Archive for October, 2005

Two Chinese Guys singing “I want it that way”

Did you like the video of the Dancing Air Force Cadet? If so then you’ll probably also like these two dudes singing to the Backstreet Boys. Pay attention to the guy in the background who seems completely oblivious to the goings on. These guys sure know how to emote. Maybe when they take their act […]

Quantitating the Cult

There are omnipresent nods to the “Cult of Diversity” in the mainstream culture. This is no longer a powerful faction, it is now an essential face of the State Cult as well as the Elite Cult. But what exactly is diversity??? How do you precisely describe it? One way to do it is simply transpose […]

When human biodiversity matters

A few weeks ago I finished reading 1491 by Charles C. Mann, which I haven’t said much about because it didn’t tell me much new (i.e., there were many more natives than we had earlier thought, the Clovis culture wasn’t here first, Amazonia shows strong evidence of being an anthropogenically shaped environment). I might comment […]

One vision of the liberal arts

John Emerson has a post titled The College of My Dreams up. He describes his program as a “reactionary leftist” category, and stipulates that ‘actual science and math work, not just “History and Philosophy of Science”‘ would be demanded from students at this institution, which would nevertheless specialize in the humanities. I have many friends […]


CSPAN’s Booknotes has an archive site. You can read transcripts or watch videos. Good if you are doing something on the computer.

Clash on crank

A few weeks ago, one Randall Parker forwarded me this article, Historian challenges assumptions about religious conflicts, which claimed to “debunk” the “clash of civilizations” narrative. Brian Catlos asserts: “Where my research and data leads, though not intentionally, is to debunk the notion of a conflict of civilizations–a conflict between groups of people who identify […]


Google news query for HapMap. Dienekes links to some of the prominent ones. HapMapistry from gnxp posts past.

Chromosomes and Evolution

I have just learned something new. Or, rather, become newly aware of the implications of some things that have been rattling around in my mind for a while. Greg Cochran linked (indirectly) to this quote: The loci in question are so tightly linked that rare recombinants practically never arise – this explains why the different […]

Neutral diffusion on HIV

The Case for Selection at CCR5-Δ32 isn’t as strong as some would have you believe according to this article. They don’t rebut that selection could have resulted in the spread of this allele, but they contend that a neutral hypothesis can not be rejected by the data on hand. Related: Diffusion of HIV resistance.

Positive Selection

Genes such as G6PD, ASPM, and hemochromatosis are known to be undergoing strong positive selection in humans. You see a high-frequency variant with next-to-no variety and lots of linkage disequilibrium. If you had to guess, what fraction of human genes would you expect to be currently experiencing such strong positive selection?

High Level Diplomacy That We’ll Never See

Kate over at Outside the Beltway has a unique analysis for solving Canada’s problems with handguns. She notes the futility of Prime Minister Martin asking Secretary Rice to have the Americans do something about gun smuggling. She notes that the Prime Minister’s office is preparing a series of gun-control initiatives but that it is unlikely […]

Free Will by Remote Control

Over on the Mises Economic Blog, Lucretius, a neurobiologist, has written a post rebutting the contention put forward by Joshua Greene and Jonathan Cohen in their paper For the law, neuroscience changes nothing and everything that: New neuroscience will change the law, not by undermining its current assumptions, but by transforming people’s moral intuitions about […]

Before the decimal points….

From The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change: For many years population genetics was an immensely rich and powerful theory with virtually no suitable facts on which to operate. It was like a complex and exquisite machine, designed to process a raw material that one had succeeded in mining. Occasionally some unusually clever or lucky prospecter […]

Armand on Human Diversity

Armand Leroi has a nice fluffy piece, On Human Diversity, in The Scientist. Leroi is one to keep an eye on because he is in John Brockman’s stable, and his creatures tend to become public intellectuals rather quickly. One thing though, why is a developmental biologist pushing this? Neil Risch should be stepping up! But […]

More journals?

Many are the journals that I read. Any recommendations to add to the list? A bias toward human evolution and genetics preferred. You should also check out Jason’s megalist.

Evolution for the humanist

Over the past week I’ve been sampling chapters out of Mark Ridley’s Oxford Reader anthology, Evolution. I can’t recommend this book enough! It runs the gamut from historically oriented essays dating from the late 19th century all the way to cutting edge papers from the past 10 years. Ridley manages to balance accessibility to the […]

Speaking of (autistic) brains…

Dr. Manuel Casanova has done some interesting research on neuronal minicolumns and autism. From the summary of Abnormalities of Brain Circuitry (Minicolumns) in Autism: [The] neocortex is formed early on during gestation by the supernumerary aggregation of modules. The smallest module capable of processing information is called minicolumns. These modules or minicolumns are composed of […]

Human brain development (evolutionary view)

I often get asked about questions regarding the size and development of the human brain in the evolutionary context, and I have a hard time remembering the material on allometry and what not that I’ve read here and there.1 But The Journal of Human Evolution has a nice paper up, Human encephalization and developmental timing, […]

Beyond sequence and expression (really)

Sometimes readers ask about massive chromosomal reorganizations and what not. I don’t know enough that I feel comfortable commenting, but I noticed this review, Chromosome evolution in eukaryotes: a multi-kingdom perspective, and have placed it in the gnxp forum files as “chromosomeevolution.”

Extremism in defense of precision is no vice

Over a week ago I alluded to the mid-20th century debate between the Classical and Balance Schools of evolutionary genetics. I used this example specifically because I suspect many readers have an interest in evolutionary genetics and so would find the example extremely illustrative of my general point. But, in hindsight it was perhaps a […]