Archive for June, 2004

Fallacy Files

While following up the subject of “Galton’s Fallacy” (on which I may post some other time) I stumbled across (oh, all right, it came up on Google) a rather nice website, Fallacy Files, which deals concisely with all sorts of fallacies, including many I had never heard of. I haven’t read all the entries by […]

Penguin Puzzle

I was watching a BBC natural history programme the other night, and it included an extract from David Attenborough’s Life in the Freezer series about life in Antarctica. This classic scene shows a flock of (male) Emperor penguins huddled together on the ice in a winter blizzard. The commentary explains that the male penguins incubate […]

God yes!!!!

Millions of nerds are getting off! Posted by razib at 10:02 PM

Less brown slouching than I thought

A week back I

What’s in a face

In recent years cognitive scientists have identified “domains” within the brain that are geared toward processing certain kinds of information. One of the most obvious instances of a cognitive specialization where humans can access gestalt knowledge is the uncanny ability we have to recognize faces. Here is a bizarre case from Survival of the Prettiest […]

Much ado about what?

Doing a search on PUBMED, I get: 6 responses for spandrel 28 responses for punctuated equilibria 107 responses for evolutionarily stable strategies 110 responses for inclusive fitness 263 responses for kin selection “Not scientific” as they say. But when I hear people saying that “Stephen Jay Gould was a world famous evolutionary thinker,” I wonder […]

Does this matrix make sense?

Check it:   Particularistic Universalistic Exclusivistic Judaism   Islam/conservative Christianity  Pluralistic Hinduism/Daoism/Shintoism   Liberalism/liberal Christianity/Buddhism    Does this make any sense? Just a general impression that I wanted to recast in matrix form. There seems a contradiction in pluralistic universalism…. Addendum: Please note that I’m making idealized generalizations about the systems of belief. In practice, […]

Yes, more sex

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sexes over @ PLOS Biology. Posted by razib at 01:27 AM

Regression to the Mean: a puzzle

We all like to think we understand regression to the mean, as it arises frequently in statistics, genetics, psychology, economics, etc. Roughly speaking, wherever there is a correlation between two variables, we expect the more extreme values of one variable to be associated with less extreme values of the other, which is said to ‘regress’ […]

The eternal recurrence of elite betrayal

Steve Sailer’s latest column considers why the black American elite is now turning against immigrant blacks and their children as far as affirmative action at elite universities goes, while neglecting to say a word about the allotment toward Hispanics. The short answer is that it doesn’t help them out to reduce the Hispanic allotment, since […]

Miss Universe 2004

I tabulated some data on Miss Universe 2004 competition. You can download the excel file. The mean height was 69.4 inches, a little over 5’9 (1.74 meters). Here were the top six in “looks” from my perspective: Katrina Wigander, SwedenVenessa Fisher, CanadaCatherine Manchola, ColombiaKathrine Soerland, NorwayYanina Gonzalez, ParaguayKsiena Kustova, Russia I ranked all the contestants […]

Abortion numbers

Seems like there is some “tacking” going on in this article which argues that abortions are eating away at the demographic base of liberals/Democrats[1]. Normally, this sort of tacking goes on by pointing out the high African American abortion rates, ergo, the loss of reliable Democrats. Here is some abortion data by timing, age, race […]

PTC, part II

For those who read my previous post on PTC taste/non-taste, and my ruminations on its implications for general gustatory preferences, I have read the full text (thanks to a gracious reader) of the recent paper which suggests that the PTC locus is being buffeted by “balancing selection” (you can download the paper here in PDF […]

The queens of dance!

Following up on the themes of dance & sexual selection, here is a snippet from Michael Bailey’s book: Michael agreed, and he embarked on a most ambitious study. Before it was over, he had interviewed 136 professional dancers from around the country, including several well-known choreographers: 48 gay men, 42 heterosexual men, 45 heterosexual women, […]

An observation on the lords of dance

So, Britney Spears is engaged to her dancer? A few years back, J-Lo married choreographer/dancer Chris Judd. Christina Aguilera’s first relationship was also supposedly with her back-up dancer. Perhaps Geoffrey Miller is right, and “dancing” is a fitness indicator that has been sexually selected? I have no idea, but readers might find David B’s entry […]

Argue it, don’t prove it!

We can all talk. Most people can enjoy fiction. We can vaguely make out a verbal argument. On the other hand, as Barbie once noted, “math is hard.” In any case, I finished The Mating Mind, and I found the last chapters very interesting. That’s probably because they are the most focused on specific elements […]

PTC taste, balancing selection?

Long-time readers of the blog might know I have an interest in the genetics of taste. Here is an old post where I explore the question of whether variance in PTC-taster/non-taster frequency cross-culturally (that is, by population) might have a relationship to preference for spicy foods. The authors in the 1998 paper which I reference […]

The Nuer Conquest

I have recently been trying to catch up with the literature on ‘cultural evolution’, and I hope to do a general survey of the subject – eventually. Meanwhile, I noticed that one point came up repeatedly. Whenever writers on the subject want to show cultural traits spreading as a result of competition between groups, one […]

UK Immigration Data

The (UK) Office for National Statistics this week published data on immigration to the UK in 2001. (Go here and follow the links from the top news item.) Currently just over 1 in 12 (8.3%) of UK residents were born elsewhere. (This presumably doesn’t include those smuggled in, who are kinda difficult to count.) Contrary […]

Enforced absence

Just to say I have been unavoidably offline for the past week, as my computer broke down. Since it was about 8 years old, not too surprising. I now have a new one, which takes up about half the space, is at least 20 times as powerful, and cost half as much, even without adjusting […]