The body under the rug

When I was a senior in high school, I wrote a little essay in which I noted that things had gone too easily for the Western allies after the first couple of  years of WWII.  We often surprised them, they seldom surprised us. I’ve never seen an example of a historian saying that before 1974, when the facts about Ultra started to come out. There were people – Germans – that noticed in WWII.  They figured that there was some kind of intelligence  leak, but they couldn’t figure out what it was. The guys running their machine cryptography assured them that it was unbreakable.

I think that there were some historians that didn’t mention it because they knew all about it – people like Samuel Eliot Morison. But most historians didn’t have that WWII experience, weren’t read in, and they never saw it ( I’m open to correction on this).

Why the hell could I see this when they couldn’t?

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Ron Unz

Using his usual analytical methods, Ron has discovered that the Jews of Europe, during WWII, were sent off to live on a farm in the country.

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Landscapes

Sometimes rare experimental outcomes tell you a lot, as when a few of the alpha particles impinging on a gold foil were scattered straight back [Geiger-Marsden experiment] , implying that most of the mass and positive charge of an atom is concentrated in a tiny nucleus.

Let’s think about the Jim Twins. Chevys, Miller Lite,  migraines, chain-smoking, finger-nail chewing, baseball hating,  vacationing on the same three-block beach near St, Petersburg, both leaving love notes around the house, both building a circular white bench around a tree in the front yard. Tests of intelligence, personality, heart rate, and brain waves were about as  similar as the same person taking the test twice.

Let’s face it: the Jim Twins were the same guy twice. At least in this case,  Nature utterly pwned Nurture.

Sure,  neither could have driven a Chevy in 1500, or had a Miller Lite – so the environment influenced them all right, but it influenced them in exactly the same way.  Your preferences can be your constraints.  They were exposed to similar environments ( raised in similar small towns in Ohio) – but there are always differences. Different adoptive parents,  different schools, different teachers,  different friends – but none of those differences seem to have had any lasting consequences.

If many small influences kept nudging them, differences should have grown with time, like a random walk.  Didn’t happen.  Along the same line, heritability of intelligence increases with age: people converge onto the predicted phenotype.  Again, little differences don’t accumulate.

In order for that to be the case –  the development process has to be canalized. Most environmental differences must end up having no effect – they don’t generate differences between twins. Let me try an analogy. Think of a river basin: a drop of rain that falls into the Rio Grande basin is going to end up in the Caribbean, whether it lands in Taos or Albuquerque or El Paso. It matters which basin a drop lands ( Rio Grande vs Colorado), but it doesn’t matter where in that basin lands.

What can knock you into a different basin?  Make you a different person? Well, trauma can: closed head injury, firing a steel rod through your head (Phineas Gage), serious illness ( Helen Keller), shortage of a vital nutrient ( iodine and cretins). However those aren’t the environmental influences people want to exist: they want going to school X instead of school Y to make a difference (in your capabilities or personality: X and Y can certainly put different ideas in your head, for instance if X=More Science and Y = Commie Martyrs). Or, winning the lottery ought to make people different (in personality and capabilities) – but it doesn’t. Not in typical modern circumstances, anyhow: in medieval times t might well have kept you from starving to death.

The environment influences people want to exist, mostly don’t.

In order to push people into a different basin of attraction, make them a different person, you apparently need to to thump them pretty hard. In the cases we understand,  that means damage.

Usually when a guy is homosexual, his identical twin is not. Family environment doesn’t look to be the cause:  something thumped the homosexual twin.

 

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Nits Make Lice

The current craze for surgically mutilating troubled high school girls (Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria) can be looked at another way: as a really slick exercise in negative eugenics.  Being nuts is fairly heritable: I have no doubt that many of these girls’ mothers were cutting themselves ( while listening to grunge)  back in the 90s. If you remove their ovaries, these girls aren’t going to have descendants: end of story.

Genetic tendencies to insanity in the next generation will be weaker than they otherwise would have been. This approach is far more effective than castrating autogynephilic Decathlon winners and economists, because it’s happening early in the reproductive schedule.

You might think it would be difficult to induce parents to have their daughters spayed, but apparently you can convince bien-pensant liberals of absolutely anything, as long as it’s false.  Gotta keep up with the Jim Joneses.  They even pay for it!

Generally, negative eugenics has a bad reputation.  Deservedly so: usually it was coercive, and people have a right to be left alone.  But if you can con them into damaging or destroying themselves, that’s all right.  That wouldn’t be possible if people were stuffed full of sense and agency, but of course they’re not. They don’t automatically think for themselves or come to correct conclusions, even on old, long-settled questions. Many of them are saps, really. Sad.

Apparently the real goal of the powers that be is to purge some kinds of insanity from society, rather like Oliver Wendell Holmes: Three generations of lunatics are enough.

Don’t pay attention to what the New York Times says: look at the long-term consequences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Neanderhorse

There used to be all kinds of weird wild animals in the Americas, not so very long ago, if you think like a paleontologist. Mammoths, mastodons, horses, giant sloths, camels, unicorns, and griffins are all well represented in the fossil record. Then they went away: looks as if the Injuns ate  ’em.

But we don’t really know that they all went extinct ten thousand years ago:  the fossil record is not that complete.   What we do know is that at minimum they became much rarer. Most really did go extinct somewhere between then and now: I’m sure that there’s no longer any place for giant ground sloths  to hide [or run].

But imagine that a few wild horses survived the Clovis holocaust – hanging on in places like northern Nevada, in low numbers. Indians kept them from recovering much. Not much of a  fossil record, and you’d have to C-14 date them to notice that they’re anomalously young ( from a time where they shouldn’t exist).

Later, the Spanish show up, with domesticated horses.  Some get into the hands of Indians, some go feral – but all are genetically domesticated, readily tameable.  And the Indians now know that horses  can be ridden, something that apparently never occurred to their hunting ancestors.  At the same time, wild horse herds are increasing, since Amerindian populations are collapsing from Old World diseases.

If there were any remnant herds of ancestral North American horses, they mixed with Spanish-origin feral horses.  Probably the Spanish-origin horses would have done better, accounted for most mustang ancestry, just as Old World dogs largely replaced Amerindian dogs.  Better pathogen resistance, likely.

Still, American mustangs might still have a touch of archaic North American horse ancestry – unlike any Eurasian horses, perhaps – just as Eurasian humans have a touch of Neanderthal ancestry,  people from PNG have some Denisovan ancestry, and brown bears in Europe have some cave bear ancestry.

You might see something like this.

 

 

 

 

 

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Islamophobia

Eight or ten Years ago, liberals had no use at all for Islam or Islamic culture. Today they spend a lot of energy defending them, to the point where liberals that still dislike feel that they can’t talk about it publicly.

What exactly happened, and when?

 

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Risk-taking

Some ( including insurance companies) have claimed that young men are more likely to take risks than young women. Cordelia Fine says that ” The reported gender gap in risk-taking would almost certainly narrow if researchers’ questionnaires started to include more items like: ‘How likely is it that you would bake an impressive but difficult soufflé for an important dinner party? ”

This strongly suggests – strongly ! – that she is and always has been my sock-puppet, because how could anyone real deliberately make such a stupid comparison? Making a soufflé, vs basejumpers, guys that drive 125 miles an hour when drunk,  climb the Eiger, or flew a Spitfire against the  Luftwaffe?

It would take congenital brain damage, heavy drugs, and neurosurgery to be that dense. Possibly generations of dysgenic selection as well. I’ve know smarter goldfish.

 

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