From: Dave Long (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Aug 21 2000 - 11:09:50 PDT
> everything's just great - so to insure you don't fuck
> it up Evolution sends you in to a happy stupor where
> you just sit around and smile at your kids a lot...
Just finished Weiner's _The Beak of the Finch_, which is
a pop. science book about pop. genetics. The main point
of the book is that one can observe both selection and
radiation in nature, on a human timescale. These shifts
are often in response to local and acute environmental
pressures, so paleontologists, who see a spatially and
temporally averaged result, have painted a more static
picture of the process.
It may not be that relevant to human cultures, but the
book mentions that at least in bacteria cultures (and
with some reference to plants and the finches of the
title), variation goes way up under stress, but dies
down when the stress does.
related thoughts: "happy families are all alike",
derivatives go to zero near optima (except when a
boundary makes things interesting), etc.
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