I highly recommend Åse Fixes Science, in light of our recent conversations about psychology. It’s a fascinating and important discipline, but it is hard to make heads or tails of it all.
Comments Off on Doing psychology right (trying)
Thoughts on the BGI IQ study.
Language Evolves in R, not Python: An apology. Open science is good.
Are Twin Studies “Pretty Much Useless”? One interesting, but unsurprising, aspect of the response to execrable Brian Palmer piece is that several of us in the blogosphere pointed out pretty much the same set of well known findings to refute his weird charges. This isn’t rocket science.
Romney vs. Perry: It’s personal. ‘“I think he had a few exasperating experiences with Perry, and he’s not alone in that,” said one source close to Romney. “I think Mitt thinks Perry is not that bright.”’
Genome-wide association study in individuals of South Asian ancestry identifies six new type 2 diabetes susceptibility loci. Probably a good idea to study diabetes in the most numerous hper-diabetic population in the world.
North Korea: The Long Coma. I have said many a time that North Korea is the best modern representation of a pre-modern divine monarchy.
Men Are From Mars, Women Like Kindles. I think we need vouchers for males to close the “Kindle gap.”
Working for GiveWell. Holden is a very cool guy, for what it’s worth.
Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time ...
Comments Off on Around the Web – August 29th, 2011
Comments Off on Around the Web – August 3rd, 2011
I assume you’re hot?
Killings in Norway Spotlight Anti-Muslim Thought in U.S.. I’ve read Gates of Vienna before. Despite my anti-multiculturalist attitudes I generally departed with them over their sloppy marshaling of history. Two wrongs doesn’t make a right. Ironically I was introduced to the blog mostly by someone who is now a moderately scary Muslim (they converted, at the time they were very not Muslim. Now they engage in quasi-apologia for reactionary Muslim behavior like death threats against blasphemers).
What should evolutionary psychology comprise? Also see John Hawks.
Epigenetic ‘Memory’ Key to Nature Versus Nurture. Epigenetics is trending.
Rival Debt Plans Being Assembled by Party Leaders. No comment.
Social Media Study: Conservatives Were Top Tweeters in 2010 U.S. Elections. Interesting in that I recall a lot of talk about political blogging being counter-cyclical (when your party is out of power there’s more of a need and impulse to get online to organize and communicate).
Social Transmission and the Spread of Modern Contraception in Rural Ethiopia. I think there’s too much emphasis on individual scale variables like female education, and not enough on broader cultural shifts. Both need to be focused upon. Some of the ...
Comments Off on Around the Web – July 25th, 2011
There have been some good posts at Gene Expression Classic you might want to check out. In particular:
Synaesthesia and savantism and Where do morals come from?. The second is a review of Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality by Kevin Mitchell
Natural selection and the collapse of economic growth and Natural selection and economic growth by Jason Collins.
Earliest Art in the Americas: Ice Age Image of Mammoth or Mastodon Found in Florida. Claims that the a rendering of a elephant-like creature in Florida is at least ~13,000 years old because “this is the date for the last appearance of these animals in eastern North America.” If this is based on fossils probably you can fudge that a little lower, since first and last fossils tend to be a subset of the real interval of time.
The Michael Hecht-Rationally Speaking affair. Jennifer Michael Hecht is making accusations of plagiarism against Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef. One can’t render final judgment on this sort of thinking without digging deeper, but my personal experience is that most perceptions of plagiarism and copying have to do with the fact that the web ...
Comments Off on Around the Web – June 24th, 2011
Comments Off on @ Sepia Mutiny
Monuments to Clan Life Are Losing Their Appeal. A rule of thumb is that the Chinese tend to emphasize permanent architecture less than other societies, probably due to the tendency not to use durable materials.
The Next Bubble: Farmland. Did not know: “And large-scale farmland bubbles are quite rare: There was only one in the United States in the entire 20th century, during the great population scare of the 1970s.”
Tortoise and Hare, in a Laboratory Flask. Carl on the new paper out of the Lenski lab.
Unknown Animals Nearly Invisible Yet There. There aren’t enough labor hours to catalog the tree of life.
A Proud ‘Lobbyist’ and ‘Southerner’ Weighs ‘President’. We haven’t had a fat president in nearly 100 years.
Europe’s Rift Over Energy Is Widened by France. Go France!
Less Wrong NYC: Case Study of a Successful Rationalist Chapter. Brass tacks: what’s the rate of drop of proportion of virgins over the course of the past year?
Law of Averages. Finally, people are responding to the disincentives of low-tier law school attendance!
Vaccine to Cure Asthma Brought on by House Dust Mite Allergies?
Canine Genetic Wrinkle Has Human Potential. Dog genetics yields important insights ...
Comments Off on Around the Web – March 22nd, 2011
I recently gave a scientific talk at a conference, and a brown dude ran up to me after seeing my name on the list of speakers, and it was clear that he knew me more from my comments on the Sepia Mutiny weblog as much or more than from my science stuff. So the probability of you reading that weblog conditional on reading this weblog is high…but if not, I have two posts up there of interest:
- The decline of Hindi among American brown folk
- A civilization of regions
Comments Off on @Sepia Mutiny
Yes, The Singularity is the Biggest Threat to Humanity.
Imitation and Social Cognition in Humans and Chimpanzees (I): Imitation, Overimitation, and Conformity. Doesn’t fall into the trap of either/or, where chimpanzees are qualitatively different from humans in too stark of a manner, or simply quantitatively different in an implausible fashion.
Emulation, Simulation, and the Human Brain. Tim B Lee is skeptical of whole brain emulation.
Borderless Economy, Jobless Prosperity. The real issue is whether the nation-state matters in any deep way as anything more than an organizational convenience and semantic convention. I would say it does. Many globalists would disagree.
The Chicken, The Egg, The Media and Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is magnetic.
Buying Blind: Steve Jobs isn’t saying why he’s taking a medical leave. Is that fair to Apple investors? Looks like there’s a lot of squishiness about what does, and doesn’t, need to be disclosed. But if Apple is so dependent on its CEO’s vision, is it really a good long term hold?
Politically Confident, Iran Cuts Subsidies on Prices. Incentives matter: “I used to be the kind of person to have all the lights on because I liked the house to be very bright,” says ...
Comments Off on Around the Web – January 18th, 2011
High Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Older Swingers. This goes into the “they had to do research!?!?!” category. Older swingers are a “high risk” group, like gay men and prostitutes.
Golly, Beav, We’re Historic. I really loved Leave It To Beaver when I was a kid.
Religious Extremists Will Inherit the Earth. John Derbyshire reviews the new book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century. I’m looking forward to this book, though I’m generally skeptical of the error bars on any social prediction beyond the 20 year time horizon.
Born to be a slave in Niger. This a story from 2005, but from what I gather nothing has really changed in much of the Sahel since then. Slavery is particularly pernicious in Mauritania, where the racialized aspect is pretty straightforward.
New Clues Suggest Wet Era on Early Mars Was Global. This story caught my attention because I just found out that Edgar Rice Burrough’s first Barsoon novel is going to be turned into a film.
Comments Off on Daily Data Dump – Monday
This Doctor Does What to 6-Year-Old Girls’ Clitorises? This reminds me of the possibly apocryphal story of a pediatrician being attacked in England because a really stupid outraged person was opposed to pedophilia. Here’s a sentence for the ages: ” Because much as Savage might like it to be, the world is not yet a place where most little girls can have a clitoris that looks like a penis and feel entirely at ease.” I think the intersex have been subject to such misrepresentation historically that advocates for this group should really focus on being true to the facts and not appealing to emotions.
Caring About Strangers. I recall years ago that the Christian Rock group Jars of Clay collaborated on a concert with liberal Hollywood-based organizations to raise consciousness about religious intolerance and persecution in China. Jars of Clay naturally was focused on the Protestant “House Churches,” while Hollywood was focused on Tibetan Buddhists. Both instances of persecution were, and are, real, but which one you focus on is obviously determined by your own world-view and sympathies.
Consumer Genetics Needs More Transparency, Not Excessive Regulation. In general I agree. I suppose my null or default position is not to regulate this sort of thing. Those who wish to regulate need to make their case, as opposed to fear-mongering.
Gore Was Accused of Sexual Advances. Excelsior!
Are High Glycemic Index Carbs Worse Than Saturated Fat? “…swapping saturated fat for carbs with a high glycemic index (e.g. 5% lower calories from saturated fat, and 5% increased calories from high GI carbs) was associated with a 33% increased heart attack risk.”
Comments Off on Daily Data Dump – Thursday
Sexual urges overcome cultural taboo. So it turns out that the female children of immigrants from conservative societies (South Asian and Islamic) are paying for hymen restoration surgeries. The more interesting question would be if these children become sexually conservative themselves, perpetuating the life history trajectory so that their own children have to go through these sorts of reconstructions.
Vitamin D Deficiency Due To Genetic Variants. Vitamin D supplementation is all the rage right now. What if its efficacy and necessity is conditional on genetic background?
Is the “missing heritability” right under our noses? The issue may have to do with the exigencies of research programs, not a deep scientific mystery.
A Singular Kind of Eugenics. It seems “privilege” is the new hot-button for Lefties who are skeptical of assisted reproductive technologies and genetic modifications. I suspect it’s a Left-wing buzzword which is equivalent to Righties who bring up “dignity” or the “wisdom of repugnance.” Much easier than having to generate clear prose and understand the complex motives which underpin an issue. Buying really expensive smartphones and pure entertainment machines like iPads also are manifestations of privilege. So what distinguishes X from Y? Not the commonality, privilege, but perhaps the same gut intuitions which Right bioconservatives are willing to man up to, repugnance. Some privileges are repugnant (biological interventions) and some frivolous (iPad). Also, when did discourse replace discussion and privilege replace class?
Saltie Makes a Sandwich Almost Entirely Out of Lettuce. There is nothing magical about meat; it’s all about the flavor.
Comments Off on Daily Data Dump – Tuesday
I won the 3 Quarks Daily Science Prize. ‘Top quark’. Heh. “I” = Ed Yong. ‘nuf said.
Brown-eyed men perceived to be more dominant. Dienekes offers up a more banal explanation, that the disjunction between blue vs. brown-eyed males in dominance perception has to do with a correlation that’s a holdover from past population differences which are being eliminated through admixture. Plausible enough to me, excepting that I do wonder at models which presume that continental populations were ever so isolated.
Chimpanzees murder for land. In biology Malthus was right. Intrapspecific competition is the norm quite often because of reproduction up to the carrying capacity. This is why I think Brian Ferguson’s idea that war is a product of agriculture is highly naive; hunter-gatherers were up at their carrying capacity as well.
Bernie Madoff, Free at Last. Celebrity sociopath.
If it’s OK to reject blood from gay men, what about blacks? Will Saletan takes things to their logical conclusion to undermine the premise.
Comments Off on Daily Data Dump – Monday
Subprime for Students – Why does so much federal money go to for-profit schools—and what happens when the system crashes? Steve Eisman, a Cassandra of the subprime meltdown in real estate, is now focused on the student loan & grant racket in the for-profit education industry. I have nothing against competition forcing the relatively static higher education complex to evolve. In fact I favor it. But with massive government subsidies with minimal oversight being directed toward higher education the market is producing entities which emerge not to provide a genuine service to potential students, but to capture as much of the cash flow from the feds as possible. Barring elimination of government subsidies more aggressive oversight seems the only avenue of correcting the problems in this sector.
Is Google Docs Destined To Be a Revolutionary or Footnote?. First, Google Docs lacks some of the power for presentations which desktop office packages have. Second, the flakiness of internet connections means that many people won’t use it for ‘mission critical’ tasks yet. But I assume that over the next ten years you will start to see a shift from desktop applications to web applications even in office productivity software.
Do Not Log-Transform Count Data, Bitches! R gives you no excuse.
The Essence of Pleasure. Human flourishing is more than “doing the sums.”
Anthropology, Primatology, and the Definition of Culture: Reply to Sperber. Eric Michael Johnson presents a powerful case. Though do note that in general Dan Sperber, the target of Johnson’s critique, views the overall research program he’s criticizing positively.
Comments Off on Daily Data Dump – Friday
Didn’t spend enough time on the internet today for a Daily Data Dump. But,
1) ResearchBlogCast #6, sans Kevin Zelnio.
2) Noah Millman is on Bloggingheads.tv.
Comments Off on Links of note for today
The Closing of the Conservative Mind. Noah Millman doesn’t post often, but when he does it’s always worth reading.
Close to Homo? – The announcement of Australopithecus sediba. The tendency to trump everything as the most awesome ancestor or link is perhaps analogous to the demand from the public that cosmologists know the mind of God or something.
Yet Another “Missing Link”. More from Carl Zimmer.
And Down the Stretch She Comes. Horses have far less sexual dimorphism than humans. Did not know that, but makes sense.
Rumor of Sarkozy Infidelities Sets Off a Modern French Farce. The French are different. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.
Comments Off on Daily Data Dump
The Apple Two: The iPad is Steve Jobs’ final victory over the company’s co-founder Steve Wozniak. Sounds totally plausible to me, though you can probably come to that inference just by observing 5 minutes of Woz vs. Jobs’ personal affect.
Upbeat Signs Revive Consumers’ Mood for Spending. I remember reading as a kid in the early 90s about how the recession of the time was going to result in a major shift in American habits and values. That didn’t pan out, the latter half the decade saw the emergence of irrational exuberance which surpassed the 1980s. But this recession/depression has been quantitatively much deeper, so perhaps something will stick. For one, it seems that we’ve lost a lot of wealth and some of the current upsurge in spending is pent up demand for goods & services which we can put off only for so long.
A Study of the Influence of Sex on Genome Wide Methylation. Digesting.
Did world religions help bring about complex societies? I lean toward Peter Turchin’s thesis that world religions were essential in generating “meta-ethnic” identities. In other words, perhaps not complex societies per se, but civilizations which span localities.
Have the hunting habits of leopards shaped primate evolution. When we were prey….
Comments Off on Daily Data Dump
Dave Weigel is up & running at The Washington Post, covering conservative politics.
Archaeologists Uncover Land Before Wheel; Site Untouched for 6,000 Years. Of course the New World civilizations ~1492 were also pre-wheel.
Realty Check: ‘Extreme Makeover’ Downsizes Its Dream Homes. Mo money = mo problems (remember, home equal = $).
The Science of Kissing COVER! Sheril has a cover. Nice.
Today’s Social Liberal Is Tomorrow’s Social Conservative. Looking at the GSS I’ve found that conservatives of all ages tend to agree when it comes to issues like homosexuality, while liberals exhibit a split between old & young. Don’t know whether this is transitory, or a general feature of social change in the United States.
Comments Off on Daily Data Dump
Comments Off on Neuroscience blog of note
I’ve already linked to this blog on ScienceBlogs, but I thought I might as well point to it from here. Check out The Oscillator, every entry is dense with science. The focus in synthetic biology. I wanted to see if there’d been a mention of Craig Venter’s synthetic bacteria project, but the the search box doesn’t yield anything. Perhaps that’s information in and of itself. One can’t put this in the ALH84001 category since Venter’s produced some real science out of the project already, but it has a Friedman Unit feel. Though I assume that there wouldn’t be hype around the synthesis if they didn’t perceive themselves really close, I have noted that Venter said “by the end of the year” in the summer of 2009. And to be fair, the quote is from a British periodical, and they’re not always reliable (no offense Brits).
Update: Carl Zimmer asks:
And he performed the first genome transplant and figured out how to make yeast churn out entire genomes of bacteria If this is limbo, it’s a pretty productive place to be. If Venter does manage to pull this project off in 2014, will history really care much that he was off by 5 years?
My response: No. But if he keeps saying it’ll happen “this year” until he gets it done in 2014, that should reduce our confidence that he can get it done between this date and that date. In fact, it should reduce his own confidence too I would think if he’s being sincere, since it indicates that his model at any given moment of what’s going on has serious holes which he can’t account for.
Though to make a fully informed guess on this sort of thing we should probably look at historical precedents for paradigm shifting science & engineering like this. Getting to the moon. Nuclear power. Economically viable nuclear fusion. The human genome project.
Comments Off on The Oscillator, synthetic species