The Sciences

Around the Web - January 10th, 2011

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJan 10, 2011 10:43 AM

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Denisovans did not have red hair. John Hawks pokes around the Denisovan genome. Interesting that he notes that the coverage of the Denisovans is very good in comparison to the Neandertals. I Won’t Hug This File — I Won’t Even Call It My Friend. A weird screed against the internet and free content, posted on the internet for free (observed by David Dobbs). The Web Is a Customer Service Medium. The main skepticism I have about these sorts of pronouncements is that they underestimate the diversity and pluralism of the web medium. Some outfits are bottom-up, others are top-down. Some websites solicit a lot of feedback, others do not. Some blogs post lots of short posts and observations, others post extended essays. I don't see the point of triumphalism or defeatism. In the aggregate the pie is growing, though unfortunately in this bout of creative destruction many people are losing their livelihoods during the transition. Americans: not as religious as they think they are. Basically Americans claim to allocate twice as much time to religion as they really do. This is an old and robust finding. Vietnam Confronts Economic Quagmire. Inflation and mismanagement. That being said, Vietnam is on the balance a success story. Communism can only destroy so much human capital. Is Law School a Losing Game? This is a long piece in The New York Times, which may reflect a cultural inflection point. The non-elite law school scam has been well known for years in the blogosphere, but it might start finally pushing more aggressively into the mainstream media. But law school is just the canary in the coal mine; the current inflation in higher education is not sustainable. On the Perception of Religious Group Membership from Faces. He's got Mormon face! Why you CAN have your $1000 genome - so long as you learn what to do with it. This seems about right. More than $1000 would reflect the bundling of various services. If you want the raw sequence data, and are willing to put your own labor hours into it, you can get it for a lower sticker price. Hard Core. A woman explains hardcore pornography and men. It's all so easy. Facebook hype will fade. I don't know if this is right...my main contention is that the rate of growth is going to slow down. I am not expecting an AOL-esque collapse of Facebook, but I wouldn't be that surprised. I'm not sure that it is that critical. Announcing The Open Lab Finalists! Lots of familiar faces. Mad props to Jason Goldman for cranking through all that. Why Restaurants Want Fewer Customers. Most of the time expensive meals are probably signalling, especially on the high end margin, but I have to say that last week I had an expensive meal which was well worth it in substantive terms. Study Linking Vaccine to Autism Was Fraud, Journal Reports. What are the consequences? I haven't followed this closely, but it seems that Andrew Wakefield's fraud was motivated by financial incentives. Science needs to crack down on this behavior harshly. Southern Sudanese, in a Jubilant Mood, Begin to Vote on Secession. I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt we'll see this end well. South Sudan has lots of oil, a great deal of ethnic diversity, and, very little human capital. That hasn't been a good combination in other regions of Africa. I support independence because it seems cruel to allow the north to rape the south, metaphorically and sometimes literally, indefinitely. On the other hand, I do wonder if the British did a disservice to the long term Benthamite project of maximal utility by preventing the spread of Islam amongst the southern tribesmen, and so blocking their assimilation into the broader Afro-Arab Muslim culture of the nation. Penis injections lead to 1.5 hour erections, scientists regret not letting the subjects just watch porn. S. M. is back. Thought of the day. "Also the assassin of the Governor belong to the Barelvi sect, which is the more “liberal” and “Sufiesque” Sunni sect of Pakistan." I've long said that most Muslim "moderates" are really equivalent to conservative American Protestants. There are some religious liberals in Islam, but they are marginal, and more often than not private mystics. While Christian Identity is ~0.1% of Christians, the Muslim equivalent is 1-10% of the population in some nations (such as Pakistan). Sam Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is a book that good liberals love to hate (often without reading it), but it's ultimate message was to take cultural differences seriously, and learn to live in a multipolar world where everyone is not on the same page on all values. Facebook Wins Relatively Few Friends in Japan. I recall reading the iPhone isn't big in Japan either. Not enough features.

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