Scientists can now predict a person’s physical appearance just from the person’s DNA, with astonishing accuracy.
However, those same genes apparently predict nothing about one’s personality. Continue reading Stereotypes and phenotypes
The best I can do for them, is to do the best I can for me.
The last post, “Dwight C. Wells,” sent me into a hell of a funk.
Continue reading A better life for me
I have three brothers. Once a month, I send ’em an e-mail to catch ’em up on the news. This one was sent outside that schedule, for the reasons indicated. Names have been changed, to protect my privacy.
Continue reading Miracles of healing
(Originally published 07/21/12 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 04/23/14.)
The pigeons. Years ago, when I had an office job downtown, I’d wait for the bus every afternoon on the south side of Baltimore Street one or two blocks east of Charles. Often, someone tossed down several handfuls of torn-up bread for the birds to eat, and I’d have time to watch them.
For the most part, the pigeons acted just as you’d expect: eating together, share and share alike. But I noticed one individual whose conduct was quite different. This guy never picked up any food from the ground. He never seemed to notice any food on the ground. Instead, he’d notice what someone else was eating, and go over and take it away from that person. Time and time again, he did this.
Put this fellow down on top of a pile of food, and he’d starve to death, because he’d never pick up any for himself. Put another pigeon with him, and he’d be OK — taking away what the other one picks up to eat.
How much closer can you get to the way some people act; who will not do anything for themselves, but only take away what someone else has worked for? Can there be a gene for this?
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When I lived in Barclay, I maintained a bird feeder in the back yard — different locations, but always visible from the kitchen window. Two species used to visit the feeder in flocks: sparrows and starlings. There might be fifty sparrows or fifty starlings there at a time.
Continue reading What the little birds told me
At this writing, I’ve just enrolled at this organization —
— that seeks to match potential participants, with research studies concerning possible genetic bases of Alzheimer’s disease.
I’m not recalling offhand how much I may have told here, of how Alzheimer’s disease took my father away from us.
Continue reading The Nun Study
Ethnic differences don’t all need to be A Problem.
A certain woman has struggled for some years with alcoholism. I have followed her case because she’s close to me and because I am, after all, an alcoholic myself.
Continue reading Two Jews, three opinions
(Originally posted 10/05/13.)
For the past four decades, the “marshmallow test” has served as a classic experimental measure of children’s self-control: will a preschooler eat one of the fluffy white confections now or hold out for two later?
Now a new study demonstrates that being able to delay gratification is influenced as much by the environment as by innate ability. Children who experienced reliable interactions immediately before the marshmallow task waited on average four times longer—12 versus three minutes—than youngsters in similar but unreliable situations.
The article explores the issues in some depth.
I only this week became aware of this.
The article is extremely technical, but makes clear in no uncertain terms that Delta FosB is the genetic risk factor for addiction. All addicts have it, regardless whether the addiction is chemical or behavioral.
It also helps me understand how, without having been born with the specific genes for alcoholism, they came to be present for me in middle age; how, after decades of consuming alcohol no differently than any normal person, I abruptly became a “drunk” at about age 32.
Related: Alcoholism basics