Open Thread, 8/28/2016

21_SM_indian_ocean_2979858eAbout 2/3 of the way through The Ocean of Churn: How the Indian Ocean Shaped Human History by Sanjeev Sanyal. It’s a wide-ranging book which synthesizes diverse disciplinary threads. The big over-arching thesis seems to be that movement of peoples and ideas was far less unidirectional than we often tend to think and are told. Probably one of the major examples of this which I think has been somewhat misleading to many people has been the idea that migration out of Africa can be purely defined unidirectional migration in a series of stepwise events.

Human_migration_out_of_AfricaThat being said, there are the usual problems that occur when you synthesize diverse disciplines. Since I know a fair amount about the intersection of genetics and history I can say with great confidence that some of the genetics in the book is now outdated. The reason is that it relies on work that was published ~5 years ago. Also, there is the unfortunate reality that sometimes high-impact journals publish works that are almost certainly wrong. For example, Sanyal cites Genome-wide data substantiate Holocene gene flow from India to Australia. This paper is interesting, but it was clear to many that it was probably wrong almost immediately upon publication.

Longer review when I have time.

I need to read the paper closely. But the demographic-historical implications of this are pretty straightforward. (it’s open access)

G.E., the 124-Year-Old Software Start-Up. The story is interesting to me mostly because it illustrates how contingent how modern civilization is. There are so many people doing so many specialized things that we take for granted.

518EQMWHB0LForget “Earth-Like”—We’ll First Find Aliens on Eyeball Planets. M. J. Engh’s Wheel of Winds was set on one of these planets.


Ohana is a suite of software for analyzing population structure and admixture history using unsupervised learning methods. We construct statistical models to infer individual clustering from which we identify outliers for selection analyses.

It may be better than ADMIXTURE, but we’re reaching a point where “good-enough” tools are achieving “lock-in.”

Empirical assessment of published effect sizes and power in the recent cognitive neuroscience and psychology literature. No surprise.

Down in the valley, up on the ridge. On Melungeons.

Leon Hadar is now a contributor to Secular Right, Will Trump Usher the GOP’s Secular Age?

The crescent and the globe. I wrote this.

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