Author: Stephen Heap

Stephen Heap is a freelance scholar working from his wandering office in Finland. His scientific background is in biological information use, multilevel selection and human sociality. He has studied in and around the Universities of Melbourne, Florida State, St. Andrews and Jyväskylä. His current position is on the streets.
Interviews

Prestige: Simple, maybe, but not easy.

The concept of prestige in social learning can be difficult to address, and even more-so in the context of scientific practice. But a rumination of The Prestige as presented in Christopher Nolan’s film brings some resolution to conceptual tensions and inspires some real magic worthy of the term.

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Reviews

Four Reasons to Serve the Hive

“We are the Borg. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.” (The Borg, Star Trek TNG) The Hive wants YOU! Give up your pathetic notions of self-importance and join something greater. There will be no fear. There will be no unmet […]

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Reviews

Learning To Climb On The Fitness Landscape

Nature presents a diversity of challenges that individuals can address through learning, and the best learning strategies to employ can depend on the type of challenge. Challenges can vary in how rewarding a given solution is, with respect to how closely it resembles some optimal ideal. In some cases, small incremental improvements toward the ideal provide adequate feedback between solution and reward for an individual to learn asocially (wide fitness landscape). By contrast, individuals have inadequate guidance for tracking an ideal solution and rely more on social learning when only some solutions are rewarded (narrow fitness landscape).

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Reviews

Cracked on Culture

A review of the Cracked Podcast, by Stephen Heap.

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