Category Archives: Memetics

An Idea Worth Spreading

As I mentioned on last week’s podcast, I’m currently rolling out a little experiment in memetics. Earlier this week, I bought four copies of Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist and am sending them to friends who I think… a) Haven’t already read the book, and b) Will enjoy it I’m asking these friends, if they like […]

How About "Demes?"

Susan Blackmore says that evolution has a third kind of replicator, following on the heels of genes and memes, and that this new replicator needs a name. Blackmore is one of the big names in memetics, having written one of the most elaborate and well though-out books on the subject. In her recent essay in […]

How About “Demes?”

Susan Blackmore says that evolution has a third kind of replicator, following on the heels of genes and memes, and that this new replicator needs a name. Blackmore is one of the big names in memetics, having written one of the most elaborate and well though-out books on the subject. In her recent essay in […]

Truth Optional

John Tierney writes in his New York Times column: If I’m serious about keeping my New Year’s resolutions in 2009, should I add another one? Should the to-do list include, “Start going to church”? This is an awkward question for a heathen to contemplate, but I felt obliged to raise it with Michael McCullough after […]

The Future Is Thin

Dean’s World has hosted a spontaneous blogwave over the past few days on the subject of whether the traditional recommended course of diet and exercise is an effective long-term cure for obesity. Like Battlestar Galactica and the question of whether “bible-thumpers” should be considered “true Protestants,” this is one of those topics that comes up […]

The Meme that Continues to Unite the World

Say, did you hear the one about the clever German kid who gave a hand to the hapless, math-challenged American scientists? A 13-year-old German schoolboy corrected NASA’s estimates on the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth, a German newspaper reported Tuesday, after spotting the boffins had miscalculated. Chances are you did. It’s all over […]

More on Usefulness vs. Truthfulness

Following up on Saturday’s entry about the meme that united the world, I was struck by this piece (via InstaPundit) on how science plays into the debate over female genital mutilation. The gist of the piece is that some scientists may be fudging (or possibly just misunderstanding) research results to show that female genital mutilation […]

The Meme that United the World

Why would a nine-year-old Gallup poll suddenly emerge on Digg Science earlier this week as if it were news? This happens on Digg sometimes — it has happened on this site, too, I must confess — where a news story is found to be so compelling and so in line with the kinds of things […]

Memes and Terrorism, Part Two

I started writing a response to the spirited debate taking place between Karl and El Jefe in the comments section of my entry earlier this week on Memetic Viruses, when I realized that my own comments were growing into blog-post dimensions. Michael and Karl have gone a couple of rounds now over whether the officials […]

Memetic Viruses

People who play “jokes” such as this in the real world are the equivalent of hackers who unleash viruses in the cyber world: BOSTON – At least seven suspicious devices planted near bridges and other spots around Boston forced the shutdown of major roads, a bridge and a stretch of the Charles River on Wednesday […]