Just a thought about race and sub-species

Prompted by that gracile and robust thing in apes in the comments this arvo.

We have two really rather things out there, race in human beings and sub-species in animals. In animals it is right on to insist that we must preserve the sub-species. In humans it is right on to deny that there is even something called race. Yet unless I’ve really missed some important part of science they strike me as being very much the same thing.

So, with animals, tigers and lions can breed but the result, the liger or tigon is rarely – but not never – fertile. So, OK, different species.

The domestic house cat is cross fertile with the European lynx – at least with the Iberian version. This must be so because they ask people with tabbies to not have them near the rare lynx areas. And the Scottish wildcat is closer again. And then we get to what are quite obviously the same species but also different sub-species. Fully and totally cross-fertile but of different colourings perhaps, size, location. And we very definitely find that we’re supposed to be preserving each and every one of these sub-species. It would be an outrage if the Florida panther disappeared despite it being only a swamp dwelling version of the standard panther found all over the Americas.

But when we consider race we get a flat out denial that the concept even exists in humans. And yet a Pygmy and an Eskimo differ by more (while still being cross fertile–not sure anyone has ever tested that pairing but there’s nothing we know which says they aren’t) than many of what we’re told are different sub-species of animal.

Now, it’s not uncommon that different people hold different views on something or other. Nor even different people holding different views on different subjects. But this rough equivalence between race in humans and sub-species in animals looks pretty robust to me. And yet it’s largely the same people who insist that we must preserve the one and then deny that the concept of the other even exists at all.

So, given that you all know more than I do, is there some great gaping hole in my scientific understanding here? Or is it just that people themselves are inconsistent in their beliefs?

Just morons, morons

Sustainable degrowth is a downscaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet. It calls for a future where societies live within their ecological means, with open, localized economies and resources more equally distributed through new forms of democratic institutions. Such societies will no longer have to “grow or die.” Material accumulation will no longer hold a prime position in the population’s cultural imaginary. The primacy of efficiency will be substituted by a focus on sufficiency, and innovation will no longer focus on technology for technology’s sake but will concentrate on new social and technical arrangements that will enable us to live convivially and frugally. Degrowth does not only challenge the centrality of GDP as an overarching policy objective but proposes a framework for transformation to a lower and sustainable level of production and consumption, a shrinking of the economic system to leave more space for human cooperation and ecosystems.

What in buggery do they think the economy is if it isn’t human cooperation?


Which is where the real problem is in this demand that women’s household work be included in GDP.
No, not that it violates economic principles, rather, that your mother, who conceived, carried, bore, suckled, trained you and even now drops hints wondering when the grandchildren will arrive, you’ve now got to go and tell her that all those years of her labour are valued at about what a rickshaw driver gets a month.
It’s easier just to say that including household labour in GDP violates some economic principle or other, isn’t it?

Would improve the food if they used it

An antique cookbook from 1793 listing a recipe for curry was discovered by monks, and now budding chefs will have the chance to try the dish at home.
The book, which contains the oldest oldest known recipe for an English curry as well as other Georgian-era recipes, is to be turned into a modern day cookery book.
The unusual book was found in the archives of a Benedictine monastery and painstakingly transcribed.

Yes, of course, Downside.

Really not got the point about evolution here

So, teach evolution earlier and in more detail. Why not?

But it would be about more than learning why our bodies are the way they are. We would become better, more caring, citizens of Earth if we were reminded each day of our animal heritage. A daily reminder that we must play by the same laws of the universe as any other creature; that we can’t take, take, take from nature and expect infinite reward, because nothing comes from nothing.

For that’s the most significant manner in which we differ from the other products of that shared evolution. We manage that nature, that environment, greatly increasing the productive capacity in a manner that really no other animal does.

Think it though for a moment, we’ve escaped the Malthusian trap. We are all, entirely voluntarily, limiting our reproduction and holding species size well below the available food supply. This is, remarkably, more true the greater the food supply too – a larger food supply is synonymous with higher GDP and fertility is most definitely negatively linked to that.

The whole point about humans is that in this very sense, the abstraction from nature, we don’t play by the same rules as other animals. He’s entirely missed the point.


My learning disability doesn’t mean I should be paid less. I’m furious
Ismail Kaji

Of course we should not make fun of the afflicted. That is reserved for those who are stupid and or malevolent like Spud, not those who are truly afflicted. But…

Less than 6% of people with learning disabilities who are known to social services are in employment, but many more can work, and want to do so.


The biggest barriers we face are negative attitudes and the idea that learning disabled people are not capable of work, or that it will be too time-consuming to employ them, or it will cost the company a lot of money.

So reduce one of those barriers maybe?

Below the line we get some marvelous Graudianista:

No one should be paid less due to any form of physical and or mental health disability or illness

Rent/ mortgage,food,transport etc etc etc is the same price for everyone or have I missed something?


Quite so

Cameron’s legislation has not happened, and there’s a simple reason; encryption is a binary. Either something is encrypted, and thus secure from everyone, or it’s not. As the security expert Bruce Schneier has written: “I can’t build an access technology that only works with proper legal authorisation, or only for people with a particular citizenship or the proper morality. The technology just doesn’t work that way. If a backdoor exists, then anyone can exploit it.”

That’s the crux of the problem. While you can legislate to only give state agencies access to terrorists’ communications, and with proper oversight and authorisation, you cannot actually build encryption that works like that. If you put a backdoor in, it’s there not just for security services to exploit, but for cyber-criminals, oppressive regimes and anyone else.

There is no way around this. Either we can say that end to end encryption is legal or that it is illegal. There is no way to have it being legal but not really encryption…..

These people are crazed loons

A plan to extract millions of litres of water out of a Unesco world heritage site, send it by pipe to the coast and ship it to foreign markets for bottling has ignited a campaign over water resources in New Zealand.

An export company is proposing to collect 800m litres a month of the “untapped” glacial waters of Lake Greaney and Lake Minim Mere, mountainous dams that are fed by rainfall on the Southern Alps.
Jen Branje, the founder of protest group Bung the Bore which initiated the petition to parliament, said the government must halt the practice.

“We want a ban on all bottled water exports until we have legislation in place to protect this resource.

“Currently it is being given away willy-nilly for free and it is depleting our own reserves and that shouldn’t be happening.”

According to government figures, New Zealand’s annual freshwater resource is 500tr litres, of which 2%, or 10tr litres, is extracted.

This particular effort is 10 billion litres a year or so. That’s 0.002% of a renewable resource’s annual regeneration capacity.

We’re not exactly hitting Hardin’s limits to Marxian extraction yet, are we?

Very Heinz Kiosk

But let’s, in the absence of a terrorist explanation, ask what drives a 52 year old man to such behaviour because if it wasn’t terrorism it begs even bigger questions of our society in which, I stress, he’s always reported to have lived.

We are all guilty, no?

Tee Hee

Donald Trump handed the German chancellor Angela Merkel a bill — thought to be for more than £300bn — for money her country “owed” Nato for defending it when they met last weekend, German government sources have revealed.

The bill — handed over during private talks in Washington — was described as “outrageous” by one German minister.

No, it doesn’t make any sense, we all know that. But as theatre…..

Hmm, so, did they?

New questions are emerging over Barclays’ rescue fundraising in 2008 as the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Conduct Authority extend their inquiries into the deal.

Court documents filed in a civil case related to the £7.3bn injection from Middle Eastern investors have drawn attention to a separate transaction at around the same time.

Barclays lent £2bn to Qatar just weeks after the announcement of the role played by the Gulf state’s principal investment vehicle in the bank bailout. The debt component of Qatar Holding’s investment was for the same sum of £2bn.

Was that money just round tripped? Be fascinating to know…..

The point being that the bank needed capital. It had pots and pots of dosh, of deposits. But it needed capital.

So, lend some of the deposits which then come back as capital…..terribly naughty if that’s what they did do.


The paper isn’t by Vigdor’s colleagues. It’s actually by Vigdor. And isn’t that just so much better? At which point let’s lay out the logical structure Meyerson has used here.

Minimum wage rises don’t cause job losses. Jacob Vigdor is just a blue meanie spouting the usual propaganda when he says that Seattle’s minimum wage rise has had job loss effects. As proof of this, to refute his baseless assertion, we should read this paper, by Jacob Vigdor, on the job loss effects of Seattle’s minimum wage, which found that there are some. Anyone who disputes this finding is merely a right wing academic propagandising rather than relying upon empirical evidence. This violates the norms of most economic reporting.

Signed, H. Myerson.

Isn’t that just so cute?

Harry Harperson’s a vile one

The Labour MP Harriet Harman has introduced a proposed law change that would prevent rape complainants from being quizzed in court about their sexual history, saying the move was needed in the wake of the acquittal of the footballer Ched Evans.

Evans won his appeal last year in a case that centred on evidence from two other men who testified about the complainant’s sexual preferences and the language she used during sex.

A law change in 1999 had barred such court tactics, but permitted defence lawyers to apply to introduce a complainant’s previous sexual history under certain circumstances. The Evans case prompted significant disquiet about how this clause could be used. Harman has tabled an amendment to the government’s prisons and courts bill, which reaches the committee stage in the Commons next week, to remove the exception.

The idea of introducing a complainant’s sexual history into a rape trial had “no evidential value” and was deeply outdated, Harman said. “It’s based on the old notion that there were two sorts of women – those who were ‘easy’ and those who were virtuous – and if you were easy, you would have sex with anybody, because you were that sort of woman,” she said. “What you have to look at is the evidence and the information around that encounter, not any previous sexual encounters.”

But the sexual history had great evidential value here, which is exactly why you’re trying to ban it of course.


Theresa May is expected to announce within weeks that the UK will reclaim its waters for British fishermen by pulling out of a deal that pre-dates the EU.

The Prime Minister will take Britain out of the 1964 London convention which allows European fishing vessels to access waters six to twelve nautical miles from British shores.

No so much because of this specific thing, but because it means we’re going to kill the Common Fisheries Policy.

That CFP which is among the most idiot things the EU has come up with, right up there with the euro.

No, a nuclear power plant has not contracted smallpox

An Indian nuclear power plant has contracted what is being described as smallpox in a bizarre disease outbreak.
The Kakrapar Nuclear Power Plant in Gujarat has been shut down as officials attempt to work out what is corroding leaking pipes inside the complex.
Experts have said the pipes, which are made from a rare alloy, have contracted a smallpox-like virus which is spreading throughout two Indian Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) at Kakrapar in Gujarat

Officials have been desperately trying to work out what is causing the strange symptoms, but after a year, they are still none the wiser, according to NDTV.
Just over a year ago on March 11, 2016, a unit started leaking and had to be shut down in an emergency due to the amount of water gushing from it.
Several weeks after the leak it was revealed four huge cracks had formed on a coolant tube which was blamed for the incident.
As a result, tubes were exposed to high temperatures and a heavy load of water, which caused them to corrode.

Dunno which of the two the Indians use, zirconium niobium (like the Russians) or zirconium tin (everyone else). But the combination of heat, water and atmosphere does produce corrosion. And it’s dangerous because the corrosion itself can then go bang.

But it’s not smallpox and it’s not a virus.

The lesson every college student should know

This is alarmingly self-referential but this is also the one major thing that every student should know. Everything else pales in comparison when we consider economics and economic stories:

Our world has, over your lifetime, undergone the greatest reduction in poverty and misery in human history. Heck, more people have been lifted out of poverty over that time than in all the rest of human history. That’s a story that every college student should know by heart.

And again:

If you care about people, the economic growth over the last generation is one of the most important stories in all 5,000 years of human civilization. Every economic issue discussed in our recent election cycle pales in comparison.

Or as I am quoted saying:

But bugger me, it is working. Ain’t that fucking grand?

I’ve not been following this but isn’t this fake science?

The world’s most widely used insecticides would be banned from all fields across Europe under draft regulations from the European commission, seen by the Guardian.

The documents are the first indication that the powerful commission wants a complete ban and cite “high acute risks to bees”. A ban could be in place this year if the proposals are approved by a majority of EU member states.

Bees and other pollinators are vital for many food crops but have been declining for decades due to habitat loss, disease and pesticide use. The insecticides, called neonicotinoids, have been in use for over 20 years and have been linked to serious harm in bees.

But whether it’s fake science or not this is entirely ridiculous:

There is a strong scientific consensus that bees are exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides in fields and suffer serious harm from the doses they receive. There is only a little evidence to date that this harm ultimately leads to falls in overall bee populations, though results from major field trials are expected soon.

However, the European commission (EC) has decided to move towards implementing a complete ban now,

Ban before the results of the trials? Now that is fake…..