Hope you had a good weekend! Winter is not quite coming…but summer is ending.
Phoneme Inventory Size and Demography. Some original data analysis in this post! Turns out that phoneme segment length is positively correlated with population density. Too often culture is viewed as something we can only have a qualitative understanding of, but these sorts of analyses show that there are ways to get a quantitative grasp of the sea of memes (if this post was of interest, see the blog Replicated Typo).
Why Isn’t the Missing Heritability Nearly Neutral and Tightly Networked?. Interesting idea that we’re missing causal variants because of selection bias on the set of SNPs which current gene chips detect. The past 10 years have been awesome in genomics, but what’s going to happen when whole genome sequencing becomes the norm?
Bring Your Genes to Your Life Insurance Sales Representative. Brad DeLong makes the argument for single-payer as a way to obviate the conundrums which will emerge when genetic profiling of disease becomes more efficacious. This is an area where I think the marketing of personal genomics companies have given people the wrong impression of how powerful the techniques are currently. But the time will probably come when there’s a lot more juice to squeeze out of the prediction algorithms. And yet one issue that DeLong assumes is that your genetic endowment is a lottery. That it’s something we can’t control in generation t + 1. That’s false. Parents will be able to screen. If health care is totally socialized, should we also socialize some aspects of the decision making process in relation to procreation? Rights without responsibilities?
Iranian Jews in America: Torn Between Homelands. In the 2004 movie Crash both of the Persian leads were played by Iranian Americans who also happen to be Jewish, Shaun Toub and Bahar Soomekh. Here’s Bahar Soomekh, “Just because I’m in Hollywood doesn’t mean that I forget that I’m Persian or that I’m Jewish. Judaism is not only my religion—it’s my identity.” Remember that only a minority of Iranian Americans are self-identified Muslims.
In Search of Time. A cognitive trick to stretch out your perception of time? Perhaps.