linkfest – 05/20/12

Finding the First Americans“When and how did the first people arrive in the Americas?”

They don’t f*** you up, your mum and dad: they do their best to, but they can’t“Humans, and indeed all mammals, are pretty good at raising their children, because they have evolved to do it over several hundred million years. If our ancestors were not good enough parents to see their children through childhood and to child-rearing age, they would not have got to be ancestors.”

What Makes Countries Rich or Poor? – heh. this is really entertaining. jared diamond (heh) reviews Why Nations Fail (heh). lulz! the inimitable dennis mangan reviewed the review. (^_^)

Larger Role Found For Genes In Personality“[T]he research team found that identical twins – whose DNA is exactly the same – were twice as likely to share traits compared with non-identical twins.” – from parapundit.

Abundance of rare DNA changes following population explosion may hold clues to common diseases“The abundance of rare variations across the human genome is consistent with the population explosion of the past few thousand years….”

Who’s Afraid of Affirmative Action? – @those who can see.

Atheism and crime – oops! agnostics are just a bunch o’ criminals! i just knew i wasn’t to be trusted. (~_^) from the inductivist.

Religion is a potent force for cooperation and conflict, research shows“Moralizing gods, emerging over the last few millennia, have enabled large-scale cooperation and sociopolitical conquest even without war….”

bonus: Crows know familiar human voices“Crows recognise familiar human voices and the calls of familiar birds from other species, say researchers.”

bonus bonus: Was Columbus secretly a Jew?

bonus bonus bonus: Hitting snooze on the molecular clock: Rabies evolves slower in hibernating bats

(note: comments do not require an email. want! but in dark chocolate.)

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18 Comments

  1. From that CNN article:
    In Simon Weisenthal’s book, “Sails of Hope,” he argues that Columbus’s voyage was motivated by a desire to find a safe haven for the Jews in light of their expulsion from Spain. Likewise, Carol Delaney, a cultural anthropologist at Stanford University, concludes that Columbus was a deeply religious man whose purpose was to sail to Asia to obtain gold in order to finance a crusade to take back Jerusalem and rebuild the Jews’ holy Temple.

    Sounds like Dan Brown fan fiction.

    Reply

  2. bonus: Crows know familiar human voices – “Crows recognise familiar human voices and the calls of familiar birds from other species, say researchers.”

    Crows are interesting birds. They can be trained to talk, can recognize people, and mate for life. There is a trio that sometimes hang out on the rail of the balcony across the alley that, when I see them, I try to coax over to my widow sill. No luck yet.

    Reply

  3. @ “They don’t f*** you up, your mum and dad: they do their best to, but they can’t .”

    Ok. maybe not. But there’s someone who can. You better watch out! (hat tip — my college-age daughter linked me to that one :) She better watch out.)

    Reply

  4. @ “Larger Role Found For Genes In Personality – “[T]he research team found that identical twins – whose DNA is exactly the same – were twice as likely to share traits compared with non-identical twins.”

    Just as interesting: they don’t share all the same traits. There’s a guy over at gnxp.com nowadays who does great posting on the developmental biology of the brain. I seem to recall there’s some chance involved.

    Reply

  5. @ “Who’s Afraid of Affirmative Action?” In a mutli-ethnic society there are only two alternatives that don’t discriminate: either no affirmative action at all, or else affirmative action for all. I favor both, depending on the circumstances. For example, I make the case for “affirmative action for all” in our elite liberal arts schools here (down in the comments).

    Reply

  6. No, Columbus was not a Jew.
    No, Europeans were not the first colonisers of the Americas.
    No, Henry Ford didn’t pay his men so that they could buy his cars.
    No, Ben Franklin didn’t perform the kite and lightning experiment.
    No, Paul Revere did not shout “The British are coming”.

    The answer is usually “no”.

    Reply

  7. the surname “columbus” (from columbini) is interesting- it was given to a baby left off on the church steps in northern italy (common before abortion). The child was suffixed “columbus” and descendents afterwards were proof-positive of the Catholic Church’s “civilizing” mission, basically a billboard for the Good Works the church provides in raising orphans.
    Columbus himself may have been a jew, but somewhere in his line he was a bastard (we know his father, so he himself wasn’t, but that’s the brilliant design in the ‘columbus” suffix, it’s around for perpetuity)

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  8. No, Ben Franklin didn’t perform the kite and lightning experiment?

    dearieme, you’re wrong on that one. And only half right on that Paul Revere thing. Still, three out of five ain’t bad for a Brit when the subject is American history. (Or are you Scotch? Is there a difference?) Anyway I love this old quote of yours which more than makes up for everything:

    “It must be so frustrating to consider yourself a natural aristocrat when your countrymen decline to consider themselves natural serfs.”

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  9. @ihtg – “Sounds like Dan Brown fan fiction.”

    heh. (^_^)

    @dearime – “No, Columbus was not a Jew.”

    this is the bit that made me raise my eyebrows. did other, non-jewish medieval spaniards/europeans do this?:

    “At the top left-hand corner of all but one of the 13 letters written by Columbus to his son Diego contained the handwritten Hebrew letters bet-hei, meaning b’ezrat Hashem (with God’s help). Observant Jews have for centuries customarily added this blessing to their letters. No letters to outsiders bear this mark, and the one letter to Diego in which this was omitted was one meant for King Ferdinand.”

    curious. unless it was a common practice amongst medieval gentiles, too. in which case, never mind!

    Reply

  10. @rjp – “Crows are interesting birds.”

    i love crows — all the corvidae, in fact. some of my favorite birds. like you say, very intelligent — you can see that someone is really looking back it you when you lock eyes with them. (~_^)

    magpies pass the self-recognition mirror test which is pretty cool. could never get my cat to do that.

    jimmy the raven is still one of my all-time favorite hollywood actors. (^_^)

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  11. @luke – “Just as interesting: they don’t share all the same traits. There’s a guy over at gnxp.com nowadays who does great posting on the developmental biology of the brain. I seem to recall there’s some chance involved.”

    yeah, cool stuff!

    also, the genomes of identical twins aren’t 100% identical — differences in copy number variation have been found in identical twins.

    Reply

  12. @luke – “I favor both, depending on the circumstances.”

    i favor the none option. there were some good-ish reasons for aa back in the ’60s — maybe — but not anymore.

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  13. @anonymous – “the surname ‘columbus’ (from columbini) is interesting- it was given to a baby left off on the church steps in northern italy (common before abortion).”

    how interesting! i never heard that before.

    Reply

  14. @luke – “Ok. maybe not. But there’s someone who can.”

    heh! (^_^)

    well, and that goes along with one of the other links i posted: “Religion is a potent force for cooperation and conflict, research shows.”

    Reply

  15. Luke – Paul Revere: whatever he shouted it couldn’t have been “The British are coming” since the people whom he was supposedly addressing were themselves British – it would have made no sense. Maybe he shouted “The redcoats are coming” or “The regulars are coming” or whatever, but the chances of his shouting what he is reputed to have shouted must be very close to nil.

    As for Franklin, had always assumed that he had done the k-&-l experiment until I read about an American physicist who thought otherwise. I have no note of who he was but I looked at Wikipedia recently and they seemed to be suggesting that it’s far from certain that Franklin did it. What

    he wrote was ambiguous,and consistent with his having thought of the experiment but not performed it. Who’d have thought? Politician speak with forked tongue. My oh my!

    Reply

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