Archive for October, 2009

Andrew Gelman’s “Applied Statistics”

Andrew Gelman has started a new blog at ScienceBlogs, Applied Statistics. Someone should design him a header, perhaps a fancified Bayes’ theorem? Labels: Blogs

Social cycles in history due to cognitive differences

Steve points me to this Jason Richwine piece, Are Liberals Smarter Than Conservatives?. Richwine states: Religion would seem to be the clear choice of smart people in this hypothetical example, but there would still be a positive correlation between IQ and atheism. The correlation exists not because smart people have necessarily rejected religion, but because […]

Names frequency changes not always stochastic

Turns out some names do become popular because of celebrities. Though I guess in the “big picture” the names celebrities have is going to be random. (via Andrew Gelman)

“Ancestral North Indians”, Europeans and pigment

Something that has been nagging me about the recent paper by Reich et al. which models Indian populations as a hybridization event between two ancestral groups, “Ancestral South Indians” (ASI) and “Ancestral North Indians” (ANI). As a reminder, the ANI seem to have been rather like Europeans in their allele frequencies, or at least far […]

Center-Right world?

One of the persistent structural issues with American politics is that a greater number of Americans self-identity as conservative than liberal, so the Republican party can be dominated by conservatives in a manner in which the Democratic party can not. This is not to speak to whether people are in substance more conservative or not, […]

Germs, collectivism and serotonin

Culture-gene coevolution of individualism-collectivism and the serotonin transporter gene: Culture-gene coevolutionary theory posits that cultural values have evolved, are adaptive and influence the social and physical environments under which genetic selection operates. Here, we examined the association between cultural values of individualism-collectivism and allelic frequency of the serotonin transporter functional polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) as well as […]

Many nations are getting more religious, but young people are still less religious

One thing that has bothered me, or at least piqued my interest, are two seemingly contradictory facts: 1) Many regions & nations have seen a resurgence of religion in the past generation (i.e., 1980s to 2010). The post-Communist and Islamic world most prominently. There is quantitative data for the post-Communist world, while for the Islamic […]

What Darwin Said: Part 7 – Levels of Selection

This is the seventh and last in a series of posts about Charles Darwin’s view of evolution. Previous posts were: 1: The Pattern of Evolution. 2: Mechanisms of Evolution. 3: Heredity. 4: Speciation 5. Gradualism (A) , which dealt with Darwin’s views on gradualism in the rate of evolutionary change. 6. Gradualism (B), about the […]

The slob factor

FuturePundit observes a phenomenon which might open up a possible avenue for nudge: Clean rooms also increased willingness to volunteer and donate to charity. That’s just the sense of smell. We have other senses. What does room color do to us? Which color makes us most unfair? Red? Yellow? Is it the same color that […]

Better genetics for living

I’m really happy that Tomorrow’s Table joined ScienceBlogs. 1) the blog has science, 2) its intersection with policy (food production) is pretty important. Labels: Blog

The means of taxation

Over at New Majority David Frum has a review up of Chris Wickham’s The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000. Frum elaborates on one of Wickham’s central theses about the nature of the fall of the Roman Empire, the shift from direct taxation to assignments of land (what eventually evolved into what we […]

Svante Paabo believes modern humans & Neandertals interbred

Neanderthals ‘had sex’ with modern man: Professor Svante Paabo, director of genetics at the renowned Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, will shortly publish his analysis of the entire Neanderthal genome, using DNA retrieved from fossils. He aims to compare it with the genomes of modern humans and chimpanzees to work out the […]

When you can meet online, will colloquia disappear?

The other day I saw a flier for a colloquium in my department that sounded kind of interesting, but I thought “It probably won’t be worth it,” and I ended up not going. After all, anyone with an internet connection can find a cyber-colloquium to participate in — and drawn from a much wider range […]

EDAR & lubrication

Enhanced Edar Signalling Has Pleiotropic Effects on Craniofacial and Cutaneous Glands: The skin carries a number of appendages, including hair follicles and a range of glands, which develop under the influence of EDAR signalling. A gain of function allele of EDAR is found at high frequency in human populations of East Asia, with genetic evidence […]

What’s going on at ASHG 2009?

If you haven’t been following the goings-on via Twitter, Luke Jostins has been posting some tidbits on his blog, Genetic Inference. If you get interested in something, remember you can search abstracts. Labels: Genetics, Population genetics

Inferring demographic history

Very interesting paper in PLoS Genetics, Inferring the Joint Demographic History of Multiple Populations from Multidimensional SNP Frequency Data. Here’s the author summary: The demographic history of our species is reflected in patterns of genetic variation within and among populations. We developed an efficient method for calculating the expected distribution of genetic variation, given a […]

Welcoming Nicolae Carpathia

After I hit “post” for the entry below, cheering linguistic uniformity, I realized that perhaps a word should be said about the obvious downsides. Large populations are probably a spur to innovation as the raw number of individuals of the smart fraction reaches critical mass. But denser populations also gave rise to numerous infectious diseases. […]

From Cantonese to Mandarin

In Chinatown, Sound of the Future Is Mandarin: He grew up playing in the narrow, crowded streets of Manhattan’s Chinatown. He has lived and worked there for all his 61 years. But as Wee Wong walks the neighborhood these days, he cannot understand half the Chinese conversations he hears. Cantonese, a dialect from southern China […]

People can’t judge their own political ideology

Or, perhaps they’re norming to their local context. In any case, Andrew Gelman pointed to Boris Shor’s site, who then linked to his research on ideology, which led me this working paper, All Together Now: Putting Congress, State Legislatures, and Individuals in a Common Ideological Space. Here’s what jumped out at me: I have also […]

The Marxist Mesticos

Today I listened to a Planet Money podcast about Angola’s oil economy, which is an extreme manifestation of the typical dysfunctions which occur due to the presence of black gold. But it got me to thinking about a book I read recently, Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles. Though the author is a journalist and not […]