Epilepsy’s Big, Fat Miracle. Two points to note: 1) modern medicine seems to have strongly resisted the ketogenic diet because of ideology, 2) this treatment works, but they don’t really understand why. It shows the importance of empiricism in medicine, but the reality that even an empirical discipline can be shifted by ideology.
Grumpy Kvetching of the Day. One of Sean Carroll’s readers complains about the content he’s posting up. If I ever get one of those blogs where my readers “sponsor” me, then I would listen to this sort of input. You paid for the privilege. Until then, shove it. Anyone who leaves a comment like that would be on my permanent “sh*t list.” I’m not really that disagreeable in person, but in person people rarely make demands on my own time as if such requests are the nature of things. Not so on the internet.
“Operation: Stop Palin” Gets Rolling. I was expecting this to happen some point soon, but my probability that the Republican establishment will be able to crush Sarah Palin is dropping from ~1.0, perhaps moving toward ~0.5. The main issue from what I tell is that the establishment is unlikely to be able to co-opt Mike Huckabee, who is the only other candidate on the horizon that could eat into her base.
Economics & Abstraction. Interesting exchange between Jim Manzi and Karl Smith. The great thing about economics compared to other “social sciences” is the reliance on a common formal language. The bad thing is that the formality hasn’t seemed to be able to remove all these verbal arguments on the margin of what everyone else means.
The most alpha occupations. Sex partners by occupation.
Why are boys’ brains bigger? But the subhead is: “Men cannot multi-task and women cannot read maps – is that a sexist nonsense or scientific fact?” The necessary way to talk about differences between groups today is to make sure that the “privileged group” comes off less flatteringly.
For Russia’s Poor, Blond Hair Is Snippet of Gold. A lot of the world’s wigs and hair extensions are re-purposed Chinese and Indian hair. But with Russians you don’t have to dye their hair necessarily. I believe there’s going to be a premium on that sort of thing because of the importance of authenticity. “Real Blonde HairTM.”
French Professors Find Life in U.S. Hard to Resist. Shocking number: “Of the 2,745 French citizens who obtained a doctorate in the United States from 1985 to 2008, 70 percent settled there, the study found.” It would be interesting to compare international students from various nations and see how many stay in the states and become permanent residents. I predict that the proportion of Chinese and Indian graduate students who remain after receiving their doctorates has been declining, but what about these European nations?
Thirty new loci for age at menarche identified by a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies. I’m curious if the age at menarche is a quantitative trait. It would be interesting to do cross-species tests.
Ancient mtDNA from Sargat culture. I assume that ancient DNA is going to elucidate population flows in the Asian interior a lot in the coming years. The climate is cold and often dry, so ideal for a slower rate of degradation.
The Parental Non-Equivalence of Imprinting Control Regions during Mammalian Development and Evolution. “Our results support the notion that two independent evolutionary forces have led to the numerical and functional dominance of maternal ICRs: a selective advantage of parent-specific regulation of genes important for the fetal-maternal interface and pressure to avoid the mutagenic environment of the paternal germline.”
Are We Hardwired to Love Taxes? The main reason I call myself a conservative and not a libertarian is that I believe humans are a communitarian species. This does not make me a social democrat, but it radically alters my normatively biased reflexes. Do note that I am talking about the average human. Myself, I’m still relatively detached from the community of man. I simply don’t confuse my own psychological biases for the average human.
Neanderthals Lived Fast, Died Young. Last paragraph: “Smith and her team, however, hint that forthcoming new studies reveal genetic and brain differences that existed between Neanderthals and members of our species, further heating up the scientific debate.” Someone clearly has inside information.
Vague Assertions of Copyright Infringement. The Financial Times claims you can’t quote any of their text. This sounds as dumb as the argument a few years ago that you’d need permission to link to some web sites. The irony is that these stupid copyright cultures simply mean that people will rewrite what other people say, and probably not give them credit as often. I’m not an anti-intellectual property absolutist, but over the years I’m moved more and more in that direction seeing how it hamstrings real creativity.
Deep Sea News. One of the finest “independent” science blogs out there.
Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception. Haven’t read it yet, but seems kind of interesting. One datum the author divulged on the radio is that while men overestimate how many sex partners they have, and women underestimate, hooking them up to lie detectors suggests that women underestimate much more than men overestimate!
Strange Parallels: Volume 2, Mainland Mirrors: Europe, Japan, China, South Asia, and the Islands: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c.800-1830. Not a front-to-back read, but dense and extremely well worth it. Synthetic world histories with a scholarly focus are rare.
American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. I wish the book wasn’t so padded with vignettes. The core data is interesting though.
Less Wrong. If you love Heuristics & Biases you’ll find this weblog of interest. Also, if you’re a 17 year old nerdy virgin and feels isolated from your bestial classmates across the chasm of genuine sentience, you’ll find fellow travelers. You can actually increment the age up to 100 and substitute classmates for colleagues.
Sleep Program Needed for IT Engineers. A study for this, really?