I’ll get mine, Jack

first_imgApplying employment contract theory to symbiosis, a new paper suggests that the mutually beneficial relationships that species create are maintained because of simple self-interest, with partners benefiting from healthy hosts, much as employees benefit from robust employers.The new work would discount the theory that host species have evolved to promote symbiosis, the close and helpful interaction of species, by promising rewards or threatening punishment.Economists and biologists from Harvard University, the University of Toronto, and the University of East Anglia are presenting the work in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“Cooperation between species, known as ‘mutualism,’ is remarkably commonplace in nature, but the evolutionary origins of such partnerships remain murky,” said Naomi E. Pierce, the Sidney A. and John H. Hessel Professor of Biology at Harvard. “Since symbiotic host species essentially ‘employ’ their symbionts, it occurred to us that economic theories explaining how and why employers reward or punish their workers might give us deeper insights into symbiosis. This approach reveals that punishment is far from ubiquitous in nature.”Most mutualism involves species, such as plants, that host smaller symbionts, such as bacteria or insects. Studies have observed that hosts can selectively reward cooperative symbionts and punish cheaters, such as when soybean plants direct food and oxygen only to root nodules colonized by nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and kill off nodules with unhelpful bacteria. But it has remained unclear how such symbioses evolved.“The prevailing consensus, known as ‘host sanction’ theory, has been that host species have evolved to punish cheaters and to reward cooperators,” said Megan Frederickson, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto. “However, an alternative explanation known as ‘partner fidelity feedback’ holds that instead of hosts evolving to punish and reward, symbionts have evolved to help their hosts, because a healthy host automatically feeds back benefits to the symbionts. A cheating symbiont would seem to be treated like any other environmental setback, such as infertile soil, and a mutualistic symbiont elicits the same sort of investments that are triggered by the availability of new resources, like a patch of sunlight.”The researchers said their application of economic theory supports the latter explanation. Lead author E. Glen Weyl, an economist, used employment contract theory to design two tests to probe the evolution of mutualism. The team found that published data from two well-known pairs of symbiotic species better supported the view that symbionts have evolved to help their hosts rather than the hosts evolving to monitor and manage their symbionts.“We proved the host sanction theory wrong by trying to prove it right,” said Weyl, a junior fellow in Harvard’s Society of Fellows. “Every time I created a model, it was in-consistent with the natural biological predictions and with the available evidence. The great virtue of economic theory is not exactly that it is so often right, but that its precision allows it to be easily falsified when it is not.”The analysis by Weyl and his colleagues showed that in two classic mutualisms where host sanctions were thought to prevent cheating — one between a legume and a soil bacterium, and the other between a yucca and a moth — the evidence is actually more consistent with the competing theory of partner fidelity feedback.“The mathematical tools in economic contract theory and mutualisms make quite a natural pairing, but in a way we hadn’t anticipated,” said Douglas W. Yu, lecturer in biological sciences at the University of East Anglia. “Rather than just confirming expectations, the theory let us design powerful tests to choose between hypotheses. It’s always tempting to start with the assumption that an interesting behavior, such as punishment, is the product of specific adaptations, but Glen’s model forcefully reminds us that there is already a lot of biology out there, which natural selection makes use of.”The work was funded by the National Science Foundation, the European Science Foundation/European Collaborative Research’s joint program on the Evolution of Cooperation and Training (TECT), and the Harvard Society of Fellows.last_img read more

Jonathan Clarke Is Proud To Be ‘The Outsider’ In Race To Succeed Israel

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York When Rep. Steve Israel decided eight terms in Congress were enough, he set in motion a scramble that could make the race to replace him in the 3rd Congressional District—which stretches from northern Queens through Nassau and into Suffolk—one of the most expensive in the nation. Five Democrats are in close pursuit of voters ahead of the June 28 primary.Running as an outsider vowing to get rid of money’s influence in politics may have cost 38-year-old Jericho attorney Jonathan Clarke the chance to be on an equal footing with the four other Democrats he faces—at least in terms of media exposure and mass mailings—but he says this year, it works in his favor.New York voters are so angry at the status quo, he insists, that ethics reform is a winning formula. He says that an underdog like him has a chance because the electorate is sick and tired of the corruption that has already led to federal convictions of two of the most powerful men in Albany: the former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and the ex-State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan).Read: “An Inside Look At How Skelos Trial Exposed Slimy Side Of NY Politics” HEREUntil the reforms kick in, though, it still takes money to get money out of politics.Of all the Democrats running for this hotly contested Congressional seat, Clarke certainly has the emptiest campaign war chest. As of this week, he’s raised slightly more than $4,000 from 417 individual contributions, according to his treasurer, and that still falls below the $5,000 threshold, the mandatory requirement to file with the Federal Election Commission. By comparison, his opponents are rolling in it, as shown by their first quarter FEC reports. Suffolk County Legis. Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) had $445,000 cash on hand. Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi had $375,000. North Hempstead Town Board member Anna Kaplan had $350,000 in cash, while former North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman had $189,305 and counting.Since Clarke hasn’t spent thousands of dollars on campaign mailings and TV ads, how many Democratic primary voters have heard of him beyond a few lively debates? Name recognition is one issue he has to overcome. Another is his record of public service. This primary is only his second race—he lost his first election to Nassau Legis. Dennis Dunne, Sr. (R-Seaford) in 2013.By contrast, look at the long resumes of his rivals: Tom Suozzi, the youngest mayor of Glen Cove, was the first Democrat elected in 30 years to be Nassau County executive. Jon Kaiman was North Hempstead supervisor and chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority. Legis. Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) has served in the Suffolk County Legislature since 2005. When she was 13, Anna Kaplan fled Iran as part of an international effort to rescue Jewish children facing persecution, and didn’t see her parents for more than a year until they were reunited in the United States. She has served on the North Hempstead Town Board since 2011.To Clarke, they’re all establishment candidates—“moderate centrists,” he puts it charitably, or “political has-beens and political never-will-bees,” when he’s being less kind—while he’s the only true progressive in the race.Clarke was an early and vocal supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential contest. In April, working with Election Justice USA, a voting rights organization, he filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on behalf of voters from New York City and the Island whose paper affidavit ballots were tossed out in the April 19 primary here that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won handily.He agrees with Sanders’ criticism of the “one percent” who rule corporate America.“In today’s society, if you’re legislating from a place of privilege, and you’ve gone to school and not had to pay off student loans, or you live in the millionaire class, you don’t understand what people are actually going through,” said Clarke in the Farmingdale office of his law firm, Clarke and Fellows, earlier this spring. Now in general practice, he handles personal injury law suits and does a wide range of pro bono work.“When someone hires you as an attorney, they put their life in your hands,” said Clarke. “You have to keep them out of jail because they’ve been wrongly accused, or they’re being evicted from their home due to a foreclosure. You actually have to save them.”The notion that he’s untested makes him scoff.“I don’t think political experience is the important thing,” said Clarke. “I think life experience is the actual thing we should focus on. You can’t really make laws unless you’ve experienced a certain amount of hardship.”Clarke grew up in Freeport. “We were very poor,” he said. His mother left home when he was 4 and his dad “raised me alone.” His parents were never married. His father, who Clarke thinks suffered from PTSD, had served in the Navy during WWII—enlisting when he was a teenager—and wound up on a ship hit by a Japanese kamikaze attack. At one point, Clarke dropped out of high school to support his disabled father, eventually getting his GED from night school. He later went to Nassau Community College and Hunter College in Manhattan. Then he took time off to repay his student loans before getting a law degree from Touro Law School.“I always wanted to be in politics,” he said. “If you can change the law, you can actually affect more people’s lives than by being an attorney and doing it one by one by one. But I thought there was a political class and you couldn’t join it.”Clarke says he got rebuffed the first time he approached the Nassau Democratic Party to volunteer, but he got a better reception after he had his law degree and was living in Levittown. He subsequently got tapped to be what he calls “the sacrificial lamb” running as a Democratic candidate in a heavily Republican area in Nassau against popular incumbent Legis. Dennis Dunne.Once he had his party’s nod, Clarke had been handed a stack of palm cards and campaign brochures supposed to show all the Nassau Democratic Party candidates in a coordinated effort. But to Clarke’s surprise, he discovered that he had actually been left out because he hadn’t kicked in $25,000 as each of the others had. For that race, he spent about $400 initially and then forked over a few hundred dollars more.What happened three years ago apparently made a lasting impression on Clarke. At the top of the ticket, Suozzi was trying to make a come-back bid against Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and “brought all the Democrats down with him,” Clarke observed.Clarke got 37 percent of the vote, which he deems “was actually very, very good.” He claims a Nassau party operative told him later that he had outpolled Suozzi in the 15th Legislative District.“I knocked on just about every door in Levittown,” said Clarke. “At some point, I realized that you can’t win a Republican district just by going to the Democrats, so I had to try to convince the Republicans.”Along the way, he learned a lot about retail politics. When he would tell people that he was a Democrat on a ticket supporting Suozzi, he’d get the door slammed in his face. So he revised his pitch. In his current grassroots campaign, he’s doing the same.“Obviously, I’m a progressive and I’m a Democrat,” he said. “But when you lead with that, you turn people off. You tell somebody Sanders’ agenda in the abstract, and they’ll say, ‘Yeah, I’m for that! I’m for justice! I’m for getting money out of politics!’ But if you call it progressive, then they’re not for it.”The Democratic Party chairmen in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk may disagree with Clarke’s analysis, but he thinks the key to winning the 3rd Congressional District is not the fabled Gold Coast but the working class areas of Plainview and Bethpage, where he claims he’s stronger than the established opponents who’ve had the money to reach voters through their mailboxes and on their TVs. Clarke is also banking on low turnout for the June primary, triggered in part by the confusion caused when Albany set up a separate primary date for state and local races in September. Under New York State rules, the primary is winner-take-all.Clarke drew inspiration from watching Sanders’ improbable campaign make a national impact.“This is the time for someone who’s a complete outsider who’s not in any way tainted by this pay-to-play system,” he said, “and for someone who authentically wants to do this for the right reasons.”Long before he went to law school, Clarke was a philosophy major at Hunter, and he thought about a future in academia. But not after he saw the cut-throat competition among the professors and adjuncts in his department. A political contest is a love fest by comparison, he says with a smile. Nonetheless, the subject of his college thesis still resonates with him today. He restated its theme: “Whether it’s right to do something because it’s right, or right to do something because of the effect it has.”He contends that his lack of foreign policy expertise doesn’t make him any weaker than his primary rivals and pointed out that he had served on his international law review at Touro. But those issues will confront him squarely in Congress. He said he was disappointed that Congressman Israel had signed a letter criticizing the Iran nuclear deal that the Obama administration had negotiated. He further noted that Kaplan was “pandering” to get votes in her Great Neck community when she sided with Israel’s hardline Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.“Why take a bellicose stand against Iran?” said Clarke. “They have young people coming up.” He hailed President Obama’s achievement as a major foreign policy victory for peace in the region.Asked why he wouldn’t have taken the more conventional approach to a career in politics and run for the state Assembly, for example, he was adamant that Congress was where it’s at.“Albany is an even bigger cesspool than Mineola!” Clarke exclaimed. “I don’t think anything positive is going to come out of there.”And that’s another reason Clarke is confident that he’s the best Democratic candidate to challenge state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), who’s gotten the official backing of Queens, Suffolk and Nassau Republicans and Conservative Party leaders, to be their choice for the 3rd CD. Clarke says Martins is vulnerable on the same “pay-to-play” issues that brought down Skelos, his former Albany mentor. “Martins wouldn’t give up on Skelos until the bitter end,” Clarke said.But Clarke believes change can only come from Washington.“I think campaign finance reform is the issue,” he said. “That is the pinnacle of what I’m running on.”Perhaps not surprisingly, he actually believes he can clinch the nomination.“When people see what little money it took me to win the primary,” said Clarke confidently, “then I think people will start saying, ‘Well, maybe it doesn’t cost $1.5 million. Maybe we should actually put somebody up there who cares.”last_img read more

Ryan rings the changes for Tipp Cork clash

first_imgTipperary Senior Hurling Manager Michael Ryan has made 6 changes to the side that lined out against Kilkenny for their Allianz League Hurling clash with Cork tomorrow.Barry Heffernan, John McGrath and Jason Forde are back in the team after being unavailable against the Cats due to Fitzgibbon Cup action. Captain Padraic Maher returns after being rested up for the last clash while Cathal Barrett comes back at midfield. Lorrha-Dorrha’s Brian Hogan making his debut in goal.The Tipperary hurling team lines out as follows; Photo © Tipp FM Brian Hogan – Lorrha-Dorrha2. Alan Flynn – Kiladangan3. Seán O’Brien – Newport4. Donagh Maher – Burgess5. Barry Heffernan – Nenagh Éire Óg6. Padraic Maher (Capt.) – Thurles Sarsfields7. Ronan Maher – Thurles Sarsfields8. Brendan Maher – Borris-Ileigh9. Cathal Barrett – Holycross-Ballycahill10. Seán Curran – Mullinahone11. Billy McCarthy – Thurles Sarsfields12. Patrick Maher – Lorrha-Dorrha13. Michael Breen – Ballina14. Jason Forde – Silvermines15. John McGrath – Loughmore-CastleineyTipp take on Cork tomorrow in the fifth round of the Allianz National Hurling League in the second game of a double header with the footballers.Throw in at 2.30  and Tipp FM’s live coverage of the game comes in association with Sullivan Family Butchers Brooklands, Nenagh.last_img read more

More N.Y. Yum franchises closed down

first_imgShares of Yum Brands slid 84 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $57.10 on the New York Stock Exchange. “We will not compromise on our food and restaurant quality,” Yum Brands executive Emil Brolick said in a written statement. ADF President Don Harty apologized to customers for the problems. “We are embarrassed by the situation and stress that certain restaurants did not meet the very high standards that we set for ourselves,” he said in a statement. The decade-old company owns more than 350 fast-food restaurants in several states and is among the nation’s largest operators of Pizza Huts. NEW YORK – A major owner of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell franchises saw a majority of its New York City restaurants shut down Thursday as the fallout continued from a video showing rats overrunning one of its Manhattan eateries. The city’s health department revealed that three more restaurants owned by the ADF Cos., of Fairfield, N.J., were closed by inspectors this week because of unsanitary conditions. Two, both in Queens, were found to be infested with mice. The new closures prompted swift action by fast-food giant Yum Brands Inc., parent of the KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut chains. Late Wednesday it announced the pre-emptive closing of 10 additional New York restaurants operated by ADF. It said they would remain shuttered until city inspectors gave them a clean bill of health. As of Thursday afternoon, eight of its 22 New York restaurants had passed an inspection and were allowed to remain open. ADF spokeswoman Marissa Smith said it was unclear how soon the others might reopen. City inspectors put the company in their cross hairs last week, when a TV cameraman peering through the windows of a KFC/Taco Bell in Greenwich Village at 2:30 a.m. recorded a nauseating number of rats skittering across the floor and climbing on tables and countertops. The video, which circulated on the Internet, also brought shame on the city for giving a passing grade to the eatery during an inspection just a day earlier. A follow-up inspection resulted in the restaurant’s immediate closure. Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said this week that the city’s failure to immediately shut the restaurant was unacceptable, and he removed the inspector who conducted the initial review from field duty. He also promised that other inspectors could expect a thorough analysis of their work. Several restaurant owners complained they had been given excessively punitive inspections in the scandal’s wake. “After what happened in Manhattan, now they are cracking down on every restaurant,” said Ted Vlamis, whose Vegas Diner in Brooklyn failed an inspection and was ordered closed by the Department of Health on Wednesday. In 25 years of operation, Vlamis said, the restaurant had never been judged so harshly. This week’s inspection, he said, resulted in seven times as many violation points as the diner received in its last evaluation a year ago – all for minor infractions. “Two weeks ago, we would have been fine,” Vlamis said. Health department spokeswoman Sara Markt denied that any special crackdown was ongoing. Currently, about 1 in 5 city restaurants fail their annual inspection. About 500 of the 60,000 restaurants score poorly enough for the city to order them closed at least temporarily. Some of the city’s most famous restaurants have flunked a recent inspection, from the iconic Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, to the Hello Deli on 53rd Street, famous for the appearances of proprietor Rupert Jee on CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman.” Over the past two fiscal years, inspectors have fined restaurants $38 million for code violations.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more