Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World is an interesting book because it’s more about the nature of religion in the ancient world than unbelief. Much of the text is preoccupied with the transition that occurred with Christianity’s dominance in the West. Probably good to pair with The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, A.D. 200-1000.
No Invasion Or Migration, But Interaction: What This New Genetic Study Suggests About Prehistoric India. I heard the usage of the word “interaction” was being pushed by some Indian researchers as early as a year ago. It’s less provocative than the term “invasion” and perhaps even “migration.” But a word is a word. Science is not mathematics or religion, where terminology is substance.
The piece linked here puts an incorrect gloss on the research it’s reporting on in my opinion. It is highly likely that about 50% of the ancestral contribution to the population of the Indian subcontinent today was not resident within the Indian subcontinent before 10,000 years ago. We’ll see as more ancient DNA comes out.
The first Indians. An extract from a new book to be published in India. I have a review written for India Today (not online yet). To my surprise, it’s already selling on Amazon, Early Indians : The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From. As per the subhead, it is clearly geared toward a subcontinental audience.
Inside Facebook’s Secret Rulebook for Global Political Speech. This has been reported before. But it’s finally entering the mainstream because I think the mainstream realizes that there is no longer any mainstream that’s controllable by the Western establishment. In the 1990s some non-Western governments, such as Saudi Arabia, made the argument for enforcing much stricter censorship on the internet. Instead, American standards generally won out, though there were attempts to create regional gardens. Ironically (or not), it is a private American corporation which is enforcing the “lowest common denominator” non-offensive speech, albeit haphazardly and capriciously.
1) Some anti-war conservatives were observing issues with how we recruit our military back in the 2000s when neocon adventures were at high tide. These are the type of people who might know the implications of the Marian reforms in recruitment in the late Republic, and how it empowered generals. Not sure Matt Yglesias is part of that set, though perhaps I’m wrong.
2) Most “centrist” types are usually anti-“identity politics” liberals or moderates who “come from the Left.” That’s why the issues in academia loom large and those in the military don’t. They don’t know many people in the military, just like much of the intelligentsia.
3) The Left dominates the academy, while the Right is the conventional orientation of the American officer corps. Social liberals are probably somewhat more intelligent and intellectual than social conservatives. Social conservatives are probably somewhat more courageous and patriotic than social liberals. But the difference is not enough to account for the disproportionate representation across the professional groups. This is probably a matter of self-selection and sorting.
If you read one Nassim Nicholas Taleb book I would suggest Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets. There was a big thing on Twitter about Taleb’s opinions on IQ. Since he blocks me I saw it through other parties. Someone close to Taleb and myself told me he seems to express himself in the most opaque and disagreeable way possible on Twitter. Sounds right.
He was probably more right than wrong in his disagreement with Mary Beard (again, he blocks me, so hard to know), but because of his online persona, few geneticists would defend him (I did after a fashion). But I knew I was going to be blocked by him because we have lots of mutual followers, and they kept asking me his opinions on GMO. When I said I thought he was wrong and didn’t really know biology as well as he thought, of course, he called me a fucking moron and blocked me. Sorry, not gonna lie!
As for my other podcast, The Insight, very proud that we closed 2018 with 44 episodes total now! That’s not quite one a week, but it’s not that far off.
Amy Harmon of the NYT on Race & Genetics, Women in Science. If you enjoy listening to white liberals talk about racism and science. Since all white people are “racist” I guess it makes sense to have experts weigh in. They certainly are never shy about explaining racism to me.
David Frum mentioned offhand that in 2019 he is thinking about doing YouTube commentary on books, etc. My response is simple: in terms of data density, it’s written >>> audio > video (with obvious audio). But in terms of the nominal number of people you reach in a short period of time, it’s probably flipped. I have experience with all formats for what it’s worth.
Also, reflecting on my life and how I allocate time…and if whatever I’m doing here is “worth it to me,” I do want to give readers a heads up that I’m wondering about ways I can increase remuneration from this weblog beyond the trivial (e.g., some sort of gating for readers who follow me regularly).
Finally, this current domain has been active again for about a year now. Here are the top 10 posts of 2018:
– Why The Chinese Don’t Buy Deodorant
– Intercourse and Intelligence
– Making What Harvard Is About Transparent
– The Maturation Of The South Asian Genetic Landscape
– Traits of men who prefer breasts, booty, or legs
– Elizabeth Warren Carries Native American DNA
– The Great Genetic Map And History Of China
– The Origin Of The Ashkenazi Jews In Early Medieval Europe
– The Genome Of “Cheddar Man” Is About To Be Published
– White People Are Not Gods, They Bleed