January 2000 Notebook Entries
Notebook entry, January 28, 2000
Last night President Clinton gave his last State of the Union speech and touched upon a biological note that seems to indicate that genetics and biology will be more and more in the common realm in the near future. He was talking about racial divides and discrimination and the new way we should look upon the subject:...I am not quite sure of the quote, but here goes: "It has been scientifically proven that the all of us share 99.99% percent of the same DNA." He went on to emphasis the similarity between us instead of the differences, and in those diversities, America has found its strength, not its weaknesses. Here. Here. I think that Bill Clinton will go down as one of the most important presidents in American history for his accomplishments.
Notebook entry, January 26, 2000
There has been a real BUZZ this past two weeks about a new book that is about to go to press in April. Yes, I said April. A Natural History of Rape, by Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer has been the center of a New York Times article, and editorial in Time magazine, one 15 minute spot on NBC's Nightline, and a news report on the Saturday ABC News cast. It seems the good doctors want to "correct" the feminist fallacy that "rape is not about sex," and that is about violence and domination. It seems the good male doctors seem to feel that because women may be reluctant at times to be willing to copulate at the drop of a hat, that perhaps our ancestral, boorish male ancestors did the only appropriate, and "natural" action of taking the first step. What's "natural" isn't always nice, to quote Barbara Ehrenreich in Time. (the book sounds very similar to The Dark Side of Man, which I reviewed on my Recommended Reading List -- so it is interesting why some books create a buzz and others don't).
The good male doctors, of course, do not seem to mention that males rape more males in our current prison system than females in the open society, and that children are also victims of rape and exploitations of the male sex drive -- and that those acts have nothing to do with the passage of genes into the next generation.
I agree with the good doctors that the sex drive in males is very strong, and that it has a genetic basis. But, I also want to strongly suggest that NO STILL MEANS NO. It means NO today, It most likely meant NO in our ancestral past, and that it also has a biological basis as well.
Notebook entry, January 24, 2000
A very detailed report from The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, by Howard Schneider, January 24, 00 issue, p.17, entitled "Saudi Tradition and the Gene Pool: Hereditary disorders increase as couples marry within their families. The story centers on the Middle East, in particular in Saudia Arabia where a government study found that marriages between first and second cousins and distant relatives ranges from 28.9% in Egypt up to North Western Province of Saudi Arabia at 67.7%, with an average of 56.8%. The close breeding, of course, has begun to affect the gene pool as thalassemia -- a hemoglobin deficiency -- and sickle cell anemia, and diabetes are widespread. After years of looking the other way, public health officials, media and religious authorities are beginning to openly counsel Saudis about the dangers of marrying to close to their family center. The reasons for the inter-marriages, we think, goes back into our deep history in order to insure that deep family ties and transfer of wealth remained in the family lineages, so as to extend the survival. As I quote Mr. Schneider below, I want you to see how close this description comes to describing the social ranking positions and maneuverings within a social context of our primate cousins. (Please, this does not infer that Saudis are primitive!), but are highly conscious of ranking through biological lineage. Ultimately its about the resources, people.
"it is seen as a way to preserve wealth by keeping dowries and inheritances within the same line. It is also, many in Saudia Arabia say, the surest way to avoid the uncertainty that goes with marrying someone from an unknown family or an unfamiliar region. As one elderly father explains, marriage discussions can involve intense investigations to ensure that a son or daughter is not taking a step down the social ladder, or compromising the family's interests. In that environment, marrying relatives is always a safe bet."
"Beyond any religious interpretation, Saudi Arabia remains a place of intensely tribal and generally restrictive social affiliations, where claims of the extended family and tribe still take precedence over any broader sense of nationality."
Notebook entry, January 23, 2000
I've been writing on THE BOOK since Friday and I am making good progress. I have decided to write the final chapter in the book -- a sort of cutting myself off at the pass. A sort of -- this is where I am going to cut this off and finish it. There is no reason to write a large book the first time around because I may have to do the print work myself and it would keep the costs down. Of course, it would be nice to have someone else do it, but hey....maybe I should keep all the profits, (yeah, right, Bill).
There is so much to write and muse upon with this exciting field. Theories and scenarios are constantly floating around in my head on this subject. It is difficult for me, with my very limited higher education, to place the ideas in a lineal fashion, but working on the book has greatly added to my skills. I suppose the adage: practice makes prefect -- is mostly true -- but it better be on a subject that you devour, or it will devour you. Today I started at 0400 hrs and worked until 0810 until my step-daughter woke up and broke my concentration. Sometimes it seems like I get a runner's high from the writing when things are going well. I'll be on vacation for the next three weeks. Two of which will be devoted to taking care of my wife Diana after her scheduled surgery on Feb 3rd.
Notebook entry, January 19, 2000
A Los Angeles Times report by Mary Williams Walsh tells us of another report about the "wealth gap widening." This one is from a survey done by the Federal Reserve interviewing 4,309 families. The Federal Reserve report, the nation's most comprehensive look at family wealth that the department conducts every three years, found that the prosperity of the American middle class has risen significantly, but that those on the bottom rungs are actually losing wealth instead of gaining because they have taken on enormous amounts of credit-card debt, which is subtracted from the families net worth. If the Federal Reserve raises interests rates, as all indications seem to be heading, this could put the brakes to consumer spending in 2000. The frustrations of not being able to acquire additional products, yet still paying off debts will, in my opinion, will add to the fuel to the fire of Differential Resource Intolerance -- and it could effect the coming election in a big way. See Notebook entry, January 18, 2000. You can read about my theory, the Resource Differential Tolerance theory, by clicking on the word, Capitalism. Capitalism
Notebook entry, January 18, 2000
A news wire story from The Associated Press, by Shannon Mccaffrey focuses on the widening chasm between rich and poor that was presented in two studies by The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the Economic Policy Institute. The study found that earnings for the poorest fifth of American families rose less than 1 percent between 1988 and 1998 but for the richest fifth it jumped 15 percent. The widening gap was attributed to the long-running bull market on Wall Street, which favors wealthy investors. The gap also widened because more manufacturing jobs were eliminated and replaced with low-paying service jobs. One of the report's author's, Elizabeth McNichol, said the gap between the incomes of rich and poor did not narrow in a single state during the last 20 years, and narrowed significantly only in three states during the 1990s: Alaska, Louisiana and Tennessee.
See my Notebook entry, December 26, 1999.....it is about the Business Week poll which suggested that the new "populist tilt" to McCain and Bradley campaigns, could be associated with the fact that most Americans feel left out of the current economic boom and the blossoming New Economy. If my Resource Differential Tolerance Ratio theory is correct, than reports like this will continue to feed on the anti-big business, and fat-cat images of wealthy conservatives. And if that is the case, then the American electorate may very well be beginning to turn to the left. As Ronald Reagan has told us: "A rising tide rises all boats." So far, it appears that only the yachts have been lifted.
I remember back to 1993 when the Clinton Administration managed to pass a tax hike on the wealthy. He was lambasted so vehemently by conservative talk-show hosts as just another "Tax and Spend Democrat," it produce the Republican take-over of Congress. If "The Largest Tax Hike in History," has provided us with eight years of unprecedented wealth creation, and the wealthy are getting richer, perhaps we should tax the wealthy again, so that we can continue the prosperity. (I'm only joking).
Notebook entry, January 16, 2000
I had a good day writing yesterday. I finished chapter six of THE BOOK. Can't tell you too much, but it will focus on gender differences, and in particular, the control and restraint mechanisms that visit the male in predominance. I will make suggest that perhaps it was not the best way our species could have evolved, and also make suggestions on how to proceed once genetic engineering truly begins. And it will begin sooner than you think. If we do it right, the results will be spectacular. If we get it wrong, we will terminate ourselves.
Notebook entry, January 13, 2000
A newswire story from The Associated Press with a byline of Rick Callahan tells us: "Taller Men Luckier in Love, study finds." Published findings in today's issue of the journal Nature tells us that Polish and British scientists studied medical records of about 3,200 Polish men ages 25 to 60 and found childless men were on average 1.2 inches shorter than men who had at least one child. Robin I.M. Dunbar of the University of Liverpool said that the numbers clearly show that women favor taller men -- something that other research suggest is true across cultures.
Commenting on the study, David Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, says that while other studies have shown that taller-than-average men have higher incomes and social status than shorter men, this study is the first direct link between height and reproductive success. Reproductive success -- those who leave the most children, is what Darwin really said about evolution -- not survival of the "fittest."
Dunbar said he did the research after noticing that in personal ads men advertised their height only if they were taller than the average, which is 5-foot-6 inches. Dunbar is quoted in summing up: "You did not see any (males) advertising and saying, 'I'm 5-foot-3, give me a call,'"
Notebook entry, January 12, 2000
Saw a pretty neat cartoon in the latest issue of The New Yorker. You know those people who walk around with long togas and long beards carrying a sign that always reads: The End Is Near!?" Well, this cartoon had the same guy, carrying a sign that read: Hey! Anyone Can Make a Mistake!
Notebook entry, January 5, 2000
Several days into the new millennium, and it appears that we truly did survived the passage into the new millennium without any major disruptions in civil, governmental, or military computer systems, and thusly no major disruptions in civil order. Ooops. Well, there was one disruption: The CIA reported that the machines that translate the stream of data downloading from spy satellites into photo images did have a glitch, and for a while the CIA was blind. They must have really been upset, for any unforeseen glitch such as that would easily be interpreted as a "cyber attack" if one is paranoid. Governments usually are paranoid. Perhaps someday in the distant future we will find out what went on inside the CIA that night.
Notebook entry, January 2, 2000
On an unrelated subject, The Wall Street Journal had a special Saturday, January 1, 2000 edition with predictions about inventions, and how businesses will be conducted in the 21st Century. I usually don't read the WSJ anymore because I got fed up with it's overly-macho-rich-white-guy editorials, but I noticed that there was an interview with E.O. Wilson on human nature. I try not to miss anything written by, whom I consider to be, the father of evolutionary psychology. (Although he calls it human sociobiology). I think of significance in the interview was the question of how little human nature has evolved and will evolve. Here, in brief, is that section: Please note that the interview is copyrighted by The Wall Street Journal.
WSJ: Is it safe to say that human nature has not changed greatly in the last 1,000 years?
EOW: I think it is safe to say that human nature has not changed in the last 100,000 years, and maybe farther back than that.
WSJ: So there's no reason to think it will change a great deal in the next 1,000 years?
EOW: No reason to believe it whatsoever.
WSJ: In On Human Nature, you wrote that "the trajectory of history can be plotted ahead, at least roughly," by considering the constraints that human nature places on culture. What features of human nature will shape the future?
EOW: On the basis of our understanding of the the behavior of nonhuman primates, our closest genetic relatives, and a mounting body of evidence from psychology and anthropology, I would venture that the following behaviors are unlikely to change in any fundamental way: