Archive for February, 2008

Neurogenomics and genetic interactions

Two PNAS papers today that caught my eye, going to read for later, Distinct genomic signatures of adaptation in pre- and postnatal environments during human evolution and Defining genetic interaction. Both Open Access. Labels: Genetics

Snorg Tees Girl

A story about Alice Fraasa the Snorg Tees girl. I’ve been bombarded on The New York Times website with the ads all week and I clicked. I assume that it has ads all the time, but hell if I could tell you what they were about, I don’t notice them. Until this week. Other people […]

A Spanish coincidence?

Empire: How Spain Became a World Power, 1492-1763 is an excellent narrative history which focuses on the period of time when Spanish history was a substantial subset of world history. The author, Henry Kamen, is a British historian who happens to be a resident of Barcelona, and he’s gotten into trouble with Spanish nationalists for […]

Gene expression differences between populations

Evaluation of Genetic Variation Contributing to Differences in Gene Expression between Populations (Open Access): Gene expression is a complex quantitative trait partially regulated by genetic variation in DNA sequence. Population differences in gene expression could contribute to some of the observed differences in susceptibility to common diseases and response to drug treatments. We characterized gene […]

Mitty Romney is hyper-typical for a Mormon

The Audacious Epigone crunches the Pew Religion Survey and comes up with some more insights…. Labels: Religion

More pathogens means more collectivism?

Pathogen prevalence predicts human cross-cultural variability in individualism/collectivism (Open Access): …We suggest that specific behavioural manifestations of collectivism (e.g. ethnocentrism, conformity) can inhibit the transmission of pathogens; and so we hypothesize that collectivism (compared with individualism) will more often characterize cultures in regions that have historically had higher prevalence of pathogens. Drawing on epidemiological data […]

SLC24A5, the molecular genetics?

How Skin Color Is Determined: In 2005 researchers identified a gene called SLC24A5 as a key determinant of skin color. Rebecca Ginger and colleagues now confirm that the protein product of this gene (NCKX5) is an ion exchanger; it exchanges sodium for calcium across a membrane, regulated by potassium. But unlike other NCKX proteins, they […]

The economic basis of cultural creativity?

Reading Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium by by Ronald Findlay and Kevin H. O’Rourke. So far somewhat like A Farewell to Alms, except painted on a much broader palette. I’ve read The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, and though I wasn’t convinced by all the specific examples […]

Pew Religion in America

Pew is out with a new survey of religion in America. I’ve only skimmed it so far, but it has lots of interesting stuff. Note for example that this survey suggests that are marginally more self-identified Buddhists in America than Muslims (this is probably a function of the fact that Buddhism, and generally Buddhist ideas […]


I’ve been going into podcast overload lately, mainly because of this boing boing post. Wanted to alert you all to the high quality and interesting sound engineering of Radio Lab if you didn’t know about it already. I’ve jammed the Memory, Placebo, and Stress episodes so far and was pleased overall with the level of […]

Emotional fragility as a sexually selected trait

Roissy recently drew up a list of female skills for attracting males, and although it is clearly weighted toward succeeding in short-term relationships, the rank order seems about right for getting married too. One quick way to see what has mattered to men is to look for sexually dimorphic traits. As Darwin noted, such traits […]

Group Selection and the Wrinkly Spreader

A recent article by D. S. and E. O. Wilson [1] has been acclaimed by some as reviving the fortunes of group selection. It must for a time have been available on the web (since I downloaded a pdf of the published version a month or so ago), but the closest thing I can find […]

New kind of diavlog

The other day I was wondering whatever happened to A New Kind of Science. Well, Stephen Wolfrom is on the latest

NPR on human variation

An In-Depth Look at Genetic Variation, covers Worldwide Human Relationships Inferred from Genome-Wide Patterns of Variation (about ~15 minutes long, interview with Rick Myers). Also, Wired blogs the most recent spate of papers (and gets a sound-bite from Marcus Feldman)…. Update: Readers might appreciate this from the Science paper: However, the between-population variance is sufficient […]

Where be the bugs?

Cool paper in Nature, Global trends in emerging infectious diseases. Not cool because infectious diseases are great, but I believe they’ve been (and are) major evolutionary pressures on our species. Great map too. From the legend: a) zoonotic pathogens from wildlifeb) zoonotic pathogens from non-wildlifec) drug-resistant pathogensd) vector-borne pathogens Not surprised about the intersection with […]

Robert J. Samuelson is not an economist (Paul A. Samuelson is)

This is a post for Google. A post I wish had been there for me during my periods of confusion on this topic. I notice that Chris Roach recently referred to Robert J. Samuelson as a “Respected economist.” He isn’t. Robert J. Samuelson is a financial and economic journalist. He has bachelor’s degree in government […]

Economic history is so clean

I’ve been reading a fair amount of economic history and political economy recent (e.g., A Concise Economic History of the World, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth and Angus Maddison’s substantial body of work). I’ve read a few micro & macro texts so I come into this with some vague theoretical understanding of the framework […]

Natural selection and cultural rates of change

Natural selection and cultural rates of change (Open Access).

Interracial marriage and Asian Americans

As a follow up to Assman’s last post I was thinking I should link to this article from Asian-Nation which parses Census 2000 data on interracial marriage of various Asian American groups. Do read the article (caveats appropriate to identity politics organs), but I just took their data and placed it below the fold. Also, […]

The mediocrity of local peaks

Steve on Extended families and materialism: Anyway, I have a theory about why West Asian materialism runs in such narrow ruts. If you are Ed Begley, you want to impress other people who share your tastes and values, so you socialize primarily with other environmental fanatics who will be impressed that your house is off […]