We should send a probe. It’s doable.

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You have to read between the lines

A few years back, Henry Harpending  was giving a talk at the University of Michigan, and a prof there ( Richard Nisbett ) corralled him for a couple of hours, before the talk.

Nisbett  (who often argues in favor of the importance of  environmental influences on intelligence)  was interested in our paper (The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence).  He thought we were probably right ( in that particular case).  Yet in public comments, he seemed to say that we were wrong. Henry mentioned a particular example criticizing NHAI,  and asked Nisbett why he’d written that, if he thought the opposite.  Nisbett said ” You have to read between the lines.”





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A few left-wing biologists are trying to spread the meme that highly polygenic traits are unstable: they might play out entirely differently in a different environment, presumably in a way that  zeroes or reverses any trait differences that they don’t like.  This is a  defensive play: they’re trying to prepare you to disbelieve in the logical implications of likely near-future research results.

As I have pointed out before, there is no reason to believe  that polygenic traits are especially unstable,.   Since most products of natural selection are polygenic,  if this were  true you’d all the time be seeing complex adaptations go screwy when you moved the species to a new continent or whatever:  this doesn’t often happen.  On the other hand, it does happen when you move Pak from Pak-home to Earth: tree-of-life root doesn’t grow here, due to the thallium shortage. Maybe that’s what they’re thinking of.  But that’s a typical product of insidious tnuctipun genetic engineering, not natural selection: it was a designed-in failure mode.

One interesting example: how do hits for educational attainment work in men vs how they work in women?  Despite what feminists may say, those are substantially different environments – hormonally quite different, for example, and with a fair amount of differences in the central nervous system – like brain volume, relative amounts of grey and white matter, etc.

So, what are the differences in how EA snps work in the two sexes ( yes, there are only two)?

Apparently, there are no such differences.


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Yet another interview up (on Blueprint)

Talking with James Miller about Blueprint, here.

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Bolshoi Drap

It’s hard to come up with a plausible scenario in which the Axis wins WWII. But what do I mean by ‘plausible’?  No aliens intervene, nobody gives the Germans perfect foresight, or detailed plans for a minimal cost-and-time nuclear weapons project ( based on centrifuge separation, natch).

Plausible means that something happens differently, but that something is in the class of events that would not have surprised anyone at the time, or for that matter today.

It helps if you know how nations have lost in the past.  One way is panic: you don’t have to have been already crushed by force majeure, you just have to conclude that the day is lost.  People run. Sometimes it just takes one guy losing his nerve, like Darius at Gaugamela.

In October, 1941, the Soviet Union was in trouble. The Germans had just taken another huge bite out of the Red Army, capturing half a million men in the Vyazma and Bryansk pockets. At this point the Soviets were badly outnumbered, for the only time in the war,  and the Germans were about 75 miles west of Moscow.

On Oct 13, the Germans took Kalinin, northwest of Moscow.

On Oct 15th, Stalin ordered the evacuation of the Communist Party, the General Staff and various civil government offices from Moscow to Kuibyshev (now Samara).  “October 16th became known as the Bolshoi drap in Moscow, the day of the “Great Panic.” The Soviet government began to evacuate across the Ural mountains to Kuibyshev, over 600 miles away. Party officials jammed the roads and railway stations while offices and factories emptied out; the general public took their cue and joined the exodus. Looting was extensive in the empty streets without any police force to keep order. ”

“Stalin himself had ordered his special railway car prepared for evacuation on the sixteenth. However, he did not leave the city. He pondered whether or not Hitler might not be willing to come to an agreement similar to the Brest-Litovsk treaty of 1918, in which Russia exchanged huge swaths of territory for peace with Germany and the continued existence of the Communist government. He rejected this remote. He called on Zhukov and implored him to give assurance that Moscow could be held. Gaining Zhukov’s assurance, he then made the decision to stay.”


He was thinking about leaving: that railway car wasn’t for decoration.

What if he’d run, like Darius?


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I don’t need to forgive my enemies.

David Reich says that around 4500 years ago, the existing Y-chromosomes in Iberia were almost entirely replaced. “The collision of these two populations was not friendly; instead, the men who arrived almost completely pushed out the local men.”  Spanish scientist Íñigo Olalde said that after the transition. populations had “40% of their genetic information and 100% of their Y chromosomes from the migrants.”

Which is considerably more drastic than  what happened when the Spanish and Portuguese conquered and settled Latin America – even though that was aided by catastrophic new diseases.  Apparently some of the Iberians ended up speaking Indo-European languages  while others did not.  We’ve seen other examples of male mediated-conquests, and language acquisition can go either way: Melanesians conquered Fiji, largely replacing  the  Y chromosomes, without replacing the language.  In Vanuatua, multiple waves of invasion almost completely replaced the whoe genome while preserving Polynesian.  But the Spanish and Portuguese imposed their languages, as did Aryans in India, and fairly small numbers of Turks and Magyars.


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PRS and asabiya

There are all sorts of interesting possibilities generated by polygenic risk scores that I have not yet seen discussed anywhere.

There are existing tests  that you can’t fake ( without explicit cheating).  You could pretend to be dumber than you actually are on an IQ test, but it would quite difficult to score higher than you can.  Personality tests – well, you can always lie.  I’ve even heard that people lie on their resume!

As long as you administer the test yourself,  there’s no way for an applicant to cheat on a polygenic risk score.  It only gives you  statistical information, not incredibly strong prediction at the individual level, but it can’ be faked. sooo.

If you hired a CFO with a 4-std score on  honesty, he’d be somewhat  less likely to cook the books.  Although a given  company might not want that – might want the opposite.

You could pick boomer captains that were considerably less likely than most people to go insane. That could be a good thing.

You could hire a whole organization with  > 1-std asabiya PRS.  You’d use other indicators of asabiya, and you probably would consider other factors as well  – but you’d get less internal conflict, have fewer self-dealers, etc. And you know what unusually high-asabiya orgs talk about at the water cooler – the same thing they talk about every night.




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