Open Thread, 07/29/2018

Reading Imperial China 900–1800 it is interesting how the Khitan seem to have chosen to develop a written script that was not based on that of the Chinese, to resist the cultural assimilation that would have inevitably occurred. Through that choice they reduced their short-term efficiency, but probably enabled their long-term persistence as a people. Certainly the Khitan seem to have remained less Sinicized on the eve of Jurchen conquest than the Jurchen were on the eve of the Mongol conquest (though the Jurchen conquered North China, so they had a bigger demographic imbalance). That the Khitan continued their nomadic ways is clear as they managed to reassemble to the west and found the Qara-Khitai. The Manchu descendants of the Jurchen who conquered China seem to have been thoroughly Sinicized after a few centuries as well.

GET20 still gets your 20% off

DNAGeeks going “full nerd”. If you don’t know why UGA is funny, learn some genetics! Trust me, it’s good for you. Look how I turned out. (also, shout out to the Poles who bought an R1a t-shirt!)

Last Friday for whatever reason I watched Mission Impossible: Fallout. I don’t really watch films except for Marvel and DCEU stuff (I need to keep up with the culture). But I was in the mood, and I hadn’t watched a Mission Impossible since the 1996 one. Apparently Tom Cruise is really into parkour. And though Cruise has aged really well, so has Michelle Monaghan. At least Ving Rhames is still around.

I used to listen to Chapo Trap House now and then. Still do now and then. There is some stuff I agree with, some stuff I don’t agree with that I think needs to be said, and, they are often kind of funny. But unless you are on the same political wavelength I think they do get a little stale, because they’ve got an agenda, and they need to keep revisiting the same themes. It’s a feature, not a bug.

But listen below where they contextualize the “supposed crimes” of Communism:

The issue isn’t that avowed socialists are engaging in whataboutism in relation to Communism. That’s kind of what I expect. It’s that Chapo Trap House is still part of the respectable broader Left to center-Left cultural Zeitgeist. And they’re contextualizing literal Communism.

This is the sort of stuff that pisses conservatives off whenever we point out double-standards of respectability of radical Left politics as opposed to the radical Right. If someone contextualized Nazism as a reaction to Versailles and hyper-inflation they’d be de-platformed in a second. Meanwhile, Chapo pulls in $100,000 per month on Patreon.

A special treat this week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Google Play). We talked with James Lee, lead author of Gene discovery and polygenic prediction from a genome-wide association study of educational attainment in 1.1 million individuals. In the next few months, we have at least one more interview relating to behavior genomics work. This is a field where stuff is happening.

Though I hope ancient DNA will start popping back up in the fall. The rest of the world needs to be explored.

Big Pharma Would Like Your DNA: 23andMe’s $300 million deal with GlaxoSmithKline is just the tip of the iceberg. This was always the plan.

Out of Africa by spontaneous migration waves. Not sure if I buy this model, but we’re at more model-building stage.

A Large Body of Water on Mars Is Detected, Raising the Potential for Alien Life. This is cool.

Episode 856: Yes In My Backyard. I relate to the NIMBY activist. It’s a generational and local vs. migrant issue. Not a typical class one.

I’ve been asked to submit a chapter on a book on Indian genetics, primarily relating to the “Aryan question.” I’ve gotten most of it written, but it’s really annoying to have to wait until the Rakhigarhi preprint/paper is out. The general finding will be no surprise to a reader of this weblog. Don’t think it will be published in the USA. Perhaps I’ll post the draft at some point if the copyright allows.

Replicability of introgression under linked, polygenic selection. “Our work suggests that even highly replicable substitutions may be associated with a range of selective effects, which makes it challenging to fine map the causal loci that underlie polygenic adaptation.”

18 thoughts on “Open Thread, 07/29/2018

  1. The nice thing about the Mission: Impossible movies is that you don’t need to remember anything about the prior movies to enjoy them. I had literally forgotten everything about the preceding one of these, and I could still enjoy the film even though it was full of references to it.

    Ugh, that Christman rant. The famine example especially galls me – people don’t blame capitalism for the Indian famine but blame the Great Leap Forward and Holodomor famines on Communist China and the Soviet Union because the latter were done explicitly as part of their political-economic programs. And no, “mass famine” is not inherently part of industrialization – it wasn’t in Great Britain or elsewhere.

    Although my favorite thing to point out is that in the amount of time the Soviet Union industrialized (2-3 decades), other countries in Europe industrialized in the late 19th century/early 20th century under mixed capitalist economies with far greater success. IIRC, someone looked at the growth rate of Imperial Russia before the 1917 revolutions with the Soviet Union afterwards, and the Soviet growth trajectory wasn’t any noticeably better.

  2. re: development. yes. i’ve seen papers which argue that both russia and china basically set themselves back decades because of their experiment with communist command system.

  3. Watched MI Fallout yesterday. Surprised (and a little disappointed) that Jeremy Renner wasn’t cast (perhaps he got tired of the franchise?) I thought they were earmarking him to take over Cruise’s role.

    Do you think the Rakhigarhi paper is being politically vetted? Otherwise it’s hard to understand why the release date keeps getting pushed.

  4. One of the central ideas I recalled from Empires of the Silk Road was (is?) the amazing ability of Chinese culture to Sinicize outsiders, even when the Chinese themselves were not politically or militarily dominant. It seems to be a recurring theme throughout history.

  5. It’s embarassingly obvious that the Indus Valley paper is being straitjacketed for as long as needed until the ones behind it can find a way to spin their findings into a narrative that’s Hindutva approved. Science in non-White countries is always going to be suspect when it comes to their ethnic/racial backgrounds. You see such behavior in Egypt (see Zahi Hawess’ Anti-Western posturing and how he hindered research there from it) or China (see ridiculous claims of humanity originating there). We have piles of material to research in South Iraq yet little is done with it. Even in America you have “Native Americans” (agitators egged on by Lefties in faculty and other areas) protesting the use of remains in research even if only loosely their ancestor (see Kennewick Man).

    Some Westerners should have just got their hands on Indus Valley samples and took them to an museum.

  6. Watched a very few minutes of the El Chapo piece on contextualizing the ‘supposed crimes’ of Communism. That level of wilful ignorance is unendurable to me these days. I liked your point about what would happen to someone who attempted to contextualize Nazism in the same way. Although it might pass if the censors remembered that Nazism is only a variety of socialism and, therefore, worthy of absolution for its ‘supposed’ crimes. I think that secretly on the left the real unforgivable crime of the Nazis was never the murder of 6 million Jews, but the attack on the Soviet Union.

  7. “The issue isn’t that avowed socialists are engaging in whataboutism in relation to Communism. That’s kind of what I expect. It’s that Chapo Trap House is still part of the respectable broader Left to center-Left cultural Zeitgeist. And they’re contextualizing literal Communism.”

    This kind of asymmetry has me torn. OTOH I wish to see the shock and horror come down around things in the communist or “hard” socialist wheelhouse. The fact is these people have worthwhile things to say and perspectives to add. But we know they don’t tolerate equal insight from “facsists” (real or merely adjacent). So the question is: do we work to make communism taboo like fascism, or work to reduce taboos in general?

    A more concretely culture war analog is the James Gunn/Sarah Silverman flare-up. Should the right make the left shiver in its boots too, or should it take a general “chill pill” approach? My reptile brain says former; rational side says latter.

  8. Well there’s much more to the world than left vs. right and political strife. It’s easy to fall into a “total politics mindset” in which owning the [insert political enemy here] is paramount.

    I’d hate to see an overall diminishment of expression and an increased sense of social media paranoia merely for the goal of reducing the “expression gap” between left and right. In fact there’s something downright communist about that.

  9. What do you think are the best books on the topic of the Khitan people? Specifically the history of the Liao Dynasty.

  10. Have you considered selling kid/baby size haplotees? We got a boy child coming, gonna be a son of a N1c.

  11. What do you think are the best books on the topic of the Khitan people? Specifically the history of the Liao Dynasty.

    only read about the khitan as part of other works. i’ve actually read about the jurchen/manchu, but i think we have more about that for obv reasons.

  12. Liao became Western Liao aka Qara Khitai by conquering into Central Asia after their eviction from Manchuria by the Jurchen Jin dynasty, vassalizing the Karakhanids and defeating the Seljuk Turks.

    In Central Asia Western Liao apparently still used Chinese paper money:

    And this is unsurprising from a nomad dynasty:

    Though Western Liao’s tenure was relatively brief (~70 years), ended by the Mongols whose movement it presaged, the presence of a Chinese type administration then as well as earlier during the Tang led to the conflation of Central Asia with China in the Islamic world. And why Marco Polo goes to ‘Cathay’

  13. “A Large Body of Water on Mars Is Detected, Raising the Potential for Alien Life. This is cool.”

    This is so cool!!! I can’t wait for sci-fi spins related to all the bodies of water suddenly being discovered in our solar system. I actually remember a old sci-fi story, the name escapes me (it seemed like a older kids sci-fi story, maybe from the 50’s or 60’s) of underground bodies of water in Mars where a type of dolphin or whale like creature were discovered by humans when colonizing mars.
    Now with not only water, but OCEANs of water being discovered in both Jovian and Saturn moon systems, does anyone know of someone adapting these settings to a science fiction novel? There was a film a couple of years back call “Europa” with the District 9 actor, portraying a mission to explore possible life under the surface of the moon Europa life, done in a found footage mystery/horror style. Look forward to more!

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