Daily Archives: July 1, 2009

GJ’s Bar and Hangout

…One day Tashina asked to speak to me privately. “Honey, what do you do to get rid of crabs. Crotch crabs. Just tell me what to do and don’t tell anyone we had this little conversation, ‘kay?” I told her what to do.

Later that same day, Ron cornered me alone in the foyer. “Hey, my man, I do dee-claire I gotta bad, bad problem. How does a guy stamp out dem little bugs, dem baby micro-scopical crawdads down in the you know where, if you get my drift?” I told him what to do….

At Quiche Moraine…

Good Bye Mladen Sekulovich


A.K.A. Karl Malden.

It may be that most people who know Karl Malden remember him from Streets (with a young rookie named Michael Douglas), but of course, he had an illustrious acting career outside of that well known and ground breaking TV series.

Speaking of Malden’s original Czech last name …. as Alfred Hitchcock would always appear as a walk-on in his own movies, Malden would work the name “Sekulovich” in wherever he could. From Wikipedia:

…as General Omar Bradley in Patton, as his troops slog their way through enemy fire in Sicily, Malden says “Hand me that helmet, Sekulovich” to another soldier. In Dead Ringer, as a police detective in the squad room, Malden tells another detective: “Sekulovich, gimme my hat.” In Fear Strikes Out, Malden, playing Jimmy Piersall’s father John, introduces Jimmy to a baseball scout named Sekulovich. In Birdman of Alcatraz, as a prison warden touring the cell block, Malden recites a list of inmates’ names, including Sekulovich. Malden’s father was not pleased, as he told his son ‘Mladen, no Sekulovich has ever been in prison!’ Perhaps the most notable usage of his real name was in the TV series The Streets of San Francisco. Malden’s character in the program, Mike Stone, employed a legman (played by Art Metrano) with that name, who did various errands. Also, in On the Waterfront, in which Malden plays the priest, among the names of the officers of Local 374 called out in the courtroom scene is Mladen Sekulovich, Delegate.

Have you heard of Charles Darwin?

If so, and if you are an American, you are in the majority. But 16% of your fellow Americans have not. If you are a citizen of the UK, where Darwin lived and stuff, 9% of your fellow citizens have not. Shocking.

These are perhaps the least noticed but in my view most amazing results of Yet Another Poll (YAP) about creationism and evolution that is skillfully analyzed by John Lynch at Just Another Prop. I agree with John’s conclusion that a (too slim) majority of Americans are “theistic evolutionists.” Add that to the a-theistic evolutionists and we have more people in the Evolution camp than we have in either of the major political parties.

Go read the post here.

Finally, Open Access Government

The purpose of Data.gov is to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. Although the initial launch of Data.gov provides a limited portion of the rich variety of Federal datasets presently available, we invite you to actively participate in shaping the future of Data.gov by suggesting additional datasets and site enhancements to provide seamless access and use of your Federal data. Visit today with us, but come back often. With your help, Data.gov will continue to grow and change in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

Dat Dot Gov is Here

Hat Tip: Joe

MSNBC: Time to retire Buchanan (an open letter)


I know it is appropriate to have a range of opinions among the talking heads representing a news agency, and MSNBC certainly does have a range. Pat Buchanan, regular commentator on two or three MSNBC news shows, probably serves at the most conservative individual in the MSNBC panoply.

But he has to go now.
Continue reading MSNBC: Time to retire Buchanan (an open letter)

Stealing Genes and Hypergyny

This post was originally titled “Mail Order Brides and Hypergyny.” I was prompted to revisit the post because it received a a rather astonishing comment that I chose not to allow, but I did post it on my Facebook page where any attention it would receive would be from the thoughtful people that make up my Facebook community rather than just anybody out there on the Internet. Also, I recently received a complaint from a reader that Scienceblogs.com has been showing a lot of ads for “mail order brides,” and this post was originally partly a response to that.

I should also mention that in the years between 2009 and 2014 it is possible that the term “mail order brides” has been legitimately problematized. I don’t know that it has, it just seems like it must have been. For example, Wikipedia says “The term “mail-order bride” is both criticized by owners (and customers) of international marriage agencies and used by them as an easily recognizable term.[2] It has been pointed out that there is a discrepancy between how international adoptions are regarded (“saving a child”) and how international marriages are regarded (“buying a wife”).” citing Lilith, Ryiah (2000–2001), Buying a Wife but Saving a Child: A Deconstruction of Popular Rhetoric and Legal Analysis of Mail-Order Brides and Intercountry Adoptions 9, Buff. Women’s L.J., p. 225F Schaeffer-Grabiel (2005), When the mail-order bride industry shifted from using a magazine. If you have any comments on that please leave them below.

Original Post, Mail Order Brides and Hypergyny:

Seymour had a mail order bride and he was very proud. Seymour was a night watchman that I got to know because I was forever lurking around at night, passing through alarmed doors and making a nuisance of myself and, usually, keeping just one step ahead of Seymour, who’s main objective in life was to find a reason to throw me out of the building. The one time he actually had the drop on me, found me without ID, with no instructions that people would be working late in the lab, on a weekend that people were not supposed to be in the building because of work being done on the fire alarm system, he made his move and told me to get out or I’d be arrested.

I had no choice.

I engaged in a conversation with Seymour, which no one had ever done before, and after a half hour he went way forgetting that his main goal in life was to throw me out of the building. But in the mean time, I learned about his mail order bride. From Korea.

I’ve noticed that Scienceblogs.com has been running ads for hot Russian mail order brides. These ads are rather funny on the surface; They seem to be parodies of such things that they represent. But if you click on one (and I certainly did … expecting to end up at The Onion) one learns that this is the real thing. These are real ads for real Russian women who really want to marry you. If you are Seymour.

I’ve told you before that I mostly avoid commenting on the advertisers for Scienceblogs.com. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. One of the most evil corporations on the planet is one of our sponsors, and no one ever seems to notice or complain. My blog is editorially independent (as are all the other scienceblogs.com blogs) and I am free, if I choose, to blog against the big evil corporation, and in fact, have done so to a limited extent.

At first, I found it rather shocking that none of my fellow Sblings seem to be blogging about the mail order bride ads. Then I realized that they must all be using ad blockers.

For my part, as you may have noticed, almost everything I encounter lately seems to remind me of a story from the Congo. (I wonder why that is?) So I can tell you a little about hypergyny in the Congo.

Let’s get two things straight:

1) Mail order brides are participating in hypergyny. Hypergyny is where females (gynos) marry “up” (hyper).

2) You will see the term “hypergamy” used and that is simply incorrect. There can be no such thing as hypergamy as a practice because that means everybody marries up. How would that work? The term is “hypergyny.”1

Hypergyny can occur in a lot of different cultural systems, and in fact wherever there is a) differential wealth and b) males tend to control big hunks of that wealth and the associated power (and no, it is NOT all about power … wealth and power are historically interchangeable enough that we should be cautious about making such distinctions) there will be hypergyny because there will be women who either choose it or are forced into it. In this form, and exploiting the ongoing conversations about rape, hypergyny can be understood by reference to the sexual interactions between allied forces liberating Europe from the Nazis and the local women. In Italy, Allied men tended to rape the women. In France, the women seemed happy to sleep with the men. For food. The difference? Well, lots of things were different, but to oversimplify somewhat, there was a big difference in how much people were starving at that particular moment between Italy and France.

Hypergyny is sleeping with the man over a longer term. For food and everything.

The most benign form of hypergyny of which I am aware (not counting mail order brides …. I’m not sure where I want to put that phenomenon on any scale of severity) is that found among the Efe Pygmies (and other Pygmies) in Central Africa.

Here, there are two integrated but distinct cultural entities: Villagers and Foragers. The Villagers are not Efe. They may be Bantu or Central Sudanic speakers (where I worked, they were Central Sudanic Lese). Villagers are farmers who often hunt, Efe are both foragers and farm laborers. The fact that there are material overlaps between the cultures does not make these cultures overlapping in all ways, or hard to distinguish, or flexible in membership. They are as solidly different as any caste might be.

The rules: Any Villager man and woman can marry. Any Forager man and woman can marry. Any man may have more than one wife.

A Villager woman can never marry a Forager man, but a Forager woman may marry a Villager man.

Often, but by no means always, the Forager woman who marries a Villager man is a second (or maybe even third) wife of that man, in a polygynous marriage.

If a Forager woman marries a Villager man, they live in the village as villagers. The woman takes on the cultural trappings of the village much more than other Forager women do. The children are Villagers. If the woman leaves her husband and goes back to the forest, she can not take the children with her. They remain as villagers.

The women can decide to do this or not. Their decision is usually a matter of personal lifestyle preference. The forest means freedoms not available in the village and you get to go camping all the time, and there are rich cultural traditions that live mainly in the forest, and that is where your family is. In the villages, you get a roof that will hardly ever leak.

One of the effects of this system is that men among the Foragers marry on average quite late owing to the a shortage of women.

In this way, there is a slow and steady gene flow from Forager groups to Villager groups, which led me to propose some years ago the Gene Stealing hypothesis. The relationship I describe here occurs in many different places and times. It seems to occur more often in tropical regions, and it seems to occur virtually all the time where the indigenous group (in this case the Forager) is hypergynous to the invading group (in this case the Villagers, who moved into the area hundreds of years ago).

The invading group is not adapted to local disease to the extent that the indigenous group is. But they can ensure that among their children there will be an elevated rate of such adaptation, by coming up with this pattern. This works much better than just killing off the locals or driving them out. You take their genes but keep them distinct as a locally adapted specialist group.

Indeed, there is evidence that something like this may have happened in the middle east with the Natufian culture, and I’ve wondered about the relationship between Modern Humans and Neanderthals in this regard.

I know, I know, that is a long way from pictures of Hot Russian Babes that may or may not be in the right sidebar.

Or maybe not….

1There is a way in which hypergamy, which is widely used much to my annoyance, makes sense: If you have hypergyny and hyperandry, then the two together could be hypergamy, much like polyandry and polygyny are polygamy. But that is not what is going on with these terms.