Off-topic

Slightly off-topic from our usual news, but at last I have seen a sensible comment on the debate (including for what passes for debate “below the line”) about Scottish Independence. Commenting on the exchange of angry posts made following the comments by Jose Manuel Barroso today, “thegreatfatsby” posted on The Guardian website:

“Way to go. Yet another great example of how a perfectly functioning, civilised country with standards of living and freedom equable with anywhere in the world becomes infected with the virus of nationalism and then that virus breeds hatred and intolerance.”

I could not agree more. If anyone has any doubts about where nationalism can lead (does anyone, really?), two recent books I have read over the last few months offer no illusions: Christopher Clark’s magnificent The Sleepwalkers (2012, Penguin) and Tim Snyder’s devastating Bloodlands (2011, Vintage).

Paper of the week: kin selection might be useful

This week’s paper of the week is an interesting study by Carazo and friends examining the role of kin selection in mitigating intra-sexual competition for mates and its consequences for females in Drosophila.

Carazo, P. et al. (2014) Within-group male relatedness reduces harm to females in Drosophila. Nature 505: 672–675. 

To read the paper, please go here. Scott Pitnick and David Pfennig also provide a “news & views” here.