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The alchemy of human variation: Race, ethnicity and Manoiloff's blood reaction

The alchemy of human variation: Race, ethnicity and Manoiloff's blood reaction

This paper examines the research on race determination conducted by Russian biochemist E.O. Manoiloff in the 1920s. Manoiloff claimed to have discovered a method which detected racial identity of an individual by a simple chemical reaction performed on a subject's blood sample. The method was published in one of the leading anthropological journals and it was not questioned for some time. It is obvious today that Manoiloff's claims were nothing short of ridiculous. The present study, based on the experimental history of sciences, tries to elucidate Manoiloff's procedures and reasons for his ‘success’. His experiments were repeated using both original and modern equipment. It has been demonstrated that Manoiloff's procedures, although rigorous at first glance, were highly arbitrary and methodologically flawed. It would appear that the socio-political and scientific contexts of the early twentieth century which favoured belief in the existence of clearly distinguishable racial types played a crucial role in the initial positive response to Manoiloff's research.

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Predicting longevity from the line of life: is it accurate?

Abstract

Palmistry or Chiromancy is the art of reading lines on the palm of the hands. Today, many researchers believe that the lines on the palms of the hands can predict the individual’s future. Computer programs are being designed which can automatically read the lines on the palm of the hand. One popular theory is that the length of the line of life will indicate lifespan. This theory was investigated in 1974 by Wilson and Mather who found no significant correlation between life expectancy and the length of the line of life. In 1990 Newrick and colleagues found a significant correlation as measured on 100 cadavers. These conflicting investigations are the only existing studies which have explored the relationship between palmistry and longevity. Since then no other study has validated nor disproven these claims.

A total of 60 cadavers donated to The University of Adelaide were used in this study. Total hand length and the line of life length were measured on all cadavers. The age at and cause of death were also recorded. Linear regressions were used to establish any correlations between longevity and the length of the line of life. No significant correlations were found. There was also no significant difference between males and females or the right or left hands.

As no significant correlations were found between longevity and the line of life all efforts at producing more reliable and automatic ways to read the lines are futile. This study puts to rest any debate surrounding the use of the line of life in palmistry as introduced by Newrick and colleagues.

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Development of relative body mass (BMI) of students from Łódź, depending on the selected environmental, psychological and sociological factors

Abstract

The human height-to-weight ratio is an important parameter of the body homeostasis. Currently, the most popular measurement determining the relationship between body mass and height is the Quetelet II indicator, called Body Mass Index (BMI). The aim of this study is an evaluation of the differences in the height-to-weight ratios, depending on selected environmental, psychological and sociological factors in people studying at higher education institutions in Łódź. The research was conducted among students of higher education institutions in Łódź, by electronic means or with the use of an anonymous survey. It consisted of 28 closed single or multiple choice questions. Statistical analysis was made of complete results of the research involving 135 people, both males and females, aged between 19-26. It was revealed that the factors related to higher BMI values in students are the following: the presence of a tendency in the students to gain weight themselves, and a tendency to gain weight present in their mothers, an evaluation of their own body mass as excessive, regularly smoking cigarettes and rarely undergoing medical check-ups. Among the factors connected with lower BMI values are: regular coffee consumption, perception of their own body mass as being too low, and also obtaining systolic pressure values below 110 mm Hg. Additionally, a positive correlation between taking up physical activity and higher values of systolic blood pressure (p<0.05) was shown. Among the subjects, it was found that 92% of the underweight women declared that their body mass and figure were normal. In the case of women with optimal BMI values, 40% stated that their body mass was excessive. In the case of men the problem was reverse: 50% of the subjects who were either overweight or obese claimed that their body mass was within the norm. The factors that significantly influence body proportion differences among students include the subject’s and the subject’s mother’s tendency to put on weight, self-evaluation of their own body mass, the values of systolic blood pressure, coffee consumption and cigarette smoking, as well as the frequency of medical check-ups.

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A glance of genetic relations in the Balkan populations utilizing network analysis based on in silico assigned Y-DNA haplogroups

probabilities and the genetic legacy of the minority claiming an Egyptian descent. International journal of legal medicine 124(5):363-370. Grugni V, Battaglia V, Kashani BH, Parolo S, Al-Zahery N, Achilli et al. 2012. Ancient migratory events in the Middle East: new clues from the Y-chromosome variation of modern Iranians. PloS one 7(7): e41252. Gurkan C, Sevay H, Demirdov DK, Hossoz S, Ceker D, Teralı K, Erol AS. 2017. Turkish Cypriot paternal lineages bear an autochthonous character and closest resemblance to those from neighbouring Near Eastern populations

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Laozi’s precepts for daily life in the contemporary world: two popular Western (American) interpretations

Abstract

The paper aims to discuss two popular interpretations of Daoism and its application to contemporary world: The Dao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff and The Truth of Tao by Alex Anatole. In the first part, it will concentrate on the interpretation of Daoist concept of simplicity (pu ) in B.Hoff’s book, pointing out to the problem of its simplification and elucidating the cluster of the meanings (or aspects) of pu in this book and in comparison with its understanding in Classical Daoism. In the second part, it will discuss the main points of interpretation of Daoism as a “reflective mirror” for illuminating the problems of Western (in this case, American) contemporary consumer culture, presented in Alex Anatole’s book, with the particular attention on his ideal of “contentment” and “ideal day”. It is claimed, that such popular versions of Daoism, although seemingly contradictory and superficial, and because of this rather mostly ignored by sinologists and investigators of Daoist practices, deserve more careful study by professional scholars, since they are the manifestations of the process of globalization of Daoism, which is inevitable in 21st century. Moreover, they are especially influential in forming a popular image of Daoist teaching, since the messages of such books spread to a far wider public, than the monographs by academic specialists in Chinese (Daoist) studies.

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Cooperation for forest protection in Southeast Asia: the role of Japan and its domestic interest groups

Abstract

This article examines Japan’s role in advancing regional forest governance in Southeast Asia and reasons why the country, despite claiming environmental leadership, has not created a strong long-term institutional framework to promote sustainable forest management (SFM). The first half of the article is dedicated to analyzing Asia Forest Partnership and bilateral agreements with Indonesia and Malaysia in the light of implementation of SFM. The second half examines Japan’s domestic interest groups and their attitudes towards SFM and cooperation for forest protection with the Southeast Asian countries. The article argues that the gap between Japan’s commitments and actual activities has not been closed in the most recent cooperation for forest protection in the region. One of the major reasons for that is the strength and resistance against the regulations of the Japanese companies that benefit from the free trade of tropical timber.

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Emptying Śūnyatā: a Critical Reading of Nishitani’s Religion and Nothingness

Abstract

In this article, invoking some terms of phenomenology and general principles of structural semiotics, I critically examine and reveal some aporetic aspects of Nishitani’s interpretation of Buddhist concept of sūnyatā presented in his seminal work Religion and Nothingness. My critics are directed to deeply ingrained claims among scholars of a “rejection of any form of dualism” and “non-substantial philosophy” as unique characteristics of the Kyoto school or “logic of the East”. My arguments are based on examining how linguistic differentiating articulation and narrative rendering that perform a fundamental role in human cognition are at work in definition of “emptiness” (sūnyatā) too. Thus emptiness is not completely empty; being certain philosophical identity it can be articulated only by differentiation from other identities, and thus different is included in it. Nishitani needed logocentric modes of thought, as a dialectical (m)other for constructing his sūnyatā ontology. Accordingly, the realms that are considered to be secondary or derivative (i.e. sensual and rational, or linguistic representations) appear to be the condition for constituting the primary (suchness of things, sūnyatā). Considering universal mechanisms of the articulation of values I am also asking whether sūnyatā paradigm indeed is so fundamentally different from Western paradigms centered on idea, God, or a rational subject as Nishitani wants to think. Since we find a clear hierarchical differentiation into truth and illusion, authentic and inauthentic modes of thought and time, and initial and derivative ontological realms, features of “strong thought” (in sense of Vattimo) are evident in his work. I am also suggesting, that possibly by considering not sūnyatā or “idea” but human languages as a universal “house of being”, we would be able to “empty” discourses of radical difference and uniqueness, and in this way become post-nationalistically modern. Philosophy, in order not to turn into a onesided ideology, should reflect on its mythological and narratological conditions, i.e. dances on certain semiotic axes. From such a perspective, the gravitational trajectory of human thought, longing for conjunction with the absolute, defined either as God or as sūnyatā, will seem similar rather than different.

Open access