linkfest – 11/19/13

Lyme bacteria show that evolvability is evolvable“Natural selection favours those with a greater capacity to generate genetic variation.”

50,000 generations of bacteria prove that evolution never stops“[C]omputer models have shown that animals can still experience significant evolutionary changes over time, even in the absence of selectional pressures. Traits like evolvability, or evolutionary potential. Indeed, the Lenski study shows that the same holds true when working with organisms in evolutionary ‘real time.’ The researchers, who performed a comparative analyses of the bacteria after every 500 generations, showed that E. coli will continue to evolve towards increasing replicative efficiency.” – h/t peter turchin! – see also Krazy Kats from greg cochran.

Mystery humans spiced up ancients’ rampant sex lives“Genome analysis suggests interbreeding between modern humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans and a mysterious archaic population.” – see also: Mystery human species emerges from Denisovan genome.

Out of Africa revisited (entrevista a Chris Stringer)“To what extent do these differences in evolutionary paths, if any, affect the human biodiversity we see today? That is still unclear, but will become clearer in the next few weeks with the publication of new data….”

Neanderthal virus DNA spotted hiding in modern humans“The DNA of ancient viruses first spotted in the Neanderthal genome have now been identified in modern humans…. [The researchers] examined the genomes of 67 people with cancer, and found they each contained seven of the sequences supposedly unique to the ancient humans.”

How Our Minds Went Viral“Based on this research, the scientists propose a scenario. Our ancestors millions of years ago were infected with a virus. Eventually it became lodged in our genome. At some point, a mutation moved the virus enhancer next to the PRODH gene. Further mutations allowed it to helped boost the gene’s activity in certain areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus…. Perhaps our minds are partly the way they are today thanks to an infection our ancestors got a few millions of years ago.” – h/t john durant!

Reconstructing the Population Genetic History of the Caribbean“‘We find evidence of two pulses of African migration. The first pulse—which today is reflected by shorter, older ancestry tracts—consists of a genetic component more similar to coastal West African regions involved in early stages of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The second pulse—reflected by longer, younger tracts—is more similar to present-day West-Central African populations, supporting historical records of later transatlantic deportation. Surprisingly, we also identify a Latino-specific European component that has significantly diverged from its parental Iberian source populations, presumably as a result of small European founder population size. We demonstrate that the ancestral components in admixed genomes can be traced back to distinct sub-continental source populations with far greater resolution than previously thought, even when limited pre-Columbian Caribbean haplotypes have survived.'” – @dienekes’.

Correlations in the population structure of music, genes and language“‘[T]he first quantitative evidence that music and genes may have coevolved by demonstrating significant correlations between traditional group-level folk songs and mitochondrial DNA variation among nine indigenous populations of Taiwan.” – @dienekes’.

Wolves turned into dogs by European hunter-gatherers – h/t hbd bibliography!

The Paradox of Diverse Communities“Their simulations of more than 20 million virtual ‘neighborhoods’ demonstrate a troubling paradox: that community and diversity may be fundamentally incompatible goals…. After 20 million-plus simulations, the authors found that the same basic answer kept coming back: The more diverse or integrated a neighborhood is, the less socially cohesive it becomes, while the more homogenous or segregated it is, the more socially cohesive…. [T]he models demonstrated that it was impossible to simultaneously foster diversity and cohesion ‘in all reasonably likely worlds.’ In fact, the trends are so strong that no effective social policy could combat them, according to Neal. As he put it in a statement, ‘In essence, when it comes to neighborhood desegregation and social cohesion, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.'” – see also original research article: The (In)compatibility of Diversity and Sense of Community [pdf]. – h/t nearly everybody on twitter!

A Review of ‘The Diversity Illusion’ by Ed West – from peter hitchens. – The Diversity Illusion.

War’s Enduring Effects on the Development of Egalitarian Motivations and In-Group Biases“[G]reater exposure to war created a lasting increase in people’s egalitarian motivations toward their in-group, but not their out-groups, during a developmental window starting in middle childhood (around 7 years of age) and ending in early adulthood (around 20 years of age). Outside this window, war had no measurable impact on social motivations in young children and had only muted effects on the motivations of older adults.” – h/t t.greer!

It’s nothing to sniff at: Men have bigger noses because of more muscle“Men may have larger noses than women because they generally have more muscle, demanding larger noses to breathe in more oxygen….” – h/t mr. mangan, esq.!

Rural White Liberals – a Key to Understanding the Political Divide“there are likely several factors involved in shaping the modern American political landscape. Of which, the strongest may be ethnonational origin. This is buttressed by population density pressure, founder effects, internal self-sorting, and perhaps even recent evolution.” – from jayman.

John Horgan and the “Warfare is Innate” Red Herring“The Blank Slate may be dead, but its zombies still walk among us.” – (~_^) – from helian.

A Little Speculation About Disgust Sensitivity and Attitudes Towards Homosexuals and People of Other Races – ewwww! – from staffan

They aren’t meant to pee standing up – well, not without one of these, but frankly that’s gross. – the awesome epigone on how happy teh feminists are (not).

Open letter to Morten Kjeldgaard – (~_^) – from elijah. – see also Was the Scientific Dishonesty Minister trying to suppress population estimates? from dr. james thompson.

The White man has no friends“Over the past millennium, Western Europeans have created a social environment where the individual is largely free from collective ties of kinship and ethnicity. Because the State has imposed a monopoly on the use of violence, there is less need to rely on kinsmen to safeguard one’s life and property.” (and ’cause of The Outbreeding Project, too, imho. (^_^) ) – from peter frost.

Preclinical testing shows SUMO-1 gene therapy shrinks an enlarged heart, improves heart funcion, and blood flow, human trials to start – h/t mike anissimov!

Borjas, Grogger, and Hanson: Immigrant and Native Complementarity“George Borjas, Jeffrey Grogger, and Gordon Hanson have a new paper, and it’s not good news for the Ottaviano and Peri result that immigration can cause native wages to increase due to strong complementarities between native and immigrant labor.” – h/t heartiste!

Is Jared Diamond racist? – oh, noes! not a waaaaycist! (hmmmm. maybe he is….) – h/t peter turchin!

Stunning Portraits Of The World’s Remotest Tribes Before They Pass Away – h/t heartiste!

bonus: William Pollack Dies at 87; His Vaccine Saved Infants“William Pollack, a medical researcher who helped develop a vaccine that virtually eradicated a disease [Rh disease] once responsible for 10,000 infant deaths a year in the United States, died on Nov. 3 in Yorba Linda, Calif. He was 87.”malcom pollack‘s dad. =( see also: William Pollack, R.I.P. from mr. mangan, esq.

bonus bonus: working first chapter of A Part-time Job in the Country by luke lea! send comments to luke.

bonus bonus bonus: I’ve realised why I like the Dutch so much: they invented capitalism – from dan hannan. (just missing the biology! (~_^) ) – see also: The World of English Freedoms“It’s no accident that the English-speaking nations are the ones most devoted to law and individual rights, writes Daniel Hannan.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: It’s time to confront this taboo: First cousin marriages in Muslim communities [in the u.k.] are putting hundreds of children at risk“Many NHS doctors, while admitting privately there is a crisis, refuse to speak out for fear of being branded ‘racist’.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Thus Spake Obama“The incompetence of our neo-monarchy.” – from mark steyn. – h/t charles murray!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Wine: Drinking in the Mother Vine“[R]eportedly the oldest cultivated grapevine in North America.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Scientists date world’s oldest animal at 507 years old — after they accidentally kill it – *facepalm* – h/t nelson!

(note: comments do not require an email. ming – the ex-world’s oldest animal.)

something’s rotten in the state of denmark

i really don’t know how the danes can claim they’re the happiest people in the world year after year, when the place must STINK to high heaven thanks to how very rotten the place has apparently become.

in an unbelievably nightmarish case of déjà vu, professor helmuth nyborg has been watsoned for crimethink. again. in happy, happy denmark.

professor nyborg has come under fire for a paper which he published in 2012, The decay of Western civilization: Double relaxed Darwinian Selection. (no, i haven’t read it.) dr. james thompson has the details here on his blog: Helmuth Nyborg gets Watson’d (see also My letter to Scientific Dishonesty Minister).

in short what has happened this time is that three girlie men — and they must be girlie men, because real men — real scientists — would’ve just submitted a rebuttal paper to Personality and Individual Difference, the journal in question here — but, noooo — these three girlie men, these three harpies, complained to a committee about professor nyborg’s paper.

see? girlie men.

professors jens mammen, jens kvorning, and morten kjeldgaard took it upon themselves to complain to the danish ministry of love’s science, innovation and higher education’s danish committees on scientific dishonesty (dcsd) about what they viewed as problems with nyborg’s paper. these included accusations of plagiarism. there were, if i understand it correctly, six original charges. the dcsd has found professor nyborg guilty of two of them. you can read the decision and the entire case here [pdf] — if you read danish. a reader at dr. thompson’s blog has given a brief synopsis of the decision.

most amazingly: “Denne afgørelse kan ikke påklages til anden administrativ myndighed, jf. § 34 i lovbekendtgørelse nr. 1064 af 6. september 2010 om forskningsrådgivning m.v.”

google translation: This decision can not be appealed to any other administrative authority under § 34 of Act No. 1064 of 6 September 2010 on research consultancy, etc.”

wtf, denmark?!

these danish committees on scientific dishonesty have a colorful history. from wikipedia:

“Previously obscure, the DCSD became embroiled in controversy after its January 2003 decision that the 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjørn Lomborg was ‘clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice’, due to the author’s systematically biased choice of data, and objectively was scientifically irredeemable, but Lomborg himself could not be subjectively convicted of intentional or gross negligence. Lomborg had argued in his book that claims by environmentalists about global warming, overpopulation, deforestation, and other matters are not scientifically substantiated. The DCSD further held that because of Lomborg’s lack of scientific expertise, he had not shown intentional or gross negligence, and acquitted him of the accusations of scientific dishonesty.

“In February 2003, Lomborg filed a complaint with the Ministry, and in December 2003, the Ministry found that the DCSD’s handling of the investigation in the case had been improper, and remitted it for re-examination. In March 2004, the DCSD stated that since its finding had been to acquit Lomborg of the charges of scientific dishonesty (although they had criticized his biased selection of data), there was no basis to re-open the investigation, and dismissed the case.

“The original DCSD decision about Lomborg provoked a petition among Danish academics. 308 scientists, many of them from the social sciences, criticised the DCSD’s methods in the case and called for the DCSD to be disbanded.” (see also nature.)

ah ha! i see. so the dcsd is the place to go in denmark if you want to whine about some politically incorrect research/opinions and hope to scupper the career of whomever the crimethinker happens to be. gotcha.

from that wikipedia article, we learn that professor mammen, one of the whiners to the dcsd this time, was formerly a member of this board of inquisitors the dcsd, but he resigned in a huff the last time professor nyborg was brought before the committee to recant…er…i mean, defend himself:

“The DCSD was involved in another controversy investigating a paper on sex and intelligence authored by Helmuth Nyborg. After the DCSD cleared Nyborg of the charges of scientific misconduct, two Aarhus University professors, Lise Togeby and Jens Mammen resigned from their positions in the DCSD, citing that the DCSD operated from too narrow of a framework.”

maybe they were disappointed that they couldn’t test whether or not professor nyborg would float.

we’ve recently been discussing on the blog here authoritarian personality types and behaviors — including left-wing authoritarianism which van hiel, et al., found in the populace in flemish belgium, but only in extreme left-wing parties like the communist and stalinist(!) parties of that country. i think that, perhaps, we may be seeing an example of left-wing authoritarianism in action in this case.

van hiel, et al., only looked at willingness to use violence and willingness to submit to a strong leader as characteristics of left-wing authoritarianism, and i’m certainly not accusing any of these men of being willing to use physical violence against anybody (there’s no evidence at all for that) — however they do seem willing to go to some extreme measures to shut nyborg up. rather than simply provide evidence that his conclusions are wrong, which is what a scientist ought to do, they attack him in the danish media (apparently) and drag him repeatedly before ridiculous committees. in other words, they have been trying to destroy his reputation and his career, rather than to engage with his arguments.

all of this sounds extreme to me — left-wing authoritarian, in fact. and — surprise, surprise! — one of these three fellows, professor mammen, was actually a member of a communist party in denmark for fourteen years (1974-1988) [in danish]. not that there’s anything wrong with that! he’s perfectly entitled to belong to any party he wants. but a communist party, according to van hiel, et al., is exactly where we should expect to find left-wing authoritarians in western europe.

professor kjeldgaard has also acted in some extreme ways wrt professor nyborg. he, in fact, keeps an entire blog/website devoted to tracking nyborg. yeah. weird. google translation:

“The most advanced eugenics (eugenics) advocacy in Denmark is Emeritus Professor Helmuth Nyborg, a former employee at the Department of Psychology, University of Aarhus.

“Eugenik.dk dedicated to documenting the international network of eugenicists, their scientific tinkering, and the so-called ‘Nyborg case’ a case of scientific misconduct raised by Aarhus University against Helmuth Nyborg in 2002.”

again, he’s perfectly entitled to be weird like this imho, but it does come off as rather…stalker-ish. (why not just write rebuttal articles??)

i am tired of these watsonings, richwinings, derbyshearings, and nyborgizations. GROW UP PEOPLE!! act like academics engaged in the search for facts and the truth for a change!

someone over at dr. thompson’s blog quoted steven pinker on the last time professor nyborg was watsoned. i think i’ll quote him, too:

“I am writing to protest the shocking and disgraceful treatment of Dr. Helmuth Nyborg following publication of his report on possible gender differences in average IQ scores. Dr. Nyborg may be mistaken, but the issue he is addressing is a factual one, and can only be evaluated by an open examination of the evidence. To ‘investigate’ him, shut down his research, or otherwise harass him because his findings are politically incorrect is unworthy of an institution dedicated to the understanding of reality. It is reminiscent of the persecution of Galileo, the crippling of Soviet science and agriculture under Lysenko, and the attempt of the American religious right wing to inhibit the teaching of evolution in the schools.

“No one has the right to legislate the truth. It can only be discovered by free inquiry, and that includes investigations that may make people uncomfortable. This is the foundation of liberal society, and it is threatened by attempts to interfere with Dr. Nyborg and his research. If he is incorrect, that will be established by a community of scholars who examine his evidence and arguments and criticize them in open forums of debate, not by the exercise of force to prevent him from pursuing his research. These are the tactics of a police state, and bring shame on any institution that uses them.”

hear, hear!

update: see also – Danish Government Tries to Censor Science it Doesn’t Like by helmuth nyborg @american renaissance (thanks, elijah!).

previously: “to disbelieve in witchcraft is the greatest of heresies”

(note: comments do not require an email. girlie men.)