linkfest – 09/29/13

Do Elite ‘Power Sport’ Athletes Have a Genetic Advantage?“A specific gene variant is more frequent among elite athletes in power sports…. A ‘functional polymorphism’ of the angiotensiogen (AGT) gene is two to three times more common in elite power athletes, compared to nonathletes or even elite endurance athletes, according to the new research by Paweł Cięszczyk, PhD, of University of Szczecin, Poland, and colleagues.”

Ballet Dancers’ Brains Adapt to Stop Them Getting in a Spin – or maybe they start off with somewhat different brain structures: “Scientists have discovered differences in the brain structure of ballet dancers that may help them avoid feeling dizzy when they perform pirouettes…. The brain scans revealed differences between the groups in two parts of the brain: an area in the cerebellum where sensory input from the vestibular organs is processed and in the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for the perception of dizziness. The area in the cerebellum was smaller in dancers.”

Math explains history: Simulation accurately captures the evolution of ancient complex societies“The question of how human societies evolve from small groups to the huge, anonymous and complex societies of today has been answered mathematically, accurately matching the historical record on the emergence of complex states in the ancient world. Intense warfare is the evolutionary driver of large complex societies, according to new research….” see also: Math and History Collide. response: No, math cannot predict the rise and fall of empires. (party pooper.)

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion“Using new genetic tools, the authors conclude that the first significant expansion of human populations appears to be much older than the emergence of farming and herding, dating back to the Paleolithic (60,000-80,000 years ago) rather than Neolithic age (10,000 years ago). They also suggest that strong Paleolithic expansions may have favored the emergence of sedentary farming in some populations during the Neolithic.” – h/t malcolm pollack!

Scientists Created a New Form of Matter and It’s Like a Lightsaber – AWESOME! – see also: Scientists create never-before-seen form of matter

New Approach to Explaining Evolution’s Big Bang“[T]he Cambrian Explosion was preceded by a rise in sea level that submerged vast swaths of land, eroding the drowned rocks…. But these great floods also poisoned the ocean. The erosion of the coastlines released calcium, which can be toxic to cells. In order to survive, animals had to evolve ways to rid themselves of the poison. One solution may have been to pack the calcium into crystals, which eventually evolved into shells, bones, and other hard tissues. Dr. Smith doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that several different lineages of bilaterians evolved hard tissues during the Cambrian explosion, and not sooner.”

No, You Don’t Have Free Will, and This is Why – best post from jayman. ever. (to date! (~_^) ) a response to this.

Robert Ardrey: Incidents in the Disappearance of an Unperson – ok. i’ve run out of ways to say how brilliant helian’s posts are. just go read him already!

The IQ Breaking Point – How Civilized Society is Maintained or Lost“[I]t seems like there is a point, somewhere around 97, above which a modern civilization can be maintained and below which things abruptly begin to fall apart.” – from staffan!

Maths is a man thing* – from dr. james thompson!

Myths about IQ: Episode I – from elijah!

HBD: On Puerto Ricans and Their Heritage, Part I: Before the Taíno – from nelson!

Understanding how infants acquire new words across cultures“[I]n English, 24-month-old infants were better able to learn novel verbs for novel actions (e.g., petting) if the surrounding noun phrases were explicitly mentioned (e.g., ‘The girl is petting the dog’) than if they were dropped from the sentence (e.g., ‘Look. Petting!’). In contrast, the new research shows that in Korean (a language in which noun phrases are typically dropped in conversation) 24-month-olds were better able to learn novel verbs for novel actions if the surrounding noun phrases (e.g., the girl, the dog) were dropped; in fact, unlike English-acquiring infants, those acquiring Korean struggled if the nouns were explicitly mentioned.” – don’t know, unfortunately, what the ethnicities of these infants are.

The Science Fiction Future of Genetic Genealogy“Next month at the American Society of Human Genetics 2013 meeting, researchers from AncestryDNA will present their work detailing the reconstruction of portions of the genomes of an 18th-century couple using detailed genealogical information and Identity-by-Descent (‘IBD’) DNA segments from several hundred descendants of the couple in the AncestryDNA database. In other words, researchers identified several hundred descendants of a certain couple living in the 1700s and then used the DNA shared by those descendants to recreate as much of the couples’ genomes as possible.” – cool! from the genetic genealogist.

Black men have lower sperm counts than white men – @race/history/evolution notes.

Low-Hanging Fruit: Consider the Ant“Some spiders somehow fly by using silken threads. They’ve been detected at altitudes over 4 km, and more than a thousand miles from land. The usual notion is that these threads catch air currents, but that may not be the real explanation. For one thing, they seem to be able to take off fairly rapidly in a dead calm. It looks instead as if these spiders manage to impart a negative charge to these threads and are then propelled upward by the atmospheric electric field – electrostatic levitation, a totally novel mechanism for flight.” – whoa! – from greg cochran.

Brainwashed by a microbe?“*T. gondii* is being studied for possible behavioral effects mainly because it has attracted so much attention. But we’re probably being manipulated by other parasites. ‘A large number of parasitic organisms probably exist in helminths, protozoa, fungi, bacteria, archea and viruses that may influence the phenotype of their human host even more than the Toxoplasma. These organisms are, however, still waiting for research teams to engage in a systematic study of their influence on the human host.'” – from peter frost. previously.

When the Melting Pot Reaches a Boil“If there is one constant in the travails of *Homo sapiens sapiens*, it is that he gets on best with his own kind. Yet to the social engineers who would shepherd us into multicult euphoria, it is as if these millennia of inter-ethnic strife didn’t exist.”

Humans are not the only primates who whisper – so do the cotton-top tamarins. shhhhhh! don’t tell anyone!

What Else Can I Do With My DNA Test Results? – @the genetic genealogist.

That’s not autism: It’s simply a brainy, introverted boy“Autism spectrum diagnoses are up 78 percent in 10 years. We’re dramatically overdiagnosing it in everyday behavior.” – #longread.

The 16 Most (and Least) Honest Cities in the World – wallet test – finns ftw!

Ancient language not heard for 4,000 years is recorded for the first time – PIE (proto-indo-european).

2,500-year-old horse remains found in Bulgaria that suggest the creatures were buried standing up“The carriage and horse skeletons were discovered in the village of Svestari in north-east Bulgaria. They were found in a Thracian tomb along with some decorations.” – cool photos!

How Alcohol Conquered Russia“A history of the country’s struggle with alcoholism, and why the government has done so little about it.” – take note of anatoly’s comments!

bonus: mitual shah – one of the good guys. one of the VERY good guys: Briton died saving children in terror mall“A British marketing executive was shot dead in the Westgate massacre in Kenya after offering himself as a hostage to bargain for the lives of 33 children.”

bonus bonus: I’m sorry, but we have to talk about the barbarism of modern Islamist terrorism – from brendan o’neill.

bonus bonus bonus: hero of the week, via everyone on twitter – After Told He’s Racist, UW-M Student Rejects Further Diversity ‘Training’

bonus bonus bonus bonus: The silence of our friends – the extinction of Christianity in the Middle East – from ed west @the spectator.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: from india – ‘Family honour’ and ‘values’ give immunity to the predator at home – h/t mark weiner!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The US government has been running a quantum Internet for over two years – cool! – h/t michael anissimov!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The Demons of Moldova“In Europe’s poorest country, young people are turning to occult religious practices — even exorcisms — to escape everyday life.”

(note: comments do not require an email. cotton-top tamarians!)

the time bill hamilton almost got watsoned

well, he actually wasn’t anywhere near being watsoned since he committed his politically incorrect faux pas in the early 1980s, but he did get a good telling off. he definitely would’ve been booted out today, though.

he thought political correctness was stupid, and his swpl-lady-accuser — well, i dunno what he thought of her, but i think she’s stupid. what on earth would he have made of our situation today?

from “Narrow Roads of Gene Land, Vol. 2” [pgs. 303-04, 307-09]:

“By 1984 two aspects of life in the USA had made me feel differently [about moving back to the uk]. One was the level of violence — this was felt even in a seemingly rural university town like Ann Arbor….

“The other main incentive for the move was also a ‘rising level’ and this had changed in the 2 years [since the last offer of a job in the uk], and was about as depressing for me as the violence. I see it now as the beginning of what came to be called ‘political correctness’, but then it just seemed an increasing intolerance about how others lived and spoke, a rising pressure to conformity. Mountain men in remote valleys might escape the new social climate but one couldn’t in Ann Arbor….

“While the ‘anti-smoke’ pollution of human freedom was one factor pushing me to Britain in the early 1980s it still wasn’t the most significant event telling me I was getting seriously out of touch with America and was going to find it difficult just to be myself if I remained there. Rather it was the experience of being telephoned by a lady academic…”

… ugh. you just know it’s going to be bad …

“…to talk to me about a letter I had sent to her department recommending one of my graduate students for an advertised post. She told me that phrases I had used were very harmful both to the student’s chances and to my own reputation. Because I had taken great care in writing the letter and considered it to contain, in fact, the strongest support I had ever given to any student, I was immediately dismayed and puzzled. I was soon enlightened by her where the trouble lay. I had written to the effect that the student was ‘exceptionally strong on the theoretical and statistical side and with an ability especially remarkable in view of her sex and non-mathematical background’….”

… heh …

“…The offending words will be obvious to anyone today: my informant made it clear to me that I ought to have treated the student as if I had never noticed its gender.

“Hundreds of experiences have taught me that women are not as good on average at maths and spatial problems as men. This matter seemed really to need no statistical tests although plenty have been recorded. In a related field, day-to-day orientation, many women seem almost to boast about their tendency to get lost in towns and buildings: very few men do. The entire sweep of history as I knew it suggested to me the same things, and the difference continues even right up to the present in spite of all the recent equalizing forces that have been applied. Even in rats females have been shown to be less good at spatial and route-finding tasks than males although why this should be is still largely a mystery. As always, of course, the overlap of abilities is wide and there are innumerable women who are much better mathematicians and visualizers than innumerable men — I could name many who are better than me. For sure also, plenty of good women engineers, physicists, and the like are qualifying where there exists the will to enter these activities. Still, the average difference remains for me striking and is confirmed through a multitude of channels. Aptitude tests performed on small children are just the start of them. Nowadays some parents make a special point of trying to override any cultural bias that may have existed in erstwhile courses of infancy and childhood and I, too, have made my own small intrafamily attempts, out of interest, to see if the tendency could be overridden (diagrams of theorems of Euclid pinned inside the hood of one daughter’s perambulator formed a part of one experiment). But neither I nor others who have tried it, I think, can record much success (my daughter, however, did pass advanced-level school maths).

“Anyway, consequently I didn’t believe the theory that the difference comes wholly from cultural factors, and I assumed that, in spite of all the outcry of a few based so far as I could see on very flimsy evidence and excuses, most intelligent people of both sexes would interpret my letter the same way as I meant it. Holding this expectation, I had wanted to be sure my student would not be automatically devalued by a reader of my letter who might interpret it as a more vague complement: ‘Exceptional,’ he says, but he means no doubt ‘as women go’ — who wouldn’t leave this unsaid of his own student?’ I had added the phrase to forestall this, to make clear that I was aware of the average difference and nevertheless gave unqualified praise. I assumed any ‘search’ committee would understand this and that it would raise, not lower, my student’s chance. I still can hardly credit that what I wrote would be interpreted in any other way…. But in the gathering new climate — in which, by analogy, I suppose you are not supposed to mention in a letter that you happen to have noticed that a student has the handicap of being blind — they were not harmless: some acid remarks from the person on the phone made this plain when, amazed, I tried to explain what I had meant….

“The end result was that I decided, rather as I had done at Cambridge when I had been told there was no possible connection between genetics and social anthropology, that I should try to pursue my career as a misogynist somewhere else with the corollary to this decision that I needed to be careful about taking on more graduate students generally if my best efforts were going to harm them in ways I had become too socially blind to see.”

reading this account reminded me of something pat buchanan wrote just the other day — The Equality Racket:

“And here is the unvarying argument of the left since Karl Marx: If you give us power, we will take from the rich who have so much and give it to you who have so little. But before we can do that, you must give us power.

“This is the equality racket. As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:

“‘The sole condition which is required in order to succeed in centralizing the supreme power in a democratic community, is to love equality, or to get men to believe you love it. Thus the science of despotism, which was once so complex, is simplified, and reduced … to a single principle.’

When they come preaching equality, what they want is power.

uh-huh.

(note: comments do not require an email. find x.)

linkfest – 09/04/11

Gender and creativity – @the inductivist.

Gender Gap Vanishes in Female-Empowered Cultures

Human Brains Are Primally Wired to Notice Animals“The effect is large and consistent, and ‘may reflect the importance that animals held throughout our evolutionary past,’ wrote researchers led by California Institute of Technology neurobiologist Florian Mormann in an Aug. 29 Nature Neuroscience paper.”

It’s official… chocolate IS good for you: Treats ‘cut’ diabetes, heart disease and stroke risk – YAAAAAAAAAAY!!!

Fathers’ Presence Linked to Enhanced Intellect, Well-Being Among Children – via diversity is chaos.

Autoimmunity Is From Venus“Why do women have more problems like Sjögren’s syndrome and lupus?”

Monkey-nomics: Scientists claim capuchins ‘understand using money’ – and can even sniff out a bargain

Brain scans reduce murder sentence in Italian court

bonus: California Museum opening exhibit on 100th anniversary of day Ishi was found