Daily Data Dump – Tuesday

By Razib Khan | July 6, 2010 5:14 pm

Poutine. It sounds gross, and it looks gross. Apparently Canadians eat it.

More on Tibet, demography and selection. John Hawks posts an exchange with Rasmus Nielsen, who did a lot of the statistical analysis on the recent Tibet & altitude papers. Read the whole thing, but this part was funny: “I certainly now understand why politicians keep giving the same 2-line reply over and over again to journalists asking them questions. If a journalist talks sufficiently long with an interviewee – it will be possible for them to find some sentences that they can put together in some way to make the interviewee look foolish – if that’s what they want to do.” Nielsen’s post that Tibetans and Chinese seem genetically too similar to be separated for much longer than 3,000 years seems plausible to me. 10,000 years sounds too long certainly.

Why E-books Will Never Replace Real Books. One of the stupidest pieces in this genre that I’ve ever encountered. Someone dig up “why the codex will never replace the scroll.”

Dubitable Darwin? Why Some Smart, Nonreligious People Doubt the Theory of Evolution. A classic in this genre is Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity, and Other Fables of Evolution. Back in 2005 a reader suggested that this book has some incredible rock-solid arguments which convinced him. I took the time to read the book, and concluded that my reader was an absolute moron and banned him from commenting. Sometimes intelligence doesn’t mean you have good judgement. It’s not just the power of the hardware, sometimes it’s the configuration of the software, and how you run the apps. Someone with a good chip who insists on running MS-DOS because they want to keep using WordStar isn’t worth your time.

Outrage World: How feminist blogs like Jezebel gin up page views by exploiting women’s worst tendencies. I can’t speak to feminist weblogs, and I’m certainly no expert on traffic, but some of the insights are generalizable. This isn’t something new to the internet. Controversy and giving your audience red meat sells. To maximize traffic you need to align with your team, not call fouls on your own side, and strike the correct balance between novelty, predictability and shock.

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Comments (16)

  1. You really need to try poutine, it’s goddamn delicious. It’s escaped Canada and I’ve seen it in places like Chicago and Portland (which I think has a streetcart for them). It’s just an improved version of chips’n’cheese aka cheesy fries.

    Here in San Diego we have a kind of equivalent (“Mexican poutine” as it were): Carne Asada fries. Take fries, layer on cheese, guacamole, and carne asada – and sour cream if you like that sort of thing. Yum.


    [Update: Sorry I am an idiot, I see wikipedia mentions carne asada fries – and even calls them mexican poutine – in the article. I’ll be more careful next time.]

  2. Gary

    Down here in Texas we sometimes mix Velveeta cheese with a can of stewed tomatoes spiced up with chopped up Jalapeno peppers. This is heated to make a sauce and is eaten with tortilla chips or sometimes poured over fries. Great stuff but very fattening.

    By the way, you may not have a ton of traffic on your blog, but that’s not because it isn’t great. In my opinion, you’re quite a brilliant fellow.

  3. dan

    yes, judgment is key. i use my good judgment as a shortcut to mimic those with high IQ – works pretty well.

  4. dan

    R, this is relevant to our little open thread discussion last night. it’s a new idea – never seen this before:

  5. been talked about on the internets. after being in europe a bit i’m pretty convinced that their social welfare system is one major barrier to integration. and they do talk about integration a lot there too. here in the USA we have some issues, but we don’t talk about it as much, because immigrants have to work to make rent and pay their bills, and they work like dogs. that integrates them in a very real way.

  6. dan


    also, here’s a link that’s relevant to the taste post from last night. it looks at the genetics of taste and picky eating.

  7. dan

    dang! i’m way behind the curve. seems like it’d be a lot easier and cheaper to not let them in in the first place but i guess this is about the ones that are already there. good stuff

  8. G Hats

    I’m Canadian, and I eat Poutine! HOw can someone not like it? Honestly, if you like fries (or even potato) and if you like cheese, and if you like gravy, then why wouldn’t you like the delicious combination of these three amazing ingredients?

    Poutine may very well be one of the dishes or recipes that actually comes to mind if someone asked me what I thought an authentic Canadian meal was. Sure we eat goose and turkey and ham and such with roast potatoes and roast veggies, but don’t Americans and Europeans too? Poutine is one of those funny things that we are uniquely proud of, even if it is just another form of junk food that makes people obese. by the way, I live in BC, not even close to Quebec.

  9. trajan23

    WHY E-BOOKS WILL NEVER REPLACE REAL BOOKS:Razib, at the risk of sounding dumb, I thought that the comments regarding the aesthetic superiority of handwritten prose were well founded. I’ve certainly noticed that my handwritten stuff is more polished than my typed material. I’ve also noticed that I vastly prefer printed text for in depth reading (I seem to recall that you once made a similar observation about printed text and close reading).

  10. younger people don’t make similar distinctions re: printed vs. screen. the main issue with print is that there is constraint and forces concentration. but i think people are figuring out strategies for screen reading over time. i’m better about not jumping around compared to a few years ago.

  11. Katharine

    I was a bit confused about precisely what was going on in that review of the Fodor-Piatelli-Palmarini book, and much more about what the Fodor-Piatelli-Palmarini book is about.

  12. trajan23

    “younger people don’t make similar distinctions re: print vs screen”:Razib, do you have any studies that support that conclusion? For the Spring Quarter of this year, I assigned my students a weekly one to two page paper. The students had the option to turn in either a handwritten (with the proviso that the handwritten essay had to be perfectly legible) or typed copy. Each week, the handwritten essays accounted for 75 to 80% of the total. Anecdotal reports from other teachers at my University describe similar ratios. Of course, since these samples all come from English lit classes, the results might have a “Humanities Technophobic-Luddite” bias.

  13. trajan, no, no studies. interesting anecdote. i don’t write anything except for my signature.

  14. Dr Duck

    In the Australian country town I live in chips and gravy (sans the cheese) is almost the national dish. People thought our kids were strange because they did not want the gravy with their chips.


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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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