Saturday, December 16, 2017
A young woman born to Indian parents with red hair, white skin and freckles has spent her life being shunned and bullied because people think she's diseased
Pooja Ganatra, 24, who was born in Mumbai, has flaming ginger hair, deep emerald eyes and white skin - like that of a stereotypical Gaelic woman. But the proud Indian was actually born to typically Indian parents who thought her freckles were a birth defect - and have no idea where her unusual looks come from. Ganatra's appearance, believed to stem from her ancestors, has made her feel like a foreigner in her own country - with Indians staring and asking for pictures. It could be her appearance was triggered by an evolutionary throwback, called atavism, to genes that had been passed down from her ancestors after laying dormant for years. Because of her complexion, strangers are often shocked to discover that she speaks Hindi and try to charge her tourist prices because they think she is a backpacker. Her unusual appearance also saw her rushed to hospital as a child over fears she had a skin disease. Her insecurities were intensified as a teenager by the overwhelming pressure to conform to Indian standards of beauty.
The stereotype of a tortured genius may have a basis in reality after a new study found that people with higher IQs are more at risk of developing mental illness
A team of researchers surveyed 3,715 members of Mensa with an IQ higher than 130. An “average IQ score” or “normal IQ score” can be defined as a score between 85 and 115. The team asked the Mensa members to report whether they had been diagnoses with mental illnesses, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They were also asked to report mood and anxiety disorders, or whether they suspected they suffered from any mental illnesses that had yet to be diagnosed, as well as physiological diseases, like food allergies and asthma. After comparing this with the statistical national average for each illness they found that those in the Mensa community had considerably higher rates of varying disorders. While 10% of the general population were diagnosed with anxiety disorder, that rose to 20% among the Mensa community. The research was based on a model which suggests that intelligent people with "hyper brains" are more reactive to environmental stimulus and that “may predispose them to certain psychological disorders as well as physiological conditions involving elevated sensory and altered immune and inflammatory responses". The study seemed to confirm this, as it suggested that because of their increased awareness levels, those with higher IQs react more to their environment. This creates a hyper brain/hyper body scenario, where they display a hyperactive central nervous system. “Unique intensities and over-excitabilities... can be at once both remarkable and disabling on many levels,” the study’s authors wrote. “A significant portion of these individuals are suffering on a daily basis as a result of their unique emotional and physical over-excitabilities." Even small stimuli like a strange sound or the brush of a clothing tag "trigger a low level, chronic stress response which then activates a hyper body response,” Dr Nicole Tetreault of California’s Pitzer University and the study’s co-author, said. However, the study pointed out that a high IQ was not the cause of mental illness, but it could be correlated with the highly intelligent community. "Intelligence research most often focuses on the flashes of lightning seen in this rare population, however in order to serve this group of individuals fully we must not neglect to acknowledge the rumbles of thunder that follow in the wake of their brilliance," they wrote.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
In the second poorest municipality in one of Mexico’s poorest states, girls under the age of 15 are being sold by their fathers as virgin brides for 180,000 pesos (US $9,400), or in many cases even less
In the last 17 years, more than 300 young women have been forced into marriages of that type in Metlatónoc, Guerrero, according to a human rights center in the Montaña region where the municipality is located. In most cases, the fathers of prospective grooms pay the fathers of young daughters so that their sons can have a teenage, virgin girl as a wife. If a higher price is quoted, the typical response is “they don’t want her as a whore,” Melitón Hernández, a police chief in the town of Yuvi’nani, said. A local lawyer and advisor to the municipal trustee said that the tradition is engrained in society, above all among the indigenous Mixtec Tu’un Savi people. “It’s an old practice that we can’t eradicate even though the law says that the practice is a crime, specifically human trafficking,” Serafín Nava Ortiz said. Another lawyer, who works for the Tlachinollan human rights center in Tlapa, has worked on more than 100 forced marriage cases over the past 17 years in which she has tried to convince parents of girls to alter their opinions about the practice. Girls who refuse to get married at such a young age turn to the center to act as a mediator with their parents, Neil Arias explained. Often, she believes she is successful in changing the parents’ minds but admitted that once they left the center’s doors, she didn’t know what the final outcome would be. “How many marriages end up being carried out or are left unregistered? It’s unknown. It’s a hidden figure, the cases are still constant,” she said. In its 2017 annual report, the Tlachinollan center stressed that the practice has lost all of its traditional significance to become nothing more than a “commercial exchange” that infringes on a girl’s body and dignity and “could result in the crime of human trafficking” being committed. Treated like objects and the private property of their husbands, the girls and are forced into sexual relationships without giving prior consent, the center said. Cases of rape, family conflict and breakdown and monetary disputes have all been reported in relation to the practice. At least one man has also been imprisoned on human trafficking charges despite arguing that he acted in good faith in accordance with his community’s traditions and customs. In an interview, even the police chief admitted buying wives for his sons, saying that three years ago he paid 110,000 pesos (US $5,735) for a 14-year-old bride. Asked where he got the money from, Hernández responded, “I was on the other side [United States]. I brought about 300,000 pesos from there . . .” he explained. Years earlier, he paid 130,000 pesos for a wife for his eldest son. Others sell goats, pigs or land to raise the funds, Hernández explained, adding openly that many men also cultivate opium poppies. He also joked about buying his own wife, saying flippantly that he paid “50 pesos about 55 years ago.”
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Britain: The vast majority of men convicted of grooming young white girls – 84% – are of Asian origin
The study by the renowned counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam says that of these, seven in ten are believed to be of Pakistani-Muslim heritage. Asian gangs have deliberately abused white girls because they hold entrenched racist attitudes towards them as being easy targets for sex, according to the report, which is based on the testimonies of convicted Asian men during court hearings. In 2012, nine British Pakistani men were convicted of abusing under-age white girls. Although the testimonies of three victims led to the convictions of the gang members, police believe the group abused and trafficked as many as 47 white girls. A separate grooming gang from Rochdale involving ten more men was convicted at a trial in 2015.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Researchers led by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the Genealogical Society of Ireland have published The Irish DNA Atlas: Revealing Fine-Scale Population Structure and History within Ireland. The research provides the first fine-scale genetic map of Ireland, revealing the first evidence of 10 distinct genetic clusters on the island, which roughly align themselves with the country’s historic provinces and major historic movements of people. The Irish DNA Atlas was compiled from DNA samples of almost 200 individuals with four generations of ancestry linked to specific areas across the island of Ireland. These samples were then compared with thousands of samples from across Britain and Europe, revealing seven distinct clusters of Gaelic Irish ancestry, and three of shared British-Irish ancestry. The RCSI’s Edmund Gilbert, first author on the paper, said of the findings: “Our work informs on Irish history; we have demonstrated that the structure emerging from genetic similarity within Ireland mirrors historical kingdoms of Ireland, and that Ireland acts as a sink of Celtic ancestry. Additionally, we find evidence of a west-Norwegian-like ancestry that we believe is a signature of the Norse Vikings. We also observe the impact of historical events, such as the Ulster Plantations, on the DNA of the people of Ireland.”