The Sciences

Daily Data Dump - Wednesday

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanAug 25, 2010 2:44 PM

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Welcome (and Welcome Back) to FiveThirtyEight. Nate Silver moves to The New York Times. Now if only we could get rid of those stupid made up "trend stories." Image of inflation adjusted home prices 1890-2006. Crazy! Classic case of a bubble, but it really hasn't popped. And the government will try and make sure it doesn't. Moderate Drinking: Health Benefits or Not? The question mark is appropriate, they tried to control for demographic variables, but it does look like there's still some issue with the confounds. Controversy in Saudi Arabia over Fatwa Permitting Breastfeeding of Adults. Is this for real? The issue here is that breastfeeding produces a level of intimacy between an adopted son and a woman so that they can be together in private (there was a controversy a few years back in Egypt where a young boy who was adopted at a slightly older age and was not breastfed by his adopted mother was deemed to not be her son. This meant that he could not be alone with his adoptive mother and put the family unit in jeopardy). I've heard that Muslim clerics have extrapolated this principle to adult males and females before, but I've never been sure if this was a joke or not. If it's for real it makes me think that St. Paul was on to something when he cautioned against excessive reliance on the letter of the law as opposed to the spirit. Though I've known of evangelical Christians who don't have sex by having anal sex, so I suppose that non-scriptural factors are paramount (I have read this is also common in societies where female virginity is at a premium). Mosquitoes: Genetic Structure of First Animal to Show Evolutionary Response to Climate Change Determined. Because of the mosquito's relationship to disease there has been some question as to its biological usefulness. Would nature miss them if we exterminated them? In this case there's some possible intellectual insight which might have practical consequences.

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