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August 09, 2003
How Goldie Locks came about
Fascinating review in Human Nature by Peter Frost of a book titled Desolate Landscapes: Ice-Age Settlement in Eastern Europe. The article explores the question of why Europeans have such a diverse range in terms of eye and hair color, the answer being framed in terms of sexual selection for "rare phenotypes" (this has been observed in laboratory conditions with fruit flies, and Frost points to other cases). But I lean to the idea that the features selected for were paedomorphic, child-like, so neoteny was a driving factor. Please be sure to check out note 2 which details the genes that lead to the unique features that characterize many northern Europeans . (via Steve Sailer)
 Obviously light-eyes and blonde hair are traits that are found in populations outside of northern Europe in a cline that pushes into south to north Africa and east into western China, but this is probably the result of genetic exchange with northern Europeans or their root population in eastern Europe/western northern Asia (though this could be quite deep in time, and not within historical memory-ie; no need for recourse to Vandals to explain Berber blondness). Additionally, hair color diversity probably spikes up again once you reach Australia, where blondism is noted among tribes that seem to have no European admixture (no other features are Europoid). Additionally, if you read National Geographic or flip through C.S. Coon's books, you will spot the same hair color diversity in parts of Melanesia, though it is much rarer, and might be the result of European admixture, though that seems implausible in the cases of some highland tribes that Coon indicates exhibit this phenotype. Also, light eyes are more common than blonde or red hair, but I have not read that this usually concomitant feature of Europeans is expressed in these populations, which is strange if the non-black hair is the result of genetic exchange with white males (though the features need not show up in the same individual, if the genes exist in a high enough frequency that homozygotes show up for non-black hair, one would expect a similar number of individuals with light eyes to exist in a given population).
August 07, 2003
This article (free) in The Economist has some caption text that states, More foreigners than ever are coming to London, and more Britons are leaving. But more interesting is the comment on the type of immigration that is occurring in London.
Here's a graph for comparison to other cities, indicating the sheer magnitude (surprised me!):
This statement: Brown and black ones earn less. is a bit inaccurate. Indians earn more than native British, while Pakistanis and Bangladeshis earn less.
The largest group analysed by the research consisted of families below pensionable age with at least one worker. Chinese and Indian working families averaged slightly higher earnings than white people. Overall, Caribbean and African earnings were significantly lower than whites', though this was not true for black women. Pakistani and Bangladeshi families' earnings were much lower than those of any other ethnic group - partly because of low wages, but also because relatively few married women in these groups had a job.
Point: there's bimodality within the Asian population in Britain , just as there is in the immigrant population at large (as Razib remarked) and as there is in the US. Now, as for blacks...here is a very interesting statistic that seems to indicate that black British are *likewise* bimodal:
Does anyone else have any data on the sample sizes, ethnic & educational backgrounds, etcetera of the Black Africans present in the UK? I'm aware that blacks in the UK are much more likely to intermarry...but it seems like the intermarrying group is largely that of black Caribbeans. But that's curious - based on the socioeconomic trends for intermarriage in the US detailed in this post, I would have expected black Africans with matched IQs, educations, and incomes to show high intermarriage rates...rather than black Caribbeans. I know there's a bit of confounding data, because black British are also more likely to commit crimes when taken as a monolithic group...so even anecdotal leads would be much appreciated.
Update from Razib:
Here is a chart from an old post:
THE HANDICAP PRINCIPLE
It is a familiar idea in evolutionary biology that sexual selection may produce some trait despite its being disadvantageous to general fitness. The peacock’s tail is a classic example.
The Handicap Principle goes a step further by claiming that some traits are selected precisely because they are disadvantageous. The HP was first put forward by the Israeli zoologist Amotz Zahavi in the 1970s. For a long time it was resisted by other biologists, but since about 1990 it has been more widely accepted.
I recently read Amotz and Avishag Zahavi’s book The Handicap Principle: a Missing Piece of Darwin’s Puzzle (1997). This is the most interesting book on evolutionary biology I have read for a long time. The Zahavis apply the HP not only to sexual selection but to a wide range of other animal and human traits. Some of their ideas are far-fetched, but always stimulating.
The Zahavis argue that the HP comes into play whenever an animal trait conveys information to other animals (of the same or different species), where it is in the interests of both sender and receiver that the information should be honest, but where it would be advantageous to other animals to ‘cheat’ by sending false information. The only way to deter cheating is for the ‘signal’ to be so expensive to produce that it is not worth while to cheat. Since animal signals do exist, and in many cases it would be advantageous to cheat if this could be done without cost, it seems to follow that signals must have evolved to be expensive to produce, and this is just another way of stating the Handicap Principle.
It is one thing to show that the HP must apply, but another to show how ‘handicaps’ evolve. The reason why biologists resisted the idea was that the Zahavis offered no mathematical models to show how a gene promoting a handicap could be selected, and other biologists who tried to devise such models found that they did not work. The problem is that such a gene starts by reducing fitness, and it is difficult to see how it can get a sufficient advantage from ‘honesty’ to offset this until it has already become common in the population. At this point it becomes advantageous for the ‘receivers’ (e.g. females, in the case of mating behaviour) to evolve a strong preference for it. This would explain how a handicap can be maintained by selection, but not how it evolves in the first place.
This seems to be still a weak point in the Zahavis’ arguments, and they are very vague about the process by which handicaps evolve, and the conditions under which this can occur. Mathematical biologists have however done a lot to clarify this, notably Alan Grafen in two papers in 1990. As Grafen explains it, the key condition for a handicap to evolve is that the marginal cost of producing a signal (e.g. the peacock growing a longer tail) must be greater for a low-quality animal than for a high-quality one, so that the low-quality animal stands to lose more by trying to ‘cheat’ than it gains. It is plausible that this condition often applies. For analogy, suppose that men can obtain sexual partners by lifting heavier weights than their rivals. It may be that with sufficient training and practice any man can lift the heaviest weight available, but it will still be easier for the biggest and strongest men to reach the position of being able to lift any given weight. The contest will therefore be a reliable test of strength.
The Handicap Principle can also be applied to cultural and economic phenomena such as conspicuous expenditure, initiation rites and tests, extreme sports and contests, artistic skill, and fashions in dress. Here we do not suppose that each cultural trait has been produced by biological selection. It sufficient that humans should have a general-purpose ability to detect cheating. If the only honest signal is a costly signal, then culture will spontaneously select signals which impose costs on the signallers. This principle seems capable of explaining a great deal in human behaviour that otherwise seems perverse and wasteful. Of course, in one way this is a rather pessimistic conclusion. But it does also offer the hope that by understanding the roots of behaviour we may consciously change it.
August 06, 2003
More on outsourcing jobs....
Another article, this one from Newsweek.
Steve Sailer has permlinks now, so I'm linking to this post noting how Edward Said's anti-Arabist project backfired as those philo-Arabs, for all their colonial mindset, did have a fondness for the desert bedouin, which the necons who have filled their vacuum do not. To be fair, the number #1 Arabist who Said targeted, Bernard Lewis, is generally pro-Israel in orientation (Lewis is actually more properly a Turkicist, but Orientalism was clearly aimed at him).
I have read several of Said's books related to the Arab issue, and find them a bit overblown, somewhat like Bernard Lewis in fact. Their theses or assertions are not the stuff of hundreds of pages, and they often flub details (at least Lewis is a historian, Said makes some obvious mistakes about Arabo-Islamic history in Orientalism while Lewis tends to make footnote related errors or throw out assertions that no lay reader would be able to look up easily and take a generalization a bit to far). The current print issue of The Atlantic Monthly has a very thorough and balanced article by Said's friends Chris Hitchens, check it out.
Horse cloned, so now watch the Gulf Arab money flowing into this promising avenue of research that might lead to more racing champions. Did you know that Secretariat had a heart twice as big as normally found in a thoroughbred? Of course, most of his offspring regressed back toward the mean, but this sort of technology might help us figure out if Secretariat was a genetic or developmental freak (did a certain combination of genes allow him to support a heart so out-sized, or was it something in the environment or placenta?).
August 05, 2003
'Right wing' poll
Right wing news polls a select group of bloggers on who they think are the worst figures in US history and they come up with this list:
17) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (6)
August 04, 2003
Wired story documents the information that black Americans are finding about their maternal & paternal lineages through genetic testing . This is great-it might not be practical in a utilitarian fashion-but this is the sort of stuff that is included in more than "bread & water." Most people have made-up genealogies beyond a few generations, but at least they know their aproximate ethnic derivation-black Americans are (were) denied that.
By the way, my title references the fact that Alex Haley's Roots is basically total fiction, something that one of the credulous people interviewed obviously did not realize as she speaks about knowing her roots too, just like Haley.
 Of course, this is only one lineage, mtDNA -> mother's-mother's-mother's.... and Y chromosome -> father's-father's-father's.... But big deal, many Sudanese "Arabs" are Arab because of ONE male Arab ancestor.
There are no utopias
Steve Sailer cautions against utopian thinking by pundits who wish the whole "Race Problem" would just go away....
Teach a man to fish and he steals your rod ...
So much for rehabilitation:
Foreign customer support SUCKS!
Once I got someone who spoke English natively, they quickly looked at the information and confirmed all my guesses, taking no more than 5 minutes. I literally spent no more than 10 minutes with the two Americans, but well north of 3 hours with the non-English speakers. There will over the years be more & more customers like me who demand that the person on the other end of the line speak fluent English-that will cost money, either in First World wages, or intense training or higher levels of education than no acceptable for customer service in off-shore call centers .
Please note I am prone to being irritated by this problem-that's the thing I HATE about big cities, service employees who I can barely understand! My friends who live in such locales seem resigned & accepting of the fact that those who do such work will always speak with accents-if they can communicate in English at all-but if you experience the alternative, you have a much harder time adjusting.
 I too have read the charming tales of Indian lads & lasses speaking American English and familiarizing themselves with the culture-but cultural literacy does not technical literacy make, much of the information they have to relay is already opaque and confusing, a lack of English fluency is a deal-breaker. Of course, it could be asserted that the two "English speakers" that I spoke too were also foreigners, but both spoke with rather strong southern accents, stronger accents in fact than the Indians or Costa Ricans I talked to, though they could read English at a far higher level. If they were foreigners, my understanding is that they tend to speak general American, not a dialect from the backwoods of Louisana or west Texas (probably the closest aproximations of the two individuals in question)
Personally, I think that this is the market in action. Razib will vote with his wallet for native-English speaking technical support. Others may or may not choose the discount line for a lower price. And still others, like myself, will build and maintain our own computers rather than buy from Dell :)
August 03, 2003
Is this inclusion?
If LeRoy and LeKeisha were added as hurricane names I'm sure the NAACP would protest that it was perpetuating negative stereotypes of destructive African-Americans....
I found this old 1994 article on immigration by Roy Beck, head of NUMBERS USA, via a Joe Guzzardi piece in VDARE. Most readers probably know the story of the Hmongs and Wausau so I won't repeat it. Now, here is a charming part of the piece from someone who dissents with the majority view:
What is unstated is that the opinion of this woman is surely colored by the fact that her employment is guaranteed by the continued presence, even the increase, of a minority group that has incredible rates of welfare usage. The case of the Hmongs and The United States is related to my previous post Why is Africa Poor?-culture matters. The Laotian immigration pattern is somewhat the reverse of the South Asian stream into this country, while the latter takes the cream of the society, the latter is taking literally the "huddled masses" that Emma Lazarus spoke of.
The CIA Factbook entry on Laos indicates that the lowland Lao form 70% of the population of the nation. Very few of these come to The United States (I have met a few-they dislike being assumed to be Hmong). The lowland Lao are close relatives of the Thai, in fact, basically they are Thai that live north of the Mekong and south of China. The historical origins of the Thai people is in southern China, in Yunnan province, where they are called "Dai," and fought Han attempts at expansion for centuries through the military might of the kingdom of Nanchao (conquered by the Mongols under Khublai Khan). The Hmong, also called the Miao, who have a presence in south China as well, are outside this cultural matrix. The Hmong are neither Therevada Buddhist or participants in the Daoist-Buddhist-Confucian synthesis that characterizes China, and they have not traditionally been settled agriculturalists. Though perhaps as much as 10% of the population of Laos, they are most certainly a people that are in Laos, not of Laos. An analogy would be if immigration from Norway to The United States consisted mostly of Sami herders.
I state all this not to make the Hmong seem like savages, but to highlight that the Homg are outside the stream of civilization and development in their putative homeland-they are not participants in the wider Buddhist civilization of mainland Southeast Asia and have never been . They have been marginalized to the hillsides where they can practice their wandering slash & burn style of agriculture-and traditionally embrace of Buddhism, settled agriculture & literacy are the hallmarks of assimilation to the Other, to a Lao identity. Though the Lao society might not be as advanced or sophisticated as that of The United States, it has concepts in common with that of the West, a world religion, a tradition of literacy and kingship & centralized rule, cities & historical memory. The Hmong are from an age before-hold-overs from the early years of the Neolithic, preserving their folkways in the out-of-the-way glens & forests away from the light of history.
We can not expect them to make the transition from marginally Neolithic to post-Industrial with any ease. It wouldn't take a genius to figure out that groups like the Homg or Somali Bantus are less assimilable than Chinese from Fujian or Germans from Romania.
 The "Hmong" will at some point probably become a Christian nation, as it is a way of preserving their ethnic identity and yet connecting themselves to an advanced civilization, conversions are common in both the US & Asia. As I note, Hmong that become Buddhist assimilate after a few generations as the racial & cultural gap becomes too small to preserve any ethnic separation.
I want to be on record saying that I think Joe Guzzardi is a dishonest demagogue. I don't believe he's telling the truth about the Hmong man in his classroom. He tosses in casual cultural denigrations as a matter of course:
They marry in a cultural ceremony – something involving a chicken, I believe - until they can legally marry at 18. But they don’t wait to have children of their own.
Now, I could describe Christianity in similarly contemptuous terms (e.g. as people who believe they're drinking blood) but I don't, because showing a certain degree of respect for the arbitrary aspects of other cultures is a sign of intellectual maturity. Guzzardi is entitled to bring up the welfare dependence of the Hmong, but his motivations are clearly racial rather than economic. Even if the Hmong were millionaire entrepreneurs, he'd bring up the irrelevancy of their harmless "chicken ritual" and casually repeat/fabricate anecdotal innuendo. How else to describe his change of tactics in gratuitously bashing IIT graduates:
Stahl’s report reflects an astonishingly arrogant “We are the best, we are the brightest” attitude on the part of I.I.T. graduates. We Americans are simply inferior. Here’s what Sun’s Khosla thinks of American universities:
So - irrelevant digs at India's poverty aside - which is it? Is Guzzardi mad at immigrants because they can't get jobs, or because they can get jobs (and start companies to produce jobs)? Or, more likely, is he just a crypto-white nationalist like Brimelow and Sam Francis? I noticed that he doesn't actually link to the financial and academic statistics on the IIT graduates...could this be because they're the exact *opposite* of the Hmong?
IIT students carry approximately 50 percent more courses than the typical U.S. undergrad , gaining a mastery over their subject matter that often makes graduate school in the United States a breeze. "My first year at Berkeley when I was doing my master's, that was the easiest year I had ever had in my life," recalls Mashruwala. "I either knew it or I could sit at home and do the whole subject in one-quarter the time of everyone else."
Guzzardi's selective and ideologically loaded citation of statistics is reminiscent of Peter Brimelow blaming James Taranto for the Jose Resendiz murder. Which is, of course, as nonsensical as blaming Brimelow for the criminal excesses of white nationalists who share his crypto-WN worldview. One can make a balanced case against mass unskilled immigration (e.g. NumbersUSA) without resorting to the tactics of demagogues like Guzzardi, Francis, and Brimelow.
Actually, while I stand by my assessment of Francis and Brimelow, Guzzardi generally isn't so bad. For example:
The two events got me thinking (again) about one of America’s most controversial topics—religious and ethnic diversity. I’m forever tinkering with my feelings about diversity. My ever-shifting position is a logical consequence of my job at the Lodi Adult School where I have students from 20 different countries in my classes. I’ve lived on both sides of the diversity coin. The West Los Angeles primary school I attended was distinctly not diverse. We were all Roman Catholic, white and middle class. But when I was ready to start high school, my family moved to Puerto Rico.  I was one of only a handful of kids who didn’t speak Spanish. And since Americans weren’t particularly welcome, I was out of the loop.
Every March for the past sixteen years, high school principals have competed in two regional play-offs en route to the Spanish Lip-Sync State Championship. Mexican-American students provide the back-up vocals. The principals--many are neither Mexican nor Spanish speaking - make fools of themselves in the name of school spirit.
These are totally fair statements, and I'm actually in agreement with the sentiment. The lack of assimilation is a problem - but immigrants are not all bad people , even unskilled immigrants, and that's something I need to say more often as well. So, yeah, I was wrong. I think Guzzardi is inconsistent in his rationales for opposing immigration, and I do think that his occasional cheap shots at the Hmong and Mexicans  are unwarranted, but overall he's not such a bad guy. He's annoyed about the cultural problems with mass immigration, as opposed to someone like myself who's more concerned with the economic problems with mass unskilled immigration. That's a legitimate philosophical divide, though it means we will overlap on some issues (opposition to unskilled immigration) and butt heads on others (skilled immigration). Guzzardi is certainly no Sam Francis.
 Guzzardi entered the US from Puerto Rico...the irony is killing me...
IQ comparison site
The IQ comparison site is worth a look.
The IQ-SAT conversion tables may be of some utility, but stuff like the Cox guesstimates of IQ are utterly subjective and pseudoscientific. Which is not to say it's not interesting, but it's on par with astrology :)