Open Thread, 1/25/2015

9780307823069_p0_v1_s260x420My intention was to read Ian Morris’ War! What Is It Good For?, but I’ve decided on Jonathan Spence’s Emperor of China: Self-Portrait of K’ang-Hsi. I’ve had this book for about seven years, and haven’t gotten to it, but now is a good time since I’ll be tackling Marcus Aurelius: A Life, and Meditations. The relationship between these two topics should be obvious to most readers with some familiarity with history.51NPyQMF0jLSimultaneous to this I’m reading The Northern Crusades on the Kindle. I got about 25% of the way through this book at some point, but had to set it aside. But the history of the Baltic has always been fascinating to me, and I think it’s an interesting topic. Most people seem unaware that the Crusades occurred in northeast Europe as well as the Levant, and that they lasted in active form longer in the north than in the Middle East.

I’ve been considering the role of specialization in science recently. Obviously I’m interested in genetics, and that has sharply constrained by knowledge of the literature. Even within genetics I’m fixated on the topics of evolutionary genomics, with a focus on humans and other mammals. When I was younger my interests were far more catholic, though I don’t know what I can do about this evolution in my focus at this point. We all go through phases, and perhaps in the future can I branch out again.

Finally, can readers people stop leaving comments with the handle “anon” or “anonymous.” I don’t mind if you have these terms in the name, but it gets very difficult to follow people if there are six or seven different individuals who go by “anon.”

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