Open Thread, 3/21/2016

shape-ancient-thought-comparative-studies-in-greek-indian-thomas-mcevilley-hardcover-cover-artReading The Shape of Ancient Thought. Not a light read, but worthwhile so far. I’m not a big fan of metaphysics in general, but the empirical patterns are interesting. Surprised at the likely Mesopotamian influence on both India and Greece, though in hindsight it makes sense. More to say on this later….

Some people are asking me about this Jeff Jacoby column, Sex is etched in our DNA, but race is all in our heads. Actually, everything is in our heads. Everything is socially constructed. It just so happens that some social constructions (e.g., gender binary) robustly map onto patterns in reality, while others (e.g., gender is purely a function preference) do not. The idea that “our racial and ethnic identities are purely subjective” seems to be pretty false if you think of it as a prediction you can use. Someone of my physical appearance could plausibly “pass” as a range of ethnic groups across the 10/40 Window, but no one is likely to accept that I’m ancestrally Chinese, Swedish, or Dinka.

Rakhigarhi ancient DNA paper probably a while away.

A suggestion for debaters. Basically, debate science in your own specialization and don’t claim broad knowledge you lack.

34% of my readers supported Donald Trump in the survey last month. Over 50% had graduate degrees. A bit lower than the average proportion for readers of this weblog, but not that much.

Poll: Utah would vote for a Democrat for president over Trump. I don’t accept this poll. I think Trump will get nominated, and he will win Utah. But, this poll, and results from Idaho, suggest that Mormons have a particular antipathy toward Donald Trump. Reiterates that though Southern Evangelicals and Mormons are allies in the political realm, there are deep cultural differences between the two groups.

Global median income has doubled in the last 13 years.

Article on why Bangladesh does so much peacekeeping. My cousin is in Bangui right now, so on my mind.

Stannis died in the show. How about the books? I guess we’ll know in the 2020s….

Statisticians issue warning over misuse of P values. R. A. Fisher warned about this.

Causes of molecular convergence and parallelism in protein evolution.

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