All of Rowen's Comments + Replies

Why I Am Not in Charge

They’d look to ‘get’ me, to point out how awful and harmful and unethical everything was, to dig into my past for ways to attack me. They’d point out my lack of credentials, all my points of view or isolated sentences they didn’t like from anywhere.  There would be blood in the water

I'm fascinated how well this thought experiment parallels the story of Rasputin - a self-proclaimed healer who got into the inner circle of Czar's family by helping their sick child and then worked to expand his influence. In the end, a group of nobles decided that the inf... (read more)

Notably, Rasputin really was threatening the empire - many historians consider him a significant contributor to the revolution. The suggestion here is that trying to change the working system from the inside - being a Donald Trump - can lead to a completely different system replacing it. The replacing system might be worse in a completely different way, or it might be better, but either way it's going to cause a lot of pain in the mean time. Be careful what you try - destroying the FDA or the CDC may just lead to more people refusing to get vaccinated or wear masks, while simultaneously leading to snake oil or to a resurgence of other diseases. A gain in one area leads to being much worse off in others.

Why We Age, Part 2: Non-adaptive theories

I'm curious if anybody knows of other examples of how this mechanism actually works out physiologically.

Consider telomeres. The body's inability to repair telomeres can be considered as an adaptive mechanism protecting from tumor formation in early life.

A little thought experiment:

When you're a unicellular organism, you want to make as many copies of yourself as possible to maximize fitness. When you evolve into a multicellular organism, this strategy ain't working anymore. A multicellular organism with telomerase expressed in every cell of the body wil

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2ErickBall1yBut longer-lived animals get cancer less, not more. I've heard this theory before but I don't quite understand it. It seems to predict that age would be bounded by a trade-off against child cancers. But in fact selection seems to make animals longer-lived pretty easily (e.g. humans vs homo erectus). Naked mole rats barely get cancer at all, afaik. Do baby bats get cancer more than baby mice?