Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The November issue of PLoS is available, you may find the table of contents here.

One article of interest is an example of biology intersecting economics (which really happens more often than we may expect). Anna Dornhaus wrote a paper presenting evidence that suggests that ants that are specialists in certain tasks are actually no better (and sometimes worse) at their jobs than generalist ants.

Some claim that the social structure of ants are a parallel example to humans to argue that worker specialization necessarily increases productivity. Never mind the perils of cherry-picking taxa from different phyla to draw general conclusions about life, it seems that one of those taxa commonly selected for comparison to human societies may not even possess some of the traits that make it an interesting comparison. At the peril of making an inappropriate extrapolation, what might this say about a liberal arts education? You may find the article here.

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