September 22, 2007

Question about Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill

On the Baseball Reference website, you can get a listing for each player in baseball history of the ten most similar batters or pitchers based on a statistical formula. For example, the most statistically similar hitters to Babe Ruth are Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig, which probably won't come as a big surprise.

It would be interesting to have similarity scores for other types of famous people. There are personality tests, but we don't have scores for the really interesting people in history. For example, I've always thought that Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were remarkably similar in personality. (Apparently, they didn't like each other.)

Yet, I wonder whether statements like that are too subjective to be valid. Perhaps it may just seem to me that they were a lot alike because I don't know much about them. If I had known them both close up, would I agree? Or do intimate acquaintances get overwhelmed by small differences and miss the big similarities that are visible from a distance? In general, are personalities too kaleidoscopic for us to form mutually consistent, reasonably valid judgments about them, or not?

Anyway, at least one man knew each of them very well: Teddy's kinsman FDR. Franklin Roosevelt not only was a distant cousin of Teddy Roosevelt, but he married Teddy's niece Eleanor, and held the same job as Teddy had before him: assistant secretary of the Navy. FDR idolized TR, and TR looked fondly upon FDR as a fine young fellow with a lot of potential. TR died when FDR was in his late 30s, so they weren't too far distant in age for FDR to lack a mature appreciation of his hero.

And of course, FDR worked closely with Winston Churchill during WWII, in person, in writing, and on the telephone.

So, here's my question: did FDR think Teddy and Winston were similar? Did he ever express an opinion on the subject? Of course, during the 4 years and 11 months when FDR and WC were peers as President and Prime Minister, FDR was too busy and too sickly to write his memoirs, but did he ever express a judgment on this question to anyone?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

September 21, 2007

"Eastern Promises" with Viggo Mortensen

Here's an excerpt from my review of the new film in the October 8, 2007 issue of The American Conservative:

"Eastern Promises," David Cronenberg's latest crime family thriller collaboration with Viggo Mortensen (the King in "The Return of the King"), is a sizable improvement over their last outing, 2005's "A History of Violence." It might be almost as preposterous as that critical favorite, but its less familiar setting amidst Russians in London makes it easier to enjoy than Cronenberg's clankingly inept vision of middle America.

"Eastern Promises" raises politically incorrect questions about why we would want so many newcomers that new ethnic mafias have become inevitable. Cronenberg explained to the New York Times his opposition to immigrants failing to assimilate:

"At its worst, it’s you come and you live there, but you live in a little ghetto of your own culture that you brought with you. I suppose that’s happening in the States with the Spanish language. Can multiculturalism really work?"

"Eastern Promises" asks whether the West needs, in particular, quite so many foreign pimps to lure blonde adolescents here from Eastern Europe with promises of singing jobs, only to rape them, hook them on heroin, and enslave them in brothels?

The October 8th issue, now available to electronic subscribers, also includes John Derbyshire's review of Steven Pinker's new book The Stuff of Thought, and lots of other good stuff from Andrew Bacevich, James Howard Kunstler, Fred Reed, Tom Piatak, Michael Brendan Dougherty, Daniel Larison, Philip Weiss, Pat Buchanan, Philip Giraldi, Daniel McCarthy, and more. Subscribe here.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


As we saw with the Duke lacrosse case, there's a powerful hunger in modern America for tales of white violence against innocent blacks. So, on Thursday, the national media descended on the small Louisiana town of Jena as the Revs. Jesse and Al protested a racially charged case in which six young men stomped a high school student into unconsciousness.

Of course, things being the way they are these days, the protesters in Jena were on the side of the stompers, not the stompee.

A local minister, Eddie Thompson (who was one of the earliest critics of white racism in Jena), has posted on the Internet a list of everything the national media has gotten wrong about the Jena story. I've taken the liberty of rearranging it and shortening it, so go here to see the original:

- Jena does have racial problems. Jena does have bigotry and prejudice, just like every other town in America, perhaps even worse than some. If there were no racial problems, there would have been no nooses hung from a tree. There would not be one white student beaten and six black students charged with attempted second-degree murder. The local ministers would not have hurriedly called a meeting to deal with the issue. The cameras of the world would not have focused their lenses on Jena.

- The actions of the three white students who hung the nooses (on a tree at the high school) demonstrate prejudice and bigotry. However, they were not just given "two days suspension" as reported by national news agencies. After first being expelled, then upon appeal, being allowed to re-enter the school system, they were sent to an alternative school, off-campus, for an extended period of time. They underwent investigations by Federal and Sate authorities. They were given psychological evaluations. Even when they were eventually allowed back on campus they were not allowed to be a part of the general population for weeks.

- There was no "fight" on December 4, 2006 at Jena High School, as the national media continues to characterize the event in question. Six students attacked a single student who was immediately knocked unconscious. According to sworn testimony, they stomped him, as he lay "lifeless" upon the ground.

- Justin Barker, the white student attacked, was not the first white student targeted by these black students. Others had been informed they were going to be beaten, but stayed away from school and out of sight until they felt safe.

- CNN reported that there were "obviously no witnesses to the fight." In fact, over thirty eyewitnesses, students and teachers, were questioned immediately following the attack, all of who implicated one or more of the black students arrested in the case. In fact, some of the accused black students did not stop stomping Barker until they were pulled away from him by some of the teachers, according to testimony given in the trial of Mychal Bell.

- The media continues to make the point that Justin Barker "attended a party" later that evening, insinuating that his injuries were not very severe. The Barkers, by no means a wealthy family, face medical bills already over $12,000 from the emergency room visit. Imagine what an overnight visit would have cost. Justin Barker was advised to remain hospitalized but decided he would not let the event keep him from participating in the once-in-a-lifetime, traditional Ring Ceremony at First Baptist Church in Jena, where class rings are presented to the upcoming senior class.

- The fight on December 4 was unrelated to the noose incident, or any other incident that occurred earlier in Jena that week. The media keeps reporting otherwise. There are three different boys named "Justin" involved in three different events that the media have morphed into the "Justin" who was attacked on December 4:

A. A juvenile named Justin, whose name was not released to the media, was one of the boys who hung nooses from the trees in September.

B. Three months later, Justin Sloan, not a student at Jena High, fought with one of the black students, Robert Baily, at the fair barn when a couple of black students tried to enter a private party. The next evening, at "Gotta Go" store, Justin Sloan and Robert Baily confronted one another in the parking lot. There were two other black students with Baily. As they ran towards Sloan, Sloan rushed to his truck to get a shotgun, which the black boys wrestled from him and fled.

C. On December 4, six black students at Jena High School attacked Justin Barker, who is neither of the previously mentioned young men.

- The speech given by [District Attorney] Reed Walters that included the now infamous statement "I can end your life with the stroke of a pen" was not given to a group of black students. It was given during a speech to the entire student body in an assembly called by the school's principal to calm a community that was pulling their children out of school because there were two fights one day with racial overtones. Two girls, one white and one black fought. Another student was taken to the emergency room to receive stitches.

- The national news media has not mentioned a single time that there was an FBI investigation into the hanging of the nooses and the conduct of Reed Walters that concluded there was no criminal activity or "hate crime" involved. The report is available to the media, along with court records and sworn testimony, none of which has been reported.

- It has been reported that the school has two standards of justice since white students who attacked a black student were not treated as the black students who attacked a white student. No group of white students attacked a black student at Jena High School. Fights that have occurred have always been handled equally. This was not a fight. This process was taken out of the hands of school officials when the ambulance was called to bring Justin Barker to the hospital for the attack. Both the appearance of the ambulance and Barker's visit to the emergency room requires an investigation by law enforcement.

- The "Jena Six" have repeatedly been held up as heroes by much of the race-based community and called "innocent students" by the national media. Some of these students have reputations in Jena for intimidating and sometimes beating other students. They have vandalized and destroyed both school property and community property. Some of the Jena Six have been involved in crimes not only in LaSalle Parish but also in surrounding parishes. For the most part, coaches and other adults have prevented them from being held accountable for the reign of terror they have presided over in Jena. Despite intervention by adults wanting to give them chances due their athletic potential, most of the Jena Six have extensive juvenile records. Yet their parents keep insisting that their children have never been in trouble before. These boys did not receive prejudicial treatment but received preferential treatment until things got out of hand.

- The entire black community of Jena is not being heard in this controversy, just the parents, relatives, and close friends of the Jena Six. The black community of Jena has not been involved in the protests and demonstrations called by national race-based organizations. Some state and national race crusaders have chastised them for not "rising up" with the parents to force law enforcement to "free the Jena Six." Many do agree that the charges seem wrong, but they also know the criminal history of the boys referred to as the "Jena Six." It is their neighborhood these boys have terrorized. Not even all of the parents claim that these boys should be set free with no consequence for their actions. One of the parents was interviewed, saying that the boys should suffer the fair punishment for their actions. He suggested that simple battery would be an acceptable charge. With one exception, the local black pastors do not support the demonstrations. They have been openly criticized for their lack of cooperation with the national race crusaders. One of them counseled the "Jena Six" families to not stir controversy for controversy's sake. The black pastor was openly condemned by a local radio personality sympathetic to the cause of the black parents. The rhetoric grew so intense that the black pastor was referred to as Reed Walter's "house Negro" on the local radio talk show. The pastor is consistently accused on this show of working in cooperation with Reed Walters in a plot to undermine the "Jena Six."


To Reed Walters: Charge these young men with the crimes of which they are guilty.

To The Parents: Hold your children accountable for their actions.

To The White Community: Stop claiming, "There is no racism here" or "We have no problems here." Live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If twelve percent of our community is feeling estranged, we should listen to their grievances.

To The Black Community: If you believe these six black students are innocent, we can "free the Jena Six" today by having the black students, who thirty witnesses testify attacked Justin Barker, step forward and take responsibility for their actions.

To The National Media: Please, get it right. Report the facts. Let them take you to the truth. Stop making Jena, Louisiana, a national scapegoat for America's sin of racism.

To America: Judge not unless you be judged. You will be judged by the same measure you judge this little town. Until you know the facts, reserve judgment. Do no believe everything you see on TV.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Top Paid Athletes

Here are Sports Illustrated's 2007 Fortunate Fifty highest paid athletes combined with the magazines' top 20 non-American athletes. The bottom of each list is around $15 million per year, so this is effectively the top 70 jocks in the world, ranked in order of total earnings (i.e., salary or winnings plus endorsements). These are only current athletes (i.e., no Michael Jordan or Arnold Palmer -- Arnie's estate will no doubt rake in sizable endorsements for years after his death).

I've included my rough estimate of their race (e.g., baseball player Johnny Damon is 50% white, 50% East Asian). Overall, I come out with 39% white, 50% black, 7% East Asian, and the rest split between South Asian (golfer Vijay Singh) and New World Indian (part of each of the top two, Tiger Woods and Oscar de la Hoya).

For black, I followed local thinking: I counted all the African-Americans as 100% black unless I knew they had one white parent (Derek Jeter and Jason Kidd). For the Latin Americans, I guesstimated background from their looks (e.g., Alex Rodriguez as half white, half black). So, on a purely racial basis, it would be more like whites 42%, blacks 48%. So, it looks like about what you'd expect: whites and blacks are pretty evenly matched in numbers of world-class athletes, with everybody else trailing.

The NBA dominates the salary rankings, presumably because the teams are smaller with only 12 players versus 25 in baseball and 45(?) in football. Also, I suspect that the pyramid of talent is steeper in the NBA just because there are so very few men who are extremely good athletes and extremely tall. Thus, because the supply of agile giants is so limited, NBA players can get bigger contracts than say NFL running backs, who don't have to be any particular height.

Among the 50 American citizens on SI's list, endorsements add up to $387 million, with Tiger's $100 million accounting for over a quarter of that. I estimated share of endorsement by race, with whites garnering 37%, blacks 41%, East Asians 18%, and American Indians 3%, but these proportions are heavily influenced by how you break up Tiger's $100 million. I'm doing it genealogically, with 12.5% of his endorsements going to the white category, 25% to black, 50% to East Asian, and 12.5% to American Indian. Taking Tiger out, the endorsement split would be whites 46%, blacks 47%, East Asians (Michelle Wie and half of Johnny Damon) 7%. So, by race, the endorsements are pretty similar to the total earnings, with whites and blacks pretty closely matched.

The popular golfers dominate the endorsement rankings, with the three golfers ranking 1, 2, and 5 in endorsements among Americans. Golf's an expensive game to play, plus golfers are a safe bet for endorsers. It's a game that demands self-control and good character (following accusations of cheating a couple of decades ago, the young Singh was banished for awhile to Borneo!), so if you hire a golfer to be the face of your product, you can be reasonably sure he won't be arrested for hanging his insufficiently vicious pit bulls.

You'll notice there isn't anybody from the Ultimate Fighting Championship or other "mixed martial arts" on the top 70 list. The UFC is making a lot of money on pay-per-views right now, but I guess not much must be going to the fighters -- judging from what the UFC reports to the Nevada authorities on what they are paying their fighters, it's pretty paltry. It's hard to imagine that the UFC can get many world class athletes for what they are paying. If you were the next Vince Young or Sidney Crosby, would you focus on training for the UFC or for a real sport that pays real money?

Athlete Sport Total Salary/Win Endorsements Race
Tiger Woods Golf $111,941,827 11,941,827 100,000,000 Mix
Oscar De La Hoya Box $55,000,000 53,000,000 2,000,000 Mestizo
Phil Mickelson Golf $51,256,505 4,256,505 47,000,000 White
Fernando Alonso F1 $35,000,000

Shaquille O'Neal NBA $35,000,000 20,000,000 15,000,000 Af-Am
Kobe Bryant NBA $33,718,750 17,718,750 16,000,000 Af-Am
Ronaldinho Soc $32,700,000

Roger Federer Ten $31,343,885

LeBron James NBA $30,828,089 5,828,089 25,000,000 Af-Am
Valentino Rossi M'Cycle $30,000,000

David Beckham Soc $29,700,000

Derek Jeter MLB $29,000,000 22,000,000 7,000,000 Mulatto
Kevin Garnett NBA $29,000,000 21,000,000 8,000,000 Af-Am
Alex Rodriguez MLB $28,000,000 22,000,000 6,000,000 Mulatto
Yao Ming NBA $27,455,000

E Asian
Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR $27,111,735 7,111,735 20,000,000 W
Allen Iverson NBA $24,184,375 17,184,375 7,000,000 Af-Am
Ichiro Suzuki MLB $24,000,000

Maria Sharapova Ten $23,799,501

Peyton Manning NFL $23,000,000 10,000,000 13,000,000 W
Tracy McGrady NBA $22,901,500 16,901,500 6,000,000 Af-Am
Barry Bonds MLB $22,800,000 20,800,000 2,000,000 Af-Am
Roger Clemens MLB $22,500,000 19,000,000 3,500,000 W
Jeff Gordon NASCAR $22,471,444 7,471,444 15,000,000 W
Jason Giambi MLB $22,000,000 21,500,000 500,000 W
Thierry Henry Soc $21,400,000

Tim Duncan NBA $20,929,672 17,429,672 3,500,000 Af-Am
Michael Ballack Soc $20,900,000

Ronaldo Soc $20,700,000

Michael Finley NBA $20,654,625 20,154,625 500,000 Af-Am
Manny Ramirez MLB $20,500,000 18,000,000 2,500,000 Mulatto?
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Box $20,250,000 20,000,000 250,000 Af-Am
Michelle Wie Golf $20,235,224 735,224 19,500,000 E Asian
Vince Carter NBA $20,101,625 15,101,625 5,000,000 Af-Am
Michael Vick NFL $20,000,000 13,000,000 7,000,000 Af-Am
Jason Kidd NBA $19,584,000 18,084,000 1,500,000 Mulatto
Stephon Marbury NBA $19,184,375 17,184,375 2,000,000 Af-Am
Hideki Matsui MLB $19,000,000

E Asian
Jermaine O'Neal NBA $18,834,000 18,084,000 750,000 Af-Am
Chris Webber NBA $18,807,008 18,307,008 500,000 Af-Am
Jalen Rose NBA $18,691,500 18,441,500 250,000 Af-Am
Dirk Nowitzki NBA $18,101,625

Brett Favre NFL $18,000,000 11,000,000 7,000,000 W
Ralf Schumacher F1 $18,000,000

Jimmie Johnson NASCAR $17,770,125 15,770,125 2,000,000 W
Baron Davis NBA $17,570,000 15,070,000 2,500,000 Af-Am
Andriy Shevchenko Soc $17,300,000

Alfonso Soriano MLB $17,250,000

Grant Hill NBA $17,151,500 16,901,500 250,000 Af-Am
Vince Young NFL $17,140,000 13,140,000 4,000,000 Af-Am
Todd Helton MLB $16,900,000 16,600,000 300,000 W
Ben Wallace NBA $16,680,000 15,680,000 1,000,000 Af-Am
Paul Pierce NBA $16,601,625 15,101,625 1,500,000 Af-Am
Andy Pettitte MLB $16,500,000 16,000,000 500,000 W
Vijay Singh Golf $16,411,026

S Asian
Eddie Jones NBA $15,930,000 15,680,000 250,000 Af-Am
Dwyane Wade NBA $15,841,442 3,841,442 12,000,000 Af-Am
Jason Schmidt MLB $15,750,000 15,500,000 250,000 W
Alessandro Del Piero Soc $15,700,000

Shawn Marion NBA $15,670,000 15,070,000 600,000 Af-Am
Ray Allen NBA $15,611,570 14,611,570 1,000,000 Af-Am
Albert Pujols MLB $15,500,000 12,000,000 3,500,000 Mulatto
John Terry Soc $15,500,000

Steven Gerrard Soc $15,400,000

Antawn Jamison NBA $15,371,625 15,101,625 270,000 Af-Am
Steve Francis NBA $15,320,000 15,070,000 250,000 Af-Am
Tom Brady NFL $15,006,720 6,006,720 9,000,000 W
Carlos Delgado MLB $15,000,000 14,500,000 500,000 Black
Johnny Damon MLB $15,000,000 13,000,000 2,000,000 W-EA
Amaré Stoudemire NBA $14,955,000 12,455,000 2,500,000 Af-Am

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

September 20, 2007

Black v. white physical differences in sports

Here's a comment from reader Philly Guy on my posting about whether there's a g factor of athleticism:

I don’t think “athleticism” is just a byword for black. What is meant by athleticism (as opposed to athletic ability, which is a much broader and more nebulous concept) is the ability to move one’s body quickly (in the sense of acceleration, change of direction, and top speed) and powerfully. This is largely a function biomechanics and musculo-tendon physiology and chemistry. Differences in physique and physiology clearly give blacks an advantage over whites in this respect and the word “athleticism” is applied to them much more often because they are much more likely to possess a high degree of “athleticism.”

Re physique, blacks and whites, when matched for SES variables, are virtually identical in average height, however, their physique and body proportions are much different. Blacks have shorter torsos, broader shoulders, smaller ribcages, narrower hips, and longer limbs (with comparative elongation of the distal segments). Fit samples of blacks and whites appear to be about the same weight on average (or perhaps blacks are marginally heavier), but fit blacks have on average less body fat, particularly on their limbs. It follows that blacks have a greater fat free body mass (i.e., bone, muscle and viscera) than whites. The smaller ribcage and narrower pelvis would indicate less viscera weight and indeed, blacks have been found to have substantially more total body musculature and denser, heavier bones than whites. This greater musculature is also distributed differently. Blacks show considerably more musculature in their glutes and thighs than whites, which gives a substantial advantage in locomotion. Blacks have also been shown to have on average greater cross sectional thickness in their limb musculature than whites, with the difference much greater in the proximal than distal limb segments. Naturally higher average testosterone levels and a greater number of testosterone receptors probably contribute to the leaner more heavily muscled physique of blacks compared to whites.

The average physiological differences give blacks a substantial advantage in athleticism. Narrower hips mean that locomotive force is applied closer to the center of the body’s mass, leading to greater biomechanical efficiency by putting a greater portion of the force generated into forward locomotion and causing less to be wasted in rotational force on the body (not to mention the smaller adjustments that have to be constantly made while running or walking to move the center of gravity towards the leg in contact with the ground). Longer limbs provide greater reach, stride length (both forward and lateral), and longer acceleration paths, both for imparting velocity to thrown objects and for accelerating one’s own body for jumping. The problem with long limbs is that they move the center of mass farther from the pivot point (i.e., the joint), causing greater torque and requiring more force to accelerate the limb or change its direction. However, here again black physique provides them with the best of both worlds. The heavy musculature concentrated in the hips and in the proximal segments keeps most of the mass close to the pivot point and provides a lot of force, and the relatively long, thin distal segments don’t create that much torque while still giving the benefits of long reach, stride and acceleration paths. Blacks lower average body fat and viscera weight from comparatively short torsos with small ribcages provide a greater power to weight ratio and less top-heaviness, with a greater portion of their mass being located in the musculature of the hips and thighs, which provide locomotive power.

Muscle and tendon physiology also contribute to black “athleticism.” It is well publicized that blacks have a higher percentage of fast twitch muscle fibers and higher levels of glycotic and phosphogenic enzyme activity levels, when diet and activity levels are controlled for, which would provide an advantage in explosive, short-duration muscular exertions. Additionally, blacks have comparatively long tendons and short muscle bellies compared to total muscle-tendon length compared to whites. When doing repetitive movements like running, the muscle and tendon of the opposing muscle group to contracting muscles are stretched, which stores energy like an elastic band, which is then added to the backstroke as the opposing muscles contract back. (Try taking an appendage such as a finger and stretching it back and notice how it snaps back to its resting position when you release it to see this stored energy effect.) Tendons are more elastic than muscles and contribute more to this effect. Blacks’ comparatively longer tendons would give them comparatively greater energy storage and retransfer while running, causing them to spend less energy and be more efficient. It is also established that blacks have greater muscle elasticity as well as proportionally longer tendons (their tendon elasticity is about the same as whites).

-Philly Guy

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

September 19, 2007

New EPA gas mileage estimates

Thank you, federal government. Back in March 2006, I blogged:

Your mileage may vary -- and how!

It's time to revise the federal gas mileage rating methodology. Have you noticed how the official gas mileage ratings on cars are absurdly optimistic? ... This outdated test means that vehicle buyers don't realize how expensive unaerodynamic and heavy SUVs will turn out to be. ... Considering as well the non-monetary costs of oil consumption for the environment and foreign policy, is it too much to ask that the government tell us the straight story on mpg ratings?

And it turns out that the EPA now has a new, less nutty methodology. For example, the 2007 V6 Toyota Camry (with the 6 speed automatic) used to be rated at 22 city, 31 highway, but is now rated by the EPA at 19 and 28. That's better, but it still sounds like what the more careful than average driver gets, not what the typical lead-footed American achieves.

A reader writes:

1) Look at safety first. The and sites are where to start. The US DOT tests more car-car crashes. The IIHS tests more of how a car will do it hit by an SUV. So they don't always agree on top ratings. Note that Ford, Audi, and Subaru do really well on the top picks list of IIHS. Note as well that a top small car pick is NOT as safe as a top big car pick.

2) You can look at fuel efficiency on Note that the EPA just tightened their way to test fuel efficiency. Some cars (especially bigger ones) suffered only small losses under the new testing regime. But the Prius's mileage dropped 25%. On that site you can look at each car with both the old and new ratings systems.

3) The main fuel economy value of hybrids comes from capturing energy with regenerative braking. Watch how much you hit the brakes on commutes.

4) Ford and GM have come a long way on quality. Granted, Toyota still has a lead. But their lead isn't so big as it used to be.

5) I believe oil prices will keep going up because, near as I can tell, we really are using up all the oil. But ask yourself how many miles you'll drive per year and what gas will cost you per year at various prices per gallon and mpg. My commute will be so short that I'm insensitive to $5/gallon gas or even $6/gallon gas. I drive a big Cadillac for safety and want to move up to a newer Town Car for even better crash ratings.

6) I find the site the best for looking for used cars. But there are cars that only show up on one of the other sites.

7) The Germans are bringing back diesels. Even Honda says they will come out with a diesel but not this year or probably not next either. The lowering of allowable sulfur in diesel fuel has allowed fancier filtering systems and therefore 50 state diesel is making a come back. There's a diesel VW Jetta coming out this fall that'll cost maybe $24k. Probably last a long time and beat a lot of hybrids on the highway.

8) Fords are nice and underpowered. Yes, the overpowering is ridiculous. Reviewers complain the Town Car has only 239 hp whereas a 1990 Town Car had like 199 hp. The Cad DTS has 300 hp and for what exactly? My mom's supposedly underpowered 2000 Grand Marquis seems to accelerate fast to me. Yet the car mags complain about Fords not being as peppy as Lexuses and Beemers. What the hell?

Car companies competing on horsepower as if your normal commute is across the Bonneville Salt Flats at 140 mph everyday reminds me of house shopping. You go to an open house where the sales lady says that the seller knocked out lots of interior walls converting an eight room house into a five room house with one vast central room, and everybody oohs and aahs about how great it would be for parties. And I'm oohing and aahing too, but in the back of my mind, a little voice is yapping, "Hey, you don't hold parties, and what you really want is your own little room where you can shut the door and think without hearing the damn TV." Similarly, the last time I drove over 80 mph was on a deserted flat, straight back road to Monterey that Jerry Pournelle assured me was never visited by the cops. I got a $400 speeding ticket for going 86.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

The g Factor of Sports

Just as there's a general factor of intelligence, coaches tend to talk as if there is a g factor in sports. In America today, they tend to call it "athleticism."

The way the word is used can be a little surprising: e.g., eye-hand coordination is not considered part of athleticism. Quarterback Michael Vick has "athleticism" but Peyton Manning, despite his superior throwing ability, does not. Cornerbacks have lots of athleticism, but placekickers do not. Centerfielders have athleticism but third basemen do not. Willie May had athleticism, Brooks Robinson was a great fielder. You might recall Brooks Robinson diving flat out over third base to spear a ferocious one-hopper, then scrambling to his feet to fire a throw to first base, but, well, that's just not athleticism.

Breaking it down, it appears that "athleticism" consists of footspeed, leaping ability, agility, ability to improvise unexpectedly (e.g., fake left, go right), ability to react, and hitting ability (in the football sense, not the baseball sense). One reader says "athleticism" is used to mean "lower body springiness."

One interesting question is whether "athleticism" exists as a general factor much like g in IQ. I sometimes wonder if it's not just a euphemism for "black."

Anyway, anyone interested in "multiple athleticisms" vs. "a general factor of athleticism" could take a look at the data from NBA and NFL Draft combines. For example, here are the numbers on the 2007 NBA draft hopefuls on two kinds of leaping ability, bench press, lane agility, and 3/4 court sprint. You might be able to extract something interesting here, although range restriction is severe -- all these guys would beat you 20-2 in a one-on-one game.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

American Conservative online

Here's the table of contents for the current issue of The American Conservative:

September 10, 2007 Issue

The Once & Future Christendom
By James P. Pinkerton
What J.R.R. Tolkien tells us about surviving the clash of civilizations

Running for Life Coach
by Michael Brendan Dougherty
One-on-one, Mike Huckabee is the GOP’s strongest candidate, but will that be enough to propel him to the
top tier?

In Good Faith
By Thomas E. Woods Jr.
Pope Benedict’s restoration of the Latin Mass delights Old Rite devotees.

Long Division
ByTrita Parsi
Ending the tension between Washington and Tehran will require more than the departure of Bush’s neocons or Ahmadinejad’s radicals—however welcome that would be.

Test Case
By Steve Sailer
Bureaucracy fails when civil servants aren’t put to the test.

Balancing Act
By Christopher Layne
Give terrorists what they don’t want: a U.S. departure from Iraq.

Welcome to the Global Market
By J.G. Collins
Free trade is the new white man’s burden.

Sands of Empire
By Steve Sailer
“Lawrence of Arabia”
at 45

The Clash, Still Calling
By A.G. Gancarski
Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer by Chris Salewicz

Purchase an online edition of this issue immediately

Christianity’s Cheerful Prophet
By Michael S. Rose
God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis by Philip Jenkins

The Senators Who Said No
By Clark Stooksbury
Elites for Peace: The Senate and the Vietnam War, 1964-1968 by Gary Stone

Chinese Hostage Crisis
By Patrick J. Buchanan
Our Bankers in Beijing

Feeling a Draft?
By William Pfaff
Rough Draft

The Bushian Barack
By Daniel Larison
Obama’s Second Inaugural Address

The Unbound West
By Fred Reed
How the West Won

Fourteen Days: Bush Teaches Vets About Vietnam; Padilla Presumed Guilty Until Proven Guilty; Rudy’s Culture War

Deep Background: Cheney Lights the Fuse; The Green Zone’s Bug Problem

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer