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The Sciences

Daily Data Dump - Wednesday

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanAugust 5, 2010 12:56 AM

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Does Coffee Work? Maybe. Interfaith Marriages Stir Mixed Feelings. In regards to the mixed Jewish-Methodist Mezvinksy-Clinton marriage. American Jews worry a fair amount about intermarriage. As a small religious minority (with ethnic connotations because of the descent-group national understanding of Judaism) Jews are right to be worried about intermarriage rates on the order of 25-50%. But I do have to suggest that a probabilistic understanding of the threat that intermarriage poses to Jewish religio-ethnic integrity would help. It stands to reason that it is easier for two people from Jewish backgrounds to foster a Jewish household than in the case where one person is from a Jewish background and another is not. But there is no categorical guarantee in any of the combinations of the matrix, and in a world where intermarriage is a reality switching from dichotomous/categorical models to more probabilistic ones probably yields more juice. Relatives of Individuals With Autism Tend to Display Abnormal Eye Movements. If the heritable component of autism has a "threshold" aspect I guess we shouldn't be too surprised. Culture Wires the Brain: A Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective. In the early 2000s The Geography of Thought presented the cognitive psychological literature in this domain, so I'm not that surprised. But, it would be nice to compare continental Europeans to Anglo-Americans and East Asians. It turns out that in terms of many cognitive biases continental Europeans are mid-point between Anglo-Americans and the rest of the world. If the neural differences are an outcome of cultural input then you'd see that continental Europeans would be at mid-point. If the differences are hard-cored through genetics somehow then one would expect continental Europeans to but indistinguishable from Anglo-Americans. Virginia Heffernan Is Our Target Audience. "Inside baseball," but still of interest.

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