Open Thread, 11/26/2018

So Spencer and I talked to Antonio Regalado today for the podcast (Apple and Stitcher, should be live soon as I just pushed it). We talked way more about Brave New World than I was expecting. The engineering is moved further than I had realized.

Here are the show notes for the episode.

NASA Probe Lands Safely On Martian Surface.

The Siberian unicorn lived at the same time as modern humans.

Robust estimation of recent effective population size from number of independent origins in soft sweeps.

Fire and Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones is a quick read.

Historical contingency shapes adaptive radiation in Antarctic fishes.

The Trouble With White Women: An Interview With Kyla Schuller.

Meet Denny, the ancient mixed-heritage mystery girl.

A vast 4,000-year-old spatial pattern of termite mounds.

On the Nature of Patriarchy.

Alice Dreger’s Middle Finger: Sex, Gender and Unhelpful Hair-Splitting.

What the Cult of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Got Wrong. The Right loves Ginsburg.

Woman who inherited fatal illness to sue doctors in groundbreaking case.

I was raised as a Native American. Then a DNA test rocked my identity. Dad “passed” as Native American. He was black American and Chinese American.

Regular Exercise May Keep Your Body 30 Years ‘Younger’.

Worldwide phylogeography and history of wheat genetic diversity.

15 thoughts on “Open Thread, 11/26/2018

  1. “What the Cult of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Got Wrong.”

    Is that if a good little girl splashes a bucket of water on her, she will melt.

  2. I read the article about Deger. The guy who wrote it is an anthropology graduate student, which is its own punishment.

    What he does not understand is that gender theory, such as it is, is pure Kabbalah. A non Jewish misunderstanding of Kabbalah, but Kabbalah none the less.

    A strand of kabbalastic thinking is that God spoke the world into being, and mystical contemplation of the Hebrew Alphabet will reveal the secrets of creation.

    The gender theorists reject Genesis, but believe that language mediated “social structures” are reality. They therefore posit that biology is irrelevant and that gender, a feature of grammar, determines our behavior.

    I tend toward the sort of naive realism that accepts our material nature and that much of our thought and behavior is determined by biology. As a Jew I am interested in Kabbalah, but I think it can only be understood in the context of the Jewish religion in toto. I am interested the light Kabbalah sheds on Jewish theology. But, I take social theories based on Kabbalah no more seriously than I do Madonna Louise Ciccone.

  3. The best parts of Fire and Blood are the stuff with Alys Westhill once the Sun Chaser is built, and when Martin goes into “Lovecraftian Horror” mode with Septon Barth (you know what scene I’m talking about).

    The Right loves Ginsburg.

    No surprise there. She should have retired back in 2009, when she was 76 years old and Obama could have replaced her with another liberal justice (like Sotomayor). Or in 2014 at the very latest (when Senator Pat Leahy got over his bizarre obsession with the Blue Slip Rule in nominating Justices).

    Maybe she thought if John Paul Stevens could stick it out for 35 years on the Court, so could she. Ginsburg actually hasn’t been on the Court that long compared to some Justices – this is her 25th year on it. The recently retired Anthony Kennedy was on it for 30 years.

  4. “I was raised as a Native American. Then a DNA test rocked my identity. Dad “passed” as Native American. He was black American and Chinese American.”

    And you believed him. The dude says he is a “is a philosophy PhD candidate”. That is not a guarantee of veracity.

    He was never a member of an enrolled tribe. That should have been his first clue.

    Her father did what he thought he had to do to get out of a bad situation. He should forgive him and get on with his life.

  5. Just finished your podcast episode on taste and it brought to mind some funny stories from grad school. The group I was in had a constant stream of Japanese post-docs and visiting professors coming and going all the time. For many of them, it was their first time in the US, so there were some interesting cultural adjustments around food.

    On one occasion, a newly arrived Japanese post-doc went to the variety store / lunch counter (like many of us did) to get lunch to bring back to the break room. He later commented to us that he couldn’t believe how incredibly sweet American food is, and how we could stand to eat it all the time, he’d never get used to it, etc. We looked at his empty package and realized he had bought and eaten half an apple pie for lunch.

    On another occasion, an American colleague of mine was snacking on some cut-up pieces of red bell pepper she had brought from home. Another Japanese post-doc looked over in horror and couldn’t understand how someone could eat something so spicy “straight”. Apparently, sweet coloured bell peppers were not part of his culinary lexicon. I later learned that they are a very, very recent introduction to Japan.

    I distinctly remember one new Japanese visiting professor who, seeing all the grad students heading to the on-campus variety store / sandwich counter to grab lunch, decided to do the same. While everyone else got subs or pizza slices, he picked something else out of the refrigerator case and brought it back to our lab’s break room to eat. Sometime later he struck up a conversation and couldn’t

  6. Hey Joe Q, my mom knew a Japanese guy (post Doc) who stated that he couldn’t believe how cheap meat was in the U.S. Turns out that he was eating ALPO.

  7. “I was raised as a Native American. Then a DNA test rocked my identity”

    That was hard to read without banging my head off my desk periodically.

    Also “Denny”, “The Trouble With White Women” and the “Nature of the Patriarchy”. Are you trying to punish us?

  8. “(ok, only version i’ve ever read ”

    There is a film adaptation of The Mahabharata by Peter Brooks from 1989 and it’s quite interesting.

  9. (do wonder if they tested old white ppl for how loudly and slowly they talk to certain minorities 🙂

    Am I wrong in thinking that there may be a stereotype that seems to insist that “white people” should be more adept (as opposed to non-whites) at recognizing and limiting the influence of stereotypes on their thinking ?

  10. I thought that was an excellent and beautifully written piece; it deserves a lot more prominence, because it seems to me that most people still don’t intuitively get this. NYT should be kicking themselves for denying themselves pieces like that.


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