Econstudentlog

Wikipedia articles of interest

1. Allopatric speciation.

“Allopatric speciation (from the ancient Greek allos, “other” + Greek patrā, “fatherland”) or geographic speciation is speciation that occurs when biological populations of the same species become isolated due to geographical changes such as mountain building or social changes such as emigration. The isolated populations then undergo genotypic and/or phenotypic divergence as: (a) they become subjected to different selective pressures, (b) they independently undergo genetic drift, and (c) different mutations arise in the populations’ gene pools.[1] The separate populations over time may evolve distinctly different characteristics. If the geographical barriers are later removed, members of the two populations may be unable to successfully mate with each other, at which point, the genetically isolated groups have emerged as different species.”

2. Oradour-sur-Glane. Lots of ugly stuff was going on behind the lines on the eastern front. But very bad things happened in Western Europe too. As well as thousands of kilometers to the east as well. This link has a lot of stuff you probably don’t want to know about Japanese war crimes. Here’s one bit:

“If you were a Nazi prisoner of war from Britain, America, Australia, New Zealand or Canada (but not Russia) you faced a 4% chance of not surviving the war; [by comparison] the death rate for Allied POWs held by the Japanese was nearly 30%.”

“According to the findings of the Tokyo Tribunal, the death rate among POWs from Asian countries, held by Japan was 27.1%.[25] The death rate of Chinese POWs was much higher because—under a directive ratified on August 5, 1937 by Emperor Hirohito—the constraints of international law on treatment of those prisoners was removed.[26] Only 56 Chinese POWs were released after the surrender of Japan.[27] After March 20, 1943, the Japanese Navy was under orders to execute all prisoners taken at sea.[28]”

3. Gossypiboma.

“Gossypiboma or textiloma is the technical term for a surgical complications resulting from foreign materials, such as a surgical sponge, accidentally left inside a patient’s body. The term “gossypiboma” is derived from the Latin gossypium (cotton) and the Swahili boma (place of concealment) and describes a mass within a patient’s body comprising a cotton matrix surrounded by a foreign body granuloma.[1][2] “Textiloma” is derived from textile (surgical sponges have historically been made of cloth) and the suffix “-oma”, meaning a tumor or growth, and is used in place of gossypiboma due to the increasing use of synthetic materials in place of cotton.[1]”

[…]

“The actual incidence of gossypiboma is difficult to determine, possibly due to a reluctance to report occurrences arising from fear of legal repercussions, but retained surgical sponges is reported to occur once in every 3000 to 5000 abdominal operations[2] and are most frequently discovered in the abdomen.[3] The incidence of retained foreign bodies following surgery has a reported rate of 0.01% to 0.001%, of which gossypibomas make up 80% of cases.”

This study stated that: “The incidence of surgical sponge being retained during operation is difficult to estimate, but it has been reported as 1 in 100-3000 for all surgical interventions and 1 in 1000-1500 for intra-abdominal operations[4]. Retained sponges are most frequently observed in patients with obesity, during emergency operations[6] and following laparoscopic interventions[7]. Retained sponges are most frequently observed in patients with obesity, during emergency operations [6] and following laparoscopic interventions.”

Notice the high bound estimate (1 in 100) in that quote, it’s much higher than the wikipedia stat. There seems to be huge uncertainty as to just how great this problem is. If you want to avoid it, don’t be fat, don’t have emergency surgery and avoid minimally invasive surgery/laparoscopic procedures.

4. Hadley cell.

For those who’ve only had geography in Danish, the ‘trade winds‘ mentioned in the article are what we call ‘passat-vindene’ in Denmark.

5. Pont du Gard.

While reading a bit about sanitation in Ancient Rome, I followed the link to the article, then the thought struck me: ‘I’ve been there’. Maybe I haven’t, but I certainly might have been; I was in Provence with the family many, many years ago and I (now) remember that we saw a huge aqueduct like this.

November 15, 2010 - Posted by | biology, genetics, Geography, history, medicine, wikipedia

2 Comments »

  1. Re #1: “If the geographical barriers are later removed, members of the two populations may be unable to successfully mate with each other, at which point, the genetically isolated groups have emerged as different species.” – I remember reading of even more borderline cases (did this research following an argument with Christian co-workers), where the members of the two populations can successfully mate with each other, but refuse to do so. Thus, “unable to mate successfully” in the quote may need to be understood not as “physically unable”, but as “not doing it in a natural habitat at a rate significant enough to bridge the gap”. The cutoff line for a new species is often not a line, but a gray area. I gave up on that argument because of genius-caliber counters of the “show me a species that has become another species” sort. The example of chihuahuas and Saint-Bernards did not do the trick (“No, I have not seen them breed, and nobody has, but… they are still dogs!”). At that point the smart thing to do is to sigh and shut up.

    Comment by Plamus | November 17, 2010 | Reply

  2. I remember reading of even more borderline cases where the members of the two populations can successfully mate with each other, but refuse to do so.

    It was an article about this specific phenomenon that sparked my interest in the subject and had me look up the term. I think it was either Razib Khan or perhaps Ed Yong who wrote an article about this not so long ago.

    Comment by US | November 17, 2010 | Reply


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