Alms Watch 2007

  • Farwell to Alms is reviewed at the NYT. Blog commentary here, here and here.
  • Borjas discusses a report that rich people are starting to have more kids… So let’s see, before 1800 they had more kids, there was a demographic transition so that more recently they had fewer kids and now there may be a trend back to more kids… phew, that’s a lot for a rationalizing model to explain
  • gnxp talks about peer groups and gene/environment interactions, “40% of unattributed component of variation of personality is due to our peer groups (10% is parents and 50% is genes).”
  • Jonathan discusses the much talked about study that showed social networks (aka “peer groups”?) determine what are acceptable weights. “What appears to be happening is that a person becoming obese most likely causes a change of norms about what counts as an appropriate body size. People come to think that it is okay to be bigger since those around them are bigger, and this sensibility spreads.”

UPDATE: Another response to the NYT piece over at scienceblogs.