Around the Web – January 18th, 2011

By Razib Khan | January 18, 2011 12:01 am

Yes, The Singularity is the Biggest Threat to Humanity.

Imitation and Social Cognition in Humans and Chimpanzees (I): Imitation, Overimitation, and Conformity. Doesn’t fall into the trap of either/or, where chimpanzees are qualitatively different from humans in too stark of a manner, or simply quantitatively different in an implausible fashion.

Emulation, Simulation, and the Human Brain. Tim B Lee is skeptical of whole brain emulation.

Borderless Economy, Jobless Prosperity. The real issue is whether the nation-state matters in any deep way as anything more than an organizational convenience and semantic convention. I would say it does. Many globalists would disagree.

The Chicken, The Egg, The Media and Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is magnetic.

Buying Blind: Steve Jobs isn’t saying why he’s taking a medical leave. Is that fair to Apple investors? Looks like there’s a lot of squishiness about what does, and doesn’t, need to be disclosed. But if Apple is so dependent on its CEO’s vision, is it really a good long term hold?

Politically Confident, Iran Cuts Subsidies on Prices. Incentives matter: “I used to be the kind of person to have all the lights on because I liked the house to be very bright,” says Fariba, 28, an office worker. “But now I’ve changed my ways. I think it’s because they have been talking about it so much on the radio and television.”

New Influx of Haitians, but Not Who Was Expected. Naturally rich Haitians take advantage of generosity intended for the poor dispossessed.

Museum Is Symbol of Waste in Georgia. Tragic and funny story.

The Vehicle of Street Food Is Getting an Overhaul. Creative destruction. Chefs out of work are on the street, in a good way.

For Lebanese, Crisis Has Become a Way of Life. Demography is destiny. Shia have gone from the third largest group, to arguably the largest segment of the Lebanese religious marketplace.

Towards threaded publications: helping to set the scientific record straight.

Have women evolved to protect themselves from sexual assault?

More Intensive Methods Needed to Identify TB in HIV-Prone Populations.

Accuracy of CNV Detection from GWAS Data. More than SNPs.

Is breast not best for babies?

Deep Genomics: In the Case of DNA, the Package Can Be as Important as Its Contents, New Work With Fruit Flies Reveals.

The Deadly Logic of Anti-Blasphemy Laws. “In recent weeks, a coalition of Muslim nations has demanded (again) that the United Nations criminalize blasphemy. A considerable number of Christians might, at least at first hearing, think this as a reasonable demand. After all, we do not disagree that slander against the honor of God is a very, very dangerous sin. But anti-blasphemy laws place the power of theological coercion into the hands of the state, and this is deadly dangerous.” Christianity itself is in some ways blasphemous. To other religions. So is Islam.

New Evidence for Climate Impacts on Ancient Societies. Keep in mind that humans were much more impacted by exogenous factors in the recent past.

MORE ABOUT: Daily Data Dump, Links

Comments (4)

  1. Arseny

    Dear Razib Khan,
    I am sorry for an offtopic, but if you could answer one question of mine, I would be really thankful to you! Could you please recommend 1-3 best introductory books on genetics of different nations, folks, tribes, races, religions and languages? Are there any good solid introductions for a non-specialist to read? Something that a person with no background in history would understand? Ideally, something slow enough for me to remember at least something from there, but at the same time simple and interesting enough to keep reading? If you are to recommend one or two books on these “Human Genomics” topics, what would you recommend?

    I personally love your blog and your posts, but I really feel I need to start with something introductory, and rather consecutive, organized, to get some basic understanding of methods, types of study, and at least some examples of good sound findings. The only name I have in mind is that of Cavalli-Sforza, but I’m not sure if it is a best match, so I decided to ask you as a specialist before I borrow something from the library and invest in reading. The choice of a first book in a new subject is always a matter of importance, as it will always lay the foundation of your views on this subjects, even if you read 10 or 50 more books about it later…

    Thank you in advance!

  2. Yes, The Singularity is … most likely bollocks!

  3. Zach K

    @Kevembuangga – that article doesn’t seem to address any actual arguments raised by serious “singulatarians.” Seems to be mostly strawmen.

  4. Abelard Lindsey

    The singularity is a geek-farce. We are always told to fear the boogie man under the bed. First it was Nazis and then commies. In the 70’s its was the limit to growth BS, followed by Japan. Most recently, it was the Muslim Jahadis and China. Now they say its the signularity and that the machines will take over. All of this is just so much horse pucky.
    The only threats to liberty and prosperity come from bureaucrats and other rent-seeking parasites. Get ride of the parasites and everything will be fine.

    This is also the case with the globalization vs. nation-state deal. The best way for nation-states to deal with globalization is to eliminate bureaucracy, government regulation, and the pernicious effects of rent-seeking parasites as much as possible. Become a place that is attractive to entrepreneurs and other productive people who want to do things and not be dicked with. Singapore and Hong Kong are good examples to follow. Those that don’t do this deserve what comes to them.

    The rent-seeking parasites in any given nation-state whine about globalization because it reduces their monopoly power to parasitize the productive. Get rid of the parasites and the contradictions between the nation-state and globalization resolve themselves on their own.

    Of course climate change affected historical societies. It was bouts of global cooling that crashed both Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. The latter was crashed because global cooling made living in Central Asia too cold and the barbarian hordes were driven into the warmer regions of the Roman Empire, thus crashing the Empire.

    Global warming has never been a problem and, in fact, has always been beneficial to human societies through out history.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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