Monthly Archives: March 2015

Scanners Live in Vain

There is a new paper out in Nature Neuroscience,  mainly by Kimberly Noble, on socioeconomic variables and and brain structure:  Family income, parental education and brain structure in children and adolescents. They found that cortex area went up with income, … Continue reading

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So you’re thinking of being a traitor

I was just reading something by Freeman Dyson, a review of a biography of Bruno Pontecorvo.  He explains that technical spies, like Pontecorvo or Klaus Fuchs or Ted Hall, are unimportant because the Soviet Union had plenty of first-rate scientists … Continue reading

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Y-chromosome crash

A recent paper on  Y-chromosome phylogeny  found that a big fraction of Y-chromosomes  fall into a few star-cluster lineages that are a few thousand years old.  You’ve  already heard of some of these (R1a and R1b, for example). I might … Continue reading

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Charles Murray and Robert Putnam on class

Charles Murray recently wrote Coming Apart about growing class differences in white Americans. Robert Putnam, a Harvard professor of government or something, has a new popular book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. They apparently say much the same … Continue reading

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The Once and Future Khan

Razib Khan managed to get himself hired and fired by the New York Times over the course of a single day, an enviable record.  Having the Times look upon you with favor is a dubious honor in the first place, … Continue reading

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Europa, Enceladus, Moon Miranda

A lot of ice moons seem to have interior oceans, warmed by tidal flexing and possibly radioactivity.  But they’re lousy candidates for life, because you need free energy; and there’s very little in the interior oceans of such system. It … Continue reading

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Another one bites the dust!

Iain Mathieson and the Reich-Patterson crew have a new paper out on natural selection over the past 8,000 years in Europe, much fortified by the availability of ancient DNA and knowledge of the ancestral mix. The first point is that … Continue reading

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Solidarity Forever

If you had a gene with a conspicuous effect (like a green beard) that at the same time caused the carrier to favor other individuals with a green beard, you could get a very powerful kind of genetic altruism, one … Continue reading

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Traces of selection

A couple of interesting articles just came out in MBE on how natural selection has affected human populations that ran into problems with trace elements, either too much or too little.  One talked about adaptation to selenium shortages (which I’ve … Continue reading

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