Browsing All Posts published on »August, 2012«

Twilight of the Elites. Or the Unintended Consequences of Meritocracy

August 29, 2012 by

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I just finished reading a very interesting, and quite alarming, book by Christopher Hayes, Twilight of the Elites. As best as I can tell, Hayes doesn’t know about cultural multilevel selection (CMLS) theory, yet his book is a perfect illustration of one of the general principles directly stemming from a central theoretical result in CMLS, […]

An Update on My (So-Called) Paleo Diet

August 23, 2012 by

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As I wrote in this blog, in early May I started on a new diet, which is misleadingly (for reasons I will come back to) called the ‘Paleo Diet.’ First, a progress report. Over the 3.5 months I lost 15 pounds, or around a pound per week. Not particularly impressive by the standards of super […]

Cliodynamics: Can Science Decode the Laws of History? (My article on the Conversation)

August 17, 2012 by

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“When the French Assembly of Notables frustrated attempts by the royal government to fix the state fiscal crisis in 1788, because they did not want to pay taxes, these aristocrats did not intend to trigger the French Revolution, during which many of them ended up guillotined or exiled. Yet this is precisely what happened. When […]

Who Were the First People to Make Mummies?

August 15, 2012 by

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Not Egyptians, as one might think. The first mummy makers were Chinchorros, hunter-gatherers who lived about 7,000 years ago in Atacama Desert near the border between modern-day Chile and Peru. The SEF editor Michael Hochberg is a co-author of a multidisciplinary article that explains how this cultural practice may have evolved. The study (whose first […]

Cliodynamics vs. the Mayan Calendar: Who Wins?

August 11, 2012 by

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The publication of the Feature Article in Nature about my research on American political violence elicited a wave of comments on the Web. The expression ‘feeding frenzy’ comes to mind. I’ve had a lot of fun reading those comments that I came across (and thanks to various people who sent me links). Partly its sheer […]

The Social Evolutionary Roles of Internal versus External Wars

August 9, 2012 by

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Joe Anoatubby raises a number of good points, with many of which I find myself in complete agreement. However, one thing I cannot emphasize too much is that generic violence is not a good conceptual category. We need to look at different sides of it separately, for reasons that actually have a lot to do […]

Joe Anoatubby: Cycles of violence in the United States

August 8, 2012 by

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I’ve always made argument with my colleagues and students that there are indeed cyclical patterns in US History.  I also believe that part of that phenomenon is related to the reality that younger generations lose touch with the implications of violence and political upheaval as witnessed by those generations that did experience them and who […]

A Feature Article in Nature on Cliodynamics

August 3, 2012 by

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Today’s issue of Nature has a Feature Article by Laura Spinney on cliodynamics. Laura interviewed me when we both attended the Frankfurt Forum on Cultural Evolution (about which I wrote in an earlier blog). I think she did a great job capturing the excitement of our new fledgling discipline and explaining in easy-to-understand language some […]

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