Archive for May, 2009

Cowen on Sailer

Tyler Cowen explains “Why Steve Sailer is Wrong.” For regular readers of GNXP, the resulting discussion is neither new nor interesting, but I thought it valuable to go through Cowen’s post in detail. Cowen is a smart guy with interesting things to say about many topics. Why is he so flummoxed by this one? Cowen […]

KITLG associated with testicular germ cell tumors

Two papers in Nature Genetics report today that variation in KITLG is associated with development of testicular germ cell tumors. Regular readers of this site will recognize that gene name: KITLG is also one of the important loci contributing to differences in skin pigmentation between human populations. The authors are aware of this: As KITLG […]

Spengler’s game

Austin Bramwell has a piece up where he focuses on Spengler‘s (David Goldman, not the original Oswald Spengler) intellectual hero Franz Rosenzweig. Bramwell suggests: I consider only the political implications of Star, of which, surprisingly enough, I find very few. The Spenglerian theses in particular seem more like a creative gloss or “misprision” of Rosenzweig […]


I already pointed to Scitable on my other weblog, and I thought I would here too. It’s a new education oriented site put out by Nature which is currently focused on genetics. The topics section is pretty good for a more-deep-than-Wikipedia but not-quite-a-research-paper level stuff. They do have a “feedback” option, but I really think […]

God Is Back, John Micklethwait & Adrian Wooldridge don’t know what they’re talking about

Rod Dreher points me to a John Gray review of God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World. He criticizes the supply-side model of religion which John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge are promoting and assume as a given. The model’s exemplar is the American South, where people basically “shop” for […]

Goodbye Old Kashgar

To Protect an Ancient City, China Moves to Raze It. The city is Kashgar, in the far west of China. I have read that Kashgar is the large city furthest from oceans on all directions. It’s a typical story of developers wanting to develop. You read articles like this about Beijing all the time (or […]

Are black Catholics more conservative?

Your Lying Eyes looks in the GSS to resolve the question above. Looking in the GSS is obviously a mitzvah in my book, as John noted in The Corner today. 6 months ago Kevin Drum promised some GSS blogging in the future, but doesn’t look like he’s gotten around to it. In any case I […]

“The Quarks,” prizes for weblog writing

The first is for science weblog posts. Nominations end the 1st of June. Steven Pinker is picking the winner out of 6 finalists. Labels: Blog

Sex differences and variation in personality

Look before you leap: Are women pre-disposed to be more risk averse than male adventurers?: “It’s not at all that women are risk averse,” says Jody Radtke, program director for the Women’s Wilderness Institute in Boulder, Colorado. When men are confronted with challenging situations, they typically produce adrenaline, which is what causes them to run […]

Texting and public health

The journal of record, Texting May Be Taking a Toll. WTF? I recall there were articles years ago about addiction to email, the web. Now also social networking sites. Is this just a general phenomenon that whenever new technologies appear that teens are enthusiastic about the media will play up fears of how it might […]

Waves of stationary shape

NOTE: I had a couple typos in my equations in the original. This is updated and fixed, and hopefully totally correct. Thanks to bioIgnoramous for pointing it out. Over at Scienceblogs, people are talking about waves. Of course, everyone thinks that waves are in the domain of physics, and people always forget about one of […]

The Science of Fear, and some data on media overhyping of crime risks

Since the world started falling apart, books on how crazy we are have never been more popular. Most focus on findings from behavior economics that show how human beings deviate from homo economicus in making decisions, and The Science of Fear by Daniel Gardner is no different. Unlike the others in this newly sexy genre, […]

The incentives for finding “genes for”….

Genes, Brains and the Perils of Publication: I have no wish to criticize these findings as such. But the way in which this paper is written is striking. The negative results are passed over as quickly as possible. This despite the fact that they are very clear and easy to interpret – the rs1344706 variant […]

Tonal languages, perfect pitch, and ethnicity

Tone Language Is Key To Perfect Pitch: In a study published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America and being presented at the ASA meeting in Portland on May 21, Deutsch and her coauthors find that musicians who speak an East Asian tone language fluently are much more likely to have perfect pitch. […]

OXTR & prosociality

The Oxytocin Receptor (OXTR) Contributes to Prosocial Fund Allocations in the Dictator Game and the Social Value Orientations Task: The demonstration that genetic polymorphisms for the OXTR are associated with human prosocial decision making converges with a large body of animal research showing that oxytocin is an important social hormone across vertebrates including Homo sapiens. […]

How Rome Fell

David Frum has a very interesting review of How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower. In it he touches upon two other works which address the same topic, The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization & The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. I’ve read them […]

Children, the ideal vs. the realized internationally

I looked at data from the World Values Survey in terms of the actual proportion of those in the age group 30-49 for various countries who have 2 or fewer children, vs. those in that age group who thought 2 or fewer was the ideal number. I aggregated Wave 3 and Wave 4 surveys, so […]

Eczema & asthma

Skin-Derived TSLP Triggers Progression from Epidermal-Barrier Defects to Asthma: Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a common allergic skin inflammation that has a particularly high prevalence among children. Importantly, a large proportion of people suffering from eczema go on to develop asthma later in life. Although the susceptibility of eczema patients to asthma is well documented, the […]

The geography of online social networks

Since most people use online social networks like Facebook to keep in touch with people who they interact with in real life, it doesn’t make sense to sign up for a Facebook account unless others in your area have already. This predicts that we should see a spreading out of Facebook from its founding location, […]

The Two Cultures, and some data on the public’s response

SEED has a set of short video responses to the question “Are we beyond the Two Cultures?”, a reference to the split between the arts & humanities types and the science types. Steven Pinker discusses several ways in which the arts can benefit from working with the sciences, such as gaining a better understanding of […]