Picking One’s Battles is Also g Loaded

To get really good at Scrabble, you have to grind at it.

Sure, you can do that. Requirements are simple. As Chanda Chisala says, you only need a dictionary. You don’t need a gaming PC or good Internet (or any Internet). And malnutrition impinges least on precisely verbal IQ, which is convenient. As is having a billion people.

But what’s the point, when you have many other other interesting opportunities to gain money, status, or just enjoy life at its own pace?

The highest density of chess grandmasters is to be found in the Balkans. They, and East Europeans, also do very well in the International Math Olympiad and in programming competitions. (But in the one survey of Computer Science grad skills, Americans came out ahead of Russians and Chinese).

Does this mean that they are unusually smart? Much smarter than, say, PISA scores would suggest?

Or does this mean that high IQ denizens of developed countries have far better things to occupy their time with?

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

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  2. anonymous599 says

    IIRC, Hikaru Nakamura said he has an IQ of around 100 (it might be 104-105 or somewhere around that.). I don’t think Carlsen has a very high either. Although he once said he can remember 10k games during an interview. Also, career of chess players decline relatively early especially at the highest stage (They start their career very early as well, many top players become GM around 13-14 years old). It’s not very likely that you’re going to become a WC in modern chess if you’re over 30, especially over 35 which isn’t true for any STEM related area.

  3. songbird says

    There’s no way to explain the observed gap in America by referring to board games in Africa.

  4. So Hitler with an 130s to 140s IQ (depending on who you ask?) refused the generous peace offer by Stalin in 1942 to 1943, whereas some guy with an IQ of 110 or even 100 who is a lot more risk averse and can understand the concept of quitting while you are ahead at the gambling hall (and someone who is only of average intelligence can understand this concept) would have taken the offer, considering the hat trick that von Manstein pulled off at Kharkov.

  5. Btw does anyone know what IQ Guderian, Kesselring, and von Manstein had? Goering was said to have very high IQ.

  6. Jurij Fedorov says

    Hikaru took a for fun IQ test to entertain his viewers. Even just taking the test on stream is not ideal. Then it was an internet test with too few questions and a short time limit which made it horrible for a stream test as the time limit obviously is a huge issue for streamers who explain what they are doing. Even taking a 40 min test would be way better. His IQ is not 102.

  7. E. Harding says

    The real reason Chisala is wrong is because actual test scores from SSA (Ghana, Zambia, Botswana, Senegal, South Africa, etc.) are pitiful:


  8. Not Only Wrathful says

    I don’t want HBD to be true as it would be an ugly reality, but arguing against it by referring to the fact that some Nigerians are excellent at Scrabble is plain embarrassing

  9. Not Only Wrathful says

    A discussion about African Scrabble players brings up the subject of Hitler for you?


  10. I trust travel writers too. Their consensus seems to be that Africa is poor and disorderly, rather than poor and orderly. That includes Botswana too, outside of limited areas.

  11. There certainly are ways that one can dramatically improve ones GMAT or LSAT scores, by taking preparatory courses. Are there any preparatory course that one can take to help improve ones IQ score? Starting at a low level as a kid, I feel that my own game of chess has improved over time, with no special training etc, just trial and error (I’ve seen that move or position before). There’s no substitute for experience? I realize that usually, at the highest levels, the ability to tough it out decreases. But then again, there’s a phenom like Big Chuckie, who manages to beat Carlsen in the blitz category of play, rather consistently? Carlsen is in his early 30’s, while Ivanchuk is in his 50’s.

  12. No I mean Karlin was saying that knowing when to call it a day and quit while you are ahead was solely down to IQ, I was just demonstrating the opposite. And conscientiousness is really loosely related to IQ, in fact it even has an inverse effect. And creativity is also loosely connected to IQ. The problem is that the autistic IQists here remain fixated on IQ and can not seem to mention anything else that has an impact, or at least 90 percent of the time all that comes out of their mouth is IQ. And being intelligent may even increase the chances of errors if you buy too much into your own abiities.

  13. Daniel Chieh says

    Hitler was black, so it’s a sensible continuation.

  14. So verbal IQ is not real IQ? That is what people think? Having a wide vocabulary is an indication of verbal IQ, and you cannot pass the bar with a verbal IQ of 80. Someone with a verbal IQ of 80 or even 90 cannot understand Caesar’s Commentaries, the Anabasis of Alexander, or Xenophon either.

  15. Do people here believe that someone with below or even slightly above average intelligence can pass the New York or even Texas bar?

  16. silviosilver says

    I don’t want HBD to be true as it would be an ugly reality,

    I used to not want it to be true too, but what we want is insignificant compared to what is. And quite simply there are far better reasons for believing it to be true than for believing it to be false.

    It’s also safer to believe it’s true. If you believe it’s true but it turns out to be false, it’s just a few hurt feelings. But if you believe it false and it turns out to be true, then… well, we’re about to find out.

  17. Boomthorkell says

    I think the issue is that, is that if your (peoples’) only IQ is Verbal IQ, one is in trouble. It is better to have flawed geniuses than to not, and Africa has…not. Statistically speaking, of course. Africa, beyond Old South Africa, lacks an O-Ring capable intellectual elite as Karlin describes. Ireland too was once a land of potatoes, poverty, and paddy Askaris, but even they managed it.

  18. “Map of elite scientific products”

    I completely lost faith in similar maps/ratings, etc. in 2020. I have read many times that Russia is on the same level as Thailand in terms of its scientific potential (as determined by publications in English-language scientific journals). I had great doubts about this, but in 2020 everything became clear. Russia first quickly created tests for coronavirus, then also quickly developed and began to produce vaccines against coronavirus. At the same time, the Gamalei center (which created the Sputnik vaccine) had previously created an equally effective Ebola vaccine, but had an ultra-low scientific rating, since it could not publish the results of the research in a prestigious English-language scientific journal. So we can confidently say that these ratings and maps are bullshit, and use them to assess the intelligence of the population – self-deception.

    So the map has about the same value (for assessing intelligence) as the picture below


  19. Unless someone has a developmental disorder, someone with above-average verbal IQ has at least an average math IQ, or serviceable enough for normal day-to-day activities.

  20. E. Harding says

    “Russia first quickly created tests for coronavirus, then also quickly developed and began to produce vaccines against coronavirus.”

    Thailand was the first country outside of China to record a case of coronavirus.

  21. And for basic math proficiency you can memorize your way to it also.

  22. Is this a scientific achievement?

  23. The real reason Chisala is wrong is because actual test scores from SSA (Ghana, Zambia, Botswana, Senegal, South Africa, etc.) are pitiful:

    Did you really need evidence to know that a man with an African name saying Africans are actually smart was wrong?

  24. I have read many times that Russia is on the same level as Thailand in terms of its scientific potential…

    Current FC: https://www.natureindex.com/country-outputs/generate/All/global/All/score

    Russia 507.43
    Thailand 51.05

    That’s 10x in absolute and 5x in per capita terms, so a substantial difference.

    Ukraine didn’t come up with own vaccine either.
    Ukraine 23.29

    Anyway, I did point out in some of my past articles that NI probably underestimates Russia because it had its own self-contained academic/citations system under the USSR. It could, potentially, be as high as Poland’s in “real” terms though this is speculation. But it’s also safe to say it’s no France or Japan in per capita terms, let alone Germany or UK.

  25. Spisarevski says

    I’ve thought about this before, while wondering about Koreans and StarCraft.

    I mean it’s the hardest video game in the world to play at the top level and even during its heyday it was doubtful whether investing the enormous effort to become really good was worth it, considering also the short longevity of this “career”.

    Now it makes even less sense and other e-sport video games alone have much higher prize pools while being much easier to master, not to speak of other (non-esports), better uses of one’s time.

    Korea is certainly both a very developed and a very high IQ country, yet you have so many people grinding on something that has no chance of getting them anywhere. There are thousands of Koreans that can’t even dream of going against the established pros at a tournament and yet are much better than any foreigner i.e. any player outside Korea.

  26. Daniel Chieh says

    But can one memorize the way to use more than one paragraph per post?

  27. HyperDupont says

    When I was a teenager and had started playing chess, I remember once playing a guy (smart and educated) who explained the fact that Britain produced strong chess players in the 1970’s and 1980’s (not at Soviet or Balkan level, but higher level than France Germany or the US) by the decline of British industry. And indeed when economic opportunities opened again in the UK (in particular in Finance) the relative strength of British chess players compared to Western Europe or the US suffered.

  28. Kent Nationalist says

    Why is the culture of South-East Asia so strong in architecture but weak in literature, philosophy etc.?

  29. adreadline says

    One minor thing tangentially related to this subject that I have thought about is why, in the United States, even before the Great Awokening, seemingly more Hispanics and Latinos and other people whose names end in a vowel are in the visual arts business (for example, comic book pencillers/inkers/colorists) in comparison to Anglo Whites. I’m not sure if this is actually the case, but it appears to be. And if it is, could it be because Anglo Whites, on average, are more aware that in the present day much more money can be made by going into finance, hedge funds, venture capital, and the like, in comparison to being an illustrator, and so they often don’t bother in making a carrer out of the latter even if they are talented at it? (Note they might still have it as a hobby when they aren’t making tons of money in Wall Street)

  30. Reasonable. Why grind at chess when you can grind for Goldman Sachs?

  31. Russia 507.43
    Thailand 51.05

    That is, in terms of per capita, Russia is (in the field of science ) 4 Thailand. Maybe I don’t know much about Thailand, but it seems to me that this is not an exaggeration but just nonsense

    It could, potentially, be as high as Poland’s in “real” terms though this is speculation. But it’s also safe to say it’s no France or Japan in per capita terms, let alone Germany or UK.

    About Poland, this is just nonsense in my opinion (unless of course you evaluate the scientific potential in the time of Copernicus), but recent events make us doubt the rest.
    But the point was different – to evaluate the intelligence of the population based on the “scientific output” is in principle impossible. example – below

    Ukraine 23.29

    If there is an “innate intelligence”, then the Ukrainians have it about the same as the residents of Russia.
    But if you look (as an obvious example) at the scientific and technical response to the coronavirus, the difference will be orders of magnitude. Now in Russia there is (working or ready to start working) production of four vaccines: three Russian and the Chinese vaccine “Covidence”. At the same time, Russia participated in the testing of several vaccines, including AstraZeneca (and agreements were reached with AstraZeneca in the spring on the production of the vaccine in Russia, which was later not needed due to Sputnik V). Ukraine has overslept everything. The possibility of producing Sputnik V in Kharkiv was rejected due to politics, but Ukraine was too lazy to agree on the production of Chinese/British / any other vaccine in Ukrainian factories. This is despite the fact that Ukrainians per capita have about the same intelligence as Russian citizens

  32. I’m not claiming scientific accomplishment = IQ, but that high IQ people in rich countries have better things to do than play Scrabble (or chess).

    … but Ukraine was too lazy to agree on the production of Chinese/British / any other vaccine in Ukrainian factories.

    Governance failure more than anything else. The EU, for instance, has been very bad on vaccines relative to both the US and UK.

  33. PetrOldSack says

    On g picking it’s battles , the subject of the article by Serenimus Magnus Anat. Karlin,

    I would like to suggest the following, and willing to be added to the gig-ers that have produced in return for pay, or any other subsequent advancement, the “data set” of what constitutes the unz.com archive, say over the last two years, anything published, included a selection of bloggers, commenters, and spurious readers that volunteer to be used in the obvious IQ test present! Would be a point made as to the title of the article, “g picks it’s challenges”. It would be magnanimously interesting to not withhold the outcomes, as is done now, or can be done now, by brute force operators as Fecesbook and Goooogle, alas five thousand ex MicroSofties in a box, Wikipedia (it’s “editors”), and forward a sneaky bit of formal “real” intelligence(data that have at least some intrinsic meaning) to the public at large. So be it if i stand corrected, tarred and feathered.

    Some outliers in the mud-pool of the readership. …could then proceed from this third tier sample of subjects to the second tier of mercenary – suicidal upper middle class media “actors”. Of course for the public domain politicians, there could be a similar “rational – structured – contented” proof of g or no g at all, apart, since that is what must define the attention throwing. I have some generous ideas as on how to achieve this. The low side would be that the test would cut of anything above “129” probably, all shades of grey no black at the horizon. The “relative” distance between the tested would though, be revealing to some that yearn for boxed results and do not like uncured analysis. Say where is Karlin located as to the other superstars of unz.com as an example? Based on the stutter produced over time, the net value of content minus repetition and other censors. Balkan or not?

    A nice subset would be to link what is produced in word-count on the imaginary of Covid-19, and above multi-writers, “prolific” is the term used, of never silenced never revoked when out of substance, highly committed individuals and their equally committed “narratives”

    May the dice roll where they may, Stevie, Ronny, included of course, frankly the daily fair on unz.com is rather stale these days, somewhat like the gruel @haiti jails. All flour, little vital nutrients, …but yes vegetarian indeed. A nice change of rythm and tune, needed as nothing else to keep @relevance…substan…historic…anyvalue…

  34. The EU, for instance, has been very bad on vaccines relative to both the US and UK.

    Well, the main (to date) Pfizer vaccine was developed by scientists from Germany, and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is, as far as I know, of Belgian origin.

  35. anonymous599 says

    IIRC, he said his stepfather took him to IQ test and his IQ is around that. It is clear that he’s not stupid, but you can’t say that he’s genius. I think people overestimate IQ in chess (There is a min. threshold obviously.). You need an excellent memory rather than being a genius. Genius will write the software rather than playing the game.

  36. AltanBakshi says

    Has anyone compared IQs of professional Go and Chess players? Im not particularly good in Go, but Ive always enjoyed it, unlike boring and repetitive Chess.

  37. Erik Sieven says

    I don´t think so. With the strong race/IQ hypothesis this result would be not possible. So it is relevant.

  38. China Japan and Korea Bromance of Three Kingdoms says

    I would extend this question to Go, which has a considerably higher search space than chess.

    The demographics of top go players are all C/J/K for obvious cultural reasons. There’s been only one non-East Asian to reach the top rank „9 dan“

    Only 5 years ago Computer Go was thought to be an intractable problem, but Google Deepmind has solved it

  39. Moderna is American.

  40. Not Only Wrathful says

    Since the highest ranked non-East Asian player comes in at the Devilish 666 (Ilya Shikshin), it therefore proves that only East Asians are intelligent enough to play Go, except with infernal aid.

    Or maybe East Asians really like Go and Nigerians really like Scrabble and neither is particularly good evidence for anything. I am a great Warhammer 40K player and that is infinitely more complicated than either of those games. This makes me the most genius and therefore my argument completely correct.

  41. AltanBakshi says

    I don’t know the rules of Warhammer 40K, but does it really have more possible variations with games than Go?

    The number of legal board positions in Go has been calculated to be approximately 2.1 × 10^170, which is vastly greater than the number of atoms in the known, observable universe, estimated to be about 1 × 10^80.

    Even Chinese and Japanese chess’ are better than the western boring chess.

  42. Not Only Wrathful says

    Warhammer 40K is immeasurably more complicated than that. There is no comparison. It is as if each piece in Go was its own game and each square you placed it on was its own game too and each combination it ended up in was its own game and probability was added in and it didn’t even take place on the straight lines of a board and everything changed multiple times a year and so on and so on. Comparing Go to Warhammer 40K is like comparing gravity calculations to human psychology. AI can do the first, but it has shown no proficiency for the second. The complexity is of a completely different order.

    And Western chess is so much more interesting than Go. Have you played both? Neither are solvable by humans and therefore both are only as hard as the person you play, but Chess is so much more beautiful.

  43. Daniel Chieh says

    Just pick the most OP side and paint everything red.


  44. Why not post this as a comment under the original article so a discussion can be had about it?

  45. anonymous599 says

    I don’t know anything, but I presume someone should have done it. As I have said, I don’t think they’re genius although they’re probably average/above average. It’s somewhat similar to basketball. You need to pass certain threshold (height) to play it at elite level, however if you look at the successful player and height, you can’t see any correlation.
    I never played go in my life but I have been spending some time with chess again since the last March. At elite level and classical time format, I think you’re right (It’s fun for me.). In shorter time formats, it’s the opposite of it. Chess viewership has exploded since the last year’s March.

  46. Not Only Wrathful says

    I wonder if the SJWs will realise that the new Keeper of Secrets is a total appropriation of the Ardhanarishvara, complete with cow features for added Hindu symbolism?

    Infamously, PETA got angry that Space Wolves wore fur, so this type of odd attention seeking shouldn’t be beyond them.

    As for Orks, perhaps the military truism that the smartest officers go into the infantry to command the (generally) least educated soldiers is apt? Or maybe getting drunk and shouting in British hooliganisms has wide appeal across the IQ quartiles?

    I like to try to make work what others haven’t and so gain from being surprising.

    Regardless, AltanBakshi is going to be soooooo confused…

  47. Chrisnonymous says

    Based on visiting and traveling around Thailand, one would think they must have quite low potential, based on human capital.

    I don’t understand why anyone would think Russia has low potential. Even under the constraints of Communism, they were scientifically productive.

  48. Chrisnonymous says

    Do you think this would apply to math too? If smart Balkans are constrained by their economy, we ought to see a trend toward mathematicians away from experimental physicists or life scientists as well.

  49. Kent Nationalist says

    Khmers built this, despite living in the jungle. Have Chinese built anything comparable with >10x the population, wealth and being more intelligent?


  50. Shortsword says

    The number of legal board positions in Go has been calculated to be approximately 2.1 × 10^170, which is vastly greater than the number of atoms in the known, observable universe, estimated to be about 1 × 10^80.

    You’d only need 107 cards in a deck of cards to get more than 2.1 × 10^170 possible ways to order the cards. That’s not that many. But the number of possible board positions in Warhammer is easily a bigger number. There’s no standard board to begin with and there’s also a large number of different unit types. But Warhammer isn’t even played on a grid so the number of possible positions can’t really be counted.

    The number of possible board positions isn’t a good way to estimate complexity of a game anyway. It wouldn’t be hard to come up with a board game that has a massive number of possible board positions that still is very “easy” in the sense that always exists an obvious best play.

  51. Not Only Wrathful says

    The Queen’s Gambit must explain a lot of that. It is excellent and absent of wokesplaining too, which is nice

  52. reiner Tor says

    I would remark here that it’s actually quite doubtful that Hitler could’ve ended the war so easily in 1942, let alone 1943, and I even doubt he received any serious separate peace proposals from Stalin.

    But instead of starting an irrelevant and off topic debate, I propose that you choose a better example.

  53. China Japan and Korea Bromance of Three Kingdoms says

    glancing at list of top Go players, it looks evenly distributed per capita across C/J/K, so it doesn’t appear China does better cuz its been po’er for longer

  54. China Japan and Korea Bromance of Three Kingdoms says

    The chess programs like Deep Blue searches the game tree by brute force. This can’t be done for go since the game tree is that much bigger. You can have 2 games going on at opposite side of the board that interact only at later towards end of the game. So one can easily see a strong visual-spatial component.

    AlphaGo and its siblings is using deep learning/neural nets, which as the name implies is inspired by biology. It doesn’t need to know the rule of the game, it just trains using massive amounts of historical game data and computation. The Go AIs actually play each other to gain from „training“

    AlphaGo also plays chess and overruns predecessors

    Incidentally, the next challenge taken up currently at Deepmind is Starcraft

  55. Coconuts says
  56. Malenfant says

    The Great Wall is almost infinitely more imposing than that mere temple complex, however ornate.


  57. I can’t prove it, but I believe that one of these elite scrabble players would not be able to explain what a fairly complex movie or play he has just seen was all about, or even why The Ancient Mariner shot the albatross. A study I saw decades ago showed that PhDs in history or Literature were able to pass the essay portion of a Bar exam. In organic synthesis (“org-syn” – the creation of new molecules), U.S.pharma scientists invent the complex 60-step process, and then turn it over to Chinese scientists to implement the fastidious “benchwork.”

    An apocryphal story goes like this. Max Planck was on tour in Europe, delivering a lecture on his new discovery. One day, his chauffeur said, “Mr. Planck, I’ve heard the lecture so many times I can deliver it myself. Why don’t you take the day off. Sit in the audience, wearing my chauffeur’s hat, and I’ll take it from there.” Well, the chauffeur gave the lecture just fine, but at the end a professor in the audience stood up and asked a difficult question. The chauffeur replied, “That’s such stupid, easy question, that I’m just going to ask my chauffeur sitting in the audience to answer it.”

    My electrician and my plumber, and my true-landscaper with his degree at horticulture, when they diagnose a problem, have much more than “chauffeur knowledge.” They are thinking.

  58. songbird says

    Guessing it is mainly the brain’s letterbox involved in Scrabble. It’s the area that helps one recognize written words, and was developed to recognize faces (and maybe animal tracks.) Learning to read actually makes you worse at recognizing faces.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Australian Abos or Bushmen could be trained to be good at Scrabble.

    Anyway, it is not necessarily a test of high-level verbal ability, like writing a good story would be.

  59. Papinian says

    A couple years ago, the Deepmind team said they’d created an AI which could beat the best human players, and they staged showmatches (against TLO and then against Mana). The AI won them, but there were a couple problems:

    1. The AI did not have to manage the viewing window. Humans cannot see the entire map while playing. If they could, they wouldn’t be able to manipulate the units precisely enough. A portion of the map is shown to the human player, in which the player can manipulate the units. So if a human wants to do something, he first has to move the viewing window, and then do it. The AI, on the other hand, was issuing commands simply with coordinates. It was able to see the entire map simultaneously.

    After the AI won the initial matches, the gamers pointed this out. Deepmind reprogrammed the AI, and it was much weaker, and it lost.

    1. It wasn’t a single AI that the gamers played against. Deepmind had trained a whole pool of AIs against each other, each of which developed separate strategies of play. DM picked the best five for the showmatch. So, when the human lost the first match, he adjusted his play in the second, but was pitted against an entirely different opponent, essentially.

    I’m not sure what’s happened in the past couple years.

  60. You need an excellent memory rather than being a genius.

    And memory is part of intelligence, so better chess players likely have higher IQs than worse chess players.

  61. Dacian Julien Soros says

    IQ test incorporate that change due to aging. There is no expectation that a 7 year old would be as good as a 20 year old. Scores are o be compared with people of the same age.

    I suspect this is one of the reasons why Eastern Europeans kick ass in various child contests, only to fall behind in adulthood. (This, and cerebral brain drain, of course.) If a smart child is exposed to the education system that we had in Romania, there is little chance they can improve, despite being born smart and building up on that in the early age.

    I kicked the asses of all of my maths teachers until college, when I was bored to death and felt I had nothing to prove anymore. It wasn’t the case that anyone would be alerted by the loss of a potential mathematician; on the contrary, at the age when I was finally about to join the regular pace of the education system, I was told off.

  62. China Japan and Korea Bromance of Three Kingdoms says

    Deep Blue’s Murray Campbell called AlphaGo’s victory “the end of an era… board games are more or less done and it’s time to move on.”[68]

    Basically deep learning has solved Go, and board games in general…

    Back to AK’s original point, if the threshold to become world class in chess/go is say 130 IQ + grind + experience/intuition, then AlphaGo is replacing the grind part with computation horsepower. But it’s not quite yet some kind of superintelligence.

    But it seems to be progressing fast…

  63. raven lunatic says

    interesting… that apocryphal story has exactly the same structure as the old yiddish joke about the maggid!

  64. TelfoedJohn says

    In truth, Hitler looked more like an Albanian taxi driver than an Aryan superman.

  65. AltanBakshi says

    One of my Mongolian friend, who lives in China, always says to me how the Great Wall is tribute to Mongol greatness, to the fear that they inspired in Chinese. (Sorry my Han friends, yes, the truth is more complex than that.)

  66. Indifferent contrarian says

    “Their” architecture came mostly from India (if you mean the medieval one, and not modern one). That’s also why there’s a ton of Hindu temples in otherwise Buddhist lands.

  67. I am just saying that success is much more down to personality traits, than IQ. Although you would want to optimize your working hours to income earned. But then Americans seem to work long while not earning much, compared to Northwest Europeans, and most Americans would prefer more vacation time and shorter working hours over more money.

  68. 4Dchessmaster says

    Goebbels and Eichmann also looked like Levantines.

  69. GazaPlanet says

    The problem of a separate peace with Stalin was the same problem posed by the non-aggression pact itself. The US and the UK would continue the war and Hitler had to assume that Stalin would inevitably attack. The Japanese were taken in by the notion that Stalin wouldn’t invade Manchuria. Self-delusion. Napoleon thought he could keep Russia in his system. Wasn’t going to happen.

    To win WWII Hitler had to inflict crushing, irreparable blows on the Soviet Union that would have fundamentally compromised its war making ability. He certainly had a chance of doing so, it would have been difficult to ascertain just the moment when hope should have been irretrievably lost. Suffice it to say, by that point, I doubt a separate peace offer was in the cards.

  70. Hitler could gave bought a few years of peace in the Eastern front to rebuild his forces and recover from Stalingrad, plus send 2 additional divisions to North Africa, plus he was also planning to build a fallback position on the Dneiper, which was under construction in 1943, which a truce would have allowed time to build.

  71. Well a lot of Europeans look Chinese, even those with no East Asian ancestry.

  72. TelfoedJohn says

    There’s a well-known phenomenon in nationalist circles of people who are on the edge of the in-group being ‘more nationalist than thou’. In the UK you have figures like Nigel Farage (Huguenot French and German) and Anne Marie Waters (an Irish Lesbian), and in the US the various Latinos of the alt-right.

  73. anonymous599 says

    I disagree, at the elite level, a lot of them are in autism spectrum. You can find lots of people (Titled or not) smarter than Carlsen who is probably the greatest player the game has ever seen. As I have already said, he’s smart but not genius.

  74. nokangaroos says
  75. reiner Tor says

    I think you haven’t seen many Albanian taxi drivers. Hitler didn’t look anything special for an Austrian or a Bavarian. He had brown hair (common in that part of the world) and very clear blue eyes (ditto), the latter being rarely visible on photos (because eyes often look much darker than in reality). He was also of average height (not that Albanians are short).

    Even this photo needs to be zoomed in considerably for the eye color to become visible:


  76. reiner Tor says

    The face is not unusual in Austria nor in Bavaria either.

  77. YetAnotherAnon says

    It’s hard to build any scenario for an extended WW2 that doesn’t end with atomic bombs being used against Germany.

  78. Not Only Wrathful says

    His behaviour was exhaustively fastidious and yet to see with his eyes is to only feel absolute chaos.

  79. AltanBakshi says

    Funny how most Russians I know are more Nordic looking than Hitler, Germans had such huge cultural bias that they deluded themselves to believe that people like Bavarians and Austrians look Nordic.

    Himmler and Heydrich both are so non Nordic looking, same with with the Rundstedt, Jodl and Manstein.

  80. reiner Tor says

    Hitler himself didn’t consider Germans Nordics, he thought they were one of five components. With Jews being the sixth, but they had to be removed before being absorbed because they would dominate in a very bad, destructive way. At least I think he said something like that in the table talks.

  81. The Alarmist says

    One must wonder how Hitler would have fared playing Scrabble®️ in a world devoid of umlauts and essets.

  82. Kent Nationalist says
  83. Kent Nationalist says

    Maybe to the insectoid mind. I suppose that view explains my earlier question.

  84. Kent Nationalist says

    Maybe, but unlike the Nubian pyramids it is an improvement on the original rather than a defective building. It doesn’t remove from the fact that they actually built such things while the Chinese did not. Which is especially odd given that Chinese histories are filled with emperors squandering money on palaces.

  85. AltanBakshi says

    I’ve too read the Table Talks, and I have no recollection of him saying so, but then there’s quite much what he says in that curious book. However, his close associates like Rosenberg and Himmler believed in Nordic supremacist racial theory.

    Am I deluded when to my eyes common Poles and Balts look more “Nordic” than average Germans? But then the most Nordic part of the Germany, the Prussian lands, suffered the most in the WW2.

  86. AltanBakshi says

    Speer speculated that Hitler grew his moustache so he could hide his big nose. That the nose would look smaller with the moustache. He’s nose is quite big, isn’t it?


  87. Daniel Chieh says

    Which is especially odd given that Chinese histories are filled with emperors squandering money on palaces.

    No? I don’t have enough time to address this into detail, but I think there’s some fundamental error in this.

    Besides the Empress Dowager Cixi, I can’t actually think of much “squandering” for palaces; cash flow was a consistent issue since at least the Ming and emperors were heavily politicked by the courts; excessive expense was highly denounced by the powerful bureaucracy so its not really possible to have anything like the Ludwig building fantasy castles. A common Neoconfucian complaint by the scholar-bureaucracy was “why should money be spent on anything if poor people still exist?” Imperial authority might be centralized insofar as it came from the Golden City, but emperors rarely seemed to be all powerful(most of the accounts I read seemed to be of highly frustrated rulers).

    And since state religion was basically not a thing in China, the major monuments built with statements are primarily things with utilitarian purpose, such the Grand Canal or the Great Wall. What ornamental parks and other palatial structures built further suffered from the violence of dynastic overthrows; the Cultural Revolution could be seen as one of many.

    There are things off the top of my head like the Grand Temple of Confucius or the Shaolin Monastery which are pretty impressive but ultimately the basic absence of religion as a major force in China accounts for the lack of state funds directed to such projects, and thus, the lack of vastly impressive structures focused on “beauty”, since in many other cultures, beauty and divinity were closely associated.

    As an aside, due to concerns from the dynastic government, even nonstate actors were limited in their ability to build grand structures, as the state then(as the state now) has never been comfortable with rival political powers. Buddhism’s rise in China, for example, were interrupted by confistication of Inexhaustible Treasuries and at times, government efforts at suppression as Buddhist monastaries acquired wealth, lands and power. The armed Shaolin monks, I mean, probably pleased the dynastic Emperor as much as any modern Angelican church that raises a militia would please the British government.

  88. Chrisnonymous says

    Comparable in what way? The Ankhor complex (I have been there, BTW) stirs our emotions, but beyond the power necessary to organize its construction, what is its impressive point (i.e., from a technological psrspective)?

  89. Emperor Yang of Sui?

  90. AltanBakshi says

    Chinese built almost all buildings out of wood, that fact and rare but periodically happening extreme instability ensured that most old buildings perished, unlike stone buildings of the west.

    There were huge military fortifications and city walls made out of stone, but most were destroyed under Communists, and no wonder why, cities got more room to build highways and stuff.

    It’s wrong to say that old Chinese dynasties were secular or lacked a state religion. Though modern CCP tries to portray things in such way, most dynasties were intricately linked with religion, had ministries for administering of rites and religious organisations, closely surveilled that proper forms of religion prospered and swiftly eliminated all un-orthodox forms of religious practice. Qing, Ming and Yuan were extremely closely connected with religion, actually their official ideology was that Chinese emperor is an universal Buddhist ruler and even a high level Bodhisattva or manifestation of Buddha’s enlightened activity.

  91. The Alarmist says

    He looks a little like a clean-shaven Russell Crowe.

  92. Not Only Wrathful says

    You’re portraying historical China as spiritually empty like modern China. This is opposite to my impression formed from encounters such as I had with the Naxi classical orchestra which, though not to my taste, could never be described as soulless. Are you not making the error of reading the present into the past?

  93. Not Only Wrathful says

    I feel you’re portraying historical China as spiritually empty like modern China. This is opposite to my impression formed from encounters such as I had with the Naxi classical orchestra which, though not to my taste, could never be described as soulless. Are you not making the error of reading the present into the past?

    What ornamental parks and other palatial structures built further suffered from the violence of dynastic overthrows; the Cultural Revolution could be seen as one of many.

    Beautiful observation

  94. reiner Tor says

    “why should money be spent on anything if poor people still exist?”

    I’m happy to hear that there are lots of neo-Confucians at Western universities.

  95. Kent Nationalist says

    No? I don’t have enough time to address this into detail, but I think there’s some fundamental error in this.

    I am rather shocked by this statement about emperors not wasting money on palaces.


    I appreciate the rest of your interesting comment though.I am not very persuaded by the religious reasoning however, since it does not explain why religious emperors such as Wu of Liang also did not engage in construction projects. I think it is probably some combination of that and the predominance of wood, which AltanBakshi mentioned (although that in itself is a fact to be explained).

  96. Daniel Chieh says

    You’re portraying historical China as spiritually empty like modern China.

    This is not the appropriate reading from my writing; China was not spiritually empty, however, China mostly lacked a state religion that many other nations had, one that would allow a major priesthood to have a significant say in state affairs or could justify state expenditure for temples, etc. The major currents of Chinese philosophy(and the heavily influential in government) were Legalist, which was essentially either atheistic or cynically Taoist in a way that might as well be atheistic and Confucianism, which was basically agonistic.

    Confucius was famously reticent concerning ghosts and spirits, and the Neo-Confucians were very much aware of this. Confucius had said, for example, “Respect ghosts and spirits, but keep them at a distance” (Analects 6:20). And when a disciple asked about “serving ghosts and spirits” he replied, “When one is not yet able to serve other people, how can one serve ghosts?” When the disciple asked about death, Confucius said, “When one does not yet understand life, how can one understand death?” (Analects 11:11).

    There’s an intense strand of secularism in Chinese elite thought, visible in many locations, such as the Art of War:

    Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is FOREKNOWLEDGE.

    Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation.

    Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men. Hence the use of spies…This is called “divine manipulation of the threads.” It is the sovereign’s most precious faculty.

    Note how divine is portrayed as good management. The Mandate of Heaven takes on the opposite perspective: bad management and disasters is surely divine condemnation.

    Chinese spirituality was essentially restrained and arguably, not particularly fulfilling for many which is why Buddhism fulfilled a need that was clearly not being satisfied:

    The Liang (502–557) and Tang (618–907) dynasties saw outbreaks of passionate religious fervor, in which thousands of rural young people across China would renounce their farms, shops, and families to seek ordination as Buddhist monks and nuns; where merchants or landed magnates pledged their entire fortunes to the propagation of the Dharma; building projects hollowed out whole mountains to create bodhisattvas and giant statues of the Buddha; and pageants where monks and devotees ritually burned their heads and hands or, in some instances, set themselves on fire. By the mid–fifth century, there were dozens of such spectacular suicides; they became, as one historian put it, “a macabre kind of fashion.”

    Eventually this began to turn into a separate state:

    The Chinese Buddhist approach to charity was nothing if not multifaceted. Festivals often led to vast outpourings of contributions, with wealthy adherents vying with one another in generosity, often driving their entire fortunes to the monasteries, in the forms of oxcarts laden with millions of strings of cash—a kind of economic self-immolation that paralleled the spectacular monastic suicides. Their contributions swelled the Inexhaustible Treasuries. Some would be given to the needy, particularly in times of hardship. Some would be loaned. One practice that hovered between charity and business was providing peasants with alternatives to the local moneylender.

    Eventually the government responded:

    Before long there were major campaigns of government repression, at first often limited to certain regions, but over time, more often empire-wide. During the most severe, carried out in 845 AD, a total of 4,600 monasteries were razed along with their shops and mills, 260,000 monks and nuns forcibly defrocked and returned to their families—but at the same time, according to government reports, 150,000 temple serfs released from bondage.

  97. Blinky Bill says
  98. Daniel Chieh says

    Chinese built almost all buildings out of wood, that fact and rare but periodically happening extreme instability ensured that most old buildings perished, unlike stone buildings of the west.

    Yes, this is well known. Rammed earth was also popular, but rarely beautiful.

    Qing, Ming and Yuan were extremely closely connected with religion, actually their official ideology was that Chinese emperor is an universal Buddhist ruler and even a high level Bodhisattva or manifestation of Buddha’s enlightened activity.

    Certainly the Emperor was in a religiously privileged position, but their general observance and seriousness of religion could been in how Emperor Taizong(often considered as China’s greatest Emperor), for example, continuously ignored his religious responsibility as a kind of chief shaman to attend to state affairs.

    His accomplishments, which included religious toleration, were all quite impressive but set a standard where excessive piety could be seen a superstition. The various revolts and antics ultimately spread throughout Chinese society, and there’s quite a bit of evidence that the notion of “Heavenly Son” wasn’t taken all that seriously.

    Lord Chenggong(Koxinga), who would later evict the Dutch out of Formosa, for example, complained that unlike the Japanese that he grew up with, Chinese soldiers did not want to “die for the Emperor,” but instead expected the Emperor to protect them and forsaked the Emperor when it seemed that he was incapable of assuming divine powers. Ultimately it led him to often despise Confucianism, which he believed had turned the Chinese weak and corrupt, leading them to want to protect their families(and family clans were a huge issue in China) rather than devote themselves to becoming meat shields for the transcendent Emperor.

    By the age of eleven [Koxinga] mastered one of the most difficult books in the Chinese canon, the Annals of the Spring and Autumn Period. It’s the most martial of the classics, portraying an ancient world of loyalty, honor, and valor, not unlike the samurai world he’d left behind. In samurai tales, a warrior would sooner kill himself than betray his lord or commit an act of dishonor. Loyalty and righteousness, which were part of the samurai code, were qualities he seems to have felt were lacking in the China of his day. Indeed, they were qualities he would come to feel were lacking in his own father. “In ancient times,” he later wrote to Zhilong, “righteousness was always more valued than family loyalty . . . and ever since I learned to read I always admired the righteousness of the Spring and Autumn Period.”

  99. Daniel Chieh says

    I’ll have to read on them, but everything I’ve read so far indicates that the court was immensely powerful. By the time an Emperor went on a proper tyrannical streak, like the Yongle Emperor, he would be too cynical to be transcendant and holy.

    E.g. during the Imjin War, the Chinese diplomatic faction attempted to explicitly deceive the Wanli Emperor an manner almost completely insulting of his intelligence.

    When Yang and Shen returned to Korea, they immediately sent a letter to the Ming court telling them the Japanese accepted the terms of investiture. As if this lie was not bad enough, they then procured a number of items from southern China and the islands of Southeast Asia, including gold, pearls, swan feathers, and an orangutan, and sent them to the court as “tribute” submitted by Hideyoshi…

    …The [Emperor] court was not fooled by the lies, as they had their own spies in Korea and had been in touch with the Korean envoys. The court inquired why Hideyoshi would send items known to come from Guangdong as tribute, one wag remarking, “If small matters were handled like this, we can only speculate how the important issues were handled.”

  100. AltanBakshi says

    Emperor’s personal observation of religion varied depending on whom was sitting on Dragon Throne, but state was organically linked with the Sanyi or Three Teachings, State checked who could become a monk, Taoist priest, Confucian scholar, state funded religious institutions and temples. Greatest Qing emperors like Kangxi and Qianlong were deeply religious men, no matter what CCP revisionists claim. Before the late Imperial era, the state was even more religious and Emperors often had a favored religion. Sui and Tang were extremely Buddhist and Taoist, and the effects of the emperor Wuchong’s persecution of Buddhism in 845 has been greatly over exaggerated, Tang central government had only a loose control over China in such late stage of their existence, and we can see that dynasties like Liao and Jin were extremely Buddhist, same with the early Great Ming, who proudly continued the religious practices of the Great Yuan, before their era of stagnation and xenophobia, or why else they invited leaders of Karma Kagyu school from Tibet and conferred high titles to Karmapa hierarchs?

    Nowadays CCP has partially an enlightenment agenda, and tries to portray Chinese of the past as more individualistic and secular than they truly were.

    When the Great Ming build monuments of their imperial power on the far reaches of Siberia or Himalayas, they were always inscribed with the most holy mantra of Avalokiteshvara: Om Mani Padme Hum! But that was during their prime, when they stagnated, so too Buddhism stagnated and decayed among the imperial family.


    I have little time to edit and add, for I notice one interesting and very common modern Chinese misconception.

    “he would be too cynical to be transcendant and holy.”

    Religion is not so transcendent thing as you modern Chinese think, dont Buddha’s sweat and shit? Ha ha ha. I’m quite religious, but I’m more prone to violence than most effete westerners. Many good Buddhist leaders have been violent. For the welfare of nation one must do sacrifices, in a Buddhist logic leader should do such decisions for the welfare of his nation, even if he ends in hell because of it.

  101. TelfoedJohn says
  102. TelfoedJohn says

    “I Spent a Day With Kosovo’s Hitler for Hire”


  103. AltanBakshi says

    Please Karlin can you delete this comment, I did go too far this time. Such language is employed in a Buddhist literature, especially in Chan, but it’s not okay on a public forum like this. F**k! I should not have written in such a hurry.

  104. Daniel Chieh says

    Greatest Qing emperors like Kangxi and Qianlong were deeply religious men, no matter what CCP revisionists claim.

    The Qing were indeed very Buddhist, but I am still skeptical that they would be able to spent any significant amount of the state budget on temples without backlash from the bureaucracy. After all, Chinese bureaucracy was so extensive that it was heavenly.

    For many years it has been a truism that the Chinese conception of gods is based on the Chinese bureaucracy, and that the social organization of the human government is the essential model that Chinese people use when imagining the gods. At the apex of the divine bureaucracy stands the Jade Emperor in Heaven, corresponding to the human Son of Heaven (Tianzi, another name for emperor) who rules over Earth. The Jade Emperor is in charge of an administration divided into bureaus, and each bureaucrat-god takes responsibility for a clearly defined domain or discrete function.

    The local officials of the celestial administration are the Gods of Walls and Moats (also called the City Gods), one per locality, and below them are the Gods of the Hearth (also called the Stove or Kitchen gods), one per family, who generate a never-ending flow of reports on the people under their jurisdiction. They are assisted in turn by gods believed to dwell inside each person’s body, who accompany people through life and into death, carrying with them the records of good and evil deeds committed by their charges. The very lowest officers (also known as the ten Magistrates of Hell) are those who administer punishment to deceased spirits passing through the purgatorial chambers of the Underworld. They too have reports to fill out, citizens to keep track of, and jails to manage.


    And one can see the cynicism in the story of how the Jade Emperor is selected:

    His commander was secretly scheming to save the highest ranking position of Jade Emperor for himself. Just as he was about to declare himself emperor, however, he paused and said “děng lái,” meaning “wait a moment.”

    In those days, it was customary for high officials and royals to pause before accepting a promotion and reflect on the great responsibilities they would be taking on. Seeing a huge opportunity, Denglai feigned ignorance of this tradition and acted as if he had heard his name. Thus, Denglai stepped forward and accepted the role of the Jade Emperor.


    Incidentally, I feel pretty terrible for derailing the topic. I’ll add additional replies into the Open Thread.

  105. I would do an experiment where people are paid for solving an IQ test well. I’d be willing to bet that our results would suddenly jump up and quite a bit so

  106. Nigerian Nationalist says

    Surely a first step would be to have Messrs Chisala and Karlin take an IQ test and then compare.

    It would be highly amusing, to say the least.

  107. Philip Owen says

    almost the entire official vote LEave campaign had marginal identities, Sctos, Jewish, Irish, Turkish, Japanese and Catholic religion or Russian wives to boot. Usually two of the above.

  108. Lacking a spiritual tradition themselves, Westerners tend not to see it in other cultures.

    But China’s radical Taoist tradition is superior even to the Mahayana in its pervasiveness and accessibility. Japanese Zen is a drier descendent.

    Read the lives and teachings of the Ch’an Patriarchs to get a feel for it.

    I would guess that every member of the State Council today would assent to the fundamental Truths of the great Taoist Masters.

    By 2049, when the granary will be full, we can expect more public attention on Spiritual matters–for that is the whole point of filling the granary.

  109. Coconuts says

    Am I deluded when to my eyes common Poles and Balts look more “Nordic” than average Germans?

    I was surprised about this when I first started visiting the Baltics and Belarus, there are a decent number of people who in my eyes looked Nordic or akin to Scandinavians. In Poland it is also present but somehow the Poles also seemed to me to have some similarities with the Germans in appearance (like Hitler in the photo without the moustache).

    I remember reading, I think it is in Ian Kershaw’s biography of Hitler, that the Fuhrer himself was visiting Poltava and was surprised that the people there looked Nordic.

  110. Daniel Chieh says

    AK’s IQ is 1488.

  111. Not Only Wrathful says


  112. Sure, there are lots of people smarter than very smart people in specific fields. This is because intelligence optimisation at the far end of the spectrum leads to specialisation. As Edward Dutton mentions, this often manifests in extremely smart people being totally unable to do things that average people can do such as drive cars. It is reported (unsure if true or not) that Bertrand Russell was so inept he couldn’t make himself tea. Was Betrand Russell so low IQ that he was comparatively as intelligent as 60 IQ retards? Of course not.

    Optimising for intelligence that benefits chess skill to a high degree, ie Carlsen or Bobby Fischer, likely decreases intelligence in other areas. We see this also with Jews who last I heard had greater verbal IQ than spatial. We wouldn’t say that Jews are dumber than an average person because of weakened spatial reasoning, we would understand they’re optimised for a subset of intelligence in verbal.

    This is why it makes little sense to claim Carlsen, or Hikaru, are not really that intelligent. They are highly intelligent, but it is focused on one domain and falls off in other areas. A paper by Frydman and Richard Lynn (1992) found avg. IQ of Belgian chess players (n=33, small sample and only one country) as 129, which was higher in other areas than the comparatively low verbal IQ avg. of 109. So again, being good at chess requires high intelligence in specific domains. So too does being the very top of your field in anything such as physics.

  113. Taoism is just Proto-Christianity.
    In fact anyone who is a Taoist should drop the act (same for Pure Land Buddhists. Muh Amitabha! By your grace send me to heaven!)

  114. Kent Nationalist says

    Saying that Farage is marginal because his paternal-most ancestor was French 250 years ago is ridiculous.

  115. Kent Nationalist says

    That looks like an interesting book, but based on what I have read of Taoism, incorrect.

    Confucianism is however definitely proto-Christianity (like Platonism).

  116. Christianity is a belief-based religion. Radical Taoism and its Realizers have nothing whatever to do with belief.

  117. Malenfant says

    It takes a particularly feminine and effete character to prefer an ornate bauble to the largest and most imposing military fortification ever built, by several orders of magnitude.

  118. jademperor says

    The article may itself be a paid bias, drivel for some US psyop. If you take Russian coworkers, they represent HSE from Moscow – a notorious pro-Western pseudo-university, dubbed as ‘liberal cloaca’ by muskovites, that encourage its students to participate in pro-Western riots. The ‘Institute of Education’ in Russian language sounds as euphemism, like ‘academy of learning’ or ‘University of Science’ – that exposes the stupidity of it’s liberal creators.

  119. It’s not too late Godfree! If you’re a taoist you can be a Christian too! You don’t have to pretend there’s no religious tradition in Europe due to deep-seated ethno-masochism. Simply remember the words of Jesus: “I am the Tao” John 14:6. Following the Tao leads you to Christianity 🙂 God bless.

  120. Daniel Chieh says

    I always knew that a melanf post had a higher than average odds of containing image of a woman. Its good not to be disappointed.

  121. Daniel Chieh says

    There’s something worthwhile noting in that while we can be fairly confident that AI can outplay humans in anything with a known set of information, I’m not sure if we have yet found AI can outpace humans in even simple games with unknown information. IIRC AI still can’t figure out Stratego as it has plenty of unknown information.

    Relevant to your post, AI probably won’t be able to know what to do with rule-lawyering in War40k either. There are AI engines for things like Magic the Gathering, which has a similar kind of loose balance, flexibility in rules, etc. but its not particularly good, I understand.

    Do you remember 3rd edition cheese, though? 5 man tac squads to maximize heavy weapons. I knew a guy who did that with Blood Angels, for an epically unfluffy but highly optimal composition(he also abused FEEL NO PAIN, but I forgot how).

  122. Other than some vocabulary, there is no connection between religion and spirituality. One is about beliefs, the other about Realization.

  123. Some people crave a challenge. Musk may be one of them. Larry Bird another.

  124. Are you Sam Harris? “No connection between religion and spirituality.” Please. I don’t think that you’re honestly this dumb, just arguing in bad faith especially on topics such as this. Believing in truths is one aspect, living in accordance to those beliefs is realisation. One cannot achieve theosis by simply “believing in the right things” it takes actualisation into the correct methods of living. One doesn’t simply believe in correct moral conduct, one must live correct moral conduct.

  125. OTOH, you have countries like Mexico with very low IQ, in the low 80s, but with first world infrastructure like expressways.

  126. Donald A Thomson says

    Xenophon’s Anabasis is not intellectually demanding in English. Why would you need a high verbal ability?

    On the other hand, there are very high IQ people who have taken up Scrabble for reasons I don’t understand and can’t be bothered to think about. People get obsessive about chess and go too. Everybody to their own pastimes but I think I’ll stay lazy like the vast majority of people.

    When tests are mentioned, I always remember the English test in the 1960s that proved that Australians had a low natural aptitude for sport. The young Australians were awkward controlling a ball with their foot. The obvious flaw didn’t occur to the testers. They can be excused to some extent because there were a lot of boys in New South Wales and Queensland who played club soccer at that time. At that time, few took the game as seriously as the English did.

    I played 50 a side soccer during lunch at High School in the 1950s. When we were jammed against the tennis courts and attained a more appropriate density, I always enjoyed the scrum. Deep down, I always thought the English didn’t understand how soccer should best be played. For some reason, I didn’t acquire any soccer skills at that time. [email protected]

  127. AltanBakshi says

    There is nothing Theistic or Monotheistic in Pure Land Buddhism. Amitabha is not omnipotent, He did not create world, there are many Pure Lands, with their Buddhas, with similar powers as Amitabha, or lands where one can easily learn Dharma, like the Eastern Heaven of Buddha Akshyobha, but Amitabha’s Western Heaven got most popular in China, probably because Chinese associated it with their native paradise of Queen Mother of West. Buddhist Pure Lands are not Heavens in a Christian sense, they are not final and ultimate destinations for individual, they are places where circumstances for learning of Buddhist Dharma are much better than in our world. Pure Land has always been part of Mahayana, and it’s not even a separate school of Buddhism, except in Japan, in that forsaken madhouse of a country where heretical Buddhist sects have often flourished.

    One can’t be born into Pure Land without good deeds, and though Amitabha has promised to teach anyone who asks him, it can take (theoretically) millions of years before one has enough merit to gain chance to be born in the Pure Land. Amitabha will help all, he will keep his promise, but it depends on us if we can be born in his heaven in next life or after hundreds of lives.

    Traditionally in Asian countries monks have often thought that Pure Land teachings are most suitable to peasants, who have little time to study Buddhist philosophy, the nature of Pure Land teachings is provisional, not definitive, our faith does not lack sophistication, Buddha taught everyone according to his capabilities and intelligence.

  128. Realization is actualization. Talk is talk. Belief is bullshit.

  129. anonymous coward says

    cope, le post

    “I’m actually, like, really smart. I’d be a elite scientistician if I didn’t have better things to occupy my time, like, uh, video games”.

  130. Levtraro says

    I read in one of Glantz’s or Beevor’s books (don’t remember precisely) that Hitler explained that at the start of WWI he had a normal, longer moustache, as it was the custom at the time (à la Kayser Wilhem II or von Bismarck) but then when he was in combat he found that the long moustache was a nuisance when wearing the gas mask so he cut off the tips and it worked better with gas mask. After the war, when reportedly he was infiltrating fringe political organizations to inform the German army about political developments in German civil society, he decided the tip-less, short moustache would work well as a brand-making atribute.

  131. TelfoedJohn says

    Look at the people Farage surrounds himself with. Steven Woolfe, Ben Habib, Raheem Kassam. All people on the edge of British identity. They cling to British nationalism perhaps because they feel insecure.

  132. Levtraro says

    It seems to me religion and spirituality, as commonly understood, are in fact very well connected ideas in the sense that both are based on giving importance to super-natural, magical forces, such as gods, spirits, souls.

  133. reiner Tor says

    I’m pretty sure that if it weren’t for the moustache, no one would mistake him for Hitler. In fact, a moustache-less Hitler would also probably look very different than a moustache-less version of this guy. The only thing I’d give him is that he looks more similar than Charlie Chaplin, who doesn’t resemble Hitler at all.

    (Also his eye color is different, though it’s just a minor issue.)

    Hitler’s moustache is so uncommon that anyone wearing it will resemble Hitler.

  134. Kent Nationalist says

    Love of beauty is not feminine and I feel very sorry for you if you think it is. I hope at least you can find consolation in your algebra textbooks and looking at pictures of steel mills.

    The Great Wall is actually not very imposing, from what I have seen of it. It is quite low and it is only impressive at all because it is long. It wasn’t even very successful at its job.

  135. I should have made clear that I was talking about Spiritual Realization of the kind exemplified by Jesus, Gautama and Krishna.

    Jesus, for example, realized freedom from the binding power of the loveless ego, and demonstrated his Realization in life, and taught from that point of view.

    Gautama, likewise, realized freedom from the binding power of desire, demonstrated his Realization in life, and taught from that point of view.

    Krishna realized freedom from the binding power of mind, demonstrated his Realization in life, and taught from that point of view.

    They are the historically famous Realizers, but there have been many more, and at least one who realized, demonstrated and taught from the point of view of liberation from all three, simultaneously.

  136. It was fairly common at that time, however. It had American origins. My aunt’s Hungarian father-in-law had one in the early 1930s.

    Russian wiki has images of various people with this style:


  137. reiner Tor says

    Although the guy resembles Hitler for people today, not back then. We have seen him so much and the other guys so little that we will always associate this style of mustache with him. I suspect this is the reason why it has never come back to fashion ever since. I once had a relatively large beard for a month (not shaving for two months), and when shaving it I kept a toothbrush mustache for the giggles and took a selfie before shaving it, too. You guessed it, in the selfie I totally resembled Hitler (and everyone giggled at the resemblance when being shown the picture) despite looking totally different.

  138. Daniel Chieh says

    Great Wall was mostly successful. One should remember that China fought hundreds, if not over a thousand “wars” against the north, mostly without failing (though it was a huge capital drain). I think the entire Ming Dynasty had less than 11 years of peace, and that’s not even contiguous.


    Like an anti-air system, it’s a force multiplier and impressive example of geoengineering. I’m personally more impressed by the Grand Canal myself though.


    An artificial river is nontrivial, one unrivaled in size and used to this day. When people talk of terraforming, the Chinese have shown the most gumption in my readings to actually do it, even if it takes hundreds of years.

  139. Daniel Chieh says

    He would do better if you gave to his Patreon. All readers of this, please visit:


    I’m sure he will also accept payments in BTC, ETH or precious metals.

  140. Shortsword says

    The Great Wall is actually not very imposing, from what I have seen of it. It is quite low and it is only impressive at all because it is long.

    Keep in mind the type of terrain it’s built on.


  141. That is a Hindu temple of Vishnu

    100s similar temples used to exist in India, before the muslim invaders destroyed most of them

    Some still extant huge Vishnu Temple complexes

    Srirangam Vishnu temple

    Srirangam is can be considered the biggest functioning Hindu temple in the world, as it covers an area of about 631,000 square metres (6,790,000 sq ft) with a perimeter of 4 km (10,710 ft).[1] Angkor Wat is bigger but non-functioning.


  142. anonymous599 says

    I understand your point and probably I didn’t explain well enough in the previous comment.

    What you said about inteligence is true to certain extent but I think it’s somewhat bias view (You only recognize weird genius, the rest is invisible.). Also, Carlsen is not weird (at least that weird) AFAIK unlike Fischer (Murphy was pretty wild, too.). As I said, chess players are smart, they’re not genius as you said acc. to the paper (I would take this study with grain of salt btw since n=33 and it’s Belgium, not Russia or global.). They excel on pattern recognition, memory etc… However when I talk about intelligence/genius, I am talking about STEM grad at elite university doing fringe studies. I am skeptical if Carlsen went to study STEM degree, he would be an elite level, let alone the genius level. He would probably do very well especially areas such as history (definitely elite level) but I am skeptical about his ability to have breakthrough in physics/AI/biotech etc… I don’t mean that he can’t study in good school, even elite school. His memory can let him graduate from any department and he can live comfortable life but as I said, it’s not possible to show similar impact he’s done so far in chess. There are many people with such skills and I don’t call them genius, they’re just autistic.

  143. China Japan and Korea Bromance of Three Kingdoms says

    The Great War was never breached by the Manchus. The Ming capital Beijing was sacked not by Manchus but by Li Zicheng’s peasant rebels. And Huang Taiji and Dorgon was so clever about adoption of Confucian administration that his staff became overflowed with top scorers on the Imperial Exam. Pretty soon the war of „Conquest“ became mostly Han vs. Han

    One can argue straw that broke camel’s back for Untergang of Ming was a silver contraction that led to a deflationary spiral.

    Another thing is the Great War was so expansive that it covered up to the sea at Shanhaiguan. So it couldn’t be outflanked like Maginot line in Westfeldzug*.

    That said, the stronkest founding Ming emperors, Hongwu and Yongle, always took the battle to the northern deserts, on the Mongol’s own turf.

    *Incidentally, hadn’t French and BEF been defeated so decisively in 1940, the China Incident had become such a quagmire that IJA drew up plans to withdraw to Manchuria, using the Great War as defense line.

  144. Blinky Bill says
  145. Blinky Bill says
  146. Fair enough. Based on this explanation I do agree with the majority of what you’re saying. In regards to the Belgian study the number is small (which is why I mentioned it) but it at least highlights that there is a major disconnect in intelligence domains for chess players.

    I am skeptical if Carlsen went to study STEM degree, he would be an elite level, let alone the genius level…but I am skeptical about his ability to have breakthrough in physics/AI/biotech etc…

    I agree with this as well, but I think our disagreement lies in how we characterise this intelligence. You said “they’re not stupid, but they’re not geniuses” as well as “There are many people with such skills and I don’t call them genius, they’re just autistic” which I think is the wrong way of looking at it.

    They are not able to have STEM breakthroughs, yes, but most people aren’t polymaths either. We have the word polymath because most people, even very smart people, are not good in multiple fields. This goes back to my comments before that geniuses often fail at mundane things. It seems unfair to characterise the best chess players in the world as only “autistic” because they’re not having physics breakthroughs simultaneously. Perhaps we should regard STEM geniuses as simply “autistic” if they don’t excel beyond their singular field. Until physicists start beating grandmasters I won’t regard them as intelligent!

  147. “ first world infrastructure like expressways.”

    That you can’t drive at night.


  148. Nigel Farage isn’t a nationalist.

  149. DNA wise, 10% of Khmer ancestry is Indian
    Khmers got Buddhism, Hinduism and their alphabet and their civilization from India,

    The alphabet of Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Tibet, Myanmar, Thailand is Indian

  150. Chess — like mathematics — is about pattern recognition. Autism is a major advantage for a chess player; I am in the top 7 or 8 per cent of players, and I think my Asperger’s/HFA helps. This is why I doubt that females will match males any time soon.

  151. Blinky Bill says
  152. Blinky Bill says

    You should stick around, your comments were always good.

  153. I did not know that you had lights on the interstate in the middle of rural North Dakota.

  154. I would tend to agree. Confucianism in particular seems to have been an issue in this respect, in that it championed low taxes for the peasantry.

    Many small European countries seem to have more impressive palaces than China. Certainly there’s nothing even close to, say, Versailles. (And it was built off a 5x smaller population).

  155. Confucianism in general seems to be an extremely bad system for a Malthusian era society.

    In pre-industrial times, taxing the peasantry to construct magnificent palaces is actually a good thing. Misery is inevitable anyway (Malthusianism), but that way you at least get nice, lasting things out of it.

    Stronger state allow you to support bigger armies, and state granaries to alleviate effects of famine when they do happen.

    China not only had less impressive palaces than France or even Mughal India, but more severe famines than in Europe, and famously struggled to raise armies despite its demographic heft. As I recall you pointed out, the Ming struggled to raise 100,000 soldiers during the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 1590s, while the Japanese had several 100,000’s soldiers who were supported by a navy at that. Its mobilization capacity was like 100x greater in per capita terms.

  156. Why did Buddhism disappear from mainland India?

  157. Those North Dakota banditos are scary

  158. China Japan and Korea Bromance of Three Kingdoms says

    Come on really?

    The Forbidden City is the world’s largest palace currently in existence

    That said, almost all palaces on that list older than the Forbidden City (built in 15th century) were destroyed at some point.

  159. Daniel Chieh says

    Yes, but its to be considered that this was also utiliarian. The Forbidden Palace was literally a city to house the Imperial apparatus, harems, and so on. In terms of outright expenditures at the whim of the Emperor, I can’t think of any equivalent to say, Neuschwanstein Castle.

    Even after his debts had reached 14 million marks, King Ludwig II insisted on continuation of his architectural projects; he threatened suicide if his creditors seized his palaces. In early 1886, Ludwig asked his cabinet for a credit of 6 million marks, which was denied. In April, he followed Bismarck’s advice to apply for the money to his parliament. In June the Bavarian government decided to depose the King, who was living at Neuschwanstein at the time. On 9 June he was incapacitated, and on 10 June he had the deposition commission arrested in the gatehouse.

    Can’t imagine trying to justify that a collection of Neoconfucian, enunches, and family clans. I mean, there’s a reason why Emperors kept going on strike.


    I think the article exaggerates it – obviously people like the Yongle Emperor and others were able to start huge campaigns instead. But they clearly had a lot of limitations and kept having to justify their actions(or killed everyone “as a tyrant”, and had to keep from being murdered, basically).

  160. China Japan and Korea Bromance of Three Kingdoms says

    This is a long story

    The Ming had no problem keeping a large standing army.

    Problems are that soldiers are poorly paid/trained and hold low status in society. There is no equivalence of a samurai caste and bushido ethos.

    more importantly administration was centralized through the civilian bureaucrats, so was very inefficient.

    This system was a reaction to the downfall of Tang. The Tang (6-9th century) was founded by a mixed aristocracy of horse-riding nomad Xianbei with Hans. They had no problems kicking ass all the way to central asia and Lake Baikal. But the military was ruled by regional military commanders, and eventually central authority broke down and bought down the Tang.

    The Song which followed, sought to keep military strongmen in line by having a centralized army subjugated by scholar-official bureaucracy. This didn’t go very well cuz Song was crushed by by the Jurchens.

    The Jurchens founded the Jin dynasty which inherited much the Song system, and overtime had the same problems and was in turn overran by Mongols.

    The Ming did somewhat better under a few vigorous early emperors. But when SHTF, the Confucian bureaucracy will break down due to internal bickering. Its always some strongman that steps up, in case of Imjin War it was an ethnic Korean from a hereditary frontier military family.

    So to your point, Confucian meritocracy does not perform well in SHTF situations. Eventually the Qing bought things under control by having a Manchu-Mongol aristocracy on top keeping the bureaucrats in line.

  161. Percheron says

    “There are certain details of Hitler’s appearance which one cannot surmise from photographs. His complexion is medium, with blond-brown hair of a neutral shade which shows no signs of gray. His eyes are very dark-blue.”

    Taken from Lothrop Stoddard’s account of the Third Reich, where Stoddard personally had an audience with Hitler. Knowing Hitler’s pigmentation, and taking care to look at a good selection of photographs, it seems unreasonable to conclude that Hitler looked particularly like an “Albanian taxi driver” unless one is willing to say the same of a good portion of the denizens of southern Germandom, who, given their geographic location and history, quite naturally do not always look entirely Nordic.

  162. Daniel Chieh says

    Ming had a huge army in paper but brought in only 50k troops for the first stage of Imjin and let’s be generous, 100k for the second stage – as per Wikipedia.

    Japan raised 300k troops with a much lower demographic and economic base(Japan had just finished Sengoku Wars). I have a book which says 500k, but regardless, the point of the same: ridiculous level of mobilization.

    And yes, soldiers have low status in Confucianism, though fortunately not as low status as they were in the Confucianist Korea court, or else China and Korea likely wouldn’t exist now.

  163. programming competitions. (But in the one survey of Computer Science grad skills, Americans came out

    The vast majority of computer science students in Russian universities are far too busy with their course, and do not involved themselves in anything related to programming competitions.

    But it is an “affordable publicity” for universities with the soviet universiade mentality, to invest in creating specialist teams for entering the sport of programming competitions, using a group of a few nerds who are interested in the sporting activities. This is a rational way, with good value for money, for university departments trying to generate publicity or prestige via sporting achievements.

    Of course, the soviet universiade mentality, can look like a university’s equivalent of how in the favela in Brazil, some children will invest time in becoming good in not very useful skills, like juggling footballs, due to the lack of other sources of funding and prestige.

    It could be seen as a positive, when student who was in such a university’s programming competitions, as it is displaying students’ ability for teamwork, concentration and motivation levels. But if the students were overinvested in sports activities to the extent it displaced time for developing general knowledge and education, it could be seen as negative.

    In universities in Russia, the computer science courses are one of the most demanding in terms of students’ time, so you might wonder what sacrifices to the general education are occurring for the team members training all day for this sport.

    Moreover, screen-addicted nerds that would be interested in these competitions, might not be the type of people you would want to be spending time with all day in an office environment; more screen addicted students, could potentially signal more difficult, grumpy personalities.

    If someone was a university champion in football or tennis, that could signal the same attributes of high motivation in the student, while also signaling that they are friendly or amiable personalities, who are able to organized time for activities away from the screen.

    But in the one survey of Computer Science grad skills, Americans came out ahead of Russians

    Because of the combination of a demanding course, with the often incompetence of the teachers, and nightmare grandmother-operated bureaucracy of the universities; students in Russia are from an early stage learning the importance of teamwork.

    That is, it is possible to pass the course (or even decode certain teachers’ lectures), sometimes only by pooling resources and working as a collaboration team with other students, and large supplies of tea and nicotine.

    There can be such a hidden strength gifted more often to students of the Russian higher education institutions, than among graduates in Western Europe. That some kind of collaborative “Manhattan project” can be required to decode the lectures of certain teachers, where it would be an effort of Hercules for an individual student to succeed without pooling their efforts with fellow students.

    And this is collaboration that students in Russian universities, that employers want from students – that they will work with others in a friendly way, explain clearly what they have been doing, make their work simple and legible to follow (so that other people can not waste time to understand it), and that they have some sense of relaxed humour and resilience in the stressful situations – which stress in the Russian university can be imposed by lazy teachers, nightmare bureaucracy and low quality housing.

    what’s the point, when you have many other other interesting opportunities to gain money, status, or just enjoy life at its own pace?

    Western students, in places like Cambridge University, are living in a aristocratic beauty and luxury, and that can be seen as an anti-Spartan education.

    Students in England can live aristocratic villas, of unimaginable architectural beauty, surrounded by beautiful gardens, and with a lot of industry and multinational corporations within a radius of a few kilometres.

    And students can be eating breakfast every morning, in rooms which look like sets from the cinema of Luchino Visconti:

    All this wealth and luxury, from the point of view, of making education seem prestigious and mystical, is very successful, and it reminds of the Catholic church.

    The Vatican is full of awesome superficial wealth and beautiful, which impresses the religion itself with prestige by Pavlonian conditioning. This is also the anglosaxon university operates, to connect prestige with education.

    But from the point of view of operant conditioning – it could have a backwards effect on student’s motivation for future work.

    In operant conditioning, the reward of luxury conditions should come to the students after work, and they should remember educational days as a time of if not poverty (the latter in the education theory of Ancient Sparta), or at least normality.

    The student’s dining room should look:

    And after passing exams, and a lot of hard work, the office dining rooms in the society, should be like Harry Potter.