Open Thread, 08/13/2017

Busy with kids and life. But perhaps time to read Peter Turchin’s Ages of Discord: A Structural-Demographic Analysis of American History. I was skeptical when Peter presented this idea years ago. Less so now.

I’m on the eclipse train. The whole family will be chasing it soon.

Paul Thompson is on Twitter. If you read this blog in the early/middle 2000s it will be a familiar name. Paul had thought I had stopped blogging! Moving platforms every few years does that.

So a friend of mine was advising that I should push sign-ups to my newsletter, as he too believes that Twitter’s days in its current form are numbered. I’ve only sent out one mailing so far, but may increase the frequency to once a month or so. Mostly I’m a little worried that without Twitter people like me who produce content, but aren’t affiliated with a media distribution channel, are going to get lost in the din.

Anyway, please sign up if you don’t follow me on Twitter (or if you do).

15 thoughts on “Open Thread, 08/13/2017

  1. Am I the only one who likes Twitter, thinking that sometimes it’s better to listen than to comment?

  2. Hi Razib, it would be very helpful if you could comment on the following.

    I saw a pamphlet from a company called “Welocity” claiming that they are the first to implement the following type of “lifetime genetics program” in India (apparently all this exists in US and Canada but they claim to be the first to be bringing it to India):

    https://www.mywelocity.com/lifetime-genetics-program-advanced.aspx

    Apparently they will test our DNA and based on it give us a whole host of informed suggestions such as a customized diet plan, exercise routine, “genetic counseling” etc. (in addition to assessment of risk for various genetic diseases, which is hardly surprising).

    This bit involving a diet plan and exercise routine tailored to my DNA sounds too good to be true, and hence fishy; I was wondering if you had any opinion/comments. Thanks.

  3. In open thread months ago (last winter?), after I had mentioned being an economist, RK asked me to suggest some books to read. I don’t recall my list (and cannot find it now), but this morning another came to me as I was cycling to work. David Calleo’s The Imperious Economy. It came out about the time I first took Economic History (1982), and was the basic text for the section on the post-WW2 international monetary system(s) and its consequences for the US economy. I’ve reread it since, but that was 20-25 years ago. My recollection is that it explained how the system greased the wheels of (not so much “for”) US political and military dominance, and contains some discussion of the economic consequences (e.g., hollowing out of mfg.). It is well written (likely helps that Calleo seemed to be more a political scientist than an economist); it may have been supplanted in the last generation — I’ve made no attempt to keep abreast of this literature, but I recall being very impressed at the time. With the discovery of inequality in the last 5 years (h/t Occupy Wall Street) and rural white anger and despair since the last election, it strikes me as quite timely despite its age.

    (Just did a quick search for reviews before hitting post. The general sense among academic poli-sci/historians (3-4 reviews!!!) seems to be that his recommendations are small beer and he spreads himself too thinly, trying to cover too much. However as a description & to a lesser extent as a synthesis of important trends he receives praise.)

  4. Did anyone notice how Daenarys looked on approvingly as Jon Snow stroked her dragon’s snout without being killed and that she looked into his eyes with keen interest when the subject of him having risen from the dead was broached. This implies that Jon may very well be related to her as he is a master of dragons and shows signs of being the Prince that was Promised if not in fact Azor Ahai reborn.

    This week Gilly also found a passage in the late High Septon’s diaries that opens the possibility that not only is Jon the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark but that he is also their ***legitimate*** son.

    Given that Jon’s heritage covers so many magical lines from Northmen and People of the Forest to First Men and Targaryen dragon tamers, it’s pretty obvious that he will be the one to successfully lead, as field commander, the armies of Westeros to victory over the Night King, White Walkers, and ice wights but, alas, like Nelson at Trafalgar expiring from his battle wounds at the very moment of triumph.

    This theoretical scenario then leads to the question of who will be Daenarys’s consort as she fully assumes her crown as ruling Queen on the Iron Throne?

  5. Did anyone notice how Daenarys looked on approvingly as Jon Snow stroked her dragon’s snout without being killed and that she looked into his eyes with keen interest when the subject of him having risen from the dead was broached. This implies that Jon may very well be related to her as he is a master of dragons and shows signs of being the Prince that was Promised if not in fact Azor Ahai reborn.

    u mean she grokks it on some level? obv we know his genealogy since HBO released it (and his REAL NAME) in print last year.

    This theoretical scenario then leads to the question of who will be Daenarys’s consort as she fully assumes her crown as ruling Queen on the Iron Throne?

    sansa.

  6. “u mean she grokks it on some level?”

    Yes, I’m going at this from the point of view of the characters as revealed by the actors in the TV episodes rather than through prior knowledge. I thought I saw the dawning realization he may be a Targaryen in her wide-eyed facial expression when he pets the dragon and also when she intensely quizzes him about his rebirth. No one else has physically been able to pet the dragons except Daenarys in previous seasons which would obviously give her a clue.

    The possibility that Jon is not a bastard is new information though. I haven’t read about that anywhere prior to this week’s episode. I think it makes the possibility of J+D having sex much less likely as it would then be unwelcomed by their vassals. We will see incest brutally punished when Cersei meets her demise rather than an Oedipal tragedy play out between nephew and aunt as that would be too far a stretch for the audience.

  7. @James Richard

    How big a role will incest actually play in Cersei’s demise when it (hopefully) comes?

    The case Ned Stark (and Jon Arryn before him) was building against Cersei didn’t really depend on proving that incest had taken place. Cersei’s most serious offence was cuckolding the king and passing off her bastards as trueborn children of Robert and therefore heirs to the throne. If the Lannisters hadn’t shut down the investigation by arresting Ned Stark for treason, Cersei would have been in just as much hot water if her lover had been a random blonde knight instead of her twin brother.

    Since prior to Robert’s rebellion the ruling dynasty had regularly practiced incest for centuries, has that weakened the taboo against incest at all?

    Is there any in-world explanation for how Jaimie and Cersei weren’t subject to the Westermarck Effect? It seems common in Westeros for a highborn child to be raised in another’s lord’s household, presumably to strengthen ties between allied houses. Is there anything in the books to indicate whether or not Jaimie and Cersei spent their early childhoods together?

  8. Is there any in-world explanation for how Jaimie and Cersei weren’t subject to the Westermarck Effect? It seems common in Westeros for a highborn child to be raised in another’s lord’s household, presumably to strengthen ties between allied houses. Is there anything in the books to indicate whether or not Jaimie and Cersei spent their early childhoods together?

    they pervs.

  9. @Michael H

    It’s been years since I read the books so my comments pretty much pertain to the TV show. In the latest episode Cersei is again pregnant with Jaime’s child and she arrogantly states that she has every intention of declaring to the world that he is the father despite whatever anyone else (explicitly referred to by her as sheep in comparison to royal Lannister lions) thinks about it. There were also another couple of the wisecracks by hoi poloi about their incestuous relationship in this episode as there regularly have been in previous episodes.

    I don’t think the writers would have introduced this third incestuous pregnancy into the story unless it is to be used to further the plot and given that incest is still taboo among the viewership of the show it will surely be held against her as one of her primary crimes.

    Likewise Daenerys has been making goo goo eyes at Jorah Mormont which further supports my speculation that there will be no sexual hookup between D+J. Since his re-birth the unsmiling Jon has been elevated to the role of celibate holy warrior saint who will be sacrificed in the final victory over the dark forces where his Targaryen steel sword will be the instrument that kills the Night King in a climactic final duel. Or some such…

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