January 7, 2005

Sentinel Islanders' Shoot Arrows at Relief Helicoper


Sentinel Islanders Shoot Arrows at Relief Helicopter: A reader comments, "God! Don't you just love those little buggers! They've got pretty big brass ones to attack a helicopter!" Imagine what a helicopter looks and sounds like to a stone age tribe...

Tribe shoots arrows at aid flight
By Jonathan Charles BBC News, Andaman Islands

An Indian helicopter dropping food and water over the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been attacked by tribesmen using bows and arrows. There were fears that the endangered tribal groups had been wiped out when massive waves struck their islands.

But the authorities say the attack is a sign that they have survived.

More than 6,000 people there are confirmed as either dead or missing, but thousands of others are still unaccounted for.

The Indian coastguard helicopter was flying low over Sentinel Island to drop aid when it came under attack.

A senior police officer said the crew were not hurt and the authorities are taking it as a sign that the tribes have not been wiped out by the earthquake and sea surges as many had feared.

The Andaman and Nicobar archipelago is home to several tribes, some extremely isolated.

Officials believe they survived the devastation by using age-old early warning systems.
They might have run to high ground for safety after noticing changes in the behaviour of birds and marine wildlife. Scientists are examining the possibility to see whether it can be used to predict earth tremors in future.

Mr Andaman, George Weber, is updating a page of breaking Andaman and Nicobar news.

Steve Sailer's homepage and blog is iSteve.com

January 6, 2005

Years Married among blacks


I invented the statistic "Average Years Married between 18 and 44" to give an easy-to-grasp understanding of marriage proclivities by state. It looks at the expected numbers of years a woman will be married in the 27 years from 18 and 44. For white women, it correlates at 0.91 with Bush's share of the vote in 2004.

Here's Years Married for black and white women (non-Hispanics):

State Blacks Whites Diff
District of Columbia 3.9 7.4 3.6
Pennsylvania 5.4 13.9 8.5
Wisconsin 5.4 14.6 9.2
West Virginia 5.8 15.3 9.4
New York 5.8 12.7 6.9
Illinois 5.9 14.2 8.3
Michigan 6.0 14.5 8.5
Ohio 6.2 14.5 8.4
Missouri 6.2 15.0 8.8
Connecticut 6.5 13.4 7.0
New Jersey 6.7 13.5 6.8
California 6.7 12.5 5.8
Iowa 6.8 15.1 8.4
Indiana 6.8 15.1 8.3
Massachusetts 6.8 12.2 5.4
Delaware 6.9 13.9 7.0
Kentucky 6.9 15.7 8.7
Nebraska 6.9 15.3 8.3
Minnesota 7.0 14.4 7.5
Tennessee 7.2 15.7 8.5
Rhode Island 7.2 12.6 5.4
Maine 7.4 13.8 6.4
Maryland 7.4 14.0 6.6
Louisiana 7.4 15.4 8.0
Oklahoma 7.6 15.8 8.2
Mississippi 7.6 16.5 8.9
Nevada 7.7 13.4 5.8
South Carolina 7.7 15.4 7.7
Oregon 7.7 13.9 6.1
Florida 7.8 13.6 5.8
Alabama 7.9 16.6 8.7
Arizona 7.9 13.7 5.8
Kansas 8.0 15.7 7.8
Georgia 8.0 15.6 7.6
Arkansas 8.0 16.5 8.5
North Carolina 8.2 15.5 7.4
Virginia 8.2 14.7 6.4
Texas 8.2 15.2 6.9
Washington 8.3 13.9 5.6
Wyoming 8.5 15.5 7.0
Vermont 8.5 13.4 4.9
Utah 9.0 17.0 8.0
Colorado 9.2 14.1 4.9
New Mexico 9.4 14.1 4.7
New Hampshire 9.7 14.0 4.2
South Dakota 11.2 15.7 4.5
Alaska 12.4 15.3 2.9
Montana 13.8 15.0 1.2
Idaho 14.0 16.3 2.3
North Dakota 15.8 15.5 (0.4)
Hawaii 16.0 14.1 (1.9)

It looks like there's a negative correlation between the size of the black urban ghetto in a state and the years married for black women.

The states with very high average years married tend to have very small numbers of blacks and high interracial marriage rates for blacks. Also, a lot of the blacks in states like Hawaii, North Dakota, and Alaska got there with the U.S. military, and black enlistees in the military tend to come from more middle class backgrounds than blacks in general.

There's a moderate correlation between blacks being married and the state as a whole voting more conservatively in 2004: r = 0.40.

The correlation between years married for blacks and whites in a state is only r = 0.34. This high degree of random variation suggests that blacks are not closely tied into the culture of the whites in the state.

Steve Sailer's homepage and blog is iSteve.com

January 5, 2005

USC -- would have been greatest team ever


USC beats OU 55-19 to win national championship -- Think how good the Trojans would have been if they hadn't lost their great receiver Mike Williams in a legal fiasco. (When a court ruled that Maurice Clarett could go to the NFL after one year instead of the usual three years, Williams hired an agent and stopped going to classes. Then, the ruling was overturned and Williams, as a self-declared pro, had to sit out the season.) They would have had three of the top five in the Heisman voting: winner QB Matt Leinart, RB Reggie Bush, and WR Williams.

Many years ago, I shared an office with a former All-American DB from UCLA. We got around once to the sensitive topic of why USC beat his UCLA teams like a drum. He said, "Because it is made very clear to the USC players that if they beat UCLA, they ... will ... be ... rewarded." Ah, the the amateur spirit!

Steve Sailer's homepage and blog is iSteve.com

January 4, 2005

Another kind of Darwinian selection?


From the NYT:

Judith Rich Harris
Writer and developmental psychologist; author, "The Nurture Assumption"

I believe, though I cannot prove it, that three - not two - selection processes were involved in human evolution.

The first two are familiar: natural selection, which selects for fitness, and sexual selection, which selects for sexiness.

The third process selects for beauty, but not sexual beauty - not adult beauty. The ones doing the selecting weren't potential mates: they were parents. Parental selection, I call it.

Steve Sailer's homepage and blog is iSteve.com

January 3, 2005

Jared Diamond didn't used to be so boring


Jared Diamond has a new book out called Collapse about societies that have collapsed due to environmental disasters such as deforestation. It's a useful topic, but in the large scheme of things, a minor one, which is why Diamond spends so much time on famously trivial edge-of-the-world cultures like the Vikings in Greenland and the Polynesians on Easter Island. But Diamond is so good at getting publicity that the fact that ecology has little to do with the reason most societies collapse will likely be overlooked. The main reason you don't see many Carthaginians or Aztecs or members of other collapsed civilizations around these days is they got beat in war, as Edmund Creasy's famous 1851 book "Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World" makes clear.

Diamond wasn't always so pompously dull. Over a decade ago, Jared Diamond wrote a fascinating book called The Third Chimpanzee that collected his Discover columns and other articles. It didn't make too much of a splash, perhaps because it was politically incorrect in a lot of places, so then he wrote a much duller book entitled Guns, Germs, and Steel, which purported to once and for all Disprove Racism, and he has been a fixture as a speaker at the higher priced sort of conferences ever since.

Although, as far as I can tell, he only lectures, never debates. I've never heard of him ever allowing himself to be dragged into a debate. I met him after he gave a speech at Mike Milken's big annual confab. We were chatting nicely until I asked him a tough question about what he didn't mention in his Guns, Germs, and Steel -- Wouldn't different agricultural environments select for different hereditary traits in locals? -- I went on to mention how James Q. Wilson's The Marriage Problem has a couple of chapters on how tropical agriculture in West Africa affects family structures. And, thus, wouldn't the kind of man that would have the most surviving children be different in an agricultural environment where he doesn't need to work too much to support them than in an agricultural environment where he does?

Now, Diamond has spent a lot of time birdwatching in New Guinea, so he knows all about what tropical agriculture selects for. And he has no intention of touching that tar-baby with a ten-foot pole. So, he grabbed his stuff and literally dog-trotted at about 5 mph out of the auditorium!

Jared Diamond wasn't always such a tedious phony. GC over at GNXP.com has uncovered an early Jared Diamond article in prestigious Nature about a hilariously politically incorrect topic. Personally, I don't have any first-hand experience with the topic, so I couldn't give you my opinion on the validity of Diamond's findings on racial differences in testicle sizes, but Diamond seems pretty fascinated by the question.

Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution has more on Collapse.

Steve Sailer's homepage and blog is iSteve.com

January 2, 2005

How Bush's Social Security Plan could work


Bush's Social Security Plan: A reader writes:

  • If economic growth slows by half (in the midst of a global tech boom fuelled by Asian nerds unleashed from socialism)

  • If the stock market continues to grow faster than earnings

  • If the Bush upper income tax cuts are made permanent

  • If means test benefits cannot be introduced

  • If FICA taxes cannot be raised

  • If the the pension eligibility age is not moved out to take into account extended longevity (as life expectancy edges towards 80+)

  • If congress can be constrained from introducing loopholes for lobbyists and liquidators

  • And if Wall Street can be prevented from looting the greater fools overcharging fees or churning accounts

Then maybe, privatization of social security would look like a reasonable idea.

But why would one bet on so many ifs?

Considering what a superb job Bush did of thinking through every possible eventuality of the Iraq Attaq, he's obviously the man to upend Social Security. I know a lot of "conservative" pundits like Michael Barone are exulting that "conservatism" now means blindly backing radical gambles based on on one indifferently-informed man's hunches, but why is that conservative?

Steve Sailer's homepage and blog is iSteve.com