Daily Data Dump – Wednesday

By Razib Khan | October 6, 2010 1:22 pm

Epigenome effort makes its mark. “This week, the Roadmap Epigenomics Project, a US$170-million effort to identify and map those marks — known collectively as the human epigenome — begins its first comprehensive data release.”

At Flagging Tribune, Tales of a Bankrupt Culture. The story of executives taking home millions while the ship goes down is very old-school. Mao ate well while millions starved and China as a nation-state was being economically eviscerated. The scale of the moral calamity differed by orders of magnitude, but I think the principal-agent problem is basically the same.

Science Knows Best. ‘The most compelling strand in “The Moral Landscape” is its unspooling diatribe against relativism.’ I am not a “New Atheist,” and find some of Sam Harris’ assertions about religion as a natural phenomenon embarrassingly unsubtle. I also have much more sympathy for David Hume’s is/ought distinction and assumption that reason is generally the “slave of the passions.” But, I also have sympathy for Sam Harris’ almost guileless positivism and Western chauvinism. I may deny on some deep level that Ed Witten engages in an enterprise which is more morally edifying than that of a witch-doctor, but for practical purposes I encourage the flourishing of shamans who ply in String Theory as opposed to those who drink their own urine. I differ with Sam Harris as to how reality works, but I am definitely one of his tribe, and even I as atribal as I am in disposition feel its pull when Harris inveighs against the witch-doctors.

483 – The Great European Shouting Match. All the maps of Europe as seen by various European countries. Very funny that Germany is viewed as “dirty porn” by several other nations. How’d that come to be?

How not to fight colds: is it really that clear cut?. An interesting rebuttal to some of the advice that Jennifer Ackerman has been offering while promoting her new book Ah-Choo!: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold.

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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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