Here’s a look at some things to reflect on in the quiet peace of a Saturday afternoon before the football results.
Fake news It’s twenty five years since Daniel Goleman‘s groundbreaking Emotional Intelligence. And its resonances are still with us. It seems that people with greater EI are more able to sort out fact from fiction in the dodgy world of fake news. Here’s Tony Anderson and David Robertson in The Conversation:
Is altruism real? We all remember Richard Dawkins‘ Selfish Gene with its uber-Thatcherite resonances: “Selfishness is the only game in town, you’re a fool to help anyone but your closest relatives, the lesson from Nature (the thing, not the magazine) is every man(or moss or amoeba) for himself”was the mantra. Now Nature (the magazine, not the thing) reports a weird case where Bonobos seem to be adopting completely unrelated individuals into their families, like human fosterers. Aren’t they our closest relatives? Maybe Dickie boy and his accolytes could pop out to the jungle and explain to these creatures how misguided they are. Take your time, lads!
Adoption is rare in the animal kingdom, but now researchers have witnessed bonobos taking care of orphaned infants from outside their own communities. Two females named Marie and Chio, who live in the Luo Scientific Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, took charge of infants who were unrelated to any female in their family group. Researchers sometimes attribute adoptions to females practicing maternal care or helping their kin and advancing their genes, but those ideas can’t explain these new observations. Seeing caretaking for unrelated infants “blew me away”, says ethologist Cat Hobaiter.Science News | 4 min read
Reference: Scientific Reports paper
Shakin’ all over That was more or less the reaction of physicist Mitesh Patel when he looked at his Large Hadron Collider and saw results which could change physics forever. Before you contact Amazon and order a large hadron collider for yourself; they’re quite big and expensive. Nature states:
Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have seen early hints of an undiscovered particle or interaction. More research is needed, but the results suggest an imbalance in how subatomic beauty quarks decay into two flavours of leptons: electrons and muons. If confirmed, that’s a violation of lepton flavour universality as described by the standard model of particle physics. “It’s too early to say if this genuinely is a deviation from the standard model, but the potential implications are such that these results are the most exciting thing I’ve done in 20 years in the field,” says physicist Mitesh Patel. “We were actually shaking when we first looked at the results.”BBC | 5 min read
Reference: LHC seminar
Adaptation is two ways Environmentalists and biologists should love this remarkable story of how new types of coral are evolving to live alongside those big motorways and and bridges that stick out into the sea. Maybe Boris Johnson could attach a few to his new bridge to Ireland?
Luxury Dining Posher readers will know the name of Berry Brothers and Rudd, the famous London wine merchants. Ordinary people only get to drink it when some aristo drops a bottle in to thank you for some minor service performed. Now the immortal vinters of St James Street are extending their marketing to luxury dining in experiences. Could this be a place to spend some of that cash you’ve saved up in lockdown? or do you still prefer pizzas and curries?
#berrybrothersand rudd #finewines #beautyquark #hadron #coral #bonobos #altruism #kinselection #selfishgene #richarddawkins