« March 02, 2003 - March 08, 2003 | Main | March 16, 2003 - March 22, 2003 »

March 15, 2003

Flu & world population

OK, will be working tomorrow, so you should check out these excellent Future Pundit posts, first on why demographic predictions are wrong (I hope he's right on this one!) and second a little perspective on the "flu" that's going around.

Posted by razib at 09:40 PM | | TrackBack

Who were the Greeks?

Richard Poe pointed me this site on Greek (Hellenic) anthropology run by Dienekes Pontikos, I'm browsing it right now.....

Posted by razib at 05:11 PM | | TrackBack

Mystery "flu"
Posted by razib at 04:56 PM | | TrackBack

Linguistic Question

I remember as a kid back in the 1980s reading about speculation that the official European languages in many African countries would replace the hundreds of indigenous tongues after a few generations. Does anyone know if this is happening?

Posted by razib at 12:13 AM | | TrackBack

March 14, 2003

The Scots

This week I read the book How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It. Well, the British title, The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots' Invention of the Modern World, is more appropriate. A more accurate one might have been How Scots invented more about the modern world than you thought. But the book is only a little over 300 pages-so I would recommend it. The thing that I noted most is that it illustrates the Anglospheric tension between the axiomatic & organic-the Scottish espousal of universal values that seemed to have evolved out of historically conditioned particularisms. Though to give full disclosure, I am a big fan of David Hume-so no surprise that this book was a pleasure to read for me (though it gives more ink to Adam Smith).

Posted by razib at 11:53 PM | | TrackBack

Brown sugar banned!?!?!

The Chinese government has banned brown sugar. My friend who emailed me about this told me that on NPR they made it clear that the interracial sexual implications were an important reason for its censor. He also told me that a Leftist friend of his refused to believe that the Chinese would do something like this-yes, I'm sure as people of color it is only the result of white male oppression and hegemonic behavior that has driven them to this....

Posted by razib at 01:10 PM | | TrackBack


We'll give Iraq 1 week....
We'll give Iraq 1 day....
We'll give Iraq 1 hour....
We'll give Iraq 1 minute....
We'll give Iraq 1 second....
We'll give Iraq 1 millsecond....
We'll give Iraq 1 nanosecond....
We'll give Iraq .1 nanoseconds....
We'll give Iraq .01 nanoseconds....

Am I the only one that feels this way??? I'm not a big hawk-just get this out of the news! Sure as hell isn't good advertisement for the foreign service is it? Diplomacy is bbbooorrriiinnngggg....

Posted by razib at 01:08 AM | | TrackBack

March 13, 2003

Mixing it up

More ummarried couples are mixed-race says a new CENSUS report. Here you can see the original report and its data tables.

Update: Steve Sailer has an article up titled Interracial Marriage Gap Grows. One thing about the lack of Asian men married to white women-I think that the percentages would be even more lopsided if South Asians and Filipinos were not included in this, as my anecdotal experience is that both these groups have a reasonable sex balance compared to the Japanese/Chinese/Koreans.

Also, Mixed Asian has some posts on the issue.

Posted by razib at 08:05 PM | | TrackBack

Group evolutionary strategies, etc

Well, the comments about "group evolutionary strategies" led me to think a little. I don't think this is a new idea, but what are the effects, if it's a valid hypothesis, on welfare states?

In other words, welfare states do their best(?) in countries like Sweden, it seems, where the population is nearly ethnically homogenous. They don't do well in Brazil or the USA, where it isn't. One ethnic group (in the US, European-descended whites) don't want to "spend their money on blacks" for example. For those who would bring up Switzerland as a multi-ethnic welfare state, I don't think their welfare system is as extensive as Sweden or even neighboring Germany's. (correct me if I'm wrong)

Again, I don't think this is new, but it is one social hypothesis that we can actually see tested, I think. Europe is now importing huge numbers of legal and illegal immigrants from South Asia, the MidEast, and Africa. Many of these immigrants are on welfare. Now, even politicians like Schroeder are talking about reducing welfare. Why now? Is the economy THAT much worse than the malaise of the '70's? or '30's?

I wonder if it's because native German, French or Dutch citizens don't want their huge tax bills going to the "other."

Just some musings. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Posted by david at 11:51 AM | | TrackBack

March 12, 2003

Fatty yellow peril?

This title: Clustering in Cities, Asians Are Becoming Obese-made me giggle-I don't really know why. There is mention in the article of the simulteanous problem of malnutrition and obesity because of class differences. My suggestion is to cart in hungry kids from the rural areas and have them hang out at McDonald's and allow them to scarf down any extra fries from "super-sized" meals any overweight customers purchase....

Posted by razib at 09:29 PM | | TrackBack

March 11, 2003

Are you white enough?

One of the things I've often mentioned is that I have an account at Stormfront.org (the neo-Nazi sympathetic "premier" white nationalist site) and enjoy watching the war of words between broad-church racialists (who would include phenotypically compatible non-European Caucasians in the movement) and narrow-church racialists (the most extreme of which limit the volk to Germanic peoples). Generally, they seem to end in accusations of homosexuality & requests for photographs to confirm that the other persons in the debate is a Jew (you see, in this case, Godwin's Rule will not apply, for obvious reasons!). But for a more tempered and measured debate in this vein (this between narrow-church and middle-church factions), see this debate in The Occidental Quarterly:

First, Richard McCullough's The Ethnic Gap presents the narrow-church Nordish agenda. Michael Reinzi responds with The Reality Gap & Tristan Torriani with McCulloch, Nordishism & Enlightened White Separatism. There are interesting points on both sides-but I think the key problem is that there isn't a sharp demarcation line for who exactly is white-so those expelled from the magic circle of racial purity but just on the other side of the fence are the loudest in their protests. Another thing I have noticed, and both southern European writers (by extraction) exhibit this, is to contrast themselves with those who are further out from the idealized form of the race which they wish to identify with-in this case, one of the writers attacks Persians as being unlike the peoples of the Mediterranean in physique and coloring. This is ironic because on Stormfront Persians & Turks do the same to Arabs, while no doubt an Arab "white racialist" would disparage Indians & Ethiopians.

Posted by razib at 10:47 PM | | TrackBack

Russian students diversify a black college

This article in The New York Times is worth a close read, it's about Russians who enroll at Alcorn State, a historically black college in Mississipi.

Posted by razib at 10:30 PM | | TrackBack

Census Data online

Zack Ajmal (the non-employed half of Zack & Amber) has a good post on the Census Website. I worked for the Census as a clerk my last term in college (was only taking one class)-there are a lot of people with "Cheroky" ancestry out there....

Posted by razib at 05:42 PM | | TrackBack

Stomach ulcers and human migration

Saw this article on the varieties (lines) of stomach ulcer bacteria that different human populations have. Pretty interesting-and another data point that we can use to form a picture of the relationship between varied human groups. Thanks to Human Races for the link....

Posted by razib at 05:19 PM | | TrackBack

Brown Libertarians?

There was a comment on the message board about the prevelance of brown libertarians. There was a contrast with China. Well-since no one pointed it out explicitly, look at the contrast between China & India (used in the pre-partition context). China is a monoracial (ideologically at least) nation-civilization where organizational unity has been the norm and systematic legalism has a negative historical reputation (Legalism) as opposed to personal rule. India is a multiracial (ideologically via caste and language) civilization where unity has been the exception to the rule, and in the past 1,000 years "unity" has usually been externally imposed (the height of the Dehli Sultanate & the end of the Mughal period under Aurangzeb as well as the British Raj). In India, decentralization and unity via interlinked structures of class, caste and religion that have axiomatic foundations as well as organic histories have a long history because of the lack of a strong state. Libertarians tend to favor "civil society" in lieu of government. In contrast, the central government in China has always been suspicious of civil society-religious orders, clans and secret societies, because it sees them as alternative power-structures that might threaten the central grovernment. Of course, the Chinese look toward their inter-dynastic non-unitary periods as times of chaos so anything that dimishes central power and encourages centrifigal tendecies are viewed through that lens. South Asians are probably less amenable to hegemonic rule by a strong state because that state will tend to be dominated by another ethno-religious group, and they would rather have power delegated to the family or village.

Posted by razib at 03:11 PM | | TrackBack

PoMo Right?

Lewis Charles Murtaugh is talking about the "Post Modern Right". See here for an earlier reference. Charlie seems to indicate that Post Modern Rightists are non-religious and conservative. That is pretty much me, but anyone who reads this blog knows that no friend of Post Modernism am I....

Posted by razib at 03:00 PM | | TrackBack

Man Makes Himself (with a little help from ice)

Vinod tells me there is a documentary on the Discovery Channel this weekend about how the Ice Age shaped human evolution. Reminds me a lot of William H. Calvin's work. When I first read one of his books on evolutionary biology about 7 years ago, I was a bit disturbed by his idea that Europe served as a cauldron in which humanity was tempered and that we migrated back to Africa several times. Of course, I am a bit more open to controversial ideas that might not dovetail so well with the axiom of equality nowadays. And as some of you might know, he indicated in his most recent book that he finds human biodiversity plausible. Don't hold your breath that that sort of material will slip by the censors.....

Posted by razib at 01:35 AM | | TrackBack

March 09, 2003

Baby do you hear me?

Is a fetus conscious? Interesting question. My acceptance of abortion isn't based on "choice" as much as I don't believe that the first trimester fetus is a human being with any level of sapience. My misgivings about 2nd & 3rd trimester abortions revolve around this. This article seems to leave 1st trimester abortions (over 90%) alone-but introduces some doubts into the second trimester variety. If there are non-trivial doubts, that is a serious consideration. Finally, as far as consciousness, one thing they didn't mention is that many human beings remember that it was around 3 or 4 that they became self-aware, that "memories" are imprinted. I can tell you how I viewed the world at 4 years, but not at 4 months.

Posted by razib at 08:21 PM | | TrackBack

CoffeeBlog makes the Best of Blogs list at MSNBC!!

CoffeeBlog makes the Best of Blogs list at MSNBC!!

Posted by grady at 06:27 PM | | TrackBack

Thanks from Above

Alright, so maybe after getting praise from JAMA it shouldn't matter much what some kid on some suspicious-looking blog has to say; nevertheless Judith Rich Harris sent me a good natured Email on Tuesday, in response to last week's post, (the link to which I passed to her webmaster):

Dear Jason Malloy,

Thank you so much for your kind words, and thank you for defending me against "Jerome Kagan's dishonest arguments." You might be interested in a recent article in the Boston Globe about Kagan; I am appending it below.

I'm still not certain whether Kagan's arguments in the Slate debate were dishonest or simply inept. He is not ... shall we say? ... the sharpest tool in the shed.

In any case, whether he admits it or not, Kagan and I do not really disagree about the genetics of personality and behavior. Our disagreement has to do with how the *environment* influences personality and behavior. And there he has been quite consistent over the years: in spite of the fact that there is very little evidence to support his position, he continues to believe strongly in the power of parental influence.

Best wishes,
Judith Rich Harris

Hah...the 'tool in the shed' line is hilarious. I guess it's hard to be so profoundly focused on what makes children tick w/o having at least some of that liberated whimsy rub-off on you.

Posted by Jason Malloy at 02:52 PM | | TrackBack

Education gap as seen by an educator

Highered Intelligence wrote some time back about the achievement gap, and I only bring it up again for this quote:

ACHIEVEMENT GAP: Is anyone even remotely surprised by this anymore? Enough is enough. I do not wish for newspapers to carry headlines reading "Study suggests black students scoring lower in college." Everyone with eyes and a brain can tell that already. What I want to see is "Researchers find solution to achievement gap." Hell, I'd settle for researchers working on a solution.
He goes on to make fun of people, saying that most of them are "illogical buffoons who wouldn't know a necessary from a contingent if it came up and bit them in the ass", but then makes a truly excellent, if somewhat self-contradictory point:
And this is where the problem lies. Racism is, in great part, the result of a flawed heuristical process. That heuristical process starts off with the mind looking at a scene it sees, or looking at headlines that say "Study suggests black students scoring lower in college," and saying "Ah ha... there's something significant here." Let me be perfectly clear in what I believe here so that no one can misunderstand me: we won't change the way the brain works by offering competing data if that data isn't backed up by hard evidence. People are too smart.
Obviously someone who knows the difference between necessary and contingent conditions also knows the difference between data and evidence, so I'm going to guess he meant to write "if that data doesn't provide hard evidence" or maybe "offering competing theories unless those theories are backed up by data". At any rate, the best part is next:
It won't help to put a bunch of uneducated dark-skinned people into a University and hope that the mere sight of them will eliminate racism. In order to escape the heuristical trap on the empirical side, we have to have actual parity. And that's where affirmative action goes wrong. What's required is that we attack the heuristical trap FOR ITS FLAWS. And the flaw is the illogical (but perfectly understandable) line that gets drawn between skin color and poverty, or skin color and academic achievment. We need to teach people to recognize that skin color isn't useful as a proxy for anything except skin color, precisely because the only reason that it turns out to be truly significant is because people expect it to be. In other words, it's a house of cards waiting to collapse.
So here's a guy who has a good enough analytical mind to understand and speak directly about some of the issues we try to discuss here. He unfortunately hasn't read beyond educational journals into the science (or he might modify those last two, but not three sentences), but I really feel like he would be capable of conducting a much higher quality discussion than some(MacDiva?) who opine on the subject.

Posted by razib at 02:29 PM | | TrackBack