohydrate diets is strongly challenged by detailed dietary assessments among living groups and in the fossil record 45.


  16. 2 hours ago, pzkpfw said:

    (For what it's worth, in English I've only ever heard "nickname", not "nick". YMMV.)

    It was a common internet thingy. On IRC you would need to provide a unique nickname and the command for it is nick. Might have other origins, too.

  17. 26 minutes ago, MigL said:

    Our Government paid people $2000 Can per month to stay home. Now, our economy is still struggling to recover, because small business can't find people to work, and the Government has a crap-load of debt that is still fueling inflation.

    I believe other countries, including the US had similar initiatives. Also the benefits were for a total of something like 7 months, IIRC, so it would be surprising to have long-term impact on employment several years later. There are a range of issues why folks cannot find workers, and we actually see a reflection of it in academia, but it certainly was not due to CERB. There is a general change coming (not all of it good) and I think the older generation (up and including mine) is going to be caught up in it. 

  18. A few things should be added to lay the foundation for further discussions. First gonochorism (the term to describe a sexual system where there are male and female members) does not always have to be linked to sexual dimorphism (the term to describe differences in appearance between male and females of a species). Sexual dimorphism is often a consequence of the respective reproductive strategies. 

    Among hermaphroditic species, one can actually also distinguish between various forms. The one OP is thinking about is considered simultaneous hermaphroditism, i.e. all individuals producing sperm and eggs, but there are also species who are sequential hermaphrodites. I.e. producing egg or sperm at different points in their life. 

    Studies trying to figure out fitness benefits have been investigating closely related species in which all three strategies are found, e.g. in certain worms. Here, it was found that the different species had different reproductive characteristics, that likely have benefits under different conditions. Generally, they found a trade-off between fecundity (how much they reproduce) and survival. Simultaneous hermaphrodites had the highest survival rate, but least fecundity (and smallest eggs, indicative of lower maternal investment), whereas the opposite was found for sequential hermaphrodites. The gonochoristic species was somewhere in-between.  

    Taking that all together (survival rate, reproduction over total life cycle etc.) it seemed that the dichoristic species had overall the highest fitness. They had higher fecundity in the early stages of life cycle. They outperform simultaneous hermaphrodites, which have lower fecundity. While sequential hermaphrodites are more fecund, they are delayed until their female phase, and during the whole life cycle they are not able to compensate the early advantage. Essentially they are able to reach sexual maturity faster, likely as they only need to produce one form of gametes. The disadvantage of that gonochoristic species pay is that they produce males, that cost the same as females (as eggs) but do not directly contribute to future generations (the limiting factors are the eggs). Hermaphroditism is speculated to be a primary advantage when population densities are low and it is difficult to find a mate. 

    There are also evolutionary developmental consideration. Transition from hermaphrodite to gonochoristic species is comparatively easy, as it could be reasonably executed by suppressing the development of one sexual function. Conversely, there are more steps involved in transition from gonochorism to hermaphroditism. I.e. once gonochorism outcompetes hermaphroditism in the evolutionary history of species, it is very unlikely that they  hermaphroditism will develop, even if it became more advantageous.

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