Archives for the month of: November, 2011

“Occupy Protesters Mobilize for Obama’s Visit”

“One man, wearing a mask of the president’s face and holding a cigar, carried a sign that read, ‘I sold out!’”

when they grow up, the owstreeters will realize (hopefully) that obama was ALWAYS a sell out.

now i hope they’ll go and start occupying the rest of the democratic politicians. the whole lot o’ them are sell outs!

mind you, i don’t think that the republicans are any better. all of them — i.e. ALL of our so-called-leaders — should be run outta town (better yet, the country) on a rail.

see also: neuropolitics.org

(note: comments do not require an email. my party affiliation.)

guy on reddit claims to have … well, uh … *ahem* … you know (*nudge, nudge, wink, wink*) … with his sister for well over ten years.

interesting read. but you never can be sure on the internet, can you?

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ihtg said about trust: “Unlike IQ/g, trust isn’t (IMO) an innate personal attribute encoded within one person’s brain. It’s a variable in a man’s interaction with his peers. Its existence depends on that interaction.”

well, yes … and no.

clearly trusting someone else happens during an interaction, yes. and the level of trust will be higher or lower depending on the circumstances in which that interaction happens — it’s prolly much easier to be trusting nowadays in peaceful, middle class minnesota than in war-torn congo.

but being trusting is also a personality trait — being more or less trusting is something innate — at least partly. and, like all the other personality quirks, it varies from individual to individual — and from population to population. from “Heritability of cooperative behavior in the trust game” in which the researchers studied twins taking part in the trust game [pgs: 3724-25, link opens pdf]:

“Our results thus suggest that humans are endowed with genetic variation that can partially account for differences in trust and trustworthiness when interacting with anonymous partners in the laboratory….

“Although we do find that genetic differences play a significant role for behavior in the classic trust game, the largest portion of the variance is explained by differences in unique environment. This is consistent with general results from the trust game that indicate behavior is more susceptible to state (unique mood, context) than trait. However, a result that may surprise some social scientists is that genetic differences appear to be a more important source of phenotypic variation than differences in common environment. This finding is in line with a broad consensus in the behavior genetics literature. Indeed, the second ‘law of behavior genetics’ proposed by Turkheimer is that the effect of being raised in the same family is generally smaller than the effect of genes.”

swedes appear to be more trusting than americans to me. unfortunately, “american” is such a catch-all description, it’s difficult to know what sort of ethnic groups we’re talking about here (note that the americans had more options of how much to share than the swedes did):

and the heritability of trust amongst swedes seems to lean a bit more towards a genetic explanation than amongst americans. (interesting that the shared environments of the twins seems to have amounted to diddly squat.):

people who are more agreeable — as in agreeableness in the big five personality traits — tend to be more trusting:

“People who score high on this dimension are empathetic, considerate, friendly, generous, and helpful. They also have an optimistic view of human nature. They tend to believe that most people are honest, decent, and trustworthy…. [I]n general, people who are concerned about others also tend to cooperate with them, help them out, and trust them.”

i’m not very agreeable (32nd percentile). i just know i’m gonna wind up a cranky, old cat-lady yelling at the kids to GET OFF MY LAWN! (~_^)

previously: trust and i’m abnormal

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Gene Variants May Factor into Impulsivity, Substance Abusenrxn3.

Vitamin D and Northern Natives“[B]ecause northern natives have long inhabited high latitudes, natural selection should have progressively reduced their vitamin-D requirements. There is in fact evidence that the Inuit have compensated for decreased production of vitamin D through increased conversion to its most active form and through receptors that bind more effectively.” – from peter frost. cool!

Nudge thyself“Economists have more to learn from the natural sciences if they are to claim a realistic model of human behaviour.”

Climate change actually boosts human evolution as it forces us to move to new areas and work together

Neuroscience Challenges Old Ideas about Free Will“‘New questions also seem silly many times until a new perspective is accepted. I think we will get over the idea of free will and and accept we are a special kind of machine, one with a moral agency which comes from living in social groups. This perspective will make us ask new kinds of questions.’”

Brain cell genomes show their individuality

IQ Affirmation and Denial in the Times – from dennis the menace mangan.

Deliberate Practice – Necessary But Not Sufficient“We found strong evidence that abundant DP is necessary (but not sufficient) and estimated that the minimum requirement to achieve master level is 3,000 hours of DP. We also review evidence showing that other factors play a role in chess skill: general cognitive abilities, sensitive period, handedness, and season of birth.”

When Humans First Plied the Deep Blue Sea – 40,000 year old tuna catch in east timor.

Genome-wide Association of Copy-Number Variation Reveals an Association between Short Stature and the Presence of Low-Frequency Genomic Deletions“Our results suggest that in individuals undergoing copy-number analysis for clinical indications, short stature increases the odds that a low-frequency deletion will be found. Additionally, copy-number variation might contribute to genetic variation in stature in the general population.”

The First North American Migration—Not a Strait Route? – clovis = soul-train solutrean?

The ABCC9 of Sleep: A Genetic Factor Regulates How Long We Sleep“ABCC9, a known genetic factor in heart disease and diabetes, also influences the duration of sleep in humans.”

bonus: Alabama Law Pays Off: Unemployment Down Sharply After Crackdown on Illegal Aliens via amren.

bonus bonus: Life began with a planetary mega-organism“[I]n order to cope, the early cells must have shared their genes and proteins with each other. New and useful molecules would have been passed from cell to cell without competition, and eventually gone global. Any cells that dropped out of the swap shop were doomed. ‘It was more important to keep the living system in place than to compete with other systems,’ says Caetano-Anollés. He says the free exchange and lack of competition mean this living primordial ocean essentially functioned as a single mega-organism.”

bonus bonus bonus: Diversity of Life Snowballed When Ancient Earth Was Frozen Solid

(note: comments do not require an email. great moments in evolution.)

first of all, i’ve updated the original civic societies post — all the way from yesterday! — to include africa, latin america, and india, so you might want to check that out.

and now … drum roll, please! … the totals for all the countries in the survey (that’s the world values survey, 2005-08 wave) — including a GLOBAL TOTAL. (see the previous post for why anybody should care.) again, answering the question(s):

“Now I am going to read out a list of voluntary organizations; for each one, could you tell me whether you are a member, an active member, an inactive member or not a member of that type of organization?

- Church or religious organization
– Sport or recreation organization
– Art, music or educational organization
– Labour union
– Political party
– Environmental organization
– Professional association
– Charitable organization
– Any other voluntary organization”

and, again, these numbers represent people who responded ACTIVE MEMBER:

below are a whole bunch of charts illustrating these numbers. some interesting points:

- the middle east/maghreb and eastern europe are consistently at the bottom, swapping last place here and there — mostly the middle east/maghreb occupies the total losers position in the civic society rankings. arabs and eastern europeans seemingly just don’t give a f*ck.

- to my pleasant surprise, african nations always scored above the global total and very often near the top. whatever you wanna say about africans, they are civically engaged. good for them!

- western europeans (either anglos or french/germanics) occupy the top spot almost half the time (4 out of 9); indians three times; africans twice.

- except for church/religious organization and charity/humanitarian organziation (two pretty good categories) latin americans always score below the global total.

- east and southeast asians only scored above the global total on three questions: political party, environmental organization and professional organization.

- anglos are waaay ahead of all the other groups in being active members of a charity/humanitarian organization.

- africans are waaay ahead of everybody in being active members of a church or religious organization.

- western europeans (including americans, canadians, australians, kiwis) luuuuuuuv sports.

ok. hold on. here are all the charts. click on any of them for a LARGER version (should open in a new browser tab/window):

i think there’s some funny numbers in this “other” category (see previous post, esp. the africa numbers), so take this chart with a grain of salt:

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heh!

**update below.**

in “Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy,” putnam, et. al., measured the civic-ness of italians (north and south) by looking at how many people in each region belonged to voluntary associations — charity groups, lions clubs, hiking clubs, etc., etc.

such questions were asked in the 2005-08 wave of the world values survey:

“Now I am going to read out a list of voluntary organizations; for each one, could you tell me whether you are a member, an active member, an inactive member or not a member of that type of organization?

- Church or religious organization
- Sport or recreation organization
- Art, music or educational organization
- Labour union
- Political party
- Environmental organization
- Professional association
- Charitable organization
- Any other voluntary organization”

here’s the data for a whole bunch of countries: the anglo-world, the french + the germanics (i never know what to do with the french!), southern europe, eastern europe, the muslim world (well, middle east + maghreb), and east/southeast asia. haven’t done africa or latin america yet. i’ve only included the percentages of respondents who said they were active members. (yes, some of the data is prolly skewed ’cause of large-ish immigrant populations in some countries.)

first, the averages for each region. sports really is the new religion:

the anglo world — most civic. i’ve highlighted the u.s. just ’cause i’m an americun:

western europe, i.e. the french and a bunch of the germanics. pretty civic, especially the swiss:

southern europe – italy not very civic. but we already knew that:

eastern europe – not very civic at all. but the finns don’t really belong there – they’re pretty civic:

east and southeast asians? more civic than eastern europeans on average. go indonesia!:

muslim countries (middle east + maghreb)? civics FAIL. iranians (prolly persians) make a decent showing:

update 11/26: here are the tables for africa, latin america, and india (all on its lonesome). i’m impressed with the figures for the african nations surveyed — pretty gosh-durned civic! kudos to them for giving a f*ck. i thought mali was pretty interesting — they also scored high on a couple of the trust questions:

the latin americans — kinda average, really. i highlighted mexico ’cause we got a lot o’ mexicans in the u.s. their scores are quite respectable really:

all i’ve got for south asia is india. indians are all about politics, apparently (right after religion):

another update 11/26: see also civic societies ii

(note: comments do not require an email. civics.)

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