Dec
09
2009

There are other explanations for the widespread unease with Islam: its frequent association with jihad and terrorism; the demands by Muslims for special considerations that go against the European norm, such as segregation by gender at public swimming pools; practices like polygamy, which is illegal in many Western countries; and a sense that some Muslims do not value, or even repudiate, values that are at the core of European civilization, such as free speech and the separation of church and state.

None of these issues has anything to do with minarets, which are generally built alongside Europe’s large urban mosques, where the imams are usually moderate establishment figures. Those imams who preach jihad don’t do it from minarets. Indeed, extreme imams are more typically found in storefront mosques.

Europe’s ability to integrate its Muslim citizens is one of the continent’s major social challenges. Stigmatizing religions is not a helpful starting point. Most experts, the police and even those who took part agree that the riots in France’s suburban ghettoes in 2005 had more to do with the failure of social policies, rather than a resurgent Islam.

Issues like minarets or the burqa — the head-to-toe garment worn by a small number of Muslim women that is being targeted by President Sarkozy — are beside the point of that bigger social challenge.

via Letter from Europe – Minarets and Slender Arguments – NYTimes.com.

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Dec
09
2009

ROTD::The downside of beauty : Gene Expression

Posted by: Giancarlo Angulo in Categories: rePosts, Research, ROTD.

And yet as you can see above, strong male preference for these fecund females reduces their fitness. Male persistence from what I can tell might be colloquially termed “harassment.” The energetic surfeit which larger females might allocate to their own reproductive output for provisioning has to be expended upon fending off males. In a context where males strongly prefer large females their fitness advantage is actually mitigated! This is a really weird outcome of sexual preferences.

….

I’m left a little confused by this sort of paper. Evolution is in its ultimate basis is a matter of logic, but when it comes to the byzantine dance between sexual, environmental and social selection, the balance between physiological and reproductive fitness, one can be left like a dog chasing one’s own tail logic takes nature by its horns and drives to inevitable conclusions. I assume that’s why experiments and field research are a necessary complement to analysis from first priniciples. The authors are cautious about their results:

via The downside of beauty : Gene Expression.

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Dec
09
2009

rePost:: Rachel Maddows On Uganda’s Kill The Gays Bill

Posted by: Giancarlo Angulo in Categories: Rant, rePosts.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch this friends. I’m torn between anger and anguish. Kill the gays law? Uganda needs to understand that it is again crossing a line that it should not have crossed multiple times in the past.

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Dec
09
2009

Just like Prozac?

A previous study showed that the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) also increases new cell growth, and the results indicated that it was this cell growth that caused Prozac's anti-anxiety effect. Zhang wondered whether this was also the case for the cannabinoid, and so he tested the rats for behavioural changes.

When the rats who had received the cannabinoid were placed under stress, they showed fewer signs of anxiety and depression than rats who had not had the treatment. When neurogenesis was halted in these rats using X-rays, this effect disappeared, indicating that the new cell growth might be responsible for the behavioural changes.

via Marijuana might cause new cell growth in the brain – health – 13 October 2005 – New Scientist.

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