Monday, June 30, 2008

How Misunderstanding Genealogy DNA Tests Can Cause Unnecessary Ethnic Confusion

As counter-intuitive as it may seem with all the myriad news and RSS sources available on the Internet, apparently you STILL have to keep a print subscription to The Cincinnati Enquirer for fear of missing something.

Case in point - there was an insert in yesterday's (Sunday's) Enquirer called "RiseUp" that had an absolutely fascinating article titled "Advances in DNA science challenge our understanding of who we are" by Cassandra Franklin-Barbajosa.

Now, I have searched the Internet long and hard for a web-posted version of this story and it simply isn't out there.

If I'm making this story out correctly, Ms. Franklin-Barbajosa used to work for National Geographic and was involved with the project that really got the word out about sex-linked DNA testing for genealogical research, the Genographic Project. It looks like she ran her own mitochondrial DNA and initially got back results that would indicate that her direct maternal ancestors were of Native American origin (Haplogroup B). This is somewhat, although not staggeringly rare among African-Americans. However, a further refinement of the test indicates that her matrilineal line is actually of Polynesian extraction (Halogroup B4).

There's a theme in this article that seems to indicate that such a discovery was identity challenging to Ms. Franklin-Barbajosa, along with several other African-American women whom she met on the FamilyTreeDNA mtDNA mailing list.

First of all, to thoroughly upset The Dean of Cincinnati, one thing Ms. Franklin-Barbajosa says in this article is "Race is a very real part of American life."

Although I tend to agree with The Dean and Jessica Alba that we are trending TOWARDS a time when race will not be as much of an issue in America as it is now, it does still exist for the present, although it is virtually impossible to define in the way way that one would, say, define the element hydrogen.

In practice it's much like Denmark Vesey might say, paraphrasing the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart - "I can't define it. But I know it when I see it."

I do think Ms. Franlin-Barbajosa has mis-interpretted the work of Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin. She says that there is "more genetic variations within so-called racial groups than between such groups".

Not quite.

There is more genetic variation between modern-day Africans than between ALL OTHER GROUPS COMBINED.

Actually to get a handle on this concept, you have to be somewhat familiar with the phylogenetic tree that represents all life on Earth. What you find there is some astonishing information that knocks your socks off once it settles in. One of the things is that, for instance, mammals (humans included) represent the only survivors of TWO major groups of reptiles. All land aniamls combined represent only one of TWO survivors of the lobe finned fishes - the other is the coelacanth.

That of course is QUITE difficult to get a handle on - just about everyone you've ever known - your parents, your children, your cousins - and every land animal you've ever visited at the Cincinnati Zoo (bugs excepted) - is a lobe-finned fish. Deep.

Similarly (get ready for it, folks - particularly you Dean) - everyone you have ever met who is not a full-blooded African is a member of a single, TINY African tribe that wandered to other parts of the world 80,000 years ago or so. We're ALL Africans. Just those of us with ancestors who left 80,000 years ago look a little bit different from those who left 400 years ago.

Back to the article - "... people who identify themselves as black, white, Asian or Native American based on their physical characteristics may find that they're something else entirely."

You mean based on a sex-linked chromosome test? It doesn't QUITE work that way.

The B4 mtDNA marker evolved a MONSTROUSLY long time ago - something on the order of 10,000 years ago.

Of course what I'd imagine Cassandra Franklin-Barbajosa might be interested in is when the person that we would identify as Polynesian might have entered her family tree - and it may very well have been more than a couple of hundred years ago.

As Henry Louis "Skip" Gates discovered, he has European mitochondrial DNA, but the best interpretation of the paper records would tend to indicate that the "White" ancestor in his mother's past may have been an Irish indentured servant from the early 1700's or before.

The funny thing about sex-linked DNA markers is that they go back a LOOOOOOONG way. As many as 1/3 of African-American males have European-identified Y-chromosome DNA because, yes, for some reason many of the slave owners liked making babies with their slaves - ALOT of them.

However, to get a better handle on what we think of as race in America in the early 21st century, there's another company called AncestryByDNA that does an "admixture" test that is gutsy enough to test nuclear DNA to give you a rough idea of what percentage of your DNA is European, sub-Saharan African, Native American, and East Asian.

The results of this test can be even MORE alarming.

Henry Louis Gates himself, head of the African-American studies department of Harvard University, in ADDITION to having "European" sex-linked chromosomes, has fully 50% European NUCLEAR chromosomes.

In fact, using Halle Berry and Barack Obama as other "reference points" as individuals presumably with an admixture pretty close to 50% European and 50% Sub-Saharan African, and a couple of guests of Skip Gates' African American Lives @ ~ 12 - 20% sub-Saharan African but clearly self-indentified as "White", we find ourselves finding a "transition zone" from "Black" to "White" at nowhere NEAR the "one drop" concept, but probably somewhere in the 25 - 40% sub-Saharan African range.

However, it's certainly the case that admixtures are not ultimately defining. For instance, in Cincinnati Mrs. Axinar is "Black". In Puerto Rico, she's "Cuban".

But, yes, in the interests of dragging this thing out as long as possible and THOROUGHLY upsetting The Dean, we need to get Cassandra Franklin-Barbajosa an admixture test ...

And for those of you just joining us, here are some Axinar's postings for your review:

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Is Barack Obama A Vulcan?

Henry Jenkins asked the question a couple of weeks ago "Is Obama a Secret Vulcan?".

And apparently it's entirely possible as we hear directly from Leonard Nimoy:

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Quote Of The Day: AnneC On Team Sports

This quote from AnneC's "Existence Is Wonderful" I thought really hit the nail on the head vis a vis the Autistic Spectrum experience with sports:

"I was horrible at sports. Really horrible. I found the 'team dynamic' incomprehensible to begin with, to the point where I often had to be reminded which team I was on."

Yep ... I'd have to say that sums it up pretty well.

Of course what's quite frightening is that SO much of the modern business world is based on sports analogies, it's quite remarkable that, even though those with "high functioning" Autism and Asperger's can be enormously intelligent, that intelligence can't be put to practical use in many professional settings as the neurotypicals pick up cues from people on the Autism Spectrum that are perceived as "unsportsmanlike" or something of the sort.

And perhaps that's why some with autistic traits tend to gravitate more towards collective forms of organization. If you can't tell the teams apart, everyone must be on your side, right?

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Remember When Gas @ $2.39/Gallon Was ALARMING?

I think this was snapped September 1, 2006.

And at THAT time it was downright alarming.

Yep, I'm thinking we may be in big trouble, gang ...

William Shatner PSA On Global Warming


Friday, June 27, 2008

Kardashian Sisters Tape Episode Of "The View"

Yes, my friends, my presumed cousins, the Kardashian sisters, apparently taped an episode of "The View" a couple of days ago.

I haven't seen any solid information on when the episode is scheduled to air or when it will be appearing on YouTube (and subsequently Axinar's of course).

Looks like Khloe has gone for a new hair color and is otherwise trying to go with new make-up combinations to catch up with her disturbingly diminutive but alarmingly cute sisters, Kim and Kourtney.

Barbara Walters of course appears somewhat dazed from the encounter ...


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Supreme Court Says Child Rape Doesn't Warrant Death

Just a couple of weeks ago KenDiesel called me up losing his mind that the Supreme Court of California had stepped way out of bounds by allowing gay marriage for that state, and now I find myself even MORE incensed by the case that came down today from the U.S. Supreme Court saying that imposing the death penalty on a child rapist is unconstitutional.

You MUST be kidding.

What are these fools THINKING??

You've got perps out there having to register for the rest of their days and having to stay certain distances from schools and WAY beyond any hope of ever being meaningfully employed again for having sexually attacked children in one form or another. Obviously these individuals are dangerous and a good percentage of them will tell you to your face that if you let them going they are GOING to offend again. It's always seemed to me that the only proper way to dispose of these vermin is with lethal force, and now you have a group of five goofs in robes who have the audacity to think that the Framers of the Constitution would not have executed child rapists with safety pins if necessary.

Here's the deal, people - if you don't already know, you can look up your U.S. Senators and U.S. Represenative at Congress.Org and DEMAND that they tell you what steps they are planning to take to introduce a Constitutional Amendment allowing the execution of anyone inhuman enough to rape a child.

If that's too much work for you, the main switchboard to the U.S. Congress is (202) 224-3121. They can tell you who your Senators and Representative is based on your address.

It took me a while to find the reference number on this case, but the ruling today was in the case Kennedy v. Louisiana, No. 07-343.

Let me tell you - I've been a citizen of this country a good 4+ decades and I have NEVER heard such an outrageous and wrongheaded decision in my life.

Some lawmakers angered by death penalty ruling - AP/Google
Excerpts from Supreme Court ruling on child rape - AP/Google
US Supreme Court rejects death penalty for child rapists - New Straits Times (Malaysia)
Obama Condemns Supreme Court Decision in Child Rape Case - The Wall Street Journal

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Carlin's Seven Dirty Words


George Carlin 1937 - 2008

Apparently George Carlin passed away yesterday.

Of one of his reasonably famous heart attacks.

At a reasonable age of 71.

He was the first host of Saturday Night Live.

And defined for all eternity the seven dirtiest words in the English language.

Crying shame I never got to see him perform live ...


Saturday, June 21, 2008

The New Obama Campaign Seal

There's some hubbub going around about this new seal for the Obama campaign.

People are saying it's "presumptuous" because it looks so much like the official Presidential seal.

Well, DUH! ... he's running for PRESIDENT, right?

Only thing I don't like is that it doesn't have enough color.

And it's putting me in mind of something else familiar, but I can't seem to remember what it is ...

It does look cool though ...


Friday, June 20, 2008

Obama: Off-Shore Drilling Won't Lower Gas Prices

Okay - now this fool has me worried.

Technically he's right - it would take a LOOOOOOOOONG time for any oil to actually be produced from off-shore drilling on the east coast of Florida.

But doesn't he understand that the futures market would react ALMOST IMMEDIATELY to news that we were going to get aggressive about tapping every last drop of remaining oil?

However, his alternative of taxing the bejesus out of the oil companies and turning that money over to us I whole-heartedly agree with.

On the other hand, I don't think even Obama has the nerve to really say how bad this is likely to get.

It really is starting to look like we've hit "Peak Oil".

Also interesting that he has mentioned something that I've been hearing quite a bit here - people who have been out of work a while can't even afford the gas to make it to interviews.

I really find myself wondering what the long term game plan is with some of the people in the most trouble. How exactly DOES one go about the process of economically ditching?

I mean - are we talking a "Trail of Tears" situation here where when you finally do run out of everything and the sheriff comes to evict you that you have to HIKE from Amelia, Latonia, Mason, Liberty Township, Harrison, and Lawrenceburg to the Drop-In Center???

(Oh - and BTW - what the heck is that thing going by over the bridge at 0:28 that looks like a shuttle pod from Star Trek: The Motion Picture??)


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Barack Obama Turns Down Public Campaign Funds

Oh now this is an interesting development ...

Apparently this is the first major party candidate to go this route.

Wonder what Limbaugh will have to say on this one this afternoon ...


Obama Opts Out of Public Financing - NY Times
Obama to forgo public funds for election campaign - Reuters
Obama opts out of public funding - MSNBC
Obama Rejects Public Financing - The Wall Street Journal
Democrat Barack Obama's message to supporters - The Seattle Times


Michelle Obama On "The View"

And people actually watch this show without becomming violently ill??

Fountain Square Garage Endangering Handicapped Motorists?

The Dean of Cincinnati entered the bowels of the Fountain Square Garage to expose a serious safety issue - apparently they put the curb cut on the OPPOSITE SIDE of the handicapped accessible parking spots.

He went down to document this situation and, as you'll see right at the end of the clip, was ACCOSTED by security for taping in an area ultimately owned by the City of Cincinnati.

Yes - I'd have to say that the least they could do is put in another curb cut so that wheelchair users are not risking their lives to use this garage.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Battlestar Galactica Finds Earth

Searching for Earth since 1978 ...

And this is what we find ...

Man what is it lately with all these movies and TV shows that are absolutely artistically brilliant that just BRUTALIZE you in the last few seconds of the show?


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Axinar's Gratuitous Paraphrase Of The Day

"Oh, believe you me, one day you may actually feel compelled to remind your child of his White heritage - and then some NUTTER will come out of the WOODWORK raving about SKIPPY GATES or some such b*llsh*t ..."

- An "Axinized" comment by The Dean of Cincinnati

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

IS It A "Blessed Event" When The Axinar Is Involved?

Well, as some of you already know, Mrs. Axinar was scheduled for an ultrasound yesterday. The test got cancelled because of a power failure at the lab.

Mrs. Axinar apparently observed some language that I have rarely heard used outside the Holland Tunnel during a traffic jam.

One of the expectant fathers travels extensively for work and booked a special flight to come in for the 26-week ultrasound.

Just about EVERYONE there took off work or were significantly inconvenienced in some way as the OB/GYN, although having convenient locations for office visits and actual deliveries, the only ultrasound lab they work with is way the hell out of the way.

However, last week Mrs. Axinar had a test called a "doppler" that picks up the fetal heartbeat and I presume they have some other way short of the ultrasound to "guess" that the implantation site is viable, so, yes, barring "issues", there will be a third inhabitant of Camp Axinar sometime around the middle of January.

God help us all.

Thanks of course to the analysis of The Dean of Cincinnati, at this point we have no idea if this child has any real potential to be the 2nd Black President of the United States as we can't even arrive at any real consensus as to whether or not this child is Black.

KenDiesel was quite looking forward to the ultrasound images as he planned to make a blog posting asking whether or not this murky image of the fruit of my loins was a human being or not.

According to Mrs. Axinar it is, of course, but under other circumstances, it might not be. That topic will of course deserve some discussion.

And, on that topic of course, as Mrs. Axinar was filling out the paperwork for the hospital I noticed that even at this early stage of the game they were asking for MY Social Security Number. The paperwork wasn't even delicate about it - they're after me for child support ALREADY!!

Mrs. Axinar of course can opt out of this ill-advised expedition any time, but it's likely a life sentence for me.

And, yes, we now have a lifetime of blog fodder to look forward to.

The ultrasound has been rescheduled for Friday and then the real fun will begin.

Oh, what have I gotten myself into???

Corn Popped By Cell Phones

Maybe these things ARE a little more dangerous than we've been led to believe ...


Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Biography Of Nate Livingston

Now yesterday morning Nate Livingston attempted to explain the public significance of the shenanigans going on regarding a custody case between himself and Amanda Mayes.

He compares it to the case going on with IRS worker John Snyder who is being investigated for snooping on the tax records of at least 197 celebrities.

Nate further goes on to criticize "the 3 white boys who run The Cincinnati Beacon" for criticizing HIM.

Uh, well, yes, I'd have to say that this intrigue involving what should be a simple custody case DOES take on public implications when you get to talking about records being mis-appropriated, taxpayer-sponsored lawyers being involved, and pretty much ANYTHING involving Tyrone Yates is subject for public discussion.


Nate pretty much utterly and totally assasinated his own credibility (not that there was much of it left to begin with) by going on an SSN posting festival.

Just the technical manifestation of that little maneuver resulted in the destruction of one of the more valuable sub-domains on Blogspot.

The comment stream under The Dean's original posting about the "Cincinnati Black Blog" being taken down is still hot and heavy with accusations and counter-accusations flying all over the place.

So, I got to thinking - you know what we need? We need a coherent Biography of Nate Livingston.

We need to know where he grew up, where he learned his politics (God only knows his sister wasn't so racist - at least not 25 years ago), when he started being a professional Baby Daddy, etc., etc.

Otherwise I'm not going to be able to make a lick of sense out of any of this pretty soon ...


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"God Damn The Democrats"

I think KenDiesel will get a kick out of this one ... :)


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