David Anthony: the Origin of Indo-Europeans

Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning | 21 May 2021 | 1h 04m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with David Anthony about his 2007 book The Horse, The Wheel, and Language. Discusses the archaeological and genetic evidence for a massive migration from the steppe as the origins of Indo-European languages, the enormous genetic impact of the Yamnaya people, changing thinking about migration, and the domestication of the horse.

Razib Khan has done a follow-up interview that updates progress over the last two years on the domestication of the horse, the spread of the wheel, and Yamnaya steppe herders’ language. See also the Tides of History interview with David Anthony.

I highly recommend reading The Horse, The Wheel, and Language and also Razib Khan’s Substack, which has lots of pieces on steppe migration.

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Elizabeth Jones on Ancient DNA: The Making of a Celebrity Science

Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning | 23 June 2023 | 0h 55m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Elizabeth Jones about her book Ancient DNA: The Making of a Celebrity Science. Discusses the excitement in paleogenetics in the 1990s on the back of strong public interest caused by Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel Jurassic Park, its subsequent retrenchment as a field, and the prompt renaissance in the late 2000’s under the leadership of Svante Pääbo and Eske Willerslev.

See also other episodes on Ancient DNA.

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Steven Pinker: The Blank Slate 20+ Years Later

Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning | 2 April 2023 | 1h 07m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Steven Pinker about his book The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, published in 2002. Discusses where we are today vis-a-vis the book’s three major themes: the blank slate or tabula rasa view of the mind as having no innate traits; the noble savage view of human nature where society corrupts individuals; and the ghost in the machine, particularly as repurposed today in service of gender ideology.

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John Hawks: A Year in Paleoanthropology

Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning | 13 January 2023 | 1h 06m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with John Hawks discussing the commitment of paleoanthropologists investigating cave systems; the finding that small-brained Homo naledi used fire deep in caves and the implications of that for hominin evolution; the profusion of human lineages discovered in Southeast Asia over the last few years; and the possibilities for ancient DNA and ancient protein analysis.

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Garett Jones: The Culture Transplant

Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning | 2 December 2022 | 1h 00m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Garett Jones about his book The Culture Transplant: How Migrants Make the Economies They Move To a Lot Like the Ones They Left. Explains how cultural assimilation and acculturation is not as powerful as we might think and that ancestral folkways and norms persist for centuries, transforming nations like the US and Argentina over time as migration streams alter their demographic makeup. Argues that this is important because some nations are highly productive and innovative, and their cultural frameworks are necessary to foster their economic role in the global system.

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Sir Walter F. Bodmer: From R.A. Fisher to Genomics

Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning | 19 May 2022 | 1h 06m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Sir Walter Bodmer about his recollections of R.A Fisher, his PhD advisor, who made foundational contributions to population genetics and statistics, but has been the subject of a cancellation controversy. Also discusses Bodmer’s work, the human genome project, The People of the British Isles Project, and more.

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Chad Orzel: A Brief History of Timekeeping

Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning | 4 February 2022 | 0h 54m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Chad Orzel about his book A Brief History of Timekeeping. Discusses cultural, engineering, historical and archaeological aspects of timekeeping; astronomical calendars; water clocks; how Greenwich Mean Time emerged; the cultural changes wrought by standardised time; and the effects of relativity and gravity on time.

Razib’s Substack is a joy to read.

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Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Still Inherit the Earth?

Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning | 8 January 2022 | 1h 25m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Eric Kaufmann about his book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century. Predicts that due to the higher reproductive rates of religious groups compared to the secular population, the future is going to be more religious than the present. Discusses the contrast between this prediction and the fact that social and cultural change has made societies more secular in past centuries.

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