Daily Data Dump – Tuesday

By Razib Khan | October 5, 2010 12:58 pm

Urban and rural differences in mortality and causes of death in historical Poland. Unfortunately good demographic data on urban vs. rural death rates only date from the early modern era, but here in this Polish data set from the 19th and early 20th century you see the large urban > small urban > rural rank order in death rates. If you dig through the literature you will find that London has older records, and a definite death over birth excess for much of the period right before and during the Industrial Revolution.

The Dingo – Australia’s Wildlife Watchdog. “Viewed from a historical perspective, the presence of dingoes was strongly associated with the persistence of native Australian animals.” Tell that to the thylacine! Though seriously, the dingo has been native to Australian for ~4,000 years, so I suppose this goes to show how ecosystems can equilibrate to the presence of invasive species over time.

Smarter Teams Are More Sensitive, Have More Women? Everyone knows that a team with all chiefs is going to have problems. An organismic model for human societies and organizations is appealing because of its analogical power, but these sorts of data indicate that the analogy may be rooted in concrete more-than-the-sum-of-their-parts dynamics.

Surprising flexibility in a conserved Hox transcription factor over 550 million years of evolution. “Our findings show that variation of a pleiotropic transcription factor is more extensive than previously imagined, suggesting that evolutionary plasticity may be widespread among regulatory genes.”

Demystifying Price’s Equation.

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  • miko

    I heard about that “collective intelligence” study on the radio. I missed a lot of it, but my impression was that 1) It was all American college students 2) The problems were of a specific nature 3) There is no definition of, agreement on the existence of (though it’s intuitive), or metric for collective intelligence. I buy the premise that intelligence will not necessarily synergize (or even be additive) in groups due to social dynamics, and that good social dynamics will produce more effective group problem solving.

    The media spin that being smart “doesn’t count” in groups sounds stupid to me, and is probably not in the paper. Americans love stories where being smart isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, or is actively bad. I’m sure a group of smart people with good social dynamics is better than a group of dumb people with good social dynamics.

    The other take away is that groups where one person (always male) dominated did poorly, an even distribution of talking time predicted better outcomes. This I buy completely: even sitting through the idiot at the meeting is often constructive–you have time to think.

  • http://www.libertypages.com/clarktech Clark

    I think the reason the media reports it as being smart not counting in groups is because it doesn’t count in their group. Zing! OK, a bit unfair. But reading media reports of science papers is usually cringe inducing. No wonder the public is so distrustful of science at times.


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This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

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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