Substack cometh, and lo it is good. (Pricing)

Open Thread – 08/01/2021 – GNXP

Patrick Wyman’s The Verge is out. I quite like it. And that’s pretty clear in my review for National Review, Europe on the Verge of a Revolutionary Breakthrough. I assume the main gripe someone might have is Patrick is too materialist. But if he covered all the bases the book would get out of control.

I talked to Patrick for over an hour for my podcast.

I have a review in UnHerd, Do genes determine intelligence? Both conservatives and liberals are ignoring the realities of biology. I didn’t pick the title. My review is on K. Paige Harden’s book to come out in September, The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality. On the whole, it’s a worthwhile effort. To be frank I had some pointed critiques that ended up on the cutting room floor (the initial draft was 4,500 words).

Finally, also have a review of Charles Murray’s book in Quillette. I ended up reviewing the book because Quillette had a hard time finding anyone who would be willing to review it.

Are Syrian Jews Arabs?.

The omnigenic model and polygenic prediction of complex traits.

Modelling the spatiotemporal spread of beneficial alleles using ancient genomes.

I ask this now and then: can you please review positively my podcast? (I notice someone negatively reviewed it because I “platformed” Charles Murray)

The genetic origin of Daunians and the Pan-Mediterranean southern Italian Iron Age context.

More Covid Mysteries – There’s much to learn about how the virus spreads.

Determining the stability of genome-wide factors in BMI between ages 40 to 69 years.

Precision Autism: Genomic Stratification of Disorders Making Up the Broad Spectrum May Demystify its “Epidemic Rates”.

42 thoughts on “Open Thread – 08/01/2021 – GNXP

  1. The story about Beowulf in the last OT, uncovered the enormous extent of newer European history falsifications and one of major history hoaxes. Goths are at the centre of these fabrications. Geneticists are still out, and we are waiting for their verdict if they were Germans or Slavics (Serbs). Because they hide this information, we have the enormous industry built on false foundations and a very strong political push to preserve the present status quo. The story about Goths is used as the justification for the expansion on the east (‘drang nach osten’). Sometimes, it sounds humorous as in the case of elusive so-called ‘east Germanic tribes’. I wonder if some common-sense Expressionist (prince E?) would rise his/her head above the toadstool and say – stop treating me as a mushroom! (=keeping me in a dark and feed with shit). Speaking about humour, I cited Wiki’s reference of famous linguist who found that Beowulf means ‘bee-hunter’ (and deducting from this something as a ‘bear’). Amazing! We found that it actually means ‘White Wolf’ (i.e. Beovuk) what is an old&modern Serbian surname.

    So, the fact is that Goths (Gothi, Geti=Serbs) lived on Swedish-Danish-Finish-German islands (Gotland, Oland, Rugen – for this will come a separate story, etc) and that Serbs in a retaliation destroyed the Danish main city, Hedeby, in 1066, what even Wiki noticed. The official (Jordan’s) story says that Goths originated in the island Gotland, sailed over ocean(?) to Europe where conducted so many miracles (some other time about this). This story, Jordan allegedly took from the Roman Senator Kasiodor, but, (surprise!) his writing was neither preserved nor anyone has ever seen.

    Matti Klinge, a Finish archaeologist and a top expert for Baltic region found that stone engravements in Gotland depict warriors from Homerian (here we go!) epics with spikes on their helmets which were adopted by Baltic Serbs (e.g. Prussian helmets from the 1st WW).

    What about Gothic language? Wiki says that this language is extinct although they had a kingdom in Spain btw the 4-7th c.AC. Isn’t this strange? Btw, there are also some other ‘extinct’ languages spoken by dozens of Roman Emperors!? But, from other side, Wiki says that the Bible was translated to the Gothic language in 520 AC, as ordered by the Gothic king. It is called Silver Codex considering that the most of letters were written in silver and some in gold.

    Isaac Vossius, who was a palace librarian of the Swedish Queen Christina, in the library in Uppsala, ‘found’(!) this Silver Codex in the 17th c.AC. It was later discovered that the technique of silver writing was invented in the 1650 AC and that was impossible that the translation originated in the 6thc.AC, so, that probably Voissus himself ordered this book. Based on this falsification, a mountain of textbooks on the Gothic language (very similar to the 17th c.AC Germanic language close to Danish and Swedish) was written. So, here we go, we have now a falsified Gothic language (in the same time allegedly extinct?) and none cares anymore, the train has gone.

    There is no end to stories about Goths. Just to finish with the etymology of their name. This is another humorous Wiki topic where they table many versions but avoid saying the meanings (‘bee-wolf’ hahaha). In brief, this name is taken from Greeks who (shhh-shhh, took it from ‘barbarians’ – Plato-Cratylus) making it GEA (‘geopolitics’) and the word came back to their originators, i.e. to Geti or Goths. The meaning is (famous linguists, pls listen!) – plowmen, peasants, villagers, those who work on land. This is understandable because they lived in a fertile Danube valley. Geti (i.e. Gothi) was a Greek name for Serbian tribes. After Goths, pushed by Huns, moved on the west, this name for Serbs was substituted by new one – Slavs.

  2. The Verge was definitely a good read.

    1. He almost wrote it kind of kind he writes his podcasts. Wondery has a House Style of history podcasts where they start with a “IRL” scene, then transition into talking about the history, then return with another such skit later on. My favorite was the deathbed scene of Jakob Fugger, which makes him seem like an Ebenezer Scrooge who never got visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

    2. The conclusion gets a lot more negative on these trends, focusing on how they enabled predation and suffering. “Written in blood” and all that, which I suppose is true.

  3. Read Wyman’s book this week, haven’t got to Murray’s yet. I enjoyed “Major Transitions in Evolution” Great Courses lectures. Very very clear and concise summary. Very easy to follow. John Hawkes does the last 4 lectures.
    Looking forward to Abigail Shrier’s book:) Also, “T” “The Fall of Rome And the End of Civilization” gonna try “Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Lose Weight, and Stay Healthy.”

  4. “A 2001 article Roope Uusitalo of the Government Institute for Economic Research in Finland reported that the score on mathematical ability section of the Finnish armed forces test (similar to an IQ test) was positively correlated with later self-employment (although the verbal score was negatively correlated).”

    No wonder most successful entrepreneurs or business people are those with STEM background and high spatial intelligence associated with larger brain. Funny, verbal ability is negatively correlated with business success. Wondering why?

    My impression is that verbal people are good at sophistry and convincing other people. A lot of convincing arguments are really fallacies which verbal people actually believe their own shit. They really do not know they are wrong (different from liars). When they apply their false belief into business, disasters gonna happen. Obviously God disagree with their verbal reasoning.

    Math is God’s language. If you are good at math, you are likely to find truth and make correct decision, not fallacy. If you are looking for business partner, staying away from verbal guys. But you can hire them as salespeople for your business.

  5. @Jason – I am sorry that you don’t want to be my friend. Apart from the obvious frustration there is obvious lack of knowledge. While patriotism and nationalism, defined as love toward own nation/people are positive concepts, the chauvinism, as hatred directed toward other nation, is a negative concept. What is a direction in my case? Unless you consider morons as a nation for themselves (actually, you could be right) and yourself belonging to this nation? There is not a single counter fact against a hundred of my assertions. Only one word from geneticists could crash my credibility (e.g. Goths – Germans or not?) but, an amateur also could check this on Eupedia genetic map. It is slowly becoming a norm to make accusations a la Creepy Joe about someone’s interference, poisoning, vaccines or whatever, without any supporting evidence or to exclude someone from social networks and shut their mouths for ‘baseless’ assertions about election frauds. That is the intention of your labelling. Could be many reasons for this, maybe the most benign would be what Jack said, ‘you simply cannot handle the truth’!

  6. @Jason, it may be generally best not to encourage MT by providing him with any sort of response, even a negative one. Lack of reactions seemed to make him threaten to disappear last time, which at least slowed down the non sense.

    @IC, I think your own post is a good example of a lack of correlation between ingroup biased sophistry and verbal ability.

  7. @ Matt – Really? You are knowledgeable regarding genetics. Can you give us some genetic (or any other) nonsense from my comments? Were Goths (or Vikings) Germanic tribes? Is this a truth or nonsense? I don’t feel threaten, Razib knows why I intended to stop commenting but some people who appreciate the enormous number of truthful, less known and not easy to find facts, which debunk Euro(Asian) history falsifications, convinced me to postpone my decision. It seems that you, Jason and few other Argonauts are pretty comfortable with all history lies since sc. ‘Indo-Europeans’ up to today. I can see that, although you could choose to bypass my comments, you are my very careful readers and, who knows, after some time you may take a hard look at yourself in a mirror and decide to be honest to yourself. Learning is difficult, unlearning much more difficult but relearning is really hard, yours cases confirm this. Keep reading until it lasts and enjoy the journey.

  8. Arthur Schopenhauer: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident”.

  9. @Milan, I guess if it is your duty to continue a crusade for the truth, against your humble preference, acting selflessly to relieve the suffering and confusion of the people, then I suppose you must continue…

  10. One to add to the “Arguments against built density” pile of studies:“Calculating a national Anomie Density Ratio: Measuring the patterns of loneliness and social isolation across the UK’s residential density gradient using results from the UK Biobank study”“We employed high-resolution geospatial built environment exposure data to examine associations between residential density and loneliness and social isolation among 405,925 UK Biobank cohort participants. … We found for the UK, that every 1,000 units/km2 increment in residential density within a 1-Km network catchment was independently associated with a 2.8% (odds ratio: 1.028, p = 0.0058) and 11.4% (OR: 1.114, p less than 0.0001) higher odds of loneliness and social isolation respectively . This can be interpreted as the density elasticity of loneliness (social isolation), which we coin as the Anomie Density Ratio (ADR). In addition, with reference to the lowest density quartile, the fourth-quartile was associated with 14.4% and 30.4% higher odds of loneliness and social isolation respectively. The associations were slightly more pronounced at spatial scale of 2-Km, indicating the possibility of a scale effect in this emblematic urban-ill. Higher density of detached housing was negatively associated with both loneliness and social isolation, while density of flats was positively associated with both outcomes. More pronounced effects of residential density on loneliness were identified among males and those retired, while for social isolation, similar effect was observed among the retired.”

    (Complement to another international study – finding a good sized green space happiness premium within developed countries).

  11. On another thing about density, as a kind of “own research” thing, I read some suggestions that density might explain country TFR and got quite interested to see if country TFR could be explained at all by either urbanisation or country level population density (which are quite different things). (Think I might have done this before but not sure.). There are some correlations, but on the other hand, urbanisation is correlated with education variables, which are the major variables to explain TFR. (Correlation maybe because countries with more educated population can do urbanisation more, if they want to and will generally advance agriculture more, all things being equal?).

    So I randomly did some multivariate linear equations to see if Education measures (international test scores and years of education)+Density predicted TFR better than Education alone. 154 different countries, 2017 TFR. (Data all from World Bank and OWiD and

    Results and some plots of correlations:

    It looks to me like urbanization surprisingly really doesn’t seem to have any additional role in explaining TFR, beyond any relationship it has with education. (The correlation is about as strong – 0.78 – for years of schooling alone, compared with 0.8 incorporating urbanisation variable). (Data:

    Also had a look to see if “Westernization” separate from education might lower TFR. Did that by looking at the residual, then comparing to “Cultural Distance USA” – “Cultural Distance China” using the data from Here: Again doesn’t seem too important. It really does seem like “Education rules OK” when it comes to TFR and the remaining residual is not easy to explain by prosperity or urbanisation or general culture (I think infant mortality might improve the fit a bit though). Which I guess is against the idea of trying to improve TFR by making more space available for families or reducing urban density (although it might make people happier and less lonely).

  12. While waiting for Schopenhauer’s the Second, let’s have a look the catch(phrase) of the day. Nonsense.

    What is the greatest nonsense seen on these waves? I nominate the primal nonsense – the term ‘Indo-Germanishe’, rebranded as ‘Indo-European’ and everything related to this. It makes sense roughly as, for e.g. ‘Bulgaro-Chinese’ or similar. IE was initially used for provisional language classification and later expanded to some people and equated with Yamnaya. The official version of ancient history, based on this, logically does not make sense, either. We don’t know where IE originated, where they lived during the post-Ice Age, how they developed their language within their nomadic social organisation, where and when was their Proto phase, the method of enforcing their language to the entire Europe and part of Asia, how it is possible that a group which even did not know for agriculture, not speaking about metallurgy and other, which did not have respective vocabulary could impose their language to much more developed culture, which did not bring much of their own culture, mythology, etc, etc.

    So, I’ve got emails from two readers who know my address, who appreciate the ‘nonsense’ I usually post here, which they find valuable and not possible to find somewhere else. In choosing my ‘nonsense’, I try to be conservative and present easily verifiable facts, intended to be initially ‘eye openings’ and to be discussed rigidly and in more details if there is interest for this. Some Argonauts remove quotation marks from ‘nonsense’, but it seems that they are very careful readers and I greet and salute these doubting Thomases for their dedicated time.

    At the end, let’s finish with our daily dose of ‘nonsense’. I asked couple times about the meaning of BERG (and HOLM) but I did not get any answer although these words can say more than all DA diggings. BERG (also Burg, Borg) is part of many surnames and toponyms (Stoltenberg, Strindberg, Bergen, Bergamo, Nuremberg, Gothenburg, Heidelberg, Wurttemberg, etc). Google says, without any explanation, that the meaning of BERG is – mountain. It is not far but, actually, incorrect.

    BERG is a metathesis of the Serbian word BREG (shore, hill). It is known that first inhabitants of Scandinavia and British Isles were Vinca people who brought their language there and from which later evolved Proto-Germanic. I may at some stage dissect this word and explain its evolution from the first consonant. Btw, one tribe had the similar name – Bregi or Brigians (highlanders), who, in ancient times moved from Central Balkan to Asia Minor where established their principality which is better known as Phrygians because Greeks could not pronounce B. In his book Cratylus, Plato and Socrates discussed many Greek words taken from them.

    Finally, HOLM (e.g. Stockholm, Holm of Papa – a small uninhabited island in the Orkney Islands, etc) has fairly correct meaning in Google. This is also a Serbian word which original form without vowels was HLM and which over time was transformed to Hum or Helm. That was the original name of BALKAN since the beginning of time up to the 19th c.AC, when English changed this name to Turkish word Balkan, although Turks themselves never used this word for Balkan.

  13. @Matt:
    Hey, can you share some more of this pile of studies which invalidate the notion of density as a beneficial property of urban spaces? I’d never heard this before, going in either direction, but had always assumed that up to a certain point density would intuitively increase efficiency. Maybe that was my personal bias of not wanting to commute bleeding into any speculation on the matter.

  14. @otanes, well ‘pile’ was a bit of an… ‘exaggeration’ on my part, lol (to put it kindly to myself). Most studies do go out to find some results that show density is good for efficiency; and it really does seem beneficial for energy efficiency in transport (people and goods) and to some degree improving chance contacts between innovative people. There is an argument for that (and your intuition there). But there are some studies that find that these gains (at least for innovation) may not be all they seem, and there’s more evidence to link urbanisation with mental issues for sure. I’m a bit contrary by nature so anything that argues against a conventional wisdom (“More density is always just better”) that many people are backing, and is credible I tend to get interested in it (sometimes to my detriment, but I think it’s always worth trying to argue another side of a case).

    Another one that’s mildly more city skeptic (and thus anti-density) is here though –“Our research shows that people who leave rural areas for cities are, on average, better educated and have higher cognitive abilities. This selective migration fuels the higher than expected outputs of big cities and, at the same time, adds to the cumulative decline of less populated regions,” says Dr. Marc Keuschnigg, the lead author from Linköping University’s Institute for Analytical Sociology.

    Thus, selective migration of highly productive individuals to cities explains a substantial part of urban growth, according to the Linköping researchers’ study. …

    Urban scaling is an influential research field that analyzes the benefits and detriments of city life. It demonstrates that cities’ levels of wealth, innovation, crime, and contagious disease follow highly predictable patterns grounded in population size. … doubling city size, for example, reportedly raises total income, the number of patents, the number of residential moves, and the number of romantic breakups by roughly 115 percent—suggesting that urbanites’ productivity and pace of life increase as their cities grow …

    The group’s research finds that social interactions explain only half of the previously reported agglomeration effects and, in contrast to existing explanations of superlinear urban scaling, they find that differences in population characteristics between metropolitan areas crucially drive the phenomenon.

    Some negative things like crime superliner scale as well, so if your positives are more attributable to pooling talent and maybe to more education resources in cities, and also drain the rest of a country, then possibly the negatives become more salient.

    (Fertility generally does take a hit in cities in the same country compared to countryside. Though since there doesn’t seem to me to be an international correlation after controlling for years of education, I wonder whether again this is just people sorting within countries and higher education in urban areas).

    The poor mental health correlations are generally known too, though I don’t have a good single study for it –“The risk of developing depression – the most prevalent mental disorder in the world, characterised by low mood and feeling helpless – is 20% higher in urban dwellers than those who live outside the city. Meanwhile, the risk of developing psychosis – a severe psychiatric disorder associated with hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and disorganised thought – is 77% higher in urban than rural dwellers. The risk of developing generalised anxiety disorder, a state of mind characterised by feeling anxious and a sense of impending danger or panic, is also 21% higher in urban than rural dwellers. … neural activation of the perigenual anterior cingulate cortex – a region implicated in the processing of social stress – correlated with how long a participant had lived in a city during their childhood.

    Intriguingly, other studies have shown similar alterations in people who have high genetic risk of developing psychiatric disorders. This supports the notion that urban living causes changes within a network of regions implicated in the development of mental illness.

  15. The anomie metrics feel all too real to me, as a mediocre autistic person in his late twenties. I’ve sort of turned on my reverence for the big city, while still being pretty unenthused by impossible-to-navigate sprawl or living amongst vast tracks of near-uninhabited farmland. At least in my own case, I don’t know what balance could or should be struck. The city certainly isn’t the idyllic panacea that my 22 year-old self saw it to be when I moved here. As isolated as I’ve become, however, I’m not so sure I would’ve fared better in the boonies. Then again, no one is entitled to community, love, or comfort. It’s not like I’ve any compensatory benefits to offer friends, or society at large.

    re Fertility in the city and intelligence: I had a chuckle because it made me think of Nick Land’s IQ-Shredder. My most intelligent acquaintances, many of whose place by percentile I know (because unfortunately some are braggarts), seem more likely to take moral positions against reproduction than the more normative people I’ve met, and are prodigious consumers. I’ve always found that really curious. I figured that in the case of the latter, it has something to do with having finer and greater sensitivity to novelty and excitement, or having a deeper sensory experience and a greater capacity to record and recall such events. Perhaps cities are even more overwhelming for those with a greater capacity to perceive. Granted, my sample size is small, my testimony is imperfectly mediated by my notably limited attention and memory, and there may be artifacts of my own dysfunction and bizareness in who I meet.

  16. That’s kinda true, probably aged through a similar thing myself; glittering megacities (even the dystopian ones) seemed a bit brighter of a prospect when I was younger, and in the safer and a bit more generally psychologically healthy (at least per survey data?) 90s-00s. Interesting to get your view on it as someone who moved into it anyway (I’m more of the “Always on the big city outskirts” person myself). It seems like you have a very healthy lack of entitlement about your situation anyway (hopefully if that’s not just self-dislike?). Meeting people can be pretty difficult.

    I didn’t know the “IQ shredder” term was a Land-ism. Yeah, it’s probably true but I don’t know how much it’s true outside cities encouraging more education – urbanisation looks like a bit of a wash when it comes to explaining residual TFR after controlling for years of education. Maybe people are on average lonelier in denser places but certain people match up better and form relationships easier or something and have enough more kids to offset it?

    Moral positions against reproduction like “Overpopulation and not enough resources”?

  17. The moral positions are usually something based on social justice mantras or prioritization of self-pleasure or comfort; adoption is a duty (towards less advantaged or “oppressed” children that have been abandoned or orphaned), reproduction as a white person is perpetuating tacit “sin”, “bringing a child into this world is inherently cruel”, having a child will get in the way of an individual’s ability to consume or have massive amounts of casual/kinky sex (I’ve heard this stated both from a logistical standpoint, as well as from the perspective of “it’ll ruin my vagina/body”), new-age relationships styles like polyamory (or simply a complete lack of any structure; serial unattached sex) are not amenable to child-rearing, fear of commitment, and sometimes an unqualified exclamation of its general inconvenience or the effort required. The latter several are presented as moral in nature, insofar as they are about the preservation of an individual’s autonomy, and through insinuated reference to a utilitarian goal of maximizing “happiness” or satisfaction. There tends to be a lot of hand-wringing about the suffering of prospective children because of an expectation that the speaker will be a bad parent, has bad traits to pass on, global warming will cause untold suffering for people of the future, etc.

    With the tremendous caveat that this is anecdata, I will say that most of the people I’ve heard repeating the above reasoning tend be be well over 130. I’m still gobsmacked at how some of the brightest individuals I’ve met have put their intellects to work mastering the dogma of wokeness, both in terms of familiarization and memorization, as well as the construction of sophist defenses. For many it becomes a game at which they can win, and around which their self-esteem can be built vis-a-vis virtue. With a deep understanding of the dialect, social machinations that may have been previously untenable without a moralizing framework are now possible. Smart people, in my experience, make the most of this.

    I hope I’m understanding TFR as an initialism for “total fertility rate” correctly. Personally I’d figure that maybe there are more “mistakes” and one-offs in urban settings, and these may contribute to raising the TFR by momentarily putting otherwise unlikely parents together. Does the increased density also raise the amount of sex being had, or the number of sexual partners? Every encounter is a change for protection to fail, and every accidental fetus is an abortion a mother may not be brave enough to schedule. That lazy hypothesis is probably pretty easy to prove or disprove. I’m sure the numbers are already out there.

    My lack of entitlement (specifically social) is learned and based on a mix of self-directed anger and disappointment, as well as a struggled attempt to logically understand my personal experiences from the perspective of others. I don’t know if that’s healthy. I suppose abstracted empathy is better than nothing. There’s definitely a lot of frustration at times. Being realistic about one’s own cynical value and attractiveness, in a broad sense, proves slightly more comfortable than the cloyingly positive slogans of deserving that are so common these days (e.g. “Everyone is loveable!”). Can’t help but feel like a loathsome teenage neckbeard nihilist trapped in an adult body for it, though.

    As always, apologies for the verbosity. My thoughts are not very concise.

  18. One reflection of the neighbouring ‘authenticity’ topic which has a global significance…

    RE (1/2): RG VEDA for Dummies (or, a mini-tractate for common sense people)

    Why is important the meaning of Rg Veda? Not only because it is the first literary creation in human history, this is also some kind of linguistic DNA which can explain very important parts of SA and world history. Here, we will discuss this from the common-sense (CS) guy perspective but DA (devil argonauts) remarks are welcome, too, considering that they are my the most stringent readers. When all CS checks and balances are done, scientists (geneticists, linguists, etc) can enter and provide their solution. We will not present this solution right now and will offer an opportunity to Expressionists to do their own research and find this solution by themselves.

    1) Recently, there were some attempts to explain words RG and VEDA. It was said that VEDA means ‘knowledge’. Specifically, it was even mentioned that its literal meaning is VISION or SIGHT. But it was not said in WHICH language is this. If someone knows which this language is, he/she could try to explain the meaning of RG in the same language.

    2) If it is known that Aryans, who brought Rg Veda, were R1a then, the meaning of the title should be looked for in the language(s) spoken by R1a people.

    3) Wiki or wiki-like ‘explanations’ of RG are simply a joke. First, they disconnected RG from VEDA. They found in Old Irish (?) and Old Armenian (?) some groups of consonants for which they say that sound as RG. This is simply a joke because Old Irish/Armenian even did not exist at the time when Rg Veda was created. At least, to be consequent, they should explain VEDA in these ‘languages’ but of course it is impossible.

    4) Some ‘explanations’ tell us that the meaning of RG are HYMN or VERSES or PRAISE. Who can believe that these sophisticated words are used in 3500 or so BC for the first literary creation ever? Some other estimates say that Rg Veda was created btw 3000-6000 BC.

    5) Previous explanations try to convince us that RG examples which they found in old languages immediately disappeared and they do not exist anymore. The logic says that such words, evolved directly from the pra-language, evolved further and became parts of new words as their roots. A modern language which evolved further in last 5000 years should have dozens of words consisting RG. Is this a good direction to conduct further research?

    6) Why it was not investigated if the VEDA is still used in modern languages? It is highly unlikely that such important word also disappeared from all languages.

    7) VEDA is used today, for example, in Serbian language (other readers and/or Argonauts can provide examples from languages they know). The word – ‘pripoVEDA’ means ‘narrate, telling stories’; ‘zapoVEDA’ means ‘commanding, giving orders’; ‘propoVEDA’ means ‘preaching’; ‘pripoVEDkA’ means ‘narrative, tale’; etc.

  19. RE (2/2): RG VEDA for Dummies (or, a mini tractate for CS people)

    8) What has happened with RG? Has this also disappeared? Does RG exist in modern languages and, if does, is there a connection with pra-language? For example, in Serbian language, which I know, there are dozens of verbs and nouns which contain this root word.

    9) Let see for example the word BERG which is worldwide present in the name of toponyms (e.g. BeRGamo, BeRGen, BReGenz, StrasbouRG, GothenbuRG, etc.) or personal names (e.g. EdbeRG, StrindbeRG, WallbeRG, StoltenbeRG, GutenbeRG, etc). The meaning and origins of the word BERG were discussed in the above comment. What is the meaning of RG in these words?

    10) It is almost obvious to CS (and DA?) guy, that RG is not very far from pra-language. It is characteristic for these primordial consonant groups that they have the minimum number of consonants and that they are very hard and rough in pronunciation. Who can pronounce RG or RrrrrrrrrrrrrG? Newer words are softer, and it is easy to distinguish the old from new words. There are so many youtube videos how to pronounce rolled/thrilled R.

    In conclusion, RG cannot be from Old Irish/Armenian or so, because these people/languages probably did not exist at that time, they did not have a word VEDA, they could not be Aryans, it is very suspicious that consonant groups allegedly presenting RG really sounds as RG and simply, and simply – they are NOT Sanskrit.

    Second, RG and VEDA are words still present in (for e.g.) Serbian language as parts of few dozens of words, e.g. frequently used – RGati (inf). It seems that all agree about the meaning of VEDA, but RG, which is also a part of many toponyms and personal names, is still unexplained.

    Before I propose my solution, I will give a chance to Expressionists to do this research by themselves. Researchers can for e.g. first read the comment about the meaning and origin of BERG and from there they may find the meaning of RG, but they can also approach differently.

    I believe that this challenge is so great that any additional incentive in a form of cases of Croesus (ingenious Expressionists already established his connection with Brigi(ans) in the comment about BERG), is not necessary.

  20. Enjoying the book “A fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” about Roman violence. Wow Rome was a really fucked up place to live! It honestly sounds terrible.

  21. Hope that Expressionists, locked down (under) or not, are enjoying while watching the last Olympic days sports. Suddenly, a couple new topics emerged in last day or two.

    First – Olympic games themselves. The mainstream assertion that the (future) Greeks officially entered the history after dancing in the dark for hundreds of years straight into the opening of the first Olympic games is probably funny even to Jason. Another several hundreds of years after that, at Alexander’s time, they still did not reach Mt Olympus and the big secret is where they conducted their Olympic games in meantime. For now, let not ask how they could have Olympian mythology during the Trojan’s war, i.e. a thousand of years before they actually saw Mt. Olympus.

    Second – previously mentioned anti-chauvinistic crusader Jason and his Argonauts in a search for Golden Fleece. The story says that it happened couple generations before the Trojan war. It is strange because Greeks at that time still did not live in today’s Greece, did not have the name, not speaking about this that they did not have kings nor kingdoms. It is very suspicious that, on the way back from Colchis (Abkhazia), they decided to return home via Danube (?) and to reach Adriatic by choosing the scenic route. By using this direction and passing by my grandma’s balcony they could only reach Austria, not Adriatic. And, this name, Argonauts, containing the consonant group RG, which is currently under investigation, is very suspicious. Argo was Odysseus’s dog and Odysseus himself was an Illyrian, so, we need some explanations here.

    Third – previously mentioned ‘crusaders’, whom someone recently mentioned in (I hope) a positive context, although they actually were Pope’s robbers and murderers who started a ‘war against terror’ which is still not finished. Seasoned Expressionists already know that the cross was not a symbol of Christianity then much older Vinca’s symbol present as a letter in the world oldest alphabet. Only since the mother of Serbian-Roman Emperor, Constantine, who legalised the Christianity, touched the cross in a Holy Land where Jesus was crucified the cross became the symbol of Christianity and that day is celebrated around the world as – The Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

    So, we have these new three action points in our register.

  22. @otanes, ah, those do seem like some positions that are out there, although I always thought many of them were a bit marginal. Although I haven’t found it unusual for smart (generally leftish) people to say things like “No kids was part of the deal with me and my wife and that’s fine” or (about something) “It’s like divorce; it’s always good, and it’s always the right choice if you’re ever considering it.”, which still mildly shock me (that people would say those things or accept those things).

  23. China news, thought this was quite interesting development as a wider thing –“Shares of Tencent and other major gaming companies plummeted Tuesday after a state-run media article described online games as “spiritual opium”

    Combined with this are some of the things that Dan Wang has said recently, about how the Party’s economists seem to want to avoid a shift towards talent and economic focus being absorbed by software. Or which are present on Andrew Baton’s blog and twitter, where there are some excerpts from reports that argue the Party’s economists seem to be arguing to trying to avoid an expansion of domestic consumption rather than continued capital accumulation (which seems to be a long standing idea, but one that was expected to change as China became richer). Or on another point on his blog that China’s agricultural policy seems to be oriented towards maintaining a relatively large agricultural share for its level of development for food security and that there is a targeted goal for manufacturing share of GDP.

    I may be exaggerating the importance of all this but tentatively it does seem like this aligns with China moving towards quite a different model of an economy and society than simply catch-up to Taiwan, RoK, Japan. Towards trying to avoid the path that they have followed by retaining a relatively large manufacturing share and agricultural share, and avoiding expansion of services (particularly efficient and increasingly digital services which are only quasi-independent of the party). Less of the existing Chinese economic development policy – which is around sort of trying to subsidize and protect exports and attract capital flows while avoiding imports (the “East Asian export oriented industrialization” model), but is not really necessarily directing the long term sectoral composition of the economy so much (or to the extent it is, following along a path – copying and catch up). It represents maybe China doing something that’s different from what they’ve done, which is more like copying other East Asian industrializers in a way that’s larger scale, but also generally less competent (the CCP is less competent than the LDP) and with a bunch of Communist “anachronisms” (like “SOEs”).

    It seems like part of this is probably motivated by the idea that China has a shrinking workforce, so its about maintaining that advantage of scale that China has by concentrating its workforce on manufacturing a bit more than is natural.

    But from what I understand from the developmental economists this would be all be taking the boat of the economy into pretty choppy seas when it comes to maximising economic growth – within sector, manufacturing (and to a degree agricultural productivity) tend to converge quite fast between developed and developing countries, and then major transformation in GDP growth comes from shifting workers between sectors, and between converging on the large productivity differences in services between developed and developing countries.

    So a big question then may be whether trying to force the economy to retain focus on physical industry and agriculture actually works, or if it doesn’t work. Like, its easy to imagine that by by trying to force employment and focus in certain areas, those areas just end up overmanned and so less productive, and deprived of the capital that could flow to them from the development of other areas of the economy – so you end up with not only less of the sectors you’ve tried to avoid, but actually less productivity and output even in the sectors you’ve favoured.

    But either way (and again, I might be wrong and drawing too much from too little) it seems to be pointing to a more distinct aspiration for what the CCP see as desirable in the future economy rather than simply catching up, even to the extent we can say it’s continuous with the existing approach (keep a private economy, but “channel” it towards development).

  24. Matt, It sounds to me like a lot of concerns that have been “in the air” for a decade or so. The fear that an economy without a large manufacturing sector and a large agricultural sector is fragile and “at the mercy of foreigners”. The fear that the loss of low-schooling jobs leaves a significant portion of the population without respect and without the ability to provide for itself. The fear that the “creative destruction” of capitalism can feel more destructive than creative.

    There is something both lefty and Trumpian about the concerns. So it’s kind of fitting that the CCP seems to be acting on them.

  25. @Roger, that’s an interesting take. I don’t tend to think of China as having concern for those “niceties” like whether people have meaningful work, or as worrying about deindustrialization linked chronic unemployment. Much more as a place where legitimacy derives from the economic growth powering on whatever happens, and from the perception of catching up to modernity, and so ill placed to do anything that potentially trades growth for maintaining a particular status quo or achieving a certain social ideal. But that might be a bad model of them!

  26. Greetings and salutations to Expressionists (and Argonauts) who follow this OT discussion stream – to strike while the iron is hot and to throw a quick look on their research progress. I hope they are enjoying their journey. As I said, the research of the meaning of Rg Veda is globally significant and I was thinking to give them a hint or two.

    #1 For example – what is the English equivalent to the above-mentioned BERG? It may optionally help.

    #2 Or, while searching for the solution we can utilize a logical diagram. After positive reactions on earlier presented methodology for checking if a Test group were Aryans (formal scientific paper will follow and the methodology will be patented), in this occasion I will use a new methodology, presented in a form of user friendly, quasi-program steps instructions, where I will follow only the path which leads to the satisfactory solution:


    First – reset your variables and initialize them by putting initial values.

    PRINT – ‘Hello Argo-Express World!’

    Let start with a question – what is the language where VEDA means VISION?

    GO to this language.

    Question – Is there at least a dozen of composite words in this language which contain the word VEDA?

    If YES – Does this modern language has RG and/or at least 50 verbs/nouns which contain the word RG?

    If YES – Save the name of the language in the LANGUAGE variable.

    Question – Does this RG have several meanings?

    If YES – Is there a meaning of RG which is compatible with the word KNOWLEDGE (i.e. VISION)?

    If YES – Translate this meaning into English and save this result in the RG_VEDA_MEANING variable.

    Question – Are speakers of this language belong to R1a haplogroup?

    If YES – Can at least some speakers ride the horses?

    If YES – Are some of these speakers officially the tallest people in the world?

    If YES – Do some of these speakers have moustaches? (This Q is for SA software version only, other can skip it)

    If YES – Calculate the variable SPEAKERS := d/dt ( ∫ “LANGUAGE”)

    PRINT – ‘SOLUTION – The meaning of Rg Veda is: ’ @”RG_VEDA_MEANING”, ‘and Aryans were:’ @”SPEAKERS”, ‘who spoke the:’ @“LANGUAGE”, ‘language!’

    GO to the MESSAGE

    MESSAGE: /Sandman’s Croesus reached the optimum temperature and now, it is slowly aging/


  27. @Razib

    I listened to your podcast with Benjamin Basset a while back, and I also recently read your comparative essay on the West vs India vs China on your Substack. In both your podcast and in one of the comments on your essay you made a reference to a post-Axial Age, early 1st millenium trend of a new type of religious devotionalism centered on individual salvation-figures (Jesus being the prime example). Do you have any recommended books, papers, or authors who flesh out the development of devotionalism during this time further?

  28. Razib’s neighbors – The Texas Wends

    “In 1854, the Wends of Texas departed Lusatia on the Ben Nevis[13] seeking greater liberty, in order to settle an area of central Texas, primarily Serbin. The Wends succeeded, expanding into Warda, Giddings, Austin, Houston, Fedor, Swiss Alp, Port Arthur, Mannheim, Copperas Cove, Vernon, Walburg, The Grove, Bishop, and the Rio Grande Valley.

    A strong emphasis on tradition, principles, and education is evident today in families descendant from the Wendish pioneers. Today, thousands of Texans and other Americans (many unaware of their background), can lay claim to the rich heritage of the Wends.[14]”

    This is and excerpt about Serbs (Wends) in Germany (who also gave the name to Venetia) from the text with many side links:

  29. @Matt, I wouldn’t be willing to bet much on my analysis but it seems plausible to me. Xi and the CCP cadres are Chinese nationalists; they want China to be strong and secure. Moreover, they want the rest of the world to look to China as having the best system, one worth emulating. They very much do not want the world looking to the “Washington consensus” of the 1990s and 2000s. They want “soft power” as well as “hard power”.

    The CCP puts in a lot of effort finding out what’s going on in the USA and are well aware of the “concerns” I mentioned. They can see that prosperity has not brought contentment to the USA. One might even get the opposite impression. The CCP does not want a high GNP with a restive population, particularly one that would try to cut back the power of the Party. They certainly don’t want to end up like the Soviet Union (Xi is extremely proud that the People’s Republic has lasted longer than the Soviet Union). So they search for a different way.

  30. @Roger, yeah, I do think it’s interesting to look at things from your frame.

    I would say that from my perspective, it is true that for many variables like life satisfaction or life expectancy (the Preston Curve), things don’t tend to get a lot better after the first $10-20k GDP, or for life expectancy at birth even the first $5k. International test scores also seem a bit Preston Curve like. It also seems a bit unclear to me how much of an advantage very advanced countries get in continued GDP growth from things that are just finance flows, or which are increasing markets in services that are just replacing human contact and society in some sense (“commodification”).

    This is why you get some disbelief when people go “Oh, the US has 50% higher GDP per capita and 100% higher consumption per capita than Western Europe”. Because some of the major things in life drop off in improvement with GDP / consumption after the first $10-20k.

    So I think in a sense it’s sustainable for some countries to go “We actually don’t care much about GDP after the first $20k, and we’ll target other indicators instead, like measures of technology, measures of military preparedness, suppressing income inequalities that could cause social discontent” etc.

    But I guess I’m not sure if this more growth agnostic perspective would actually serve somewhere like China well; since the prestige of the country internationally at least is based on this perception that they can do GDP growth really well (whether that’s particularly true or not), and that’s maybe true internally as well, and there may be actually feedbacks from targeting more growth that will be more important despite these “falling rates of return”.

  31. On a related note, recently saw a big set of survey data on theft or violent crime experiences (not necessarily homicide, any violent crime), via the twitters –

    And it seems like crime might be one of these things that falls on a log/power rate (so most of the improvement is in the first 10-20k)

    However that relationship is very moderated when I separate out the Latin America+Caribbean+African countries from Eurasian countries+Anglo offshoots –

    Within either a set of “Eurasian countries+Anglo offshoots” or within a set of “Latin America+Caribbean+African countries”, crime only falls at a low rate with increasing material prosperity. If African countries are on the same plot, then you get about a 3x drop in crime rate experience (going from one to the other results in a drop in crime to about 33% of what it was), on average going from West African to West European levels of income. But looking within Eurasian countries only, about 1.3x drop (its about 75% of what it was), and you’d predict an average crime rate for West African and Latin countries to be about 200% what a Eurasian+Anglo offshoot country of the same income to have.

    Some of this may be attributable to higher Gini coefficients in poor African/Latin countries (i.e. more very poor people and wealthy people who can be targeted), but I’m not sure they’re systematically higher than others at a similar level of income.

  32. @Matt, I’m not sure if this more growth agnostic perspective would actually serve somewhere like China well; since the prestige of the country internationally at least is based on this perception that they can do GDP growth really well (whether that’s particularly true or not), and that’s maybe true internally as well.

    I’m not sure either. But I can see the CCP arguing, “We do GDP growth really well, but only where it actually helps the people and brings social harmony.” With perhaps a dog whistle to the decision makers, “… and our type of growth will keep you securely in power. None of this open markets/open elections b.s.”

  33. It was brought to my attention a very thoroughly prepared text in Brown Pundits written by Anan about the current situation in Afghanistan. He is very knowledgeable, I would say also passionate, about Afghanistan and about many other topics related to the old South Asian history but also about its links with old European history. His main characteristic is that he has open mind what is not very common trait on these blogs and always is ready to accept other arguments. In regard to this topic I have slightly different view. He is very optimistic that many Afghans together with their current leadership will oppose Talibans and win the war. Unfortunately, I have different opinion which I already expressed when US Army left Kabul in a Saigon style, leaving their local allies singing Can’t Take My Eyes of You on the roof to be most likely killed by Talibans. I predicted that the Afghan army can resist for about a half of year. There are very good texts around, written about US sc.‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan and their extensive CIA narco-operations which used US military base in a narco-quasi state Kosovo as a global distribution hub. Afghanistan had a big chance after Soviet’s intervention when almost became civilised and where women achieved positions similar to those in Western countries. US sabotaged such societal organisation and supported the most backwards Islamic elements (remember Rambo movies) who, now finally expelled them as well. The previous government, without Soviet backing, survived for three years, this one will last much shorter. What the enormous trillions were thrown by US government in Afghanistan for nothing. One estimate is that it would be more than enough to rebuild from scratch the whole US plumbing infrastructure. Anyway, the Anan’s text is really worth reading.

  34.“People in the Philippines have the most Denisovan DNA”
    “(T)he Philippine Negrito ethnic group known as the Ayta Magbukon have the highest level of Denisovan ancestry in the world. In fact, they carry considerably more Denisovan DNA than the Papuan Highlanders, who were previously known as the present-day population with the highest level of Denisovan ancestry … “We made this observation despite the fact that Philippine Negritos were recently admixed with East Asian-related groups—who carry little Denisovan ancestry, and which consequently diluted their levels of Denisovan ancestry,” said Maximilian Larena of Uppsala University. “If we account for and masked away the East Asian-related ancestry in Philippine Negritos, their Denisovan ancestry can be up to 46 percent greater than that of Australians and Papuans.” “ Wow.

    I wonder if this implies or gives any weight to an idea that the Papuans and Australians might themselves have been admixed between populations that diluted an earlier higher level of Denisovan ancestry…? There were all those theories back ages ago about how Australian Native populations were admixed between some different SE Asian subpopulations who arrived at different times.

  35. Maybe I should wait for the next open thread, but the 2020 Census data dropped today, and this is fascinating. Between 2010 and 2020 there was a huge change in how Latinos self-identified in the U.S. Back in 2010 53% self-identified as white, 36.7% as “some other race” and 6% multiracial. Now it’s 20.3% white, 42.2% “some other race” and 32.7% multiracial. Indeed, this is the cause of much of the drop in the number of white people which the press is talking about today (14.2 million less white Latinos, but only 5.1 million less white Anglos).

    Now, I do think it’s arguable that the 2020 self-identification numbers are probably a more accurate estimation of the percentage of fully white-passing Latinos within the U.S. context. But the question is…why? What made 14 million plus Latinos abandon self-identification as being white? Seems to fly in the face of what we were told regarding Latinos in the U.S. following the 2020 election.

  36. @otanes, in terms of my much exaggerated “stack” of anti-density articles, this one is pro-density but anti-high rise – / is a growing belief that building taller and denser is better. However, urban environmental design often neglects life cycle GHG emissions. Here we offer a method that decouples density and tallness in urban environments and allows each to be analysed individually. We test this method on case studies of real neighbourhoods and show that taller urban environments significantly increase life cycle GHG emissions (+154%) and low-density urban environments significantly increase land use (+142%). However, increasing urban density without increasing urban height reduces life cycle GHG emissions while maximising the population capacity.

    High-rise relatively worse for emissions. (Though as established, possibly the only way to get green space at high density and make dense cities liveable, so poses a difficult trade off. Their Fig1c, the most optimal environment for greenhouse gases, looks like a absolutely terribly oppressive place to live!).

  37. @Karl, inconsistent with indication of declining relative Democratic vote preference, or that its inconsistent with the explanation for that being supposed increasing White self-identification?

    It may be Census design though more.

    Pew Survey shows the 2020 census asked for details and says its similar to the previous format but possibly there’s some change – . However it’d be worth checking out on some other datasets to try and see if there is any general shift.

    As a sort of semi-independent check, taking the GSS, up to 2018, and then running a filter with race self-categorization out of “White”, “Black”, “Other” and selecting Hispanic subset (either using Hispanic variable or Country of Family origin variable). There’s not much of a change between 2010 and 2018, though both are down on the average. See – . Albeit this is a relatively low number of valid cases, but the point is to see if it replicates generally outside of the Census question structure.

    I do have one rason I would suspect it may be a methodological thing on the Census or something though – when Pew asked a question in Jan 2020 modelled off the Census asking if Hispanic respondents considered themselves White, American Indian, Black, API or some other race, then they got 58% White, which is not too dissimilar to the 2010 result. See the figure here –

    It may be that Hispanic respondents simply don’t have a strong identity as White or not White, and small changes in survey design will push them one way or t’other with regard to choosing White or “Two or More Races”. If the 2020 Census is slightly more sensitively designed to make it clear that respondents can put multiple racial backgrounds and the Census takers have different training, then that might have pushed respondents one way. There is some slight difference in design ( so it could be what happened. I think it’s hard to see otherwise how Pew can go out and take a representative sample, and its getting an inconsistent result with the Census.

  38. @karl, I did write a longer comment in response to yours that is currently in comment jail / travel quarantine, but does seem like your Census Bureau attributes this to coding changes

    “It is important to note that these data comparisons between the 2020 Census and 2010 Census race data should be made with caution, taking into account the improvements we have made to the Hispanic origin and race questions and the ways we code what people tell us.”

    When and if my other comment comes out of comment jail, among some other points it has a link to a Pew Survey in 2020 where I think they basically asked the same question in a way more similar to 2010 and got a result that was basically the same as 2010.

  39. In Afghanistan, US spent more than $2 trillion which, with interest will in 2048 amount to about $6.5 trillion and should be paid by taxpayers. About 51.000 Talibans were killed and (officially) about 48000 civilians. It means, the cost is about $500 millions/day or about $60 million/dead Taliban.

    If they, instead, gave to every Taliban a mansion with a swimming pool and a Ferrari, it would be much cheaper and much more effective. And, what to think about the mental ability of an average American?

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