Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

November 30, 2016

Endings &Amp; New Beginnings

Filed under: Last Post,Miscellaneous — Razib Khan @ 9:37 pm
It's been exactly three years since I moved on from Discover. Change is timeless. So I thought it would be a good time to announce the move to another project today. Until further notice this is my last post as a blogger at Unz Review. Just as when I left Discover, this shouldn’t impact regular...

Endings & new beginnings

Filed under: Last Post,Miscellaneous — Razib Khan @ 9:01 pm

Screenshot 2016-11-27 20.15.36It’s been exactly three years since I moved on from Discover. Change is timeless. So I thought it would be a good time to announce the move to another project today.

Until further notice this is my last post as a blogger at Unz Review. Just as when I left Discover, this shouldn’t impact regular readers very much in terms of substance and content. As always you can follow me through my RSS feed, http://feeds.feedburner.com/RazibKhansTotalFeed, Twitter, http://twitter.com/razibkhan, and of course, my website, http://www.razib.com (I’m surprised how many people bookmark that website, as I got some emails when I changed the formatting).

Screenshot 2016-11-29 15.20.38The new site where I will host my content is not up yet, but it should be live within less than two weeks as engineers and designers work to get the final pieces in place (~2 weeks is within 95% confidence interval of the expected value, obviously hope it will be closer to now than not). If you want to be notified by email when the site goes live, subscribe to my newsletter. I probably won’t send out an email more than once a month, but I realize that not everyone uses RSS or Twitter, so it is probably best to start collecting a list of addresses for those who follow my work and would prefer to be contacted that way. If you are old school and just want to bookmark and check the site to see when it goes live, this will work:

http://gnxp.nofe.me

If you have a blog, please update your link to: http://gnxp.nofe.me. It will help me with getting some PageRank (I’m also going to point the front page of http://gnxp.com to the new site).

There will be some changes and flux. I’m starting “my own thing” over at N of Everyone, where I’m working with some friends to develop a new way of disseminating science to the masses. That is, I’m not just going to be a blogger, but am taking an active role in running the shop. A few of the big ideas motivating this move can be found in the piece I coauthored with David Mittleman from a few years back, Dragging scientific publishing into the 21st century. So expect the newest iteration of Gene Expression to be somewhat more experimental in terms of playing around with feature set and evolving more over time.

Also, honestly I’m not sure that Twitter will be around in its current form in another five years, so the Gene Expression at N of Everyone is going to be my attempt to create an independent platform so that I can communicate to who I want to communicate without relying on intermediaries…indefinitely (as long as I’m interesting in doing this, my professional path is definitely going to remain in science so I can express my opinions honestly without having to toe party lines).

Addendum: I’ll be moderating comments here for a bit as long as stray threads continue as long as Ron lets me continue with my permissions, but eventually I’ll stop checking.

November 29, 2016

Tad Williams’ Revisits Osten Ard

Filed under: Fantasy,Miscellaneous — Razib Khan @ 11:30 am
Tad Williams has a new book set in Osten Ard, The Heart of What Was Lost. At only 224 pages it seems more like a novella compared to what he produced for his original series. The last of that of that trilogy, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, To Green Angel Tower, weighed in at more than...

November 28, 2016

Hipster Video Gaming

Filed under: Miscellaneous,video games — Razib Khan @ 12:50 am
I began playing video games as a child after the crash of 1983. At the time I wasn't aware of the tumult in the culture and the technology scene that that had caused. Video games were just fun, not the it thing I suppose. Perhaps as an analogy it would be like getting online in...

November 27, 2016

Top Books Purchased Through This Site

Filed under: Books,Miscellaneous — Razib Khan @ 6:13 pm
So I have an Amazon referrer account. I've had one since 2003. Pretty much I use it to get money when people buy books (or other items) through links here. It's a non-trivial, though not princely, sum of money. Especially since it's passive. These are books I've read and want to talk about anyhow (usually...

Top books purchased through this site

Filed under: Books,Miscellaneous — Razib Khan @ 4:54 pm

51OftfuYlSL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_So I have an Amazon referrer account. I’ve had one since 2003. Pretty much I use it to get money when people buy books (or other items) through links here. It’s a non-trivial, though not princely, sum of money. Especially since it’s passive. These are books I’ve read and want to talk about anyhow (usually around Christmas someone follows a book link, and ends up purchasing a computer or two, which is a way of “supporting my work” that I can get behind).

But one of the more interesting side effects is that I can see what my readers are buying (or if they are). For example, it heartens me when I see someone purchase Principles of Population Genetics. That means “I’m making a difference,” as I doubt that these are advanced undergraduates or graduate students. An interesting aspect is that I can see what interests people in terms of “clickbait”, before clickbait was a thing. Bobbi S. Low’s Why Sex Matters routinely gets a lot of clicks because of the title, despite the fact that I don’t flog it. In contrast, In Gods We Trust gets a lot of clicks because I tell people to read it to understand my thinking on religious phenomena.

51gYdVvOoQL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_As the year ends I like to tally books people have ordered. It turns out that the most purchased book through this website for the year leading into December is The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life. For Kindle, it’s Congo: The Epic History of a People.

Another category is conversion rate. In relation to number of clicks what proportion purchase. Tops for the books in that category is Bioinformatics Data Skills: Reproducible and Robust Research with Open Source Tools. My personal experience is that for technical books many people still prefer print for physicality and rendering of figures and graphs. For Kindle the highest conversion was Intelligence: All That Matters and Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. I think there was a “daily deal” or something at one point, and that prompted many purchases of the latter.

1846077Finally, there are books I see which I didn’t recommend, and didn’t know about. An intriguing one off this list is Barry Cunliffe’s By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia. The main issue I’ve had with Cunliffe’s work of late is that he doesn’t seem to be reading enough of the Reich/Willerslev duopoly’s papers. Not that everyone has time to engage in such primary literature diving, but at this point you’re remiss if you write about archaeology and don’t include genetics. Unfortunately a search inside doesn’t indicate that By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean is DNA-heavy, but sometimes you take history and archaeology on its own terms and integrate them into your overall model of the world, rather than having someone else do that for you….

Top books purchased through this site

Filed under: Books,Miscellaneous — Razib Khan @ 4:54 pm

51OftfuYlSL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_So I have an Amazon referrer account. I’ve had one since 2003. Pretty much I use it to get money when people buy books (or other items) through links here. It’s a non-trivial, though not princely, sum of money. Especially since it’s passive. These are books I’ve read and want to talk about anyhow (usually around Christmas someone follows a book link, and ends up purchasing a computer or two, which is a way of “supporting my work” that I can get behind).

But one of the more interesting side effects is that I can see what my readers are buying (or if they are). For example, it heartens me when I see someone purchase Principles of Population Genetics. That means “I’m making a difference,” as I doubt that these are advanced undergraduates or graduate students. An interesting aspect is that I can see what interests people in terms of “clickbait”, before clickbait was a thing. Bobbi S. Low’s Why Sex Matters routinely gets a lot of clicks because of the title, despite the fact that I don’t flog it. In contrast, In Gods We Trust gets a lot of clicks because I tell people to read it to understand my thinking on religious phenomena.

51gYdVvOoQL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_As the year ends I like to tally books people have ordered. It turns out that the most purchased book through this website for the year leading into December is The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life. For Kindle, it’s Congo: The Epic History of a People.

Another category is conversion rate. In relation to number of clicks what proportion purchase. Tops for the books in that category is Bioinformatics Data Skills: Reproducible and Robust Research with Open Source Tools. My personal experience is that for technical books many people still prefer print for physicality and rendering of figures and graphs. For Kindle the highest conversion was Intelligence: All That Matters and Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. I think there was a “daily deal” or something at one point, and that prompted many purchases of the latter.

1846077Finally, there are books I see which I didn’t recommend, and didn’t know about. An intriguing one off this list is Barry Cunliffe’s By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia. The main issue I’ve had with Cunliffe’s work of late is that he doesn’t seem to be reading enough of the Reich/Willerslev duopoly’s papers. Not that everyone has time to engage in such primary literature diving, but at this point you’re remiss if you write about archaeology and don’t include genetics. Unfortunately a search inside doesn’t indicate that By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean is DNA-heavy, but sometimes you take history and archaeology on its own terms and integrate them into your overall model of the world, rather than having someone else do that for you….

Top books purchased through this site

Filed under: Books,Miscellaneous — Razib Khan @ 4:54 pm

51OftfuYlSL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_So I have an Amazon referrer account. I’ve had one since 2003. Pretty much I use it to get money when people buy books (or other items) through links here. It’s a non-trivial, though not princely, sum of money. Especially since it’s passive. These are books I’ve read and want to talk about anyhow (usually around Christmas someone follows a book link, and ends up purchasing a computer or two, which is a way of “supporting my work” that I can get behind).

But one of the more interesting side effects is that I can see what my readers are buying (or if they are). For example, it heartens me when I see someone purchase Principles of Population Genetics. That means “I’m making a difference,” as I doubt that these are advanced undergraduates or graduate students. An interesting aspect is that I can see what interests people in terms of “clickbait”, before clickbait was a thing. Bobbi S. Low’s Why Sex Matters routinely gets a lot of clicks because of the title, despite the fact that I don’t flog it. In contrast, In Gods We Trust gets a lot of clicks because I tell people to read it to understand my thinking on religious phenomena.

51gYdVvOoQL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_As the year ends I like to tally books people have ordered. It turns out that the most purchased book through this website for the year leading into December is The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life. For Kindle, it’s Congo: The Epic History of a People.

Another category is conversion rate. In relation to number of clicks what proportion purchase. Tops for the books in that category is Bioinformatics Data Skills: Reproducible and Robust Research with Open Source Tools. My personal experience is that for technical books many people still prefer print for physicality and rendering of figures and graphs. For Kindle the highest conversion was Intelligence: All That Matters and Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. I think there was a “daily deal” or something at one point, and that prompted many purchases of the latter.

1846077Finally, there are books I see which I didn’t recommend, and didn’t know about. An intriguing one off this list is Barry Cunliffe’s By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia. The main issue I’ve had with Cunliffe’s work of late is that he doesn’t seem to be reading enough of the Reich/Willerslev duopoly’s papers. Not that everyone has time to engage in such primary literature diving, but at this point you’re remiss if you write about archaeology and don’t include genetics. Unfortunately a search inside doesn’t indicate that By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean is DNA-heavy, but sometimes you take history and archaeology on its own terms and integrate them into your overall model of the world, rather than having someone else do that for you….

Top books purchased through this site

Filed under: Books,Miscellaneous — Razib Khan @ 4:54 pm

51OftfuYlSL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_So I have an Amazon referrer account. I’ve had one since 2003. Pretty much I use it to get money when people buy books (or other items) through links here. It’s a non-trivial, though not princely, sum of money. Especially since it’s passive. These are books I’ve read and want to talk about anyhow (usually around Christmas someone follows a book link, and ends up purchasing a computer or two, which is a way of “supporting my work” that I can get behind).

But one of the more interesting side effects is that I can see what my readers are buying (or if they are). For example, it heartens me when I see someone purchase Principles of Population Genetics. That means “I’m making a difference,” as I doubt that these are advanced undergraduates or graduate students. An interesting aspect is that I can see what interests people in terms of “clickbait”, before clickbait was a thing. Bobbi S. Low’s Why Sex Matters routinely gets a lot of clicks because of the title, despite the fact that I don’t flog it. In contrast, In Gods We Trust gets a lot of clicks because I tell people to read it to understand my thinking on religious phenomena.

51gYdVvOoQL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_As the year ends I like to tally books people have ordered. It turns out that the most purchased book through this website for the year leading into December is The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life. For Kindle, it’s Congo: The Epic History of a People.

Another category is conversion rate. In relation to number of clicks what proportion purchase. Tops for the books in that category is Bioinformatics Data Skills: Reproducible and Robust Research with Open Source Tools. My personal experience is that for technical books many people still prefer print for physicality and rendering of figures and graphs. For Kindle the highest conversion was Intelligence: All That Matters and Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. I think there was a “daily deal” or something at one point, and that prompted many purchases of the latter.

1846077Finally, there are books I see which I didn’t recommend, and didn’t know about. An intriguing one off this list is Barry Cunliffe’s By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia. The main issue I’ve had with Cunliffe’s work of late is that he doesn’t seem to be reading enough of the Reich/Willerslev duopoly’s papers. Not that everyone has time to engage in such primary literature diving, but at this point you’re remiss if you write about archaeology and don’t include genetics. Unfortunately a search inside doesn’t indicate that By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean is DNA-heavy, but sometimes you take history and archaeology on its own terms and integrate them into your overall model of the world, rather than having someone else do that for you….

Open Thread, 11/27/2016

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Open Thread — Razib Khan @ 1:18 am
I spruced up my personal website recently. It was getting sort of cluttered. Also, the new theme should look better on mobile. Not sure how long Twitter will be around, but as long as it's around, make sure to follow me. Got my copy of The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason. I'm...

Open Thread, 11/27/2016

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Open Thread — Razib Khan @ 12:26 am

510bcY7t15LI spruced up my personal website recently. It was getting sort of cluttered. Also, the new theme should look better on mobile.

Not sure how long Twitter will be around, but as long as it’s around, make sure to follow me.

Screenshot 2016-11-27 00.59.01Got my copy of The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason. I’m personally opposed to a term like “atheist Muslim,” because a Muslim by definition to me is not atheist. But the author, Ali Rizvi, is an interesting fellow.

Going to try and get to Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States before Christmas. Don’t know if I’ll get to it, but it’s been on my “to-read” list for a while.

Has anyone ever thought that the novel Musashi was somewhat reminiscent of Cúchulainn? No idea why I think this, but it’s always been on my mind…

I think someone keeps asking about South Asian genetic signatures in Southeast Asia, and I keep forgetting to respond to them. I think there was old (say Iron Age) gene flow from South Asia to various parts of Southeast Asia (basically the cores of Hindu-Buddhist archaic semi-historical polities such as Angkor era Cambodia), and, also more recent gene flow due to colonialism era migration mediated by Europeans. Also, I suspect there was more gene flow from early Holocene Southeast Asia into South Asia than we currently comprehend.

2978777Ten years after first reading it I appreciate Adam K Webb’s Beyond the Global Culture War more. Why? Probably because universal liberal democracy seems less assured as the final stationary state of society in all places now than it did then. It’s an interesting book in part because it attacks the global cultural element with which it is probably easiest to identify me with.

November 20, 2016

Open Thread, 11/20/2016

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Open Thread — Razib Khan @ 4:33 pm

lsWent to Z & Y in San Francisco recently. Second time. Still have to give Mala in Houston better marks. A friend who has been to both agrees.

Been busy working recently. But obviously a lot is going on in science and non-science….

Open Thread, 11/20/2016

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Open Thread — Razib Khan @ 4:33 pm
Went to Z & Y in San Francisco recently. Second time. Still have to give Mala in Houston better marks. A friend who has been to both agrees. Been busy working recently. But obviously a lot is going on in science and non-science....

July 3, 2011

Brahui are something old, not new

Filed under: Balochi,balochistan,brahui,Miscellaneous — Razib Khan @ 1:23 pm

From Wikipedia:

The ethnonym "Brahui" is a very old term and a purely Dravidian one. The fact that other Dravidian languages only exist further south in India has led to several specualations about the orgins of the Brahui. There are three hypotheses regarding the Brahui that have been proposed by academics. One theory is that the Brahui as a relic population of Dravidians, surrounded by speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, remaining from a time when Dravidian was more widespread. Another theory is that they migrated to Baluchistan from inner India during the early Muslim period of the 13th or 14th centuries. More established theory says the Brahui migrated to Balochistan from central India after 1000 CE. The absence of any older Iranian (Avestan) influence in Brahui supports this hypothesis. The main Iranian contributor to Brahui vocabulary is a western Iranian language like Kurdish.

A lot of ADMIXTURE plots I've seen are more consistent with the first (indigenous) than the latter two (exogenous) models. Here's a result for K = 9 with ~90,000 markers:


The Balochi and Brahui aren't too different. The Brahui are "less South Asian" broadly speaking than Pathans, let alone Sindhis. This is not easy to explain if the group arrived from deeper in India ~1,000 years ago. One can explain it through admixture with the local substrate, but take a look at the individual bar plots:

The Brahui look to be somewhat less cosmopolitan than the Balochi, and less South Asian. Balochi is a Northwest Iranian language, like Kurdish. This points to an intrusive history of this group in the current region which it dominates. If the Brahui and Baloch are both intrusive, I suspect that the latter are more recent than the former. Then there is a population X which serves as the basis for the "Brahui component." I would bet that there wasn't a population X, that the Brahui are the relics of population X.

Turks and Pathans

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Pathans — Razib Khan @ 1:00 pm

Of interest to readers on this weblog: Pathan parahistory.

July 2, 2011

The Pakistan genome

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Pakistan Genome — Razib Khan @ 10:58 am

Some posts elsewhere:

- The Pakistani genome

- When will the first Jehovah’s Witness be sequenced?

June 24, 2011

Every South Asian “Arab” a descendant of Muhammad!

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Syed — Razib Khan @ 1:23 pm

Y chromosomes of self-identified Syeds from the Indian subcontinent show evidence of elevated Arab ancestry but not of a recent common patrilineal origin:

Several cultural or religious groups claim descent from a common ancestor. The extent to which this claimed ancestry is real or socially constructed can be assessed by means of genetic studies. Syed is a common honorific title given to male Muslims belonging to certain families claiming descent from the Prophet Muhammad through his grandsons Hassan and Hussein, who lived 1,400 years ago and were the sons of the Prophet’s daughter Fatima. If all Syeds really are in direct descent from Hassan and Hussein, we would expect the Y chromosomes of Syeds to be less diverse than those of non-Syeds. Outside the Arab world, we would also expect to find that Syeds share Y chromosomes with Arab populations to a greater extent than they do with their non-Syed geographic neighbours. In this study, we found that the Y chromosomes of self-identified Syeds from India and Pakistan are no less diverse than those non-Syeds from the same regions, suggesting that there is no biological basis to the belief that self-identified Syeds in this part of the world share a recent common ancestry. In addition to Syeds, we also considered members of other hereditary Muslim lineages, which either claim descent from the tribe or family of Muhammad or from the residents of Medinah. Here, we found that these lineages showed greater affinity to geographically distant Arab populations, than to their neighbours from the Indian subcontinent, who do not belong to an Islamic honorific lineage.

The results are pretty simple. First:

1) The Syed lineages don't exhibit a "Syed modal haplotype." What you should see is a Syed haplotype of ~50%, and then a range of other lineages which introgressed through people lying about their origins or women being unfaithful to their husbands. Instead there are a wide range of haplotypes. Being Syed is an honorific.

2) I don't think that they really prove higher Arab ancestry as such. They include really diverse populations, from Algerians to Israeli Arabs to Sudanese. The Islamic Honorific Lineages are somewhat closer to these groups, but that could be generic West Asian ancestry. For example, Persian. Or perhaps more African ancestry in cosmopolitan Syed lineages. Or, perhaps Syeds are just former high caste Hindus, who have more West Asian affinities.

Below is the PCA and list of Y chromosomal haplogroups. The paper is free at the link above.


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