Archive for September, 2005

Brain Scans and Social Policy

If prediction of anti-social behavior becomes sufficiently accurate, will society adjust by mandating treatment, monitoring, or incarceration BEFORE a crime has been committed? If a person’s behavior is largely a result of an innate, abnormal brain structure, is he morally responsible for his actions. How would our legal and moral systems adapt? First evidence of […]

Vox Clamantis in Deserto

Joanne Jacobs points to a new blogger, Newoldteacher, a graduate student in education. Hers is a voice crying out in the wilderness of education graduate programs: My professor is a real history professor from the real university I attend. He specializes in modern Islam and European colonialism in the Middle East. He wears bow-ties, tells […]

This is not cool

Heat-balling wasps by honeybees. Science News has a detailed story about the phenomenon. Update: Link fixed.

I am a believer

Well…in the post below I alluded to the HIV-does-not-cause-AIDS meme. As always, when we bring this sort of thing up someone points to Duesberg. But I have to say, I’ve never followed those links. I’ve never even been tempted. The reason? I know people who know a fair amount about HIV, and they think it […]

Promiscuous meme(plexes)

In last month’s issue of the conservative Catholic journal First Things: …Collins also endorses the view that evangelicalism is moving beyond the foundationalist theology of the past and into what is commonly described as a postmodernist understanding of truth. He quotes the very prolific and influential British evangelical, Alister McGrath: “The time has come for […]

Ivory Cower

The always enjoyable Victor Davis Hanson has a good piece in the online WSJ today talking about the out-of-control diversity problem on college campuses. Go read.

Temporary impairment

It’s easy to find articles on the long term impairment to IQ due to fetal alcohol syndrome and other causes, yet terribly difficult to find anything on the much more common-place phenomenon of temporary impairment. I think that it would be very useful to know the number of standard deviations by which a given level […]

No Uterus Required

The birth of Emylea Tharby in London, Ontario last April may one day be looked on as a watershed moment in the abortion debates. Little Emylea’s birth was a unique event, not just for her parents, but for the medical profession as well: On April 30, Ms. Tharby gave birth to her daughter, Emylea, at […]

Genghis Khan and his hordes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Apparently Genghis, et. al., had a few stowaways: A report in the October issue of Genome Research suggests that Genghis Khan’s invasions spanning the continent of Asia during the 13th century may have been a primary vehicle for the dissemination of one of the world’s most deadly diseases: tuberculosis…. Mokrousov’s team hypothesized that, given the […]

The vigorous man of Asia

Sometimes illustration is as important as argumentation. The East in the West by Chris Caldwell is just that, illustrating the rough textures of the “Turkish question.” There is very little data in Caldwell’s piece that can be quantitized. Caldwell suggests that the religiosity of Turkish petite bourgeoise is akin to ardor of the American middle […]

Semantics – The Threshold Necessary To Be Called A Liar

For the last few days I’ve been involved in an ongoing debate with Steve Verdon and one of his readers, Victor, on whether President Clinton is a bald-faced liar for making this statement: On the US budget, Clinton warned that the federal deficit may be coming untenable, driven by foreign wars, the post-hurricane recovery programme […]

Thomas Friedman: Brains vs. Language

Thomas Friedman speaking yesterday in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun: Funabashi: Among the emerging Asian countries, India seems to have an advantage in globalization because of its citizens’ high English ability. But there are reports that as many as 350 million people are now studying English in China. In a globalizing world, how does English […]

Hobbit horizons…

For those of you in the UK, check out BBC’s Horizon tonight for more on the Flores “microcephaly or not” question. (More here: Hobbit hhhmm….) Professor Bob Martin, one of the team that is set to publish new evidence challenging the discovery team’s original interpretation, says the Hobbit’s brain is “worryingly” small and contradicts a […]

Dawkins on Kin Selection: A Correction

A while ago I posted on this subject here. An attentive reader (Omri Tal) has pointed out an error in my analysis. The point concerns Dawkins’s ‘misunderstanding 10′: that ‘Individuals should tend to inbreed, simply because this brings extra close relatives into the world’. My analysis agreed with Dawkins that bringing close relatives into the […]

Horny bulls

Cattle domestication in the Near East was followed by hybridization with aurochs bulls in Europe: Domesticated cattle were one of the cornerstones of European Neolithisation and are thought to have been introduced to Europe from areas of aurochs domestication in the Near East. This is consistent with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data, where a clear separation […]

Chimp vs. human genomes

A genome-wide survey of structural variation between human and chimpanzee: Structural changes (deletions, insertions, and inversions) between human and chimpanzee genomes have likely had a significant impact on lineage-specific evolution because of their potential for dramatic and irreversible mutation…The events are distributed throughout the genome on all chromosomes but are highly correlated with sites of […]

Where gnxp is popular….

I notice that a fair # of visitors have .edu addresses, but I never noted which ones were the most popular, but here are the top colleges sending traffic to GNXP from sitemeter: #1 University of Washington#2 Indiana University#3 George Mason University#4 Hofstra University#5 Georgetown University

Medieval Height

I have occasionally discussed the subject of long-term increases in average height, so I was interested to see an article in today’s London Times, here. (Link may expire after a week for non-subscribers.) The drift of it is that average adult height in Britain, as measured from skeletal remains, has not changed very much since […]


A short article in the Guardian asks Are women as funny as men? (Purposefully funny, that is….) Well, judging by Robert Provine’s (Laughter: A Scientific Investigation) research, women certainly seem to laugh more at men’s jokes than vice versa — in 1200 cases, “females laughed 126% more than their male counterparts, meaning that women tend […]

mtDNA, selection and paleoanthropology

John has an interesting post up which reviews data that certain high latitude mtDNA lineages might confer a functional advantage via reduced metabolic overhead and greater longevity. Of course, as John notes, not only does this have great relevance for the deep-time history of our species, it is going to be a serious issue for […]