Friday night’s all right for fighting.
Friday night’s all right for fighting.
“I’m sure I’ll take you with pleasure!” the Queen said. “Two pence a week, and jam every other day.”
Alice couldn’t help laughing, as she said, “I don’t want you to hire ME – and I don’t care for jam.”
“It’s very good jam,” said the Queen.
“Well, I don’t want any TO-DAY, at any rate.”
“You couldn’t have it if you DID want it,” the Queen said. “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”
“It MUST come sometimes to “jam to-day,” Alice objected.
“No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.”
“I don’t understand you,” said Alice. “It’s dreadfully confusing!”
The White Queen: Can you do addition? What’s one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?
Alice: I don’t know. I lost count. (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass)
The following chunks of factoids on Alice, chess, and conspiracy theories all come courtesy of that there ol’ wiki: let it take you for a spin today!
Most main characters met in the story are represented by a chess piece, with Alice herself being a pawn. However, the moves described in the ‘chess problem’ cannot be carried out legally due to a move where white does not move out of check (a list of moves is included – note that a young child might make this error due to inexperience).
Although the chess problem is generally regarded as a nonsense composition because of the story’s ‘faulty link with chess’, the French researchers Christophe LeRoy and Sylvain Ravot have argued that it actually contains a ‘hidden code’ by Carroll to the reader.
The code is supposed to be related to Carroll’s relationship with Alice Liddell, and apparently contains several references to Carroll’s favorite number, 42.
The theory and its implications have been criticized for lack of solid evidence, misrepresenting historical facts about Carroll and Alice, and flirting with numerology and esotericism.
Oh, no, not esotericism. I simply cannot brook such a thing.
Previous Alice anticipation posts can be found here.
I meant to gather quotes from the Red Queen and the Queen of Hearts, but instead I ran across this intriguing wikipedia entry so I pasted that almost in its entirety instead. The entry describes the Red Queen Hypothesis and talks about evolution, sex, genetic arms races, and the “cost” of males.
The Red Queen’s Hypothesis, or “Red Queen Effect” is an evolutionary hypothesis. The term is taken from the Red Queen’s race in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass.
The Red Queen said, “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” The Red Queen Principle can be stated thus:
“For an evolutionary system, continuing development is needed just in order to maintain its fitness relative to the systems it is co-evolving with.”
The hypothesis is intended to explain two different phenomena: the advantage of sexual reproduction at the level of individuals, and the constant evolutionary arms race between competing species.
Science writer Matt Ridley popularized the term “the red queen” in connection with sexual selection in his book The Red Queen. In the book, Ridley discussed the debate in theoretical biology over the adaptive benefit of sexual reproduction to those species in which it appears. The connection of the Red Queen to this debate arises from the fact that the traditionally accepted theory (Vicar of Bray) only showed adaptive benefit at the level of the species or group, not at the level of the gene (although, it must be added here that the protean ‘Vicar of Bray’ adaptation is very useful to some species that belong to the lower levels of the food chain).
By contrast, a Red-Queen-type theory that organisms are running cyclic arms races with their parasites can explain the utility of sexual reproduction at the level of the gene by positing that the role of sex is to preserve genes that are currently disadvantageous, but that will become advantageous against the background of a likely future population of parasites.
Sex is an evolutionary puzzle. In most sexual species, males make up half the population, yet they bear no offspring directly and generally contribute little to the survival of offspring. In fact, in some species, such as lions, males pose a positive threat to live young fathered by other males (although this could be viewed as a manifestation of Richard Dawkins’ so-called selfish gene, whose ‘goal’ is to reproduce itself, which may as a consequence suppress the reproduction of other genes). In addition, males and females must spend resources to attract and compete for mates. Sexual selection also can favor traits that reduce the fitness of an organism, such as brightly colored plumage in birds of paradise that increases the likelihood for an individual to be noticed by both predators and potential mates (see the handicap principle for more on this). Thus, sexual reproduction can be highly inefficient.
One possible explanation for the fact that nearly all vertebrates are sexual is that sex increases the rate at which adaptation can occur. This is for two reasons. Firstly, if an advantageous mutation occurs in an asexual line, it is impossible for that mutation to spread without wiping out all other lines, which may have different advantageous mutations of their own. Secondly, it mixes up alleles. Some instances of genetic variation might be advantageous only when paired with other mutations, and sex increases the likelihood that such pairings will occur.
For sex to be advantageous for these reasons requires constant selection for changing conditions. One factor that might cause this is the constant arms race between parasites and their hosts. Parasites generally evolve quickly, due to their short lifespans. As they evolve, they attack their hosts in a variety of ways. Two consecutive generations might be faced with very different selective pressures. If this change is rapid enough, it might explain the persistence of sex.
Interesting shit, am I right?