I’ve been fine tuning Ubuntu all day with goodies and getting drivers to work right, so I missed this paper on African genetics:
Africa is the source of all modern humans, but characterization of genetic variation and of relationships among populations across the continent has been enigmatic. We studied 121 African populations, 4 African American populations, and 60 non-African populations for patterns of variation at 1327 nuclear microsatellite and insertion/deletion markers. We identified 14 ancestral population clusters in Africa that correlate with self-described ethnicity and shared cultural and/or linguistic properties. We observe high levels of mixed ancestry in most populations, reflecting historic migration events across the continent. Our data also provide evidence for shared ancestry among geographically diverse hunter-gatherer populations (Khoesan-speakers and Pygmies). The ancestry of African Americans is predominantly from Niger-Kordofanian (~71%), European (~13%), and other African (~8%) populations, although admixture levels varied considerably among individuals. This study helps tease apart the complex evolutionary history of Africans and African Americans, aiding both anthropological and genetic epidemiologic studies.
In the press the lead author suggests that 13% might be a lowball figure for European ancestry among African Americans (other studies average out in the range of 20%). I’ll outsource my commentary & links to Dan MacArthur, since the exchange rate is good right now….
John Schwenkler points me to Rod Dreher’s shock that religious people seem to support torture more than the non-religious:
And get this: the more often you go to church, the more pro-torture you’re likely to be!
What on earth are these Christians hearing at church?! Very sad indeed.
There are plenty of data showing that Christians’ attitudes toward abortion, contraception, and the rest don’t differ very significantly from those of the rest of society; the real factor, of course, lies in political affiliations, and I have little doubt that most of the relevant findings can be explained in terms of the fact that frequently churchgoing Catholics and Evangelicals are especially likely to identify as Republicans.
“What on earth are these Christians hearing at church?!” asks Rod. Perhaps it’s had something to do with there being a moral obligation to support the GOP in the face of the Democratic menace.
There isn’t any question about torture in the GSS, but there are questions about abortion and the death penalty. I selected 2 with large sample sizes, CAPPUN and ABANY, and checked how they relate to 4 religious identities, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and None.
So on the Death Penalty:
Do you favor or oppose the death enalty for persons convicted of murder?
I blogged about this a few months ago, but Dan MacArthur reports that the firm which was going to roll it out first claims that it doesn’t really work as advertised.
UN says Egypt pig cull real mistake:
The United Nations has called Egypt’s move to cull 400,000 pigs as a precaution against swine flu “a real mistake”.
The Egyptian government ordered the slaughter of the pigs on Wednesday, saying it could help quell any panic in the country that is largely Muslim, who view pigs as unclean.
No pigs in the country have been found with the new strain of H1N1 virus of the so-called swine flu and the World Health Organisation (WHO) says the disease cannot be caught from eating pork that is properly prepared.
I just heard on NPR that urban pigs apparently process a great of the organic trash for the city of Cairo. This overreaction might have some public health ramifications down the road.
John Derbyshire is making it over at Secular Right. Since Andrew Sullivan linked you can imagine the way comments are going….
(Comments closed here)
I’m in the mood for a “feel good” story with the past week’s fixation in swine flu. Half A Glass Of Wine A Day May Boost Life Expectancy By Five Years:
The Dutch authors base their findings on a total of 1,373 randomly selected men whose cardiovascular health and life expectancy at age 50 were repeatedly monitored between 1960 and 2000.
Here are the findings:
In the wake of Predictably Irrational, check out Tyler Cowen’s endorsement of Geoffrey Miller’s new book, Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior. Miller is a good writer, so I’m assuming it will be a page-turner, but he does tend to be “provocative” in all the best & worst ways when it comes to popular science. Evolutionary psychologists have a tendency to make everything about sex & status, but within the field it seems Miller does come off as the “pimp daddy” always talking about the “bling” and “b**tches” as the raison d’être.
New Geochronologic And Stratigraphic Evidence Confirms The Paleocene Age Of the Dinosaur-Bearing Ojo Alamo Sandstone And Animas Formation In The San Juan Basin, New Mexico and Colorado:
…An assemblage of 34 skeletal elements from a single hadrosaur, found in the Ojo Alamo Sandstone in the southern San Juan Basin, provided conclusive evidence that this assemblage could not have been reworked from underlying Cretaceous strata. In addition, geochemical studies of 15 vertebrate bones from the Paleocene Ojo Alamo Sandstone and 15 bone samples from the underlying Kirtland Formation of Late Cretaceous (Campanian) age show that each sample suite contained distinctly different abundances of uranium and rare-earth elements, indicating that the bones were mineralized in place soon after burial, and that none of the Paleocene dinosaur bones analyzed had been reworked.
Here’s ScienceDaily with more: