The University We Need: Reforming American Higher Education is a funny book. The author, Warren Treadgold, is someone I know from his magisterial A History of the Byzantine State and Society. One of the complaints about A History of the Byzantine State and Society is that it’s too dry and academic. The University We Need is not dry at all, unless you are referring to the mordant wit on display.
Since I’ll be reviewing The University We Need for NRO I won’t say much more than that, except that Treadgold is most definitely in a “gives no fucks” mood. Yes, he attacks administrators as you’d expect, but he also slams Hillsdale, the professoriate, and students. He also has opinions about cafeteria food!
Italy’s 5 Star, League Reach Deal to Govern Nation. This sort of Left-Right hybrid to me illustrates that we’re in a “crisis of capitalism,” or more precisely a crisis of Western civilization. Italian total fertility rate is ~1.40. The rest is commentary.
Localizing and classifying adaptive targets with trend filtered regression. In Who We Are David Reich talks about his ambition to create a sort of encyclopedia of human genomic history. But once that history is established, we’ll need to move on to understanding selection. This preprint looks like it will be important.
23andMe Hits Ancestry.com With Patent Suit Over DNA Kit. One thing they are doing is suing over notifying about identity-by-descent. The “non-obvious” reason for awarding the patent is apparently the notification.
Intellectual property is a joke. But it’s also big business.
This week on the podcast we talked about the grandmother hypothesis with Kristen Hawkes. I should have been more aggressive in jumping in to get her to clarify what “life history theory” was. Live and learn.
We are now at 20 podcasts. If you can, please subscribe with iTunes or Stitcher. Also rate us highly and leave positive views if you can! It looks like we’ll get to 100 in iTunes soon, at which point I’ll stop pestering, though we’re only at 6 reviews on Stichter.
Carl Zimmer’s podcast has been recorded already, but won’t be dropped until close to when She Has Her Mother’s Laugh is published. We’re also recording a podcast with Patrick Wyman of Tides of History this week. This should be “evergreen”, at least on the scale of a year, so expect that in June or later. It will be nice to have a historian on.
The next few weeks we’re going to go it alone, covering a few topics Spencer and I are both interested in. It’s a good change of pace. We’ve got some ideas for what we’re going to talk about in June too. I think it is most definitely important to follow-up on the Indo-Aryan podcast, which we actually recorded in July of 2017, though we didn’t drop it until 2018.
There was an interesting fiasco on Twitter recently where some semi-prominent people asserted that Andrew Sullivan was against gay marriage. This is really bizarre because Sullivan was a major proponent of the idea before it was ever mainstream, and for a period also got resistance from the more radical anti-bourgeois faction of the gay rights movement.
Anyway, the mistaken tweets occurred because Sullivan is transforming into a hate-figure on the far left, and a lot of people on Twitter are stupid and ignorant, so they just inferred facts from their theory that Sullivan is right-wing. Some of these people retracted the falsehood grudgingly. But as usual, you can see that retweets and likes are/were more evident on the original tweet.
The point is repeating all this is is how “knowledge” is created now. If you have a prominent Twitter account it’s trivial to inject falsehoods into the debate. I’ve seen people doing this pretty consciously several times (this is really common in anonymous/pseudo accounts).
At the Brown Pundits weblog, I put up a post on this strange Slate piece on how the 1990s TV show Friends is contributing to sexism and homophobia in India. Though ostensibly about India, and narrated by an immigrant from India, the piece is about a preoccupation within American culture in 2018.
A publication like Slate is going to get a lot of clicks if they post something about misogyny and homophobia in Friends, but how to make it novel? Pretend it’s actually about India! To me, this is to journalism what science fantasy is to science fiction. Even the editor of this piece must have known it was hilarious bullshit, but they were also aware that in 2018 this is what Slate readers want.
Societies and cultures in relative decline and stagnation tend to undergo a period of involution. Narcissism writ-large.
I also wrote a post on Brown Pundits on why India did not become mostly Muslim. Need to think a lot more on this. Not all the comments were dumb. I wish more people would know more things.
Reading the coalescent chapter in Molecular Population Genetics, and it’s amusing to observe that the coalscent’s big advantage over forward-simulations in terms of computational horsepower needed isn’t really that big of a deal today. Even a few years back this was a huge issue. This is like in phylogenetics where everyone runs Bayesian stuff, when 15 years ago people were having a hard time imaging max-likelihood!
While reading Molecular Population Genetics I keep hearing the author’s voice in my head. I think this has to do with the fact that I knew the author before I read his book. This didn’t happen when I read She Has Her Mother’s Laugh because I had read Carl Zimmer before I got to know Carl in person. At least that’s my theory (The 10,000 Year Explosion was all in Greg Cochran’s voice).
Reading too much about Rome. So Carthage Must Be Destroyed is in the stack.
A systematic assessment of ‘Axial Age’ proposals using global comparative historical evidence. The argument here is that the “Axial Age” wasn’t a singular time period, but a continous event that spanned thousands of years. I think this is probably right, though “ages” are conceptually useful mental bookkeeping. This is similar to the idea that age cohorts are a real thing, but generations are not.
You know that classic Hart & Risley claim that poor kids are exposed to 30 million fewer words than middle class kids by age 3? Looks like it’s wildly inflated. https://t.co/U4KePPz0XJ
— Thad Domina (@ThadDomina) May 11, 2018
I need to set aside a day to catch up on the South Asian Genotype Project (SAGP). Also, figure out which plugin is causing the 500 errors.