Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Dogs of War

There is reason to think that early Indo-Europeans had adolescent war-bands, bands identified with dogs or wolves. It seems likely that they were composed of boys about the same age , came from the wealthier families,  wore animal skins, and … Continue reading

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Shoot to Kill

Some people claim that it is really, really difficult for humans to psych themselves up to kill another human.  They often cite a claim by S. L. A. Marshall that only a small fraction  – less than 25% – of … Continue reading

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The Inexorable Progress of Science: Psychology

If psychology had high validity, people versed in its mysteries would be able to predict behavior and control it some extent. They’d be scary: they could understand things that the man on the street couldn’t, manipulate people in ways that … Continue reading

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Books

Randall Parker proposed (to me and also to Razib Khan) recommending books that might do for Christmas gifts.  Here are my suggestions –   The Princeton Companion to Mathematics   From Alexander to Actium:        Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege … Continue reading

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Instinctive Fears

It is easier to develop a phobia about snakes than electricity or carbon monoxide, probably because we have built in neurological mechanism that confer that propensity. Likely most animals have a similar propensity to develop a fear of fire: or … Continue reading

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World Without Stars

Some recent work suggests that most galaxies have too many gamma-ray bursters, such that most planets get hosed every so often, making complex life practically impossible – as if it wasn’t already.  It seems that low levels of heavy elements … Continue reading

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Inferior Faunas

I mentioned South American paleontologists defending the honor of their extinct animals, and pointed  out how stupid that is. There are many similar cases: Jefferson vs Buffon on the wimpiness of North American mammals (as a reader pointed out),  biologists … Continue reading

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