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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something hidden

You’ve probably heard of Afrotheria. A line of placental mammals expanded into all kinds of niches, back when Africa was an island continent. Elephants, hyraxes, manatees, tenrecs, aardvarks,  elephant shrews,  and golden moles are the existing members of Afrotheria.  There … Continue reading

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