“Eight thousand years of natural selection in Europe”, (2015-10-10):
The arrival of farming in Europe around 8,500 years ago necessitated adaptation to new environments, pathogens, diets, and social organizations. While indirect evidence of adaptation can be detected in patterns of genetic variation in present-day people, ancient DNA makes it possible to witness selection directly by analyzing samples from populations before, during and after adaptation events. Here we report the first genome-wide scan for selection using ancient DNA, capitalizing on the largest genome-wide dataset yet assembled: 230 West Eurasians dating to between 6500 and 1000 BCE, including 163 with newly reported data. The new samples include the first genome-wide data from the Anatolian Neolithic culture, who we show were members of the population that was the source of Europe’s first farmers, and whose genetic material we extracted by focusing on the DNA-rich petrous bone. We identify genome-wide statistically-significant signatures of selection at loci associated with diet, pigmentation and immunity, and two independent episodes of selection on height.
While the authors agree with John Ioannidis that “most research findings are false,” here they show that replication of research findings enhances the positive predictive value of research findings being true.
“Generalizing From One Example”, (2009-04-28):
[Alexander defines the “typical mind fallacy”: everyone reasons about their mental experiences as if they are universal. People with vivid visual imagery assume everyone can see things in “the mind’s eye” while ‘aphantasics’ assume that this is simply a poetic metaphor; people with color-blindness wonder why other people get so worked up about various shades of gray, and people with anosmia are puzzled by the focus on flowers etc. Further examples include maladaptive daydreaming, pain insensitivity, the prevalence of visual & auditory hallucinations in mentally-healthy individuals like ‘scintillating scotoma’, misophonia, hearing voices, inner monologues, facial self-awareness, trypophobia, Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory, hypermnesia, ASMR, face blindness/prosospagnosia, musical anhedonia, ‘the call of the void’/intrusive thoughts, hypnagogia, the nasal dilation cycle…
This phenomenon for visual imagery was discovered only recently by Francis Galton, who asked if the interminable debate between philosophers/psychologists like Berkeley or Behaviorists like Skinner, where neither could accept that there was (or was not) visual imagery, was because both were right—some people have extremely vivid mental imagery, while others have none at all. He simply circulated a survey and asked. Turned out, most people do but some don’t.
The typical mind fallacy may explain many interpersonal conflicts and differences in advice: we underappreciate the sheer cognitive diversity of mankind, because we only have access to our limited personal anecdote, and people typically do not discuss all their differences because they don’t realize they exist nor have a vocabulary/name.]
(WP; TVTropes; LW discussion; non-PDF version) 2007 short story, set in a Renaissance-esque fantasy historical setting, featuring a cambist (a money-exchanger) who is set three dangerous tasks by a bored and dissolute aristocrat. The 3 challenges illustrate principles of economics:
- the exchange theory of value: the value of something is what you can exchange it for in the market
- revealed preferences: the choices individuals and groups reveal the true value set on things, regardless of what they may say
- gains from trade: a trade of 2 things, which remain unchanged, can make both parties better off