A nice quote from Razib Khan…
Mutations are as you know a double-edged sword. On the one hand mutations are the stuff of evolution [...] On the other hand mutations also tend to cause problems. In fact, mutations which are deleterious far outnumber those which are positive. It is much easier to break complex systems which are near a fitness optimum than it is to improve upon them through random chance.
[I]n a polygynous population a few healthy males with good genes could give rise to most of the next generation, and so providing the balance of selection to the background mutational rate. [While the rest of the males serve as a "dumping grounds of bad genes".]
In contrast monogamous populations will have less power to expunge mutations in this fashion because there is more genetic equality across males, the bad will reproduce along with the good, more or less.
A nice quote from Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt…
[Frank Knight] made a distinction between two key factors in decision making: risk and uncertainty. The cardinal difference, Knight declared, is that risk — however great — can be measured, whereas uncertainty cannot.
How do people weigh risk versus uncertainty? Consider a famous experiment that illustrates what is known as the Ellsberg Paradox. There are two urns. The first urn, you are told, contains 50 red balls and 50 black balls. The second one also contains 100 red and black balls, but the number of each color is unknown. If your task is to pick a red ball out of either urn, which urn do you choose?
Most people pick the first urn, which suggests that they prefer a measurable risk to an immeasurable uncertainty. (This condition is known to economists as ambiguity aversion.) Could it be that nuclear energy, risks and all, is now seen as preferable to the uncertainties of global warming?
If you are interested in reading the late Frank Hyneman Knight‘s "Risk, Uncertainty & Profit", you can read it here.
A nice quote from Steve Sailer…
The most striking fact about legalized abortion, but also the least discussed, is its sizable pointlessness. Legalized abortion turned out to be a lot like Homer Simpson’s toast: "To alcohol! The cause of, and solution for, all of life’s problems."
Legal abortion is a major cause of what it was supposed to cure — unwanted pregnancies. [Steven D.] Levitt himself [co-author of "Freakonomics"] notes that following Roe, "Conceptions rose by nearly 30 percent, but births actually fell by 6 percent …" So for every six fetuses aborted in the 1970s, five would never have been conceived except for Roe!
Now, don’t interpret this quoting as an endorsement of the criminalizing of abortion. But it is meant to point out that abortion doesn’t seem to be the “silver bullet” some people make it out to be.
A nice quote from Andrew Stuttaford…
A characteristic of many priestly castes is the use of esoteric language as a device both to befuddle their audience and to secure their own superior status as interpreters and custodians of the holy writ.
Does obesity lower male testosterone levels?
From a news release…
Results of a study published online ahead of print in the journal Diabetes Care, conducted by University at Buffalo endocrinologists, showed that 40 percent of obese participants involved in the Hypogonadism in Males (HIM) study had lower-than-normal testosterone readings.
The percentage rose to 50 percent among obese men with diabetes. Results also revealed that as body mass index (BMI) — a relationship of weight–to-height — increased, testosterone levels fell.
“The effect of diabetes on lowering testosterone levels was similar to that of a weight gain of approximately 20 pounds,” says Sandeep Dhindsa, MD, an endocrinology specialist in the UB Department of Medicine and first author on the study.
Correlation is not causation, but if there is actually a causal relation here, then something like this can affect the psychology and behavior of a male.
From the press release…
Working overtime is bad for the heart according to results from a long-running study following more than 10,000 civil servants in London (UK): the Whitehall II study.
The research, which is published online today (Wednesday 12 May) in the European Heart Journal , found that, compared with people who did not work overtime, people who worked three or more hours longer than a normal, seven-hour day had a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems such as death due to heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks and angina.
Dr Marianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki (Finland) and University College London (UK), said: “The association between long hours and coronary heart disease was independent of a range of risk factors that we measured at the start of the study, such as smoking, being overweight, or having high cholesterol.
For those interesting, the paper this is based on are…