Archive for May, 2008

French more fecund than the Irish?

Walker’s World: French births soar: The second development to note is that INED, France’s National Institute of Demographic Studies, has done some detailed research and concluded that France’s immigrant population is responsible for only 5 percent of the rise in the birthrate and that France’s population would be rising anyway even without the immigrant population.…In […]

In Our Time, Probability

This week, Probability.

Genetic orthodoxy?

John Hawks, in a post on scientists who dispute the acceleration hypothesis (acceleration deniers?), makes reference to “the Stanford school of genetic orthodoxy”. So what is this? Essentially, he’s referring to the current paradigm (I’m as much of a fan of hyperbole as anyone else, but paradigm is clearly the more appropriate word here) in […]

Congratulations to Jonathan Pritchard

Innovation in genetic variation research garners Jonathan Pritchard HHMI investigator appointment at University. HHMI = Howard Hughes Medical Institute. So when are we going to see him in Chicago Magazine? In any case: In a 2006 paper, Pritchard and his colleagues described the identification of several hundred DNA regions in various human populations that show […]

Positive selection on EDAR, why East Asians & Native Americans have thick hair

Positive Selection in East Asians for an EDAR Allele that Enhances NF-κB Activation: Genome-wide scans for positive selection in humans provide a promising approach to establish links between genetic variants and adaptive phenotypes. From this approach, lists of hundreds of candidate genomic regions for positive selection have been assembled. These candidate regions are expected to […]

Group differences – within and between – pick a standard please!

The debate over at The American Scene on Jim Manzi’s article “Undetermined” is now closed to comments so I couldn’t respond to one of the comments but the beauty of being a blogger is that you can use your own forum to vent your response. The comment that I desperately wanted to respond to was […]


Via Reihan, Instapaper. Need to not get behind on my Tech Crunch feed…. (any other “life hacks” you know of?)

Gary “The War Nerd” Brecher interviewed

Segment 3 on PRI’s To the Best of our Knowledge.

When Histories Collide: The Development and Impact of Individualistic Capitalism

A few weeks ago Steve mentioned Raymond Crotty’s When Histories Collide: The Development and Impact of Individualistic Capitalism. When I clicked through the link the cover looked familiar; turns out that I’d seen it at my local used book store and had passed on it since I already had a backlog of economic history I […]

A good drink

Bioinformatics on the web, Mailund on the Internet.

While I’m recommending weblogs you might not have heard about, check out Mailund on the Internet. The tag line is “computer science, bioinformatics, genetics, and everything in between.” For a taste, here are his posts on association metholodiges. Labels: Genetics

Gender & science

My friend Jake Young has a post up, Contrasting Views on the Gender Disparity in Science: Second, one of my primary arguments against innate differences in ability between men and women is that you are dealing with traits that have distributions and those distributions largely overlap. Making a statement about any individual man or woman […]

Notes on Sewall Wright: Wright’s F-statistics

Several of my previous notes have touched on the subject of Sewall Wright’s F-statistics. The best known of these is FST, which is very widely used as a measure of the genetic divergence between sub-populations of a species. My aim in this note is to trace the evolution of the F-statistics in Wright’s work. Why […]

Why some like it spicy?

Think Gene points me to a new PNAS paper, Structure of TRPV1 channel revealed by electron cryomicroscopy: The transient receptor potential (TRP) family of ion channels participate in many signaling pathways. TRPV1 functions as a molecular integrator of noxious stimuli, including heat, low pH, and chemical ligands. Here, we report the 3D structure of full-length […]

More pigmentation genetics

Pigementation is turning out to be one of the most tractable phenotypes for genome-wide association studies– a new paper from Decode identifies another couple loci that influence various aspects of hair and skin pigment. These add to the growing list of pigmentation genes in Europeans–I’ve not done the math, but these loci must account for […]

The genetics of music?

Genes For Musical Aptitude In Finnish Families Located: Researchers from Finland and USA have identified one major and several potential loci associated with musical aptitude in the human genome. The results raise an interesting question about common evolutionary background of music and language faculties. The paper is open access, Genome wide linkage scan for loci […]

What are men good for?

I came across an interesting 2007 talk that social psychologist Roy Baumeister gave to the American Psychological Association, “Is There Anything Good About Men?” He informally reviews the literature on sex differences in ability and motivation. Some of it will be old news for readers, such as the discussion of Larry Summers, but there’s quite […]

Male preferences and debunking myths about the evolution of the female form

Click for UncensoredIn the comments section to a 2blowhards post on booty shakin’, blogger Alias Clio puts forth an argument from incredulity regarding several hypotheses I proposed: 1) that male preferences for different parts of the female body have, over time, correlated with personality traits; 2) that natural selection has had a role in causing […]

Hair Color and Skin Pigmentation in Europeans

A Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Novel Alleles Associated with Hair Color and Skin Pigmentation: It has been a longstanding hypothesis that human pigmentation is tightly regulated by genetic variation. However, very few genes have been identified that contain common genetic variants associated with human pigmentation. We scanned the genome for genetic variants associated with natural […]

What is Conservatism?

Austin Bramwell, Who Are We?: Whatever the difficulties of conservatism, surely one can improve upon the typical performance of those who take it upon themselves to explain it. In place of the conventional accounts, try this one: Conservatism is the defense of legitimacy wherever it happens to exist. “Legitimacy” here is defined in the empirical, […]