October 17, 2009


A few years ago, I tried out Pandora, the "Music Genome Project" for Internet radio. You tell them a song you like, and they stream over the Internet to you other songs that share similar musical elements, as rated by their staff of professional musicians for about 250 factors. It's not a recommendation system where people who share your tastes tell you what they like, it's based on the actual musical content of the songs.

I found it worked pretty well. But one response was off: I put in Revolution Rock by the Clash, which isn't a rock song at all, but a lazy, joyous reggae ramble. Pandora came back with the punk Career Opportunities by the Clash, which suggests that one of their employees had cut corners and categorized Revolution Rock by title rather than by music. I sent in an email pointing this out, and got a detailed apology from Pandora's CEO, suggesting to me that maybe the boss had too much time on his hands to write to his customers (who weren't paying him, anyway).

So, I'm glad that they've survived financially. Now, there's a long article in the NYT Magazine, "The Song Decoders" by Rob Walker, about how Pandora works:
[CEO Paul] Westergren maintains “a personal aversion” to collaborative filtering or anything like it. “It’s still a popularity contest,” he complains, meaning that for any song to get recommended on a socially driven site, it has to be somewhat known already, by your friends or by other consumers. Westergren is similarly unimpressed by hipster blogs or other theoretically grass-roots influencers of musical taste, for their tendency to turn on artists who commit the crime of being too popular; in his view that’s just snobbery, based on social jockeying that has nothing to do with music. In various conversations, he defended Coldplay and Rob Thomas, among others, as victims of cool-taste prejudice. (When I ran Bob Lefsetz’s dismissal of Pandora by him [for responding to a Jackson Browne song with a Journey song], he laughed it off, and transitioned to arguing that Journey is, actually, a great band.)

He likes to tell a story about a Pandora user who wrote in to complain that he started a station based on the music of Sarah McLachlan, and the service served up a Celine Dion song. “I wrote back and said, ‘Was the music just wrong?’ Because we sometimes have data errors,” he recounts. “He said, ‘Well, no, it was the right sort of thing — but it was Celine Dion.’ I said, ‘Well, was it the set, did it not flow in the set?’ He said, ‘No, it kind of worked — but it’s Celine Dion.’ We had a couple more back-and-forths, and finally his last e-mail to me was: ‘Oh, my God, I like Celine Dion.’ ”

This anecdote almost always gets a laugh. “Pandora,” he pointed out, “doesn’t understand why that’s funny.”

When I started up Pandora again for the first time in years, it remembered all the songs I had entered years before and set up "radio stations" based on each one. Here are some examples of what it came up with in response to my suggestions from the 1975-1990 era. Keep in mind that Pandora doesn't seem to play songs in order of similarity to the source song. It just picks a bunch of songs that are kind of like the one you chose and then it shuffles them. So, each time you return, it offers you somewhat different songs.

Something I hadn't expected was that Pandora performs a sort of factor analysis on your musical tastes. Listening to these songs that I picked out a few years ago plus other ones similar to them, I would say I have post-British Empire upper middle class public schoolboy tastes in music. This may seem odd, but my tastes in songs would seem most natural for a Scottish or northern English lad at a southern English boarding school for toffs, or maybe at Sandhurst, the military academy. I'm not saying that's what people of my generation like that actually liked, just that it would make sense.

Very strange, but it also fits a lot of my taste in authors as well (Waugh, Orwell, Wodehouse, etc.). I now remember how much I liked David Niven's autobiography, who was a Sandhurst grad. And the autobiography of Churchill, another public schoolboy / Sandhurst man.

So, it's no surprise that The Clash were always my favorites. After all, Joe Strummer, despite his appalling teeth, was an upper middle class public schoolboy whose dad, a friend of Kim Philby's, was a diplomat (i.e., spy) for the fading British Empire.

- Steve's Pick: Death or Glory - The Clash ("But I believe in this and it's been tested by research" -- What better lyrics to try out Pandora upon?)
- Pandora's #1 response: Queen Bitch - David Bowie
A very Lou Reed-like electric guitar riff rocker. I guess it points out the influence of Reed on The Clash as well as on Bowie. Still, the Bowie song is missing the inspiring masculine militarism of Death or Glory. Ultimately, David Bowie and Joe Strummer are different personalities and will appeal to different listeners.
- Pandora #2: Career Opportunities - The Clash
Well, that wasn't too much of a stretch! But it does raise the issue that Career Opportunities isn't quite as good as Death or Glory. The Clash had already done a bunch of songs like Career Opportunities, and they weren't putting more basic punk rock songs like that on their London Calling album. Death or Glory, as the title suggests, was intended to top their earlier stuff, or go down in flames.

- Steve: Story of My Life - Social Distortion (Scots-Irish-American roots rock anthem, both self-pitying and uplifting, much like Death or Glory)
- Pandora #1: Death or Glory - Social Distortion
I guess I should have seen this one coming!
- Pandora #2. Sunday Morning Coming Down - Me First & the Gimme Gimmes
A Scots-Irish rock cover of the fine Kris Kristoffersen song made famous by Johnny Cash -- I'd never heard of the band but I liked it a lot.

- S: The Great Curve - Talking Heads (from their Afrobeat groove era when they had 9 musicians)
- P1: Waiting for the Roar - Fastway
Pretty good AC-DCish metal, but not at all like Remain in Light-era Talking Heads.
- P2: Misfit Love - Queens of the Stone Age
This is a grunge groove song that has some similar elements to the Talking Heads song, but is much heavier and less lilting.

- S: In Between Days - The Cure
- P1: A Night Like This - The Cure
For English heterosexual foppish romanticism, you can't beat The Cure. On the other hand, once again, while A Night Like This resembles In Between Days, it isn't as good.
- P7: I Melt With You - Modern English
This has always struck me as the closest predecessor to In Between Days. Perhaps Pandora isn't set up so that the closest match is the first song played?

- S: Heroes - David Bowie (with Brian Eno)
- P1: Space Oddity - David Bowie
I suppose there's some underlying chord structure similarity, but the gestalt is radically different between the acoustic guitar Space Oddity and the shimmering Wall of Synths of Heroes, but then Heroes is a pretty unique artifact. Offhand, I can't think of any songs that Heroes is like. (Holidays in the Sun is also about the Berlin Wall, but not very close musically).
- P2: Bad Girls - Don Felder (of The Eagles)
Nah ...
- P4: More Than This - Roxy Music
Great languid song, although I'd probably put it on my In Between Days Fop Rock station (see above). One thing you learn as you see songs show up on one of your stations that you think are more like the source song for a different station is how related all your songs are. For example, on my Veronica station below, Pandora played a song I had never heard before, Shut Your Eyes by the Shout Out Louds, which sounds just like a more straight-ahead, less shimmering version of In Between Days.

- S: Revolution Rock - Clash (joyous reggae)
- P: Too Late to Turn Back Now - Don Carlos (happy reggae cover of the soul song by Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose)
Good choice. This is the kind of thing I would never find by myself.

- S: Genius of Love - Tom-Tom Club (offshoot of Talking Heads)
A fun dance song
- P1: Mystereality - Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark
- P2: Space Is Deep - Hawkwind

- S: Veronica - Elvis Costello (w/Paul McCartney)
- P: Takin' Me Back - Cheap Trick
I was a big Cheap Trick fan in the 1970s, so this is a pretty good call. Most of the recommendations on this channel are conventional rock songs, but lack the expertise that McCartney brought to Costello in 1988. (I've always thought that the dyspeptic Costello was McCartney's best possible replacement for John Lennon in terms of pushing McCartney to repress his kitschy side. If McCartney had teamed up with Costello in 1978 right after Costello's first album, who knows how good they could have been together.)

I think that's a basic problem that you can't get around in Pandora: if you like a song not so much because of the style but because it's an expert execution of a style, then Pandora isn't as good as a recommendation site.

Overall, I think the above examples are a little unfair to Pandora, since there isn't a notable dropoff in correlations as the songs go on. Possibly they randomly mix the order of the songs in terms of similarity so that listeners don't get progressively more displeased as they go.

It would be interesting to use Pandora's remarkable database for scholarly purposes. For example, T.S. Eliot pointed out that an artist creates his own "school" of predecessors that nobody noticed had anything in common before. For example, I've always felt that the ancestors of the punk rock of 1976 included from the 1968 to 1973 era: Communication Breakdown by Led Zeppelin, Paranoid by Black Sabbath, and Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting by Elton John, three songs that sounded like they have more in common after you'd heard the Ramones, Sex Pistols, and Clash than before. This giant proprietary database would presumably allow those kind of academic hypotheses to be tested objectively.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Which 20th century thinker would have been a 17th century polymath?

The farther back you go in time for about 350 years, the easier it was to have been a polymath. In the 18th Century, Franklin, Kant, and Goethe could make sizable scientific contributions in their spare time. In the 17th Century, polymathic geniuses were thick on the ground, such as Descartes, Leibniz, and Pascal.

What 20th Century figure would have cut the widest swathe in the late 17th Century? Off hand, I'd guess John von Neumann, the mathematician-physicist who played such a large role in the Cold War despite dying at only 53 in 1957. Considering he made a deathbed conversion to Catholicism, I could imagine him converting earlier in the old Austrian empire and rising to be Prime Minister as well as a towering figure of Newtownian proportions in the sciences.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 16, 2009

Most successful man in history?

I'm reading H.W. Brands's biography of Benjamin Franklin, The First American. Franklin's life has a comic aspect (in both the Shakespearean sense of turning out happily and in the absurdist sense of the improbability of it all) in that he's successful at practically all the multitudinous projects he turns his hand to. Franklin figured out as an adolescent that he was superior to practically everybody he met, so he'd better be as funny, modest, and nice to people as possible or they'd get mad at him for being better than them.

I'm up to age 75 in the book, and Franklin still has yet to negotiate the treaty that ends the War of Independence on very good terms for the new United States, invent bifocals, and sponsor the key compromise that made the Constitution politically possible.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Latest NAEP math results

Charles Murray blogs:
The narrowing of the black-white gap extends from children born in 1961 through children born in 1973, and it was substantial—from 1.2 standard deviations to about .8. Then the trend goes flat, with a few spikes, for children born over the next 26 years.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 15, 2009

Can't Miss TV!

UK "science" documentary will prove all races are exactly equal in intelligence by having a cast of young, sexy, multicultural British TV personalities act shocked whenever fuddy-duddy old white guy psychometricians like Lynn and Rushton says there are differences in IQ. According to the infinitely reliable Daily Mail:

Channel 4 to screen controversial documentary that asks whether IQ is linked to race
By Paul Revoir and Niall Firth

Channel 4 is facing a race controversy after deciding to give a platform to scientists who claim that white people are more intelligent than those who are black.

A documentary, fronted by former BBC News correspondent Rageh Omaar, will interview professors who claim brain power is linked to racial grouping.

It will include claims that the most intelligent people in the world are North-East Asians from parts of China, Japan and North and South Korea.

Taboo: TV presenter Rageh Omaar will discuss James Watson's infamous assertion that black people are less intelligent than other races

The Australian Aborigines will be said to have the lowest average IQ.

The broadcaster has decided to air the comments, which will be abhorrent to many of its viewers, as part of a series of programmes about race and science, aimed at busting 'science's last taboo'.

Bosses at the channel claim the season will strongly challenge these opinions and 'explode' the myth that science can support ideas of racial superiority.

But the decision to air the issue at all could prove incendiary and is in danger of throwing the channel into another race row.

The broadcaster was inundated with complaints in 2007 after it aired the alleged racist bullying of Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother.

To promote the series, Channel 4 has altered photos of Baroness Thatcher, The Beatles, England's 1966 World Cup winning football team and U.S. President Barack Obama to change their racial appearances.

In Race and Intelligence: Science's Last Taboo, Omaar talks to academics who believe that aspects of the human brain are linked to race.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 14, 2009

"Facial Profiling"

Slate has an article pooh-poohing old systems of trying to classify personalities by physical type and then worriedly reporting on new studies showing that maybe there is a correlation between say a heavy brow ridge and aggressiveness after all.
Facial Profiling
Can you tell if a man is dangerous by the shape of his mug?
By Dave Johns

What the article leaves out is how fully the arts have always participated in "facial profiling." It was never just some pseudo-scientific fad.

Back when images were expensive but words were cheap, novelists used to devote an extraordinary number of words to describing the looks of their characters, precisely with the assumption that the reader could pick up hints about the character's character. For example, Dashiell Hammett, a Communist, spent two full pages on a minute description of detective Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon: blond, 6'-3", and so forth -- pretty much the exact opposite of Humphrey Bogart. (Robert Heinlein was more forward looking: he never described what his characters looked like, allowing readers to assume wrongly what Johnnie's race is in Starship Troopers. Let's just say that Heinlein's Johnnie looked even less like Casper von Diehn's Johnnie in the movie than Hammett's Sam Spade looked like Bogey.)

Personally, I could never make head nor tail out of what somebody was supposed to look like from these old novelist's descriptions of facial features; evidently, however, readers in the old days could. By the way, European diplomatic correspondence in the monarchical age devoted a lot of time to just this problem, with ambassadors providing lengthy verbal descriptions of the looks of princes and princesses that the monarch back home might want to marry his offspring to in dynastic alliances.

Similarly, a quick way for researchers to generate new but plausible hypotheses to test about the relationship between physical features and personalities would be to interview Hollywood casting directors. These middle aged ladies have an encyclopedic knowledge of what audiences assume about the correlation between looks and personality/behavior.

At the leading man level, it's pretty obvious that Russell Crowe, with his sizable brow ridge, looks more like a gladiator than Johnny Depp. It wasn't as obvious that Depp, with his '70s rock star cheekbones, would make a good pirate, but once you come up with the idea of an effete pirate with the personality of a Rolling Stone, then it all fit together.

Of course, with stars it's fun to see them play against type -- Crowe as a mathematician -- but with minor roles, casting directors need to find faces that won't confuse the audience as to what this minor character's function in the plot is supposed to be.

Another way to generate hypotheses about looks, facial expressions, and personalities is to see what talented mimics like Tracey Ullman and Wayne Brady do with their faces when given a personality type to embody.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Baseball v. Football

My Wednesday Taki column is up. I reflect on some differences between the two sports at center stage in October: baseball and football.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 13, 2009

Lahn: "Let's celebrate human genetic diversity"

From Nature, October 8, 2009:
Let’s celebrate human genetic diversity

Science is finding evidence of genetic diversity among groups of people as well as among individuals. This discovery should be embraced, not feared, say Bruce T. Lahn and Lanny Ebenstein.

A growing body of data is revealing the nature of human genetic diversity at increasingly finer resolution. It is now recognized that despite the high degree of genetic similarities that bind humanity together as a species, considerable diversity exists at both individual and group levels (see box, page 728). The biological significance of these variations remains to be explored fully. But enough evidence has come to the fore to warrant the question: what if scientific data ultimately demonstrate that genetically based biological variation exists at non-trivial levels not only among individuals but also among groups? In our view, the scientific community and society at large are ill-prepared for such a possibility. We need a moral response to this question that is robust irrespective of what research uncovers about human diversity. Here, we argue for the moral position that genetic diversity, from within or among groups, should be embraced and celebrated as one of humanity’s chief assets.

The current moral position is a sort of ‘biological egalitarianism’. This dominant position emerged in recent decades largely to correct grave historical injustices, including genocide that were committed with the support of pseudo scientific understandings of group diversity. The racial-hygiene theory promoted by German geneticists Fritz Lenz, Eugene Fischer and others during the Nazi era is one notorious example of such pseudoscience. Biological egalitarianism is the view that no or almost no meaningful genetically based biological differences exist among human groups, with the exception of a few superficial traits such as skin colour. Proponents of this view seem to hope that, by promoting biological sameness, discrimination against groups or individuals will become groundless.

We believe that this position, although well intentioned, is illogical and even dangerous, as it implies that if significant group diversity were established, discrimination might thereby be justified. We reject this position. Equality of opportunity and respect for human dignity should be humankind’s common aspirations, notwithstanding human differences no matter how big or small. We also think that biological egalitarianism may not remain viable in light of the growing body of empirical data.

Many people may acknowledge the possibility of genetic diversity at the group level, but see it as a threat to social cohesion. Some scholars have even called for a halt to research into the topic or sensitive aspects of it, because of potential misuse of the information. Others will ask: if information on group diversity can be misused, why not just focus on individual differences and ignore any group variation? We strongly affirm that society must guard vigilantly against any misuse of genetic information, but we also believe that the best defence is to take a positive attitude towards diversity, including that at the group level. We argue for our position from two perspectives: first, that the understanding of group diversity can benefit research and medicine, and second, that human genetic diversity as a whole, including group diversity, greatly enriches our species.

I think a third argument is even more important: all truths are connected to all other truths, so if you aren't allowed to think about a major truth, much of the rest of your thinking will be faulty.

For example, say Lahn was a physicist writing to undermine the ban on mentioning gravity in physics classes:
Let’s celebrate gravity!

Science is finding evidence of gravity. This discovery should be embraced, not feared, say Bruce T. Lahn and Lanny Ebenstein.

A growing body of data is revealing the existence of gravity. It is now recognized that despite the many situations in which gravity is not relevant, in many others it is important (see box, page 728). The physical significance of gravity remains to be explored fully. But enough evidence has come to the fore to warrant the question: what if scientific data ultimately demonstrate that gravity exists at non-trivial levels? In our view, the scientific community and society at large are ill-prepared for such a possibility. We need a moral response to this question that is robust irrespective of what research uncovers about gravity. Here, we argue for the moral position that gravity, from within or between planets, should be embraced and celebrated as one of humanity’s, not to mention the Solar System's, chief assets.

The current moral position is a sort of ‘mass egalitarianism’. This dominant position emerged in recent decades largely to correct grave astronomical injustices, such as the Moon's subordinate status relative to the Earth. Similarly, gravity has been used to drop rocks on enemies, to pour burning oil on the besiegers of castles, and to chop off heads with the guillotine. Also, gravity has been misunderstood by scientists in the past, such as Aristotle. Mass egalitarianism is the view that the Moon doesn't really go around the Earth because the Earth has more mass than the Moon, it just looks that way to ill-informed, hate-filled observers who haven't been adequately educated in modern sensitivities about mass equality. Proponents of this view hope that, by promoting a belief in mass sameness, the Moon will cease orbiting around the Earth and both will hover motionlessly relative to each other in complete equality.

We believe that this position, although well intentioned, is illogical and even dangerous, as it implies that if you stepped off the edge of the Grand Canyon, you'd just hover in the air. We reject this position. Equality of respect for planetary and subplanetary dignity should be humankind’s common aspirations, notwithstanding planetary differences in mass no matter how big or small. We also think that the nonexistence of gravity may not remain viable in light of the growing body of empirical data.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Elinor Ostrom's Economics "Nobel" Prize

Political scientist Elinor Ostrom became the first woman winner in the four decades of the Economics quasi-Nobel Prize. I wasn't familiar with her name, but her field of of study is a good one, so she's probably a good pick. She works on the question of the various ways people arrange to avoid "the tragedy of the commons" of over-exploitation of common resources, such as fisheries.

As I noted in VDARE.com in 2005, Jared Diamond offers a succinct explanation of the possible solutions in his bestseller Collapse:

In another important section, Diamond illustrates how ethnic diversity makes environmental cooperation more difficult. He praises the Dutch as the most cooperative nation on earth and attributes their awareness of and willingness to tackle problems to their shared memory of the 1953 flood that drowned 2,000 Netherlanders living below sea level. (Unfortunately, he doesn't mention whether Holland's rapidly growing immigrant Muslim population remembers when the dikes failed 52 years ago.)

Diamond notes that there are three possible solutions to what Garrett Hardin called "the tragedy of the commons," or the tendency for individuals to over-consume resources and under-invest in responsibilities held in common, leading to ecological collapse.

  • Government diktat.
  • Privatization and property rights -- but that's impractical with some resources, such as fish.
  • "The remaining solution to the tragedy of the commons is for the consumers to recognize their common interests and to design, obey, and enforce prudent harvesting quotas themselves. That is likely to happen only if a whole series of conditions is met: the consumers form a homogeneous group; they have learned to trust and communicate with each other; they expect to share a common future and to pass on the resource to their heirs; they are capable of and permitted to organize and police themselves; and the boundaries of the resource and of its pool of consumers are well defined." [My emphasis]

A classic supporting case that that Diamond doesn't bring up: American shrimp fishermen in Texas were universally denounced as racists in the late 1970s when they resisted the government's efforts to encourage Vietnamese refugees to become shrimpers in their waters. French director Louis Malle made a movie, Alamo Bay, denouncing ugly Americans fighting hardworking immigrants.

What got lost in all the tsk-tsking is that fishing communities always resist newcomers, especially hardworking ones, because of the sizable chance that the outsiders who don't know the local rules or don't care about them will ruin the ecological balance and wipe out the stocks of fish.

The evidence Diamond assembles indicates, although of course he never dares to state it bluntly, that the fundamental requirement for dealing effectively with environmental danger is: start with a population that's limited in number, cohesive, educated, and affluent.

Needless to say, mass immigration from the Third World works against all those characteristics.

(To his credit, Diamond's bestseller is clearly unenthusiastic about Latin American immigration into his own LA. To his discredit, you have to be a pretty acute reader to notice his heretical leanings.)

A quick Google search finds Nobel Laureate Ostrom also cautiously expressing Doubts About Diversity in her book The Drama of the Commons.
... Alesina et al. (1999) find that ethnic diversity is associated with lower public goods funding across the U.S. municipalities because different ethnic groups have different preferences over the type of public good ... In the kind of rural societies considered in this chapter ... the effectiveness of social sanctions weakens as they cross ethnic reference groups. In this vein, Miguel (2000) constructs a theoretical model where the defining characteristics of ethnic groups are the ability to impose social sanctions within the community against deviant individuals and the ability to coordinate on efficient equilibria in settings of multiple equilibria. With data from the activities of primary school committees in rural western Kenya, Miguel then shows that higher levels of ethnic diversity are associated with significantly lower parent participation in parent meetings, worse attendance at school committee meetings, and sharply lower teacher attendance and motivation.

If social groups (not solely ethnic groups) are defined as those whose boundaries coincide with the effective monitoring and enforcement of shared social norms ... this is one way of understanding the notion cited earlier of cultural homogeneity, a variant of what many authors have called social capital or social cohesion. ... Irrigation organizations that cross village boundaries can rely less on social sanctions and norms to enforce cooperative behavior ...

There are basically two ways to get people to play nice with a common resource such as shrimp or irrigation water: violence or ostracism. The latter works most effectively regarding marriage -- if you don't play by the rules, nobody respectable will let your kid marry his daughter. But when newcomers who don't ever want their children to marry your children arrive and start exploiting your irrigation system or fishery (or whatever), then the old non-violent traditions break down, and people start turning to violence or its threat, whether anarchic or government-based (e.g., socialism and property rights are based on the threat of the government's monopoly on violence).

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 12, 2009

David Brooks' lonely struggle against the Sailerite conventional wisdom

In the pages of the New York Times, David Brooks once more bravely explore pathways beyond Sailerism's complete stranglehold on the mass media.

In "The Young and the Neuro," Brooks reports on the conference of the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society’s, where all the scientists were "so damned young, hip and attractive." Brooks then proceeds to recount the usual grab bag of studies about how different parts of the brain activate when shown pictures of people of different races or whatever, and sums up:
I suspect that the work will take us beyond the obsession with I.Q. and other conscious capacities and give us a firmer understanding of motivation, equilibrium, sensitivity and other unconscious capacities.

Isn't it a shame how Linda Gottfredson makes $50k per speech to corporate executives while poor Malcolm Gladwell barely ekes out a living? *

Unfortunately, Brooks' column about brain scans isn't very persuasive because there aren't any pictures of brains in it. As every editor knows, a picture of a brain in an article about brains makes the article convincing. A 2006 study in Cognition showed that "assertions about psychology — even implausible ones like “watching television improved math skills” — seem much more believable to laypeople when accompanied by images from brain scans."

(You know what would be the perfect "social cognitive neuroscience" experiment? Do brain scans on people while they are being shown pictures of brain scans. The part of the brain that lights up could be renamed the Credulity Lobe.)

For example, here is a scan of David Brooks' brain during his daily reading of iSteve. As you can see, the experience is stimulating both the Man-I-Wish-I-Could-Say-Interesting-Stuff-Like-That and the But-I-Can't-Or-I'll-Lose-My-Job-So-I'll-Say-the-Opposite sectors of his brain.

You just can't argue with Science.

* By the way, Malcolm's new article on football and concussions is pretty good.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Mr. and Mrs. Obama and Health Care Reform

Many on the left are displeased by both the effectiveness and content of Barack Obama's leadership on health care finance reform. Where's the Canadian-style single payer system? Is the public option in or out?

What's almost never mentioned is that a large private medical institution, the University of Chicago Hospitals, invested heavily in influencing Obama's mindset on this issue by employing his wife, back when he was the ranking Democrat on the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services committee, as their diversity outreach coordinator at a six figure salary. When Obama moved up to the U.S. Senate, his wife's compensation was bumped all the way up to $317k. When she became First Lady and could no longer serve, the U of C Hospitals simply eliminated this previously crucial position.

Funny how you never hear much about that from the left ...

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

October 11, 2009

Who are "Asians?"

My new VDARE.com column laments the Reagan Administration decision to reclassify Indian immigrants from Caucasian to Asian so that they could qualify for low interest minority business development loans from the SBA.

It was particularly shortsighted of the Reagan Administration to declare South Asians officially nonwhite. South Asians tend (especially compared to East Asians) to be extraverted, loquacious in English, interested in politics and argument, and intellectually venturesome. There are already far more South Asian than East Asian pundits in America. Policies that incline these Indians to the left like this could turn out to be disastrous.

There are some grounds for hope. One of the main reasons for anti-white feelings among East Asian men is that white men are much more likely to marry East Asian women than East Asian men are to marry white women, leaving a lot of cranky East Asian bachelors left over. This is less of a problem for South Asian men, who keep their womenfolk on tighter leashes. Arranged marriages are still common among South Asians in America.

Because the GOP is inevitably destined to be considered the white party, it would be best to have the Indians, as Lyndon Johnson memorably said of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, “inside the tent p-----g out than outside p-----g in.”

Read the whole thing there and comment up on it below.