Links of the day

I wish I had more energy to analyse and comment, but I’m just going to link these stories because I found them interesting.

  1. WaPo says Asian American kids don’t succeed because of Tiger moms, they succeed because of … socioeconomic and cultural advantages. Wait wait wait… this is supposed to refute her thesis?
  2. Pew research has a worldwide poll on religiosity and Asians are the least religious and most diverse in their beliefs.
  3. Marginal Revolution takes down test prep and SES as the main causes of the racial achievement gap.
Written by 尸zed in: Education,News,Social | Tags: , ,

Avatar Monkey

Continuing in the theme of mind/computer/mind interfaces… we are almost there…


We now have monkeys that can take over the bodies of other monkeys that are knocked out. The future is now.

Written by 尸zed in: Science | Tags: ,

Winners of VIBE 2014 – Academy of Villians

Wow. Shadow puppetry section blew my mind.

Written by 尸zed in: Dance | Tags: ,

Reasons not to be ugly

The Freakonomics podcast recently discussed the topic of ugliness and how it affects grades, wages, etc. Many of the factoids could have been guessed. Things like lifetime wages could be affected by a few hundred thousand dollars difference when comparing a beautiful person with an ugly one. There are a few things that improve with ugliness however.

HAMERMESH: Robbers … and it makes sense, because you can do better as an armed robber if you don’t have to shoot people you can just scare them by being ugly as hell.

Well… I suppose that’s one way of using what god gave you.

Another interesting thing that came out was that cosmetic surgery typically didn’t help. I had previously advocated (only half joking) that ugly women should get societal aid for cosmetic surgery. But the stats don’t bear that solution out as effective. The problem seems to be that the amount of surgery necessary to change a truly ugly face into a beautiful one would require breaking every facial bone in a person’s skull. Even ignoring the astronomical cost of such a surgery, the pain of recovery would be prohibitive except for the most determined of ugly women. That’s too bad really. The only remaining solution would be a sort of welfare for the ugly. I don’t think the US is ready to fund that kind of welfare right now.

Written by 尸zed in: Economy,Social | Tags:

Slow Mo Beatboxing

Quick video links here, this was cracking me up. Destin is finding some really interesting uses for his high speed cam. Here’s Destin’s bio, can’t say it is a bad thing to have some positive popular media coming out of Huntsville.

Written by Munny in: Education,Science |

Nicholas Wade (NYT writer) to commit most egregious sin of liberal society

Steve Sailer points to a book coming out by the NYT genetics writer Nicholas Wade. Wade has written many articles covering the genetic basis of race in the journal of note, but there really hasn’t been much reaction to the topic in the mainstream press. I wonder if this will blow the topic wide open… or if it means he’ll just be the latest person to commit career suicide by talking about this topic in polite society.

A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History

Release date: May 6, 2014

Drawing on startling new evidence from the mapping of the genome, an explosive new account of the genetic basis of race and its role in the human story

Fewer ideas have been more toxic or harmful than the idea of the biological reality of race, and with it the idea that humans of different races are biologically different from one another. For this understandable reason, the idea has been banished from polite academic conversation. Arguing that race is more than just a social construct can get a scholar run out of town, or at least off campus, on a rail. Human evolution, the consensus view insists, ended in prehistory.

Inconveniently, as Nicholas Wade argues in A Troublesome Inheritance, the consensus view cannot be right. And in fact, we know that populations have changed in the past few thousand years—to be lactose tolerant, for example, and to survive at high altitudes. Race is not a bright-line distinction; by definition it means that the more human populations are kept apart, the more they evolve their own distinct traits under the selective pressure known as Darwinian evolution. For many thousands of years, most human populations stayed where they were and grew distinct, not just in outward appearance but in deeper senses as well.

Wade, the longtime journalist covering genetic advances for The New York Times, draws widely on the work of scientists who have made crucial breakthroughs in establishing the reality of recent human evolution. The most provocative claims in this book involve the genetic basis of human social habits. What we might call middle-class social traits—thrift, docility, nonviolence—have been slowly but surely inculcated genetically within agrarian societies, Wade argues. These “values” obviously had a strong cultural component, but Wade points to evidence that agrarian societies evolved away from hunter-gatherer societies in some crucial respects. Also controversial are his findings regarding the genetic basis of traits we associate with intelligence, such as literacy and numeracy, in certain ethnic populations, including the Chinese and Ashkenazi Jews.

Wade believes deeply in the fundamental equality of all human peoples. He also believes that science is best served by pursuing the truth without fear, and if his mission to arrive at a coherent summa of what the new genetic science does and does not tell us about race and human history leads straight into a minefield, then so be it. This will not be the last word on the subject, but it will begin a powerful and overdue conversation.

Written by 尸zed in: News | Tags: ,

Asians are “Swayable Shoppaholics”

Nielsen has conducted some marketing research which shows that Asian Americans are more likely to buy name brand goods over generics and shun Wal-mart for Costco.

When it comes to consumers like Mar, who splashes out on designer wear, the term “swayable shopaholic” is an adjective referring to “informed shoppers,” those willing to switch brands if they believe another brand offers more quality, notes Frank Piotrowski, Nielsen’s senior vice president working in measurement science.

The most important information for retailers is probably this – “Asian Americans have a median household income of $63,400 compared with the general population’s $49,600, and are 54% more likely to earn incomes in excess of $100,000.” Indeed.

Businesses such as hotels are paying attention. They are setting up programs and alliances that cater to Asians with translator tour guides, translated pamphets, and even monogrammed pillows.

With all the retail attention, the news that “Crazy, Rich Asians” is being turned into a film shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Check out one website’s list of dream actors to fill the roles of the book’s characters here. And if you haven’t read the book, get yourself a copy. It’s a hilarious book, but it’s also very enlightening. You get an insider’s (albeit wildly exaggerated) view into Asian Old Money vs New Money conflicts. Really eye opening stuff.

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