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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Explanation 

I've not been posting much, because I'm in the middle of a huge move in my life. I'm moving to small-town Minnesota after landing a job with a firm that provides software for agriculture. I was going to take a job at an ag genetics firm, but I'm not sure they'll be around long.

It's a good move for me, and the rest of my life looks just fine from here.

I'll be back to regular (sort of) posting in July, when I'm fully moved.

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New Pet Ideas 

I wonder how much lions eat? I want one.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I Was Right Again 

Well, mostly right. Everyone, including the judge in his final ruling, predicted that the loser of the case would appeal. I predicted that the loser would be Dino Rossi and the Republicans, and that the appeal would have zero hope of success due to the political nature of the state and circuit appellate courts and the fact that Judge Bridges made no observable errors and higher courts are loathe to overturn findings of fact. Rossi and the GOP made the same assessment and are declining to appeal. I voted for Gregoire but wouldn't have minded having Rossi in Olympia. He seems like a good guy and he put on one hell of a fight for such a dark horse candidate.

Oddly enough Michelle Malkin, who has been on this case from day one, has neglected to comment.

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Another Data Point 

Our good friends over at Gene Expression are having a discussion on a topic we've recently touched, the problems of what a polygamous society does with all those young men who can't find wives. In Saudi Arabia they're promised 72 virgins (and some young boys, shhh) if they kill themselves while murdering Americans in office buildings, or Iraqis applying for work so they don't starve.

Here's an illustration of what happens when the problem hits America.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Dan Is My Crotch Buddy 

Here's a bit of sound advice from the Scrotal Safety Commission.
Enlist one of your friends as a "Crotch-Buddy". Have him concern himself with the safety of your scrotum. Remind him publicly that he is your "Crotch-Buddy". Remind him in front of girls.

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Republicans to Stop Whining Soon 

Here it is June and the gubernatorial election for Washington State is about to be finally, decisively declared on Monday. Then the loser will appeal.

Our story so far: four and a half years ago Al Gore won the popular vote in the electoral race to become President of the United States of America. He probably won enough votes in the state of Florida to give him the Electoral College victory he needed to become President, but in a display of his intellect and will to win he conceded the victory to his opponent before a statistically relevant sample of the vote was counted. The Secretary of State for Florida, Republican Katherine Harris, declined to count "contested" votes from blacks and Jews, throwing the Presidency of the United States to George W. Bush, coincidentally the brother of Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Despite having voted for Gore I have no problem with any of this. I do truly believe the venal ratfuckers in Florida were doing God's will in keeping Al "concession speech" Gore out of the White House on September 11th, 2001. What would his first move have been on September 12th, apologize to Al Qaeda and offer Osama binLaden a cabinet position? George W. Bush may be an amoral retarded chimp but at least he knew we needed to kill a bunch of people. (He got one of the countries wrong, but 50% really isn't all that bad for him.)

So here we are, in June of 2005, and we have another closely contested election, this time in my home state of Washington. Washington is a heavily Democrat state, and the early predictions were that 3 time State Attorney General Christine Gregoire would easily defeat any Republican bothering to get registered as a candidate. The GOP had other plans, and they weren't going to allow a left wing feminazi like Christine Gregoire to waltz in to office without a fight. After all, as Attorney General she had led a radical liberal agenda in attacking mainstream family values like tobacco companies and big businesses that defrauded consumers.

So the GOP polished up an Issaquah insurance salesman who had served a term in the state senate who then suprisingly proceded to run an excellent campaign. Dino Rossi was virtually unknown before the election, but his charisma and pro-business platform played well with voters while the GOP spread the rumor that Gregoire was in reality Hillary Clinton, here to force Washington State dairy farmers into gay marriages.

Rossi and the GOP did a great job of mobilizing their voters, and pulled even with Gregoire in the last two weeks of the election. Then, on election day, Rossi won in the closest gubernatorial race in US history. Which of course triggered a statutorally mandated recount of the vote which narrowed the count further, to a mere 42 vote majority, which allowed for the Democrats to ask for a hand recount, which gave the Governorship to Christine Gregoire by 129 votes. Just as in Florida, the Secretary of State for Washington was a Republican, but unlike Kathy Harris no one questioned Sam Reed's ethics or integrity.

The hand count being final, Rossi and the GOP (who had earlier spent advertising money urging Gregoire to concede their 42 vote majority) filed suit, arguing that many people had voted who were not permitted to do so. While this is provably true, there really isn't any way of saying *who* they voted *for*. The GOP lawyers are arguing that the judge should take away the number of illicit votes away from heavily Democrat King County in the proportion that it voted for Gregoire. Dem lawyers are pointing out that there were voting irregularities in Republican voting counties, and that Republicans are cooking the books. The judge himself noted this in his findings of fact, in which he pointed out that the Dems had hired a University of Washington statistician to do a study of the issue while the GOP had hired a UW statistician to analyse the GOP provided numbers. One of the hurdles the GOP had to clear in this case was convincing the judge that their statistical analysis convincingly proved the necessity of staging another election, or of reducing votes cast for the Democratic candidate; having two statisticians use the same methodology and get two different answers didn't sway him in their favor.

My guess is that on Monday, the judge will let the final election results stand, and Christine Gregoire will remain Governor of Washington. It would be unprecedented in US history to order another election vote (as the GOP is requesting) and unlikely to stand, as it would have to withstand Democratic Party appeals to the liberal Washington State Supreme Court, and if passing that, the liberal 9th circuit federal court. This means that the GOP will appeal the decision, but their grounds will probably be spurious. Judge John Bridges doesn't seem to have made any reversible errors, and appeals courts don't like to overrule findings of fact. That and the GOP case is primarily sour grapes.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Overclocking the Human Brain 

The long circulated article _Natural History of Askenazi Intelligence_ by Greg Cochran, Jason Hardy and Henry Harpending appears to have found a home. It will be published in the Journal of Biosocial Science

The subject matter (inheritable genetic factors of intelligence) is highly controversial. Perhaps I should say that taking any but the majority opinion on the matter has ended academic careers in the past. The American Association of Anthropologists (always heedful of its past position as the "handmaiden of colonialism" as A. R. Radcliffe-Brown described it) has bent over backwards to condemn any discussion that contradicts its declared position that all perceived differences in the abilities of any groups of people are entirely social constructs. The fact that Hardy and Harpending, both anthropologists at the University of Utah, and Cochran, a physicist specializing in human genetics could find a publisher was enough to warrant a story in the Economist.
THE idea that some ethnic groups may, on average, be more intelligent than others is one of those hypotheses that dare not speak its name. But Gregory Cochran, a noted scientific iconoclast, is prepared to say it anyway. He is that rare bird, a scientist who works independently of any institution. He helped popularise the idea that some diseases not previously thought to have a bacterial cause were actually infections, which ruffled many scientific feathers when it was first suggested. And more controversially still, he has suggested that homosexuality is caused by an infection.

Even he, however, might tremble at the thought of what he is about to do. Together with Jason Hardy and Henry Harpending, of the University of Utah, he is publishing, in a forthcoming edition of the Journal of Biosocial Science, a paper which not only suggests that one group of humanity is more intelligent than the others, but explains the process that has brought this about. The group in question are Ashkenazi Jews. The process is natural selection.


Discussion is of course going on over at Gene Expression.

ADDENDUM: 4 June, Henry Harpending has provided a .pdf formatted file of the article, Natural History of Askenazi Intelligence. There has been a lot of blogging over the last few days about the topic, but as with the publication of The Bell Curve no one seems to have read the paper they're criticizing.

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