The Political Realities of Mainstream Science – Richard C. Lewontin

The Political Realities of Mainstream Science – Richard C. Lewontin

The New York Review of Books has book reviews by Richard C. Lewontin


Scientific Integrity in Policymaking: An Investigation into the Bush Administration’s Misuse of Science, a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists”, February 2004, 42 pp.


The Great Betrayal: Fraud in Science, a book by Horace Freeland Judson, Harcourt, 463 pp.

Lewontin is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Biology at Harvard University. He is the author of The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change and Biology as Ideology, and the co-author of The Dialectical Biologist (with Richard Levins) and Not in Our Genes (with Steven Rose and Leon Kamin).

See here for list of publications by Lewontin.

Legal and Other Questions about the Presidential Election 2004

Legal and Other Questions about the Presidential Election 2004

For government answers to legal questions about the upcoming Presidential Election see the site of NARA – The Federal Register.

See the


e.g. answers to the following questions:

How did the terms “Elector” and “Electoral College” come into usage?

How does the Electoral College elect the president?

How does the Electoral College process work in my State?

Why do we still have the Electoral College?

What proposals have been made to change the Electoral College system?

How do the 538 electoral votes get divided among the States?

What is the difference between the Winner-Takes-All Rule and Proportional Voting, and which States follow which rule?

Who selects the electors?

What are the qualifications to be an elector?

Must electors vote for the candidate who won their State’s popular vote?

Is there an online source listing the names and voting records of presidential electors for all previous presidential elections back to 1789?

Can citizens in U.S. Territories vote for President?

Is my vote for President and Vice President meaningful in the Electoral College system?

How is it possible for the electoral vote to produce a different result than the nation-wide popular vote?

What would happen if two candidates tied in a State’s popular vote, or if there was a dispute as to the winner?

The site has an electoral college calculator to calculate the electoral college votes.

There is also a page devoted to Presidential Election links.

One of these links is to Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which features an up-to-date CLICKABLE (click on the various States for more info) prediction map of the United States as to how the various States will vote.

Halley’s Comment on the Alpha Male

Halley’s Comment on the Alpha Male

Halley has a nice posting about a presentation by Professor Frans de Waal which included a discussion about “the alpha male“.

There is nothing remarkable in de Waal’s observations and much of this has been known for a long time. Our question always is: Are there any studies about whether there is any particular advantage to the alpha male himself for seeking to be or being an “alpha male” in any human society in the modern world.

If recollection serves us properly, there was a study once made – we do not recall where we saw or read this – that in a group of man-apes, of which 24 were males and ranked from 1st to 24th in the pecking order, the 22nd-ranked male had the most sexual contacts. Our experiences with the last President indicate that being the “alpha fish” in human society is not a particular advantage for sexual activity and is in fact frowned upon by the group.

Again, if recollection serves, there is also an older study (Sir Francis Galton) which indicates that men of genius ultimately die out for lack of progeny because of sterility. See also here.

The ultimate question seems to be: “alpha” here and there, but what’s it good for in our day and age? Is there really an “alpha” in the true sense, or are these people those who are chosen by the group because they are useful to the group’s needs – but that of course is a completely different way of looking at the so-called “alpha male”.

GovTechNews – Digital Government Awards

GovTechNews has a list of the CDG digital government awards by category and placement from 1st to 5th place, plus finalists as originally found at CDG (Center for Digital Government).

The categories are:

government to government

government to business

government to citizen

Interesting is that CDG state awards in this field do not match the ranking issued by Brown University.

Future Pundit on Short Term and Long Term Gratification

Future Pundit on Short Term and Long Term Gratification

Future Pundit is a blog which covers “Future technological trends and their likely effects on human society, politics and evolution”.

Future Pundit has a recent posting entitled Brain Battles Between Short Term Emotions And Long Term Logic.

The article summarizes the results of recent university studies which have studied the brain’s behavior when dealing with short-term and long-term rewards for behavior.

Do we want it NOW or LATER? It depends.

Al Nye the Lawyer Guy – Book Reviews and More

Al Nye the Lawyer Guy – Book Reviews and More

Al Nye has started a new legal weblog with the catchy title “Al Nye the Lawyer Guy”, which Al writes is the first blawg by a lawyer in Maine. (The Law Pundit’s own fond memory of Maine is the best lobster ever eaten and some superb rounds of golf in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on the Maine border, a border which involves a nice legal issue, still unresolved.)

Nye writes that the blog is “mostly law and technology related items — plus a whole lot more, including book and software reviews” and he includes the special categories of Books, Current Affairs, Sports, Weblogs and Web/Tech.

Nye’s blog stands out for the already numerous book reviews on his site, which are not limited to law alone.

We thought we would list those books already reviewed, even though the blog only started this October. As Al writes:

“If you look at the sidebar, you’ll notice lots of books that I’ve reviewed. Some of them are a year or two old now — but since the book industry published about a gazillion books each year, there may be some gems that you missed.

I’ll be publishing reviews of more recent books in the coming days and weeks — including The Shadow of Justice by Milton Hirsch, a lawyer in Miami. This is the first work of fiction ever published by the American Bar Association.”


2. THE LAWYER’S GUIDE TO MARKETING ON THE INTERNET, 2nd ed. by Gregory H. Siskind, Deborah McMurray and Richard P. Klau (West Group)

3. COLLECTING YOUR FEE – Getting Paid from Intake to Invoice by Edward Poll (ABA)

4. Attorney and Law Firm Guide to THE BUSINESS OF LAW, 2nd by Edward Poll (ABA)

5. HOW TO START & BUILD A LAW PRACTICE Platinum 5th Edition by Jay G. Foonberg (ABA)

6. THE DIVORCE TRIAL MANUAL by Lynne Z. Gold-Bikin and Stephen Kolodny (ABA)

7. UP COUNTRY by Nelson Demille (Warner Books)

8. THE KING OF TORTS by John Grisham (Doubleday)

9. BAD MEN by John Connolly (Atria Books)

10. ERAGON Inheritance Book One by Christopher Paolini (Alfred A. Knopf)

11. THE RULE OF LAWYERS How The New Litigation Elite Threatens America’s Rule of Law

by Walter K. Olson (St. Martin’s Press)

12. LINCOLN’S VIRTURES An Ethical Biography by William Lee Miller (Alfred A. Knopf)

13. PRETTY DEAD by Gerry Boyle (Berkley Publishing Group)

14. HOME BODY by Gerry Boyle (Berkley Publishing Group)

15. MISSION FLATS by William Landay (Delacourt Press)

16. REVERSIBLE ERRORS by Scott Turow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

17. DEAD LINE by Brian McGrory (Atria Books)

18. PARANOIA by Joseph Finder (St. Martin’s Press)

19. TAMPA BURN by Randy Wayne White (G. P. Putnam’s Sons)

Cross-posted to LiteraryPundit.

Do Unto Others As They Do Unto You?

Do Unto Others As They Do Unto You?

Law and politics should involve the application of principles that work. One of these principles is unexpectedly simple.

What is the best Biblical strategy as applied to the modern world? – to turn the other cheek, or to give an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?

Freedom to Tinker has a nice posting on the Tit-for-Tat computer strategy in the game of Prisoners’ Dilemma and reports on a newly surfaced cheating variant which does not dislodge Tit-for-Tat from the strategy throne but which merely shows that cheating affects the results.

“For at least twenty years, the best-looking strategy has been Tit-for-Tat, in which one starts out by Cooperating and then copies whatever action the opponent used last. This strategy offers an appealing combination of initial friendliness with measured retaliation….”

In other words – optimally – do NOT turn the other cheek, but fight back in measure.

Freedom-to-Tinker points to the new variant that cheating in teams can raise some individuals of cheating teams above their normal strategic results, but as a whole, all individuals of cheating teams rank lower on average than teams of individuals who play by the optimal strategy but within the rules.

What this means is that very few profit by cheating in teams, and most lose.

This is just like in real life.

Freedom-to-Tinker, according to Technorati, has 630 links from 429 sources.