Monthly Archives: January 2015


There are opinions that are required in most of academia (and government, press, etc), if you want to keep your job (or ever be invited to parties). Naturally, most of them are false or silly: what would be the point … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 138 Comments

The Fluidity of Race

Emily Nix and Nancy Qian just put out a paper – The Fluidity of Race – that has gotten some attention. They claim (based on their analysis of US Census records from 1880-1940) that at least 19% of black males … Continue reading

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Mitochondrial male sterility

Most plants are hermaphrodites, producing both pollen and seeds, but there are many species in which some individuals are morphodites and others are purely female.  Often this femaleness (male sterility) is caused by a mitochondrial mutation. I once heard Bob … Continue reading

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The central notion of evidence-based medicine is that our understanding of human biology is imperfect.  Some of the idea we come up with for  treating and preventing disease are effective, but most are not, worse than useless. So we need … Continue reading

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Lewontin wins the Crafoord Prize

The Crafoord Prize for 2015 was awarded to Richard Lewontin and Tomoko Ohta,  for their discovery that there was very much more genetic variation that had been expected.  Lewontin discovered this using protein gel electrophoresis to study a number of … Continue reading

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Son of Edar

The EDAR V370A variant, almost fixed in northeast Asia, is known to cause coarser hair,  smaller breasts with increased branch density,  shovel-shaped incisors,  more eccrine sweat glands, and changes in the shape of the earlobe. The changes in eccrine sweat … Continue reading

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Stockpile Stewardship

A lot of our nuclear weapons are old, and it’s not clear that they still work. If we still did underground tests, we’d know for sure (and could fix any problems) – but we don’t do that.  We have a … Continue reading

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Quality vs Quantity

Here’s a point I made in Chicago last year: Human capital theory, as I understand it (which isn’t much),  seems to assume that differences in human capital are the product of environmental inputs, much of those inputs contributed by parents.  … Continue reading

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Math and Paleontology

This is from a book on dinosaur evolution – they’re invoking the square-cube law in discussion of warm-blooded dinosaurs.  Trying, anyhow.

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An Invitation

I’ve somehow ended up on a mailing list used by scientific journals, so now I keep getting emails suggesting that I send in an article.  It can sound pretty intriguing: for example,  I got this: An invitation to submit to … Continue reading

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