A Fortnight of Links – 11 Oct 2013

Winning At All Costs Will Make Winning Costlier (Than It Needs To Be). John Patty at the Math of Politics blog describes the logic behind the recent US government shut down in terms of a hawk-dove/snowdrift/chicken game. It is especially nice when someone trained in economics thinks about an equilibrium’s stability.

The Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses (BAH!) is over, but the videos will be posted soon.  It was organized at MIT by cartoonist Zach Weinersmith and (my fellow UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology 2007 cohort member) parasite ecologist Kelly Weinersmith. (They are interviewed here.) The festival included distinguished judges, sponsors and speakers who presented “well-argued and thoroughly researched but completely incorrect evolutionary theory.” The prize for best talk? “A sculpture of Darwin shrugging skeptically.”

Mark Lubell addresses three hard questions about network science.

An epic BBC video on the science of chance.

My recent NIMBioS talk is posted online.

Should I Ask a Question During Seminar? A PhD Comics decision-tree.

As always, it is a good idea to check out the weekly links at Evolving Economics.

Having Recently Completed a Doctorate:

What Exactly Is a Doctorate? by Matt Might

I Fear My Dissertation Is Not Having the World-Changing Impact I Thought It Would by Josh Freedman

Entertaining (in that internet sort-of way):

Alternate reality electoral college map where the fifty states all have equal population.

Journal Article of the Fortnight:

Ethnic dominance damages cooperation more than ethnic diversity: results from multi-ethnic field experiments in India.  Tim Waring and Adrian Bell.   

Abstract:  Research in many societies shows that ethnic diversity correlates with a decline in cooperation at the community level. This literature neglects cases in which ethnic heterogeneity is hierarchically structured. Power and status differences between ethnic groups, or ethnic dominance, may play an important role in determining cooperative outcomes. We test this hypothesis using public goods experiments with caste groups in India in which we manipulate the caste composition of experimental groups. Conservative estimates show that ethnic dominance between high and low ranking castes has a much larger negative effect on contributions in the public goods experiment than does caste diversity. We argue that ethnic dominance interactions such as ethnic discrimination constitute a type of antisocial punishment between groups. We also find that conditional cooperation is limited to within ethnic groups, revealing ethnocentric cooperation preferences. These results confirm the importance of group structure in human cooperative patterns, and help bridge the gap between evolutionary theory and cooperation dynamics in multi-ethnic real world settings.



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