linkfest – 11/28/13

‘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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syrian tribes

i knew if i looked long and hard enough, i’d find some tribes in syria.

actually, i didn’t look at all, but instead stumbled across this yesterday in Foreign Affairs:

“Despite popular notions of a rich, privileged Alawite class dominating Syria, the country’s current regime provides little tangible benefit to most Alawite citizens. Rural Alawites have struggled as a result of cuts in fuel subsidies and new laws restricting the sale of tobacco — their primary crop for centuries. Indeed, since the provision of basic services by the first Assad in the 1970s and 1980s, most Alawite villages — with the exception of Qardaha, the home of Assad’s tribe, the Kalbiyya — have developed little. Donkeys remain a common form of transport for many, and motor vehicles are scarce, with dilapidated minibuses offering the only way to commute to the cities for work.”

ah ha! now we’re getting somewhere. assad comes from a particular alawite tribe — the kalbiyya — and — surprise, surprise! — out of all the alawites, they have benefitted the most from the assad regime(s). i’ll betcha that they have benefitted the most out of everybody in syria, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

from the qardaha entry on wikipedia:

“During the reign of Hafez al-Assad 1970-2000 the government poured massive investments into Qardaha, Lattakia and the surrounding region. Today, this is evident already before entering Qardaha, as the broad Syrian coastal highway makes an inexplicable pass into the mountains just to reach Qardaha. Qardaha has a lot of luxurious villas…. People of the Qardaha are said to be descent of Banu Kalb tribe, them and all of the Alawite mountains are called by other Syrians ‘The Germans’ because of their looks.”

there are four alawi tribes or tribal confederations in syria: the kalbiyya, the khayatin, the haddadin, and the matawira.

here’s what happened when and after papa assad took power — from Minorities and the State in the Arab World [pgs. 135-37]:

“After Asad seized power in Syria and became the de factor leading figure in the ‘Alawi community, he turned his attention to strengthening his grip on this community. His first step was to bolster his position within his family and tribe. It is as a result of this effort that the core of Asad’s regime has been composed of members of the Kalbiyya tribe, headed by members of the Asad family: his brother Rif’at and Jamil (until the mid-1980s), his son Basil, and since his death, Bashshar and Mahir. Alongside them in the highest echelons of the regime are members of the Makhluf family, the largest and most prominent in the area of Asad’s birth. Asad is married to Anisa Makhluf, whose cousin, ‘Adnan Makhluf, was the commander for many years of the Republican Guard, the elite force responsible for the regime’s security.”

so bashar is both an asad AND a makhluf. that’s gotta be pretty good.

Asad’s [that’s papa asad remember] second step in consolidating his hold on the ‘Alawi community was to arrange a system of alliances among its families, tribes, and clans by means of marriage and the appointment of family and tribal representatives to important posts in the regime. For instance, Asad appointed members of leading families from other tribes to key positions: ‘Ali Duba, whose family comes from the Matawira/Numilatiyya tribe, was appointed head of the Military Security Department; and ‘Ali Haydar, from the Haddadin tribe, was appointed commander of the Special Forces. There are also strategic marriages between the Asads and those prominent families of the ‘Alawi community whoe members command crucial posts in the army, including the match of Rif’at Asad’s daughter with the son of the then Third Division commander Shafiq Fayyad (now commander of the Third Corps), in an attempt to cool passions aroused in the 1983-84 struggle over government succession.

Once he secured the allegiance of the ‘Alawi community, or at least the recognition by most of its members of his leadership, Asad turned it into the main prop of the regime. The ‘Alawis gradually gained sway over the army and internal security forces. Today, they fill most of the commanding positions in the elite units of the Syrian Army and supervise most organs of state security….”

and they still do.

“With the ‘Alawi community firmly behind him and its members serving as the engine of his regime, Asad directed his efforts to building bridges between ‘Alawis and others. The ‘Alawis are cognizant of their weaknesses; therefore, ‘Alawi officers have always sought partners along their road to power and today endeavor to broaden the base of support for their policies and ideology as much a possible. Other minority groups, principally the Druzes and Isma’ilis, are longtime confederates….

that makes sense since the common enemy of all three groups would be the sunni majority.

“The ‘Alawis, however, did not require Druzes and Isma’ilis as ruling partners, but rather as supporters and assistants, and when the non-‘Alawi members of the Military Committee attempted to preserve and fortify their standing in the mid-1960s, a power struggle ensued in which the non-‘Alawis were toppled.

“No less important was the coalition between ‘Alawis and rural Sunnis. Their understanding was originally based on a common interest in extirpating the old regime, in effect the entire old order in Syria, and in implementing a just distribution of power and resources. Provincial Sunni officers and politicians proved to be convenient and loyal confederates, as they rallied around the regime without reservation in its most trying hours….

Since the early 1990s, a new pact has been in effect — this time between the ‘Alawi officers and the urbanized Sunni economic elite, prompted by the ‘economic openness’ policy recently adopted by the regime. This is a symbiotic covenant between Sunnis, whose priority is political stability as a means of achieving economic stability, and ‘Alawis, who deliver political stability in exchange for recognition of the regime’s political legitimacy from the erstwhile foes of Ba’th hegemony and ‘Alawi power.”

this must explain why it seems to be rural and “backward” areas, like homs (hey, damascus it ain’t!), that are being beaten up today. urban sunni families (tribes — i’m sure they’re there!) are backing bashar and the alawis against the (somewhat unrelated to them) rural sunni families. this has GOT to be an awfully shaky alliance, though [pg. 138]:

“[T]he Sunni majority still regards the ‘Alawis as socially inferior. While recognizing the ‘Alawis’ political and military puissance and appreciating the economic strides they have made, the average Sunni still harbors feelings of condescension and contempt toward them. There is much evidence of an abiding Sunni unwillingness to accept ‘Alawi integration into Syrian society. Intermarriage between the two communities, for example, is rare.”

the feelings are probably mutual.

how long will any sunnis back the alawis? there’s got to be a limit … maybe it’s already been met and urban sunnis are abandoning the alawis. i don’t really know. i don’t follow the goings on in syria closely enough to know.

steve sailer was recently annoyed at the msm for failing to explain the racial differences between the players in the mali unrest. i found myself raising my voice to a cnn anchor over easter during a report from turkey in which they were telling all us viewers about the streams of “syrian” refugees fleeing from syria to turkey. i was figuring to myself that these were probably syrian turks — makes sense to flee to turkey if you’re a syrian turk i thought — and i was wondering if bashar’s regime was beating up on the syrian turks (and why). as the cnn cameraman panned around the refugee camp, i could see that the women there were dressed head-to-toe in niqabs, so then i figured they must be syrian bedouins — which made me wonder if bashar’s regime was beating up on the syrian bedouins (and why).

which all made me very annoyed at cnn/the msm for being SOOOO uninformative! how can anybody getting their info from the msm expect to know what the h*ll is going on out there?! and most people don’t know what the h*ll’s going on out there. (and prolly most people don’t care to.)

p.s. – this looks like all you’d ever want to know about the bashar regime. here’s a nifty graphic from that report [pg. 356]:

previously: syria

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number of libyan tribes…

…is rising exponentially, apparently.

last time i heard, there were around “140 different tribes and clans in Libya.” now i read that the tribal leaders from 851 tribes and tribal factions just got together for a little pep-rally! and these are just the ones (supposedly) supporting gaddafi:

Libyan Tribes Call for End to Armed Uprising

“Journalists were told that about 2,000 chiefs representing 851 tribes and tribal factions were in attendance, at the convention that was organised by the tribes, not the regime. However it seems that the convention drew only limited participation, with only tribal chiefs from three regions of western and central Libya were present….”

number of tribes in libya? a LOT. (guess it depends on how you slice it.)

previously: libya – land o’ tribes

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“tribes mean trouble”

yes. yes, they do.

Tribes Mean Trouble
March 13, 2011

“So far, the fight for Libya has been an armed showdown between Gaddafi and the rebels. This conflict is about to get much more complicated….

“The rebels, on the other hand, hope to win converts by showing they’ve got the momentum. In the east, that’s not much of a problem. Keeping them in line, however, seems more difficult.

“Last Monday tribal leaders gathered in an ornate conference hall with gold-colored chandeliers in Benghazi; some showed up in traditional robes and others in sleek business suits. Gen. Mohammed Massoud, a senior rebel military commander normally only seen in green fatigues, arrived wrapped in a white tribal blanket, sporting a red tarboosh. The group had gathered to express their support for the Interim Transitional National Council, the government-in-waiting in the east.

“But the gathering was hardly a show of tribal unity. At one point, a representative from the town of Bayda stepped up to praise his own tribesmen’s role in the uprising. A handful of angry attendees drowned him out with cries of ‘Libya! Libya!’ — a clear message that no tribe would be able to take credit above any other. The meeting descended into chaos. Many stormed out. A bewildered waitstaff was left behind, serving up dishes of lamb and rice to largely empty tables….”

so many rebel alliances just NEVER turn out like the one in star wars. wonder why?

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