March 1st, 2007

Dragon b/w

That new fad – drinking milk

Hitting the news today: The genes that allow Europeans to drink milk without adverse side-effects are very recent. From The Telegraph:
A study of DNA from skeletons suggest that all European adults living between 6,000 BC and 5,000 BC were lactose intolerant, backing the idea that the ability to digest milk only spread after the introduction of cattle farming in Europe in the past 9,000 years.

The rival idea, that dairy farming was pioneered by a small group of Neolithic farmers who were able to tolerate milk, is overturned by the genetic study by a team from University College London and Mainz University, Germany.

Instead, the Neolithic descendants of Palaeolithic (stone age) people evolved their tolerance of milk within the last 8000 years due to exposure to dairy products, making this "the most rapidly evolved European trait of the past 30,000 years," according to Dr Mark Thomas of UCL. "Lactose tolerance is very much a Neolithic invention."

Studies of the DNA extracted from bones excavated from the earliest organized communities suggests that:
...the first European cattle farmers used their herds for working the land, leather and meat. They moved on to yoghurt and cheese, which contain less lactose.

But, through exposure to milk, lactose tolerance - a persisent form of the lactase enzyme - evolved extremely rapidly so that it is now present in more than 90 per cent of the population of northern Europe and is also found in some African and Middle Eastern populations but is missing from the majority of the adult population globally. "The majority of Northern and Central Europeans can call a minority of lactase persistent dairying farmers that lived some 7.000 years ago their ancestors," said Prof Burger.

"The ability to drink milk is the most advantageous trait that's evolved in Europeans in the recent past," added Dr Thomas. "Without the enzyme lactase, drinking milk in adulthood causes bloating and diarrhoea. Although the benefits of milk tolerance are not fully understood yet, they probably include: the continuous supply of milk compared to the boom and bust of seasonal crops; its nourishing qualities; and the fact that it's uncontaminated by parasites, unlike stream water, making it a safer drink. All in all, the ability to drink milk gave some early Europeans a big survival advantage."
Dragon b/w

Seven Deadly Words

For better or worse, we tend to judge people on the language they use.
This post at Cheat Seeking Missiles looks at some statistics.
Patrick Ishmael at The News Buckit picked up an Instapunk challenge and scanned lefty and right blogs to assess their usage of George Carlin's "Seven words you can never say on television." The results:
And this is what I found, using what I deemed – through a mix of TTLB and 2006's Weblog Award lists – to be the 18 biggest Lefty blogs, and 22 biggest Righty blogs. I couldn't account for the 6-month time period, and I even gave the Lefty blogs a 4 blog advantage. But it didn't make much of a difference.

So how much more does the Left use Carlin's "seven words" versus the Right? According to my calculations, try somewhere in the range of 18-to-1. ...

And the list has a few glaring omissions:
Update @ 9:16am: Great point by reader Joe.
What? No Democratic Underground? No IndyMedia? No FreeRepublic? No Townhall? No FrontPageMag?

And thus, the numbers:
Democratic Underground: 947,000
IndyMedia: 206,000
FreeRepublic: 4010
TownHall.com (minus HH blog): 156
FrontPageMag: 11,800

It only gets worse... 1537788 [Leftyblog filthies]-to-37285 [Rightyblog filthies]. 41-to-1. Holy mackeral.
Nastiest after Democratic Underground and IndyMedia were Kos with 146,000 and Huffpost with 78,200.
On the Right, the biggest blogs were pretty darn clean: The big three of LGF, Instapundit and Michelle Malkin had less than 500 between them. The milblogs tended to be the fetid ground on the right, but the spiciest of them, Ace of Spades, couldn't even string together 10,000 nasties.

So what does this poster think the difference says?
Why the gulf? On the Right, of course, there's a respect for social norms that just doesn't exist on the Left. There's also faith (I miraculously quit swearing right after accepting Christ) and respect for others.

On the Left, there's rebellion and the urge to shock, timeworn traditions that go way back (how many remember Country Joe & the Fish's Vietnam Rag or Pearls Before Swine's song complete with the Morse code lyric dit dit dah dit, dit dit dah, dah dit dah dit, dah dit dah?)

But that's not enough to explain a million profanities. There is also in the swearing, I believe, an acknowledgment that their logic is weak, their history is weak, their policy is weak, and there's nothing they can do to change any of that. Stuck with the belief system they're stuck with, losing the logic arguments as they do, marginalized intellectually, their frustration rises.

Here is the original study.