Around the Web – January 24th, 2011

By Razib Khan | January 24, 2011 11:35 am

Participants So Far. Zack reports 10 people of South Asian ancestry have sent their raw data. His coverage seems OK, but he only has multiple samples from Punjabis. I know some people who will be sending their data in soon, and I’m going to swap my parents in for me, so Bengalis will go from N = 1 to N = 2, but please spread the word. Better coverage in eastern and southern South Asia is really needed.

Why Rich Parents Don’t Matter. Jonah Lehrer references my post When genes matter for intelligence. This is a possibility which I think needs to be more widely spread by the mainstream media: “Eliminating such inequalities in the early years of life would simply create a new kind of inequality, driven by genetics.” When people fret about the relative lack of class mobility into Ivy League universities compared to the 1960s, they might consider if the mobility of that era was simply a function of the relatively recent removal of previous discriminatory barriers. Once those barriers are gone for a few generations there’s no reason to expect that the “peak churn” would match the transition phase.

US equivalents. Comparing the aggregate GDP of American states to nations around the world.

Human Prehistory and Genetics Wiki. I don’t “do” the wiki thing myself, but in case you’re interested.


Introduction to Nanopore Sequencing. “For solid-state nanopores we are probably looking at 5 years or more.”

Genetic Sequencing Alone Doesn’t Offer a True Picture of Human Disease, Research Suggests.

Multiculturalism at its limits? “As for the relationship between multiculturalism and constraints on free speech, an argument has developed that runs something like this: we live in a society where there are lots of different peoples and cultures, each with deeply set, often irreconcilable, views and beliefs. In such a society we need to restrict what people say or do in order to minimize friction between cultures and to guarantee respect for people embedded in different cultures.” What about when the existence of some people gives offense? For example, open homosexuals are offensive to many cultures. Someone like me, an open atheist from a Muslim background is offensive in many parts of the world. Multiculturalism at its root is a farce, because at the end of the day there are real values which cultural elites will not flinch from. If there is a deep enough chasm between cultures then something like the Ottoman millet system will emerge. Each ethno-religious community will govern itself. The Potter actress whose brother threatened to kill her is expressing conventional behavior in the context of Bangladeshi culture. To sanction and eliminate these sorts of “honor” values entails a radical change to the Bangladeshi subculture. True multiculturalism will allow that “way of life” to persist.

Amish Fashion Week.

Close Encounters of the Buddhist Kind. “An exclusive look inside a booming multibillion-dollar, evangelical, global Thai cult.” And this is fascinating: ‘He called Dhammakaya’s rapid growth and mass ceremonies “power trips” inspired by the head abbot’s fascination with the Muslim hajj gatherings and Nazi parades.’

When & Where Grapes Domesticated. The trans-Caucasian region is, I suspect, going to become very important in our understanding of how the past 10,000 years have been shaped.

Maybe Japan Was Just a Warm-Up. Many people warn about the over-wrought hysteria about Japanese economic power in the 1980s. But people have to remember the difference of scale: there are an order of magnitude more Chinese than Japanese. Though it’s going to be a long haul for the Chinese to catch up with American per capita GDP, something disastrous will have happened if the Chinese don’t exceed the USA in aggregate GDP in the next generation.

An evolutionary explanation of consumption. From the about: “I am an Australian economist and a part-time student completing a PhD at the intersection of economics and evolutionary biology.” Just added to my RSS.

Rapid Reaction: Steelers 24, Jets 19. Why have the Steelers been to so many championship games since the 1960s?

Delving Into the Past of a Big Cat: Clouded Leopard Redefined. Water barriers matter inordinately to large mammals it seems.

Evolution of molecular error rates and the consequences for evolvability. Title makes this self-evidently of interest.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Blog
MORE ABOUT: Daily Data Dump
  • Chris T

    When people fret about the relative lack of class mobility into Ivy League universities compared to the 1960s, they might consider if the mobility of that era was simply a function of the relatively recent removal of previous discriminatory barriers. Once those barriers are gone for a few generations there’s no reason to expect that the “peak church” would match the transition phase.

    I suspect this is a key reason for the high economic growth the United States experienced at the time. By the early 1970’s, the redistribution had pretty much played itself out.

  • Divalent

    Regarding the dependence of home environment on cognitive function (rich vs poor), a limitation of the study they are discussing is that it is only a comparison of a cohort (of an impressive 700 twins!) at age 6 months vs 2 years old. My recollection is that prior studies showed that the effect of SES/environment is most pronounced at young ages, but declines as they grow older, and the results of this study are pretty much in alignment. Hopefully they will continue to follow this cohort (700 twins!) to see if the differential effect of home evironment in “poorer” vs “rich” homes remains or diminishes as they age.

  • http://washparkprophet.blogspot.com ohwilleke

    “Eliminating such inequalities in the early years of life would simply create a new kind of inequality, driven by genetics.”

    Yes, there would still be massive inequality. But, the main effect would be to dramatically reduce the number of people who have very low IQ, without changing the distribution much at the high end.

    Environment seems to mostly drag people down from their potential, and most of those making improvement would probably not catapult to the top (because the average for the poor would probably still be below average due to below average paternal and maternal genetic predisposition and assortive marriage) so the smart would be unchanged, while the less smart would be smarter than they are today although still mostly at the lower end of the scale. Hence, you get a capitalist economy with winners and losers, but without nearly such an intense underclass. This might look a lot like the rest of the developed world (excluding the U.S.) does today.

  • sv

    My results are being released, so I will be sending data in to the Harappa Project soon.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Gene Expression

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

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT

RSS Razib’s Pinboard

Edifying books

Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »