linkfest – 10/27/13

Ancient DNA Links Native Americans With Europe“…from the complete nuclear genome of a Siberian boy who died 24,000 years ago — the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date. His DNA shows close ties to those of today’s Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia. The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today’s Native Americans can be traced to ‘western Eurasia,’ with the other two-thirds coming from eastern Asia…. It also implies that traces of European ancestry previously detected in modern Native Americans do not come solely from mixing with European colonists, as most scientists had assumed, but have much deeper roots.” — see also: The First of the Mohicans from greg cochran.

Your face may have been sculpted by junk DNA“There is a huge degree of variation in human faces but, as family resemblances show, the overall shape is heavily constrained by genetics. However, so far, geneticists have identified only a small number of genes that influence the shape. These explain just a tiny fraction of the variation seen in human faces. According to Axel Visel of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California and his colleagues, more variation is controlled by distant-acting enhancers. These are short sequences of DNA, in non-coding regions of the genome, that can influence the activity of the facial genes, even if they are a long way along the DNA strand.”

Behavior problems in preschool and child care centers may be an issue of genes“A new study suggests that some children may be genetically predisposed to developing behavioral problems in child care and preschool settings…. [B]irth parents who had high rates of negative emotion and self-control, based on a self-reported temperament scale, were more likely to have children who struggled with behavioral issues such as lack of self-control and anger, in child care centers. They controlled for adoptive parent’s characteristics, and still found a modest effect based on the genetic link.”

Your Ethnicity Determines the Species of Bacteria That Live in Your Mouth“[P]eople from each of the four different ethnic groups represented in the study (all participants self-identified as either Caucasian, African-American, Chinese or Latino) generally had similar species of bacteria, especially underneath the gums. As a result, simply by counting which varieties of bacteria appeared in this area, the researchers developed a model that was able to guess a person’s ethnicity with an accuracy significantly better than chance — it got it right 62 percent of the time. Some groups were even easier to identify via the bacteria than others: It could correctly identify Latinos 67 percent of the time and African-Americans with 100 accuracy. The variation along ethnic lines, they believe, is a reflection of genetics, not environment. That’s because, if you assumed that the mouth microbiome is totally dependent on environmental factors, you’d expect that members of the same ethnic group would have different mixes of bacteria depending on whether they were first-generation immigrants to the U.S. or had family histories that stretched back generations in the country. Instead, people’s background — in terms of foods they ate and other lifestyle trends — didn’t seem to have any correlation with the bacterial communities in their mouths. – h/t super bob!

Herpes virus genome traces the ancient path of human migration“Researchers…sequenced the genomes of 31 samples of herpes simplex virus type-1 to reconstruct how it hitchhiked on humans as they dispersed around the world. The results match the pattern proposed by the ‘Out of Africa’ theory, which has become the most widely accepted scenario for ancient human migration. The analysis showed that African strains of the virus contained the most genetic diversity — suggesting that they had the oldest roots.”

Genetic variation alters efficacy of antidepressant“Having a different form of a gene that regulates the brain chemical noradrenaline influences how well men remember negative memories after taking the antidepressant drug reboxetine, according to a study published in the October 23 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings demonstrate how genes can influence antidepressant response.” – see also: Genes predispose some people to focus on the negative.

Much Earlier Split for Neanderthals, Humans?“This suggests that the last common ancestor of H. sapiens and Neanderthals lived sometime earlier, perhaps as far back as one million years ago.”

Denisovans in Wallacea? – from greg cochran.

Life on Earth Was Not a Fluke“Figuring out how biomolecular self-organization happens may hold the key to understanding life on Earth formed and perhaps how it might form on other planets.” – h/t jayman!

Genetics made very simple – from dr. james thompson.

Low historical rates of cuckoldry in a Western European human population traced by Y-chromosome and genealogical data“[W]e estimate that over the last few centuries, EPP rates in Flanders (Belgium) were only around 1–2% per generation. This figure is substantially lower than the 8–30% per generation reported in some behavioural studies on historical EPP rates, but comparable with the rates reported by other genetic studies of contemporary Western European populations. These results suggest that human EPP rates have not changed substantially during the last 400 years in Flanders and imply that legal genealogies rarely differ from the biological ones.” – h/t rob brooks!

‘Endowment Effect’ Not Present in Hunter-Gather Societies“‘The more isolated Hadza traded about 50 percent of the time — which is what rational people should do,’ Azevedo said. People near the village traded about 25 percent of the time, which is much closer to the 10 percent we see with Western students.” – h/t jason collins! – previously: personality goes a long way… in which researchers find just big TWO personality traits in a group of hunter-gatherers (the tsimane).

speaking of the tsimane: UCSB anthropologist studies the evolutionary benefit of human personality traits“‘Being more extroverted, open, agreeable and conscientious –– and less neurotic –– was associated with having more kids.'” in tsimane men. (if they really have all those personality traits…see link immediately above.)

What Happens When a Language Has No Numbers? – on the pirahã. – h/t nn!

Can Your Genes Predict Whether You’ll Be a Conservative or a Liberal?“Scientific research shows political partisanship transcends economics, environment, and upbringing.” – from avi tuschman.

Life expectancy and the dawn of agriculture – from jason collins.

Origins of Americans (Looking At HLA Haplotypes) – from our very own chris davies! previously from chris: human leukocyte antigen (hla) haplotypes and human biodiversity.

Number sense in infancy predicts mathematical abilities in childhood“Preverbal number sense in 6-month-old infants predicted standardized math scores in the same children 3 years later. This discovery shows that number sense in infancy is a building block for later mathematical ability and invites educational interventions to improve number sense even before children learn to count.” – h/t simon baron-cohen!

Black Suits, Gowns, & Skin: SAT Scores by Income, Education, & Race – @the unsilenced science. see also: Obama Administration: Moynihan’s Law of Canadian Border kinda right from steve sailer.

Of Race and Intelligence – from helian.

Sex on the Mind“It is a truth universally acknowledged — at least by biologists — that every person owes his or her existence to parents who successfully reproduced, each of whom, in turn, had two parents who did the same … and so on, going back hundreds of millions of years to the first ancestral blob (or two) of protoplasmic goo that trundled onto terra firma from the early earth’s organic soup.” – from david barash. — see also: Why Have Sex? – from the advanced apes.

Lust Is Love – from heartiste.

Kids Are More Likely to Trust Attractive Adults – h/t hbd bibliography!

Asymmetries in altruistic behavior during violent intergroup conflict“Some empirical studies on intergroup conflict in hunter-gatherer societies and chimpanzees indicate that fitness relevant risks and potential benefits of attacks and defenses might have differed substantially under ancestral conditions. Drawing on these studies, it is hypothesized that the success of defenses was much more important for individual and kin survival and that a disposition to act altruistically during intergroup conflict is thus more likely to evolve for the strategic situation of defense…. Analyzing detailed historical case data from 20th century wars, this study finds that altruistic behavior towards members of the in-group indeed seems to occur more frequently when soldiers are defending themselves and their comrades against enemy attacks.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

Who gives? Multilevel effects of gender and ethnicity on workplace charitable giving.“[E]thnic minorities donate less money to workplace charity than do Whites.” – and men less than women. – via richard lynn @amren.

Paradoxes of the Nordic Model II“Denmark is a high trust, highly cooperative society. There is very low crime. Most parked bicycles are not even locked. Bank employees may not work very efficiently, but nobody tried to swindle me. In theoretical terms, what it means is that when there are very few defectors, the amount of common good produced overall is maximized. So everybody is well of, even though they don’t work hard – but they don’t free-ride, either….” – from peter turchin.

Ma’am, Your Burger Has Been Paid For – paying it forward in america! – h/t charles murray!

Napoleon Chagnon: The Fierce Sociobiologist“[Yanomamo] Men from the highland villages were much less belligerent than men from villages along the river. Heterogeneity in belligerence existed even within this single tribe.”

Where Have All the Geniuses Gone?

Aboriginal Hunting Practice Increases Animal Populations – monitor lizards, anyway.

“Science has lost its way, at a big cost to humanity“Researchers are rewarded for splashy findings, not for double-checking accuracy. So many scientists looking for cures to diseases have been building on ideas that aren’t even true.” – h/t outsideness! – see also: Trouble at the lab“Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting. To an alarming degree, it is not.”

These Unresolved Ethical Questions Are About to Get Real

bonus: Hunted by their own government – the fight to save Kalahari Bushmen“Survival International, which campaigns on behalf of tribal peoples, has called for tourists to boycott holidays in Botswana, which is forcing Kalahari Bushmen off their reserves.”

bonus bonus: How did ancient Greek music sound? – beautiful apparently! – h/t ed west!

bonus bonus bonus: Author: In China, ‘everyone is guilty of corruption’ – on guanxi.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: The couple having four babies by two surrogates“A British couple are to become parents of two sets of twin babies carried by two Indian surrogate women they have never met. Experts say twiblings – or children born to separate surrogates but created from the same batch of embryos – are not uncommon in India.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Gang Rape in India, Routine and Invisible“[T]he Mumbai case provides an unusual glimpse into a group of bored young men who had committed the same crime often enough to develop a routine. The police say the men had committed at least five rapes in the same spot. Their casual confidence reinforces the notion that rape has been a largely invisible crime here, where convictions are infrequent and victims silently go away.” – see also: Trying to Make Sense of India’s Sexual Violence, State by State from t.greer.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Insects aren’t gay, they’re just enthusiastic! Scientists discover same-sex mating in bugs is down to a rush to reproduce – h/t hbd bibliography!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Mysterious hum keeping people up all night ‘could be mating fish’“A council investigation was launched in Hythe, Southampton after some people had to move away because of the drone ‘pulsating’ through their homes.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Are conspiracy theories destroying democracy?“The more information we have about what governments and corporations are up to the less we seem to trust them. Will conspiracy theories eventually destroy democracy?” – h/t avi tuschman!

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linkfest – 02/19/12

A Facial Attractiveness Account of Gender Asymmetries in Interracial Marriage“Studies suggest that there is considerable agreement regarding what makes a face attractive. Much of this agreement is common even across cultures. Further, just as not all races are equal in terms of their average height, not all races of people are equal in terms of their average rated facial attractiveness.” – black males found to be most attractive, east asian women found to be most attractive.

Gaps around the world – chuck the occidentalist is on a mission.

Depths of Madness – greg cochran and the gay-germ theory. quote of the week: “As for Freudian explanations, exotic-becomes-erotic, etc: just reading the social-science literature on the subject is enough to make you wonder if the human brain really does exist to cool the blood.” (^_^)

Y-chromosomes and coronary artery disease in Britain[A]t least some of the dramatic shifts in Y-haplogroup frequencies between modern and ancient populations may have been driven — at least in part — by natural selection.” – from dienekes.

Were there Neanderthals in Africa? – from peter frost.

Maternal depression and bilingual households can impact infant language development“[D]uring the first months of life, babies rapidly attune to the language sounds they hear and the sights they see (movements in the face that accompany talking) of their native languages. After this foundational period of language recognition, babies begin focusing on acquiring their native tongues and effectively ignore other languages…. [T]his key developmental period – which typically ends between the ages of eight and nine months … lasts longer for babies in bilingual households than in monolingual babies, particularly for the face recognition aspects of speech.” — the researchers don’t know if that’s a good or bad or neutral thing.

Jews and vegetarianism – from the inductivist.

Losing Interest in Attention Deficit Disorder“The main problem is that these ‘diseases’ are not caused by germs or viruses or, as far as it seems, anything remotely resembling indisputable chemical or brain-scan evidence. This is nothing more than speculation that diseases exist based on the act of describing common symptoms.” – from jim goad.

bonus: Plucking a Strand of Genetic Insight From the Sea“[T]hough the organism itself has never been isolated or seen, its genome is now complete.”

bonus bonus: The ‘Undue Weight’ of Truth on Wikipedia

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silly refutations of kanazawa’s blog post

there’ve been a lot — a LOT — of refutations of kanazawa’s post on the attractiveness of black women. i haven’t read them all — in fact i’ve read hardly any of them ’cause most of them just scream and yell WAAAAAAYCIST!! BURN HIM, BURN HIM!!

*facepalm*

some of them, however, appear to be more scientific refutations. bering in mind links to another psychology today blogger (scott barry kaufman) who (along with someone named jelte wicherts in the netherlands) has supposedly (according to bering in mind) “failed to replicate” kanazawa’s findings.

i took at look at kaufman’s post — and the technical summary of their analysis — ’cause i thought, well gee — not able to replicate the findings — that’d be interesting.

IF IT WERE TRUE!

here’s the evidence that kaufman and wicherts present (in the blog post) to show that kanazawa’s analysis was incorrect:

looks like black women were rated nearly as attractive as white women, right? and they were. in wave iv.

here’s how they fudged the data.

the add health thingie (from whence all the data comes) involved four waves of surveys over the course of several years (a couple of decades?). kaufman and wicherts decided that the only wave that should be included in any analysis on the attractiveness of women is wave iv, because in that wave the females were of legal age and, therefore, women.

no, i’m not kidding. they really said that!

now, i would agree with them if the subjects in the previous waves had been pre-pubescent children. but the ages in the waves were:

wave i = mean age 15.9 years
wave ii = average age 16.5 years
wave iii = mean age 22.1 years
wave iv = mean age 28.9 years

now come on! ok, so in waves i-iii most or all of the subjects were not of legal age, but probably the vast majority (except maybe for some late bloomers in wave i) were “reproductively of age” — meaning they could make babies. which is what the whole discussion is about! attractiveness, after all, is about attracting a mate.

*cough, cough* cherry-picking *cough, cough*

kanazawa didn’t include wave iv in his analysis, which is the wave when the attractiveness of whites and blacks was rated the most similar. don’t know why he didn’t use the data from that wave. kaufman mentions that the data from that wave has been available “for over a month.” well, maybe kanazawa didn’t realize the newest data had been published when he ran his analysis. i really dunno, but it’s definitely possible.

in any case, waves i-iii show that black women were rated as less attractive, altho i think the numbers in wave iii are not statistically significant. in wave iv, as i’ve said above, the rating for whites and blacks were pretty similar:

i still wanna know who the interviewers|evaluators were. were they all white folks? all asians? all illegal mexican workers picked up outside home-depot? their characteristics might’ve influenced the results.

actually, now that i mention it, the fieldwork for waves iii and iv was contracted out to a different company than waves i and ii. wonder if that made any difference in the evaluations?

btw, some real word data from okcupid maybe lends more support to kanazawa’s findings:

“Men don’t write black women back. Or rather, they write them back far less often than they should. Black women reply the most, yet get by far the fewest replies. Essentially every race—including other blacks—singles them out for the cold shoulder.”

that’s too bad.

previously: the offensive mr. kanazawa and african-american porn stars

update 06/07: see also on the add health interviewers

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african-american porn stars

(<< seo! oh, yeah.)

there's something of a discussion over @dennis' about the popularity (or lack, thereof) of african-american women in porn. (i know, i know. the standards over @dennis' are just dropping daily…. (~_^) ) some are claiming that white females dominate (*ahem*) in porn, while others are saying that anything goes.

well, i decided to check it out for you (so that you wouldn't have to).

here (NSFW. really NSFW!) are the top 100 most popular porn stars for 2010, according to some site called porn-star.com (which i’ve never seen before, i swear!). now, i dunno if porn-star.com is reliable, but they have been around since 1997 … and claim to have 250,000 uniques per day. if that’s true, then … yeah … that prolly means it’s a good sample size (which is prolly also global).

afaics, there’s only one african-american woman on the list — jada fire @ #67:

one out of a hundred. that’s not much.

now the rest aren’t all white — there’s an indian (from india) woman @ #5 and an asian woman @ #25, but that’s about it, i think.

attractiveness in women (at least in porn) = white women.

btw — here’s a list of porn actresses by decade. and here’s a list of african-american porn stars, which only has 23 female actresses listed (if i counted right). these include actresses going back to the ’70s.

p.s. – of course, the top 100 list could be totally bogus, i.e. not really based on (*ahem*) hits. but presumably the site does try to cater to the interests of its viewers, soooo….

previously: the offensive mr. kanazawa

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the offensive mr. kanazawa

you prolly heard by now that satoshi kanazawa says black women are ugly.

of course, he didn’t really, but who cares about silly little ol’ details like that.

what happened was kanazawa got some “attractiveness” data from add health. the evaluations were made “three times by three different interviewers over seven years” (during waves i – iii). the data showed that, consistently, black females scored lower in attractiveness than white, asian, or native american women; this did not happen in the case of black males.

andrew over @evolvify makes a good point about how attractiveness was rated:

“At this point, we have no idea who the interviewers who rated the students were. The attractiveness ratings would have been altered by varying degrees of prior familiarity between the individuals… whether the interviewers were of a certain age… the same sex or opposite sex breakdown… ingroup/outgroup… interviewer race… et cetera. There are simply a lot of variables that bring the reliability of attractiveness data into question. Perhaps this information is available, but it wasn’t in Kanazawa’s article, and I couldn’t find it on the study’s website.”

well, add health (a university of south north carolina entity) apparently outsourced its fieldwork positions to both the national opinion research center (norc) of the university of chicago (waves i and ii) and rti international (wave iii).

fieldworkers seem to be part-time, contract workers, afaics. with the connection to the unversity of south north carolina and the university of chicago, i was guessing that the fieldworkers were likely college students — maybe grad students interested in the field — sociology or whatever the heck it is (i’m talking about the interviewers here — i realize that the add health people are in the medical field). and, who winds up in sociology? mostly white women, with perhaps a few asian women thrown in. so, i was thinking that a lot of the interviewers might’ve been young white college women — and they might not find black women to be very attractive.

however, on the norc website, there are some videos of field interviewers explaining why they love their job, etc., etc., and they’re all older folks, i.e. not college students. of course, i’m sure this group is a pc-selected group — they’ve got almost all the races included there. but, still, three out of the five are white folks. if that is at all representative, then, yeah — there could, again, very well be some bias introduced here.

it’s still interesting that black women were consistently evaluated as the least attractive, but who were the evaluators? if they had been all black men, perhaps the results would’ve been different.

what i think is even more interesting is that blacks — both men and women — consistently rated themselves as attractive or highly attractive, more than members of the other races. black and proud! good for them!:

update 05/19 – charts with y-axes starting at zero:

update – see also ANOTHER watsoning in the air?!

update 05/27 – wicherts and kaufman’s criticism of kanazawa’s number crunching: An independent analysis of race differences in ratings of attractiveness in the Add Health Study. “Kanazawa interpreted his results incorrectly as having a bearing on attractiveness of women because the ratings were taken mostly when Add Health participants were teenagers.” update 06/07: see silly refutations of kanazawa’s blog post

update 06/07: see also on the add health interviewers

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