Archive for March, 2004

Rough cut

Check out the debate on circumcision over at Abiola’s blog. A few comments…. Update: Here are two articles from The New York Times archive that might interest readers (you have to pay to get the full article): Study Is Adding to Doubts About Circumcision, Low Rate Of AIDS Virus In Philippines Is a Puzzle. 1) […]

Kebabs in Denmark

Just got an email from a friend who is doing lab work in Denmark, thought this was kind of funny (or ominous): I am in an interesting neighborhood which is mainly students and middle eastern immigrants I have never seen so many head scarves in one place. The kabab stands are very good I have […]

IDE or buggy Office package?

I’m on a road trip, so that explains less blogging than the norm. Anyway, reading a little cog. sci., I thought of a funny little analogy to do with software since they use terms like the “computational mind” and “mental modules” all the time. Back in the day, the head-scientists used to think that our […]

Two is Enough

Dalton Conley in Slate: Two is Enough:”The U.S. government encourages families to have children, as many of them as possible. The pro-child policies are based partly on romantic notions about mom, family, and apple pie, but they also have a rational goal: We subsidize kids so that our next generation of workers is ready to […]

Tall Tale

This New Yorker article {Via Diana} about the study of past and present national height differences is an enjoyable read, and has a lot of great little factoids. Among them: “. . . in Northern Europe over the past twelve hundred years human stature has followed a U-shaped curve: from a high around 800 A.D., […]

Welfare reform is working

Hey, guess what?  Welfare reform is working.  Check out this article by the Brookings Institution, regarding the behavioral changes in never-married mothers during the past recession.  [ via Micky Kaus, who summarizes: “The [welfare] rolls didn’t rise in the recession because single mothers kept on working.” ]  There is hope yet; you can influence people’s […]

Effective population

Here is a informative site that discusses the various aspects of “Effective Population” (Ne) as opposed to census population. Since we talk about Y (non-recombinant) & mtDNA studies all the time, it is good to remember how small the average Ne really is (ergo, implications for genetic drift, etc.) for a fluctuating population (control-f “harmonic […]

It will be as you say….

I’ve complained about the conflation of race & religion before (or ethnicity and religion). Perhaps I should just give up? It seems the intersection between non-whites & Muslims in Europe is just a given, how else to explain this article in The Economist with the hyperlink Race and immigration in Europe-when the article is mostly […]

The “Brain Drain”

ParaPundit has an excellent post up on the international fears of a “Brain Drain.” One interesting point: he notes that there is little news coming out of Mexico of fear of a “Brain Drain.” I find this interesting-because to my knowledge, “Brain Drain” does occur in most Third World nations. The bizarre selection biasing of […]

Genetic priorities

In an earlier post one commenter suggested that focusing on simple genetic diseases is more fruitful than exploring complex polygenic traits & diseases. 1) The causative factor beneath a disease like cystic fibrosis is pretty easy to communicate to the uninterested lay person.2) Knocking one bird down can basically ameliorate the problem. But…consider that only […]

What Happened? Part III (or, the secret of the pyramids . . .)

This one’s for you, Razib. To recap so far: I am trying to bring up to date the question Rousseau once referred to as the origins of inequality — or, in modern terminology, the establishment of dominance hierarchies at the dawn of history. In parts I and II, we saw that whereas in hunting-and-gathering societies […]

Baby Steps To Stop German Brain Drain

We’ve long been aware of a brain drain from Europe and the problems that stem from the flight of the talented. Now there are reports of a policy remedy being introduced but it seems to me that they’ve put the cart before the horse. The brain drain problem has been endlessly reported and this Time […]


Finland rejects nearly all Slovak asylum-seekers. Finnish might sound like baby-talk, but Finns seem to have some spine: The idea is to send them back as soon as possible, in order to discourage others to make groundless asylum applications, said Jaakko Heinilä of the Helsinki Police Department. (the Slovak citizens in question were Gypsies claiming […]

An Extraordinary Window into the Past of Russia

I came across these color photographs of life in Tzarist Russia and they had me feeling like I was looking through a window into the past. Photos that are over a hundred years old always seem to be black and white and very posed. They leave me feeling quite distant. These photos drew me in. […]

The chimp’s jaw (not really)

Abiola has a good blog on the recent news about the mutation that led to changes in the hominid jaw, ergo, all you see before you…. Posted by razib at 04:50 PM

Genetics for the people

A lot of the time I focus on stuff that interest’s me-population histories and palaeoanthropology-but science does have human consequences. So, here is an article that focuses on the targetting of a gene that seems to be implicated in a serious neurological disorder. Read the fine print and you note only 3,000 children are affected […]

Why being a curry muncher can be good

A few months ago a dispute broke out on the message boards of this blog about the validity of a group pressure strategy to no longer have South Asians be defamed, or at least be made the objects of ridicule, in the United States. There is a serious issue here, in that I believe that […]

Animal Signals

In a post last year on Honest Signals I mentioned that a book on Animal Signals by John Maynard Smith and David Harper was scheduled for publication. This has now been published in the series Oxford Studies in Ecology and Evolution. The details are: John Maynard Smith and David Harper: Animal Signals Oxford University Press, […]

Big boys….

The Panda’s Thumb is an evolutionary blog collective of heavy hitters…. Update & commentary: One thing though…I would have much preferred the name The Blind Watchmaker for a blog focused on refuting anti-evolutionism. As the members of The Panda’s Thumb acknowledge, one inspiration for their site’s name comes from the late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. […]

Breaking Taboos

Over at Global Guerrillas, John Robb notes: “Many people assume, wrongly, that [Islamicist] terrorists are poor and uneducated.” After a brief discussion, he then concludes by agreeing with another blogger, “that the driving force in recruitment is religious intensity.” Which caused me to make the following proposal: “If religious intensity is the driving factor, maybe […]