Archive for June, 2003

She’s BAAAACK!!!

Some of you might have noticed that Gene Expression’s Spanish gypsy has been AWOL for a few months. I was cramming for finals March until May, and now I’m slogging through my math and science requirements. Anyway, I’ll still post from time to time. Here’s a brief one because I have math class tonight (AAAAAUUUGHHH!) […]

What was M.E.?

My post about Mitochondrial Eve attracted a bunch of interest – thank you! – and several people asked a key question: what species was ME? There is no direct evidence about ME at all – we have not found a fossil record of this particular individual.  We can infer logically that she must have existed, […]

Buy a spouse

  Bridewealth payment Inheritance system Mating system No Yes Even Sons favored Monogamy 62% 38% 42% 58% Limited Polygyny 46% 53% 20% 80% General polygyny 9% 91% 3% 97%   Nonstratified Stratified Society Polygynous Monogamous Polygynous Monogamous Dowry Absent 624 99 263 45 Dowry present 1 2 5 27 I just bought John Alcock’s Animal […]

Mitochondrial Eve

Of all the women who have ever lived, there was one woman who was special.  She was the common maternal ancestor of all women currently alive.  She was “Mitochondrial Eve”. Consider the set of all women who have ever lived.  Each had exactly one mother.  Now shrink the set of all women to contain only […]


Richard Dawkins is trying to form some sort of movement to get atheists or non-theists called ‘brights’. His explanation: A triumph of consciousness-raising has been the homosexual hijacking of the word “gay”. I used to mourn the loss of gay in (what I still think of as) its true sense. But on the bright side […]


There was an error in my note on ‘Family Connections’. The novelist daughter of Lucian Freud is Esther Freud, not Bella Freud. Bella is a fashion designer. For British readers, there is a profile of Esther in today’s Telegraph magazine. It mentions that the novelists Rose and Susie Boyt are Esther’s half-sisters. I’m not sure […]

Implications of chromosomal sex determination

Razib’s recent entry on the erosion of the Y chromosome got me thinking: what advantages does this method of sex determination have that allow it to persist despite the ongoing problem of Y chromosome deterioration? A little research suggests that it may help us mammals make larger evolutionary jumps than would be possible for other […]

Don’t be too smart

The Executioner’s I.Q. Test is an article in The New York Times on IQ & the death penalty. Check this out: For the court majority, and for organizations like the American Association on Mental Retardation, it is clear that mentally retarded people should be exempt from the death penalty because, as a group, they are […]


This is about birth rates. The crude birth rate is the number of births per head of the population in a given period, usually a year. It is an objective statistic, and it is useful for some purposes, but it is seriously affected by the age structure of the population. To avoid this problem what […]

Move over Matt Ridley

About the author of the evol. psych. book Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice: Olivia Judson is an evolutionary biologist and award-winning science journalist. She received her doctorate in biological sciences from Oxford University before joining the staff of The Economist, where she wrote about biology and medicine. She is presently a research fellow at Imperial College […]

Affirmative Action strikes a Knock-out!

First, the SCOTUS decision, and this, Ward Connerly is making lots of $$$ out of his crusading against affirmative action, giving himself a half-a-million dollar salary.


One of the many things that annoy me is the prevalence of fallacies about population issues. So to vent my spleen I’m planning a few notes on common population fallacies. I’ll start with the idea that in the ‘old days’ (paleolithic, neolithic, medieval, pre-industrial, or whenever) everyone died young. It’s quite true that in pre-20th […]

Good introductory textbooks

Recently, I’ve been reading good introductory textbooks on major fields. I just finished a book on population genetics that several people have independently recommended to me (and read it several times). It really clarified my thinking and it was pretty accessible. I think that most intelligent people could get a lot out of reading introductory […]

Baby Daddy?

From The Economist…. Government plans on paternity testing IT IS a wise child that knows his own father. Genotyping means a wise father can know his own child. Testing a cheek swab from a baby can easily clear the matter up. This is a booming business in Britain, where around 10,000 such tests are thought […]

Scientist Gap?

Nick Thompson says that the Republicans have a science problem-as much political & cultural as it is technical. One thing Nick overlooks is that most “scientists” in America today are probably engineers, not Ph.D.s in the natural sciences, and they trend Republican…. Update from Razib: Larson & Witham’s surveys of Ph.D. holding natural scientists in […]

Asian-American Race Traitors?

Michelle Malkin decries the joy that Asian-American activists are showing toward the recent ruling reaffirming affirmative action in higher education. Increasing underrepresented minorities almost certainly decreases the representation of Asians-Americans as well as European-Americans. Of course, these “activists” exist to create the problem that they campaign against, the racialization of Asian-America and a high wall […]

Agriculture in New Guinea

It seems that New Guinea was one of the early agricultural hearths.


I read some of that scary ‘Christian racialist’ stuff that was linked to, and I see that we Europeans are accused of not being sufficiently religious. Actually, I do read the Bible from time to time. Here are some of the texts you won’t remember from Sunday school: Genesis 6: 2-4Genesis 20: 12Exodus 22: 18Exodus […]

Be brown & proud? Uh, I need to study for my test….

Bored in my hotel in Columbus I decided to check out Suman’s blog and clicked the link for Satya Circle, which is about brown issues. I stumbled upon this article titled THE INDIAN AS “BLACK-WHITE” AND AS NIGGER. If you don’t read the article, here is an example of the sort of thinking that it […]


One of my ‘heroes’, Francis Galton, spent a lot of time tracing the family connections of eminent people. Gifted people often have gifted relatives, and Galton believed this helped prove that ability was hereditary. I’m not so sure about that, but I still make a note of interesting (post-Galton) cases when I come across them. […]