24 August, 2011

Why aging is caused mostly by degredation and is only modulated differentially by physiological factors

In an article recently posted about a talk given by Michael Rose, an analysis is performed of his theory that aging may not be caused by acquired systemic damage over time.

I give him dap for standing up for his view but I'll bethttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif my hands (my most important body parts) he's wrong. Aging must be due mostly to a cumulative degenerative process. The simple answer comes from analyzing something I am sure Michael hasn't factored into his analysis and that is the relative difference in the number of translation and transcription events (ie places where mutations can happen) that exists between a fly and a human being. When you are as short lived as a fly, with a short cycle of cell recycling it becomes easy to have physiological effects dominate the longevity of an individual if well controlled (the results Michael got by controlling diet) but over the longer term the organism still is subject to mutations that slowly build up and lead to the whole house of cards coming down. Humans churn a significantly larger number of cells over their vastly longer life time and diet modification has a smaller impact on the much broader effects of system mutations arising across the much larger set of tissues, it takes longer for those degenerative effects to lead to catastrophic failure (death) but even with controls in diet and exercise the gains that are achieved are a small fraction of the total life cycle of the average human (as we can see from many studies that have revealed the results of exercise and diet on life length) it helps but not that much, the systemic degradation from acquired mutations just dominates the process. Be those mutations ones that are resident in telomeres being shortened, or induced by reduced efficiency of mitochondrial energy production or build up of proteins in the brain and other critical organs...eventually they win system wide and kill the organism.

I think that as a modulating factor his idea does make sense, that a base line for the aging population is determined by non physiological factors...but then those give way in the super long term to the slow mutation factors...the induced mistakes, the build up of cruft, the influence of radiation...eventually it catches up and the whole system comes tumbling down. We know the chemistry of interaction is only probabilistically true...thus it is guaranteed that mistakes will happen, some of them will go on repaired and those will lead to events that effect the fitness of the individual...be it methylation of a key gene or some other effect that leads to the slow degradation of the individual.

A great analog for what is going on between these ideas can be had from recalling the relationship between classical newtonian mechanics and relativistic mechanics. In the regime of speeds << c newton is quite adequate...providing numbers accurate to several decimal points, enabling us to confidently use these (wrong) equations to send probes to the far hurtling moons of Jupiter, to land with exquisite accuracy. Yet...for higher speeds, Newton's mechanics fails spectacularly...in the particle accelerators relativistic adjustments are requires to ensure accurate results. Just as it was a subtle transition at a very high rate of speeds that revealed the dilation effects that modulate momentum, length and time in relative, so to are the steady effects of ever present mutation factors in different organisms going to differentially present based on their relative rates of cell turn over and cell mass over their observed average life times.

Here is a hypothesis....that anemone (or the fruitfly for that matter) if scaled to our mass equivalent would start visibly showing it's aging ways over a not too long time scale...also, by being under water they are protected from a major source of mutations that are muted with an exponential law with depth into the seas...conferring a protection by eliminating a major source of slow mutations that we are subject to continuously here at the surface, the sun.


"The result illustrate the rapid attenuation
of solar UV radiation underwater
even in the clear oceanic water of the
Maldive islands. "

15 August, 2011

Google buys Motorola: Analysis

Google buys Motorola

Major bold play by Larry Page and co. As explained in his letter this is a great move for giving Android a premium handset maker to showcase it's latest capabilities. It also enables Google to directly make it's own handsets, to have control over a hardware division that can cater handsets to any of the major carrier delivery protocols as well as create their own.

The best part of this though is the fact that from now on Motorola instead of or in addition to HTC will be Google's go to company for create thttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhe reference models for the latest and greatest from Android (the Nexus sets) and these will tell the market where to go as they'll likely have the newest stuff first.

Also, Google surely realizes the importance of leading on volume to gain market share. They used the volume play to define their main search business (to make money on ads) and they used that play again when they open sourced Android and gave it away to carriers to spread the OS love wider than any iOS or winmobile could. Now they are going to flatten things with the devices by making low cost Android based devices (I bet you.) With rumors of a low cost iOS phone swirling from Apple...you can bet some part of this choice had to do with trying to beat Apple to the punch on getting a cheap smart phone to market.

Also, factor in what is happening on the protocol side of things. The carriers hegemony of service access to the net is hinged on their ability to control the cell towers and meter access to their services by the various handset makers. Google has always believed that wifi is the best way to enable a smart phone to connect to the net (it's definitely the cheapest from the consumers pov and usually provides way better bandwidth), they tried their best but failed to get around the carriers when they angled for plan free versions of the Nexus when it first arrived (G1). With their own phone maker they can more directly address other access methods to the net via wireless devices and guess what was just ratified two weeks ago, 802.22. A protocol that promises to enable pretty much any one with a connection to the internet to enable wireless devices to connect through it across *miles* thanks to the re appropriation of the former frequencies used by analog tv. This will auger in a major shift in how wireless devices connect , enabling them for the first time to gain coverage without requiring the major telecoms which basically are in collusion...let's face it.

I refused to purchase a cell phone precisely because I knew the pricing for the services were all exorbitant (I studied communications engineering as an undergrad so I am familiar with much of the details). We are paying for massive executive salaries and big dividend distributions more than anything else....texting costs the telecoms zero, text goes in a side band sent with any transmission. voice has been digitized and takes up a fraction of the bandwidth it once did and more over many people rarely use it..."data" is the same thing that they use on the back end to send text and voice via IP so why they charge separately for it when they are using it in their other services...is the most egregious infraction. We are all being triple charged for a service that should be nearly cost free. In other countries the pricing is significantly lower for this troika of services but US regulations enable the telecoms freedom to gouge that is not allowed else where. Dishonest businesses ....Google with it's "don't be evil" mantra knows this and could be planning to get around them....they could conceivably become a carrier once 802.22 adoption kicks off by simply building their own access points using the new protocol. Motorola would be providing both cheap handsets and a dirt cheap network access (or enabling the cable companies to provide) method with wider coverage than cell towers. It would be an amazing boost to adoption of smart phones and would trigger development of IP based applications yet again. It would force the telecoms to compete on pricing and will embolden others to put up 802.22 access points...one could conceivably set up ones own telecom...enabling access per device connection mediated with software. This is ideally how it should work...enabling any phone to connect to any network provider and pay a per provider charge for the connection not a per application price for the application used. Texting , Voice are applications not distinct services and should be reflected that way in pricing...this deal has given Google a way to push that future forward and it only means good things for the consumer if so.



12 August, 2011

A wealth of empathy in the poor and the poor empathy of the wealthy.

I came across this article recently and thought of a simple thought experiment that explains using a simple appeal to resource constraints and energy conservation why i is so.

It makes perfect sense that empathy would work this way, a thought experiment in which one starts with a group and the necessity to share available resources in short supply (food,water..etc.) reveals it. Now take away one individual after another from the group while keeping the resource supply fixed, as the number of individuals goes down the necessity, nay even the *thought* of sharing reduces in scope. As the available supply of the still limited resource to the lower number of individuals actually goes UP anyway. Eventually, removing the n - (n - 1) th user leaves one person with all the resources and zero ability to even express empathy (as the resources are all theirs to hoard). Running the mental program of "I need to figure out how we will share this" when there are individuals around is done out of the simple fact that NOT doing so can be dangerous. So each agent chooses the option that is optimal from each of their perspective and that is to share/express empathy for the plight of those with him they are bottled up and really have no choice but to share. Larger numbers of people only strengthen the urge as where one could fight off one or two aberrant sharing agents...it would not be possible with 100. So the tendency to be empathic is actually normalized by greater numbers need to share the limited resource pool. The opposite is true for those that have virtually unlimited resource by virtue of their wealth and running the empathy program becomes energy non conservative so it is not executed.

11 August, 2011

To Keynes or not to Keynes...is no longer the question.

I was sent by a friend on Facebook to this article and started writing a response, it was getting involved so I decided to blog it instead.

First, note his use of the terms "insufficient deficits" he's putting words in Krugman's mouth by equating (conflating) the idea of spending in order to boost employment and thus help kick the economy out of the duldrums with an amorphous general idea of a "deficit" which every one agrees is a bad thing from the sound of it. However, the spending of mere few billion that was done nation wide in the early 50's on the US highway program (which aided the deficit as they were spending without an immediate eye to profit) returned in the succeeding decades trillions of dollars....in fact the facilitation of the inter continental commerce industry boosted the US economy and continue to explain much of it's success in comparison to nations that do not have such a built up commerce infrastructure.

"Do Krugman's assertions make any sense at all? After seeing the above two charts, how can anyone in his right mind think that our economic sluggishness is due to insufficient deficits and a timid Fed?"

So, the author screws up horribly on that point. Another term he uses is "inflation" he sounds like one of those monists that thought that stagflation of the 70's was caused by the Fed flooding the market with dollars and boosting inflation, as if any attempt to boost dollars creates inflation but this last period has been pretty much devoid of any inflationary pressures despite large increases in the circulation of the dollar by the fed. Again, he's asserting a word that many people take as a boogie man, he's conflating boosting the circulation of the dollar directly with "inflation" and that is absolute nonsense it is not working that way now..they are correlated only through multiple variables and in this regime they are actually anti correlated.

"Soaring commodity prices — which of course are consistent with the Peter Schiff view of the world, and not at all with the Keynesian "it's all about demand" view — just "muddied this issue to some extent." But we can just throw that out because we just know, deep down, that the Keynesian models are right and the right-wing models are wrong."

No, he throws it out because commodities prices soaring is also not directly correlated with anything predicted by a Keynsian view. Commodities have their values set primarily by two things a) demand and b) perception. We are in a regime now where the *perception* of safety of wealth in commodities is high. Investors and people perceive high prices in oil predominantly because of now historical incidents. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and turmoil in oil exporters. Also all the talk of the oil boon soon running out is not helping things...perception is skewing the demand curve so that it anti correlates with true value. Ditto for gold, accept the perception in this case lies in the false idea that gold "holds its value" .....go ahead convert your money to gold and when perception crashes as the economy recovers ...what how much of your value poofs into smoke as demand doesn't match it if you don't sell in time.

"A more typical response was to accept some elements of the criticisms while refining Keynesian economic theories to defend them against arguments that would invalidate the whole Keynesian framework—the resulting body of work largely composing New Keynesian economics."


Also, the quote from your article above is disingenuous as the ideas of perception modulating value/demand has been factored into refined Keynsian models(see quote above)...so why is this guy talking as if modern day Keynsians are 100% married to the original conception?? That's like calling all Darwinists married to the kooky ideas that Darwin had in his theory that weren't true to explain some species and interactions, but that is not what modern Darwinists do...for example we know today that our DNA (which Darwin knew nothing about) is subject to dna inclusion within the life of individuals for cross inheritance between *different* species..Darwin didn't think this was possible yet it is today part of modern Darwinist theory. Anyway...the author is smart in that his methods would fool a lot of Americans who don't catch these type of subtleties (particularly as they are so egregious in the right wing media) but not smart enough. If one looks at the history (fortunate for me this stuff just bubbles up to mind) one sees that though it is not cut and dried it really isn't rocket science either.


A complex interaction between real supply, real demand and *perceived* value determines how markets move. Determine how effective floods of capital will be in a given economic environment and determine how those markets will react to various forms of stimulus...be they attempts to boost employment by spending on projects that promise returns on investment in the form of boosted productivity and consumer spending or otherwise. The key modulating factor that economic models have a hard time getting a finger on is this perception. Today, commodities like gold and oil are at all time highs not because they are rare and in demand but because there is a *perception* that they are rare. The private corporations that hold the true keys to supply of both aren't about to tell the governments everything they know about the availability of supply even if they are mandated to tell details of quantities extracted (easy enough to leave deposits in the Earth and let supply dwindle to tweak demand and prices back up as the political winds churn). This is a major failing in the metering tools used by the government to keep corporations honest and it explains much of the behavior of the markets that is anti correlated to *classical* Keynsian views...but as indicated above, he never really formalized in a mathematical way his views...others did, some got things right others got things wrong (Phillips curve) but the general idea of Keynsian principles are sound...the only gotcha is the spending that is done must be smart spending otherwise there will be a net negative effect, there will be inflation and unemployment as Friedman predicted in the 60's. All of these modulations are part of the same spectrum of interacting variables and are not mutually exclusive...if only more people would realize that.

02 August, 2011

The merits of marketing by influence in the internet age.

A recent article got me to thinking about the power of networked influence in democratizing access to potential success in a service or product business.


The relatively new mathematics of network theory has been showing this with elegant equation after the next. That it is more important who you are connected to than to how many. In this case the who is a hyper connected distribution engine like Amazon's app store, the how many comes by hierarchical association through the store for any apps hosted and given featured placement there in. Once that brand recognition is made it is as if the company and product were validated by Amazon itself, the power of that influence...granted as quoted above for 0% rev. share could be invaluable to a company just getting started. It enables the quality of the product or service on offer to forgo the need of being absolute best of class (it just needs to satisfy the need adequately), as the network effects (especially as an early player) could lead to a spike in revenue to the featured player before any one else gets to shine their product before consumer eyes. After that spike the creators could be rich, quite a return on investment should one be fortunate enough to get the nod.

However, this leads a larger discovery, that the internet has democratized *access to influence* of other highly networked individuals, institutions or entities, it only requires the mention of those less connected by a connected node to propagate strong lines of interest through the super node to the lesser entity and changing it's influence in the graph of nodes for ever.

This latter realization means it may be optimal as a strategy to seek to bolster influence by access to super nodes over even attempting to improve the core elements of a product or service first. In many industries the differences between players and marginal, for example fashion. There are millions of people producing t shirt designs and selling them for profit but because designs are more or less the same in that they all are printed on t-shirts, it's more important to spread the idea of the designs as wide as possible rather than play up the quality of the shirts. Promulgating the designs through a super node would enable a poorly designed set of shirts to gain more sales than a really well designed set. The power of access to influence is strong in t shirt sales. In contrast other businesses must have a differentiated product in place before attempting to sell to any audience. A DVD player that fails to work or even has a high failure rate will not last long on the sales lists as it's failures will reveal themselves in the first set of purchasers...even if those purchases come through the efforts of a super node. Microsoft is a perfect example of this, they spend billions marketing their windows phone product and because of short comings of the product in comparison to the competition, it failed despite the massive marketing muscle brought to bare on the problem in an effort to use Microsoft's influence to boost sales of phones using the OS.

I think the failure of the company to gain influence came because of several key reasons unique to the service at this time: the duration of the sales period was too short, amazon just launched the app store and few people are actually downloading from it (it's a bear just to get on your phone). That is why he failed to get a good boost from the influence offered by the one day free presentation in my view. I predict things would change significantly as time elapses and more users begin using the app store and if the promotion time is long enough for network effects to take over.

Determining the proper strategy to take will then vary with the type of product or service on offer, it's level of differentiation in the market and the availability of super nodes that can promulgate those products or services and thus mitigate (to the extent possible as described above) against failings in the product or service itself.

Network Theory