Archive for December, 2008

Facial Expressions Of Emotion Are Innate, Not Learned

Spontaneous Facial Expressions of Emotion of Congenitally and Noncongenitally Blind Individuals: The study of the spontaneous expressions of blind individuals offers a unique opportunity to understand basic processes concerning the emergence and source of facial expressions of emotion. In this study, the authors compared the expressions of congenitally and noncongenitally blind athletes in the 2004 […]

Episcopalians vs. Jews

Lots of charts.

City upon a Hill

Samuel Huntington died yesterday. Though famous for his Clash of Civilizations thesis, more recently he argued for an emphasis on the reality that this (the United States) is an Anglo-Protestant country. But I think that this assertion needs to clarified to a finer grained scale. In Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, the author […]

The follies of economics?

Massimo Pigliucci has a post up, Economics learns a thing or two from evolutionary biology. There are many points within the post which I would agree or disagree with, but, I get the sense that the current economic morass is precipitating these sorts of criticisms of “economics.” I’m not one to disagree on the importance […]

Sex differences in math?

THE MATH SEX GAP REVISITED: A THEORY OF EVERYONE by La Griffe, via Half Sigma. Labels: human biodiversity

Lactase persistence review

This is a pretty thorough review of biology and evolution of lactase persistence. It’s interesting that the precise genetic mechanism underlying the phenotype remains unknown-this seems like a potentially very interesting model phenotype for people interested in the temporal and spatial regulation of gene expression. Labels: Genetics

Congenial Times

Check out Mark Wethman’s new quant blog, Congenial Times. It’s been around for only a couple of weeks but in that time he’s posted a lot of interesting data/analysis on topics ranging from international politics to human biodiversity. His most recent post is on racial differences in educational attainment in Sweden. The most interesting article […]

The X chromsome: WTF?

The X chromosome in humans is something of an exception with regards to the rest of the genome–as it’s diploid only in females, the population genetic forces on it are slightly different. In particular, the effective population size of loci on the X, in a standard neutral model, is 3/4 that of the autosomes. In […]

The Ghosts of Empires Past

The blog Strange Maps is candy to a data fiend. I think most readers are aware that I’m one who believes that a thick network of historical & geographic information can be extremely useful in understanding the present; too many people forget that intelligence and ignorance get along just fine. But about a week ago […]

Transcription around promoters

A number of papers out this week (summarized here) notice, using various technologies, the presence of extensive transcription off both DNA strands around active promoters. A figure from one of the papers is above–note the peak in transcription from the sense strand just downstream of the transcription start site (TSS), and the peak in anti-sense […]

John Randolph had Klinefelter’s syndrome?

Just a weird historical-genetic note, the radical decentralist Republican John Randolph likely suffered from Klinefelter’s syndrome (XXY as opposed to XY). In What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 the author claims that Randolph’s rumored anatomical peculiarities were confirmed postmortem. I only make note of this because it seems strange to me (I […]

Nerds on fire?

Wired has feature, Vote for the Sexiest Geeks of 2008. Jade Raymond seems the most legit on the two dimensions of evaluation.

Rick Warren & Barack Obama

Heather Mac Donald, Rick Warren and the Presidency. Labels: politics

Getting people to wash their hands?

‘Gross’ Messaging Used To Increases Handwashing, Fight Norovirus: In fall quarter 2007, researchers posted messages in the bathrooms of two DU undergraduate residence halls. The messages said things like, “Poo on you, wash your hands” or “You just peed, wash your hands,” and contained vivid graphics and photos. The messages resulted in increased handwashing among […]

Male & female rotation

Sex Difference On Spatial Skill Test Linked To Brain Structure: Men consistently outperform women on spatial tasks, including mental rotation, which is the ability to identify how a 3-D object would appear if rotated in space. Now, a University of Iowa study shows a connection between this sex-linked ability and the structure of the parietal […]

Testing natural selection with genetics

H. Allen Orr (one of the authors of the study I mentioned recently) has a fun article in Scientific American on testing hypotheses about natural selection using genetic data. Orr has been one of the few people to try and formally model adaptation in a population genetics framework (I highly recommend this review article from […]

What is that mystery parameter?

Post-Columbian population movements and the roots of world inequality: Why should we care about the apparently powerful influence that population origins exert on country and sub-national incomes levels? First, if this influence is indeed as significant as our findings suggest it to be, then efforts to sort out the roles that geographic, institutional, and other […]

Speciation genes

RPM points to a couple great papers on the genetics of speciation in Drosophila and mouse. The first is particularly interesting–the gene underlying hybrid incompatibility is also involved in meiotic drive. What’s fun about these sorts of studies is that one can almost start to reconstruct the sequence of population genetic events leading to speciation–like […]

The Unread Fisher: Human Evolution

The last five chapters of R. A. Fisher’s Genetical Theory of Natural Selection – about a third of the book – are devoted to human evolution. These chapters are seldom quoted and probably seldom read, even by Fisher enthusiasts. [Note 1] There are some obvious reasons for this neglect. Much of this part of Fisher’s […]

Low carb diets and cognitive function

Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Effects on cognition and mood: To examine how a low-carbohydrate diet affects cognitive performance, women participated in one of two weight-loss diet regimens. Participants self-selected a low-carbohydrate (n = 9) or a reduced-calorie balanced diet similar to that recommended by the American Dietetic Association (ADA diet) (n = 10). Seventy-two hours before […]