Complete genome of Ötzi the Iceman

It sounds like the sequencing (but not the assembly or analysis) is finished:
The most exciting part of their work is yet to come. The scientists are about to process the enormous quantity of bio-data now available to them which should contain the answers to a great many questions. Are any of Ötzi’s descendants still around today and if so, where might they be found? Can any genetic mutations be observed between earlier and present day populations? What conclusions about today’s genetic diseases and other prevalent illnesses such as diabetes or cancer can be drawn from the examination of Ötzi’s genetic make-up, and his predisposition to various types of ailments? What benefits can be derived from these findings for our own study of genetic medicine? Next year, we shall celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ötzi’s discovery. The scientists will mark this occasion by presenting their data analysis as well as the resulting conclusions.

NordicDB: a Nordic pool and portal for genome-wide control data

An abstract from European Journal of Human Genetics:
A cost-efficient way to increase power in a genetic association study is to pool controls from different sources. The genotyping effort can then be directed to large case series. The Nordic Control database, NordicDB, has been set up as a unique resource in the Nordic area and the data are available for authorized users through the web portal ( The current version of NordicDB pools together high-density genome-wide SNP information from ~5000 controls originating from Finnish, Swedish and Danish studies and shows country-specific allele frequencies for SNP markers. The genetic homogeneity of the samples was investigated using multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis and pairwise allele frequency differences between the studies. The plot of the first two MDS components showed excellent resemblance to the geographical placement of the samples, with a clear NW–SE gradient. We advise researchers to assess the impact of population structure when incorporating NordicDB controls in association studies. This harmonized Nordic database presents a unique genome-wide resource for future genetic association studies in the Nordic countries.
The first thing that stands out to me in the MDS plot from the NordicDB website is the substantial overlap between the Danish sample and the CEU HapMap sample (Utah whites):
Top axes of genetic variation in the Nordic Control Database (4620 samples) contrasted with the CEU population (108 samples) HapMap and a Finnish reference population (81 samples). The MDS analysis was performed on approximately 45K SNPs that were common between the genotyping platforms. The samples are represented with the color of their country of origin: Finland (red), Sweden (green) and Denmark (yellow).

"Merit" in elite college admissions

This story by Cal Newport from douchebag Tim Ferriss's blog goes well with this post from Half Sigma on Jewish "merit" and "leadership activities":

An amateur estimate of Sephardic admixture in Latin America

Argiedude's number, derived through comparison of the frequency of Y haplogroups J1 and J2 in Latin America to those in Spain, looks reasonable (much more so than some retarded estimates for Jewish and Muslim admixture in Spain that made it into AJHG):
Latin American y-dna (Mexico, Central America, Colombia)

Moral reasoning of Westerners vs. others

A recent paper (pdf) affirms a point once made by Ian Jobling:

Puritan intelligence: the ideological background to IQ

Anti-IQ academic "blames" intelligence testing and eugenics on Puritans and Quakers.

John White. Puritan intelligence: the ideological background to IQ. Oxford Review of Education, Volume 31, Issue 3 September 2005 , pages 423 - 442.
Given well-known difficulties in justifying the Galtonian conception of intelligence as innate general intellectual capacity, a historical explanation is required of why this problematic notion became so prominent in Britain and in the USA in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Parallels are drawn between it and various features of the thought-world of the Puritans, including ideas of predestination, the elect, salvation, vocation, and intellectual education. An examination of the family backgrounds of the leading pioneers of intelligence and intelligence testing reveals that most, if not all, of them had puritan roots. A final section focuses on the tight connexion made between Galtonian intelligence and abstract thinking. It suggests that this may be linked with the central role of logic in puritan thought and its alliance with 'pneumatology', the forerunner of scientific psychology.
More excerpts within:

"Mongoloidness" and pigmentation among Finno-Ugric peoples

Heapost, L. INDEX OF MONGOLOIDNESS AND PIGMENTATION IN K. MARK STUDIES. Papers on Anthropology; 2004, Vol. 13, p18-37.
The paper presents an overview of some descriptive anthropological traits of Finno-Ugrians and their neighbouring peoples (133 local ethnic groups, 13,000 individuals). To compare all the ethnic groups between themselves the index of Mongoloidness (MI) was calculated on the basis of eight traits and the index of pigmentation (PI) on the basis of two traits. The results were compared on a correlation field. Here, two tendencies expressing different directions could be discerned: 1) a grouping where the decrease in MI is accompanied by the increase in PI (most Baltic Finns and Erza Mordvinians, Terjuhans and Finnish Swedes); 2) a grouping, which includes most other Finno-Ugric peoples. Here a tendency can be noticed of both indexes increasing in the same direction. A compact grouping that deserves special attention here includes the ethnic groups with the highest values of MI and PI (most Mari, part of Udmurts, northern and Kola Sami, also one group of Chuvash and Tatars). The comparison of ethnic groups on the basis of these indexes provides a graphic overview of the morphological peculiarities of the peoples which are in one way or another connected with the historical developments of the peoples of different regions.
I'm not convinced "Mongoloid" features among western Uralic speakers actually derive from Mongoloid admixture. Certainly if there had been significant recent admixture we'd expect more "Mongoloid" morphology to be associated with darker pigmentation. More excerpts within:

Norman Mailer on "WASPs"

A comment at Mangan's reminded me of this quote:
In his book Of a Fire on the Moon, ostensibly about the Apollo 11 moon shot, Norman Mailer was really writing about Wasps (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). Or so he indicated during an interview with Leticia Kent, published in the current Vogue. Hymenopterist Mailer, who has called Wasps "the most Faustian, barbaric, draconian, progress-oriented and root-destroying people on earth," has moved on to "some mysterious and half-spooky conclusions," notably that "the real mission of the Wasp in history was not, say, to create capitalism, or to disseminate Christianity into backward countries." It was to get the U.S. to the moon.

"The mind of the Wasp bears more resemblance to the laser than the mind of any other ethnic group," said Mailer. "To wit, he can project himself 'extraordinary distances through a narrow path. He's disciplined, stoical, able to become the instrument of his own will, has extraordinary boldness and daring together with a resolute lack of imagination. He's profoundly nihilistic. And this nihilism found its perfect expression in the odyssey to the moon—because we went there without knowing why we went."
Here's Mailer's idea of meaning. For comparison, James Bowery has written:
1) Since the iceages, Euroman was selected as a frontier subspecies to the point he has demonstrated his exceptional potential to bring life to the stars, 2) Euroman, hence the entire family of life, is in danger of extinction because alien influnces have taken over his societies, inhibiting his natural—genetically endowed—expression of his frontierism, turning his powers inward toward the destruction of himself and the planet.

Ancients perceived color differently?

Anglo-Irish proto-hippie and Aldous Huxley associate, Gerald Heard speculates:
In Homeric Greek the same rudimentary colour vocabulary is evident, Homer having half a dozen words for red, but no clear terms for blue and green. The eyes of his generation seem to have picked out the slight tinge of red in the purple of the Mediterranean, and to have been blind to the blue — hence his strange but constant epithet for the sea, "wine-dark." The painting of the deities' hair blue and calling such locks hyacinthine also seems due to a confusion in their colour sense. As most blues appear white in an ordinary photograph taken without chromatically corrected negatives, it is possible that the Greeks thought they were making all their gods platinum blonds. Nor did this limitation disappear even at the high noon of Greek culture. Their pottery, in spite of the increasing mastery of form, remained black and red.
I don't entirely buy this (and I notice at least one error in the surrounding discussion), but it's an interesting thought. Longer excerpt within:

Pigmentation variation in Finno-Ugric peoples

Leiu Heapost. PIGMENTATION VARIATION IN FINNO-UGRIC PEOPLES. Papers on Anthropology; 2008, Vol. 17, p80-102.
The paper presents a short overview of the variability of eye and hair colour of Finno-Ugric and their neighbouring peoples on the basis of Karin Mark's studies (22 ethnic groups, consisting of 133 local ethnic groups, a total of approximately 13,000 individuals). Eye and hair colour in Finno-Ugric peoples varies rather greatly. The percentage of blue and grey eyes (light, 0 points) ranges in different groups from 2 to 80, of mottled (1 point) from 16 to 63, and of brown eyes (dark, 2 points) from 0 to 42. Still, in most groups, light eyes are dominant; dark eyes are rarer. The average point for eye colour (M) varies from 0.24 to 1.39. Regional variability of hair colour in Finno-Ugric peoples is greater than that of eye colour, although the picture is similar. Fair hair (0-2 points or No 9-26 on the Fischer scale) occurs among 2-50%, brown hair (3 points or No 6-8) among 22-71% and black hair (4 points or No 4-5 and 27) among 7-76% of subjects. The average point varies from 2.42 to 3.73. In most Finno-Ugric peoples, red hair is rare, in some groups even non-existent. The percentage of red hair exceeds 1% in Finnish Swedes (average 1.4%), Bessermen (1.6%) and Komi-Permyaks (1.8%). Udmurts form an exception among the peoples studied with a particularly high percentage of red-haired persons (4%, var 1.0-7.3%).

Open thread #2

Post whatever you want. [Links, comments, suggestions, etc.] (Open thread #1.)

Robert Noyce and his congregation

A commenter at isteve linked to this 1997 Tom Wolfe article:
ROBERT NOYCE, INVENTOR OF THE silicon microchip and co-founder of Intel, grew up in Grinnell, Iowa, one of countless small towns in the Midwest that had been founded in the 19th century as religious communities by so-called Dissenting Protestants: Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and many others. What Dissenting Protestants dissented from was the Church of England and its elaborate ties to British upper-class life. The founder of the town of Grinnell (1854) was a young New England Congregational minister, Josiah Grinnell, who was weary of the decadence of the East Coast and wanted to establish a City of Light out on the virgin plains.
Noyce was apparently about 3/4 New England ancestry and 1/4 recent English ancestry. More excerpts within:

Why it's wrong to catch criminals using the DNA profiles of their convicted felon relatives

Law professor Jeffrey Rosen says:
The biggest immediate concern is that familial searches are racially discriminatory. African-Americans represent about 13 percent of the United States population but 40 percent of the people convicted of felonies every year.

Hank Greely of Stanford Law School has estimated that 17 percent of African-American citizens could be identified through familial searches, compared with only 4 percent of the Caucasian population. Is it fair to subject African-American families to disproportionate genetic surveillance simply because one member of the family committed a crime in the past?

Some proponents of familial searches, like Dr. Frederick Bieber of Harvard Medical School, have insisted that "crime cluster[s] in families,” in language that echoes the discredited eugenic family studies of the early 20th century, with their discriminatory emphasis on “genetic criminality.” In a state with a history of tension between African-American citizens and the police, California’s familial searching policy may provoke a debate that makes the one over racial profiling look tame.

The origins of liberal progressivism

According to Kaufmann's The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America:
Adler's realist logic brusquely exposed the tension between Reform Judaism's manifest universalism and its latent ethnicism. Under his influence, Anglo-Protestant thinkers would turn the same cast-iron logic toward their own group and call for its termination as forthrightly as Adler did for the Jews. Adler's message is significant because it not longer sought to prepare Jews for assimilation into their host society but rather urged them to embrace a universalist, post-ethnic Utopia. [. . .] With time, and with the ideological aid of another Reformed Jew--albeit strongly Zionist--Israel Zangwill, Anglo-Protestant intellectuals would adapt the new variant of Adler's ideas to their own situation. [p. 92]
Incidentally, Adler claimed Jews would spontaneously "universalize themselves out of existence" only after they completed a "messianic mission [. . .] to spread monotheism around the world and unite all people under God".
Prior to the 1890s, the universalistic radical potential within Progressivism lay hidden within its "left-conservative" intellectual matrix. However, the best educated, most critical minds within Progressivism were beginning to form a vision of their society that embraced universalistic left-liberalism, or "liberal" Progressivism. Once again, Felix Adler and the Ethical Culture Society appear to have been the innovators of the Liberal-Progressive approach. [pp. 94-95]

Friars from Spain preaching justice

So it turns out New England Puritans were able to travel backward in time to spread their insidious message to Catholic and monarchist Spain:
The listeners were astounded and shocked. Never before, to their knowledge, had Christians been called to truth and justice among people whom many thought to be less than human. Thus developed in this hemisphere the first significant clash between human rights and human greed. Perhaps Montesinos awakened the moral conscience of some Spanish listeners, but it was too late to undo twenty years of destructive exploitation. However, by their intense, persistent protests, the four Dominican men became the first European spokesmen to defend the rights of natives in the Americas.
Abolitionism was preceded by the New Laws of the Indies in 1542, in which Emperor Charles V declared free all Native American slaves, abolishing slavery of these races, and declaring them citizens of the Empire with full rights. The move was inspired by writings of the Spanish monk Bartolome de las Casas and the School of Salamanca.

Blacker blacks have weakers lungs

Genetic Ancestry in Lung-Function Predictions: "African ancestry was inversely related to forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity in the CARDIA cohort."

Ancestry Finder from 23andMe released

A step in the right direction, I guess. But pretty underwhelming, considering what's possible. Screenshots and more information here and here.

Reply to Mencius Moldbug on abolitionism

Moldbug writes:
I'm sure your readers would appreciate a discussion of the Jews behind
John Brown:
The email goes on in a similar vein, finishing with a link to a history of abolitionism, which "doesn't mention the Jews." I'll attempt to extract Moldbug's argument. See if you can find any holes in this logic:

Admixture analysis using complete genomes

A paper presented last month at the Genetics 2010 conference:
Complete genome sequencing and analysis of diploid African-American and Mexican-American genomes: implications for personal ancestry reconstruction and multi-ethnic medical genomics. Carlos D. Bustamante. Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA.
Understanding the contribution of rare and common genetic genetic variants to disease susceptibility will likely require multi- and trans-ethnic sequencing studies that compare the genomes of many individuals with and without a particular disease. Of particular importance will be accounting for the role of population stratification at fine scales both in terms of genomic and geographic location. Here, we present results from sequencing, assembly, and genomic analysis of two diploid genomes from Phase 3 HapMap sequenced to ~20X coverage using SoLiD technology. The donor individuals are of Mexican-American and African-American ancestry and represent the first "admixed" genomes to be sequenced to high coverage. We demonstrate that genomic sequencing provides finer resolution of "admixture breakpoints" based on allele frequency estimates from HapMap and TGP. For each admixed genome, we use the distribution of admixture breakpoints to infer the personal admixture history of the sample and patterns of genomic diversity to reconstruct the demographic history of European, African, and Native American continental populations.
Someone involved in the research comments:
the added value of our research is that we can show the approximate number of generations at which the genetic mixing occurred, estimate the rate at which admixture occurred, and understand better the genetic diversity in the ancestral populations.