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Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Do cancer cells play cooperate in the Prisoner’s Dilemma?

Posted 26 Jul 2014 / 0

PLoS One “Prisoner’s Dilemma in Cancer Metabolism” What is interesting here is that cancer cells must cooperate with each other in order to out-compete somatic cells against a staggering cost-to-benefit ratio. Generated by the extreme inefficiency of anaerobic metabolism, this ratio presents a supreme challenge to a developing tumor, which might be one factor explaining Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Game Theory, Health & Medicine, Quantifying Costs and Benefits

Evolution 2014: Day 0

Posted 20 Jun 2014 / 0

I started off this year’s Evolution meeting early. The conference is — at its core —  a four-day affair. But the days leading into the “official” start on Friday evening feature larger workshops aimed at building skills. I chose to attend the Experiencing Evolution workshop. Here’s what this session promised: Evolution is a key biological concept, Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Assessment Methods, Behavior, Coevolution, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Evolution, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Modeling, Genetics, Grants & Funding, Higher Education, Individual-based Models, Lesson Ideas, Multilevel Selection, Natural Selection, Phylogenetics, Population Genetics, Population Growth, Predation, Reproductive Fitness, Science in Art & Design, Sex and Reproduction, Society for the Study of Evolution, Talks & Seminars, Teaching, Teaching Tools

Apparently I should stop holding my breath for the Google Translate “dolphin” module

Posted 20 May 2014 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Dolphin Talk and Human Credulity” Great short here (and further evidence that TED Talks entice scientists to lose their heads and say unfounded things). Anyone who has carefully watched a child learn to talk comes to realize what a complex dance between cognition anatomical coordination is involved in language acquisition. It is Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cognitive Ability, Communication, Human Uniqueness, Language Evolution, Linguistics, Phenotypic Plasticity, Web

Is “nest parasitism” really “nest mutualism”?

Posted 20 May 2014 / 0

NPR All Things Considered “This Freeloading Bird Brings Help — And The Help Smells Gross” It is hard to believe that feeding an entire extra non-offspring would be in the self-interest of a bird, but as this short points out, costs and benefits are always environment-specific. In this case, the “parasitic” effect of having to raise Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Birds, Coevolution, Mutualism, Parasitism, Predation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Radio & Podcasts

0.5% to 3%: Do we now have a better sense of what makes people smart?

Posted 20 May 2014 / 0

The Economist “A potent source of genetic variation in cognitive ability has just been discovered” A new gene variant, KL-VS, appears to account for up to 3% of variation in IQ score; this would be a radical discovery given that past gene screens have only found variants accounting for as much as 0.5% variation in Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Cognitive Ability, Gene by Environment Interactions, Genetics, Intelligences, Web

Cognitive Ethology and Cat Companionship

Posted 17 Mar 2014 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Animal Magnetism” I still think that we would be appalled and offended if we could literally read the inner emotional dialogue of a cat, but I have to agree with the main contention of Barash and Lipton: that animals have feelings and connections with each other — and sometimes with Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Belief, Consciousness, Data Limitation, Divergence, Emotion, Fluidity of Knowledge, Hypothesis Testing, Neuroscience

If sloths endure costs to maintain closed-loop agricultural systems, why can’t we?

Posted 05 Feb 2014 / 0

The New York Times “The Sloth’s Busy Inner Life” This is a great story about how paradoxical behaviors can be understood through appreciating mutualisms. If you don’t understand the benefits of algae to sloths and sloths to algae,  you can’t understand this behavior. But you also need to understand how sloths directly benefit moths and how Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Closed Loop Systems, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Composting, Mutualism, Predation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Tropical Forest

String Theory: should we care?

Posted 02 Feb 2014 / 0

On Being “Reimagining the Cosmos” I always find myself stuck on the fence when it comes to the confrontation between physics and philosophy (and by extension religion). This episode effectively captures my ambivalence. On the one hand, I like that Brian Greene really sticks to his guns on the “sensation of free will”. If there Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Belief, Consciousness, Emotion, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Physics, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Religion