Murals versus Flags: A Symbolically Dense Landscape, continued

July 21, 2014



As I said in my previous blog, the Catholic areas in Belfast tend to be symbolically demarcated primarily with murals, while the Protestant ones are festooned with flags. The distinction is not absolute, and you can see the Irish Tricolor (green-white-orange) in two photographs in the previous blog. Still, they are mostly found in the […]

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Belfast: A Symbolically Dense Landscape

July 18, 2014



Two weeks ago, after we were done with various Cliodynamics activities in Dublin, we went on a field trip to study the post-conflict landscape in Belfast. Our guide on this trip was Kevin Feeney. Exploring Belfast is best done with someone who knows which neighborhoods are safe, and which are not. Even though it has […]

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Blogging again after all these years

July 14, 2014


I’m pleased to be blogging again after an interruption of several years. I started blogging at the Huffington Post in 2007 and moved to ScienceBlogs in 2009. Those sites still exist but my blogging activity waned when I became involved in the creation of the online evolution magazine This View of Life.  Now my hands were full writing articles […]

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Is Social Trust a Cultural Trait?

July 12, 2014



Yesterday’s blog proposed that the most useful approach to understanding the evolution of large-scale complex societies is to view them through the lens of Cultural Evolution. To make this discussion more concrete, let’s look at a particular cultural trait: social trust (more specifically, ‘generalized trust’). Trust is highly important for explaining the ability of people, […]

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Progress, Memes, and Cultural Evolution

July 10, 2014



As the readers of this blog know, one of the central directions in my research has been understanding the evolution of large-scale, complex societies. Actually, it is the main question motivating this Forum. Now that I am back from my travels, I have shifted gears and started working on my long-neglected popular book that will […]

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The Pazyryk Kurgans: a Glimpse into the Amazing World of Central Asia in the Iron Age (I millennium BCE)

July 6, 2014



I am back from my last travels within the fair island of Ireland. A lot of impressions, ideas, and topics to blog about. Unfortunately, experience shows that while I travel I simply don’t have the leisure to post. As a result, this blog has been sadly neglected. Now that I am back home, however, I […]

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A Tour of Sacred Places in Moscow

June 19, 2014



As I more-or-less expected, my trip to Toulouse, Moscow, and St. Petersburg was too intense (and the internet connection too iffy) for me to be able to blog. Lots of new ideas, impressions, and topics to blog about, however. One of these is a walk I took in Moscow last week, next day after the […]

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