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Comment Re:It Hurts (Score 1) 320

The Exodus of Moses and the Jews from Egypt?

We know that the Egyptians were really good at keepin records. Like "small family of farmers came in to Egypt to get some grain" kind of good records. And yet, there is no mention of 1000's of Hebrew slaves existing in Egypt, let along escaping, let alone the plagues that were supposedly brought upon the pharaoh, let alone the parting of the sea and murder of 100's (or maybe 1000's) of soldiers when the sea collapsed.

And then there's the lack of archaeological evidence of a large group of people "wandering" the deserts for 40 years.

Comment Re:hmmm (Score 1) 461

There is a lecture series that was filmed in the 80s/90s (one of the questions asked was "do you know how to use a computer?") which featured Richard Dawkins explaining the process of evolution. If it helps you to pretend that it's someone else, do that, because it is definately worth watching on youtube, he even addresses the Bombardier beetle "problem".

The Evolution of Sexual Reproduction is another complex subject, but you can read about it at the link above. I beleive that the advantage of sexual reproduction was that when you swap genes, you can adapt faster (more possiblity for a bad transfer, more combinations of genes etc). The first sexual reproducers were probably hermaphrodites like flowers, fertilising each other with the wind (before insects). And that eventually developed into male and female genders. The other things that you mention are all explainable in a plausible way (see argument from personal incredulity).

Comment Re:hmmm (Score 5, Informative) 461

This is not entirely true, E. Coli is known to be able to metabolise glucose. The bacteria were "grown" in a solution that included glucose as it's main component. There were also many populations of the bacteria that were being evolved seperately (they NEVER mixed). Suddenly, in one population, a bacteria emerged that could metabolise citrate. This gave that bacteria a massive advantage, because it could now consume two types of food and it had no competition for the citrate (unlike glucose, which all the other bacteria could consume as well).
This also allowed the total population in that group to explode (there's now more food in total, glucose + citrate).

Another cool thing is that this smashes the "Irreducible Complexity" argument. The ability to metabolise citrate is developed by two separate mutations, which, on their own achieve nothing. Some of the populations developed the first mutation and some developed the second one, but none of them had previously developed both. This shows that the "preliminary" mutations were not harmful to the bacteria, so they just "hung around" until one of them was lucky enough to get the second mutation too.

Anyway, look up Lenski's work, I'm sure his papers (and those of his students/colleagues) are better at explaining it all than me...

Comment Re:hmmm (Score 1) 461

an external population with which to mediate the process.

Mediate how exactly? They still can't contribute to the "gene pool" since there is no pool. Asexual reproduction involves no transferral of genes within a generation, only from parent to child.

would the group go through a smaller or greater number of mutations?

On average, for the same number of generations, they would go through the same number of mutations. (This is of course disregarding things that would directly damage DNA ("free radicals")). The only effect that having them "inbred" (you really need to see this), in a lab is that the researchers can monitor and control the whole process.

Comment Re:Not for desktop pc's, but (Score 1) 344

The reason Starcraft currently sucks with a track pad is because you're using a single-touch interface, and even if you aren't, Starcraft is limited to only recognise one point of mouse input. If the "pinch" (for zoom), "drag" (for pan and rotate) and other (eg, tilt camera, see this TED video (you can skip to the "flying across a map" section)) gestures were available, as well as the larger input surface as shown in the video, I think that this input would be easier than using a mouse!

As is also shown in the video, you still have a keyboard (look near the end), so shortcuts are still available. I wouldn't mind betting that most of those 300+ actions are performed via shortcut keys.

Comment Re:Missing an important benefit (Score 1) 105

There is probably a reason that plants (or more specifically, their ancestor) gave up asexual reproduction a long time ago. From memory, the currently accepted reason was that it allowed for more variety in the gene pool and therefore could allow for more agile adaptation to changing environmental factors that are impacting an organism's survival.

For plants that we're trying to domesticate (see: Artificial Selection), faster evolution is probably better.

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