linkfest – 08/27/13

New data reveal extent of genetic overlap between major mental disordersgwas study**: “[T]he overlap was highest between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; moderate for bipolar disorder and depression and for ADHD and depression; and low between schizophrenia and autism. Overall, common genetic variation accounted for 17-28 percent of risk for the illnesses.” (**that’s redundant, isn’t it? sorry.)

Common genes may underlie alcohol dependence, eating disorders“In a study of nearly 6,000 adult twins, researchers found that common genetic factors seemed to underlie both alcoholism and certain eating disorder symptoms—namely, binge eating and purging habits, such as self-induced vomiting or laxative abuse. Genes appeared to explain 38 percent to 53 percent of the risk of developing those disorders.”

Multiple Genes Manage How People Taste Sweeteners

As Humans Change Landscape, Brains of Some Animals Change, Too“A new study suggests that the brains of several small mammals, including those of the little brown bat, have grown bigger as humans have altered the animals’ living conditions.” – ruh roh.

African genes tracked back“[The researchers] saw signs reflecting two waves of migration: one about 3,000 years ago, of non-Africans entering east Africa, and a second one 900–1,800 years ago, as east Africans migrated to southern Africa and brought non-African genes along with them…. Because of this two-step migration, some Khoe-San groups who were thought to have been genetically quite isolated actually carry 1–5% non-African DNA….”

Study Says Oldest Known Human Y-Chromosome Branch Dates to 338,000 Years Ago – h/t michael anissimov!

Genetic Research Suggests Indian Caste System Began 1,900 Years Ago – h/t david pinsen! – and speaking of castes: Caste outside of India: black blacksmiths from steve sailer.

Handaxe design reveals distinct Neanderthal cultures“Two cultural traditions existed among Neanderthals living in what is now northern Europe between 115,000 to 35,000 years ago…. [T]wo separate handaxe traditions or designs existed – one in a region now spanning south-western France and Britain – the other in Germany and further to the East.”

The Behavioral Ecology of Chimpanzee War and Liberal Peace“[V]iolent aggression among humans and chimps is a flexible natural propensity that tends to be stronger in males than in females, and the expression of that propensity depends on the social circumstances that determine the relative costs and benefits of violent fighting.” – @darwinian conservatism.

Breast feeding, intelligence, and confounded researchers – from dr. james thompson.

Two Failures to Replicate High-Performance-Goal Priming Effects

Babies learn words before birth“Brain responses suggest infants can distinguish distinct sounds from altered versions.”

Women and eye color“There is…a sex difference, with women having a more diverse palette of eye colors.” – from peter frost.

Are atheists mentally ill? – via mr. mangan, esq.

How Personality Affects Fertility: Men’s and Women’s Personalities Linked to Likelihood That They Will Have Children“Men with neurotic personality traits are having fewer children compared to previous generations…. It also found that men who are extraverted and open tend to have more children, while women who rank as conscientious on personality tests tend to have fewer children, although these findings were constant across generations.” – study done in norway. – via hbd bibliography.

Human brains are hardwired for empathy, friendship, study shows

Kinship or Citizenship? – steve sailer reviews mark weiner‘s The Rule of the Clan.

There is no hope of democracy in the Middle East“Most people, in other times and other places, have lived in societies more like Game of Thrones than Borgen, clannish rather than democratic, where people feel their loyalty and duty is towards other members of their extended family or religious community. To get people to work in the best interests of strangers so that you accept their authority when they get more people into the polling booth than you, is an achievement, not a natural state…. Egypt is an ancient civilisation but it is a clannish society….” – from ed west. (^_^) see also: Ed West interview: debating the ‘illusions’ of a diverse society.

Whence Afro criminality? – @thosewhocansee.

Steven Pinker, Science, and “Scientism”“In reality, the issue here is not whether this imaginary ‘science’ object exists and, assuming it does, whether it is ‘good’ or ‘evil.’ It is about whether we should be empowered to learn things about the universe in which we live or not. The opponents of ‘scientism’ typically rail against such things as eugenics, Social Darwinism, and the atomic bomb. These are supposedly the creations of the ‘science’ object. But, in fact, they are no such thing.” – really good stuff @helian unbound. via hbd bibliography. also from h.u. (he’s on a roll this week): Of Ingroups, Outgroups and Ideology.

The Arab Spring has failed because constitutional democracy needs nation-states – via ed west. see also: Egyptian Mirages from thomas sowell – “However widespread the desire to be free, it is wholly different from a desire to live in a society where others are free.” – yup.

How the light gets out – re. consciousness: “…the attention schema theory. It says that awareness is not something magical that emerges from the functioning of the brain. When you look at the colour blue, for example, your brain doesn’t generate a subjective experience of blue. Instead, it acts as a computational device. It computes a description, then attributes an experience of blue to itself. The process is all descriptions and conclusions and computations. Subjective experience, in the theory, is something like a myth that the brain tells itself. The brain *insists* that it has subjective experience because, when it accesses its inner data, it finds that information.”

Notes from Beijing: About That Chinese Social Contract“The traditional Chinese social contract was not a compact between individuals and the state, but a compact between Chinese society as a whole and the state…. Self interested calculations of rational individuals coolly weighing their economic and political interests never really seemed to be part of the program.” – from t. greer.

Fragile and Dangerous – Men with Borderline Personality Disorder – from staffan.

23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert – 20 out of 23. (*^_^*) (no way i could give a talk to an audience of 500. No. Way.) – classic link: Caring for Your Introvert.

Genomic Differences Found in Types of Cervical Cancer“…the spectrum of cancer-related gene mutations in the two main subtypes of cervical cancer — adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. In tests on 80 cervical tumor samples, the investigators found high rates of mutations in two genes: PIK3CA and KRAS. While PIK3CA mutations appeared in both subtypes, KRAS mutations were found only in adenocarcinomas.”

US behavioural research studies skew positive“US behavioural researchers have been handed a dubious distinction — they are more likely than their colleagues in other parts of the world to exaggerate findings, according to a study published today.”

Neolithic chefs spiced their food“Mineral grains from garlic-mustard seeds found in 6,000-year-old cooking pots.” – mmmmmmm!

Denmark’s historic claim to the Faroes in doubt as archaeologists find proof that islands were inhabited before arrival of first Norse colonists“Discovery indicates existence of sea-faring northern Europeans before Vikings.”

bonus: Birds know road speed limits“Crows, house sparrows and other species judge when to flee the asphalt by average traffic rates rather than an oncoming car’s speed.”

bonus bonus: Beetles eat greedy offspring Edinburgh University research finds“Burying beetles occasionally punish young who nag for food by eating those who pester them most…. It encourages the larvae to plead more honestly according to how hungry they are and not try to outdo their siblings by pestering their mother for food.” – so there!

bonus bonus bonus: Saudi Arabia’s War on Witchcraft“A special unit of the religious police pursues magical crime aggressively, and the convicted face death sentences.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Bacteria can cause pain on their own“Microbes caused discomfort in mice by activating nervous system, not immune response.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: World’s first pocket calculator goes up for auction: ‘Exceptionally rare’ 17th century machine made of wood could fetch £100,000

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Oldest globe to depict the New World may have been discovered

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: An update to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

(note: comments do not require an email. faroe islands craziness!)

linkfest – 06/02/13

Genetic Variants Linked to Educational Attainment“A multi-national team of researchers has identified genetic markers that predict educational attainment by pooling data from more than 125,000 individuals in the United States, Australia, and 13 western European countries…. Combining the two million examined SNPs, the SSGAC researchers were able to explain about 2 percent of the variation in educational attainment across individuals, and anticipate that this figure will rise as larger samples become available.” – h/t friendly e-mailer! (^_^) – see also steve hsu on this: First GWAS hits for cognitive ability (thanks, grey!). in particular, check out steve’s graph. and john derbyshire for more on looking for iq-related genes via gwas studies. see also dr. james thompson: Educational attainment, intelligence, and the relentless cracking of the genetic code.

Deforestation Plants the Seed for Rapid Evolution in Brazil“The deforestation of the Brazilian rain forest has created a hidden consequence: The seeds of palm trees have evolved rapidly to be smaller.”

Gene switches make prairie voles fall in love“Researchers have shown for the first time that the act of mating induces permanent chemical modifications in the chromosomes, affecting the expression of genes that regulate sexual and monogamous behaviour.” – epigenetic effects!

Definitions of “Race” and Language and Race — a couple of great posts @habitable worlds!

Genetic structure and different population strata in Italy“‘Our results show that the Y-chromosomal genetic diversity of Italy is not clinal but structured in three geographical areas: North-Western Italy (NWI), South-Eastern Italy (SEI) and Sardinia (SAR). …suggesting a shared genetic background between Southern Italy and the Adriatic coast from one side, and between Northern Italy and Tuscany from the other side.'” – from dienekes!

Just For Show?“Of all humans, male and female, European women have the whitest skin and the most diverse range of hair and eye colors. Are European physical characteristics really female characteristics?” – from peter frost!

Apes Regret Bad Decisions, Throw Tantrums“When apes make a bad decision or took a gamble that doesn’t pay off, they bang on tables and perform other kinds of tantrum-like behaviors, often exhibiting regret by attempting to undo what they had done.”

How Birds and Babies Learn to Talk

GSS on Haidt’s Moral Foundations theory“The GSS results largely support Haidt’s divisions, with liberals putting greater emphasis on liberty/oppression and especially care/harm, just as he found to be the case. Conservatives, on the other hand, are more concerned with fairness/cheating, authority/subversion, sanctity/degradation, and loyalty/subversion than liberals are.” – from the awesome epigone!

Homosexuality is natural. Fine. But what if homophobia is natural, too?

The Ugly Truth About Obesity“So yes, the obese group is not unlike its negative stereotypes. Of the, ‘lazy’, ‘sloppy’, ‘less competent’, ‘lacking in self-discipline’, ‘disagreeable’, ‘less conscientious’, ‘poor role models’, ‘unintelligent’, ‘unsuccessful’, ‘weak-willed’, ‘unpleasant’, ‘overindulgent’, it seems ‘disagreeable’ and ‘unpleasant’ are the only clear misses. This is not to hate on the obese, but to call a spade a spade.” – from staffan!

The big fat truth“More and more studies show that being overweight does not always shorten life — but some public-health researchers would rather not talk about them.”

“Were the Victorians cleverer than us?” – from steve sailer!

The Argument Ron Should Have Made – italian iq stuff from chuck the occidentalist! — h/t hbd bibliography!

What Science Says About Arousal During Rape

Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food“Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.”

More Heroes of the Dark Enlightenment – eat your radishes! they’re good for you! (^_^)

bonus: Yes, the BBC needs more diversity – of opinion, that is – from ed west!

bonus bonus: immigration i, immigration ii, and immigration iii — from the assistant village idiot!

bonus bonus bonus: Raised from the depths, the face of the Mary Rose

bonus bonus bonus bonus: China Builds EU Beachhead With $5 Billion City in Belarus

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Zoologger: The sea cow with super-sensing hairs – i’ve snorkeled with the manatees! (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. hover-crafts manatees! (^_^) )

the amhara…

…(of ethiopia) have/had a weird relationship with food. [*insert famine joke here*]

the following passages are from “Socialization and social control in Ethiopia” written by a guy who spent a total of fourteen years in ethiopia starting in 1965 up to, i think, the 1990s. he’s talking here about traditional, countryside amhara. there have been changes (as a result of things like modernization, urbanization, war, famine, etc.) to a lot of this in modern times.

pgs. 40-1:

“Restraint is (or was in the not so distant past) as strictly enforced or enjoined with respect to food and drink as to premarital sex. As a warning example, people are reminded that Adam and Eve were ‘defeated’ by food when they ate of the forbidden fruit. As the devil tempted Christ to convert stones into bread, so he comes also today, tempting people to eat to excess (‘much’). Heavy eating and drinking is ‘sinful’. Children are taught that they should eat and drink in moderation, and not enjoy their food ‘too much’. Food ought not to be ‘too’ attractive or appetizing, because food builds up the body (‘the flesh’ – with its biblical connotation as the seat of sin and lust, etc.) but damages or destroys the soul. Love of food and drink is ‘bad’. Frugality is valued. However hungry they are, children are taught to leave some food on the plate — it is ill-mannered to eat all one’s food, either because the leftovers are fed to servants and other poor people, or — in some households — it is left (symbolically) for a protecting house-spirit called away.

“Those who keep all the fasts prescribed or recommended by the Ethiopian Orthodox church will fast most days of the year**; but even those who honour only the ‘compulsory’ fasts*** will observe quite a great number of fasting days each year. Fasting food can be healthy — most of the vegetables the Amhara eat they consume during fasting seasons — although it is (purposely) prepared rather unattractively during these times….**** The church recommends (but does not insist) that fasting should start at the age of seven.

“** Fasting consists of abstaining from animal products and sex, and to eat nothing till the afternoon. One is expected to combine this with more intensive praying and church attendance.
“*** Many non-religious people also observe these fasts as an expression of Ethiopian or Amhara ‘nationalism’. It is as much a cultural as a religious act or phenomenon to many people.
“**** There is for example no butter or animal fat/oil in the food, and no milk is used in bread, etc.”

is all this fasting and hyper-respect for food some reaction to centuries of famines? don’t eat too much ’cause you don’t want to waste too much food?

you’d think not eating enough/properly wouldn’t be too good for you — and the author thinks it hasn’t been good for the amhara:

pg. 57:

“The ‘delay’ of marriage and child-bearing is, ironically, coinciding with earlier maturing. Food has by the traditional Amhara not been highly regarded as a ‘good’ (however tasty their food is) — it has rather been seen as a necessity, and it has been widely considered as an inducement to worldliness and sin. Nutrition has (perhaps partly therefore) been poor (which does not mean that Amhara women are poor cooks — quite the contrary). In spite of much fertile land, food production is at a low level, and many eat too little or survive on an unhealthy diet (however tasty it may be). This may explain why Amhara rarely develop good body proportions and why ‘ageing’ sets in early. Poor diets have also had noticeably detrimental effects on the mental and intellectual development of many.”

here’s some more curious food-related behaviors:

pg. 93:

“When a boy or a man and a girl or a woman marry, they eat together and continue to do so throughout life. But the children do not eat with the parents till they are (nearly) ready for marriage, although in towns it is now becoming usual that the whole family eat together, and slowly this is becoming customary also in the countryside. The typical situation used, however, to be (and partly still is) that the children took turns to hold a burning torch or light for the parents to see by when they ate at night, while they (the children) kept their eyes on the wall: they were not allowed to watch their parents eating.** Otherwise, during daytime or when not holding a light for their parents, they were not present when adults were eating, although they could occasionally be called and fed mouthfuls from the hands of their parents or other adults. After the parents had eaten — and also taken the best and most nourishing parts of the food — the children would eat the leftovers after them (and servants or poor people would be given the leftovers after them). Some children normally ate (and some still eat) their food with the servants. Meals were usually taken in silence: it was counted as irreverent to talk (let alone chatter or ‘keep the conversation going’) during a meal.

“** In earlier times, rulers and high nobles would never be observed eating. Even at banquets they would be screened off from the common view while eating.”

pg. 95:

“At around 12 or 13 years of age, boys in the countryside wander about more widely than before, and they start to eat what they can find in nature: fruits, roots, tubers, plants of various kinds growing wild, and they may be so sated with this that they start skipping meals at home. They are ‘in the field’ in this way both for play and as shepherds.”

(note: comments do not require an email. ethiopian food.)

eat salt!

eat salt already! from scientific american:

“It’s Time to End the War on Salt”
“The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science

This week a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure. In May European researchers publishing in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the less sodium that study subjects excreted in their urine — an excellent measure of prior consumption — the greater their risk was of dying from heart disease. These findings call into question the common wisdom that excess salt is bad for you, but the evidence linking salt to heart disease has always been tenuous….

“Rather than create drastic salt policies based on conflicting data, Alderman and his colleague Hillel Cohen propose that the government sponsor a large, controlled clinical trial to see what happens to people who follow low-salt diets over time. Appel responds that such a trial ‘cannot and will not be done,’ in part because it would be so expensive. But unless we have clear data, evangelical antisalt campaigns are not just based on shaky science; they are ultimately unfair. ‘A great number of promises are being made to the public with regard to this enormous benefit and lives saved,’ Cohen says. But it is ‘based on wild extrapolations.‘”

previously: wtf medical establishm’t?

(note: comments do not require an email. why, yes, i’ll have salt with that.)

genetically modified cows…

produce human milk:

“‘It’s good,’ said worker Jiang Yao. ‘It’s better for you because it’s genetically modified.'”

heh. make sure to read that with a really bad jackie chan sort-of accent. you know, like this: “it good! it bettah foh you because it genetically mohdified!” it’s waaay funnier then. (~_^)

on a more serious note:

“The director of the research project, Professor Li Ning, said Western concerns about the ethics of genetic modification are misplaced.

“‘There are 1.5 billion people in the world who don’t get enough to eat,’ he said. ‘It’s our duty to develop science and technology, not to hold it back. We need to feed people first, before we consider ideals and convictions.'”

well, there you go.

update 06/10 – huh. the argentines are at it, too: Argentine lab clones cow to produce human-like milk

another update 06/10 – ok! so i found the research article connected to this … uh … research, and what these chinese scientists have done is to get the cows to produce milk with more lysozyme in it. ah ha! so, it IS betteh foh you! (as long as you don’t grow a second head.) see here:

Characterization of Bioactive Recombinant Human Lysozyme Expressed in Milk of Cloned Transgenic Cattle

(note: comments do not require an email. it bettah foh you because it genetically mohdified!)

got milk?

Dairy consumption does not elevate heart attack risk, study suggests

“They split the study population between two equal groups: 1,815 ‘cases’ who had non-fatal heart attacks and 1,815 comparable ‘controls’ who did not. The researchers looked not only at the subjects’ self-reported dairy intake, but also at measurements of dairy fat biomarkers, namely 15:0 and 17:0, in their bodies.

“What they found is that the dairy intake of people who had heart attacks was not statistically different than the intake of people who did not. After breaking people into quintiles, based on their dairy consumption amount, there was no significant linear relationship between consumption and heart risk, even among the most voracious consumers. The highest consumption quintile consumed an average of 593 grams of dairy foods a day.

“When the researchers controlled for such risk factors as smoking, waist-to-hip ratio, alcohol intake, and physical activity, the lack of a statistically significant association between dairy intake and heart attack risk remained. They also tracked and adjusted the data for levels of CLA and calcium and found they may have a protective effect. Protective effects lessened in the highest quintile, however.”

i drink milk and eat a fair amount of cheese. i’ve always figured that i come from a looooooooong line of lactose tolerant people so milk is prolly ok for me. and, goshd*rnit, i LUV milk! everything in moderation, tho (except for dark chocolate).

previously: wtf medical establishm’t?

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wtf medical establishm’t?

i’m gonna join the ranks of the one and dennis mangan in questioning wtf is with all the screwy dietary advice from the medical establishment?? eat lots of grains? hmmmmm. don’t eat too much animal fat? yeah, right. cholesterol is bad for you and causes vascular disease? pull the other one!

and now, starting to be de-bunked(?), don’t eat too much salt…

Fatal and Nonfatal Outcomes, Incidence of Hypertension, and Blood Pressure Changes in Relation to Urinary Sodium Excretion

“Conclusions – In this population-based cohort, systolic blood pressure, but not diastolic pressure, changes over time aligned with change in sodium excretion, but this association did not translate into a higher risk of hypertension or CVD complications. Lower sodium excretion was associated with higher CVD mortality.

yeah. you read that right. people who ate (or, at least, excreted) the LEAST amount of salt had a (slightly) higher death rate from heart disease. above-average salt intake did NOT increase blood pressure in this study.

i haven’t read the full article yet (will have to wait ’til after the weekend, i’m afraid), but wtf medical establishment? i’m sure working out all these dietary things is d*mn complicated, but quit giving advice without being as sure as you can be, already!

note that the study was done in denmark the flemish part of belgium, so maybe this applies only to danish flemish|germanic people. -?-

see also: Salt is GOOD for you: Eating more could even lower the chances of heart disease

(heh. now i’m glad i never followed the no-salt recommendation. i like salt, gosh-d*rnit! and i eat it! in moderation, like everything else. except for dark chocolate, of course.)

(note: comments do not require an email.)

linkfest – 04/10/11

The Evolution of Prejudice“Scientists see the beginnings of racism in monkeys.”

Neanderthals: Bad luck and its part in their downfall

Redistributionists vs. anti-redistributionists – a post from inductivist about “an excellent GSS study by James Lindgren which shows that redistributionists (liberals) are more racist, angrier, less altruistic, and less happy than anti-redistributrionists (conservatives).” heh!

Study finds facial structure of men and women has become more similar over time – in spain

“Scientific racism” is actually valid science (part 1) – good summary post from unamused

GOOD Asks the Experts: Is The “Paleolithic Diet” Really Better?

Scientific literacy by sex – from the audacious

Rising seas made China’s ancient mariners“Environmental changes cultivated seafaring, not rice farming.”

‘Gay Caveman’ Story Overblown, Archaeologists Say

The Measure of a Man’s Private Parts Is Connected to His Fertility – i.e. the length of ur taint (is it ok to use that word on the innerwebs??)

bonus: Sex After a Field Trip Yields Scientific First“[T]he first documented case of sexual transmission of an insect-borne disease.”