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So Taylor Swift looks scary to Koreans? A couple of the guys seem to have been unaware that Beyonce Knowles is black (one of them commented on being ambivalent about her dark tan, only to be surprised when told that that wasn’t a tan, that she’s black).

51sdHZvYfTL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_ I’m done with Joe Henrich’s The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the field of cultural evolution (the author is one of the major people behind the idea of WEIRD psychology). For myself, one of the main upsides was that the book had a lot of empirical illustrations I wasn’t familiar with. Unfortunately some of the references to genomics are out of date, because he was writing the book in 2014. Also, I found the chapter on language somewhat unsatisfying.

The best passages so far that I recall. Page 234:

…Even ultra-verbal academics frequently use air quotes, an iconic gesture derived from the use of scare quotes in writing, to imply some disagreement with their terminology or its implications. I’ve seen many a humanities scholar, with a latte in one hand and a book in the other, struggle to communicate, unable to deploy air quotes to shield themselves from any undesirable implications of their words.

And from page 95:

…What we need is a more evolution-grounded science on genes, culture, ethnicity, and race, not less.

These insights will continue to fuel the spread of a new social construct: the view that all people, perhaps some other species as well, are endowed with certain inalienable rights-we call these human rights. No new facts about genes, biology, or culture can alienate a person from these rights.

Though Henrich is skeptical about the utility of the race construct, his thinking is in line with A.W.F. Edwards’ in his essay Human Genetic Diversity: Lewontin’s Fallacy. Grounding human rights in empirical facts which are subject to change is…problematic!

41Ryk7GgnlL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ The emphasis on collective intelligence in The Secret of Our Success is an interesting complement to Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own. Though I was familiar with the model of technology loss because of drift, I was surprised how much return to population size there is in relation to the rate of innovation.

Glenn Reynolds often links to Amazon Kindle “Daily Deals”. I mostly ignore these though I’m a bit of a Kindle-holic. It’s for the same reason I canceled Kindle Unlimited, so many of the books on offer are just crappy (albeit, from my own subjective perspective). But on a lark, I clicked, and found some good stuff by drilling down to the subject categories.

61XC3xuXP2L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ I purchased John Darwin’s The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World-System, 1830-1970. Since I enjoyed After Tamerlane I’m expecting to not regret ponying up $2.99 or whatever it cost (“for the price of a Starbucks coffee….”). I also got a biography, Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life. I’ve always been sympathetic to her, but my knowledge of her views and life are rather superficial (sometimes you get unfortunately surprised, R. A. Fisher: Life of a Scientist seems to confirm that he was a major league asshole). Speaking of biography, some reviewers were irritated that Constantine The Emperor read less like a narrative about his life, and more like a monograph of the culture of the Roman Empire of the time.51YhNdG3q3L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Of course all that did was induce me to purchase it! Finally, I got two science(ish) books. Longitude by Dava Sobel, and To Explain the World, a history of science by by Steven Weinberg. In general I find Weinberg’s quasi-scientistic social and historical analyses rather uninteresting, but it was cheap, and the summary indicates that he begins in Miletus, a city whose role as the midwife for proto-science has always been near to my heart.

PAG is going on. If you are interested in genomes not human, I recommend the you check out the #PAGXXIV hash-tag on Twitter. There is lots of good science being done, but if you are interested, check out my friend Dave’s poster, Genetic Characterization of Indicators for Diazotrophic Recruitment in Zea mays.

Speaking of posters, I’m trying to get my data analyzed well enough to have a poster for BAPG XIII in Berkeley on February 13th. #Excited

New dietary guidelines. Frankly, the US government doesn’t have a good track record on this. My main qualm is that Average is Over.

41f8rXshBRL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ Rounding out my personal population genetics library, I purchased An Introduction to Population Genetics Theory, by James F. Crow and Motoo Kimura. This book was published in 1970, so 45 years ago, but pretty much everyone on Twitter who would be in a position to know stated that it was a worthy purchase for more than historical reasons. It goes to show the value of old theoretical books in the field. I also purchased a copy of Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences, because the topic isn’t something that I take for granted anymore in the sort of society we live in, where “cis-heteronormative binaries” or whatever considered “problematic.” 51UUhrJMhpL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ For more purely historical interest I also got a copy of The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics About 15 years ago I read the first 1/3 of this book, but I never finished before I had to return it to the library. At this point I’m much more invested in genetics, so I figure I should give it a second go.

I watched Idiocracy. It was OK. My wife was disappointed by the lack of world-building. One thing to observe: no one is looking at their phone in the future, and there are still payphones around. The film was made in 2005, before that particular revolution.

CYQeUxuUwAAoelX Someone on Twitter asked me to take the Political Compass test. I’m not a big fan of it, as I think it lacks subtly, and its libertarian-centric orientation is pretty obvious. But you can see my results. Probably not a big surprise. I’m moderately skeptical of democratic populism, so I’m not sure if many of these quizzes capture my own orientation correctly. But then again, everyone thinks they’re a special snowflake.

Screenshot from 2015-12-31 13:56:34 There’s a new book, The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire, which got an interesting review in The Wall Street Journal. The subhead: “Gandhi fought for Indian rights in South Africa, but his concern for the black majority was minimal.” This has been known for a while, so why is this portion of Gandhi’s life so eternally controversial? I think it’s because Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has gone through the apotheosis, and the reality that he was a man of his time is uncomfortable for many. The past today is populated by gods and devils, not men. But Gandhi was a man.

Like Slate I’m skeptical of Twitter’s latest moves. I’ll be pretty sad if Twitter turns into a form of Tumblr, and I might have to move on to something else. Which would be lame as I’ve invested a lot in my Twitter presence. As I’ve noted before at this point when I go to a scientific conference people know me more for my Twitter than my blog. Turning Twitter into a more full-fledged blogging platform is totally useless and counter-purpose for me, since I already have a blog….

Opinions on the best Szechuan in San Francisco?

The pull-up tower I purchased last week? It’s been awesome. My motivation remains pathetic, but the activation energy of just walking up to it and doing pull-ups and chin-ups is so minimal that I work-out every day now as a matter of course. Though as the New Year’s crowd clears out I’ll probably venture back to the normal gym, the tower is a great supplement and keeps me at a good baseline.

 
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  1. (1.) It’s interesting re your observation on Twitter, I realise I inhabit the Mark Zuckerberg subset of social media (Whatsapp, Facebook & marginally Instagram). Other than that Unz.com has now replaced all the other opinion sites (and blogspots etc). Consolidation and concentration seems to be the name of the game.

    (2.) I used to have a very good English friend (uber-wasp / Norman surname) who used to go on and on to me about how much he “loved” black women. He came over to visit me when I lived in Uganda (and Ugandan women are reputed to be very pretty, especially Western Ugandan – who blend into “Rwandans”, code for Tutsis) and I asked me what he thought of the local ladies. He turned to me sheepishly, “Zack when I meant black women, I meant girls like Beyoncé.” It is arguable that Beyoncé would be coded as white (or at least light) in Africa like Rihanna was back home so black has different meanings in different places (obviously).

    (3.) great job on the pull bar; I also am a fan of 10k steps a day. I notice it dramatically helps the fitness profile (helps one go out and get fresh air) but I was only able to do that once I upgraded my phone (after ages).

    Finally on top of my book club reading (Vurt by Jeff Noon as part of our “mindf*ck” scifi season) I’m trying to read I Claudius and Claudius the God, there is something so compelling about Rome..

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  2. That’s it. That’s the secret, at least it was for me – minimise the inertia, eliminate the number of steps and time you have to go through to get to it, and exercising every day is far more likely to happen. It’s like clean your teeth, take a shower, talk to the kids, do whatever, oh there’s the chins rack, I need to do some of those. If I have to drive across town, change clothes, shower, change clothes again, drive across town again…nah. Too much precious time wasted, especially when you have small kids.

    Now you have the frame you have, I again encourage the performance of some dips. Some people claim them to be ‘dangerous’ – I don’t see how, except maybe for the stress they could put on shoulder joints with incorrect form if done with a wide grip. Skull crushers have got to be way more of a genuine hazard, and I made a lot more early progress on tricep size and strength doing narrow spaced dips than anything else.

    I know a lot of people who say they can’t get motivated to exercise unless they are in a gym surrounded by other people exercising. I just don’t get that – I couldn’t care less if someone else is there or not, I’m totally focused on me and what I’m doing, which is what you need to keep strict form. But I tend to be somewhat antisocial, so I may not be typical.

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    • Replies: @Dain
    " I tend to be somewhat antisocial, so I may not be typical."

    I'm with you. I do push ups, sit-ups, squats, and lightly jog in place in my apartment; lightly as I live above my landlord. But I think it's more laziness than anti-social per se, as it allows me to work out in the nude so as to avoid getting clothes dirty and thus earlier trip back to the laundromat.
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  3. “Speaking of biography, some reviewers were irritated that Constantine The Emperor read less like a narrative about his life,”

    A detailed narrative about Constantine’s life probably wouldn’t be possible anyway…when I read about Late Antiquity in preparation for exams I was surprised how few and problematic the sources for the Tetrarchy and Constantine’s rule actually are. A lot of basic facts are only known in outline, even about such central topics like Diocletian’s Great persecution or the various administrative reforms. Too bad Ammianus’ books about that time haven’t survived.

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    basically, that was addressed in the appendix of the re: sources.
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  4. Just a question to throw to other readers of Razib. Is there anyone else like this guy? I am half retired so I spend a lot of time surfing the internet looking for thought provoking scientific specialists that sprinkle in a lot of links so that I can self educate myself and I can’t find anyone that does what Razib does. Yes that’s a compliment to Razib but also it’s a question to fellow fans of this blog, who do you find worth reading.

    I don’t want my MTV, I want my thoughts provoked.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    not science, but check out scholars stage.
    , @Brian
    DC, I believe I have seen your name in the comment sections of the obvious blogs (West Hunter, HBD Chick, Jayman, James Thompson, etc), and I assume you already have checked out the blogs to which they formally link. Where I look for "new blood" these days is their Twitter feeds. The people I find worth following (or at least coming back to) often have excellent feeds of their own (and sometimes blogs)... the cascade can get out of hand pretty fast. As an old dog I don't really find Twitter to be my thing, but for better or for worse that is where a lot of the action is these days. Kids, eh?
    , @notanon
    hbdchick's twitter feed has a high ratio of fun stuff to clever stuff
    , @John Massey
    You could give David at the Eurogenes blog a try.
    , @Pseudonymic Handle
    Slatestarcodex is a very good blog, with well thought and well written blogposts, stories and posts that gather interesting links. It is also a hub for the rationalist and effective altruist communities.

    http://slatestarcodex.com/

    http://heterodoxacademy.org/ writes a lot about leftist bias in sience, especially in social psychology.
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  5. @German_reader
    "Speaking of biography, some reviewers were irritated that Constantine The Emperor read less like a narrative about his life,"

    A detailed narrative about Constantine's life probably wouldn't be possible anyway...when I read about Late Antiquity in preparation for exams I was surprised how few and problematic the sources for the Tetrarchy and Constantine's rule actually are. A lot of basic facts are only known in outline, even about such central topics like Diocletian's Great persecution or the various administrative reforms. Too bad Ammianus' books about that time haven't survived.

    basically, that was addressed in the appendix of the re: sources.

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  6. @dave chamberlin
    Just a question to throw to other readers of Razib. Is there anyone else like this guy? I am half retired so I spend a lot of time surfing the internet looking for thought provoking scientific specialists that sprinkle in a lot of links so that I can self educate myself and I can't find anyone that does what Razib does. Yes that's a compliment to Razib but also it's a question to fellow fans of this blog, who do you find worth reading.

    I don't want my MTV, I want my thoughts provoked.

    not science, but check out scholars stage.

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  7. RCB says:

    The great thing about Crow and Kimura is that it shows all the math – more so than any other pop gen text book. You can therefore follow the derivations if you want, or skip them. Other books conceal the math to varying degrees, which means you have to take their word for it, and you don’t know the conditions under which the result was derived.

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  8. Dain says: • Website
    @John Massey
    That's it. That's the secret, at least it was for me - minimise the inertia, eliminate the number of steps and time you have to go through to get to it, and exercising every day is far more likely to happen. It's like clean your teeth, take a shower, talk to the kids, do whatever, oh there's the chins rack, I need to do some of those. If I have to drive across town, change clothes, shower, change clothes again, drive across town again...nah. Too much precious time wasted, especially when you have small kids.

    Now you have the frame you have, I again encourage the performance of some dips. Some people claim them to be 'dangerous' - I don't see how, except maybe for the stress they could put on shoulder joints with incorrect form if done with a wide grip. Skull crushers have got to be way more of a genuine hazard, and I made a lot more early progress on tricep size and strength doing narrow spaced dips than anything else.

    I know a lot of people who say they can't get motivated to exercise unless they are in a gym surrounded by other people exercising. I just don't get that - I couldn't care less if someone else is there or not, I'm totally focused on me and what I'm doing, which is what you need to keep strict form. But I tend to be somewhat antisocial, so I may not be typical.

    ” I tend to be somewhat antisocial, so I may not be typical.”

    I’m with you. I do push ups, sit-ups, squats, and lightly jog in place in my apartment; lightly as I live above my landlord. But I think it’s more laziness than anti-social per se, as it allows me to work out in the nude so as to avoid getting clothes dirty and thus earlier trip back to the laundromat.

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  9. Regarding twitter, I think Will Oremus is correct about embedding content as a move towards a walled garden. But I don’t think this will change twitter’s basic nature. Once a platform/network is set up it’s rare for it to change all that much. Windows 95 is pretty much the same as Windows 10. Where Windows got eclipsed was by smartphones, with a new touch interface, a pocketable nature, and a new apps ecosystem. A new model. Not by Windows changing.

    So unless Jack Dorsey finds a way to engage a more casual and broader user base, changing the business economics of the platform, the most likely outcome is for twitter to ride a flat and rather long slow fade. If it gets displaced it’s more likely to be something like say Slack, based on an IRC messaging framework with a distinct interaction model, rather than twitter itself changing all that much.

    That is to say, to address your point, I suspect continuing to build a twitter presence is still a safe bet. If something else takes off we’ll have a few years warning. And it will likely be rather different than twitter per se.

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  10. Brian says:
    @dave chamberlin
    Just a question to throw to other readers of Razib. Is there anyone else like this guy? I am half retired so I spend a lot of time surfing the internet looking for thought provoking scientific specialists that sprinkle in a lot of links so that I can self educate myself and I can't find anyone that does what Razib does. Yes that's a compliment to Razib but also it's a question to fellow fans of this blog, who do you find worth reading.

    I don't want my MTV, I want my thoughts provoked.

    DC, I believe I have seen your name in the comment sections of the obvious blogs (West Hunter, HBD Chick, Jayman, James Thompson, etc), and I assume you already have checked out the blogs to which they formally link. Where I look for “new blood” these days is their Twitter feeds. The people I find worth following (or at least coming back to) often have excellent feeds of their own (and sometimes blogs)… the cascade can get out of hand pretty fast. As an old dog I don’t really find Twitter to be my thing, but for better or for worse that is where a lot of the action is these days. Kids, eh?

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  11. notanon says:

    …Even ultra-verbal academics frequently use air quotes, an iconic gesture derived from the use of scare quotes in writing, to imply some disagreement with their terminology or its implications. I’ve seen many a humanities scholar, with a latte in one hand and a book in the other, struggle to communicate, unable to deploy air quotes to shield themselves from any undesirable implications of their words.

    warding off the evil eye

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  12. notanon says:
    @dave chamberlin
    Just a question to throw to other readers of Razib. Is there anyone else like this guy? I am half retired so I spend a lot of time surfing the internet looking for thought provoking scientific specialists that sprinkle in a lot of links so that I can self educate myself and I can't find anyone that does what Razib does. Yes that's a compliment to Razib but also it's a question to fellow fans of this blog, who do you find worth reading.

    I don't want my MTV, I want my thoughts provoked.

    hbdchick’s twitter feed has a high ratio of fun stuff to clever stuff

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  13. Yudi says:

    “Unfortunately some of the references to genomics are out of date, because he was writing the book in 2014.”

    Could you go into more detail about which ones?

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    for example, the chapter on blue eyes is not informed by ancient DNA, so he posits that the trait spread due to selection among agricultural populations. it is probably somewhat true, but obviously empirically wrong re: hunter-gatherers (from whom the variants derive).
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  14. @Yudi
    "Unfortunately some of the references to genomics are out of date, because he was writing the book in 2014."

    Could you go into more detail about which ones?

    for example, the chapter on blue eyes is not informed by ancient DNA, so he posits that the trait spread due to selection among agricultural populations. it is probably somewhat true, but obviously empirically wrong re: hunter-gatherers (from whom the variants derive).

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  15. aeolius says:

    So are the Korean kids wrong about Beyonce?
    Am I alone in thinking that the majority of her genetic heritige is European? And that a naive observer like the Korean kids would assume she was white? Can any body call themselves white or black as the mood fits them? IIRC early on some Federal employees decided to check the box “I am Afro-American to gain advantage at promotion. The courts ruled against them. Is there then a legally defined manner of proving you are Afro-American
    Bruce Jenner can say he is a woman and IIRC can now without hindrance use a Woman’s bathroom.
    Can some voyeur claim to be transgender go into that bathroom and get to gawk? Or will some special ID card be issued?
    Based on what criteria?
    Is it only the Coney Island of the Mind that is 2016 America that we can define or redefine ourselves at will? A Cosplay society?
    .The Korean kids were not wrong

    The Korean kids weren’t weird or misinformed

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    beyonce's mother is a light-skinned mixed-race creole whose ancestry does look to be mostly white. her father is a more conventional african american. i think she's probably 50:50, though her features look more european than african. in any case, non-americans not attuned to social norms of racial categorization so they make naive (and sometimes more commonsense) inferences. e.g., i read an article about 10 years ago where a journalist living in russia was shocked to observe that the local media assumed that jason kidd was a white basketball player.
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  16. @aeolius
    So are the Korean kids wrong about Beyonce?
    Am I alone in thinking that the majority of her genetic heritige is European? And that a naive observer like the Korean kids would assume she was white? Can any body call themselves white or black as the mood fits them? IIRC early on some Federal employees decided to check the box "I am Afro-American to gain advantage at promotion. The courts ruled against them. Is there then a legally defined manner of proving you are Afro-American
    Bruce Jenner can say he is a woman and IIRC can now without hindrance use a Woman's bathroom.
    Can some voyeur claim to be transgender go into that bathroom and get to gawk? Or will some special ID card be issued?
    Based on what criteria?
    Is it only the Coney Island of the Mind that is 2016 America that we can define or redefine ourselves at will? A Cosplay society?
    .The Korean kids were not wrong

    The Korean kids weren't weird or misinformed

    beyonce’s mother is a light-skinned mixed-race creole whose ancestry does look to be mostly white. her father is a more conventional african american. i think she’s probably 50:50, though her features look more european than african. in any case, non-americans not attuned to social norms of racial categorization so they make naive (and sometimes more commonsense) inferences. e.g., i read an article about 10 years ago where a journalist living in russia was shocked to observe that the local media assumed that jason kidd was a white basketball player.

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    • Replies: @toto
    FWIW I remember being surprised to learn that Halle Berry was black (I'm French).


    My understanding is that the one-drop rule is stronger in the US than in the Europe. European countries have specific terms for mixed-race people (like "metis" or "Antillais", i.e. Caribbean) and use them. "Black" is usually reserved for people with essentially pure African ancestry.

    Supporting information: Yannick Noah (father of Joakim):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfYzRCQ3ZpA
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  17. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Hi Rahzib, I was wondering if you had ever read the work of Morgan Worthy on the subject of eye color and behavior in animals (Eye Color: A Key to Human and Animal Behavior). I searched through your blogs and never found the name Morgan Worthy, so it might be worth a look. He wrote in a number of journals and in books about “self-paced and reactive” social animals and their eye color (non-humans). He claims dogs used for service such as hunting and herding are more likely to have reduced pigmentation in their eyes.

    Worthy is mentioned briefly in Taboo by Entyne. There’s also an article in The Journal of Physical Anthropology (1975) titled “Iris Pigmentation and Photopic Visual Acuity”. The classic explanation for blue eyes is natural selection centered, as in blue eyes don’t become snow-blind and can see better in dimmer light (both untrue apparently or at least insignificant and not likely to improve fitness). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1211437

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    He claims dogs used for service such as hunting and herding are more likely to have reduced pigmentation in their eyes.


    hypopigmentation has been associated with tameness in animals. but recent attempts to check for behavioral differences in humans where there is variation don't check out for whatever reason. so i stopped following the literature.
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  18. @Anonymous
    Hi Rahzib, I was wondering if you had ever read the work of Morgan Worthy on the subject of eye color and behavior in animals (Eye Color: A Key to Human and Animal Behavior). I searched through your blogs and never found the name Morgan Worthy, so it might be worth a look. He wrote in a number of journals and in books about "self-paced and reactive" social animals and their eye color (non-humans). He claims dogs used for service such as hunting and herding are more likely to have reduced pigmentation in their eyes.

    Worthy is mentioned briefly in Taboo by Entyne. There's also an article in The Journal of Physical Anthropology (1975) titled "Iris Pigmentation and Photopic Visual Acuity". The classic explanation for blue eyes is natural selection centered, as in blue eyes don't become snow-blind and can see better in dimmer light (both untrue apparently or at least insignificant and not likely to improve fitness). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1211437

    He claims dogs used for service such as hunting and herding are more likely to have reduced pigmentation in their eyes.

    hypopigmentation has been associated with tameness in animals. but recent attempts to check for behavioral differences in humans where there is variation don’t check out for whatever reason. so i stopped following the literature.

    Read More
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  19. RK: Been waiting for an open thread to thank you for recommending two books that I read in 2015, Harris’s The Nurture Assumption and Geary’s Male, Female (which I just finished in the last week of the year). I enjoyed the first and learned from both (the 2nd is too encylopedic to say that I enjoyed it, but it was otherwise an amazing book).

    1) Harris: From what I had read about the book, it sounded like a contrarian Yuppies, Iou’re Doing it Wrong, like something I would expect of Megan McArdle, Virginia Postrel or Conor Friedersdorf. On your rec, I read it, and both enjoyed it and learned a great deal. It makes a lot of sense, and I was particularly sympathetic to the story she told because of her own story (not rational, but then nothing human is alien to me and all that). My kids are adults doing very well and while I enjoy taking credit for their outcome, I’ve also figured that that is largely vanity. This book gave me a much better handle on how much/little I can claim credit for.

    Q1: One question I have is reconciling what I recall months later of her view of the limited impact that parents can have on children’s outcomes* with what I recall of the experiment on infant rhesus monkeys, demonstrating that they need affection & physical contact so strongly that they will prefer contact with a cloth “parent” almost to the point of malnutrition. Comments or corrections?

    2) Geary: There are 3 things that I esp. like about this book.
    – How he presents statistics: Instead of presenting averages and standard deviations (for males and females), Geary presents comparisons along the lines of “17 of 20 males are more XXX than the aveage female”, “5 of 6 females outperformed the average male”. This is a phenomenally useful way of comparing distributions (and I recall RK doing this recently in a comparison of male and female upper body strength in a post on spousal/mate abuse).
    – The first few chapters in the book discuss sexual differences throughout much of animal kingdom, before turning to other primates and only then turning to humans. The context this gives is immensely helpful in understanding sexual differences in humans and in enabling the (this?) reader to set aside preconcpetions (this word sounds better than “prejudices”) and to give a fair chance to the evidence that he presents.
    – The discussion of what is known with a reasonable amount of confidence, what seems to be likely but is less certain, what is supported by some, but not much, evidence, and what the author suspects but for which there is little or no current evidence on the basis of reliable analyses.

    Q2: The single most interesting thing that I learned was the strong positive correlation across species in paternity certainty and paternal care of or contributions to the raising of offspring. In humans, paternal certainy typically involves a fair amount of mate guarding. The patriarchy has strong biological roots! If societies with high paternal contribution to child-rearing outperform those that do not in some environments, the likely result is limited female sexual autonomy in those environments. Two questions occurred to me in connection with this (both at least mildly prurient).

    – The first question is whether cross-cultural patterns of female sexual agency/freedom are at all correlated with genetic similarity of males within each culture. Polynesia is an example of relatively high sexual freedom and (I assume) relatively high genetic similarity of males, esp. within each group of islands. Another example of high male genetic similarity, from what little I know, is Native Americans (don’t know anything about general patterns of polyandry or female sexual autonomy). Himalayan polyandry seems to be an adaptation along these lines to a resource poor environment, but is not actually pertinent to my question, which is whether it is more common where males are similar rather than whether 1 woman marries related males for other reasons.

    – The 2nd question is speculative. Clearly, females in developed economies have achieved much more sexual autonomy in the last half century with the development of much better contraceptives. What I am curious about is whether these restrictions will be further relaxed as it becomes possible to establish paternity with almost exact certainty as a consequence of the technological advances in genetics (yeh, yeh, identical twins). If the trend of fathers’ becoming more involved with child rearing continues, both parents will have more nearly similar amounts of time for outside copulations. It seems that improved & ever more widely available techniques of birth control, combined with near certain establishment of paternity, should lead many (all?) of the purely biological reasons for stronger sexual restrictions on females than on males relax.

    *I can hold on to general patterns and themes for a long time, but at my age forget details fairly quickly and questions, like the one about the rhesus monkey experiment mentioned above often don’t come until later. I work at a college with a good library and almost all of the ones that I read are library books: I have too many books as it is, in part due to my parents’ downsizing in the early aughties, at which point I kept several hundred of their 5K-6K collection (my sisters and I use to joke that long after their house turned to dust, the book shelves, both those that were hung on the walls and those that were floor to ceiling free standing ones, would be visible. When 2 my sisters were still in their teens and early 20s, my parents rewrote their will and their lawyer suggested that the 3 of us go through the house and put figurative post-its on each item to claim it, so that could be written down and incorporated into the will. This freaked my sisters, so I told not to worry, that we would treat each other decently by, for instance each claiming every 3rd page of each book. My parents backed off and my sisters stopped freaking).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    with what I recall of the experiment on infant rhesus monkeys, demonstrating that they need affection & physical contact so strongly that they will prefer contact with a cloth “parent” almost to the point of malnutrition. Comments or corrections?

    the issue is parents don't matter on the margin. kids need a "good enough" environment, not a perfect one. OTOH, even deprivation and stress in childhood might eventually "wear off." now, in a evolutionary context being attached to parents makes sense, so it's not like it's not adaptive.

    The first question is whether cross-cultural patterns of female sexual agency/freedom are at all correlated with genetic similarity of males within each culture

    if males are similar, females would be too. so you're talking about genetic homogeneity overall. i'd say no, because even with genome-wide similarity the "cheating" strategy will rapidly win unless there is something fighting it back. in general i'm a marxian i guess about this. in societies where women have economic freedom, men invest less and women ask less. OTOH, modern norms seem to have shifted the equilibrium in many ways.

    It seems that improved & ever more widely available techniques of birth control, combined with near certain establishment of paternity, should lead many (all?) of the purely biological reasons for stronger sexual restrictions on females than on males relax.

    yeah, this seems reasonable. the problem is that individuals and societies don't inspect causality too much when it comes to norms. additionally, sex with non-partners can also result in a diversion of time and effort from the primary relationship. "poly" people often have to spend a lot of time relationship managing.
    , @Roger Sweeny
    It seems that improved & ever more widely available techniques of birth control, combined with near certain establishment of paternity, should lead many (all?) of the purely biological reasons for stronger sexual restrictions on females than on males relax.

    If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, it makes a sound. But it doesn't make a difference. This would only be true if people routinely give paternity tests to their newborns (or yet-to-be-borns!).
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  20. @marcel proust
    RK: Been waiting for an open thread to thank you for recommending two books that I read in 2015, Harris's The Nurture Assumption and Geary's Male, Female (which I just finished in the last week of the year). I enjoyed the first and learned from both (the 2nd is too encylopedic to say that I enjoyed it, but it was otherwise an amazing book).

    1) Harris: From what I had read about the book, it sounded like a contrarian Yuppies, Iou're Doing it Wrong, like something I would expect of Megan McArdle, Virginia Postrel or Conor Friedersdorf. On your rec, I read it, and both enjoyed it and learned a great deal. It makes a lot of sense, and I was particularly sympathetic to the story she told because of her own story (not rational, but then nothing human is alien to me and all that). My kids are adults doing very well and while I enjoy taking credit for their outcome, I've also figured that that is largely vanity. This book gave me a much better handle on how much/little I can claim credit for.

    - Q1: One question I have is reconciling what I recall months later of her view of the limited impact that parents can have on children's outcomes* with what I recall of the experiment on infant rhesus monkeys, demonstrating that they need affection & physical contact so strongly that they will prefer contact with a cloth "parent" almost to the point of malnutrition. Comments or corrections?

    2) Geary: There are 3 things that I esp. like about this book.
    - How he presents statistics: Instead of presenting averages and standard deviations (for males and females), Geary presents comparisons along the lines of "17 of 20 males are more XXX than the aveage female", "5 of 6 females outperformed the average male". This is a phenomenally useful way of comparing distributions (and I recall RK doing this recently in a comparison of male and female upper body strength in a post on spousal/mate abuse).
    - The first few chapters in the book discuss sexual differences throughout much of animal kingdom, before turning to other primates and only then turning to humans. The context this gives is immensely helpful in understanding sexual differences in humans and in enabling the (this?) reader to set aside preconcpetions (this word sounds better than "prejudices") and to give a fair chance to the evidence that he presents.
    - The discussion of what is known with a reasonable amount of confidence, what seems to be likely but is less certain, what is supported by some, but not much, evidence, and what the author suspects but for which there is little or no current evidence on the basis of reliable analyses.

    - Q2: The single most interesting thing that I learned was the strong positive correlation across species in paternity certainty and paternal care of or contributions to the raising of offspring. In humans, paternal certainy typically involves a fair amount of mate guarding. The patriarchy has strong biological roots! If societies with high paternal contribution to child-rearing outperform those that do not in some environments, the likely result is limited female sexual autonomy in those environments. Two questions occurred to me in connection with this (both at least mildly prurient).

    - The first question is whether cross-cultural patterns of female sexual agency/freedom are at all correlated with genetic similarity of males within each culture. Polynesia is an example of relatively high sexual freedom and (I assume) relatively high genetic similarity of males, esp. within each group of islands. Another example of high male genetic similarity, from what little I know, is Native Americans (don't know anything about general patterns of polyandry or female sexual autonomy). Himalayan polyandry seems to be an adaptation along these lines to a resource poor environment, but is not actually pertinent to my question, which is whether it is more common where males are similar rather than whether 1 woman marries related males for other reasons.

    - The 2nd question is speculative. Clearly, females in developed economies have achieved much more sexual autonomy in the last half century with the development of much better contraceptives. What I am curious about is whether these restrictions will be further relaxed as it becomes possible to establish paternity with almost exact certainty as a consequence of the technological advances in genetics (yeh, yeh, identical twins). If the trend of fathers' becoming more involved with child rearing continues, both parents will have more nearly similar amounts of time for outside copulations. It seems that improved & ever more widely available techniques of birth control, combined with near certain establishment of paternity, should lead many (all?) of the purely biological reasons for stronger sexual restrictions on females than on males relax.

    *I can hold on to general patterns and themes for a long time, but at my age forget details fairly quickly and questions, like the one about the rhesus monkey experiment mentioned above often don't come until later. I work at a college with a good library and almost all of the ones that I read are library books: I have too many books as it is, in part due to my parents' downsizing in the early aughties, at which point I kept several hundred of their 5K-6K collection (my sisters and I use to joke that long after their house turned to dust, the book shelves, both those that were hung on the walls and those that were floor to ceiling free standing ones, would be visible. When 2 my sisters were still in their teens and early 20s, my parents rewrote their will and their lawyer suggested that the 3 of us go through the house and put figurative post-its on each item to claim it, so that could be written down and incorporated into the will. This freaked my sisters, so I told not to worry, that we would treat each other decently by, for instance each claiming every 3rd page of each book. My parents backed off and my sisters stopped freaking).

    with what I recall of the experiment on infant rhesus monkeys, demonstrating that they need affection & physical contact so strongly that they will prefer contact with a cloth “parent” almost to the point of malnutrition. Comments or corrections?

    the issue is parents don’t matter on the margin. kids need a “good enough” environment, not a perfect one. OTOH, even deprivation and stress in childhood might eventually “wear off.” now, in a evolutionary context being attached to parents makes sense, so it’s not like it’s not adaptive.

    The first question is whether cross-cultural patterns of female sexual agency/freedom are at all correlated with genetic similarity of males within each culture

    if males are similar, females would be too. so you’re talking about genetic homogeneity overall. i’d say no, because even with genome-wide similarity the “cheating” strategy will rapidly win unless there is something fighting it back. in general i’m a marxian i guess about this. in societies where women have economic freedom, men invest less and women ask less. OTOH, modern norms seem to have shifted the equilibrium in many ways.

    It seems that improved & ever more widely available techniques of birth control, combined with near certain establishment of paternity, should lead many (all?) of the purely biological reasons for stronger sexual restrictions on females than on males relax.

    yeah, this seems reasonable. the problem is that individuals and societies don’t inspect causality too much when it comes to norms. additionally, sex with non-partners can also result in a diversion of time and effort from the primary relationship. “poly” people often have to spend a lot of time relationship managing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @marcel proust
    Once again, thanks.
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  21. Zimriel says:

    Re Idiocracy: Yes, it was strange. It was finished in 2005 – so the script and shoots would have been earlier still – but then FOX chose to sit on it. In 2006 FOX screened it at a niche Houston theatre (I was fortunate to live nearby), where-when I saw it.

    There were cellphones in 2005, and web-browsers for them; Mencius Moldbug himself helped write the code for some, IIRC. But the cellphone-browsers back then were awful, as Moldbug has admitted. Which is why Moldbug didn’t get paid much for them.

    I suspect, though, that in Idiocracy-world, computers as intricate as cell-phones will not be maintainable *at all*, even at a 2005 level. So, that future still holds some verisimilitude on that front.

    Read More
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  22. @dave chamberlin
    Just a question to throw to other readers of Razib. Is there anyone else like this guy? I am half retired so I spend a lot of time surfing the internet looking for thought provoking scientific specialists that sprinkle in a lot of links so that I can self educate myself and I can't find anyone that does what Razib does. Yes that's a compliment to Razib but also it's a question to fellow fans of this blog, who do you find worth reading.

    I don't want my MTV, I want my thoughts provoked.

    You could give David at the Eurogenes blog a try.

    Read More
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  23. @dave chamberlin
    Just a question to throw to other readers of Razib. Is there anyone else like this guy? I am half retired so I spend a lot of time surfing the internet looking for thought provoking scientific specialists that sprinkle in a lot of links so that I can self educate myself and I can't find anyone that does what Razib does. Yes that's a compliment to Razib but also it's a question to fellow fans of this blog, who do you find worth reading.

    I don't want my MTV, I want my thoughts provoked.

    Slatestarcodex is a very good blog, with well thought and well written blogposts, stories and posts that gather interesting links. It is also a hub for the rationalist and effective altruist communities.

    http://slatestarcodex.com/

    http://heterodoxacademy.org/ writes a lot about leftist bias in sience, especially in social psychology.

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  24. Koreans like girls that are very pretty but seem a bit bland to Westerners, like Bae Suzy and Im Yoona. They are valued as looking like a perfect girlfriend or wife rather than as sexy.
    Muscular legs are seen as a defect.
    Double eye lids are desirable so many girls use tape or surgery if they have monolids. Still, there are huge stars like IU who have monolids. Pale skin is very valued so they protect themselves from sun rays and even use skin whitening products, but there are several very successful idols with tan skin like Yuri and Sooyoung from SNSD and Hyolin from Sistar. There are some that even try to look more like blacks in a way that upsets americans, like Truedy who just won a popular rap show. A small face and a V shaped jaw are seen as beautiful so they use plastic surgery a lot. These preferences are very old in korean culture, predating western contact.
    Kylie Jenner fits their taste so I’m not surprised they liked her face the most.

    Nevertheless, cultural differences in attractiveness are not as big or relevant as feminists make them. What is a 10 here will be a 9 or an 8 there and vice versa. Also, what is a 2 here is a 2 everywhere.

    If you want to see an odd preference, japanese yaeba teeth are the weirdest.

    https://www.google.ro/search?q=yaeba&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-9sacqaHKAhUKwBQKHc3UCccQ_AUIBygB&biw=1604&bih=965

    Read More
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  25. @Razib Khan
    with what I recall of the experiment on infant rhesus monkeys, demonstrating that they need affection & physical contact so strongly that they will prefer contact with a cloth “parent” almost to the point of malnutrition. Comments or corrections?

    the issue is parents don't matter on the margin. kids need a "good enough" environment, not a perfect one. OTOH, even deprivation and stress in childhood might eventually "wear off." now, in a evolutionary context being attached to parents makes sense, so it's not like it's not adaptive.

    The first question is whether cross-cultural patterns of female sexual agency/freedom are at all correlated with genetic similarity of males within each culture

    if males are similar, females would be too. so you're talking about genetic homogeneity overall. i'd say no, because even with genome-wide similarity the "cheating" strategy will rapidly win unless there is something fighting it back. in general i'm a marxian i guess about this. in societies where women have economic freedom, men invest less and women ask less. OTOH, modern norms seem to have shifted the equilibrium in many ways.

    It seems that improved & ever more widely available techniques of birth control, combined with near certain establishment of paternity, should lead many (all?) of the purely biological reasons for stronger sexual restrictions on females than on males relax.

    yeah, this seems reasonable. the problem is that individuals and societies don't inspect causality too much when it comes to norms. additionally, sex with non-partners can also result in a diversion of time and effort from the primary relationship. "poly" people often have to spend a lot of time relationship managing.

    Once again, thanks.

    Read More
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  26. @marcel proust
    RK: Been waiting for an open thread to thank you for recommending two books that I read in 2015, Harris's The Nurture Assumption and Geary's Male, Female (which I just finished in the last week of the year). I enjoyed the first and learned from both (the 2nd is too encylopedic to say that I enjoyed it, but it was otherwise an amazing book).

    1) Harris: From what I had read about the book, it sounded like a contrarian Yuppies, Iou're Doing it Wrong, like something I would expect of Megan McArdle, Virginia Postrel or Conor Friedersdorf. On your rec, I read it, and both enjoyed it and learned a great deal. It makes a lot of sense, and I was particularly sympathetic to the story she told because of her own story (not rational, but then nothing human is alien to me and all that). My kids are adults doing very well and while I enjoy taking credit for their outcome, I've also figured that that is largely vanity. This book gave me a much better handle on how much/little I can claim credit for.

    - Q1: One question I have is reconciling what I recall months later of her view of the limited impact that parents can have on children's outcomes* with what I recall of the experiment on infant rhesus monkeys, demonstrating that they need affection & physical contact so strongly that they will prefer contact with a cloth "parent" almost to the point of malnutrition. Comments or corrections?

    2) Geary: There are 3 things that I esp. like about this book.
    - How he presents statistics: Instead of presenting averages and standard deviations (for males and females), Geary presents comparisons along the lines of "17 of 20 males are more XXX than the aveage female", "5 of 6 females outperformed the average male". This is a phenomenally useful way of comparing distributions (and I recall RK doing this recently in a comparison of male and female upper body strength in a post on spousal/mate abuse).
    - The first few chapters in the book discuss sexual differences throughout much of animal kingdom, before turning to other primates and only then turning to humans. The context this gives is immensely helpful in understanding sexual differences in humans and in enabling the (this?) reader to set aside preconcpetions (this word sounds better than "prejudices") and to give a fair chance to the evidence that he presents.
    - The discussion of what is known with a reasonable amount of confidence, what seems to be likely but is less certain, what is supported by some, but not much, evidence, and what the author suspects but for which there is little or no current evidence on the basis of reliable analyses.

    - Q2: The single most interesting thing that I learned was the strong positive correlation across species in paternity certainty and paternal care of or contributions to the raising of offspring. In humans, paternal certainy typically involves a fair amount of mate guarding. The patriarchy has strong biological roots! If societies with high paternal contribution to child-rearing outperform those that do not in some environments, the likely result is limited female sexual autonomy in those environments. Two questions occurred to me in connection with this (both at least mildly prurient).

    - The first question is whether cross-cultural patterns of female sexual agency/freedom are at all correlated with genetic similarity of males within each culture. Polynesia is an example of relatively high sexual freedom and (I assume) relatively high genetic similarity of males, esp. within each group of islands. Another example of high male genetic similarity, from what little I know, is Native Americans (don't know anything about general patterns of polyandry or female sexual autonomy). Himalayan polyandry seems to be an adaptation along these lines to a resource poor environment, but is not actually pertinent to my question, which is whether it is more common where males are similar rather than whether 1 woman marries related males for other reasons.

    - The 2nd question is speculative. Clearly, females in developed economies have achieved much more sexual autonomy in the last half century with the development of much better contraceptives. What I am curious about is whether these restrictions will be further relaxed as it becomes possible to establish paternity with almost exact certainty as a consequence of the technological advances in genetics (yeh, yeh, identical twins). If the trend of fathers' becoming more involved with child rearing continues, both parents will have more nearly similar amounts of time for outside copulations. It seems that improved & ever more widely available techniques of birth control, combined with near certain establishment of paternity, should lead many (all?) of the purely biological reasons for stronger sexual restrictions on females than on males relax.

    *I can hold on to general patterns and themes for a long time, but at my age forget details fairly quickly and questions, like the one about the rhesus monkey experiment mentioned above often don't come until later. I work at a college with a good library and almost all of the ones that I read are library books: I have too many books as it is, in part due to my parents' downsizing in the early aughties, at which point I kept several hundred of their 5K-6K collection (my sisters and I use to joke that long after their house turned to dust, the book shelves, both those that were hung on the walls and those that were floor to ceiling free standing ones, would be visible. When 2 my sisters were still in their teens and early 20s, my parents rewrote their will and their lawyer suggested that the 3 of us go through the house and put figurative post-its on each item to claim it, so that could be written down and incorporated into the will. This freaked my sisters, so I told not to worry, that we would treat each other decently by, for instance each claiming every 3rd page of each book. My parents backed off and my sisters stopped freaking).

    It seems that improved & ever more widely available techniques of birth control, combined with near certain establishment of paternity, should lead many (all?) of the purely biological reasons for stronger sexual restrictions on females than on males relax.

    If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, it makes a sound. But it doesn’t make a difference. This would only be true if people routinely give paternity tests to their newborns (or yet-to-be-borns!).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    This would only be true if people routinely give paternity tests to their newborns (or yet-to-be-borns!).

    prenatal sequencing is going to be routine in 10 years. (that's a conservative estimate)
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  27. @Roger Sweeny
    It seems that improved & ever more widely available techniques of birth control, combined with near certain establishment of paternity, should lead many (all?) of the purely biological reasons for stronger sexual restrictions on females than on males relax.

    If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, it makes a sound. But it doesn't make a difference. This would only be true if people routinely give paternity tests to their newborns (or yet-to-be-borns!).

    This would only be true if people routinely give paternity tests to their newborns (or yet-to-be-borns!).

    prenatal sequencing is going to be routine in 10 years. (that’s a conservative estimate)

    Read More
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  28. toto says:
    @Razib Khan
    beyonce's mother is a light-skinned mixed-race creole whose ancestry does look to be mostly white. her father is a more conventional african american. i think she's probably 50:50, though her features look more european than african. in any case, non-americans not attuned to social norms of racial categorization so they make naive (and sometimes more commonsense) inferences. e.g., i read an article about 10 years ago where a journalist living in russia was shocked to observe that the local media assumed that jason kidd was a white basketball player.

    FWIW I remember being surprised to learn that Halle Berry was black (I’m French).

    My understanding is that the one-drop rule is stronger in the US than in the Europe. European countries have specific terms for mixed-race people (like “metis” or “Antillais”, i.e. Caribbean) and use them. “Black” is usually reserved for people with essentially pure African ancestry.

    Supporting information: Yannick Noah (father of Joakim):

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    My understanding is that the one-drop rule is stronger in the US than in the Europe.

    In the US, people with any degree of black ancestry are under intense and overwhelming social pressure to identify as black 24/7. Blacks who do not toe the line risk ostracism from black society. The ones who are mixed and understand what this means have no where to turn.
    , @Razib Khan
    random, the korean youtube clip comes from channel of an american living in korea. i was rather annoyed sometimes listening to her because she seemed to be a white person who was affecting an african american accent. well, turns out she is african american, with two african american parents, and grew up in a predominantly black county in georgia (both of her parents look less white in ancestry than she, but it could be recombination/segregation,e tc.).

    https://www.youtube.com/user/ChoNunMigookSaram
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  29. iffen says:
    @toto
    FWIW I remember being surprised to learn that Halle Berry was black (I'm French).


    My understanding is that the one-drop rule is stronger in the US than in the Europe. European countries have specific terms for mixed-race people (like "metis" or "Antillais", i.e. Caribbean) and use them. "Black" is usually reserved for people with essentially pure African ancestry.

    Supporting information: Yannick Noah (father of Joakim):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfYzRCQ3ZpA

    My understanding is that the one-drop rule is stronger in the US than in the Europe.

    In the US, people with any degree of black ancestry are under intense and overwhelming social pressure to identify as black 24/7. Blacks who do not toe the line risk ostracism from black society. The ones who are mixed and understand what this means have no where to turn.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    exception: if you have a spanish or portuguese last name. also, if you look white enough you may be able to be pan/post-racial (e.g., jennifer beals and rashida jones probably fall into this class). but to non-americans it's pretty confusing, because it really doesn't hold to any other group (someone who is 1/4 chinese or japanese and is mildly asian looking can still white identify without much controversy).
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  30. @toto
    FWIW I remember being surprised to learn that Halle Berry was black (I'm French).


    My understanding is that the one-drop rule is stronger in the US than in the Europe. European countries have specific terms for mixed-race people (like "metis" or "Antillais", i.e. Caribbean) and use them. "Black" is usually reserved for people with essentially pure African ancestry.

    Supporting information: Yannick Noah (father of Joakim):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfYzRCQ3ZpA

    random, the korean youtube clip comes from channel of an american living in korea. i was rather annoyed sometimes listening to her because she seemed to be a white person who was affecting an african american accent. well, turns out she is african american, with two african american parents, and grew up in a predominantly black county in georgia (both of her parents look less white in ancestry than she, but it could be recombination/segregation,e tc.).

    https://www.youtube.com/user/ChoNunMigookSaram

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pseudonymic Handle
    I prefer a channel made by a korean guy with videos like this: Korean girls are asked about 'MILF'
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3rlK6td8Ek
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  31. @iffen
    My understanding is that the one-drop rule is stronger in the US than in the Europe.

    In the US, people with any degree of black ancestry are under intense and overwhelming social pressure to identify as black 24/7. Blacks who do not toe the line risk ostracism from black society. The ones who are mixed and understand what this means have no where to turn.

    exception: if you have a spanish or portuguese last name. also, if you look white enough you may be able to be pan/post-racial (e.g., jennifer beals and rashida jones probably fall into this class). but to non-americans it’s pretty confusing, because it really doesn’t hold to any other group (someone who is 1/4 chinese or japanese and is mildly asian looking can still white identify without much controversy).

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Yes. There are exceptions. You can be Tiger Woods if you are Tiger Woods.

    The fact remains that out here in prole land when those cute little brown kids hit middle school they still have to choose and it is easier for most of them to just go with what society dictates.
    , @Roger Sweeny
    Piri Thomas, in Down These Mean Streets, tells of how he got out of a difficult situation in the segregated South by convincing the white people that he was Spanish. He is usually described as "a dark-skinned Puerto Rican" (born 1928).

    Rashida Jones (now starring in Angie Tribeca and a lot of Verizon commercials) is described in the Internet Movie Data Base as, "the younger daughter of media mogul, producer, and musician Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton. ... Her father is African-American, and also has Welsh ancestry. Her mother is Ashkenazi Jewish (a descendant of immigrants from Russia and Latvia)."

    The imdb page also quotes from a 2005 interview with Glamour magazine (she graduated from Harvard in 1997),

    Finally I was leaving for college, for Harvard. Daddy would have died if I turned Harvard down. Harvard was supposed to be the most enlightened place in America, but that's where I encountered something I'd never found in L.A.: segregation. The way the clubs and the social life were set up, I had to choose one thing to be: black or white. I chose black. I went to black frat parties and joined the Black Student Association, a political and social group. I protested the heinous book The Bell Curve [which claims that a key determinant of intelligence is inherited], holding a sign and chanting. But at other protests-on issues I didn't agree with- wondered: Am I doing this because I'm afraid the black students are going to hate me if I don't? As a black person at Harvard, the lighter you were, the blacker you had to act. I tried hard to be accepted by the girls who were the gatekeepers to Harvard's black community. One day I joined them as usual at their cafeteria table. I said, "Hey!"-real friendly. Silence. I remember chewing my food in that dead, ominous silence. Finally, one girl spoke. She accused me of hitting on one of their boyfriends over the weekend. It was untrue, but I think what was really eating her was that she thought I was trying to take away a smart, good-looking black man-and being light-skinned, I wasn't "allowed" to do that. I was hurt, angry. I called Kidada in New York crying. She said, "Tell her what you feel!" So I called the girl and...I really ripped her a new one. But after that, I felt insidious intimidation from that group. The next year there was a black guy I really liked, but I didn't have the courage to pursue him. Sometimes I think of him and how different my life might be if I hadn't been so chicken. The experience was shattering. Confused and identity-less, I spent sophomore year crying at night and sleeping all day. Mom said, "Do you want to come home?" I said, "No." Toughing it out when you don't fit in: That was the strength my sister gave me.
     
    , @syonredux

    also, if you look white enough you may be able to be pan/post-racial (e.g., jennifer beals and rashida jones probably fall into this class).
     
    Absolutely. Just look at their filmographies. They are routinely cast as White/exotic.

    but to non-americans it’s pretty confusing, because it really doesn’t hold to any other group (someone who is 1/4 chinese or japanese and is mildly asian looking can still white identify without much controversy).
     
    For evidence of this, just look at the film careers of Keanu Reeves, Meg and Jennifer Tilly, Dean Cain, etc.

    For example, Dean Cain was cast as Superman on LOIS & CLARK, and no one batted an eye.

    Dean Cain:

    Ethnicity:
    *37.5% Japanese
    *62.5% European (including English, French-Canadian, Irish, Welsh)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/dean-cain

    Meg Tilly:

    Ethnicity:
    *Chinese (father)
    *Finnish, Irish, First Nations (mother)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/meg-tilly

    Jennifer Tilly:

    Ethnicity:
    *Chinese (father)
    *Finnish, Irish, First Nations (mother)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/jennifer-tilly

    Keanu Reeves:

    *Native Hawaiian, Portuguese, English, Scottish, more distant Chinese, remote Dutch (father)
    *English (mother)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/keanu-reeves

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  32. @Razib Khan
    random, the korean youtube clip comes from channel of an american living in korea. i was rather annoyed sometimes listening to her because she seemed to be a white person who was affecting an african american accent. well, turns out she is african american, with two african american parents, and grew up in a predominantly black county in georgia (both of her parents look less white in ancestry than she, but it could be recombination/segregation,e tc.).

    https://www.youtube.com/user/ChoNunMigookSaram

    I prefer a channel made by a korean guy with videos like this: Korean girls are asked about ‘MILF’

    Read More
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  33. iffen says:
    @Razib Khan
    exception: if you have a spanish or portuguese last name. also, if you look white enough you may be able to be pan/post-racial (e.g., jennifer beals and rashida jones probably fall into this class). but to non-americans it's pretty confusing, because it really doesn't hold to any other group (someone who is 1/4 chinese or japanese and is mildly asian looking can still white identify without much controversy).

    Yes. There are exceptions. You can be Tiger Woods if you are Tiger Woods.

    The fact remains that out here in prole land when those cute little brown kids hit middle school they still have to choose and it is easier for most of them to just go with what society dictates.

    Read More
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  34. @Razib Khan
    exception: if you have a spanish or portuguese last name. also, if you look white enough you may be able to be pan/post-racial (e.g., jennifer beals and rashida jones probably fall into this class). but to non-americans it's pretty confusing, because it really doesn't hold to any other group (someone who is 1/4 chinese or japanese and is mildly asian looking can still white identify without much controversy).

    Piri Thomas, in Down These Mean Streets, tells of how he got out of a difficult situation in the segregated South by convincing the white people that he was Spanish. He is usually described as “a dark-skinned Puerto Rican” (born 1928).

    Rashida Jones (now starring in Angie Tribeca and a lot of Verizon commercials) is described in the Internet Movie Data Base as, “the younger daughter of media mogul, producer, and musician Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton. … Her father is African-American, and also has Welsh ancestry. Her mother is Ashkenazi Jewish (a descendant of immigrants from Russia and Latvia).”

    The imdb page also quotes from a 2005 interview with Glamour magazine (she graduated from Harvard in 1997),

    Finally I was leaving for college, for Harvard. Daddy would have died if I turned Harvard down. Harvard was supposed to be the most enlightened place in America, but that’s where I encountered something I’d never found in L.A.: segregation. The way the clubs and the social life were set up, I had to choose one thing to be: black or white. I chose black. I went to black frat parties and joined the Black Student Association, a political and social group. I protested the heinous book The Bell Curve [which claims that a key determinant of intelligence is inherited], holding a sign and chanting. But at other protests-on issues I didn’t agree with- wondered: Am I doing this because I’m afraid the black students are going to hate me if I don’t? As a black person at Harvard, the lighter you were, the blacker you had to act. I tried hard to be accepted by the girls who were the gatekeepers to Harvard’s black community. One day I joined them as usual at their cafeteria table. I said, “Hey!”-real friendly. Silence. I remember chewing my food in that dead, ominous silence. Finally, one girl spoke. She accused me of hitting on one of their boyfriends over the weekend. It was untrue, but I think what was really eating her was that she thought I was trying to take away a smart, good-looking black man-and being light-skinned, I wasn’t “allowed” to do that. I was hurt, angry. I called Kidada in New York crying. She said, “Tell her what you feel!” So I called the girl and…I really ripped her a new one. But after that, I felt insidious intimidation from that group. The next year there was a black guy I really liked, but I didn’t have the courage to pursue him. Sometimes I think of him and how different my life might be if I hadn’t been so chicken. The experience was shattering. Confused and identity-less, I spent sophomore year crying at night and sleeping all day. Mom said, “Do you want to come home?” I said, “No.” Toughing it out when you don’t fit in: That was the strength my sister gave me.

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux
    Interesting thing about Rashida Jones and her sister, Kidada, is how they demonstrate the importance of small differences in phenotype. Kidada is slightly Blacker-looking than Rashida, and that's had a big impact on her self-image:

    KIDADA: I was kicked out of Buckley in second grade for behavior problems. I didn’t want my mother to come to my new school. If kids saw her, it would be: “your mom’s white!” I told Mom she couldn’t pick me up; she had to wait down the street in her car. Did Rashida have that problem? No! She passed for white.

    RASHIDA: “Passed”?! I had no control over how I looked. This is my natural hair, these are my natural eyes! I’ve never tried to be anything that I’m not. Today I feel guilty, knowing that because of the way our genes tumbled out, Kidada had to go through pain I didn’t have to endure. Loving her so much, I’m sad that I’ll never share that experience with her.
     

    RASHIDA: But it was different with our grandparents. Our dad’s father died before we were born. We didn’t see our dad’s mother often. I felt comfortable with Mommy’s parents, who’d come to love my dad like a son. Kidada wasn’t so comfortable with them. I felt Jewish; Kidada didn’t.

    KIDADA: I knew Mommy’s parents were upset at first when she married a black man, and though they did the best they could, I picked up on what I thought was their subtle disapproval of me. Mommy says they loved me, but I felt estranged from them.
     

    PEGGY: Kidada never wanted to be white. She spoke with a little…twist in her language. She had ‘tude. Rashida spoke more primly, and her identity touched all bases. She’d announce, “I’m going to be the first female, black, Jewish president of the U.S.!”

    KIDADA: When I was 11, a white girlfriend and I were going to meet up with these boys she knew. I’d told her, because I wanted to be accepted, “Tell them I’m tan.” When we met them, the one she was setting me up with said, “You didn’t tell me she was black.” That’s When I started defining myself as black, period. Why fight it? Everyone wanted to put me in a box. On passports, at doctor’s offices, when I changed schools, there were boxes to check: Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Asian. I don’t mean any dishonor to my mother–who is the most wonderful mother in the world, and we are so alike–but: I am black. Rashida answers questions about “what” she is differently. She uses all the adjectives: black, white, Jewish.
     
    http://bossip.com/623483/rashida-jones-sister-kidada-agrees-she-passed-for-white-but-did-the-mean-girls-at-harvard-scare-her-away-from-dating-black-men-forever/
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  35. syonredux says:
    @Razib Khan
    exception: if you have a spanish or portuguese last name. also, if you look white enough you may be able to be pan/post-racial (e.g., jennifer beals and rashida jones probably fall into this class). but to non-americans it's pretty confusing, because it really doesn't hold to any other group (someone who is 1/4 chinese or japanese and is mildly asian looking can still white identify without much controversy).

    also, if you look white enough you may be able to be pan/post-racial (e.g., jennifer beals and rashida jones probably fall into this class).

    Absolutely. Just look at their filmographies. They are routinely cast as White/exotic.

    but to non-americans it’s pretty confusing, because it really doesn’t hold to any other group (someone who is 1/4 chinese or japanese and is mildly asian looking can still white identify without much controversy).

    For evidence of this, just look at the film careers of Keanu Reeves, Meg and Jennifer Tilly, Dean Cain, etc.

    For example, Dean Cain was cast as Superman on LOIS & CLARK, and no one batted an eye.

    Dean Cain:

    Ethnicity:
    *37.5% Japanese
    *62.5% European (including English, French-Canadian, Irish, Welsh)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/dean-cain

    Meg Tilly:

    Ethnicity:
    *Chinese (father)
    *Finnish, Irish, First Nations (mother)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/meg-tilly

    Jennifer Tilly:

    Ethnicity:
    *Chinese (father)
    *Finnish, Irish, First Nations (mother)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/jennifer-tilly

    Keanu Reeves:

    *Native Hawaiian, Portuguese, English, Scottish, more distant Chinese, remote Dutch (father)
    *English (mother)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/keanu-reeves

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie
    Don't forget the luminescent Phoebe Cates, who, I believe, is 1/4 Chinese.

    She was something when she first burst into Hollywood:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9_denye47Uk/UZzhBGhlTYI/AAAAAAAAAk0/6pCHPVn2ELA/s1600/Phoebe_Cates-46456.jpg
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  36. syonredux says:
    @Roger Sweeny
    Piri Thomas, in Down These Mean Streets, tells of how he got out of a difficult situation in the segregated South by convincing the white people that he was Spanish. He is usually described as "a dark-skinned Puerto Rican" (born 1928).

    Rashida Jones (now starring in Angie Tribeca and a lot of Verizon commercials) is described in the Internet Movie Data Base as, "the younger daughter of media mogul, producer, and musician Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton. ... Her father is African-American, and also has Welsh ancestry. Her mother is Ashkenazi Jewish (a descendant of immigrants from Russia and Latvia)."

    The imdb page also quotes from a 2005 interview with Glamour magazine (she graduated from Harvard in 1997),

    Finally I was leaving for college, for Harvard. Daddy would have died if I turned Harvard down. Harvard was supposed to be the most enlightened place in America, but that's where I encountered something I'd never found in L.A.: segregation. The way the clubs and the social life were set up, I had to choose one thing to be: black or white. I chose black. I went to black frat parties and joined the Black Student Association, a political and social group. I protested the heinous book The Bell Curve [which claims that a key determinant of intelligence is inherited], holding a sign and chanting. But at other protests-on issues I didn't agree with- wondered: Am I doing this because I'm afraid the black students are going to hate me if I don't? As a black person at Harvard, the lighter you were, the blacker you had to act. I tried hard to be accepted by the girls who were the gatekeepers to Harvard's black community. One day I joined them as usual at their cafeteria table. I said, "Hey!"-real friendly. Silence. I remember chewing my food in that dead, ominous silence. Finally, one girl spoke. She accused me of hitting on one of their boyfriends over the weekend. It was untrue, but I think what was really eating her was that she thought I was trying to take away a smart, good-looking black man-and being light-skinned, I wasn't "allowed" to do that. I was hurt, angry. I called Kidada in New York crying. She said, "Tell her what you feel!" So I called the girl and...I really ripped her a new one. But after that, I felt insidious intimidation from that group. The next year there was a black guy I really liked, but I didn't have the courage to pursue him. Sometimes I think of him and how different my life might be if I hadn't been so chicken. The experience was shattering. Confused and identity-less, I spent sophomore year crying at night and sleeping all day. Mom said, "Do you want to come home?" I said, "No." Toughing it out when you don't fit in: That was the strength my sister gave me.
     

    Interesting thing about Rashida Jones and her sister, Kidada, is how they demonstrate the importance of small differences in phenotype. Kidada is slightly Blacker-looking than Rashida, and that’s had a big impact on her self-image:

    KIDADA: I was kicked out of Buckley in second grade for behavior problems. I didn’t want my mother to come to my new school. If kids saw her, it would be: “your mom’s white!” I told Mom she couldn’t pick me up; she had to wait down the street in her car. Did Rashida have that problem? No! She passed for white.

    RASHIDA: “Passed”?! I had no control over how I looked. This is my natural hair, these are my natural eyes! I’ve never tried to be anything that I’m not. Today I feel guilty, knowing that because of the way our genes tumbled out, Kidada had to go through pain I didn’t have to endure. Loving her so much, I’m sad that I’ll never share that experience with her.

    RASHIDA: But it was different with our grandparents. Our dad’s father died before we were born. We didn’t see our dad’s mother often. I felt comfortable with Mommy’s parents, who’d come to love my dad like a son. Kidada wasn’t so comfortable with them. I felt Jewish; Kidada didn’t.

    KIDADA: I knew Mommy’s parents were upset at first when she married a black man, and though they did the best they could, I picked up on what I thought was their subtle disapproval of me. Mommy says they loved me, but I felt estranged from them.

    PEGGY: Kidada never wanted to be white. She spoke with a little…twist in her language. She had ‘tude. Rashida spoke more primly, and her identity touched all bases. She’d announce, “I’m going to be the first female, black, Jewish president of the U.S.!”

    KIDADA: When I was 11, a white girlfriend and I were going to meet up with these boys she knew. I’d told her, because I wanted to be accepted, “Tell them I’m tan.” When we met them, the one she was setting me up with said, “You didn’t tell me she was black.” That’s When I started defining myself as black, period. Why fight it? Everyone wanted to put me in a box. On passports, at doctor’s offices, when I changed schools, there were boxes to check: Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Asian. I don’t mean any dishonor to my mother–who is the most wonderful mother in the world, and we are so alike–but: I am black. Rashida answers questions about “what” she is differently. She uses all the adjectives: black, white, Jewish.

    http://bossip.com/623483/rashida-jones-sister-kidada-agrees-she-passed-for-white-but-did-the-mean-girls-at-harvard-scare-her-away-from-dating-black-men-forever/

    Read More
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  37. Yeti says:

    Razib,

    I’m curious to hear what you make of this:

    http://sasquatchgenomeproject.org/linked/novel-north-american-hominins-final-pdf-download.pdf

    It is a study of claimed bigfoot hair/tissue samples. They found that the mtdna was human, but the autosomal DNA appears to made up of human DNA and the DNA of an unknown hominid, thus indicating that bigfoot is a hybrid of modern humans with some archaic variety. The author says that no journal would accept the paper because it talked about bigfoot. What do you think?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    it's bullshit and academic fraud. (i looked at the "paper")
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  38. @Yeti
    Razib,

    I'm curious to hear what you make of this:

    http://sasquatchgenomeproject.org/linked/novel-north-american-hominins-final-pdf-download.pdf

    It is a study of claimed bigfoot hair/tissue samples. They found that the mtdna was human, but the autosomal DNA appears to made up of human DNA and the DNA of an unknown hominid, thus indicating that bigfoot is a hybrid of modern humans with some archaic variety. The author says that no journal would accept the paper because it talked about bigfoot. What do you think?

    it’s bullshit and academic fraud. (i looked at the “paper”)

    Read More
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  39. “Unfortunately some of the references to genomics are out of date, because he was writing the book in 2014. ”

    This undoubtedly is a pungent tribute to the pace of progress in genomics!

    Read More
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  40. Twinkie says:
    @syonredux

    also, if you look white enough you may be able to be pan/post-racial (e.g., jennifer beals and rashida jones probably fall into this class).
     
    Absolutely. Just look at their filmographies. They are routinely cast as White/exotic.

    but to non-americans it’s pretty confusing, because it really doesn’t hold to any other group (someone who is 1/4 chinese or japanese and is mildly asian looking can still white identify without much controversy).
     
    For evidence of this, just look at the film careers of Keanu Reeves, Meg and Jennifer Tilly, Dean Cain, etc.

    For example, Dean Cain was cast as Superman on LOIS & CLARK, and no one batted an eye.

    Dean Cain:

    Ethnicity:
    *37.5% Japanese
    *62.5% European (including English, French-Canadian, Irish, Welsh)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/dean-cain

    Meg Tilly:

    Ethnicity:
    *Chinese (father)
    *Finnish, Irish, First Nations (mother)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/meg-tilly

    Jennifer Tilly:

    Ethnicity:
    *Chinese (father)
    *Finnish, Irish, First Nations (mother)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/jennifer-tilly

    Keanu Reeves:

    *Native Hawaiian, Portuguese, English, Scottish, more distant Chinese, remote Dutch (father)
    *English (mother)

    http://ethnicelebs.com/keanu-reeves

    Don’t forget the luminescent Phoebe Cates, who, I believe, is 1/4 Chinese.

    She was something when she first burst into Hollywood:

    Read More
    • Replies: @syonredux

    Don’t forget the luminescent Phoebe Cates, who, I believe, is 1/4 Chinese.

    She was something when she first burst into Hollywood:
     

    Her stats:

    Ethnicity:
    *Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
    *Chinese-Filipino, Ashkenazi Jewish (mother)

    Phoebe’s paternal grandparents were Russian Jews. Phoebe’s maternal grandfather was Chinese-Filipino, and Phoebe’s maternal grandmother was of Russian Jewish descent. Phoebe’s mother was born in Shanghai, China.
     

    http://ethnicelebs.com/phoebe-cates


    I had quite a pre-adolescent crush on her....

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  41. syonredux says:
    @Twinkie
    Don't forget the luminescent Phoebe Cates, who, I believe, is 1/4 Chinese.

    She was something when she first burst into Hollywood:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9_denye47Uk/UZzhBGhlTYI/AAAAAAAAAk0/6pCHPVn2ELA/s1600/Phoebe_Cates-46456.jpg

    Don’t forget the luminescent Phoebe Cates, who, I believe, is 1/4 Chinese.

    She was something when she first burst into Hollywood:

    Her stats:

    Ethnicity:
    *Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
    *Chinese-Filipino, Ashkenazi Jewish (mother)

    Phoebe’s paternal grandparents were Russian Jews. Phoebe’s maternal grandfather was Chinese-Filipino, and Phoebe’s maternal grandmother was of Russian Jewish descent. Phoebe’s mother was born in Shanghai, China.

    http://ethnicelebs.com/phoebe-cates

    I had quite a pre-adolescent crush on her….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie
    I forgot to mention Mark-Paul Goesselaar of "Saved by the Bell" fame: http://static.celebuzz.com/uploads/2012/07/30/30/mark-paul-gosselaar-lg01.jpg

    My wife grew up watching that show, and was surprised when she learned that he was part Asian.

    I think he is part Indonesian, probably 1/4th. His mother is from Bali (which was one of my very favorite haunts when I lived in Asia) and is a Dutch-Indonesian hybrid.
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  42. Twinkie says:
    @syonredux

    Don’t forget the luminescent Phoebe Cates, who, I believe, is 1/4 Chinese.

    She was something when she first burst into Hollywood:
     

    Her stats:

    Ethnicity:
    *Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
    *Chinese-Filipino, Ashkenazi Jewish (mother)

    Phoebe’s paternal grandparents were Russian Jews. Phoebe’s maternal grandfather was Chinese-Filipino, and Phoebe’s maternal grandmother was of Russian Jewish descent. Phoebe’s mother was born in Shanghai, China.
     

    http://ethnicelebs.com/phoebe-cates


    I had quite a pre-adolescent crush on her....

    I forgot to mention Mark-Paul Goesselaar of “Saved by the Bell” fame:

    My wife grew up watching that show, and was surprised when she learned that he was part Asian.

    I think he is part Indonesian, probably 1/4th. His mother is from Bali (which was one of my very favorite haunts when I lived in Asia) and is a Dutch-Indonesian hybrid.

    Read More
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  43. Twinkie says:

    Though as the New Year’s crowd clears out I’ll probably venture back to the normal gym, the tower is a great supplement and keeps me at a good baseline.

    Have you considered doing some sort of a combat sport?

    Strength and conditioning training is fantastic, but it can get monotonous; combat sports are fun, engage you cerebrally (“kinetic chess”), build camaraderie, and give you great functional strength. You may even acquire some fighting skills.

    And contrary to what some may think, it’s something you can for a lifetime (and then pass on to your children and grandchildren): https://youtu.be/UxjWhMrn_ic (that’s a footage of the late Helio Gracie, who was probably in his late 80′s or early 90′s grappling with his son, Rickson Gracie, the legendary Gracie family champion).

    Read More
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  44. Riordan says:

    Razib,

    Sometime last year, I believe there was a thread (forgot which one) where you mentioned there were no historiographic traditions (as we know it) in South Asia in a debate with another poster. Have you heard of the Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa of Sri Lanka?

    http://mahavamsa.org/mahavamsa/original-version/37-king-mahasena/

    Read More
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