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Friday, April 03, 2009

March on Sandwalk

Bora's doing it and Greg Laden is doing it. They're revisiting their posts from last month.

Now I'm doing it too.

Last month Sandwalk attracted 107,747 page views and 75,156 visits from all over the world. That's a new record. I posted 123 times.

The month began with an account of my streetcar ride and the atheist sign campaign in Toronto [The Streetcar We Desire]. I also celebrated the 35th anniversary of my thesis defense.

There were three debates that took up a lot of posting time.

One of them was about positive selection in humans, especially the idea that human evolution might have accelerated in the past 10,000 years. I tried to explain why some of the data looks suspicious in Signals of Positive Selection in Humans?.

We also talked a lot about the quality of science journalism. The two topics were combined when I reviewed SEED magazine's coverage of a recent book on accelerated human evolution [SEED Reviews The 10,000 Year Explosion].

The third debate was about Canada's science minister, Gary Goodyear, and the fact that he is a creationist [Gary Goodyear "Clarifies" His Stance on Evolution].

I'm pretty proud of this posting: Casey Luskin on Junk DNA and Junk RNA. It generated some comments and got a mention on several blogs.

Speaking of comments, one other posting caught the attention of Sandwalk readers and stimulated comments. You were interested to know why I Hate Cilantro/Coriander!.

In terms of most popular postings there was nothing in March that's going to make the top 20 postings. I still get a lot of traffic from people who want to learn about The Genetics of Eye Color from a posting in February 2007. Another popular posting is The Genetics of ABO Blood Types, also from February 2007.

As usual, there were lots of people who tried to guess Monday's molecule. There are a small number of regulars who get most of the prizes, The rest of you are going to have to be faster. I think I'll try and post much earlier in the day to give my European readers a better chance. We don't need to worry about giving the Australians a chance 'cause they probably wouldn't win anyway! :-)

We had an interesting group of Nobel Laureates. These postings always get looked at but nobody leaves comments. I guess there isn't much to say. The most interesting Nobel Laureates from my perspective were Frederick Banting and J.J.R. Macleod because they're from the University of Toronto. Several of the recent prize winners were controvesial, especially Selman Waksman.

Does anyone have suggestions for future postings?


  1. "March on Sandwalk"?

    And here I was envisioning torches and pitchforks ...

  2. Larry: "Does anyone have suggestions for future postings?"

    What do you know about the ABO blood types in other primates? Dawkins speculates that the different allele frequencies in humans are a polymorphism maintained by selection pressure exerted by infectious diseases. You have suggested on several occasions that the current distribution of allele frequency in human populations is likely due to drift.

    At least based on antibody tests, some other species of primates also have the A, B, AB, and O phenotypes (they all at least have A and O), although I'm not sure if the different alleles in different species were inherited from a common ancestor or are examples of convergent evolution (how much do the A and B alleles differ?).

    Regardless of whether they are ancestral alleles or examples of convergent evolution, it seems to me that the presence of A, B, and O alleles in primate species that diverged long ago tends to argue against drift as an explanation of the human: if they are ancestral alleles that are invisible to selection then drift should have fixed one of them long ago, and if they are examples of convergent evolution then drift just utterly fails.

  3. Does anyone have suggestions for future postings?

    Well, for one thing, you can blog about how great Linux is!

    But seriously, I do like this month-end review. Good show.