March 2006

Game over for the first world?

by Limbic on March 29, 2006

“The plain truth is, if anything happens to upset the current management and allocation system of the the global oil markets, the industrial economies of the world will collapse, and America’s will collapse hardest and worst because of the way we have arranged things for ourselves. The global oil markets currently revolve around Middle East oil production. If the region is overcome by instability, than it’s simply GAME OVER.” Jim Kunstler, author of “The Long Emergency” 27/03/06


From the BBC

As darkness fell at the Place de La Republique, the acrid smell of tear gas drifted through the early evening air.

It mingled with a distinct smell of cannabis as the shouts and jeers of the crowd echoed around this historic square in what has become a Paris springtime of discontent.

These, though, were not the peaceful marchers of earlier in the day but youths who had come intent on violence, seeking running battles with police.

Earlier in the afternoon, hundreds of thousands of protesters had gathered at Place d’Italie in the south of the city.

But the festival atmosphere quickly darkened as a small group of troublemakers began to target trade union stewards trying to keep order on the march.

Those youths smashed the windows of a cafe and soon took on the trade unions’ security men in random brawls, as the peaceful protesters – young and old – continued on their route across the River Seine and on to Place de la Republique.

But once they reached their destination in the eastern city centre, most student demonstrators – and the workers who came out in support of them – quickly left as more youths descended on the square, with the sole aim of picking a fight with the riot police.

These youngsters – aged between 15 and 25 – were wearing hooded tops that obscured their features. Many wore masks, so they could not be identified.

…According to the riot police, many of these youths had come in from the suburbs outside Paris looking for trouble: this violence seen by some as a continuation in Paris city centre of what began in November’s riots in the suburbs.

And the riot police were ready and waiting for it all.

This, after all, has become the ritual ending to almost every demonstration here in Paris, when the protesters go home and the troublemakers, known as “casseurs”, or wreckers, move in for the fight.

France, like many European countries, now has a permanent underclass of immigrant descended young and violent thugs (code phrase: “hooded youths”).

Thanks to the Smart Mobs phenomenon (internet/sms/mobile phones) they can organise themselves quickly and efficiently.

They show up at legitimate demonstrations and gatherings to fight the police or stewards or randomly attack and rob innocent people.

Unless they are dealt with very firmly, we can expect to see riots and mass robberies (like the recent train steaming) by roving bands of “hooded youths” become routine.

I wonder how France’s left wing press is reacting now that left wing protests are being hijacked by the same thugs who were rioting in the Banlieux during the winter? Poor misunderstood alienated youths let down by the government or rampant thugs who need to be brought to heel?


Bridgehead Politics

by Limbic on March 29, 2006

Anti-Mass Immigration activists have been warning about this for years.

Latinos have formed a bridgehead in the United States and are now actively attacking anti-immigration efforts.

Spanish language media apparently orchestrated the recent nationwide “spontaneous” protests against Congressional plans to introduce more anti-immigration legislation.

Of course, students took the protests as an opportunity to bunk off, but with a sinister message for Gringo America.

Spanish Media Organised Nationwide Mass Protests – CBS

The marching orders were clear: Carry American flags and pack the kids, pick up your trash and wear white for peace and for effect.

Many of the 500,000 people who crammed downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest legislation that would make criminals out of illegal immigrants learned where, when and even how to demonstrate from the Spanish-language media.

For English-speaking America, the mass protests in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities over the past few days have been surprising for their size and seeming spontaneity.

But they were organized, promoted or publicized for weeks by Spanish-language radio hosts and TV anchors as a demonstration of Hispanic pride and power.

…The protests continued Tuesday in at least four states, with thousands of students leaving school again in California, Arizona, Texas and Nevada.

In Los Angeles, the numbers were far smaller than the tens of thousands who marched Monday. Authorities thwarted efforts to block freeway traffic, rounding up some youngsters and issuing truancy citations.

In Phoenix, students marched to the state Capitol for the second day in a row. In Las Vegas, they rallied near the Strip after being directed away from casinos.

And in Dallas, students crowded in front of City Hall, waving Mexican and Salvadoran flags and shouting “We can do it” in Spanish.

Meanwhile CNN Anchor Lou Dobbs’ anti-immigration stand is proving very popular.

Anchor-Advocate on Immigration Wins Viewers – New York Times


Serbia After Milosevic

by Limbic on March 21, 2006

From comes an intriguing theory that Milosevic’s death is a boon to the new liberal Serbia.
[click to continue…]


From Steve Sailer: Important New York Times think piece on

EAST ASIAN and European cultures have long been very different, Richard E. Nisbett argued in his recent book “The Geography of Thought.” East Asians tend to be more interdependent than the individualists of the West, which he attributed to the social constraints and central control handed down as part of the rice-farming techniques Asians have practiced for thousands of years.

A separate explanation for such long-lasting character traits may be emerging from the human genome. Humans have continued to evolve throughout prehistory and perhaps to the present day, according to a new analysis of the genome reported last week by Jonathan Pritchard, a population geneticist at the University of Chicago. So human nature may have evolved as well.


Science and Skeptical Podcasts

by Limbic on March 13, 2006

From Skepdic’s Newsletter

If you’re getting tired of the same old music on your morning walk or commute, try listening to a podcast from Point of Inquiry, New Scientist, Scientific American, Nature, or Skepticality. If you’ve only time to try just one, try Point of Inquiry. DJ Grothe’s interviews are incisive and educational. (In the past month, he’s interviewed Dan Dennett, Wally Sampson, Joe Nickell, and Richard Dawkins.) Ben Radford’s commentaries are very thoughtful and informative. Tom Flynn’s Did You Know? segment is excellent. And Joe Nickell’s accounts of his investigations are always interesting.


In one of the possibly the most important papers of the early century, 60 years of sociological orthodoxy has been destroyed.

From the New Scientist come ” Many human genes evolved recently”.

Human genes involved in metabolism, skin pigmentation, brain function and reproduction have evolved in response to recent environmental changes, according to a new study of natural selection in the human genome.

Researchers at the University of Chicago, US, developed a statistical test to find genomic regions that evolution has favoured over the last 15,000 years or so – when modern humans dealt with the end of the last ice age, the beginning of agriculture, and increased population densities.

Many of the 700 genes the researchers identified – especially those involved in smelling, fertility, and reproduction – are also suspected of having undergone natural selection during the divergence of humans and chimpanzees millions of years ago.

The New York Times wrote recently

Providing the strongest evidence yet that humans are still evolving, researchers have detected some 700 regions of the human genome where genes appear to have been reshaped by natural selection, a principal force of evolution, within the last 5,000 to 15,000 years.

The genes that show this evolutionary change include some responsible for the senses of taste and smell, digestion, bone structure, skin color and brain function.

Many of these instances of selection may reflect the pressures that came to bear as people abandoned their hunting and gathering way of life for settlement and agriculture, a transition well under way in Europe and East Asia some 5,000 years ago.

Under natural selection, beneficial genes become more common in a population as their owners have more progeny.

Three populations were studied, Africans, East Asians and Europeans. In each, a mostly different set of genes had been favored by natural selection. The selected genes, which affect skin color, hair texture and bone structure, may underlie the present-day differences in racial appearance.

It may underlie the apparent differences in various human groups full stop!

Humans left Africa 50,000 years ago and started living separately all over the world.

In all that time selection pressures have been at work on those populations.

Sociological orthodoxy wants you to believe we are all the same. The growing evidence is pointing at a starkly different conclusion.

Different human populations encountered and were shaped by different selection pressures (including culture). It explains the persistent group differences in intelligence and may even account for some cultural phenomena.

Steve Sailer has a good overview.

The paper causing all the interest is “Global landscape of recent inferred Darwinian selection for Homo sapiens“.

It may also explain Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, and Henry Harpending’s theory of why Ashkenazi Jews are so intelligent ( see “The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence“) .


Men, it has been well said, think in herds

by Limbic on March 8, 2006

From Monkeymagic: One by One:

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”
Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds — Chapter 1


The Marketplace of Perceptions

by Limbic on March 6, 2006

from The Marketplace of Perceptions:

Like all revolutions in thought, this one began with anomalies, strange facts, odd observations that the prevailing wisdom could not explain. Casino gamblers, for instance, are willing to keep betting even while expecting to lose. People say they want to save for retirement, eat better, start exercising, quit smoking—and they mean it—but they do no such things. Victims who feel they’ve been treated poorly exact their revenge, though doing so hurts their own interests.

Such perverse facts are a direct affront to the standard model of the human actor—Economic Man—that classical and neoclassical economics have used as a foundation for decades, if not centuries. Economic Man makes logical, rational, self-interested decisions that weigh costs against benefits and maximize value and profit to himself. Economic Man is an intelligent, analytic, selfish creature who has perfect self-regulation in pursuit of his future goals and is unswayed by bodily states and feelings. And Economic Man is a marvelously convenient pawn for building academic theories. But Economic Man has one fatal flaw: he does not exist. MORE


From The Rise of Bohemian Burkeans:

After September 11, 2001, Rod Dreher, then a writer for National Review and now an editor at the Dallas Morning News, wrote a series of articles exploring how some conservatives were rejecting the free market and individual liberty espoused by Republicanism and were returning to an older tradition of human-scale living and traditional ways of production and consumption. Based on his colleagues’ comments that his enthusiasm for an organic market in Brooklyn was “too lefty,” Mr. Dreher began to identify himself as a “crunchy con,” that is, a conservative who lived outside the mainstream of the Republican Party.

At first, the term sounds like a meaningless hook. Defining and redefining the various right-wing groups has long been a conservative pastime, and so it would be tempting to ignore this book as a publishing exaggeration. That would be a mistake. “Crunchy Cons” (Crown Forum, 259 pages, $24), even with its weaknesses, may be a clarion call for conservatives who have come to realize that the most important things in life cannot be found either in politics or the marketplace, and that what passes for political discourse is largely empty of meaning.

This is no academic treatise but rather a look at what America has become since the revolutions of the 1960s and the Reagan era. The ethos of “do your own thing,” promoted by 1960s radicals and latter-day libertines, has been combined with a capitalist system all too happy to separate people from traditional commitments and to remake them instead into atomistic consumers tossed amid the “creative destruction” of the marketplace. The results have been broken families, destroyed neighborhoods, environmental degradation, and neglect of the duties one generation owes to another.