- Last-Minute Changes - Scientific orthodoxy says that human evolution stopped a long time ago. Did it?
- Morality may have roots in our primate ancestors - Monkeys and apes have a basic sense of right and wrong, a new study suggests.
- Beware of Stephen J. Gould
- Fears are growing that Ireland could default on its national debt
- Montreal Massacre movie depicts killer as non-bearded non-Muslim for some wacky reason
- Chagas disease rising in the US
- Thoughts on Urban Survival (from a witness to Argentina's economic collapse)
- We're Heading Toward a Global Weimar
- Savers Are Britain’s New Underclass
- Financial Coup d’Etat
[T]he genetic structure of human populations has been interpreted as the result of a process of "serial bottlenecks", starting from the major "Out of Africa" bottleneck, and followed by a series of other ones, as humans colonized the world. Bottlenecks reduce genetic diversity, but so does selection, and it is imperative to directly sample genetic diversity of past populations, to see how well they conform with the expectations of the "serial bottlenecks" theory
This paper argues in favor of selection as a mechanism for keeping genetic diversity (and hence effective population size) at low levels. This selection process, is not, however, envisioned as affecting the species as a whole, but rather proceeded in its own way in regional subsets of humans. These groups did not exchange genes randomly with other such groups, but rather according to their degree of cultural similarity.
California Rep. Joe Baca has long pushed legislation he said would "open the doors to the American Dream" for first-time home buyers in his largely Hispanic district. For many of them, those doors have slammed shut, quickly and painfully.
Mortgage lenders flooded Mr. Baca's San Bernardino, Calif., district with loans that often didn't require down payments, solid credit ratings or documentation of employment. Now, many of the Hispanics who became homeowners find themselves mired in the national housing mess.
An examination of that borrowing spree by The Wall Street Journal reveals that it wasn't simply the mortgage market at work. It was fueled by a campaign by low-income housing groups, Hispanic lawmakers, a congressional Hispanic housing initiative, mortgage lenders and brokers, who all were pushing to increase homeownership among Latinos.
The network included Mr. Baca, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, whose district is 58% Hispanic and ranks No. 5 among all congressional districts in percentage of home loans not tailored for prime borrowers. The caucus launched a housing initiative called Hogar -- Spanish for home -- to work with industry and community groups to increase mortgage lending to Latinos.
As a supervisor at a Washington Mutual mortgage processing center, John D. Parsons was accustomed to seeing baby sitters claiming salaries worthy of college presidents, and schoolteachers with incomes rivaling stockbrokers’. He rarely questioned them. A real estate frenzy was under way and WaMu, as his bank was known, was all about saying yes.
Yet even by WaMu’s relaxed standards, one mortgage four years ago raised eyebrows. The borrower was claiming a six-figure income and an unusual profession: mariachi singer.
Mr. Parsons could not verify the singer’s income, so he had him photographed in front of his home dressed in his mariachi outfit. The photo went into a WaMu file. Approved.
On one loan application in 2005, a borrower identified himself as a gardener and listed his monthly income at $12,000, Ms. Zaback recalled. She could not verify his business license, so she took the file to her boss, Mr. Parsons.
He used the mariachi singer as inspiration: a photo of the borrower’s truck emblazoned with the name of his landscaping business went into the file. Approved.
Hedge funds will be allowed to borrow from the Federal Reserve for the first time under a landmark $200bn programme intended to support consumer credit.
The Fed said on Friday it would offer low-cost three-year funding to any US company investing in securitised consumer loans under the Term Asset-backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). This includes hedge funds, which have never been able to borrow from the US central bank before, although the Fed may not permit hedge funds to use offshore vehicles to conduct the transactions.
All I can say is "Thank Goodness!" I run a
ponzi scheme hedge fund that has been hit hard by this insolvency liquidity crisis, and this $200bn lending program will allow me to have the US taxpayer act as the bottom layer of the pyramid scheme insurer of last resort for my investors.
It looks like the NY Times is finally starting to come around to the realization that Dumbya's desire to pander to minority groups helped trigger the worldwide financial crisis:
There are plenty of culprits, like lenders who peddled easy credit, consumers who took on mortgages they could not afford and Wall Street chieftains who loaded up on mortgage-backed securities without regard to the risk.
But the story of how we got here is partly one of Mr. Bush’s own making, according to a review of his tenure that included interviews with dozens of current and former administration officials.
From his earliest days in office, Mr. Bush paired his belief that Americans do best when they own their own home with his conviction that markets do best when let alone.
He pushed hard to expand homeownership, especially among minorities, an initiative that dovetailed with his ambition to expand the Republican tent — and with the business interests of some of his biggest donors. But his housing policies and hands-off approach to regulation encouraged lax lending standards.
It's a hard lesson that no one could have predicted: it turns out that a Mixtec-speaking strawberry picker is unlikely to pay back that $500,000 self-documented 30-year adjustable-rate mortgage with no money down and a two-year teaser rate. Live and learn, bitches.
... at a time when -due to a sort of mental hysteresis- proclamations that "races are social constructs" are still routinely made, the discovery that not only races, but even closely related ethnic groups (e.g. Norwegians and Swedes) can be distinguished with greater than 90% accuracy, serves to illustrate the scientific irrelevance of the ethnic nihilists and the affirmation that nations are, at least in part, genetic entities.http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2008/11/european-population-structure-with-300k.html
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan recently acknowledged…Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac… are expanding because of an “implicit subsidy” at a “pace beyond that consistent with systematic safety.”…
In other words, federal policy has created a massive financial distortion—and an interest group, Fannie and Freddie’s shareholders and employees, are in favor of that distortion continuing.
What Peter Brimelow has called the Mortgage Monsters have become financial Frankensteins.
And the Mortgage Monsters are allying with another interest group: the immigrant lobby. Immigration is one of the main engines of growth for the giant mortgage lending institutions. And few companies have more openly tied their fortunes to immigration than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac…
By [Dr. Nancy L. Segal's] definition, virtual twins are unrelated children born within nine months of each other who enter a family, through birth or adoption, in the first year of life. Since 1991, Dr. Segal has been studying 137 such sets of siblings, whose average age difference is three months.
As scientific subjects, virtual twins provide a rich pool of material for researchers tackling the nature-versus-nurture question. In Dr. Segal’s studies, as in so many involving biological twins, it seems that nature is winning.
Raised together essentially from birth, or at least since infancy, virtual twins may be genetic strangers, but they share an environment from an early point in life.
Several major twin studies over the last 20 years, particularly those following twins raised by different families, have provided what scientists say is clear evidence that genetics play a greater role than environment in intelligence and a range of personality traits. Dr. Segal’s research, believed to be the first to examine virtual twins as a subset of the twin population, has bolstered the prevailing view through another lens.
Dr. Segal has found that identical twins were the most alike in their thinking, fraternal twins somewhat less so, and virtual twins strikingly different. When it comes to intelligence, for example, her research has found that only 25 percent of the differences between twins — virtual, fraternal or identical — can be accounted for by their environment, 75 percent by genetics.
Detailing its growth plan a day ahead of its annual meeting, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on signaled Thursday that it's very interested in expanding into installation and repair services in its fast-growing electronics segment
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