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

September 16, 2013

Comments

Filed under: Admin,Comments — Razib Khan @ 12:18 am
Because of registration spam being a persistent problem on this weblog I have moved comments to a Disqus system. In the future I will allow WordPress comments to be displayed for archives, though they are gone for now….

May 8, 2013

Who the hell are you?

Filed under: Admin — Razib Khan @ 10:14 pm
I have no idea who reads this blog anymore. Who are you?

April 22, 2013

Natural selection in the comments

Filed under: Admin,Comments — Razib Khan @ 10:47 am
I’ve been busy with things besides blogging (in any case, this is not my primary blog; I have one I actually get paid to write for another one). But when I read the comments I’m a little surprised at how … Continue reading

December 1, 2012

My posts are no B.S. zone

Filed under: Admin — Razib Khan @ 3:01 am

In my private offline life I have taken to demanding people bet me $10 when they make an assertion that I suspect is wrong. I’ve won enough money now because I tend to do this only when I’m confident about facts, which is often, that I’ve now gotten several people to back off and just admit that they are probably wrong when I challenge them to put their money where their mouth is. I do this because life is short, and I won’t tolerate bullshit which wastes my time. There are easier ways to make money, but as Alex Tabarrok has noted bets are a tax on bullshit. Unless I’m joking I mean what I say, and I usually say things strongly when I am highly confident about what I’m saying. If I don’t know, I’ll admit it.

This is on my mind because of a frustrating exchange below with BP contributor SidDutta. To not put a too find a point on it I feel that he was caught in a moderately dumb implication, and he should have just admitted that and qualified it appropriately (which he somewhat did later). Instead of cutting the exchange short by admitting his slip up he began to barrage me with only tangentially relevant facts and lines of argument. In response to an analogy with circumcision he fired up Google and amplified his whole ignorance of this topic.

SidDutta is a contributor to this weblog, and a more frequent presence here than I myself am at this point. He has some license and liberty, though I think I made my displeasure with his behavior clear on that thread. But understand very clearly that if you try and pull bullshit on my threads you may simply be banned without warning. I think I need to say this because the ‘community’ here growing quite a bit, and Zach et al. run a more laissez faire ship than I am wont to do.That is entirely proper, as this weblog is not my primary focus. The norms will develop in a direction out of my control, or even perception. But as a co-founder of this website I will assert the privilege to control my own threads and enforce a tone which is aligned with my values. So just avoid commenting on my posts, or be on your best behavior. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. It’s a good prior model to assume I won’t be interested in what you have to say unless you actually know a fair amount about a topic.

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August 16, 2012

A survey on genes, behavior, etc.

Filed under: Admin,Administration — Razib Khan @ 10:39 pm

First, a minor note. People have repeatedly mentioned my Pinboard in the comments. This surprised me, as the kind of things I bookmark for later are very diverse and…interesting I suppose. Out of curiosity I checked to see how many people had used Google Reader to subscribe, and it was 27! Anyway, if you want to see what I’m bookmarking every day, then here’s the RSS (and if you like that, subscribe to Jason Malloy’s Delicious feed).

Second, I want some reader feedback on a survey design. I normally ask questions on reader surveys about attitudes toward things like sex differences. I want to do something similar, but in more in-depth. I’d also like to ask readers about genetically modified organisms and other such things. The reason I’m putting this post up is that I always get complaints about the wording of questions no matter how precise I try to be. So enter in questions, and demographic variables, that you think might be interesting. I’m not a patient person, so I’ll probably put up the survey next week.

July 6, 2012

Reflections on 10 years in science blogging

Filed under: Admin,Blog — Razib Khan @ 10:38 pm

I’ve been thinking that I should post about what it’s been like being a blogger for 10 years. 1/3 of my recollected life! (I recall fragments of being 3, but continuity of self starts somewhere at the end of my 4th year) Actually, I always assumed I would do this post in 2012 when I joined ScienceBlogs in 2006 and realized I could turn this hobby/sidelight into a source of semi-professional fulfillment. But now that the time is nigh (I started blogging in April 2002, while the original Gene Expression launched in June of 2002) I find myself procrastinating, ironic in light of the fact that blogging is often parodied by some as a form of procrastinating. I will say that whenever I have a “9-5″ (or, in my case more often an 8:30 to 6:30 at minimum) I don’t ever write for the blog during those hours (if a post shows up in that period, it’s a feature called scheduling enabling that miracle, something obviously unknown to those readers who stupidly ask “why are you posting now loser! Shouldn’t you be hittin’ on bangin’ chicks, like I am on Friday nights?”). So blogging is not a way procrastinate for ...

July 4, 2012

Minor note

Filed under: Admin — Razib Khan @ 12:21 pm

Old comments have been showing up in new threads. I’ve removed old comments for now. I have archives of them, so they will be back for Google. But right now it is more convenient to yank them. Sorry for the confusion.

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June 28, 2012

The end of blog & comments

Filed under: Admin,Administration — Razib Khan @ 10:39 pm

Chad Orzel may be giving up blogging. And no, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke. He’s been at it for 10 years, so no big surprise. I may be where he is at some point in the near future. For me, I always have something to say (or at least I think it’s worth saying!). But writing takes a little time out of my day, and many days I’m not gifted with a surplus of time. So we’ll see. I’ve been telling people I might give up blogging since 2004, and it just never seems to happen. But I never had a small person with whom I enjoyed wrestling with before.


Second, Sean Carroll has a funny post up on comment policy. Over the 10 years of running my own blog(s) I’ve shifted in my own perspective and outlook. In the beginning I was rather laissez faire. But it became rather obvious that most people were either stupid or ignorant, or, they took advantage of the anonymity of the internet to waste other peoples’ time. The biggest issue which I think some readers don’t seem to internalize well is that not only am I engaging comments, I’m ...

June 3, 2012

10 years of Gene Expression

Filed under: Admin,Gene Expression — Razib Khan @ 11:54 pm

Just thought I would mention that a few days ago the weblog Gene Expression has been around for 10 years. I won’t say much more at this point because of time constraints. But I wanted to enter it into the record, as well as admitting two minor points. I often used to say in the early days that my foray into blogging was rather a coincidence. I was playing around with the JSP/Servlet platform and wrote up a primitive blog software which I decided to test with my own weblog…and somehow one thing led to another. But I’m 99% sure now that at some point I would have started a weblog, and soon in relation to 2002. Second, of late I notice that Gawker is occasionally mentioned in the media as the locus for various politically correct outrages. If you had asked me 10 years ago that Gawker would be such a banal and conventional website I would have been surprised. The founding editor of Gawker was an occasional contributor to the first incarnation of GNXP in 2002. People tend to idealize the early blogosphere too much, there was a lot of stupid Iraq warblogging going on (I was part of it to some extent), but there definitely was some amalgamation of heterodoxy. Today the blogosphere reflects the mainstream media by and large.

October 30, 2011

Notes on comments

Filed under: Admin,Blog — Razib Khan @ 1:59 am

I dislike cluttering this site with administrative notes, but I want to put this post up as a reference for the future. It’s not really aimed at regular readers/commenters, who know the explicit and implicit norms.

1) If you use quotation marks, make sure that you’re actually quoting something your interlocutor said, rather than adding them for effect (yes, believe it or not, people have quoted me, where the “quotes” were actually their own interpretation of what I intended)

2) It is generally not best to paraphrase someone else’s argument in your own words as a prologue to your own comment. Just quote the appropriate sections of text in your reply if you want it to frame your response. If you are engaging in paraphrasing to distill the argument of your interlocutor down to a pith, understand that subconscious tendencies are such that you’ll reshape that argument to better suit your response. In other words, you’re probably arguing with your own conception of their argument, not their argument as such. More maliciously some people just paraphrase because it makes setting up a straw man so much easier. That’s not nice. I have wasted a fair amount of time rereading posts to try and figure out how commenters came to a particular perception of my argument. I don’t take kindly to people telling me what I obviously really think, when I point out that their perception was wrong.

3) From that you can gather that inferring “between the lines” isn’t appropriate in most cases. It is part of normal human cognition, and you can’t help it to some extent. But being too liberal about the practice means that you’ll just distort the argument of the other person, who then has to waste their time correcting your misunderstandings. This gums up the exchanges because people have only a finite amount of time. Read as plainly as possible.

4) There’s no presumption here of symmetry. If the host asks you a direct question, answer and don’t evade. If the host tells you to drop a topic, don’t make the case for why you shouldn’t drop the topic. Wasting time trying to argue these issues is a banning offense.

5) I’m busy, and getting busier. I don’t respond well to people wasting my time. Some of the other commenters are busy too. It’s important to make exchanges “count.” Excessive posturing, and an obvious fixation on “winning” arguments with clever ripostes, are bannable offensives.

I’m not taking comments on this post, because as I said this post is more a placeholder so I don’t have to have the same stale argument over & over.

Note: See this companion post.

Notes on comments

Filed under: Admin,Blog — Razib Khan @ 1:59 am

I dislike cluttering this site with administrative notes, but I want to put this post up as a reference for the future. It’s not really aimed at regular readers/commenters, who know the explicit and implicit norms.

1) If you use quotation marks, make sure that you’re actually quoting something your interlocutor said, rather than adding them for effect (yes, believe it or not, people have quoted me, where the “quotes” were actually their own interpretation of what I intended)

2) It is generally not best to paraphrase someone else’s argument in your own words as a prologue to your own comment. Just quote the appropriate sections of text in your reply if you want it to frame your response. If you are engaging in paraphrasing to distill the argument of your interlocutor down to a pith, understand that subconscious tendencies are such that you’ll reshape that argument to better suit your response. In other words, you’re probably arguing with your own conception of their argument, not their argument as such. More maliciously some people just paraphrase because it makes setting up a straw man so much easier. That’s not nice. I have wasted a fair amount of time rereading posts to try and figure out how commenters came to a particular perception of my argument. I don’t take kindly to people telling me what I obviously really think, when I point out that they’re perception was wrong.

3) From that you can gather that inferring “between the lines” isn’t appropriate in most cases. It is part of normal human cognition, and you can’t help it to some extent. But being too liberal about the practice means that you’ll just distort the argument of the other person, who then has to waste their time correcting your misunderstandings. This gums up the exchanges because people have only a finite amount of time. Read as plainly as possible.

4) There’s no presumption here of symmetry. If the host asks you a direct question, answer and don’t evade. If the host tells you to drop a topic, don’t make the case for why you shouldn’t drop the topic. Wasting time trying to argue these issues is a banning offense.

5) I’m busy, and getting busier. I don’t respond well to people wasting my time. Some of the other commenters are busy too. It’s important to make exchanges “count.” Excessive posturing, and an obvious fixation on “winning” arguments with clever ripostes, are bannable offensives.

I’m not taking comments on this post, because as I said this post is more a placeholder so I don’t have to have the same stale argument over & over.

Note: See this companion post.

July 11, 2011

Comments getting caught in spam

Filed under: Admin,Blog,Comments — Razib Khan @ 9:39 am

This occurs every now and then…legit comments without copious numbers of links get caught in the spam filter. Regular commenter Michelle has had her comments tagged as spam twice since she’s changed her back-link URL to Scientific American. Today she tweeted me, and I noticed 4 other people who were also false-positived in the filter. To my knowledge these were all people whose comments I’d approved before. If your comment doesn’t show up after 24 hours (or immediately if you are a regular who has been approved already), please feel free to ping me via twitter, facebook, or email me at contactgnxp -at- gmail -dot- com. I apologize in advance for the inconvenience. There’s no way I can scan the spam manually, since there’s always thousands of fake-comments about how awesome my blog is in passable English to wade through. So make sure to tell me what your handle is.

June 17, 2011

Friday Fluff – June 17th, 2011

Filed under: Admin,Blog,Friday Fluff — Razib Khan @ 1:46 pm

FF3

1) Post from the past: The biological bases of behavioral variation.


2) Weird search query of the week: “clothedpornstars.” OK, so now I know what this is. But are there stars in this kink-genre?

3) Comment of the week, in response to “Does heritability of political orientation matter?”:

” This is why heritabilities of being conservative and liberal can remain the same over time and across cultures, even though conservative and liberal can mean very different things in different contexts.”
Possibly, but there’s a physiological basis underlying the liberal/conservative bias. The latter has been traced to differencies in dopamine neurotransmitter chemistry which are innate to the individual:

http://www.americanthinker.com//blog/2010/11/genetics_and_politics.html

This does not change with external circumstance. Accordingly, Liberals are feelings-driven and respond to political issues emotionally. They cherry-pick facts that support their pre-conceived conclusion. Conservatives are logic-driven, weigh all the facts and reason sequentially to a conclusion. Liberals cherish security; Conservatives cherish liberty. All else stems from those values.

4) And finally, your weekly fluff fix:

June 16, 2011

Editors!

Filed under: Admin — Razib Khan @ 3:31 am

Mr. Eurasian Sensation pointed out to me that I keep misspelling his handle. Fair enough. But out of curiosity, and I double checked. Everyone who can post on this weblog is an “editor.” So if you see something that needs scrubbing, get to it! If you wish that is.

(a few of you were “authors,” I promoted you)

May 27, 2011

Comments in the republic of Khan

Filed under: Admin,Administration,Blog,Comments,Comments Policy — Razib Khan @ 11:09 am

So today I received an email from regular commenter German Dziebel:

Razib, what’s your relationship with the Discover Magazine? Up until now I thought of your blog as more or less a public forum, rather than a private franchise. Please clarify, so we don’t bicker about ethics in public.

I have no idea what German precisely means by “public forum” or “private franchise,” though I have a general sense. Discover Magazine pays me to blog. I also have an editor who I consult now and then. For example when I discussed traffic patterns to this website I asked if that would be OK, since I know that sort of information is often material sites like to keep somewhat private. When Marnie Dunsmore threatened to sue me for “stealing her ideas” I shot an email to the editor to notify him of her strange accusations. But in general my communication with Discover Magazine is limited to technical issues, as well as some exchanges of ideas and topics to post on (this isn’t formal, the editor knows the kind of stories and papers I dig, and will send me an email or point a tweet my way).

I like it that way. It gives me ...

May 11, 2011

Words

Filed under: Admin,Culture — Razib Khan @ 6:02 pm

So I’m a little “harsh” on this weblog…but someone in the comments below used a term in a manner which I did perceive to be misogynistic. I think I will try and “soften” up a bit, and hope that cleans up the discourse somewhat. I have my reasons for being harsh with certain classes of people, but the thing about glasses houses probably is warranted. By soften though remember that this is Razib-normed :-)

May 4, 2011

Comments, spam, etc.

Filed under: Admin — Razib Khan @ 9:01 am

Legit comments are getting caught as “spam.” Apologize ahead of time.

February 20, 2011

Barbarians, primitives, savages, and decadents

Filed under: Admin,Culture,Multiculturalism — Razib Khan @ 10:42 pm

I was having a discussion with a friend today about how we have no language with which to discuss cultural differences which don’t exhibit a “Whiggish” bias in history, or don’t allude to Golden Ages from which we have Fallen. In other words, our theories of cultural variation tend to be chronocentric; other societies are simply placed into the past, or are projected as a state of fall in the future. For example, many people simply did not understand my specific or general point in regards to cultural variation in Islam. The specific point was that the word Islamist is just a word with instrumental utility. Saying that an Egyptian is “secular” and a Turk is “Islamist” does not make the former necessarily a “good guy” and the latter necessarily a “bad guy.” Second, the general point is that we need to move beyond the tendency to frame Others as good guys and bad guys, with ourselves as the reference point.


This is not to say I have no ideas of what Good and Bad are. I think dressing up your women like ninjas-without-knives is Bad. I thinking women covering their hair for reasons of modesty is not necessarily Good or Bad. But, these sorts of judgments come from the background of values which I hold, derived from my culture. I like my culture. I think it is beautiful, and praiseworthy. There is no shame in that. We are what we are, and wish to maintain our integrity into the future. In fact, I think it’s more beautiful and praiseworthy than other cultures, even if there’s nothing wrong with other cultures. It is mine.

But, just because I think less of other cultures, does not necessarily mean that other cultures need to be forced to be like mine. People have choice, and can organize society how they wish, within reason. “Within reason” is contingent upon the consensus of civilized people. Slavery is outside that consensus. Arguably sex segregation is not. The Saudi treatment of women does not seem to be a causa belli or cause célèbre, though I think if it were enforced upon a racial minority it would be (I am very saddened by this consensus that gross sex discrimination is less objectionable than gross race discrimination, but that’s another post).

Societies organized differently than our own are not necessarily simply our own society in the past. They may be different in a deep and fundamental sense, operating in a different value space. In other words, difference does not entail “primitive.” The Saudi regime is one which I often term neo-medieval, but it is actually a quite advanced elaboration of a particular a set of ideas and norms enabled by oil wealth. Conversely, the sexual liberality characteristic of the West is not necessarily “decadence.” Rather, it is a feature, not a bug. Whereas barbaric Saudis may view  the Victorian era as the apogee of Western sexual mores, from which we have descended, Westerners may view it as a more primitive and regressed regime.

There is a time and place for Epoché. We have forgotten that in our age.

February 14, 2011

Guest blog @ Sepia Mutiny

Filed under: Admin,Blog — Razib Khan @ 1:25 pm

I will posting now and then @ Sepia Mutiny for a bit. My first post is up.

January 26, 2011

Notes on the future

Filed under: Admin — Razib Khan @ 8:56 pm

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed some changes. Since I moved to Discover blogs I’ve been posting less and less here. Additionally, I’ve been putting some of my shorter less science oriented stuff at Brown Pundits and Secular Right. And I suspect twitter has cannibalized some of the link aggregation function of blogging in general.

So where does this leave this website? The archives are obviously active and useful for many people. Even without any front page content this blog serves 1-2,000 pages per day just as a function of search engines sending traffic to old posts. That’s important. GNXP could turn into an archive site, as I always imagined it would at some point, and still play a vital role in the information ecology.

But I’m not ready to turn this into a hibernating site yet. Kevin and David are still posting obviously. And, because of the traffic and the old links that come to this domain GNXP has good PageRank. My main interest then is to promote science bloggers whose content should “get out there.” So I’ve been soliciting contributions from people now and then with the promise that cross-posting will boost the PageRank of their site and give them some publicity. If you have a weblog with content that I think would fit the front page of this weblog, and are interested in cross-posting, feel free to email me at contactgnxp -at- gmail.com with a link. I’ll add it to my RSS and see if it’s a good fit. If you seem a good candidate for front page privs, I’ll shoot you an email with the details about your login, etc.

Additionally, I’ve modified the column format some. At the top of the sidebar now are a set of articles which come from an aggregation site where I curated various weblog RSS feeds (as well as some google searches). And, there’s always my pinboard and Jason’s delicious. There’s also a footer column now where you can find archives, books, etc.

I’ll probably be tweaking with the format and what not every now and then. All things must change.

Speaking of using PageRank, the Harappa Ancestry Project now has its own domain, http://www.harappadna.org. If you’re South Asian, Iranian, Tibetan, or Burmese, please check it out.

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