Daily Data Dump – Monday

By Razib Khan | July 12, 2010 2:47 pm

The Ethics and Etiquette of Statistical Discrimination: A Critique of Readers’ Comments. This isn’t an abstract issue of course. Insurance companies engage in statistical discrimination based on group traits, unless there are legal constraints. So, for example, the recent health care legislation eliminated by fiat the differential in premiums between males and females in regards to monthly payments. On the other hand, I assume that no one is clamoring for the elimination of sex differentials in premiums for auto insurance. The two cases are not exactly analogous, but in the differences lay some insights into our innate and socialized senses of fairness in using stereotypes.

The secret history of X and Z – how sex chromosomes from humans and chickens found common ground. Convergent evolution when it comes to chromosome architectures.

We agree it’s WEIRD, but is it WEIRD enough? Neuroanthropology has a massive review of The weirdest people in the world?

Until Cryonics Do Us Part. This piece is a window into the interpersonal dynamics which I think will be familiar, at least at some point, to many readers of this weblog.

Should the Results of Individual Genetic Studies Be Disclosed to Participants?. The effect size of a positive association naturally matters. I wonder if people tend to overreact to the direction of an association and underweight the magnitude & confidence in their evaluations.

MORE ABOUT: Daily Data Dump

Comments (6)

  1. miko

    “On the other hand, I assume that no one is clamoring for the elimination of sex differentials in premiums for auto insurance.”

    I assume one argument for this is that women’s more expensive health care is beyond their control, like their hair cuts and shoes. And much of it may–I have no data–comes from baby production and the relevant plumbing, which most people (not me) view as an inherent societal good. On the other hand, men could, as a statistical category, drive less like jackasses if they chose to, therefore higher premiums are fair. Both are debatable, I suppose. I don’t know, is being fat a pre-existing condition under the new reforms? Because those folks are pricey.

  2. The weirdest people in the world are behind a registration wall, of course.

    A friend of a friend did research on an Andean / Amazonian people which spent a lot of time doing things with poisonous snakes. He hypothesized that it was for religious rituals, but apparently they denied that and had trouble saying why they did it. Seemingly it was for the excitement. They were pretty good snake handlers but the risks were serious.

    I don’t know if it’s changed yet in social science and history, but for a long time outliers were tossed out because they made it hard to define a norm or a law. Science followed the model of the most successful areas of physics, and history and social science wanted desperately to be scientific but had a terrible time trying to get any physics-like laws at all without cheating.

    But from an evolutionary perspective outliers are interesting. They might be survivals or evolutionary deadends or regressions or in the rare case, successful mutants which will take over the world. But if they’re actual they’re possible, and if they’re possible they tell you something about reality.

  3. good the title. there’s an ungated version.

  4. And much of it may–I have no data–comes from baby production and the relevant plumbing,

    i’m to understand the biggest reason for the difference between young men and women are the non-trivial probability of pregnancy. it’s basically something that’s baked-into-the-cake of insurance company cost tables, and no matter how much family planning you’ll do accidents happen and such.

  5. Well, if I’d been able to read the article, I wouldn’t have made the comment. It would be a good comment somewhere else. I wish that someone would do a study of human outliers, and not just the WEIRD ones.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

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


See More


RSS Razib’s Pinboard

Edifying books

Collapse bottom bar