Gene Expression

Archives for February, 2006

Janet Stemwedel has a long post which elucidates various angles of the Cohen & algebra story. I agree with many of Janet’s points, and I tend to believe that knowing algebra is an important necessary precondition for being a well rounded modern intellect. But I want to emphasize modern, I’ve mentioned before that John Derbyshire…

Algebra reprised

A friend of mine told me that they thought my comment on Richard Cohen’s infamous algebra column was pretty lame and lightweight. I had to plead that time was at a premium when I threw that up there, and a lot of the ground had been covered. But, as someone who writes posts titled 8th…

A few markers to rule them all?

A few days ago I saw that Dienekes commented on a recent paper published in The American Journal of Human Genetics where the authors used 10 markers, specifically single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), to discern continental level population differentiation. Dienekes has generated a map which shows the extent of clustering. The authors selected specific SNPs that…

Substance & style

Richard Cohen’s column dismissing the importance of algebra is so plainly stupid that it beggars the imagination. Nevertheless, I would like to point out that mathematics is important in “practical” contexts because it is a collection of unified techniques which happen to have wide ranging utility in the world around us. But Cohen’s point that…

Give it up for Mendel!

With all the hoopla over Darwin Day (justified in my opinion) I thought I’d point you to this article, Gregor Mendel: The father of genetics. The contemporaneous insights of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel illustrate the beauty of science, nature’s gift to us in its underlying unity of form. Darwin looked at the big picture…

E. O. Wilson interview

E. O. Wilson interview over at meaningoflife.tv.

The Great Khan’s Fist

Anyone who has long read my other weblog knows I have a strong interest in several historical questions. With John Emerson I share a deep interest in Central Asian history, so with that in mind, I point you to the refurbished essay (it has maps!) 2000 years of barbarians in 50 minutes.

The Enlightenment blues….

Diana of Letter from Gotham expresses some of what I’ve been thinking. I am rather uninspired by what I perceive as the relative silence on the Left and the swarming hysterics on the Right.1 Though I tend to sympathize with the suspicion of Islam evinced by many on the Right, I have commented on the…

Darwin’s species and the One-True-Peak

Today is Darwin Day. Chris at Mixing Memory has qualms about the name, and suggests “Evolution Day” as a more appropriate celebratory appellation in keeping with the spirit of Charles Darwin’s scientific insights. I tend to have sympathies with Chris’ point, though I would assert that Darwin was the Newton, not the Kepler, of evolutionary…

I’ve commented on the African American Lives series a few times. One thing I’ve said in other threads is that these massively more data rich ancestry analysis tests aren’t going to tell you anything you don’t already know in 99% of the cases. That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it to get tested, but…