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Gene Expression Blog
Open Thread, 7/20/2014

Natures-God-The-Heretical-Origins-of-the-AMERICAN-REPUBLIC-book-cover Almost done with Azar Gat’s Nations. But I’m violating my preference for reading books serially by simultaneously going through Matthew Stewart’s Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic. It’s actually a hardcover book, as Stewart sent me a review copy. That makes it feel a little different when it comes to switching between Nations and Nature’s God. I’ve been a fan of Stewart’s books for a while, and did a 10 questions with him in 2006. There’s a lot in this book that I knew from more conventional history about the founding (see Jay Winik’s Great Upheaval), but I’m enjoying the interleaving of ancient philosophy. Stewart does a great of intellectual detective work from what I can tell. If you don’t know much about philosophy, but are curious to peruse a non-academic survey, the author’s previous work The Truth About Everything: An Irreverent History of Philosophy will be worth it.

Also, I’ve been a little disappointed by Nations. It’s good, but not nearly at the same level as War and Human Civilization. In that book the author had greater command of the material and clarity of presentation, so he didn’t try to keep hitting you over with the same point over and over. I’d still recommend the book, but readers should focus on the factual yield rather than the coherent thesis, since the basics of the latter are obvious early on.

• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 
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8 Comments to "Open Thread, 7/20/2014"

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  1. Razib Khan
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    ‘The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting’ http://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20140717-the-new-science-of-evolutionary-forecasting/

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  2. Razib Khan
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    adult diapers going to surpass infant diapers http://online.wsj.com/articles/as-births-slow-p-g-turns-to-adult-diapers-1405554364

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  3. vijay
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    For no clear reason, I am most disturbed by this news, even though I know that an incontinent adult may wear a diaper for 20+years of his/her life, whereas no baby wars his/hers for more than 3 years.

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  4. Mike
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    It looks like Scientific America has fairly narrow view of what is acceptable from its bloggers, as Ashutosh Jogalekar found out.

    “The second land mine was a post in May by Ashutosh Jogalekar, which favorably reviewed a controversial book by Nicholas Wade, “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History.”…

    This time, some social-media commenters accused Scientific American of promoting questionable racial theories. In early July, the reaction led the publication’s blog editor, Curtis Brainard, to post a note that read in part, “While we believe that [the racism and sexism] charges are excessive, we share readers’ concerns. Although we expect our bloggers to cover controversial topics from time to time, we also recognize that sensitive issues require extra care, and that did not happen here.”

    The last straw was Jogalekar’s post on Friday about Feynman, the Nobel-winning father of quantum electrodynamics. Commenting on recent biographies of Feynman, Jogalekar noted the physicist’s “casual sexism,” including his affairs with two married women, his humiliation of a female student and his delight in documenting his strategies for picking up women in bars. But while expressing disappointment in Feynman’s behavior, Jogalekar essentially dismissed it as a byproduct of the “male-dominated American society in the giddy postwar years.”

    Within a day of the column’s appearance, Scientific American pulled it from its site, with another note from Brainard: “The text of this post has been removed because it did not meet Scientific American’s quality standards.”

    One other thing: Jogalekar was fired.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/whats-going-on-at-scientific-american-deleted-posts-sexism-claims-a-fired-writer/2014/07/16/46526b52-0d20-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html

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  5. Ed
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    Where do you, Dienekes, Maju and all of the other genomics bloggers find out about the new research papers?

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  6. Razib Khan
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    i use pubchase and feedly, which has scientific journals and google news searches.

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  7. Robert Ford
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    My hipster friend moved to Egypt, converted to Islam and changed his name to “Ali Omar.” he has won the Hipster Trophy

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  8. returns
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    Robert you sure he didn’t just get tired of immoral hipster girls and devide hijabis were best for him?

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