Gene Expression

Archives for November, 2009

The future of human evolution

Since The Origin of Species was published 150 years ago many articles on evolution are seeing the light of day today. Normally I’m all in favor of this, I ♥ evolution. But it also means that woolly thinking is put out there as conventional wisdom as journalists simply act as stenographers for any scientist who’s…

Brown people are susceptible to diabetes

In medical news which won’t be surprising to anyone, Ethnic Variation in Fat and Lean Body Mass and the Association with Insulin Resistance: Objective: Our objective was to compare total body fat to lean mass ratio (F:LM) in Aboriginal, Chinese, European, and South Asian individuals with differences in insulin resistance. … Results: After adjustment for…

Apocalypse 73,000 B.C.

FuturePundit points me to a new paper on the Toba explosion, Environmental impact of the 73 ka Toba super-eruption in South Asia: The cooling effects of historic volcanic eruptions on world climate are well known but the impacts of even bigger prehistoric eruptions are still shrouded in mystery. The eruption of Toba volcano in northern…

Cannibalism & evolution

Cannibalism is a controversial topic. It is routine for particular societies to accuse “barbarians”, enemies, or evil mythological figures, of cannibalism. When it comes to the archaeological record some skeptics have claimed that like “sacred objects” too often human remains found in peculiar circumstances are ascribed to human sacrifice or cannibalism. In Did Adam and…

Hadza heaven turning to hell

National Geographic has an interesting piece of ethnographic travel writing up on the Hadza of Tanzania. The Hadza are one of the few remaining hunter-gather populations in the world, and their language is an isolate which has clicks. There’s a bit too much “noble savage” archetype loaded into the piece, but this portion is of…

Hu Jintao vs. Barack Obama

I found this SNL sketch about an Obama/Jintao press conference very funny.

Perhaps because we only remember the good stuff? Or only the good suff & famous authors get reprinted. I’m prompted to offer this hypothesis in response to Chad Orzel’s commentary that there was a lot of bad space opera even during the “Golden Age” of science fiction. I recall that Zadie Smith once noted that…

Chinese propensity to copy

No, this isn’t about intellectual property issues and piracy. Whole Genome Distribution and Ethnic Differentiation of Copy Number Variation in Caucasian and Asian Populations: Although copy number variation (CNV) has recently received much attention as a form of structure variation within the human genome, knowledge is still inadequate on fundamental CNV characteristics such as occurrence…

When mammoths roamed

Pleistocene Megafaunal Collapse, Novel Plant Communities, and Enhanced Fire Regimes in North America: Although the North American megafaunal extinctions and the formation of novel plant communities are well-known features of the last deglaciation, the causal relationships between these phenomena are unclear. Using the dung fungus Sporormiella and other paleoecological proxies from Appleman Lake, Indiana, and…

Katz