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From the New York Times oped page:

Tech’s Troubling New Trend: Diversity Is in Your Head
By BÄRÍ A. WILLIAMS OCT. 16, 2017

BÄRÍ: An umlaut and an accent in just four letters! Now that’s diverse.

OAKLAND, Calif. — Discussing her work at Apple at an event last week about fighting racial injustice, Denise Young Smith, the company’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, said, “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room and they’re going to be diverse, too, because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.”

That’s right: a dozen white men, so long as they were not raised in the same household and don’t think identical thoughts, could be considered diverse. After a furor erupted, Ms. Smith clarified her comments in an email to her team that was obtained and published by TechCrunch. It reads in part, “Understanding that diversity includes women, people of color, L.G.B.T.Q. people, and all underrepresented minorities is at the heart of our work to create an environment that is inclusive of everyone,” and “I regret the choice of words I used to make this point.”

But Ms. Smith wasn’t the first to endorse the view in her initial statement. Those of us in the tech industry know that the idea of “cognitive diversity” is gaining traction among leaders in our field. In too many cases, this means that, in the minds of those with influence over hiring, the concept of diversity is watered down and reinterpreted to encompass what Silicon Valley has never had a shortage of — individual white men, each with their unique thoughts and ideas. This shift creates a distraction from efforts to increase the race and gender diversity the tech industry is sorely lacking.

This overlaps with the sentiments expressed in a screed by a Google software engineer that critiqued the company’s race and gender diversity efforts and ascribed the unequal representation of women in tech to “biological causes.” It included the line, “Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity.”

To be sure, cognitive diversity and viewpoint diversity are important. But working to increase them alone won’t do anything to address the well-documented shortcomings that plague tech companies. Whether companies do it intentionally or not, I worry that they will adjust the definition of diversity so that, conveniently, it’s already achieved.

If our focus shifts to cognitive diversity, it could provide an easy way around doing the hard work of increasing the embarrassingly low numbers of blacks and Latinos in the ranks of employees, in leadership roles, as suppliers and vendors, and on boards.

In other words, don’t believe all that propaganda we’ve been shoveling about how diversity makes for better decision making. We were just yanking your chain. All we are interested in is pillaging a little of Silicon Valley’s vast pile of money.

 
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From Vox:

I’m an environmental journalist, but I never write about overpopulation. Here’s why.
Since you asked (many times).
Updated by David Roberts@drvoxdavid@vox.com Sep 26, 2017

I thought I would explain, once and for all, why I hardly ever talk about population, and why I’m unlikely to in the future. …

When political movements or leaders adopt population control as a central concern … let’s just say it never goes well. In practice, where you find concern over “population,” you very often find racism, xenophobia, or eugenics lurking in the wings. …

History is replete with examples, but perhaps the most germane recent episode was less than 20 years ago, at the Sierra Club, which was riven by divisions over immigration. A group of grassroots members, with some help from powerful funders, attempted to take over the national organization.

These members advocated sharply restricting immigration, saying the US should be reducing rather than increasing its population. …

The Sierra Club won that fight, and the “green anti-immigrant” movement has mostly been driven to the fringes, but conservative media is still getting ratings out of it. If you can stomach it, watch this entire segment with Tucker Carlson of Fox News — it hits all the usual notes, culminating in an interview with some professor who wrote a book about reducing immigration for environmental reasons.

Not surprisingly, the text string “Africa” does not appear in the Vox article.

 
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From The Independent:

How the teachings of Islam could help us prevent more sexual abuse scandals

Harvey Weinstein is just another case of a powerful man abusing women because we live in a society that lets him get away with it, but we can change that

Qasim Rashid

 
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An essay by one of former New Republic owner Marty Peretz’s Bright Young Men (along with Andrew Sullivan and Al Gore), James Kirchick:

Can American Jews Be White Nationalists?

White House Adviser Stephen Miller Is a Spokesman for Groups That Wouldn’t Have Him as a Member

BY JAMES KIRCHICK | OCTOBER 11, 2017

Stephen Miller and I have a few things in common.

Both Jewish, we were raised upper-middle class in comfortable, liberal suburbia (he, Santa Monica; me, outside Boston). We both rebelled against the stifling, progressive conformity of our respective communities by embracing a contrarian, at times combative, conservative politics. … Our work caught the eye of David Horowitz, the ur-leftist turned hardcore conservative. …

Another substantive difference is our views on immigration. While I always have favored high levels of immigration … Miller is a severe restrictionist. …

This provided one of the most improbable spectacles of an already bizarre presidential campaign: the nasally, nebbishy Jewish kid from Santa Monica egging on crowds of down-scale whites in middle America with attacks on coastal elites.

While Miller was attracted to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, I, and many other Jewish right-of-center writers, were repelled. “A country that is politically pluralistic, open to new ideas and new people, ethnically diverse, and respectful of religious difference, is a country that will naturally be safer for Jews than a country that is none of these things,” I wrote in March of last year, in the first of what would become many pieces articulating my vehement opposition to Trump’s candidacy. …

[Miller’s] improbable existence as a Woody Allen character who talks like Pat Buchanan is a near-comical rebuke to those white nationalists who claim a Jewish conspiracy has orchestrated untrammeled immigration to dilute America’s racial stock.

Indeed, Miller has run with these ideas. In a recent televised exchange with (the equally insufferable) Jim Acosta of CNN, who asked Miller if the Trump administration would forsake Emma Lazarus’ paean to “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” Miller accused the reporter of harboring a “cosmopolitan bias,” an indictment redolent of the Soviet-era, anti-Semitic slur, “rootless cosmopolitan.”

I don’t doubt the sincerity of Miller’s views. He is clearly well-versed in the policy particulars, and gives articulate voice to ideas shared by tens of millions of my fellow Americans. “I think it was growing up in California, he saw the role that mass migration played turning a red state blue,” one unidentified former Senate colleague of Miller told Politico Magazine. “He was fearful that that would happen to the rest of the country.” Miller would hardly be alone in fearing how Hispanic immigration will change America. But these were the same fears that the restrictionists of yesteryear raised about Stephen Miller’s ancestors.

By giving voice to a form of American nationalism that is ethnic rather than creedal, Stephen Miller—whose family fled Belarus to these welcoming shores in 1903—is a perverse emblem of successful Jewish assimilation into America’s racial culture. Miller “passes” as white. On a personal level, he is deeply annoying, vexing, and has caused me to re-examine some of my deepest beliefs about being American, being Jewish, and being a conservative.

First, there’s something desperately preening about Miller’s entire career, a sense that he adopts such harsh positions, and in so strident a fashion, as if to ingratiate himself with the most goyishe precincts of the Trump universe—the sort of people who might otherwise question his roots. …

To that point, the strange case of Miller illuminates the recent debate over whether Jews are white. Throughout his career, Miller has gone out of his way to make people think that he belongs to this particular racial group. …

To cite a bit of wisdom from that great American Jewish philosopher Groucho Marx: It’s sad that Miller has become a mouthpiece for a group that won’t accept him as a member. Yet there’s something oddly reassuring about the rise of Stephen Miller, something that speaks to the comfort and respect that Jews have achieved here. For where else could a Stephen Miller have been created but in America, a country so open to outsiders and assimilation that a Jewish kid from Santa Monica could grow up to work for the most nakedly nativist president in living memory? …

American Jews, then, have something of a communal obligation to pay it forward by supporting a liberal immigration regime. … Nor does it apply to other parts of the world; continued mass Muslim immigration from North Africa and the Middle East into Europe, for example, is a portentous development that will make Jewish life there, already difficult, increasingly so. But an American Jew calling for a drastic reduction in legal immigration to America is unseemly.

Whether he is a “white nationalist,” as many now call him, or not, Miller remains in essence the campus provocateur of his Duke days. …

Larry Elder, a Los Angeles-based conservative talk radio host whom Miller sought out as a mentor, told The Washington Post that, “The way that people on the left abuse and slam people on the right—that’s probably the thing that’s most concerned Stephen. The lack of fairness. The left wing dominance in academia. The left wing dominance in the media. The left wing dominance in Hollywood.”

It’s true that liberals dominate all these fields. But Stephen Miller has had a privileged life, and he’s now working for the most powerful man in the world. The coy conflation of Jewish identity and whiteness, the revisionist undermining of America’s immigrant history, the constant cries of victimhood from someone who has benefitted enormously from the American system and who would deny its blessings to others, well, we Jews have a word for all this: chutzpah.

James Kirchick, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, is a columnist for Tablet and author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age.

 
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From Foreign Policy:

The Trump Administration Wants Refugees to Fit In or Stay Out

An obscure new policy would give priority to refugees who seem like they might “assimilate.”

BY LAUREN WOLFE OCTOBER 12, 2017

Out in New York Harbor in 1903, the bronze plaque with Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus” was affixed to the Statue of Liberty. It’s the one that begins: “Give me your tired, your poor…” Her poem went on to welcome 5,000 to 10,000 immigrants every day between 1900 and 1914. About 40 percent of Americans are now descended from someone who came through Ellis Island. My great-grandfather was one of them.

His name was Avram. The year the plaque was being installed inside the Statue of Liberty, Avram was living in a place called Bessarabia, then part of tsarist Russia, now mostly in Moldova. Pogroms were ravaging cities across the region. That year, Avram and his wife, Dora, set sail with their son, my grandfather Joseph, aged four.

The family settled on New York’s Lower East Side, where Avram learned English but spoke his native Yiddish at home, reading a Yiddish-language newspaper each night. He didn’t arrive with much money; he did piecework making zippers for a while and went on to become very active in the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union — a feminist labor organizer ahead of his time. He spent the rest of his life in America, dying in Brooklyn in 1954.

Yet under a new presidential determination from the White House, future Avrams may never have the chance to come to the United States. According to both international and U.S. refugee law, people like my great-grandfather have for decades been candidates for refugee resettlement based solely on their well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries. Their ability to “assimilate” — learn English and embrace the customs of the United States — had no bearing on their asylum applications. That, however, may be about to change: Buried inside the 65-page Sept. 27 directive that also capped the number of refugees to be resettled in the United States next year at 45,000, the lowest since the White House began setting a limit in 1980, there is vague, disconcerting language that lawyers and immigration experts say they have never seen before in reference to refugees in this country.

The Trump administration may now consider “certain criteria that enhance a refugee’s likelihood of successful assimilation and contribution in the United States” in addition to the humanitarian criteria that have long been the standard for refugee claims, according to the determination, which is similar to an executive order in that it has the force of law. That term, “assimilation,” is brand-new in the history of U.S. policy on refugees, and it appears in the document over and over again. Previous directives have used the word “integration,” which comes from the Latin “integrare” — “to make whole” — and implies some change on the part of society as well as those entering it. …

Lauren Wolfe is a journalist and director of Women Under Siege, a journalism project on sexualized violence based at the Women’s Media Center in New York.

 
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Slate’s film critic realizes her entire worldview was a fraud:

The Harvey Weinstein Scandal Is Changing How I Look at the Movies

Just as the election challenged my perception of America, the past week has transformed my whole understanding of Hollywood.

By Dana Stevens
OCT. 13, 2017, 1:50 PM

For the past week I’ve been pacing my apartment in a hypomanic state, pretending to get work done while following—probably more closely than anyone who aspires to sanity should—the Harvey Weinstein scandal, with its ever-steepening crescendo of allegations that the fabled indie producer carried on a 30-year side career as a deliberate and ruthless sexual predator. …

Experientially, for me at least, and I believe for many women, this week has felt more than anything like a show business–themed reboot of the horrible seven days that followed the election of Donald Trump, almost a year ago now. There’s that same sense of reality shifting to reveal a hidden and perverse order, one that was there all along—we sensed it obliquely, even made jokes about it—but that had never before been put on such blatant, obscene display. …

That’s what makes this serial-abuser story different from that of, say, Bill Cosby: Harvey Weinstein wasn’t just a highly successful individual but the creator and maintainer of a whole production line of success, known for his bullheaded but unstoppable Oscar campaigns, often for films starring and marketed to women (Chocolat, Emma, Shakespeare in Love).

The movie industry I’ve known for the past 30 years—and written about for more than a third of that time—is reconstituting itself in my mind this week like pieces of a broken mirror being glued back in place, the cracks now forever visible.

Okaaay …

 
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In the New York Times, Tina Brown, who quit as editor of the New Yorker in the late 1990s to edit a start-up glossy magazine backed by Harvey Weinstein called Talk, explains a little about how The Narrative cake is baked:

Harvey spent most of the hours of his working day ensuring that all the bad stories went away, killed, evaporated, spun into something diametrically its opposite. It was a common sight outside a Harvey opening party to see one of his publicists trapped in a car on the phone, spinning — spinning the dross of some new outrage into gold.

When I founded Talk magazine in 1998 with Miramax, the movie company Harvey founded with his brother Bob, I also took over the running of their fledgling book company with Jonathan Burnham as editor in chief. Strange contracts pre-dating us would suddenly surface, book deals with no deadline attached authored by attractive or nearly famous women, one I recall was by the stewardess on a private plane. It was startling — and professionally mortifying — to discover how many hacks writing gossip columns or entertainment coverage were on the Miramax payroll with a “consultancy” or a “development deal” (one even at The New York Times).

Harvey engaged sexual harassment’s legal bulldog, Lisa Bloom, she who brought down Bill O’Reilly and recently appeared on the stage of Women in the World’s Canada Summit as thrilling feminist avenger. Then, it emerged The Weinstein Company bought Bloom’s book on Trayvon Martin for a movie — classic Harvey M.O. …

It’s interesting to speculate what percentage of tendentious liberal media projects exist mainly to pay off insiders who know too much. On top of that, what percentage of the projects that never come fully to fruition but for which somebody got paid are, basically, bribes/rewards for staying on Team Liberal despite learning about your teammates?

An occupational hazard of editing Talk was aborting the pieces Harvey assigned on his nightly trolling from reporters who had tried to get a bad rumor confirmed. Another of his co-opting tactics was to offer a juicy negative nugget about one of the movie stars in his films or people in his media circle (fairly often, me) in a trade to quash a dangerous piece about himself.

Talk, itself, was part of an attempt to achieve corporate vertically integrated control over the entire Narrative cake-baking process from articles to books to movies to publicity to reviews.

Access journalism is a key concept: journalists who know more than they tell are rewarded with carrots like interviews with stars, book deals, and film options, while those who tell the public too much are cut off from their access to the oxygen of stars to appear on their magazine covers.

This article by Brown is framed in Get Trump terms:

What Harvey and Trump have in common

… But it’s a different era now. Cosby. Ailes. O‘Reilly, Weinstein. It’s over, except for one — the serial sexual harasser in the White House.

But of course Trump is the opposite in the sense that the vast media Narrative-baking machine that protected Weinstein for decades has been out to smear Trump nonstop for the last 28 months, with strikingly little success.

That’s why you have all these lunatic conspiracy theories such as that Putin hacked Pokemon Go to elect Trump, because Trump obviously has so little control over the media … except in his ideas.

This isn’t even Berlusconi’s Italy where the politician at least controlled the football broadcasts. Heck, Trump takes on televised football and seems to be winning through the sheer appeal of his views.

And that explains a lot of the outrage at Trump: how can somebody dare communicate with the public without insider access to the elaborate, interlocking Narrative cake-baking process?

 
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Coates knitting

From Ezra Klein’s interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates in Vox:

Even imagining that world, Coates makes ample space for tragedy. When he tries to describe the events that would erase America’s wealth gap, that would see the end of white supremacy, his thoughts flicker to the French Revolution, to the executions and the terror. “It’s very easy for me to see myself being contemporary with processes that might make for an equal world, more equality, and maybe the complete abolition of race as a construct, and being horrified by the process, maybe even attacking the process. I think these things don’t tend to happen peacefully.”

For Coates, even hope can be covered in blood.

 
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From Quentin Tarantino:

 
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Oh, boy, what a list of speakers that the University of Virginia School of Engineering is paying for … Where’s Sabrina Rubin Erdely?

How much is Angela Davis getting paid to lecture UVa engineers? She asks for $15k-$25k, but I think she’ll take $12k. Remember, she hasn’t been bought any guns used in a murder in, what, 47 years now.

Seriously, it’s part of the problem in this country that some views are noncontroversial (e.g., Angela Davis’s) while other views are so controversial (e.g., Charles Murray’s) that they can barely be hosted outside a Bilderberg conclave. The Paid Public Speaker filter is not well understood, but it plays a big role in determining what is considered acceptable public discourse.

 
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The New York Times has an article on the four ethnic flavors of new ads for the new 2018 Toyota Camry: black, Asian, Latino, and “transcultural mainstream,” which, I have to admit, is a new term for me.

The Camry has been the biggest selling sedan in the U.S. for the last 15 years (although it has fallen behind the Honda Civic so far this year), so Camry ads are pretty much of a blank slate, with each one promising a different type of person that a new Camry will fulfill all his or her deepest desires.

Different Ads, Different Ethnicities, Same Car
By SAPNA MAHESHWARI OCT. 12, 2017

Guess which race is targeted by this Toyota ad?

The black ad is by Burrell, a black Chicago firm that has been around a long time. (Mr. Burrell was on the Board of Directors in the 1980s of the marketing research firm where I worked.) It’s called “Strut” and it’s about a black guy who drives around playing rap music and getting lots of attention from the ladies.

The Asian ad by an Asian American ad agency is about an Asian American dad who has a Ten Year Plan to get his daughter an athletic scholarship to college in some under-subscribed Title IX sport.

The Latino ad by a Hispanic agency is a Latin guy who drives fast through the desert and who rebels by not picking up his mom’s call. There’s also a female version about an Alicia Machado-type who carefully applies flaming red lipstick before going grocery shopping.

In other words, each racial group enjoys stereotypical ads about themselves acting extra black/Asian/Latin.

And then there’s this one:

There are no white ads, however, just “Transcultural Mainstream” ads:

This commercial, titled “Thrill,” is one of four spots from Saatchi & Saatchi, and features a version of “Don’t Stop Me Now,” by Queen.

… The six actors appear to be a mix of white and nonwhite.

The agency recoils at the notion that, by default, its ads may be designed to appeal first and foremost to white people.

“There is no Caucasian market,” said Mark Turner, chief strategy officer of Saatchi & Saatchi, who is white. “The mainstream market as defined by any mass marketer like Toyota actually comprises many different cultures, so we’re not the Caucasian agency. We’re the agency that caters to the transcultural mainstream.”

The article doesn’t mention it, but there’s also this 50 Shades of Grey-style ad for the Camry:

 
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From The Hill:

Pinterest acknowledges Russia-linked political posts appeared on the site
BY OLIVIA BEAVERS – 10/11/17 06:04 PM EDT 1

Pinterest, the social media website known for bookmarking recipes or fashion ideas, was used to spread Russia-linked political posts during the 2016 presidential election.

Pinterest became a repository for political posts created by Russians actors after other users on the web “pinned” the content to the scrapbook-like site, the company acknowledged to The Washington Post on Wednesday.

It does not appear that the Russian operatives posted directly on the site, but their presence on Pinterest grew as users unknowingly bookmarked the Russian propaganda to their online boards.

“We believe the fake Facebook content was so sophisticated that it tricked real Americans into saving it to Pinterest,” Pinterest head of public policy Charlie Hale told the newspaper.

It had to have been some high quality KGB disinformation to fool Pinterest users.

 
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From The Hill:

Russian-linked campaign used Pokémon Go to meddle in election
BY REBECCA SAVRANSKY – 10/12/17 03:25 PM EDT

The mobile game app Pokémon Go was reportedly used by a Russian-linked campaign to meddle in U.S. politics.

CNN reported that a Russian-linked campaign called “Don’t Shoot Us,” likely run by Moscow-linked “troll farm” Internet Research Agency (IRA), used Pokémon Go — among several other mediums including Facebook and Twitter — and posed as a part of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Moscow-linked actors appear to be the source of the campaign that had a goal to raise racial tensions by bringing up incidents of police brutality.

The campaign posted on its Tumblr page to urge users to play Pokémon Go as part of a contest. It encouraged users to find Pokémon in places where police brutality had happened and then to rename their Pokémon after the victims.

So Black Lives Matter was, in effect, a Russkie plot to destroy America? That makes sense.

Here’s Putin using Russian mind-control waves to take over Hillary’s brain:

By the way, is The Hill a real news site?

 
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From the Washington Post:

Screenshot 2017-10-12 16.44.29

 
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From the New York Times:

Genes for Skin Color Rebut Dated Notions of Race, Researchers Say

Carl Zimmer MATTER

OCT. 12, 2017

For centuries, skin color has held powerful social meaning — a defining characteristic of race, and a starting point for racism.

“If you ask somebody on the street, ‘What are the main differences between races?,’ they’re going to say skin color,” said Sarah A. Tishkoff, a geneticist at the University of Pennsylvania.

That’s why everybody confuses white albinos (such as rock stars Edgar and Johnny Winter) and black alibinos, such as model Diandra Forrest (shown below with her baby).

Oh.

Wait.

People don’t actually confuse white and black albinos.

I said way back in 2000 in a VDARE article “Seven Dumb Ideas about Race:”

Race is only skin deep.

I’m sure this bit of conventional wisdom is most comforting to Jews suffering from Tay-Sachs disease, to bla cks enduring sickle cell anemia, and to American Indians battling alcoholism. In reality, there is absolutely nothing that restricts racial differences to “mere cosmetics.” Races can differ in any of the ways that families can differ from each other.

Why? Because a racial group is a partly inbred extended family.

Race is basically about who your ancestors were and thus who your relatives tend to be.

Nobody, not even Tiger Woods, has a wholly random family tree. If you go far enough back into your ancestry, you find more slots open than there were individuals alive at the time. For example, 40 generations back, you family tree has openings for more than trillion ancestors. Obviously, some people wound up doing multiple duty. You are more descended from some people than from others.

Back to the New York Times’ all-out attack on a strawman:

On Thursday, Dr. Tishkoff and her colleagues showed this to be a profound error.

In the journal Science, the researchers published the first large-scale study of the genetics of skin color in Africans. The researchers pinpointed eight genetic variants in four narrow regions of the human genome that strongly influence pigmentation — some making skin darker, and others making it lighter. These genes are shared across the globe, it turns out; one of them, for example, lightens skin in both Europeans and hunter-gatherers in Botswana. The gene variants were present in humanity’s distant ancestors, even before our species evolved in Africa 300,000 years ago.

In other words, the recent theory that humans started out dark-colored and some evolved to get lighter not be all that true. Perhaps proto-humans were light-skinned and some evolved to get darker. Or something more complicated.

The widespread distribution of these genes and their persistence over millenniums show that the old color lines are essentially meaningless, the scientists said. The research “dispels a biological concept of race,” Dr. Tishkoff said.

Right …

… To find the genes that help produce pigments, scientists began by studying people of European ancestry and found that mutations to a gene called SLC24A5 caused cells to make less pigment, leading to paler skin. Unsurprisingly, almost all Europeans have this variant.

“We knew quite a lot about why people have pale skin if they had European ancestry,” said Nicholas G. Crawford, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author of the new study. “But there was very little known about why people have dark skin.” Since the early 2000s, Dr. Tishkoff has studied genes in Africa, discovering variants important to everything from resistance to malaria to height. African populations vary tremendously in skin color, and Dr. Tishkoff reasoned that powerful genetic variants must be responsible.

Eh … terms like “vary tremendously” are subjective. I’d be more inclined to say “vary somewhat.” A lot depends upon how much weight you give to the rare but fairly different Bushman/Hottentot racial group, who tend to have a yellow tinge to their brown skin. But, note that very, very few African-Americans (whom NYT subscribers automatically assume we are talking about) have significant Bushman ancestry, so this can be a red herring.

Just about everybody in Africa who is an ancestor of African Americans ranges from very dark brown to medium brown to light brown in some regions with obvious Caucasian intrusion from the North like the Sahara and parts of Ethiopia (as the NYT admits below).

The eight gene variants that Dr. Tishkoff and her colleagues discovered in Africans turned out to be present in many populations outside the continent. By comparing the DNA of these people, the researchers were able to estimate how long ago the genes appeared. They turned out to be immensely old. A variant for light skin — found in both Europeans and the San hunter-gatherers of Botswana — arose roughly 900,000 years ago, for example.

Even before there were Homo sapiens, then, our distant forebears had a mix of genes for light and dark skin. Some populations may have been dark-skinned and others light-skinned; or maybe they were all the same color, produced by a blend of variants.

Living humans come packaged in a wide range of hues — from pale and freckly in Ireland to dark brown in southern India, Australia and New Guinea. Researchers have argued that these varying colors evolved partly in response to sunlight. …

The new genetic evidence supports this explanation, but adds unexpected complexity. The dark-skinned people of southern India, Australia and New Guinea, for example, did not independently evolve their color simply because evolution favored it. They inherited the ancestral dark variants Dr. Tishkoff’s team found in Africans. “They had to be introduced from an African population,” said Dr. Tishkoff.

Yet the same is true for some of the genes that produce light skin in Asia and Europe. They also originated in Africa and were carried from the continent with early migrants.

It would have been helpful to proto-humans to have multiple genes for skin color if their lineages moved back and forth between dwelling in deeply shaded forests and in open country. Africa has both.

As Africans moved into Europe and Asia, they interbred with Neanderthals on several occasions. Last week, Michael Dannemann and Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany reported that people in Britain still carry a number of Neanderthal variants that color skin.

… Dr. Tishkoff and her colleagues found it frequently not just in Europe, but also in some populations of lighter-skinned Africans in East Africa and Tanzania. Studies of ancient DNA recently discovered in Africa point to an explanation. Several thousand years ago, it seems, a migration of early Near Eastern farmers swept into East Africa.

Abyssinians of the Ethiopian highlands believe they are descended from the son of the Queen of Sheba who was, presumably, from the Arabian peninsula.

Razib Khan offers a less tendentious summary of the report here.

In the Atlantic, Ed Yong compromises, starting with the science and withholding the anti-crimethink agitprop to the end.

 
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Commenter Irish Paleo writes:

The damage done to the Dems’ control of its coalition of the fringes (as laid bare by Trump’s victory in 2016) has been deep. At the heart of the sexual politics of the Democratic Party is a chasmic faultline, namely the fact that their coalition includes Marcusian feminists whose obsession with perceived male violence and sexual predation is becoming more hysterical with every passing week, supporters who themselves include a disproportionate number of male sexual predators amongst their number (black football players, Hollywood moguls, Bill Clinton etc.) and others who harbour thinly veiled aspirations to inflict violence on women (Muslims, Trannies etc.). Weinstein shows how quickly these troops start turning the guns on each other (instead of Haven Monahan or George Zimmerman) and how increasingly sketchy is the centralised command and control over them.

Watch this space…

 
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As I’ve often mentioned, I don’t pay that much attention to all the Spy vs. Spy allegations in the papers because:

A) How should I know what really happened?

B) The basic rule of intelligence is to assess capabilities rather than intentions.

For example, if, say, the Russians have the capability to spy on the U.S., they probably will do so. Similarly, if the Israelis have the capability to spy on the U.S., they probably will do so.

This way of thinking is alien to the growing style of merely determining who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys and leaving it at that.

From the New York Times:

How Israel Caught Russian Hackers Scouring the World for U.S. Secrets
By NICOLE PERLROTH and SCOTT SHANE OCT. 10, 2017

It was a case of spies watching spies watching spies: Israeli intelligence officers looked on in real time as Russian government hackers searched computers around the world for the code names of American intelligence programs.

What gave the Russian hacking, detected more than two years ago, such global reach was its improvised search tool — antivirus software made by a Russian company, Kaspersky Lab, that is used by 400 million people worldwide, including by officials at some two dozen American government agencies.

The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky’s own network alerted the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers. …

Like most security software, Kaspersky Lab’s products require access to everything stored on a computer in order to scour it for viruses or other dangers. Its popular antivirus software scans for signatures of malicious software, or malware, then removes or neuters it before sending a report back to Kaspersky. That procedure, routine for such software, provided a perfect tool for Russian intelligence to exploit to survey the contents of computers and retrieve whatever they found of interest.

… But the role of Israeli intelligence in uncovering that breach and the Russian hackers’ use of Kaspersky software in the broader search for American secrets have not previously been disclosed. …

For years, there has been speculation that Kaspersky’s popular antivirus software might provide a back door for Russian intelligence. …

That directive, which some officials thought was long overdue, was based, in large part, on intelligence gleaned from Israel’s 2014 intrusion into Kaspersky’s corporate systems. …

Kaspersky Lab did not discover the Israeli intrusion into its systems until mid-2015, when a Kaspersky engineer testing a new detection tool noticed unusual activity in the company’s network. The company investigated and detailed its findings in June 2015 in a public report.

The report did not name Israel as the intruder but noted that the breach bore striking similarities to a previous attack, known as “Duqu,” which researchers had attributed to the same nation states responsible for the infamous Stuxnet cyberweapon. Stuxnet was a joint American-Israeli operation that successfully infiltrated Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, and used malicious code to destroy a fifth of Iran’s uranium centrifuges in 2010.

Kaspersky reported that its attackers had used the same algorithm and some of the same code as Duqu, but noted that in many ways it was even more sophisticated. So the company researchers named the new attack Duqu 2.0, noting that other victims of the attack were prime Israeli targets.

Among the targets Kaspersky uncovered were hotels and conference venues used for closed-door meetings by members of the United Nations Security Council to negotiate the terms of the Iran nuclear deal — negotiations from which Israel was excluded.

In other words, Israel was implanting backdoors in Russian software in order to spy on the negotiations with Iran that the United States was involved in.

Several targets were in the United States, which suggested that the operation was Israel’s alone, not a joint American-Israeli operation like Stuxnet.

Kaspersky’s researchers noted that attackers had managed to burrow deep into the company’s computers and evade detection for months. Investigators later discovered that the Israeli hackers had implanted multiple back doors into Kaspersky’s systems, employing sophisticated tools to steal passwords, take screenshots, and vacuum up emails and documents.

In its June 2015 report, Kaspersky noted that its attackers seemed primarily interested in the company’s work on nation-state attacks, particularly Kaspersky’s work on the “Equation Group” — its private industry term for the N.S.A. — and the “Regin” campaign, another industry term for a hacking unit inside the United Kingdom’s intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. …

It is not clear whether, or to what degree, Eugene V. Kaspersky, the founder of Kaspersky Lab, and other company employees have been complicit in the hacking using their products. …

But experts on Russia say that under President Vladimir V. Putin, a former K.G.B. officer, businesses asked for assistance by Russian spy agencies may feel they have no choice but to give it.

This is of course totally different from, say, Israeli companies that sell software to American telephone companies for tracking who calls whom. There is no way that those Israeli firms have anything to do with Israeli intelligence. And Israeli intelligence would never ever ask an Israeli software firm to let them know, say, who Senator Lindsey Graham calls.

Seriously …

The U.S.-Russia-Israel triangle is particularly interesting because of sizable flows of very high IQ individuals among these countries from 1973 onward, when the U.S. pushed through legislation to, in effect, begin stripping the Soviet Union of many of its smartest people via demanding Soviet Jews be allowed to emigrate.

For instance, my wife’s uncle, a USAF colonel, used to drop by East Berlin to quietly talk shop in a car in a dark sidestreet about aerospace metallurgy with vacationing Soviet Jewish defense scientists during their five year cooling off period before they were allowed to emigrate.

Of course, now that I think about it, the KGB likely salted Soviet loyalists among the emigres, so maybe he was a patsy in a KGB disinformation scheme to send the U.S. off on expensive wild goose hunts.

I’ve never seen much speculation on this idea that the Soviets/Russians would have excellent incentives to infiltrate their own Jewish loyalists among the post-1973 emigres.

We’ve been trained to assume that no Jewish person could possibly be loyal to their native country because the Russians were so hatefully anti-Semitic that all Jews must be Russophobes.

Of course, in reality, Moscow in the 1990s turned heavily to American and semi-American Jews for strategic advice, like Larry Summers, Jeffrey Sachs, Stanley Fischer, and Andrei Shleifer, raising questions about the Narrative of Russian anti-Semitism. Similarly, in the 21st Century, Putin maintains cordial relations with more conservative Jews and with Israel.

Or, even more speculatively, maybe the sudden Israeli explosion into becoming an exporter of software for controlling telecommunications in America was actually in part a KGB effort to infiltrate America with Israeli software that included backdoors not just back to Israel but perhaps to Russia as well?

Back in 2001, Fox reporter Carl Cameron ran a four part series on Israeli spying in the United States that was quickly spiked and deleted from the network’s archives.

Beyond the usual reasons, perhaps the American deep state had patriotic reasons for objecting to Cameron drawing attention to Israeli assets in the U.S. Perhaps the U.S. considered them compromised not just by Israeli intelligence, but by Russian intelligence as well, and was using them to feed disinformation to Moscow?

Somebody in the New York Times’ comments alleges:

“I do know that Israel, which is the source of the claim has good reason to want to hamstring Kaspersky, which is the only anti-virus system that has successfully detected the US/Israel Stuxnet virus that was aimed originally at destroying Iranian nuclear refinement plants. There is a variant of Stuxnet called Duqu 2.0, which Israel has been using to spy on UN Security Council meetings and official government computer sites in a number of countries, including Israeli hacking into US intelligence. In 2015, Israel tried to hack into Kaspersky Labs with Duqu to see how their software works, but Kaspersky’s anti-virus caught the break-in attempts (Kaspersky is also the only anti-virus s/w that can detect the other US/Israel Stuxnet-derived virus, Flame). Right after being caught trying to break into Kaspersky, Israel reported to the US that Kaspersky was being used to break into our own computers. So, is Kaspersky a Russian backdoor into US computers running it, or is Israel discrediting Kaspersky because it is the only anti-virus s/w that can detect Israeli use of Duqu to spy on other countries, including the US?”

Who knows? It’s all a wilderness of mirrors.

 
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In the New York Times, Manohla Dargis writes:

The industry’s silence has historically shielded the men who make movies, including the old studio bosses like Louis B. Mayer to whom Mr. Weinstein has often been nostalgically compared. In histories, these old-studio chiefs are genteelly referred to as womanizers, a polite metaphor for conduct that ranges from time on the casting couch, another odious euphuism, to what sounds a lot like prostitution. According to the historian Scott Eyman, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — the studio that bore Mayer’s name and boasted that it had more stars than there are in heaven — had a supply “of what were known as ‘six-month-option girls’ to be passed around the executive offices.”

If this seems, well, normal it is because this tawdry glimpse into the industry — with its powerful men and passed-around girls — is deeply embedded in its history, its lore and its very identity.

And yet, if you go back before the Studio System fully emerged in Hollywood in the 1920s, you’ll see that women were more integrated into behind the scenes jobs than after the Mayers came to dominate the business. As I wrote in Taki’s Magazine in 2013:

For instance, back during the D. W. Griffith era of filmmaking, women were widely employed as screenwriters, editors, directors, and even producers. Mary Pickford, “America’s Sweetheart,” produced her own movies from 1916 onward and became a mogul in 1919 when she, her fiancé Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Charlie Chaplin, and D. W. Griffith founded United Artists.

In the later 1920s, Gloria Swanson, backed by her boyfriend Joseph Kennedy, Sr.’s money, attempted to follow Pickford’s path into controlling her own career. But the now dominant studio system had little use for such presumption. Billy Wilder’s 1950 classic Sunset Boulevard, starring Swanson as washed-up silent star Norma Desmond, reflects studio Hollywood’s view of the powerful women of the industry’s early days as uppity broads who deserved to turn into crazy old bats. In the real world, though, Swanson, an extremely enterprising woman, had found numerous ways after leaving Hollywood for New York to make money (and would continue to do so up until her death in the 1980s).

There were two main reasons for this change from the Mary Pickford Era to the studio era when ambitious women were turned into quasi-horror figures like Norma Desmond.

One involved a broad reaction among bohemians against women in power. Feminism had been in the ascendant in WASP-dominated American culture in 1910s, eventually achieving two huge nearly simultaneous triumphs: Women’s Suffrage and Prohibition.

Prohibition proved a disaster for Feminism, however, by discrediting Feminism among America’s bohemian culturati. For example, Wilfrid Sheed wrote of the mid-20th Century New Yorker:

[James] Thurber’s world cannot remotely be understood without understanding Prohibition, or the locker-room version of it: a plot brewed up by women and Protestant ministers while our soldiers were overseas, in order to end America’s men-only culture and bring the boys all the way home, not just as far as the nearest saloon.

Within the movie business itself, another reason for the swing away from feminism after WWI was the triumph of non-WASP moguls like Mayer in taking over the industry. They came from more patriarchal and ethnocentric backgrounds, and didn’t see much reason to respect shiksas. As I wrote then:

The rise of the Ellis Island immigrant populations helped delay feminism’s triumph that had once seemed imminent in WASP-dominated America. But that’s the kind of paradox likely to be met with blank stares in 2013.

 
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From the Toronto Star:

Title of ‘chief’ phased out across the Toronto District School Board

The Toronto school board will no longer have chief financial or chief communications officers, as the board finalizes efforts to change titles out of respect for Indigenous people.

By the way, this post’s title is a nod to a 1986 Michael Kinsley joke in The New Republic:

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative
Can you top this?

BY THE NEW REPUBLIC STAFF
May 5, 1986

These three words, which appeared over Flora Lewis’s column in the April 10 New York Times, strike many experts as possibly the most boring headline ever written.

 
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From The Globe & Mail:

Postcolonial parenting

We thought we were raising an enlightened child, Tama Ward writes, but have we robbed our daughter of her cultural roots?

TAMA WARD
OCTOBER 4, 2017

At breakfast, in the glass-towered city of Vancouver, five-year-old Abigail looks glumly at her half-eaten bowl of cereal.

“What is it, honey?” I brush the bangs back from her face.

She lets out a big sigh. “I wish I wasn’t white.”

I start. Nothing in the parenting manuals has prepared me for that.

“All we’ve ever done is hurt people,” she continues. “I wish my skin was dark and that I had a culture.”

We live in a part of the city where immigrant families abound. … Plus, my husband and I are children of missionaries and harbour an acute guilt for the cultural imperialism of our forebears. To compensate, we’ve raised our children with a deep appreciation of non-Western cultures.

So when Abigail laments the colour of her white skin, part of me is programmed to protest. Is it not my moral obligation to tell her that her feelings of poor self-worth are nothing compared with the psychological ruin of real racism? Girl, everything about Canadian culture weighs in your advantage and you have no right to snivel!

Instead, I feel a sadness settle over me. We thought we were raising the enlightened child of the 21st century. We thought we were doing our part in setting the history record straight. Yet, in doing so, it seems we have robbed our oldest child of something primal to psychological health, something elemental to her well-being as a human being: cultural roots.

I don’t know what to say.

I consider the you-are-Canadian spiel: “part of a new society made up of the vibrancy of many cultures, etc.” Yet, “Canadian” is precisely the problem. What is Canadian? Her best friend is Canadian and Mexican. Her cousin, Canadian and Bengali. Even our Indigenous neighbours have a First Nation before they have Canada. To play the Canadian card will further neuter her culturally when what she’s looking for are deep roots that ground her to a people and place.

Seized by maternal panic I go in search of our oversized National Geographic Atlas and hoist it up onto the breakfast table. Abigail sits up and she leans in. “It was almost 200 years ago that your people came to Canada from this island.”

Abigail’s face brightens at that word: island. I know what she’s thinking. Islands are places of primal innocence and cultural distinctiveness, such as Haida Gwaii or Never Never Land.

But then when I speak the name of her island, Abigail’s full-body slump returns.

“Great Britain?!” she pouts accusingly. “Aren’t they the bad ones?”

Note, not all five-year-olds being quoted on the Internet by their loving parents necessarily said exactly whatever their parents later claim they said.

So, mom comes up with an idea:

I explain that this is high tea, “one of the grand traditions of your people.” She stands in stunned silence.

The plan is working.

I explain that high tea must be served right at 4 o’clock, not a minute sooner, and that sandwiches are to be cut twice on the diagonal with crusts removed in their entirety.

“Why?” she asks to all of the above.

“It’s just our culture.”

This answer pleases her.

Rules involving sandwich-slicing are deeply interesting to five-year-olds.

Later in the week, Abigail replicates the high-tea ritual for her teddies and dolls, and then in a crowning act of glory for her Mexican playmate next door. “It’s from my culture,” I overhear her explaining to Sofia. Sofia seems enchanted.

This succeeds grandly. But what happens if this family somehow could afford to have a second child in Vancouver, a boy, and dad mentions to his son all the sports Their People invented: ice hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball, football, tennis, golf, etc. etc.?

And what if he spilled the beans at school? The teacher would probably demand a Conference with the parents to find out who is spreading Hatefacts?

 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007