Re: Guest Post - the sky is falling!

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Not a single-locus phenotype. Trying for much more modest improvements (drought-resistant cereals, say) is not going all that well.

If this were proposed as a plant project (don't bother about the details, just take some individuals that maximise the complex trait you care about and go!), I do not think that it would be funded.

It is possible that BGI has too much sequencing capacity relative to productive hypotheses being entertained there.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:04 AM
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"In many ways, equipped with Google Scholar, I am a better scholar than 99.999% of all scholars that lived before we had the Web."

Say what? In many ways, that is insane.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:06 AM
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If they succeed, the new Chinese geniuses will be able to produce an even smarter generation, bootstrapping their way to a China Singularity.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:12 AM
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I wanted to call it a Chingularity, but that sounds racist.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:13 AM
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The Coarse Hanularity will be followed by the Fine Hanularity.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:14 AM
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lw -- so, the SFnal thing I wonder is, even if this isn't the evolutionary filter they think, it sounds like it will be a considerable filter (in some regions? classes?)

What will actually happen? Are there rare effects of implantation that will be surprising when experienced at social scale? (Epigenoosis!) Are they really doing this to preserve gender balance? Have they read Cetaganda?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:17 AM
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I wonder if fears of this could be politically useful. "We need to grow our own geniuses the wholesome, American way: early childhood education and an environment free of heavy metals."


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:21 AM
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*Also* an excellent SFnal response, though if it's the US that does this the suspension of disbelief has to do some heavy lifting.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:28 AM
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I don't know much about human fetal selection based on variations. There would be a few ways this could play out politically in a science fiction PRC-- one would be basically widespread IVF rather than natural production, a second would be allele screening of parents to regulate marriage. Neither seems all that plausible to me on a large scale with actual humans that have agency.

If I am reading this right, the first step should be an association study for a multilocus trait. Perhaps sensible, but the sample population being a thousand people who answered a survey with a control group presumably being CEPH or the 1000 genomes set or something for whom you don't know the relevant phenotype, that's not going to work. It looks like they're not even taking the care to do this-- they'll look at some smart people, spend money to cherry pick a a few alleles, and make claims about those.

The first steps of this involve spending some money to do the sequencing, which will make the sequencing center reasonably happy regardless of the quality of the resulting publication or the possibility of politically sensitive followup. I think that this is a shitty research proposal, a play to emotion in order to obtain resources.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:30 AM
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Here is a talk by one of the people involved in the BGI genetics/intelligence project. (Well, one of them. Maybe there are several? Haven't looked at the OP yet.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:39 AM
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So am I missing something or did this story start with "private firm is researching genetics of high intelligence" and leap headlong to "OMFG CHINA GOING BRAVE NEW WORLD"?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:43 AM
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I wanted to call it a Chingularity, but that sounds racist.
It also makes you sound like Chang.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:43 AM
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widespread IVF rather than natural production

This seems to be being mooted.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:44 AM
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11, 13: this is where I get the wild mooting.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:46 AM
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Oh, okay. Looking at the Vice thing, it is the same project. Okay, so, one, the link to eugenics seems to have been invented whole cloth by Vice. Two, it remains to be seen if the project will produce any interesting results at all. Three, even if it does produce interesting results, everything lw said.

Really, they're just spending the money to do the sequencing of a large enough population (the 2000 people were selected based on Math SAT or IQ score, I believe. Something very silly like that.) that they can get significant results for a few genes that have an additive contribution to intelligence (or to whatever trait(s) their subject population share(s)), (which is to say, 9.2) but they're spinning it as figuring out the genetic basis of intelligence. It is totally creepy in some ways (people who are focused on the genetic basis of intelligence are generally creepy) but in other ways it's just somewhat silly science very much related to 1.last. And it doesn't have anything to do with a potential eugenics program, except in the mind of that Vice writer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:46 AM
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Also the research is being done by BGI in collaboration with US-based PIs (because, essentially, only BGI has the sequencing capacity to do this), and the results will be published in regular journals. It's not like a top secret private project or something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:48 AM
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What are the alleles associated with inscrutability?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 10:48 AM
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It's not like a top secret private project or something.

It's more interesting as the New Normal, really. The effects of the grossest genetic discrimination -- choosing the sex of one's children -- are already pretty... interesting. Oh, fine, if we can't argue about Cetaganda, maybe we can argue about that.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:00 AM
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14: Right, that's the original link I was examining.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:00 AM
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Meh (to the linked article). Intelligence still has a huge role in how much of an advantage you get from all the IT. Lots of people in my field have access to all the same tools but only a few of them use them to any benefit, there are lots of idiots out there. A chimpanzee with an internet connection is still a chimpanzee.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:10 AM
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20: What was that quote about the bird without wings? Those Chinese are sure going to be bummed when they wind up with the most incredibly erudite and witty blog commenters ever.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:15 AM
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here is another article:

http://goldsea.com/Text/index.php?id=14201

I think they explicitly got DNA from a bunch of white guys because they wanted to see if there was different genetic basis for intelligence among Chinese and the white guys. At least, that Hsu guy was asking for DNA from white guys in a web page I can't find now.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:26 AM
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In 2060, the fraction of our intelligence that will depends on our brains will be tiny

In 2060, will we be stupid enough to believe that?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:27 AM
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It also makes you sound like Chang.

Surely you mean Kevin.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:29 AM
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17, 22: I think Ned has chanced upon the secret reason for the research. While the Chinese think they are searching for the genetic basis for intelligence, the U.S. researchers are secretly determining the genes associated with Asian inscrutability.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:30 AM
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17, 22: I think Ned has chanced upon the secret reason for the research. While the Chinese think they are searching for the genetic basis for intelligence, the U.S. researchers are secretly determining the genes associated with Asian inscrutability.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:30 AM
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I scrute like a champ.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:31 AM
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that Hsu guy

The one whose blog was linked to in 10? His obsession with intelligence kind of creeps me out.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:32 AM
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because, essentially, only BGI has the sequencing capacity to do this

Huh. Then I wonder what the Johns Hopkins CTY / SET program was up to a few years ago-- they sent me mail saying something like "we want your blood so we can know what makes you smart", and it was weird and creepy. Actually, the mail went to my parents' address and they sent me an email asking if they should forward it to me and I wrote back something like "no way, that's creepy and awful" and they wrote back something like "oh good, we're relieved you're not into that kind of thing".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:35 AM
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Totally ex recto: my sense is that, although what we call intelligence is as spurious as what we call race, well-educated people don't spend nearly as much time problematizing the former as they do the latter. Is this because well-educated people are deeply invested in the concept of measurable intelligence, while they mostly aren't as invested in the concept of measurable/quantifiable/biological intelligence? Or am I just making this up?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:37 AM
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29: from what I understand there have been a number of association studies of intelligence undertaken in the past, but none of them have turned anything up; the idea of the BGI/Hsu/whoever team is that by getting a really big sample that's way out on the curve they'll increase their chance of getting significant results, and succeed where everybody else has failed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:38 AM
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That second "intelligence" should be "race." And I shouldn't be allowed near the internet until I'm well past these looming deadlines.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:39 AM
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I kind of feel like Hsu is a walking argument against tenure: he did some moderately interesting work in my field, which got him tenure, and since then he's been working in startup companies and blogging obsessively about how smart he is and how great he thinks smart people are and intelligence intelligence intelligence, plus a little bit of finance on the side, and it's all kind of disturbing and yet there he is occupying a perfectly good permanent job in a field he no longer seems to care about. The one time I met him he seemed fairly nice and interesting, but his blog just sets off all kinds of alarms.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:45 AM
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33: he's gone into administration now, actually. I'm not sure if he has a faculty appointment at all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:47 AM
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34: His CV and the UO physics department webpage both claim he's still a professor there.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:49 AM
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Although his CV also claims he's a professor at MSU. Huh. Surely he isn't occupying two tenured positions?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:51 AM
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I have met a guy who does a lot of work with Hsu on these genetic basis of intelligence projects. He (the guy I met) was a student of P/nker's and also pretty clearly has Aspergers. He does not do one bit to dissuade my thinking that the people working on the genetic basis of intelligence are very strange indeed, and that they are interested in what they're interested in for troubling reasons. Also, they (Hsu and the gentleman I met) very much do think that there's something genetically different about asians that makes them smarter, from what I can tell.


Posted by: President Steven Chu | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:51 AM
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36: as far as I know he's at MSU now. Maybe UO just needs to get their shit updated?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:52 AM
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38: I don't know, his CV lists both as "[date]-present". It's entirely possible he has a joint appointment.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 11:53 AM
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Though a lot of posts on his blog make it sound like he really completely moved. Maybe it's like when I was in grad school and there was a professor who left but officially was "on leave" and kept implying he might come back and so they weren't allowed to hire anyone to replace him until a few years had passed and he finally officially declared that he had left.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:04 PM
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God am I ever procrastinatey today.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:05 PM
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30 should be a just masterly troll du blog but I cannot rise to the occasion. Gemmunz. (?)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:09 PM
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I dunno, I thought 30 basically answered its own question pretty straightforwardly: yes. The end.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:32 PM
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I dunno. I know pretty much exactly what I mean when I say race is spurious -- that while there are statistical associations between genetic variation and the preindustrial geographical origin of a person's ancestors, those geographical patterns of variation don't divide humanity into distinct groups like subspecies.

I don't have anything similar to say on whether intelligence is spurious, and I'm not exactly sure what 'intelligence is spurious' means.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:37 PM
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Boy, that picking up the first couple of words of a prior comment and echoing them, particularly if they're rhetorical or otherwise non-substantive, is a deeply ingrained tic of mine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:38 PM
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Boy, you got that right.
Look, it's hard enough to pick up associations for reasonably well-defined and diagnosable mental illnesses (schizo). It's harder to pick up associations for vaguely defined but generally recognized conditions (autism.) For something that's as poorly defined and measured as intelligence? Forget it.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:41 PM
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Oh, 'intelligence is spurious' meant 'a genetic basis for intelligence is spurious'?

I have a hard time with that. Going to be really really really hard to pin down in any usefully manipulable way, sure. But on the level of 'the difference in mental abilities between people generally and cows generally', that's intelligence and that's got to be largely genetic -- raising a cow in an enriched environment isn't going to get you a literary critic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:46 PM
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I don't have anything similar to say on whether intelligence is spurious, and I'm not exactly sure what 'intelligence is spurious' means.

that while there are statistical associations between genetic variation and the performance on correlated batteries of psychological tests preindustrial geographical origin of a person's ancestors, those heritable, psychometrically tractable geographical patterns of variation don't arrange divide humanity into any kind of useful ordinal rank distinct groups like subspecies


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:47 PM
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You could replace "useful" with "meaningful" or "informative" if you want.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:48 PM
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48.2 works for me. Although I thought we didn't even have statistical associations between genetic variation and performance on correlated batteries of psychological tests yet -- that that was the sort of thing the OP was talking about people looking for.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:50 PM
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47.2: Mooooooooooooooooooo


Posted by: Opinionated Cow/Literary Critic | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:51 PM
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51: But: really, my cow?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:53 PM
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50: well, sure we do, on some level. We just don't know which genetic variation.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:53 PM
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What was that quote about the bird without wings? Those Chinese are sure going to be bummed when they wind up with the most incredibly erudite and witty blog commenters ever.

This made me laugh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:54 PM
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44: my "measurable/quantifiable/biological" didn't work for you?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:55 PM
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I'm also completely unclear on why clew says that I'm trolling. But maybe I'm missing something key in how 30 is being interpreted.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 12:59 PM
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Are you eliding the difference between saying something is heritable and saying it's the result of genetic variation?

I mean, it seems obvious that there are going to be genetic variations when we find them that correlate with IQ test scores in some way, roughly based on the cow argument I made above -- 'intelligence' loosely defined is going to have something to do with genes. But I thought you couldn't legitimately make that jump for real until you'd found the variations you were talking about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:03 PM
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57 to 53.

To 55: Eh, not really. On the cow argument, there's a biological difference between people and cows that leads to a measurable, quantifiable difference in mental functioning. I mean, I know roughly the sort of thing you mean, but not tightly enough to actually agree or disagree.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:07 PM
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A great number of things can be measured without necessarily being inherited. Was there another question?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:07 PM
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Not bad trolling, VW. Just livelying up the discussion, like a sprightly salonniere.

44.1 seems too general to me; counterexample, land-races of plants have reliable differences in phenotype, based I believe on genotype, but aren't subspecies.

54: Could be the goal. Productive might not be as important as nondisruptive.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:10 PM
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57: more or less. There's enough heritability that genetic variation has to do with it on some level.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:16 PM
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58: I'm not sure very many people are invested in proving that variable and quantifiable intelligence can be mapped onto the human-cow divide. But there are a lot of people, receiving quite a lot of grant money, studying whether variable and quantifiable intelligence can be mapped onto different kinds of people.

My relatively uninformed (which is why I prefaced it with "ex recto") sense is that this research hasn't been much more (or maybe any more?) successful than the research into race and yet isn't attacked in quite the same way by well-educated people. Again, though, I'm not knowledgable enough -- other than about the case of IQ testing, which leads to conclusions that, I think, are spurious -- to say much beyond what I've said: that I wonder if I'm right; and if I am right, if that's because well-educated people have more of an investment in believing that their success owes to something they call intelligence.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:17 PM
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But there are a lot of people, receiving quite a lot of grant money, studying whether variable and quantifiable intelligence can be mapped onto different kinds of people.

There actually aren't that many. It's sort of a weird sideshow (remember, Hsu is technically a physicist). Better-defined cognitive functions tend to consume more energy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:21 PM
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62: Obviously, no one's invested in proving that we're smarter than cows because it's trivially easy -- they do so badly in the panel discussions. My only point about cows was that while I'm comfortable saying that anyone thinking that 'race' is a meaningful way of describing genetic variations among people is mistaken, I'm not comfortable in the same way saying that genetic variation among people has nothing to do with the qualities colloquially described as intelligence, because genetic variation among mammals clearly does have something to do with it.

I generally agree with you that people interested in IQ research tend to be creepy weirdos who are wildly overstating the meaningfulness of their results, but they're not universally making a mental error that can be simply described.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:24 PM
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My very limited understanding is that most adults aren't overly concerned with measuring their own intelligence, despite the fact that researchers are seeking to understand it. Whereas people who make arguments supporting racial differences are almost always doing it on a personal level. They have something to prove.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:24 PM
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65: Oh, I'd disagree. I think people really interested in IQ research are generally coming at it from a perspective of "I'm so smart, isn't it interesting to figure out the fundamental biological basis of how I'm better than everyone else?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:26 PM
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I think the issue, LB, is that the qualities colloquially described as intelligence and the qualities colloquially described as race do not, in either case, comprise a well-defined category. So in the one case, performance on certain types of psychological tests is evidently heritable, and in another case some bundle of genetic markers and phenotypical variations is evidently heritable, but in neither case do those things map with any degree of meaningfulness onto the colloquial usage of those terms, nor are those qualities central or defining qualities of anything but themselves, if that makes any sense (pretty sure it doesn't).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:27 PM
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60: I didn't even mean to do that, I'm afraid. I'm just hiding from a couple of deadlines that are looming ever larger in my life. Also, I was in a meeting Monday with a bunch of UC muckety-mucks who kept talking about "excellence" and the importance, as we "seek new efficiencies at the campus level," of maintaining the "high level of intelligence" within "the undergraduate population." When I asked what they meant by intelligence, the neuroscientist in the room suggested maybe IQ, which led me to inquire in jest if we require IQ scores on the undergraduate application, and if not how we have any sense of what our students' IQs might be. At that point, another person, someone from the office of the president I'm pretty sure, reassured me that IQ maps pretty directly onto SAT scores and the like, leading me to have a quiet aneurysm. When I raised the usual critiques of IQ testing as a measure of intelligence -- rather than as a measure of income or whatnot -- I was surprised that people didn't seem to know what I was talking about. So I moved to a broader question about what people meant when they talked about intelligence, and nobody other than the neuroscientist seemed to have any idea.

None of that is really all that interesting, I'm afraid. And even if it were interesting, I should probably write some history, because deadlines. It's all about deadlines, you know.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:27 PM
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66 is very right. "What is it about me, exactly, that makes me better than other people?"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:28 PM
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Oh, god, deadlines. I'm in one of those positions where the looming due dates are making me long for death when I wake up in the morning.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:29 PM
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At that point, another person, someone from the office of the president I'm pretty sure, reassured me that IQ maps pretty directly onto SAT scores

Correlated tests are correlated!, to paraphrase Cosma.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:29 PM
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66: I think the mensa crowd is a fairly small minority. Most people seek to prove their worth by achieving personal and professional goals. When their professions can't or don't make them feel smart, but they are nonetheless sure they are smart, they try to find another basis to prove it. And I don't mean to be belittling about it -- that's a basic human response.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:29 PM
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69: And I say that as someone who can empathize with being that kind of an asshole. I try not to be, but there's a very nearby alternate universe where I'm one of those people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:30 PM
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We could probably find some genetic correlates to the human/cow intelligence factor (I call it "C").


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:32 PM
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the qualities colloquially described as intelligence and the qualities colloquially described as race do not, in either case, comprise a well-defined category

This says some of what I was trying to say in the aforementioned meeting, albeit more pithily and more knowledgeably than I could muster, because I didn't and don't know what I'm talking about.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:32 PM
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66 is very right. "What is it about me, exactly, that makes me better than other people?"

Don't forget "and makes my children better than other children. And how can I maximize that?"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:33 PM
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I actually agree with 66. I guess I think that people can generally have discussions about intelligence without getting personal. There are actually aggregate benefits to the research. Whereas people who want to talk about racial differences only do so because they have a personal axe to grind, as there's no other goal such a discussion can serve.

But I agree that people who get personal about IQ research do so because they want to prove how smart they are. Which we all do, though most of us choose other means.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:33 PM
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There are people who get personal about IQ for precisely the same reasons they get personal about race, because they are thinking about them together.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:36 PM
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I really wanted, during the aforementioned clusterfuck of a meeting, to say, "I happen to have rfts and sifu tweety right here." At which point they would, after stepping out from behind whatever they were behind, announce in unison, "You fools know nothing of our work." But life doesn't work like that.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:36 PM
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Or at least the meetings I go to don't work like that.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:37 PM
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racial differences only do so because they have a personal axe to grind

What? Sickle cell anemia and ovalocytosis both appear much more often among people with partisular geographic ancestral origins. The frequency of incidence of lung and stomach cancers among east asians is nothing like their frequencies in Europeans.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:38 PM
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Most people seek to prove their worth by achieving personal and professional goals.

Other people write lots of blog comments.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:39 PM
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This is very important.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:39 PM
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Crap, I meant to put that in the other thread.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:40 PM
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I feel the need to disclaim any connection between my interest in the genetic basis for intelligence differences between cow and man and my own feelings of self-worth.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:41 PM
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What?

It's all written down, you can read it as many times as you like.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 1:42 PM
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86 False as written, human differences extend to more than just personality. Many people interested in differences between individuals do not care about the brain.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:02 PM
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85- On the internet, no one knows you're a cow.
Unless they run all your blog comments through one of those grade level writing analyzers.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:03 PM
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68 -- I should never, not in a million years, have been admitted to Cal. And yet I was, because of a totally misplaced view of what high* test scores and a very unimpressive GPA (from a better than average CA high school) meant. Depressing to see that the lesson I tried (so hard!) to teach them, and millions like me over the last 30+ years have as well, has had so little impact.

* Nothing like you all, of course. High for ordinary people.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:06 PM
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What does 'should' mean? Maybe the Cal campus needed a certain number of hippies to maintain the desired atmosphere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:09 PM
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no one's invested in proving that we're smarter than cows because it's trivially easy -- they do so badly in the panel discussions.

I have seen those panel discussions. The noisiest and most aggressive seem to get the most attention and admiration, while the shy intimidated cow at the back of the classroom is thought as dumb because she is afraid to assert herself.

what people meant when they talked about intelligence, and nobody other than the neuroscientist seemed to have any idea.

I have long protested that I simply don't know how smart a maple tree is. It doesn't cooperate at all when I try to test it. Maybe it's just hostile

Oh. And Chobits!


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:10 PM
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I would enjoy eating a moron even more than I enjoy eating cows, if a moron was equally tasty.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:16 PM
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*were* equally tasty. I don't claim to be intelligent.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:16 PM
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Many people interested in differences between individuals do not care about the brain.

Yes and those aren't the people making ridiculous group claims about intelligence. The people who care very much whether their group is better than other groups typically perceive themselves to be at the bottom of their group. That is why they care.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:17 PM
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87 Many people interested in differences between individuals do not care about the brain.

They may be measuring penis size, for instance.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:17 PM
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93: Neither do you prove it but for some reason you're still here.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:18 PM
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Besides Susan Pharr on status politics, I am almost done with DeLanda on software simulations of intelligence and evolution, and emergence.

That book will tell you where intelligence is.

I personally don't think intelligence can be located.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:19 PM
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90 -- Not an issue at Cal, and I wouldn't have met that criterion at the time of application/admission (or ever afterwards, honestly) anyway.

No, they had (have?) a system somewhat analogous to what the Tibetan Buddhists call the Great Straight Upward Path.

I did get something good from it, though, beyond what little education they managed to force on me despite all my best efforts: among my parents best friends was a couple I positively loathed, and they had a daughter my age. The loathed ones assured me in as blunt and smug a way as possible that my application fee had been totally wasted, as not in a million years would I be admitted to Cal, or anywhere else in the UC system. (Not even Riverside??) Because of the Great Straight Upward Path, I had my acceptance letter before grades for the first semester of senior year were in, and months before their precious daughter.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:23 PM
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95- You're not going to bring up that stereotype, are you?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:24 PM
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At the risk of being Standpipey, I was just intending to say that there are lots of ways on which people can have incredibly stupid competitions with each other about how they measure up on some axis, not intending to refer to any folklore about inter-group comparisons.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:43 PM
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That's a big standpipe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:45 PM
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89: my story as well, though in my case at the greatly inferior University of Wisconsin. They admitted me about a week after I applied, despite the fact that my grades -- earned at an above-average Ohio high school -- were abysmal. At the time of my admission, it never occurred to me that I would attend UW, as I was sure that I was off to somewhere glamorous: Edinburgh or Brown (boy, I sure was fooling myself) or my safety school, McGill. I remain grateful to the UW admissions officers* for taking a flier on me.

* A computer program, I'm sure.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 2:53 PM
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As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I can beat pretty much everybody in the delusional college applications sweepstakes. I applied to nine schools. I got into UMass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 3:01 PM
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104

102 -- Yeah, but in your case it was a good idea.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 3:14 PM
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The claim in the linked post that

... It is absolutely certain that in 20 to 50 years, computers will generate original mathematics and science that will leave human beings behind.

is not true.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 3:16 PM
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89 102

So you guys think it is wrong for schools to admit students with good test scores and bad grades?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 3:18 PM
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104: depends on what you mean by "good." I graduated with a high GPA and made something of myself, yes. That said, I wasn't from Wisconsin, and there's a case to be made that, were we living in different world of higher-education funding for state schools, my spot should have gone to a cheesehead.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 3:28 PM
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Relevant to previous conversations.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-21-13 4:47 PM
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Oh man, VW's 68 is bumming me out. Evidently I was harboring a secret-to-myself belief that there was at least *somewhat* of a shared understanding about how shabby our working definition of IQ is, and how poorly we understand its implications.

Obviously I was being hopelessly idealistic. Thanks for fighting the good fight, VW.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 5:33 AM
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106 -- Cal is the flagship of the premier system. They should've invited me to go be a freshman at a CSU, and show I was ready to apply myself.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 6:14 AM
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Our definition of IQ is fine; it's the extrapolations (to g or, more loosely, to intelligence) and, as you say, presumed implications, that are the problem(s).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 6:47 AM
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110

106 -- Cal is the flagship of the premier system. They should've invited me to go be a freshman at a CSU, and show I was ready to apply myself.

Does the same reasoning apply if you had been black?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 4:42 PM
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Shearer's keeping it real on this Friday evening. What if Carp is 1/16 Cherokee princess? What then?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 5:17 PM
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What if there were no Higgs boson? What then?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 5:22 PM
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What if Carp were 1/16 Higgs boson? Or any other elementary particle?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 5:22 PM
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If I told Carp he had nice bosons, would he hold them against me?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 5:29 PM
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Hmm... Bloomberg: FLASH: Reports of a possible meteor seen on U.S. Eastern Seaboard; sightings from upstate New York to northern Virginia.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 5:56 PM
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The OP title and the Reuters guy who puts out "flashes" are both gratified. If any Eastern Seaboard commenters have been incinerated let us know by not commenting.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 5:57 PM
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FLASH: Gordon wins Daytona 500.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 5:59 PM
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113

Shearer's keeping it real on this Friday evening. What if Carp is 1/16 Cherokee princess? What then?

My point was Carp's reasoning seemed a lot like the "mismatch" criticism of affirmative action which I don't expect you all agree with.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 6:24 PM
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Not really at all. Carp's done great for himself as a successful blogcommenter (and lawyer) out of his undeserved shot at the academic big time. The mismatch theory would suggest that letting him into Cal should have crushed his spirit and ruined his life.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 6:30 PM
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Our definition of IQ is fine

To be clear, I was emphatically not talking about the scientific definition, but rather the colloquial working definition of the general public.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 6:33 PM
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121

Not really at all. Carp's done great for himself as a successful blogcommenter (and lawyer) out of his undeserved shot at the academic big time. The mismatch theory would suggest that letting him into Cal should have crushed his spirit and ruined his life.

Carp's comments left me with the impression that he had flunked out of Cal and thought it had done him no favors. This could be totally wrong of course.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 7:23 PM
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117: huh, around that time we were waiting outside a restaurant, and at one point heard some other guy go "whoa, that was really bright!" gesturing up at the sky; my girlfriend figured he'd seen a shooting star. Guess that must have been it. We were not incinerated.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 7:33 PM
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No, you've misunderstood.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 7:41 PM
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We were not incinerated.

Or so the meteors would have you believe.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 7:44 PM
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125

No, you've misunderstood.

So you actually did well but still think it was a mistake to admit you?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 8:04 PM
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James! Try not to think so much! Try not to THINK so much!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 8:08 PM
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Reports of a possible meteor seen on U.S. Eastern Seaboard; sightings from upstate New York to northern Virginia.

I blame dark matter.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 8:10 PM
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What would you call a flash of dark?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 8:14 PM
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Speaking of stuff falling from the sky...

This football game in Denver is absurd. A World Cup Qualifier in heavy snow. Eesh.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 8:33 PM
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Yes, I thought it was going to be OK at first, and even right after half. But now it has gotten absurd.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 8:40 PM
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My dad flunked out of Cal and went back and graduated after a bit of community college. He's not black but he's half Italian and in '58 that was practically like being Mexican.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 8:57 PM
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I think the method they used to determine that I was going to be a positive addition was flawed. I'm not the victim of this flaw. (I got some education and a wife out of the deal, and even if the vast bulk of my education came elsewhere, that's still nothing to be aggrieved about.)

If a black student at my high school (or, rather, *the* black student at my high school) turned in an application with my GPA, I think some further review might be called for before rejecting out of hand, yes. The point of using admissions and test scores in admission is not to reward past attainment of particular milestones, but to try to predict the future. These things are signposts, not meaningful in themselves.

High test score low GPA with no apparent explanation for the low GPA sounds to me like a fledgling wingless bird.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 11:21 PM
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using grades


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-22-13 11:22 PM
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Can't sleep, clowns will eat me.

That "Flagpole Sitta" lip-dub is almost SIX YEARS OLD now! That's like more than half the life of this blog. Crazy.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 2:05 AM
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Emma Bull needs to do a War for the Oaks sequel where all the fairies are, like, user experience managers for big health insurance companies and shit.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 2:25 AM
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||

The baby explosion had a new addition early this morning (UK time).

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 4:48 AM
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Congratulations!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 5:02 AM
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Mazel tov!


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 5:17 AM
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Hooray! Congrats!


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 5:17 AM
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138: Yay yay yay!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 5:19 AM
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Congratulations! I gotta say, the babysplosion liveblogging has been a real disappointment.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 5:22 AM
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Hooray for ybaB ttaM!!!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 5:36 AM
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Congratulations!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 5:38 AM
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143: Would you like to know what a breech birth looks like? NSFW.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 5:42 AM
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Congratulations to all the nattarMcMs!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 5:44 AM
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Yay, babies. Good health to everyone!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 6:38 AM
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Congratulations!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 6:43 AM
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Congratulations!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 7:48 AM
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Congrats! Excellent news!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 7:53 AM
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Congrats! Woo!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 8:50 AM
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ybaB! Hurrah!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 11:57 AM
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Baby turned up at 03:30 am UK time. The hippy-birth-centre plan failed. Baby ended up facing the wrong way after quite a lot of labour time had elapsed, then it went to an instrumental delivery, and finally a caesarean. Mum and baby both fine, but I think we both felt that there'd have been a lot less pain and stress if we'd done the delivery in the obstetrics unit.

Baby a little under 8.5lbs. Also seems to be able to crane his head around pretty damn well for a newborn.

I am completely knackered. God knows how my wife is feeling. She seems OK, but is probably coasting on drugs and new-baby euphoria.

Now I am going to drink a bottle of wine and watch shitty tv.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:29 PM
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Congrats!


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:31 PM
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Congratulations. That's great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:31 PM
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Congratulations -- awesomeness.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:32 PM
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It's like that thing about landings -- any one you walk away from is a good one.

Get some sleep while you can.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:32 PM
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Congratulations!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:34 PM
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Congrats, ttaM!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:35 PM
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Now I am going to drink a bottle of wine and watch shitty tv.

Never not a good idea! xoxo to all the snattarGcM!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:47 PM
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Congrats!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:56 PM
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Congrats!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:56 PM
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Congratulations, that's great!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 1:58 PM
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158.1: Nobody walks away from their birth.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 2:14 PM
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Actually, that's one of those fun newborn reflexes. If you hold a newborn by the body, with their legs dangling, and let their feet brush against a surface below, they'll wave their legs back and forth as if they were walking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 2:20 PM
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Congrats!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 2:21 PM
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165: Some labors are quite extended.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 3:58 PM
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Nattargramatulations!

Get some sleep while you can.

The hell with that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-23-13 4:21 PM
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raising a cow in an enriched environment isn't going to get you a literary critic.

It might get you one who is out standing in her field.

Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Oh boy.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-25-13 4:42 AM
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reading down the thread... congratulations to ttaM! Do we have to stop calling him Rehor now?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-25-13 4:43 AM
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