The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
November 20, 2018 • 20 Comments

Commenter European-American comes up with a handy mnemonic to remember the Pentagon’s many far-flung wars:

Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen Somalia, Iraq, Niger

Meta-Operation SLAY SIN

The beauty of this is it can be expanded seamlessly to other likely targets of opportunity, such as

Meta-Operation SLAY SINNER

Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen Somalia, Iraq, Niger, Nigeria, Eritrea, Russia

November 20, 2018 • 10 Comments

Testing your personal DNA is hot right now, of course, but the product is increasingly moving against the growing anti-science / pro-feelings current in the culture. Personal DNA testing sounds like something that Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker came up with at an evolutionary psychology conference in 1992, not an idea in sync with the current year. Where are the feelings in the data?

Fortunately, this growing marketing problem can be rectified simply by using astrology to report your DNA results. Don’t ask me for the details of how it would work, I’m the Big Idea man. I dunno, you could realign astrology charts not around birth but around the time of meiosis. But who really knows when that was? But not really knowing means that it could be anything that inclines with your current feelings. And put in lots of Foucauldian social constructionist rigamarole about how the cosmos shapes your thoughts and your thoughts shape the cosmos.

Anyway, whatever you come up with, just make it really, really complicated. People these days love science stuff that can be spun up into so much complexity that in the end they can just assume that Science is telling them to believe whatever they feel like believing.

November 20, 2018 • 149 Comments

From Rolling Stone:

Meet the Woman Bringing Social Justice to Astrology

Chani Nicholas is transforming horoscopes from quips about finding true love and stumbling into financial good fortune to pointed calls to action

By ARIANA IGNERI

Chani Nicholas doesn’t care for the hulking Alex Katz painting, depicting a trio of suited white men, hanging behind the front desk of the Langham hotel in New York. It reminds her of the patriarchy, she tells me one rainy, starless night in February, as we take the elevator up to her hotel suite and sit on the couch. We’re wrapping up a conversation about privilege, gender equality and the zodiac when Nicholas, who’s become popular on Instagram as a kind of social-justice astrologer, notices a different art piece hovering behind her. This one, she likes. The painting, titled “Mona,” portrays a woman who shares a striking resemblance to Nicholas – dark hair with tight curls, sharp brown eyes, a strong jawline. She compares it to the painting in the lobby. “The hotel staff must’ve known not to put me in a room with a bunch of weird guys on the wall,” she says. “I’m basically an angry feminist who just happens to be into astrology and healing.”

Nicholas, 42, is transforming horoscopes from generalizations about finding true love and stumbling into financial good fortune to pointed calls to action with a left-leaning, social-justice agenda.

I recall astrology becoming fashionable again at the end of the 1960s. It was part of the huge explosion of mass-market anti-rational silliness — spoon-bending with your mind, talking to plants, ancient astronauts, peyote shamans, pyramid power, etc etc — that ensued from the drugs and radicalism of 1968 and largely died out in the early 1980s.

It was a stupid era, but kind of fun. The new Ctrl-Left astrology, however, promises to be dumb, dictatorial, and depressing.

November 19, 2018 • 76 Comments

From the New York Times Magazine:

Sigrid Johnson Was Black. A DNA Test Said She Wasn’t.

The surge in popularity of services like 23andMe and Ancestry means that more and more people are unearthing long-buried connections and surprises in their ancestry.

By Ruth Padawer, Nov. 19, 2018

Yet, the main character in the story, Ms. Johnson, an adoptee, winds up with no surprise at all: she turns out to be white on her biological mother’s side and quite black on her biological father’s side, just like a variety of information had led her to assume for the last few decades.

There’s much kvetching in the article about the inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and unreliability of commercial DNA testing, using the story of an adopted woman who was told her mother was white and her father was black.

But, if you read far enough into the article, as of Fall 2018, AncestryDNA said Ms. Johnson was 45% sub-Saharan African while 23andMe said she was 43.4% sub-Saharan, which is in line with what she now knows about her family history and her own life and looks.

Those sound like pretty convergent estimates to me. It appears that DNA testing for race is getting fairly reliable as it progresses, a far cry from 2009 when Larry David was told he was 3/8ths American Indian.

Moreover, AncestryDNA put Ms. Johnson in connection with her half-sister Ms. Smith, who had also been given up by their mother for adoption. They are very glad to have found each other.

But here’s a bigger question: We are constantly told things like “Race has no biological reality; it’s just a social construct.” But two different DNA testing services report that Ms. Johnson’s biological father likely traced somewhere around 85% or 90% of his genes to sub-Saharan Africa.

Does this mean the “Race does not exist biologically” dogmatists were just pulling our leg?

November 19, 2018 • 157 Comments

An op-ed in the New York Times:

Trump’s Border Stunt Is a Profound Betrayal of Our Military

The president used America’s military not against any real threat but as toy soldiers, with the intent of manipulating a domestic midterm election.

By Gordon Adams, Lawrence B. Wilkerson and Isaiah Wilson III

The American military should only be used to protect vital American interests, such as those found in the Sahara and the Hindu Kush, rather than to protect trivial objectives like preventing a column of young foreigners from marching across the United States border.

Moreover, it’s inhuman to force American troops to sit around in America merely to deter border incursions of their homeland when everybody knows they are dying for some of that downhome Libyan cooking after a hard day fighting tribesmen they were on the same side as as recently as last month. From Defense One:

The U.S. military is officially fighting wars in seven countries, according to the White House’s latest war report. Known formally as the “Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Military Force and Related National Security Operations,” the unclassified portion flags ops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger — all under the banner of the same war authority granted in the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force to fight al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger. That’s where Americans belong, not Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or California. Our men in uniform should only protect countries that Americans cannot:

A. Find on a map
B. Spell
C. Ideally, don’t dare try to pronounce

When George Washington warned against “foreign entanglements,” he meant our troops should be fighting perpetually in Somalia in some endless war of clan against clan. Our national grand strategy must remain:

Invade the World!
Invite the World!

Most of all, America must never fall...

November 19, 2018 • 171 Comments

One of the more comic bookish true stories in American history is that when the great inventor Nikola Tesla died in New York in 1943 at age 86, J. Edgar Hoover had his hotel suite searched in case Tesla had invented any war-winning super-weapons and not told anybody. What I hadn’t known, until commenter Mark Spahn mentioned it, was who did the searching. From Wikipedia:

Two days later the Federal Bureau of Investigation ordered the Alien Property Custodian to seize Tesla’s belongings. John G. Trump, a professor at M.I.T. and a well-known electrical engineer serving as a technical aide to the National Defense Research Committee, was called in to analyze the Tesla items, which were being held in custody. After a three-day investigation, Trump’s report concluded that there was nothing which would constitute a hazard in unfriendly hands, stating:

[Tesla's] thoughts and efforts during at least the past 15 years were primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character often concerned with the production and wireless transmission of power; but did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.

In a box purported to contain a part of Tesla’s “death ray”, Trump found a 45-year-old multidecade resistance box.

There being not many Trumps in the U.S., Professor Trump was of course President Trump’s uncle.

A fine conspiracy theory: Professor Trump, of course, didn’t discover a Death Ray in Tesla’s rooms. Those are impossible. Instead, he discovered Tesla’s time machine. Professor Trump left it to his favorite nephew, which explains the President’s Biff Tannen-like career.

(See Back to the Future II, in which Biff uses time travel to become a famously rich casino owner known as the Luckiest Man in the World. For a contrary view of Trump from the same era, see Gremlins 2, in which real estate tycoon Daniel Clamp evolved over the course of making the...

November 19, 2018 • 197 Comments

From the London Review of Books:

Race doesn’t come into it

Meehan Crist reviews She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions and Potential of Heredity by Carl Zimmer

Picador, 656 pp, £25.00, August, ISBN 978 1 5098 1853 2

In contrast, I gave Carl’s big book a less credulous review in Taki’s Magazine.

… We tend to think of heredity as having something to do with traits that are passed from generation to generation, but in many ancient societies, the words for ‘kin’ and ‘kinship’ often denoted connections of mutual responsibility.

… So what do we mean when we say ‘heredity’ today? Zimmer, who writes a column for the New York Times and whose previous books include Soul Made Flesh and Parasite Rex, as well as a co-authored textbook on evolutionary biology, is a trustworthy guide in this inquiry. … ‘We use words like sister and aunt as if they describe rigid laws of biology,’ Zimmer writes, ‘but these laws are really only rules of thumb. Under the right conditions, they can be readily broken.’ This is clear if you widen the lens, as Zimmer so artfully does, to explore multiple channels of heredity, including the microbiome, epigenetics and culture. Along the way, he reveals that the way we talk about heredity – he got his height from his uncle; she has her mother’s laugh – isn’t linked to science at all. At every turn, Zimmer tries to complicate the concept of heredity

Occam’s Butterknife for the win.

and challenge received wisdom about why we are the way we are.

Just like in Turkey, the person who comes up with the most complicated theory is the smartest.

This isn’t to say that all the complicated exceptions aren’t interesting and potentially important, just that it’s a worse way to go about learning about reality. It’s almost as if the goal of the book, and even more of this review, is to keep people from grasping the basics of genetics by getting them lost in the...

November 19, 2018 • 170 Comments

One of the questions that I brought up in my review of Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff’s The Coddling of the American Mind was whether the usual high degree of unhappiness found on college campuses is getting worse. This could just be random noise, but here’s an article from New Zealand finding a similar trend:

Demand for university counselling services grows 25 per cent in two years

Adele Redmond 05:00, Nov 17 2018

More than half of students who responded to a recent NZUSA mental health survey said they had considered dropping out. University students say they are on suicide watch for friends and flatmates as demand for on-campus counselling grows.

One in 13 university students – 13,000 in total – accessed campus counselling services last year, nearly a 25 per cent increase on the 10,500 who used the services in 2015, according to data released to the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) by all universities except Lincoln.

Haidt and Lukianoff point to Jean Twenge’s recent book iGen. She looks at a lot of American data, such as the General Social Survey, and surmises that people born from about 1995 onward, who went through junior high school and high school with social media on smartphones, are not on average in good shape emotionally.

In general, research universities have not been very enthusiastic about researching the topic of psychological damage that universities might be doing to young people.

I’m a big fan of social science but over the decades I’ve seen very little social science done by universities on close-at-hand topics such as what kind of living arrangements are most conducive to the flourishing of college students. For example, I went to college at Rice U., which has a “college” system of dormitories where you stay in the same dorm for four years. And each dorm has its own dining hall, with family-style meals at set times. (I believe some Ivy League colleges has similar arran...

November 18, 2018 • 132 Comments

I’ll go back to posting proper material soon enough, but in the interim, here’s another open thread.

***

Featured

* Glenn Greenwald: Trump DoJ prosecution of Assange is unprecedented threat to press freedoms but many vindictive Democrats support it

* Atlantic: Declining marginal returns to science? In past few decades importance of new discoveries fell even as research budgets soared. One more of many datapoints. I explained why we can expect to see this here.

* Campus Reform: American university to mandate all freshmen and sophomores take “diversity and include” classes. It is funny to note that three were similar requirements to graduate from Soviet universities (“Scientific Marxism” and “History of the CPSU”). You needed to do well in those two classes to get a prestigious “Red” certificate, as opposed to a “Blue” one. However, amongst serious people – e.g., other scientists – possession of a Red certificate conferred no benefits.

* Chipotle submits to online pressure and fires manager who refused to serve African-Americans with a Twitter record of dine and dashing. Chipotle’s is probably the most SWPL fast food chain in the US – i.e. “muh BML” millennial cucks are their core clientele, so I don’t see them hiring back the Hitlerite Hispanic manager who denied dine and dashing Somali thugs their rightful food. But in compensation, she has a good case for unfair dismissal.

***

Russia

* ZeroHedge: Nice survey of cooperation between Russia and China

* Bloomberg: E-commerce in Russia set to nearly treble in next five years and consolidate a fragmented market. One of the biggest inconveniences of online shopping in Russia – hard to find reviews of all but the most popular products, because its sales are evenly spread over a couple dozen shops. There is plenty of room for expansion – the current size of the Russian e-commerce market is around...

November 15, 2018 • 355 Comments

The Commieblock: Hopefully AquariusAnon appreciates this.

I am very happy to see that Guillaume Durocher has joined The Unz Review. Only the best people! Here is a short intro to what he’ll be writing about:

The key themes are readily apparent: detailed articles on the situation in France (immigration/nationalism), the EU, French Jews, etc, before then going into fascism/ancient philosophy, of no doubt less interest to Unz.
I often simply translate and relay interesting discussions and texts found in the French language: Tocqueville, Frederick the Great, Éric Zemmour, the Le Pens, French identitarians, Dominique Venner, Michel Houellebecq, Alain Soral, etc. Often my own coverage is the only stuff available in English on the activities and thinking of various French nationalists.
I also do analysis of the EU – with its intricacies and complexities – whenever there is an interesting development, e.g. Orbán, Visegrád, Italy, the EU elections.

You can browse his archives at Occidental Observer, Counter-Currents, and Radix.

I am currently in the very final stages of moving to my new apartment, so between that and a couple of gigs, I have had much less time to do serious blogging than I expected to. That said, I am happy to see that this semi-hiatus does not appear to have had a very negative effect on visitorship numbers. I expect to pick up pace within a week. There’s a lot to be done. Apart from blog posts I have been meaning to write (or publish) for a long time, such as a new series developing on some of the ideas on The Age of Malthusian Industrialism, a post on on global elite science production, and a post clarifying my various comments over the years on aliens and simulations, there’s also more practical issues to sort out, such as the long awaited mailing list and progress on meetup plans.

***

Featured

* Ron Unz: Hardline GOP anti-immigrant rhetoric exchanges fleeting electoral gains for long-term political oblivion

* QZ: China’s...

November 14, 2018 • 96 Comments

One pretty good proxy for a country’s technological sophistication is its stock of supercomputers, which enable detailed simulations of phenomena as disparate as global climate, protein folding, and nuclear weapons reliability.

It is also easily quantifiable, since the website Top500 releases lists of the world’s top 500 supercomputers biannually.

In the latest list, which was released a few days ago, China (229/500) has 2x as many top supercomputers as USA (108/500) in latest Top 500 survey, though US maintains parity in total Rmax.

(In general, the two countries have been level pegging since 2016).

Russia is a scientific desert as usual, with 3/500 top global supercomputers (Poland & Sweden – 4; Saudi & Singapore – 3).

On another note, Moore’s Law for supercomputers… remains more or less stalled, as I first pointed out in January 2016.

November 12, 2018 • 32 Comments

Robert Stark recorded this podcast a couple of weeks ago, in which the German nationalist Constantin von Hoffmeister also participated.

You can listen to it here: https://www.starktruthradio.com/?p=8049

Topics discussed:

The State of The Altsphere
Moscow’s Demographics
Hate speech in Russia
The great chain of privilege in Russia
Putin’s stance on immigration from Central Asia
Putin’s economic policies
Inequality in human capital between Moscow and the rest of Russia
Russia welcomes South African refugees
German migration into Eastern Europe in response to the immigration crisis
The brain drain from countries that are rivals but culturally similar
Limits to Cognitive Elitism
The global baby bust and the future of fertility

November 11, 2018 • 129 Comments

Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values. – Emmanuel Macron (2018).

He who does not love his mother more than other mothers and his country more than other countries, loves neither his mother nor his country. -Charles de Gaulle (1913).

November 10, 2018 • 294 Comments

Best Books

While I have read quite a few books on WW1, only a couple really “stand out”:

Niall Ferguson (1998) – The Pity of War: Explaining World War I [download] does justice to its subtitle, boldly reinterpreting most of the standard narrative through vivid statistical argumentation.

For instance, the claims that there was widespread enthusiasm for the conflict at the outset seems to be pretty much false. This was also the book that introduced me to the work of Dupuy et al., who have calculated that the Germans were consistently much more combat effective than the Anglo-French forces; conversely, he also very effectively shows why the war was lost for Germany after the end of the Spring Offensive.

One need not always buy into his arguments – ironically, I am rather skeptical of his “Anglophobic” thesis that it was England most at fault for making WW1 into the carnage it was – but his counterintuitive takes strike home sufficiently frequently to justify this as a must-read in addition to the more conventional histories.

Barbara Tuchman (1962) – The Guns of August [download] may not be the most groundbreaking WW1 book, but it may well be the best from a literary perspective. Seriously, just read her opening paragraph:

So gorgeous was the spectacle on the May morning of 1910 when nine kings rode in the funeral of Edward VII of England that the crowd, waiting in hushed and black-clad awe, could not keep back gasps of admiration. In scarlet and blue and green and purple, three by three the sovereigns rode through the palace gates, with plumed helmets, gold braid, crimson sashes, and jeweled orders flashing in the sun. After them came five heirs apparent, forty more imperial or royal highnesses, seven queens – four dowager and three regnant – and a scattering of special ambassadors from uncrowned countries. Together they represented seventy nations in the greatest assemblage of royalty and rank ever gathered...

November 9, 2018 • 151 Comments

Latest via Alexander Gabuev, who is one of the best Russian China watchers.

Highlights include: Sanctions busting trade & investment innovations; manufacturing, inc. civil aircraft (CR929) and heavy lift helicopters; Glonass/Beidou integration; experience exchange in AI, surveillance, social credit; replacing US as China’s soybeans supplier, with investment in agriculture in the Russian Far East.

Russia becomes more immune to US sanctions, China gets to test out financial aspects of future Sinosphere on a large scale.

November 7, 2018 • 17 Comments

The guy who temporarily replaces him is a powerlifting PC gamer.

POWERFUL nomination!

https://twitter.com/MattWhitaker46/status/601371359998906368

Instead of this gay drug war we can now get down to the really important issues, such as criminalizing in-game microtransactions.