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Weekly Roundup

· 5 min read
Weekly Roundup
Weekly Roundup, 14 January 2022

Dear Quilletters,

This week, don’t miss Geoffrey Clarfield’s heartfelt eulogy for Richard Leaky, who was to paleoanthropology what E.O. Wilson was to sociobiology. A truly brilliant man with an extraordinary dedication to his craft and research, Leakey’s work has been enormously consequential for our understanding of human evolutionary history.

To learn about an especially objectionable, ongoing case of illiberalism in the academy, check out Stuart Reges’ "Against Land Acknowledgements."

From sexual selection and the female orgasm to A.I., a defense of the arts, philosophy, omicron, and the importance of science conferences, our other pieces cover diverse, stimulating territory that you may enjoy.

2021 was full of trials and tribulations, some of which have already spilled into 22. The tide is beginning to turn though, and here at Quillette, we’re all very much looking forward to the coming year.

As always, thank you.

Scott Newman,
Associate Editor

Weekly Roundup

Remembering Richard Leakey (1944–2022), the Last Victorian Scientist
Kenyan paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey died on January 2nd at age 77, following an extraordinary career devoted to the scientific exploration of human origins. Richard was once my boss. And although we never became friends, I came to know him fairly well. He died peacefully in his house overlooki…
Against Land Acknowledgements
Regular readers of Quillette may recall my 2018 article “Why Women Don’t Code,” which led to another describing how I was “Demoted and Placed on Probation.” After a year of probation, I was reappointed for a three-year term, only to entangle myself in a new controversy over indigenous land
The Case Against the Case Against AI
A review of The Age of AI and Our Human Future by Henry A. Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, and Daniel Huttenlocher. Little, Brown and Company, 272 pages (November, 2021). Potential bridges across the menacing chasm of incompatible ideas are being demolished by a generation of wannabe autocrats presenting a…
Naturally Selective: Female Orgasm and Female Sexual Selection
Every second of every day, across the face of planet Earth, there are 18,000 ejaculations of sperm, and 4.4 births. The stark reality that sperm (and the men who produce it) are biologically cheap, in comparison to eggs (and the women who bear them) is arithmetically inescapable. It
Want to Restore Your Faith in Humanity? Visit a Scientific Conference
As laypeople, we often learn about emerging science through the politicized lens of social media—especially when it comes to such issues as global warming, pandemic modelling, vaccines, and biological sex. And so it becomes easy for us to imagine that the everyday world of scientists is constantly a…
We’re All Going to Get Omicron
My friend Fred (not his real name) is one of the most conscientiously COVID-avoidant people I know. In the pandemic’s early days, he was the guy at my health club who investigated mechanisms we could use to sterilize tennis balls in real time, during play, lest virus particles make
Authority and Freedom: A Defense of the Arts—A Review
A review of Authority and Freedom: A Defense of the Arts by Jed Perl. Knopf, 176 pages. (January, 2022) Plug “relevance” into the search field of the website for Artforum, and 16 results pop up from 2021 alone. Relevance is the dominant aesthetic criterion of our time, and lack thereof
Should Philosophers Censor Kevin MacDonald?
According to the mainstream narrative about race, “white supremacy” is an all-controlling social force responsible for bad outcomes such as racial disparities. According to an alternative narrative popular on the far-Right, Jewish influence is a similarly powerful force, which explains outcomes disl…

From Around the Web

Here’s how scientists pulled off the first pig-to-human heart transplant
The effort involved genetic engineering, an experimental drug, and cocaine
Hollywood’s New Rules
The old boys club is dead. But a new one—with its own litmus tests and landmines—is rapidly replacing it. ‘This is all going to end in a giant class-action lawsuit.’
In Conversation With Sam Harris On Christmas Eve
Ending 2021 with talking to my hero about meditation, suffering, and fantasies.

Scott Newman

Scott Newman is an award-winning author and Contributing Editor at Quillette. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in history.

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