Monday, September 26, 2016
Research carried out by UK Biobank has strongly linked higher intelligence with large head circumferences and brain volume. Half a million British people are being monitored by the charity to discover the connection between their genes, their physical and mental health and their path through life. The UK Biobank, launched in 2007, is a major long-term investigation into the respective contributions of genetic predisposition and environmental exposure in the development of disease. The latest evidence is the first finding to emerge from the study that aims to break down the relationship between brain function and DNA. Researchers found highly significant associations were observed between the cognitive test scores in the UK Biobank sample and many polygenic profile scores, including intracranial volume, infant head circumference and childhood cognitive ability. The researchers tested the participants in a variety of ways - looking into their verbal and numerical reasoning, reaction time, memory and educational attainment. Professor Ian Deary, of Edinburgh University, who is leading the research, said that gene variants were also strongly associated with intelligence. In addition to there being shared genetic influences between cognitive skills and some physical and mental health states, the study also found that cognitive skills share genetic influences with brain size, body shape and educational attainments, according to Deary. The researchers looked at 17 genes which affect brain function and impact mental and physical health. The new evidence is so accurate experts claim that it could even predict how likely it was that a baby would go to university based on their DNA. This builds on evidence from a study by the same team which found that clever people are more likely to be healthier than those with a lower IQ. This is due to a genetic link between how our bodies manage diseases and intelligence. The researchers analyzed data from around 100,000 people held in the UK Biobank. They compared each person's mental test data with their genome and found that traits linked to disease and thinking skills shared the same genetic influences.
Nationally, the murder of black Americans outpaces that of whites — 7,039 African-Americans were killed in 2015, compared with 5,854 whites
That is in a nation where 13% of Americans identify solely as African-American and 77% identify solely as white. In 2014, 698 more blacks were killed than whites, according to the FBI. In 2015, 1,185 more blacks were killed than whites.
Friday, September 23, 2016
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is demanding a full-scale investigation into the rape of at least 11 women at the hands of Mexican police during a crackdown on protesters in 2006 — a crackdown ordered by now-President Enrique Peña Nieto
Peña Nieto was the governor of the state of Mexico when hundreds of people took over a town square to protest police stopping vendors from selling flowers at a nearby market. More than 40 women — vendors, students, and activists — were violently arrested. The commission found that at least 11 women were "raped, beaten, penetrated with metal objects, robbed, and humiliated, made to sing aloud to entertain police." The government initially accused the women of making it up but eventually acknowledged the rape and abuse. Regardless, no police were ever prosecuted. Instead, the women were prosecuted, with five of them spending more than a year locked up on minor charges, such as blocking traffic. While Peña Nieto was not directly accused of wrongdoing by the commission, any thorough investigation would involve looking into his involvement in ordering the crackdown. It's yet another scandal for a president whose approval ratings have been tanking amid accusations of corruption and violence. In total, two protesters were killed and another 207 were "victims of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment" in the 2006 incident.
Monday, September 19, 2016
The FBI is looking for 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is described as a naturalized US citizen born in Afghanistan. His last known address was in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where five more devices were found. The development comes after five people were detained as authorities try to determine whether recent blasts in New York City and New Jersey are related.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Researchers have found that intelligence is always linked to chess skill no matter the age of the participant
If you were hoping to become a chess master by practicing 10,000 hours, think again. Contrary to the theory that expertise at chess is based on intensive training, researchers at the University of Michigan have concluded based on a meta-analysis of 19 studies that hard work is important but not enough. In this game, if you're not smart, you're probably sunk. "When it comes to expertise, training and practice certainly are a piece of the puzzle," psychology professor Zach Hambrick says. "But this study shows that, for chess at least, intelligence is another piece of the puzzle." The researchers found that intelligence is always linked to chess skill no matter the age of the participant, though the link appears strongest in younger players or those at lower skill levels. It's possible, the team suggests, that this is because upper-echelon players are all pretty bright anyway.