linkfest: 05/27/14

Quick Questions for Peter and Rosemary Grant“There is widespread misunderstanding about evolution; that it occurs extremely slowly and therefore cannot be studied in a person’s lifetime. This was the view of Charles Darwin. Many biologists and others now know that this is not correct…. The idea that animals as large as birds might evolve before our eyes is not so well known, yet our study in the entirely natural world of Daphne Major island has revealed this does in fact happen when there is a change in the environment, and it takes place over a period as short as a year, and repeatedly.” – h/t billare!

Is DNA Multilingual?“The genetic code has traditionally been viewed as a universal set of instructions, exquisitely tuned to maintain robust stability and allow evolution-sustaining mutations. But the pervasive occurrence of recoded stop codons, and the backchannel crosstalk between microbes and viruses, paints a more intricate picture of multilingual genetic instructions.”

Jelly genome mystery“The uniqueness of this ctenophore’s nervous system leads Moroz and his team to argue that it must have evolved independently, after the ctenophore lineage branched off from other animals some 500 million years ago.”

Genomic divergence in a ring species complex“Ring species provide particularly clear demonstrations of how one species can gradually evolve into two, but are rare in nature…. Here we use genome-wide analyses to show that, although spatial patterns of genetic variation are currently mostly as expected of a ring species, historical breaks in gene flow have existed at more than one location around the ring, and the two Siberian forms have occasionally interbred.” – h/t razib!

Natural selection and infectious disease in human populations“The ancient biological ‘arms race’ between microbial pathogens and humans has shaped genetic variation in modern populations, and this has important implications for the growing field of medical genomics. As humans migrated throughout the world, populations encountered distinct pathogens, and natural selection increased the prevalence of alleles that are advantageous in the new ecosystems in both host and pathogens. This ancient history now influences human infectious disease susceptibility and microbiome homeostasis, and contributes to common diseases that show geographical disparities, such as autoimmune and metabolic disorders.”

High genetic differentiation between populations often driven by classic selective sweeps“‘We demonstrate that while sites of low differentiation represent sampling effects rather than balancing selection, sites showing extremely high population differentiation are enriched for positive selection events and that one half may be the result of classic selective sweeps. Among these, we rediscover known examples, where we actually identify the established functional SNP, and discover novel examples including the genes ABCA12, CALD1 and ZNF804, which we speculate may be linked to adaptations in skin, calcium metabolism and defense, respectively. Conclusions: We have identified known and many novel candidate regions for geographically restricted positive selection, and suggest several directions for further research.'” – @dienekes’.

Mendelian-Mutationism: The Forgotten Evolutionary Synthesis – h/t neuroskeptic! who tweeted: “Did geneticists ‘crack’ the secret of evolution much earlier than believed?”

this one’s for linton!: Why Marrying Your Cousin May Pay Off“In line with previous findings, the researchers found that among non-foraging societies, a couple’s relatedness was linked with having more surviving children. But among foraging societies, the opposite was true: More-closely related spouses had fewer surviving children. Furthermore, the more family intermarriage in a society, the greater the benefit of intermarrying on the number of children couples had. In other words, in societies in which people frequently married their relatives, intermarrying showed a stronger link to having more children.”

The Closest of Strangers“[I]dentical twins who are aunts and uncles invest more in caring for the children of their twins (their ‘genetic’ sons and daughters) than do fraternal twins.”

Why Do Honor Killings Defy the First Law of Homicide? And Will Smaller Families Lead to Fewer Of Them? – h/t tom farsides! – previously: inclusive inclusive fitness.

Genetic and educational assortative mating among US adults“We find that spouses are more genetically similar than two individuals chosen at random but this similarity is at most one-third the magnitude of educational similarity.”

Irish fair skin can be traced to India and the Middle East“A major new US study at Penn State University has found that Europeans’ light skin stems from a gene mutation from a single person who lived 10,000 years ago…. Keith Cheng from Penn State College of Medicine reported that one amino acid difference in the gene SLC24A5 is a key contributor to the skin color difference between Europeans and West Africans…. ‘The mutation in SLC24A5 changes just one building block in the protein, and contributes about a third of the visually striking differences in skin tone between peoples of African and European ancestry, he said…. The mutation, called A111T, is found in virtually everyone of European ancestry. A111T is also found in populations in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, but not in high numbers in Africans. All individuals from the Middle East, North Africa, East Africa and South India who carry the A111T mutation share traces of the ancestral genetic code. According to the researchers, this indicates that all existing instances of this mutation originate from the same person.” – h/t 23andMe!

The puzzle of European hair, eye, and skin color“The physical appearance of Europeans seems to result from a selection pressure that acted primarily on women and only secondarily on men. This is especially true for highly visible traits on or near the face—the focus of visual attention.” – from peter frost.

The Dark Triad of Personality – special issue of Personality and Individual Differences. – h/t claire lehmann!

Heritability of brain volume change and its relation to intelligence“Human brain volumes change throughout life, are highly heritable, and have been associated with general cognitive functioning…. Results show that changes in volumes of total brain (mean=-6.4ml; -0.5% loss), cerebellum (1.4ml, 1.0% increase), cerebral white matter (4.4ml, 0.9% increase), lateral ventricles (0.6ml; 4.8% increase) and in surface area (-19.7cm2, -1.1% contraction) are heritable (h2=43%; 52%; 29%; 31%; and 33%, respectively). An association between IQ (available for 91 participants) and brain volume change was observed, which was attributed to genes involved in both the variation in change in brain volume and in intelligence. Thus, dynamic changes in brain structure are heritable and may have cognitive significance in adulthood.”

Cognitive abilities amongst the Sámi population“Lapps have an IQ around 100.8 are tilted towards visuospatial ability and away from verbal ability.” – from elijah armstrong, michael woodley the younger, and richard lynn. edit: original paper here on elijah’s blog! (^_^)

The Flynn Effect in a Nutshell – from elijah.

Does brain structure determine your political views?“‘People like to believe that their own political beliefs are rational, that they’re a sensible response to the world around them, so when we come along and say, “Maybe there are these predispositions, influential but perhaps not fully in your conscious awareness,” that’s not the way we like to view our own political beliefs.'” – h/t mr. robert ford!

Sex-Related Neuroanatomical Basis of Emotion Regulation Ability“Behavioral research has demonstrated that males have a higher capability of regulating their own and others’ emotions than females; however, little is known about the sex-specific brain mechanisms involved in emotion regulation ability…. we found the sex differences in the neuroanatomical basis of emotion regulation ability. Males showed a stronger positive relation between emotion regulation ability and regional gray matter volume (rGMV) in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In contrast, females demonstrated a stronger positive relation between emotion regulation ability and rGMV in an anatomical cluster that extends from the left brainstem to the left hippocampus, the left amygdala and the insular cortex.”

More Maps of the American Nations – from jayman.

Privilege and Morality“Our species isn’t good at nuance. The ‘privilege’ debate will and must take place in a morally charged context. It is not possible to sanitize the discussion by scrubbing it free of moral emotions. That is one of the many reasons why it is so important to understand what morality is and why it exists. It does not exist as a transcendental entity that happened to pop into existence with the big bang, nor does it exist because the Big Man upstairs wants it that way. It exists because it evolved.” – from helian.

Economic Growth & Human Biodiversity“Economic growth in lower-IQ countries does not invalidate either the reality of IQ differences between countries or the persistence of those disparities.” – from pseudoerasmus.

Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence“Switzerland is recognized as a country of peace, stability and prosperity. This is surprising because of its linguistic and religious diversity that in other parts of the world lead to conflict and violence. Here we analyze how peaceful stability is maintained. Our analysis shows that peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups, allowing for partial autonomy within a single country. In Switzerland, mountains and lakes are an important part of the boundaries between sharply defined linguistic areas. Political canton and circle (sub-canton) boundaries often separate religious groups. Where such boundaries do not appear to be sufficient, we find that specific aspects of the population distribution guarantee either sufficient separation or sufficient mixing to inhibit intergroup violence according to the quantitative theory of conflict. In exactly one region, a porous mountain range does not adequately separate linguistic groups and that region has experienced significant violent conflict, leading to the recent creation of the canton of Jura.”

Was Territoriality Important in the Pleistocene? A Commentary on Johnson and Toft – @peter turchin’s.

Southern Europe is suspicious: the evolution of trust in the EU – ess and wvs results.

Trust and In-Group Favoritism in a Culture of Crime [pdf] – h/t ben southwood! who tweeted: “Areas in Palermo with high Mafia involvement have lower generalised trust but higher in-group favouritism.”

In dogs’ play, researchers see honesty and deceit, perhaps something like morality – woof!

What is Phonemic Diversity? — And Does It Prove the Out-of-Africa Theory? – h/t james winters!

How a Protestant spin machine hid the truth about the English Reformation“It seems that in 1533, the year of Henry’s break from Rome, traditional Catholicism was the religion of the vast majority of the country. And in most places it was absolutely thriving. It had developed a particularly English flavour, with a focus on the involvement of ordinary people in parish churches, village greens, plays, and pageants – much of which seemed to involve a good deal of community parties, dancing, and drinking. It is true that English religion in the early 1500s was not especially studious or erudite. The people did not spend hours a day in biblical studies, contemplation, and moralising in the manner of the more intense European reformers. But England had a nationally cohesive spirituality that was alive and exuberant, with a distinctly community feel…. The conclusion of this modern grassroots scholarship is that bulldozing the Catholic Church off the face of medieval England was not a ‘bottom up’ revolution in which Henry merely acquiesced to his people’s wishes by throwing off a widely hated foreign domination. To the contrary, it looks increasingly like Henry and his circle imposed the Reformation ‘top down’, unleashing 100 years of deep anger and alienation that was only overcome by sustained politicking and ruthless force.” – h/t william briggs!

bonus: “No Oxygen? No Problem!” Says Squid That Can Shut Down Its Metabolism – h/t kyle hill!

bonus bonus: A Theory on How Flightless Birds Spread Across the World: They Flew There

bonus bonus bonus: Chicken project gets off the ground“Effort aims to unravel the history of bird’s domestication.” – cluck!

(note: comments do not require an email. humble humboldt squid!)

Advertisements

linkfest – 12/05/13

another sunday linkfest on a thursday. what IS the world coming to?! =/

Baffling 400,000-Year-Old Clue to Human Origins – denisovans in SPAIN 400,000 years ago! cool. – see also 400 thousand year old human mtDNA from Sima de los Huesos from dienekes. – and see also Hominin DNA baffles experts.

Snakes outpacing other vertebrates in race to evolve“The first two full snake genomes to be sequenced – belonging to the Burmese python and the king cobra – show that they have one of the fastest rates of genetic evolution among vertebrates.”

Earliest Stone-Tipped Projectiles from the Ethiopian Rift Date to >279,000 Years Ago“Projectile weapons (i.e. those delivered from a distance) enhanced prehistoric hunting efficiency by enabling higher impact delivery and hunting of a broader range of animals while reducing confrontations with dangerous prey species. Projectiles therefore provided a significant advantage over thrusting spears…. Direct evidence for such projectiles is thus far unknown from >80,000 years ago. Data from velocity-dependent microfracture features, diagnostic damage patterns, and artifact shape reported here indicate that pointed stone artifacts from Ethiopia were used as projectile weapons (in the form of hafted javelin tips) as early as >279,000 years ago.” – see also Oldest Javelins Predate Modern Humans, Raise Questions on Evolution – h/t naturalismo! – and see also Stone tipped spears used 500,000 years ago – thrusting ones, tho.

Discovery of partial skeleton suggests ruggedly built, tree-climbing human ancestor“Massive arm bones provide insight into how ‘robust’ P. boisei species, found by Leakey, adapted in Africa.”

Iberian Neolithic farmer DNA“‘The Neolithic Portalón individual is genetically most similar to southern Europeans, similar to a Scandinavian Neolithic farmer and the Tyrolean Iceman. In contrast, the Neolithic Portalón individual displays little affinity to two Mesolithic samples from the near-by area, La Brana, demonstrating a distinct change in population history between 7,000 and 4,000 years ago for the northern Iberian Peninsula.'” – @dienekes’.

How genetics are rewriting the history of the Caribbean“The Spanish who arrived in the New World were de facto polygamists who killed or enslaved the local men and impregnated the women.” – from razib.

Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal“Maps of neural circuitry show women’s brains are suited to social skills and memory, men’s perception and co-ordination…. Maps of neural circuitry showed that on average women’s brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men’s brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions.” – see also Sex differences in the structural connectome of the human brain. – and see also Stop the Presses! from malcolm pollack. (^_^)

Promiscuity Is Pragmatic“Why women and other female primates seek out multiple partners…. [T]here are two environmental contexts where women commonly choose multiple partners. The first is where women have more material support from their kin or economic independence from men more generally. This may explain why multiple mating is most common among small-scale matrilocal societies (in which women remain in their home village after marriage), such as the partible paternity societies of South America or the Mosuo of China. It may also explain why female infidelity has increased in Western societies as women have gained greater political and economic independence…. The second environmental context Scelza identified is where the sex ratio is female-biased (indicating a scarcity of men) or there is a high level of male unemployment (indicating a scarcity of men who can provide support).” – one for the gameboyz. (~_^)

The Associations Among Dark Personalities and Sexual Tactics Across Different Scenarios – h/t neuroskeptic!

Sharing is Caring? – from the awesome epigone.

Height prediction from common DNA variants – from steve hsu.

Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations – epigenetic effects passed on between generations? there are those who are skeptical. (^_^) – see also Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors.

PISA, piece by piece – from steve sailer. see also steve’s Graph of 2012 PISA scores for 65 countries/economies.

Our IQs Are Climbing, But We’re Not Getting Smarter – re. woodley and armstrong paper.

Academic experts criticise Boris Johnson IQ claims“Dr James Thompson, senior lecturer in psychology at University College London, said Boris had been ‘inelegant’ in his choice of words. Thompson, co-author of Cognitive Capitalism, said: ‘What Boris Johnson has done is inelegantly describe things which in fact do seem to be true: intelligence, however you assess it, is predictive. It’s predicative of income, life span and of occupational status. People are different and have different futures and intelligence seems to be an important part of that.’ He said studies showed there seemed to be a correlation between ‘being bright in youth and doing well in life later’. Asked if inequality was inevitable, he said: ‘In one way that is true. There’s two things, one is that some people are brighter than others and can do more complicated work and that more complicated work is generally more valued.’ However, he added that how much people should be paid was a decision for society. Professor Richard Lynn, co-author of IQ and the Wealth of Nations, said that the association between IQ and income was ‘only modest’. ‘That is because some high IQ people go into jobs that don’t have particularly high earnings like university professors, schoolteachers or social workers. Some professions attract very high IQ people but they don’t have very high earnings,’ he said. ‘You could say that the IQ is only one determinant of high earnings, the others are ambition and motivation and the third one is luck.'” – h/t holtz!

The 7 tribes of intellect – from dr. james thompson.

Morality and the State“In general, ‘virtuous’ states – those free of corruption, that do not cheat or steal from their citizens, and that are effective in enforcing laws that are perceived as just – are more effective at promoting the common weal than their opposites. Heraclitus’ dictum that ‘character is destiny’ likely applies to states as well as individuals. I personally think that states are far more likely to be ‘virtuous’ in that sense if their powers are carefully circumscribed and limited.”

Could absence of a father permanently rewire the brain? – from mr. mangan, esq.

Investigation reveals black market in China for research paper authoring“The journal Science has uncovered, via investigation, a thriving black market in science paper authoring—people are paying to have their names added to papers that have been written to describe research efforts…. All in all, the investigative team contacted 27 agencies involved in helping researchers get their work published—only five of them refused an offer to pay for adding a name to a research paper.”

Researchers find first evidence of primates regularly sleeping in caves – ring-tailed lemurs!

Ancestral Journeys – greg cochran reviews a book! – just like he threatened promised!

Why biology belongs in the study of politics – h/t avi tuschman!

Does Nyborg’s study make sense?“One other thing bothers me. So please let me say it. Why must the Danes prove that they deserve to keep their country to themselves? Isn’t that a basic right? They have only one land to call home…unlike the many ‘refugees’ who regularly visit their own homelands. Once the Danes lose majority status in their country, they’ll be like the Copts of Egypt and other minorities in this world. They’ll have to live by their wits, trying to balance off one potential enemy against another.” – hear, hear! – from peter frost.

Migration Hurts the Homeland“The migration that research shows is unambiguously beneficial is the kind in which young people travel to democracies like America for higher education and then go home. Not only do these young people bring back valuable skills directly learned in the classroom; they bring back political and social attitudes that they have assimilated from their classmates. Their skills raise the productivity of the unskilled majority, and their attitudes accelerate democratization…. Many on the left, for their part, don’t like to recognize that we’re taking away fairy godmothers. They prefer to believe that they’re helping poor people flee difficult situations at home. But we might be feeding a vicious circle, in which home gets worse precisely because the fairy godmothers leave. Humanitarians become caught up trying to help individuals, and therefore miss the larger implications: There are poor people, and there are poor societies. An open door for the talented would help Facebook’s bottom line, but not the bottom billion. – h/t michael story!

A very mild form of Sapir-Whorf – from elijah.

Are Alzheimer’s and diabetes the same disease?

Are You A Workaholic? Blame Your Parents“A new study from the University of Michigan finds that how we feel about work depends on how our parents feel about work.” – especially your father, apparently. hmmmm.

Unearthed Peruvian tomb confirms that women ruled over brutal ancient culture“Archaeologists digging in an ancient Peruvian tomb have unearthed a skeleton, confirming that a mysterious people known as the Moche were ruled by a succession of queens that presided over a brutal and ritualistic society.” – h/t heartiste!

Did ancient Polynesians visit California? Maybe so.“Scholars revive idea using linguistic ties, Indian headdress” – h/t charles mann!

Why did Vinland fail? – h/t jayman!

10,000-year-old settlement unearthed in SW Ireland

bonus: Fruit flies with better sex lives live longer“Male fruit flies that perceived sexual pheromones of their female counterparts – without the opportunity to mate – experienced rapid decreases in fat stores, resistance to starvation and more stress. The sexually frustrated flies lived shorter lives.” – bzz. =(

bonus bonus: The Boomer Bust“Here we are in the baby boom cosmos. What have we wrought?” – by p.j. o’rourke – h/t charles murray!

bonus bonus bonus: The Year of the Hoax – from chuck @gucci little piggy.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: good news from australia! – Abbott’s Govt to dump laws on hate speech.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Doris Lessing’s Impatience With Political Correctness“‘Political correctness’ had become, Lessing said, ‘a kind of mildew blighting the whole world,’ particularly academic and intellectual circles — a ‘self-perpetuating machine for dulling thought.'”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Moon gardens: NASA to sow 1st seeds of future habitat

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Mafia ‘fed rival to pigs while he was still alive’ – how could i not link to this??

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Giant prehistoric toilet unearthed – poo!

(note: comments do not require an email. you are not a human!)

clans in the news: potpourri

remember that hmong shooting the other day? when five people were shot?:

“Hmong shootings may have been motivated by grudge”

“A grudge could be the motive in a shooting that put five people in the hospital.

“‘It is a wake-up call to all of us,’ said Linda Lor.

“She is the former executive director for the Hmong Association in Tulsa. On Saturday night there was a Xiong family reunion with all of the clans. In the Hmong community, a family group is known by clans and are divided by last names….

“‘We try in every possible way to mediate the problem through the clan leaders,’ said Lor.

“She said there are about 10 Hmong clans in Tulsa and 200 families. The family leader of the clan will help resolve issues such as marriages, divorce or children or they go to court, which will cost money. In some cases, they make a big statement but are not known to resort to violence like the incident on Saturday….

“She said there was a grudge with the Lees that no one knew about it….”
_____

this is not a big surprise:

“Arab municipal elections [in israel] dependent on family connections, not ideology”

“Arab towns and villages are likely to have a higher turnout in next week’s municipal elections, compared to Jewish areas. However, unlike Jewish areas, where votes are seen as based on ideology, party, or the experience and skills of the candidates, Arab areas tend to vote for candidates based on family or hamula (‘clan’) connections.

“In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Sami Miaari, an Israeli Arab lecturer at Tel Aviv University in the department of labor studies and a research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, said that participation in Arab municipalities will most likely show a 90 percent participation rate.

“The elections in the Arab villages are a struggle between clans and families, with the more powerful families winning the most votes, said Miaari….

“In the Arab sector, families are able to bring out the votes by offering benefits and by tapping into group loyalty and tradition, he said.”
_____

albanian gangs. eeek!:

“The Albanian mafia under investigation”

“According to the National Anti-Mafia Directorate – an organ of the Italian State’s General Attorney for the fight against organized crime, the Albanian mafia has gained a leading role in Italy’s drug market….

“Albanian crime organisations, usually small to medium size, are based on blood ties and family relationships. ‘Albanian crime is a maze made of many, small groups’, explains Enzo Ciconte, university professor and historian, author of Mafie straniere in Italia. Storia ed evoluzione (Foreign Mafia in Italy. History and Evolution, Rubbettino, 2003). The criminal network is made of ‘people of the village’, people related to each other. This discourages drop-out. As happens with Calabrian clans, fighting silence is not easy. Law enforcement and judges have a tough challenge to deal with.

“Missing pieces

“Some pieces are, however, missing in the photograph of Albanian crime in Italy. First of all, nobody seems to have an idea of the business turnover. Second, who are the clans? Where are they rooted? Which national crime organisation are they emanation of? According to the DCSA, here there is a serious identification issue, since Albanian law allows to change identity with a simple procedure at the local municipal office in one’s place of residence, which suggests that adopting a new name and surname might be common practice among traffickers.

“However, the lack of information about clans and their turnover may also hint that the police struggles even more than usual in hunting down Albanian criminal groups….”
_____

somali pirates? funded by clan chiefs. h/t mark weiner!:

“Captain Phillips: the forgotten hostages”

“A former Royal Signals officer, he [colonel john steed] first dealt with piracy cases while serving as defence attaché to the British Embassy between 2007 and 2009, during which the British sailors Paul and Rachel Chandler were taken hostage. Recently he worked on counter-piracy issues for the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, but when that office was restructured earlier this year, he set up a new mission, the Secretariat for Regional Maritime Security, to try to resolve the most intractable hostage cases.

“It is not as grand as the title sounds. While the UN has agreed to fund one of his staff, he runs it out of his house in a Nairobi suburb, and does not get paid himself. ‘I am doing it out of the kindness of my heart,’ he says.

“So how does he persuade the pirates to hand over their hostages without a ransom? ‘With great difficulty,’ comes the answer. Most pirate gangs, he points out, are themselves in debt to clan chiefs who have funded their missions, and are reluctant to accept that they have picked one of the few boats whose owners cannot pay a ransom. In previous cases, though, they have been persuaded to accept a cut-and-run payment for their ‘expenses’, which can sometimes be arranged via a whip-round in the shipping industry….”
_____

previously: clans in the news: syria

(note: comments do not require an email. mustashioed bird!)

linkfest – 09/08/13

Digesting Milk in Ethiopia: A Case of Multiple Genetic Adaptations“A team of geneticists from UCL, University of Addis Ababa and Roskilde University have shown that five different alleles are found in the Ethiopian population that cause adult lactase production, one of which is newly confirmed.” – h/t andrew badenoch!

Friendship and Natural Selection“More than any other species, humans form social ties to individuals who are neither kin nor mates, and these ties tend to be with similar people. Here, we show that this similarity extends to genotypes. Across the whole genome, friends’ genotypes at the SNP level tend to be positively correlated (homophilic); however, certain genotypes are negatively correlated (heterophilic). A focused gene set analysis suggests that some of the overall correlation can be explained by specific systems; for example, an olfactory gene set is homophilic and an immune system gene set is heterophilic.” – via charles!

Scientists to sequence genomes of hundreds of newborns

Bone dates ‘earliest northerner’, say archaeologists in Liverpool“Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Nottingham analysed a leg bone found in Cumbria and found it to be more than 10,000 years old.” – [winter is coming….]

Convergent evolution seen in hundreds of genes“Bats and dolphins may have developed echolocation via similar mutations.”

Darkness in Anthropology: A Conversation with Napoleon Chagnon“Probably the single most anthropologically unacceptable thing I did was to take ‘biology’ seriously…. I began using commonly known ways to ‘measure’ relatedness between organisms — Sewall Wright’s coefficient of inbreeding and its extended concept, the coefficient of relatedness. This was very unusual in cultural anthropology. In short, I was discussing Yanomamö kinship with *the biological meaning* of kinship in mind — at a time when the vast majority of cultural anthropologists assumed that ‘kinship’ and ‘the biological meaning of Yanomamö kinship’ were, at best, only vaguely similar and any allusion to this was generally ‘suspect.’ But since ‘kinship’ was traditionally a central focus of anthropological theory, I began developing ways to show precisely, using my meticulous genealogies on the Yanomamö, that people took sides in fights according to how closely *genetically* they were related to each other and fought against people they were *less related to genetically*. Many of the most prominent anthropologists held the extreme view that ‘kinship’ among humans had *nothing* to do with the biological meaning of kinship as is assumed in the fields of biology, genetics, or animal husbandry. A common claim was something to the effect that ‘whatever kinship among humans was about, it was NOT about biology.'” – h/t g-nice!

Penn Biologists Show That Generosity Leads to Evolutionary Success – stewart and plotkin “examined the outcome of the Prisoner’s Dilemma as played repeatedly by a large, evolving population of players. While other researchers have previously suggested that cooperative strategies can be successful in such a scenario, Stewart and Plotkin offer mathematical proof that the *only* strategies that succeed in the long term are generous ones.”

Confusions about race: A new installment [pdf] – from neven sesardic. – h/t holtz!

Why Do Black Women Have A Higher Risk of Death from Heart Disease Than White Women? – more atypical symptoms than white women, apparently.

How Inbred are Europeans? – now that’s my kinda post! (^_^) – from jayman.

Arabs and Liberal Democracy: A Primer – @thosewhocansee.

On the Relevance of Science to Morality“[I]ssues of morality can’t be answered by scientific experiments because there are no such entities as issues of morality…. Moral emotions are part of the behavioral repertoire of several species of animals, including human beings.” – helian makes me smile. (^_^)

The Clannish World of Organized Crime“[T]he way clannishness and OC go hand in hand like described above can’t be a coincidence. Rather, it makes perfect sense given the very definitions of these concepts. Clannishness is taking care of yourself and your group, often with violence, at the expense of other people and society. OC can be described in the exact same way.” – oh, yes. – from staffan.

Obesity in Germany: The fault-line divides the nation again – from agnostic.

Why are we the naked ape?“Loss of body hair was a long-term evolutionary trend in ancestral hominids and even ancestral primates, being perhaps a response to a greater need for social signaling. In ancestral humans, the selection pressure seems to have gone through three stages, initially targeting infants and only later women and then men.” – from peter frost.

Are girls too normal? Sex differences in intelligence“Girls are more normal, boys are more extreme, so there are more boys at extremes, and the more extreme the extremes, the more boys.” – from dr. james thompson. – [are girls too normal? – i’m not! (~_^) ]

Spot The Alpha – heh! – from heartiste (who else?).

National stereotypes of business meetings – @steve sailer’s.

Individualism and Collectivism: U.S. State Comparison – from benjamin david steele.

Racial Differences in Masculinity-Femininity? – @the occidentalist. h/t jayman!

The New Science of Mind“Any discussion of the biological basis of psychiatric disorders must include genetics. And, indeed, we are beginning to fit new pieces into the puzzle of how genetic mutations influence brain development.”

Ability to delay gratification may be linked to social trust“A person’s ability to delay gratification — forgoing a smaller reward now for a larger reward in the future — may depend on how trustworthy the person perceives the reward-giver to be, according to a new study….”

Bigger and healthier: European men grow 11cm in a centurybigger is better! (~_^)

A Game of Homs“What striking about Syria is how so many people insist on speaking about it in profoundly moralistic, Manichaean terms. This is complete nonsense, given that its civil war isn’t a showdown between democracy and dictatorship, but an ethnic and religious conflict. Here’s a more realistic guide.” – really good stuff from anatoly!

Ed West interview: debating the ‘illusions’ of a diverse society

America’s greatest days lie ahead – provided she is true to herselft.greer says: “Daniel Hannan(!) reviews America 3.0 and its Emmnauel Todd theory of America.”

Children with behavioral problems more at risk of inflammation“Children with behavioral problems may be at risk of many chronic diseases in adulthood including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, as well as inflammatory illnesses (conditions which are caused by cell damage).”

Slaughtered bodies stripped of their flesh – a gruesome glimpse of Iron-Age massacre at UK’s largest hill fort“Hundreds if not thousands stripped of their flesh and chopped up, say archaeologists.”

Carbon dating shows ancient Egypt’s rapid expansion“The powerful civilisation of ancient Egypt took just a few centuries to build, according to a radiocarbon dating study that sets the first solid chronology for the period…. Archaeologists have assumed it developed gradually from the pastoral communities that preceded it, but physicist Mike Dee from the University of Oxford and his colleagues now suggest that the transition could have taken as little as 600 years.” – see also A chronology of ancient Egypt @dienekes’.

Declassified spy photographs reveal lost Roman frontier“Declassified spy photography has uncovered a lost Roman Eastern frontier, dating from the second century AD. Research by archaeologists at the Universities of Glasgow and Exeter has identified a long wall that ran 60 kilometers from the Danube to the Black Sea over what is modern Romania. It is considered the most easterly example of a man-made frontier barrier system in the Roman Empire.” – trajan’s rampart!

Melting Snow Reveals Iron Age Sweater“A boat neck sweater made of warm wool and woven in diamond twill was a dominating fashion trend among reindeer hunters 1,700 years ago, according to researchers who have investigated an extremely well preserved Iron Age tunic found two years ago under melting snow in Norway.”

bonus: Underwater volcano is Earth’s biggest“Tamu Massif rivals the size of Olympus Mons on Mars.” – cool!

bonus bonus: Evidence Found for Planet-Cooling Asteroid 12,900 Years Ago – which triggered the agricultural revolution…?

bonus bonus bonus: Making Sense of the Syrian Rebels’ Order of Battle

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Two years after Libya’s revolution, government struggles to control hundreds of armed militias – h/t mark krikorian! see also: Special report: We all thought Libya had moved on – it has, but into lawlessness and ruin. =(

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Car-theft epidemic at the border with Poland [and germany] – “Brandenburg police has repeatedly scolded German car owners for being naive. ‘They simply park their cars in the street….'” – imagine that!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The city that went to the dogs: With 60,000 on the streets, there is one stray for every 31 people in Bucharest

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Poll: Majority Of Americans Approve Of Sending Congress To Syria – heh! (~_^) – via mr. mangan, esq.

(note: comments do not require an email. wtf is this weird web-tower thing?)

“the rule of the clan”

john derbyshire pointed out this new book to me (thanks, john!)…

The Rule of the Clan – What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals About the Future of Individual Freedom

…written by a fellow named mark weiner.

(clans are so IN nowadays! (~_^) )

here’s a little taste of what’s in the book — from the introduction [kindle locations 120-140]:

“What exactly is the rule of the clan? When I refer to the rule of the clan, I mean three related contemporary phenomena.

“First, and most prominently, I mean the legal structures and cultural values of societies organized primarily on the basis of kinship-societies in which extended family membership is vital for social and legal action and in which individuals have little choice but to maintain a strong clan identity. Today these societies include many in which the United States and its allies have a major strategic interest, such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria, and Somalia, but they have existed across history and throughout the world. Sometimes they are described as ‘tribal,’ though I tend to avoid the term because in English it carries a host of negative and racialist connotations. This strict form of the rule of the clan also includes the traditional Hindu caste system and Indian joint family, despite the manifest great differences between tribal societies and rapidly modernizing democratic India.

“Second, by the rule of the clan I mean the political arrangements of societies governed by what the Arab Human Development Report 2004 calls ‘clannism’….”

“clannism.” i like that.

These societies possess the outward trappings of a modern state but are founded on informal patronage networks, especially those of kinship, and traditional ideals of patriarchal family authority. In nations pervaded by clannism, government is coopted for purely factional purposes and the state, conceived on the model of the patriarchal family, treats citizens not as autonomous actors but rather as troublesome dependents to be managed.

“Clannism is the historical echo of tribalism, existing even in the face of economic modernization. It often characterizes rentier societies struggling under the continuing legacy of colonial subordination, as in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, where the nuclear family, with its revolutionary, individuating power, has yet to replace the extended lineage group as the principle framework for kinship or household organization. A form of clannism likewise pervades mainland China and other nations whose political development was influenced by Confucianism, with its ideal of a powerful state resting on a well-ordered family, and where personal connections are essential to economic exchange….”

uh huh. additionally, actual clans have also been making a comeback in china as of late.

“Third, and most broadly, by the rule of the clan I mean the antiliberal social and legal organizations that tend to grow in the absence of state authority or when the state is weak. These groups include petty criminal gangs, the Mafia, and international crime syndicates, which look a great deal like clans and in many respects act like them….”

and, of course, the mafia, and many other international crime syndicates (like balkan criminal gangs which have spread across europe during the past decade or so), ARE extended family-/clan-based. make no mistake — a lot of these groups are not just clan-like.

looks to be a very interesting book — and information packed! i look forward to reading it, and no doubt i’ll have more to say about it soon! (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. yemeni clansmen/tribesmen.)

the other famiglia

“Inside the World of the ‘Ndrangheta”
“01/04/2012
“By Andreas Ulrich

“Encounters with the Calabrian Mafia

“The shadowy Calabrian mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, has become one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the Western world through its dominance of the European cocaine trade. For the first time, local syndicate bosses described their business model to SPIEGEL. It’s a mixture of entrepreneurial talent, skillful management and deadly ruthlessness….

“‘My German is better than my Italian,’ admits Carlo, who has been living in Germany for 30 years. He is wearing a black shirt, black trousers and black loafers — elegant Italian products, all made of high-quality materials. He was baptized at 18, he says.

“He is referring to the secret ritual in which he was accepted into the ‘onorata società,’ or ‘honored society,’ as the ‘Ndrangheta calls itself. His uncle brought him into the organization. This is often the case in such organizations, where cohesion is based on kinship and there are few traitors as a result….

“In its early days, the organization was little more than a loose collection of rural clans. Their activities centered around controlling their villages, protection money, hold-ups and public contracts….

“The experts with Germany’s BKA have studied the current structure of the ‘Ndrangheta. According to the BKA report, the syndicate is “no longer structured horizontally in individual family clans, but, like the Cosa Nostra, in the form of a pyramid.” In the province of Reggio Calabria, for example, the ‘Ndrangheta has divided itself into three so-called mandamenti. A ‘provincial commission,’ which rules over the entire organization, elects a ‘capo crimine,’ or chairman, each year….

“Although the ‘Ndrangheta operates worldwide, all important decisions are made in Calabria. In an era of globalization, the drug trade remains relatively anachronistic. Cocaine from South America arrives in southern Italy before it is distributed across the European continent. The clans feel safe on their home turf, which they treat as their territory….

“The Piromalli-Molé are among the most powerful ‘Ndrangheta clans in the region around Gioia Tauro. They are wholesalers in the international cocaine business. They have family connections in South America, and they have their agents in Germany, including people like Carlo….

To this day, strategic alliances are formed between families in the ‘Ndrangheta through marriage….

“”Gratteri is the anti-mafia prosecutor in Reggio Calabria. The prosecutor believes that the weakness of the state is also the strength of the ‘Ndrangheta. The mob bosses provide jobs, help people sort out problems with the government bureaucracy and recruit their young blood from the army of the unemployed and the hopeless. Gratteri also has no illusions about the police, which he says is already infiltrated by the ‘Ndrangheta, because of close family ties.

previously: la famiglia

(note: comments do not require an email. fuggedaboutit!)

la famiglia

so, we saw that at the time of italian unification — presumably a period of lots o’ social upheaval — italians started marrying their cousins more and more:

cavalli-sforza, et. al., put this down to increasing population size (more people around in the population, more cousins available to marry), and that may very well be right (altho i wonder about that). but i also think that people might just turn to marrying family as a sort-of security move in times of distress — like after the two world wars in italy.

another way that italians turned towards their families around this time period, especially in sicily, was in the development of the mafia. the feudal system (finally!) collapsed in sicily in the early part of the nineteenth century — and then the island was united to the rest of italy in 1860. (interesting times!) during all this upheaval, the mafia was born. originally it was simply a bunch of groups of extended family members and villagers (i.e. extended extended family members) banding together to protect themselves and their properties. aaaaand pretty soon they got into the protection racket. and the rest is godfather prequel material history.

a lot of the stories about the modern mafia (at least the ones i’ve read over the past couple of days) like to emphasize the almost corporate nature of the group now. you just swear an oath and you’re in. well, in some cases, yeah — but the various mafia clans are really mostly still that — clans.

from “Honour and Violence” [pgs. 88-89]:

“As is well known, mafia enterprise involves control over the local economy (including real estate, building contracts and markets), canvassing votes for politician-protectors and (since the 1970s) international drug-trafficking. There were well over a hundred of these families in Sicily as a whole and about twenty-five in Palermo alone. In total there were several thousand mafiosi. What is known about the composition and structure of these families?

“First, they include agnatic kinsmen — that is, blood relatives who are exclusively related through males or, differently phrased, related on the father’s side. Often, the core of these families consists of a father and his sons, a set of brothers, sometimes including one or more agnatic uncles and cousins. In particular, sets of brothers have always been very common in mafia families, both in the city and in the countryside.

“All these people are related by blood…. If in the absence of effective state control trust can be found anywhere, it is primarily in the bonds between agnatic kinsmen.

“Succession to positions of leadership usually follows the same agnatic lines. The oldest son often takes the place of his father, or, sometimes, his father’s brother or, less commonly, his mother’s brother….

“Bonds within and between mafia families are reinforced by intermarriage. Along with agnatic kinsmen, therefore, these families include in-laws, or affines. Also defined as kinsmen (parenti), they are relatives by marriage and as a rule not people to whom one is related by blood, although marriage between cousins does occur. Bonds with in-laws figure prominently in coalitions of mafiosi. Next to sets of agnatic kinsmen, one often finds sets of brothers-in-law as the core of these local groups of mafia families….

“Moreover, in order to illustrate the organizational flexibility and structural fluidity of the Sicilian mafia, matrilineal relations are also used to build powerful alliances. Of particular importance are the bonds between a mother’s brother and sister’s son since the position of leadership may also be transferred matrilineally….”

and, here from a report from the palermo public prosecutor’s office [pgs. 91 & 93]:

“The Spatolas were found to be one of the four Mafia Families forming a transatlantic colossus. The Cherry Hill Gambinos were another. The Inzerillos, closest of all clans to Stefano Bontate, were a third. The fourth, related to the other three by blood and marriage, were the Di Maggios of Palermo and southern New Jersey. Their intercontinental family ties resembled the Hapsburgs’ or Hohenzollerns’, the marriages arranged to strengthen dynasties and preserve the blood royal. There were six Spatolas involved, five Gambinos (three brothers and two cousins), four Di Maggios, and fifteen Inzerillos. The Gambinos’ mother’s brother was a Spatola. The Inzerillos’ father has married a Di Maggio, who brother had married a Spatola.

Salvatore Inzerillo, the biggest heroin broker of all, had been chosen to head the Family’s clan by his retiring uncle, Rosario Di Maggio…. Inzerillo was married to a Spatola [his mother’s brother’s daughter]. His sister was married to a Spatola. His uncle in New Jersey was married to a Gambino. His cousin and namesake in New Jersey was married to a Gambino. His cousin Tommaso was a brother-in-law of John Gambino, who was married to a different Gambino. His cousin Maria Concetta was the wife of John Gambino’s younger brother, Giuseppe. All the American-side members of these families were made Men of Honor from Sicily; and all had homes in or around Cherry Hill….

“These four families, living partly in Sicily and partly in New York, form a single clan unlike anything in Italy or the United States — the most potent Family in Cosa Nostra. John Gambino is the converging point in the United States for all of the group’s activities in Italy, and the final destination for its drug shipments. Salvatore Inzerillo has emerged as the Gambino brothers’ principal interlocutor, the central personage in Sicily, with myriad interests and heavy capital investments.”

la famiglia, indeed!

previously: il risorgimento and italian inbreeding? and inbreeding in italy and i wasn’t imagining it

(note: comments do not require an email. i know it was you.)