linkfest – 09/15/13

Sir David Attenborough: Humans have stopped evolving“Human beings have stopped evolving becoming the only species to ‘put halt to natural selection of its own free will’, Sir David Attenborough has said, as he predicts the ‘cultural evolution’ of the future.” – lots of responses to that including: Humans are still evolving, and soon we’ll know a lot more about it – from john hawks; Evolution – it’s not over yet – from tom chivers; and Sir David Attenborough is wrong – humans are still evolving – from ian rickard.

Fate of new genes cannot be predicted“New versions of genes, called alleles, can appear by mutation in populations. Even when these new alleles turn the individuals carrying them more fit to survive and reproduce, the most likely outcome is that they will get lost from the populations. The theory that explains these probabilities has been postulated by the scientist J.B.S. Haldane almost 90 years ago. This theory has become the cornerstone of modern population genetics…. The research team … has now experimentally tested Haldane’s theory.”

Poorest Costa Ricans live longest“Biological markers confirm unusually slow ageing regardless of wealth, at least in one population.” – h/t jayman!

Uros people of Peru and Bolivia found to have distinctive genetic ancestries“Genographic project research shows ancestry may date to Altiplano’s initial settlement.”

African-American study identifies four genetic variants associated with blood pressure“‘We anticipated that individuals of African ancestry share similar biology to other populations. However, differences in genomic make-up between African ancestry and other populations have uncovered additional genes affecting blood pressure, in addition to genetic variants that are specific to individuals of African ancestry….'” – via amren.

Handedness GWAS Leads to Suspected Left-Right Asymmetry Genes“A team from the UK and the Netherlands has garnered evidence suggesting left- and right-handedness may involve genes from some of the same pathways that produce other features differing on right and left sides of the body.”

Functional genetic variation in humans: Comprehensive map published“European scientists, led by researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE)’s Faculty of Medicine in the context of the GEUVADIS project, today present a map that points to the genetic causes of differences between people. The study, published in Nature and Nature Biotechnology, offers the largest-ever dataset linking human genomes to gene activity at the level of RNA.”

Insect leg cogs a first in animal kingdom“Toothed gears enable young plant hoppers to synchronize limbs for jumping.”go home, evolution, you are drunk.

The Science of What Makes an Introvert and an Extrovert

Testes Size Correlates With Men’s Involvement in Toddler Care“Men with smaller testes than others are more likely to be involved in hands-on care of their toddlers….” – h/t hbd bibliography!

Can Your Language Influence Your Spending, Eating, and Smoking Habits?“[S]peakers with weak future tenses (e.g. German, Finnish and Estonian) were 30 percent more likely to save money, 24 percent more likely to avoid smoking, 29 percent more likely to exercise regularly, and 13 percent less likely to be obese, than speakers of languages with strong future tenses, like English.” – (“but where does language come from?” hbd chick mumbles to herself in the back row….)

‘Love hormone’ may play wider role in social interaction than previously thought“The new study, to be published Sept. 12 in Nature, pinpoints a unique way in which oxytocin alters activity in a part of the brain that is crucial to experiencing the pleasant sensation neuroscientists call ‘reward’…. ‘People with autism-spectrum disorders may not experience the normal reward the rest of us all get from being with our friends….’ Some genetic evidence suggests the awkward social interaction that is a hallmark of autism-spectrum disorders may be at least in part oxytocin-related. Certain variations in the gene that encodes the oxytocin receptor – a cell-surface protein that senses the substance’s presence – are associated with increased autism risk.”

More Money, More Children“‘[N]ow better-off people seem to be having more children; in the U.S., the fertility rate of wives whose husbands are in the top decile of income is back where it was a century ago.'” – h/t puzzle pirate!

Ashkenazi Jewish gene pool derives from ‘recent severe bottleneck’ of 300-400 individuals ca. 800 years ago – @race/history/evolution notes.

Morality and the Epiphany of Joshua Greene“The manifestations of morality are complex, but its origins are simple. Evolved behavioral predispositions are the ultimate reason for its existence…. Those behavioral traits evolved without a goal, and without a purpose. They exist because they happened to increase our chances of surviving and procreating at a time when our mode of existence as well as our social and physical environment were radically different from what they are now.” – helian’s on fire! (not literally … i hope.)

Are Women Less Corrupt?“Women are more likely than men to disapprove of — and less likely to participate in — political corruption, but only in countries where corruption is stigmatized…. ‘When corruption is stigmatized, as in most democracies, women will be less tolerant and less likely to engage in it compared with men. But if ‘corrupt’ behaviors are an ordinary part of governance supported by political institutions, there will be no corruption gender gap.'” – h/t jayman!

Politicians like power – from steve sailer.

Study: The Neg Works – (~_^) – @heartiste.

Some people are feminine – get over it“Whenever you have one group of people who believe one thing for ideological reasons, and another who believe something else because their business model depends on it, I tend to trust the latter. Who do you think knows more about the minds of girls and boys — the academics who’ve spent years discussing gender feminism, or people who sell toys?” (~_^) – from ed west.

A Brief Word On Pedophilia – scharlach reminds everyone what pedophilia is. THANK you!

Stephen Hsu on Cognitive Genomics“At the extremes, there are some academics and social activists who violently oppose any kind of research into the genetics of cognitive ability. Given that the human brain — its operation, construction from a simple genetic blueprint, evolutionary history — is one of the great scientific mysteries of the universe, I cannot understand this point of view.”

Heritability estimates and unexplained variance“Nobody owns unexplained variance.” – from dr. james thompson.

Study sheds light on genetics of how and why fish swim in schools“‘The motivation to be social is common among fish and humans…. ‘Some of the same brain regions and neurological chemicals that control human social behavior are probably involved in fish social behavior as well.'”

Why do haters have to hate? Newly identified personality trait holds clues“New research has uncovered the reason why some people seem to dislike everything while others seem to like everything. Apparently, it’s all part of our individual personality – a dimension that researchers have coined ‘dispositional attitude.'”

Everyday sadists take pleasure in others’ pain“[P]eople who score high on a measure of sadism seem to derive pleasure from behaviors that hurt others, and are even willing to expend extra effort to make someone else suffer.” – yeah. you know who you are.

How an evolutionary model is better at explaining decisions than neo-classical and behavioral economics models: A review of Douglas T. Kenrick and Vladas Griskevicius, The Rational Animal: How Evolution Made us Smarter than we Think.

Making The Right Mistakes: Error Management And The Evolution Of Errors“Human cognitive mechanisms evolved to deal with the problems of the past, where we spent 99% of our history, not those of the present. We should, therefore, hardly expect our brains to perform well all the time in modern settings where the social and physical environment is so different.”

From Slavs to Slaves“Between 1500 and 1650, Eastern Europe exported 1.5 million slaves to North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Western Europe exported a little over a million between 1530 and 1780.” – from peter frost.

The Madonna or the Whore? – @thosewhocansee.

E.O. Wilson has a new explanation for consciousness, art & religion. Is it credible?

The Evolutionary Case for Great Fiction“Might reading literature help with species survival?” (species survival? hmmmm.)

2013 ig nobel awards were announced this week! my favorite this year: the probability prize – “[T]he longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and Second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.” (^_^)

Mayan mass grave containing 1,400-year-old remains of DECAPITATED prisoners of war discovered in Mexico

Plans to evict Botswana Bushmen revealed by leaked report – @survival international. h/t andrew badenoch!

bonus: Parasite Ants Drafted as Mercenaries

bonus bonus: Inheritance of lifespan is sex-dependent in fruit flies

bonus bonus bonus: ‘Time travel is easy — in one direction,’ says Prof Brian Cox – but the time lords figured it out!

bonus bonus bonus bonus: The sound of interstellar space…” (or not!) – h/ts michael anissimov and nelson!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Wherever there is red tape, the truth will be stranger than fiction“As the [u.k.’s] Government reflects on a bureaucratic obsession with ‘equality’, we ask: which of these tales of political correctness are made up?”

(note: comments do not require an email. all that’s required for successful time travel.)

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pedophilia

this bugs me:

“Paedophile with a foot fetish who abused 18 girls at takeaway is jailed for four years”

“A takeaway worker who claimed asylum in Britain went on to groom 18 schoolgirls for sexual abuse.

“Foot fetishist Homayon Narouzzad, 33, who had claimed he was fleeing persecution in Iran, targeted children as young as 12 when they came in to buy food….

“One 13-year-old unwittingly acted as a ‘pimp’, recruiting friends who in some cases in turn brought along their younger sisters, creating a ring of girls aged between 12 and 15 subjected to regular sexual abuse….”

girls aged between 12 and 15. so that means that the guy — however creepy he may be, and he sounds and looks like a MAJOR creep (just look at him!) — is probably not a pedophile.

pedophilia means being attracted to prepubescent children, which is weird and those people should be kept away from small children, by all means.

but being attracted to young girls who have hit puberty? even if they’re just 12 years old? not so weird, from an evolutionary p.o.v.

that’s not to say that i wouldn’t kill (figuratively speaking) any guy who came near a 12 year old daughter of mine — i’m just saying that the attraction part is not surprising. or even weird.

we have words for people who are attracted to young people at different stages of development (obviously re. the exact ages, your mileage may vary): hebephilia – being interested in individuals in the early stages of puberty, ca. ages 11-14; and ephebophilia – being interested in young adults, ca. ages 15-19, not weird at all afaics.

i wish society would start using these terms because calling everybody who has an interest in someone under the age of 18 a pedophile is just nuts. it makes it sound as though there’s rampant pedophilia in modern society, which there prolly is not.

previously: retarded teenagers

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retarded teenagers

i’m with parapundit on this one:

“As part of a rant about a double standard with regard to child pornography where movies and TV shows produced by large corporations can portray very sexualized teenagers Ferdinand Bardamu points out children are entering into puberty about 4-5 years sooner than they used to be. Where he gets it wrong is by arguing those kids are ready to handle their sexuality at the age of 12 or 13…. My take: The early puberty is a recent development that teens are not ready to handle. Sexual development should be delayed in order to give kids time to grow up and to avoid the cost for the rest of us that come from teen pregnancies.”

humans are probably not adults until well into their 30s and 40s (explains a LOT, doesn’t it?). there’s no way 12 and 13 year olds are “clearly capable of taking on adult responsibilities at younger ages” as f. bardamu says. just ’cause they’re hitting puberty at a younger age does not mean they’re capable of taking on adult responsibilities like raising kids properly. they’re just capable of reproducing, that’s all.

in fact, i’ve long thought that the discrepancy between age of puberty and age of brain maturity was kinda funny. it’s off. by a long shot.

i’d bet anyone a brewski that this has actually been selected for. i.e. being “retarded” has meant a greater number of kids than there would’ve been otherwise. no sense + a strong sexual drive (like most teenagers) = greater number of offspring than if u had sense. you know, just like how low iq folks have more kids than high iq folks.

natural selection in action, my friends.

a separate point that f. bardamu makes is:

“There. I admit it. I’m a sicko who gets off on underage girls.”

i presume he’s not talking about 6 year olds (pedophilia) but, rather, 16 (ephebophilia) or even 14 year olds (hebephilia) and that, obviously, is perfectly natural and makes sense. wouldn’t throw you in jail for that, f.b.! (~_^) (btw – olivia hussey was 17 or 18 in that fantastic version of “romeo & juliet” – not 13, of course.)