Interesting Articles: Mar 14th-20th 2006

* Silent Struggle: A New Theory of Pregnancy (New York Times). An interesting exploration of intra-family evolutionary pressures.

* A Wrongful Birth? (New York Times). A fascinating read on medical ethics and prenatal testing.

* Buff and Brainy: Exercising the body can benefit the mind (Science News). This is why I solve all my academic problems during or coming back from ultimate games.

* Finding dirty diesels (Science News). It turns out just a few vehicles account for most of the pollution. And the way they figured this out was also neat: simply by putting a device on the side of the road. The source article, Monitoring the Soot Emissions of Passing Cars (Environmental Science & Technology), is available online.

* Smart shoppers use unconscious tactics (Science News). A blink effect for non-experts in everyday life. Complex buying decisions are better made based upon unconscious thought (but simple ones should be thought about). The abstract of the source article, On making the right choice: The deliberation-without-attention effect (Science), is availably online.

* Many Utilities Collect for Taxes They Never Pay (New York Times). Many businesses do what they can get away with. The morale? Regulating industries is difficult because nearly every detail is important.

* The Return of Patriarchy (Foreign Policy). A thought provoking read tying together birth rates and patriarchy, leading to consequences with standards of living, politics, and the rise and fall of governments.


Anonymous said...

According to your link location, the last link (on Patriarchy) is not from

Anonymous said...

I don't know how much I agree about the demographics of Patriarchy.

First, the article assumes that those who are raised in a patriarchal environment are more going to create that environment when they grow up. I don't see why that is necessarily correct.

Second, all of American society has been getting more liberal/less patriarchal over the past 50 years, including the religious fundamentalists. If Patriarchy really has this evolutionary advantage, why is this rise occurring? Shouldn't it outproduced by the more patriarchal members?

Additionally, the wealth seems to accumulates with those who don't have large families; with wealth comes power; with power comes an ability to control societal norms (at least to some degree).

God, I hope I'm right.

Anonymous said...

One more thought:

The article assumes that societal change is essentially at the rate of reproduction, or gene transfer. Really, societal change is often much faster than that...memes vs. genes. The patriarchal and non-patriarchal groups are not rigidly separated, and ideas flow between them.

Also, a consequence they didn't discuss: when women were almost all homemakers, the American economy was wasting half of its possible production...thus while the return to patriarchy might lead to higher reproduction, it should also lead to less wealth for those who go that route. Again wealth = power.

This reminds me of The Handmaid's Tale a little too much.

mark said...

I corrected the reference to the article about patriarchy.

mark said...

All good points.

I've never read The Handmaid's Tale; perhaps I should.