The first open thread of 2020. Going into the 2020s, the third decade of this blog. With the death of Qasem Soleimani I feel like this is 2002-2004 again, when everyone was opining on the Middle East. Most people clearly had no idea what they were talking about. That included me, though to be frank with hindsight it’s clear I knew a lot more than most people (very sad observation).
Robert Pape’s Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism doesn’t explain everything. The “rational actor” model has serious limitations. But it’s the first-pass that is always necessary as you add more parameters to your model. Too often in the 2000s people took the “Lord of the Rings” style frames of “good vs. evil” literally.
Gong to read Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism in 2020. Not too many “indigenist” viewpoints accessible in English that aren’t kind of stupid. Basically the same intellectual level of a lot of evangelical Protestant apologetics. I’m looking for the English-language version of Indian Alvin Plantinga.
Gertrude Himmelfarb, Historian Who Defended Victorian Virtues, Dies at 97. As someone in early middle age, I appreciate the insights of people who maintain their faculties into their 90s.
Is there really Basal Eurasian, and or Iranian/Caucasus-related ancestry in Anatolia’s first hunters and farmers? Maybe not… This is an “in-the-weeds” weblog. Questions more important than answers.
Build Your Own Intellectual Oasis. I’ve read cut back on replying to people on Twitter. I still tweet now and then and lurk, but notice that I lurk less when I don’t have engagement. I’m not cancelling my WSJ subscriptions just yet, but I’m not a well-off retired person.
Going to try and get to Wizard and the Prophet this year.
Don’t want to be a pest, but the second volume of Lynch & Walsh is available in ebook format. I know most people here are not pop-gen people, but a few pop-gen books here and there won’t hurt you.
Peter Turchin on Phylogenetics of Religion.
Does Germany’s Vaunted Car Industry Have Long to Live? The 2020s might not be stable for export-oriented economies.
China’s gene-editing ‘Frankenstein’ jailed for three years in modified baby case. To be honest, seems like a slap on the wrist.
A note on Steppe Maykop. I am not entirely convinced by anyone on these topics.
On podcast recommendations, check out The Realignment.