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I’m working on a piece discussing how selection has diversified the human race after we left Africa. Everything is on the table, both below and above the neck – which means I’m not exactly a firm believer in the psychic unity of mankind.

Think big.


Posted by greg at 12:02 PM

• Category: Science 
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Government and industry data on national arms exports since 1994
Updated 12 November 2004
Copyright: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


Population: 8,986,400 (July 2004 est.)

value of actual deliveries of military equipment, 2002: $354 million
Exports of military equipment and other equipment, services and software to military users, 2002: $676 million

per-capita arms exports for 2002: ~$75

Population 6,199,008

Value of defence export deliveries $2,000 million
Value of defence contracts with export customers: $4,180 million
Value of defence exports: $4060 million

per-capita defence exports: $654

Posted by greg at 01:21 PM

• Category: Science 
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Even when favored by natural selection, sexual dimorphism evolves far more slowly than monomorphic traits: alleles tend to have the same effect in in both sexes. . I just talked to Alan Roger about a paper of his (with Arindam Mukherjee) that did a quantitative analysis of just how much more slowly: for stature: about 65 times more slowly . There is reason to think that is a general result, that for most traits, dimorphism evolves tens of times more slowly than monomorphic traits, given equal force of selection.

Every now and then we hear someone say that given the recent common origin of the human race, there just hasn’t been time for geographically isolated populations to evolve significant differences. That’s wrong: 150,000 years is a reasonable consensus value for most recent human common ancestry, and that’s enough time for a lot of change in the population mean of just about any trait, given plausible values of the force of selection. However, it is not a long time in term of selecting for changes in sexual dimorphism: more like 2300 years. The species is young enough that you expect sex differences to be roughly constant, even when means vary widely. Pygmy men are shorter than European women, but the difference between Pygmy men and women is about the same as the difference between European men and women. I would guess that this is true in general: true for psychometric traits as well.

I bet Larry Summers would like to talk about this.

Posted by greg at 05:13 PM

• Category: Science 
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Ran into a glitch..The two reviewers and the editor looking at my Ashkenazi IQ paper had two main objections. All somehow had the impression that the Ashkenazim had mostly or substantially been farmers – this was their strongest objection. I had argued that for most of a millenium (~900-1700), few none were farmers or practiced crafts, rather had jobs in whcih IQ had a big payoff such as merchants, moneylenders, tax farmers, estate managers – which is what the history books say. They cited no sources.. and so I came up with the crazy, cynical idea that they might have gotten their impressions of Ashkenazi history from Fiddler on the Roof. I then asked the editor where he had gotten that impression (after sending him census data from the early 20th century showing that typically, >96% of European Jews were nonfarmers). He said …. Fiddler on the Roof.

Anyone ever had a paper rejected because of a movie?

Posted by greg at 05:51 PM

• Category: Science 
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution