E. O. Wilson has a new book out, The Origins of Creativity. Did you know about it? Honestly totally surprised. Wilson’s been retired for a while now, so his profile isn’t as high as it was. He’s 88, so you got to give it to him that he can keep cranking this stuff out.
The New Yorker introduced me to Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. This is a topic that I’m interested in, but I’m not sure I disagree with the author at all, so I doubt I’d get much out of it for the time invested.
Basically, I agree with the proposition that for the average human being quality of life was probably somewhat better before agriculture, until the past few hundred years when innovation increased productivity and the demographic transition kicked in.
Will be at ASHG meeting Tuesday night until Saturday morning. Going to be at the Helix session on Wednesday and probably man their booth for an hour.
This year seems a little light on evolutionary genomics. Perhaps the methods posters will be good though.
Wolf Puppies Are Adorable. Then Comes the Call of the Wild. Basically, it looks like there are some genetically based behavioral differences which makes dogs amenable to being pets and wolves not so much.
Na-Dene populations descend from the Paleo-Eskimo migration into America. Not entirely surprised, but kind of nails it down for good. One thing to remember is that New World and Old World were not totally isolated before the arrival of the Norse and later Iberians. For example, the Asian War Complex shows up in northwest North America 1,300 years ago.
The Decline of the Midwest’s Public Universities Threatens to Wreck Its Most Vibrant Economies. I think it is important to remember that economics is a means, not an ends. There is plenty of evidence that conservatives in the USA see academia as hostile to them and inimical to its values. On a thread where Alice Dreger asserted the importance of truth as the ultimate goal of an academic, one scientist unironically wondered how they could make their research further social justice goals.
So yes, many people who are going to try and defund academia understand that might not be optimal for economic growth. But if they believe that they’re funding their own cultural and political elimination, they don’t care.
An Alternate Universe of Shopping, in Ohio. Another story about the transformation of retail. One thing that is curious and strange to me is the evolution of the idea and perception of the mall over the past 25 years. Back in the 1980s malls were modernist shrines to the apogee of American capitalism. Today they seem mass-market and declasse. Part of it is that you don’t want to be a member of a club that everyone can join.
California Fires Leave Many Homeless Where Housing Was Already Scarce. This is horrible on so many levels.
A few weeks ago over at Secular Right I wrote Why Trump could murder someone and people would still support him.
1977–2017: A Retrospective. Peter Turchin reminds us that for Russians the 1990s were horrible.
This graph from Planet Money blew up for me a bit on sci-twitter. The thing is that it’s easy to talk about racial and sexual diversity (or lack thereof) because it’s visible. On the other hand, people from less affluent backgrounds may not want to advertise that, so many are unaware of the implicit class assumptions that many people make: