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Monday, July 07, 2003

Chicago Sports: Morrissey: Baker raises heat in unusual way

Dusty Baker on some “necessities” for playing in the heat….{Blacks'} skin color is more conducive to heat than it is for lighter skin people, right? You don’t see brothers running around burnt. Yeah, that’s fact. I’m not making this stuff up. Right? You don’t see some brothers walking around with white stuff [sun block] on their ears and noses.

Thanks to D. Studenmund

Repoz Posted: July 07, 2003 at 12:19 AM | 54 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. no neck Posted: July 07, 2003 at 01:02 AM (#289825)
Dusty was doing his Shaq/Reggie White impression.
   2. Guancous Posted: July 07, 2003 at 02:45 AM (#289828)
Terry, you can't get any more bizarre than creating regular playing time for Lenny Harris.
   3. Joe Morgan Posted: July 07, 2003 at 05:00 AM (#289830)
I never said that.
   4. Mike Piazza Posted: July 07, 2003 at 09:18 AM (#289835)
You don't see some brothers walking around with white stuff on their ears and noses.

Maybe not where you frequent, Dusty...
   5. Repoz Posted: July 07, 2003 at 12:39 PM (#289837)
Kevin Blackistone of the Dallas News has this to say about the Dusty Baker Coppertongue affair...

I don't want any of my previous or future condemnations of similarly foolish statements out of white mouths to be dismissed because I refrained from criticizing my own. After all, wrong is wrong, no matter the perpetrator's skin color. And Dusty Baker was flat-out wrong
   6. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 07, 2003 at 01:30 PM (#289840)
? I love how the Chicago papers are just laughing this off as just something colorful (no pun intended) that Dusty says.

I haven't seen any mention in the Chicago papers at all beyond Morrissey's column. The story might gain some steam nationally which would force them to talk about it, but as of now, it seems Dusty is getting unbelievable leeway here from the Chicago media. I mean, even the Sun Times hasn't mentioned it to my knowledge, and this is remarkable.
   7. Repoz Posted: July 07, 2003 at 02:28 PM (#289843)
David Pinto of Baseball Musings chimes in...
   8. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 07, 2003 at 02:38 PM (#289844)
You have to be a construction worker out there.

Ah, okay, Dusty. Am I the only one who thinks this is a strange analogy?
   9. SM in DC Posted: July 07, 2003 at 02:48 PM (#289845)
Is it just me, or is Dusty's behavior this season growing increasingly more bizarre?

But has it been as bizarre as a breakfast sandwich between two griddle cakes filled with maple syrup flavoring?

In all seriousness, being a very pale, Irish American who plays baseball, I burn like a piece of toast (or Marty Cordova, whichever) when I play and its hot and sunny, but I rarely have felt it affected my play -- minus on heat stroke incident.
   10. Mike Piazza Posted: July 07, 2003 at 03:06 PM (#289848)
I always liked construction workers. And indians, and bikers, and cops,...
   11. Transmission Posted: July 07, 2003 at 03:16 PM (#289850)
# 26 - I'm assuming that was written in jest.

If not, then I challenge you to explain just what "the course of evolution" is.

Baker was woefully uninformed, let's not compound it, eh?
   12. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 07, 2003 at 03:27 PM (#289852)
How is anyone's comments on sunburn an issue that calls for criticism?

1. They are incorrect.

2. They are race-based and incorrect, which is a potentially dangerous situation (probably not very much so in this case).

3. This is a guy who makes choices about black and white guys and when/where to play them (not that there is evidence that he has been playing black guys preferentially because it's hot).
   13. bunyon Posted: July 07, 2003 at 03:28 PM (#289853)
Kathy,
   14. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 07, 2003 at 03:33 PM (#289854)
Hmmm, the Baseball Musings link cited above refers to Kevin Blackstone's article, which points out that the AP story reporting this (got that?) prefaced Baker's comments by pointing out that he was chuckling while saying it.

This would suggest that Baker was kidding.

Now, anyone who plays Lenny F. Harris as much as Baker does is clearly capable of some twisted thinking, and the fact that he would say things like this in front of reporters, joking or not, was unbelievably dumb, but I am leaning toward thinking it was all a bad joke on his part.
   15. Darren Posted: July 07, 2003 at 03:49 PM (#289855)
Showing my ignorance here, but could someone explain to me how Dusty's so wrong? African Americans and Latinos have genetic ties to hot climates. Wouldn't natural selection favor those who prosper in hot climates? Wouldn't their future generations, though brought to the US, retain these characteristics?

I'm not at all knowledgeable about the "brought here because they could take the heat" comment. Can anyone enlighten us as to whether that was a consideration?
   16. Steve Treder Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:04 PM (#289859)
"African Americans and Latinos have genetic ties to hot climates."

Mmm ... not necessarily. If by "Latinos" we mean people who are descendants of native South and Central Americans, those people are descendants of people who migrated to the Americas from Asia across what is now the Bering Strait. They're essentially Asians genetically, and they demonstrated the capacity to adapt to just about every kind of climate that Asia and the Americas could present. There really isn't anything about their genetics and hot climates per se.

Most of Africa is hot, of course, but not all of it is, and the genetic characteristic of dark pigmentation is an ancient adaptation to equatorial ultraviolet radiation more than it is to conditions of heat per se. Peoples with lighter pigmentation than that typically seen in Africans have thrived in very hot climates in the Middle East and South Asia for thousands of years. And Africa itself is an enormous continent with a very diverse human population; the notion that all African-American descendants of the slaves who were brought to the Americas over a few hundred years are genetically "related" in any meaningful sense is awfully shaky.

In short, to make the assumption that a given baseball player with dark skin is any more likely to perform well in hot weather than a given baseball player with light skin is just not based on science or factuality. It's a classic example of really not understanding what "race" is; it's classic racist nonsense.
   17. Transmission Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:25 PM (#289864)
Quick biology review:

1. There is more variation on average between any random two members of the same "race" than there is between any random two members of different "races".

2. This makes race as a biological concept meaningless. It is entirely a social construct.

3. For seventy years biologists have known that there isn't a one-to-one correspondance between gene and physical trait. In other words, there isn't a single gene that makes some people more heat tolerant than others. Instead, there's a multiplicity of genes to determine things like strength, intelligence, disposition to disease, environment, or whatever else. Africans don't have any single gene or group of genes that make them better disposed to the heat. (In other words, it's complex, not easily reducible. Sorry, Dusty)

4. Natural selection acts on the random variations that exist within a species, tending to select those variations that give an individual (or a species) a relative reproductive advantage over other individuals (or species) living in the same ecological niche. Natural selection thus is a probabilistic, not goal-oriented force. Thus there never is a "perfect" adaptation to an environment.

5. Because these random variations are minute, hardly noticable at first, it takes a very, very long period of time, over hundreds and thousands of generations, for natural selection to act upon a population and cull the favorible characteristics into a new variety, let alone a new species. This is why it's relatively simple to find "proof" of evolution in the short-lived fruit flies and microbes, and quite hard to find "proof" in long-lived animals, like humans or elephants. It also means that you can't attribute an African's tolerance of the heat to any historical event from the last several thousand years.

And some historical notes, as well...

1. Europeans didn't bring Africans to the new world because of the perception that Africans would be better adapted to the heat. They brought over Africans because indentured servants, orphans and immigrants couldn't be found quickly enough to meet the labor supply, and the indiginous labor pool (read, Indians) died out from European diseases too readily to be useful as forced laborers. The fact that Europeans often viewed Africans as sub-human certainly made this decision more palettable to the Europeans, but it wasn't the first or even second option.
   18. Transmission Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:35 PM (#289869)
43 - of course.
   19. Transmission Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:39 PM (#289870)
I'm not sure the original points were in response to anyone or anything in particular, other than perhaps the challenge to explain natural selection and the biology of race, since Dusty Baker and a few posters had run rough-shod over it. Kudos to Mike C, # 42, for saying it much more quickly and clearly than I did.
   20. Dusty's Least Favorite Base-Clogger (Roy Hobbs) Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:42 PM (#289871)
Free speech should allow for stupid, racist or just plain silly remarks. However, Baker is in a position of authority--deciding who plays and when, and who gets Major League money and who gets Minor League pay. Mark Bellhorn, even while slumping badly, still was putting up an OPS a couple hundred points higher than Lenny Harris. And last year--when most of his production was in the heat--Bellhorn put up some awfully impressive numbers. Why Harris got any PA's while Bellhorn was still a Cubbie, should have been grounds for dismissal. And why more promising (true, not stars, but yes more promising) players make minor league money while Lenny rides the gravy train is a further outrage.
   21. Darren Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:43 PM (#289872)
<I>Instead, there's a multiplicity of genes to determine things like strength, intelligence, disposition to disease, environment, or whatever else. Africans don't have any single gene or group of genes that make them better disposed to the heat. (In other words, it's complex, not easily reducible. Sorry, Dusty)....

Thus there never is a "perfect" adaptation to an environment....

It also means that you can't attribute an African's tolerance of the heat to any historical event from the last several thousand years.
   22. Dusty's Least Favorite Base-Clogger (Roy Hobbs) Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:44 PM (#289873)
(On #48) Okay, maybe not dismissal, but a part of a case for dismissal if that behavior continues.
   23. Stephen Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:55 PM (#289874)
1. There is more variation on average between any random two members of the same "race" than there is between any random two members of different "races".

I don't understand how this could possibly be true. Shouldn't it be: there is more variation on average between two random members of the same race than there is between two "average" members of different races.

I don't understand how two Asians are likely to be more genetically dissimilar than a white and an Asian are. I could buy that they are likely to be equally dissimilar...
   24. Steve Treder Posted: July 07, 2003 at 04:59 PM (#289875)
"He just made the generalization that people who's ancestors were from a hot environment would be better suited to a hot environment. Even if it's entirely sound biologically, it's certainly a logical jump to make."

It's *not* sound biologically, and if it isn't sound biologically, I don't know on what basis it's a logical jump. It's connecting the dots based on an (all too common) ignorant misunderstanding of what the dots mean.

"I wouldn't call it racist, per se."

I certainly don't think it's malicious in any way, but that doesn't mean it isn't racist. What is it, if it's making a generalization about innate capacity/behavior based entirely on skin color? Isn't that what racism is?
   25. Mark Field Posted: July 07, 2003 at 05:09 PM (#289876)
Great comments Transmission. Wish you'd been around for some previous discussions on related topics.

Darren:

Transmission gave you some of the social factors that led European settlers in the Americas to kidnap Africans and make slaves of them. There was a genetic factor as well, but it was not resistance to heat, it was resistance to malaria. In the Caribbean and the American South, especially on South Carolina rice plantations, malaria was a major health problem. Africans do tend to have a greater resistance to malaria than Northern Europeans. Southern Europeans also tend to have greater resistance, but social factors made it impractical to kidnap them.
   26. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: July 07, 2003 at 05:14 PM (#289877)
At the risk of going on a long, thin limb, it strikes me that Morrissey is misinterpreting what Dusty said. At no point -- in any of the accounts I read in the Sun-Times or the Daily Herald -- did Baker ever say that white players play worse in the sun than minority players, nor did he ever say he prefers in the summer months to play minorities over white players.

Instead, Baker's main point was that he prefers to mix up his lineups at the beginning of the season because he knows that the heat will be a factor for everyone and that by giving people off days throughout the season, he believes his teams play better in the second half of the season.

He then speculated that whites suffer from the heat more than other players -- which may or may not be true, but is certainly controversial -- but he didn't say they played worse; only that the heat bothered them more.
   27. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 07, 2003 at 06:07 PM (#289881)
I don't understand how two Asians are likely to be more genetically dissimilar than a white and an Asian are. I could buy that they are likely to be equally dissimilar...

Well, I suppose it could depend on who the Asians are and who the "white" is, but in general I believe you are correct, and that Transmission mis-stated argument number one. What I think he meant was:

There is not significantly more genetic variation AMONG races than there is WITHIN races.
   28. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: July 07, 2003 at 11:22 PM (#289884)
What is it, if it's making a generalization about innate capacity/behavior based entirely on skin color? Isn't that what racism is?

Yes, but the word "racism" is so emotionally charged it should be reserved for cases where what's said is hateful or destructive. The words "stupid" or "ignorant" (or, perhaps, "tongue-in-cheek") can suffice for other occasions, like this one.
   29. Steve Treder Posted: July 07, 2003 at 11:32 PM (#289885)
"Yes, but the word 'racism' is so emotionally charged it should be reserved for cases where what's said is hateful or destructive."

I hear what you're saying, Dr. Memory, but I'm not sure I agree. I think one of the problems that we have in dealing with issues of racial/ethnic discrimination in the US is precisely that the term "racism" is seen as a synonym for hate. Therefore so many well-meaning, non-hateful people, and I see no reason not to count Dusty Baker among them, don't even begin to comprehend that they may be making racist assumptions and racist remarks. Racism is always based on ignorance, of course, but it takes many forms, not nearly all of them hateful or destructive. But not calling racism for what it is, in every form, accomplishes nothing, and worse, may in fact sustain the general ignorance around the subject that allows the truly hateful and destructive forms of racism to survive.
   30. Mark Field Posted: July 08, 2003 at 01:01 AM (#289887)
Stephen (#51) and David (#58):

The actual numbers are these: "interracial" differences constitute about 6% of genetic variation in humans, while the variation between populations of the same "race" constitutes 9%. The remaining 85% is between individuals in the same population.

To put that into concrete terms, 85% of human variation can be found between 2 Basques, 9% between Basques and, say, Germans, and 6% between Caucasians and, say, Asians.

Transmission said it correctly.
   31. Mark Field Posted: July 08, 2003 at 02:51 AM (#289890)
Dave (#65):

Here's Transmission's quote:

There is more variation on average between any random two members of the same "race" than there is between any random two members of different "races".

It's actually a little ambiguous, but I think it's correct. The second part of his sentence is the "interracial" component, which constitutes 6% of the variation. The first part could be either members of the same population, in which case their difference would account for 85% of the variation, or members of different populations but within the same "race", in which case the differences would account for 9% of the variation. Either way, the difference is greater than the 6% of "interracial" variation.

I should make it clear that these percentages only tell us the total amount of the variation. They tell us nothing about the importance of any particular variant.
   32. Stephen Posted: July 08, 2003 at 11:07 AM (#289893)
To put that into concrete terms, 85% of human variation can be found between 2 Basques, 9% between Basques and, say, Germans, and 6% between Caucasians and, say, Asians.

Wouldn't the total difference between Caucasians and Asians be 15%, then?
   33. Mark Field Posted: July 08, 2003 at 03:01 PM (#289898)
piper (#74):

I did not mean that only Europeans kidnapped people for slavery. You are right that Africans themselves were guilty. So were Arab traders.

Stephen (#70):

No, you have to add the 85% to the 9% -- 94% of total human variation can be found within one "race". Only the remaining 6% is "interracial".
   34. GregQ Posted: July 08, 2003 at 03:02 PM (#289899)
I see Dusty is backing up his remarks today. If he felt he was right or not I think that he should have just let the issue die. He said that he knows because his Mom teaches black american history- So what? My friends Dad is a judge and trust me no one comes to my buddy for legal advice.
   35. Dusty's Least Favorite Base-Clogger (Roy Hobbs) Posted: July 08, 2003 at 04:58 PM (#289903)
"When there is a hue and cry from white America that they aren't adequately represented on the field, I'll take notice."

Dusty Baker isn't in charge of the entire major leagues, but he is in charge of one organization, the Cubs. If he discriminates by playing inferior players (check out Lenny Harris' OPS) at the expense of better players than that's a serious problem. If he holds back minor leaguer prospects by packing his roster with highly paid, bad players than that is also a big problem. Individual issues of discrimination are the issue, not stupidity or "how [Dusty] feel[s]."
   36. Dusty's Least Favorite Base-Clogger (Roy Hobbs) Posted: July 08, 2003 at 07:56 PM (#289907)
Well, there no greater source of knowledge than Bill O'Reilly (when ever an elite spinmeister like O'Reilly says "I'm looking out for you" than check your wallet, your democracy and anything not nailed down).

As for discrimination, I agree that there are not a lot of instances to analyze. But the OPS difference between Bellhorn and Harris over the past year and half is dramatic. We should wait to see if there is an overall pattern.
   37. Dusty's Least Favorite Base-Clogger (Roy Hobbs) Posted: July 08, 2003 at 09:25 PM (#289909)
Well, mdm, I agree with much of your post. I don't think Bellhorn was given "every chance" though. He was given pretty erratic playing time, and didn't perform as well as he could have. And while he was still a Cubbie, Bellhorn's on-base percentage was still higher than the other two infielders (signicantly higher than Harris). I agree, though, that probably Dusty's other prejudices hurt Bellhorn more ("You don't earn a walk, it's something that the pitcher gives you") than his racism. Dusty seems to think that batting average and RBI's are the two most meaningful statistics. That ignorance of offensive value probably cost Bellhorn ultimately. In light of Baker's comments though, I think that his track record deserves a closer examination.
   38. Ben Posted: July 08, 2003 at 10:47 PM (#289911)
Mark Field-
   39. Steve Treder Posted: July 08, 2003 at 11:01 PM (#289912)
"Asians really are shorter than white people."

Depending on which "white people" we're talking about, I'm pretty sure that the typically observed height differences are functions of diet, not genetics.
   40. Mark Field Posted: July 09, 2003 at 12:15 AM (#289915)
Ben:

I agree that Transmission's statement was ambiguous. Given that the rest of his post was correct, I'm inclined to give him (?) the benefit of the doubt.

I think it's safe to say that the consensus in biology today is that "race" is indeed a social construct. The concept turns out to be too fuzzy to have any use as a biological term.

I used the word "kidnapping" in the legal sense, which I can phrase in ordinary language as "being forced against your will to go somewhere you don't want". I think the term is fair given all the circumstances; after all, "buying" someone presupposes a property interest that doesn't really exist. As you correctly indicated, the relationship was always one of pure force, whether by an opposing tribe, an Arab trader, a white sea captain, or a plantation owner.
   41. GregQ Posted: July 09, 2003 at 01:12 AM (#289919)
Gee it always seemed to me that if you praised comentators of either party you tended to get blasted here.
   42. Steve Treder Posted: July 09, 2003 at 03:12 AM (#289920)
"I just think that those who accuse Baker of this need more (and better) evidence than Bellhorn"

And the evidence is out there. Baker has been managing in the majors for ten years.

Good lord, people. He made major league regulars of Rich Aurilia and Bill Mueller, and major league starters of William Van Landingham, Shawn Estes, Kirk Rueter, Russ Ortiz, Joe Nathan, and Ryan Jensen. His adamantly expressed respect and admiration, even real affection, for such players as Matt Williams, Mark Gardner, J.T. Snow, Jeff Kent,
   43. Steve Treder Posted: July 09, 2003 at 03:20 AM (#289921)
Oops! Premature postulation!

Continued: (his adamantly expressed respect and admiration, even real affection, for such players as) ... Robb Nen, Rod Beck, Kirt Manwaring, and Robby Thompson is abundantly obvious to anyone who has paid attention.

Any charge that Dusty Baker has systematically favored players of color in his managerial career is utterly without any basis in fact. He made a really, really stupid series of comments. That is all he did. Let's please focus on the factual record which is in front of us.
   44. Ben Posted: July 09, 2003 at 04:46 AM (#289926)
Assorted- The diet explanation is pretty flimsy for the height, and that's not quite how it works with regard to skin color. Why would everyone have looked the same before a few hundred generations ago?Evolution is much slower than that and evolutionary pressures on the past few hundred generations of humans have been essentially nil. Once we acheived basic levels of civilization, evolution should(in theory) stop. There's no survival of the fittest mechanism when everyone survives. I can't imagine that anything would start encouraging differing skin colors after we started getting civilized, even if there was super-speed evolution.

But even if I give you skin color and height, black people really do have "nappy" hair and differing facial structures than Asians, who in turn have slanted eyes. These are not social constructs. We can go on and on like this, but arguing against physical differences amongst the races is not going to win you points, just make it look like you've never seen another person.

It's not biology that thinks race is a social construct, it's sociology. There are genetic differences between the races and denial of that is the sort of thing that gets the social sciences laughed at as liberal masturbation. Sociology seems be alone in the social sciences as rather than searching for the truth as a field it seems to be seeking to confirm Jefferson's statement, to prove that all men(not in the gender sense, of course. Gender is a social construct, too) are created equal.

The categorization into races is, of course, mostly arbitrary and of necessity a social construct. Lines are drawn. It's the height of hubris to think that humans are so special that we alone amongst the mammals can't be put into subgroupings, though. We have no breeds, no races? That's implausible even before the evidence.
   45. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 09, 2003 at 01:15 PM (#289930)
What you said makes sense to me. What Transmission said does not seem to be the same thing, though.

Exactly. I think the way Transmission said it was misleading in the sense that Stephen misinterpreted it. This is only semantics though and I agree with what he actually meant.

By the way, people often interpret the genetic data to mean that there are no discernible genetic differences among races beyond the obvious physical characteristics, and this does go a bit far. Analyses of DNA differences allow you to make a tree of the human races that closely matches the putative spread of humans from Africa. It's actually pretty cool! But at the same time, the amount of phenotypic variation that these genetic differences generate is very small. It's really hard to find anything beyond the obvious external physical attributes. There are a few exceptions (e.g., certain genetic diseases such as sickle cell), but it is tough to find much.
   46. Mark Field Posted: July 09, 2003 at 04:17 PM (#289935)
Wolfhound:

I think you're leaving out a key point in the Cosell incident: context. With whites, there is no 2 century old practice of making invidious comparisons between them and monkeys. There was such a practice with blacks, and not just caricatures, but serious arguments that Africans should be considered more closely related to primates (pun intended) than whites.

Words have meaning in context. If Cosell, with his age, experience, and intelligence, didn't realize the insensitivity of his statement, it's hard to have much sympathy for him.
   47. Stephen Posted: July 09, 2003 at 06:24 PM (#289937)
Exactly. I think the way Transmission said it was misleading in the sense that Stephen misinterpreted it. This is only semantics though and I agree with what he actually meant.

Misleading? Misinterpret? Here is what Transmission wrote:

1. There is more variation on average between any random two members of the same "race" than there is between any random two members of different "races".

This statement is clearly false; how have I misinterpreted it?
   48. rlc Posted: July 09, 2003 at 07:36 PM (#289944)
Ben sez:
   49. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 09, 2003 at 09:23 PM (#289945)
[Transmission's] statement is clearly false; how have I misinterpreted it?

Read #65. You only misinterpreted it because (in my opinion) it was not entirely clear - I interpreted it the same way you did.

The fact that taxonomists can put mammals into subgroupings doesn't mean that those subgroupings are biologically significant.

This is true, but in the case of human races, you CAN see genetic divisions between them. There are differences in gene frequencies among races, although few if any fixed differences. What this means is that, a European might have a 70% chance of having version A of gene X, while an African might have a 30% chance of having version A.

What tends to fool taxonomists into defining artificial groups are traits that have undergone convergent evolution.

This is not to say that there are major genetic differences among human races, just that the statement that races do not exist or have no genetic basis is going too far.
   50. Mark Field Posted: July 09, 2003 at 11:33 PM (#289947)
David Gee:

The August 2003 issue of Discover magazine has a letter that raises essentially your point. Here's the response (remember, it's in the letters column, so the response is necessarily short; plus I edited slightly so I didn't have to type it all):

"The short answer is that there is no biolgical basis for "race" as we know it, but among populations there can be small but measurable genetic differences. It makes sense: People from neighboring regions will tend to share more DNA than people from distant lands. The amount of variation within any human population, however, almost overwhelms those average differences: Just about any gene variant found among the Lapps or the Malays will eventually be found in Nigerians as well. Our racial categories also don't correspond very well to global patterns of genetic diversity. Americans would lump all Africans together as "black" and consider the Swedes and the Syrians part of 2 different races, even though the differences between the Khoisan and the Masai, for example, are probably more significant."
   51. MNP Posted: July 09, 2003 at 11:53 PM (#289948)
Everyone is missing the REALLY important thing mentioned in this thread:

But has it been as bizarre as a breakfast sandwich between two griddle cakes filled with maple syrup flavoring?

Seriously, SM is spot-on here. McGriddles are possibly the most frightenting new development in recent years, and a sure sign of the apocolypse. From the McDonalds web site:

"McGriddles? breakfast sandwiches provide an innovative way for customers to eat warm golden griddle cakes (with the sweet taste of maple syrup baked right in), and different combinations of savory sausage, crispy bacon, fluffy eggs and melted cheese in a convenient sandwich."

I didn't realize there was great public yearning for an "innovative" way to eat "griddle cakes." I recently saw a billboard for these things that billed them as "Weird. But a good kind of weird." I'll pass, thanks.

Sorry for the interruption. I now return you to your regularly-scheduled discussion of Race in America.
   52. Greg Franklin Posted: July 10, 2003 at 01:17 AM (#289951)
McGriddles review.

Not a nutritious part of anyone's daily breakfast. Except for John Kruk's.
   53. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2003 at 03:40 PM (#289956)
Mark,

The only minor beef I have with that quote from the Discover article is the statement "Our racial categories also don't correspond very well to global patterns of genetic diversity". Actually, they do correspond fairly well. If you define populations based on race, and then estimate distances among races using gene frequency data, you can make a tree out of the distance matrix that corresponds nicely to the movement of humans out of Africa. From the ancestral African races (which are indeed quite different from each other; exactly what you would expect from the ancestral groups), Europeans branch off first, then Australian/New Guinean/Melanesian, then Asian/American. A number of different genetic markers show this, as summarized in papers by Masatoshi Nei's group.

I guess I would also say "no biological basis" is being broader than I would choose to be, considering that this genetic signal of our ancestry is still detectable. I re-emphasize that the differences among races is tiny, and that beyond the obvious superficial characteristics of skin and hair types, there are few phenotypic differences, and as you said, nothing really diagnostic.

One thing is for sure: Dusty Baker is more full of crap than a Christmas turkey. Certainly, citing "black" as a race has particularly little genetic meaning because of the huge diversity among Africans compared to other races.
   54. Mark Field Posted: July 10, 2003 at 05:11 PM (#289957)
David:

I agree that genetic markers show distance and movement out of Africa. I think that's generally accepted. The key is the phrase in the letter: "People from neighboring regions will tend to share more DNA than people from distant lands." It's that correlation, not "race", that is important.

I agree with you about Dusty -- bad biology and bad history.

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