Mar

2

 The best health related book I've read recently is The Long and the Short of It: The Science of Life Span and Aging by Johnathan Silvertown. It's relatively short but packed with good information and a good rhythm outlining the history of the field. The book is organized in short sections: Life Span, Aging, Heredity, Plants, Natural Selection, Suicide, Pace and Mechanisms.

The key evolutionary concept to understand is that at some point in the life span, because of the diminishing contribution that individuals make to future generations as they grow older, natural selection loses it's power altogether. Before that point, natural selection fixes the weakest of the big 4 links (immune system, the resistance to cancer, the resistance to oxidative stress and efficient insulin signaling), ensuring that cellular function is not vulnerable to failed maintenance.

There's also a nice chapter on plants and two major takeaways. First, there seems to be a correlation between slow growth and longevity. The book shows a nice experiment where they stress fast and slow growing plants and see how they fare afterwards. The other takeaway, particularly relevant to systems, is about the advantages (for longevity) of plants modular design.

More related to our field, It could be interesting to look at the concept of 'senescense' or deterioration of biological function as it pertains to the longevity of market moves. The book introduces Gompertz Law, which states that after certain age, the mortality rate doubles at a constant rate. Perhaps a line of research can include some counting of market moves older than X and see whether there are some patterns in the mortality rate (>50% reversal). Alternatively, instead of 'age' of the move, one could look at size, given the strong relationship between them both in nature and markets.


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