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Open Thread, 5/8/2016
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Civil_War_Final_Poster Went to see Captain America: Civil War yesterday at the Alamo Drafthouse. I don’t watch many movies, and I’m not into comic books, but the Marvel films series is one I watch partly for cultural literacy (years ago I got tired of references to The Dark Knight, so I watched them just to get caught up). Also, Alamo Drafthouse really knows how to make a profit on films and distinguish themselves from Netflix in terms of what they offer. Tentpole films are still something you want to go to the movie theater for, but most of the time someone like me is not profitable for the establishment, because I avoid purchasing $4.00 size giant coke’s at the concessions.

As far as the movie, it is hard from where I stand to side with anyone except Captain America, even though if you think about it there are many merits to the position of Tony Stark. I’d probably have been more persuaded by Stark’s consequentialism if it had been motivated by cold calculations, as opposed to an emotionally fraught interaction with someone negatively impacted by the Avengers.

One of the things that kind of annoys me about the Avenger’s films is how much hand to hand combat there is, and lack of acknowledgement at how fragile the human body can be. Recently I got into a bike crash. I’m fine, but I had a lot of bruising which is just healing. I can understand that Captain America can take the hits, but without the suit Tony Stark is a man just like us, while Black Widow at 5’3 putting the smackdown on so many people is kind of ridiculous. But then again, it’s just a movie, and one which had Ant-Man in it, so I’m not taking it too seriously.

41yT8hhOZJL._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_ Struck by the importance of ancient Near East in The Shape of Ancient Thought. The Axial Age in the middle of the first millennium B.C. resulted in an efflorescence of ideas which persist down to the modern age. The distribution of these of ideas were geographically distributed across the length of the Old World oikoumene, from Greece to China. The Shape of Ancient Thought is focused on two particular loci, Greece and India. But there is a repeated reference to the primacy of motifs and patterns which seem to have their ultimate roots in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The underlying idea here seems to be that Indian and Greece civilization did not emerge de novo, but rather hoisted itself up on the shoulders of the Bronze Age (the fact that both Indian and Greek writing styles derive from Aramaic roots illustrate this).

I tried to read some more of A New History of Western Philosophy. The author of this book, just like the author of The Shape of Ancient Thought, is on the prolix side. But A New History of Western Philosophy has more boring content in my opinion.

What Makes Texas Texas. Speaking of Texas, Uber and Lyft Are Leaving Austin After Losing Background Check Vote. Uber and Lyft are trying to muscle out and marginal city government, but is regulating ride-sharing really going to be the issue on which defenders of government prerogative are going to stand? Was this the “progressive” thing to do? Apparently some people were frightened by the lack of background checks on Uber and Lyft drivers, and the possibility of sexual assault. Perhaps anyone who uses a public restroom should also get fingerprinted. There’s the principle that corporations shouldn’t dictate to the polity, but in the case of taxi services and local governments, there’s been decades of cozy collusion.

If you leave a comment which tries to hijack a thread into on of your pet issues, I won’t publish it.

game-of-thrones-book I have long had contempt for the television show Game of Thrones. My contempt was couched in the language of sophistication. Television shows are not as rich in texture and narrative depth as books. In hindsight this seems to have been mostly snobbery. I don’t watch the show as I don’t have HBO, and and I’m not invested in the serial in any deep way, but I am now paying attention to what’s going on since HBO has gone further than George R. R. Martin. And to be honest I am in the camp which believes there is a modest probability that HBO is the only way many of us will get satisfaction in relation to finale of the series.

Also, it is interesting to see clips of flashbacks, as such a young Ned Stark confronts Ser Arthur Dayne. And of course it confirms and foreshadows the final working out of R + L = J. I remember back before the show having discussions on message boards around ~2000, and it as pretty clear to everyone that R + L = J is the most parsimonious model. Not necessarily the right one, but it was always the one you were going to have to bet on. If Martin and the HBO show go in separate directions it would almost be cool. It isn’t as if fantasy and science fiction series haven’t done a bait-and-switch before; Brandon Sanderson did so in Mistborn and that’s how the Dune series ended (the books co-written by Kevin Anderson and Brian Herbert).

This complied version of ADMIXTOOLS runs straight-out-of-the-box on Ubuntu.

000fcb8d_medium It would be nice if those you would speculate on genetics constantly in the comments actually bother to know something about genetics. That way it would be easier to understand what you’re trying to say, instead of having to always decrypt your inchoate ramblings. For the purposes of this blog John Gillespie’s Population Genetics would probably suffice. If you are a little more ambitious there are used copies of Nielsen and Slatkin’s An Introduction to Population Genetics to be had for $40. That’s a lot better than $90 used copies of Principles of Population Genetics, and, it is focused on population genomics.

Margot Honecker, unrepentant widow of East Germany’s last leader, dies at 89. She seems to have been quite unpleasant. But her fixation on shaping and determining the thought of the youth is very familiar.

I went to a coffee shop today to work for a while which was basically like being in Portland.

Speaking of the Pacific Northwest, ASHG 2016 is in Vancouver. I plan on going.

I had no idea what the lead singer of Radiohead looked like. He looks like a character out of British Movie.

 
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  1. Razib, does that version of ADMIXTOOLS contain a version of ADMIXTUREGRAPH?

    • Replies: @Nick Patterson
    ADMIXTUREGRAPH (technically qpGraph) will be released publicly
    with no commercial code included, real soon now. You will need to be able to
    link in the gnu subroutine library which will need some (modest) Unix
    skills or a decent sysadmin.

    Documentation will be minimal.
  2. I didn’t know what to make of Alamo Drafthouse when it first came to my town but then I realized that it’s a theater chain for SWPLs so I actually quite enjoyed it since I’m a movie geek. Their subtle cues keep the riff raff out.

    • Replies: @John Massey
    Robert, you surprise me - you never struck me as being someone who would be a supporter of the Scottish Women's Premier League.
  3. b. says:

    civil war was just absurd. i couldnt even brush it of with ”it’s just a movie”. wonder woman is at least a super human (meta, advanced or whatever) but 100 pound scarlet normal human throwing around 200 pound dudes like pillows doesn’t make sense in any universe.
    but more importantly, team iron man had vision on their side, by their own rules a nigh godlike omniscient beeing capable of blowing up the whole planet if he desired, yet he somehow forgets about his powers throughout the whole movie, when in fact it’s a no contest. when you go see the movie notice how they managed to hide him in the big airport scene-he is kinda there but not really. his inactivity would make much more sense if declared neutrality and let it up to the heroes right away.

    • Replies: @John Massey
    After the first Avengers movie came out, Scarlett Johannson went on the Late Show with David Letterman. During the discussion she revealed that she had done most of the fight scenes herself, rather than using a stunt double, for which she'd had to train very hard. Letterman said "So now you know how to defend yourself" to which Johannson laughingly responded "Now I know how to look like I know how to defend myself." I thought that was quite a smart comment from someone who does not strike me as very smart in real life.
    , @Greg Pandatshang
    I know action filmmakers and apparently action film audiences just can’t get enough of slight yet ass-kicking babes. I wish they would at least hire consultants who know about self-defense that is designed to be used by women. Should be lots of small joint locks, miscellaneous fighting dirty, using opponent’s weight & momentum against him, etc. etc., as opposed to brawler punches to the jaw. Knives would make sense: a small person with a knife has the advantage over a big person who left their knife at home. But I guess you can't do blood like that in a Marvel Comics movie. Energy bolts, sure, but kids would find it upsetting if the Black Widow goes around Jack-the-Ripper-ing everybody.

    I don’t know anything about this stuff, but it’s just the basicest common sense & the broadest equivalent of realism.

  4. Tony Stark should definitely be dead many times over from the extreme acceleration/deceleration from all those hits, suit or not suit.

  5. @RK
    Razib, does that version of ADMIXTOOLS contain a version of ADMIXTUREGRAPH?

    ADMIXTUREGRAPH (technically qpGraph) will be released publicly
    with no commercial code included, real soon now. You will need to be able to
    link in the gnu subroutine library which will need some (modest) Unix
    skills or a decent sysadmin.

    Documentation will be minimal.

  6. Sean says:

    It would be nice if those you would speculate on genetics constantly in the comments actually bother to know something about genetics

    . I wish I could pick things up from a textbook, but my powers of concentration are not that good. I like novelty, and sometimes buy popular books, such as Nowak’s Supercooperators, Cochran and Harpending’s 10000 Year Explosion, and a couple of days ago I got http://arrival-of-the-fittest.com/books/arrival-of-the-fittest-hc

    Gillespie seems firmly identified with one side of a controversy

    [Gillespie] had a well-known feud with the father of the neutral theory of molecular evolution, Motoo Kimura, initiated by a review in Science of Kimura’s book in which Gillespie criticized Kimura for “using the book as a vehicle to establish for himself a niche in the history of science.”

    Wagner’s book mentions Kimura’s ideas about neutral genes, but says though half right he misunderstood their importance. Scary looking fellow, Wagner.

  7. This Barkus gig, seems like an obvious tie-in with the Mystic Krewe of Barkus.

    https://www.barkus.org/

    Pro-pooch company, pro-pooch krewe… your PR guru may wish to look into it. Even better, check it out yourself -can’t beat a tax-deductible trip to NOLA!

  8. Thought you might find this of interest.

    http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2016/05/09/dogs-aging-study

    Given my hillbilly family history of heart disease I have been watching the rapamyicin and metformin news with interest.

  9. I read in the preface that Gillespie wrote a Minimalist Guide. Is this available on the internet? I did not see it on Amazon or by googling.

  10. @b.
    civil war was just absurd. i couldnt even brush it of with ''it's just a movie''. wonder woman is at least a super human (meta, advanced or whatever) but 100 pound scarlet normal human throwing around 200 pound dudes like pillows doesn't make sense in any universe.
    but more importantly, team iron man had vision on their side, by their own rules a nigh godlike omniscient beeing capable of blowing up the whole planet if he desired, yet he somehow forgets about his powers throughout the whole movie, when in fact it's a no contest. when you go see the movie notice how they managed to hide him in the big airport scene-he is kinda there but not really. his inactivity would make much more sense if declared neutrality and let it up to the heroes right away.

    After the first Avengers movie came out, Scarlett Johannson went on the Late Show with David Letterman. During the discussion she revealed that she had done most of the fight scenes herself, rather than using a stunt double, for which she’d had to train very hard. Letterman said “So now you know how to defend yourself” to which Johannson laughingly responded “Now I know how to look like I know how to defend myself.” I thought that was quite a smart comment from someone who does not strike me as very smart in real life.

  11. @Robert Ford
    I didn't know what to make of Alamo Drafthouse when it first came to my town but then I realized that it's a theater chain for SWPLs so I actually quite enjoyed it since I'm a movie geek. Their subtle cues keep the riff raff out.

    Robert, you surprise me – you never struck me as being someone who would be a supporter of the Scottish Women’s Premier League.

  12. I notice the lack of AC/DC in this film’s soundtrack. Almost every other film that starred Tony Starks/Iron Man featured at least one AC/DC song.

    • Replies: @John Massey
    AC/DC have had some problems of late - first Malcolm Young the rhythm guitarist has Altzheimer's and can no longer perform, so he had to be replaced.

    Then the singer Brian Johnson went deaf and was told he had to quit performing or he could permanently lose his hearing in both ears. Stone deaf.

    So they hired Axl Rose to replace Johnson as singer, but he broke his foot - so they're currently touring with Rose singing while sitting on stage on a chair. Not quite the image they like to portray in their live performances.

    And the drummer (can't remember his name) is facing criminal charges in New Zealand for threatening to kill someone, so they have had to replace the drummer as well.

    The only remaining original members are lead guitarist Angus Young and the bass player.
  13. Razib what did you think of The Black Panther?

  14. @Jefferson
    I notice the lack of AC/DC in this film's soundtrack. Almost every other film that starred Tony Starks/Iron Man featured at least one AC/DC song.

    AC/DC have had some problems of late – first Malcolm Young the rhythm guitarist has Altzheimer’s and can no longer perform, so he had to be replaced.

    Then the singer Brian Johnson went deaf and was told he had to quit performing or he could permanently lose his hearing in both ears. Stone deaf.

    So they hired Axl Rose to replace Johnson as singer, but he broke his foot – so they’re currently touring with Rose singing while sitting on stage on a chair. Not quite the image they like to portray in their live performances.

    And the drummer (can’t remember his name) is facing criminal charges in New Zealand for threatening to kill someone, so they have had to replace the drummer as well.

    The only remaining original members are lead guitarist Angus Young and the bass player.

  15. @b.
    civil war was just absurd. i couldnt even brush it of with ''it's just a movie''. wonder woman is at least a super human (meta, advanced or whatever) but 100 pound scarlet normal human throwing around 200 pound dudes like pillows doesn't make sense in any universe.
    but more importantly, team iron man had vision on their side, by their own rules a nigh godlike omniscient beeing capable of blowing up the whole planet if he desired, yet he somehow forgets about his powers throughout the whole movie, when in fact it's a no contest. when you go see the movie notice how they managed to hide him in the big airport scene-he is kinda there but not really. his inactivity would make much more sense if declared neutrality and let it up to the heroes right away.

    I know action filmmakers and apparently action film audiences just can’t get enough of slight yet ass-kicking babes. I wish they would at least hire consultants who know about self-defense that is designed to be used by women. Should be lots of small joint locks, miscellaneous fighting dirty, using opponent’s weight & momentum against him, etc. etc., as opposed to brawler punches to the jaw. Knives would make sense: a small person with a knife has the advantage over a big person who left their knife at home. But I guess you can’t do blood like that in a Marvel Comics movie. Energy bolts, sure, but kids would find it upsetting if the Black Widow goes around Jack-the-Ripper-ing everybody.

    I don’t know anything about this stuff, but it’s just the basicest common sense & the broadest equivalent of realism.

  16. I take it that R+L=J implies that it is likely that, for once, dead will not actually mean dead in Game of Thrones.

    Also, this seems to be fueling talk of a Danny-Snow wedding. Am I allowed to say “ick”! I mean, it is one thing for the evil baddy Lannisters to get all incestuous. But, the most virtuous people in the show?

    • Replies: @djw
    Jon Snow + Danny would be very much in keeping with Targaryen traditions. She is infertile, so no need to worry about the mutational load of their children.
  17. One day, ALL movies will be Marvel movies.

  18. @ohwilleke
    I take it that R+L=J implies that it is likely that, for once, dead will not actually mean dead in Game of Thrones.

    Also, this seems to be fueling talk of a Danny-Snow wedding. Am I allowed to say "ick"! I mean, it is one thing for the evil baddy Lannisters to get all incestuous. But, the most virtuous people in the show?

    Jon Snow + Danny would be very much in keeping with Targaryen traditions. She is infertile, so no need to worry about the mutational load of their children.

  19. There is great CGI in the film during a flashback scene where they make Robert Downey Jr.’s face look 20 years younger.

  20. Genetic Testing Proves Bene Israel Community in India Has Jewish Roots

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016 9:30:00 AM

    https://www.aftau.org/news-page-biology–evolution?=&storyid4700=2270&ncs4700=3

    A new study from Tel Aviv University, Cornell University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine reveals genetic proof of the Jewish roots of the Bene Israel community in the western part of India. They have always considered themselves Jewish.

    ***

    “Human genetics now has the potential to not only improve human health but also help us understand human history,” says Prof. Eran Halperin of TAU’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology and TAU’s Blavatnik School of Computer Sciences, who together with Prof. Alon Keinan of Cornell University’s Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology advised Waldman. The research was published in PLoS One on March 24, 2016.

    From folklore to science

    According to their oral history, the Bene Israel people descended from 14 Jewish survivors of a shipwreck on India’s Konkan shore. The exact timing of this event and the origin and identity of the Jewish visitors are unknown. Some date the event to around 2,000 years ago. Others estimate that it took place in 175 BCE. Still others believe their Jewish ancestors arrived as early as the 8th century BCE.

    ***

    The research team, including members of Prof. Keinan’s lab, Prof. Eitan Friedman of TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine, and Prof. Gil Azmon and colleagues at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the University of Haifa, based their study on data from the Jewish HapMap project, an international effort led by Prof. Harry Ostrer of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, to determine the genetic history of worldwide Jewish diasporas. They used sophisticated genetic tools to conduct comprehensive genome-wide analyses on the genetic markers of 18 Bene Israel individuals.

    ***

  21. One of the things that kind of annoys me about the Avenger’s films is how much hand to hand combat there is, and lack of acknowledgement at how fragile the human body can be.

    Movie/TV show portrayals of combat is usually ridiculous. My wife and I watch “The Walking Dead,” and we are always annoyed by numerous inaccuracies (such as hammer-cocking noise with a striker-fired Glock), but are especially bothered by the incredible ability of every character to make accurate headshots with handguns while RUNNING! It’s a complete farce.

    Portrayals of hand-to-hand combat in pop media is even worse! Real life close quarters violence (especially when blade weapons are involved) is fast, wild, and horrifically damaging. Those who lack personal experience can Google pictures or videos of “knife damage.”

    Recently I got into a bike crash. I’m fine, but I had a lot of bruising which is just healing.

    I wish you a quick recovery.

    One thing interesting to me about recovery from major trauma/disability is that people who were athletic prior to their injuries appear to be far more likely to recover from significant injuries than non-athletes. They often make seemingly miraculous recoveries after being given terrible prognosis.

    For example, American Judo legend Jimmy Pedro – who also coached the MMA fighter Ronda Rousey in Judo to the bronze medal in the Olympics and Kayla Harrison to the first American Olympic gold in Judo – once was thrown by a Korean Judoka at a match and broke his neck. His doctor told him he would never do Judo again and would be lucky to walk. But he recovered eventually from that crippling injury, and went on to win multiple world championships and Olympic medals in Judo.

    • Replies: @b.
    one reason pro-athletes recover faster is access to superior care. In my younger age, I was a semi pro in a military sports club in our country - it was something like Spartak in Moscow - an umbrella organization for several sports with shared facilities. We had an excess amount of Wobenzym at our disposal. Every time someone got injured, he had doctors, physiotherapists and other specialist plus wobenzym at his disposal. Everyone agreed that the true magic was the pill, which you can freely buy and is often prescribed here after surgery but pretty costly without prescrition.
  22. b. says:
    @Twinkie

    One of the things that kind of annoys me about the Avenger’s films is how much hand to hand combat there is, and lack of acknowledgement at how fragile the human body can be.
     
    Movie/TV show portrayals of combat is usually ridiculous. My wife and I watch "The Walking Dead," and we are always annoyed by numerous inaccuracies (such as hammer-cocking noise with a striker-fired Glock), but are especially bothered by the incredible ability of every character to make accurate headshots with handguns while RUNNING! It's a complete farce.

    Portrayals of hand-to-hand combat in pop media is even worse! Real life close quarters violence (especially when blade weapons are involved) is fast, wild, and horrifically damaging. Those who lack personal experience can Google pictures or videos of "knife damage."

    Recently I got into a bike crash. I’m fine, but I had a lot of bruising which is just healing.
     
    I wish you a quick recovery.

    One thing interesting to me about recovery from major trauma/disability is that people who were athletic prior to their injuries appear to be far more likely to recover from significant injuries than non-athletes. They often make seemingly miraculous recoveries after being given terrible prognosis.

    For example, American Judo legend Jimmy Pedro - who also coached the MMA fighter Ronda Rousey in Judo to the bronze medal in the Olympics and Kayla Harrison to the first American Olympic gold in Judo - once was thrown by a Korean Judoka at a match and broke his neck. His doctor told him he would never do Judo again and would be lucky to walk. But he recovered eventually from that crippling injury, and went on to win multiple world championships and Olympic medals in Judo.

    one reason pro-athletes recover faster is access to superior care. In my younger age, I was a semi pro in a military sports club in our country – it was something like Spartak in Moscow – an umbrella organization for several sports with shared facilities. We had an excess amount of Wobenzym at our disposal. Every time someone got injured, he had doctors, physiotherapists and other specialist plus wobenzym at his disposal. Everyone agreed that the true magic was the pill, which you can freely buy and is often prescribed here after surgery but pretty costly without prescrition.

    • Replies: @Twinkie

    I was a semi pro in a military sports club in our country
     
    Did you specialize in reconnaissance?

    one reason pro-athletes recover faster is access to superior care.
     
    That may be the case elsewhere, but in the U.S. I don't think that's the only reason. I am not a doctor or a biologist, but my speculations for this phenomenon is as follows:

    1. It could be that athletes actually don't recover better; maybe it's selection bias - we pay attention to athletes who overcame bad injuries and won acclaim; we don't to normal people who recover.

    2. If the trend is real, perhaps a part of the reason is the superior care you mentioned.

    3. Another possibility might be genetic advantages. Athletes, often naturally (sometimes through PEDs), recover quickly from fatigue - that ability allows them to train harder than mere mortals and get better at their sports.

    4. Yet another possibility might be that a body in peak physical condition does indeed recover faster than one in a less than optimal shape (from sedentary lifestyle, etc.).

    5. It could also be that injured athletes are more determined mentally than ordinary people - "I won't let this injury beat me - I am going to compete again!" Athletes are more competitive people by nature. They may work extra hard at rehab and are better at it since they are mentally and physically used to the discomfort of hard physical exertions and, to be simple, pain.
  23. @b.
    one reason pro-athletes recover faster is access to superior care. In my younger age, I was a semi pro in a military sports club in our country - it was something like Spartak in Moscow - an umbrella organization for several sports with shared facilities. We had an excess amount of Wobenzym at our disposal. Every time someone got injured, he had doctors, physiotherapists and other specialist plus wobenzym at his disposal. Everyone agreed that the true magic was the pill, which you can freely buy and is often prescribed here after surgery but pretty costly without prescrition.

    I was a semi pro in a military sports club in our country

    Did you specialize in reconnaissance?

    one reason pro-athletes recover faster is access to superior care.

    That may be the case elsewhere, but in the U.S. I don’t think that’s the only reason. I am not a doctor or a biologist, but my speculations for this phenomenon is as follows:

    1. It could be that athletes actually don’t recover better; maybe it’s selection bias – we pay attention to athletes who overcame bad injuries and won acclaim; we don’t to normal people who recover.

    2. If the trend is real, perhaps a part of the reason is the superior care you mentioned.

    3. Another possibility might be genetic advantages. Athletes, often naturally (sometimes through PEDs), recover quickly from fatigue – that ability allows them to train harder than mere mortals and get better at their sports.

    4. Yet another possibility might be that a body in peak physical condition does indeed recover faster than one in a less than optimal shape (from sedentary lifestyle, etc.).

    5. It could also be that injured athletes are more determined mentally than ordinary people – “I won’t let this injury beat me – I am going to compete again!” Athletes are more competitive people by nature. They may work extra hard at rehab and are better at it since they are mentally and physically used to the discomfort of hard physical exertions and, to be simple, pain.

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