Archive for December, 2010

Denis Dutton, 1944-2010

Professor, web entrepreneur Denis Dutton dies. Readers of this weblog probably know him for Arts & Letters Daily and The Art Instinct. I never knew the man personally, but he made an impact on me through his website and articles. We shared friends, and I was proud when Arts & Letters Daily put this website […]

In Plain Sight

In Table S48, on page 135 of the supplement to the big Neandertal paper in Science, fourth line from the bottom, the text says ‘San closer to Han+French than to Yoruba (!)” – but that is a typo. I trust you all see the implications.

Romans & gods, Athens & Jerusalem

Ross Douthat’s latest column in The New York Times comes back somewhat to an exchange we had a little over five years ago. He concludes his column: Or to put it another way, Christians need to find a way to thrive in a society that looks less and less like any sort of Christendom — […]

Self-organising principles in the nervous system

The circuitry of the brain is too complex to be completely specified by genetic information – at least not down to the level of each connection. There are hundreds of billions of neurons in your brain, each making an average of 1,000 connections to other cells. There are simply not enough genes in the genome […]

Fisher on Inclusive Fitness, Again (again)

A while ago I pointed out a discussion in R. A. Fisher’s Genetical Theory of Natural Selection which showed a pretty clear understanding of the concept of inclusive fitness, and shortly after that I mentioned a passage in his published correspondence that seemed equally clear. While consulting GTNS for another purpose I have noticed another […]

This book is a big *wow*

War in Human Civilization is an awesomely well written and dense book. Like The Horse, the Wheel, and Language it is a scholarly work which stays broadly engaging and relevant to a wider audience than specialists. Highly recommended if you have some spare time over Christmas. This is naturally not a endorsement of every claim […]

Extraordinary claims about arsenic

Rosie Redfield has a “must read” post, Arsenic-associated bacteria (NASA’s claims). I won’t excerpt it, read the whole thing. To me it is very interesting that many pieces of her critique are ones I’ve encountered in emails or Facebook postings. She stitches them together into a coherent whole. She’ll be writing a letter to Science. […]