Wednesday assorted links

1. Better dating through Powerpoint?

2. Why Vietnam does so well on PISA for its income level.  And Jerome A. Cohen’s quick take on the South China Sea ruling.  And no massive protests in China so far.

3. Profile of Jill Lepore.

4. Could Brexit take six years or longer?  And: “Beneath the surface, he saw an angry, lost society in which the centuries-old pillars of Britishness — empire, church, navy, class — were crumbling.” (NYT)

5. Just how bad is that fMRI mess with the false positives and the software error?

6. First blood bank for birds.

7. William H. McNeill has passed away, author of The Rise of the West (NYT).


1) Clickbait - nothing is better through Powerpoint

I doubt you read the article. Clearly Powerpoint allowed the author to more effectively communicate. Powerpoint gets a bad representation because it's often done badly. That doesn't mean it can't be done well.

Not that I would recommend Powerpoint as a medium to ask somebody on a date, but it seems like it was useful in this particular instance.

Agreed. I wanted to extend the idea that we're increasingly (and maybe alarmingly) fluid in expressing ourselves across platforms--communicating the same idea via phone call, text, emojis, tweets, etcetera. And also I wanted to go to Nerd Night at the Philips Collection.

Why a tall, attractive and in-shape woman, WITH BRAINS, such as yourself, has to actually work to find a date, is beyond me. Come to the Bay Area, you will have suitors lined up by the dozen.

Perhaps mansplaining is what keeps women away. It's worth to think about it.

No it's not

Powerpoint is often good at getting people who don't naturally do so to be more audience focused rather than speaker focused.

Powerpoint is also good in particular for communicating with people who respond more strongly or naturally to visuals than the words. It allows communication of the same idea in multiple formats.

Anything you can do with PowerPoint you can do in html in 0.1% of the bytes of data.

Or in odml with an editor like Open Office.

But then you would not be trying to promote monopoly rents to Bill Gates to fund his efforts to make nuclear power cool again.

Slides with graphics were much better BEFORE PowerPoint. I grew up with overhead projectors that used just paper as the data source. You could grab a book and project a page or two on the screen. Then there were the new fangled ones that required transparencies, so the paper or book had to be transferred onto plastic using some heat transfer process. Or you could draw on them with markers. Last time I tried PowerPoint it was harder to do a presentation with slides than in 1970.

The problem is really that PowerPoint tries to sell you on the idea you don't need to know what you are going to talk about.

If you really do have something to talk about, PowerPoint gets in the way. Try presenting some real research data. Best case you spend an hour doing data conversions to get your table source data into a format PowerPoint refuses to graph or chart like your analytic tools.

2. Vietnam does well because it has lots of Asian people. Asian people have high IQs. Race is the best predictor of PISA scores, both between and within countries. North Korea would be an even bigger outlier, if included.

That does seem the obvious explanation.

Meh, the above was posted to the wrong sub-thread.

At the MR comments section, who can tell?

If you believe these guys, average IQ is 94.

I think it is more likely another case of "if you believe smarts can be learned, you will." Wasn't there a study that said "intelligence is born" folk both answer more poorly than "learned" folk, and had a worse idea of their own accuracy?

Oh Gods no, they believe in climate change ..

Intelligence isn't a much different trait than height. Sorry.

Computer operating systems aren't very different from an abacus.

True. Would you like a cookie?

It's a slow pitch, over home plate ... I am probably taller, also.

My hands are bigger.

True. Withhold nutrition and a potentially tall person will be short. Withhold a stimulating environment and a potentially smart person will be dumb. We're not born at our adult height nor are we born with an adult intellect - therefore environment matters.

And height is hugely affected by environment, e.g. nutrition. Perhaps the Asian PISA scores are an artifact of certain cultural norms and not any innate genetic advantage.


Cultural groups = race

Culture affects how people allocate their efforts

East Asian culture is very oriented to hard work in school.

Considering how much respect you have for IQ as a measure of intelligence, perhaps you should pay attention to the fact that these people who perform highly on standardized tests a) basically never speak of IQ as a useful indicator of "intelligence" and b) generally consider hard work to be the most relevant factor here.

Vietnamese culture and genetics are not typically "Asian," are they? I get Confucianismm (Nho giáo) in their respect for education, but they are more south Asian than .. well why bother. American racists have a narrative. Asian is Asian.

The Vietnamese and the Lao see themselves differently, but from Idaho they look the same?

Like that famous cartoon of the world seen from New York, half the world is one thing, for the purpose of racism.

Storyline item 1: Mountain people who don't get much education get low scores on standardized tests.

Storyline item 2: Guy who fancies himself super duper smart explains that genetics is the obvious explanation, no need to even look further.

Question: How hard would you work for $1? Imagine that someone would call you lazy for turning down an 8 hour shift for $1 ...

"perhaps you should pay attention to the fact that these people who perform highly on standardized tests a) basically never speak of IQ as a useful indicator of “intelligence” and b) generally consider hard work to be the most relevant factor here."

I have no idea what you are talking about. IQ is the best predictor we have of life outcomes (and job performance)

He means "it's gauche so people don't speak of it." Which is true and irrelevant.

You've never met people who score well on standardized tests and education who seem to find it all a breeze and are... insouciant about how simple those was for them? And there was me meeting them all the time...

At the very minimum, the very intelligent would I imagine consider hard work to be less important than intellectual interest. And they'd be right -

Test taking is a learnable skill. Even for multiple guess types such as the SAT/ACT/Iowa etc. High Intelligence if applied would make it easier for someone to do well.

But a person of modest intelligence who knows how to take tests can score above expected results. The most valuable class I took in High School was all about how to study and take tests. Interestingly enough it was taught by the wrestling coach. Who also just happened to the head of the Mathematics area.

but in respectable academic papers, mention of natural intelligence is a big no-no

#2 It is comical that the author doesn't consider the possibility that they have great human capital but their GDP per capita is held back by their economic system.

"#2 It is comical that the author doesn’t consider the possibility that they have great human capital but their GDP per capita is held back by their economic system."

That does seem the obvious explanation.

Lots of explanations are obvious. Which ones are right?

I don't know, but if I was writing an article on the subject, I wouldn't certainly mention the obvious explanations.

There should be a Bizarro Slate/Salon to claim it was the Agent Orange that did it.

Correction: "I would certainly mention the most obvious explanations."

I'm not sure which is worse in Vietnam, the system as written or the corruption as implemented.

"I’m not sure which is worse in Vietnam, the system as written or the corruption as implemented."

Communist countries all do poorly. It's hard to overcome that kind of handicap.

I thought of putting an exception for that. But China seems to have become more successful while becoming less Communist. They have a wildly successful stock market and entrepreneurial billionaires. They are still a one party state run by the Communist party, but they don't seem to be closely following Marx (or even Mao) any longer.

How authentically Communist is Vietnam, at this point?

Maybe getting bombed into dust and drenched in anti-plant chemicals a little while back is relevant somehow ...

Reminds me of how Japan got nuked and so in 1985 it was a very poor country.

Nathan's post is more about publicly signalling distaste for American foreign policy than actually using logic. Otherwise, it would have occurred to him that a large number of countries have experienced far worse and done far better. Japan, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Korea, etc.

Why does speaking factually about history imply that I'm anti-American? I'm not anti-American, but as a free person I hold the right to agree with some things and disagree with others.

That's what it's like when you don't categorize people/cultures/nations into black and white categories and then assume 100% of all other things about them based on some handful of things which are particularly important to you.

Question 1: Are Americans who criticize American foreign policy anti-American?

Question 2: How would you describe the effect of that war on Vietnam's economic potential in the relevant timeframe?

@Troll me, interestingly, you are the one who introduced the term "anti-American" to this discussion. JWatts merely described your stance as "distaste for American foreign policy", which is clearly true.

Yeah, if you compare Japan to Vietnam it seems clear that the Vietnamese economic problems are an own goal.

It's easier to industrialize the second time.

.. and with American financing

The saddest thing about all this is that the program is publicly funded. They're spending millions of dollars based on an incorrect premise while the actual answer isn't publicly acceptable to ever report. The answers they *do* come up with in an attempt to provide some sort of conclusion that is acceptable within the culturalist framework will be used to waste even more money in reforming our own education systems with the results being, predictably, nothing

Food for thought for those who think that the "modern denial of human nature" doesn't have real-world consequences.

That this wasn't the immediate reaction to the initial tweet, or to the world bank's research is, I would say, a complete inditement of the bankruptcy of the liberal mindset combined, bizarrely, with its complete take over of the social sciences in academia.

Forget that the social sciences exist. They no longer have any models which track reality. They need a reformation before they have any use what-so-ever for society at large.

Defund. 100% defund.


ctrl+f "IQ"

0 results

ctrl+f "gene"

0 results


I guess people who think educational achievements can be summed up in a standardized test with only 4 dimensions of evaluation would write off an extremely short article on such a basis.

Lemme guess. You got a high score on a standardized test once and decided you're sooooooo smrt.

Lemme guess. You got a low score on a standardized test once and decided the test was wrong.

Sometimes tests are wrong (more specifically, questions are often poorly framed and specialist teachers often have a hard time understanding multidisciplinary answers). But they wouldn't listen until I got to grad school.

But the IQ test is like evaluating food quality based on a simplistic measure of sweet, salt, bitter and sour. Food goes deeper than 4 criteria. So does intelligence.

It's ten per cent talent and ninety per cent perspiration/attitude.

I see (malignant melanoma "survivor") my dermatologist each six months. He likes to talk. Monday morning, he told me it's his observation (numerous new MD's have moved through his highly-regarded practice) that high IQ/standardized test scores aren't perfect indicators. He felt the lower, but still higher than mine, scores do better in practical. clinical applications. .

I had the test scores and did relatively shitty, except for the gold medal my major, in college. Yet, I knew two individuals who had been told not to go on to higher education because of "low" test scores. Both worked very hard, developed strong study habits/skills, and excelled in their fields.

Anecdote time!

Here's another anecdote. I got a degree from one of the top unis in the world for my field, but I don't think I'm any better than the person who serves my coffee.

7. Passage of a giant. I would consider Plagues and Peoples a more lasting historiographical contribution than Rise of the West, but reasonable minds may differ.

I generally don't like world history type books, but McNeill's world history was one I actually enjoyed. He wrote a number of very learned books, on a range of topics. I'm left wondering, as I often am, why more of the aren't available on Kindle.

I favor a late and slender book, "Keeping Together in Time," which is about the role of dance and military drill in promoting social solidarity. And there's a remark in "Rise of the West" to the effect that Athenian democracy may have been grounded on the fact that every citizen (free adult male) had to serve in the military, whether shoulder to shoulder in a phalanx or rowing together in a war ship. The point was solidarity thought synchronized activity.

Also, he was kind enough to blurb my book on music, "Beethoven's Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture."

I reckon "The pursuit of power" was his best book, but "Plagues and people" is a close second. Awesome historian.

It is odd that "Guns, Germs & Steel" is better known than "Plagues and Peoples".

#3: In the era of hot take journalism, where embedding tweets in blog posts qualifies as humanistic inquiry, reading Lepore’s work is like re-entering the Age of Enlightenment. Lepore doesn’t break news; she breaks history.

“I think she’s an intellectual and human dynamo,” New Yorker editor David Remnick says. “She calls on a bank of knowledge and imagination and reading that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in journalism.”

I'm sure she's wonderful, although I can't recall reading anything mind-blowing about anything of her's that I've read, but this is just hagiographic.

Jill LePore is a lot of fun to read, but I do think she cherry picks her arguments and never asks her readers to examine their own biases. She's a modern-day Stephen Ambrose, with all of the weaknesses that implies (except for the plagiarism, which, I think, was a late-career misstep by SA).

7. Coincidence: I just noticed my 40 year old copy of Rise of the West couple of days ago, and thinking I should reread. Loved it the first time. I recall a brilliant review of the history of art, military innovation and culture in a grand historical thesis.

Well it's $10 in kindle. So I bought it on an impulse. I'm not very good at finishing non-fiction on the Kindle, but it sounds intriguing.

That's $10 well spent. The Pursuit of Power is also really good:

#2 article says: "shows just how difficult the “Vietnam effect” is to unscramble"

It is indeed very hard if you can't mention IQ lest you'd viciously attacked by the politically correct

They used a higher quality means of evaluation.

IQ tests are like saying that you want to evaluate the quality of a date based on bra size and face roundness, ignoring all the other relevant stuff. Things are complicated. Intelligent people should understand that easily. But apparently there are a lot of people who achieve a high score on one standardized test and thus prefer this as the be all and end all of everything.

Your opinion is not backed up by science, or I would be agreeing with you instead of disagreeing. Science says IQ is hugely predictive of life outcomes so we know it is measuring something very meaningful

Science says!

It's telling that the only way you can debate IQ is to insist "well, you guys obviously think everything is 100% based on IQ!!!!"

In school, they tell you that's called a straw man.

IQ is a component. It's not the only component.

#2 is fairly obvious to anyone that lives in the real world. Vietnam's population is composed of individuals that are genetically close to East Asians.

I think the bigger mystery in that chart is why the Philippines does so poorly.

Another mystery: Did Tyler post that link with the implicit message of "look at these morons, ignoring genetic makeup"? I say yes, given that he would clearly understand how his audience would take it, but who knows.

Still I would guess that Filipinos are closer genetically to East Asians than Moroccans or Ethiopians...

Of course they wouldn't do as well as Vietnamese, but that poorly? I still say its a surprise.

Surprisingly, Filipinos have the second highest income for AA's in American after Asian Indians. Higher than Chinese, Koreans and Taiwanese. I think Filipinos probably have the highest level of cultural assimilation into US culture of all Asian groups and seem to have statistics most similar to white Americans.

I have seen this, Filipinos do very well. But are the immigrant Filipinos mostly of chinese descent?

"I would guess". It's good to see we are being scientific here.

And as Griffe du Leon explained verbal matters more than math IQ for economic growth, and Asians do much better on the math/spatial side.

Maybe large differences between languages is relevant? I observe that I get low scores on language components of tests when in East Asia. But then again, my native language is English ...

Short story: people who study math hours a day for 15 years get higher scores on math tests than people who study half as much math. "High IQ people" from across the ocean conclude that those high math scores are evidence of genetic superiority, not evidence that studying hard pays off.

Science is your friend bro

The mental gymnastics is truly fascinating to watch.

"The mental gymnastics is truly fascinating to watch."

Someday, historians will look back on the internet and wonder why people like Nathan spent so much of their time emphatically stating "2+2=7" because someone on their team had said it before.

"Were they really dumb? Did they know it was wrong?" "Did their leaders care if they gave these signs of respect?" "Was it some sort of sacrifice? Where you prove your loyalty to the cause by harming your reputation in its honor?" "Was it an attempt to waste the time of regular people? Some sort of vandalism?"

"Someday, historians will look back on the internet and wonder why people like Nathan spent so much of their time emphatically stating “2+2=7” because someone on their team had said it before."
Ha ha ha. Yeah. "Tomorrow belongs to me".

@Lord Action

I'm sure you are correct. Unfortunately it will only happen because the intelligentsia will have moved on to some other equally stupid fad.

@Thomas Taylor:

There's a big difference between being sure you are right and being sure your opponent is wrong. The latter requires much less proof.


There are certainly conservatives who do it too (for example, commonly on gun control). I didn't mean to say this was true of all liberals or anything like that. I meant to single out Nathan and his ilk for his actions, not his tribe.

He's not the only guy here who does it, just one of the most egregious.

Please do introduce some science into the question. I just love in when you guys trot out all that science that fails 1st year stats.

Kudoz, again, for about the 5th time, for being the guy who introduced the only "are blacks inferior?" article that couldn't be trashed from a 1st year stats perspective. And his finding? If there's any genetic difference in intelligence, it doesn't explain more than 1% of the difference, allowing for the possibility that other non-genetic factors MIGHT explain the rest.

Diligence and IQ are both important for test scores. I think in money and some other aspects of life diligence, self-control and willingness to delay gratification are most important. In my observation too much aggressiveness and pride can keep a person from holding a job.

You're right, study habits matter. So do interests, work ethic, support from your family and friends, opportunities, all of it. All those things matter a lot--a guy in the top 1% of intelligence will still have to study and plan and work hard to get through a demanding degree, and harder to become a skilled programmer or a good doctor or whatever else.

But intelligence also matters. We have some idea of how much, because we have an imperfect measure for intelligence--IQ scores. Obviously, a paper and pencil test you take in a few minutes won't capture everything about your intelligence, but those scores are really good at predicting how well you will do in various jobs, and how well you will do in school.

There are plenty of kids in high school who find getting through algebra incredibly difficult, and who will never in a million years get any further in math. Those kids are not going to become engineers or physicists or chemists or economists. They're not bright enough. That's not a moral failing, anymore than it's a moral failing that I'm not tall or athletic enough to be a pro basketball player.

I just want to quibble that there are types of intelligence unrelated to maths, physics, chemistry, economics, etc. It takes smarts to speak many languages or make music/art that is socially relevant and interesting, but no, most of those people would never make good chemists. And it runs both ways.

The Philippines have Latin American problems. It takes a long while to forget 500 years of a particular political heritage.

2: The interesting question isn't "Why is does Vietnam do so well on PISA for it's national income level"

The interesting question is "Why is Vietnam so poor, given it's high PISA scores"

More importantly, why is it that when Vietnamese move to the US, their incomes go up by over an order of magnitude. Perhaps it has something to do with the color of the flag flying over Vietnam.

Bingo. Given its human capital (driven by its East Asian ethnic composition),
Vietnam should be a much, much richer country. And it would be were it not for its sad history.

Another way to put it is:

The RISE folks are asking why Vietnam isn't further down on the Y axis, the *real* question is why isn't Vietnam further right on the X axis.


That's not an interesting question at all. Everyone knows the answer.

It's clearly possible that cultural factors *do* play a role in explaining Vietnam's success on achievement tests, but culture and genes co-evolve. Populations with higher IQ due to genetic factors may tend to develop cultural practices that enhance that advantage. "Investment in schools", bizarre as it may sound to a non-MR-reader (or a non-reader of the kinda-libertarian-kinda-rationalist blogosphere, including, say, Slate Star Codex), seems less plausible. It should also be noted that when they say "the advantage starts early [...] but this gap then grows each year", that is consistent with what we know about the heritability of IQ -- shared environment may and probably does play a role at an early age and then fades out, whereas the importance of genetic factors grows till early adulthood.

I took a course on historical method from McNeil. I thought it would be perfunctory as it was required for a graduate degree. He made it very interesting. He gave us the background for his history of the potato thesis. He demonstrated how the mundane can elucidate larger events and trends. Later, I found his reviews and essays to be almost as valuable as his books.

2) I don't understand why people obsessed with IQ as a measure of intelligence, and thus who presumably got a high score on that standardized test once upon a time, can observe countries that got bombed to smithereens as recently as a generation ago and ask with a straight face "why ... Why? WHY? I can't figure it out. Why is the economy less rich than ours?"

Maybe one day they will introduce a historical reasoning section to the IQ test? Or we can just admit that it's a real low grade tool for evaluating much of anything. Oh, but this one time, someone evaluated several even worse evaluation tools and found "the IQ test is the strongest predictor of ...". And apparently there are high IQ people who don't see through this bunk. Which is further evidence of what a load of bunk the IQ test is as a useful indicator of anything.

The issue with the concept of IQ is that not so intelligent people could think being intelligent is more important than working.

Your failure to grasp much of what goes on here never stops you from commenting prolifically. Kinda sucks for the rest of us.

If you have specific disagreement with any specific point, additions to the conversation other than "please shut up, I don't like what you're saying" would be nice.

The Vietnam War ended 40 years ago; two generations ago now.

I believe Steve Sailer dug into the Vietnam PISA data and found a huge %, relative to other countries, were excluded from taking the test there because they were developmentally delayed or had some other mental disorder. PISA allows a country to exclude these people, which makes sense. But the point was that Vietnam was presumably gaming the system, removing their duller (but not retarded or anything like that) kids from being tested.

My understanding (it's not my field) is that a large amount of the difference in standardized test scores between different states comes down to this kind of gaming of who takes the test--some states make just about everyone take the test, others find ways to exclude the bottom few percent of kids, leading to much better statewide average scores.

Presumably other poor countries would also game the test. Do you think Vietnam is the only corrupt poor country?

Why would they game it? There's no reward for a high score, other than what it implies for the potential of the country.

Governments need to portray themselves as successful in order to maintain enough support of the people to stay in power.

You think the Vietnamese are going to revolt because of low PISA scores?

Also Jason Malloy has a pretty comprehensive blog post on Vietnamese intelligence over at Human Varieties for those interested.

LOL @ Troll me. What a great debunking of IQ you just performed.

4) (second link) Let me see if I understand the Ben Judah article in the NYT. For hundreds of years, England was both a great imperial power, and racially homogeneous. In the last fifty years or so, the racial homogeneity went away. Now that there's been a reaction against the changing demographics, England is no longer a great empire?

So what was it in the days of Queen Victoria?

A sad day at MR. I am glad I went off to catch Pokémon, until my battery ran down.

Here are the problems I see for the racist arguments above: At first, Asians are one thing genetically. Then, in contradiction, Vietnamese are better than other Asians, genetically. Third, there is a very juvenile idea that 21st century national boundaries are, by convenience, also genetic boundaries. Fourth, highly trading and seafaring nations are assumed to be isolated. Finally, cultural factors, like who had the earliest or most universities, are not even on the map.

" the first Confucian university was constructed in 1070"

But you know, what is a thousand year commitment to education compared to some white American racist idea that Asian genes are now the best? We're number two, and ah, we don't try harder?

I think you just constructed the ultimate strawman. None of the above are claimed by anyone.

Or maybe I just held up the mirror.

If Confucianism is genetic, what should those Germanic hordes think about Greek philosophy, Middle Eastern religion?

Perhaps they should give it up, return to the forest.

That was really easy to follow, but you could not.

I asked how we northern Europeans can have all these cultural values foreign to our genes? Our main religions were invented by fairly swarthy people.

As was agriculture, indeed civilization.

Honest question: what evidence would you have to see to be convinced that there is an ethnic difference in mean IQs that is caused by genetic factors and not environment?

I believe that we are each descendants of thousands of tribes. I think the IQ potential for my tribe(s) has more to do with how long they inbred in that valley than what national boundaries now exist, or even worse, some idiot looking at my eyes, hair, and skin and putting me in "1 of 5 races."

Genes are real, racists are idiots.

Are you saying that one can't look at eyes, hair and skin and make a pretty good guess which inbred tribe you came from? Are those traits random?

Assuming you are serious, go with 9 regional associations, and varying relationships to each, even within Western European nations:

That is all too varied for me to generalize, especially given

What's the relationship between tribal "inbreeding" and IQ? I'm assuming you mean the rate of mixing with other tribes. So the more isolated (non mixing/more "inbreeding") the smarter they are? Or the other way around?

All that matters to skewer racism is that "Bob's" genes are not national average, or skin color average. They are an actual personal genetic history.

We're all matter and energy if you want to continue the reductio ad absurdum.

If I rely on actual DNA sequencing, and not guessing, I don't think I am the one with the stupid reduction.

In general I trust Toyotas are more reliable than Chryslers. If I do some research perhaps I can find a few models of Chryslers that do well compared to the Toyota average and vice verse.

I want to buy a new car. How do I decide on what to buy?

I can look over every inch of the cars I'm interested in but even with that opportunity do I really *know* the future performance of the car?

I look at a Toyota and I look at a Chrysler. Even with the opportunity can I tell which shiny new alternator is going to go bad first? No. The best I can do is make an educated guess based off prior performance. If I were to not do basic research I'd pick the Toyota not knowing any better because *in general* I trust the reliability to be better. If I do some research and find that this particular model of Chrysler is exceptional perhaps I'd go with that.

Are we going to reach a point where we can tell how an individuals' "alternator" genes compare to another's through their individual genomes?

If you have a cultural commitment to education (and presumably thereby, a commitment to actually knowing things, though these two don't always go together), of course you'll be interested in whether geneticists have tested your idea of "thousands of tribes" with varying IQ potential driven by varying degrees of inbreeding. Generally, it doesn't seem like they've found it to be true.

Actually, yes, I include a link above.

Now this may take a few IQ points to process, but when racists reduce genetic variation have to their preferred "races" they are making a self-referential argument. If you look for 4, you can find 4. If you look for 5, you can find 5. Or 9. Or 20.

There is no limit because our regional variation goes right down to village, and explodes again with travel and trade.

So you know, wtf? When each person has an absolutely unique genetic history, why 5 races?

Laziness, and prejudice established in a pre-genomic past.

I don't think you can actually split the population of any country down into hundreds or thousands of clusters which could plausibly be subject to different selective pressures. The PoBI project shows this not to be true in the UK and I don't think Britain is that different in substructure from other nations. Unless you're talking India, maybe.

I think we also do tend to find that national borders cohere to natural genetic clusters without much substructure, with the best methods available. There are exceptions - like Poland, Ukraine and Belarussia seeming to form a single cluster, but the correlation is pretty good.

What easy and cheap genetic sequencing tells us is that we never have to do rude guessing at all.

The future is personal. Personal testing. Personal training. Personal outcomes.

If you can know Bob's genome you want to guess instead?

Are there genetic markers we know to look for now that can predict school performance as well as an IQ test?

when racists reduce genetic variation have to their preferred “races” they are making a self-referential argument. If you look for 4, you can find 4. If you look for 5, you can find 5. Or 9. Or 20. There is no limit because our regional variation goes right down to village ...

True. It is also true that if you take all the animals in the world, you can (based on common descent) divide them into 4, or 5, or 9, or 20, or many thousands of different groups. That doesn't mean those groups are meaningless. In fact, some of the groupings are very useful.

Of course, the groupings can mislead. Fish, dolphins, and penguins all have a lot of things in common but are in pretty widely separated groups. Similarly with birds, bats, and pterosaurs.

"There is no limit because our regional variation goes right down to village, and explodes again with travel and trade."

Even if true, that is largely irrelevant. For any conceivable subgroup, I can say that their intelligence is greater or not than another subgroup. I could say hemisphere X has greater avg. intelligence than hemisphere Y. Continent A has greater intelligence than Continent B. In this case we're talking about countries, so you can very validly claim that country V has greater average intelligence than the global mean.

Just because there are within group differences (whatever you define the "group" to be), doesn't mean there are between group differences...

Meant to say "doesn't mean there are NOT between group differences"

Tyler notes the accepted genetic, genomic, understanding that in-group differences swamp differences between groups.

So why are we going on with this? Why do you need a second, smaller effect?

Think about it. Seriously.

"Tyler notes the accepted genetic, genomic, understanding that in-group differences swamp differences between groups."

Sure... but that's not relevant in this case. We're talking about why Vietnam scores better than expected when taking its GDP/Capita and comparing with the rest of the world.

2) In reviewing Vietnam is the economic changes came 10 - 15 years after the China. So it is harder for a non-commodity state to grow when your really big brother has so much room to grow and crowds you out. (I wonder if the vast savings and investment in China has crowded out the West developed nations of investing opportunities?)

I find it funny that the Chinese is suppressing the public anger on the Hague decision. (And long term is the Hague decision a very significant impact?) However it is concerning as it appears the Chinese population is primed for an international war though. (Sort like the US in 2002.)

Vietnam's competitive position for development is/was much different because many traditional pathways to industrialization are already highly competitive across both advanced and developing economies.

#2 they may be cheating the tests for reason of national pride.

Is the education ministry's performance judged by the rest of the political class (the president/prime minister/general secretary/whatever) based on what happens to PISA scores? If so, there's plenty of incentive to game them even if few voters ever notice.

Re (1). In the same vein, some of the inherent features of telling a story via comics makes it nearly impossible for comic writing story tellers to make some of the very common storytelling mistakes made by people using the written word alone. For example, a comic forces you to show not tell, to keep the reader engaged in every short subunit of the story rather than getting sidetracked with boring exposition or detours from the story your telling, and to be heavy on dialog and action and light under exposition that lacks a clear context and reason to be in the story where it is.

I continue to be amazed at the groupthink and confirmation bias exhibited by you Marginal Revolutionaries with respect to Brexit. You present the EU as this fabulous club filled with rich and brainy coves (countries) and everyone who's anyone in the country business should want to get an invite. Yet the Mediterraneans are bankrupt basket cases with collapsing demographics. And France isn't far behind. The Eastern Europeans are still playing catchup. And Germany is calling the shots...because since 2000 and certainly since 2008 it and a few small germanic/nordic countries are the only ones benefiting from the deal. Sometimes I think you guys suffer from too detached from the real world - you place trivial cultural values above core things.

Come now, before Brexit, the web site owners were generally disapproving of the EU and the eurozone. Brexit was never supposed to happen - the threat of the UK leaving was always one of the better strategies used in ensuring an EU that better suited American tastes.

Now, that strategy is broken, and there really is no plan B at this point.

I don't think you can blame collapsing demographics on the EU. That's happening in a lot of places.

Brexit, the actual termination of the UK membership at least, reminds one of the never-ending but never-successful efforts to move the Alaska state capital from remote Juneau to a more central location. The UK will always be part of Europe, regardless of the machinations of the political class, and trade relationships will continue. Read Thomas Hardy's "The Distracted Preacher".

Vietnam places 11th at 2016 IMO.

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