Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Like-with-like assortment plus exponential fitness increases cooperation, even under weak selection

Posted 06 Oct 2015 / 0

arXiv “Assortment and the evolution of cooperation in a Moran process with exponential fitness” I am still struggling to understand when it would be appropriate to assume an exponential (rather than linear) fitness function. It is wonderful that these modelers are mapping out all these different conditions under which cooperation evolves, but how to select Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory

Should we compromise with nations that hunt whales?

Posted 06 Oct 2015 / 0

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution “A deal with Japan on whaling?” Having been a fan of Whale Wars for awhile, and being predisposed to thinking that we ought to protect large, social, cooperative, cognitively-advanced animals, it is a bit hard for me to accept legal whaling of any kind. But as this article points out Read More

A Minor Post, Activism, Articles, Belief, Biodiversity Loss, Conservation Biology, Cooperation, Economics, Ethics, Public Policy, Social Norms, Sustainable Harvesting

Open Tree of Life allows experts and novices alike to explore “the” phylogeny

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Synthesis of phylogeny and taxonomy into a comprehensive tree of life” Open Tree of Life tree browser Although I am far from being an expert in or huge enthusiast of taxonomy and phylogeny, this is a project worth exploring. By synthesizing thousands of published phylogenies, this project presents Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Phylogenetics, Taxonomic Groups, Web

Does the ability to accumulate wealth make us value the future more?

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

PLoS ONE “Future Discounting in Congo Basin Hunter-Gatherers Declines with Socio-Economic Transitions” These findings are really fascinating, because they suggest that some degree of “building towards the future” is inspired by the ability to accumulate wealth. There’s a lot in these findings to explain why small-scale societies stay small and how larger-scale societies evolve from smaller-scale Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Nature, Memetic Fitness, Phenotypic Plasticity, Psychological Adaptation, Social Norms

Are big corporate polluters trying to “artwash” their image?

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

The Guardian “Activists occupy British Museum over BP sponsorship” I really like that idea expressed by these activists that BP’s sponsorship of big art exhibits is not philanthropy. They are basically paying to mainstream their own presence, to obscure their true identity as a corporation that profits from threatening the future of our species. A Read More

A Minor Post, Activism, Anthropogenic Change, Art & Design, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Greenwashing, Habitat Destruction, Pollution, Sustainability, Web

When it comes to sex, we are consumately proximate

Posted 20 Sep 2015 / 0

The Guardian “Why the UK sperm bank is running short” Further evidence that while we are — on the one hand — one of the weirdest species in the world, at our core we remain not unlike the rest of our animal brethren. Think about it for a second: if humans were both rational and Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Belief, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Uniqueness, Psychology, Reproductive Fitness, Sex and Reproduction

Rule number one of cooperative bacterial warfare? Be in the majority.

Posted 25 Aug 2015 / 0

Current Biology “Positively Frequency-Dependent Interference Competition Maintains Diversity and Pervades a Natural Population of Cooperative Microbes” This is another great example of how theory that does not consider space is a poor representation of nature. Here, the diversity of a soil bacterium (Myxococcus xanthus) is shown to be potentially explained by positive frequency-dependent selection, the Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Competition, Cooperation, Ecological Modeling, Evolutionary Modeling, Kin Selection, Microbial Ecology, Soil Ecology

Should altruism have an effect on your final exam score?

Posted 17 Aug 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “This ‘Extra Credit’ Question Does No Credit to Fairness” This seems like kind of a dumb stunt on the part of the psychology professor who posed it. I never really respected my professors who did not take very seriously the idea that students are pretty amped up by the experience Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Assessment Methods, Ethics, Game Theory, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-463, The Evolution of Cooperation

Carrying capacity — but not growth rate — varies with habitat quality (at least for moose)

Posted 17 Aug 2015 / 0

Ecosphere “Characterizing demographic parameters across environmental gradients: a case study with Ontario moose (Alces alces)” What I find interesting about this study — besides its unprecedented investigation of something that would seem pretty critical to basic conservation efforts — is what was and was not intuitive in its findings. Moose have higher carrying capacities where Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Carrying Capacity, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecological Modeling, Habitat Destruction, Intrinsic Growth Rate, Parasitism, Population Growth, Sustainable Harvesting