Archive for October, 2007

Blood group maps

A, B and O below the fold so you can compare. Source. Labels: Genetics

James Watson Tells the Inconvenient Truth: Faces the Consequences

… [M]ight it be fair also to say that the champions of ‘no difference’ in race or sex, or intelligence … are the guardians of a greater ‘untruth’ that allows people to live together in mutual harmony, implying that these critics really deserve to be praised as our protectors even when they are factually wrong? […]

Can you smell sweat?

Genetic Elucidation of Human Hyperosmia to Isovaleric Acid (Open Access): Humans can accurately discern thousands of odors, yet there is considerable inter-individual variation in the ability to detect different odors, with individuals exhibiting low sensitivity (hyposmia), high sensitivity (hyperosmia), or even “blindness” (anosmia) to particular odors. Such differences are thought to stem from genetic differences […]

Wanna get your nerd on?

Read Overcoming Bias. There is a non-trivial intersection of audiences between here & there.

Malaria and blood type

The ABO blood group was one of the first genetic markers used in genetic anthropology, and the worldwide distribution of the various alleles was one of the first known for any locus. It also has a long history in medical genetics as a marker, and there are myriad associations of blood type to various diseases […]

A sympathy for statistics

The Mission: Mitt Romney’s strategies for success: “There are answers in numbers-gold in numbers,” he [Romney] wrote in “Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games,” his 2004 memoir. “Pile the budgets on my desk and let me wallow.” His campaign manager, Beth Myers, told me recently that Romney regularly checks, and sends off e-mails […]

A noisy optimum

Reading The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648-1815, and something reminded me of my post The Persistence of Bad Habits: …To put the statistic another way, the net calorific value of the potato is 3.6 times that of grain….…The potato was also less vulnerable to adverse weather than most other staple foodstuffs…A community that could fall […]

No sympathy for statistics

Sympathy and callousness: The impact of deliberative thought on donations to identifiable and statistical victims. I think the figure to the left really says it all. People give more money to individuals who are identifiable as opposed to plain clear statistics, but adding statistics to a face actually suppresses giving! One of the reasons that […]

Twins Reunited

Wouldn’t it be nice (scientifically speaking) if you could deliberately separate twins at birth and then secretly follow up their development? But of course, you couldn’t possibly do that…or could you? Update: You can listen to them being interviewed on Talk of the Nation.

Why you play the game

Matt finds some unexpected data regarding MHC polymorphism & mating systems. That’s the great thing about science: confusing or unexpected results can be a good thing! Science is in part about 3 1/2 yard runs which push the ball forward and extend the drive. But sometimes science is also about leaving the stadium and starting […]

The New Republic is a Canadian front!

I know that The New Republic was purchased by CanWest, but it is funny to see “” in the title before redirecting to TNR‘s site (it’s there for half a second). Seems pretty sloppy….

Time for a Ben Stein thread

Couldn’t find a thread on this yet: Actor/Politico/Author Ben Stein has apparently become a “You can’t handle the truth“er. He appears in a documentary on the persecution of the intelligent design movement *yawn* but here’s his key claim: …[Stein] said in a telephone interview that he accepted the producers’ invitation to participate in the film […]

Battery not charging….

OK, so the readers of this blog really helped the last time I had a tech issue, it was the Shift key sticking (actually, the problem is the left Shift key, hitting the right Shift key gets me out of the problem every time!). So now I have another issue…my AC adapter for my notebook […]

Former Miss Universe contestent weighs in on the Watson Affair

The former Miss Singapore, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, now domiciled in Sweden, takes a crack at analyzing the Watson Affair. She’s clearly not a reactionary in that she tries to understand what Watson was saying and she goes to some effort to look at background information but along the way she falls into many of the […]

Are red heads the living Neandertals?

Actually I don’t know, but there’s some evidence that extinct Neandertals were red heads! Labels: Evolution

Design brainy babies an easier way?

Back when this blog was young and its was age measured in months, not years, “godless capitalist” (gc) would debate Paul Orwin and Charles Murtaugh, especially on the issue of QTLs which affect normal variation in IQ. When gc made the case for possible genetic engineering of one’s offspring to have higher IQs Murtaugh was […]

Nature: Watson “damage[d] science itself”

Nature has weighed in on the Watson imbroglio with a ponderously written editorial, accusing him of “lending succor and comfort to racists around the globe”. It concludes: Many human geneticists are engaged in the sensitive task of unravelling differences between the world’s population groups, all the while acknowledging that ‘race’ is an emotive and unscientific […]

How to build a black dog

I’ve mentioned the emergence of the dog as a model organism in genetics– the resources available now have made all sorts of questions easy (well, not easy, but comparatively easy) to answer. One such question: what makes certain breeds of dog black? The answer is now available online at Science: a small deletion in a […]

Four Stone Hearth #26

Four Stone Hearth #26.

Francis Galton and ‘Genophilia’

I recently came across the term ‘genophilia‘, meaning something like ‘instinctive attachment to family and tribe’. It appears to be quite a buzz-word among the usual suspects. I was interested to see that the origin of the term was ascribed to Francis Galton. I am reasonably familiar with Galton’s works, but I did not recall […]