Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Two Ho Hum mtDNA Studies

Eurogenes recounts a new study of South Asian mtDNA with a huge sample size.  Dienekes reports on a new study of mtDNA lineages in indigenous populations of Arctic North America.

Both studies attempt to frame their results within the existing historical paradigms for the regions.  Neither adds much other than some very fine detail to what we already know.

UPDATE May 3, 2015:  The main significance of the Arctic North American study is to demonstrate that all post-founding era migrations into the Americas have taken place from West to East, as widely assumed, thereby ruling out (again) the Solutrean hypothesis.

4 comments:

Maju said...

It's possible that the papers don't add much to our pre-existent knowledge but the discussion at Davidiski's blog is somewhat interesting, with some commenters (Kristiina, DMXX and Balaji particularly) showing the importance of South Asian centrality for lineages such as U2, etc. I'm not getting involved this time though - time is of the essence.

andrew said...

Know the feeling. You're right. Often if you really read the data and the commentary, there can be some interesting stuff.

But I've spent the last three days in court litigating a will contest and trust dispute (13 witnesses, 5,000 pages of documents, and multiple video clips presented in two days, which are then compiled into several hours of oral arguments to the judge regarding legal issues as applied to the evidence presented). This is an 18 hour a day job when you are in the thick of it.

I'm basically the moral equivalent of a screen writer on the legal team who comes up with all of the questions that are asked, and writes all the speeches given in oral arguments, and who selects all of the props (trial exhibits) and casts all the "actors" (i.e. witnesses and lawyers) from our side, which someone else then delivers at the podium and on the witnesses stand.

Alas, unlike trials on TV, this isn't followed with instant gratification. Now we wait a couple of weeks to a couple of months for the judge to decide who wins based on all of that evidence and the relevant law.

A comparable dispute in Spain would be litigated piecemeal at a much more leisurely pace over several months (at a far lower cost). The American style is very compressed and intense during trial, and the preparation burden is huge because it is much harder to appeal an erroneous result at trial in the U.S. than in Europe.

So, anyway, I've tuned out. The data analysis and writing circuits are all out of juice for a bit.

Maju said...

Poor Andrew!

Anyhow I think you idealize the Spanish legal system: here paucity may mean years and years (often judges let difficult cases lay down just not to get "burned" themselves), in what is denial of justice. Also police testimony is "evidence", while other witnesses are often just ignored altogether. Now if you want to denounce or appeal you have to pay the costs beforehand, with very few exceptions, so the right to access to justice is denied to poor people.

This morning I happened to watch a bit of TV (rarely do anymore) and there was this guy representing the bank-scammed people (mostly elderly, some already deceased after their life-time savings hand been destroyed by a former IMF President). It's been five years of trial already and almost nothing has happened. Worse: the state prosecutor is trying to protect the accused just because they are VIPs.

Or look at the Iru├▒a-Veleia affair: two archaeologists sit there accused of falsification and fraud, without a single piece of evidence and backed by a long list of reputed archaeologists and other scholars, and the judge does nothing but rolling the ball, once every many months. Justice here is a total mockery, really. You have no reason to envy us.

andrew said...

I certainly don't envy your criminal procedure (although your sentencing scheme is not so excessively harsh), but civil proceedings in the U.S. are often very slow here as well, and a profoundly more expensive.

Another case that our firm did for the same client involving access rights for some rural land that was just completed (although an appeal is pending) (we won, of course, but we really are just that good) has involved about $350,000+ of legal fees on our side over 7 years and the appeal will likely take at least another year (it has been going for many months already) at additional cost. The other side has probably spent $200,000+ in fees on the case (and are likely going to have to pay more than half of our fees in the end).