More ‘stuff’

i. (click images to view them in full size)


ii. Ed Yong has written a good piece about Kawaoka et al.’s study on bird flu mutations. I think you’ll learn more from Ed’s piece than from the actual study, but I wouldn’t know as I have only but very briefly skimmed the study.

iii. Ben Goldacre: Battling bad science. Ben Goldacre’s TED talk.

iv. A quote by Mencius Moldbug: “in many ways nonsense is a more effective organizing tool than the truth. Anyone can believe in the truth. To believe in nonsense is an unforgeable demonstration of loyalty. It serves as a political uniform. And if you have a uniform, you have an army.” I seem to recall having said something very much along the same lines quite a few times in the past. But it’s worth repeating. Direct link here, via lesswrong.

v. So, lately I’ve been reading Heather. I know I should have long finished the book by now, but I don’t seem to have been able to put in more than a few hours here and there lately, and it’s a very long book so I’m not quite done yet. It doesn’t help that I’m actually studying the book, instead of ‘just reading’ it; I don’t seem to be able to achieve much more than 20-25 pages/hour. I really like it though, and I hope to finish it later this week. Here’s a good quote from the concluding remarks of chapter 6, on Franks and Anglo-Saxons:

“there are many ways in which Frankish and Anglo-Saxon migration illustrate and develop the main themes of this book. Transport logistics […] and active fields of information decisively shaped both, but perhaps above all it is again the interaction of migration and patterns of development, and the huge role played by prevailing political structures, that jump out of the evidence. Frankish and Anglo-Saxon migration can be seen as mechanisms by which unequal patterns of development were renegotiated. Despite its own economic transformations during the Roman era, non-Roman western Europe lagged sufficiently far behind adjacent areas of the Empire for the latter’s wealth to exercise a strong pull. […] The main way for most outsiders to access any of this wealth […] was to raid it regularly for movables, apart from a relatively few who made it big in the Roman army. Throughout the Roman period, this greater wealth was protected by armies and fortifications. As lowland Britain and north-eastern Gaul fell out of central imperial control at different points in the fifth century, however, the restriction these imperial institutions had imposed upon the capacity of outside populations to seize control of capital assets was removed, and raiding, after a time lag, turned into predatory migration, aiming at the seizure of landed estates.
Unequal development was ultimately responsible, then, for both flows of migration. But both the Frankish and the Anglo-Saxon versions were effect, rather than cause, of central Roman collapse. They played a major role in dismantling such structures of local Roman provincial life as remained upon their arrival in northern Gaul and Britain, respectively, but in both cases it was the failure of the imperial centre’s capacity to maintain enough force on its fringes that exposed these provincial Roman societies to immigrant attention.”

vi. Via Big Think, a few graphs and a few stats:

“Did you know that almost 90% of the world’s population lives in the northern hemisphere? And that half of all Earthlings [1] reside north of 27°N? Or that the average human lives at 24 degrees from the equator – either to its north or south?” (here’s a related post of mine)

vii. Romanization of Chinese.

viii. A Yale lecture – Demographic Transition in Europe; Fertility Decline:

ix. The Tragic Truth About India’s Caste System.

x. The people at 23andMe (the name should be familiar to people reading gnxp) have made some videos on ‘human prehistory’ and on ‘genetics 101’ which are now available at Khan Academy. I’ve posted the ones on human prehistory below, you can watch the genetics videos here.

If you’re interested in reading about the ‘Out of Africa’ hypothesis and related matters, Razib Khan has written about this subject a lot and so have a few others at Discovermagazine. Go here for a lot of links to reading material about this (the last half of the links or so are written by RK). You can also go the textbook route. But if you don’t have the time or you’re not curious enough to justify spending many hours reading about this stuff, do at least watch the videos – they’re really quite good. Here are the rest of them:

If nobody clicks the link to the biology section above where one can watch the Genetics 101 videos, I’ll probably blog those too at a later point in time. I know that there are a lot of links in this post, but you shouldn’t miss those either.

xi. Binary star.

xii. Transform fault.


May 3, 2012 Posted by | Anthropology, Astronomy, Books, Data, Demographics, Genetics, Geography, Geology, Khan Academy, Physics, Quotes/aphorisms, Random stuff, Wikipedia | Leave a comment