Around the Web – June 24th, 2011

By Razib Khan | June 24, 2011 2:07 am

There have been some good posts at Gene Expression Classic you might want to check out. In particular:

Synaesthesia and savantism and Where do morals come from?. The second is a review of Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality by Kevin Mitchell

Natural selection and the collapse of economic growth and Natural selection and economic growth by Jason Collins.

Earliest Art in the Americas: Ice Age Image of Mammoth or Mastodon Found in Florida. Claims that the a rendering of a elephant-like creature in Florida is at least ~13,000 years old because “this is the date for the last appearance of these animals in eastern North America.” If this is based on fossils probably you can fudge that a little lower, since first and last fossils tend to be a subset of the real interval of time.

The Michael Hecht-Rationally Speaking affair. Jennifer Michael Hecht is making accusations of plagiarism against Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef. One can’t render final judgment on this sort of thinking without digging deeper, but my personal experience is that most perceptions of plagiarism and copying have to do with the fact that the web is very, very, big. And, you tend to anchor upon and self-select segments of the web which are intersecting with your own interests and biases. People who produce similar material and share a similar world view are likely to also generate ideas and concepts very similar in structure and even style to yours. In other words, I think there can be sincere perceptions of plagiarism which are mistaken.

Do Kids Prefer Playmates of Same Ethnicity? Since the study is based out of Montreal I conclude that French culture is just racist.

Wild Cuban Crocodiles Hybridize With American Crocs. Some of you care, I don’t too much.

Psychologists Find Link Between Ovulation and Women’s Ability to Identify Heterosexual Men. Really this is kind of boring. I want really weird correlations. I’m sure they can find them.

Post-Hoc Supernatural Punishers. Some good skepticism of ahistorical tendencies which crop up in explanations for religion. For example I’m tired of people explaining to me that an awesome afterlife is the reason for religion, when Sheol and Hades kind of bit. A nice afterlife is a relatively recent cultural innovation.

Koi Assisted Birth. This is happening.

As Greece Ponders Default, Lessons From Argentina. I like how the reporters emphasized the fact that the commodity boom has been a boon to Argentina. That condition doesn’t hold for all nations.

Why Do We Like the Taste Of Protein? Jonah Lehrer, delicious prose as always!

What is g?

Phylogeography of a Land Snail Suggests Trans-Mediterranean Neolithic Transport. I think this sort of thing is going to be more common. With the confidence interval this seems more a “first pass.”

Sexting and Infidelity in Cyberspace: Humans Are Still Social Creatures Who Need Face-To-Face Contact, Study Finds. In other words: study finds earthlings are not Solarians.

InTrade And Jon Huntsman: Why the Media’s Faith in the Internet Betting Ring Is Foolish. There’s a tendency to allocate too much precision to quantities.

Women Freezing Their Eggs To Make Babies Later. This seems like a rational investment for many couples.

Ancient links between Siberians and Native Americans revealed by subtyping the Y chromosome haplogroup Q1a. “…this lineage appears to be closest to the extinct Palaeo-Eskimo individuals belonging to the Saqqaq culture arisen in the New World Arctic about 5.5 Ka. This finding suggests that Q1a*-MEH2 likely traces a population migration originating in Northeast Siberia across the Bering Strait.”

Low Fertility in Europe Reversed. Still below replacement though.

Newcomers’ Arrival Scares Up Tales of the Mayan Apocalypse. Very amusing confusions. We’ll see more….

On Funny men, Intelligence and ‘Mating Success’… Many of you will be able to guess one of the paper’s authors.

Dutch Court Acquits Geert Wilders of Hate Speech. Good.

Ten Percent of Middle-Aged Europeans Are On Antidepressants, Study Suggests.

Dogs Discriminate Identical Twins. Cool, but not surprising.

The evolution of conscientiousness. As important as intelligence. Smart people can be evil more effectively.

Mechanisms for the Evolution of a Derived Function in the Ancestral Glucocorticoid Receptor. Great paper where Sean M. Carroll is the lead author.

How Serious Is Son Preference in China? A minor note: it is important to remember that son preference tends to shift to daughter preference in developed societies with small families. This happened in Japan ~1990, and it is happening in Korea now.

Saudi women threaten to breastfeed drivers. People have different values.

Female extrapair mating behavior can evolve via indirect selection on males. Blame the men when women stray! Pretty funny.

All brown everything. An article which profiles Brown Pundits. Since Secular Right has also been profiled by the media, it would be interesting to see if anyone ever takes an interest in this little weblog I’ve been running on genetics for over 9 years in various forms….

Instapaper accuses FBI of stealing data in raid. Pinboard also got caught up in this. Basically the server where these sites were stored also hosted a scamware site. it happens.

Goolu. Don’t know if I buy this argument, but interesting.

  • Darkseid

    Oh good, I afraid you stopped linking cuz pinboard went down. Nice find from Lehrer as well. Also, I know you were joking but isn’t French culture in Quebec and France a tiny bit more exclusive (racist?) than those surrounding it. I’ve heard some pretty unbelievable stories about black hockey players growing up in that area. Just seeing if anyone knows…

  • Razib Khan

    #1, probably. but give them slack, they’re the real kanada.

  • Darkseid

    i shall add a link:
    first white dude to break the 10 sec/100 m. but remember, everyone is born equal in every way.

  • TGGP

    If there was a differential advantage to extrapair mating, would we expect sexual dimorphism to occur over the long term?

  • TGGP

    John Horgan tries to defend Gould’s reputation in the face of a recent critique. Be warned, not much of substance there, just reasserts that SJG was on the side of angels.

  • Chris T

    TGGP – I was considering posting the link to that article as well. Sadly, just the quality I expect out of Scientific American of late.


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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


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