Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, January 18, 2021

This weekend, I received a subscription offer from Esquire Magazine with the following pitch:

In order to attract readers with preferred demographics, Esquire is pleased to extend you this Market Development Courtesy: A full year for a token $6. We’ve done our best to make price a non-factor. Please reply by 01/27/09 and welcome to Esquire.

I’m biting, because even though I let my previous sub to Esquire lapse about a year ago, I’m a sucker for a deep-deep discount. What’s more, I’m going for their even-deeper discount of 2 years for $10.

Am I worried about getting into a long-term commitment? No — sadly enough. Because I’m taking into account the spiraling state of today’s media industry, and figuring: By 2011, there’s a credible chance that the life of my subscription will outlast the life of the actual publication.

So, really, who’s doing who the courtesy?

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/18/2009 11:09:02 PM
Category: Publishing
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As relatively cheap direct-to-consumer DNA testing becomes more widespread, more old skeletons are getting hauled out of the familial closet with genetic “non-paternity events” revealing more than intended.

Ana Morales, a genetic counselor at the University of Miami, recalled the case of a child diagnosed with a type of albinism that can be accompanied by lung and kidney disease.

The mother “told me she was having an affair,” Morales said.

“She said she would be in physical danger [if her husband found out]. He had threatened her if she was unfaithful.”

Morales did not tell him.

But withholding the information means that the woman’s husband lives with the false belief that he is a carrier of a genetic disorder.

That sort of information is far from benign, said Dr. Wayne Grody, a UCLA geneticist. It could convince him to give up on the idea of having children. And in the event that the wife becomes pregnant by her husband, perpetuating the lie could require unnecessary prenatal testing.

“Why would you expose the next fetus to the risk of amniocentesis?” Grody asked.

The moral implications are obvious. Longer-term, the chromosomal evidence-gathering will impact socioeconomic spheres, and by extension the legal realm, as inheritance and succession issues will key upon indisputable proof (or else force a sea change in general attitude in what does and doesn’t constitute lineage).

Personally, I’ve toyed with the idea of getting my DNA tested, strictly for ancestral-tracking. Specifically, I’m interested in National Geographic’s Genographic Project, which traces your genetic geography. About the biggest surprise I’m prepared for from that cheek-swabbing would be a family tree branch shooting out from, say, Africa or some other area far-flung from the Aegean Sea. I’m pretty safe in assuming that no parental curveballs lurk in the background.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/18/2009 02:03:58 PM
Category: Science, Society
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Should scientists, and other human behavior/biology researchers, be allowed to breed? Maybe not, if they’re going to consider their children to be fair game for experimentation (however benign):

At a birthing class, Dr. [Pawan] Sinha, a neuroscience professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stunned everyone, including his wife, by saying he was excited about the baby’s birth “because I really want to study him and do experiments with him.” He did, too, strapping a camera on baby Darius’s head, recording what he looked at.

I guess it’s an encouraging sign that he said “do experiments with him”, instead of “on him”. Not that the kid has much say in being used by Daddy as a lab monkey (albeit a cute one, as you can see, with his micro-camera perched on his little baby-hat).

What’s even more overboard than tying your newborn’s arrival to the commencement of controlled testing? I guess that would be carrying out some Twitter-testing when the tyke is still in the womb

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/18/2009 01:21:45 PM
Category: Science, Society
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