We meet in Branford, CT, about once every 4-6 weeks and topics discussed range from physical sciences, to life sciences and social sciences. A knowledge of the topic being discussed is not required, nor is there any membership requirement or age restriction. Perhaps the only requirement is curiosity and a thirst for knowledge! Science and technology are integral to every aspect of life - history, geography, humanities, music - everything.
Now for a piece of excellent news for Tilde Cafe: as of January 23, 2009 you can find a link to us on the science cafes website maintained by WGBH Educational Foundation - WGBH is the public television station out of Boston, and produces NOVA among many other fantastic shows. Tilde Cafe is the only listed science cafe in CT, and the only one between NYC and Boston!
As of July 2014, the IRS has recognized Tilde Cafe as a 501(c)(3) organization. Gifts are deductible to the full extent allowable under IRS regulations.
© 2009 Deepti Pradhan and Tilde Cafe
September 20, 2014
Cycling through life on energy trade-offs - a wrap up of Tilde Cafe #49
"So be sure when you step,
Step with care and great tact.
And remember that life’s
A Great Balancing Act."
- Dr. Suess
This afternoon's Tilde Cafe discussion, the first of the new season introduced us to many new ways of thinking about the world we inhabit and the multitudinous species we share it with and a few of the multitudinous factors that contribute to the uniqueness of each species and the consequential diversity of the planet - 159 years after Alfred Russel Wallace published his paper "On the law which has regulated the introduction of new species", in September 1855 in the Annals and Magazine of Natural History.
In addition to the more widely discussed genetic traits that contribute to individuality, there are life history traits, a subject not widely discussed in the mainstream, so this was perhaps the first time many of us heard about it. Life history traits define the life cycle of an organism, chiefly growth, reproduction and maintenance/survival. Each of these comes with the consumption of energy. And in order to maintain a balance in the life cycle, it is necessary for an energy trade-off. In other words, when growth and maintenance are the focal point in the life cycle, energy resources are allocated to these, at the expense of reproduction. Similarly, when reproduction and maintenance are the focus, it is at the expense of the organism's growth.
Using examples from flies to fish and elephants, Professor Bribiescas elaborated on his research on studying the balance of life history traits in humans. By measuring the levels of steroid hormones in saliva of both women and men from different parts of the world, representing a variety of different lifestyles - from the hunter-gatherer to the westernized city dweller, his research, and that of others, has attempted to uncover factors which impact the levels of these hormones which can be considered as proxies for energy consumption. For example, saliva from western male participants had significantly higher levels of testosterone between puberty and 30 years compared to saliva from participants from the Ache Amerindians from Paraguay; these levels dramatically decreased over the life of the western individual, reaching levels similar to those of the Ache. Such observations can inform a broader understanding of various pathological conditions such as cancer. With the limited time available, we only got a glimpse into Professor Bribiescas' other research that includes studying the impact steroid hormones on aging, as well as his most recent research as a member of the collaborative Shuar Health and Life History Project
Thank you Rick for an extremely informative afternoon and for drawing us into the fascinating, collaborative and demanding world of field research in anthropology - watch the video of the afternoon to see how space must be shared with tarantulas! It's all about trade-offs!
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