Daily Data Dump – Monday

By Razib Khan | August 9, 2010 5:56 pm

Using Genome-Wide SNP Scans to Explore Your Genetic Heritage. Since Blaine showed you his 23andMe ancestry painting, here’s mine.

The Tenacious Buzz of Malaria. Claim: “The malaria parasite has been responsible for half of all human deaths since the Stone Age, and one in 14 of us alive today still carry genes that first arose to help protect us from its ravages.”

Mau-Mauing the Mosque. One of the things I’ve noticed over the last generation has been the strange parallel victim/grievance/sensitivity cultures on both the American Left and the Right. Of course the two sides don’t agree on the proper criteria to set off their outrage meters, so lots of confusion and chaos ensue. Liberals abhor stereotypes in my experience, except of their political opponents. Conservative Christians are offended by atheism, just not their own atheism.

Corporal Punishment of Children Remains Common Worldwide, Studies Find. To my surprise the study found that there was a wide range in beating of children in India. Without knowing any further I wonder if the Jains are the low bound community.

The genetics of height are awesome!

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  • http://www.chetsnicker.com chet snicker


    this sort of frothy material, while indeed catchy, is not perhaps entirely becoming of a gentleman blogger of your senior standing. a man of your station should comport yourself appropriately.

    cheerio, cv snicker

  • chris w

    I thought the 23andme profile broke down one’s ancestry by specific regions of a continent. You had mentioned that it was informative regarding your Chinese ancestry, specifically.

    Anyway, congrats on being more than half white 😛 😛

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    i didn’t post the pca plot. that’s what i wuz talking about. so that the readers know, i’m between the south asian and hazara/uyghur cluster when you zoom in on central/south asians. on a world wide HGDP plot i’m not with south asians, but on the edge of the hazara/uyghur cluster. none of the other south asians i have shared genes with exhibit this pattern, though the closest one is another bangladeshi. the next closest is a bengali.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    and snicker, shove it.

  • bioIgnoramus

    A good point: why do people stereotype stereotypes so harshly? And why are they so unaware of the Cretan Liar?

  • Eric Johnson

    Mr Snicker, I can see that you started the second of your generally-serviceable sentences in the third person, before dauntlessly positing a reflexive pronoun that disagrees with the subject. While this erratic sort of manner may be a commonplace today in the company of certain strata, I suppose I found it a bit upsetting momentarily to my rather refined and rather sensitive constitution.

  • bioIgnoramus

    Forgive my intrusion, Mr J, but “rather refined and somewhat sensitive” is an attractively alliterative alternative.

  • Markk

    50% of all human deaths since the Stone Age? I can’t get to the article for some reason but this is an interesting number. It is plausible. Back of the envelope:

    About 110 billion people have ever lived according to fairly recent estimates. (that aren’t very precise – 50% either way wouldn’t be many sigmas out I think but it is a number) So there have been roughly 104 billion deaths since the stone age. This is dominated by the number of infants who died young in the past. Estimates as high as 50% of all infants died before 3 years old in some eras. Whatever the major killer of infants in the past is the major killer of humans.

    I know a lot of the 50% of death numbers from malaria are due to a study of Sri Lanka where the death rate went from 22 to 10 per thousand when DDT was introduced, so there is some validity there. The fact that modern, last couple hundred year, death rates don’t dominate make me suspicious.

    Almost half of all deaths were between 10000 years ago and 2000 years ago and only 1% or so before that. 25% of deaths were from 2000 years ago till 800 years ago, so these two eras dominate. Were that many people in areas where malaria was a cause of greater than 50% of deaths? That seems a bit unlikely to me.

  • http://econstudentlog.files.wordpress.com/ US

    As to the claim in #2, first three thoughts: a) No way. b) Pure guesswork. c) ‘Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’.

    Then started mentally listing all the other relevant possible causes of death I could think of – bacterial and viral infections; other types of parasites besides malaria; yeah, well, every other treatable and non-treatable disease other than malaria (most diseases that are treatable today weren’t treatable as little as 100 years ago); war/violence/accidents; starvation/malnutrition; ‘old age’; suicide; natural predators (snakes/lions/bears/wolves ect.); childbirth/infant mortality…

    Even if the claim is true, which it’s almost certainly not, there’d be _no way_ to know that. Not even the deaths recorded by doctors could be trusted 200 hundred years ago (ie. look up ‘miasma theory of disease’). Besides, how many record-keeping doctors were around in present day Ghana in 1000 BC?

    I simply do not understand the motivation behind making such a claim. Did she write that sentence in order to induce me to buy the book to ‘learn more’ about where it came from? Why would she think that would work, instead of making me think of her as a (well-meaning) fanatic (who can’t be trusted) with a cause?

  • Anthony

    Most of the sensitivity/grievance culture of the Right is purely fabricated – we (including me as part of the Right) only do it to point out the hypocrisy within the Left at showing outrage, etc., only when it benefits the Left’s cause, or to create cognitive dissonance within the Left or the left’s media. Even the demands for “ideological diversity” within academia are a rhetorical gambit rather than a real demand – aimed at diminishing the prestige of Leftist academics and reducing the authority of their pronouncements, rather than actually getting more conservative academics. (However, if a conservative grad student demands “ideological diversity”, he probably means it, in the “give me a job” sense.)

    Unfortunately, some people on the right, particularly the more Christian sort, have actually started to take this stuff seriously instead of understanding that it’s all just a put-on to embarrass the Left.

  • Katharine

    Anthony, the problem with that ‘strategy’ of the Right (which is honestly a terrible one) is partially the fact that it is not CLEAR that these are, as you say, rhetorical gambits, if in fact they are. (Is it so easily forgotten that the mean IQ in the United States is a few points below 100? Dude, most Americans are STUPID.)

    It strikes me that half-assed attempts to embarrass are about all the Right can do these days – they appear to have made not having alternative policies a policy in itself.

    (We have our own fuckups on the Left, but at least they aren’t stuck in the 1950s.)

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    Unfortunately, some people on the right, particularly the more Christian sort, have actually started to take this stuff seriously instead of understanding that it’s all just a put-on to embarrass the Left.

    that’s who i was really talking about on the right. in the early 1990s ralph reed started talking about “people of faith.” on reed’s part it was mercenary, but i think a lot of christian conservatives have internalized the stances of being persecuted and slighted. to some extent it’s not a total delusion, but the stuff about how it’s so hard being a christian in america is kind of bizarre and tone-deaf. in any case, i think grievance and over-sensitivity are probably cognitive defaults….

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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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