Monthly Archives: September 2012

Invasion of the Mind Rot Zombies

Anyone who works at a university, attends a university, has children at university, and so on must go to the website of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, sign in, and download their packet of “VALUE rubrics.”  You get fifteen … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments


During pregnancy, fetal cells enter the mother (and vice versa).  They linger in the mother for decades at minimum – probably for life.  The first thought has been that this might be the cause of higher levels of autoimmune diseases … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments


The story isn’t finished, but it sure is interesting.  Where did the Europeans come from?  We know that modern humans replaced the Neanderthals, with a little admixture – not a lot, but enough to transmit genes of interest. We know … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory | 37 Comments

Time of Isolation

Recent direct measurement of the human mutation rate  strongly suggest that it is about half as large as previously estimated.  Neutral genetic differences between groups would have taken longer to accumulate. Therefore, estimates of population splits need to be recalibrated. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments


We’ve been gathering info on average paternal age in different societies: here’s some for some rural villages in Gambia, from an article by Ruth Mace. This shows age-specific fertility for males and females over the lifespan.  The average paternal age … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics, sub-Saharan Africans | 43 Comments

Paternal Age and the Force of Mortality

Looking into how paternal age affects life history evolution, I took our data on survival curves of Herero males and calculated the strength of selection, that is the derivative of fitness with respect to survival, as a function of mean … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Excellent Textbook for Us

Trying to understand how to use and apply Hamilton’s theory of senescence to understanding our old Herero material, I asked my colleague Alan Rogers for a suggestion.  He suggested his own textbook written for his course on evolutionary ecology. It … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

The Black-White Mortality Crossover

Most of social science still operates as if there were no biological differences among human groups. This so-called “uniformitarian” assumption is pervasive and it works in the sense that a lot of research money falls into the social science hole. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 40 Comments


Some have suggested that societies or states  can usefully be thought of as a superorganism, rather like a beehive.  States respond, semi-intelligently, to opportunities and threats. They defend themselves.  They store and make use of information. We may believe that … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 42 Comments

The Issue that Time Forgot

Human population genetics in the 1960s was obsessed with the question of genetic load. Much of the motivation was concern about health consequences of radiation and nuclear weapons. We now know that radiation does bad things to organisms but that … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 3 Comments