Daily Data Dump – Monday

By Razib Khan | September 27, 2010 12:42 pm

Wow, it sure feels like summer!

No one cares about your blog (part 2). “The thing is – it’s just writing, isn’t it? Talking extensively about science blogging is like having intense discourses about what you can do with pen and paper. “Should we staple all our pieces of paper together, or only the ones on which we wrote about our work?…” This is a generalized issue. Talking about blogging is a major topic on blogs, and is bound to get discussion going. On the other hand, when I post data or reviews of paper there’s less engagement of the subject, though there are a fair number of tweets.

Dinesh D’Souza’s poison. Heather Mac Donald rips into Dinesh D’Souza. Many on the Right don’t pay much attention to D’Souza because of his penchant for provocation and sloppiness. I take Heather’s main point to be that operationally Barack Hussein Obama is a standard issue liberal Democratic politician. Quantum mechanics is’t necessary when Newtonian mechanics will do.


Genetic Architecture of Complex Traits and Accuracy of Genomic Prediction: Coat Colour, Milk-Fat Percentage, and Type in Holstein Cattle as Contrasting Model Traits. ” We also show that the accuracy of predicting genetic values is higher for traits with a proportion of large effects (proportion black and fat percentage) than for a trait with no loci of large effect (overall type), provided the method of analysis takes advantage of the distribution of loci effects.”

The World Is Fat. Wow, Mexico finally got fatter than the USA! Lay off those beans & rice!

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  • Katharine

    I’m going to use the comments to point out an awesome link:

    http://www.mapfrappe.com

  • miko

    I’ve wanted that tool forever! Thanks.

  • miko

    The D’Souza thing is typical of a strange feeling I often get from the right that we’re involved in some kind of double, triple, or quadruple bluff. I mean, I understand the logic of scoring political scare points by claiming that Obama is some raging leftist to to people who lack the brains or information to know any better. He’s as about as vanilla a Democrat as they come, the health care reform was model of Republican-style social programs. (Quick, read that phrase again before it disappears from the earth forever.)

    The trick is figuring out who is using the Obamaphobe pose as a source of disingenuous outrage and who is merely stupid. We know D’Souza is very stupid (or do we? he’s only ever said stupid things, but maybe he’s just a stupendous liar for personal gain…this is my problem–I can’t tell who’s bluffing), but I wouldn’t have immediately guessed that the editors of Forbes were stupid or inept enough to lend their quasi-legitimacy with the blue-blazered segment of the Republican party to such an unhinged rant. Or are we at the point where the conservative base is so stupid that the best leverage smart conservatives have for electoral success is to pretend to be morons? What political world are we in where you have to be worried about raising your hand to say you believe in evolution? Anyway, it’s tricky, because you don’t even know who to bother to argue with. And there’s the genuine pity (or a feeling close to it, tinged with “but you deserved it”) I feel for mainstream conservatives, whose party is held in some kind of voluntary hostage state by its worst elements.

    As for the cows— I saw Trudy Mackay present a similar pattern for a wide range of Drosophila traits–genetic architecture of the trait is predictive of its expressivity or phenotypic variation. It seemed intuitive but I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly why that should be so. Possible the more pleiotropy involved in a trait the more developmentally plastic or environmentally responsive? I’m not sure why the number of genes involved should directly relate to trait physiology, but it makes a kind of fuzzy sense.

    Way to go Mexico! At least we still have the fattest kids–they’re so cute when they’re all rolly-polly and wheezing. Where can I buy insulin futures?

  • John Emerson

    The real problem with Dinesh and a hundred others isn’t just inaccuracy. They’re trying to persuade their audiences that mainstream center-left politicans are extreme, when they’re actually just continuing one of the primary establishment traditions of the last 80 years. To call Obama extreme you have to call FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson extreme. As far as that goes, you pretty much have to call Nixon a leftist too.

    The frightening thing about the noisiest (and dominant) wing of the contemporary right is the combination of extreme anger with almost equally extreme ignorance and delusion. For example, I’m not even a Constitutionalist at all, philosophically speaking, but I know enough to see that a lot of the Constitution-worshippers waving their little Constitutions don’t know much about it, beyond wild interpretations of a few cherry-picked passages.

  • Katharine

    The trick is figuring out who is using the Obamaphobe pose as a source of disingenuous outrage and who is merely stupid.

    It’s getting harder and harder to do that.

  • Katharine

    They’re trying to persuade their audiences that mainstream center-left politicans are extreme, when they’re actually just continuing one of the primary establishment traditions of the last 80 years. To call Obama extreme you have to call FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson extreme. As far as that goes, you pretty much have to call Nixon a leftist too.

    It’s that sodding Overton window, and they keep moving it.

    It’s so far to the right now I have to use a periscope to see out of it.

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

    -they’re so cute when they’re all rolly-polly and wheezing. Where can I buy insulin futures?

    lol.

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

    re: d’souza. well, he did graduate from dartmouth. i don’t think he’s stupid. rather, i think he has figured out how to make the maximal $ for the minimal effort. i stopped reading him a few years ago, but his stuff doesn’t seem really tightly argued. almost like blogs. but i’m sure he makes a lot of money from pushing copies (though perhaps not with his notorious book arguing that religious conserv. in the west should ally with muslims). also, he was engaged to laura ingraham and dated ann coulter. these two women aren’t stupid either, but, they have gotten good at making a living making often sloppy and implausible arguments.

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

    also, let me add that i’m sure b. h. obama has been influenced by anti-colonialist ideology. but the problem is that so have most lefty people with higher education at elite institutions. it’s not that atypical. obama has to reposition himself as a politician, so there are some issues there, but basically michael dukakis had the same problems too. obama’s advantage was that he in his own persona merged “wine track” whites with the black vote.

  • Katharine

    Ingraham? Coulter? Not stupid? Head in hole much? You should listen to some of the blather Coulter spouts and some of the blather Ingraham spouts. And from what I’ve heard they do genuinely believe it.

    also, let me add that i’m sure b. h. obama has been influenced by anti-colonialist ideology.

    My only contribution to the discussion on this is that since Newt Gingrich has a problem with anti-colonialist ideology, perhaps he should run for Governor-General.

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

    You should listen to some of the blather Coulter spouts and some of the blather Ingraham spouts. And from what I’ve heard they do genuinely believe it.

    they have high IQs. that’s one reason they can say stupid things well. just because you find their opinions execrable or stupid doesn’t mean that they’re not intelligent. i don’t know about ingraham, but i know that coulter also exaggerates/shades her opinions and image for marketing purposes as well. stupid people can’t get it together to write books filled with stupid ideas, so intelligent people have to. if they have their name on the book, they’re often ghost-written by smarter people.

  • http://opines.mythusmage.org Alan Kellogg

    Locally we had temperatures in the triple digits today. It’s to be expected this time of year in this area.

    Where D’Souza is concerned, what bugs me about the man is his intellectual dishonesty.

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    As a legislator, Obama was on the left-wing of the Democratic party. But as President he’s been pretty much what you’d expect from a centrist Democrat (if anything he’s had a conventional right-wing national security policy).

    Here’s a video of Dinesh debating Steve Landsburg on the merits of religion:
    http://www.thebigquestions.com/2010/09/22/religion-on-trial-the-video/

    Funny Katherine, most people argue that Overton window generally moves left. I do regard FDR as a constitution-violating extremist, and now the Republican party is trying to pose as defenders of Medicare! Nixon may be left of many Republicans today, he instituted price controls. I looked up the DW-NOMINATE data and showed he was a liberal/moderate Republican as a legislator here. His faction has arguably long dominated the Republican party.

  • Anthony

    TGGP – the Overton window has been moved right on some issues, usually because of the spectacular failure of the left. For example, nobody intelligent seriously wants to go back to pre-1994 welfare, for example, because that was a disaster. Gun rights are coming back, and complete bans are only entertained by the brain-damaged (and Chicago and DC politicians, who are probably a subset of the above), because of the lethal consequences of gun control, and the recent academic work in exposing the intellectual dishonesty of the gun controllers.

    I’m not sure it matters what exactly Obama’s beliefs are on any particular subject, because of his tendency to let Congress do the work, without any real presidential guidance. Obama was less important to the final outcome of the health care bill than was Pelosi, Reid, or the least-liberal Democrats who had to be bribed to not defect. The only thing Obama provided was an initial impetus, mostly during his election campaign, and an implicit promise to not veto the result. The “stimulus” bill and other projects which will be seen as accomplishments of Obama’s presidency are similar, in that Obama is providing less guidance or direction than almost any of his predecessors did on their signature projects.

  • miko

    Thanks, Anthony, for that brilliant satirical stroll through the fever dream mind of the contemporary Republican party.

  • trajan23

    If anyone would like to read an intelligent exploration of some of the issues that D’Souza raises in his book, I strongly recommend AMERICA’S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE by Steve Sailer.

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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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