Excellent article from MSNBC about new research on using slime mold to model efficient networks.

This is more evidence to something which I have been suspecting for some time- that evolution follows rules of economic efficiency to maximize the use of resources. This is a great example, but I find the same reasoning behind a lot of human morality and emotion.

Take anger. Game theory, in games like the prisoner’s dilemma, show that defecting from agreements in repeated games can be prevented by the threat of retaliation. However, after defection has taken place, the best strategy is to consider a sunk cost and go back to cooperation. But humans have evolved the emotion of anger at being taken advantage of as a threat of retaliation. Similarly, affection and trust develop when spending more time with another person; this helps to encourage cooperation between people who repeat the game many times, and relatively discourage it between people with infrequent interactions. As humans were evolving, such emotional considerations helped promote efficiency when there was no government to protect private property or punish the breaking of agreements.