Friday, April 25, 2008

Race and gene expression

The issue is not so much differing genes, but more level of expression of given genes.

The finding that expression levels differ for hundreds of genes between people of African and European ancestry (the scientists studied 30 white families from Utah and 30 Yoruban families from Nigeria) links up with earlier observations. The researchers found differences among genes that help produce the antibodies that fight off bacterial invaders, and among genes that influence how you respond to certain drugs, they write in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Not coincidentally, perhaps, a 1980 study found that African Americans may be more susceptible to certain bacterial infections than are people of European ancestry. And a 2005 study found that individuals of European and African ancestry also differ in how they respond to anti-microbial drugs such as those used to treat gum disease.

The end of economics

Economics, as understood for hundreds of years, has played out. The major problems of econ 101 have been solved. We know about supply and demand, marginal utility, choice under uncertainty, and budget constraints. We have a wide variety of tools, ranging from game theory to econometrics, that help us identify these processes in situations ranging from war, to car sales, to dating. We are also seeing how these processes plug into classic macroeconomic issues, such as growth and international trade.

However, the market system itself, as indicated by Tim’s concluding chapter, depends on population, innovation, and liberal economic institutions. These, in turn, depend on psychology, group culture, and networks, the domain of sociologists, psychologists, historians, and anthropologists. Economists have shown how the market system processes the inputs, but there’s still much, much more to be said about where the inputs come from.

Awareness test

The death and life of the American newspaper

Waves of left and right, just how legitimate is established print, limits of journalism, ...

Brief explanation of commodity price rise

A couple of things stood out for me:

... many production processes cannot do without these commodities in the short run. Coal, copper, and the like are not always easily substitutable for a factory within the medium run.
Don't forget that logistics and transport are a big part of the production process and so infrastructure often constrains the flow of supply... Infrastructure improves. But yes those adjustments can take ten years or more.

Consciousness is not the highest point

Feeling valid is not the the same as being true.

Richard Nixon flexes as nuclear madman to get Soviet pressure on Hanoi

Kissinger's idea. Believing a whole lot in game theory.

Windows Hidie -- quickly hide any window on your desktop

It won't show in the taskbar nor as an Alt-Tab selection.

Magical thinking

Get this:

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that the brain uses to tag experiences as meaningful, floods the brains of schizophrenics, who see significance in everything, but merely trickles in many depressives, who struggle to find value in everyday life. In one experiment, paranormal believers (who are high in dopamine) were more prone than nonbelievers to spot nonexistent faces when looking at jumbled images and also were less likely to miss the faces when they really were there. Everyone spotted more faces when given dopamine-boosting drugs. Brugger argues that the ability to see patterns and make loose associations enhances creativity and also serves a practical function: "If you're on the grassland, it's always better to assume that a tiger is there."

Kierkegaard in '08 -- attack ad against Nietzsche and Kant

Mmm, Danish.

Previous attack ad against just Kant here.

Politics, rather than technology, drives globalization

The new steam technologies of the Industrial Revolution would never have had the effect that they did if they had not operated within the context of a stable geopolitical system within which the Royal Navy guaranteed the freedom of the seas for all; within which wars between the major European powers were relatively rare; and within which those same European powers used their military superiority to impose more or less open trade on most of Africa and Asia. With the outbreak of World War I, that geopolitical system was destroyed, and 19th century globalisation with it, despite the fact that technological progress continued unabated during the interwar period.

Haiti not so dangerous

In 2006, the neighboring Dominican Republic notched more than four times more homicides per capita than those registered in Haiti: 23.6 per 100,000, according to the Central American Observatory on Violence. Even the United States would appear to have a higher homicide rate: 5.7 per 100,000 in 2006, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Somebody's had enough of the raves over The Wire

I admit that it's an involving series. But the superlatives...

Jump Knowledge -- annotate web pages

Save your comments directly onto the web page and share.

Brainwash your way to success


Block out distractions with repetitious self-talk. Whenever your mind wanders while uncluttering, chant your “back to work” or “I’m uncluttered” message. This was one of the most successful methods employed by his research subjects. The block out chants used by cult members usually relate to their leader or their guiding purpose.

Into the brain of a liar

The liars in Yang's study had on average 22 percent to 26 percent more white matter [axonal insulation] in their prefrontal cortex than both the normal and antisocial controls.
... brain scans of autistic people, who have difficulty telling lies, show the exact opposite profile of Yang's liars: They have less white matter than other people. In autistic children, white matter doesn't develop at a normal rate.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Turn signal bike jacket

International Association of Time Travelers: Members' Forum

At 14:52:28, FreedomFighter69 wrote:
Reporting my first temporal excursion since joining IATT: have just returned from 1936 Berlin, having taken the place of one of Leni Riefenstahl's cameramen and assassinated Adolf Hitler during the opening of the Olympic Games. Let a free world rejoice!

At 14:57:44, SilverFox316 wrote:
Back from 1936 Berlin; incapacitated FreedomFighter69 before he could pull his little stunt. Freedomfighter69, as you are a new member, please read IATT Bulletin 1147 regarding the killing of Hitler before your next excursion. Failure to do so may result in your expulsion per Bylaw 223.

At 18:06:59, BigChill wrote:
Take it easy on the kid, SilverFox316; everybody kills Hitler on their first trip. I did. It always gets fixed within a few minutes, what's the harm?

At 18:33:10, SilverFox316 wrote:
Easy for you to say, BigChill, since to my recollection you've never volunteered to go back and fix it. You think I've got nothing better to do?

Long distance WiFi for rural areas

Intel has announced plans to sell a specialized Wi-Fi platform later this year that can send data from a city to outlying rural areas tens of miles away, connecting sparsely populated villages to the Internet. The wireless technology, called the rural connectivity platform (RCP), will be helpful to computer-equipped students in poor countries, says Jeff Galinovsky, a senior platform manager at Intel. And the data rates are high enough--up to about 6.5 megabits per second--that the connection could be used for video conferencing and telemedicine, he says.
... [RCP] rewrites the communication rules of Wi-Fi radios... the software creates specific time slots in which each of the two radios listens and talks, so there's no extra data being sent confirming transmissions. "We're not taking up all the bandwidth waiting for acknowledgments," he says.
Most links will be less than 30 miles away from each other. Less expensive than the proposed WiMAX blanket for now, I suppose?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Casino security expert shares some stories

Casinos face legal and financial risk if they let the wrong people play. People with gambling addictions can place themselves on exclusionary lists, and can actually sue casinos if they are allowed to place bets, Jonas said.

With mini in vivo robots, anyone can do surgery

By attaching a millimeter-sized camera robot to a tether, scientists have designed a way to allow individuals with non-medical backgrounds to perform minimally invasive surgery in almost any location... battlefield to outer space.

George Washington's undemocratic ways

[George Washington's] primary aim was to crush the individualistic and democratic spirit of the American [armed] forces. For one thing, the officers of the militia were elected by their own men, and the discipline of repeated elections kept the officers from forming an aristocratic ruling caste typical of European armies of the period. The officers often drew little more pay than their men, and there were no hierarchical distinctions of rank imposed between officers and men. As a consequence, officers could not enforce their wills coercively on the soldiery. This New England equality horrified Washington's conservative and highly aristocratic soul.

How experience makes no difference with novel problems

Experts tend to be good at their particular talent, but when something unpredictable happens — something that changes the rules of the game they usually play — they're little better than the rest of us.