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pepper
They say to write about what you know. One thing I know are peppers, and hot sauce. So in addition to my writings on genetics, history, and assorted odds & ends, probably more pepper writing than before.

51G93vyEl5L Class is important, but it doesn’t seem to be a good organizing principle around which an organic social movement can develop, like race or religion. The Soviet Union and Peoples’ Republic of China have both evolved into nationalistic states because the ideology of Communism never erased, and in fact only complemented, the nationalist ethos which served as the true substrate of the modern polities.

The Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is an important book because it gives an impression of the possibilities of much of the human future. These poor white people can be described in unvarnished terms because they’re white, and white people can be described somewhat objectively. Their world is in crisis, as the world economy leaves them behind. The golden age of well-paid unskilled and semi-skilled work is gone. The future is uncertain, and without dignity.

This is the lot of the bottom 90 percent of all races. But because class can’t motivate human emotions in the same way as race and religion, we might see a return to more nationalist organizing principles in the near future because the elites really don’t have anything to give in terms of dignity and economic hope to the masses. Yes, they’ll live at a marginal consumer level, but they won’t obtain honor and self-worth through work, because they will have been rendered redundant by productivity gains and globalization.

I had a discussion about gentrification at a start-up event recently. As a gentrifier and small-l libertarian I don’t have a problem as such with gentrification. My interlocutor had local roots, and talked about the dislocation imposed upon his maternal Mexican American side. I was sympathetic, but, I suggested that America is a global nation, and a diverse one. He made the case for non-economic social capital, and cultural cohesion, and I suggested that sounds a lot like the sort of thing working class whites might also offer up for why mass immigration is a problem (he was taken aback by the analogy).

Ultimately the public discussion tends to avoid the hard questions. And that’s why we’re where we are.

A tutorial on how (not) to over-interpret STRUCTURE/ADMIXTURE bar plots. Unless you’ve produced a lot (a lot) of these plots, please read this. Whether you read my blog, or plan to do admixture analysis in the future.

The Strange Rites of the Ancient Olympics.

The domesticated brain: genetics of brain mass and brain structure in an avian species.

 
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  1. I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but I’m going to strongly recommend Baron West Indian Hot Sauce. I know it from trips to St Lucia, where it is made, but it is easily available from Amazon in the States.

    It’s not an extreme hot sauce, but is higher than 100 000 Scoville. The main reason to get it is its very nice mustard and slightly sweet scotch bonnet flavour, which goes really well with chicken and white fish, among other things.

  2. “I suggested that sounds a lot like the sort of working class whites might also offer up for why mass immigration is a problem (he was taken aback by the analogy).”

    Good God. And therein lies the reason for the dysfunction of the country and the elites’ complete inability to deal with it. “Diversity and creative destruction for thee, but not for me.”

    In happier news, CARTA has put up a bunch of videos about ancient DNA. Razib readers will already know about lots of these findings, but learning about how the scientists got to them is instructive.

    https://carta.anthropogeny.org/events/ancient-dna-and-human-evolution

  3. You probably saw this. Wondering if you be seen any responses. Like say, James Thompson. n=15000.

    Sex differences in intelligence: A multi-measure approach using nationally representative samples from Romania
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289616301003

    When I check Stuart Richie’s book, here’s the key graf which says what I thought, men higher variance.

    Quote from Ritchie:

    But it’s not quite so simple. Just looking at the average hides two consistent sex differ-ences. The first is that there are differences in more specific abilities: women tend to do better than men on verbal measures, and men tend to outperform women on tests of spatial ability (Miller and Halpern, 2014); these small differences balance out so that the average general score is the same. The second is that there is a difference in variabil-ity: males tend to be over-represented at the very high and the very low levels of intelli-gence. This was found most clearly in the Scottish data. 

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Paraphrasing my SSC comment:

    The great thing about school based tests (e.g., the famous Scottish study you refer to) is that it typically includes the whole spectrum of abilities. Getting busy successful adults (>IQ) and lumpenprole dregs (<IQ) to sit the tests is harder.

    So how exactly were the samples obtained?

    The normative sample was selected in such a way as to maxi-
    mize representativeness on age, sex, urban vs. rural residence and geo-
    graphic region, from a sample of 4417 participants, which were tested
    in-home and in-school by trained operators.
     
    This sounds “problematic.” You also need representativeness on income, occupational prestige, etc. There are more male CEOs and more male felons.
    , @RaceRealist88
    Rushton and Jackson say that men have a 3.63 point advantage in IQ over women on average.
  4. My favorite hot sauce is Tabasco Original with its three ingredients: Vinegar, red pepper, and salt.

    Does this make me a philistine in pepper/hot sauce matters?

    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    it's a good sauce. so no. but if you're a real #saucie you seek out other flavors.
    , @Twinkie
    If you are not into super spicy peppers, try something made with New Mexico green chile. Sweet, smokey, with a hint of spice.
  5. A friend of mine’s ex was a half-Mexican from Pilsen. At one point she was starting to go on about the threat of gentrification in the area and I subtly suggested the same logic applied to immigration on a national level, but I think I was too subtle.

  6. These poor white people can be described in unvarnished terms because they’re white, and white people can be described somewhat objectively.

    I just finished reading White Trash by Nancy Isenberg. About 1/3 into the book I thought, “She’s going to be ripped for not writing about black slavery.” Sure enough, that is the totality of some reviews, others genuflect to a lesser or greater extent. To my surprise some mention it not at all.

  7. @Nathan Taylor
    You probably saw this. Wondering if you be seen any responses. Like say, James Thompson. n=15000.

    Sex differences in intelligence: A multi-measure approach using nationally representative samples from Romania
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289616301003

    When I check Stuart Richie's book, here's the key graf which says what I thought, men higher variance.

    Quote from Ritchie:

    But it's not quite so simple. Just looking at the average hides two consistent sex differ-ences. The first is that there are differences in more specific abilities: women tend to do better than men on verbal measures, and men tend to outperform women on tests of spatial ability (Miller and Halpern, 2014); these small differences balance out so that the average general score is the same. The second is that there is a difference in variabil-ity: males tend to be over-represented at the very high and the very low levels of intelli-gence. This was found most clearly in the Scottish data. 
     

    Paraphrasing my SSC comment:

    The great thing about school based tests (e.g., the famous Scottish study you refer to) is that it typically includes the whole spectrum of abilities. Getting busy successful adults (>IQ) and lumpenprole dregs (<IQ) to sit the tests is harder.

    So how exactly were the samples obtained?

    The normative sample was selected in such a way as to maxi-
    mize representativeness on age, sex, urban vs. rural residence and geo-
    graphic region, from a sample of 4417 participants, which were tested
    in-home and in-school by trained operators.

    This sounds “problematic.” You also need representativeness on income, occupational prestige, etc. There are more male CEOs and more male felons.

  8. @Anatoly Karlin
    My favorite hot sauce is Tabasco Original with its three ingredients: Vinegar, red pepper, and salt.

    Does this make me a philistine in pepper/hot sauce matters?

    it’s a good sauce. so no. but if you’re a real #saucie you seek out other flavors.

  9. I lived in southern Utah for a while many years ago and one of the guys was a very lucid but low key conspiracy theorist regarding the federal government’s agenda toward american small farmers. He had long documented the phenomenon of planes leaving a criss-cross trail of gas clouds in the sky on a daily basis and had come to the conclusion they were deliberately doing something to manufacture a minor drought. Why would they do this you ask? Because that’s how the new world order looks out for the little guy, by nudging farming more to the third world’s advantage. I have no idea except that all those exes in the sky were definitely deliberate, whatever they were about.

  10. Do you know any good books on history of the East Indies (Majapahit, Sulu, Aceh, Brunei, etc)?

  11. @Anatoly Karlin
    My favorite hot sauce is Tabasco Original with its three ingredients: Vinegar, red pepper, and salt.

    Does this make me a philistine in pepper/hot sauce matters?

    If you are not into super spicy peppers, try something made with New Mexico green chile. Sweet, smokey, with a hint of spice.

  12. I was sympathetic, but, I suggested that America is a global nation, and a diverse one. He made the case for non-economic social capital, and cultural cohesion, and I suggested that sounds a lot like the sort of working class whites might also offer up for why mass immigration is a problem (he was taken aback by the analogy).

    It’s a shock to one’s psyche to realize that he is a part of the disruption, not the victim as portrayed by the commonly-held and -encouraged view.

  13. I tried last week to write a comment about gentrification, but for some reason the site ate my post, even after I tried to repost it a second time. To recap:

    Gentrification is a morally neutral process. It cannot be considered simultaneously bad that wealthy people left cities in the mid 20th century and that they are now returning to cities from the suburbs. That said, gentrification can cause problems in some metropolitan areas, when there are not sufficient alternative neighborhoods for lower-income people to choose from.

    It’s not commonly considered, but even discounting direct government subsidies towards low income housing, we do not have a “free market” in terms of housing in the U.S. Around 100 years ago we instituted building codes. This was theoretically due to a concern for public safety – we didn’t want to have shantytowns any longer, which could easily catch fire, collapse, or spread disease due to poor sanitation. But the end result was the government by fiat declared that no housing units under an arbitrary quality could be built, and then worked tirelessly during the mid 20th century to destroy as much of this old, market-rate low income housing as possible. Since that time, there have only been two ways that low-income housing units come onto the market. One is through direct government subsidies of either construction or rent. The other is through depreciation – old neighborhoods declining in value until they became slums.

    In an area like Pittsburgh, thus, gentrification is not a big problem on the macro level. Certain inner-core urban neighborhoods are increasing in desirability, but inner-ring suburban neighborhoods are declining just as rapidly. Thus an equilibrium is met, and poor people just have the inconvenience of a slightly longer bus ride. But in high-growth metros – particularly ones like San Francisco, where very little which is new gets built – elimination of existing affordable units means there’s virtually nowhere else in the metro for poor or even working-class people to live – which is why “mega-commutes” from places as far away as Stockton have become more common.

    • Replies: @ohwilleke
    There are building codes that mandate higher quality than is really necessary (minimum square footage and fascade material requirements come to mind), but zoning codes are by far the more pernicious (with some cities having something like 90%+ of buildings that are non-conforming with current codes - zoning is a major source of unaffordable housing due to NIMBY concerns).

    The lion's share of building code regulations are quiet and unnoticed success stories that prevent untold numbers of deaths from shoddy or unsafe construction practices (often practices that the construction workers would not even know were unsafe if the code hadn't told them, even though they are legitimately problematic.)

    For example, I once had a case where a fire alarm contractor used a grade of wire (contrary to the building code) that had a fail temperature lower than the trigger temperature of the fire alarms and sprinklers and emergency lights that they powered, to cut his costs, in a factory where the risk of a fire was quite high due to sparks from machinery. Had there been a fire in that factory before the defect was caught, hundreds of employees would have almost certainly died as a result. Because of building codes enforced in a non-corrupt manner by building inspectors, and honored by competent general contractors, building collapses and deadly fires are remarkably rare in the developed world.

    Before building codes were in place, these kinds of disasters were as common as toddlers dying of gunshot wounds or kids and pets overheating to death in mall parking lots are today.

  14. America is a global nation,

    Not in the matter of who gets to vote on the government. It appears something approaching a majority in the US are forming the opinion that they will not benefit from more immigration.

    The composition of a possible anti immigration majority is not simple, because the biggest and most immediate economic losers from further immigration are the most recent immigrants, such as Mexican Americans. Of course an economic analysis is abjured by Paul Klansman, sorry, Krugman, he wants to talk about whites as failing in their duty to behave as a charitable institution for the benefit of non white people currently in other countries

    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    Not in the matter of who gets to vote on the government.

    i meant in terms of origins. not in voting rights.
  15. @Sean

    America is a global nation,
     
    Not in the matter of who gets to vote on the government. It appears something approaching a majority in the US are forming the opinion that they will not benefit from more immigration.

    The composition of a possible anti immigration majority is not simple, because the biggest and most immediate economic losers from further immigration are the most recent immigrants, such as Mexican Americans. Of course an economic analysis is abjured by Paul Klansman, sorry, Krugman, he wants to talk about whites as failing in their duty to behave as a charitable institution for the benefit of non white people currently in other countries

    Not in the matter of who gets to vote on the government.

    i meant in terms of origins. not in voting rights.

    • Replies: @Sean
    The talk of a globalised US is a call for global utility, in which human beings would not look at things with a national interest perspective and allow the massive productivity gains of immigration.

    Back in the early sixties, under the influence of economists like Walt Rostow, the West believed that all that was required for global development and worldwide security was the adoption by backward countries of a US-style economic system, primed with infrastructure development. To their surprise it was discovered that the Vietnamese and others wanted to run their own countries. Economists currently strain every fibre to prove that global utility is served by immigration.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/magazine/debunking-the-myth-of-the-job-stealing-immigrant.html?_r=0
    To me, immigration is the greatest example of our faulty thinking, a shortsightedness that hurts others while simultaneously hurting ourselves. The State Department issues fewer than half a million immigrant visas each year. Using the 7 percent figure from the Mariel boatlift research, it’s possible that we could absorb as many as 11 million immigrants annually. But if that’s politically untenable, what about doubling the visas we issue each year? It would still be fewer than a million, or less than 0.7 percent of the work force. If that didn’t go too badly, we could double it again the next year. The data are clear. We would be better off. In fact, the world would be better off.
     
    Paul Krugman is a mainstream economist who thinks everyone would be richer if only people were not so atavistic or "tribal" (he is fond of that word) as to support separate countries, which are an injustice if all human beings have the same rights, whereby they ought to have equal desserts. But those currently in the US include many of the diverse community, who occupy the recent immigrants' niche in the economy. They have good reason to be unenthusiastic about further immigration of people like them, but prepared to work for less. If Trump wins the lack of opposition to him by recent immigrants will be a key factor in his victory.
  16. Concerns now raised about personal DNA testing were once raised about home pregnancy tests.

    http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/07/68938.html

  17. @Razib Khan
    Not in the matter of who gets to vote on the government.

    i meant in terms of origins. not in voting rights.

    The talk of a globalised US is a call for global utility, in which human beings would not look at things with a national interest perspective and allow the massive productivity gains of immigration.

    Back in the early sixties, under the influence of economists like Walt Rostow, the West believed that all that was required for global development and worldwide security was the adoption by backward countries of a US-style economic system, primed with infrastructure development. To their surprise it was discovered that the Vietnamese and others wanted to run their own countries. Economists currently strain every fibre to prove that global utility is served by immigration.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/magazine/debunking-the-myth-of-the-job-stealing-immigrant.html?_r=0
    To me, immigration is the greatest example of our faulty thinking, a shortsightedness that hurts others while simultaneously hurting ourselves. The State Department issues fewer than half a million immigrant visas each year. Using the 7 percent figure from the Mariel boatlift research, it’s possible that we could absorb as many as 11 million immigrants annually. But if that’s politically untenable, what about doubling the visas we issue each year? It would still be fewer than a million, or less than 0.7 percent of the work force. If that didn’t go too badly, we could double it again the next year. The data are clear. We would be better off. In fact, the world would be better off.

    Paul Krugman is a mainstream economist who thinks everyone would be richer if only people were not so atavistic or “tribal” (he is fond of that word) as to support separate countries, which are an injustice if all human beings have the same rights, whereby they ought to have equal desserts. But those currently in the US include many of the diverse community, who occupy the recent immigrants’ niche in the economy. They have good reason to be unenthusiastic about further immigration of people like them, but prepared to work for less. If Trump wins the lack of opposition to him by recent immigrants will be a key factor in his victory.

  18. I wanted to know how archaeologists were reacting to the latest big finds in ancient population genetics, so I cracked open a very new edition (2015) of “Ancient Scandinavia: An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings” by Price and went looking for the section on the Neolithic. Here’s what it has to say:

    “There is also some limited information from ancient DNA in the bones and
    teeth of Mesolithic and Neolithic individuals. These data are problematic, because
    there are very few samples from the actual transition period, between 4500 and
    3500 BC, due to a paucity of burials during this time, problems of protein preservation
    and contamination in many samples, and because the study of aDNA is still
    in an experimental stage. Current studies suggest that there are genetic differences
    between Mesolithic and Neolithic populations in central and northern Europe,
    but much more work needs to be done (e.g., Bramanti et al. 2009, Brotherton
    et al. 2013, Skoglund et al. 2012).

    In sum, while there was a rapid influx of new kinds of pottery and decoration,
    burial rites, house forms, and domesticated plants and animals, several basic
    aspects of life did not change substantially at first. At the same time, it is important
    to remember the very explosive initial spread of the TRB into Scandinavia, which
    does suggest the arrival of new people. Although there is no substantive evidence to
    indicate the movement of agriculturalists from the south, the possibility that small
    groups of immigrants came into the region and introduced local inhabitants to the
    Neolithic seems very likely.”

    In short, they’re ignoring the genetics entirely. He cites some of the most recent papers, but doesn’t show much evidence of having actually read them.

  19. @Karl Zimmerman
    I tried last week to write a comment about gentrification, but for some reason the site ate my post, even after I tried to repost it a second time. To recap:

    Gentrification is a morally neutral process. It cannot be considered simultaneously bad that wealthy people left cities in the mid 20th century and that they are now returning to cities from the suburbs. That said, gentrification can cause problems in some metropolitan areas, when there are not sufficient alternative neighborhoods for lower-income people to choose from.

    It's not commonly considered, but even discounting direct government subsidies towards low income housing, we do not have a "free market" in terms of housing in the U.S. Around 100 years ago we instituted building codes. This was theoretically due to a concern for public safety - we didn't want to have shantytowns any longer, which could easily catch fire, collapse, or spread disease due to poor sanitation. But the end result was the government by fiat declared that no housing units under an arbitrary quality could be built, and then worked tirelessly during the mid 20th century to destroy as much of this old, market-rate low income housing as possible. Since that time, there have only been two ways that low-income housing units come onto the market. One is through direct government subsidies of either construction or rent. The other is through depreciation - old neighborhoods declining in value until they became slums.

    In an area like Pittsburgh, thus, gentrification is not a big problem on the macro level. Certain inner-core urban neighborhoods are increasing in desirability, but inner-ring suburban neighborhoods are declining just as rapidly. Thus an equilibrium is met, and poor people just have the inconvenience of a slightly longer bus ride. But in high-growth metros - particularly ones like San Francisco, where very little which is new gets built - elimination of existing affordable units means there's virtually nowhere else in the metro for poor or even working-class people to live - which is why "mega-commutes" from places as far away as Stockton have become more common.

    There are building codes that mandate higher quality than is really necessary (minimum square footage and fascade material requirements come to mind), but zoning codes are by far the more pernicious (with some cities having something like 90%+ of buildings that are non-conforming with current codes – zoning is a major source of unaffordable housing due to NIMBY concerns).

    The lion’s share of building code regulations are quiet and unnoticed success stories that prevent untold numbers of deaths from shoddy or unsafe construction practices (often practices that the construction workers would not even know were unsafe if the code hadn’t told them, even though they are legitimately problematic.)

    For example, I once had a case where a fire alarm contractor used a grade of wire (contrary to the building code) that had a fail temperature lower than the trigger temperature of the fire alarms and sprinklers and emergency lights that they powered, to cut his costs, in a factory where the risk of a fire was quite high due to sparks from machinery. Had there been a fire in that factory before the defect was caught, hundreds of employees would have almost certainly died as a result. Because of building codes enforced in a non-corrupt manner by building inspectors, and honored by competent general contractors, building collapses and deadly fires are remarkably rare in the developed world.

    Before building codes were in place, these kinds of disasters were as common as toddlers dying of gunshot wounds or kids and pets overheating to death in mall parking lots are today.

    • Replies: @Karl Zimmerman
    I was not saying building codes were a bad thing (unlike zoning, which mostly has been a bad thing, as you mentioned). I was just noting that building codes are, in effect, a price control on housing - one which sets a minimum price under which housing can be built. Given that is the case, the libertarian fantasy of having government not in the business of subsidizing housing for low income people in some manner is completely unworkable - at least in high-cost, high-growth metros.
  20. RK says:

    Razib, since you have paid a price for being so straightforward, have you changed your behaviour in any way? Do you have any advice to give to the rest of us, especially those of us younger ones at the start of our academic and business careers?

    If you were to write such a piece, I’m pretty sure it would be appreciated by many readers.

  21. @ohwilleke
    There are building codes that mandate higher quality than is really necessary (minimum square footage and fascade material requirements come to mind), but zoning codes are by far the more pernicious (with some cities having something like 90%+ of buildings that are non-conforming with current codes - zoning is a major source of unaffordable housing due to NIMBY concerns).

    The lion's share of building code regulations are quiet and unnoticed success stories that prevent untold numbers of deaths from shoddy or unsafe construction practices (often practices that the construction workers would not even know were unsafe if the code hadn't told them, even though they are legitimately problematic.)

    For example, I once had a case where a fire alarm contractor used a grade of wire (contrary to the building code) that had a fail temperature lower than the trigger temperature of the fire alarms and sprinklers and emergency lights that they powered, to cut his costs, in a factory where the risk of a fire was quite high due to sparks from machinery. Had there been a fire in that factory before the defect was caught, hundreds of employees would have almost certainly died as a result. Because of building codes enforced in a non-corrupt manner by building inspectors, and honored by competent general contractors, building collapses and deadly fires are remarkably rare in the developed world.

    Before building codes were in place, these kinds of disasters were as common as toddlers dying of gunshot wounds or kids and pets overheating to death in mall parking lots are today.

    I was not saying building codes were a bad thing (unlike zoning, which mostly has been a bad thing, as you mentioned). I was just noting that building codes are, in effect, a price control on housing – one which sets a minimum price under which housing can be built. Given that is the case, the libertarian fantasy of having government not in the business of subsidizing housing for low income people in some manner is completely unworkable – at least in high-cost, high-growth metros.

  22. A very large share of the housing shortage could be eliminated by reducing zoning barriers to single occupancy hotels, tiny houses, and multi-family and small lot single family construction in areas currently zoned for larger lot single family. Not all of it certainly, but more than it currently being met with housing subsidies of all kinds in the aggregate.

    • Replies: @Milo Minderbinder
    If you are going to make changes like that to zoning, you need to allow courts to enforce racially-restrictive covenants, and repeal the 1968 Fair Housing Act (and the state equivalents).
  23. Razib I love hot sauce.

    Any recommendations?

  24. @Nathan Taylor
    You probably saw this. Wondering if you be seen any responses. Like say, James Thompson. n=15000.

    Sex differences in intelligence: A multi-measure approach using nationally representative samples from Romania
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289616301003

    When I check Stuart Richie's book, here's the key graf which says what I thought, men higher variance.

    Quote from Ritchie:

    But it's not quite so simple. Just looking at the average hides two consistent sex differ-ences. The first is that there are differences in more specific abilities: women tend to do better than men on verbal measures, and men tend to outperform women on tests of spatial ability (Miller and Halpern, 2014); these small differences balance out so that the average general score is the same. The second is that there is a difference in variabil-ity: males tend to be over-represented at the very high and the very low levels of intelli-gence. This was found most clearly in the Scottish data. 
     

    Rushton and Jackson say that men have a 3.63 point advantage in IQ over women on average.

  25. @ohwilleke
    A very large share of the housing shortage could be eliminated by reducing zoning barriers to single occupancy hotels, tiny houses, and multi-family and small lot single family construction in areas currently zoned for larger lot single family. Not all of it certainly, but more than it currently being met with housing subsidies of all kinds in the aggregate.

    If you are going to make changes like that to zoning, you need to allow courts to enforce racially-restrictive covenants, and repeal the 1968 Fair Housing Act (and the state equivalents).

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