Evolution experiments: Darwin at Home

Darwin at Home is an open-source software project. It lets you see mathematical organisms evolving on your own computer. No two are alike!

“Evolution is as natural as gravity”

Darwin at Home is an open source software project that aims to bring the process of evolution into your computer at home so that you can see it working. From the initial projects to evolve locomotion it is now moving towards a more generic framework for evolution in general.

See the videos on the site for examples and explanations of what factors were programmed and what were left to chance. The “fitness” criterion is simple: ability to move, the faster the better.

moving critter evolved by Darwin at Home software

moving critter evolved by Darwin at Home software

Human-like behaviors in dogs

It’s becoming clear that dogs have been selected and bred for their ability to attend to and interpret humans:

“A review of domestic dogs’ (Canis familiaris) human-like behaviors: or why behavior analysts should stop worrying and love their dogs.”
—by Monique A. R. Udell and C. D. L. Wynne


Dogs likely were the first animals to be domesticated and as such have shared a common environment with humans for over ten thousand years. Only recently, however, has this species’ behavior been subject to scientific scrutiny. Most of this work has been inspired by research in human cognitive psychology and suggests that in many ways dogs are more human-like than any other species, including nonhuman primates. Behavior analysts should add their expertise to the study of dog behavior, both to add objective behavioral analyses of experimental data and to effectively integrate this new knowledge into applied work with dogs.
Key words: gestures, object permanence, theory of mind, social cognition, dogs

Get your pumpkins ready

There’s a Flying-Spaghetti-Monster pumpkin contest!

Posted in humor. Tags: , . Leave a Comment »

STC Toronto blog has moved

For convenience and more functions, the blog of the Society for Technical Communication, Toronto community, has moved. You can find it here: STC Toronto blog. I am one of several contributors.

Measles in the U.S.

From the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, an Editorial Note:

Once ubiquitous, measles now is uncommon in the United States. In the prevaccine era, 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 measles cases occurred every year, resulting in approximately

  • 450 deaths,
  • 28,000 hospitalizations, and
  • 1,000 children with chronic disabilities from measles encephalitis.

Because of successful implementation of measles vaccination programs, fewer than 100 measles cases are now reported annually in the United States and virtually all of those are linked to imported cases, reflecting the incidence of measles globally and travel patterns of U.S. residents and visitors.

Don’t avoid vaccines!

New medical blog: CMAJ Blog

While looking up the article on flu shots preventing Alzheimer’s (and finding that the page is now in Chinese or something), I discovered that the Canadian Medical Association Journal has a blog starting in March: the CMAJ Blog. Hmmm, starting in March and ending in August. Well, I hope they pick it up again sometime. The articles are interesting.

“Thank you, Mr. Darwin”

Hank Fox has a heart-warming tale in “Earthman’s Notebook: Thank you, Mr. Darwin. Again.

Posted in people. Tags: , . 1 Comment »

Election Prediction Project: Canadian federal election 2008

The Election Prediction web site is making AND TRACKING its predictions for federal and provincial elections.

The current predictions are these:

Changed/Les prévisions ont changés: 2:48 PM 08/10/2008

Liberal Party
Party libéral
Bloc Québécois 41
X Other
Too Close
to call
Total 308
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