--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...> wrote:
> Richard Wordingham wrote:
> >
> > the
> > odds seem high that the average Vai is thicker than the average
> > person, simply for environmental reasons.
> I can't think of any context in which you wouldn't want to retract that
> claim! Fortunately, everything else in your fine posting doesn't depend
> on it.

Then you have a very limited imagination. Statements like, 'The only
indicator was the urinary iodine. The median value of all seven areas
was 321 mcg/L, showing that IDD is no longer a public health problem
in Liberia' suggest that iodine deficency may have done some serious
damage. Source:
http://www.people.virginia.edu/~jtd/iccidd/newsletter/feb2000.htm .

It may be that such damage is more widespread than I think, but that
is the only reason I can see for making a retraction. It seems that
Liberia is better off in this respect than much of West Africa. If
West Africa is typical, perhaps this may help depress the average
enough to falsify my suggestion.

Environmental differences were first brought home when I noticed the
difference in stature between Thai Alumni of French and German
Universities (and their guests) on one hand and their entertainers on
the other. (I'd already noticed that minor royalty were larger than
average.) The difference in stature between generations amongst my
Thai in-laws is also quite striking. I was originally skeptical of
claims of low average intelligence amongst Thais, but when I saw in
reports of this nature that the young generation in Bangkok had an
average IQ around 100, it struck me that factors affecting stature may
also affect intelligence. Bangkok youths are not as small as older
people, particularly in the provinces, and I'm not talking about obesity.

My observation was not based on iodine deficiency, but was simply an
extrapolation from poverty. I had forgotten the specific importance
of iodine - after all the UK government long ago enacted legislation
to combat 'Derbyshire neck'.