G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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This looks interesting:
We address leadership emergence and the possibility that there is a partially innate predisposition to occupy a leadership role. Employing twin design methods on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we estimate the heritability of leadership role occupancy at 24%. Twin studies do not point to specific genes or neurological processes that might be involved. We therefore also conduct association analysis on the available genetic markers. The results show that leadership role occupancy is associated with rs4950, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) residing on a neuronal acetylcholine receptor gene (CHRNB3). We replicate this family-based genetic association result on an independent sample in the Framingham Heart Study. This is the first study to identify a specific genotype associated with the tendency to occupy a leadership position. The results suggest that what determines whether an individual occupies a leadership position is the complex product of genetic and environmental influences, with a particular role for rs4950.
Last week I said that Hugo Schwyzer is the community college equivalent of Dr. Drew. Now I’m beginning to think he’s the feminist version of Jonah Leher. In his new gig at The Atlantic, Schwyzer seem to be merely replating his favorite topics that he’s written about at Jezebel and GMP:
If there’s one tangible thing that men can do to help end sexism—and create a healthier culture in which young people come of age—it’s to stop chasing after women young enough to be their biological daughters. As hyperbolic as it may sound, there are few more powerful actions that men can take to transform the culture than to date, mate, and stay with their approximate chronological peers. If aging guys would commit to doing this, everyone would benefit: older men and younger men, older women and younger women.
He then focuses on Hollywood relationships – namely Johnny Depp’s relationship with a woman 23 years younger (50 versus 27). Schwyzer seems to think that Hollyweird problems run parallel to real world problems. Also, Schwyzer forgets that chicks digg Depp. Schwyzer characterizes all of this as old men chasing young women. Courtship is rarely a chase. It’s a dance.
Many people who concede that older men’s obsession with younger women is disillusioning and destabilizing insist that the sexual choices of men like Johnny Depp are driven by natural imperatives. That’s not quite what the science shows. Research on age disparate relationships does find a biological case for older men choosing slightly younger women; a 2007 study of 11,000 Swedes found that the most fecund men were those with partners six years younger than themselves. The strategic reproductive benefit of choosing a younger woman diminished as the age gap widened. According to the science, Depp was better matched with Paradis (nine years his junior) than with the new girlfriend.
Being a gender studies guy, Schwyzer isn’t that good at interpreting academic research. From a New Scientist blurb on the Swedish study whose co-author was Martin Fielder:
The probable reasons behind this state of affairs are not controversial: “Men want women younger than themselves because they are physically attractive,” says Fieder, while women tend to prioritise a partner who can provide security and stability, and so tend to opt for older men.
When too much of an age difference exists, there is perhaps a greater chance of male fertility problems and disagreement over family planning, suggests Fieder.
Those problems won’t diminish just because the woman is nearer the man’s age. Since female fecundity has a floor age, relationships with really large age gaps will run up against physiological hindrances in terms of reproduction. That’s different than the psychology behind attraction. The right question to ask is what age of woman would lead to the ideal number offspring for men of given age? A 60 year-old man with ED won’t be able to reproduce with a 54 year old woman. His “ideal reproduction partner” is probably of about the same age as a 40 year-old man or a 20 year-old man.
Schwyzer’s bad premise leads him down the wrong path, but his conclusion is still worth looking at:
So if older men aren’t pursuing much younger women because of evolutionary hardwiring [Ed: They are, but look at how Schwyzer slowly chips away at age gaps altogether; at first the ideal gap is 6 years and now it's as if that gap doesn't exist], why do they? It’s hard not to conclude that much of the appeal is about the hope of finding someone less demanding. A man in his 40s who wants to date women in their 20s is making the same calculation as the man who pursues a “mail-order bride” from a country with less egalitarian values. It’s about the mistaken assumption that younger women will be more malleable. Men who chase younger women aren’t eroticizing firmer flesh as much as they are a pre-feminist fantasy of a partner who is endlessly starry-eyed and appreciative. The dead giveaway comes when you ask middle-aged men why they prefer to date younger; almost invariably, you’ll hear complaints that their female peers are too entitled, too embittered, too feminist. [Ed: is this even true? In my observation, those older men could very well be using that as an excuse in order to not be seen exercising their base lust for much younger women. It makes them look like they have a better reason than naked raw desire.]
What if those men want the excitement that goes along with dating the younger woman? You hear many jokes about the guy going through the midlife crisis trading in his sedan for a Corvette or buying a Harley. Is he doing that because it’s easier to control and maintain those vehicles? Actually, it’s more difficult in a lot of ways which is part of the fun.
John Horgan writes at Scientific American’s blog (h/t hbd* chick):
I’m torn over how to respond to research on race and intelligence. Part of me wants to scientifically rebut the IQ-related claims of Herrnstein, Murray, Watson and Richwine. For example, to my mind the single most important finding related to the debate over IQ and heredity is the dramatic rise in IQ scores over the past century. This so-called Flynn effect, which was discovered by psychologist James Flynn, undercuts claims that intelligence stems primarily from nature and not nurture.
But another part of me wonders whether research on race and intelligence—given the persistence of racism in the U.S. and elsewhere–should simply be banned. I don’t say this lightly. For the most part, I am a hard-core defender of freedom of speech and science. [Ed: is this the blank slatist equivalent of saying you have a back friend?] But research on race and intelligence—no matter what its conclusions are—seems to me to have no redeeming value.
Well, my esteem for Discover just went up, relatively speaking.
2. Georgetown graduate writes about what attracted her to a dude in prison: “He had always been a troublemaker. In fact, that might be what drew me to him. I was quiet, studious, painfully shy; he was full of boisterous energy and crude jokes.”
3. Several have brought this into my Twitter stream – evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller on why PUAs gravitate to his work.
4. Again, physically strong men are more likely to have right-leaning political views.
5. Fridersdorf argues that even if IQ is a thing and that there are innate racial differences, should that craft immigration policy? He doesn’t think it should. But going back to one of Richwine’s points in his dissertation, what if US immigration policy used IQ as one factor among others in determining which people get into the country? This is all in theory because the people who are going to get here regardless will likely be lower IQ. But Richwine pointed out that Canada and Australia place a greater emphasis on looking at education prerequisites for immigrants. This is a matter of degree. If the US re-allocated their immigration threshold away from family reunification and refugees to education and IQ, how would that be received? Again, people are denigrated Harvard for letting Richwine publish a Ph.D. from there, but how do you think people get into Harvard in the first place?
Rod Dreher somewhat agrees with Hamilton Nolan on the double-standard by which the media and public consider different act of terrorism:
A couple of disaffected young men in search of meaning drift into radical Islam and become violent. A couple of disaffected young men in search of meaning drift into street crime and become violent. A crowd of innocent people attending the Boston marathon are maimed by flying shrapnel from homemade bombs. A crowd of innocent people attending a Mother’s Day celebration in New Orleans are maimed by flying bullets. Two public events. Two terrible tragedies. One act of violence becomes a huge news story, transfixing the media’s attention for months and drawing outraged proclamations from politicians and pundits. Another act of violence is dismissed as the normal way of the world and quickly forgotten. The victims bleeding on the ground may be forgiven for failing to see the distinction between the two acts. For those on the receiving end, violence is violence. For the rest of us, it is a rhetorical tool, to be deployed when it fits a narrative of American triumphalism. Otherwise it will be forgotten, by everyone except the victims.
Only the last part has merit. Subjectively, any crime motivated by anything bears a physical and psychological burden on the victims and their families, and nothing can be said to ease their grief. But we shouldn’t consider these two types of violence subjectively. A guy moves towards radical Islam in order to wage jihad, and he’s willing to commit as much murder as it takes to fill some innumerable quota of Western destruction. If he had a nuclear weapon, he stands a better chance of using it than does the street thug who is combating other street thugs over a pittance. It’s when you consider the objective intention that you realize that you’re dealing with a different type of criminal. In violent acts with mass casualty and injury, a criminal that plans the act is perceived as more depraved and scarier than one that just shoots from the hip. The material effects might be the same, but we’re talking about psychology.
Do you think Muslim terrorists threaten Americans more than violent criminals do? Do you think people in Chicago are more afraid of being blown up by a Muslim, or shot by a gangbanger? As you know, I live in south Louisiana. I know lots of people who will not go to New Orleans, because of stuff like this. They would go to Boston in a heartbeat. They do not fear Muslim terrorists in Boston. They do fear young black male thugs in New Orleans. As well they should.
Though it does not provide much solace to consciously avoid crime hotspots, there are a list of rules floating around somewhere on the internet to avoid such a situation.
Others have asserted that this coverage differential is due to the perception that blacks are considered second-class citizens. It gets a little tiresome playing this game. Why doesn’t the news media focus on widespread black-on-black crime? Is it because they don’t want to identify black victims or is it because they don’t want to identify black perpetrators? There’s not a really good explanation for why other than the possibility that the potential for outrage from both sides just shuts down any desire from the gatekeeping reporters and editors to tackle the story. We could almost say the same thing about the Kermit Gosnell case though we do know that there was a clear pro-abortion bias that had to be protected. But the shooting in New Orleans just like the shootings that occur by the minute in Chicago are truly local crime stories. The are local people settling local beefs without much awareness of anything else going on in the world. They don’t capture any larger imagination because they are common. This isn’t the stuff worthy of drive-by media attention, but it could be discussed in greater detail in longer and slower-moving academic or longform articles. And if you’re of Hamilton Nolan’s ideological bent then you should probably be thankful that those stories stay hidden.
But, on the other hand, I fear that I’m putting other Umlaut readers to sleep. Perhaps, at this point, the paleo lifestyle sounds pretty boring.Well, it doesn’t have to be. Paleo isn’t just a set of rules for living a healthy lifestyle. It’s a perspective for taking a critical look at the status quo of our modern lives and world. You can adopt the diet and call it a day, and that’s great. But there is an endless supply of further exciting applications.
Feeling overwhelmed by your thousands of Facebook “friends”? Perhaps you should take Dunbar’s Number seriously and emphasize the quality over quantity of your relationships. A “friend-purge” may be in order.
Pruning friendship networks is easy to do in real life – you just stop answering phone calls or texts, but it’s harder to communicate. It’s easier to communicate online, and is often a way for people to openly act like dicks on social media (“If you’re seeing this message, congratulations, I didn’t defriend you”). I’ve done it and have seen others do it – this list pruning is perhaps driven by this subconcious need to revert to Dunbar’s number. You have this burning feeling that you’re getting loose and sloppy in certain facets of your life so you tuck it in and polish the sides.
Paleo can go overboard just like anything else. When you get passionate about a lifestyle choice you often have to let it consume you because if you don’t go balls to the wall you won’t go at all. So that’s why you get people eating raw steak skewers and walking around in stone-littered grass without shoes on (though sometimes while still wearing expensive digs). That is kind of what sits at the root of the paleo and paleo-concious lifestyles. It’s about streamlining. It’s minimalism.
Walter Russell Mead writes:
Young men will be the biggest losers in the transition to Obamacare, according to a new report by the actuarial and consulting firm Milliman. The report estimates that males as a whole will see an 11 percent increase in insurance premiums, while females as a whole will see a nine percent decrease. Men under 40 will face insurance hikes of 18 to 31 percent; females under 40 will benefit from 13 to 19 percent decreases.
But here’s the real kicker: premiums for young men ages 25-36 could increase by more than 50 percent, and females 25-29 will face a 4 percent increase. In other words, if you’re young, you lose. If you’re a man, you lose. If you’re a young man, you really lose.
I wrote about this several years ago when I was a little hot under the collar:
The fact that men will now have to subsidize female health care is a socialist, redistributionist, anti-naturalist, egalitarian measure. Men like me – young and childless – will pay more for the health care that we are now mandated to buy further disincentivizing us from buying something that we may not even want in the first place. Obama and liberals can argue that perhaps it’s “only fair” to erase the health care cost gender gap, but they should just admit that the policy is one small step for women and one giant leap towards socialism.
The fact that this reform has socialist tendencies has dire consequences. In 1994, the state of Kentucky initiated a gender-neutral insurance premium scheme. As the premiums for men increased, those marginal men – by a concept called adverse selection – decided to go without health care. The market became so thin that insurers stopped making a market for insurance for men. Gender-neutrality was reversed several years later. Of course, under the current reform, the government will force those adverse selectors – like myself – into the system in order to prop up their scheme. Over the course of their lives, men will subsidize womens’ health care.
From the report:
Some say there is more rape and sexual assault in the military. Others say that there are more false rape claims than ever before. A person who wants to avoid the cross-fire between feminists and their critics might note that both of these things can be true.
The story last week of a sexual assault prevention officer from the Air Force being arrested for groping a woman evoked the snark of the internet. And another story hit last night of an Army NCO who is a coordinator of a sexual assault program in Ft. Hood, Texas being investigated for sexual crimes as well as operating a prostitution ring.
Makes you wonder (once more), what has happened to the military? First and foremost, more women in the military will lead to, no matter how much rape prevention literature is pushed on GIs, more interactions, more sex, more sexual assault and more false claims of sexual assault. Here is perhaps the secondary effect that compounds on the first (from 2006):
To allow more recruits to join, the Army last fall amended its rule that it can sign up no more than 2 percent of recruits who score between 15 and 30 out of 99 on the Army’s aptitude test. Now, up to 4 percent of Army recruits can score under 30 on the aptitude test, which measures such things as the applicants’ knowledge of mathematics and command of the English language, said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman.
He said the Army will have “less than 4 percent” of recruits who scored under 30 by the end of the year, but did not elaborate. In 2005, 1.8 percent of the soldiers the Army signed up scored between 15 and 30 percent.
“We’re being held up to an impossibly high standard,” Hilferty said.
At the same time, in the first four months of this year, the percentage of recruits whom the Army otherwise considers fit for service but who required special waivers to join rose to 15.5 percent. The waivers were for misdemeanor offenses, drug- or alcohol-related violations or medical problems, Hilferty said. In 2004, 12 percent of recruits required such waivers; in 2005, 15 percent needed them.
This change itself was a necessary move during the wars in the Middle East as Slate’s Fred Kaplan noted:
The bad news is twofold. First, the number of Category IV recruits is starting to skyrocket. Second, a new study compellingly demonstrates that, in all realms of military activity, intelligence does matter. Smarter soldiers and units perform their tasks better; dumber ones do theirs worse.
And more from Kaplan who, to my knowledge, was not forced to richwine from Slate after this piece:
In a RAND Corp. report commissioned by the office of the secretary of defense and published in 2005, military analyst Jennifer Kavanagh * reviewed a spate of recent statistical studies on the various factors that determine military performance—experience, training, aptitude, and so forth—and concluded that aptitude is key. A force “made up of personnel with high AFQT [armed forces aptitude test] scores,” Kavanagh writes, “contributes to a more effective and accurate team performance.”
Recruitment standards have increased with the troop drawdown, so it is hard to say how many recruits during the nadir of the Mideast Wars are impacting crime stats today, but it provides room for an interesting study – two cohorts on either side of an intelligence/behavioral standards shift is a nicely set up research project. One could also look at declining disciplinary standards for soldiers after recruitment. Throwing men and women together in the same units and not expecting anything bad to pop off would fit the pattern of lowering disciplinary standards across the board and expecting nothing to change. What this all looks like is just a slow decline in the quality of military personnel brought on by a general loosening of the moral fabric. The military merely reflects the rest of society, or maybe just a college campus but with a lower IQ.
That type of analysis will take place behind the scenes though, because, since big media outlets are on the case in full force – all the troops are rallied to the cause of highlighting the scourge of military sexual assault, full stop. In the military – or at least the military in the movies – you’re not supposed to question orders. Just fight the enemy, and don’t ask questions and don’t get off task.
I’m working on a piece about voice identification in the George Zimmerman case. If you’re an editor who reads this blog and are interested in such a story, email me.
The Orlando Sentinel has a piece out today about whether or not the screams heard on the 911 call central to the case were those of “Trayvon” or those of “Zimmerman”. One of the article’s writers told me over twitter that their in-house style guide has them use first names for people 17 and younger.
But something else in the article caught my eye:
In a separate evaluation, forensic analyst Alan Reich wrote that he believed the cries came from “the younger of the two male speakers, Trayvon Martin.”
According to Reich’s analysis, the “resonant frequency” of the vowel in last scream — Reich says it was likely the word “stop” — is about 10 percent above “the adult male average” and therefore “highly appropriate” for a still-maturing teenager.
This assumes many things, including that blacks and White Hispanics (or whites), as a group, have the same voice spectrum profiles. It also assumes that puberty occurs at the same time, on average, for all racial groups. We know that this is not true. This characterization of Martin as a pubescent teen has significantly altered many aspects of outsiders’ perception of the case. The jury will be pressured to come to the same conclusions. Martin was over 6 feet tall and was not 140 pounds. He was at least 20% heavier. Zimmerman’s known voice is not especially deep – some may even say it is high-pitched. Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy, has a pretty deep voice.
So besides pointing out the idiosyncracies of Martin and Zimmerman, we can also point out that these extrapolations based upon a general estimation of voice aging should at least consider racial differences in discussing the probabilities of a voice/scream match.
I have a piece that I worked on for quite a while up over at GMP. It’s about television anti-heroes, the “crisis of masculinity” and the hatred of the wives of prestige cable television. I write about Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Godfather, and other similar anti-hero fantasies. Here’s a snippet:
One story arc had Rita upset after finding out that Dexter was maintaining a bachelor-pad away from their new home. The apartment served as home base for the serial killer side of Dex—the place where he stored the totems of his kills: racks of microscope slides with drops of blood from his victims. The symbolism was that Dexter’s new relationship limited his freedom.
I sympathized with Dexter’s domestic dilemma and wasn’t as upset as I was supposed to be when Rita was found snuffed out in the bathtub of their home at the end of Season Four. My contempt wasn’t just for Rita. Her kids, the ones Dexter adopted after he married Rita and killed their father, got in the way too. Between his job and cooking dinner or taking the kids to school or dealing with their tantrums, Dexter had hardly any time to stab people in the heart. And that’s pretty much all I or anyone else ever wanted to see.
Since I wanted to see Dexter in action, I grew to despise these agents of morality. These cockblocks of killing: wives, girlfriends, bosses, sisters, and innocent children.