“Population genetic differentiation of height and body mass index across Europe”, Robinson et al 2015 (to quote Yvain: “Genetic differences explain 24% of between-national-populations differences in height and 8% of between-national-populations in BMI across Europe. Now that the only two massively polygenic traits that might vary among national populations have been successfully studied, I look forward to never having to read any further research of this sort ever again.”)
“The End of History?”, Francis Fukuyama (ISIS is both discredited & defeated; Russian nationalists have no greater ambition than to preserve regional influence & sow chaos; and the Chinese Communist Party under Xi Jinping has abandoned even its half-hearted attempt at doing anything but securing its power & privilege)
“The Bayesian Reproducibility Project” (interpreting the psychology reproducibility projects’ results not by uninterpretable p-values but by a direct Bayesian examination of whether the replications support or contradict the originals)
Galton’s problem (Another name for pseudoreplication/autocorrelation/hierarchical-structure/non-independence. Definitely a concern in cross-racial genetics when you’re using population-level averages.)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown: 2012 turn-based tactical strategy (isometric 3D) game; on Steam for Linux. You kill aliens. Heavy on the atmosphere and moody graphics, with many special effects and little cut-scenes. As a tactical strategy, it has weaknesses; units must be trained & upgraded over many missions so they are worth their weight in gold, one-shot kills are always possible, getting in the first shot is critical, and the level layout has the standard mechanism where clusters of aliens are triggered when one moves, all of which combine to force on you an extremely conservative gameplay style where you move as slowly as possible through the level with all your soldiers always in cover, lest you trigger 3 or 4 groups of aliens simultaneously and lose one or more near-irreplaceable units. It is quite an incentive to reload levels that go badly and one well-placed enemy or even-slightly-aggressive move costs you 2 or 3 elites of your squad (I didn’t reload… much.) As such, the snipers level up with the greatest of ease as they do most of the killing, and they only get more overpowered when Archangel armor is developed and they can now shoot across almost entire levels without having to move! The levels themselves are not too imaginative either, with all of them boiling down to search-and-destroy in levels which are copies of each other, even the hostage-rescue and bomb-defusing missions (where the best strategy seems to be to, yes, just killing the aliens as fast as possible). Tech upgrades are doled out sparingly, so that one only gets the funnest weapons like the Ghost armor (temporary invisibility) or Blaster Launcher (rockets that go around corners) as the game is ending. (Holding Ghost armor until the end is particularly unfortunate, since it helps reduce the incentive for ultra-conservative explorations and the 4-turn limit makes it a challenge to use optimally.) I have to contrast the tactical strategy aspect of XCOM unfavorably to the last game I was playing, Advance Wars: Dual Strike: units can be risked in gambits and attacks because losing them is not so devastating, the first-attacker still has a huge advantage but this makes for interesting ambushes and tactics rather than forcing passivity, and since the enemy is always in motion, you are constantly under pressure to act too. Overall, I enjoyed it, but don’t feel any need to play it again.
This page is a changelog for Gwern.net: a monthly reverse chronological list of recent major writings/changes/additions.
Following my writing can be a little difficult because it is often so incremental. So every month, in addition to my regular /r/Gwern subreddit submissions, I write up reasonably-interesting changes and send it out to the mailing list in addition to a compilation of links & reviews (archives).
A subreddit for posting links of interest and also for announcing updates to gwern.net (which can be used as a RSS feed). Submissions are categorized similar to the monthly newsletter and typically will be collated there.
User-created datasets using ordinal scales (such as media ratings) have tendencies to drift or ‘clump’ towards the extremes and fail to be informative as possible, falling prey to ceiling effects and making it difficult to distinguish between the mediocre and truly excellent.
This can be counteracted by rerating the dataset to create a uniform (and hence, informative) distribution of ratings, but such manual rerating is difficult.
I provide an anytime CLI program, resorter, written in R (should be cross-platform but only tested on Linux) which keeps track of comparisons, infers underlying ratings assuming that they are noisy in the ELO-like Bradley-Terry model, and interactively & intelligently queries the user with comparisons of the media with the most uncertain current ratings, until the user ends the session and a fully rescaled set of ratings are output.
I re-analyze a bitter-melon/blood-glucose self-experiment, finding a small effect of increasing blood glucose after correcting for temporal trends & daily variation, giving both frequentist & Bayesian analyses. I then analyze the self-experiment from a subjective Bayesian decision-theoretic perspective, cursorily estimating the costs of diabetes & benefits of intervention in order to estimate Value Of Information for the self-experiment and the benefit of further self-experimenting; I find that the expected value of more data (EVSI) is negative and further self-experimenting would not be optimal compared to trying out other anti-diabetes interventions.
Genetic influences on personality differences are ubiquitous, but their nature is not well understood. A theoretical framework might help, and can be provided by evolutionary genetics. We assess three evolutionary genetic mechanisms that could explain genetic variance in personality differences: selective neutrality, mutation-selection balance, and balancing selection. Based on evolutionary genetic theory and empirical results from behaviour genetics and personality psychology, we conclude that selective neutrality is largely irrelevant, that mutation-selection balance seems best at explaining genetic variance in intelligence, and that balancing selection by environmental heterogeneity seems best at explaining genetic variance in personality traits. We propose a general model of heritable personality differences that conceptualises intelligence as fitness components and personality traits as individual reaction norms of genotypes across environments, with different fitness consequences in different environmental niches. We also discuss the place of mental health in the model. This evolutionary genetic framework highlights the role of gene-environment interactions in the study of personality, yields new insight into the person-situation-debate and the structure of personality, and has practical implications for both quantitative and molecular genetic studies of personality. [Keywords: evolutionary psychology; personality differences; behaviour genetics; intelligence; personality traits; gene-environment interactions; mutation load; mutation-selection balance; mutational cross-section; epistasis; frequency-dependent selection]
Evolutionary forces that maintain genetic variance in traits can be inferred from their genetic architecture and fitness correlates.
A substantial amount of new data on the genomics and reproductive success associated with personality traits and intelligence has recently become available.
Intelligence differences seem to have been selected for robustness against mutations.
Human tendencies to select, create and adapt to environments might support the maintenance of personality traits through balancing selection.
Like all human individual differences, personality traits and intelligence are substantially heritable. From an evolutionary perspective, this poses the question what evolutionary forces maintain their genetic variation. Information about the genetic architecture and associations with evolutionary fitness permit inferences about these evolutionary forces. As our understanding of the genomics of personality and its associations with reproductive success have grown considerably in recent years, it is time to revisit this question. While mutations clearly affect the very low end of the intelligence continuum, individual differences in the normal intelligence range seem to be surprisingly robust against mutations, suggesting that they might have been canalized to withstand such perturbations. Most personality traits, by contrast, seem to be neither neutral to selection nor under consistent directional or stabilizing selection. Instead evidence is in line with balancing selection acting on personality traits, probably supported by human tendencies to seek out, construct and adapt to fitting environments.
“Population genetic differentiation of height and body mass index across Europe”, Matthew R. Robinson, Gibran Hemani, Carolina Medina-Gomez, Massimo Mezzavilla, Tonu Esko, Konstantin Shakhbazov, Joseph E. Powell, Anna Vinkhuyzen, Sonja I. Berndt, Stefan Gustafsson, Anne E. Justice, Bratati Kahali, Adam E. Locke, Tune H. Pers, Sailaja Vedantam, Andrew R. Wood, Wouter van Rheenen, Ole A. Andreassen, Paolo Gasparini, Andres Metspalu, Leonard H. van den Berg, Jan H. Veldink, Fernando Rivadeneira, Thomas M. Werge, Goncalo R. Abecasis, Dorret I. Boomsma, Daniel I. Chasman, Eco J. C. de Geus, Timothy M. Frayling, Joel N. Hirschhorn, Jouke Jan Hottenga, Erik Ingelsson, Ruth J. F. Loos, Patrik K. E. Magnusson, Nicholas G. Martin, Grant W. Montgomery, Kari E. North, Nancy L. Pedersen, Timothy D. Spector, Elizabeth K. Speliotes, Michael E. Goddard, Jian Yang, Peter M. Visscher (2015-09-14):
Across-nation differences in the mean values for complex traits are common1–8, but the reasons for these differences are unknown. Here we find that many independent loci contribute to population genetic differences in height and body mass index (BMI) in 9,416 individuals across 14 European countries. Using discovery data on over 250,000 individuals and unbiased effect size estimates from 17,500 sibling pairs, we estimate that 24% (95% credible interval (CI) = 9%, 41%) and 8% (95% CI = 4%, 16%) of the captured additive genetic variance for height and BMI, respectively, reflect population genetic differences. Population genetic divergence differed significantly from that in a null model (height, p < 3.94 × 10−8; BMI, p < 5.95 × 10−4), and we find an among-population genetic correlation for tall and slender individuals (r = −0.80, 95% CI = −0.95, −0.60), consistent with correlated selection for both phenotypes. Observed differences in height among populations reflected the predicted genetic means (r = 0.51; p < 0.001), but environmental differences across Europe masked genetic differentiation for BMI (p < 0.58).
The queue or cue is a hairstyle worn by the Jurchen and Manchu people of Manchuria, and later required to be worn by male subjects of Qing dynasty China. Hair on top of the scalp is grown long and is often braided, while the front portion of the head is shaved. The distinctive hairstyle led to it being targeted during anti-Chinese riots in Australia and the United States.
Galton's problem, named after Sir Francis Galton, is the problem of drawing inferences from cross-cultural data, due to the statistical phenomenon now called autocorrelation. The problem is now recognized as a general one that applies to all nonexperimental studies and to experimental design as well. It is most simply described as the problem of external dependencies in making statistical estimates when the elements sampled are not statistically independent.Asking two people in the same household whether they watch TV, for example, does not give you statistically independent answers. The sample size, n, for independent observations in this case is one, not two. Once proper adjustments are made that deal with external dependencies, then the axioms of probability theory concerning statistical independence will apply. These axioms are important for deriving measures of variance, for example, or tests of statistical significance.
The Rind et al. controversy was a debate in the scientific literature, public media, and government legislatures in the United States regarding a 1998 peer reviewed meta-analysis of the self-reported harm caused by child sexual abuse (CSA). The debate resulted in the unprecedented condemnation of the paper by both chambers of the United States Congress. The social science research community was concerned that the condemnation by government legislatures might have a chilling effect on the future publication of controversial research results.
The experts of animal locomotion well know the characteristics of quadruped walking since the pioneering work of Eadweard Muybridge in the 1880s. Most of the quadrupeds advance their legs in the same lateral sequence when walking, and only the timing of their supporting feet differ more or less. How did this scientific knowledge influence the correctness of quadruped walking depictions in the fine arts? Did the proportion of erroneous quadruped walking illustrations relative to their total number (i.e. error rate) decrease after Muybridge? How correctly have cavemen (upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens) illustrated the walking of their quadruped prey in prehistoric times? The aim of this work is to answer these questions. We have analyzed 1000 prehistoric and modern artistic quadruped walking depictions and determined whether they are correct or not in respect of the limb attitudes presented, assuming that the other aspects of depictions used to determine the animals gait are illustrated correctly. The error rate of modern pre-Muybridgean quadruped walking illustrations was 83.5%, much more than the error rate of 73.3% of mere chance. It decreased to 57.9% after 1887, that is in the post-Muybridgean period. Most surprisingly, the prehistoric quadruped walking depictions had the lowest error rate of 46.2%. All these differences were statistically significant. Thus, cavemen were more keenly aware of the slower motion of their prey animals and illustrated quadruped walking more precisely than later artists.
Christopher Murray is an American researcher in global health and public health at the University of Washington in Seattle and is the institute director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). Beginning in 1990, he has worked on ways to measure the burden of disease and disability around the globe. He has led several projects to gather that data, disease-by-disease, country by country. The aim of these efforts, which involve the work of hundreds of researchers, is to provide data for policy makers around the world to allocate healthcare resources.
Disease burden is the impact of a health problem as measured by financial cost, mortality, morbidity, or other indicators. It is often quantified in terms of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) or disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Both of these metrics quantify the number of years lost due to disability (YLDs), sometimes also known as years lost due to disease or years lived with disability/disease. One DALY can be thought of as one year of healthy life lost, and the overall disease burden can be thought of as a measure of the gap between current health status and the ideal health status. According to an article published in The Lancet in June 2015, low back pain and major depressive disorder were among the top ten causes of YLDs and were the cause of more health loss than diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma combined. The study based on data from 188 countries, considered to be the largest and most detailed analysis to quantify levels, patterns, and trends in ill health and disability, concluded that "the proportion of disability-adjusted life years due to YLDs increased globally from 21.1% in 1990 to 31.2% in 2013." The environmental burden of disease is defined as the number of DALYs that can be attributed to environmental factors. Similarly, The work-related burden of disease is defined as the number of deaths and DALYs that can be attributed to occupational risk factors to human health. These measures allow for comparison of disease burdens, and have also been used to forecast the possible impacts of health interventions. By 2014 DALYs per head were "40% higher in low-income and middle-income regions."
Ivor Armstrong Richards, known as I. A. Richards, was an English educator, literary critic, and rhetorician. His work contributed to the foundations of the New Criticism, a formalist movement in literary theory which emphasized the close reading of a literary text, especially poetry, in an effort to discover how a work of literature functions as a self-contained and self-referential æsthetic object.
The Theory of Everything is a 2014 biographical romantic drama film directed by James Marsh. Set at the University of Cambridge, it details the life of the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. It was adapted by Anthony McCarten from the 2007 memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking, which deals with her relationship with her ex-husband Stephen Hawking, his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and his success in the field of physics. The film stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, with Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, Christian McKay, Harry Lloyd, and David Thewlis featured in supporting roles. The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on 7 September 2014. It had its UK premiere on 1 January 2015.
Shirobako is a 24-episode anime television series produced by P.A.Works and directed by Tsutomu Mizushima. It aired in Japan between October 9, 2014 and March 26, 2015. A manga adaptation began serialization in ASCII Media Works's Dengeki Daioh magazine in September 2014, and a novel was published by Shueisha in January 2015. An anime film premiered on February 29, 2020.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a 2012 turn-based tactical video game developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K Games. The game is a "reimagined" remake of the 1994 cult classic strategy game UFO: Enemy Unknown and a reboot of MicroProse's 1990s X-COM series.
Advance Wars: Dual Strike, known as Famicom Wars DS in Japan, is a turn-based tactics video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld game console. It is the third installment in the Advance Wars series and was released in Japan on June 23, 2005, in North America on August 22, 2005, in Europe on September 30, 2005, and in Australia on March 22, 2006. The game is preceded by Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising and Advance Wars and succeeded by Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Advance Wars is the international title of the Wars video game series, which dates back to the Family Computer game Famicom Wars in 1988.
Subscription page for the monthly gwern.net newsletter. There are monthly updates, which will include summaries of projects I’ve worked on that month (the same as the changelog), collations of links or discussions from my subreddit, and book/movie reviews. You can also browse the archives since December 2013.
Newsletter tag: archive of all issues back to 2013 for the gwern.net newsletter (monthly updates, which will include summaries of projects I’ve worked on that month (the same as the changelog), collations of links or discussions from my subreddit, and book/movie reviews.)