Monthly Archives: June 2015

National Merit

The National Merit Scholarship is a competition for recognition and scholarships. About 0.5%  of each class become semifinalists, and about 95% of those semifinalists become finalists.  The threshold score varies by state, adjusted so that half a percent of students … Continue reading

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Make Room! Make Room!

There is a recent article in Phys Rev Letters (“Programed Death is Favored by Natural Selection in Spatial Systems”) arguing that aging is an adaptation – natural selection has favored mechanisms that get rid of useless old farts.  I can … Continue reading

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Inverse weathervanes

I was thinking about something Razib Khan said – that sociology  is useful, because it has negative predictive value.  He’s probably right, but when you think about it, that’s odd. There are a lot more possible wrong theories than right … Continue reading

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101 Eurasians

There is a new paper out in Nature, mostly about the spread of the Indo-Europeans.  They confirm that the Yamnaya ( from the Ukraine) were the main ancestors of the Corded Ware culture (northern Europe, from Germany far on east).  … Continue reading

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Antibiotic feed/food supplementation

Many domesticated animals show increased growth and improved feed efficiency when given low doses of antibiotics.  In fact, this is by far the biggest use of antibiotics.  Mostly you hear about this in the context of worries about how this … Continue reading

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Misreading One Letter

When I thought I saw the headline ” Ten Killer Apes You Can’t Do Without”, I was surprised, because off the top of my head, I could only think of three.

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I doubt if it will have much effect. Judging from twin studies, parenting effects are small or zero.  I doubt if preschool as we know it has stronger effects. Of course we’ll do it anyhow.  Just for laughs, it would … Continue reading

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Mercs in Iraq

The Iraqi army we trained is totally useless – training doesn’t impart motivation. Not our kind of training, anyhow. So how  should the Iraqi government deal with the Islamic State? The obvious answer is mercenaries, many of which already know … Continue reading

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