Archive for February, 2005

Merit-based employment

This article suggests that firing poor-performing employees may improve work quality. “A study publishing in the latest issue of Personnel Psychology finds that forced distribution ratings systems (FDRS), where a predetermined percentage of low-performing employees is fired every year, can be an effective way to improve a company’s workforce.” I’m amazed anyone could get funding […]

Taste & behavior genetics

As regular blog readers know I am something of a chili pepper addict. I have previously mentioned the genetics of taste, particularly in relation to phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) sensitivity, which correlates strongly with a variety of responses to bitter, salt and sweet sensations (you probably tasted a piece of paper in high school biology which had […]


This week, Jacqueline over at her blog is going to be discussing all the political issues that polite society avoids; abortion, God, discrimination, biological basis of race. Go and get into the fray. Posted by scottm at 12:41 PM

Technical difficulties….

Some of you have been noticing various apache errors (404 in particular). Over the past week I’ve been blocking files and directories on this site because we came VERY close to our bandwidth limit. Actually, we exceeded it, but the webhost doesn’t seem to count the last 6 hours against us (that is, it checks […]

Switching typologies….

Cross-post of my recent entry over at Dean Nation below…. Toward a reality based foreign policy A few weeks ago I came across as something of a petulant nitpicker when it came to the equivalence of the “Shia” of Iraq and the “Shia” of Iran and the possible implications of this in the development of […]

The allochtonen are leaving

Reading Silt 3.0 yesterday, I was interested to read an analysis of Dutch migratory statistics, entitled “Witamy!”. Specifically, he was examining the data presented in a recent article in the Dutch newspaper Trouw. His translation: The total number of emigrants was 112,000, whereas only 90,000 people, mostly Europeans, settled in the Netherlands. [...] Turks and […]

Gay gene eugenics

Okay, this story has got everything. Eugenics, homosexuality, abortion, Republicans versus Democrats, even Rush Limbaugh. A Republican lawmaker in Maine has introduced a bill to prohibit abortions based on the sexual orientation of the unborn baby. State Rep. Brian Duprey wants the Legislature to forbid a woman from ending a pregnancy because the fetus is […]

Written Language

I saw razib’s note on Zimmer’s article, and it gave me a couple ideas which I posted at my site. GNXPers might be interested, so I’m reposting here. The advantage of discussing written language instead of spoken language is that it by definition moves us up into historical time periods instead of prehistoric. If you […]

Crime and Punishment

I linked recently to a Sunday Times article by Rod Liddle. His main point was that There are some things that you can say and there are some things that you can’t say. Paradoxically, they are sometimes the same things. For example, you can’t say that black people commit more crimes, but, using the same […]

Islam & Europe

A long article about Muslim immigrants and Europe, starting off on the Netherlands. Two points. In the Dutch context the rural origin of many of these immigrants is emphasized.The article states, “Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a petite Somali refugee who is a Liberal MP in the Dutch parliament. Herself a Muslim, she is an outspoken critic […]

Carl on language

Carl Zimmer discusses the evolution (or lack of) language. Carl focuses on two papers acting as counterpoints, one by Marc Hauser, Noam Chomsky and Tecumseh Fitch, which argues for a “recursion only” model of human language, while a rejoinder from Steven Pinker and Ray Jackendoff put flesh upon a thorough adaptationist narrative centered on a […]

When mental algebra goes wrong….

I have a post up at Dean Nation, Toward a reality based foreign policy. It is basically a somewhat pedantic analysis of the term “Shia,” and its uses and abuses in the interests of short term political expedience. I will be commenting in more detail on problems I see that often crop in the “algebra […]

The Internationalization of Affirmative Action

Whatever you may think of Affirmative Action now, its genesis was noble (though misguided) in intent – to right the wrongs of the past and to equalize the paths to success for members of discriminated racial groups. I would imagine that those who wrote the legislation thought that the program would have a finite life […]

Gender differences in Marlboro Country

Brain activity of men and women can differ greatly during hostile or impulsive acts, but less so on nicotine… UC Irvine researchers…found during behavioral and brain-imaging tests on hostility and impulsive reaction that brain-metabolism activity – which indicates when neurons are working – was much higher in many brain areas of women than men. But […]

An algebra of foreign policy

An algebra of foreign policy c Posted by razib at 12:05 AM

The Biological Basis of Multiple Orgasms

There’s been a lot of high talk lately about how the XX are poorly represented in the fields of mathematics and physics (see razib’s seminal (heh) post Much Ado about Women and Larry Summers). Yet actually women are biologically superior to men in many aspects, including tolerance of heat, cold, pain and radiation. Women are […]

Gene-environment interaction and gene-environment correlation

In my previous post on gene-environment interaction David pointed out that I unfortunately confounded the term with gene-enviornment correlation. Vge should have been decomposed into Vge and Vcov(g,e) (covariation between environment and genes). Gene-enviornment interaction may be conceived of as the influence that different environments may have on different genotypes in shaping the developmental arc […]

Gay men’s maps

According to news reports today, e.g. here, gay men read maps in a way more like women than men. For example, they make more use of landmarks and less of compass directions. I have no idea if this is a sound finding. The research was carried out at the University of East London, which is […]

Gene + environment interactions….

When people speak of “Nature vs. Nurture” there is often a tendency to refer to the “proportion of a trait that is genetic vs. environmental” in a rather broad and vague manner. The problem is that the proportionate contribution of genes and environment in an individual human on a particular trait varies from person to […]

A muddled confusion

About a week ago I got hyperpedantic over at Aziz’s blog about the term “Shia.” I have far less interest in foreign affairs that most people, and likely the the average GNXP reader, but, I do get concerned with the mental algebra that people use in making predictions and models based on their understanding of […]