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Evolutionary Psychologists Prefer Blondes

New research indicates that blond hair and blue eyes evolved because they make you hott. Don't tell Toni Morrison! I don't actually understand, based on the article, what new evidence is supposed to be involved in this argument. This is more interesting:

A study by the World Health Organisation found that natural blonds are likely to be extinct within 200 years because there are too few people carrying the blond gene. According to the WHO study, the last natural blond is likely to be born in Finland during 2202.
To me, this indicates that by 2300, if not sooner, the fact that natural blonds once walked the earth is going to be, to most people, an implausible trivia fact, as if I went around maintaining that there used be to be natural blueheads until the 1920s and you never see them because there was no color photography.

UPDATE: Or perhaps there is no such WHO study.

February 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack


Checking out Tradesports' NBA championships contracts, I see you can buy Detroit for 37, San Antonio for 26, Miami for 10.7, Dallas for 11.0, and Phoenix for 9.2 among the teams with realistic shots at winning. The Spurs seem overvalued to me at this price. I think they're the best team in the league. I say six times out of ten they beat the Mavs in round two. Six times out of ten they beat the Amare's back Suns in the Conference finals. And six times out of ten they beat Detroit in the finals. That gives them a 21.6 percent chance of winning all three series, and I think a strong case could be made that I'm being too generous to San Antonio.

The big five put together have a combined value of 93.9 which is too low. The odds that some other team is going to win have to be much less than six percent. Buying all five is a certain winner. Buying Detroit, Miami, Dallas, and Phenix for 67.9 isn't a sure winner, but I think it improves your expected value.

February 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (36) | TrackBack

Death By Parking

We haven't had a good killing in the neighborhood in a while, but apparently the gunfire I heard the other night around the corner was tragically fatal:

A 33-year-old Arlington man died early yesterday in the District after he was struck by an errant bullet fired during a dispute over a parking space outside a jazz club on U Street NW, D.C. police said.
These bystander-y murders are always the scariest.

February 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

Take That, Richard Cohen

You Passed 8th Grade Math
Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

February 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Winning The Right Way

It seems to me that when I man's scored 46 points, his career high is 47 points, and there's a full quarter left to play you don't keep him on the bench throughout the fourth quarter, no matter how uncompetitive the game may be. Anyways, a true shooting percentage of 104% is pretty damn awesome.

February 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Polygny and Divorce

Alex Tabarrok writes:

Polygny will be bad for poor men who lose out in the competition for first wives to rich men who are on their second. This already happens, by the way, because of serial polygamy - older men divorce their older wives and marry younger ones leaving older women unmarried and some younger men without young wives. Bad for the young men but not necessarily bad for the young wives. For this reason it's probably true that polygny cannot be countenanced in a democracy. At least not until the supply of young men is reduced enough so that every many can have at least one wife even if some can have two.
I think this serial polygyny business is oft-misunderstood. It carries the implication that before the era of easy divorce, monogamy was the norm and the main impact of easy divorce has been to implement a kind of pseudo-polygny. This obviously does happen now and again, but it doesn't capture the real trend. Back in the day, in elite circles at least, informal polygny was very much the norm. The dynamic was that a man's wife had no real choice -- legal, social, or economic -- but to put up with infidelity as long as her husband kept up appearances to a reasonable extent. This is your classic double-standard. Read Anna Karenina. Changing laws and norms about divorce and the increased economic empowerment of women means that non-monogamous marriages that formerly would have stayed together now tend to break up instead. But what's increasing isn't primarily male non-monogamy, but female intolerance of male non-monogamy and to some extent female non-monogamy. Most divorces are initiated by women.

February 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (34) | TrackBack

"Makes Sense"

Walking to work, I was thinking that the Knicks definitely need to find a way to make a deal with Denver to acquire Kenyon Martin. That way, they can field the perfect Curry-Martin-Rose-Francis-Marbury All-NBA Overpaid squad. The current lineup has a terrible gap at the four where the Knicks have only hard-working veteran journeymen and promising youngsters -- fulfilling the Isiah dream urgently requires the addition of another past-his-prime not-really-star player, and Martin's just the man. Chad Ford, I see, actually thinks this would be a good idea. He thinks the Knicks could land Martin for Malik Rose, Maurice Taylor, and Jamal Crawford and I guess at that price it's not totally crazy for NY but I don't really see why Denver would want to do it.

February 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Franchise Steve

Well, you can say this. Penny Hardaway is pure dead weight and Steve Francis is definitely a better player than Trevor Ariza. In that sense, I guess, this is a good deal. But unlike with the trade for Jalen Rose, Francis' contract is not only expensive but runs all the way through the 2008-2009 season, so this deal really will impair the Knicks' ability to ever get under the cap and really makes a mockery out of talk of rebuilding in any sense other than that the team sucks right now. A Marbury-Francis backcourt seems designed to prove that sometimes the whole can be less than the sum of its parts.

The interesting thing, really, is that on paper a lineup of Curry, Frye, Rose, Francis, and Marbury actually looks like a pretty solid starting five. In practice, I think you'd have to be pretty dumb to expect that to work out.

February 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (95) | TrackBack


Everyone's all upset about the NBA playoff-seeding rules in light of the impending Dallas-San Antonio clash in the second round. I agree that the status quo is problematic. Most people seem to think they should alter the seeding formula, but I think the league's impulse to try and make winning the division meaningful is correct. It's good to establish goals short of winning a championship for teams to try and achieve and maintain fan interest. What I would do is follow the NFL model and change the regular season schedule around to make the divisions more distinct.

February 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (45) | TrackBack

Tristram Shandy

I forgot to mention right after I saw it, but you absolutely must see this movie. It's hilarious, and a brilliantly clever adaptation of a hard-to-adapt book to boot. For a little while near the end it falls off its peak before recovering, but when it's on it's absolutely brilliant and even when it's off it's pretty damn great.

February 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack