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Thank you for the write-up! I wanted to ask a couple of questions:

  1. I remember reading a hypothesis that mitochondria directly caused sex, i.e. made host cells fuse into one, because it was beneficial for them in case they were trapped in a weak or dying host. This was supported by the finding that genes from mitochondria are involved in the initiation of cell fusion. Is this hypothesis still around or is it dead?
  2. I used to think archaea and bacteria cannot really swallow other cells, as with them having better things to do with their membranes. And the bacterium ending up inside an Arche could more likely be a result of the Arche lovingly wrapping itself around the bacterium because the latter produces delicious metabolic waste for it. Can you comment this?

suffering after reproductive age is easy to answer - after reproductive age you are almost out of the reach of natural selection, especially e.g. some male wasps who keep living for a while after all the females have already mated and retreated into their nests. The males are now useless, nothing they do will change their reproductive success any more. So whatever happens to them doesn't count - whether it's a lot of suffering or the end of all suffering and infinite bliss. Unfortunately there's no natural selection that would end their suffering after mating chances are depleted. Probably they'll just keep having the same pain reactions to the same stimuli that they had before and during the mating season (because these already exist, not because they are necessary for anything). Probably they'll have some additional old age problems accumulating just like old humans, because natural selection is not weeding these out.  

Just as a short note to support this model, there was that old finding (probably from pre- replication crisis area, I wonder if it's survived?) that women experienced stronger post-rape trauma when it happened in their reproductive age; girls and old ladies were less traumatized. Also, women who were beaten and raped felt better than those who just raped, because then they could show that they had fought back. 

Myself, as a woman, I don't intuitively feel like getting beaten as well would lower my trauma, but I haven't tried, so I don't know. What really feels important is the way how it is done, in details. Getting groped by a drunken friend, as described above, wouldn't traumatize me much; getting raped by a group of soldiers who are trying to outperform each other in humiliating the victim as much as possible, that's an event that causes me the white-hot rage just by thinking about it (not because I would fear getting pregnant, but just because of the unbearable humiliation). In some countries group rapes get punished more severely than individual endeavors, for the same particular reason probably, for it doesn't really affect the feared outcome (getting pregnant) much. 

I wonder how North Korea became what it is - would it still be the same if others didn't treat them like a monster? What they probably still would have is the iron curtain keeping the population from fleeing to wealthier lands and from seeing that there are better places. Though they might be slightly wealthier themselves so the curtain would be somewhat less strict.

I'm trying to imagine how people in Russia would feel after the war if Western countries kept or raised the sanctions. And I cannot find a strong difference. What they will know is that all the demolishing of tower blocks in Ukrainian cities was done by the Ukrainian army to massacre Ukrainian Russians, and that Western countries helped them do it. They'll probably want revenge and taking back Ukraine plus all the Eastern European territories where there are Russians being harrassed by the local Nazi governments.    

I absolutely love the ending of WWII - the dangerous enemy totally defeated, their government dismantled, nuclear program halted, and then given ample help to restore the economy. This is how friends are made I suppose? :-/ But this won't happen with Russia. People of Russia won't feel defeated, no-one's going to dismantle their government from outside or halt their nuclear program, and their public will keep supporting the governments efforts to restore the country's greatness and glory. So should we give them ample help to restore their economy and army, knowing that we won't go through those first steps? 

I don't know what the right decision would be in this case, but I notice that whatever it will be, it won't be similar to WWII.

Is there anything known to be actually wrong about Sputnik vaccine except the adenovirus vector replicating sometimes? I'd think the latter is more-or-less okay if you are not very old or immuno-compromised. I live in Eastern Europe and we have a large Russian-speaking minority group, who have the same trouble - low vaccination rate and high Covid rate - for exactly the opposite reason. They trust the Russian government well enough and would be happy to get Sputnik, but often refuse the EU-approved vaccines (they are a smart crowd but no-one can avoid a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side effect). Before the replication news I used to be slightly angry at my government for not buying Sputnik for everyone who wants it, and I still think it would be fine under some age limit. 

Can you give some broad explanation about what are plants doing differently? As I understand most plants (except annuals which have a specific live-fast-die-young strategy) are biologically immortal and hey tend to die from external stressors, like pathogens or getting struck by lightning. They do have a whole lot of transposons, and plastids in addition to mitochondria...

And as another example, I'm a female who's love gets staggeringly strong sometimes, maybe like the author's wife, yet I still want to support effective altruism rather than giving to relatives impulsively. I have a male friend with some autism traits and probably lower love feelings, who's not at all interested in effective altruism, but gives generous impulsive gifts to people he knows. So I really don't know if there's a correlation between love and altruism, and if there if, in which direction.

There are actually two types of alarm calls: those addressed to one's group members and those addressed to the predator. The ones addressed to group members don't necessarily convey meaningful information about the sender (at least this is not the immediate purpose, although these signals can in some cases have an additional benefit of demonstrating ones high quality to group members, see my other comment).

The alarm calls addressed to the predator are thought to signal the sender's vigilance: "you've been spotted, we know you are here, you can't catch us". See mobbing. These calls often result in the predator politely taking a leave.

Signaling is behavior whose main purpose is to demonstrate to others that you possess some desirable trait. For example, a bird performing an impressive mating display signals that it is healthy and has good genes.

This is a hopelessly narrow definition and should be changed. An agent can signal anything about itself, including undesirable traits such as "I'm not edible" or "I'm batshit crazy violent, don't mess with me". So lets first lose the clause "desirable".

And signals can be costly to the sender but not necessarily. The cost (or more precisely, lower cost to honest signallers and higher cost to pretenders) makes a signal more trustworthy in the cases where the sender may have a motive to cheat. In biology, low cost signalling is still signalling. Mothers' signals to offspring tend to be pretty low cost for example. The offspring trust their mothers anyway and are incentivized to respond as intended; they have not much to gain from distrusting the mother. Babies' signals to mothers may be costlier in cases when the mother is likely to abandon some offspring based on their fitness. E.g. possibly human babies pack on so much fat and look so plump so as to signal their high fitness to moms (human mothers are known to selectively abandon infants, unlike chimp mothers, whose infants are not so plump). The lower fitness infants are incentivized to look like they had high fitness, so mothers use a hard-to-fake trait such as fat content to assess fitness.

"I'm batshit crazy violent" obviously has a cost because being violent exposes you to aggression by the ones you attack, but I don't think it involves the competition element like is present in the previous example. Consider a Northern lapwing singlehandedly attacking a hawk many times bigger than itself: she's not intending to actually fight the hawk, she's signalling to the hawk that she's absolutely crazy and will fight to the death; that, of course, would be uncomfortable and painful to the hawk, so the hawk pretty reliably leaves, when it sees the lapwing coming. (Although sometimes lapwings are still killed by hawks). The signalling behavior here is approaching fast in a menacing manner, but lapwings are not competing with each other and the hawk is not trying to assess which lapwing is most violent; this signal is risky (costly) but it's not subject to runaway competition and not therefore likely to accelerate into depressingly wasteful levels. It can still be perhaps modelled as a handicap signal like the plump infant example, because the costliness of the behavior is a feature not a bug: the hawk can trust the lapwing's signal because a lapwing who's not really willing to risk a fight would not dare to approach a hawk.

The alarm signals to one's flock ("there's a predator in the grass") were already mentioned as not signalling anything about the sender; alarm signals are also costly if they attract the predator to the signaller, but here the cost is a bug that cannot be avoided, it's not a feature of the signal. (Of course, one may combine alarm signals with status signalling, e.g. in some birds the ones who sound most alarms are the most dominant and respected birds in the group because alarm calling is dangerous and only the fittest birds can afford to do it a lot.)

In conclusion, signalling as used in ecology or economy is so much more diverse than in the quoted definition, I don't see why it should be so narrow in the Wiki. The narrow meaning may be captured by some other term, such as "fitness signals", "signals of high quality", or suchlike.

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