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The Urban Scientist

The Urban Scientist

A hip hop maven blogs on urban ecology, evolutionary biology & diversity in the sciences

Hip Hop Evolution Files: Quick & Dirty explanation of Natural Selection by Daft Punk

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My semester teaching was a bit of a roller coaster for me. I didn't feel especially prepared for it. After working myself into a lather worried about students complaining or shirking, they turned out to be fine. I taught upper division courses, so they were pretty well-prepared to to do the work. I, on the other hand, found prepping lectures and labs and selecting papers for students to read and discuss a-never-ending jog. However, it did give me a chance to practice my lecture delivery style and my voice. By the end, I found myself embracing my hip hop meets science voice in all of my classes, not just the special topics seminar of Hip Hop and Sexual Selection. I had fun teaching and using examples from music to explain concepts.

 

 

From SouthernPlayalisticEvolutionMusic on the Southern Fried Science Network.

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Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk

Work It Harder Make It Better

Do It Faster, Makes Us Stronger

More Than Ever Hour After

Our Work Is Never Over

I think this pretty much sums up how Natural Selection works. Okay, it is rather simplified and maybe other evolutionary biologists would frown at my need to reduce such a complex and foundational premise of Biology to a double haiku, but hey….Survival of the Fittest was used to describe Natural Selection and that’s only four words.

Generally speaking natural selection is the long term (think multiple generations) consequences of individuals that have been able to survive hardships and leave offspring behind as proof of their existence.

Everyone, whether human, beast, insect, plant, fungi, flower or microbe must make a living. We’ve got to eat, get hydrated, stay warm or cold (depending on your situation), avoid harm (like predators, disease, accidents), and leave copies of ourselves. And with the simple acts of making a living, some individuals just seem to be better off than others. Whether it’s because of luck, good genes, preparedness, or savvy, the ones that live and tell the tale to their grandchildren are the winners. That’s fitness.

And with every generation, organisms work harder (to survive), get better, get faster (or more clever and otherwise adapted to their environment) and stronger individuals…and it keeps going, generation after generation. The work is never over. Organisms never stop responding to external and internal hardships to survive and leave even better copies of themselves on the earth.

I also like this version of the video by the Carleton Singing Knights.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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