I believe there are also single-celled eukaryotes which have more than two mating types.
I think the key is that you have to have a system where a third mating type makes sense. Having fallen into the basin of attraction of anisogamy, and then later sexual differentiation of reproductive anatomy, it’s much harder to develop a new sex that could reproduce with existing males and females (but not itself).
The way the fungal system that leads to the claim of over 20,000 mating types for Schizophyllum commune is similar to how our pheremones (purportedly?) work; you just want to find someone who smells different (i.e., has a different set of MHC) from you, and there are many ways to have different MHC combinations. If someone develops a new one—good! They smell different than everyone (except their own children) and so they never end up stuck with a distantly related potential mate who nevertheless smells too much like them, and this improves their reproductive success until the new MHC is widespread in the genepool. Additionally (in the case of MHC but not mating types) there is purportedly actual immune benefits which drive this, in addition to the generally beneficial encouragement of “out-crossing”.
I came here to say this; there are many species of Eukaryotes that seem to reproduce exclusively asexually. I know Malmesbury said not to mention Fungi, but I’m a mycologist so it’s what I do. The lesson there seems to be the asexuality evolves fairly easily from sexuality, and is adaptive when you have a good genome which is well adapted to a relatively stable environment. But it’s also kind of a dead end; you don’t usually see large groups of related species which are all asexual (with the possible exception of Glomeromycota, although their genomes suggest they are in fact getting some action). Instead, the closest relatives of asexual species are often sexual species. I believe the same is also observed in plants.
Although the crux of your claim that diffusion is the rate-limiting step of many biological processes may be sound, the question you actually ask, “Why hasn’t evolution stumbled across a better method of doing things than passive diffusion?”, is misguided. Evolution has stumbled across such methods. Your post itself contains several examples of evolved systems which move energy and information faster than diffusion. These include the respiratory system, which moves air into and out of the lungs much faster than diffusion would allow; the circulatory system, which moves oxygen and glucose (energy), hormones (information), and many other things, all much faster than diffusion; and neurons, which move impulses down the axon much faster than diffusion. In none of these cases has the role of diffusion been completely removed, which is what you are looking for I suppose, but life has increased the total speed from point A to point B by several orders of magnitude by finding an alternate mechanism for most of the distance.
Beyond that type of optimization, I agree with you that this is a local maximum problem. Life’s fundamental processes are based on chemical reactions in aqueous solution, which necessarily involve diffusion, and any move beyond that is a big, low-probability step.
That said, particularly in the case of the brain, I don’t think evolution has thoroughly explored its possibility space, and there is room for further optimization within the current “paradigm”. As one example, the evolution of human intelligence proceeded at least in large part by scaling brain size, but we are currently limited by the constraint that the head needs to be able to fit through the mother’s pelvis during birth. Birds, based on totally different evolutionary pressures involving weight reduction for flight, seem to be able to pack processing power into a much smaller volume than mammals. If humans could “only” use bird brain architecture, then we could presumably increase our intelligence substantially without increasing the size of our heads. But despite the presumed evolutionary pressure (we suffer much higher maternal mortality than other species due to our big heads) there has not been enough time for us to convergently evolve brain miniaturization to the extent of birds.
I don’t see any information on the Wikipedia page about the height of the aircraft carrier; the figure you give in your footnote, 252 ft, is listed as the beam. That’s width, not height.
The transcript shows two prompts in a row for you in the middle, the first of which includes a lot of (incorrect?) information about the influence of Nash’s newsvendor impossibility theorem on other researchers. I suspect that text is actually what ChatGPT said in response to a prompt like “What other researchers were influenced by Nash’s newsvendor impossibility theorem?”, but that your question and the “ChatGPT:” line are missing from the transcript. As presented I got the initial impression that you were egging ChatGPT on by helping it fabricate a story, but I think maybe that was no the case?
I do have a sibling 4 years younger, and have always generally liked babies and children, but this was an additional effect.
I definitely experienced some version of this at the birth of my child. I was convinced, even while I knew it was likely not true in the outside view, that my baby was actually the cutest baby. My child is not genetically related to me, so I don’t think this was a matter of calibrating my standards for cuteness on other babies in my family or on similarity to myself. Also, I definitely have a persistent increased tendency to cry during movies, especially in scenes that involve the separation of parents and children.
I don’t personally expect a (total) nuclear war to happen before AGI. But, conditional on total nuclear war before AGI: although nuclear war is unlikely to cause human extinction, it could still cause a big setback in civilization’s technological infrastructure, which would significantly delay AGI.
Most Americans who would consider running for office are already a member of a political party. Unlike in many (most? all?) other countries, where joining a political party is a separate act of engagement and commitment to the party, in the US it is a standard part of voter registration. Depending on the state, it may or may not determine which primary elections one is eligible to vote in, but I believe it always at least determines which primaries one is eligible to run in (i.e., a candidate in the Republican primary must be a registered Republican). However, registering, or indeed winning, as a primary candidate does not require the support or even permission of the party apparatus at large, and after the primary, the party is likely to support the winning candidate regardless of prior engagement with the party. Donald Trump is a high-profile recent example.
However, in my most recent US state of residence (Oklahoma), most local politics are technically non-partisan; the party affiliation of candidates for positions like city council and mayor are not listed on the ballot, and the party apparatus is not involved. Most of the candidates, like other politically engaged Americans, are in fact registered as members of one party or another, and it’s not hard to figure out which one since voter registrations are public information, but they may not have any deeper connection to their parties, are not funded by them, and are not in any real sense representing them. Consequently, I would say that forming deeper ties to the party is not necessarily an important step at that level of politics (source: I have two friends who are city councilors for different Oklahoma cities in the 100k-500k population range.) I’m not sure to what extent this generalizes to other jurisdictions.
I would say that the most important thing in running for office is forming connections: to potential voters, volunteers, donors, endorsements, etc. Engagement with the party apparatus is one way to get those connections, but far from the only way. Unfortunately, my experience in my friends’ campaigns is too peripheral to be able to answer the more specific questions.
This is exactly right! It’s a poor analogy for the Cold War both because the total payoff for defection was higher than the total payoff for cooperation, and because the reward was fungible. The cooperative solution is for one side to “nuke”, in order to maximize the total donation to both organizations, and then to use additional donations to even out the imbalance if necessary. That’s exactly what happened, and I’m glad the “nuking” framing didn’t prevent EAs from seeing what was really happening and going for the optimal solution.
Specifically for Mandarin, or other languages as well?
It strikes me that evolution by natural selection has most of the characteristics you attribute to a control system, not a selection system: feedback is far from perfect, each step of evaluation is heavily constrained by previous outputs and there is no going back, most of the search space is unreachable, it operates on the territory and there is no map, there is no final output distinct from the computation itself, and as you mentioned, it is strictly “on-line”. It’s true that it is massively parallel, and in this sense different elements of the search space are evaluated and either accepted or rejected at each “step”. I’m not sure that evolution is “obviously a selection process according to the distinction as [you] make it”.
Of course, it is an astoundingly inefficient optimizer, of whichever type it is, so it is not surprising that it lacks many of the stereotypical characteristics of its class.
I think I parsed this quote differently than you.
The new kind of scientific activity emerged only in a few countries of Western Europe, and it was restricted to that small area for about two hundred years.
Your question from the following paragraph:
[W]hat factors caused the rapid accumulation of knowledge in specifically only a few countries and for only those two hundred years?
suggests that you interpreted the quote to mean “The new kind of scientific activity was restricted to the few countries of Western Europe where it emerged, and a period of about two hundred years [before dying out/being replaced by new kinds of scientific activity].” This would suggest that we should look for causes in Western Europe at the beginning and end of this time period.
I interpreted it to mean “After emerging in a few countries of Western Europe, the new scientific activity was restricted to that small area for two hundred years [before spreading to other areas]”. This would suggest that causes are to be found in Western Europe at the beginning of this time period, and in the rest of the world at the end of it.
You have read the whole work and not just isolated quotes, so you are much more familiar with the context. Do you think as a whole it supports your parsing over mine?
It has been a year since this code was posted and the user has deleted their account, but for the benefit of anyone else reading for the first time, I would like to point out that the case for breed == 3 (two girls) is unhandled; because the default answer := 0 this means that in the case of two girls, the mathematician is modeled as saying “at least one is a boy”. Incorrect code gives the incorrect result.
breed == 3
answer := 0