Archive for October, 2010

Medical Knowledge

Jim Manzi has a good reply up at TAS on our degree of medical knowledge, discussing an Atlantic article I also go into here. While he makes a number of good points, I don’t think he quite addresses some of the issues raised by Robin Hanson and the original Atlantic piece. Manzi defends medicine in […]

Again with this Lamarck guy

Cross-posted from Reaction Norm… Here he is “late in life.”  Everyone already thinks he’s wrong wrong WRONG. We know him now as the Wrongest Biologist Ever. When we say “Lamarckian” we mean the idea that acquired characteristics can be inherited. I can almost hear him crying from the grave, “I produced a lifetime of ideas […]

If you’ve done 23andMe….

The Dodecad ancestry project might be of some interest. In particular if you have ancestry from a gold-chain wearing culture.

Searching for a needle in a needlestack

Whole-genome sequencing is a game-changer for human genetics. It is now possible to deduce every base of an individual’s genome (all 6 billion of them – two copies of 3 billion each) for a couple of thousand euros, and dropping. (Yes, euros). Even Ozzy Osbourne just got his genome sequenced! For researchers searching for the […]

…Those Germans

I have a long post reviewing Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century. Good book. In the process of blogging on the topic I found something kind of funny, but it was too immature to be posted there. I yanked some charts from Gallup Coexist 2009. Basically it shows […]

Knowledge is Hard

Courtesy of Robin Hanson, I see that The Atlantic has an excellent article on medical knowledge: One of the researchers, a biostatistician named Georgia Salanti, fired up a laptop and projector and started to take the group through a study she and a few colleagues were completing that asked this question: were drug companies manipulating […]

Colour my world

Colour does not exist. Not out in the world at any rate. All that exists in the world is a smooth continuum of light of different wavelengths. Colour is a construction of our brains. A lot is known about how the brain does this, beginning with complicated circuits in the retina itself. Thanks to a […]

Elitism in the Senate

As Benjamin Friedman laid out in The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth; a tolerant, accepting society is predicated on running the growth treadmill. Simply being prosperous is not enough — people need to feel that conditions will steadily improve over time, or else populism, xenophobia, and other measures of intolerance go up. So as we enter […]

How Worrysome is Habitat Loss?

Razib’s link to the discovery of a new mammal species in Madagascar makes the following point: This species is probably the carnivore with one of the smallest ranges in the world, and likely to be one of the most threatened. The Lac Alaotra wetlands are under considerable pressure, and only urgent conservation work to make […]

South Park + Jersey Shore

This should be good. Perhaps even top the D-Yikes! espide: It Came From JerseyTags: SOUTHPARKRandy Marsh,Eric Cartman,more…

Mice with fully functioning human brains

I wouldn’t usually discuss politics in a blog like this, but a recent story caught my eye, as it provides an example of the depressing and sometimes bizarre level of scientific illiteracy among elected officials or some people who hope to be elected. The example is from the United States, which is an easy target […]

Is Healthcare Expensive?

The Incidental Economist has an excellent series by Aaron Carroll and Austin Frakt on what makes the US Health system so expensive. Here’s the killer graph: What’s doing a lot of work here is “adjusting for relative wealth.” This phrase pops up a lot on their series, which finds that America spends more on healthcare […]

Demystifying Price’s Equation

In previous posts here and here I have discussed how George Price arrived at his eponymous Equation. I said that there would be one more post of comment and criticism, but it will take at least two posts to cover the points I want to make. The present post is aimed at getting a better […]