In Silicon Valley, companies discuss and worry about their “technical debt.” That’s the friction caused by the accumulation of bad design choices, expedient compromises, avoided decisions, and postponed work. Enough technical debt makes your product less attractive and your company less capable. In providing social goods, we incur an analogous “social debt” for many...Continue reading
Does trauma change our genetic makeup, and can our children inherit that change?...
During flu season it’s good to remember that we’re social animals. Our social standing directly impacts our well-being; inequality and health are linked. The relationship between status and health showed up clearly in the Whitehall studies in the U.K. The first study tracked the health of men in the British civil service over a...Continue reading
The Harvard Study of Adult Development is a very long longitudinal study. For 75 years, the study has gathered data on two cohorts: 268 men who were sophomores at Harvard in 1938, and 456 boys who lived in low-income neighborhoods in Boston at the same time. A main focus of the study is alcohol...Continue reading
New research published in a Scientific American article shows that descendants of Holocaust survivors have altered stress hormones. This parallels research mentioned in a previous blog post about how the effects of famine ripple through subsequent generations....
In a previous post, I discussed how a Swedish study showed the affect of feast or famine on successive generations. A grandfather’s hard childhood can alter a grandchild’s genetic makeup, leaving the child susceptible to problems like obesity or depression. I speculated that this phenomena was a biological rationale for public services: improving lives...Continue reading
I’m not a scientist by training or profession, but I am fascinated by what science can tell us about our social nature. In the past few years, new discoveries and techniques in genetics and data mining have revealed new levels of our interdependence, levels that can impact our genetic inheritance in a single generation...Continue reading