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Comment: Re: Africans. (Score 1) 121

by HiThere (#48215545) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

(Primitive means that it was inherited from a common ancestor.)
FWIW, the sloping forehead isn't a Neanderthal feature, but a primitive feature that was retained by the Neanderthals, and by some Cro Magnons.

Also, you will find more genetic variation among the humans of Africa than among the humans of all the rest of the world combined. By a factor of greater than 2. I'm sure that *some* of them are stupid in comparison to the rest of the world, but they've just got a wider standard deviation. And without a culture-free intelligence test there's no way to calculate the means. (E.g., how are you at finding a water hole in the desert? Very basic and important. How about at safely drinking from a water hole when there are predators around? That's a bit more advanced, but equally important.)

Comment: Re:Question for sequencing expert. (Score 1) 121

by HiThere (#48215467) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

I'd assume that the media is being quite "generous" in its interpretation. DNA tends to degrade fairly quickly, and I'd be really surprised if there was a good complete genome available to sequence. More probably several very long (unexpectedly long) sequences in several copies and nothing too corrupted.

I don't think the problems will be restricted to "fragile sites", and I'd bet the problems with telomeres weren't even considered, as those grow and shrink even during a normal lifetime.

If you're studying ancestry, then the non-coding portions of the genome are even more important than the coding portions (at least over short time scales [i.e., a million years or so]). The coding portions are exposed to pressures to conserver them, and thus evolve (except for silent point mutations) a lot more slowly.

Comment: Re:One sample (Score 1) 121

by HiThere (#48215401) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

I'm sure that in present populations DNA traced to Neanderthals has been split every which way. You get crossovers in (nearly) random places everytime a sperm or egg is made.

What's unusual here is that there haven't been many crossovers. This implies that the hybridization was recent.

My problem with this is that I'm not convinced that the populations were ever distinct enough that most genes could be traced to one species or another. So what they're saying is that 2% of our genes can be traced to Neanderthals, but that's close to the level that counts our difference from Chimpanzees, which I just find impossible to accept. So perhaps they're figuring that 2% against some other baseline than the entire genome...but I didn't read anything that said against what they were figuring it. (And I've run into that same 2% figure in other studies, always without an explanation.)

Comment: Re: Exinction (Score 1) 121

by HiThere (#48215359) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

What's a Neanderthal? What's a Cro Magnon?

Basically, these are names assigned to groups of fossils with similar bones. Sufficiently similar, for some nearly arbitrary value of sufficiently.

FWIW, it is my belief that they typical Neanderthal woman had a pelvic girdle to tight to pass a Cro Magnon baby. (The adults definitely had very differently shaped heads, though what that means is subject to doubt.) This explains nicely the lack of Neanderthal mitochondria in our genome. And it means that while Neanderthal males could successfully mate with Cro Magnon women, the converse didn't work out. As a result heads shaped like the Neanderthal disappeared from the gene pool, and any genes for producing them, and any genes that were tightly coupled with them.

OTOH, I haven't heard anything about the shape of the heads of the Denisovians. Some people have some of their genes, too.

It is my belief that Cro Magnon/Neanderthal/Denisovian is all one species, and that splitting them into separate species is an error, one fostered througout palentology, not just in this case, because it is much more important to discover a new species than to discover a new population with some unusual features.

OTOH, please note that species boundaries are nowhere near as absolute as normally thought. Often there will be diverse populations of a single species clustered in a spread out area, with the populations at the extremes of the area either unable or unwilling to interbreed, even though there is a continual flow of genes throughout the cluster, i.e., every adjacent population is willing to breed with its neighbors.

Comment: Re:Yeah but ... (Score 1) 121

by HiThere (#48215253) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

What they are is an existence proof. And since there is crossover happening with every sperm or egg, this puts a limit on the probable number of generations...though I do need to include "probable".

P.S.: This wasn't a survey of the Y chromosome.

OTOH, since the amount was only about 2%, that indicates that the hybridization must have occurred several generations ago, perhaps 50.
(2% is the modern count, so you can't just say around 5 generations, as some of it is clearly being conserved).

OTOH, since we share most of our genes with Chimpanzees (and lots with mice) I'd need to know how they calculated that 2%. It's a figure I've encountered before, but I've never been quite certain on what basic the claim is made. Taken straight it would seem to mean that Neanderthals were as different from us as Chimpanzees, and that's clearly wrong.

Comment: Re:On the other hand... (Score 1) 676

by HiThere (#48209393) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

Whenever someone says "defend our proprietary IP" I expect them to be malicious liars...or worse. This isn't always true, but it's true in such a large perponderance of the cases that it's a reasonable default assumption.

The hardware may be pirate hardware. But it was probably bought by people in good faith, and doing malicious damage to them is not justified by the fact that it was (unknown to the buyer) pirate hardware. Also there is the possibility that they have made a mistake. This is not a small chance, and if they do this frequently it can be expected to happen. There are lots of models of things out their, and it's just *so* easy to forget to include one of your older models.

Comment: Re:Probably the wrong way to fight it anyway (Score 1) 57

When a certain drug, whose active ingredients were asprin and something else, had its patents about to run out the maker "invented" a new durg that was the same except that the replaced asprin with aceteminophen. Patented that. and then withdrew the original from the market.

Unfortunately for me, I react well to asprin, and aceteminophen doesn't do a thing for me. But the other version was no longer available.

*I* did not find this an improvement, or an increase in innovation. Or anything else desireable.

O, they also increased the price.

Comment: Re:Simple solution ... (Score 1) 57

You don't necessarily get dictatorship or communism (whatever you mean by that). Bureaucracy is probably more likely, with all meaningful decisions made by people you never heard of who are angry with their boss.

Please note that this is a prediction based upon all major power being held by the government, and doesn't have any prediction about the ostensible form of the government, which may be any form of authoritarianism. This includes dictatorships, but it also included democracies. It's more a prediction about the form of administration than about the purported theory of government, of even its claimed mechanism.

Comment: Re:Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (Score 1) 347

by HiThere (#48177299) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

Then explain why discovering that the morning star and the evening star were observationally the same should mean that the religion reacted by merging the god of war and the goddess of love.

Our theories don't consider religious beliefs to be scientific and effective, but they did. So it was science. And they performed experiments (observational) that caused them to revise theories.

Comment: Re:"repeatable independently verifiable reproducti (Score 1, Informative) 347

by HiThere (#48173569) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

If you patent it, and the government considers it valuable enough, they can just take the patent (and classify it so that you can't reveal it).

If you patent it, and you don't have a stable of lawyers and an indefinitely large war chest, then a major corporation can just take it, rephrase the patent, and patent it themselves.

If it's a trade secret, and you can produce a working plant (wouldn't need to be more than a pilot plant) then you can sell the secret to someone who can afford to get into patent battles.

Comment: Re:Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (Score 3, Informative) 347

by HiThere (#48173535) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

Actually astrology was a science. It was quite successful at predicting eclipses, and determining when to plant which crop. Also at scheduling religious festivals.

Perhaps, though, instead of saying it was a science I should say it was engineering, but it did have (several different) theoretical backstories, so science is probably better. It caused the Babylonians considerable grief when they discovered that the goddess of love was also the god of war. So it even made reliable predictions...that people were loath to accept.

Now none of this has much to do with what you see in daily newspapers, or even what professional astrologists predict. but that is really "cargo cult astrology", it copies the outward shape of the real thing, but it's missing the genuine internals. It derives more from Roman fascination with various means of prognostication than from actual living astrology.

Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.