Archive for November, 2008

IE CSS issue

Some people have pointed out a major problem with the rendering of this website on IE. I think I fixed the stylesheet issue. Since the site was fine in IE until recently I’m pretty sure it was a Microsoft update of some sort. If you notice anything similar with IE, just email me. I only […]

The Secular Right

You probably already know this, but in case you don’t, I’m somewhat involved in a new website, Secular Right. Heather Mac Donald, Derb and Walter Olson are current contributors. My own postings there will be mostly about philosophy, history and data analysis, as opposed to rapid response to other weblogs or commentary on current politics.

Wright, Fisher, Haldane, and odds and ends

From time to time I give links to those of my old posts that may still be worth reading. Previous guides are here: 1, 2, 3, 4. It is over two years since the last update. In that time most of my posts have been on the history of population genetics, and especially on the […]

Clever Monkeys

I thought I knew a fair amount about monkeys already, but a BBC wildlife documentary last night still had some surprises for me. The documentary is ouststanding even by the BBC’s usual standards for this kind of thing. I dare say it will be broadcast in most countries sooner or later, but meanwhile it can […]

The genetic map of Europe we already knew….

From Henry Harpending: This is from a 1984 paper, citation below the figure. The genetic data were 6 red cell antigens, 9 electrophoretic systems, and HLA and HLB. The context was the authors’ effort to set up a big population genetic and demographic database of Mormons, which was criticized because the Mormons were thought to […]

R. A. Fisher on Inclusive Fitness (again)

I recently posted a note on an anticipation of Hamilton’s concept of inclusive fitness by R. A. Fisher in the Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. As I pointed out, in that passage Fisher did not quantify the effect of what he called ‘indirect effects of natural selection’, so he did not state what we now […]

Why does the genetic map of Europe still work?

In the comments below Susan C asks an interesting question: I’m still surprised that this works as well as it does, given that there were mass movements of people during the nineteenth and twentieth century. For Europe prior to 1815, I’d expect it to work. Genealogical records show that people were very often born in […]

Reader Request

Dear Readers, Currently I’m compiling my own dataset of international cognitive test scores. Right now I’m moving on to China. China contains nearly 20% of the human species, with every province being the size of a large country, so it would be nice to get a fuller picture for China than other places. The good […]

George R. R. Martin on science fiction

This week’s To The Best Of Our Knowledge interviews George R. R. Martin. If you have iTunes just subscribe to their podcast and you’ll see it on the list of shows (I don’t know where to find it streaming online). I was talking to an owner of a local science fiction bookstore, and we agreed […]

Another genetic map of Europe

I pointed to the paper at my other weblog, but since ScienceBlogs has a narrow page width, I’ve put the important charts below the fold. Table 4 – Each horizontal line in the table shows the proportions of test samples originating from a given country that were assigned to each possible target country. I made […]

Sex differences, ideology and IQ

The Audacious Epigone has two interesting posts up right now. Conservative men more intelligent than conservative women; Liberal women more intelligent than liberal men and Politics and IQ; Conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans least intelligent. The titles are self-evident, but, I would add that with hindsight it might make sense that liberal Republicans aren’t too […]

In Defense of Monogamy!

OK, not really, but I have a new piece in The Guardian‘s Comment Is Free on polygamy.

Yankees, Irish Catholics and the McCain Belt

One of the implicit assumptions of a book like Albion’s Seed is the “First Settler Effect,” (FSE) whereby the groups which originally settle a region have a disproportionate effect on its cultural character in perpetuity. Obviously there are boundary conditions, the first settlers might be totally replaced demographically rapidly, or, superseded by a cultural complex […]

How predictive are known genetic factors for disease risk?

Two studies published today demonstrate what was immediately evident from genome-wide association studies of many common diseases: the genetic variants identified account for only a small fraction of risk. In these cases, the authors try to predict whether an individual will get type II diabetes from a number of clinical variables, as well as recently […]

No more love for Modernist authors?

Previously I looked at changing fashions in academic theories and their associated buzzwords, using the articles archived in JSTOR as a sample: see part 1, part 2, and part 3. What about the thing that arts & humanities academics are supposed to study — the text itself? I mean, the vulgar consuming public may flit […]

An Age Problem, or a God Problem?

I noticed today that Heather Mac Donald has just engaged in another dialog with Michael Novak about God over at Beliefnet. As an unabashed vocal unbeliever Heather is exceptional on the American Right (compare to George F. Will’s relative diffidence about his agnosticism). Simultaneously, there has been some concern that the youth vote swung so […]

Is beer the new wine?

With the economy the way it is I assume some readers will shift from wine to beer, so if you haven’t, check out A Better Brew (no need to click if you’re into Budweiser obviously).

Kenan Malik and Kerry Howely on race

I really don’t have much to add that’s original, I’ve long tired of the “definition wars.” Early this year Steve wrote a column rebutting some criticisms that Malik makes of his definition of race in Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides are Wrong in the Race Debate. The book is out in the United States now…I’m […]

Smarter white states trending Democratic?

That’s what the The Audacious Epigone concludes (based in part on a post of mine). This is a hobby-horse of Half Sigma’s. He’s not the only one who has observed the alliance between Whiter People and minorities; roughly the highest and lowest socioeconomic strata. Historically and internationally this is not too surprising a coalition, though […]

New Englanders, the culture-dominant minority?

Cultural Regions of the United States came out in the 1970s, so it is a little dated in terms of “contemporary” observations. For example, the author obviously didn’t internalize the long-term impact of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution, as he posited that because of fertility rate differences between traditionalist Quebec and progressive New England the latter region […]