More on The Social Sensitivity Hypothesis. At A Replicated Typo a post which explores a model whereby different morphs emerge which migrate and flourish based on genotype. The “sensitive” and “non-sensitive” tendency is optimized for different ecologies, whereby in high resource zones the sensitives do better. The author expresses a lot of caution, but the awesomeness in the post is that he wrote up the model as a script. Here’s the graphical output (see the post for an explanation):
Gene Discovery Holds Key to Growing Crops in Cold Climates. The agricultural sciences are woefully underexposed. Astronomy feeds the soul, but cow-colleges help feed the stomach.
The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution by Timothy Taylor. A mixed review of the book of the same name. It’s probably an unfortunate cognitive bias to construct a one-causal-factor-explains-it-all for “why we’re human” (also, these models sell books, nuance gets by peer review). But our utilization of technology has to be high up on the list “what makes man.” I think there’s a good case that technology is the root of many of the other posited changes. For example, fire is a technology which drives the “cooking model.”
Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds. Michael Lewis profiles the society that is Greece. In describing the faction and distrust which lay at the heart of Greece I can’t but help but think of inferences from “natural character” as to why the city-states of yore could never unify into a coherent whole, and were conquered by Macedon and Rome in turn. In 1999 according to the Census the per capita income of Greek Americans was $27,400, as opposed to $21,600 for the average American. It seems that if Greece just fired most of their civil servants and replaced them with Finns the nation’s real economic productivity would immediately skyrocket. The main issue is that the Finns would need intensive training on how not to get screwed.
Greatest of All Time. Gaius Appuleius Diocles, a charioteer in 2nd century Rome, may have had lifetime earnings on the order of the equivalent of $15 billion dollars! More precisely, he earned 35,863,120 sesterces over his career, which could have funded the entire Roman army alone for a little over two months, or fed the city of Rome on grain for a year.