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Greg Cochran

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Migrants arriving on the island of Lampedusa.  The NATO-led invasion of Libya has opened a huge breach in Europe\
A synthesis has been forming in the field of human biodiversity. It may be summarized as follows: 1. Human evolution did not end in the Pleistocene or even slow down. In fact, it speeded up with the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago, when the pace of genetic change rose over a hundred-fold. Humans were... Read More
Luke the Evangelist (source: British Library). In the past, only a minority could read long texts of cursive writing. But many more could read short texts of block writing. The Visual Word Form Area (VWFA) is a specialized part of the brain that helps us recognize written words and letters. If it is subjected to... Read More
Ethiopian manuscript paintings (source: A. Davey). Ethiopians have a self-image that is lighter-skinned than their actual selves. If the prevalence of SLC24A5 is higher in Ethiopia than the degree of admixture from lighter-skinned peoples across the Red Sea, this discrepancy may be explained by social selection for lighter skin. Greg Cochran has been asking why... Read More
When did early Europeans acquire their palette of eye colors? And their palette of hair colors? That question may soon be answered with retrieval of ancient DNA. (source: Dipoar) As the new year begins, I’m particularly interested in the following topics. When did Europeans begin to look European? It seems that this evolution took place... Read More
Interior of a magasin général (source: photographiquement Frank). Wherever there was less competition from British or American merchants, it was easier for French Canadians to go into business. These same regions also have unusually high rates of neurological disorders, including Tay-Sachs. Coincidence? French Canadians have a unique demographic history. From a founding population of some... Read More
Incidence of chlamydia, a major cause of infertility. The high polygyny rate among the “female farming” peoples of sub-Saharan Africa may have favored the evolution of STDs. Is this where we should look for the precursor of the hypothetical “gay germ”? (source) Heritability for male homosexuality is low to moderate (30 to 45%). There is... Read More
A Parsi woman in traditional costume, painted by Raja Ravi Varma (source) The Parsis are renowned for achievement in many areas of life—trade, education, philanthropy, and popular culture. Yet they number only about 100,000 in the entire world (Wikipedia, 2013). What qualities made them so successful? The most often-cited ones are their thrift, foresight, skillfulness,... Read More
Recent research, such as by historical economist Gregory Clark, suggests that differences in mental and behavioral traits cannot always be ascribed to different reproductive strategies, as Philippe Rushton suggested. There probably will never be a unified theory of human biodiversity … other than the theory of evolution by natural selection. Last March, I was asked... Read More
Do older fathers have dumber children? For the past millennium, paternal age has been relatively high in Europe west of the Hajnal line. Yet, if anything, mean IQ is higher there than elsewhere. H/T to JayMan (source) Greg Cochran has been running a series of posts on paternal age and IQ (here, here, and here).... Read More
Does higher IQ correlate with colder temperatures? Not among people belonging to the same cultural system, such as the Chinese. (source) Big brains are costly, not only because of their high energy consumption but also because many genes have to interact to create neural tissue. The bigger and more complex the brain, the more it... Read More
What causes exclusive male homosexuality? This is the question I’ve addressed in the last few posts. The answer is still elusive although there seems to be consensus on some points. One such point is the relative importance of inborn causation versus environmental causation. In men, an exclusively homosexual orientation has a heritability of 30-45%. A... Read More
One point is often raised about male homosexuality: it has always been with us. True, but has it ever changed in its nature or prevalence? Well, more gays have been ‘coming out of the closet.’ People are practicing openly what used to be done in secret. But have there also been more fundamental changes? Such... Read More
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