linkfest – 02/03/13

Can plants be altruistic? You bet, says new CU-Boulder-led study“‘Embryos with the same mother and father as the endosperm in their seed weighed significantly more than embryos with the same mother but a different father,’ said Diggle, a faculty member in CU-Boulder’s ecology and evolutionary biology department. ‘We found that endosperm that does not share the same father as the embryo does not hand over as much food — it appears to be acting less cooperatively.'” – previously: even plants do it!

How to Survive a Siberian Winter“[T]he study shows how, over the more than 25,000 years that modern humans been lived in Siberia, various peoples have adapted to the region’s cold weather and meaty food sources through selection on multiple genes that control several biological mechanisms.”

National intelligence and personality“‘[T]aken together, Big Five traits and IQs of various cultures statistically explained 70% of a nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. The most important predictors of economic success were intelligence and extraversion, which proved to be strongly positively related to GDP.'” – from mangan.

Childhood intelligence is heritable, highly polygenic and associated with FNBP1L – from race/history/evolution notes.

IQ and homicide – from the awesome epigone.

HVGIQ: Cuba – from jason malloy.

New Geology study raises questions about long-held theories of human evolution“While the shift to bipedalism appears to have occurred somewhere between 6 and 4 million years ago, Feakins’ study finds that thick rainforests had already disappeared by that point—replaced by grasslands and seasonally dry forests some time before 12 million years ago.”

Ice Age Lion Man is world’s earliest figurative sculpture – 40,000 years old! – h/t dienekes.

New study sheds light on the origin of the European Jewish population“Elhaik’s findings strongly support the Khazarian Hypothesis, as opposed to the Rhineland Hypothesis, of European Jewish origins.” – h/t jayman!

Aztec conquest of Xaltocan led to population replacement – from dienekes.

Students with Autism Gravitate Toward STEM Majors – duh.

When Taking Multiple Husbands Makes Sense“Historically, polyandry was much more common than we thought.”

The supposedly educated believe in astrology“‘Only 52% of science majors said that astrology is ‘not at all’ scientific.'” – from mangan.

Some chores linked to less sex“Couples in which the husband did plenty of traditionally male jobs reported more sex than those in which the guy didn’t.” – but you already knew that, didn’t you? (~_^)

bonus: Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit – from jayman! (i LOVE baloney! fried baloney sandwiches — mmmmmm! (^_^) )

bonus bonus: ‘I feel like a stranger where I live’“As new figures show ‘white flight’ from cities is rising, one Londoner writes a provocative personal piece about how immigration has drastically changed the borough where she has lived for 17 years.”

bonus bonus bonus: For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II“In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, lost in the taiga.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Stone Age tribe kills fishermen who strayed on to island

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: America’s most luxurious reservation: Huge homes of country’s richest Native American tribe where members make $1m EACH“The tribe is also well-known for their charitable giving. It often donates cash to poorer tribes and charities across the country. Since 1996 they have given away $243.5 million…. ‘If it wasn’t for Shakopee, especially during this time when things are tough for loans, tough in this economy — there’s tribes who would be in a very tough situation,’ Ernest Stevens, chair of the National Indian Gaming Association explains. ‘There’s nobody in the gaming industry that I know of that can compare to what Shakopee does.’ In 2010 they were given a Jefferson Award for Public Service.”

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more on astrology nonsense

yes, astrology is bunk. but, like i was saying a couple of weeks ago (prompted by hail’s musings), there might be a little something to it all, i.e. that das folk happened to notice that people born during different times of the year were, on average, kinda different in their personalities.

here’s the sort of thing i’m thinking of — some research from a couple of years ago:

Season of Birth and Dopamine Receptor Gene Associations with Impulsivity, Sensation Seeking and Reproductive Behaviors

Season of birth (SOB) has been associated with many physiological and psychological traits including novelty seeking and sensation seeking. Similar traits have been associated with genetic polymorphisms in the dopamine system. SOB and dopamine receptor genetic polymorphisms may independently and interactively influence similar behaviors through their common effects on the dopaminergic system….

Winter-born males were more sensation seeking than non-winter born males. In factorial models including both genotype and season of birth as variables, two previously unobserved effects were discovered: (1) a SOB×DRD4 interaction effect on venturesomeness and (2) a DRD2×DRD4 interaction effect on sensation seeking.

“Conclusion

“These results are consistent with past findings that SOB is related to sensation seeking. Additionally, these results provide tentative support for the hypothesis that SOB modifies the behavioral expression of dopaminergic genetic polymorphism. These findings suggest that SOB should be included in future studies of risky behaviors and behavioral genetic studies of the dopamine system.”

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what’s your sign?

a while ago, hail wrote an interesting post about astrology and how there might be a little something to it.

i’ve thought this, too, from time to time — that there might be a kernel truth or “folk wisdom” at the bottom of all the astrology hocus-pocus nonsense. clearly our fates are not written in the stars — and i highly, highly doubt that our personalities are affected by the positions of the planets when we are born (unless there’s some really weird, quantum physics, interconnectedness sh*t going on…).

no. what i think that people over the ages might have noticed is that there are some differences in the frequencies of personality types and|or psychological conditions depending on what time of the year people are born.

for instance: “Studies have indicated that children born during certain times of the year (winter and early spring) have a higher than normal incidence of schizophrenia.”

if das volk happened to notice over the centuries that more joan-of-arc type people were born in late winter, they may have sought an explanation. that they latched on to a wrong one just shows how most people don’t think logically and scientifically — but they may have noticed some genuine patterns out there!

the other interesting astrological system is the chinese one which varies over the course of 12 (or 48) years. i’ve wondered for a long time if this is somehow connected to the length of generations in humans (especially if women in a society start giving birth at around the age of 12) — each generation following the next behaving somewhat differently from its predecessor. ?? dunno. just wondering.

(note: comments do not require an email.)