Daily Data Dump – Monday

By Razib Khan | June 21, 2010 12:51 pm

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.

  • vghyg

    The people who despise Madoff are the people who are liable to have lost money because of him, i.e. upper middle class and upper class people. Intelligent people from other classes have no greater problem with madoff than with any other crook from the upper class who robs his fellow upper classmen. Whatever one’s class however, there’s no question that the calumny he’s been receiving is astoundingly unfair. Almost all of his “victims” still have over a million dollars in assets (and usually far far more). The media class despises him for the obvious, above-stated, reason but they speak for no one but themselves and others within their socio-economic group. This isn’t to say that their outrage is morally “wrong” as such a quaint notion is rather ridiculous but it is to say that it’s inaccurate. Bernie Madoff is less a “nazi”, “monster” or manifestation of “pure evil” than the most average of our millions of rapists, murderers and violent muggers in this countr.

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  • dan

    I put that Slate piece on reddit and it was down and upvoted 8 times in WAY less time than it would take to actually read it:) hmmm…..good to see the science section isn’t political at all

  • Wade Nichols

    A couple comments on the Saletan article, since I donate blood frequently and the topic interests me:

    1.) Are there legitimate reasons to ban gays from donating blood? Such as – Can HIV remain dormant in the body, undetectable by current tests?
    2.) Seems to me that much of the fuss is really “politics of the aggrieved” – I remember years ago during my college days, there was a campus protest by the Haitian student group along with the African students over the ban on blood donations from Haitians and Africans. I don’t believe these people really cared or intended to actually take the time to donate blood, it was the fact that they weren’t considered eligible to donate. Whenever I donate blood/platelets in NY City, the only black people I usually see are the nurses.
    4.) There’s other factors that disqualify you – I went to Lima, Peru earlier this year to attend my brother’s wedding. Lima is in the CDC “malaria zone”, so I’m disqualified for 1 year.
    5.) I’ve never seen any reliable statistics on blood donor demographics for the U.S. as a whole, but this old NY Times article from 1987 on the NY City area hints at it:

    “Blood supply officials say the imbalance occurs because 90 percent of donors are whites, who have a third more type A than blacks.”


    The article discussed the shortage of type-B blood in NYC, which is more common among blacks, versus type-A blood, which is more common in whites.

    These bits were also interesting:

    “Type B blood is chronically scarce, officials said, because the center historically has had poor responses from blood drives in predominantly black areas of the city and has consequently been reluctant to mount new ones in those areas.

    They said, moreover, that blood collected in such areas had a high rate of rejection because of a higher rate of infection and disease among racial minority groups with large numbers of poor people.”

    6.) I’m a white guy, east European in origin, and my blood type is B+, FWIW

  • Moshe Rudner

    A couple of years back there was a big hullabaloo in Israel when it emerged that the hospitals had tossed out a large amount of blood from recent Ethiopian immigrants. The Ethiopians apparently regard blood as something “vital” (to use the archaic term in its proper archaic context) and thus were more deeply insulted by this offense than the bureaucrats could possibly have guessed given the cultural difference. The country was transfixed by the odd scene of these hitherto these rather docile people angrily and loudly protesting in a manner that their community hadn’t priorly been known for.

    The matter was resolved with a slew of apologies and whatnot but it was an interesting and educational reminder that in many cultures “hadam hu hanefesh” as the Bible says: The blood is the soul.


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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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