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The Chaos Chronicles


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#61 FLASHINGROOSTER

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 03:42 PM

And here most of us were assuming that robots would work for us, not the other way around:
 

How hard will the robots make us work?
In warehouses, call centers, and other sectors, intelligent machines are managing humans, and they’re making work more stressful, grueling, and dangerous


 


The robots are watching over hotel housekeepers, telling them which room to clean and tracking how quickly they do it. They’re managing software developers, monitoring their clicks and scrolls and docking their pay if they work too slowly. They’re listening to call center workers, telling them what to say, how to say it, and keeping them constantly, maximally busy. While we’ve been watching the horizon for the self-driving trucks, perpetually five years away, the robots arrived in the form of the supervisor, the foreman, the middle manager.

These automated systems can detect inefficiencies that a human manager never would — a moment’s downtime between calls, a habit of lingering at the coffee machine after finishing a task, a new route that, if all goes perfectly, could get a few more packages delivered in a day. But for workers, what look like inefficiencies to an algorithm were their last reserves of respite and autonomy, and as these little breaks and minor freedoms get optimized out, their jobs are becoming more intense, stressful, and dangerous. Over the last several months, I’ve spoken with more than 20 workers in six countries. For many of them, their greatest fear isn’t that robots might come for their jobs: it’s that robots have already become their boss.

 

 

 

And we thought "going postal" was bad.

 

"Going Amazon" will probably be much, much worse by virtue of how much more common/prevalent it's likely to become.

 

Yeah I remember watching a show where amazon employee's said they run around a wear house all day with a scanner/tablet that has orders with timers on them. They complained about not having enough time in between orders to use the bathroom without getting reprimanded for it.

 

Makes you think about those people when you click on shipping options..

 

[Direct Link]


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#62 Alder Logs

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 04:01 PM

And here most of us were assuming that robots would work for us, not the other way around:
 

...

 

And we thought "going postal" was bad.

 

"Going Amazon" will probably be much, much worse by virtue of how much more common/prevalent it's likely to become.

 

My brother was a career letter carrier back in those days of going postal.   He gave me some insight into that world.   I think you are on top of the future here, should we remain around long enough for it to fully ripen.  That South Park video was completely onto it too.  The other workers and the bosses would be safer though, if they could make it more like the Apple factories, but without the suicide nets.  


Edited by Alder Logs, 29 February 2020 - 04:03 PM.

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#63 TVCasualty

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 10:50 PM

Industrial sabotage for the win! Reb

 
What hand signs does the Monkeywrench gang throw?

 

I don't think someone could design a more perfect incubator of Chaos than that "management" lunacy if they tried. I can hardly wait to see what the serfs do with it. Or to it, rather (before it all explodes and ends up with heads on pikes outside the smoldering remains of Corporate HQ).


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#64 Alder Logs

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Posted 01 March 2020 - 12:09 AM

Checking Amazon right now for guillotines. 


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#65 TVCasualty

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Posted 01 March 2020 - 09:01 AM

The irony of the angry mob that eventually strings 'em up (or chops 'em down) at Corporate HQ having obtained all their rope and sharpening tools and pikes for head mounts and what-not from Amazon (on sale and with Free Shipping!!) would be truly spectacular. I can't wait to read the product reviews afterward, lol.

 

I have to figure that they deserve it because they know exactly what they're doing otherwise they would not have done things like install vending machines in their warehouses that dispense painkillers.

 

And we're so cowed as peasants that we think management is being "nice" when they drop off a big plate of sugar cookies near the end of our shift (which happened at a place I worked; faster, peasants! Faster!) or install vending machines that spit out painkillers, which is IMO a rather sociopathic approach to productivity (at best).

 

 

I'm also curious who these companies think they'll be selling all their crap to once the tipping point is crossed and the majority of the population is physically broken and living hand-to-mouth on slave wages with no "free" time to speak of.



#66 Alder Logs

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Posted 01 March 2020 - 12:52 PM

A few years ago Amazon was having a crisis of high temperatures in one of their warehouses and the rent-a-slaves were calling for some air conditioning.  Bezos calculated and found it was better, economically, to station an ambulance and driver outside the building for the hot season than to install an expensive air conditioning system.   Apparently, there are some things on which the robotics don't pencil out as well.

 

I have done whatever I can to avoid making the world's richest man any richer.  I have been attempting to boycott his enterprises in any way I could.  It really stings when I order something from someone pretending to be an independent vendor on another platform, only to have an Amazon package arrive with the item. 

 

In the face of the current crash that's having its initial push in form of a virtual butterfly wing flap, that of a certain viral multiplier, carrying with it a shit storm of ramifications, Mr. Bezos has fled to his bunker in New Zealand, probably to sit out the chaos he sees looming on the horizon.  I understand he's not the only oligarch camping out there at the moment.   I wonder what it means?


Edited by Alder Logs, 01 March 2020 - 03:42 PM.


#67 TVCasualty

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Posted 01 March 2020 - 03:18 PM

Mr. Bezos has fled to his bunker in New Zealand, probably to sit out the chaos he sees looming on the horizon.  I understand he's not the only oligarch camping out there at the moment.   I wonder what it means?

 

It means he must be following my threads and taking my comments seriously, lol. :bat:



#68 TVCasualty

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 05:32 PM

I guess the need for this thread is diminishing now that everyone can see what I mean when I would talk about the Chaos Age and encourage anyone who would listen that they really ought to learn how to surf (both literally and metaphorically, but mostly metaphorically).

 

Well the surf's definitely up now!

 

In all seriousness, the world turning inside-out and upside-down overnight without warning is precisely what I've been trying to get my friends and family to think about for the past couple of decades. So while it's the Chaos Age, it's also turning into the golden age of "I told ya so!" for all the verbose and observant pessimists like myself who have been ignored and mocked for so long.

 

Fun Fact: In my notes from the Tracker School classes I took, the section about his and Stalking Wolf's visions of the future noted that Tom Brown told us that the "red sky" (the final, actual SHTF moment for civilization) would happen sometime around 2030-2035 but that shit would start to get really bad and intense beginning around 2019 and continue to get worse until it's Game Over (barring an unlikely but still-possible radical change of course for our unsustainable paradigm). I took those notes in 1998.


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#69 Alder Logs

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 06:36 PM

Right from the start of this hiccup, if it wasn't the SHingTF, the smell was certainly in the air. 



#70 TVCasualty

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 01:41 AM

Yeah, now that you mention it this pandemic being like a big nasty room-clearing fart that precedes a shitstorm works better than framing it as a dress rehearsal. It's more literal/less metaphorical.


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#71 TVCasualty

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Posted 16 April 2020 - 04:26 PM

This is really interesting. To me, anyway. The following clip explores Conway's "Game of Life" and how it might suggest we're living in a simulated Universe:

 

[Direct Link]

 

It's pretty funny when Rogan's mind gets blown and all he can reply with is "Jesus," lol.

 

 

The rules for the Game of Life are explained here in much greater detail, which helps with understanding what's going on in the simulations. It sure doesn't take long at all for extreme simplicity to generate extreme complexity, which in turn generates extreme weirdness, which might include the Universe itself:

 

[Direct Link]

 

John Conway had a good run and was a really interesting and brilliant mathematician, but GOPCV-19 got him: https://arstechnica....ed-of-covid-19/

 

He probably should've made his 'game' harder since it was so deceptively simple that its staggering implications and the insights it brings to how nature works have been widely underappreciated.


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#72 TVCasualty

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Posted 17 April 2020 - 10:37 AM

This is brilliant and hilarious. How to create massive fake traffic jams for shits and giggles: https://www.theregis...cartful_phones/

 

Artful prankster creates Google Maps traffic jams by walking a cartful of old phones around Berlin

 

A German artist has had a bit of fun with Google Maps after tricking its free satnav service into displaying traffic jams – by walking around with a hand cart full of mobile phones.
 
Simon Weckert's performance art piece, titled Google Maps Hacks, is very simple. Weckert walked around the roads of Berlin pulling a small hand cart behind him. Inside the cart were 99 "secondhand smartphones".
 
With all of those phones connected to Google Maps for driving directions, it is trivially easy to fool the multibillion-dollar adtech company's systems into believing that there is a severe traffic jam in the area. Even when there is no traffic jam in reality.
 
Weckert's video shows him walking around Berlin, set alongside footage of Google Maps turning streets from green (traffic flow OK) to red (traffic jam, avoid).

[Direct Link]


 
 
 
The squeaky little wheels of his wagon are a nice touch as they really emphasize the peace and quiet that directing the bulk of local traffic away from wherever you and your wagon full of cheap phones wander can achieve.
 
Now imagine the potential with virtual phones and GPS spoofers; you wouldn't even have to leave your house, and could set it up as a way to help clear all the traffic off your route no matter where or when you want to go...
Reb

 

Then imagine lots of people doing it. So much for "live traffic."

 

Now apply the principle to other forms of tracking.


Edited by TVCasualty, 17 April 2020 - 10:40 AM.

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#73 Alder Logs

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Posted 17 April 2020 - 11:25 AM

Joni was always ahead of the curve, especially with this one:

 

I think this song is quite prophetic, from the album, Dog Eat Dog.

 



[Direct Link]

The Three Great Stimulants

by Joni Mitchell

I picked the morning paper off the floor
It was full of other people's little wars
Wouldn't they like their peace
Don't we get bored
And we call for the three great stimulants
Of the exhausted ones
Artifice brutality and innocence
Artifice and innocence

No tanks have ever rumbled through these streets
and the drone of planes at night has never frightened me
I keep the hours and the company that I please
And we call for the three great stimulants
Of the exhausted ones
Artifice brutality and innocence
Artifice and innocence

Oh and deep in the night
Our appetites find us
Release us and bind us
Deep in the night
While madmen sit up building bombs
And making laws and bars
They'd like to slam free choice behind us

I saw a little lawyer on the tube
He said "It's so easy now anyone can sue"
"Let me show you how your petty aggravations can profit you!"
Call for the three great stimulants
Of the exhausted ones
Artifice brutality and innocence
Artifice and innocence

Oh and deep in the night
Appetites find us
Release us and blind us
Deep in the night
While madmen sit up building bombs
And making laws and bars
They're gonna slam free choice behind us

Last night I dreamed I saw the planet flicker
Great forests fell like buffalo
Everything got sicker
And to the bitter end
Big business bickered
And they call for the three great stimulants
Of the exhausted ones
Artifice brutality and innocence
Artifice and innocence

Oh these times, these times
Oh these changing times
Change in the heart of all mankind
Oh these troubled times


Edited by Alder Logs, 17 April 2020 - 11:27 AM.


#74 TVCasualty

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 12:04 PM

This is a weird example of a kind of Butterfly Effect...

 

Chances are pretty good that you had less privacy (from the rest of your family or roommates sharing your dwelling) and personal space during pandemic lock downs thanks to bafflingly-popular open floor plans because guys like to watch people smash stuff on TV with sledgehammers.

 

Open floor plans became really popular a few years ago thanks almost entirely to home improvement shows.

 

The shows focused on them because they were easier to build (and record being built) after tearing out as many walls as possible, which often involves sledgehammers.

 

The people producing such shows realized early on that to get men to watch them they needed to have as many scenes of interiors being smashed and busted-up with sledgehammers as possible.

 

Perceiving open floor plans as very popular, developers started building new homes that way too.

 

Therefore, many people have less privacy and personal space in recently-renovated or brand-new homes because men like to watch people smashing stuff with sledgehammers.

I actually have a source for this claim:

 

Homes Actually Need to Be Practical Now

One of the ironies of social distancing is that it can put privacy in short supply. As she talked with the host Lulu Garcia-Navarro about the impact HGTV has had on American home design, Kaysen mentioned one of the design elements most readily associated with the network: the open-concept living space. “I spoke with HGTV executives,” Kaysen said. “And the reason that they are so big on open concept is because it gets the male viewers. Like, guys like to watch sledgehammers and, like, taking out walls.”

“Wait a second,” Garcia-Navarro replied. “Are you telling me that the open-plan concept, which we are all prisoner to, is because dudes like to watch HGTV and sledgehammers?”

Yes, was the answer. “Dudes will only watch HGTV if there’s sledgehammers,” Kaysen said. That assumption makes it way into the architecture.

 

https://www.theatlan...andemic/608944/
 

 

So a major trend in residential design and even architecture was ultimately the result of pandering to knuckle draggers who want to watch stuff getting smashed up. Although I have to admit that demolition work can be strangely satisfying sometimes, at least until you uncover something that doubles the project cost. Or demolish the wrong bathroom. Surgeons know what I’m talking about.

 

 

That's almost as weird as the reason why the size of U.S. spy satellites was constrained for decades by the track-width of chariots developed in Ancient Rome.


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#75 Oneyedraven

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 03:29 PM

On a similar note TB outbreaks were the reason for women’s hem lines to be raised (so it didn’t touch the ground), the front porch (instead of small stoop) to get fresh air and the invention of tissues. Necessity is most certainly the mother of invention.
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#76 TVCasualty

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Posted 08 November 2020 - 05:03 PM

Some light reading: The Collapse of Complex Societies

 

It's a PDF of a book that inspired the first serious academic research and studies into societal collapse.

 

 

And this is interesting as it suggests that Chaos may be a function of inadequate data, processing power, and algorithmic efficiency: https://www.quantama...chaos-20180418/



#77 TVCasualty

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Posted 28 December 2020 - 10:40 AM


 

John Conway had a good run and was a really interesting and brilliant mathematician, but GOPCV-19 got him: https://arstechnica....ed-of-covid-19/

 

He probably should've made his 'game' harder since it was so deceptively simple that its staggering implications and the insights it brings to how nature works have been widely underappreciated.

 

 

Time for a little more appreciation of Conway's Life, so to speak.

 

This was a good read that came out today: The Lasting Lessons of John Conway’s Game of Life

 

 

“Because of its analogies with the rise, fall and alterations of a society of living organisms, it belongs to a growing class of what are called ‘simulation games,’” Mr. Gardner wrote when he introduced Life to the world 50 years ago with his October 1970 column.

 

 

 

 

The Game of Life motivated the use of cellular automata in the rich field of complexity science, with simulations modeling everything from ants to traffic, clouds to galaxies. More trivially, the game attracted a cult of “Lifenthusiasts,” programmers who spent a lot of time hacking Life — that is, constructing patterns in hopes of spotting new Life-forms.

 

 

 

They've been coming up with some very interesting stuff. The Game of Life has itself been evolving, and the significance of the patterns that emerge start to look increasingly familiar at higher resolutions (see Lenia video below).

 

There's even a bit of comic relief:

 

Life ultimately became way too popular for Dr. Conway’s liking. Whenever the subject came up, he would bellow, “I hate Life!” But in his final years he learned to love Life again.

 

 

 

The article includes reflections from a number of the Game's fans (including Brian Eno, interestingly enough). One comment in particular sums up why I post stuff like this:
 

 

"In this moment in time, it’s important to emphasize that inherent unpredictability — so well illustrated in even the simple Game of Life — is a feature of life in the real world as well as in the Game of Life. We have to figure out ways to flourish in spite of the inherent unpredictability and uncertainty we constantly live with. As the mathematician John Allen Paulos so eloquently said, “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” This is, I think, Life’s most important lesson." (Melanie Mitchell  — Professor of complexity, Santa Fe Institute)

 

 

 

How cool a title is "Professor of Complexity?" I might just start calling myself that for the hell of it (with apologies to Melanie who actually earned it).

 

The Game itself evolves, too:
 

 

The engineering is so ingenious and delicate that a single mistake of misplacing one cell among perhaps a million cells will make the whole machine fail. On the other hand, when I was investigating Lenia — a continuous extension of Life — I found that its patterns are fundamentally different from those in Life. Lenia patterns are fuzzy, thus not easy for engineering (they are mostly evolved instead), but are harder to destroy. Although having the same root, Life and Lenia have nearly opposite nature: designed versus organic, precise versus adaptive, fragile versus resilient.  (Bert Chan, creator of Lenia)

 

 

 

Chan's simulation is fascinating because it really begins to resemble actual life forms in an uncanny way. It appears that life (the real one, not the simulation game) was "smart" enough to incorporate "fuzzier" patterns that greatly increase their resilience but are much harder to intentionally engineer, which is probably why life has endured numerous mass extinctions and just keeps coming back for more all by itself (and why genetic engineering is so complicated and difficult).

 

The 8-bit, blocky pixels of the original renderings of the Game like in the earlier post about it are deceptively simple (much like early life forms) but the complex, evolved form of the Game (or a variant of it, rather) starts to be impossible to ignore real quick:

 

[Direct Link]

 

 

It's really starting to look like life is probably going to be found anywhere in the Universe where it can exist because the stacking and iteration of simple interactions never sleeps. Eventually matter and energy interact, combine, and complexifies itself to the degree that the resulting forms propagate themselves contrary to chemical and thermal equilibrium (life at it's most fundamental level is a far-from-equilibrium state, so the opposite of "balance," ironically). Some time after it learns how to make copies of itself it wakes up to its own existence, says "Holy shit what the fuck is going on?" and then tries to figure out how to endure this awareness, fails, and invents comedy and fantasy instead. Then a big space rock hits us, resets the game board (so to speak) and life does it all over again.


Edited by TVCasualty, 28 December 2020 - 10:47 AM.

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#78 TVCasualty

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Posted 16 February 2021 - 10:44 AM

Most people have heard of and/or recognize the Mandelbrot Set as the prototypical fractal image.

 

A relative few have heard of the Feigenbaum Constant. Spoiler alert: It's 4.669.

 

What even fewer realize is that they are directly correlated. All you need to do is flip a Mandelbrot Set 90-degrees on its Z-axis to see it (wait, it has a Z-axis?!?).

 

This video does the best job I've seen of explaining how that works and what the implications are (in only ~18 minutes):

 

[Direct Link]

 

One of the applications detailed in the video has been the timing of shocks delivered to a heart in atrial fibrillation to cause it to return to a normal heartbeat, which is of interest to anyone who possesses a heart. All this chaos stuff isn't just math for the sake of math, which I have no interest in at all.

 

I find it really interesting that the Feigenbaum Constant is believed to be a "transcendental" number in mathematics (so is pi). I also find it really interesting that "transcendental" is a category of number in mathematics.

 

 

 

Chaos is really where it's at! Well, it is if you like trying to understand life, the Universe, and everything. Which might not be all that great or productive of a goal in a practical, gotta pay the bills kind of way. Unless it helps you invent a better automatic external defibrillator, in which case it can make you rich.


Edited by TVCasualty, 16 February 2021 - 10:46 AM.

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#79 FLASHINGROOSTER

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 09:42 PM

 This was my favourite line from the NY times article you posted

 

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” This is, I think, Life’s most important lesson.

 

If we some how created mathematics that could predict everything and we could manipulate every outcome. There will always be the people that would want to destroy it all and smash us back to the chaos. And they might be right. I think chaos is part of humanity as a reaction to the chaotic universe, some of us won't be able to live without it

 

 

 

It's really starting to look like life is probably going to be found anywhere in the Universe where it can exist because the stacking and iteration of simple interactions never sleeps. Eventually matter and energy interact, combine, and complexifies itself to the degree that the resulting forms propagate themselves contrary to chemical and thermal equilibrium (life at it's most fundamental level is a far-from-equilibrium state, so the opposite of "balance," ironically). Some time after it learns how to make copies of itself it wakes up to its own existence, says "Holy shit what the fuck is going on?" and then tries to figure out how to endure this awareness, fails, and invents comedy and fantasy instead. Then a big space rock hits us, resets the game board (so to speak) and life does it all over again.

 

 

 

I do like to think of the idea that life is waiting everywhere in the universe, ready to spring into action as soon as the right conditions are met. You think about this green earth and how life seems to propagate just about everywhere. We continue to find more and more life on this planet each year. Even in seemingly hostile environments like deserts, mountains, caves, and those crazy undersea vents.

 

The talk of chaos and how complex systems can form out of simple ones. It reminded me of an article I read once about how single cell organisms in a lab quickly changed into multicellular

 

 

Multicellular Life Evolves in Laboratory
An evolutionary transition that took several billion years to occur in nature has happened in a laboratory, and it needed just 60 days.

 

An evolutionary transition that took several billion years to occur in nature has happened in a laboratory, and it needed just 60 days.

Under artificial pressure to become larger, single-celled yeast became multicellular creatures. That crucial step is responsible for life's progression beyond algae and bacteria, and while the latest work doesn't duplicate prehistoric transitions, it could help reveal the principles guiding them.

"This is actually simple. It doesn't need mystical complexity or a lot of the things that people have hypothesized -- special genes, a huge genome, very unnatural conditions," said evolutionary biologist Michael Travisano of the University of Minnesota, co-author of a study Jan. 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the new study, researchers led by Travisano and William Ratcliff grew brewer's yeast, a common single-celled organism, in flasks of nutrient-rich broth.

Once per day they shook the flasks, removed yeast that most rapidly settled to the bottom, and used it to start new cultures. Free-floating yeast were left behind, while yeast that gathered in heavy, fast-falling clumps survived to reproduce.

Within just a few weeks, individual yeast cells still retained their singular identities, but clumped together easily. At the end of two months, the clumps were a permanent arrangement. Each strain had evolved to be truly multicellular, displaying all the tendencies associated with "higher" forms of life: a division of labor between specialized cells, juvenile and adult life stages, and multicellular offspring.

"Multicellularity is the ultimate in cooperation," said Travisano, who wants to understand how cooperation emerges in selfishly competing organisms. "Multiple cells make make up an individual that cooperates for the benefit of the whole. Sometimes cells give up their ability to reproduce for the benefit of close kin."

Since the late 1990s, experimental evolution studies have attempted to induce multicellularity in laboratory settings. While some fascinating entities have evolved -- Richard Lenski's kaleidoscopically adapting E. coli, Paul Rainey's visible-to-the-naked-eye bacterial biofilms -- true multicellularity remained elusive.

According to Travisano, too much emphasis was placed on identifying some genetic essence of complexity. The new study suggests that environmental conditions are paramount: Give single-celled organisms reason to go multicellular, and they will.

Apart from insights into complexity's origins, the findings could have implications for researchers in other fields. While multicellularity would have a hard time emerging now in nature, where existing animals have a competitive advantage, the underlying lesson of rapid, radical evolution is universal.

"That idea of easy transformability changes your perspective," said Travisano. "I'm certain that rapid evolution occurs. We just don't know to look for it."

Targeted breeding of single-celled organisms into complex, multicellular forms could also become a biotechnological production technique.

"If you want to have some organism that makes ethanol or a novel compound, then -- apart from using genetic engineering -- you could do selection experiments" to shape their evolution, Travisano said. "What we're doing right here, engineering via artificial selection, is something we've done for centuries with animals and agriculture."

Image: At left, an original strain of brewer's yeast. At right, the multicellular form. (Ratcliff et al./PNAS)

Citation: "Experimental evolution of multicellularity." By William C. Ratcliff, R. Ford Denison, Mark Borrello, and Michael Travisano. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jan. 17, 2012.

 

Here's a visual representation

 

 

It does get trippy when you think about being a multicellular being. Who am I but a drunken captain trying to steer the ship. On some level it really is like those cartoonish adventures inside the body, where all these organism have personalities, and live together working in unison to survive


Edited by FLASHINGROOSTER, 18 February 2021 - 09:52 PM.

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#80 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 19 February 2021 - 08:57 AM

Well... This is quite the thread. Many thanks to you TV for starting it and adding so much interesting content (And the rest of you as well who have contributed).

 

I remember years ago reading James Gleick's book "Chaos" (it was 1988 a year after it was published).  I immediately started writing Conway's Life and Mandelbroit set programs. This is a fascinating topic with regard to its applications for social interaction.  And not a little terrifying if I may say so.

 

I shall be reading this thread with much interest!  In fact I used all my likes up!   


Edited by SteampunkScientist, 19 February 2021 - 08:57 AM.

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