Open Thread, 08/25/2013

By Razib Khan | August 24, 2013 1:00 am

Very excited that my daughter was thumbing through The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection yesterday. Previous to this she took a fancy to Christian Meeir’s Caesar: A Biography.

MORE ABOUT: Open Thread
  • Michael H

    Being a long-term user/abuser of chile peppers, I’ve been wondering about the possible health impact of doing so. One particular concern is gastric cancer, though researchers appear to be divided about whether it increases or actually decreases the risk.

    Since you’ve described yourself as a heavy consumer of chiles and also know everything, would you be willing to share any assessment you’ve made of the research on this topic?

    • razibkhan

      gastric cancer is the only thing i’ve seen. but it seems to me that that’s balanced out by positive benefits re: inflammatory response, etc. the reality is that there probably isn’t a major effect that’s not hard to confound.

      • Sandgroper

        Anecdotally, countries with high daily chili consumption do not report high incidences of gastric and bowel cancers. On the contrary, in Thailand, where chilis are routinely consumed even with breakfast, bowel cancer seems to be almost unheard of.

        I can report that objectively, as someone who is utterly useless with spicy food – one piece of jalapeno will keep my mouth burning unbearably for half an hour, despite several futile attempts to gradually desensitise myself. I’m so sensitive that I am totally unable to judge just how hot something is to other people – I was once having lunch with a Thai police captain, took a mouthful of a beef salad, and said “Oh no, that’s really too hot for me.” He said “You Westerners are useless – give it to me”, took a mouthful and said “Oh my God, that really is hot.”

        My daughter has me pretty well calibrated – if something gives her just a pleasant light oral buzz, she knows it willl be ‘borderline’ for me – I’ll cope with a couple of mouthfuls, but then I’m out of it. The sensitivity appears to extend internally – something that burns my mouth is also likely to give me a pain in the guts.

  • Robert Ford

    Some women read about natural selection and some women do this with their life:
    …strange world we live in.

  • Karl Zimmerman

    My second child (and first son) will be born sometime in the next month. Can’t wait to see how the roll of the genetic dice will result in a different personality than his sister.

    Personally, I’m hoping that I see more of myself in him. Sometimes, I feel like my wife asexually cloned herself when I talk with my daughter. She won’t let me get her genome sequenced, so I suppose it’s possible 😉

  • marcel proust

    I hope that you keep writing materials within your daughter’s reach so that she can annotate the texts while thumbing through them (magic markers and crayons are ideal). I am sure that she will be thankful when she wants to see what caught her attention.

  • razibkhan

    1.6 years only. she does not know of the depths she plumbs.

    • Florida_resident

      Dear Mr. Khan:
      Blessings to your family, and your daughter especially.
      I humbly suggest a book on “Linear Algebra”.
      It worked with my daughter reasonably well,
      to say the same about my two sons.
      Your F.r.

  • James Tree

    I like your blog but please don’t be one of those people. Yes, we get it – you are intelligent, your child will probably be intelligent. You have books in your home. Good for you.


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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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