Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Neanderthals and the great leap forward

Razib Khan writes:
In the year 2000 I broadly accepted the thesis outlined a few years later in The Dawn of Human Culture. That our species, our humanity, evolved and emerged in rapid sequence, likely due to biological changes of a radical kind, ~50,000 years ago. This is the thesis of the “great leap forward” of behavioral modernity.

Today I have come closer to models proposed by Michael Tomasello in The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition and Terrence Deacon in The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain. Rather than a punctuated event, an instance in geological time, humanity as we understand it was a gradual process, driven by general dynamics and evolutionary feedback loops.

The conceit at the heart of Robert J. Sawyer’s often overly preachy Neanderthal Parallax series, that if our own lineage went extinct but theirs did not they would have created a technological civilization, is I think in the main correct. ...

One of the major holy grails I see now and then in human evolutionary genetics is to find “the gene that made us human.” The scramble is definitely on now that more and more whole genome sequences from ancient hominins are coming online. But I don’t think there will be such gene ever found.
The two competing claims are that (1) humans radically advanced biologically 50k years ago; and (2) Neanderthals had what was needed to evolve into a technological civilization.

Why can't these both be true? Maybe Neanderthals had that magic gene or set of genes, and Africans did not, and maybe the Neanderthal-African hybrids of 50k years made that great leap forward only because their inherited those magic Neanderthal genes.

Nobody seems to consider this possibility, and maybe there is some technical reason for rejecting it, but I don't see it. Recent research has shown that Neanderthals were more advanced than anyone thought, and that the biggest human advances came after Neanderthal interbreeding.

Wikipedia says
:
The Late Upper Paleolithic Model, or Upper Paleolithic Revolution, refers to the idea that, though anatomically modern humans first appear around 150,000 years ago, they were not cognitively or behaviorally "modern" until around 50,000 years ago, leading to their expansion into Europe and Asia.[6][17][18] These authors note that traits used as a metric for behavioral modernity do not appear as a package until around 40–50,000 years ago. Klein (1995) specifically describes evidence of fishing, bone shaped as a tool, hearths, significant artifact diversity, and elaborate graves are all absent before this point.[6] Although assemblages before 50,000 years ago show some diversity the only distinctly modern tool assemblages appear in Europe at 48,000.[17] According to these authors, art only becomes common beyond this switching point, signifying a change from archaic to modern humans.[6] Most researchers argue that a neurological or genetic change, perhaps one enabling complex language such as FOXP2, caused this revolutionary change in our species.[6][18]
That was exactly the time that African interbred with Neanderthals, according to the latest DNA evidence.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Animal fats are good for you

Nutrition advice is usually based on weak evidence or no evidence. In some cases, the evidence points to the opposite of the expert advice. Here is such an example, and the embarrassing study with the best science behind it was not even published for 40 years.

SciAm reports:
Ramsden, of the National Institutes of Health, unearthed raw data from a 40-year-old study, which challenges the dogma that eating vegetable fats instead of animal fats is good for the heart. The study, the largest gold-standard experiment testing that idea, found the opposite, Ramsden and his colleagues reported on Tuesday in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal).

Although the study is more than just another entry in the long-running nutrition wars—it is more rigorous than the vast majority of research on the topic—Ramsden makes no claims that it settles the question. Instead, he said, his discovery and analysis of long-lost data underline how the failure to publish the results of clinical trials can undermine truth.

Absent a time machine, it’s impossible to know how publication of the study, conducted in Minnesota from 1968 to 1973, might have influenced dietary advice. But in an accompanying editorial, Lennert Veerman of Australia’s University of Queensland concluded that “the benefits of choosing polyunsaturated fat over saturated fat seem a little less certain than we thought.”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Immigrant prof wants more immigration

Russian-American law professor Ilya Somin writes in USA Today:
Perhaps the biggest negative impact of immigration restrictions is the enormous economic cost. Restrictions prevent millions of people from freely seeking employment and other opportunities. Economists estimate that abolishing migration restrictions around the world ...
So his idea of "economic cost" means immigrants suffering the cost of not being able to steal your job.
Immigration restrictions also threaten the liberty and property rights of Americans. Most obviously, they curtail American citizens' freedom to associate with immigrants. Jim Crow segregation laws restricted the freedom of association of whites as well as African-Americans.
This is a odd view. If freedom of association is what is most important, then you should be all in favor of whites-only country clubs, and the ability to keep Syrian refugees to move into your neighborhood.
In 2014, the Department of Homeland Security concluded that immigration enforcement requires large-scale use of racial profiling in areas where some two-thirds of the U.S. population lives.
Put another way, failing to enforce immigration law will result in a non-white invasion of much of the nation.

Somin makes it clear that he does not believe in nations, and favor open borders regardless of the effects on crime, social cohesion, and the quality of life.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Looking good there, girl!

Wondering why Fox News fired Bill O'Reilly? The Daily Beast reports:
one of O’Reilly’s heretofore anonymous accusers, Perquita Burgess, who spent several weeks as a clerical temp worker at a desk near The O’Reilly Factor’s offices in 2008 and, according to her account on ABC’s daytime television show, endured relentless sexual and racial harassment from Fox News’s top-rated anchor. ...

But, she continued, “within the first week and a half of me working there, he walked past my desk and he made a grunt noise—like that,” Burgess said, clearing her throat. ...

“Fast forward — maybe after three weeks — we were on the elevator, coming up to our floor. He let me off first, as gentlemen usually do with a woman, and I walked in front him.”

At which point O’Reilly, walking behind her and apparently looking her up and down, exclaimed: “Looking good there, girl!” ...

“It was so important to us that Perquita come out and speak out … and she had this wonderful Twitter history,” said her attorney, Bloom, who was seated in the audience. ...

Burgess, meanwhile, said she felt “triumphant” about O’Reilly’s sacking — prompting applause. “Very cathartic. Very cathartic,” she added.
This is her story after 9 years of trying to think of something to complain about, plus coaching from a lawyer to make it sound as bad as possible for O'Reilly.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Complaint from today's college students

Some black college students wrote this letter:
Free speech, a right many freedom movements have fought for, has recently become a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions. It has not just empowered students from marginalized backgrounds to voice their qualms and criticize aspects of the institution, but it has given those who seek to perpetuate systems of domination a platform to project their bigotry. Thus, if “our mission is founded upon the discovery of truth,” how does free speech uphold that value? ...

Your statement contains unnuanced views surrounding the academy and a belief in searching for some venerated truth. Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of ‘subjectivity vs. objectivity’ as a means of silencing oppressed peoples. The idea that there is a single truth -- ’the Truth’ -- is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain. This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples. We, Black students, exist with a myriad of different identities. We are queer, trans, differently-abled, poor/low-income, undocumented, Muslim, first-generation and/or immigrant, and positioned in different spaces across Africa and the African diaspora. ...

Heather Mac Donald is a fascist, a white supremacist, a warhawk, a transphobe, a queerphobe, a classist, and ignorant of interlocking systems of domination that produce the lethal conditions under which oppressed peoples are forced to live.
So if you seek the truth in the Euro-West tradition of the Enlightenment, you may be called a white supremacist.

If these views become more popular, we may see ppl being proud to call themselves white supremacists.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why scientific literacy does not help the Left

Tim Requarth writes in Slate:
Finally, he asked them about climate change. If the deficit model were correct, Kahan reasoned, then people with increased scientific literacy, regardless of worldview, should agree with scientists that climate change poses a serious risk to humanity.

That’s not what he found. Instead, Kahan found that increased scientific literacy actually had a small negative effect: The conservative-leaning respondents who knew the most about science thought climate change posed the least risk. Scientific literacy, it seemed, increased polarization. In a later study, Kahan added a twist: He asked respondents what climate scientists believed. Respondents who knew more about science generally, regardless of political leaning, were better able to identify the scientific consensus — in other words, the polarization disappeared. Yet, when the same people were asked for their own opinions about climate change, the polarization returned. It showed that even when people understand the scientific consensus, they may not accept it.

The takeaway is clear: Increasing science literacy alone won’t change minds. In fact, well-meaning attempts by scientists to inform the public might even backfire.
This seems reasonable to me. The risks of climate change are grossly distorted in the popular press. If you don't know much about it, then you are likely to accept the warnings about catastrophic change that get the most press.

After I learned more about the science, I discovered that the leading models only show a 2-3 feet sea level increase over the next century. In terms of economic effects, there is no consensus, and it appears that global warming is doing more good than harm. Those predicting catastrophes of various sorts do not do so purely on the basis on human-induced CO2 emissions, but on dubious feedback effects.

I am not sure many people really believe those catastrophic predictions. If they did, then they would favor: (1) building many new nuclear power plants; (2) stopping all Third World immigration into Europe and N. America; and (3) stopping all aid to Third World development.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lawsuit to silence Alt-right website

I mentioned this dispute, and now there is a lawsuit:
Andrew Anglin, publisher of far-right site Daily Stormer, has been sued in Federal Court today for $300,000, stemming from his reporting about Tanya Gersh, a Montana real estate agent who he accused of attempting to extort Richard Spencer’s mother into selling a Whitefish, Montana property. In the lawsuit, Anglin is accused of creating a “troll storm” against Gersh that caused her emotional distress and anxiety.

Here is the announcement from the SPLC:
The Southern Poverty Law Center, along with its Montana co-counsel, filed suit in federal court today against the founder of a major neo-Nazi website who orchestrated a harassment campaign that has relentlessly terrorized a Jewish woman and her family with anti-Semitic threats and messages.

The lawsuit describes how Andrew Anglin used his web forum, the Daily Stormer – the leading extremist website in the country – to publish 30 articles urging his followers to launch a “troll storm” against Tanya Gersh, a real estate agent in Whitefish, Montana. Gersh, her husband and 12-year-old son have received more than 700 harassing messages since December.

The intimidation began after Anglin accused Gersh of attempting to extort money from the mother of Richard Spencer.
The SPLC is a very rich organization that operates by intimidating its political enemies into silence.

In Tanya Gersh's complaint, she seems to acknowledge that she started the dispute by pressuring Spencer's mother to sell her property in some sort of extortion scheme to politically attack Spencer.

Maybe I should not say anymore, as I do not want to get sued.

The SPLC's main business seems to be attacking ppl, and causing emotional distress and anxiety, by singling them out for their race, religion, nationality, and politics. However at fault Anglin might be, SPLC is 100x worse.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Women do not sync periods

Cnet reports:
It's one of those weird science "facts" that many people believe without really knowing why, like the myth that swallowed gum stays in your stomach for seven years, or that you'll drown if you swim after eating. It's the idea that women's menstrual cycles will sync up with those of other women they live with or spend a lot of time with.

You've heard that, right? And if you're a woman, maybe you think you've experienced it, in a dorm, sorority house or just a large family.

But a recent study done by Dr. Alexandra Alvergne of the University of Oxford, in conjunction with Clue, a period-tracking app, says this is just as much myth as the gum or swimming ideas.
A lot of ppl really believe that women synchronize cycles, and some studies claim to show it, but they don't get replicated.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Professors favoring the new slave trade

Some big-shot economists have pushed this letter:
The undersigned economists represent a broad swath of political and economic views. Among us are Republicans and Democrats alike. Some of us favor free markets while others have championed for a larger role for government in the economy. But on some issues there is near universal agreement. One such issue concerns the broad economic benefit that immigrants to this country bring.

As Congress and the Administration prepare to revisit our immigration laws, we write to express our broad consensus that immigration is one of America’s significant competitive advantages in the global economy. With the proper and necessary safeguards in place, immigration represents an opportunity rather than a threat to our economy and to American workers.
This is like saying that slavery has economic benefits. Of course it did, and that is why the practice continued for so long, and still does in some countries.

The letter does not say what "the proper and necessary safeguards" are, but they are obviously not in place. It also does not say who benefits from immigration from Moslem-jihadist countries.
Immigration undoubtedly has economic costs as well, particularly for Americans in certain industries and Americans with lower levels of educational attainment. But the benefts that immigration brings to society far outweigh their costs, and smart immigration policy could better maximize the benefts of immigration while reducing the costs.
The letter says "undoubtedly", as if the authors are not sure what those costs are. Shouldn't they find out before making pronouncements about them?

Many of the economists signing the letter justify immigration on the basis of the benefits to the immigrants.
We urge Congress to modernize our immigration system in a way that maximizes the opportunity immigration can bring, and reaffirms continuing the rich history of welcoming immigrants to the United States.
Maximize the opportunity for whom? These economists try to make it sound like an objective case for immigration, but it is not. For most Americans, maximizing the immigration opportunity would be reforming the rules and drastically cutting the numbers.

What "reaffirms continuing the rich history"? Current immigration policies, where judges have declared that Moslems have a right to come here, are unprecedented. One could say that American history has been as a predominantly white Christian nation, and affirming that history would restrict immigrants to white Christians of good moral character. While such a position seems extreme, it would be more in line with American values and history than our current policy.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Do you want a lunatic on your plane?

I am surprised so many ppl are excited about this:
Munoz added that when crew members first approached the passenger to tell him to leave, he “raised his voice and refused to comply”, and each time they asked “he refused and became more and more disruptive and belligerent”.

He said crew members “were left with no choice but to call Chicago aviation security officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight”, and that at one point the passenger “continued to resist – running back on to the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials”.
Wikipedia has some background:
Voluntary acceptance of being bumped is quite common. Over half a million passengers in the US agreed to be bumped in return for compensation in 2016 but only 8.6% of all denials of boarding that year were involuntary.
So maybe 40k passengers are involuntarily bumped, and one old Vietnamese guy sneaks back on the plane to start a fight. The airline (Republic, under contract to United) calls the cops.

What did anyone expect?

Do you really want lunatics who defy security orders on the plane with you?

According to news reports, all the Chinese ppl think that this guy was reasonable, and was being picked on because he was Asian. I am guessing that someone like this would be dealt with much more harshly in China.

As far as I know, becoming beligerant and getting on a plane over the objections of airline officials always gets you forcibly removed from the plane.

Yes, I know that the airline and police could have handled this differently. But they have a lot to do on a tight schedule, and it is remarkable that there are not more problems like this.

Are the ppl whining about this the same ones as those whining the few dozen gas deaths in Syria?

Update: David Dao's medical license was suspended for trading prescription drugs for secret gay sex.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Welfare for rich colleges

Thinking of donating to an Ivy League college? Consider this:
1. Ivy League payments and entitlements cost taxpayers $41.59 billion over a six-year period (FY2010-FY2015). This is equivalent to $120,000 in government monies, subsidies, & special tax treatment per undergraduate student, or $6.93 billion per year.

2. The Ivy League was the recipient of $25.73 billion worth of federal payments during this period: contracts ($1.37 billion), grants ($23.9 billion) and direct payments – student assistance ($460 million).

3. In monetary terms, the ‘government contracting’ business of the Ivy League ($25.27 billion – federal contracts and grants) exceeded their educational mission ($22 billion in student tuition) FY2010-FY2015.

4. The eight colleges of the Ivy League received more money ($4.31 billion) – on average – annually from the federal government than sixteen states: see report.

5. The Ivy League endowment funds (2015) exceeded $119 billion, which is equivalent to nearly $2 million per undergraduate student.
Even with all that money, they are easily bribed:
My book exposed a grubby secret of American higher education: that the rich buy their underachieving children’s way into elite universities with massive, tax-deductible donations. It reported that New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner had pledged $2.5m to Harvard University not long before his son Jared was admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school, which at the time accepted about one of every nine applicants. (Nowadays, it only takes one out of 20.) ...

The Harvard Number is the amount of money Harvard would want as a donation for accepting your kid as an undergraduate. It’s not the kind of information they post on their website. You have to ask the right people in the right manner.

He said he just found out that the current Harvard Number — assuming your kid’s application was “competitive” (i.e., there’s some chance your kid would get in even if you didn’t write a check) — is $5 million.

If your kid’s “not competitive,” then it is $10 million.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Apologizes for insufficient white hatred

The NY Times reports:
Pepsi has apologized for a controversial advertisement that borrowed imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement, after a day of intense criticism from people who said it trivialized the widespread protests against the killings of black people by the police.

“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday. “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout.”

The ad, posted to YouTube on Tuesday, shows attractive young people holding milquetoast signs with nonspecific pleas like “Join the conversation.” The protesters are uniformly smiling, laughing, clapping, hugging and high-fiving.

In the ad’s climactic scene, a police officer accepts a can of Pepsi from Kendall Jenner, a white woman, setting off raucous approval from the protesters and an appreciative grin from the officer.
I watched the ad, and I don't get it. I guess that if Pepsi makes a video about hating white ppl, then it must be more overt about it, and show the white-haters as bitter and angry.

The movie Ghost in the Shell is getting complaints from the white-haters because the star is a non-Asian actress playing a robot with a Japanese brain.

Really?

These white-hater stories are getting crazier and crazier.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Privacy experts owned by Google and FB

The NY Times attacks some Trump policies, and adds:
Broadband companies, privacy experts said, occupy a different position than internet companies. Google and Facebook, they noted, are corporate giants with plenty of market clout. But they are not a fundamental pathway to the internet the way the broadband providers are. And, privacy experts said, there is little or no competition for broadband service in many markets.

“You can live without Google or Facebook,” said Dallas Harris, a legal and policy fellow at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit consumer group. “It’s pretty difficult to walk away from internet service altogether.”
Most consumers can use alternatives like satellite or cellular. They can also mask their activities by using VPNs.

But it is much harder to avoid Google and Facebook spying on you, and selling your info thru ad clicks. Even if you try to avoid Google and Facebook, most of the other sites on the web have Google and Facebook spy buttons on them. And you cannot very well use something like a VPN to hide what you are doing, because Facebook requires your real identity and Google services require your email and your location.

The internet has done well with minimal regulation, and maybe it ought to stay that way. Or maybe some regulations ought to force ISPs to offer basic privacy protections. But I cannot agree with these so-called "privacy experts" who say that Google and Facebook should be allowed to spy on you and sell your info all they want, but other ISPs like phone companies cannot.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

California overtaken by immigrants

In case you are wondering why American want immigration restrictions, consider this:
California has more immigrants than any other state.

California is home to more than 10 million immigrants — about one in four of the foreign-born population nationwide. In 2015, the most current year of data, 27% of California’s population was foreign born, about twice the US percentage. Foreign-born residents represented more than 30% of the population in eight California counties; in descending order, they are Santa Clara, San Mateo, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Alameda, Imperial, Orange, and Monterey. Half of California children had at least one immigrant parent.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Google and FB lobby for protection

The Google-Facebook lackeys are complaining about Trump:
The decision to bring up the highly contested issue of net neutrality, especially in the same week that Congress voted to get rid of privacy protections for ISPs, would usually be an odd one, but seems to follow the Trump Administration's scorched-earth approach to policy-making. ...

Regardless, the decision to revoke net neutrality has caused immediate reaction. The World Wide Web Foundation (W3C) put out a statement just hours later complaining that the Trump Administration had "promised to drive economic progress for all and defend freedom of speech."

Maintaining net neutrality rules – which make it illegal for companies to discriminate between different types of internet traffic – would "preserve the internet as it should be," as well as "be key to delivering on these promises," the W3C claimed.

It went on: "Congress and the FCC have a choice to make. Keeping net neutrality is a commitment towards offering today's entrepreneurs the same opportunities the founders of Google or Paypal had, ensuring everyone can have a voice online, and guaranteeing that poorer or rural communities can enjoy the same quality of content as wealthy urban dwellers."
No, this is nonsense.

The biggest censors and privacy invaders on the internet are Google and Facebook, and they have been exempt from the privacy and neutrality rules. Why regulate some internet service providers, and not Google or Facebook?

I used to side with the internet privacy advocates, but they have all been co-opted by Google-FB money and propaganda. They seem to have some sort of paranoid hatred of the phone and cable companies, while letting Google and Facebook intrude on us. As a practical matter, it is much easier to hide my activities from the phone and cable companies than from Google and Facebook.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Kidnapping is rare

Worried about child abductions? Fortunately, they are quite rare:
According to an estimate from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), there were just 105 "stereotypical kidnappings" in America between late 2010 and late 2011, the last period for which we have data. (For reference, there were about 73.9 million children in America that year.) Just 65 of these kidnappings were committed by strangers. Less than half involved the abduction of a child under age 12. Only 14 percent of cases were still open after one week, and 92 percent of victims were recovered or returned alive.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Judge lets kid use dad's name

UCLA law prof Eugene Volokh comments on a ruling that a child has to keep the name of his father, rather than the mom's ex-husband:
But to the boy — and to most other people who come across him and his mother and his siblings — “Newcomer” is not primarily the last name of the boy’s mother’s ex-husband; it is the last name of the boy’s mother. It makes no sense, I think, to frame the dispute as “the name of a man with whom he has no affiliation” vs. “the father who loves and cares for him.” Rather, the dispute is “the name of the mother who loves and cares for him” vs. “the father who loves and cares for him.” ...

wpReader15: I think your post highlights the problem. Amanda Newcomer and her two other children are as much Newcomers as her ex-husband or ex-husband's paternal grandfather. She is a person with that name, with a family that bears that name. Her son is thus part of that family.

Now he is not part of a patrilineal multigenerational birth-linked family named Newcomer. But why should the court focus on that, rather than on the Newcomer who is actually raising him, and whose Newcomer-named children are being raised with him?
No, the ex-husband was born Newcomer, into a family of Newcomers. The mom was not born a Newcomer, and just assumed that name while married to a Newcomer.

Using the dad's name for the child is a sensible tradition that has gone on for millennia. It helps tie the dad to the child. Using another man's name is not.

Volokh is demonstrating cuck thinking here.