Sweet home Chicago

August 3, 2011 • 7:11 am

I loved being in St. Petersburg, but it’s also good to be home. Here are three shots of Chicago I took right before I left; as I recall, it’s during one sunset.

I’ll begin posting photos and account of my trip tomorrow.  I have tons of things to talk about and show—what would you like to hear about and see first? I can’t decide, so I’ll let you guys do it.

  1. The Hermitage and its art
  2. Other Russian art
  3. The city of St. Petersburg
  4. Dostoevsky’s pad
  5. Russian cats
  6. Russian food
  7. Signs of the revolution
  8. The Tsars

60 thoughts on “Sweet home Chicago

  1. Dostoyevsky’s pad and the relation of Dostoyevsky to St. Petersburg in general.

    For example, the places where Crime and Punishment takes place.


  2. The city of St Petersburg, then food. Definitely not cats. I hate them. /jk

    Welcome home. You missed all the really crap weather.

  3. Definitely the Tsars. “The Russian Revolution which simmered for years suddenly erupted when the serfs finally realized that the Czar and the Tsar were the same person.” – Woody Allen

  4. But what are you really asking here, Professor Coyne? Are you FINALLY admitting we have FREE WILL by offering us these choices? Was it free will that sent you to St Petersburg, or an expression of your genes? Isn’t the fact that most people have selected “Russian Food” clear evidence that more primal forces are at work here, instead of some ill-defined theistic concept of free will? Furthermore… and furthermore…

    Oh the hell with it I’ll take Fyodor D.

  5. Paintings of cats noming Russian food at the Hermitage while reading Dostoevsky and plotting revolution.

  6. Way off topic question. Would it be an evolutionary advantage for a given species to produce more female offspring than male, and if so, why have no species taken advantage of it? For instance, with calico cats, most of them are female, so it seems that it’s possible for at least color variation to affect gender probability, so why not given species doing the same?

    For a little background I’m not a biologist and only have a hobbyist’s interest in evolution. And this question may just prove my ignorance, but I thought it was interesting.

    1. This Wiki about Fisher’s principle explains why the sex ratio of most species is approximately 1:1

      This other Wiki about sex ratio says this:

      several species of reptiles have temperature-dependent sex determination, where incubation temperature of eggs determines the sex of the individual. In the American Alligator, for example, females are hatched from eggs incubated between 27.7° to 30 °C, whereas males are hatched from eggs 32.2–33.8 °C. In this method, however, all eggs in a clutch (20–50) will be of the same gender. [b]In fact, the natural sex ratio of this species is five females to one male[/b]

      [I don’t like the use of the word gender in the above quote]

      My 3rd & final Wiki is about the Nasonia genus of parasitoid wasp. The female deposits her eggs on the host diptera pupae. The eggs can be either fertilized, producing females or unfertilized, producing males. Now here’s the interesting bit:

      Literature suggests that the Nasonia wasp is able to sense external cues in the environment and respond accordingly with producing a fertilized or unfertilized egg. For example, the female wasp produces more males and less females when more female wasps are present in the environment. As a result of this, less crowding occurs during oviposition on the host pupae. If too much oviposition occurs, a large amount of Nasonia larvae hatch in the host leading to an insufficient food amount.

      1. Fascinating! The article on Fisher principle was very close to what I’m looking for. I still have one or two other questions. It’s clear that in harsh environments both males and females must take equal role in raising their young, so the ratio between them must be about 1:1. And the other articles gave me more insight into how such a mechanism would work. My only other question would be are there any populations that reproduce through sex where the sex ratio is non-Fisherian?

  7. 1D8 – then repeat, 1D6, repeat, 1D4 and repeat, then flip a coin – and it’s all decided by god!

  8. THE HERMITAGE – One view from The Russian Ark isn’t enough! Might share some recipes for us to try as we read the blog…

  9. Very envious to hear of your recent travels to St.Petersburg. For me the greatest fascination remains the city’s founder – Peter the Great. I read a magnificent biography of him about 15 years ago and decided to make the short trip from Australia to Russia to see Moscow and see St.Petersburg for myself (it was well worth it). I’m currently learning Russian with a friend who speaks it fluently.

    It’s hard to pin down what makes the city so wonderful – the heavily flavoured European architecture so distinct from Moscow for one thing. Anyway, it’s an enchanting place!

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