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Open Thread, 9/6/2015
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51X30zMkuYL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ After In God’s Path I noticed that Amazon recommended I check out Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great’s Empire. So I bought it. Alexander to Actium is pretty far back in my history, so it seems appropriate to “catch-up” on the genesis of the Hellenistic era. But right now I’m back to A New History of Western Philosophy, which has been slow going…. I think part of the issue here is that it is always a slog to work your way through ideas which I feel are not relevant in any direct fashion today, but are of interest as intellectual history and backdrop. And I haven’t even gotten to The Shape of Ancient Thought and Warriors of the Cloisters.

This pre-print, Analyses of Eurasian wild and domestic pig genomes reveals long-term gene-flow during domestication, has now been published. It’s pretty interesting, as it suggests the complexity of animal domestication. Contrast this with how clear the process is in plants.

In other news, check out the demographics of those admitted to Harvard this year.

 
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  1. On Tuesday I tried accessing your blog, but I got a message saying I was manually blocked by the administrator. I checked a couple of hours later, and it worked fine. Haven’t had any problems since.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    ron tells me that it's wordfence being overactive. going to keep investigating, but it doesn't seem to blackball any specific person. so be persistent?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
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  2. @Hokie
    On Tuesday I tried accessing your blog, but I got a message saying I was manually blocked by the administrator. I checked a couple of hours later, and it worked fine. Haven't had any problems since.

    ron tells me that it’s wordfence being overactive. going to keep investigating, but it doesn’t seem to blackball any specific person. so be persistent?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hokie
    I've been reading your older blog posts. I'll flip through, pick out 5-6 that look interesting, and put them in tabs. It might be that the wordfence is sensitive to people loading up several pages in rapid succession.
  3. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    There were a few surprises when looking at the Harvard numbers.

    The SAT gap between white and black students was only 50-70 points (depending on whether you go by the number in the chart or the text). I would have expected it to be maybe 3x that. Then again, we’re talking about fewer than 200 black students. Is Harvard outcompeting other elite universities for the handful of black kids averaging over 700 per section? Maybe (relatively) poor scoring black students are over-represented among non-responders. I would also be curious to know what percentage of black students are first or second generation African immigrants.

    Girls actually outscored the guys by 10 points on the SAT. I would have expected the gap to be in the opposite direction and of larger magnitude. Looking at the College Board data, ~56% of students with a composite scored over 2300 in 2014 were male. The gap is substantially larger if you cut out the questionable (imo) Writing section on which girls perform significantly better.

    The guys were more likely to report being sexually active. Women tend to become sexually active earlier than men, so this was surprising. Perhaps the trend is reversed among high IQ types. Or maybe it’s just response bias and/or lying.

    Finally, I was surprised that iPhone users outnumber Android users by more than 4:1. I wouldn’t expect the difference to be that large. Looks like Apple is not in danger of losing its cultural cachet anytime soon.

    Here’s the link to the College Board’s SAT data:

    http://research.collegeboard.org/content/sat-data-tables

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    i noticed the gap was small too.

    harvard black students are not representative in other ways: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/24/us/top-colleges-take-more-blacks-but-which-ones.html
  4. @Anonymous
    There were a few surprises when looking at the Harvard numbers.

    The SAT gap between white and black students was only 50-70 points (depending on whether you go by the number in the chart or the text). I would have expected it to be maybe 3x that. Then again, we're talking about fewer than 200 black students. Is Harvard outcompeting other elite universities for the handful of black kids averaging over 700 per section? Maybe (relatively) poor scoring black students are over-represented among non-responders. I would also be curious to know what percentage of black students are first or second generation African immigrants.

    Girls actually outscored the guys by 10 points on the SAT. I would have expected the gap to be in the opposite direction and of larger magnitude. Looking at the College Board data, ~56% of students with a composite scored over 2300 in 2014 were male. The gap is substantially larger if you cut out the questionable (imo) Writing section on which girls perform significantly better.

    The guys were more likely to report being sexually active. Women tend to become sexually active earlier than men, so this was surprising. Perhaps the trend is reversed among high IQ types. Or maybe it's just response bias and/or lying.

    Finally, I was surprised that iPhone users outnumber Android users by more than 4:1. I wouldn't expect the difference to be that large. Looks like Apple is not in danger of losing its cultural cachet anytime soon.

    Here's the link to the College Board's SAT data:

    http://research.collegeboard.org/content/sat-data-tables

    i noticed the gap was small too.

    harvard black students are not representative in other ways: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/24/us/top-colleges-take-more-blacks-but-which-ones.html

    Read More
  5. also, despite the stories about elite college campus evangelical organizations skewing asian, as is clear in the cross-tabs, asians are the most secular of the ethnicities at harvard. there are as many atheist than protestant asians at harvard, with the mode being agnostic. this tendency is even showing up among s. asians, with substantial atheist and agnostic identifiers, despite hinduism being much more accommodating to belief-heterodoxy.

    Read More
  6. @Razib Khan
    ron tells me that it's wordfence being overactive. going to keep investigating, but it doesn't seem to blackball any specific person. so be persistent?

    I’ve been reading your older blog posts. I’ll flip through, pick out 5-6 that look interesting, and put them in tabs. It might be that the wordfence is sensitive to people loading up several pages in rapid succession.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    ron said it might think you are a spammer...so that makes sense.
  7. @Hokie
    I've been reading your older blog posts. I'll flip through, pick out 5-6 that look interesting, and put them in tabs. It might be that the wordfence is sensitive to people loading up several pages in rapid succession.

    ron said it might think you are a spammer…so that makes sense.

    Read More
    • Replies: @theo the kraut
    got the message when trying to access unz.com with my mobile (Android 4.4.2, Galaxy S5 mini) some days ago. I never comment with my phone and use it to visit unz.com pages maybe once every other day, single tab, so it's funny. No problem today, though, and never had one with the notebook.
  8. Razib,

    I mentioned before that I was a college student, and I am currently taking genetics. We are currently having a discussion in class about what genetics says about race that pretty much consisted of the professor showing us an old documentary (its genetic evidence really just consisted of mtDNA) featuring Richard Lewontin in which he states the famous line about 85% of variation being within populations.

    My question is, when he says “within populations” does he just means that 85% of variation is among individuals in general? Because honestly that doesn’t disprove race at all.

    Thanks,
    Beowulf

    Read More
    • Replies: @John Massey
    No, because he contrasted within population variation and between population variation.

    Someone should have asked him to define 'population'.
    , @Razib Khan
    i think he means Fst between geographical ranges. at a single locus most of the variation is can be found within a racial group...
  9. @Razib Khan
    ron said it might think you are a spammer...so that makes sense.

    got the message when trying to access unz.com with my mobile (Android 4.4.2, Galaxy S5 mini) some days ago. I never comment with my phone and use it to visit unz.com pages maybe once every other day, single tab, so it’s funny. No problem today, though, and never had one with the notebook.

    Read More
  10. Razib,

    Off topic (or perhaps on topic), since it has been a few months ago where I asked you about the Mediterranean migration crisis and whether it resembles Rome of 376 AD. If I remember correctly your denied that comparison and thought the Europeans would close off the borders before the situation becomes unmanageable. Looking at current events since then, do you think your thoughts were validated or not?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    Looking at current events since then, do you think your thoughts were validated or not?

    i look more likely to be wrong than i did then, but i'm still holding to the position, even with lower confidence. i've been suggesting caution on twitter

    1) there are ~20 million syrians
    2) there are 500 million people in the EU
    3) the german tribes who came in were operating for several generations as mercenaries (federates) for the roman empire, so they were in a position to cut off the head of the snake and take over in a stratified society. this is not the case with the syrians (they can't even resolve issues in their own country)

  11. @Beowulf
    Razib,

    I mentioned before that I was a college student, and I am currently taking genetics. We are currently having a discussion in class about what genetics says about race that pretty much consisted of the professor showing us an old documentary (its genetic evidence really just consisted of mtDNA) featuring Richard Lewontin in which he states the famous line about 85% of variation being within populations.

    My question is, when he says "within populations" does he just means that 85% of variation is among individuals in general? Because honestly that doesn't disprove race at all.

    Thanks,
    Beowulf

    No, because he contrasted within population variation and between population variation.

    Someone should have asked him to define ‘population’.

    Read More
  12. Traditionally, pigs often were herded in the countryside and were even set free to roam oak forests for acorns, so it’s not surprising that they kept breeding with boars.

    Read More
  13. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I love Anthony Kenny’s conversational, sometimes punchy, writing style. He makes difficult ideas as easy to understand as is possible. As he himself has said, there is no shallow end when it comes to learning philosophy. I’ve read almost all of his books, including his very interesting autobiography, A Path From Rome. Kenny was a Jesuit priest (doctorate in theology from Gregorianum and doctorate in philosophy from Oxford) before he became an agnostic and an Oxford don. His books on Wittgenstein and Frege are the best. He was one of Christopher Hitchens professors and was a big influence.

    Read More
  14. One of the most unexpected tidbit from the Harvard survey is that Muslim students self-identify as one of the least conservative, non-atheist populations on campus, despite the fact that just about any Muslim sample from the U.S. to the U.K. to globally would show Muslims to be more conservative than average.

    Now, admittedly, the sample size is about 27 and is highly atypical of the general population. In particular, it could be skewed by Muslims rating themselves as liberal or conservative relative to other Muslims, and could also be skewed by African-American converts to Islam who are much more liberal than even U.S. Muslims as a whole, or by secular people who may identify ethnically as Muslim while being only nominally religious (e.g. children of Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants).

    Still, it was a surprising data point.

    Read More
  15. It would be interesting to know the story of the person with the 2.9 GPA that got into Harvard. Must be pretty special.

    Read More
  16. @Riordan
    Razib,

    Off topic (or perhaps on topic), since it has been a few months ago where I asked you about the Mediterranean migration crisis and whether it resembles Rome of 376 AD. If I remember correctly your denied that comparison and thought the Europeans would close off the borders before the situation becomes unmanageable. Looking at current events since then, do you think your thoughts were validated or not?

    Looking at current events since then, do you think your thoughts were validated or not?

    i look more likely to be wrong than i did then, but i’m still holding to the position, even with lower confidence. i’ve been suggesting caution on twitter

    1) there are ~20 million syrians
    2) there are 500 million people in the EU
    3) the german tribes who came in were operating for several generations as mercenaries (federates) for the roman empire, so they were in a position to cut off the head of the snake and take over in a stratified society. this is not the case with the syrians (they can’t even resolve issues in their own country)

    Read More
    • Replies: @CupOfCanada
    I think many of Rome's wounds were self inflicted anyways. Their political system punished rather than cultivated genius, particularly at the end. Flavius Aetius, Stilicho, Belisarius...

    Rome had assimilated millions of others before too without much of an issue, to the point of having many "foreign" emperors. And it seems the foederati wanted to be assimilated too.

    What I'd really like to read more about is the riots against the families of the foederati after Stilicho's death. That seems like one of the most idiotic and self-destructive acts imaginable.

    I'd take the reliance on foederati as a symptom of a general economic and political decline, rather than a cause. The foederati were allowed to settle or billeted because the Empire couldn't afford to pay to maintain a professional army. The trouble is that removes any dependence on the central authority too.

    Anyways, just my 2 cents.
  17. @Beowulf
    Razib,

    I mentioned before that I was a college student, and I am currently taking genetics. We are currently having a discussion in class about what genetics says about race that pretty much consisted of the professor showing us an old documentary (its genetic evidence really just consisted of mtDNA) featuring Richard Lewontin in which he states the famous line about 85% of variation being within populations.

    My question is, when he says "within populations" does he just means that 85% of variation is among individuals in general? Because honestly that doesn't disprove race at all.

    Thanks,
    Beowulf

    i think he means Fst between geographical ranges. at a single locus most of the variation is can be found within a racial group…

    Read More
  18. @Razib Khan
    Looking at current events since then, do you think your thoughts were validated or not?

    i look more likely to be wrong than i did then, but i'm still holding to the position, even with lower confidence. i've been suggesting caution on twitter

    1) there are ~20 million syrians
    2) there are 500 million people in the EU
    3) the german tribes who came in were operating for several generations as mercenaries (federates) for the roman empire, so they were in a position to cut off the head of the snake and take over in a stratified society. this is not the case with the syrians (they can't even resolve issues in their own country)

    I think many of Rome’s wounds were self inflicted anyways. Their political system punished rather than cultivated genius, particularly at the end. Flavius Aetius, Stilicho, Belisarius…

    Rome had assimilated millions of others before too without much of an issue, to the point of having many “foreign” emperors. And it seems the foederati wanted to be assimilated too.

    What I’d really like to read more about is the riots against the families of the foederati after Stilicho’s death. That seems like one of the most idiotic and self-destructive acts imaginable.

    I’d take the reliance on foederati as a symptom of a general economic and political decline, rather than a cause. The foederati were allowed to settle or billeted because the Empire couldn’t afford to pay to maintain a professional army. The trouble is that removes any dependence on the central authority too.

    Anyways, just my 2 cents.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    asaabiyah always winds down... pre-modern societies without mass 'buy-in', pretty much all empires, are vulnerable to the hired swords cutting out the middlemen (literally). always seems to happen...
  19. @CupOfCanada
    I think many of Rome's wounds were self inflicted anyways. Their political system punished rather than cultivated genius, particularly at the end. Flavius Aetius, Stilicho, Belisarius...

    Rome had assimilated millions of others before too without much of an issue, to the point of having many "foreign" emperors. And it seems the foederati wanted to be assimilated too.

    What I'd really like to read more about is the riots against the families of the foederati after Stilicho's death. That seems like one of the most idiotic and self-destructive acts imaginable.

    I'd take the reliance on foederati as a symptom of a general economic and political decline, rather than a cause. The foederati were allowed to settle or billeted because the Empire couldn't afford to pay to maintain a professional army. The trouble is that removes any dependence on the central authority too.

    Anyways, just my 2 cents.

    asaabiyah always winds down… pre-modern societies without mass ‘buy-in’, pretty much all empires, are vulnerable to the hired swords cutting out the middlemen (literally). always seems to happen…

    Read More
    • Replies: @CupOfCanada
    Hopefully not modern societies too, but we'll see.

    Yah, agreed. All I mean is that the barbarian migrations were almost incidental. Rome had fought barbarians before and defeated and/or assimilated them. So I think this migrant crisis is incidental to the relative health or not of European society.

    Frankly, I think it could be a big boon to Europe. Europe is getting rather old.
  20. @Razib Khan
    asaabiyah always winds down... pre-modern societies without mass 'buy-in', pretty much all empires, are vulnerable to the hired swords cutting out the middlemen (literally). always seems to happen...

    Hopefully not modern societies too, but we’ll see.

    Yah, agreed. All I mean is that the barbarian migrations were almost incidental. Rome had fought barbarians before and defeated and/or assimilated them. So I think this migrant crisis is incidental to the relative health or not of European society.

    Frankly, I think it could be a big boon to Europe. Europe is getting rather old.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    no, look:

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS?order=wbapi_data_value_2013+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=asc

    to have labor inputs you need labor. MENA has low female labor force participation because the cultures are so patriarchal. you can't get a better dependency ratio when you make sure females are dependents in prime earning years. not necessary for muslim countries, bangladesh and indonesia > 50 percent.
  21. @CupOfCanada
    Hopefully not modern societies too, but we'll see.

    Yah, agreed. All I mean is that the barbarian migrations were almost incidental. Rome had fought barbarians before and defeated and/or assimilated them. So I think this migrant crisis is incidental to the relative health or not of European society.

    Frankly, I think it could be a big boon to Europe. Europe is getting rather old.

    no, look:

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS?order=wbapi_data_value_2013+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=asc

    to have labor inputs you need labor. MENA has low female labor force participation because the cultures are so patriarchal. you can’t get a better dependency ratio when you make sure females are dependents in prime earning years. not necessary for muslim countries, bangladesh and indonesia > 50 percent.

    Read More
    • Replies: @CupOfCanada
    Hrm. How long do you think this is likely to persist? Did a quick Google and found that Muslim women in the UK have a pretty decent employment rate (though still well below their Hindu and Christian peers), but didn't see how that breaks down by country of origin.

    I'd suspect that that low rate in Syria isn't entirely by those women's choice either.
  22. @Razib Khan
    no, look:

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS?order=wbapi_data_value_2013+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=asc

    to have labor inputs you need labor. MENA has low female labor force participation because the cultures are so patriarchal. you can't get a better dependency ratio when you make sure females are dependents in prime earning years. not necessary for muslim countries, bangladesh and indonesia > 50 percent.

    Hrm. How long do you think this is likely to persist? Did a quick Google and found that Muslim women in the UK have a pretty decent employment rate (though still well below their Hindu and Christian peers), but didn’t see how that breaks down by country of origin.

    I’d suspect that that low rate in Syria isn’t entirely by those women’s choice either.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    1 generation at least. the muslim pop in uk is mostly s. asian, but huge diff between pakistanis and bangaldeshis. the latter are much more immigrant, while the former are mostly a 2nd gen and later community with some immigrants. understanding is that integration problems are worse with pakistanis, though the fact that they live more in depressed north england doesn't help...
  23. @CupOfCanada
    Hrm. How long do you think this is likely to persist? Did a quick Google and found that Muslim women in the UK have a pretty decent employment rate (though still well below their Hindu and Christian peers), but didn't see how that breaks down by country of origin.

    I'd suspect that that low rate in Syria isn't entirely by those women's choice either.

    1 generation at least. the muslim pop in uk is mostly s. asian, but huge diff between pakistanis and bangaldeshis. the latter are much more immigrant, while the former are mostly a 2nd gen and later community with some immigrants. understanding is that integration problems are worse with pakistanis, though the fact that they live more in depressed north england doesn’t help…

    Read More
    • Replies: @CupOfCanada
    The location thing is a really good point. I imagine the more economically depressed areas are probably also the areas where you have a harder time getting a job interview with a "non-white" name on your CV, so they could be taking a double hit on employment there. I know just on wages there are pretty huge regional variations on outcomes for different groups within Canada. For example, a Canadian-born South Asian woman in Montreal earns about 1% less than her "white" peers, while a Canadian-born South Asian woman in Vancouver earns on average 17% more.

    The largest differences are in the three "black" groups (African, Black, and Caribbean), but this is by self identification, and something screwy seems to be going there. I'm not sure why a black woman in Vancouver would earn 68% less than her white peers while an African woman would earn 19% more...

    http://www.sfu.ca/~pendakur/Colour_By_Numbers.pdf
  24. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acromegaly

    Acromegaly came up as a tangent a while back in connection with the possibility that certain distinctive facial features might have a connection with unusual strength via the effects of human growth hormone HGH. The example I had in mind which I couldn’t recall at the time was the Scottish sprinter Alan Wells who won the 100m gold medal back in 1980s Olympics.

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/05/22/12/0D7739EB00000578-3092628-image-m-44_1432294237596.jpg

    Read More
  25. What I’m wondering is whether in human evolution selection for physical strength was inversely proportional to tool sophistication – the more primitive the tools the stronger you needed to be and vice versa.

    In which case hormones / genes / whatever that conferred greater strength might have been selected for even if they had negative side effects but then became selected against later when tool improvements led to the negative side effects outweighing the strength advantage with the genes responsible surviving only in low frequencies.

    If these changes existed and effected skulls / bones then the effects might be visible in the bone record.

    Read More
  26. @Razib Khan
    1 generation at least. the muslim pop in uk is mostly s. asian, but huge diff between pakistanis and bangaldeshis. the latter are much more immigrant, while the former are mostly a 2nd gen and later community with some immigrants. understanding is that integration problems are worse with pakistanis, though the fact that they live more in depressed north england doesn't help...

    The location thing is a really good point. I imagine the more economically depressed areas are probably also the areas where you have a harder time getting a job interview with a “non-white” name on your CV, so they could be taking a double hit on employment there. I know just on wages there are pretty huge regional variations on outcomes for different groups within Canada. For example, a Canadian-born South Asian woman in Montreal earns about 1% less than her “white” peers, while a Canadian-born South Asian woman in Vancouver earns on average 17% more.

    The largest differences are in the three “black” groups (African, Black, and Caribbean), but this is by self identification, and something screwy seems to be going there. I’m not sure why a black woman in Vancouver would earn 68% less than her white peers while an African woman would earn 19% more…

    http://www.sfu.ca/~pendakur/Colour_By_Numbers.pdf

    Read More

Comments are closed.