Digital Quantification of Human Eye Color Highlights Genetic Association of Three New Loci. I was going to blog this, but obviously I got distracted. The best part of this paper is that they used a quantitative measure of eye color differences, instead of categorical binning. They confirmed the importance of the HERC2-OCA2 region in blue vs. brown eye color differences, but by using a more fine-grained description of the phenotype managed to smoke out other loci.
Is Mental Illness Good For You? One issue which I am much more conscious of now than I was a few years ago are the cultural preconditions for mental illness diagnosis. I come from a background predisposed to accept the maxim “chemistry for better living,” so I have no deep fear of drugs. But, I know people in my own life who have been put on anti-depressant medication almost as a preventative measure, and, last year I read The Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914. The book is not about mental illness, but I was struck by how many obviously culturally constructed mental illnesses existed which we don’t even remember now. This is not to deny real mental illness which is a function of biological abnormalities, or environmental stress or shock. But the very high penetration of diagnoses of mental illness should be viewed with skepticism, and needs no deep evolutionary explanation. It’s culture.
New York Judges Resist Claims by Debt Collectors. Some debt collectors seem to be suing people who don’t even owe debts. It seems that economically some law firms have found this efficient and profitable. The one named in the article is Eltman, Eltman & Cooper. Their staff pages seems peculiarly denuded. Here’s their Ripoff Report page.
Deconstructing the crash. There are still debates about Black Monday in 1987. I’m glad I read The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence.
I think this video is appropriate: