Archives for posts with tag: cool space sh*t

Your Ancestors, Your Fate“The notion of genetic transmission of ‘social competence’ — some mysterious mix of drive and ability — may unsettle us. But studies of adoption, in some ways the most dramatic of social interventions, support this view. A number of studies of adopted children in the United States and Nordic countries show convincingly that their life chances are more strongly predicted from their biological parents than their adoptive families. In America, for example, the I.Q. of adopted children correlates with their adoptive parents’ when they are young, but the correlation is close to zero by adulthood. There is a low correlation between the incomes and educational attainment of adopted children and those of their adoptive parents. These studies, along with studies of correlations across various types of siblings (identical twins, fraternal twins, half siblings) suggest that genetics is the main carrier of social status.” – from gregory clark. see also The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility.

Reductionism! Determinism! Straw-man-ism!” The main problem, it seems to me, is a fundamental misunderstanding of what genetics as a science studies and how it relates to the function of complex systems. The following statements are not contradictory: 1. The function of a complex system emerges from the complex and dynamic interactions between all of the components of the system, in a context- and experience-dependent manner. 2. Variation in single components of the system (or in multiple components) can affect how it functions. Geneticists investigate the second question. Showing that variation in Gene X affects the behaviour or outcome of a system is not the same as saying that Gene X fully determines that behaviour or fully accounts for the entire system. Gene X is just a piece of DNA sitting in a cell somewhere – it doesn’t do anything by itself. But a *difference* in Gene X can account for a *difference* in how the system works. – from kevin mitchell.

The Problem with HBD, the Dark Enlightenment, Neoreaction, Alt-Rightism, and All That Jazz – READ THIS! – from jayman (and misdreavus).

There’s nothing wrong with looking for ‘gay genes’“The Left loves to tell the Right that it’s anti-science, pointing (not without reason) to the correlation between conservative beliefs and a failure to come to terms with the scientific facts of evolution and human-caused climate change. But there’s a subtler tendency on the Left; a fear of research into human nature, in case the findings are in some way politically uncomfortable.”

Evolution equally efficient in removing deleterious variants in Europeans and West Africans“…but apparently not in Denisovans who accumulated deleterious mutations at a higher rate than modern humans.” – @dienekes’.

Scientists unlock a ‘microbial Pompeii’“An international team of researchers have discovered a ‘microbial Pompeii’ preserved on the teeth of skeletons around 1,000 years old. The key to the discovery is the dental calculus (plaque) which preserves bacteria and microscopic particles of food on the surfaces of teeth, effectively creating a mineral tomb for microbiomes.”

The effect of paternal age on offspring intelligence and personality when controlling for paternal trait level [pdf] – “We examined the effect of father’s age at birth on offspring intelligence, head circumference and personality traits. Using the Minnesota Twin Family Study sample we tested paternal age effects while controlling for parents’ trait levels measured with the same precision as offspring’s. From evolutionary genetic considerations we predicted a negative effect of paternal age on offspring intelligence, but not on other traits. Controlling for parental intelligence (IQ) had the effect of turning an initially positive association non-significantly negative. We found paternal age effects on offspring IQ and Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire Absorption, but they were not robustly significant, nor replicable with additional covariates. No other noteworthy effects were found.” – from lars penke.

Reversed hierarchy in the brain for general and specific cognitive abilities: A morphometric analysis“Here, we analyze gray matter with three morphometric indices (volume, cortical surface area, and cortical thickness) at three levels of the intelligence hierarchy (tests, first-order factors, and a higher-order general factor, g)…. The key finding reveals substantial variability in gray matter correlates at the test level, which is substantially reduced for the first-order and the higher-order factors. This supports a reversed hierarchy in the brain with respect to cognitive abilities at different psychometric levels: the greater the generality, the smaller the number of relevant gray matter clusters accounting for individual differences in intelligent performance.” – h/t ben southwood!

A nice bunch of flowers“The general factor of intelligence is strongest at lower levels of intelligence. It may be a case of ‘All neurones to the pump’. When abilities are low, most problems are difficult. In such cases, all resources have to be thrown at the problem. When abilities are higher there is more spare capacity for differentiation of abilities. Brighter persons have a lower proportion of their abilities accounted for by a common factor, even though the have higher absolute abilities.” – from dr. james thompson.

GED scores by Ethnicity and Nation – from chuck @human varieties.

The Unfortunately Innate Nature of Intelligence“You cannot blame people for being what they were born, and you cannot expect them to do what they cannot.”

Psychologist on a mission to give every child a learning chip“Prof Robert Plomin wants educators to take notice of genes, and has a new big idea – personalised learning.”

Fruit-loving lemurs score higher on spatial memory tests“Food-finding tests in five lemur species show that fruit-eaters may have better spatial memory than lemurs with a more varied diet. The results support the idea that relying on foods that are seasonally available and far-flung gives a competitive edge to individuals with certain cognitive abilities — such as remembering where the goodies are.”

What Does Our DNA Say About How We Look?“A biologist aims to profile suspects from genetic material left at crime scenes.’ – h/t matthew wygant!

Four Lame Responses to Sam Harris’ Moral Landscape Challenge“Moral emotions, like every other evolved trait, exist because their presence increased the probability that the genes responsible for the existence of those traits would survive and reproduce. Moral emotions, and the associated illusions of the existence of Good and Evil as things in themselves, exist as subjective impressions in the minds of individuals.” – from helian.

Free will beliefs and motivation to punish“In a paper forthcoming in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Cory J. Clark and co-authors provide evidence that widespread belief in the existence of free will is bolstered by a fundamental desire to punish wrongdoers…. As Clark et al. put it, ‘There seems little doubt that the subjective experience of choosing and acting supports people’s belief in free will, but our findings suggest another powerful motivating factor: the human impulse to blame and punish. People believe in free will – at least in part – because they wish to affirm that people who do immoral things could have and should have acted differently’.”

A small contribution to the free-will thingy – from elijah.

Is there a ‘dark intelligence’? Emotional intelligence is used by dark personalities to emotionally manipulate others“Narcissism and psychopathy increased link between emotional intelligence facets and emotional manipulation.” – h/t claire lehmann!

Theory of mind: did evolution fool us?“Although sophisticated ToM is believed to have high adaptive fitness, broad experimental evidence from behavioural economics, experimental psychology and linguistics point towards limited recursivity in representing other’s beliefs.” – h/t neuroskeptic!

Creativity and personality in classical, jazz and folk musicians“[J]azz musicians are more frequently engaged in extracurricular musical activities, and also complete a higher number of creative musical achievements. Additionally, jazz musicians show higher ideational creativity as measured by divergent thinking tasks, and tend to be more open to new experiences than classical musicians. This study provides first empirical evidence that jazz musicians show particularly high creativity with respect to domain-specific musical accomplishments but also in terms of domain-general indicators of divergent thinking ability that may be relevant for musical improvisation.” – h/t mary louise cowan!

Migration and interaction in a contact zone: mtDNA variation among Bantu-speakers in southern Africa“In this study, we analyze complete mtDNA genome sequences from over 900 Bantu-speaking individuals from Angola, Zambia, Namibia, and Botswana to investigate the demographic processes at play during the last stages of the Bantu expansion. Our results show that most of these Bantu-speaking populations are genetically very homogenous, with no genetic division between speakers of Eastern and Western Bantu languages. Most of the mtDNA diversity in our dataset is due to different degrees of admixture with autochthonous populations.”

Silver Blaze“[I]n most parts of Europe, it looks as if modern populations inherited the three EEF/WHG/ANE groups (Levantine farmers, West Hunters and Sibermen) via only two proximate ancestral populations. Europe at the time was almost entirely occupied by Sardinian-like farmers – then another population moved in, one that had about 3 times as much West Hunter as Sibermen.” – from greg cochran.

Replacement or continuity?“Ancient DNA seems to promise a clearer picture because the only source of uncertainty is the age of the skeletal material. Unfortunately, this new method is more sensitive to uncertainty from another source: natural selection. Late hunter-gatherers and early farmers had to adapt to different environments. There certainly was a genetic divide between the two, but did it result from differences in origin or from differences in natural selection?” – from peter frost.

Dystopian diversity – from the awesome epigone.

“I regret studying social anthropology” – me, too. *sigh* – see also the original post.

The parasite that escaped out of Africa: Tracing origins of malaria parasite“An international team has traced the origin of the second-worst malaria parasite of humans to Africa. The closest genetic relatives of human *Plasmodium vivax* were found only in Asian macaques, leading researchers to believe that *P. vivax* originated in Asia. This study overturns that, finding that wild-living apes in central Africa are widely infected with parasites that, genetically, are nearly identical to human *P. vivax*.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

Are Rich People Really That Selfish? – New Queendom.com Study Looks At Impact of Socio-Economic Status on Altruistic Tendencies“‘Our personality impacts every aspect of our life – the choices we make, the people we surround ourselves with, the career we pursue, the way we respond to life experiences, the way we manage our finances, and whether or not we share our good fortune,’ explains Dr. Jerabek, president of the company…. [H]ow individuals conduct themselves when they have money has everything to do with who they are as a person. Money doesn’t make a person more or less selfish. If you are a genuinely kind and giving person, you’ll continue to be that way no matter how many zeros are on your paycheck.'”

Babies born in England and Wales to non-UK born mothers infographic“Total Fertility Rate in England/Wales by where mother born: 4.3 Afghanistan, 3.8 Pakistan, 3.3 Nigeria, 2.4 India, 1.8 UK.”

The Tale of a CRISPR Clone – from razib.

Graft Probe in Scientific Community Widens in Southern China“A corruption probe has so far snared more than 50 scientists and research administrators in Guangdong, one of China’s wealthiest provinces.”

Quick Winter Olympics Digit Ratio Note – from sisyphean the mad contrarian.

Scientist proposes revolutionary naming system for all life on Earth“…a naming convention based on genome sequencing to enhance the way organisms are classified.” – h/t super mario!

Burials uncovered in Ireland reflect fusion of Paganism and Christianity“Excavations at Caherconnell in County Clare, Ireland, have uncovered ancient burials that reflect a fusion of Pagan practices with Christianity. Although it was initially believed that Christianity was well established in Ireland by the 5th Century, the latest finding reveals that Celtic Paganism was not quick to die out.” – h/t derek hopper!

The Society of Mutual Autopsy“The Society of Mutual Autopsy was an organisation formed in the late 1800s to advance neuroscience by examining dead members’ brains and to promote atheism by breaking sacred taboos.”

Heavy metal bands per 100,000 people – global map.

A Campus More Colorful Than Reality: Beware That College Brochure – h/t conrad hackett! who tweeted: “The whiter the college, the more diversity depicted in the brochures.”

bonus: Confirmed: Oldest Fragment of Early Earth is 4.4 Billion Years Old

bonus bonus: Hubble Finds Possible Oldest Object Ever Seen“The Hubble Telescope’s new set of Frontier Fields images includes a galaxy some 13-billion light-years away, which makes it a candidate for the most distant object ever seen.”

bonus bonus bonus: Rust Cohle, Guidance Counselor – heh. (~_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. rust cohle for president!)

Genetics, Puberty and African American Girls“Out of 42 SNPs associated with age at menarche in European women, 25 were also associated with the trait in African-American women, bolstering the evidence that these genes genetic variants are tied to menarche timing. However, they also found variants in eight regions of the genome that were more strongly associated with age at menarche in African-American women than in European-American women.”

Not getting the point“[A] scientific finding is not invalidated because its supporters are the wrong kind of people. It stands or falls on its own merits.” – from peter frost. see also john s. michael’s: Stephen Jay Gould and Samuel George Morton: A Personal Commentary part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

APOL1 Variants – from greg cochran.

Context is crucial when it comes to mutations in genetic evolution“[A]n individual mutation can be beneficial if it occurs in combination with certain other mutations, but the same mutation can detrimental to the organism if it occurs in other combinations.” – via hbd bibliography!

The genome’s 3-D structure shapes how genes are expressed

Bacterial DNA in Human Genomes“A new study finds strong evidence that bacteria can transfer genes into human genomes, especially in cancer cells.”

Brain plasticity in adults and cognition“…an interesting result showing a genetic correlation between plasticity of cortex thickness and performance on psychometric tests.” – from john hawks.

Dog Genetics Spur Scientific Spat“Researchers disagree over the whens and wheres of canine domestication.” – woof.

Are Humans A Pair Bonding Species?“The bottom line is that people who claim lifelong monogamy is the natural state of humanity absent cultural interference are wrong, and people who claim free love is the natural state of humanity absent cultural constraints are also wrong.” – from heartiste.

Moderately Socially Conservative Darwinians“[E]volutionary psychology, rightly understood, reinforces the conservative lesson that we are not merely autonomous individuals but also social and relational beings.”

Good old fashioned family values, on which we used to rely – the awesome epigone looks at “the risk factors among women of becoming never-married single mothers by comparing non-whites to the non-Hispanic white rate of bastard birthing.”

Native American origins from whole-genome and exome data (Gravel et al. 2013) – from dienekes.

The Case of the Missing Ancestor“DNA from a cave in Russia adds a mysterious new member to the human family.” – on the denisovans.

Ancient Siberians may have rarely hunted mammoths“Study suggests Stone Age folk sporadically killed the beasts, primarily for ivory.”

News in Brief: Snails trace Stone Age trek from Iberia to Ireland“Genetic quirk linking snails in two distant areas suggests people brought escargot on migration to Emerald Isle.” – h/t chris davies!

Reverse Biological Engineering: Tinkering with Life Teaches Us How It Began [Excerpt]“In his new book, Creation, Adam Rutherford explores the emergence of synthetic biology and how it is not only leading to solutions for humanitarian problems but also unraveling the mystery of life’s origin.”

Autism Tied to Air Pollution, Brain-Wiring Disconnection

Skull music“Skull size, density and shape can influence the musical keys people hate…. People with similar-sized skulls tended to dislike the same melodies; for example, people with bigger skulls couldn’t stand the keys with higher frequencies.”original research article.

How Removing Trees Can Kill You“Having fewer trees around may be bad for your health.”

bonus: Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Euro, Germany’s Thilo Sarrazin Is Not Sorry“‘When [taboos] cease serving the cause of social politeness, and begin to interfere in the realms of knowledge, questioning, and discovery … they are useless.'”

bonus bonus: Why haven’t you moved to Detroit? – from foseti. (~_^)

bonus bonus bonus: David Auerbach on “The Crisis of the European Mind: 1680-1715″

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Big data meets the Bard

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: This Castle’s Toilet Still Holds Parasites From Crusaders’ Feces

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Here’s What Happens When You Light a Fire in Space

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: A Brief History Of The Demise Of Battle Bots – robot darwinism happened.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: informational chart – number of prominent eunuchs over run of game of thrones so far

(note: comments do not require an email. knock, knock.)

Diabetes’ genetic underpinnings can vary based on ethnic background, Stanford studies say – the researchers “found a clear geographic pattern in the genetics behind type-2 diabetes. The genetic risk is highest for Africans and drops along the trajectory the first humans took when migrating out of Africa toward East Asia (primarily Japan, China and Korea), where diabetes-linked genes appear to be more protective. Based solely on what is currently known about type-2 diabetes genetics, native Africans would appear to be at higher risk for diabetes, while East Asians would appear to be protected.” – see also genetic risk world map|diabetes.

Skin color affects ability to empathize with pain“Humans are hardwired to feel another person’s pain. But they may feel less innate empathy if the other person’s skin color doesn’t match their own, a new study suggests.”

Motion quotient“A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain’s unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose brains are better at automatically suppressing background motion perform better on standard measures of intelligence.”

Yikes! Cockroaches Evolved to Avoid Sugary Baits – natural selection is really a nuisance!

Face Blindness – greg cochran on prosopagnosia. also: Is Brad Pitt’s Face Blindness For Real?

The Italian Invasion of American Culture – from steve sailer!

A response to two critical commentaries on Woodley, te Nijenhuis & Murphy (2013) – from woodley, te nijenhuis, & murphy @dr. james thompson’s blog. see also: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” – with respect to the claim of intelligence decline since Victorian times – from bruce charlton. (ftr, i never said either that woodley, et al., made an entirely “extraordinary claim,” or that i require any extraordinary evidence.) see previous posts here and here.

More population structure in the Netherlands (Lao et al. 2013)“Clinal distribution of human genomic diversity across the Netherlands despite archaeological evidence for genetic discontinuities in Dutch population history.” – from dienekes.

New Theory Claims Humans Hunted, Ate Neanderthals

Are There Atheists in Foxholes? Combat Intensity and Religious Behavior“Study 1 shows that as combat became more frightening, the percentage of soldiers who reported praying rose from 42% to 72%.”

Marketing to the Big Data Inside Us“In your DNA are clues to your health, your ancestry, and maybe even your purchasing preferences.” – h/t charles!

Heroes of the Dark Enlightenment @radish magazine!

Liberal Race Realism – A Brief Definition – from robert lindsay – h/t hbd bibliography!

Fight Clubs: On Napoleon Chagnon“One anthropologist’s place in his field’s ongoing battle over questions of power, means and ends.”

A Brief History of Mental Illness in Art.

New ‘atheist map’ of the world dominated by China where half the country’s population describes themselves as non-believers

Syphilis, sex and fear: How the French disease conquered the world“Researching the Borgias, Sarah Dunant learnt how syphilis took Europe by storm during the 1490s, and the far reaching effects it’s had ever since.” – previously: stds and miiiind control.

bonus: Genuinely, unironically, shocked – from mr. mangan.

bonus bonus: Viruses and mucus team up to ward off bacteria“Phages may play unforeseen role in immune protection.”

bonus bonus bonus: Dog sniffs out grammar“A border collie takes command of sentence rules.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: 2-Child Limit for Muslims in Parts of Myanmar – burmese eugenics.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The Multiple Origins of Wine Grapes

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: What the heck is this strange red rectangle doing in our galaxy?

(note: comments do not require an email. ATTACK!)

When the going gets tough, the tough get… more relief from a placebo?“[T]he new findings link specific, established personality traits with an individual’s susceptibility to the placebo effect…. The researchers showed a significant link between certain personality traits and how much relief people said they felt when given the placebo – as well as the level of a specific chemical that their brains released…. The findings show that about one-quarter of placebo response was explained by the personality traits of resiliency, straightforwardness, altruism or anger/hostility, as measured on standardized tests.”

Oxytocin Keeps Flirting Folks at Arm’s Length“[M]en who were in a committed relationship even maintained a greater distance from an attractive woman when under the influence of oxytocin than their control group.”

Gene distinguishes early birds from night owls and helps predict time of death“Common gene variant helps determine the time you will wake up each day — and the time of day you are likely to die.”

Link between creativity and mental illness confirmed“People in creative professions are treated more often for mental illness than the general population, there being a particularly salient connection between writing and schizophrenia.” – via parapundit.

Identical Twins Are Genetically Different, Research Suggests – copy errors.

The mysterious Ainu“[I]s the physical similarity [of the Ainu] to Europeans just a matter of chance? Convergent evolution? No, it may be that the Ainu have just not changed as much physically as other East Asians. – from peter frost.

Pre-Neolithic Mediterranean Island settlement“‘[T]he first inhabitants of many of the Mediterranean islands may not have been modern humans at all. Instead, he says evidence has been found that shows that they might have been Neanderthals, or Homo Erectus.'” – from dienekes.

Evidence for Early Hafted Hunting Technology“[E]arly humans were manufacturing hafted multicomponent tools ~200,000 years earlier than previously thought.”

The Golden Age“If people were always getting dumber, why on Earth would the scientific revolution be recent?” – greg cochran’s latest, most excellent rant. (^_^)

Einstein’s Brain“Uncommon features of Einstein’s brain might explain his remarkable cognitive abilities” – @the breviary (with appropriate and enjoyable sarcasm from mangan… (~_^) ).

Brain scans of rappers shed light on creativity“Functional magnetic resonance imaging shows what happens in the brain during improvisation.”

Why “Multicultural Society” is a Logical Impossibility

In Defense of Favoritism“Affective neuroscience research on early-childhood bonding suggests that, as mammals, we probably start out as emotionally glued microcommunities (family and tribe) before we become autonomous ego-driven creatures. Favoritism, not egoism, is probably the primal value system. In short, favoritism or bias toward your group is not intrinsically racist, sexist, or closed-minded. Privileging your tribe does not render you negative or bigoted toward those outside your tribe.”

bonus: Study Tracks Brain Gene Response to Territorial Aggression“Researchers are mapping the genetic underpinnings of the stickleback’s aggressive behavior.”

bonus bonus: Bonobos Catch Yawns from Friends

bonus bonus bonus: ‘Rogue planet’ spotted 100 light-years away“Astronomers have spotted a ‘rogue planet’ – wandering the cosmos without a star to orbit – 100 light-years away.”

(note: comments do not require an email. aggressive stickleback lurking in the foliage….)

More on Farming and Inheritance Systems – Part I: IQ – from jayman!

Spanish cave paintings shown as oldest in world“New tests show that crude Spanish cave paintings of a red sphere and handprints are the oldest in the world, so ancient they may not have been by modern man. Some scientists say they might have even been made by the much-maligned Neanderthals, but others disagree.”

Childhood obesity found linked to math performance“When compared with children who were never obese, boys and girls whose obesity persisted from the start of kindergarten through fifth grade performed worse on the math test, starting in first grade, and their lower performance continued through fifth grade. For boys whose obesity emerged later (in third or fifth grade), no such differences were found, and for girls who became obese later, poorer math performance was temporary.”

Why Smart People Are Stupid“[I]ntelligence seems to make things worse. The scientists gave the students four measures of ‘cognitive sophistication.’ As they report in the paper, all four of the measures showed positive correlations, ‘indicating that more cognitively sophisticated participants showed larger [cognitive] bias blind spots.'”

Another look at Muslim fertility – from the inductivist.

Spot the Correlation: Wealth vs. Immigration – from dennis.

Scientists Sequence Genome Of Human Relative That Prefers Love Over War“They found that more than 3 percent of the human genome is more closely related to either the bonobo or the chimpanzee than the two apes are to each other, which indicates that the three species share a complex evolutionary relationship.”

bonus: ‘Sexual depravity’ of penguins that Antarctic scientist dared not reveal“Landmark polar research about the Adélie penguin’s sex life by Captain Scott’s expedition, deemed too shocking for the public 100 years ago, is unearthed at the Natural History Museum”

bonus bonus: ‘Oldest galaxy’ discovered using Hawaii telescope“Japanese astronomers on Hawaii say they have found a galaxy 12.91bn light years away”

bonus bonus bonus: That Squid On Your Plate Could Inseminate Your Mouth – ewww!

(note: comments do not require an email. aaaaaaaah!)

(^_^)


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and go out and look for the supernova! (^_^) (or, at least, go wireless and take your laptop outside with you….)


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cool!

(note: comments do not require an email. ka-boom! [oh, wait. there's no noise in space....])

we’re moving! (really fast, too.)


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