linkfest – 08/12/12

Is corn the new milk? Evolutionarily speaking, that is.“Corn, or maize, may have exerted natural selection on the human populations that first cultivated it.” – original research article: Evolutionary Responses to a Constructed Niche: Ancient Mesoamericans as a Model of Gene-Culture Coevolution.

New Fossils Indicate Early Branching of Human Family Tree“The discovery of three new fossil specimens, announced Wednesday, is the most compelling evidence yet for multiple lines of evolution in our own genus, Homo, scientists said. The fossils showed that there were at least two contemporary Homo species, in addition to Homo erectus, living in East Africa as early as two million years ago.” – see also Fossils point to a big family for human ancestors.

Tree’s leaves genetically different from its roots“Black cottonwood trees (Populus trichocarpa) can clone themselves to produce offspring that are connected to their parents by the same root system. Now, after the first genome-wide analysis of a tree, it turns out that the connected clones have many genetic differences, even between tissues from the top and bottom of a single tree…. ‘This could change the classic paradigm that evolution only happens in a population rather than at an individual level….’

IQ Is A Social Construct Except When It Isn’t“Stupid people are simply far, far more likely to be criminals than normal people.” – from anatoly.

We Thought Female Athletes Were Catching Up to Men, but They’re Not“Across dozens of sports, women’s world speed records consistently fall 10 percent short of men’s records.” – the horror, the horror.

Study Reveals Anti-Conservative Discrimination Among Psychologists“A significant number of social and personality psychologists have told researchers they would discriminate against conservatives in decisions about publishing, grant applications and hiring, according to a study published in the September issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.”

Wrongdoers Feel a ‘Cheater’s High’

Religiosity and crime“[R]eligiosity reduces criminal involvement.” – from the inductivist.

Women and Bell Curves“We have to understand that not only men and women are different as groups, there is also variance among them. People are different, and even though human societies assign different roles to each group, that often ignores biological variance.” – from spandrell via foseti.

Gender inequality in awarded research grants – oh, noes! – “[I]n our opinion, the most likely explanation for the difference in amounts awarded to women and men is that women are systematically less ambitious in the amounts of funding requested in their grant applications.” – oops!

bonus: African Grey Parrots Have the Reasoning Skills of 3-year-olds

bonus bonus: The Largest Ever 3D Map of the Universe – awwwwwwsome!

bonus bonus bonus: Science Proves Luke Skywalker Should Have Died In The Tauntaun’s Belly – hmpf. they’re obviously just missing some key parameter/s.

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linkfest – 06/24/12

Welsh people could be most ancient in UK, DNA suggests

Genomics and African queens“[The researchers] found that the genomes of some Ethiopian populations bear striking similarities to those of populations in Israel and Syria, a potential genetic legacy of the Queen of Sheba and her companions.”

Opiate of the Male Masses“How big of a problem, really, does pornography cause for men?” – from dennis mangan.

Study suggests poor mothers favor daughters“Poor mothers will invest more resources in daughters, who stand a greater chance of increasing their status through marriage than do sons…. On the contrary, mothers who were better off financially favored sons over daughters.” – an example of the trivers-willard hypothesis. research article. h/t linton! (^_^)

Liberalism rankings by country – from the audacious epigone.

Study Finds People Who Believe In Heaven Commit More Crimes“A study published in the scientific journal PLoS One by University of Oregon’s Azim Shariff and University of Kansas’s Mijke Rhemtulla finds that people who believe in hell are less likely to commit a crime while people who believe in heaven more likely are to get in trouble with the law.” – i thought the concepts of heaven and hell usually went together?

Declining testosterone levels in men not part of normal aging, study finds“‘Men who had declines in testosterone were more likely to be those who became obese, had stopped smoking or were depressed at either clinic visit.'”

bonus: Never-before-seen microbes found in Chile’s desert

bonus bonus: All 786 Known Planets To Scale – from xkcd. (^_^)

bonus bonus bonus: EU should ‘undermine national homogeneity’ says UN migration chief“Peter Sutherland told peers the future prosperity of many EU states depended on them becoming multicultural.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Jogging in forest twice as good as trip to gym for mental health

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trees and frisians

speaking of trees, i always found this to be quite shocking:

St. Boniface cuts down Thor’s Oak

i mean, wtf dude?! i’m surprised some of the chatti — who he was trying to convert via this display of strength — didn’t string him up from the next best nearest tree. but apparently he had charles martel covering his *ss (yeah, that charles martel), so i guess the chatti maybe felt that they were … you know … in no position to argue. some frisians “took care” of boniface later, tho.

the frisians are an interesting crew. did you know that they never had any feudalism or serfdom in frisia? or manorialism? [pgs. 41-41 & 76]:

“The area settled by the Frisians along the North Seas coast is an interesting case from within the Frankish Empire itself. Manorial estates had not been established there — not by the king, the church, or the nobility — although the imperial heartland lay very close by. The reason for this may well be the ecological conditions that determined the economy. The region was admirably suited for grazing, so that agriculture faded into the background…. Natural conditions were lacking for the cerealization that had been implemented by Frankish neighbors. That a region in the Frankish Empire specializing in animal husbandry did not even begin to come close to establishing the bipartite estate confirms, e contrario, the belief in a connection between increased grain production and the rise of the manorial system. Nor was the agricultural system in Frisian settlements shaped later on by manorial structures. Very strong rural communal groups were established instead, placing the local nobles dispensing high justice in a percarious position….

“Ecological conditions might well have blocked the [hide] system’s progress in Friesland and the North Sea coastal marshes. It is striking that those are precisely the areas where we find features — such as the clan system and most notably blood revenge — that typify societies strongly oriented toward lineage. Blood revenge is rooted in a concept of kinship in which all men of a group are treated almost like a single person. The agnates together are considered to be the bearers of honor — and guilt. That is why the guilt of one relative can be avenged on someone else who had utterly no part in the deed. The idea of blood revenge is completely incompatible with Christian views of guilt and innocence. Nevertheless, the institution of blood revenge was still alive in several European societies even after they were Christianized, those in the North Sea marshes among them.”

for a good part of the medieval period, then, frisian society continued to be based on clans rather than nuclear families. the frisians had been christianized, which is important in breaking down tribes and clans, but they weren’t manorialized, which seems to be another key in getting to an “atomized” society based on the individual and the nuclear family.

the hide system meant that the lord of the manor would lease out (on a long-term lease — like lasting a life-time) farms to married couples. not to extended families. not to clans. just to a married couple (and their kids). manorialism and the hide system, therefore, also broke down the clan connections, along with the loosening of the genetic ties via all the outbreeding. so in places where people converted to christianity (and, therefore, stopped inbreeding), but DIDN’T have manorialism, extended family systems and even clans could — and did — survive for longer, since the clan system wasn’t also broken down by the hide system.

at some point, tho, the frisian clans did break down. not sure exactly when or how or why, but never fear! i’ll be lookin’ in to it. maybe the outbreeding alone was enough to eventually turn frisian society from a clannish one to one based on nuclear families? dunno. here’s a bit from wikipedia:

“The basic land-holding unit, for assessment of taxes and military contributions, was the ploegg (cf. ‘plow’) or teen (cf. ‘hundred’), though it passed under other local names…. The ploegg or East Frisian rott was a compact holding that originated with a single lineage or kinship, whose men in early times went to war under their chief, and devolved in medieval times into a union of neighbors rather than kith and kin.

in more modern times, the frisians have been characterized as having “absolute nuclear families” (as defined by emmanuel todd) just like the english [image adapted from here — thnx, m.g.!]:

bonus – (in)famous frisian:

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