Archive for April, 2007

Genetics & Health is no more

Just a heads up, Genetics & Health has morphed into Eye on DNA. Update your RSS feeds! Labels: Blog

The evolution of gestures

Ape gestures and language evolution: The natural communication of apes may hold clues about language origins, especially because apes frequently gesture with limbs and hands, a mode of communication thought to have been the starting point of human language evolution. The present study aimed to contrast brachiomanual gestures with orofacial movements and vocalizations in the […]

Turkey, Islam & the EU

A few years ago I pointed out to M. Yglesias that Turkey was more religious than the United States (he emailed me immediately and agreed that that characterization was about right). Less than a year ago I offered that Turkey was a nation with a greater percentage of Creationists than the United States, and so […]

Youth is wasted on the young

The New Yorker has an excellent article on geriatrics and the physiology of aging, including a mention of the classic studies in C. elegans. Now I know we have some older readers, and I hope they take no offense, but I have to say, shit, getting old must really suck. And for the younger readers, […]

Improved assessment of national IQ

Heiner Rindermann, Relevance of education and intelligence at the national level for the economic welfare of people, Intelligence, In Press Cognitive abilities are important for the economic and non-economic success of individuals and societies. For international analyses, the collection of IQ-measures from Lynn and Vanhanen was supplemented and meliorated by data from international student assessment […]

On words

Reading The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization made me a bit more curious about ‘the Dark Ages.’ So with that in mind I picked up Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000. One page 29: If we take a long-term perspective, however, it is clear that inherited Roman bureaucracy did not […]

The commonness of 40-SD events

How often should we expect to observe events that are 40 standard deviations above the mean? Probably not ever. If we do observe such events more frequently than never, that may be because our initial guess was based on an incorrect model. To pick an example relevant to current events, how many people do you […]

The Economist doesn’t understand evolution

“Evolution and religion: In the beginning” from The Economist One time could be an accident: In the second camp are those, including some high up in the Vatican bureaucracy, who feel that Catholic scientists like Father Coyne have gone too far in accepting the world-view of their secular colleagues. This camp stresses that Darwinian science […]

Correlation and Aggregation

There are many pitfalls in the interpretation of correlation coefficients. One relatively familiar one is the problem of restriction of range. To use a common illustrative example, if we take a sample of professional basketball players and calculate the correlation between their height and some measure of basketball performance, we will probably find that the […]

Intercourse and Intelligence

Tyler Cowen quotes from a new study testing the relationship between grades and delayed sexual activity. Last December I passed a paper along to Razib showing that high-school age adolescents with higher IQs and extremely low IQs were less likely to have had first intercourse than those with average to below average intelligence. (i.e. for […]

Genetics of speciation

RPM points out that the most recent issue of Heredity tackles the issue of the genetics of speciation. Here’s an interesting thing I’ve noted, there are two ways to look at species questions. First, there are the taxonomists, who have been strongly influenced by the cladist revolution. They take a big picture philosophical view, and […]

Hitch on Drugs

Via Drug WarRant, Hitchens is playin’ my tune lately: An excerpt from his 21 Solutions to Save the World: The largest single change for the better in U.S. foreign policy, and one that could be accomplished simply by an act of political will, would be the abandonment of the socalled War on Drugs. This last […]

The team draft

Echoes of Terror Case Haunt California Pakistanis. From the article: Lodi, a city of 62,000 people 72 miles east of San Francisco, is something of an anomaly among Pakistani immigrants. Most come to the United States to pursue professional careers, to become doctors or academics in large cities. But mainly rural peasants started coming to […]

Consciousness Catch-22

I was listening to a lecture by Christof Koch this morning, and I had a thought that I haven’t come across before regarding consciousness studies. There may be a very high technical bar for ethical studies into the nature of consciousness, higher than I expected before.My issue may just be the stretchiness of the term […]

How the Sabians saved civilization?

Reading The Later Roman Empire, 284-602: A Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey I stumbled upon this on page 939: …In some places paganism survived the Arab conquest. in 830 the people of Carrhae [modern day Harran], a city always notorious for its devotion to the old gods, were threatened with massacre by the Caliph unless […]

Voles getting around

A follow-up on the vole/monogamy/vasopressin story has just been published in Trends in Genetics. A quick summary of the relevant information: 1. Prarie voles are socially monogomous (note the qualifier “socially”. Genetics suggests a certain amount of “infidelity”, if one can call it that in voles). Meadow voles are not. 2. There is a regulatory […]

Epigenetics News on ‘epigenetics’

Trevor at Epigenetics News follows up on our recent discussions about the term’s increasing popularity. He’s cites several good reasons why we might expect to see the term more often, and one reason that may not be all that good: With all of these high profile and highly funded areas becoming closely associated with epigenetics, […]

Hitchens on religion

I haven’t read any of the books carrying the torch for the “New Atheism”, but I dig Christopher Hitchens’s style, maybe I’ll make an exception. Slate has published an excerpt from his forthcoming book, God is Not Great. Labels: Religion

Why is so much biological research centered on genes and DNA?

You’ll find one professional’s answer below the fold. What’s missing is a discussion of genes as replicators. from the SEP – Molecular genetics: In official and public contexts, scientists appeal to the fundamental theory associated with molecular genetics to justify centering research on genes and DNA (e.g., see the websites of funding agencies such as […]

Earwax and breast milk

Miura, Yoshiura, Miura, Shimada, Yamasaki, Yoshida, et al. A strong association between human earwax-type and apocrine colostrum secretion from the mammary gland. Human Genetics. Here we provided the first genetic evidence for an association between the degree of apocrine colostrum secretion and human earwax type. Genotyping at the earwax-type locus, rs17822931 within the ABCC11 gene, […]