Monthly Archives: November 2012

Too Much Diversity

There’s a new paper out in Nature, by Wenqing Fu and many other people, about the recent origin of most variants in protein-coding genes. They conclude that most are less than 5-10,000 year old – younger in Europeans than in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Dollars down the Educrathole?

The internet has made teaching small involved classes a rewarding pleasure: when an interesting issue comes up laptops fly open and we immediately have the data we want. Yesterday in my social issues class we were discussing per-pupil expenditure by … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 18 Comments

The Usual Suspect

Once upon a time, I was working at Hughes Aircraft, analyzing missile guidance sensors and trying to design laser weapons.  My fellow engineers thought I had other strengths –  I was a halfway decent pinochle player.  Some thought my abilities … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Genetics and the Historical Decline of Violence?

There is an insightful and data-rich blog called hbd* chick that is well worth our reading. A recent post discusses Steven Pinker’s new book about the decline of violence. I haven’t read the book, but the discussion on hbd* chick’s … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 49 Comments

Pearls from Lewontin

In a review in the NYRoB, Richard Lewontin says “The other exception to random inheritance is not in the chromosomes, but in cellular particles called ribosomes that contain not DNA but a related molecule, RNA, which has heritable variation and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 37 Comments

The Bridges of Kaliningrad

I showed my small son Sam the Bridges of Königsberg problem: The problem is to find a walk through the city that crosses each bridge once and only once. Turns out that this is impossible: I told Sam, but he … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

The Golden Age

In two recent papers,  Gerald Crabtree says two correct things.  He says that the brain is complex, depends on the correct functioning of many genes, and is thus particularly vulnerable to genetic load.  Although he doesn’t use the phrase “genetic … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 76 Comments

The genetics of stupidity

Kevin Mitchell wrote an essay this summer (“The genetics of stupidity”) that got some attention. The idea is that most or all of the genetic influence affecting intelligence is genetic load.  Although each deleterious mutation is very rare,  the average  … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 19 Comments

The long and short of it

A number of people have argued that there can’t be real evolutionary change in less than some huge amount of time – 50k years, 100k years, basically whatever number  they need to win an argument.  That’s all bullshit.  On the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 70 Comments