Daily Data Dump (Thursday)

By Razib Khan | May 6, 2010 3:44 pm

Newsweek Has Fallen Down and Can’t Get Up. There are still older people who don’t use the internet who like a weekly roundup I’m assuming. The main issue is that I like to get my news in bites from disparate publications. To have a broad circulation the weeklies have to appeal to many different market segments, which means that any one person is less likely to read as much of the publication. If you focus on a niche market you can produce copy which is read front to back, but then you’re a trade journal. Or at least that’s what it looks like to me. Print is highly flexible, but there are structural limitations, and the big weeklies have been slapped around by the proverbial “long tail.”

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. This is a good book, especially with its generous focus on the world of Eastern Christianity eventually swallowed up by Islam (and in Mongolia Buddhism). But I felt like it lost a bit of steam in the last few hundred pages as we approached the modern era. I found the author’s previous book, The Reformation, to be better because it covered only ~200 years and mostly one continent, allowing for greater depth. I’d read Christianity, stop when that book hits 1500, switch to The Reformation, and then find something else for the Enlightenment onward.

Anti-Gay Leader Caught With Male Prostitute Pleads Ignorance, Then Altruism. I assume that homosexual preference in adult males is basically very hard to change. But don’t ex-gays have more appropriate outlets (in light of their values) which would help them avoid getting caught in these situations? Tickle fight!!!

Male Obesity Linked to Low Testosterone Levels, Study Shows. “Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look, He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.” I have wondered if a shift toward greater obesity in American society has had behavioral correlates. The disease implications of shifting the biochemical equilibrium of the body due to an excess of body fat has place of precedence in terms of research dollars, but I would bet that less obviously pathological side effects in behavior and cognition also occur. Any ex-“people of size” out there who have shed weight, and have insights?

Aboriginal Hunting and Burning Increase Australia’s Desert Biodiversity, Researchers Find. Humans have been part of the Australian scene for 40,000 years, so they are part of the ecology. When modern humans arrived on the scene in regions which had no prior hominids, such as Australia, Oceania and the New World, the ecological systems tend to “requilibrate.” In other words, megafauna start to go extinct as humans drive them to the margins, fires reshape the wild, and organisms able to flourish alongside humans such as kangaroos and bison experience a demographic expansion.

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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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