Saturday, June 12, 2021

Effects of Increased Weights of Alternative Fuel Trucks on Pavement and Bridges: Long-haul electric trucks with a range of 300 miles are expected to be 5,328 pounds heavier than fossil-fuel versions in 2030, in 2050 they will be 1000 pounds less

Effects of Increased Weights of Alternative Fuel Trucks on Pavement and Bridges. Harvey, John, Saboori, ArashMiller, Marshall, Kim, Changmo, Jaller, Miguel, Lea, JonKendall, Alissa, Saboori, Ashkan. Univ of California Institute of Transportation Studies, report no. 2020/19, Nov 2020.

Abstract: California’s truck fleet composition is shifting to include more natural gas vehicles (NGVs), electric vehicles (EVs), and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), and it will shift more quickly to meet state greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals. These alternative fuel trucks (AFTs) may introduce heavier axle loads, which may increase pavement damage and GHG emissions from work to maintain pavements. This project aimed to provide conceptual-level estimates of the effects of vehicle fleet changes on road and bridge infrastructure. Three AFT implementation scenarios were analyzed using typical Calif. state and local pavement structures, and a federal study’s results were used to assess the effects on bridges. This study found that more NGV, EV, and FC trucks are expected among short-haul and medium-duty vehicles than among long-haul vehicles, for which range issues arise with EVs and FCs. But the estimates predicted that by 2050, alternative fuels would power 25–70% of long-haul and 40–95% of short-haul and medium-duty trucks. AFT implementation is expected to be focused in the 11 counties with the greatest freight traffic—primarily urban counties along major freight corridors. Results from the implementation scenarios suggest that introducing heavier AFTs will only result in minimal additional pavement damage, with its extent dependent on the pavement structure and AFT implementation scenario. Although allowing weight increases of up to 2,000 lbs. is unlikely to cause major issues on more modern bridges, the effects of truck concentrations at those new limits on inadequate bridges needs more careful evaluation. The study’s most aggressive market penetration scenario yielded an approximate net reduction in annual well-to-wheel truck propulsion emissions of 1,200–2,700 kT per year of CO2 -e by 2030, and 6,300–34,000 kT by 2050 versus current truck technologies. Negligible effects on GHG emissions from pavement maintenance and rehabilitation resulted from AFT implementation.

1 lb is almost .5 kg

Long-haul electric trucks with a range of 300 miles are expected to be 5,328 pounds heavier than fossil-fuel versions in 2030. Short-haul and medium-duty box delivery electric trucks are expected to weigh 1,400 extra pounds. Batteries are heavy because the chemicals and materials in battery cells are densely packed and have a good amount of mass. Based on average market penetration, the batteries on electric trucks in 2030 could collectively equal 59.3 million pounds. Future technology is expected to reduce that weight by almost 1,000 pounds by 2050. Also, adding tires and axles to the largest trucks could spread the load more evenly to reduce stress on roads and bridges.

4.3 Cost to Strengthen and Replace Bridges Due to a 2,000-Pound Truck Weight Increase

The MAP-21 study provided an estimate of $0.4 billion for the one-time costs to strengthen and replace bridges due to a 5axle, 88,000 lb. truck (Scenario 1 of the CTSWLS) across all states. The following is a top-down first-order calculation that translates that national-level cost to California alone.

• The MAP-21 study assumed that bridges with a rating factor (either flexure or shear) less than 1.0 will require rehabilitation.
• For this current study, it was assumed that the bridges in the structurally deficient category are those that had rating factors less than 1.0.
• California has 6.2 percent of all the bridges in the US that are structurally deficient and 3.9 percent of all the structurally deficient NHS bridges. It was assumed for this study that 4.5 percent of the bridges are structurally deficient. Bridges on the NHS system are longer and more costly to rehabilitate than non-NHS bridges.
• It was also assumed for this study that the 82,000-lb. GVW limit produces half (allowing for some illegal trucks over the 82,000-lb. limit) as many ratings less than 1.0 than the 88,000-lb. truck scenario (a conservative estimate).
• The estimated cost is then: 4.5% × 0.5 × $400 million = $9 million in 2011 dollars.
• This cost estimate does not include any increases in annual maintenance costs due to the heavier trucks.

Pride, shame, envy, admiration, respect, contempt, anger, fear—and status hierarchies

Durkee, Patrick. 2021. “Emotions and Status Hierarchies.” OSF Preprints. May 23. doi:10.31219/

Abstract: Emotions define and are defined by status hierarchies. This chapter examines human emotions in relation to hierarchy navigation. Because emotional adaptations evolve in response to selective pressures, I first present evidence supporting the ubiquity of hierarchies and the fitness-relevance of status in the ancestral past. Next, I provide a sketch of the recurrent adaptive challenges likely posed by life within hierarchically organized groups to circumscribe the hierarchy-navigation tasks emotional adaptations are expected to address. I then highlight several emotions—pride, shame, envy, admiration, respect, contempt, anger, and fear—that appear to facilitate hierarchy navigation, review the evidence for their functional design, and explore ways in which relative differences in status may modulate recurring emotional experiences. Finally, I discuss how understanding the interplay between emotions and hierarchy navigation can inform our understanding of broad individual differences.

Check also Psychological foundations of human status allocation. Patrick K. Durkee, Aaron W. Lukaszewski, and David M. Buss. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 18, 2020.

When cumulative culture functionally overlaps with genes, genetic effects become masked, unmasked, or even reversed, & the causal effects of an identified gene become confounded with features of the cultural environment

Cultural Evolution of Genetic Heritability. Ryutaro Uchiyama, Rachel Spicer and Michael Muthukrishna. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, May 21 2021. Pre-print heritability-165_final(1) (

Abstract: Behavioral genetics and cultural evolution have both revolutionized our understanding of human behavior—largely independent of each other. Here we reconcile these two fields under a dual inheritance framework, offering a more nuanced understanding of the interaction between genes and culture. Going beyond typical analyses of gene–environment interactions, we describe the cultural dynamics that shape these interactions by shaping the environment and population structure. A cultural evolutionary approach can explain, for example, how factors such as rates of innovation and diffusion, density of cultural sub-groups, and tolerance for behavioral diversity impact heritability estimates, thus yielding predictions for different social contexts. Moreover, when cumulative culture functionally overlaps with genes, genetic effects become masked, unmasked, or even reversed, and the causal effects of an identified gene become confounded with features of the cultural environment. The manner of confounding is specific to a particular society at a particular time, but a WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic) sampling problem obscures this boundedness. Cultural evolutionary dynamics are typically missing from models of gene-to-phenotype causality, hindering generalizability of genetic effects across societies and across time. We lay out a reconciled framework and use it to predict the ways in which heritability should differ between societies, between socioeconomic levels and other groupings within some societies but not others, and over the life course. An integrated cultural evolutionary behavioral genetic approach cuts through the nature–nurture debate and helps resolve controversies in topics such as IQ.

Comments on this paper... Mitchell, Kevin J. 2021. “Developmental Noise Is an Overlooked Contributor to Innate Variation in Psychological Traits.” PsyArXiv. September 21. Developmental Noise Is an Overlooked Contributor to Innate Variation in Psychological Traits


From the 2020 version:

The question, “Which SNPs  are associated with skin cancer?” is similarly culturally dependent. In societies where sunscreen use is common, we expect genes that govern skin pigmentation to be less predictive of skin cancer compared to societies where it is not.

A gene can be beneficial in one environment but not in another. For example, we have known for a long time that increasing nutrition (Lynn 1990; Stoch et al. 1982), improving schooling (Ceci 1991; Davis 2014; Ritchie and Tucker-Drob 2018), and removing parasites (Wieringa et al. 2011) have positive effects on general intelligence. None of this is surprising, but it means that in a society where parasite infection is kept under control, we would not notice that parasite status correlates with intelligence, due to a lack of sufficient variation in parasite load. For the same reason, a correlation between lead exposure and IQ (Needleman and Gatsonis 1990; Wasserman et al. 1997) will not be revealed in a society where lead is not a problem. The same principle applies to genes: genes that provide protection against malnutrition, parasites, or pollution would only be positively associated with intelligence in environments where these insults occur. In environments where these challenges have been overcome, the same genes would not be associated with intelligence, and can even be deleterious. For example, being a carrier (heterozygous) for abnormal hemoglobin via sickle cell trait (Elguero et al. 2015) or thalassemia (Mockenhaupt et al. 2004) protects against malaria and is thus beneficial in an environment with the Plasmodium falciparum parasite. Because malaria is known to have a negative impact on cognitive development (Holding and Snow 2001), we would expect the gene for abnormal hemoglobin to be positively associated with intelligence in environments with a high risk of malaria. As the risk of malaria decreases heterozygosity will be neutral or deleterious, but this too depends on environmental factors such as diet. Similarly, alleles that protect against parasite infection (Carter 2013) or lead poisoning (Onalaja and Claudio 2000) will be predictive of IQ only if the environmental risk factors are present in sufficient quantities. In an environment with arsenic contamination, variants in AS3MT associated with more efficient arsenic metabolism (Schlebusch et al. 2015) may be predictive of intelligence (Wang et al. 2007).

Spontaneous face touching: Count and duration increase with arousal, emotional or cognitive load; active prevention of face touching to reduce infections requires mental effort

Stop touching your face! A systematic review of triggers, characteristics, regulatory functions and neuro-physiology of facial self touch. Jente L. Spille et al. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, June 11 2021.


• Spontaneous face touching is associated with cortical regulatory processes.

• Self touch count and duration increase with arousal, emotional or cognitive load.

• Active prevention of face touching to reduce infections requires mental effort.

• Association of face touch with trigeminal communicating rami is discussed.

• Fundamental mechanisms and functions of spontaneous face touches remain unknown.

Abstract: Spontaneous face touching (sFST) is an ubiquitous behavior that occurs in people of all ages and all sexes, up to 800 times a day. Despite their high frequency, they have rarely been considered as an independent phenomenon. Recently, sFST have sparked scientific interest since they contribute to self-infection with pathogens. This raises questions about trigger mechanisms and functions of sFST and whether they can be prevented. This systematic comprehensive review compiles relevant evidence on these issues. Facial self-touches seem to increase in frequency and duration in socially, emotionally as well as cognitively challenging situations. They have been associated with attention focus, working memory processes and emotion regulating functions as well as the development and maintenance of a sense of self and body. The dominance of face touch over other body parts is discussed in light of the proximity of hand-face cortical representations and the peculiarities of facial innervations. The results show that underlying psychological and neuro-physiological mechanisms of sFST are still poorly understood and that various basic questions remain unanswered.

Keywords: nonverbal communicationinfection transmissionemotion regulationworking memoryattention focustic disordertrigeminal nervesensory attenuation

Deterministic Attributions of Behavior: Biological explanations had more influence than social explanations on ratings of others’ responsibility, capacity for change, and sentencing considerations

Deterministic Attributions of Behavior: Brain versus Genes. Kevin R. Peters, Alena Kalinina, Nastassja M. Downer & Amy Van Elswyk. Neuroethics, Jun 11 2021.

Abstract: This research examined the influence of social-, genetic-, and brain-based explanations on attributions of others’ behaviors. Participants were university students in Studies 1 (N = 140), 2 (N = 142), and 3 (N = 260). Participants read a vignette about an individual who possessed several undesirable behaviors and answered related questions. The first two studies had within-subjects designs. Participants in Study 1 were provided with social-, genetic-, and brain-based explanations for the individual’s behavior. The order of the genetic- and brain-based explanations was reversed in Study 2. Study 3 used the same materials, but had a between-subjects design where participants were assigned to one of three groups that differed in their explanation: social, genetic, or brain. Participants also completed measures of social desirability and free will beliefs in all three studies. Consistently, biological explanations had more influence than social explanations on ratings of others’ responsibility, capacity for change, and sentencing considerations. There was inconsistent evidence across the three studies, however, that brain-based explanations had more influence than genetic-based explanations. Interestingly, Free will scores were associated with aspects of the individual’s behavior in the social condition but not in the biological conditions. Additional social cognition research is needed to determine whether brain-based explanations are just one specific instantiation of biological explanations or whether they are unique in this regard when it comes to the attributions we make about others’ behaviors.

Disease and Disapproval: COVID-19 Concern is Related to Greater Moral Condemnation

Disease and Disapproval: COVID-19 Concern is Related to Greater Moral Condemnation. Robert K. Henderson, Simone Schnall. Evolutionary Psychology, June 10, 2021.

Abstract: Prior research has indicated that disease threat and disgust are associated with harsher moral condemnation. We investigated the role of a specific, highly salient health concern, namely the spread of the coronavirus, and associated COVID-19 disease, on moral disapproval. We hypothesized that individuals who report greater subjective worry about COVID-19 would be more sensitive to moral transgressions. Across three studies (N = 913), conducted March-May 2020 as the pandemic started to unfold in the United States, we found that individuals who were worried about contracting the infectious disease made harsher moral judgments than those who were relatively less worried. This effect was not restricted to transgressions involving purity, but extended to transgressions involving harm, fairness, authority, and loyalty, and remained when controlling for political orientation. Furthermore, for Studies 1 and 2 the effect also was robust when taking into account the contamination subscale of the Disgust Scale–Revised. These findings add to the growing literature that concrete threats to health can play a role in abstract moral considerations, supporting the notion that judgments of wrongdoing are not based on rational thought alone.

Keywords: morality, disgust, pathogen avoidance, behavioral immune system, moral judgment, emotion, harm, COVID-19, coronavirus, moral foundations theory

This research tested the role of situational concerns about an infectious disease on judgments of wrongdoing. Across three studies we consistently found that people who were worried about COVID-19 condemned moral wrongdoers more harshly than those who were less worried. This finding adds to emerging work on the role of disease threat on moral judgment. In Studies 1 and 2 controlling for individual differences in contamination disgust left the effect of coronavirus worry and moral judgment intact. In contrast, in Study 3, we found that this relationship was no longer significant after accounting for contamination disgust, indicating that fear of contamination was responsible for the effect. We interpret this finding to be the result of a generally heightened concern about the virus at the time. Indeed, contamination disgust has been described as bearing a “striking similarity” to disease avoidance (Olatunji et al., 2009). An intriguing possibility is, therefore, that variables that are typically considered to reflect stable individual differences, such as disgust sensitivity, may change as a function of coronavirus concerns that became relatively universal across the world. Indeed, recent theorizing has suggested that topics within the field of of psychology, and the scientific approaches to study them, may change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic (Rosenfeld et al., in press). Given the current findings, apart from contamination and disease concerns, other relevant traits such as neuroticism or conscientiousness may also have changed over the course of the pandemic as a function of constantly having been engaged in disease-prevention behavior to alleviate related worries. Future research would be needed to explore this possibility.

Our findings align with a growing body of research demonstrating that individual differences in the propensity to experience disgust are linked to moral considerations (Chapman & Anderson, 2014Karinen & Chapman, 2019Liuzza et al., 2019Murray et al., 2019Robinson et al., 2019Wagemans et al., 2018). Furthermore, the results are consistent with recent work showing a positive association between germ aversion and moral condemnation across the moral foundations (Murray et al., 2019). Our findings contribute to this line of research by demonstrating that subjective worry about a real-world contagious disease is associated with harsher moral judgments, and, moreover, that this relationship held even after accounting for differences in political orientation. Thus, converging evidence supports Haidt’s (2001) suggestion that morality is shaped by various emotions and intuitions, of which concerns about health and safety are prominent.

There are limitations within these findings. Though we obtained large samples with consistent results across all three studies, we used a single item to measure “worry,” which may have reduced sensitivity in capturing participants’ level of concern about COVID-19. Another qualification to these results is the difference in the relationships between the trait-like measures of COVID-19 worry and moral judgments, and the effects of the experimental manipulation in Study 1. That is, although dispositional worry about contracting the illness was consistently related to moral condemnation, experimentally manipulating the salience of COVID-19 had no effect on moral judgment, relative to a neutral condition. One possibility for why is by the time of Study 1 on March 17, news about COVID-19 was already highly salient, and thus the experimental manipulation did not have the intended effect. The dispositional association, however, might be explained by a generalized overreaction to potential harm. It is possible that those who are prone to chronic worry about contracting an infectious illness are also more sensitive to moral violations in disease-relevant domains as well as other moral infractions. That is, fear of disease may overlap with an overgeneralized reaction of increased sensitivity to potential harm, including moral wrongdoers who commit not only purity violations, but other unfavorable acts as well. Indeed, worried participants produced harsher judgments than less worried participants, and there was no moderating effect of moral foundation. This is consistent with previous research, indicating that disease threat concerns are associated with conformity to moral proscriptions that are not specific to disease (e.g., Murray et al., 2011Tybur et al., 2016Wu & Chang, 2012). Lack of moderation by foundation type is likewise consistent with error management, such that the more costly error is to be under-vigilant about moral violations that are not disease relevant than to be over-vigilant solely for disease-relevant violations (Haselton et al., 2015Murray et al., 2019). Further research is needed to more carefully explore these dispositional versus experimental differences.

Additionally, we did not test whether other variables, such as personality, might have played a role in our results. Disease avoidance has been associated with both neuroticism and conscientiousness (Oosterhoff et al., 2018), while openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness have been associated with sensitivity to moral violations (Hirsh et al., 2010Smillie et al., 2020). Thus, considering the overlap between disease avoidance, moral judgments, and conscientiousness, this personality trait may account for some of the variance between worry about a highly salient communicable disease and assessments of moral wrongdoing.

Our research raises the possibility that during a period of widespread concern about infectious disease, people may become more judgmental overall. In other words, people’s actions and intentions might be under more scrutiny, and when ambiguous, may be interpreted uncharitably, potentially resulting in misunderstandings, or interpersonal conflicts. Indeed, in the early days of the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, there were media accounts of mistrust in public officials, the press, and health organizations. The current findings suggest that we may see further instances of uncharitable evaluations as people are especially concerned for their physical health. Thus, the ongoing pandemic presented an ecologically relevant way of examining the role of disease prevalence on an issue of critical applied importance.