Big brains attributed to mother’s care. Interesting that the correlation between various characteristics and brain size is highly sensitive to the taxa you include in your scatter plot. Marsupials seem to be substantially different from placental mammals, while primates are different from placentals as a whole. Throwing all the mammalian taxa into the analysis results in maternal care being a robust predictor, but that conclusion seems less interesting than the contingencies of the residuals.
First Irish Genome Sequenced. The paper is open access, and can be found on the Genome Biology website. Nothing too surprising, though interesting to note that they uncovered ~10% more SNPs by performing a deeper read of one individual’s genome. This sort of thing is breathing down HapMap3’s neck, and that’s a good thing for the accumulation of human knowledge.
Young Japanese Seek Second, and Third, Jobs. This quote struck me: “The Japanese economy is not just stagnant, it’s in retreat,” he said. “When people believe the future is going to be better than the present, they are happy. But if they think that the future holds no hope, then they become unhappy. It’s that unhappiness that people are trying to negate with side jobs.” In the human past the future was not necessarily seen as bright. With a world wide demographic transition Japan’s cultural trends may presage what is to come. That being said, it isn’t as if the Japanese are stuck in the Malthusian trap. They just lack the sort of dynamism which youth bulges bring.
Whewell’s Ghost. A new history of science weblog. Some familiar names are contributors. I’ll be watching.
More on Phoneme Inventory Size and Demography. Follow up to Phoneme Inventory Size and Demography. I agree with the caution about throwing too many statistical techniques at this sort of question at this stage of the game.