A few lectures

I had trouble following this, but I thought it was an interesting lecture anyway. The sound falls out a couple times for very brief periods of time (a few seconds, but still irritating) and a few other times it’s a bit difficult to tell what he’s saying because he speaks very fast. The guy who controls the camera occasionally forgets to follow him around, which is annoying. But aside from these small problems it’s a good lecture. Here are some links that I found helpful along the way (some were more helpful than others…) while watching the lecture: Duality (projective geometry), Euler characteristic, Big O notation, configuration (geometry), cubic curve, algebraic geometry of projective spaces, Cayley–Bacharach theorem.

I liked most of the lecture, but I agree with Razib Khan’s assessment that: “there may not have been a gene which made humanity, but a subtle complex of numerous genetic and cultural changes which transitioned at a critical point”. Based on his comments towards the end of the lecture, it seems that Pääbo thinks along different lines. It seems to me that the story about the origin and evolution of culture(s) is complex and multidimensional, and to tell the story of how humans got from flint axes to airplanes you need a lot more than to identify a few SNPs. I’d be very surprised if we can ‘narrow it down’ as much as Pääbo seems to assume we might be able to.

This lecture is much less technical than the first two – it’s a rather light and data-poor lecture, but I did find it worth watching.


April 22, 2014 - Posted by | Genetics, History, Lectures, Mathematics, Medicine

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