Science

Err, no

The present study examined the rate of retransition and current gender identities of 317 initially-transgender youth (208 transgender girls, 109 transgender boys; M=8.1 years at start of study) participating in a longitudinal study, the Trans Youth Project. Data were reported by youth and their parents through in-person or online visits or via email or phone correspondence.

RESULTS
We found that an average of 5 years after their initial social transition, 7.3% of youth had retransitioned at least once. At the end of this period, most youth identified as binary transgender youth (94%), including 1.3% who retransitioned to another identity before returning to their binary transgender identity. 2.5% of youth identified as cisgender and 3.5% as nonbinary. Later cisgender identities were more common amongst youth whose initial social transition occurred before age 6 years; the retransition often occurred before age 10.

CONCLUSIONS
These results suggest that retransitions are infrequent. More commonly, transgender youth who socially transitioned at early ages continued to identify that way. Nonetheless, understanding retransitions is crucial for clinicians and families to help make them as smooth as possible for youth.

Mean age at start of transition, 8.1 years. 5 years study – 13.1 years.

That’s not the end of puberty now, is it?

If you’re going to get evolution this twattishly wrong then….

…we can and should disregard everything else you’ve gotto say:

These opposable thumbs are a trait that humans share with our primate cousins such as chimpanzees. But it has only recently been discovered that our thumbs might have first evolved as a device for measuring whether or not fruit was ripe.

Things do not evolve “to do things”. Things evolve by mutation and are then put to use to do things. The change happens first, then the use is determined, not that something is desired therefore the change comes.

And since the rest of the piece is about how we should all stop eating industrial food and get out there and eat summat summat because evolution we can safely disregard that larger argument, can’t we?

We do not have opposable thumbs because they evolved to measure whether fruit was ripe. We have opposable thumbs because we’re descended from those who had more offspring as a result of, possibly just even coincident with, having opposable thumbs.

Can of worms being opened in 3…2…1

Yes, this is sensible:

Common drugs do not work properly for up to 70 per cent of patients, royal colleges have warned, as they call for routine rollout of gene tests before treatment.

The British Pharmacological Society and the Royal College of Physicians called for more personalised treatment, with genetic tests to ensure that medication is not prescribed if it would do more harm than good.

There are some things that do tend to work with everyone – chopping heads off is really very certain to cause death for example. There are other things that don’t work with everyone and sure, genetics will be a goodly part of that.

OK. So test people – well, think about what the expense of doing so is and all that but still – to see which drug works upon their specific set up. Cool.

But doesn’t this just entirely kill that progressive left insistence that actually, we’re all the same in potentio. That it’s society and its iniquities which creates all the difference?

We know this is true of certain genes too – sickle cell is West African and Mediterranean sourced, cystic fibrosis I think North European? Genes do indeed differ, potentials do – fast twitch fibre in likely sprinters, bone density in swimmers – and the more we do genetic testing of individuals the more we’re going to recognise the patterns that run through groups.

Basically, routine genetic testing would kill the Blank Slate theory….

Possibly, possibly

‘Quantum hair’ could resolve Hawking’s black hole paradox, say scientists

Although I recall a (Jerry Pournelle I think?) essay of 40 years ago entitled “Do fuzzy black holes have hair?” or the like which looked at exactly this and Hawking’s thoughts on it.

The specific answer was different*, a difference, aha, of hairstyle. But still….

*As everything, but everything, vibrates around the Planck Constant therefore so does the Schwarzschild Radius and thus black holes do not have an absolute limit – they have hair. Yes, I know, appalling science description but that’s the gist of it.

Well, quite

Brown bears switch habitats in the spring so they can hunt reindeer and moose calves, research suggests.

After emerging from hibernation, the animals embark on an active hunting strategy to take full advantage of the calving period.

One of the bears studied killed 38 newborn reindeer in one month and 18 young moose the next.

Predators predate where the prey is….

Porcupette

It’s taken 6 decades for me to find out that a baby porcupine is called a porcupette:

Pictured: Rare porcupette born in UK takes a seat in keeper’s hand
A rare species of porcupine that is notoriously hard to breed has given birth on Christmas Day in Kent

This isn’t important, of course it isn’t, but just the name – let alone the piccies – is producing an excess of squee.

Earthquake!

mag. 4.4 earthquake – 78 km south of Armona Island, Faro, Portugal, Jan 1, 2022 8:03 pm

So, about 120km from us. I’ll let someone clever than me do the translation into how powerful would the equivalent be if it happened under the building but gave us the same effect here.

The fracking limit is 0.5 in the UK.

7943 times different.

The effect here was that the wife looked at the dog to ask it to stop scratching and banging its leg against the sofa. Earthquakes do matter, of course, but scale does too.

That fracking limit hasn’t been set for any scientific reason, has it?

Apropos strange thoughts

So, hyenas are felids – cats – which occupy a dog – canid – sorta environmental space. Which is why dentition is like doggies and so on.

Not exactly and all that but about.

So, are there any canids that occupy felid sorta space?

You may or may not use bears as canids in your answer, as you wish.

Quite where this question came from I’ve no idea but there we are.

Umm……

Decreasing fertility rates may be linked to pollution caused by fossil fuel burning, a review of scientific studies has found.

Over the past 50 years childbirth has steadily decreased. The study focused on Denmark, but the trend is also seen in other industrialised nations. One in 10 Danish children are born with assisted reproduction and more than 20% of men never have children, according to the researchers. This decrease seems to have started at the beginning of industrialisation.

That’s a significant increase, not decrease. The usual rule of thumb of archaic societies – from DNA studies – is that only 40% of men did have children. Thus the introduction of fossil fuels – and possibly the nuclear family format – has increased male fertility, hasn’t it?

Now what is it about the BMJ Chrissy Ed?

The paper is published in the BMJ Christmas Edition.

We take things seriously but light heartedly? Or they’re a joke through and through?

“It’s not rocket science” is a phrase often used by disgruntled bosses to employees failing to do something simple. But its impact hinges on one thing – rocket science being difficult.

According to new research, it isn’t.

Announcing the EV capacitor

OK, so, we know that folks who drive ICEs sometimes run out of petrol/derv. So, hitchhike, get a can of gas, return, carry on.

Can’t do that with a ‘leccie. Got to get power source to come to car, or tow car.

So, an American small fry company has just seen it’s stock jump from $3 to $10 by announcing the mobile charging solution. Which is a diesel generator on the back of a truck. Which is pretty cool I thought.

But that’s not good enough. We here, we stout readers and creators – for you are all such with your comments – of this blog are going to go one better.

We’re going to create the company which sells capacitors for EVs.

Well, maybe capacitor isn’t the right word. But, back when, you used to be able to buy little gadgets – they were a big craze for a short while – which would short an AA battery or the like into your mobile phone battery. Give you 10 mins or whatever of charge. So, how do we do this with car batteries? What’s going to be that emergency burst of 5 miles (say) of ‘leccie that can be carried in the boot, on the back of a two truck, to get a power stranded EV up the road to a charger?

I assume the answer is either a diesel engine or nowt, given that shorting enough power to actually charge an EV would kill but is this so? And anyway, who cares, just think of the stock price!

So, a science question

We’re all aware that smallpox went one way in the Colombian exchange, syphilis the other (no, don’t tell me it didn’t). Populations entirely unused or exposed to either died in their droves.

We also know that populations free of measles (say, Faroes) die in their drifts when it finally arrives.

So, colds and ‘flus. Making the distinction between the two. Clearly these have been around a long time. But then so also have human populations been very split for a very long time. So, did the European cold kill lots of Americans? The European ‘flu? The American versions lots of Europeans?

A case wouldn’t have survived the length of the early voyages and getting variolation to do so for smallpox required significant planning. But at some point the American pop would have been exposed to these common European diseases and vice versa. What then happened?

My assumption is that two different effects happened. One, that old diseases are, as these things go, less virulent. But also, old diseases in one population can hit a population that’s never been exposed to a close variant and so has much less immunity. What actually happens then depends upon the size of the two effects. Is a cold so lightweight that not much, or is it so different from the separately evolved one over 13,000 years that a lot happens?

Anyone know?

A question on Twitter

SaxLegs McGinty
@RuairiPCharles
Why do kettles go quiet before they boil?

Hmm, good one.

So, err, why? A first guess would be that the noise as heating up is dissolved gases being driven off – does that make sense? Dissolving solids in liquids can be easier as temp rises, but gases work the other way around? – and then the actual boiling is the creation of the steam. But there’s that little gap between driven off gases ending and steam production starting?

This is, obviously, a question where the answer has been worked out already. So, is this one of those where first guesses are missing some vital fact that thereby makes a mockery of them?

Two wildlife questions

The first just something rolling around the mind. So, those weird worms ‘n’ all that live around the smokers. The mid Atlantic vents and all that.

Are they the same species around all such smokers around the world? Meaning that the oceans are in fact a sea of spawn just looking for the right environment to grow up in?

Then the auk. Roughly, but reasonably accurately, the auk was the N. Hemisphere penguin, the penguin is the S. Hemisphere auk. The auk was eated to death a couple of centuries ago. Sure, the tropics, the doldrums, are a hell of a barrier. But how long would we say – in a free world left alone – would it take for a breeding population of penguins to make it North and occupy that ecological niche?

Spotlight, eh?

Spotlight falls at last on ‘missing link’ scientist eclipsed by Darwin over theory of evolution

Every single damn discussion of the subject goes “Wallace independently arrived at the conclusion, the papers were read together and well, Darwin had worked it out more than Wallace had done”.

Still, nice he’s getting a statue.

This California condors virgin birth thing

I was thinking that this has to be a spoof. A report of California condors reproducing by pathenogenesis (?). Virgin birth basically.

The bit that made me insist that it was rubbish is that both kiddies were male. So, where’s the Y come from then, eh, eh?

Male cells have one X, and a tiny Y chromosome. Birds also have sex chromosomes, but they act in completely the opposite way. Male birds have two copies of a large, gene-rich chromosome called Z, and females have a single Z and a W chromosome.

Ah.

Highly likely, yes,

A network of Twitter accounts linked to China has claimed that Covid-19 was imported to the Wuhan seafood market via a shipment of Maine lobsters from the US, a disinformation researcher has discovered.

The theory is the latest to emerge from Beijing in an effort to deflect and obfuscate any investigation into the virus’s true origin.

A bat virus which appears – appears – engineered to infect humans turns up in lobsters. Yeah, right.

In which we tell some people to fuck off

So, the Maori arrived and set fire to New Zealand. Well, OK. They also, at the same time, ate most of the megafauna. Well, that’s just what humans do:

The team published the article in Nature, one of the world’s most prominent scientific journals. But the reception in New Zealand was mixed, with several Māori academics raising concerns that it did not have Māori members of its research team.

Dr Priscilla Wehi, director of Te Pūnaha Matatini research centre, said via Science Media Centre the finding was “scientifically spectacular” but raised concerns about “helicopter science, where research is led and conducted by those who live and work far from the subject of their work”.

“How much better could this have been, were it more inclusive in its approach?” she asked.

Associate prof Sandy Morrison of the University of Waikato called the paper “devoid of context, devoid of cultural understandings”. “It reeks of scientific arrogance with its implicit assumption that somehow Māori have a lot to account for in terms of contributing to carbon emissions.”

Morrison told the Guardian she had been shocked by the paper, which did not collaborate with Māori researchers. “Surely you want to check and just examine the context before you go writing around people,” she said.

“You come so far in terms of working alongside scientists in New Zealand and then you get [this] from the international ones.”

Fuck off, Honey.

More recently, changes were proposed to New Zealand’s curriculum to give parity to mātauranga Māori with other bodies of knowledge.

“For a long time Māori had been talking about [the fact] that we will do our own research – and at minimum, that a relationship with us … should be cultivated way before anybody wants to write about us,” Morrison said. “That seems to have caught on in the New Zealand research scene, but not so much internationally.”

No, really, fuck off.

Amazingly, they intend to make peer review worse

No, really:

But academics have privately expressed alarm at the potential for slipping standards, where journals value citation diversity quotas above the quality of ideas.

Meanwhile, guidelines for the 45-year-old Review of International Studies, published by Cambridge University Press, urge “paying particular attention to the representativeness of citational practices manifested in all article submissions”.

“Recent studies have highlighted the possible under-representation of female and minority scholars in article citations,” authors are advised.

“Review of International Studies is committed to ensuring that scholars receive appropriate intellectual acknowledgement through citations, regardless of race, gender, class, professional standing, or other categorical attributes.”

This is rather a long way from the intended purpose, which is to check that “Hmm, interesting idea, can;t see anything wrong with it”.

Wonder if a paper on Goodhart’s Law – once something has become a target it’s no good as a measure any more – would get into print?