Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Notes & links   posted by Razib @ 12/20/2006 06:44:00 PM

First, a Long post where I say all have to say publically about the "hot chick" topic. As I note at the end, I'd like to move on. I hope that GNXP readers won't waste their time on threads 'defending' me. I excoriate readers enough that I hope that you allot your time more productive ends. I'd also like to thank Chris of Mixing Memory for speaking up on my behalf many a time on several weblogs. A few days ago I stated I was a conservative, and sure enough those who have come and explicitly defended me have been mostly on the Right (Steve, Udolpho & Your Lying Eyes). Nevertheless, Chris is far Left personally but took time out to make sharp deconstructions of pretty nasty smears of my character and false characterizations of the original post (also, I remember when John Emerson and Ikram Saed defended GNXP from accusations of avowed racism at places like The Gay One's weblog). I suppose I shouldn't stereotype, I am again officially in limbo-land politically and will attempt to act the rational actor instead of being emotionally driven.

Second, a question for the ladies: is GNXP so male heavy in its readership because of our sexism? Regular surveys point to the fact 90% of our readers are male. I've always ascribed this to the content. But do the frat-boyish comments and picture posting drive you away? I'm mostly curious, the reality is that I'm (and the Others) not doing GNXP to be popular. We're trying to go where no one has gone before and have fun doing it. If that rubs some the wrong way, well, that's how it rolls. Nevertheless, more data isn't bad.

Third, do any of you wonder why exclusive monotheistic religion become dominant in western Eurasia, but not in South or East Eurasia? Rod Stark has a 'rational choice' model where socially there is selection upon sects so that those who provide the optimal 'goods and services' come out on top. In other words, Christian victory was inevitable. Nevertheless, in China you have a scenario where Christian was introduced in the 7th century, and went extinct (before reappearing twice, first in the 12th century with the Mongol invasion, and second with the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century). In South Asia there have been long resident Christian communities in Kerala, but penetration of exclusive monotheisms like Islam which had elite support was generally limited (about 1/3 of South Asians are Muslim) as the Hindu substrate managed to maintain dominance.

In The Fall of the Roman Empire Peter Heather asserts that The Battle of Teutoburg Forest was not the event which prevented Roman expansion into Germania, rather, the lack of a taxable population base with cities which one could hold was the crucial long term factor. Germanicus' subsequent successful campaigns in Germany attest to this. A good analogy might be the lack of interest in the Pictish country of Scotland, even though Agricola came and conquered throughout the land (many Roman commentators long contended that Britain was conquered for the glory of Claudius and no other reason).