linkfest – 09/22/13

Flies see the world in slow motion, say scientists“Flies avoid being swatted in the same way Keanu Reeves dodges flying bullets in The Matrix, by watching time pass slowly, research suggests. The smaller an animal is, and the faster its metabolic rate, the slower time passes for it, scientists found. This means that across a wide range of species, time perception is directly related to size, with animals smaller than us seeing the world in slow motion…. ‘It’s tempting to think that for children time moves more slowly than it does for grown ups, and there is some evidence that it might…. People have shown in humans that flicker fusion frequency is related to a person’s subjective perception of time, and it changes with age. It’s certainly faster in children.’ – mind. blown.

Poverty Can Trump a Winning Hand of Genes“When psychologists first started studying twins, they found identical twins much more likely to have similar IQs than fraternal ones. They concluded that IQ was highly “heritable”—that is, due to genetic differences. But those were all high SES twins. Erik Turkheimer of the University of Virginia and his colleagues discovered that the picture was very different for poor, low-SES twins. For these children, there was very little difference between identical and fraternal twins: IQ was hardly heritable at all…. Richer children have similarly good educational opportunities, so genetic differences among them become more apparent…. But for poor children, haphazard differences in educational opportunity swamp genetic differences.”

Shy male birds keep closer ‘friends’“Shy male great tits have fewer ‘friends’ but build stronger bonds than bolder birds, researchers have found.” – speaking of birds: Warblers begin migrating after interbreeding.

Ancient genomes mirror mode of subsistence rather than geography in prehistoric Europe (preprint) – @dienekes’.

Pornography addiction leads to same brain activity as alcoholism or drug abuse, study shows“Cambridge University scientists reveal changes in brain for compulsive porn users which don’t occur in those with no such habit.”

Redneck Psychiatrists“Schizophrenia is more common in men than women – about 1.4 to 1. It’s more common in the lowest SES groups, although that may be downward drift. Schizophrenia is considerably more common among people of African ancestry…. Schizophrenia seems to be more common among people that grew up in cities – about twice as common.” – from greg cochran.

Stronger Sexual Impulses, Not Weaker Self-Control, May Explain Why Men Cheat More Than Women, Study Reveals

Painful and extreme rituals enhance social cohesion and charity“The study of 86 males in Mauritius found both observers and performers of the Kavadi were more charitable than those who only participated in the collective prayers. The researchers also found that higher levels of pain were positively associated with larger donations and a more inclusive self-identity.”

DNA Double Takechimeras! and other neat stuff.

Why parents think your partner isn’t good enough“[P]arents tend to give more resources to children whose partners provide less support, and that this leads to a conflict over mate choice…. ‘Parents are equally related to all of their children, whereas children value themselves more than their siblings — so each child wants to get more than their fair share of parental resources.’ This means that the children are willing to settle for a mate who is less caring than their parents would ideally like.”

The Social Life of Genes“Your DNA is not a blueprint. Day by day, week by week, your genes are in a conversation with your surroundings. Your neighbors, your family, your feelings of loneliness: They don’t just get under your skin, they get into the control rooms of your cells. Inside the new social science of genetics.” – h/t you know who you are!

Lifestyle Influences Metabolism via DNA Methylation“An unhealthy lifestyle leaves traces in the DNA. These may have specific effects on metabolism, causing organ damage or disease. Scientists of Helmholtz Zentrum München have now identified 28 DNA alterations associated with metabolic traits. This world-first epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) of modified genes and metabolites has been now published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.”

From Slavs to slaves. Part II“With the Christianization of Eastern Europe, the trade in fair-skinned women and boys came to an end.” – from peter frost.

The Books Interview: David Epstein – author of The Sports Gene.

In Defense of Neanderthals – from jim goad.

UC Davis research finds Neandertals, not modern humans, made first specialized bone tools in Europe

Who Was Eating Salmon 45,000 Years Ago in the Caucasus?“Neandertals Probably Not as Rigid in Their Diet as Thought” – h/t hbd bibliography!

You’ll never be Chinese“Except where there is economic benefit to be had, communities do not act together, and when they do it is only to ensure equal financial compensation for the pollution, or the government-sponsored illegal land grab, or the poisoned children.”

The £29 DNA dating test that takes a swab of your saliva to find your perfect partner – they’re looking at hla genes. note that this is not an endorsement!

bonus: Sending food to Africa to solve famine is barmy, says Sir David Attenborough as he blames overcrowding for crisis

bonus bonus: The British babies made in India“The surrogate mothers of India’s Akanksha Clinic eagerly await their 600th delivery. But is there an ethical price to pay?” – is there a biological price to pay?

bonus bonus bonus: Sex Jihad raging in Syria, claims minister“A Tunisian minister has revealed local women are travelling to Syria to undertake ‘sex jihad’ by giving battlefield comfort to Islamist fighters battling the regime…. ‘After the sexual liaisons they have there in the name of “jihad al-nikah” – (sexual holy war, in Arabic) – they come home pregnant,’ Ben Jeddou told the MPs. “ – ooohhh-kay.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: joey prusak – good guy! (^_^)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Dinosaur feathers found in Alberta amber“Feathers believed to be from dinosaurs have been found beautifully preserved in Alberta amber. The primitive, hair-like feathers known as protofeathers likely belonged to theropods — dinosaurs similar to tiny Tyrannosaurus rexes — that roamed the swampy forests of Alberta 80 million years ago….”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: ‘Rotating moon’ filmed by Nasa – video

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Is this the most extraordinary human brain ever seen? – yikes. =(

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

linkfest – 05/14/13

Emergence of Individuality in Genetically Identical Mice“Our results show that factors unfolding or emerging during development contribute to individual differences in structural brain plasticity and behavior.” – the nuture side of nature-nuture. – see also Mice, Men, and Fate.

Mysterious Minoans Were European, DNA Finds“[T]he research team analyzed DNA from ancient Minoan skeletons that were sealed in a cave in Crete’s Lassithi Plateau between 3,700 and 4,400 years ago…. The researchers found that the Minoan skeletons were genetically very similar to modern-day Europeans — and especially close to modern-day Cretans, particularly those from the Lassithi Plateau. They were also genetically similar to Neolithic Europeans, but distinct from Egyptian or Libyan populations.” see also dienekes.

Chinese project probes the genetics of genius“Bid to unravel the secrets of brainpower faces scepticism.”

Dogs and Humans Evolved Together, Study Suggests“[B]oth species underwent similar changes in genes responsible for digestion and metabolism, such as genes that code for cholesterol transport. Those changes could be due to a dramatic change in the proportion of animal versus plant-based foods that occurred in both at around the same time, the researchers said. The team also found co-evolution in several brain processes — for instance, in genes that affect the processing of the brain chemical serotonin. In humans, variations in these genes affect levels of aggression.”

How to spot a murderer’s brain“Do your genes, rather than upbringing, determine whether you will become a criminal? Adrian Raine believed so – and breaking that taboo put him on collision course with the world of science.”

Clark/Frost Domestication“Thinking about the response of the pacified and submission Roman population to barbarian invaders immediately brings to mind the response of contemporary North Americans and Atlantic Europeans to barbarian invaders. It reads just the same: ‘welcome new neighbor!'” – from henry harpending.

Ovulation and politics“‘Ovulation led single women to become more liberal, less religious, and more likely to vote for Barack Obama. In contrast, ovulation led women in committed relationships to become more conservative, more religious, and more likely to vote for Mitt Romney.'” – from mr. mangan.

The Personality and Geography of the Entrepreneur“German psychologists Martin Obschonka and colleagues…used Rentfrow’s [big five personality] data to create a measure of Entrepreneur-prone personality profile for the different states in America.” – another really cool post from staffan!

Linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved words’“A team of researchers has come up with a list of two dozen ‘ultraconserved words’ that have survived 150 centuries. It includes some predictable entries: ‘mother,’ ‘not,’ ‘what,’ ‘to hear’ and ‘man.’ It also contains surprises: ‘to flow,’ ‘ashes’ and ‘worm.’ The existence of the long-lived words suggests there was a ‘proto-Eurasiatic’ language that was the common ancestor to about 700 contemporary languages that are the native tongues of more than half the world’s people.”

The Mating Advantage of Male Musicians: Women Find Guitars Sexy“Studies from two countries suggest women are more attracted to a man if he’s holding a guitar.” – more science proving what everybody already knows! (~_^)

More men than women harassed in the military, often by other men – from the awesome epigone.

Redheads are at increased risk of skin cancer even if they DON’T spend time in the sun

Children with Autism Hypersensitive to Motion

Privacy protections: The genome hacker“Yaniv Erlich shows how research participants can be identified from ‘anonymous’ DNA.”

Tajikistan to Ban Cousin Marriage“Formal prohibition unlikely to stamp out widespread tradition.” – h/t anatoly!

Tutankhamun’s death and the birth of monotheism

bonus: USG Pushing Unconstitutional College Speech Codes“The government which rules over Americans is trying to further reduce free speech on college campuses…. Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, author of The Mating Mind, sees this new federal mandate as a threat to the ability to teach the truth about human nature.” – from parapundit.

bonus bonus: Could Lighning Come from Space? – that would be FRIGGIN’ AWESOME!!

bonus bonus bonus: from the u.k. – Former minister admits Labour deliberately engineered mass immigration and A fifth of murder and rape suspects born abroad, shock survey finds.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Immigrant workers undermine wage growth“Immigrant workers, mainly from other Nordic countries, have a negative effect on the pay checks of Norwegian employees. Workers with minimal skills and little experience are the most vulnerable.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: First land animals kept their fish faces

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Genome shows macaw is one smart bird

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Study: Plants communicate with each other via underground fungi

(note: comments do not require an email. shut up ‘n play yer guitar!)

brainwash e01: the gender equality paradox

if you haven’t already, you HAVE to go watch the brainwash series! really. trust me. it’s terrific! and i’m not the only one who thinks so (see some of the comments in this post). (^_^)

the show — from norway, but now with english subtitles (thank you, internet!), available here and here — was conceived and is hosted by a norwegian comedian (yeah, i didn’t know they had any either (~_^) ), a guy named harald eia. i guess maybe it takes a comedian to point out the most absurd aspects of our modern, western society, eh?

wikipedia says:

“‘Hjernevask’ (‘Brainwash’) … contrasted cultural determinist models of human behavior (also referred to as the Standard social science model) with nature-nurture interactionist perspectives.”

but it’s funnier than that. waaaaaaay funnier than that!

the basic layout of the show is that eia picks a topic — gender equality, for instance — and then goes and interviews some norwegian social scientists — you know, “specialists” in the subject — about it (in this episode it was — heh — gender researchers). and then he goes and interviews researchers in touch with the real world, like biologists or whatever, both norwegian and others (american, english). and THEN he goes BACK to the social scientists with recorded interviews of the non-social scientists in hand and gets the reaction of the lost-in-space social scientists to what the real scientists had to say.

needless to say, much hilarity ensues! (^_^)

the first episode is about differences between the genders and whether any of it is innate or not (i know — pretty basic — how could anyone get this one wrong?). more specifically, it’s about a BIG problem they, apparently, have in norway — the “gender equality paradox.” that is, despite the fact that norway has equal — prolly more than equal — opportunities, education, etc., etc., for everyone, they still have this awful, awful problem that something like 90% of engineers are men and something like 90% of nurses are women. the horror! the horror.

the norwegian gender researchers, of course, blame the differences that men and women have in capabilities and interests on the fact that, from day one, boys and girls are treated differently — boys are dressed in blue and called “little tough guy” while girls are dressed in pink and referred to as sweet little things. you know. that sort of thing. according to one (of the more clueless) gender researchers, some guy named lorentzen, men and women are exactly the same in all ways — mentally, emotionally, etc., etc. — there are just a few minor differences like different genitals, women have boobs, men have beards, and so on. *facepalm*

eia records all of them explaining these concepts and then heads off to talk to some people who have at least half a brain.

first, he talks to one norwegian researcher, trond diseth, who studies behavior in babies born with an unclear sex to see if they behave more like boys or girls (i guess this one of the tools they use when considering what sort of gender-reassignment surgery or whatever you call it to maybe perform on a baby). throughout his research, this guy has found that most boy babies born with all of your standard “boy parts” prefer playing with masculine toys, while most girl babies born with all of your standard “girl parts” prefer playing with girlie toys. there are exceptions, of course, but we’re just that — exceptions.

eia then heads to the u.s. where he interviews richard lippa, who has found that, curiously, gender differences in things like job preference (do you want to be an engineer or a nurse?) seem to be consistent on a global basis. strange if these differences have only a cultural cause that the same differences should show up in different cultures. he also visits simon baron-cohen at cambridge who has found that gender differences are present on day one of life [opens pdf], so again it’s hard to see how culture can be 100% of the explanation for the differences between the sexes.

finally, he also speaks with anne campbell, evolutionary psychologist, who explains natural selection beautifully and points out how unlikely it is that men and women should be exactly the same mentally or emotionally:

Campbell: ‘The key to all this is how many descendants you leave behind you and any traits that increase the number of descendants you leave behind you will tend to stay in the gene pool. And that’s what’s selecting in particular traits both in males and in females…. If women are generally the ones that give birth, that lactate, that raise children, it would surprising if there wasn’t some kind of psychological orchestration that helped women achieve those tasks and made those kinds of tasks particularly pleasurable to women. So, things like empathy in women, things like avoiding dangerous confrontations where you may be hurt or injured, things like avoiding social exclusion, being pushed out of the group, all of those are good things. All of those mean that you are more likely to survive and to reproduce, and to leave children who they themselves also reproduce.’

“According to Campbell, that’s why today’s women are more oriented towards other people than men.”

the best zinger comes right at the end, tho, from simon baron-cohen:

Baron-Cohen: ‘It’s a very moderate proposal to say it’s a mixture of biology and culture. I’m not saying it’s all biology. I’m simply saying don’t forget about biology.'”

heh! ’nuff said, really. go watch the show to see the reactions of the different types of researchers to each other’s theories — it’s all very amusing — and very informative!
_____

btw, the gender-researcher, lorentzen, is a real winner. not only did he insist that his “culture only” theories were correct, he actually laughed at other sorts of research. and he thought that american researchers were particularly bad. from the show:

“Lorentzen was skeptical of this kind of research [specifically richard lippa’s research].

Eia: ‘It’s a funny study… You’re laughing as I say the word “study.”‘

Lorentzen: ‘I get telephones from every media when they get these American studies. They’re often American.’

Eia: ‘Are Americans especially good?’

Lorentzen: ‘No, especially poor, I would say. Or especially speculative.'”

you gotta remember that this lorentzen guy was laughing the whole time he was saying this.

now, don’t take this the wrong way, mr. lorentzen, but i have to point out that it’s not like norwegian gender-researchers are, by any stretch of the imagination, on the cutting edge of human behavior studies. you know, you guys gave us ibsen and the paper clip. feel free to rest on those laurels for as long as you like. really. please don’t think that you have to compete with anybody to prove that you’re the best in show science (only to wind up feeling second-rate like you obviously do).

previously: brainwash and the hard sciences are soooo sexist!

(note: comments do not require an email. the paper clip.)

linkfest – 08/21/11

Breaking down intelligence to environmental and genetic components – from dienekes.

Stress During Early Development Is Inherited by Offspring

“The mismeasure of morals: Antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas”“[A] study in which participants responded to a battery of personality assessments and a set of dilemmas that pit utilitarian and non-utilitarian options against each other. Participants who indicated greater endorsement of utilitarian solutions had higher scores on measures of Psychopathy, machiavellianism, and life meaninglessness.”

Y haplogroup R1b and light hair in Italy – @race/history/evolution notes.

Don’t rely on a pretty face: Beautiful people with symmetrical faces more likely to be selfish

The Secret Language Code“Psychologist James Pennebaker reveals the hidden meaning of pronouns”

Parasite load, race, and IQ – from the inductivist.

Blacks, dopamine, and IQ – also from the inductivist.

Boys Reaching Sexual Maturity Earlier Than Ever

Web Genetic Sudy Confirms Genetic Associations – @futurepundit.

bonus: First life: The search for the first replicator – via malcolm pollack.

bonus bonus: Would You Please Fucking Stop?

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

linkfest – 03/13/11

Giftedness Linked to Prenatal Exposure of Higher Levels of Testosterone

Creativity is an upside to ADHD“For the same reason that ADHD might create problems, like distraction, it can also allow an openness to new ideas.”

Cold War, (relatively) warm feelings – from the a epigone.

Do genes make people evil?“[T]wo recent findings provide strong evidence that evil behavior—mass murder, armed robbery, and perhaps even newspaper theft—might be caused by the right set of genes interacting with the wrong environment.” [subscription req.]

Natural homophobes? Evolutionary psychology and antigay attitudes

Thrill-seeking females work hard for their next fix“[W]omen become addicted to cocaine more easily than men and find it harder to give up.”

Anthropologists Link Human Uniqueness to Hunter-Gatherer Group Structure

Epidemiology: Study of a lifetime“In 1946, scientists started tracking thousands of British children born during one cold March week. On their 65th birthday, the study members find themselves more scientifically valuable than ever before.”

Aging rates, gender gap in mortality similar across all primates