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11
Dave: one of the most common and widely studied type of allelic variation in humans is Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs, Snips to its friends.

SNPs are variants in which just one nucleotide is different.

How do you think that such variants might occur by either HGT or recombination?

And if you can't think of how they might occur other than by what you would call a "copying error", are you of the view that they are extremely unlikely ever to be advantageous?
12
No I'm trying to convince you but I'm afraid that's not possible.

No, it isn't possible to convince us that your utterly confused understanding of genetics and the mechanisms of genetic variation has anything to do with reality.

That's because it doesn't.
13
As it turns out she does believe that errors under my definition are necessary to ensure long lineages. But she's wrong. She, like many evolutionists, believe this on faith alone because there is absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever. In fact the whole Third Way movement got started because many scientists are finally beginning to realize this.


No.  please read my fucking posts.

I said that ERRORS under MY definition, which INCLUDES errors under YOUR definition but ALSO includes mutations caused by OTHER mechanism are necessary for long lineages.

There has to be SOME mechanism for getting variation into the genome.  It doesn't HAVE to be any one of those mechanisms.  It could be ANY of them.
14
Politics and Current Events / Re: The Fourth Estate
Last post by Testy Calibrate -
and this:
https://www.wired.com/story/how-trump-conquered-facebookwithout-russian-ads/
Quote
To wit, the tweets said that the online advertising campaign led by the shadowy Internet Research Agency was meant to divide the American people, not influence the 2016 election.

Antonio García Martínez (@antoniogm) is an Ideas contributor for WIRED. Before turning to writing, he dropped out of a doctoral program in physics to work on Goldman Sachs' credit trading desk, then joined the Silicon Valley startup world, where he founded his own startup (acquired by Twitter in 2011) and finally joined Facebook's early monetization team, where he headed the company's targeting efforts. His 2016 memoir, Chaos Monkeys, was a New York Times best seller and NPR Best Book of the Year, and his writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Guardian, and The Washington Post. He splits his time between a sailboat on the San Francisco Bay and a yurt in Washington's San Juan Islands.

You're probably skeptical of Rob's claim, and I don't blame you. The world looks very different to people outside the belly of Facebook's monetization beast. But when you're on the inside, like Rob is and like I was, and you have access to the revenue dashboards detailing every ring of the cash register, your worldview tends to follow what advertising data can and cannot tell you.

From this worldview, it's still not clear how much influence the IRA had with its Facebook ads (which, as others have pointed out, is just one small part of the huge propaganda campaign that Mueller is currently investigating). But no matter how you look at them, Russia's Facebook ads were almost certainly less consequential than the Trump campaign's mastery of two critical parts of the Facebook advertising infrastructure: The ads auction, and a benign-sounding but actually Orwellian product called Custom Audiences (and its diabolical little brother, Lookalike Audiences). Both of which sound incredibly dull, until you realize that the fate of our 242-year-old experiment in democracy once depended on them, and surely will again.

Like many things at Facebook, the ads auction is a version of something Google built first. As on Google, Facebook has a piece of ad real estate that it's auctioning off, and potential advertisers submit a piece of ad creative, a targeting spec for their ideal user, and a bid for what they're willing to pay to obtain a desired response (such as a click, a like, or a comment). Rather than simply reward that ad position to the highest bidder, though, Facebook uses a complex model that considers both the dollar value of each bid as well as how good a piece of clickbait (or view-bait, or comment-bait) the corresponding ad is. If Facebook's model thinks your ad is 10 times more likely to engage a user than another company's ad, then your effective bid at auction is considered 10 times higher than a company willing to pay the same dollar amount.

A canny marketer with really engaging (or outraging) content can goose their effective purchasing power at the ads auction, piggybacking on Facebook's estimation of their clickbaitiness to win many more auctions (for the same or less money) than an unengaging competitor. That's why, if you've noticed a News Feed ad that's pulling out all the stops (via provocative stock photography or other gimcrackery) to get you to click on it, it's partly because the advertiser is aiming to pump up their engagement levels and increase their exposure, all without paying any more money.

During the run-up to the election, the Trump and Clinton campaigns bid ruthlessly for the same online real estate in front of the same swing-state voters. But because Trump used provocative content to stoke social media buzz, and he was better able to drive likes, comments, and shares than Clinton, his bids received a boost from Facebook's click model, effectively winning him more media for less money. In essence, Clinton was paying Manhattan prices for the square footage on your smartphone's screen, while Trump was paying Detroit prices. Facebook users in swing states who felt Trump had taken over their news feeds may not have been hallucinating.

(Speaking of Manhattan vs. Detroit prices, there are some (very nonmetaphorical) differences in media costs across the country that also impacted Trump's ability to reach voters. Broadly, advertising costs in rural, out-of-the-way areas are considerably less than in hotly contested, dense urban areas. As each campaign tried to mobilize its base, largely rural Trump voters were probably cheaper to reach than Clinton's urban voters. Consider Germantown, Pa. (a Philly suburb Clinton won by a landslide) vs. Belmont County, Ohio (a rural county Trump comfortably won). Actual media costs are closely guarded secrets, but Facebook's own advertiser tools can give us some ballpark estimates. For zip code 43950 (covering the county seat of St. Clairsville, Ohio), Facebook estimates an advertiser can show an ad to about 83 people per dollar. For zip code 19144 in the Philly suburbs, that number sinks to 50 people an ad for every dollar of ad spend. Averaged over lots of time and space, the impacts on media budgets can be sizable. Anyway ...)

    The Like button is our new ballot box, and democracy has been transformed into an algorithmic popularity contest.

The above auction analysis is even more true for News Feed, which is only based on engagement, with every user mired in a self-reinforcing loop of engagement, followed by optimized content, followed by more revealing engagement, then more content, ad infinitum. The candidate who can trigger that feedback loop ultimately wins. The Like button is our new ballot box, and democracy has been transformed into an algorithmic popularity contest.

But how to trigger the loop? For that, we need the machinery of targeting. (Full disclosure: I was the original product manager for Custom Audiences, and along with a team of other product managers and engineers, I launched the first versions of Facebook precision targeting in the summer of 2012, in those heady and desperate days of the IPO and sudden investor expectation.)

Despite folklore about "selling your data," most Facebook advertisers couldn't care less about your Likes, your drunk college photos, or your gossipy chats with a boyfriend. What advertisers want to do is find the person who left a product unpurchased in an online shopping cart, just used a loyalty card to buy diapers at Safeway, or registered as a Republican voter in Stark County, Ohio (a swing county in a swing state).

Custom Audiences lets them do that. It's the tunnel beneath the data wall that allows the outside world into Facebook's well-protected garden, and it's like that by design.

Browsed for shoes and then saw them on Facebook? You're in a Custom Audience.

Registered for an email newsletter or used your email as login somewhere? You're in a Custom Audience.

Ordered something to a postal address known to merchants and marketers? You're definitely in a Custom Audience.

Here's how it works in practice:

A campaign manager takes a list of emails or other personal data for people they think will be susceptible to a certain type of messaging (e.g. people in Florida who donated money to Trump For America). They upload that spreadsheet to Facebook via the Ads Manager tool, and Facebook scours its user data, looks for users who match the uploaded spreadsheet, and turns the matches into an "Audience," which is really just a set of Facebook users.

Facebook can also populate an audience by reading a user's cookies--those digital fragments gathered through a user's wanderings around the web. Half the bizarre conspiracy theories around Facebook targeting boil down to you leaving a data trail somewhere inside our consumer economy that was then uploaded via Custom Audiences. In the language of database people, there's now a "join" between the Facebook user ID (that's you) and this outside third-party who knows what you bought, browsed, or who you voted for (probably). That join is permanent, irrevocable, and will follow you to every screen where you've used Facebook.

The above is pretty rudimentary data plumbing. But only when you've built a Custom Audience can you build Lookalike Audiences-- the most unknown, poorly understood, and yet powerful weapon in the Facebook ads arsenal.

With a mere mouse click from our hypothetical campaign manager, Facebook now searches the friends of everyone in the Custom Audience, trying to find everyone who (wait for it) "looks like" you. Using a witches' brew of mutual engagement--probably including some mix of shared page Likes, interacting with similar News Feed or Ads content, a score used to measure your social proximity to friends--the Custom Audience is expanded to a bigger set of like-minded people. Lookalikes.

(Another way to picture it: Your social network resembles a nutrient-rich petri dish, just sitting out in the open. Custom Audiences helps mercenary marketers find that dish, and lets them plant the bacterium of a Facebook post inside it. From there, your own interaction with the meme, which is echoed in News Feed, spreads it to your immediate vicinity. Lookalike Audiences finishes the job by pushing it to the edges of your social petri dish, to everyone whose tastes and behaviors resemble yours. The net result is a network overrun by an infectious meme, dutifully placed there by an advertiser, and spread by the ads and News Feed machinery.)

read more at the link
15
In fact the whole Third Way movement got started because many scientists are finally beginning to realize this.
Nope.

Since you've never read a single book by any "Third Wayer" this, obviously, expresses nothing more than your wishful thinking.
Nope.

Here's Shapiro way back in 1997 ...
Quote
Localized random mutation, selection operating
"one gene at a time" (John Maynard Smith's formulation), and gradual modification of
individual functions are unable to provide satisfactory explanations for the molecular data, no
matter how much time for change is assumed. There are simply too many potential degrees of
freedom for random variability and too many interconnections to account for. http://shapiro.bsd.uchicago.edu/Shapiro.1997.BostonReview1997.ThirdWay.pdf

Since that time many have joined him.


But that does not say anything about whether
Quote
... errors under my definition are necessary to ensure long lineages.

There certainly ARE other things going on, beyond just nucleotide misincorporations.
But no one has proposed anything OTHER than what you call "errors" for the ultimate source of the variety that the various mechanisms Shapiro alludes to reshuffle.

Bottom line:
You simply don't know what you're talking about.
16
Politics and Current Events / Re: The Fourth Estate
Last post by Testy Calibrate -
https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/18/fake-news-is-an-existential-crisis-for-social-media/
Quote
As Zeynep Tufekci has eloquently argued: "The most effective forms of censorship today involve meddling with trust and attention, not muzzling speech itself."

So we also get subjected to all this intentional padding, applied selectively, to defuse debate and derail clear lines of argument; to encourage confusion and apathy; to shift blame and buy time. Bored people are less likely to call their political representatives to complain.

Truly fake news is the inception layer cake that never stops being baked. Because pouring FUD onto an already polarized debate -- and seeking to shift what are by nature shifty sands (after all information, misinformation and disinformation can be relative concepts, depending on your personal perspective/prejudices) -- makes it hard for any outsider to nail this gelatinous fakery to the wall.

Why would social media platforms want to participate in this FUDing? Because it's in their business interests not to be identified as the primary conduit for democracy damaging disinformation.

And because they're terrified of being regulated on account of the content they serve. They absolutely do not want to be treated as the digital equivalents to traditional media outlets.

But the stakes are high indeed when democracy and the rule of law are on the line. And by failing to be pro-active about the existential threat posed by digitally accelerated disinformation, social media platforms have unwittingly made the case for external regulation of their global information-shaping and distribution platforms louder and more compelling than ever.

*

 

E
very gun outrage in America is now routinely followed by a flood of Russian-linked Twitter bot activity. Exacerbating social division is the name of this game. And it's playing out all over social media continually, not just around elections.

In the case of Russian digital meddling connected to the UK's 2016 Brexit referendum, which we now know for sure existed -- still without having all of the data we need to quantify the actual impact, the chairman of a UK parliamentary committee that's running an enquiry into fake news has accused both Twitter and Facebook of essentially ignoring requests for data and help, and doing none of the work the committee asked of them.

Facebook has since said it will take a more thorough look through its archives. And Twitter has drip-fed some tidbits of additional infomation. But more than a year and a half after the vote itself, many, many questions remain.

And just this week another third party study suggested that the impact of Russian Brexit trolling was far larger than has been so far conceded by the two social media firms.

The PR company that carried out this research included in its report a long list of outstanding questions for Facebook and Twitter.

Here they are:

    How much did [Russian-backed media outlets] RT, Sputnik and Ruptly spend on advertising on your platforms in the six months before the referendum in 2016?
    How much have these media platforms spent to build their social followings?
    Sputnik has no active Facebook page, but has a significant number of Facebook shares for anti-EU content, does Sputnik have an active Facebook advertising account?
    Will Facebook and Twitter check the dissemination of content from these sites to check they are not using bots to push their content?
    Did either RT, Sputnik or Ruptly use 'dark posts' on either Facebook or Twitter to push their content during the EU referendum, or have they used 'dark posts' to build their extensive social media following?
    What processes do Facebook or Twitter have in place when accepting advertising from media outlets or state owned corporations from autocratic or authoritarian countries? Noting that Twitter no longer takes advertising from either RT or Sputnik.
    Did any representatives of Facebook or Twitter pro-actively engage with RT or Sputnik to sell inventory, products or services on the two platforms in the period before 23 June 2016?

We put these questions to Facebook and Twitter.

In response, a Twitter spokeswoman pointed us to some "key points" from a previous letter it sent to the DCMS committee (emphasis hers):

    In response to the Commission's request for information concerning Russian-funded campaign activity conducted during the regulated period for the June 2016 EU Referendum (15 April to 23 June 2016), Twitter reviewed referendum-related advertising on our platform during the relevant time period.

    Among the accounts that we have previously identified as likely funded from Russian sources, we have thus far identified one account--@RT_com-- which promoted referendum-related content during the regulated period. $1,031.99 was spent on six referendum-related ads during the regulated period. 

    With regard to future activity by Russian-funded accounts, on 26 October 2017, Twitter announced that it would no longer accept advertisements from RT and Sputnik and will donate the $1.9 million that RT had spent globally on advertising on Twitter to academic research into elections and civil engagement. That decision was based on a retrospective review that we initiated in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections and following the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that both RT and Sputnik have attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government. Accordingly, @RT_com will not be eligible to use Twitter's promoted products in the future.

The Twitter spokeswoman declined to provide any new on-the-record information in response to the specific questions.

A Facebook representative first asked to see the full study, which we sent, then failed to provide a response to the questions at all.

The PR firm behind the research, 89up, makes this particular study fairly easy for them to ignore. It's a pro-Remain organization. The research was not undertaken by a group of impartial university academics. The study isn't peer reviewed, and so on.

But, in an illustrative twist, if you Google "89up Brexit", Google New injects fresh Kremlin-backed opinions into the search results it delivers -- see the top and third result here...


worth reading the whole thing
17
I would say one thing about Pingu's post that I think is...not wrong, but missing a point.

Quote
One that reproduces with a great deal of error may tend to go extinct rapidly because too few good viable variants are born.

Death isn't the only problem with high-error reproduction. If the error rate is sufficiently high, you also run the risk of producing "variants" which shouldn't be considered part of the population any more, depending on how you define the population (of course, if you define it cladistically, you never run into this problem, but you may run into situations where that seems weird - even in relatively low-error situations)
18
In fact the whole Third Way movement got started because many scientists are finally beginning to realize this.
Nope.

Since you've never read a single book by any "Third Wayer" this, obviously, expresses nothing more than your wishful thinking.
Nope.

Here's Shapiro way back in 1997 ...
Quote
Localized random mutation, selection operating
"one gene at a time" (John Maynard Smith's formulation), and gradual modification of
individual functions are unable to provide satisfactory explanations for the molecular data, no
matter how much time for change is assumed. There are simply too many potential degrees of
freedom for random variability and too many interconnections to account for. http://shapiro.bsd.uchicago.edu/Shapiro.1997.BostonReview1997.ThirdWay.pdf

Since that time many have joined him.
19
Why did we even get off on the topic of error rates in DNA anyway?

:dunno:
Probably you badgering from another topic/thread.
20
... But the point is that without some imperfection in the reproduction process, i.e. without most, or at least some, offspring being unique, populations are doomed not to adapt. Which is why small populations tend to be vulnerable to extinction. Which is also why the Ark story is so bloody silly, but I do realise that the subtext here is that somehow you've got to get a lot of extra genetic variance into those animal pairs but you can't bring yourself to call them "errors".  But you won't get them from recombination either.  You need new alleles, which means that at least some of the gene sequences need to split and recombine mid-gene in a manner that will produce a gene different from both parents.  Some would call this an "error" in the recombination process.
This was the crux of the issue back in the "Who says Adam didn't have HUNDREDS of alleles?"  days, and Hawkins seems to have made no progress on it since.

Where DID the tens / hundreds / thousands of alleles per locus in animal genomes come from ?

Hint: Spoiler (click to show/hide)


I'm getting off Pingu's latest stupid merry go-round ...

But this from Voxrat is interesting ...

I will revisit it
Why did we even get off on the topic of error rates in DNA anyway?

:dunno:
Changed your mind, eh?

:badger: