Daily Data Dump – October 25th, 2010

By Razib Khan | October 25, 2010 11:55 am

Detailed admixture analysis of West Eurasian populations (+ GenomesUnzipped individuals). Dienekes looks at the Genomes Unzipped guys in the context of Eurasian variation. He explains why he prefers bar plots of inferred ancestral quanta over PCA and MDS charts.

A World Upside Down for Greeks. “In Greece, small businesses — defined as stores or workshops employing fewer than 10 people, though many are one-person operations — account for 96 percent of all enterprises and employ around two million of Greece’s five million-strong work force.” Part of this is presumably familialism. Greeks don’t trust each other, so private sector activity is always on a small scale. And part of it is probably the constricted regulatory framework of the Greek economy which prevents the emergence of corporations with some economies of scale. But either way it seems that this is too strong of a bias to be an efficient allocation of labor.

African signatures of recent positive selection in human FOXI1. Climate change driving adaptation in Africa?

Another Study Against Refined Grains. The jury still out on the whole grains. I would add though that inter-individual variation needs to be added to this. Perhaps we should all buy blood sugar monitors and see how our insulin spikes?

Pervasive Cryptic Epistasis in Molecular Evolution. They’re looking at bacteria here, but still of interest.

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Comments (8)

  1. carpetanuiq

    In general when we think about economic activity we think about for-profit big public corporations. But there is much more in developped economies than this.

    For instance, regarding the size of business in Greece pls note that this is a general trend in all EU countires. From this site: http://europa.eu/pol/enter/index_en.htm:

    “Two thirds of all jobs in the EU are in SMEs. Ninety-nine per cent of all businesses in the EU are SMEs. Hence the Commission’s watchword in its enterprise policy: ‘think small first’.”.

    and i recall having checked the figure in USA and the proportion was similar. Of course SME is not the same as small. Possible explanation: not all sectors are subject to economies of scale, specialy services.

    Other surprising data is the amount of GDP generated by 0-profit or non-profit organisations such as cooperatives or NGO´s.

  2. Chris T

    I don’t even like refined grains. So my exposure to them has been much less. I’ve never understood the appeal of white bread beyond cost.

  3. carpetanuiq

    A more concrete comment about Small companies in UE from this site:


    “Following the daily news, it is easy to get the impression that the European economy is dominated by large, multinational enterprises. Their multi-billion Euro takeovers, global expansion plans or -more recently- risks of mega bankruptcies dominate the headlines.

    What usually gets lost is that more than 99% of all European businesses are, in fact, SMEs (see definition of SMEs). They provide two out of three of the private sector jobs and contribute to more than half of the total value-added created by businesses in the EU. Moreover, SMEs are the true back-bone of the European economy, being primarily responsible for wealth and economic growth, next to their key role in innovation and R&D.

    What is even more intriguing is that nine out of ten SMEs are actually micro enterprises with less than 10 employees. Hence, the mainstays of Europe’s economy are micro firms, each providing work for two persons, in average. This is probably one of the EU’s best kept secrets!”

    With a little more work ith shouldn´t be hard to find cross country comparative figures.

  4. Scott Shane wrote about why some countries have a more self-employed workforce and found size of the economy a significant correlation, but of course as Razib suggests the causality can go the other way.

  5. isamu

    White bread tastes good because its a more neutral base on to which to add other flavours. This is something you hicks will never understand.

  6. Brian Too

    Funny to hear of Greeks described as being untrusting of other Greeks. That’s not exactly the mental image of Greek society that I have in mind.

    Could that be a mischaracterization? Perhaps it’s more a case of liking the independence of small business, and not desiring of the larger material gains that larger businesses can afford. Or, as a variation on this idea, not being sufficiently materialistic (or even just not as ambitious) to go for the structured world of big business.

    And how does this fit in with the information that the majority of Greek citizens do not pay their taxes? Could we be seeing a society that is full of individualists, and getting ahead is seen as a worthy achievement, even if it means cheating the taxman?

    This could work at a psychological level especially if enforcement is weak or nonexistent. I could see people saying, in great numbers, “if the tax man is too dumb to catch me, I’m not going to voluntarily pay up. What a bunch of imcompetents!”


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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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