Archives for posts with tag: PISA

The genetics of Mexico recapitulates Native American substructure and affects biomedical traits“We studied genomic variation within Mexico from over 1000 individuals representing 20 indigenous and 11 mestizo populations. We found striking genetic stratification among indigenous populations within Mexico at varying degrees of geographic isolation. Some groups were as differentiated as Europeans are from East Asians. Pre-Columbian genetic substructure is recapitulated in the indigenous ancestry of admixed mestizo individuals across the country. Furthermore, two independently phenotyped cohorts of Mexicans and Mexican Americans showed a significant association between subcontinental ancestry and lung function. Thus, accounting for fine-scale ancestry patterns is critical for medical and population genetic studies within Mexico, in Mexican-descent populations, and likely in many other populations worldwide.” – see also: People from Mexico show stunning amount of genetic diversity“When the team analyzed the genomes of 511 indigenous individuals from all over Mexico, they found a striking amount of genetic diversity. The most divergent indigenous groups in Mexico are as different from each other as Europeans are from East Asians, they report online today in Science. This diversity maps onto the geography of Mexico itself. The farther away ethnic groups live from each other, the more different their genomes turn out to be…. But most people in Mexico or of Mexican descent these days are not indigenous but rather mestizo, meaning they have a mixture of indigenous, European, and African ancestry. Do their genomes also vary by what region of Mexico they come from, or has all that local variation been smoothed out by centuries of different groups meeting, mixing, and having babies? To answer that question, the team collaborated with Mexico’s National Institute of Genomic Medicine, which has been collecting genetic data from mestizos for many years. Somewhat surprisingly, they found that mestizos in a given part of Mexico tended to have the same ‘rare’ genetic variants as their indigenous neighbors. The mestizo genomes ‘track so well with the indigenous groups that we could use the genetic diversity in mestizos to make inferences about [their native] ancestors,’ Pasaniuc says.”

Neanderthal-Human Skulls Shed Light on Evolution“Skulls found in a Spanish cave exhibit both Neanderthal and primitive human features, according to a new study published in the journal Science. The discovery provides clues about when the common ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals lived, what happened after the two groups diverged, and how the two became so different over a relatively short period of time. There is consensus about the ending of the story: Modern humans and Neanderthals interbred, and Neanderthal DNA is still present in people of European and Asian ancestry. But the thousands of years before they connected, however, have been a mystery.” – see also: Palaeontology: How Neanderthals evolved“A study reveals that not all distinguishing features of hominid skulls have evolved at the same pace.”

Oldest human faeces show Neanderthals ate vegetables – eat your veggies!

Searching for Answers in Very Old DNA – interview with svante paabo.

Island-hopping odyssey brought civilisation to Europe“The farmers who brought advanced civilisation to Europe got there by sailing between the many islands strewn across the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey, according to a new genetic analysis. The first modern humans in Europe were hunter-gatherers who arrived around 40,000 years ago. But around 9000 years ago the first farmers arrived. They spread rapidly, dominating the continent by 7500 years ago, and pushing the hunter-gatherers into decline. The farmers originated in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, where farming arose, but until now no one knew which route they took to get to Europe.” – see also Publication Delays from greg cochran.

The population genomic landscape of human genetic structure, admixture history and local adaptation in Peninsular Malaysia“Peninsular Malaysia has greater genetic diversity corresponding to its role as a contact zone of both early and recent human migrations in Asia. However, each single Orang Asli (indigenous) group was less diverse with a smaller effective population size (Ne) than a European or an East Asian population, indicating a substantial isolation of some duration for these groups. All four MEGs were genetically more similar to Asian populations than to other continental groups, and the divergence time between MEGs and East Asian populations (12,000—6,000 years ago) was also much shorter than that between East Asians and Europeans. Thus, Malaysian Orang Asli groups, despite their significantly different features, may share a common origin with the other Asian groups. Nevertheless, we identified traces of recent gene flow from non-Asians to MEGs. Finally, natural selection signatures were detected in a batch of genes associated with immune response, human height, skin pigmentation, hair and facial morphology and blood pressure in MEGs. Notable examples include SYN3 which is associated with human height in all Orang Asli groups, a height-related gene (PNPT1) and two blood pressure-related genes (CDH13 and PAX5) in Negritos. We conclude that a long isolation period, subsequent gene flow and local adaptations have jointly shaped the genetic architectures of MEGs, and this study provides insight into the peopling and human migration history in Southeast Asia.”

Investigating brain connectivity heritability in a twin study using diffusion imaging data – h/t jayman! who tweeted: “Surprise, surprise: diffusion imaging twin study (N = 328) finds patterns of brain connectivity are heritable.”

The stability of self-control across childhood“Results indicate that variation [76%] in self-control is predominantly genetic.”

Race a factor in mortality in heart attack patients on anti-clotting drug“The first genetic variations linked to race have been identified that begin to explain a higher risk of death among some African American and Caucasian patients taking the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel after a heart attack. In particular, the team found that two DNA variants common in African Americans were associated with an increased risk of both bleeding and death. In Caucasians, a different variant was linked to additional heart attacks and a higher risk of death.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

A common Greenlandic TBC1D4 variant confers muscle insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

GWAS-based pathway analysis differentiates between fluid and crystallized intelligence – h/t stuart ritchie! who tweeted: “Distinction between fluid and crystallised IQ at the genetic level.”

A hair-color allele of Neanderthal origin?“60-70% of Taiwanese aborigines have a loss-of-function allele at the main hair color gene, MC1R, yet their hair is as black as humans with the original ‘African’ allele. This seems to be a general pattern in Asians. They have fewer MC1R alleles than do Europeans, and the ones they have produce the same hair color.” – from peter frost.

Physical attractiveness as a phenotypic marker of health: an assessment using a nationally representative sample of American adults“[T]he more attractive a respondent was rated, the less likely he or she was to report being diagnosed with a wide range of chronic diseases and neuropsychological disorders. Importantly, this finding was observed for both sexes. These analyses provide further support for physical attractiveness as a phenotypic marker of health.”

Mellow, Paranoid, Happy, or Mean: Why do people respond so differently to the same drugs?“Although the research hasn’t settled on simple explanations, it’s clear that some combination of personality traits, genetics, and experience affects how people respond to intoxicants.”

How universal is empathy?“Pro-social behavior seems to be a human universal, but is the same true for full empathy?” – from peter frost.

Woodley launches his Victorian defence“The Woodley gang argue that, once they have done a complete re-analysis to respond to the points raised against their original ‘Victorians’ paper, their new results ‘reveal a seemingly robust secular trend towards slowing reaction time in these two countries, which translates into a potential dysgenics rate of −1.21 IQ points per decade, or −13.9 points in total between 1889 and 2004. We conclude by arguing that the best way forward is to test novel predictions stemming from our finding relating to molecular genetics, neurophysiology and alternative cognitive indicators, thus shifting the research focus away from the purely methodological level towards the broader nomological level. We thank our critics for helping us to arrive at a much more precise estimate of the decline in general intelligence.'” – @dr. james thompson’s blog.

HVGIQ: Cambodia and HVGIQ: Turks and Caicos Islands and HVGIQ: Vietnam – from jason malloy @human varieties.

U.S. Ethnic/Race Differences in Aptitude by Generation: An Exploratory Meta-analysis – from chuck @human varieties.

Ability, Effort, and Academic Achievement among Asian Americans – from steve hsu.

andrew “the goth” sabisky on the pisa tests/scores and their implications for education.

The Flynn effect and “real intelligence”(tm) and Why a mental age of eleven and an IQ of 70 are distinct – from elijah.

Embryo selection for cognitive enhancement: curiosity or game-changer?

Power to edit who you are – on CRISPR.

Reading to Newborns Is Probably Useless – from razib.

For One Baby, Life Begins with Genome Revealed“How a California father made an end run around medicine to decode his son’s DNA.” – on razib’s boy! (^_^)

Criminal offending as part of an alternative reproductive strategy: Investigating evolutionary hypotheses using Swedish total population data“Convicted criminal offenders had more children than individuals never convicted of a criminal offense. Criminal offenders also had more reproductive partners, were less often married, more likely to get remarried if ever married, and had more often contracted a sexually transmitted disease than non-offenders. Importantly, the increased reproductive success of criminals was explained by a fertility increase from having children with several different partners. We conclude that criminality appears to be adaptive in a contemporary industrialized country, and that this association can be explained by antisocial behavior being part of an adaptive alternative reproductive strategy.” – h/t mary lou cowan! – chicks dig jerks. – see also You dropped your glove, my liege from the awesome epigone.

Men Who Hate Women – from staffan.

Why women see differently from the way men see? A review of sex differences in cognition and sports – h/t keith laws!

For The First Time, Chimpanzees Are Making A Fashion Statement — Sticking Blades Of Grass In Their Ears“It’s a trend that’s taken a troop of chimpanzees by storm: a blade of grass dangling from an ear. The “grass-in-ear behavior,” as scientists have termed it, seems to be one of the first times that chimpanzees have created a tradition with no discernible purpose — a primate fashion statement, in other words…. There’s no genetic or ecological factors, the scientists believe, that would account for this behavior — only culture.” – but, but, but…where does chimp culture come from?

Faces of Old World monkeys evolved to prevent crossbreeding

No effects of androgen receptor gene CAG and GGC repeat polymorphisms on digit ratio (2D:4D): A comprehensive meta-analysis and critical evaluation of research“In contrast to a small-sample (N=50) initial report, widely cited affirmatively in the literature, meta-analysis of the entire retrievable evidence base did not support any associations between CAG variants and right-hand, left-hand, or right-minus-left-hand 2D:4D. Effects of GGC variants on digit ratios likewise were almost exactly null.” – h/t dr. zhana!

Parents of children with autism often have autistic traits – kid has all his ducks in a row! (~_^) – h/t jason moore!

Sensitive? Emotional? Empathetic? It could be in your genes“Do you jump to help the less fortunate or cry during sad movie scenes? If yes, you may be among the 20 percent of our population that is genetically pre-disposed to empathy, according to a study. The results provide further evidence that highly sensitive people are generally highly tuned into their environment, and provide evidence that especially high levels of awareness and emotional responsiveness are fundamental features of humans characterized as HSPs.” – h/t mr. robert ford!

Negotiating the gap: Four academics and the dilemma of human biodiversity – from peter frost.

Guns & Violence, Again – from jayman.

The Little Divergence“A ‘great divergence’ between the economies of Western Europe and East Asia had unambiguously occurred by 1800. However, there’s a growing body of opinion that this was preceded by a ‘little divergence’ which might have started as early as 1200. I argue that the pre-modern ‘little divergence’ was probably real, but that doesn’t mean it happened because of a modern growth process — a sustained rise in the production efficiency of the divergent economies. The ‘little divergence’ might be only a reflexion of those societies’ Malthusian balance of natality and mortality.” – from pseudo. – see also Addendum to The Little Divergence.

Searching for the “Free Will” Neuron“Gabriel Kreiman’s single-neuron measurements of unconscious decision-making may not topple Descartes, but they could someday point to ways we can learn to control ourselves.”

Denying the Tribe – from claire lehmann.

Mike Lotus Meeting with Emmanuel Todd in Paris, Discussing Todd’s Current Work and America 3.0“Todd spoke about the origins of the Absolute Nuclear Family, as contrasted with the Community Family which predominates in much of Eurasia. Todd said that his most recent book, ‘L’Origine des systemes familiaux’ he shows that the entire history of the world is understood backward. Specifically, the supposedly most backward places are the most advanced. He told me that he had made an absurd mistake in his early book The Explanation of Ideology: Family Structure and Social Systems. He said in Explanation that the distribution of family systems appeared to be random. But, he said, he should have realized that this could not be correct. He took out a pile of printer paper and with rapid strokes sketched an oval and filled in the center, noting that this was the community family area. It was a given that I understood that the oval was Eurasia. He then marked Xs around the periphery for England, Iceland, Finland, France, Japan, Korea, the Philippines all areas which were still individualistic in family structure. He said the book articulates the ‘Principle of Peripheral Conservation.’ The oldest known family structure is the Undifferentiated Nuclear Family (UNF). In England the UNF evolved into the ANF over many centuries. The Community Family forms took four to five thousand years to form and to reach their current state of development. In particular the subjugation of women took a very long time to complete in these systems. In other words, the societies which are currently considered the most modern have as a foundation an archaic family structure.” – h/t t.greer!

A Dozen Words for Misunderstood“Slaying, yet again, the idea that the languages we speak shape the thoughts we think.” – h/t steve stewart williams!

Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science“[D]ifferential gendered outcomes in the real world result from differences in resources attributable to choices, whether free or constrained, and that such choices could be influenced and better informed through education if resources were so directed. Thus, the ongoing focus on sex discrimination in reviewing, interviewing, and hiring represents costly, misplaced effort: Society is engaged in the present in solving problems of the past, rather than in addressing meaningful limitations deterring women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers today.”

Breaking the Glass Ceiling? The Effect of Board Quotas on Female Labor Market Outcomes in Norway [pdf] – h/t ben southwood! who tweeted: “Norwegian gender quotas on boards had ‘very little discernible impact on women in business beyond its direct effect.'”

Archaeological cave dig unearths artefacts from 45,000 years ago“An archeological dig has revealed artefacts of early occupation so old they rival the dates of those found at sites of the earliest human settlement in Australia. The discovery of the artefacts of animal bone and charcoal at the Ganga Maya Cave (named by traditional owners meaning ‘house on the hill’) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia are the subject of a scientific paper not yet submitted to archaeological journals.”

Artificial cranial modification in Kow Swamp and Cohuna“This project provides added support for the argument that at least some Pleistocene Australian groups were practicing artificial cranial modification.” – h/t neuroskeptic!

Researchers discover 6,200-year-old schistosomiasis parasite egg“Researchers have discovered what they believe is the oldest ever schistosomiasis parasite egg in a 6,200-year-old grave by the Euphrates river in Syria, potentially providing the first evidence that Middle East agricultural irrigation systems – the artificial application of water to land or soil – may have contributed to the schistosomiasis burden.” – d*mn agriculture! – h/t adam benton @evoanth!

Tablet about payment of donkey debt discovered in Kültepe believed to be oldest trade document – h/t frau katze!

bonus: Assessment of Genetic Variability of Fish Personality Traits using Rainbow Trout Isogenic Lines“The study of inter-individual variability of personality in fish is a growing field of interest but the genetic basis of this complex trait is still poorly investigated due to the difficulty in controlling fish genetic origin and life history…. To this end, seven to ten rainbow trout isogenic lines were screened for their spatial exploratory behaviour, their flight response toward a stressor and their risk taking behaviour. Results showed that some lines seemed less sensitive to new events or environmental changes and could be defined as low responsive, while others were very sensitive and defined as high responsive.” – h/t justin tiehen!

bonus bonus: Meet one of your ancestors: a 505-million-year-old fish

bonus bonus bonus: H. pylori Bacteria Frantically Mutate to Establish Infection“A burst of rapid evolution allows Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes ulcers in humans, to evade the immune system during the early, acute phase of infection. This finding complements earlier work that quantified how quickly H. pylori mutations accumulate during chronic infection. During the acute phase, mutational rates are 30 to 50 times greater than during the chronic phase.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: An 81 million year herpes infection: First endogenous herpes virus found!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Scientific proof that dogs don’t like bananas

(note: comments do not require an email. social construct duck vs. social construct duck!)

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Svante Paabo talk at NIH“According to Dr. Paabo, Ust-Ishim has longer Neandertal chunks than modern humans and this can be used to estimate that the admixture with Neandertals happened 331+/-99 generations before its time of 45,000y BP, or around 50-60,000y BP…. This pretty much proves that there were modern humans in Eurasia before the Upper Paleolithic revolution and disproves Richard Klein’s theory that modern humans together with UP technologies spread Out-of-Africa only after 50,000 years ago.” – from dienekes.

Europeans have three times more Neanderthal genes for lipid catabolism than Asians or Africans“Contemporary Europeans have as many as three times more Neanderthal variants in genes involved in lipid catabolism than Asians and Africans. Although Neanderthals are extinct, fragments of their genomes persist in modern humans. These shared regions are unevenly distributed across the genome and some regions are particularly enriched with Neanderthal variants.”

The really old Europe is mostly in Eastern Europe“‘These results confirm Sardinia as a refuge area where ancestry related to Early European Farmers has been best preserved, and also the greater persistence of WHG-related ancestry in present-day Eastern European populations. The latter finding suggests that West European Hunter-Gatherers (so-named because of the prevalence of Loschbour and La Braña) or populations related to them have contributed to the ancestry of present-day Eastern European groups.'” – @eurogenes blog.

More on Deafness“Seems to me that limited verbal stimulation is not a very plausible primary cause of low test scores and low academic achievement in blacks, because the degree of deprivation needed to cause a 1-standard deviation decline is extreme (deafness), and because there is an even greater depression of nonverbal scores, which, judging from the results in deaf children, should not be affected at all by limited verbal stimulation.” – from greg cochran.

Language structure: You’re born with it“Humans are unique in their ability to acquire language. But how? A new study shows that we are in fact born with the basic fundamental knowledge of language, thus shedding light on the age-old linguistic ‘nature vs. nurture’ debate.”

Selection for complex traits leaves little or no classic signatures of selection“We present empirical evidence to suggests little discernible ‘selection signature’ for complex traits in the genome of dairy cattle despite very strong and recent artificial selection.” – h/t razib!

Whole genome sequencing of six dog breeds from continuous altitudes reveals adaption to high-altitude hypoxia“To understand the genetic bases of adaption to high altitude in dogs, we performed whole-genome sequencing of 60 dogs including five breeds living at continuous altitudes along the Tibetan plateau from 800 to 5,100 m as well as one European breed…. Comparison of the breeds from different altitudes reveals strong signals of population differentiation at the locus of hypoxia-related genes including endothelial Per-Arnt-Sim (PAS) domain protein 1 (EPAS1) and beta hemoglobin cluster. Especially, four novel non-synonymous mutations specific to high-altitude dogs are identified at EPAS1, one of which occurred at a quite conserved site in the PAS domain. The association testing between EPAS1 genotypes and blood-related phenotypes on additional high-altitude dogs reveals that the homozygous mutation is associated with the decreased blood flow resistance, which may help to improve hemorheologic fitness. Interestingly, EPAS1 was also identified as a selective target in Tibetan highlanders, though no amino acid changes were found. Thus, our results not only indicate parallel evolution of humans and dogs in adaption to high-altitude hypoxia, but also provide a new opportunity to study the role of EPAS1 in the adaptive processes.” – h/t joe pickerell!

Facial Width-To-Height Ratio Relates to Alpha Status and Assertive Personality in Capuchin Monkeys“fWHR was positively associated with alpha status and with a dimensional rating of assertive personality in both males and females. Moreover, fWHR showed significant sexual dimorphism in adults but not juveniles, suggesting a developmental change may occur during puberty. In a sub-sample, sex differences were mediated by weight, suggesting fWHR dimorphism does not exceed what would be expected by differences in body weight. This is the first report of an association between face shape and behaviour in a non-human species.” – h/t stuart ritchie!

The relationship between Microcephalin, ASPM and intelligence: A reconsideration“Microcephalin is strongly associated with DNA repair, which indicates a special role for this allele in the intrinsic anti-viral immune response. Enhanced immune functioning may have advantaged both hunter–gatherer and agrarian societies coping with the heightened disease burden that resulted from population growth and exposure to zoonotic diseases, making it more likely that such growth and concomitant increases in intelligence could occur.” – from michael woodley et al. – see also The riddle of Microcephalin – from peter frost.

Caucasian Boys Show Highest Prevalence of Color Blindness Among Preschoolers“The first major study of color blindness in a multi-ethnic group of preschoolers has uncovered that Caucasian male children have the highest prevalence among four major ethnicities, with 1 in 20 testing color blind. Researchers also found that color blindness, or color vision deficiency, in boys is lowest in African-Americans, and confirmed that girls have a much lower prevalence of color blindness than boys.”

Humans and saber-toothed tiger met in Germany 300,000 years ago

One of the Key Characteristics of Ancient DNA, Low Copy Number, May be a Product of its Extraction – h/t hbd bibliography!

Give it up, Psmithe – steve sailer on greg clark’s The Son Also Rises.

Why I am now skeptical of the hypothesis that dysgenics has had substantial real-world effects – elijah (doin’ his superman thing (~_^) ).

El capital humano de las naciones: ¿Más allá de PISA? – h/t billare! who tweeted: “Take Lynn & Vanhanen’s 2012 estimates, correlate them to PISA math & science results, find an r of 0.98.”

The grasping reflex of babies: a vestigial trait? – from jerry coyne.

Social influence constrained by the heritability of attitudes – h/t andrew sabisky! who tweeted: “more heritable attitudes are more resistant to social pressure.”

What Are Relatives Good For?“The battle over every aunt and uncle’s favorite evolutionary theory.”

Genetic Influences Are Virtually Absent for Trust“Here we examine a population-based sample of 1,012 twins and relatives. We show that the genetic influence on generalized trust in other people (trust-in-others: h2 = 5%, ns), and beliefs regarding other people’s trust in the self (trust-in-self: h2 = 13%, ns), is virtually absent…. We show that, relative to cognitive abilities, psychiatric disorders, and classic personality variables, genetic influences are smaller for trust, and propose that experiences with or observations of the behavior of other people shape trust more strongly than other traits.” – h/t rene bekkers!

Psychopaths: how can you spot one?“But is psychopathy a disorder – or a different way of being…? If someone’s brain lacks the moral niceties the rest of us take for granted, they obviously can’t do anything about that, any more than a colour-blind person can start seeing colour. So where does this leave the concept of moral responsibility? ‘The legal system traditionally asserts that all people standing in front of the judge’s bench are equal. That’s demonstrably false,’ says the neuroscientist David Eagleman, author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. He suggests that instead of thinking in terms of blameworthiness, the law should deal with the likelihood that someone will reoffend, and issue sentences accordingly, with rehabilitation for those likely to benefit and long sentences for those likely to be long-term dangers.” – h/t (heh! (~_^) ) heartiste!

IQ, Neuroticism, booze, and those damn vegetables again – from dr. james thompson.

Tweet of the Week“‘[H]umans are very good at attributing causality when it does not exist. That has led to confusion between correlation and cause on an industrial scale, not least in attempts to work out the effects of diet on health.'” – @jayman’s.

Is there a gene for procrastination? – there’d better be or else i’m all outta excuses! (*^_^*) see also: Genetic Relations Among Procrastination, Impulsivity, and Goal-Management Ability – Implications for the Evolutionary Origin of Procrastination.

Biological evidence of positive and negative people in the world“The ability to stay positive when times get tough — and, conversely, of being negative — may be hardwired in the brain, finds new research.”

“Grounds of War” – A New Paper on Territoriality with Remarkable “Similarities” to the Work of Robert Ardrey – from helian.

Equal ≠ The Same: Sex Differences in the Human Brain“At the root of the resistance to sex-influences research, especially regarding the human brain, is a deeply ingrained, implicit, false assumption that if men and women are equal, then men and women must be the same. This is false. The truth is that of course men and women are equal (all human beings are equal), but this does not mean that they are, on average, the same. 2 + 3 = 10 – 5, but these expressions are not the same. And, in fact, if two groups really are different on average in some respect, but they are being treated the same, then they are not being treated equally on average.”

Inbreeding is associated with lower 2D: 4D digit ratio. – in turkey. meanwhile, classic post from heartiste: Is Finger Length Ratio Evidence Of A Woman’s Fidelity?

diana fleischman speculates on that “perceived intelligence of faces” research that came out recently.

Thinking about a majority-minority shift leads to more conservative views“Facing the prospect of racial minority groups becoming the overall majority in the United States leads White Americans to lean more toward the conservative end of the political spectrum, according to research. The findings suggest that increased diversity in the United States could actually lead to a wider partisan divide, with more White Americans expressing support for conservative policies.”

The ‘Love Hormone’ Can Make You Hate: Study“A study from the Netherlands suggests that oxytocin might only make you love people in your in-group, and can contribute to conflict with outsiders.”

Bacteria Turn Plants and Insects into Zombies“A parasitic phytoplasma deploys proteins to manipulate the plants it infects as well as the insects that spread the microbe.”

Zombie Snipers at the Doorstep“Colony-living insects like ants have a kind of social immune system — they behave in ways that prevent infections from spreading through their nests. They clean each other and remove the corpses of their nestmates. Sick ants, which have been infected by killer fungi, are often shunned by their fellow workers, and sometimes leave the nest to die alone.” – h/t john durant!

Germs Rule the World“The new germ theory: Infections play a role in many, many diseases—in ways we’re just beginning to understand.”

The Remarkable Self-Organization of Ants“It turns out that ants perform these complex tasks by obeying a few simple rules…. The organization of insect societies is a marquee example of a complex decentralized system that arises from the interactions of many individuals.”

The World’s Murder Capitals“[A] group of countries — all of them in either the Americas or Africa — accounting for just 11 percent of the global population are the location of 46 percent of the world’s homicides…. Men accounted for 95 percent of the perpetrators and 79 percent of the victims of homicide in 2012….”

Fearing Punishment for Bad Genes“[M]any people are avoiding the [dna] tests because of a major omission in the 2008 federal law that bars employers and health insurers from seeking the results of genetic testing.” – h/t kevin mitchell!

‘Everything should be open to question’ – h/t claire lehmann!

*A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead*, by Charles Murray. see also “The Curmudgeon’s Guide”: A Q&A with Charles Murray.

bonus: The Moral: Aesop Knew Something About Crows

bonus bonus: Fruit flies maneuver like tiny fighter jets

bonus bonus bonus: This 3000 Year Old Amulet Kind of Looks Like a Gummy Bear

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Measure Yourself by the Standard of the Capybara

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: White wing supremacist: swan attacks foreign students – h/t ed west!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Mike Judge Skewers Silicon Valley With the Satire of Our Dreams“The creator of Beavis and Butt-Head aims his snark cannon at the tech startup scene in his new HBO show, Silicon Valley.”

(note: comments do not require an email. capybara and friend!)

here’s the latest re. the most recent pisa test results (various news outlets are reporting that the below also applies to the u.s. and canada – check google news for pisa+oecd):

“China’s poorest beat our best pupils”

“Children of factory workers and cleaners in Far East achieve better exam results than offspring of British lawyers and doctors, says OECD.

“British schoolchildren are lagging so far behind their peers in the Far East that even pupils from wealthy backgrounds are now performing worse in exams than the poorest students in China, an international study shows.

“The children of factory workers and cleaners in parts of the Far East are more than a year ahead of the offspring of British doctors and lawyers, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development….

“As part of the study, children were asked to name their parents’ occupation to determine its effect on pupil performance. Across the world, children whose parents work in professional careers generally outperform those in elementary jobs such as caterers, cleaners, factory workers and labourers.

“The study, involving more than 500,000 pupils worldwide, found children of elementary workers in many Far Eastern nations outperformed the sons and daughters of professional British children.

“The children of UK professionals scored an average of 526 points in maths. But this was overshadowed by an average score of 656 registered by the children of professionals in Shanghai-China and 569 among children of the country’s elementary workers. The children of parents in unskilled jobs in the UK scored an average of 461, the equivalent of two and a half years behind.

“Elementary workers’ children in Hong Kong (542), South Korea (538) and Singapore (534), also outperformed more affluent British peers. In Japan, Vietnam, Liechtenstein, Japan and China-Taipei, relatively poor children were only marginally behind the wealthiest British pupils.

“The report said: ‘In the United States and the United Kingdom, where professionals are among the highest-paid in the world, students whose parents work as professionals do not perform as well in mathematics as children of professionals in other countries — nor do they perform as we as the children in Shanghai-China and Singapore whose parents work in manual occupations….'”

no idea if any of these results were broken down by race, ethnicity, etc.

and a related story from a while back:

“Report: Chinese Third-Graders Falling Behind U.S. High School Students in Math, Science”

“According to an alarming new report published Wednesday by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, third-graders in China are beginning to lag behind U.S. high school students in math and science.

“The study, based on exam scores from thousands of students in 63 participating countries, confirmed that in mathematical and scientific literacy, American students from the ages of 14 to 18 have now actually pulled slightly ahead of their 8-year-old Chinese counterparts.

“‘This is certainly a wake-up call for China,’ said Dr. Michael Fornasier, an IEA senior fellow and coauthor of the report. ‘The test results unfortunately indicate that education standards in China have slipped to the extent that pre-teens are struggling to rank among even the average American high school student….'”

(~_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. or an average pisa score above ca. 450.)

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!)

‘Rare’ Gene Common in African Descendants, May Contribute to Heart Disease“Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have found that a genetic variation that is linked to increased levels of triglycerides — fats in the blood associated with disorders such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and stroke — is far more common than previously believed and disproportionally affects people of African ancestry…. The finding offers a clue as to why Africans and people of African descent have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes compared to many other populations, says the study’s senior author, Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell. African Americans with the variant had, on average, 52 percent higher triglyceride levels compared with blacks in the study who did not have the variant…. The gene variant the scientists studied is a single point mutation — a replacement of one of DNA segment with another — in the ApoE gene, which carries fats and other molecules through the blood.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

A gene mutation for excessive alcohol drinking found“UK researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking…. [M]ice with a genetic mutation to the gene Gabrb1 overwhelmingly preferred drinking alcohol over water, choosing to consume almost 85% of their daily fluid as drinks containing alcohol…. Dr Quentin Anstee, Consultant Hepatologist at Newcastle University, joint lead author said: ‘It’s amazing to think that a small change in the code for just one gene can have such profound effects on complex behaviours like alcohol consumption.’ – see also Firewater from greg cochran.

Predicting Human Body Height from DNA“Predicting tall stature from these 180 DNA variants resulted in an accuracy of 0.75 on a scale from 0.5 (meaning random prediction) to 1.0 (completely accurate prediction). ‘Although the achieved DNA-based prediction accuracy for tall stature is still somewhat lower than we previously established for eye color, hair color and age,’ said Kayser, ‘I expect that upcoming new knowledge on height genetics will further increase the accuracy in predicting tall stature, and eventually the full range of body height, from DNA.'”

Study Connects Dots Between Genes, Human Behavior“The team studied individuals with a rare disorder known as Williams syndrome. By measuring neural activity in the brain associated with the distinct language skills and facial recognition abilities that are typical of the syndrome, they showed that Williams is due not to a single gene but to distinct subsets of genes, hinting that the syndrome is more complex than originally thought.”

Different Gene Expression in Male, Female Brains May Help Explain Brain Disorder Differences“UCL scientists have shown that there are widespread differences in how genes, the basic building blocks of the human body, are expressed in men and women’s brains. Based on post-mortem adult human brain and spinal cord samples from over 100 individuals, scientists at the UCL Institute of Neurology were able to study the expression of every gene in 12 brain regions…. They found that the way that the genes are expressed in the brains of men and women were different in all major brain regions and these differences involved 2.5% of all the genes expressed in the brain.” – h/t heartiste!

Only two genes maketh the man…or mouse“The defining genetic feature of maleness, the Y chromosome, contains only two genes that are absolutely essential for male function – at least in mice.” – “male function” = producing sperm, apparently. and taking out the garbage of course. (~_^)

Male facial masculinity as a cue to health outcomes“Although both attractiveness and rated health were associated with better actual health in the past and future (mainly indexed by lower antibiotic use), results were mixed for masculinity. With respect to respiratory illnesses, facial masculinity (assessed using morphometric techniques) was associated with better past health but with worse future health.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

HPV: Sex, cancer and a virus“Human papillomavirus is causing a new form of head and neck cancer — leaving researchers scrambling to understand risk factors, tests and treatments.” – h/t john durant!

Gut bacteria could make cancer treatments more effective, researchers find“[M]ice with reduced levels of bacteria in their gut were less responsive to treatments than mice that had a normal microbiota.”

When We Lose Antibiotics, Here’s Everything Else We’ll Lose Too – *gulp* =/

Arroyo del Vizcaíno, Uruguay: a fossil-rich 30-ka-old megafaunal locality with cut-marked bones – evidence for humans in uruguay 30,000 years ago? hunting giant sloths?

Who Built Serpent Mound? – dunno.

Sexual selection on the American frontier – re. nineteenth century mormons – from jason collins.

Jealousy in a small-scale, natural fertility population: the roles of paternity, investment and love in jealous response – jealousy rates in a non-w.e.i.r.d. population (the himba of namibia) – “In this population, the majority of both men and women report greater distress over a sexual infidelity, with men reaching an almost unanimous consensus (96%). Despite the skew for both men and women, there is a significant sex difference in the direction predicted by the evolutionary hypothesis….” – h/t andrew badenoch!

Study examines potential evolutionary role of ‘sexual regret’ in human survival and reproduction“[The results] suggest that men are more likely to regret not taking action on a potential liaison, and women are more remorseful for engaging in one-time liaisons.”

A Hot Wife Means A Happier Marriage“[M]en are happier with attractive women and women don’t care as much about men’s looks. Stop the goddamned presses! You mean men and women are…*GASP*…different?” – @chateau heartiste. (^_^) – original research article.

Oxytocin leads to monogamy: Hormone stimulates the brain reward system when viewing the partnerthe luuuuuuuuv hormone! (^_^)

Promiscuous mouse moms bear sexier sons“Males make more pheromone if mama had access to many mates”

We can’t ignore the evidence: genes affect social mobility“Why do so many people fail to accept the overwhelming evidence that genes contribute to academic achievement and thereby social status?” – h/t ed west!

The Sour Grapes of Pisa – from staffan.

The envirome and the connectome: exploring the structural noise in the human brain associated with socioeconomic deprivation – from neuroskeptic: “People from deprived parts of Glasgow have brains that are more ‘random’ structurally than those from rich areas.” – and from jayman: “Of course IQ has nothing to do with it… ;)”

Poor people’s poor sense – from the awesome epigone.

Meat, egg and dairy nutrient essential for brain development“Asparagine, found in foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, was until now considered non-essential because it is produced naturally by the body. Researchers at the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital found that the amino acid is essential for normal brain development. This is not the case for other organs.”

Different rates of first admissions for psychosis in migrant groups in Paris“Our findings suggest that Sub-Saharan migrants were identified as the most vulnerable migrant group for developing psychosis in France, but additional work is warranted to confirm these trends.” – h/t neuroskeptic! – see also Redneck Psychiatrists from greg cochran.

Nations of Canada – from jayman.

Another Look at ‘The Rise of the West’ – But With Better Numbers“The North Sea begins to diverge from the rest of Europe long before the ‘West’ begins its more famous split from ‘the rest….’ [W]e can pin point the beginning of this ‘little divergence’ with greater detail. In 1348 Holland’s GDP per capita was $876. England’s was $777. In less than 60 years time Holland’s jumps to $1,245 and England’s to 1090. The North Sea’s revolutionary divergence started at this time.” – from t.greer.

When it comes to diversity, most of us vote with our feet“Liberals are almost as likely to flee diversity as conservatives, according to new research by Prof Eric Kaufmann for Demos. Some 61 per cent of white people who were ‘very comfortable’ with mixed marriages (the best indicator of views on race) moved to whiter areas during the period, compared to 64 per cent of those who were ‘fairly uncomfortable’.” – from “utterly sh** in every way” ed west.

Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race“*Race is real*. In aggregate, human populations *differ*. Because of those differences, their interests can differ, too — and that can lead to various kinds of unpleasantness. Birds of a feather, whether we approve or not, still tend to flock together.” – from malcolm pollack.

How to have a sensible conversation about immigration“The poor of the world are on the move, eager to live and work in rich nations. What are the consequences? Talking about them cannot be a taboo.” – h/t steve sailer!

3 Reasons Diversity Isn’t Working – @theden.

How Britain became ashamed of being Great: Major new book argues liberal self-loathing threatens the values that define our nation – a MUST READ from daniel hannan! buy the book, too: How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters.

Study: Having daughters makes parents more likely to be Republican – i thought it was democrats? – and on that note: Does Having Sisters Make You Conservative? – h/t avi tuschman!

Atheists get sweaty when daring God“When you get anxious or emotionally aroused, you sweat. Not a lot, but enough to be detected using electrodes on the finger tips. And it turns out that if you take a bunch of atheists, and get them to dare god to do horrible things, they get sweaty.” – heh! (really small sample size, tho.) – h/t anatoly!

The brains of high functioning autistic individuals do not synchronize with those of others“Our ISC [InterSubject Correlations-ISCs] results suggest that the minds of ASD individuals do not ‘tick together’ with others while perceiving identical dynamic social interactions.” – no kidding?! (~_^)

Cleansing the scientific literature – from peter frost. see also Danish Progress in Suppressing Thoughtcrime from helian.

In Israel, a Push to Screen for Cancer Gene Leaves Many Conflicted“The country has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world, according to a World Health Organization report. And some leading scientists here are advocating what may be the first national screening campaign to test women for cancer-causing genetic mutations common among Jews — tests that are already forcing young women to make agonizing choices about what they want to know, when they want to know it and what to do with the information.”

The Neuroscientist Who Discovered He Was a Psychopath – h/t naturalismo!

10,000-year-old house uncovered outside Jerusalem“‘Here we have evidence of man’s transition to permanent dwellings'” – cool!

Here’s why wine snobs should probably be called bacteria snobs“Differences in wine quality between vineyards have long been attributed to processing techniques and seasonal variation. But research now suggests that regional differences between wines are shaped by microbes — specifically, fungi and bacteria. Cultivating certain grape microbes may actually improve wine flavor.”

bonus: FDA may begin seizing [23andMe] home DNA testing kits – losers. (the fda, i mean.)

bonus bonus: Do We Live in the Matrix? – yes.

bonus bonus bonus: Economics of Violence: What would it cost you if you didn’t fight back?“In my 30 years of researching violence, every victim of violence who lived to tell the tale said they had a ‘bad feeling’ before the actual attack…. If an alarm goes off, respond to it. Got a bad feeling? Address it. Something nagging at you? Stop and look into it. Don’t ignore these signals. Don’t rationalize and mentally correct them. Don’t dismiss them without assessing them. Your body is built for survival and one of its hard-wired systems is designed to alert you to danger.” – h/t mr. mangan, esq!

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Sexual violence in gang neighbourhoods [in the u.k] is ‘like that in war zones’ with girls as young as 11 being groomed and raped” – =/

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Latest restaurant receipt hoax – from chuck @gucci little piggy.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Banks Warn Fed They May Have To Start Charging Depositors – =/ – h/t charles!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Over 50,000 illegal Ethiopian workers sent home from Saudi Arabia

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Fabulous example of helpful Muslims in the UK: solving local blood feud – terrific. =/ – from frau katze.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: China’s rich fleeing the country — with their fortunes – h/t randall parker! – also: China’s villages vanish amind rush for the cities.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Man sells testicle so he can buy a Nissan 370Z – (o_O)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: We’d rather eat turkey“Thanksgiving is that very special holiday when we take a break from our hectic everyday lives to spend quality time with our loved ones, rediscovering all the reasons why we don’t actually live with them.” – (~_^) – from dave barry.

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just making a point.

and that is that there is a very low correlation between regional differences in income and pisa scores in spain (regional income per capita index taken from here [pdf], pg. 4 – i took a simple average of the provinces in each autonomous community to get the income per capita index figures for each autonomous community. sorted by reading scores, highest to lowest, because that’s what i did last time — don’t remember why):

spain - pisa scores and income per capita 02

this is opposed to, interestingly, the strong correlation between latitude and regional differences in pisa scores in spain (see previous post for more info on sources):

spain - pisa scores and latitude

that is all! (^_^)

previously: northern vs. southern spanish iq, redux

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i hate taking time out from my usual routine of thinking/reading/writing about all-things-altruistic, especially when it means thinking/reading/writing about iq, ’cause 1) i’m far, far from being any sort of expert on iq, and 2) i’m not really interested in the topic (although i know, i know — iq is interested in me!) — but ron unz’s latest on iq (which i’m sure you’ve all heard about if you haven’t actually read) has forced me, ever so unwillingly, out of my comfort zone. plenty of folks smarter than me have already pointed out some of the ways that unz has got his thesis wrong — the thesis being that mexicans will catch up iq-wise to european-americans any day now just like previous immigrant groups to the u.s. did — but i’m going to add a couple of more to the innerwebs anyway.

here they are in no particular order:

– who are these irish-americans unz is talking about?

in his original article, unz makes a big deal out of the low-iq scores of irish people back in the 1970s and earlier versus their higher scores today. for example, unz says:

“The evidence today is that the tested IQ of the typical Irish-American — to the extent it can be distinguished — is somewhat above the national white American average of around 100 and also above that of most German-Americans, who arrived around the same time.”

a lot of “self-identified” irish-americans that i have met are, in fact, scots-irish folks (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). scots-irish people are a whole other kettle of fish than the native irish, and they’re not really found in the republic of ireland where, as i’ll talk about below, the modern pisa scores for “the irish” come from. rather, the scots-irish are found in ulster which is part of the u.k. so you’d have to weed out those irish-americans who are scots-irish and not native irish in order to compare irish-american iq scores with irish iq scores.

you’d also have to weed out anglo-irish scores from both irish-americans and the irish back in ireland ’cause they, too, are a whole other kettle of fish, and an awful lot of them have been quite clever so they might inflate either the irish-american or the irish iq scores if there were too many of them included in one of those groups.

also, like peter frost said:

“As for Irish American IQ, just what is an ‘Irish American’? Is Mariah Carey Irish? (She’s one quarter Irish, like me). It all comes down to self-identification and interest in Irish culture, music, etc. That factor alone would bias your sample towards the better educated.”

exactly.
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– who emigrated from europe?

unz dismisses the idea that there might’ve been any “self-sorting” amongst the immigrant groups that he talked about — southern italians, greeks or irish:

“Even if we ignore all contemporaneous evidence and argue that 19th century European immigrants to America and elsewhere somehow constituted the IQ elite of their originating countries, the theory of selective migration still remains implausible. It has long been established on both theoretical and empirical grounds that IQ scores generally follow a mean-reversion pattern, in which the children of outlying individuals tend to regress toward the typical levels of their larger population or ethnic group. So even if we hypothesize that the Irish, South Italians, Jews, and Greeks who immigrated to America constituted the smartest small slice of their generation — rather than, as seems more likely, often the poorer and most miserable — roughly half their relative IQ advantage would have dissipated after a single generation. Thus, the apparent one standard deviation gap between American Irish and Ireland Irish a few decades ago would have required an initial gap of something closer to two standard deviations at the time the immigration occurred, a difference so large as to be totally implausible.”

so unz doesn’t think that, perhaps, smarter individuals may have emigrated from europe leaving dullards behind, something which could account, for example, for the very low irish iq score of 87 from the 1970s. he thinks it more likely that it was “often the poorer and most miserable” — and presumably, therefore, those with the lowest iqs — that emigrated.

but that wasn’t the case. at least not according to thomas sowell, who unz actually referenced in his article (pgs. 22-23):

“Although the cost of a trip to the United States in the hold of a cargo vessel was less than ten pounds sterling (less than fifty dollars at contemporary exchange rates), the poorest of the Irish could not afford even that, so that immigration was very low from the poorest fourth of the Irish population. Those a notch above them on the economic scale emigrated in large numbers, often by selling their belongings, using up savings, and spending money sent by relatives already in America. From one-third to three-quarters of the Irish immigrations to America in the 1830s and 1840s was financed by money sent from North America.”

so it was not those with the least resources who immigrated to the u.s. — nor was it the “smartest small slice of their generation” either. the wealthy and, therefore, likely smartest people would probably have had little reason to leave their native countries. no. nineteenth century european immigrants to the united states were people who could afford passage to the new world — people with some resources — but also people with a reason to leave. in other words, most likely people with average-ish iqs. not on the top, but not on the bottom either.

emigration from ireland to britain, the u.s. and australia went on for 150 years (and counting!). and the population in ireland hit rock bottom in the 1960s and 1970s — just when lynn’s average iq of 87 for the irish was obtained (as part of a master’s thesis, btw):

iq scores started going up in ireland from the 1970s onwards not (just) because living standards improved (although better nutrition has probably helped), but because smarter irish folks chose to remain in the country (especially since the nation joined the e.u. which created more economic/job opportunities).

the irish iq score of 87 from the 1970s most likely reflects the fact that a vast majority of the average-to-bright irish individuals had left the country between roughly 1840 and 1960. the increase since the 1970s probably does have to do with some sort of regression to the mean (whatever it is). but it’s not obvious that this increase should give anyone hope that the same thing will happen in the mexican population since, afaik, they haven’t experienced the same sort of brain drain that ireland did.
_____

– who’s taking these pisa tests?

unz said:

“Furthermore, the most recent 2009 PISA international student academic tests sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development provide us with results that raise further doubts about the correctness of the Lynn/Vanhanen IQ scores from a wide range of European countries…. During the early 1970s, a huge national sample had placed the Ireland IQ at 87, the lowest in all of Europe, but today Ireland’s PISA scores are about average for the continent and roughly the same as those for France and Britain, while Irish per capita incomes have pulled a little ahead.”

i wondered over @evoandproud about which irish kids in ireland have been taking the pisa tests. i was concerned that perhaps the pisa tests were mostly conducted in and around dublin which would bias the sample (i.e. include more anglo-irish and smarter folks who had moved to the city), but i’ve read (quickly) through the 2009 pisa report for ireland [opens pdf] and the samples seem to have been drawn from around the country, so … never mind!

however … there does seem to have been a slight bias in the selection of participating schools which may have resulted in an inflation (perhaps only slight, i dunno) of the 2009 irish pisa scores.

there are, apparently, different sorts of high-schools in ireland: voluntary secondary schools, vocational schools, and comprehensive or community schools. the breakdown of what percentage of students attends each type of school looks like this:

voluntary secondary schools = 57%
vocational schools = 28%
comprehensive/community schools = 15%

but the breakdown of schools included in the 2009 pisa tests looks like this (pg. 129 – opens pdf):

voluntary secondary schools = 61.5%
vocational schools = 23.1%
comprehensive/community schools = 15.4%

so, 28% of high-school age kids in ireland attend vocational schools — you know, where you can learn a trade — but the kids at these schools only made up 23% of the pisa test takers. the missing 5% seems to be over in the voluntary secondary schools which are privately owned.

somehow i imagine that more well-to-do parents in ireland prolly try to get their kids into such private schools rather than vocational schools. i smell a bit of a bias in the irish pisa scores. maybe they wouldn’t be quite as high as they are without this bias. dunno for sure. just a thought.

furthermore — re. who’s taking these pisa tests? — unz also said:

“During the early 1970s, a huge national sample had placed the Ireland IQ at 87, the lowest in all of Europe, but today Ireland’s PISA scores are about average for the continent and roughly the same as those for France and Britain, while Irish per capita incomes have pulled a little ahead.”

indeed, the overall 2009 pisa scores for france, britain and ireland were (respectively): 496, 494, 496. so, yeah, the irish are just as smart nowadays as the french and the british, right? not necessarily.

today’s “french” population includes ca. 19% (11.8M) foreign born immigrants or their direct descendants, about one-third (4M) of whom are from north africa. and the u.k. had 7.86% minorities as of the 2001 census (and it’s well known that those rates have gone up since then). ireland just had ca. half that as of 2011. in other words, we’re just not comparing apples with apples here. it’s very possible that the average pisa/iq scores of ethnic french or british kids are higher than their current national scores and, therefore, higher than the pisa score for ireland.

you don’t think the immigrants in these countries could bring down the pisa scores? think again. the irish have actually experienced this even with the comparatively small number of immigrants they have (pg. 188 – opens pdf):

“There have been some marked demographic changes in the school-going population in Ireland since 2000. One such change was the increase in both the percentage of students with immigrant status and the percentage who spoke a language other than English or Irish at home (Table 9.2; see also Tables 6.19 and 6.20). Furthermore, the relationship between immigrant status, language spoken at home and achievement changed since 2000. In 2000, immigrant and ‘other language’ students had higher mean scores than native students, while in 2009, immigrant students and ‘other language’ students did significantly less well than native students. This is likely to be due to the differing composition of these two groups in 2000 and 2009 (e.g., in 2000 ‘other language’ students had a higher socioeconomic status than the students who spoke English or Irish whereas in 2009 the socioeconomic status of the two groups did not differ) (Cosgrove, et al., 2010).”

so, the more immigrants ireland got, the lower their pisa scores became. terrific.
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– what about new mexicans?

plenty of other people have pointed this out in comments elsewhere, but what about the success rates — or lack of — of the mexicans that have been in new mexico for several generations now? steve sailer has repeatedly written about this (see here and here for example), and the awesome epigone found that new mexico ranks 49th as far as average state iqs go (just in front of mississippi and washington d.c.). why haven’t the mexicans in new mexico caught up with european-americans given they’ve been here for several generations now?
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– what about african americans?

african americans apparently haven’t caught up with european-americans iq-wise either even after a couple hundred years. why not?
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and given those last two points, why would ron unz conclude that the average iq of mexicans in america will increase to match those of european-americans? even if that did happen with the southern italians, greeks and irish, which is by no means certain, we already have examples of that not happening with mexicans (and african americans) so … well, i dunno … i don’t know what he’s thinking.

i’m not a “hard hereditarian.” environment matters. nutrition matters. neglecting kids when their brains are developing seems to matter. the flynn effect is a real phenomenon. h*ll, evolution happens! — so a population’s average intelligence is hardly written in stone for eveh. but different populations are different because we’ve had different evolutionary histories. differences that prolly won’t be overcome overnight — or even in a generation or two, no matter how much ron unz (or i) would wish that to be possible. and it seems very cavalier to me to risk an entire society on the basis of a wish.

and don’t forget: iq isn’t the only thing to consider when thinking about the immigration of masses of people.
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tomorrow … back to the regularly scheduled programming.
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footnote: pardon me for indulging for a sec in one of those annoying innate behaviors that women (apparently) possess: shaming.

in this debate over his article, ron unz has resorted on more than one occasion to personal attacks on commenters. example:

“All in all, it appears that an enthusiastic interest in engaging in IQ debates is no strong sign of actually possessing much of the attribute under discussion.”

unnecessary and uncalled for. the points of the discussion — the evidence — will stand or fall on merit. there is no need for argumentum ad hominem.

that is all.

(note: comments do not require an email. italian immigrants.)

so, the 2009 PISA results are out. (see also here, and steve sailer here, here and here.)

i took a look at vol ii, “Overcoming Social Background: Equity in Learning Opportunities and Outcomes” [.pdf file], which, amongst other things, examines how immigrants in various countries did on the PISA tests.

here’s what they had to say [pgs. 77-78]:

Performance, immigrant status and country of origin

“The relative performance of students with an immigrant background cannot be attributed solely to their country of origin. Figures II.4.11 and II.4.12 show the performance of students with an immigrant background from the OECD and other countries across a number of host countries, before and after accounting for the socio-economic background of the students or the host country. These figures highlight how performance varies for students with the same country of origin across different host countries. They also show how students from different countries of origin fare within the same host country.

“Figure II.4.11 shows, for example, that students with an immigrant background from Turkey perform 69 points lower in Austria than in the Netherlands, even after accounting for their socio-economic status. In Luxembourg, students with an immigrant background from Portugal perform 65 score points below students with an immigrant background from France, after accounting for their own socio-economic status. Students with an immigrant background from Germany perform 44 score points higher in Switzerland than in Luxembourg, while students with an immigrant background from Portugal in Switzerland outperform students with a similar background in Luxembourg by 65 score points (Table II.4.5).

“The performance of students with an immigrant background from countries and regions outside the OECD are represented in Figure II.4.12. Students from China perform well above the OECD average (above 560 score points) in Australia and New Zealand. Students with an immigrant background from South Africa also perform above the OECD average in Australia and New Zealand, even after accounting for socio-economic background. Students with an immigrant background from Pakistan perform above the OECD average in the United Kingdom but well below it in Denmark, even after accounting for socio-economic background (Table II.4.5).”

so. what does this tell us, besides the fact that the writers of this report must be mentally retarded?

it tells us diddly-squat. zip. zilch. nada. it’s just a waste of paper binary code.

why?

because different peoples is different (duh!).

take their example about turks. they said: “students with an immigrant background from Turkey perform 69 points lower in Austria than in the Netherlands, even after accounting for their socio-economic status.” right there they’re assuming that everyone from turkey is the same. have they ever been to turkey? (i have to guess not.) there’s a big, BIG difference between the people in hellenized western turkey versus central turkey versus eastern turkey which is full of kurds. why — WHY — would the PISA people assume that all these people would do equally well in school ANYwhere? i betcha they don’t do equally well in school back in turkey.

and, ’cause of chain migration, turkish immigrants in different countries in europe come from different regions of turkey:

“So, one quarter of the Turkish immigrants over 18 who live in Belgium was born in Afyon Province (Western Anatolia). There is a similar concentration of Turks from notably Karaman Province (Central Anatolia) in the Netherlands. The Turks living in Sweden come primarily from Kulu (Konya Province, Central Anatolia), while 60% of Denmark’s Turkish immigrants come from the Kurdish areas of South-east Anatolia.”

i dunno what the differences are between these different “turks”, but i betcha a brewski that there are some!

and that’s not even the worst of it. look at the bit about portugese immigrants (just look at it!) — or about german immigrants: “In Luxembourg, students with an immigrant background from Portugal perform 65 score points below students with an immigrant background from France, after accounting for their own socio-economic status. Students with an immigrant background from Germany perform 44 score points higher in Switzerland than in Luxembourg, while students with an immigrant background from Portugal in Switzerland outperform students with a similar background in Luxembourg by 65 score points.”

sounds interesting, but when they say “students with an immigrant background from Portugal,” they mean ANYbody from portugal! from ethnic portugese to brazilians! *facepalm* again, “students with an immigrant background from Germany” might mean anyone from an ethnic german to an ethnic turk or kurd to an ethnic iraqi.

gibberish! that’s what it all is — gibberish! as sherlock holmes said, “how can you build on such a quicksand?”

answer: you can’t.

all of this reminds me of this hysterical story about a new yorker swpl woman who was horrified when her toddler called a black man (laurence fishburne, actually) “doggie” out in public. this woman was distraught thinking that her child was (*gasp*) a racist, when really all he was was a kid who didn’t have a word for “black man” or “african american male” or whatever (probably because he’d never been taught those words) and he was struggling for a word to express the fact that he was looking at someone who looked different than himself and his family (i.e. not white).

from the mouths of babes, eh?

what’s really sad is when you think about all the pc-thinking people around the world today (like the PISA people) performing linguistic and mental gymnastics in order to not be “racist” when even little kids can see there are differences between different peoples.

and, even worse, the absolute confusion they (including/especially journalists) are causing with their word games (eg. is this man really swedish? i bet not!).

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