Monthly Archives: May 2014

The attractions of civilization

Many have noted how difficult it is to persuade hunter-gatherers to adopt agriculture, or more generally, to get people to adopt a more intensive kind of agriculture. It’s worth noting that, given the choice, few individuals pick the more intensive, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 125 Comments

What was it like?

I’ve been thinking about the colonization of Europe by Middle Eastern farmers – light-skinned, dark-eyed guys pushing aside dark-skinned, blue-eyed hunters.  The movement took two paths – one into the Balkans and up the Danube, another by sea, along the … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory | 35 Comments

Play the Man

Matt Ridley, like so many people, seems to think that, every so often,  you need to insert random bits of popular nonsense when skating close to the wind on unpopular topics.  For example, in his recent review of Nicholas Wade’s … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 63 Comments

Unknown Phenotypes

One of the fun parts about these gormless discussions about race consists of people who talk as if we don’t really know anything about the phenotypes under discussion. Like, who really knows what intelligence is, and who really knows if … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 201 Comments

Phenotypes vs genetic statistics

Lewontin started it,  but responsibility is infinitely divisible, so that’s no excuse. Later practitioners are just as guilty. He tried to argue away the possibility of phenotypic differences between different human populations using the magic of genetic statistics.    Looking … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 66 Comments


The Internet greatly facilitates contact between people with complementary needs, but not all such opportunities have been realized. In the spirit of Airbnb and Uber, I’d like to suggest another. Dual-career couples, in both academia and the corporate world, have … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 46 Comments

Arguing with Reviewers

Personally, I hardly ever do it, because reviewers are hard, cruel, ignorant creatures – at least those who don’t love your work. Nicholas Wade thinks that I was unfair in calling the 3000-years-in-Tibet cite an error, and in saying that … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments

Running Water

Running water makes people want to pee. Why?  

Posted in Uncategorized | 65 Comments

A Troublesome Inheritance

Nicholas Wade has a new book out, on the reality of human biological differences.   Not just differences in color, but differences in traits that have social consequences, such as personality and cognition. The existence of such differences is obvious … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 221 Comments

Murder at Harvard

Naturally, we are interested in all things anthropological, and that includes crime. Jane Britton, a 23 year-old Harvard graduate student in anthropology, was murdered on January 6th, 1969. Certain rites which had been performed on the girl as she was … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 80 Comments