Open Thread, 08/19/2019

Just got Statistical Thinking from Scratch: A Primer for Scientists by Michael Edge in the mail (one of the favorite non-electronic books I’ll buy this year). I think a lot of readers of this weblog would find this a useful book in terms of the range of topics covered, as well as the level of knowledge it expects. Definitely a good addition to your library. Recommended.

My guest appearance on Rationally Speaking is live if you want to listen to me talk.

ISIS Is Regaining Strength in Iraq and Syria. We need to focus on containment.

Seattle-area rents drop significantly for first time this decade as new apartments sit empty. Why? In the story: “The city of Seattle is getting more apartments this decade than in the prior 50 years combined.”

In the Ethiopian Mountains, Ancient Humans Were Living the High Life. The likelihood is that modern Ethiopian adaptations are old, and they got them through introgression.

Eurogenes revisits the Tocharian ancient DNA paper.

Hong Kong Protesters Love Pepe the Frog. No, They’re Not Alt-Right.

Considering founding and variable genomes is critical in studying polyploid evolution.

Ancient Burial Pits Reveal Sophisticated Rituals. This is a really cool find, and it looks like there are good possibilities for ancient DNA (look at the note in the supplements). Also, not surprised that environmental stress leads to new coordinated rituals.

Meta-analysis of GWA studies provides new insights on the genetic architecture of skin pigmentation in recently admixed populations.

Phylogenetic weighting does little to improve the accuracy of evolutionary coupling analyses.

Selection for altruistic defense in structured populations.

Why an Heiress Spent Her Fortune Trying to Keep Immigrants Out.

Study: many of the “oldest” people in the world may not be as old as we think.

When the spirit moves me, I write 1,000-3,000 word essays quite regularly. These posts have a “long-tale”…but I wonder, are they too long for regular readers?

Also, remember to subscribe to my total content feed. It pushes all my content from blogs, like Brown Pundits, but also my writing for National Review.

Just got a review copy of Thomas Chatterton Williams’ Self-Portrait In Black and White. Won’t be out until the fall, but it looks really interesting.

The conversation below between Glenn Loury and John McWhorter on the defenestration of Roland Fryer is worth listening to.

On the whole, I lean toward their argument that considering the infractions Fryer committed, the reaction was disproportionate. But one thing that they mention offhand, and I have thought was truly part of the problem, is that since Fryer was a media darling in 2005 (see this profile in The New York Times Magazine), he hasn’t really panned out as one of the tribunes of the Great Awokening. Combined with the fact that Glenn mentions Roland did not cultivate favor with the black academic community of Harvard, it strikes me that this incident is more a reflection of who/whom.

23 thoughts on “Open Thread, 08/19/2019

  1. When the spirit moves me, I write 1,000-3,000 word essays quite regularly. These posts have a “long-tale”…but I wonder, are they too long for regular readers?

    No, they are not. Just keep going on. You remain one of the soundest and sanest voices on that side of the Atlantic, with high s/n-ratio.

  2. “When the spirit moves me, I write 1,000-3,000 word essays quite regularly. These posts have a “long-tale”…but I wonder, are they too long for regular readers?”

    I only read the blog regularly for a bit more than the last year, so I’m not sure that I count. But those essays belong to the things I really like about your blog!

  3. When the spirit moves me, I write 1,000-3,000 word essays quite regularly. These posts have a “long-tale”…but I wonder, are they too long for regular readers?

    I enjoy these too.

    Also — is it me, or has there been a drought of ancient DNA papers lately?

  4. Your longer essays are welcomed and I hope they are well-attended to by readers, what do your stats show beyond just tails? When first seeing a lengthy post, I might bounce due to time constraints during the workday, but return to at leisure some time later. (By then there will also be 5 semi-interesting Sobchak digressions in the comments plus an iffen attempt to insert a covert apartheid argument, with Matt reliably hewing to the actual science).

    What I would much like to see from you is a 10,000 word feature in the New Yorker, patiently explaining to their center left readership your personal journey to and maintenance of collegial center-right brown reasonableness, and clueing them in to how the D’s might sell Warren’s pan-middle class rebooting of the New Deal in light of tribalistic/religious structures. I have zero idea whether NYer would have cojones to publish it, but the worst that could happen would be that we would then have a more thoroughgoing explication of your very laudable personal project to discuss and reflect upon The Real What-Is with any and all thoughtful intelligent non-screamers–with your bestselling book to follow.

  5. What the others have said. Your longer pieces are fine for me, because the density of the prose makes the investment of time worthwhile – give a little and gain a lot.

    Also feeling withdrawal symptoms from dearth of recent ancient DNA papers.

  6. Your long posts are why I give you $2 per month! They are very insightful.

    Glen Loury is of course angry since he is Fryer’s mentor. I have been following Fryer’s work for a long time and he is the real deal. His work is first rate and very well done. He is more committed to the truth then furthering the narrative which is what makes him vulnerable.

  7. “DNA match leads to man’s arrest in violent 1993 abduction” By Holly Zachariah in The Columbus Dispatch Posted Aug 20, 2019

    Ralph E. Bortree, now 55, is charged with attempted murder in an attack on a 19-year-old woman who, authorities say, was ripped from her vehicle, raped, had her throat slashed and was left for dead in a Logan County ditch 26 years ago. …

    Detectives never gave up on the case, and in 2015, Phil Bailey, a detective with the Logan County sheriff’s office, combed through the file and decided to resubmit the woman’s shirt to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to look for clues. The state lab developed a DNA profile, but there was no match in any criminal database.

    “So we had the DNA but no suspect,” Bailey said. … but he had heard about the growing use of public DNA databases being used to solve crimes.

    … more than 12 million Americans have used DNA genealogy testing companies such as 23andMe or AncestryDNA to learn about their genetics and family history. Clients of those testing companies can upload test results to public databases to help find family. And another subset of forensic companies helps law enforcement find matches to unsolved crimes.

    Bailey knew that, so he asked Logan County Sheriff Randy Dodds for $5,000 to send the unmatched DNA profile to one of those companies, AdvanceDNA. … The company determined that the profile was linked to a Logan County family, and there were three potential suspects.

    Bailey eliminated one of them — Bortree’s brother — because Bailey had sent him to prison years ago on what he says is the most violent rape he has ever investigated. So his DNA already would have been in the system.

    Logan County detectives then followed Bortree and, eventually, he threw out a cigarette butt. The butt was retrieved and the DNA on it tested. “It matched,” Stewart said. …

  8. Hey Razib, went back and re-read your “Stuff I was wrong about” piece after listening to your interview with Julie. A few questions–obviously feel free to skip any you don’t find interesting/productive.

    1. After Heinrich’s book, what’s the best thing to read for someone trying to hear a strong argument for group selection. Would you recommend Wilson’s latest for this or do you think the arguments coming from cultural evolution are stronger?

    2. You said you in your article that you find yourself leaning more towards selectionist explanations for genomic phenomena but talking with Julie, if I’m remembering correctly, you said one of your reservations re: evopsych was it was its tendency to be overly adaptationist. Am I missing a key distinction here?

    3. If the roots of the religious instinct in humans are congnitive, what comes next for a rapidly secularizing world? (If you agree with the secularization premise)

    4. You described the frog-nazi phenomenon as “inexplicable.” Curious if you would take a crack at explaining it.

    For what it’s worth, I hope you keep writing your long pieces. I don’t always read them right when you put them out, but I almost always get around to them eventually and enjoy them when I do. Peace.

  9. This comment, supposedly by Niraj Rai, jumped out at me from the comments section on the Eurogenes blog post about Tocharian DNA: Our DNA based research on R1a1 suggest its origin in South Asia. For this finding we have analyzed 10 thousand DNA samples across India and findings will be published soon.

    Any thoughts?

  10. @Razib

    What ancient DNA paper is soon to be released?

    Re. the comment from Niraj Rai that Numinous mentions :

    I don’t understand how Rai can claim R1a1a is autochthonous to S.Asia, because R1a1a z93 is accepted as a marker of Yamnaya right? And the Rakhigarhi aDNA male has no Steppe ancestry, only ASI and Iranian farmer, with the Irula being the closest match.

    So what exactly is Rai trying to say here?


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