Archive for August, 2006

Functionalism ain’t all that

Over at my other blog I have a post up about inbreeding fundamentalist Mormons. When brown Muslims are hittin’ it with near relations that warrants eyes averted, but if I point to slack-jawed Anglos, well, that is BoingBoing worthy. But in any case, my post focused on an older article about the prevelance of fumerase […]

Human Lineage-Specific Amplification, Selection, and Neuronal Expression of DUF1220 Domains

Human Lineage-Specific Amplification, Selection, and Neuronal Expression of DUF1220 Domains: …A genome-wide survey of gene copy number variation among human and great ape lineages revealed that the most striking human lineage-specific amplification was due to an unknown gene, MGC8902, which is predicted to encode multiple copies of a protein domain of unknown function (DUF1220). Sequences […]

Against The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design

As someone who makes no bones about being against politically correct evolutionary biology, I will take up RPM’s call to link to Panda’s Thumb’s chapter-by-chapter rebuttal of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. They fight Creationism so I don’t have too!

Gene therapy starting to get useful?

Some encouraging gene therapy news in Science: Cancer Regression in Patients After Transfer of Genetically Engineered LymphocytesUsing a retrovirus encoding a T cell receptor, we report here the ability to specifically confer tumor recognition by autologous lymphocytes from peripheral blood. Adoptive transfer of these transduced cells in fifteen patients resulted in durable engraftment at levels […]

Selection for adaptation

Human bodies maintain an optimal environment for cellular function. Cold-blooded animals function sluggishly when cold. I’ve wondered how bacteria manage to function at different temperatures. I’d assumed that bacteria are highly adapted to either high or low temperatures and that homeostatic feedback maintains biological systems in a viable range over modest daily temperature changes. But […]

Robert Wright, unreflective stereotype

A few weeks ago I watched the Robert Wright Ann Althouse diavlog. One thing that struck me was that in the beginning they addressed Althouse’s political ideology (i.e., was she a libertarian?). Althouse offered that she considered herself an independent, who voted for Feingold and Bush in 2004, splitting her ticket. Up until that time […]

Reducing fat fitness

In the wake of the British National Health Service denying IVF treatments to very obese women Big Fat Blog says: This recommendation is discrimination, pure and simple. What the hell, really? Fat people are told they can’t adopt and told they can’t get pregnant (from both societal and medical angles); let’s just add in some […]

No compulsion?

The New York Times has an article about a Malay woman who converted to Christianity and now wishes to marry her fiance, who is also a Christian. Her problem is the ideology promoted by the Malaysian government that by definition Malays are Muslim. Additionally, Islamic tradition reinforced by shariah imposes strong sanction, up to capital […]

10 Questions for A.W.F. Edwards

A. W. F. (Anthony) Edwards is one of Britain’s most distinguished geneticists. He studied genetics at Cambridge as one of the last students of R. A. Fisher, and like Fisher he has contributed actively to both genetics and statistics. In genetics his work includes several influential papers on the reconstruction of phylogenies, and a widely-read […]

LTP = Memory?

Within my brain, foun-tains over rugged moun-tains of my terrain, diggit I came too far to front. So I’m meditatin on how to maintain. Stepped off at City Hall into the rain… – Black Thought That ain’t a igloo, that’s my watch. And that ain’t snow, baby that’s my chain. That’s not an ice tray, […]

Evo-devo and natural variation

I just finished Carl Zimmer‘s excellent book At the Water’s Edge, a general audience recounting of two major events in macroevolution–the evolution of tetrapods and of whales. One of the major recurring themes is how past events in evolution constrain the probability space of the future. This passage (in a section describing Hox genes and […]

From today’s Times

Today’s science column by Anjana Ahuja in the London Times, available online here, has a couple of stories. First, she describes a new book by linguist Charles Yang about the acquisition of language. Yang apparently argues that babies are born with an extensive set of innate grammatical capacities – sufficient to cover all the world’s […]

Optimism about gene therapy

The LA Times just ran two article about genetic engineering (here and here). I can’t guarantee that these articles are free of “idiotic mistakes” of the kind that drive Greg Cochran nuts, but I thought they were interesting. A money quote: Gene therapy is making a comeback after a series of serious setbacks that threatened […]

What should you know?

Here is a portion of an email I received from an occasional correspondent: I often find Indians scientists, doctors and engineers singularly uninformed/uninterested in anything much beyond their own expertise. The trend is increasingly pronounced with passing generations. My parents’ generation had a lot of spill across the sciences and humanities. A reasonably educated person […]

The New Yorker on Poincare Conjecture

The New Yorker has an interesting piece up about the characters involved in the Poincare Conjecture. I have to say, Grigori Perelman seems out of central casting for Simon Baron-Cohen. And the behavior of the Chinese mathematicians is remiscient of some of the problems pointed out by Richard Nisbett in The Geography of Thought in […]

Decisions, Uncertainty, and the Brain

I just finished reading Decisions, Uncertainty, and the Brain: The Science of Neuroeconomics by Paul Glimcher though, and I would recommend it to a friend. The book is about 5 years old now, and neuroeconomics is kinda blowin’ up. Glimcher believes that neuroscience has been dominated by a paradigm based on finding the minimal neural […]

On other blog

The Golden Rule & Christian altruism, God & conservatism part n… and God & morality are follow ups on the Heather Mac Donald vs. the Right who are religious saga. Heather has received a lot of flack from her political fellow travellers, and though I don’t necessarily agree with every element of Heather’s argument, I […]

More than meets the eye!

Yo, there’s a new Transformers movie coming out! Check out the new Megatron, ill.

Income & children

Interesting paper I found Sex, status, and reproductive success in the contemporary United States (PDF). Since you can read the whole paper, I won’t summarize it for you, but below the fold is a graph that some might find of interest.

Ethical stem cells

You’ve probably heard about the new technique to facilitate the use of embryonic stem cells without destroying them? Devil Boy Jake has a science oriented review, and Poreless Anthis has a more public policy focused post. I have no particular insights on this topic, as I noted in my own post, though in the comments […]