James Miller interviewed me a couple of days ago. If you’re into that sort of thing, you can listen to it here. We talk about possible increases in human intelligence,  cousin marriage, tularemia at Stalingrad, and Iskander.

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41 Responses to interview

  1. dearieme says:

    Sorry I’m listening to music at the moment. Jazz of the 20s and 30s – gorgeous stuff.

  2. MawBTS says:

    Sounds interesting.

    If anyone wants a downloadable mp3 without registering a Soundcloud account, go here and enter the URL:

  3. JW Bell says:

    The closing commentary was funny.

  4. I keep yelling “Kafiristan!” But you couldn’t seem to hear me. Then you mentioned the Masonic medal.

  5. maciano says:

    i wish you’d do these interview more often. very much appreciated!

  6. dearieme says:

    Its being too early for Jazz, or Classics, I give this a go. It cut out after 59 seconds, which really taught me only that you, Coch old boy, have a better voice for broadcasting than your interlocutor.

    Maybe it’s a generational thing.

  7. Cplusk says:

    I found your views on Ghouta chemical attack really strange. I guess you don’t follow the war in Syria closely and have insufficient information.

  8. JoachimStrobel says:

    I am halfway through and am digesting the idea that people may now think that Stalin won the war through a bio attack.
    Anyhow, something completely unrelated: There is a paper out in Nature about a population group not being able yo here and appreciated chords in music.
    Human perception: Amazon music
    Robert Zatorre
    Nature 535, 496–497 (28 July 2016) doi:10.1038/nature18913

    I believe that our obvious change in music taste over the last 400 years needs an explanation. Bach stroke the same keys as I do, yet I can turn them into a jazzy tune while he composed his music. At a certain time he must have heard what I hear, but he just made other connections. Seems to be the blueprint for much more.

  9. King of Jeans says:

    This was a great interview, interesting ideas and hilarious. I was the 6 hr version now. Please do more of these! And I’ll be following the Future Strategist podcast for sure. It reminded me of a Joe Rogan podcast but the IQ level was about 30 points higher

  10. RCB says:

    About a year ago I listened to some microeconomics podcasts by a James Miller (more recently he’s posted on youtube, I believe). I thought he was a good teacher. I was later pleasantly surprised to find that he frequents some of the same blogs as me.

  11. Michael says:

    Much appreciated! And, as others have said do more. Do one every day.

  12. A Erickson Cornish says:

    1) What evidence is there in favor of a Turkish false flag being behind the sarin attack, besides that which has been presented by Seymour Hersh?
    2) How did Roland Fryer respond to your comments?

    Overall an enjoyable interview, though of course not much that is new to us longtime readers (besides the extended Alexander theory/story, which had me in stitches).

  13. Unladen Swallow says:

    Did Fryer ever write up that idea into a paper? I can’t find it on his website, although I did find the equally silly one about intelligence testing babies.

  14. Oliver Cromwell says:

    Is the full interview going to be made available anywhere?

  15. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if either Greg or James would consider uploading the removed portions of the discussion as an anonymous, unlabeled transcript with identifying information redacted. Not sure how you would release it without drawing attention to the fact that it originally came from here though. Sad that this idea even has to be entertained.

  16. Tim says:

    Great interview, thank you. Please do more!

  17. Calvin Hobbes says:

    Hi Greg,

    I’ve only listened to the first bit of the interview, up through where you talk about how your kids were schooled.

    If I understand correctly, it’s your opinion that there is not huge room for improvement in American schools. I think that’s correct for the majority of students and in terms of those kids picking up academic skills. But I think there are some ways our schools could be improved quite a bit.

    I think there are some schools (almost all “majority minority”) where discipline is so out of control that hardly any learning occurs. That’s why many parents in those districts who can’t afford to move want their kids in charter schools where kids behave or get kicked out. If the regular public schools could prevent the disruptive students from sabotaging the education of the students who want to learn, either by kicking the troublemakers out or at least isolating them from the rest, then those schools would be much more effective. Even many of the disruptive students might start behaving better if they saw that they could not get away with what they’re doing now.
    I wouldn’t expect great test scores no matter how those schools are run since most of the students are kind of dumb, but they’d get better. (The Obama administration, with its war on school discipline, is pushing in the other direction. With friends like these…)
    Really smart kids in average schools are mostly just spinning their wheels, unless the parents supplement their education somehow. Your kids did fine in spite of the crappy schools because of you and your wife. For example, I think math is like music in that it helps a lot if the fundaments get hardwired into the brain at a young age. A really smart kid who has never been challenged in math before college will have a much tougher time doing anything involving advanced math in college than a similarly smart kid who has done challenging math before college.
    Like Charles Murray says, we send way too many people to “college”. A lot of our “college” students would be better off picking up vocational skills. The “everyone should aspire to go to college” mentality in our schools is nuts.

  18. gregor says:

    Greg, you discuss how little sense the Iraq invasion made and (jokingly?) suggest the real reason was to find the corpse of Alexander. And then you spent a fair amount of time on an (unrelated?) discussion on Jews. This got me wondering what you think of the suggestion that the war was largely about Israeli interests?

    Are you familiar with this policy paper written for Netanyahu in 1996? It calls for regime change and destabilization in the Middle East with special focus on Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Several of the authors (Perle, Feith, and Wurmser) went on to work for Bush in 2001.

    It seems like Bush and Obama have pretty much followed the suggestions. We took out Saddam (and Gaddafi), now going after Assad in Syria, and Iran is on the horizon.

  19. gcd says:

    It is possible that the Soviets used bio weapons at Stalingrad. However, the following guy gives a plausible assessment of the situation at Stalingrad at the time, that there might not have been a use of bio weapons, and he addresses (at least) two of the arguments you brought up (it is in English):

    According to this wikipedia article Ken Alibek does not seem to be the most credible guy in the world (see Criticism) and his claims probably helped him sell his book on biohazards and helped him further his career in the United States.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Stalin was scared shitless in the summer of 1942: check out the ‘not one step back’ order.

      Stalin was Stalin. Do you know what that means? If it would have stopped Hitler, Stalin would have happily resorted to mass human sacrifice. And I mean happily.

      Tularemia can be difficult to diagnose, especially if you’re unfamiliar with it. The Germans had something like six times the normal percentage on sick call well before being surrounded: what was it? Catarrh? The vapors? Marthambles?
      the Strong Fives?

      I have posted about this before: the degree of cluelessness exhibited by many of those responding is interesting, in a depressing kind of way

      • gcd says:

        “Stalin was Stalin. Do you know what that means? If it would have stopped Hitler, Stalin would have happily resorted to mass human sacrifice. And I mean happily.”
        Well, that’s what he kind of did anyway. But using this kind of argument, Stalin could have also happily had all of the remaining German troops executed after their surrender at the Battle of Stalingrad in order to decrease the probability that Germans find out about the use of tularemia as a biological weapon. And I mean happily.

        Anyway, since you said in the interview that you could not get anybody interested in “your” theory and in the topic, I just used Google and found this guy who was publishing on this topic in 2005, using many historic documents. So I just tried to be helpful and posted it here (my first post ever after following your blog for about three years on a more or less regular basis).

        Now that I read your article from 2012, where at the end you admit that there might be a tiny probability that you are wrong on this (I was afraid that you were a true believer on this issue), and you did use other sources than just Alibek and hearsay to come to your conclusion, I won’t bother you anymore regarding this topic.

        Please keep on doing interviews, as your way of presenting your knowledge and theories is entertaining and captivating.

  20. Lars says:

    Do you have a reference for the effectiveness of nerve gas relative to high explosives (30 – 40 x)?

    • gcochran9 says:

      Kupperman and Trent estimate that, based on “the weight required to produce heavy casualties within a square-mile area under idealized conditions,” fuel-air explosives require 320 million grams; fragmentation cluster bombs, 32 million; hydrocyanic acid, 32 million; mustard gas, 3.2 million; GB nerve gas, 800,000; a “crude” nuclear weapon (in terms of fissionable material only), 5,000; Type A botulinal toxin, 80; and anthrax spores, 8 (Kupperman and Trent 1979: 57)

      In WWII strategic bombing, a ton of bombs caused on the order of one death.

  21. deuce says:

    That was an excellent podcast. Your idea for a modern KIM/MAN WHO WOULD BE KING novella was great. I hope you do more of these.

    • gcochran9 says:

      I didn’t get around to talking about the mastermind behind the Chinese plan – tall, lean, and feline, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan – a giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present.

  22. Pingback: Two interviews | Entitled to an Opinion

  23. valiance says:

    Finally listened to this and it was great! So thanks to James and Greg both.

    I found the tularemia argument much more convincing–or at least more comprehensible–in the audio format than I remember it being here on the blog. I felt like there were many more lines of evidence adduced in the podcast that I can’t recall reading here.

    The recent exoplanet discovery in the news the past few days has a lot of people gaga about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. A friend of mine took it upon himself to dash their dreams with a bit of real-talk about how unlikely that possibility is. I added that ice-moons like Europa were unlikely to host extraterrestrial life and pointed him to the podcast and this paper from Science which hopefully some of you will find interesting:

    And for James and Greg: keep up the good work!

  24. valiance says:

    here’s a link for that science paper for those who don’t have institutional access:

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