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

December 9, 2018

Brown Pundits – Episode 4, three Hindus talk about the Golden Age of Islam

Filed under: Podcast — Razib Khan @ 12:20 pm

The latest BP Podcast is up. You can listen on Libsyn, iTunes and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

Thanks to everyone who reviewed the podcast! Please leave more 5-star reviews. If this podcasts interests enough people I’ll be getting us on other platforms.

Note: Using the older context of Hindu.

November 25, 2018

Questions for the genetics of India podcast….

Filed under: Podcast — Razib Khan @ 1:53 am

Zach, Omar, and myself will do a podcast on Indian genetics next week. I already did one on this topic for my main podcast, so I’m curious what readers of this weblog want to hear about. We can’t guarantee we’ll use the questions, but it’s possible. I think the format will mostly involve Zach and Omar leading the conversation and I’ll try to talk as fast and concisely as possible.

Also, we got our first review on iTunes. Would still like to get some on Stitcher. And in case people want to hear more from me, I was a guest on the Two for Tea podcast. My episode should drop in the next day or so.

November 18, 2018

Brown Pundits Podcast #2 – Asia Bibi and Colorism

Filed under: Podcast — Razib Khan @ 12:53 pm

The latest BP Podcast is up. You can listen on Libsyn, iTunes and Stitcher. Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe at one of the links above.

The title makes it clear what we talked about this week. It as a long podcast at more than one and a half hours. Would appreciate it if some people reviewed the podcast positively on iTunes and Stitcher.

October 13, 2018

Brown Pundits podcast, the Browncast episode 1

Filed under: Podcast — Razib Khan @ 11:02 pm

I’ve already submitted to iTunes and Stitcher. So I’ll post those links for those of you who want to subscribe that way….

October 8, 2018

Brown Pundits Browncast

Filed under: Podcast — Razib Khan @ 8:58 pm

So at some point the Brown Pundits “browncast” (as opposed to brown caste) is a go. I’m not going to submit to Itunes or Stitcher until we have a podcast recorded and up.

September 19, 2018

The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 2: The Greatest Human Journey

Filed under: Genetics,hawaii,Podcast,science — Razib Khan @ 8:10 pm

This week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Google Play) we touched upon arguably one of the greatest human journeys of humankind, the expansion of the Polynesians across the Pacific.

Bishop Museum

Spencer discussed his visit to the Bishop Museum in Hawaii.

We discussed broadly the interesting confluence of biology, geology, and history one can see in Hawaii. The book The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life discusses the biogeographic characteristics of many islands, including Hawaii.

We discussed the context of Polynesian languages and culture as part of the broader zone of Austronesian language and culture.

The extent of Austronesian languages

Austronesian societies spread over the last 6,000 years from Taiwan to the far west in Madagascar, and far east in Easter Island. The expansion into Polynesia was prefigured by the expansion of the Lapita culture between 1500 BC and 500 BC.

The Lapita culture is defined by its unique pottery. But curiously the usage of pottery disappeared among the Polynesians, the likely later descendants of the Lapita people. Razib mentioned how there is some evidence that cultural bottlenecks and small populations can result in loss of skills such as pottery.

On the other hand, Spencer pointed out that the Polynesians also did not practice rice agriculture, unlike other Austronesian societies. Instead, they expanded with a cultural toolkit of taro, which likely was adopted from the peoples of Near Oceania, New Guinea, and Melanesia.

Sweet Potato

Additionally, Spencer brought up the fact that the cultivation of sweet potatoes in Polynesia likely indicates contact between Polynesians and the peoples of South America. The genomic evidence that Polynesian sweet potatoes derive from South American ones is conflicted. Spencer mentioned that the word for “sweet potato” in Quechua, the language of highland Peru, is kumar. In Hawaiian, it is ku ala.

We mentioned in passing Thor Heyerdahl’s view that there was a South American migration to Polynesia. But the genetic, cultural, and archaeological evidence does not support this.

The Polynesian mtDNA motif was mentioned. With a high frequency in Polynesia, the mtDNA lineage seems to have spread from the west, in line with the idea of a migration to the east. In contrast, the Polynesian Y chromosomes show a mix of Asian and Melanesian heritage.

Much of the arguments hinge on the argument of whether the expansion of Austronesians into the Pacific was via the “slow boat” or “express train” model. The slow boat model suggests widespread cultural and genetic mixture gradually with the Austronesian expansion through Melanesia. The express train model implies a more rapid migration with far less interaction. Culturally the adoption of taro cultivation aligns with the slow boat thesis. As does the existence of Melanesian Y chromosomes across the range of Polynesians. But the overwhelming Asian nature of Polynesian mtDNA lineages fits the express train model.

One way that scholars have reconciled this is that there was a slow expansion of the Lapita people, but that they only assimilated Papuan and Melanesian men into their matrilineal communities. This broad framework was reinforced with the publication of genetic results from native Hawaiians, which showed a minority ancestry from a Papuan-like population.

But wait, there was a twist! Ancient DNA now shows that the Lapita people had almost no admixture with Melanesian people! Follow-up results from Vanuatu and Tonga confirm that the Lapita people had no admixture from Melanesians. Rather, in Vanuatu 2,500 years ago the Lapita people are replaced by an almost entirely Melanesian population, and the Melanesian ancestry begins to show up in Polynesians after this period. The conclusion then is there were multiple migrations into Polynesia!

Spencer and I concluded that the broad sketch is now established, but a lot of complicated details need to be worked out. Instead of express trains or slow boats, some researchers now wonder if Polynesia was more like a subway network.

Interested in learning where your ancestors came from? Check out Regional Ancestry by Insitome to discover various regional migration stories and more!


The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 2: The Greatest Human Journey was originally published in Insitome on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

May 2, 2018

The Insight, Episode 19: Roberta Estes, the Golden State Killer, and forensic genetics

Filed under: Podcast,The Insight — Razib Khan @ 11:26 pm


Last week Spencer & I took a break from The Insight. We’re at 71 iTunes ratings. I would appreciate it if readers of this weblog could help us make it to 100 (then I’ll stop pestering you). Also, we only have 5 reviews on Stitcher.

This week we’re talking to Roberta Estes about the arrest of the suspect in the “Golden State Killings”. We kind put this together really quickly since it seemed relevant, and Roberta, Spencer and I have some competency in this area (we’ve all been talking to science journalists). The biggest takeaway from our conversation is that we were a little surprised that it took this long to apply 21st century genomics to forensics.

When I first heard about the arrest I told my wife that it probably was due to a relative match on something like GEDMatch. After the media reported that it was a “new method” I dismissed my supposition because relative matches aren’t a new or novel thing. Well, it turned out that’s exactly what they were talking about!

A lot of the story here is how law enforcement snapped a bunch of pieces together that were out there. The horse has left the barn, and everyone is trying to figure out how to deal with it.

April 11, 2018

The Insight, episode 17: Stuart Ritchie, intelligence and genes

Filed under: Podcast,Stuart Ritchie,The Insight — Razib Khan @ 10:38 pm


On this week’s episode of The Insight (Stitcher and Google Play) we talk to Stuart Ritchie, a postdoc in Ian Deary’s lab, about recent developments in cognition and genomics. There’s a reason that Deary gets some time in She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, his group is publishing some really interesting work.

Before we get to the good stuff, Stuart gives us a quick review of general intelligence and why it matters. If you want a book-length treatment then own book should suffice, Intelligence: All That Matters. Richard Haier’s The Neuroscience of Intelligence goes a little more into the “wet biology” aspect of the brain if that is more your style.

There are two reasons I wanted us to have Stuart on the podcast.

First, psychometrics is not a field which was hit by the replication crisis. It’s a pretty robust and reliable discipline. Companies such as the Educational Testing Service (ETS) rely on the predictive power of the constructs in the field to sell their products. And yet most well-educated people don’t really know much about intelligence testing except that it has been “debunked” by the Mismeasure of Man.

Because people don’t understand the history of intelligence testing (i.e., it enabled the meritocracy by removing the importance of “polish” and “good breeding”) it’s easy for American graduate schools to do things like removing the GRE as a criterion on admissions. Privately some academics have told me that this will mostly result in increasing the importance of undergraduate education and pedigree (because anti-GRE sentiment has become connected to “social justice” I think it’s removal is a fait accompli).

Second, the field of cognitive genomics is moving through a major turning point. A publication like this in January, A combined analysis of genetically correlated traits identifies 187 loci and a role for neurogenesis and myelination in intelligence, is going to be superseded in months. I’m not speculating. I know this as a fact, and so do many others. Where will we be in two years?

Ray Kurzweil has many ideas. Some of them interesting, some kooky, and some of them wrong. But one idea he’s promoted which I think is correct is humans are not good at modeling exponential rates of growth. The field of psychometric genomics is now moving into the steep phase of ascent, as sample sizes go well above 1 million, and some researchers shift from proxy characteristics such as education and delve into raw intelligence test scores. Most people “outside of the know” are about to smash into the concrete before they even know it’s coming up at them….

The Insight, episode 17: Stuart Ritchie, intelligence and genes

Filed under: Podcast,Stuart Ritchie,The Insight — Razib Khan @ 10:38 pm


On this week’s episode of The Insight (Stitcher and Google Play) we talk to Stuart Ritchie, a postdoc in Ian Deary’s lab, about recent developments in cognition and genomics. There’s a reason that Deary gets some time in She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, his group is publishing some really interesting work.

Before we get to the good stuff, Stuart gives us a quick review of general intelligence and why it matters. If you want a book-length treatment then own book should suffice, Intelligence: All That Matters. Richard Haier’s The Neuroscience of Intelligence goes a little more into the “wet biology” aspect of the brain if that is more your style.

There are two reasons I wanted us to have Stuart on the podcast.

First, psychometrics is not a field which was hit by the replication crisis. It’s a pretty robust and reliable discipline. Companies such as the Educational Testing Service (ETS) rely on the predictive power of the constructs in the field to sell their products. And yet most well-educated people don’t really know much about intelligence testing except that it has been “debunked” by the Mismeasure of Man.

Because people don’t understand the history of intelligence testing (i.e., it enabled the meritocracy by removing the importance of “polish” and “good breeding”) it’s easy for American graduate schools to do things like removing the GRE as a criterion on admissions. Privately some academics have told me that this will mostly result in increasing the importance of undergraduate education and pedigree (because anti-GRE sentiment has become connected to “social justice” I think it’s removal is a fait accompli).

Second, the field of cognitive genomics is moving through a major turning point. A publication like this in January, A combined analysis of genetically correlated traits identifies 187 loci and a role for neurogenesis and myelination in intelligence, is going to be superseded in months. I’m not speculating. I know this as a fact, and so do many others. Where will we be in two years?

Ray Kurzweil has many ideas. Some of them interesting, some kooky, and some of them wrong. But one idea he’s promoted which I think is correct is humans are not good at modeling exponential rates of growth. The field of psychometric genomics is now moving into the steep phase of ascent, as sample sizes go well above 1 million, and some researchers shift from proxy characteristics such as education and delve into raw intelligence test scores. Most people “outside of the know” are about to smash into the concrete before they even know it’s coming up at them….

February 8, 2018

Reflecting on Journey of Man 15 years later

Filed under: Podcast,The Insight — Razib Khan @ 6:44 pm

Journey of Man, Spencer Wells’ book and documentary, came out 15 years ago. To a great extent the impact of TV is such that one can argue it introduced genetic anthropology to a whole generation.

A lot has happened since then. On this week’s The Insight we review what’s happened since then, and how Spencer, who started out a conventional academic scientist, became a documentarian.

If you subscribe on iTunes, Sticher or Google Play, make sure to post a review.

January 31, 2018

Facebook AMA with Spencer Wells & myself

Filed under: AMA,Media,Podcast — Razib Khan @ 8:02 pm

Spencer and I are doing a Facebook live AMA at 2 PM EDT/1 PM CDT/12 PM MDT/11 AM PDT on the 1st of February (tomorrow as of when I’m writing this). People will ask us questions, and the questions will be relayed to us, and we’ll answer live on video.

In other ‘media’ news our podcast with Joe Pickrell of Gencove, Ancestry Deconvoluted, is now live.

Finally, there has been some talk about me doing a Reddit AMA. Thoughts?

December 13, 2017

My new podcast with Spencer Wells

Filed under: Podcast — Razib Khan @ 9:42 am

Spencer Wells and I have a new podcast, The Insight. On the first episode, we’ll be talking about the Neolithic revolution.

We’ve already got several more in the pipeline that will come out in the next few weeks (being edited), including one with John Hawks. This will be a regular thing, so please subscribe!

My new podcast with Spencer Wells

Filed under: Podcast — Razib Khan @ 9:42 am

Spencer Wells and I have a new podcast, The Insight. On the first episode, we’ll be talking about the Neolithic revolution.

We’ve already got several more in the pipeline that will come out in the next few weeks (being edited), including one with John Hawks. This will be a regular thing, so please subscribe!

Update: Also see: http://insitome.libsyn.com/website.

Update: Here is the podcast embedded:

April 13, 2010

ResearchBlogCast II

Filed under: Blog,Podcast,ResearchBlogCast — Razib Khan @ 10:49 am

It’s up. This time we discuss lactose intolerance in ancient Swedes. Dave has submitted it to iTunes, so I’ll put a notice up when that’s ready.

April 5, 2010

Introducing ResearchBlogCast

Filed under: Blog,Podcast,ResearchBlogCast — Razib Khan @ 11:00 am

I’ll be doing a weekly podcast with Kevin Zelnio & Dave Munger which we’ll post online early every week. The first one is up over at Research Blogging. Dave will probably set it up on iTunes at some point.

Powered by WordPress