Volvox 2015 meeting review available online

Fig. 1 from Herron 2016. Examples of volvocine species. A: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, B: Gonium pectorale, C: Astrephomene gubernaculiferum, D: Pandorina morum, E: Volvulina compacta, F: Platydorina caudata, G: Yamagishiella unicocca, H: Colemanosphaera charkowiensis, I: Eudorina elegans, J: Pleodorina starrii, K: Volvox barberi, L: Volvox ovalis, M: Volvox gigas, N: Volvox aureus, O: Volvox carteri.

Fig. 1 from Herron 2016. Examples of volvocine species. A: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, B: Gonium pectorale, C: Astrephomene gubernaculiferum, D: Pandorina morum, E: Volvulina compacta, F: Platydorina caudata, G: Yamagishiella unicocca, H: Colemanosphaera charkowiensis, I: Eudorina elegans, J: Pleodorina starrii, K: Volvox barberi, L: Volvox ovalis, M: Volvox gigas, N: Volvox aureus, O: Volvox carteri. A and B by Deborah Shelton.

The meeting review for the Third International Volvox Conference is now available online at Molecular Ecology (doi: 10.1111/mec.13551). The editors warned me ahead of time that the challenge for this paper would be to make it of broad interest to the readership of Molecular Ecology, so there is a lot of background information that will be old news to members of the Volvox community.

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Doctor knows best, at least when he agrees with me

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Wesley J. Smith’s latest post on Evolution News and Views complains of “The Arrogance of ‘Doctor Knows Best’” when it comes to end-of-life care. I find complaints about the arrogance of doctors ironic in light of the fact that each of Howard Glicksman’s posts on the same website begin with the following editor’s note:

Physicians have a special place among the thinkers who have elaborated the argument for intelligent design. Perhaps that’s because, more than evolutionary biologists, they are familiar with the challenges of maintaining a functioning complex system, the human body.

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Karen Kovaka on biological individuality

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At the Philosophy of Science Association meeting in Chicago, I attended an interesting talk by Karen Kovaka, “Biological Individuality and Scientific Practice” (the abstract of her talk is here). Now the paper arising from that talk is out in the journal Philosophy of Science. It argues that biologists do not need to resolve the question of what constitutes an individual in order to do good empirical work, with which I agree. She contrasts two views of the relationship between individuality and scientific practice, the “quality dependence” account and the “content sensitivity” account:

Quality dependence: the quality of empirical work in biology depends in part on the resolution of the debate about biological individuality…

Content sensitivity: Biologists’ understanding of biological processes is sensitive to the individuals they take to be participants in those processes.

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Journey into Bullshit with Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil

ChopraWeil

From taking Andrew Weil’s vitamin evaluation*,  I am signed up for his email newsletter, which today included the above announcement of a “Mind-body wellness workshop” he is headlining along with Dr. Woo himself, Deepak Chopra (see “On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit“). The workshop promises to help participants

…integrate easy-to-master Ayurvedic healing techniques, which originated in India over 5,000 years ago, into your modern lifestyle.

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