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 BlogRazib Khan Archive

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It's been exactly three years since I moved on from Discover. Change is timeless. So I thought it would be a good time to announce the move to another project today. Until further notice this is my last post as a blogger at Unz Review. Just as when I left Discover, this shouldn’t impact regular... Read More
The Eurogenes blog is running a fundraiser. I chipped in mostly to support his continued blogging. I don't agree with everything he posts, but the site is a good and valuable resource. "Genome blogging" hasn't gotten as far as I'd have thought it would have in 2010, mostly because the initial burst of enthusiasm wasn't... Read More
Tad Williams has a new book set in Osten Ard, The Heart of What Was Lost. At only 224 pages it seems more like a novella compared to what he produced for his original series. The last of that of that trilogy, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, To Green Angel Tower, weighed in at more than... Read More
MIT Technology Review has an article up, Do Your Family Members Have a Right to Your Genetic Code?, which is now part of the genomics-human-interest-piece genre you see regularly. Here you have the exemplar of this sort of narrative: what do you do when one twin gets a test and the other does not, and... Read More
I began playing video games as a child after the crash of 1983. At the time I wasn't aware of the tumult in the culture and the technology scene that that had caused. Video games were just fun, not the it thing I suppose. Perhaps as an analogy it would be like getting online in... Read More
So I have an Amazon referrer account. I've had one since 2003. Pretty much I use it to get money when people buy books (or other items) through links here. It's a non-trivial, though not princely, sum of money. Especially since it's passive. These are books I've read and want to talk about anyhow (usually... Read More
I spruced up my personal website recently. It was getting sort of cluttered. Also, the new theme should look better on mobile. Not sure how long Twitter will be around, but as long as it's around, make sure to follow me. Got my copy of The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason. I'm... Read More
If you follow Y genealogy you know that the distribution of R1ba2 exhibits a peculiar pattern. R1b is the most common haplgroup in Western Eurasia, and shares a deep common ancestry with R1a. It seems to have risen to high frequencies in Europe only during the Bronze Age, though has been found in earlier periods.... Read More
A new paper in The American Journal of Humans Genetics, The Divergence of Neandertal and Modern Human Y Chromosomes, reports on possible reasons why we don't see Y chromosomes in modern humans from this archaic lineage, despite exhibiting detectable levels of autosomal admixture. As you might recall the clear lack of deep branching Y and... Read More
Went to Z & Y in San Francisco recently. Second time. Still have to give Mala in Houston better marks. A friend who has been to both agrees. Been busy working recently. But obviously a lot is going on in science and non-science....
Listened to an interesting interview this morning with the author of a new book, The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race. There was a lot to agree with and disagree with, but it rang true in many ways for me because I have had a fair number of students with... Read More
Back in the 2000s I used to write a lot about "adaptive introgression." This was partly due to conversations with, and influence from, people like John Hawks and Greg Cochran. The theoretical framework can be found in papers such as A genetic legacy from archaic Homo. And planet geneticists, such as Loren Rieseberg, have been... Read More
Now reading Hume: An Intellectual Biography. David Hume was a man of moderation in his private life. Something to consider. I was in New York City yesterday. I got a cab from the Upper East Side to Columbus Circle. The cabby did not anticipate the anti-Trump protest. When I said it was the anti-Trump protest... Read More
I do not spend much time thinking about politics at this point in my life. Therefore I have little to say that is very important or interesting, though I take a passing casual interest. The map above is very curious. Donald Trump did not simply ride on a wave of expected gains. He changed the... Read More
Eurogenes points me to this interesting conference with a book of abstracts, Human Dispersals in the Late Pleistocene - Interdisciplinary Approaches Towards Understanding the Worldwide Expansion of Homo sapiens. Below are those of interest to me.... Philipp Gunz Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Leipzig, Germany Evolution and development of the modern human face and... Read More
One of the first things I wrote on the internet related to Indonesian Islam, and what we could expect in the future. This was before Gene Expression, and I don't have archives of that blog. There are many issues where my views have changed over the past fifteen years, but that is a piece of... Read More
My prediction above. Based on a few minutes scanning online. Also, I suspect that Trump supported is being overestimated. Low confidence that I'm adding value with my opinion. After finishing Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain I'm struck by the fact that the author had to make some criticisms of Edward Said's Orientalism, because... Read More
Would You Want To Know The Secrets Hidden In Your Baby's Genes? Turns out most people don't. The article profiles the BabySeq Project, and the offer of whole exome sequencing (exomes are the parts of the genome which code for proteins). In some ways, the results were discouraging: So that leaves 6 percent. That's not... Read More
Three major events have shaped the distribution and abundance of modern humans across planet earth over the past 50,000 years. First, the "Out of Africa" event. Second, the Last Glacial Maximum ~20,000 years ago. And third, the changes wrought by the Holocene, foremost amongst them agriculture, but also including other developments, such as the utilization... Read More
I'm reading Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain. Not as well paced as his previous After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400-2000, but pretty good nonetheless. Politics exhausts me. This is an exhausting time for me mentally as I'm overwhelmed by the din of political chatter and fixation. I'm very excited... Read More
There are several reports in the media about a third hominin group besides Denisovans and Neanderthals, and how they contributed to Melanesians. Science News has a sober summary of it all. Several people have asked me on email and Twitter about this, and I told them to ignore it. The reason I say this is... Read More
For various sociocultural reasons ancient Egyptians are a big deal. The pyramids of Giza are about as distant from the time of Augustus as Classical Rome is from us. When the pyramids were rising the world was mostly prehistory. Africa was dominated by hunter-gatherers, as was much of Southeast Asia. The genetic cluster which we... Read More
I really admire what 23andMe has done. To a great extent they are the "Uber" of DTC personal genomics. FamilyTree DNA really pioneered the sector in the early 2000s, while The Genographic Project scaled things up massively in the middle 2000s. But in the late 2000s 23andMe brought Silicon Valley "disruption" to the game, pushing... Read More
A friend of mine introduced me to Mr. Robot a month ago. The show was difficult for me to follow, and I don't watch much TV in the first place ("watching TV" is like making a "mix tape"; there's not television involved anymore). But, the star, Rami Malek, had an intriguing look. It was only... Read More
I finally "broke" last year, and began watching Game of Thrones, the HBO show. As a longtime reader of the series I had held out hope that The Winds of Winter would come out early enough not to be spoiled by the series, but it was not to be. In fact, it is probably likely... Read More
Bought Marie Sharpe's green habanero sauce at Granville Market. The spice level is nothing to sneeze at, and it's got a nice flavor. But the salt is out of control. There is a lot of good Asian food in Vancouver. A pretty good meal at the downtown Kirin, but I want to highlight Ramen Danbo.... Read More
Since we're on the topic of religion, I thought I would make a book recommendation. If there is one book I would read on the Reformation if there was one book, it is Diarmaid MacCulloch's The Reformation. I read this magisterial work in 2004 over a week and it has stuck with me in a... Read More
There are some topics which I have some interest in, such as prehistory illuminated by genetics, in which there is constant change and new discoveries every few months. If a new paper doesn't drop in a six month interval, I think something is wrong. There are other topics where I don't perceive much change, and... Read More
I reread Colin Woodward's American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America on the plane recently. It's a less scholarly work than Albion's Seed or The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics, Civil Warfare, And The Triumph Of Anglo-America, but arguably more straightforwardly relevant to modern conditions and events. I'm rather sure... Read More
The new Alice Roberts documentary is going viral. Or at least its spin is. E.g., Western contact with China began long before Marco Polo, experts say: Let's go with the easy part first: there were no "Western" people when the Afanasevo culture was pushing into the fringes of what is today Xinjiang. There are two... Read More
For various ideological reasons there is an idea in some parts of the academy that Asian Americans are not a "model minority." That that "model minority" designation is a myth. The mainstream media often repeats the idea that this is a myth which has been "debunked." Actually, it hasn't been debunked. Rather, through a set... Read More
There has been lots of comment on Mormons and politics recently. I think the key aspect which is underemphasized in these pieces are the deep differences within Anglo-American cultural streams (as opposed to the short-term reasons for Mormon disaffection from the conservative coalition, such as their internationalism). If you haven't read Albion's Seed, you should.... Read More
Episode 728: The Wells Fargo Hustle. Elizabeth Warren is right, there won't be any accountability at the top. Hope I'm wrong. Started reading A New History of Western Philosophy last summer, but got bogged down in the medieval section. I started reading it last week and it's going much faster now that I'm in the... Read More
Many people have skin problems. Though luckily I've never had an issue with acne, most people who know me personally are aware that I suffered from extreme eczema as a child. Most of the major issues occurred when I was under five years of age, and in my first few years, so I have only... Read More
One of the most incredible journeys that the human species has undergone is the Austronesian expansion of the past 4,000 years. These maritime peoples seem to have emerged from the islands of Taiwan, and pushed forward south, west, and east, so that their expansion pushed to East Africa, and the fringes of South America. There... Read More
A friend asked me about population structure, and methods to ferret it out and classify it. So here is a quick survey on the major methods I'm familiar with/utilize now and then. I'll go roughly in chronological order. First, you have trees. These are pretty popular from macroevolutionary relationships, but on the population genetic scale... Read More
Online Life Is Real Life, Aleph-Nought in a Series: It's a major pet peeve of mine that people deduce from what they see on this blog and Twitter to generate a full picture of whom I am. If the data you saw were representative, then that might be one thing, but they really aren't. Rather,... Read More
A few days ago I joked on Facebook that life isn't about the score up on the board, but standing with your team. By this, I have come to the position that when it comes to arguments and debates the details of the models and facts, and who even wins in each round, is irrelevant... Read More
In The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World the archaeologist David Anthony outlines the thesis that migrations from the west Eurasian steppe during the Bronze Age reshaped the culture of Northern Europe. When Anthony published the book, which you should really read if you are... Read More
As you may know in Britain there is a new direct to consumer genetic testing service, Living DNA. Debbie Kennett has a post up where she talks about how it works and why it's different. For now it is British focused, and leverages haplotype-based methods with the PoBI database to give really fine-grained analysis to... Read More
be back soon.
At a readers' suggestion I got Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Unlike The Dialectical Imagination this is not necessarily a detached academic book. Rather, the author has a definite perspective. About 20 years ago I read George H. Smith's Atheism: The Case Against God, and there are a lot of similarities... Read More
Airports are in interesting window into architecture and perceptions of the future. When I landed at Vienna International in 2010 it was as if I landed back in the 1970s. In contrast, Frankfurt Airport was the closest I've felt to really be pushed into the "gleaming future" you sometimes see in science-fiction films. With that... Read More
There was a time, five years ago or so, when we knew all the humans who had been sequenced. Or at least most of them. But now we're coming into the period when the first sequenced animals of any given species are starting to die. Above is Cinnamon, the first sequenced cat is no longer... Read More
The Estonian Biocentre has been one of the best resources in human population genomics, because their policy under Mait Metspalu seems to be to release the data once it's published. Today I went and checked the site, and noticed a vlog accompanying their Nature paper, Genomic analyses inform on migration events during the peopling of... Read More
I don't mean to be an Ewen Callaway clipping service (though there are worse things to be), but today he has a piece up on ancient feline DNA and what it might imply for the distribution and spread of cats, How cats conquered the world (and a few Viking ships). My dissertation project is no... Read More
The map to the right shows GDP per capita in the European Union in 2014 broken down by regions. I've long observed that the wealthiest regions of Europe are disproportionately those which were long under Habsburg rule. This fact transcends ethnicity and religion. Catholic northern Italy, Catholic southern Germany, as well as Protestant Netherlands, are... Read More
The above results are from Ancestry. You can see here 4% Melanesian. This is common in South Asians. And it's not an error in the method. Rather, it is a natural outcome of the methods uses to generate admixture profiles. Basically what's going on is this: 1) You have data. In this case, the data... Read More
A new paper in PNAS, Palaeoproteomic evidence identifies archaic hominins associated with the Châtelperronian at the Grotte du Renne, weighs in the question of whether the Châtelperronian culture were Neandertals, with an answer in the affirmative in this case: The details about stratigraphy are beyond me. But the protein and mtDNA
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Razib Khan
About Razib Khan

"I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com"