Open Thread, July 31st, 2010

By Razib Khan | July 31, 2010 4:29 pm

The usual. Links, questions, etc.

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Comments (18)

  1. John Goes

    A request.

    I’ve been curious lately to what extent ideological compatibility correlates with divorce rates. I bet this is rather difficult to measure along “real” values, but self-identification can be gathered. What are the divorce rates for self-described feminists marrying non-feminists, or feminists marrying feminists, for example. Any variation on this theme would be of interest to me if this kind of data was available.

  2. interesting question. after the fact ideological incompatibility is often something i’ve heard (e.g., “she wasn’t mormon, so it wasn’t going to work.”). but it could be rationalization. though we know interracial marriages have higher divorce rates, and some of that could just be that people from different races are more likely to be culturally different.

  3. “we know interracial marriages have higher divorce rates”

    Do you have a citation handy for that?

  4. Thanks. I wonder how this compatibility breaks down, which pairings seem more/less compatible than others. I’ll read the paper.

  5. D

    I recently started following your posts, and found some books in your summer reading list that I liked. I was wondering if you’d be able to either do a detailed list (a post) on your prior reads or mention a few here.


  6. dan

    Good timing for a open thread, Razib, as I need you to review this….review, I guess. Is this legit?

  7. D, go to the “links” on the right of the sidebar, and click books. lots of books which i’d recommend there. perhaps i’ll list some books of great influence one me in a post. would that be useful?

    dan, i’m no psychometrician 🙂 i’ll look into it. but the main issue i always caution is to be careful of overturning views based on one study. falsification is kind of a sketchy thing in messier fields especially.

  8. dan

    Razib, yeah i definitely wouldn’t bet on a one-off study with such huge claims but i was interested in what they found and assumed i wouldn’t be able to understand the actual paper. thanks in advance if you check it out or run it by one of your friends.

  9. Sandgroper

    #2, the paper you gave doesn’t suggest that – rather it suggests that elevated divorce rates among mixed couples may be due to ‘external’ factors rather than internal cultural or ideological conflicts.

    The most pronounced effect is in marriages between white females and black males, and it cites “negative reactions from strangers and diminished support from family and friends”. Also ” Other studies have shown that NH Black/White couples tend to isolate themselves, engage in fewer leisure activities to buffer against negative experiences, or move away from their home communities.” These things matter, and they hurt. Mixed marriage is still perceived as deviant.

    Coming from a racially and culturally mixed marriage myself (31 years and counting), those observations ring true – it’s the external pressures that are the main problem. Maybe that’s what you meant. Between two people who love and care for each other, these things are rarely likely to be a problem.

  10. D


    That would certainly be useful. Thank you.

  11. dan, Steve had a post on the new test bias story recently, but he isn’t a psychometrician either:

  12. Yawnie

    The virtues of vitamin D—but how much is too much?

    “Although there are few well-conducted studies on the benefits of vitamin D therapy, an exuberant use of vitamin D is now seen in the general population and at all stages of CKD. There is emerging evidence that vitamin D may in fact have a therapeutic window, and at least from the effects on the cardiovascular system, more is not necessarily better.”

    Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

    “a pooled nested case-control study of participants from 8 cohorts within the Cohort Consortium Vitamin D Pooling Project […]

    Clinically relevant 25(OH)D cutpoints were compared with a referent category of 50–<75 nmol/L. No significant associations were observed for participants with lower 25(OH)D status. However, a high 25(OH)D concentration (100 nmol/L) was associated with a statistically significant 2-fold increase in pancreatic cancer risk overall (odds ratio = 2.12, 95% confidence interval: 1.23, 3.64). Given this result, recommendations to increase vitamin D concentrations in healthy persons for the prevention of cancer should be carefully considered"

  13. Katharine

    I am seriously considering not watching the news anymore, just because I get tired of hearing dumb people talk about other dumb people.

  14. Yawnie

    100nmol/L or 40ng/ml is less than most ‘experts’ are currently recommending as the optimal minimum.

    Changes in vitamin D status of female Soldiers during basic combat training

    “74 female Army soldiers undergoing basic combat training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C., between August and October got plenty of sun — and exercise. Still, during eight weeks of intense drills and training, their 25-hydroxy vitamin D dropped by an average of 13 nm/l. […]
    Drops varied by ethnicity. Blacks started low — about 46 nm/l — and stayed there. Almost exactly. Hispanic whites started out averaging 74 nm/ml and non-Hispanic whites started at nearly 90 nm/l. Vitamin D values in both of these groups dropped 16 percent during training”

  15. get rid your TV katherine.

  16. Yawnie

    Is there any evidence that the LOW (but stable) vitamin D levels of those with African ancestry are due to reasons unconnected with pigmentation? YES and here it is –

    Blood vitamin D levels in relation to genetic estimation of African ancestry (July 20, 2010 )

    “African Americans generally have lower circulating levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) than whites, attributed to skin pigmentation and dietary habits[…]
    Conclusions: We found novel evidence that the level of African ancestry may play a role in clinical vitamin D status. Impact: This is the first study to describe how 25(OH)D levels vary in relation to genetic estimation of African ancestry”

    I expect other people with darker skin have lower vitamin d for much the same reasons; vitamin D deficiency is epidemic in India despite of plenty of sunshine. Is there any theoretical reason to think ingesting ‘vitamin’ D will cause harm? YES Vitamin D and osteogenic differentiation in the artery wall.
    “Recent epidemiologic evidence suggests that there is a narrow range of vitamin D levels in which vascular function is optimized. Levels above or below this range seem to confer a significant increase in risk for cardiovascular disease. There is some evidence to suggest that dietary vitamin D may be carried by lipoprotein particles into cells of the artery wall and atherosclerotic plaque, where it may be converted to active form by monocyte-macrophages. These findings raise interesting questions regarding the effects of vitamin D intake on atherosclerotic calcification and cardiovascular risk.”

    Since that was written Vitamin D, Adiposity, and Calcified Atherosclerotic Plaque in African-Americans has demonstrated positive associations between 25-hydroxyvitamin D and aorta and carotid artery CP in African-Americans. Of course the world authority on the safety of vitamin D, Reinhold Vieth, is quoted as saying “I see no risk, no downside, there’s only a potential benefit.” in an article entitled Dark-skinned immigrants urged to take vitamin D

    I wonder how Mrs Vieth’s supplement company is doing?


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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


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