Open Thread 160

  • Emil Kirkegaard: The ‘Hereditarians bad people’ objection. On the recent spat between Cathy Young vs. Charles Murray, Steve Sailer, and other hereditarians. Ended with Steve being blocked by Cathy.

  • Hungary has become an object in the culture war. Their demographic problems long predate Orban, who was actually more successful on the economy than on the former (at least to date). They are not going to get rich by taking in immigrants. The US tends to attract much higher quality immigrants (or at least an elite “smart fraction” subset that punches way above its weight) that will simply never come to Hungary because it is banally poorer than the US and does not have world-renowned institutions/companies to attract them (as @whyvert points out). Basically, my take is that there’s limited the “lessons: that the US and Hungary can exchange are highly limited.

  • Global Times: “Lithuania is a crazy, tiny country full of geopolitical fears. Its strategy is to cling to the US as tightly as possible. Lithuania will eventually pay the price for its evil deed of breaking international rules.

* Banerjee, I. et al. (2021). Reading Race: AI Recognises Patient’s Racial Identity In Medical Images. In arXiv [cs.CV]. Twitter summary: “We performed many experiments to work out how it does this, but couldn’t pin it down. This is the most ridiculous figure I have ever seen. AI can detect race from images filtered so heavily they are just blank grey squares! …Hi everyone. This thread has been swamped by racists. I’m probably gonna miss your replies, but I’ll still be here in a few days when they move on or you can reach out through other channels.

India in the Olympics

It’s fascinating to think that what is now a solidly lower-middle income country with a population that is on the cusp of overtaking’s China’s has just two medals in the Olympics so far.

It’s a bit less surprising when one considers that the average Indian man might only be about as strong as the average Icelandic woman…

But anyhow.

The other really interesting feature is how even within India a small proportion of states contribute almost all their medal winners. For instance, 30% of the Indian Olympic team comes from Haryana and Punjab, two states with 4% of India’s population.

Moreover, even from within those states, there are areas of strong concentration.


Although it’s tempting to ascribe this to vegetarianism, the problem is that most of the South and East do eat chicken whereas both Punjab and Haryana are very vegetarian.

Looking at the leaderboard, India is right below Mongolia (population: 3 million), which at three medals has one more than India despite a 500x lower population. All three of them are in judo. The Mongols also dominate sumo wrestling in Japan (126 million).

Open Thread 159

Rosatom HQ.

  • RIP. Sam Dickson: William H. Regnery II: A Hero’s Life. A Hero’s Death.  I intersected with him in Moscow in 2018 at the end of a transit of the Trans-Siberian with a friend. Too little to get a know a person, but my impressions were positive, FWIW. On a non-political tone, He remarked that he had visited Moscow three times, once towards the end of the Soviet era, the second time around 2010, and the third time now. Each time it had gotten better. He said that he had been in London about 20 times and that it had progressively degraded since he first visited in the 1960s. In 2018, he felt it had overtaken it in quality and by a large margin.

* Lo, Y.-H., Cheng et al. (2020). Detecting genetic ancestry and adaptation in the Taiwanese Han people. Molecular Biology and Evolution. Spoiler: Admixture happened before the Chinese emigrated to Taiwan.

(1) The Georgian Orthodox Church is autocephalous from Moscow, (2) all polls show Georgians more homophobic than Russians, (3) Georgian nationalists don’t exactly like Russia, LOL.

But it is still Putler & Russia who are repressing their gays.

41% of Ukrainians Agree They and Russians Are One People

These are the results of a recent poll from Rating Group. 41% agree with Putin’s position, 55% disagree. Not bad, considering there’s now been a generation’s worth of state svidomy narratives.

But possibly the most startling result (and certainly one that I didn’t expect is there there’s essentially zero difference across age groups. 44% of 18-29 y/o’s agree to 42% of 60+ y/o’s, despite declining numbers of self-identifying Russians in younger age groups.

Otherwise, the regional and political party breakdowns are not surprising. Solid majorities in the South and East, amongst adherents of the UOC-MP, and the expected opposition parties (Opposition Bloc, Party of Shariy, etc.) consider Ukrainians and Russians to be one people. Even so, the fact that even in Western Ukraine, 22% agree with this, as do 10% of Greek-Catholics, 12% of nationalist Svoboda supporters, and 10% of European Solidarity voters, was mildly interesting; it is curious and significant that such people even exist.

Cultural Autonomy in Film

Chinese protectionism/censorship (they only allow 34 Hollywood movies a year) has helped incubate a domestic film industry. As Richard Hanania points out, citing a study by James McMahon, that as of now, 9 out of 10 of the highest grossing films in Chinese history are domestic, all released in the last few years.

State censors require that all films in China, both of domestic and foreign origin, adhere to “the principles of the Chinese Constitution and maintain social morality” (O’Connor & Armstrong, 2015, p. 9). These standards are maintained through the prohibition of certain images and scenes that depict “demons or supernaturalism, crime or any other illicit or illegal actions within China’s borders, disparagement of the People’s Liberation Army and police, and anything that could be perceived as anti-China–including merely damaging Chinese sites or monuments.

Something like Leviathan (2014), a depressive/cynical-for-the-sake-of-it movie with Russophobic undertones, wouldn’t have been made (or at least screened) in China and that’s probably a good thing for the Chinese.

That said, another curious finding from the author James McMahon, although it is not in the paper, is that Russia – along with India and China – has the least intersection with American cultural consumption. That is, they have the lowest correlations between films that do well in the US box office and in their own.

This seems to largely be a map of cultural closeness to the US. Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and South Africa are all in the top 5 closest countries to the US.

I suspect that the distance between the US and Russia might even start to further increase with the increasingly heavy-handed promotion of “Woke” themes in American cinema.

Open Thread 158

Time for something more stereotypical.

  • The AK. About a couple of months ago the National Bolsheviks (“Other Russia”) had me round to their “bunker” for a podcast. It’s now been released, you can listen to it here. (Obviously only in Russian).

Alt Right columnist Tobias Langdon “featured me” as a Jew besmirching the noble Anglo at Counter-Currents.

This is not some dark new age of cancel culture, however, it’s just a return to normality. Those who grew up in the late 20th century were living in a highly unusual time, one that could never be sustained, a sexual and cultural revolution that began in 1963 or 1968. But it has ended and, as all revolutionaries must do after storming the Bastille, they have built Bastilles of their own. The new order has brought in numerous methods used by the old order to exert control — not just censorship, but word taboo and rituals which everyone is forced to go along with, or at least not openly criticise. You might call it the new intolerance, or woke extremism, but all societies need the policing of social norms.

No one would satirise the transgender movement today; no one would dare point fun at BLM, or Pride month; no one would dare joke about George Floyd, because like the publishers of Gay Times in 1977, they might face jail for blasphemy.  Instead leading satirist Sacha Baron Cohen makes a living making jokes at the expense of the little people. Indeed the only satire made now pokes fun at the old establishment, like punching the corpse of a once-ferocious zoo animal, or the people who still hold the old beliefs; the elderly, the less educated, the rural and provincial. The powerless.

This is one of the best meta-pieces on the Great Awokening to date IMO.

The report – “No 32-04 vd” – is classified as secret. It says Trump is the “most promising candidate” from the Kremlin’s point of view. The word in Russian is perspektivny.

There is a brief psychological assessment of Trump, who is described as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”.

There is also apparent confirmation that the Kremlin possesses kompromat, or potentially compromising material, on the future president, collected – the document says – from Trump’s earlier “non-official visits to Russian Federation territory”.

#ThatHappened. /s Actually, I strongly suspect it might have been a troll job. Anyhow, as Aaron Mate points out, even the likes of Maddow aren’t touching it with a ten foot pole.

Kirkegaard with a blast from the past (2019): South Africa’s Decline Is Worst Among Nations Not at War, Model Shows. I wonder if there’s some demographic tipping point at which it implodes.

  • AFGHANISTAN. Zadran, S. K., Ilyas, M., & Dawari, S. (2021). Genetic variants associated with diseases in Afghan population. Molecular Genetics & Genomic Medicine, 9(5), e1608. Holtz: “In Afghanistan, the prevalence of cousin marriages is estimated to be 46.2%. The prevalent type of cousin marriage is first cousin marriage (27.8%), followed by double first cousin marriage (6.9%), second cousin (5.8%), and third cousin (3.9%).” Sailer noted this, and the implications for the chances of US success in Afghanistan, two decades ago. 😐

  • Video of Taliban taking over a gym. Disclose TV: “UK will work with the Taliban if they take power in Afghanistan, says the British Defense Minister.”

  • CORONA. Yuri Deigin – Get vaccinated! It could help you, like, not die… It’s pretty funny observing the hostile responses to it. Basically, what I think happened is that many anti-China right-wingers followed him after Wade propped him as the originator of the “biolab escape” theory, under the impression he was some kind of anti-China propagandist. This is not the case, to their chagrin.

Incidentally, I have largely refrained from opining on ivermectin. It did strike me as this year’s hydroxychloroquine (not suppressed, works to some extent in some cases, neither the silver bullet nor the snake oil of rightoid and soyjak imagination, respectively), but it’s not something I wanted to actively research. But happily, Deigin – compiled some several studies which shows it as “either ineffective or very mildly effective.”

Richard Hanania: “Latest conservative grift is to buy a $120 Chinese phone, preload it with conservative apps, rename it the “Freedom Phone,” and sell it for $500.

While Freedom Phone’s founder has failed to include basic details about its device, he did line up a massive ad campaign among conservative influencers. Along with Owens, Stone, D’Souza, and Alexander, the Freedom Phone has also been backed by a number of other figures popular on the right, including Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, journalist John Solomon, and Students for Trump cofounder Ryan Fournier.

OTOH, who can blame them? There’s a reason these influencers have made it and you haven’t. My observation is the more you scam rightoids, the more they respect you for it.

  • FINANCE (NFA). Three companies of note have listed in recent weeks: Transferwise (now just Wise) (~$13B), a very easy to use service for international money transfers; 23andme (~$4B), which needs no introduction; and the European Medical Center (~$1B), a private chain of about a dozen high-end clinics in Moscow. I suspect all of them will do quite well. I was actually slightly surprised that 23andme mc is so low, the genomic data it has accumulated should be a goldmine for pharma companies.

Innovative Immigrants. But Which Ones?

America’s ability to draw high quality human capital from abroad is one of the lynchpins of its economic strengths and probably goes some ways to explaining why it’s GDP per capita is significantly higher than would might be predicted from its national IQ.

Alexander Kruel recently had a Twitter thread about precisely which groups of immigrants contribute to that innovation:

From The Demographics of Innovation in the United States (page 26-27).

Nothing surprising there. But it’s spelled out just in case:

Then it cites the composition of the US Math Olympiad team. The International Math Olympiad has indeed long become a Chinese vs. Chinese-American contest.

Similarly “Oriental” picture in Canada.

Now the underrepresentation of NAM (non-Asian minority) immigrant achievement is something that’s in the “those who know, know” category, to be surreptitiously noticed if not publicly acknowledged .

But there’s a much more obscure but also rather important, and arguably more interesting, HBD observation to be teased out from behind these three examples.

Any suggestions?

Navalny’s Popularity on the Wane

That’s what I counselled people hoping for (or fearing) that a color revolution was imminent a few months ago: Look at the numbers.

Well, since then, they have if anything plummeted further.

14% approval vs. 62% disapproval. Down from half a year ago.

Furthermore, while young people are relatively more pro-Navalny (this is not surprising: to those who follow my Russia blogging, I have been pointing out that Russian youth lean more liberal and more nationalist relative to the mainstream for several years now), there’s still nothing to write home about so far as absolute numbers are concerned.

Just 24% approval vs. 59% disapproval amongst the 18-24 year olds who constitute the spearhead of any color revolution.

In the Russian electoral context, it is all one big nothingburger.

Vkusvill Jumps the LGBT Shark

I wrote about Woke Capital making inroads into Russia after Netherlands HQ’ed Yandex.Taxi fired a driver who refused service to a rude Black foreign student last year.

However, not all such corporate attempts to signal fealty to progressive values are paying off.

Vkusvill is a nice chain of grocery stores that are somewhere in between budget outlets like Perekrestok (=Carrefour/Safeway in the Western context) and the snobbish Azbuka Vkusa (=Whole Foods). Trader Joe’s would probably be its closest US equivalent. But it is also expanding abroad, with two branches and a cafe in the Netherlands, and planning a listing in New York.

So it is not too surprising that Vkusvill thought that now might be an auspicious conjuncture to do this:

The ad featured a number of real-life VkusVill shoppers such as a student, a single mother, and two straight couples, then ended with the “matriarch”-led family including the lesbian couple, who declined to talk to the Financial Times.

The family of women posed for pictures with meatless burgers and coconut condensed milk as they espoused their support for veganism, recycling and polyamorous relationships.

Certainly not a bad idea to attract more hipsters.

(Incidentally, what’s even funnier is that the lesbian family in question is from pro-Western Georgia. Which happened to cancel its gay pride parade through Tbilisi due to Far Right attacks just a week ago ).

But this provoked a boycott from Orthodox non-GMO type shoppers who happen to form the other wing of their clientele. Quickly it became evident that they were more numerous than the polyamorous hipsters, forcing Vkusvill to backpedal.

They apologized, blaming an activist underling in the marketing department for the debacle, and replaced their photo of a Vkusvill family with a rather more traditional one.

This in turn enraged the liberals, who condemned Vkusvill for its cowardice and retreat before homophobia. Meanwhile, their Amsterdam branch apologized to the Dutch LGBT community.

Such are the woes of balancing between two stools for the managers of a company who don’t give a damn either way and just want to make money in this Clown World of ours.

In my observations, the saying “Go woke, go broke” is largely rightoid cope. It just doesn’t work, at most, the SJWs merely jump the shark by a couple of years.

That said, it might actually be true in a country where support for gay marriage is at less than 20% and most people are strongly repulsed by Woke signaling.

US Homicide Rate 60% Higher than Russia’s in 2020

This translates to a homicide rate of 7.4/100,000 homicide rate using the US population of 332M as the denominator.

I wrote about the history of the Russian homicide rates here. This is how the centennial comparison now looks like between Russia and the US after the latter’s embrace of #BLM and community policing.

US at 7.4/100k in 2020 would already be quite ahead of Russia, which was at 4.7/100k in the same year.

It’s quite possible that this year or next year the differential will be 2x over in Russia’s favor since US homicide rates appear to be still rising (if at a slower pace) while the number of homicides continues falling in Russia (-3.8% in Jan-May 2021 y/y).

Not that this is yet anything to write home about for Russia. After all, “demographically normed”, Russia’s homicide rates remain well above American ones. (As always, this is largely a function of middle-aged alcoholics knifing each other during their drinking bouts, as opposed to the “street criminality” that distinguishes African-American homicides). Nonetheless, these caveats aside, it now performs much better than the US so far as the raw per capita numbers are concerned, and vastly better than during the 1990s-2000s period, when late Soviet era “alcoholization” had reached its peak concurrently with the breakdown of law and order.