Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Death of "K and r selection" : for PhDs and Punksters alike, popularity is anathema

Memes are like indie bands
Nothing kills a good scientific metaphor  more stone dead than having it taken up by the detested "civilians".

Supposedly grown-up male scientists tend to act just like not-yet-grown-up male scientists : nothing kills the young male science student's interest in some obscure punk indie band faster than if  the rest of humanity also decides to like it.

Panarchy reigns....or should reign

I still think that "K and r selection" is a highly useful metaphor (and am glad that people much smarter than me, like Buzz Hollings and Brian Walker agree in its continuing value as a scientific metaphor in discussing Panarchy concepts.)

Yes, in stable statutory and economic environments, big K-selected organisms like Canada's Bell Aliant can totally dominate the Canadian media niche.

But, equally, in time of turmoil (say a drastic change in the artificial CRTC rules that restrain true competition) , nimble little r-selected media businesses might pick up the pieces when Bell fall apart.

Except that, unlike in Nature, Bell is usually judged "too big to fail" by the libertarians (sic) that dominate our government, universities and media and so remains bloated but alive, held aloft by nothing more - or less - than trillions of taxpayers' and consumers' dollars .....

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