June 2, 2006

IQ and Infant Mortality:

The Audacious Epigone is starting to transcend his overly humble screen name. He offers an interesting look at many factors that correlate with Lynn and Vanhanen's national average IQ figures.

By the way, now that Richard Lynn's new book summarizes 620 IQ studies, about 3.5 times more than his last book, somebody should look into coming up with a new, improved table of national average IQs.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Homogeneity, Happiness, and $78,000 in annual tuition:

Does diversity make us unhappy?
By Mark Easton Home editor, BBC News

It is an uncomfortable conclusion from happiness research data perhaps - but multicultural communities tend to be less trusting and less happy.

Research by the Home Office suggests that the more ethnically diverse an area is, the less people are likely to trust each other.

The Commission for Racial Equality has also done work looking at the effect of diversity on well-being.

Interviewed on The Happiness Formula, the chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips accepts that people are happier if they are with people like themselves.

"We've done work here which shows that people, frankly, when there aren't other pressures, like to live within a comfort zone which is defined by racial sameness.

Meanwhile, here's an amusing story out of San Francisco, usually considered the most liberal, politically correct city in America:

Many reluctantly choose private schools
Heather Knight, SF Chronicle Staff Writer
Fourth in a Six-Part Series

Mark Lauden Crosley describes himself as a "passionate believer" in public education. The 54-year-old homeowner in San Francisco's Castro district believes it's critical that children of all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds be educated together. The software designer said he has never voted against any education measure in his life.

But, he said, he believes that even the city's best public schools are overcrowded and underfunded.

And despite his belief in the importance of public education, he must do what's best for his three daughters -- so he sends them to private schools. "There's very little in life that's as important to me as my kids' education. It's a sacrifice you make, and it pays off," he said, noting he nonetheless has nagging concerns that his daughters aren't experiencing diversity in their classrooms. "I don't want my kids in an elite, privileged environment where they don't spend time with people who are different from them. ... But that's the reality, and it bothers me." ...

His twin eighth-graders, Andrea and Danica, go to Katherine Delmar Burke School near Lincoln Park. He sends sophomore Elinor to the Urban School of San Francisco in the Haight. Crosley and his wife, Claudia Stern, a financial consultant, get some tuition assistance to cover the total bill of about $70,000 a year.

Next year, all three daughters will be attending Urban School, where the tuition is $26k, so his pre-aid bill will go up to $78k annually.

Crosley isn't alone in feeling uncomfortable about private schools while choosing them anyway. In San Francisco, families choose private and religious schools in higher proportion than in any other major city in the country. Last year, 29.3 percent of the city's school-age population went to private or religious schools. About 10 percent of children nationwide and 8.7 percent of those in California attend private or parochial schools. Marin County has the second-highest rate in the state at 18.7 percent, followed by San Mateo at 15.4 percent and Napa at 13.4 percent...

But $26,000 does not buy everything. Several Urban students said on a recent morning that they sometimes wish they had an educational experience beyond what they call the "private school bubble," a bubble populated by other teens from pricey, revered private high schools in San Francisco -- and nobody else. "It's a lot of rich, white kids," said Marshall Hendrickson, a blonde, blue-eyed junior at Urban, as he lounged on a sofa with classmates during downtime.

"I can't imagine it's that much different than a public school group of friends, but there's a boundary. Private school kids don't interact with public school kids." Junior Zoe Harris nodded, saying, "It's too bad we have to have private schools. Sometimes I regret I've never been to a public school."

Similar angst-filled discussions play out in households across San Francisco every year as families debate whether to send their children to public or private schools. ...

Other parents told The Chronicle they don't want their children to be around students who wear "saggy pants" or who "curse on Muni" or who may be "rotten apples." A few said they can see big differences between public school students and private school students just by watching them walk in and out of their respective schools.

I bet they can!

There are few things funnier than liberals kvetching about how their children aren't getting enough Vitamin D (Diversity!), but what can they do about it?

Actually, it's really not that hard to get more diversity in your kids' diets -- all you have to do is stop paying $78,000 annually in private school tuition!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Cool Tool:

Hosted by Google, Gapminder offers for countries around the world perhaps my favorite kind of graphical representation -- the two dimensional scatter plot (e.g., per capita income on the horizontal axis versus life expectancy on the vertical axis), with bubble size representing population, and color of bubble representing region of the world. You can then animate the graph to track how one or more countries has done over the 1975-2004 period.

Is there anyway to put your own data, such as national average IQ scores, in this tool?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Three strikes laws and the death penalty

Here's the abstract of a study on how three strikes laws encourage witness-murdering, but no word yet on any studies of whether the death penalty serves to discourage witness-murdering.

The Lethal Effects of Three-Strikes Laws Thomas B. Marvell, Carlisle E. Moody Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Jan., 2001) , pp. 89-106

Abstract--Three-strikes laws provide very long prison terms for certain criminals with prior convictions of serious violent crimes. It is likely that the laws increase homicides because a few criminals, fearing the enhanced penalties, murder victims and witnesses to limit resistance and identification. With a state-level multiple-time-series design, we find that the laws are associated with 10-12 percent more homicides in the short run and 23-29 percent in the long run. The impact occurs in almost all 24 states with three-strikes laws. Furthermore, there is little evidence that the laws have any compensating crime reduction impact through deterrence or incapacitation.

A reader comments:

Memorable relevant anecdote: that early scene in the film "Heat" where Waynegro (Kevin Gage) shoots dead a security guard for no discernable reason, making McCauley (Robert DeNiro) and the rest of his crew guilty of felony murder. So McCauley gives the go-ahead to Cherito (Tom Sizemore) to murder the other two guards, because there's no additional legal punishment for those two murders.

This is the flip side of the logic that persuaded the Victorians to stop hanging pickpockets -- if both the Artful Dodger and Bill Sikes are liable to be hanged, how do you discourage pickpockets like the Dodger from turning into robber-murderers like Sikes? The criminal law needs gradations of punishment to provide proper incentives.

We've discovered over the last quarter century that we need long prison terms to discourage criminality, but long terms, in the absence of a higher penalty (i.e., the death pealty) reduce the opportunity cost of witness-murdering.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

June 1, 2006

Robert Samuelson excoriates the press on its immigration coverage:

If you read iSteve.com and VDARE.com, you won't find anything surprising in the new Washington Post / Newsweek column by the distinguished economics pundit, but for the rest of the world, it reveals the journalistic malpractice that greased the skids for the Senate immigration vote last week:

What You Don't Know About the Immigration Bill

The Senate passed legislation last week that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) hailed as "the most far-reaching immigration reform in our history." You might think that the first question anyone would ask is how much it would actually increase or decrease legal immigration. But no. After the Senate approved the bill by 62 to 36, you could not find the answer in the news columns of The Post, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.

Yet the estimates do exist and are fairly startling. By rough projections, the Senate bill would double the legal immigration that would occur during the next two decades from about 20 million (under present law) to about 40 million. One job of journalism is to inform the public about what our political leaders are doing. In this case, we failed. The Senate bill's sponsors didn't publicize its full impact on legal immigration, and we didn't fill the void. It's safe to say that few Americans know what the bill would do because no one has told them. Indeed, I suspect that many senators who voted for the legislation don't have a clue as to the potential overall increase in immigration. Democracy doesn't work well without good information. Here is a classic case.

It is interesting to contrast these immigration projections with a recent survey done by the Pew Research Center. The poll asked whether the present level of legal immigration should be changed. The response: 40 percent favored a decrease, 37 percent would hold it steady and 17 percent wanted an increase. There seems to be scant support for a doubling. If the large immigration projections had been in the news, would the Senate have done what it did? Possibly, though I doubt it.

But if it had, senators would have had to defend what they were doing as sound public policy. That's the real point. They would have had to debate whether such high levels of immigration are good or bad for the country rather than adopting a measure whose largest consequences are unintended or not understood...

The doubling of legal immigration under the Senate bill that I cited at the outset comes from a previously unreported estimate made by White House economists. Because the president praised the Senate bill, the administration implicitly favors a big immigration expansion.

The White House estimate could be low. Robert Rector of the conservative Heritage Foundation has a higher figure. The CBO has a projection that the White House describes as close to its own. But all the forecasts envision huge increases, diverging only because they make different assumptions of how the Senate bill would operate in practice.

Our immigration laws involve a bewildering array of categories by which people can get a "green card" -- the right to stay permanently. The Senate bill dramatically expands many of these categories and creates a large new one: "guest workers." The term is really a misnomer, because most guest workers would receive an automatic right to apply for a green card and remain. The Senate bill authorizes 200,000 guest workers annually, plus their spouses and minor children.

One obvious question is why most of the news media missed the larger immigration story. On May 15 Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama held a news conference with Heritage's Rector to announce their immigration projections and the estimated impact on the federal budget. Most national media didn't report the news conference. The next day the CBO released its budget and immigration estimates. These, too, were largely unreported, though the Wall Street Journal later discussed the figures in a story on the bill's possible budget costs...

Whether or not the bias is "liberal," groupthink is a powerful force in journalism. Immigration is considered noble. People who critically examine its value or worry about its social effects are subtly considered small-minded, stupid or bigoted. The result is selective journalism that reflects poorly on our craft and detracts from democratic dialogue.

The penultimate sentence is something I've been saying for years, although I would change "subtly considered" to "blatantly demonized as."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

The American Conservative's latest issue

The June 5, 2006 Issue of The American Conservative:

Out of Iraq, Into Darfur?

By Justin Raimondo
Those who balked at a campaign to liberate Iraq now want to save Sudan.

Iran: Gulf War III?
By Charles V. Peña
An attack on the Islamic Republic would send oil prices skyrocketing, but the real price would be in blood.

Life Lessons
By W. James Antle III
The Democrats have a new abortion strategy: divide
and conquer.

Not So Sweet
By Timothy P. Carney
How Big Sugar turned guest workers into indentured servants

The Day Laborers Took Off
By Dennis Dale
A day without a Mexican

Think Liberty, Act Locally
By John Zmirak
Wilhelm Röpke balanced liberty and order.

Broken China Policy
By Justin Logan
America’s incoherent strategy towards Beijing

Wizards of Oz
By R.J. Stove
Neocons invade Australia

Cruise Control
By Steve Sailer
Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible III”

Lose Your Illusions
By Leon Hadar
The Peace of Illusions: American Grand Strategy From 1940 to the Present by Christopher Layne

While You Were Sleeping
By Jesse Walker
Attention Deficit Democracy by James Bovard

All-American Anarchists

By Rod Dreher
Look Homeward, America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists by Bill Kauffman

The Persecution of the Palestinians
By Patrick J. Buchanan
A textbook example of why we are hated

This Little Piggy Popped Pills
By Taki
Revolting Elites

Fourteen Days: One-Man Supreme Court; Staying the (Golf) Course in Iraq; Multinational Anthem

Deep Background: Revenge of Mary McCarthy

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

More blogs

- faute de pire by David Orland is back -- Sophisticated coverage of immigration issues with a Francocentric orientation. It reminds me of what Christopher Caldwell could be doing if he wasn't trimming his sails to get into the NYT.

- Darwinian Conservatism by Larry Arnhart

"The Left has traditionally assumed that human nature is so malleable, so perfectible, that it can be shaped in almost any direction. Conservatives object, arguing that social order arises not from rational planning but from the spontaneous order of instincts and habits. Darwinian biology sustains conservative social thought by showing how the human capacity for spontaneous order arises from social instincts and a moral sense shaped by natural selection in human evolutionary history."

- Reactionary Radicals by Bill Kauffman and friends

- Advocatus Diaboli by Hans Gruber (Hey, wasn't Hans Gruber the English aristocrat arch-villain played by Alan Rickman in "Die Hard?" Are you saying that's not his real name?)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

John J. Donohue: Postnatal executions of the guilty are less effective at deterring crime than prenatal executions of the innocent.

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

"Statistical evidence for the idea that the death penalty deters homicide is "at best weak and inconclusive," write John J. Donohue, a professor at Yale University Law School, and Justin J. Wolfers, an assistant professor of business and public policy at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

"While it remains possible that the death penalty may deter murderers, the available data are "simply too noisy, and the conclusions from any study are too fragile," they write."

Funny how Donohue and his research partner Steven D. "Freakonomics" Levitt ignored how noisy the data were when they popularly proclaimed that legalizing abortion had lowered the crime rate!

My guess is that the recent lengthening of sentences for non-homicides, such as the life sentences for a third felony, means that the death penalty can play a role in deterring a particular kind of murder: witness-murdering. If your state has a three strikes rule but no death penalty, a two-time loser engaging in a felony like armed robbery has a rational incentive to murder his victims to prevent them from identifying him. If he lets them live and they identify him, he goes to prison for life. If he kills them, he reduces the chance he will be convicted, and if convicted he still merely goes to prison for life.

Unfortunately, I've never heard of anyone studying this particular possibility. Indeed, this logic seldom seems to come up in discussions of the death penalty.

Also, having a death penalty gives the district attorneys more leverage, especially in a prisoner's dilemma situation where they've arrested two suspects who worked together but can't convict either one unless one confesses. Avoiding the death penalty gives one the incentive to roll over on the other. (Of course, this also means that sometimes the accomplice who didn't pull the trigger gets framed by his partner who actually was the killer.)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

May 31, 2006

The Romeo & Juliet Revolution:

A reader replies:

The problem with your reader's statement about Western love having eugenic effects is twofold:

1. If smart women don't have to marry stupid men, stupid women have to marry stupid men. So you actually get assortative mating, and the standard deviation increases. (The effect on the mean depends on reproductive rates of the various IQs. I suspect this is actually dysgenic, a la Charles Murray, as the higher classes reproduce less and IQ improves earning potential up to about 130 or so.)

2. Who's to say arranged marriages didn't do the same thing? Let's not forget the West did this too. A whole family's much more effective at investigaitng a potential partner than one woman by herself, and you don't have the effect of smart women being misled by their hormones into marrying a dashing but violent and moronic lout. (The effect of hormones on men of any intelligence...well, like you said, do you really think Bill Gates went after Melinda because she was the smartest lady at Microsoft? Or Arthur Miller and Marillyn Monroe. Or Einstein and...it's actually kind of interesitng that Einstein's first girlfriend was more of an intellectual equal and his next one was just kind of pretty, as I recall. Recalls your statement about men moving from masculine to feminine women as they mature. Someone needs to make a list of all the Sailer aphorisms.)

3. Expanded roles for women have an effect of decreasing the fertility rate, a la Philip Longman. That's good or bad depending on who you are and where your society is at the present time. From the conservative point of view, both Sweden and Arabia are to be avoided, both culturally and in terms of fertility rate. So if you want a consevative society that reproduces itself, you want to be patriarchal, but not too patriarchal. (Encouraging women to be homemakers, good. Locking them up in the house and making them wear sheets when they go out, bad.)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Garance Franke-Ruta is at it again

Recently, Karl Zinsmeister, the very tall former editor of The American Enterprise, was appointed the President's domestic policy advisor, replacing that black guy, Claude Allen, whom nobody had ever heard of before he got caught in that really dopey big box retail outlet scam. (Has anybody heard whether Allen is using the my-evil-twin-did-it defense like I advised him to?)

Anyway, Garance Franke-Ruta, the lady with a name drawn from the random syllable generator and with equally random thought processes, is trying to smear Zinsmeister on the liberal American Prospect blog as a racist for having written an article that includes such unacceptable lines as:

"New York City statistics prepared for former mayor Ed Koch show that black offenders are five times likelier to kill whites than the reverse."

Of course, Franke-Ruta has herself written on The American Prospect much the same thing:

"...black Americans were six times more likely to be murdered than whites in 1999, and seven times more likely to commit homicides."

More interestingly, commenter Niels Jackson brings up some interesting quotes from
Zinsmeister's article that Franke-Ruta left out:

Nice use of ellipses.

What you left out included this:

My wife and I met in Africa, where we were both working in a group of Americans, mostly black, who were teaching and building a school. I was thoroughly colorblind when I entered that situation. Then my black American colleagues made it clear—sometimes in harsh terms—that they considered that a big problem. Most contemporary blacks, I learned, do not at all accept the idea that race is unimportant. I left a lot of my color-blindness in that group.

Or this:

During the near-decade that my family and I lived across the street from an all-black inner-city public housing project, I learned on many occasions that race is relevant. A few times, I or my family almost paid a serious price for imagining otherwise. Once, my wife was pushing my infant son down the sidewalk in a stroller when two teenagers smashed a stolen car into a light pole just yards from where she stood. I was close by in our front yard, and after making sure my wife was all right I ran over to some older black mothers standing in front of a nearby liquor store who had watched the boys walk away. I asked them, begged them, to give me a description of the people who had nearly run over my wife. They coldly turned away. At that point we had lived on their block for about three years.

Twice in a period of a few years I was cold-cocked (punched in the head without warning) to the accompaniment of racial insults on the streets near my house—once while painting a fence, once while riding a bike. In Southeast Washington, D.C. neighborhoods I was chased on my bicycle with cries of "get the white man" ringing around me. Another time, I was out with my family when I noticed a kid trying to break the exterior mirror off my pick-up truck that was parked on the street. I told him politely but firmly to stop it and within seconds my wife, two small children, and I were ringed by a group of teenagers shouting "whitey’s acting up." Bottles and rocks started to fly, and we were in big trouble. Fortunately a passing van screeched to a halt, and a couple of black men leapt out and convinced the kids to disperse.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

The World's Most Gullible Country Contest

Who fell the hardest for the dopey yet soporific movie version of "The Da Vinci Code?"

Because "The Da Vinci Code" was released almost simultaneously around the world, it's relatively simple to calculate which countries blew more of their available money on this nonsense. All we have to do is compare the film's box office haul through its first two weekends across 56 countries versus each country's Gross Domestic Product to award the coveted title of the Nation Most Easy to Fleece.

The four most credulous countries, finishing in a near dead heat, turn out to be Iceland, Denmark, South Korea, and Hong Kong. Each spent about 90 percent more than North America on "Da Vinci Code" tickets relative to their GDPs. Then come Spain, New Zealand, Bolivia, Greece, Mexico, Australia, and the UK, all spending at least an index of 157 where the US/Canada (the "domestic market" for movies) is 100.

The least credulous country of all those reporting box office revenue was Nigeria, which spent only $38,000 on "DVC" tickets out of a GDP of $99,000,000,000. Nigerian skepticism should come as no surprise to anyone who has been reading their emails. Nigerians have been making up more plausible stories than "The Da Vinci Code" for years: you know, the ones beginning, "I am the unrecognized natural child of the deposed God-Emperor Mbubu." Nigerians want us to send them money in return for their storytelling creativity. They're not going to send us their money if the best we can come up with is "The Da Vinci Code."

Iceland $307,040 $15,823 194
Denmark $5,005,521 259,746 192
South Korea $15,528,417 793,070 190
Hong Kong $3,465,896 177,723 190
Spain $20,308,285 1,126,565 180
New Zealand $1,948,658 108,547 175
Bolivia $167,713 9,650 169
Greece $3,792,654 222,878 165
Mexico $12,738,651 768,437 165
Australia $11,926,792 707,992 164
UK $34,758,614 2,201,473 157
Argentina $2,803,734 181,662 150
Philippines $1,442,423 97,653 144
Chile $1,664,528 113,956 142
Colombia $1,724,349 122,269 141
Estonia $183,693 13,108 140
Peru $1,114,753 78,576 138
Ecuador $453,896 33,062 137
Austria $4,084,812 307,036 133
Singapore $1,602,984 117,882 132
Italy $23,047,364 1,766,160 130
Latvia $214,109 16,648 128
Uruguay $202,773 15,926 127
Brazil $9,913,631 792,683 125
Portugal $2,338,326 183,436 124
Poland $3,644,095 300,533 121
Hungary $1,311,955 109,483 117
Lithuania $300,073 25,726 116
Switzerland $4,352,165 367,513 115
Norway $3,371,951 296,017 114
Sweden $4,006,921 358,819 111
Belgium $4,328,489 372,091 111
Bulgaria $294,070 26,719 110
Slovenia $361,842 34,030 103
Venezuela $1,367,886 132,848 103
Germany $29,230,591 2,797,343 102
US / Canada $136,513,000 13,615,933 100
Thailand $1,706,574 168,774 98
Turkey $3,496,924 362,461 96
France $21,118,166 2,105,864 95
Croatia $364,806 37,553 94
Taiwan $3,199,142 346,141 90
Finland $1,682,430 193,491 87
Serbia $220,899 26,215 82
Holland $4,999,313 625,271 78
Czech Rep. $969,479 123,603 76
Slovakia $328,676 46,763 68
Israel $846,502 123,526 67
Malaysia $882,356 130,796 66
Kenya $121,635 19,184 63
Japan $31,768,272 4,571,314 76
South Africa $1,248,316 239,144 52
China $10,112,637 2,224,811 45
Indonesia $1,026,607 276,004 37
Romania $304,600 98,566 31
Nigeria $37,878 99,147 4

Overall, "The Da Vinci Code" has been a smash overseas, making $317 million through its first two weekends versus only $137 million in the US and Canada (which are combined into the "domestic market.")

It's striking how little difference there is in the Index figures around the world. You might think that, say, Venezuela, Germany, North America, and Thailand are culturally quite dissimilar and thus would likely react quite differently to "The Da Vinci Code." Yet they each spent almost an identical amount to see the film, relative to the size of their economies. It's a testament to globalization, although it's hard to avoid the phrase "lowest common denominator." A future in which everybody around the world rushes out to see the same new Hollywood tripe on the same day strikes me as a little dreary.

Notes: I somewhat arbitrarily adjusted the Index to account for the slightly different opening dates (e.g., Wednesday May 17 in France [multiplying revenue by .9545], Thursday May 18 in Germany [multiplying revenue by .975], Friday May 19 in America [leaving revenue the same], or Saturday May 20 in Japan [multiplying revenue by 1.1]). The last date included for each country was Sunday May 28. Countries with only one weekend reporting, such as India and Russia, were excluded. All revenue figures came from www.BoxOfficeMojo.com .

For more on "The Da Vinci Code," see my analysis of "DVC, Women, and Catholicism."

And here are excerpts from my review of the movie in The American Conservative: first and second.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

May 30, 2006

My faith is restored! "Da Vinci Code" box office down estimated 56.5% in second weekend, to 33.5 million (for the normal Friday-Sunday weekend, not the Friday-Monday weekend). That's pretty bad for a film aimed at the over-25 crowd, who is less likely to rush out to see movies the first weekend, suggesting justifiably poor word of mouth for "DVC." Some 2005 grown-up oriented movies had better legs: Ron Howard's last movie, "Cinderella Man," which is considered a box office disaster (although it was a pretty decent movie), was down 47%. "Crash" was down only 23%. The Johnnie Cash biopic "Walk the Line" was down only 14%.

"X-Men 3: The Teeming Freaks Return" (or whatever they are calling it) did an estimated $107 million.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Immigrant cousin marriage in Australia --

My new blog item over on VDARE.com.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


I haven't seen the new sequel, which is the biggest hit of the year this far, so I'll recycle part of my write-up of the last X-Men sequel to explain why I've been lax in my reviewerly duties:

Despite their multi-culti moralizing, the X-Men films primarily appeal to straight white boys, the nerdy obsessives recently empowered by the Web to impose their tastes on pop culture through their ability to generate buzz for a movie.

The fanboys will be elated that "X2" utilizes no less than 18 of their favorite mutants. Others may find that the teeming freaks get on their nerves after awhile.

Worse, each of the dozen and a half mutants has a normal name, a superhero name, and at least one superpower. For example, Oscar-winner Halle Berry plays (badly) Ororo Munroe, a.k.a. Storm, who has the uncanny ability to make it blow big time. Multiply these three data points by 18 mutants and you get 54 facts you're supposed to keep straight. What fun!

Some even have multiple powers. Logan / Wolverine is a mutant with both a cast-iron skeleton and, when he gets shot in the head, an amazing knack at squeezing bullets out using the supermuscle between his ears. Or something like that. Maybe I'm confusing crucial details, so, X-Men buffs, please send me long letters setting me straight. The more exhaustive and condescending the better! [More]


Barry Bonds moves past Babe Ruth on the career home run list:

Obviously, it's a joke. Yet, we now know that Bonds was clean through the 1998 season, which means that, even though other players, such as Jose Canseco, were clearly cheating with steroids as far back as the 1980s, Bonds was still the greatest player of the 1990s. It's a myth that steroids turned Bonds from a good player into a great one. He'd been a great player for nine years before he tried steroids. Steroids turned him into a cartoon superhero. In the nine seasons from 1990-1998, Bonds led the National League four times in the premier hitting statistic, Adjusted OPS+ (onbase percentage plus slugging average adjusted for park relative to the league, with a dash of paprika), finished second three times, and third twice. He was also a terrific baserunner and flyball snagger. The only thing he couldn't do well was throw. His only rivals as a hitter across this era were Frank Thomas and McGwire, both of whom were slow-footed first basemen.

Bonds had a certain amount of justification for feeling provoked into cheating after 1998 -- the 1998 home run orgy between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa was hyped to the heavens by the media as restoring the innocence to the game, when it was obvious at the time that something was fishy.

Bonds is such an unpleasant personality (and the drugs haven't made him a nicer person) that few will put his sins in historical perspective.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

A reader asks:

I wonder what the effects of the ethos of romantic love are on human evolution. My guess would be that coupled with a technologically advanced society and an ethos of individualism it tends to be eugenic, because smart women are not forced by their families into marrying some dolt at 12. Obviously "tends to" is the necessary weasel word because there's the countervailing trend of smart women choosing dolts on their own. It's worth study because romantic love is a huge Western cultural import, and one that is most threatening to the powerful in undeveloped countries -- a big fear of traditional non-Western men is that once their women wise up and get Westernized they won't want them any more.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Malcolm Gladwell: Kevin Garnett should have been the MVP of the NBA:

Kevin Garnett had another highly statistically efficient year for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the TWolves were even worse than they normally are with Garnett as their star, going 33-49, so nobody voted for Garnett for Most Valuable Player. Gladwell blogs:

"Anyone who believes in the conventional, adhoc methods of valuing basketball players has to answer for the injustice done this year to Kevin Garnett."

One reason why Garnett is so highly rated by Gladwell's Wages of Wins economists ( who hate players who take a lot of shots), but isn't very successful at winning games in the real world could well be because he doesn't shoot enough.

This year Garnett shot an outstanding .526 from the floor, the ninth highest in the league, but only averaged 21.8 points per game. And his team had the third worst offense in the NBA. To the three economists, this signifies that he's an incredibly efficient player stranded on a bad team, but to less naive observers, it suggests that he is not stepping up and taking the shots that need to be taken. If Garnett is really The Man in the NBA and his teammates are terrible, as the economists claim, then simple logic dictates that Garnett should act like The Man on his own team: he should demand the damn ball from his teammates and put it in the hole or go down in flames trying.

The economists claim Garnett was the best and Kobe Bryant was only the 17th best in the league, but Kobe's Lakers went 45-37, while Garnett's TWolves went 33-49, in part because Kobe said, "Gimme the ball" and carried the Lakers on his back by scoring 35.4 points per game. Kobe only shot .450 because he took almost twice as many shots as Garnett, but that's called "diminishing marginal returns." The more shots you take, the more desperate, unlikely-to-go-in shots you'll take and the lower your shooting percentage will sink. Economists are supposed to understand the concept of "diminishing marginal returns," but Gladwell's boys don't seem to get it.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

More athletes behaving badly:

"You can't arrest me. I'm a basketball player."

Gilbert Arenas, NBA All-Star

Well, Gilbert, actually the Miami Beach Police Department can arrest you for trying to interfere with the arrest of a teammate.

By the standards of big time athletes getting hauled off to the pokey, this one sounds pretty mild -- just a little too much rest and relaxation for a "tired and emotional" jock after a hard season. Still, it's just another reminder that when it comes to the athletic police blotter, basketball, football, and baseball players infinitely more famous than the Duke lacrosse team get arrested weekly, with barely a ripple in the media. And sometimes they're even guilty!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

May 28, 2006

New Zealand and IQ

A Kiwi reader writes:

I noticed on one of your website articles a claim that the IQ of New Zealand Maoris has been increasing. However, I would suspect the IQ of N.Z Maoris would be very difficult to determine. There is a very high White admixture in the Maori population and almost all Maori now have some White blood. Today almost all people in New Zealand with at least a quarter white blood would describe themselves as Maori on government forms. Indeed, many people with less than 25 percent Maori blood describe themselves as Maori. The government spends a considerable amount of money on affirmative action programmes for Maori and so there is significant economic advantage in identifying oneself as Maori.

Despite this, affirmative action has only benefited about 10-20 percent of Maoris while the majority are falling behind Whites and East Asians in economic terms. In official statistics Maoris consistently fall behind Whites and East Asians in health and education and are markedly overrepresented in crime statistics.

To get a better picture of Polynesian IQ levels one would need to look at the scores of recent Polynesian immigrants who have very little White blood and don't qualify for many affirmative action initiatives.

What, in New Zealand they don't give affirmative action privileges to immigrants as soon as they show up, like we do in America? How uncivilized of them!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer