Around the Web – August 29th, 2011

By Razib Khan | August 29, 2011 2:16 am

Thoughts on the BGI IQ study.

Language Evolves in R, not Python: An apology. Open science is good.

Are Twin Studies “Pretty Much Useless”? One interesting, but unsurprising, aspect of the response to execrable Brian Palmer piece is that several of us in the blogosphere pointed out pretty much the same set of well known findings to refute his weird charges. This isn’t rocket science.

Romney vs. Perry: It’s personal. ‘“I think he had a few exasperating experiences with Perry, and he’s not alone in that,” said one source close to Romney. “I think Mitt thinks Perry is not that bright.”’

Genome-wide association study in individuals of South Asian ancestry identifies six new type 2 diabetes susceptibility loci. Probably a good idea to study diabetes in the most numerous hper-diabetic population in the world.

North Korea: The Long Coma. I have said many a time that North Korea is the best modern representation of a pre-modern divine monarchy.

Men Are From Mars, Women Like Kindles. I think we need vouchers for males to close the “Kindle gap.”

Working for GiveWell. Holden is a very cool guy, for what it’s worth.

Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time during the evolution of Homo. Bigger brains and smaller teeth?

The Boundaries of Science.

Sex Ratio at Birth and Mortality Rates Are Negatively Related in Humans.

Will a Jurassic placental mammal make the molecular clock make sense? Looks like another win for some geneticists (Richard Dawkins alludes to this debate in The Ancestor’s Tale and basically predicted that fossils would probably show up at some point).

Circumcise or Don’t? Quandary for Parents. Be a Bayesian. Your own behavior pattern is a predictor for your son’s behavior patterns.

As Farmers’ Markets Go Mainstream, Some Fear a Glut. A “glut” is good for consumers. Were that there was an oil glut!

There’s Room for More G.O.P. Candidates. I’d normally call bullshit, but Nate Silver warrants consideration.

Mother’s BMI Linked to Fatter Babies.

Diverse microbes in Pygmy saliva.

Whole-genome sequencing of multiple Arabidopsis thaliana populations.

The Righteous Mind. I like Jonathan Haidt’s models, but they often strike as too superficially plausible.

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Halfway through this book. Buy it! It is excellent.


Comments (6)

  1. Darkseid

    The circumcision piece is a well balanced summary. However, the mother’s BMI piece reminds me that, for all those who are vehemently against circumscision, we still let fat people and religious people have kids. That seems like a much more destructive thing to me.

  2. “Men Are From Mars, Women Like Kindles. I think we need vouchers for males to close the “Kindle gap.””

    Women read books. Men read T-shirts.

    “The Righteous Mind. ” I worry about authors who feel compelled to let us know in a heading that the introduction gives us an overview of the book. While this isn’t always the case, this conclusion should follow without having to hit the reader over the head with it.

  3. ryan

    >would that there was an oil glut …

    Why? Do you disbelieve in the science of global warming?

    Not trying to be snide, just wondering. The obvious result of an oil glut in my mind is that price would go down, and much more would be used. I’m happy there’s no oil glut. It seems like to be happy about a glut, you’d have to either disbelieve in climate change, or believe the results would be benign.

  4. #3, i prefer oil to coal. i don’t think hydrocarbon demand is going to go down. the two substitute for each other in many cases. not interested in talking about that though. i reject your framing of the alternatives of course.

  5. Sandgroper

    #4, I prefer gas to either.

  6. Clark

    As oil use goes up so will price. That’ll have two effects. One is to make alternative technologies more cost effective (especially things like large scale solar). However the other is to make other avenues for oil accessible. Purportedly one of the largest oil fields in the world is just a few miles away on the Colorado Plateau in the Uinta basin here. I think they said it was something like 8 times the size of Saudi Arabi’s fields. It’s just that the technology to safely mine it is only now coming online. (Previous technology used a lot of water and was overly expensive) If oil is consistently above $100 (and assuming the federal government doesn’t block access) then I think you’ll see that come online quickly.

    A lot of the problems with alternatives though are technological and I just don’t think the general public appreciates the issues involved. Merely throwing more money at it, as helpful as that may be, won’t necessarily speed things up. Think of say the darling of the 90’s – hydrogen power. It was always a bit of a pipe dream due to the limited supply of catalysts (which is why it’s really not widely available despite the hyping by the media)

    Gluts can be good for consumers but short term gluts can actually make things worse. You’ll have capital invested and then have an artificial decrease in prices due to over-investment. Instead of just having a few companies survive sometimes you just end up with skittish investors and no one investing for years. That’s less of an issue in oil development due to the size of the companies apt to develop such resources. (They can avoid to go idle for 8 years) However for other sorts of energy or energy transport that can be a real huge issue. If we need the technological infrastructure for an inevitable change over a glut could be devastating.


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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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