Friday, September 28, 2012

Gender bias among professors of science

Professors of science in US universities (regardless of gender) have a gender bias, unconscious or otherwise. So reports the New York Times.  Excerpt beyond the fold.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Alzheimer's as Type 3 Diabetes

Mark Bittman writes in the New York Times about the idea that Alzheimer's disease might be diabetes of the brain.

The good news would be that avoiding the disease is largely within one's control; the bad news is that it is going to take huge dietary reform on the part of a large number of people to get Alzheimer's under control in the US of A.

Monday, September 24, 2012

On the origins of Indians - 4

Not that I understand the paper, but excerpt follows below.
Shared and Unique Components of Human Population Structure and Genome-Wide Signals of Positive Selection in South Asia

Metspalu, Mait; Romero, Irene�Gallego; Yunusbayev, Bayazit; Chaubey, Gyaneshwer; Mallick, Chandana�Basu; Hudjashov, Georgi; Nelis, Mari; M�gi, Reedik; Metspalu, Ene; Remm, Maido; Pitchappan, Ramasamy; Singh, Lalji; Thangaraj, Kumarasamy; Villems, Richard; Kivisild, Toomas

American journal of human genetics doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.11.010 (volume 89 issue 6 pp.731 - 744) 


Friday, September 21, 2012

Jon Stewart

Pat Condell

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Romney's Father on the Republican Party

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

David Brooks

David Brooks, in today's New York Times:
In 1960, government transfers to individuals totaled $24 billion. By 2010, that total was 100 times as large.
i.e., $2.4 trillion

FMS is the principal disbursing agent of the federal government. Each year, FMS issues more than 1 billion payments, or approximately 84% of all federal payments, in excess of $2.4 trillion. These include social security, veterans' benefits, Office of Personnel Management federal salary and retirement, railroad retirement, income tax refund and vendor payments.
I'm guessing therefore that David Brooks is including income tax refunds in the  "government transfers to individuals".  For wage-earning people, this means that the federal tax withheld at the source is too high.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Some thoughts on Hinduism-1

To be a Hindu is to belong to a tradition.

Actually, any one (or more than one) of a million traditions. And there is more to it than that.  But this is the simplest way to describe it.

To become a Hindu, simply start living by the precepts (of the tradition that you are drawn to).

To learn these, you will need to find a teacher (guru).  This could be anyone (guru simply means someone who is well-grounded), and place yourself in his/her hands.

One of the clearest studies that the planet is warming

PS.  P.B. sent me this:

Arctic summer ice has lost 3/4 of its volume in the last 3 decades, and if the trend continues we will have ice-free summer days within a decade or less.  The open waters will absorb additional energy.  Jet streams may be disrupted.  Vast amounts of methane may be released.  See:

Also in the last 3 decades, the percentage of earths surface experiencing unusually hot summer temperatures has gone from .14 percent to 10 percent.  We are currently at the knee of the curve on this trend and the next leg of the journey will quickly take us from 10 percent to 50 percent (a simple extrapolation of the published results)  See:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wells Fargo mistakenly forecloses on the same house TWICE

One in six Republicans say Mitt Romney deserves the credit for killing bin Laden

Well, this poll was in Ohio only - I wonder what the people down in Texas think.
One in six Republicans say Mitt Romney deserves the credit for killing bin Laden

Sunday, September 09, 2012


A bunch of peppers from the market:


Indian cartoonist arrested for sedition!

The politicians are nervous, it seems, outrageously, and have gone after cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. See this.   This is outrageous!  What is happening to freedom of speech in India?

PS: A longer collection of Trivedi's cartoons is here.  (for some of them, Hindi is needed).

PPS: Cartoons against Corruption Facebook page.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Horse and its Ribs

Pages 195-196 of Volume VII (January - June 1975) of The Academy, A weekly review of Literature, Science and Art, has a note by Max Muller about his correspondence with T.H. Huxley, asking him about the question of the 34-ribbed horse mentioned in the Rg Veda.  (The horses we know today typically have thirty-six ribs.) 

Since Professor Huxley's explanation is not much cited today, (e.g., I am told that M. Witzel, the Sanskritist from Harvard, explains 34 as having some symbolic significance), presumably it is not convincing.  Anyway, here is the two-page PDF download, courtesy of Google.

Inside Clinton's DNC speech

 Warm up with this:

and then look at this:

You don't have to agree with anything Clinton said; the purpose of this exercise is to better grasp the art of rhetoric, with this example from a master of the art.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Jon Stewart on the Republicans' Death Wish for Obama

Full transcript and video available here,  but this from Jon Stewart on just how much the Republicans were after Obama:

And here is the most incredible part of the entire fiction.  While convincing us that Barack Obama's destroyed this country's future, the Republicans have also invented a past where they were trying to help him succeed!
MITT ROMNEY (8/30/2012): That choice was not the choice of our party, but Americans always come together after elections. ... I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed.
BULL-FUCKING-SHIT!!(prolonged wild audience cheering and applause)
BILL O'REILLY (3/2/2009): The economy is so bad and so shaky, and the Obama vision has not worked at all.  Zero.  Now, again, it's only been six weeks, but it isn't working.
"I mean, c'mon, the guy's had 42 days to fix the biggest financial catastrophe in our lifetimes.  I mean, he's had his chance."

But still, 42 days is 42 days.  Anybody wanna jump on the "I hope he fails" bandwagon, I dunno, eight days into his presidency?
1/28/2009: NEIL CAVUTO: Rush Limbaugh's — as you know, Governor — taken a lot of heat for saying that he does not wish this President well.
MITT ROMNEY: Rush is partially right, and I'm not going to try and parse words here, but of course we don't want failed policies to succeed.
"I mean, it's been eight days.  We've been waiting an entire Hanukkah for Obama to succeed.  I can't believe he hasn't fixed in eight days what our guy did in eight years."

The Generic Republican Convention Speech

If you missed watching the Republican National Convention, Dave Barry gives it to you in a minute:

The Republicans are fired up about their ticket after listening to three days of carefully themed speeches, which for your convenience I have condensed here into a single All-Purpose Republican Convention Speech:

"Good evening. I stand before you tonight as the lieutenant governor of a critical swing state, as well as a member of a minority group and CEO of the nation's third-largest manufacturer of curtain rods.
"Yes, I am living the American Dream. But let me tell you about my childhood. My family was dirt poor. In fact, we didn't even have enough dirt to go around. We all had to share one small dirt clod. At bath time, you would smear the clod onto yourself and sit in the bathtub; then, when you were done, you would smear the clod onto the next family member. The dirt didn't get washed away, because we also had no water. For that matter, we didn't have a real bathtub. We had to sit in an imaginary bathtub. And not a fancy imaginary bathtub, either: It was a nasty old used imaginary bathtub.
"But we did not complain. We did not ask the government for a handout. And do you know why? Because we also could not afford vocal chords.

Rest of the speech here.