Substack cometh, and lo it is good. (Pricing)

What should I blog about in the next two weeks?

Any thoughts/suggestions? Only thing off limits would be anything too personal. I already asked on Twitter and got some responses so no need to be redundant unless you want to add to the weight of a preference.

Also, now that I finished Reformations* I’m finally reading Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence front to back. But I have a lot of other Kindle books in the “stack”, and aside from those I’m going to tackle for personal/professional development (e.g., stuff on machine learning or Bayesian statistics) I have some latitude and am toying with listing books and giving readers some input in the arrangement/sequence.

* I’ll review the book at some point, but main quibble is that it was too heavy on ideas/theology, even though by the end the author admitted one should be cautious about focusing on this aspect.

17 thoughts on “What should I blog about in the next two weeks?

  1. I’m a little curious about your feelings on both the projected “automation crisis” and posthumanism in general. You have hinted from time to time you think that the facts on the ground in the coming age will sweep aside old ideologies, and I’m curious about what the finer points of your thoughts on this are.

  2. What do you think about engineered diseases and pandemics and the prospects thereof going forward?

  3. I’m going to go in a completely different direction than most of the recommendations.

    You’ve noted before that you’re not really a fiction reader, though with some exceptions for genre fiction (not criticizing, since I read genre fiction myself). In that respect your reading habits are sort of an inverse of my own, in that I don’t read much non-fiction and rely on bloggers like you as a sort of mediary for academic science and history books I should read but never actually get around to.

    Recently I inherited a set of Britannica’s Great Book series and just finished the highly flawed though interesting “The Western Canon” by Harold Bloom. It got me thinking. What do you think of the idea of a “Western Canon” of literature or “canonical” literature in general?

    A completely historically contingent phenomenon that relies on amanuensis from one generation of readers to the next? (e.g. “These are the important works, don’t forget them.”) Or is there a “there” actually “there”, in that there’s some sort of actual aesthetic or meaningful content within the fiction, plays and poetry that gets passed down, outside the weight history puts on it.

    Also, I’m a bit curious as to your thoughts on why the pentatonic scale in music seems so damn ingrained over such a wide swathe of humanity. It seems like the starting point for most mankind’s music with more complex scales coming later. Here’s a TED Talk sort of demonstrating it:

  4. Love to see a post about which human traits worth caring about are notable for having little or no hereditary component. It is all good and well to know what we cannot change, but it makes more sense to focus personally and as a parent on those things that aren’t genetically preordained.

  5. 1. What have you changed your mind on recently.
    2. On your reccomendation I have bought The Origin of Genome architecture; easily one of the best books I have ever read which completely changed my view of evolutionary processes. What are your thoughts on nonadaptive processes, neutral evolution etc
    3. Related to above; what are your thoughts on hip things like evolvability and multilevel selection?
    4. Cultural evolution

  6. Addendum

    5. Could you do a rundown of the main findings in population genetics for laymen? i.e. some surprising findings for me were the importance of genetic drift, the fact that conditional on fixation the time for a bad gene to fix is the same as a good gene, etc.

  7. Human genetic variation in comparison to others species: dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, chickens (?). Easier to get data from the pet species, but they have had considerable artificial selection, so comparison may be somewhat hard. Still, would be interesting I think. Are there any species with extremely wide ranges of habitats one can compare with? Maybe some bird species?

  8. Here’s a bit of a meta-question for Razib on the subject of e-readers.

    Razib — you are a big Kindle fan, as mentioned in this post and elsewhere. I personally use a Kobo e-reader (much more popular in Canada — Kindle has very low market share here). For fiction or “all text” books it works well, but whenever there are figures (pictures, graphs, maps, etc.) it’s a disaster — they display far too small to be visible.

    It has to be a file format thing rather than a device thing, since my device has pretty good screen resolution (1440×1080).

    Do you have this problem on the Kindle, and if so, how do you cope?

  9. Some random topics I’d love to read your thoughts on:

    – a current assessment of the personal genomics industry and where you see it heading to in the near future
    – speculation on other human archaics that Sapiens might have interacted with
    – Chinese eugenics and its potential effects on global order
    – practical tips on how you manage juggling a family life, startup career, and blogging/research/reading. seriously man, how?! :-0

  10. 1. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. It seems a hypothesis that remains ‘undead’. Have you addressed this elsewhere? Several handfuls of working academicians are publishing on it of late, has a new generation taken it up?

    2) gaining certain academic traction as a radical insight into who runneth over who. This theory may predominate in coming centuries.

    3) ‘Grey goo’ and lesser potential genesmithing amoks — are current safeguards sufficient?

    3)a) Defunding CDC..dumbest move evar?

    4) 3 billion+- people now have their own insta-printing press, fomenting a global Cambrian explosion of ‘ideologies/idiocies/beneficent-genius-connecting -of-one-or-millions’. Compare to Gutenberg catalysing Reformation, blood in the streets, ‘conscience’ redefined.

    5) Greatly enjoying and newly informed (and not infrequently mildly astonished) by ‘Albion’s Seed’. My first Razib-steered purchase, sorry for having neglected to purchase via your click-through, I pledge that future such buys will accrue to your piggybank!

    6) Compulsive daily Twitterpating diminishes a man.

    7) Alternate galactic-scale ‘life’ evolutions, (including non-carbon-based and whatnot)– are universal rules/formulae of change discernible as a mathematical proposition?

    7a) “Humans (okay, all non-aquatic life) are a vehicle for seawater to colonize dry land.”… Who first said it? As in, hidden teleologic impulses and magical thinkings abound even inside hyper-rationalist ‘atheists’. What is “care?”. What is “meaning”?

  11. Well, if you have time and know something about it, I would appreciate if you write about what is known about population history of the (western)Balkans.

  12. What has happened to your posts from earlier 2017? When I try to find them, for instance I cannot locate them. This link gives only the headline, no content. When I search on the main words in the post & include I don’t turn up anything if I include your name, and I turn up many posts by others but not by you if I don’t include your name. If I include gnxp instead of feedburner or your name, I get plenty of older posts, but again not this one.

  13. (e.g. “These are the important works, don’t forget them.”) Or is there a “there” actually “there”, in that there’s some sort of actual aesthetic or meaningful content within the fiction, plays and poetry that gets passed down, outside the weight history puts on it.

    i think there is a there, but that it’s also contingent. to me that there is a canon is more important than what the canon is, assuming a normal level of quality control.

  14. 1) that’s the RSS feed. so without full entries lots of stuff is missing

    2) ron gave me mysql tables for my old blogs. pretty much all my content. i have the tables imported to mysql. just need to merge them into the new tables. soon.

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