Archive for January, 2009

Picking the perfect baby

A few years ago I had a semi-serious post up making fun of Armand Leroi for broaching the topic of neo-eugenics. Now there are reports of elective pre-implantation screenings: Genes determining sex, hair and eye colour can be identified, alongside any DNA red flags for diseases such as muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and Down’s Syndrome. […]

Herding cats

Just watched the film Today’s Man, which is about an individual, Nicky Gottlieb, with Asperger Syndrome. Near the end of the film he attends a meeting with others who are not “neurotypicals.” Gottlieb has some weird ticks throughout the film which shows quite clearly that he’s not “all there” (or, more precisely, no one else […]

WordPress vs. Expression Engine vs. Django

One of my friends has built a Django site for a corp and wants to have a blog to accompany it. The blog will be pretty full featured with a lot of posts per day. His question: will he be better off using WordPress + plugins, buying Expression Engine, or rolling his own in Django […]

Why do we want to know?

I ran into an interesting comment on the net the other day.. “for some, it is hard to determine what productive and ethical use society can make of genetic knowledge that certain individuals are predisposed to higher than average intelligence” Perhaps others can think of some productive and ethical uses. Any suggestions? Some people may […]

The 10,000 Year Explosion

In lieu of a full review of Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending’s new book, The 10,000 Year Explosion, I’ll keep this short: this book is interesting, well-written, and probably mostly wrong. The book reads as a series of historical narratives grounded around recent work by the authors in population genetics. In particular, they focus on […]

2 Blowhards interviews Greg Cochran

Michael Blowhard is doing a 4-part interview with Greg Cochran on his new book, The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. Part 1 is up. Labels: Greg Cochran

Psoriasis genome-wide association studies

The latest disease to be put under the scrutiny of a large genome-wide association study is psoriasis–see articles here, here, and here. These are mostly standard studies, but once again I’m struck by the effect of the MHC (HLA) region (see the figure). It was well-known, of course, that variation in HLA affects all manner […]

MAOA, aggression and behavioral economics

Monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA) predicts behavioral aggression following provocation: Monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA) has earned the nickname “warrior gene” because it has been linked to aggression in observational and survey-based studies. However, no controlled experimental studies have tested whether the warrior gene actually drives behavioral manifestations of these tendencies. We report an experiment, […]

Like a moth to a flame?

Arnold Kling comments about my assertion that until recently cities were genetic black holes: Today,. we think of cities as places where people come to thrive. Wealth is higher in cities than in small towns and rural areas. Richard Florida tells us that the creative class is to be found in cities. … I wonder: […]

Blogging elsewhere….

At ScienceBlogs, I posted on a new paper on Jewish genetics. At Taki’s Magazine I offer my opinion as to why labor and capital flows are qualitatively different, as well as some pedantic comments on points of Roman history. I wouldn’t be such a stickler on Roman history…but people just love to make analogies based […]

England 2007/2008 GCSE Results by Race/Ethnicity

The Department of Children, Schools and Families in Great Britain has released its report for 2007/2008 breaking down nationwide educational attainment by pupil characteristics, including race. Actually, the report was released in November, but I was holding off on posting about it because I was under the erroneous impression that updated, race-specific data would be […]

Women overeating, an impulse control issue?

Evidence of gender differences in the ability to inhibit brain activation elicited by food stimulation: Although impaired inhibitory control is linked to a broad spectrum of health problems, including obesity, the brain mechanism(s) underlying voluntary control of hunger are not well understood. We assessed the brain circuits involved in voluntary inhibition of hunger during food […]

Darwinmania & Armand Leroi & Blogs for Darwin

Just noticed that The BBC has a new site all about Darwin! God bless the British television owners! Also, our old friend Armand Leroi has a program this Monday, What Darwin Didn’t Know. And Armand’s been busy, apparently he’s going to host a special for National Geographic, Darwin’s Lost Voyage. Also, remember about Blogging For […]

Did Darwin Delay?

In the historical literature on Charles Darwin one of the commonest assertions (or assumptions) is that there was a long delay (of about twenty years) between Darwin’s first formulation of the theory of natural selection, and his publication of that theory in 1858 (followed in 1859 by a fuller publication in the Origin of Species). […]

Daddy’s Skeleton Army

Someone has suggested that the cover of our new book (the 10,000 year explosion) symbolizes the splitting of the human race into different species. I will award a metaphorical cigar to the first person who figures out what it _really_ means. (Daddy’s Skeleton Army is the alternate title suggested by my son Ben) Labels: 10000 […]

Juju investing advice

From Toward Rational Exuberance: The Evolution of the Modern Stock Market: What must have been most galling was a simple point Cowels often made that was never answered effectively by the investment advice practioners. As Cowels put it, “Market advice for a fee is a paradox. Anyone who really knew just wouldn’t share his knowledge. […]

Bernie Madoff’s parents were crooks?

Fortune is apparently digging….

Mixed Ethnicity Families in Britain

Several press reports over the weekend and today in Britain have mentioned a new report on mixed ethnicity (or mixed race) families in Britain. The headline finding is that about 1 in 10 children are in mixed-ethnicity families. To be (slightly) more precise, 9 per cent of children are themselves of mixed ethnicity and/or living […]

Steve Jones on Darwin and Inbreeding

A long article by Steve Jones here from today’s Guardian. (But ignore the rather feeble first paragraph. I doubt that ‘every schoolchild’ has as many ideas about Darwin – whether true or false – as this suggests.)

Biotech Bust?

Portfolio has a story up, Biotech Decline: Even the industry’s lobbying group, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, says that 45 percent of publicly traded biotech companies will run out of cash in the next 6 to 12 months. A mere 10 percent of the 370 listed companies have a positive cash flow. … Much of the […]