Sunday, April 21, 2019

Italy, 1285-1550: The Renaissance art market was to a large extent competitive, and that an important determinant of artistic innovation was related to economic incentives

The Economics of Renaissance Art. Federico Etro. Ca' Foscari University of Venice, July 2017.

Abstract: I analyze the Renaissance art market in Italy through a unique dataset on primary commissions between 1285 and 1550. Hedonic regressions on the real price of paintings allow me to advance evidencethat the art market was to a large extent competitive, and that an important determinant of artistic innovation during Renaissance was related to economic incentives. Price differentials reflected quality differentials as perceived at the time (whose proxy is the length of the biography of Vasari, in the 1568 Edition of his Vite) and did not depend on the regional destination of the commissions, as expected under monopolistic competition with free entry. I show an inverse-U relation between prices and ageof execution, which is consistent with a reputational theory of artistic effort, and a substantial increase of the real price of paintings since the 1420s. The latter suggests that artistic differentiation, deeper realism and innovations (as linear perspective) may have been driven by increasing profitability of the profession.
It was in Florence more than in any other place that men became perfect in all the arts,especially in painting, since in that city men are spurred by three things. The first is censure,which is uttered freely and by many... The second is that, if a man wishes to live there, he must be industrious, which is naught else than to say that he must continually exercise his intelligence and his judgment, must be ready and adroit in his affairs, and, finally, must know how to make money... The third, which is perchance no less potent than the others, is an eagerdesire for glory and honor (Vasari, 1568)
Keywords: Renaissance, Economic theory of art history

Puritanism in the Soviet Union: Re-printing of a 1997 book, Eric Naiman's "Sex in Public: The Incarnation of Early Soviet Ideology."

Puritanism in the Soviet Union: Re-printing of a 1997 book, Eric Naiman's "Sex in Public: The Incarnation of Early Soviet Ideology."

Princeton University Press, Legacy Edition, Mar 2019,

On 1 January 1925, Izvestiia published an attack on a new book by Martyn Liadov, the rector of Sverdlov Communist University, the highest Party school.1 In this work, based on a series of lectures to communist cadres under his tutelage, the rector had revealed that nonseasonal sexual desire and, implicitly, menstruation had been inflicted by capitalism on the female body. "In no animal," he had explainded, "is sexuality a dominant emotion throughout the whole year. It appears only at a  specific time, during the female's spring head. [...] For a prolonged historical period (and this is clear from a wide range of historical sources) man, like all other animals, mated only once a year. [...] When a market economy developed, when private property began to be accumulated, then woman, too, was transformed into private propoerty and had to be prepared to satisfy her master's demand at any time."2 Refuting Liadov (a noted Party historian) and Aron Zalking (a "psychoneurologist" who frequently published articles about sex in the Komsomol press), the Soviet health commissar, Nikolai Semashko, charged in Izvestiia that they were turning Marx "inside out" in their ignorance of basic biological and historical facts. [...]

I didn't expect such numbers: Found a high prevalence of rape (13.06%) in women having chronic migrane, and 30% of refractory migraine

High Prevalence of Rape and Sexual Abuse among Chronic and Refractory Migraine Patients (P3.10-010). Agustin Oterino Duran, Maria Toriello, Fernando Iglesias, Fernando Hoyuela, Sara Perez-Pereda, Vicente Gonzalez-Quintanilla, Olga Umaran, Javier-Gonzalo Ocejo. Neurology, April 09, 2019; 92 (15 Supplement) May 7, 2019.


Objective: To analyze the prevalence of early adverse experiences and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among migraine patients in an outpatient migraine-dedicated clinic.

Background: PTSD has a prevalence of 22% among migraineurs, hardly increasing the risk for higher disability. Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) have been associated with migraine and had a strong correlation with migraine severity.

Design/Methods: We prospectively analyzed the prevalence of PTSD in a hospital-based migraine-dedicated outpatient clinic. We randomly selected 64 subjects among aproximately 1000 subjects attended a year. Self-administered MIDAS, Beck Anxiety (BAI), and Depression (BDI) inventories, Fatigue Scale (FS), and Traumatic Questionaire (TQ) were obtained from all patients. Chi2, t-test, and non-parametric tests were used.

Results: After informed consent, a total of 64 patients 46 CM (10 had refractory migraine [RM[) mean of age 45.00±8.5y) and 18 frequent, episodic migraine (39.17±11.7y; p=0.036). MIDAS was higher in CM (91.65±77.0) than EM (50.7±29.9; p=0.032) and higher number of headache days (CM=61.65±23.7; EM=36.75±20.9; p=0.014). BDI, BAI, and FS showed no differences among EM, CM nor RM. TQ was positively answered in 13/18 EM, and in 31/46 CM (n.s.). A total of 5 subjects recognized having been raped (3 RM, 2 CM); 2 suffered incest. Physical abuse was recognized in 11 patients (6 CM, 3 RM, and 2 EM); 8 suffered severe aggression (6MC, 1RM, 1EM);16 recognized mobbing, bulling, or psychological misconduct (14 MC, 1 RM, 1 EM). We found no differences in SF-12 both physical (EM=36.68±9.7; CM=35.4±8.9) and mental dimensions (EM=42.36±11.3; CM=40.17±11.2). SF-12 components inversely correlated with PTSD, BDI, BAI, and FSS scores (for all p<0.01).

Conclusions: We found a high prevalence of rape (13.06%) in women having CM, and 30% of RM. PTSD was associated with more disabling migraine.

We suggest that antecedents of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and violation could be routinally addressed in chronic migraine to undergo specific psychological therapies.

Estimated and final cost subsidies in New York City's new ferry: From an initial subsidy of $6.60 per trip, the final cost is $24.75 per trip (plus $2.75 that each passenger must pay)

A Ferry Subsidy of $24.75 a Ride? New York City’s Costs Are Ballooning. Patrick McGeehan. The New York Times, Apr 17 2019,


One of the new routes Mr. de Blasio announced this year — between Coney Island and Wall Street — is projected to require a subsidy from the city of $24.75 for every passenger, according to a report from the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civic organization.

The commission said that the average subsidy for each passenger in the system’s first year of operation was $10.73, far more than the $6.60 subsidy the de Blasio administration originally estimated.

City officials say the subsidy will fall as the system attracts more riders. They now project that it will drop to less than $8 per passenger, after the addition in the next two years of routes to Coney Island, the North Shore of Staten Island and Ferry Point Park in the Bronx.

But that forecast hinges on an estimate that two million riders a year will opt to pay $2.75 to ride from Staten Island to the West Side of Midtown when they can get to Lower Manhattan on the city-run Staten Island Ferry for free.


Although it would cost $27.50 per person to ride the ferry from Coney Island to Wall Street, according to the Citizens Budget Commission’s report, the estimated 1,100 commuters will only pay $2.75.


Divergence of female & male genitalia can occur in early stages, not only at later stages of speciation (after the accumulation of other reproductive isolating barriers)

Correlated divergence of female and male genitalia in replicated lineages with ongoing ecological speciation. Ryan Greenway et al. Evolution, April 16 2019.

ABSTRACT: Divergence of genital traits among lineages has the potential to serve as a reproductive isolating barrier when copulation, insemination, or fertilization are inhibited by incompatibilities between female and male genitalia. Despite widespread evidence for genital trait diversity among closely related lineages and coevolution of female and male genitalia within lineages, few studies have investigated genital evolution during the early stages of speciation. We quantified genital variation in replicated population pairs of Poecilia mexicana with ongoing ecological speciation between sulfidic (H2S‐containing) and nearby non‐sulfidic habitats. These analyses revealed rapid and correlated divergence of female and male genitalia across evolutionarily independent population pairs exposed to divergent selection regimes. Both sexes exhibited convergent evolution of genital traits among populations inhabiting similar habitat types. Our results demonstrate that genital evolution can occur during the early stages of speciation‐with‐gene‐flow, potentially as a result of variation in the intensity of sexual conflict among populations. Our results suggest genitalia may contribute to early stages of divergence, and challenge the generality of previously suggested mechanisms of genital evolution in poeciliids.

Keywords: convergence, genital evolution, reproductive  isolation, Poecilia mexicana, reinforcement, sexual isolation

Divergence of genital traits has been hypothesized to serve as an effective reproductive isolating barrier when successful copulation, insemination, or fertilization are inhibited or prevented due to incompatibilities between the genitalia of males and females from different lineages [...]. Even though genitalia are among the most rapidly evolving morphological traits (Eberhard 1985), with concomitant implications for the evolution of reproductive isolation [...], the timing and role of mechanical isolation via genital divergence as a barrier to gene flow during speciation remains unclear (Langerhans et al. 2016; Yassin 2016). [...] Few studies have explicitly investigated patterns of genital evolution during early stages of the speciation process [...]. As a result, the question remains whether genital divergence can contribute to reproductive isolation early in the speciation process, or if genital divergence occurs only at later stages of speciation, after the accumulation of other reproductive isolating barriers (e.g., as a consequence of reinforcement upon secondary contact).

[...] Populations of P. mexicana have independently colonized toxic, hydrogen sulfide(H2S)-rich springs in multiple tributaries of the Río Grijalva in southern Mexico (Greenway et al.2014). Sulfide spring fishes are locally adapted and differ from ancestral populations in adjacent non-sulfidic habitats in physiological, morphological, behavioral, and life-history traits(Tobler et al. 2018). Trait divergence includes changes in sexual behaviors(less coercive mating attempts in sulfidic populations; Plath et al. 2003; Plath 2008)as well as aggression and boldness (both reduced in sulfidic populations; Riesch et al. 2009; Bierbach et al. 2017), which could influence genital evolution. Populationsin sulfidespringsare also genetically differentiated from neighboring populations in non-sulfidic habitats despite a lack of physical barriers(Plath et al. 2013). Reproductive isolation between populationsin different habitat typesis in part facilitated by natural selection against migrants, as reciprocal translocation experiments revealed strong selection against migrants from non-sulfidic habitats into sulfide springs, as well as varying levels of selection against sulfidic individuals moving into non-sulfidic habitats (Plath et al. 2013). Additionally, mate choice experiments have revealed significant association preferences for individuals of the same ecotype in non-sulfidic females from populations adjacent to sulfide springs (Plath et al. 2013), which arelinked to adaptive differences in body shape that serve as cues (Greenway et al. 2016). Importantly, neither sulfidic females nor femalesfrom non-sulfidic populations in river drainages lacking sulfide spring populations exhibit significant association preferences, suggesting that reinforcement ( selection for assortative mating) may have shaped female association preferences (Greenway et al. 2016). However, the observed strengths of natural selection against immigrants and assortative mating preferences alone are not strong enough to explain the low observed levels of gene flow (Plath et al. 2013), indicating that other reproductive isolating barriers, such as genital incompatibilities, likely contribute to the strong reproductive isolation observed between populations (Bierbach et al. 2017).