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Category: Science

Yes, so there were these so-called “Aryans” who migrated into India. The proof is now conclusive.

I have commented extensively on the “Aryan” migration theory over the years. My well-researched position has been that:

a) Archaeological evidence points 100 per cent to inflow of “foreign” migrants into India (e.g. see this blog post)

b) Linguistic evidence is overwhelmingly clear (100 per cent) that modern Indian languages (including Sanskrit) came to India from outside (e.g. see this post). Attempts to suggest that Sanskrit originated in India result in pure gibberish (e.g. see this post, this one, and this one [My analysis disproves the “Out of India” theory of the recent Hindutva fanatics]

c) DNA evidence has been relatively unclear so far but the science is very new and surely more will be learnt soon.

Now, even DNA evidence has become very clear. This article confirms it.

R1a is distributed all over Europe, Central Asia and South Asia; its sub-group Z282 is distributed only in Europe while another subgroup Z93 is distributed only in parts of Central Asia and South Asia; and three major subgroups of Z93 are distributed only in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Himalayas. This clear picture of the distribution of R1a has finally put paid to an earlier hypothesis that this haplogroup perhaps originated in India and then spread outwards. This hypothesis was based on the erroneous assumption that R1a lineages in India had huge diversity compared to other regions, which could be indicative of its origin here. As Prof. Richards puts it, “the idea that R1a is very diverse in India, which was largely based on fuzzy microsatellite data, has been laid to rest” thanks to the arrival of large numbers of genomic Y-chromosome data.

QED. The proofs are ALL clear now.

But note that I use the word Aryan in quotes. That is because I do not consider that the idea of “Aryan” is robust or well-defined enough in any meaningful way. What exactly is it? A cultural idea, a linguistic idea, a “race” idea? No one can say for sure.

All we can say at best is that FOREIGNERS from Central Asia (including from as close as Iran) came into India.


Do read Sanjay Sonawani’s write-up (about which I became aware after writing this) here:

Also our discussion here:

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Some of the things to measure in regular (annual) blood tests

I’ve been a bit careless over the past few years in monitoring my declining levels of Vitamin D in the body. That’s something I woke up only yesterday after randomly chancing upon a report which showed a strong correlation between low Vit D levels and prostate cancer. I studied a bit more and found many more studies.

Regular (annual) blood tests are absolutely critical. It is only through such tests that my prostate cancer has been picked up. Hopefully it has not spread – fingers crossed. (Note: Although I’ve been fairly regular about these tests, I was a bit slack last year – too many things happening around me – and I did not immediately see the specialist despite a referral  –  A strong warning I’ve received to not neglect tests and specialist referrals at any cost.)

Better to take preventative steps than to suffer from consequences of ignorance.

I measure the following regularly.


Vitamin D

A few years ago my Vit D levels had plummeted in to a severe deficiency stage.  Most dark-skinned knowledge workers across the world (including in India) have an extremely indoor style. Even my exercise is largely indoor – in a gym. This problem of low Vitamin D among office workers, particularly with a darker skin, is by now long documented. Btw, I don’t take milk or yogurt, either! A recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, I was a bit careless. After reverting back my Vit. D levels to some semblance of normalcy after they had dropped precipitously, I did not continue taking the supplements regularly, since around 2013. (Took once in a while, but not regularly.) Because of that my levels declined steeply from 98 mmol/L in 2013 to 79 in 2014 and 59 in 2015 – a one way decline to levels below 50, which are considered deficient. More problematically, I suspect, this yo-yo level of Vit D is not healthy. I did not take a Vit D test in 2016 or 2017 but I’m sure the levels continued to decline – during a critical period for the development of my prostate cancer.

I’ve started taking Vit D again a few days ago. I feel a bit stupid about not having continued regularly supplements through out the past few years.


Fasting glucose is the key level to be tracked.


This measures Iron and related matters.


This measures cholesterol.

General chemistry

The main general chemistry test measures around 15 different types of chemical markers, such as sodium, potassium, urea, etc. etc.


I’m particularly interested in this protein marker which has significant predictive relationship with inflammation across the body and can predict potential heart issues.


This measures Haemoglobin and platelets, etc. It provides around 10-12 different results. I’m afraid I’ve not understood these very well, but endeavour to track anything that’s outside the normal range.


This is mainly about the Thyroid gland and tests TSH. However, there is also a crucial test:

Tumour marker – PSA

This is a test for prostate cancer and is recommended in men over 40.

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Human evolution is SPEEDING UP RAPIDLY, and no, it has not come to an end

A friend said that human evolution has come to an end since selection pressures are no longer relevant.

Let’s look at the facts. It is evident that human evolution is rapidly speeding up.


1) More mutations than ever before: Because human population is much larger than ever before (from a mere 5000 or so 75,000 years ago), therefore there are vastly more mutations in the species than ever before. Numbers matter. Mutations led to “races”, with slight changes in biology over the past 100,000 years. These variations are likely to further increase.

2) Fitness: Selection pressures kill off or otherwise disable those genes (through infertility) that are not well adapted to the environment. These pressures have led to the evolution of lactose tolerant genes in cow herders, plague tolerant genes in most Europeans, and malaria tolerant genes in most Africans. Selection pressures
continue unabated in most parts of the world (mostly in the Third World – India, Africa, China) where hundreds of millions of people die from disease. The survivors are more likely to have protective mutations. Pressures of climate cannot be removed, either.

3) Sexual selection: In a crowded world, not everyone gets a chance to reproduce. The genes of those not found suitable are weeded out. Likewise, certain genes that promote desirable traits (e.g. IQ, “beauty” – often affected by fashion) are in demand. The human brain is probably the most affected by this – since smarter people are more in demand.

Note that all dogs are a kind of wolf that’s been super-rapidly bred by humans – in just a few thousand years. Likewise. one would expect various “breeds” of humans to evolve through sexual selection.

4) Cultural selection: Some cultures weed out those who don’t “obey”. I suspect that if North Korean genes are analysed, the children may now have subservenient genes, with those who had independent genes being slaughtered. So also in many “hardcore” Islamic societies. In addition, in those societies, the ultra-stupids are regularly weeded out through suicide bombing.

A few articles/ videos to clarify this. Click the links on red – these are articles.
Study shows humans are evolving faster than previously thought

At least 7% of human genes have undergone recent evolution. Some of the changes included the emergence of fair skin and blue eyes in northern Europe, greater resistance to malaria in some African populations and the appearance of a gene that allows lactose to be digested.

Fastest-evolving human gene linked to brain boost
They identified the rapidly evolving region of DNA – called human accelerated region 1 (HAR1)

Humans are still evolving—and we can watch it happen
Two studies presented at the Biology of Genomes meeting here last week show how our genomes have changed over centuries or decades, charting how since Roman times the British have evolved to be taller and fairer, and how just in the last generation the effect of a gene that favors cigarette smoking has dwindled in some groups. the human genome quickly responds to new conditions in subtle but meaningful ways, she says.

Our brain size is rapidly changing
The gene Microcephalin (MCPH1) regulates brain size and has evolved under strong positive selection in the human evolutionary lineage. We show that one genetic variant of Microcephalin in modern humans, which arose È37,000 years ago, increased in frequency too rapidly to be compatible with neutral drift. This indicates that it has spread under strong positive selection [Microcephalin, a Gene Regulating Brain Size, Continues to Evolve Adaptively in Humans – Science, 9 SEPTEMBER 2005]

And so on. Search google.

A couple of videos:

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Ian Stevenson, Brian Weiss, Roger Penrose, H. N. Banerjee – researchers of the “soul”

I think it is time to make note of these and related “researchers” and to provide initial comment on them. These (and similar) “scientists” keep popping up from time to time in discussions, and I’d like to at least devote a minute to these chaps – basically to rebut them.


Evidence for Reincarnation – Randi foundation



His claims:

(Dr.) Ian Stevenson, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (New York: American Society for Psychical Research, 1967)

Ian Stevenson, Cases of the Reincarnation Type (Univ. of Virginia Press):
Vol. 1 Ten Cases in India (1975)
Vol. 2 Ten Cases in Sri Lanka (1977)
Vol. 3 Twelve Cases in Lebanon and Turkey (1980)
Vol. 4 Twelve Cases in Thailand and Burma (1983)

_____, Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation (University of Virginia Press, 1987)

_____, “American children who claim to remember previous lives,” J. Nervous and Mental Disease 171 (1983) pp. 742-748 (research paper)

_____, Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect (Westport, CN: Praeger, 1997)

_____, European Cases of the Reincarnation Type (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Co., 2003)

_____, and Godwin Samararatne, “Three new cases of the reincarnation type in Sri Lanka with written records made before verification,” J. Sci. Exploration 2, No. 2 (1988) pp. 217-238

Ian Stevenson (1918-2007) – at the Sceptics Dictionary

in hardly any of Stevenson’s cases did he become involved with children so young. In the 14 cases covered in this book, Stevenson was only involved with one when the child was only two years old. The others were all older: one child was three, three children were four, one was six and seven ranged in ages from 9 to 21 before he even met them! (Stevenson doesn’t tell us how old his fourteenth case was when he met the child.) So who knows what these children really remembered? [Source: Reasons to doubt reincarnation]

Reincarnation Research and Myths of Scientific Practice

Stevenson died in 2007 but has been succeeded at the University of Virginia by fellow psychiatrist Jim B. Tucker, who specialises in the investigation of Western cases. Another leading and scientifically hard-nosed expert of reincarnation research is the anthropologist James G. Matlock, currently a Research Fellow at the Parapsychology Foundation [Source]


A discussion re: reincarnation at the Sceptics Dictionary


He is a new one in this soul business. His claim.


See these claims.

Past Life Regression Therapy | Dr. Rakesh Jain

And so on.

More later.

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Comments on climate change from one of the greatest economists of all time, Vernon Smith

We hear a lot about climate change from many bad economists. It is time to hear the views of one of the greatest economists of all time and a winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. These comments (below) are originally from 2012, but they make perfect sense even today. [I’ve slightly amended formatting for ease of reading and added a few annotations including colour, bolding and underlining. My commentary in blue.] I’ve taken the comments from Smith’s FB page:

In brief, Vernon Smith confirms the findings in my booklet of 2008, which I keep updating sporadically (I now mainly post updates on my FB page on climate change).


Here is the long version of my specific comments on global climate change (2012). Its happening, and we should prepare for it, but stopping it is way beyond current technology, which is why CC [Copenhagen Consensus] plugged for energy saving and CO2 sequestration research with over a dozen WW [Sanjeev: worldwide?] problems easily besting climate given the budget we worked with. Since this is 2012 it would need updating, but you get the idea. You may have to click for the charts. [Sanjeev: I’ve pasted the charts here]

Comment [2012]: Vernon L. Smith

Carbon (dioxide) emission mitigation.

This is the solution that I and the panel rated lowest. I begin with this option because reducing carbon emissions is widely perceived by politicians, journalists, and many scientists (although skeptics abound) as (1) necessary to reduce global climate change; (2) worth the cost.

On (2) my view, given the state of current knowledge, is that the cost in sacrificed human betterment and poverty reduction would be prohibitive in achieving reduced near-term effective atmospheric carbon inventories (new emissions have an uncertain half-life estimate of 40 or many more years.

On (1) in my view there is so much uncertainty in the relevant sciences that we cannot yet make that judgment. That there is climate change in recent history (see temperature charts below) is not at issue, but rather its cause and reversibility through reduced carbon emissions.


• The leading scientific hypothesis is that global climate change is due to anthropogenic carbon emission forcing, but other hypotheses are not dead, e.g., solar forcing in combination with complex surface-air interactions and lags.

• But forcing is recognized as being much modified by physical principles operating through endogenous feedback loops—some recognized, others in discovery process—that are poorly understood in systems as complex as the global land-ocean-lower-upper atmospheric interactions. We cannot know, only estimate, what might be the climate state if carbon forcing were absent.

• Since 1850, emissions have grown exponentially, and therefore, if indeed anthropogenic emissions are the cause of recent warming, we have no observational experience with how emission reversals, might asymmetrically map into temperature change (+, 0, −) over short or long intervals.

• Climate change has both benefits and costs, with perhaps the largest cost being that of adaptation. Humans have thrived during Pleistocene cooling, and have thrived during Holocene warming. That adaptation is likely to continue as our knowledge base grows beyond anything that is conceivable across century-length episodes (compare Einstein’s year, 1905, with 2005)?

Uncertain causes of global climate change and the carbon “balance.”

Our knowledge of the dynamics of global temperature derives in part from well known experimentally verified spectral properties of carbon (a trace gas in the atmosphere, 0.036% by volume) that enables one to estimate the marginal isolated contribution to surface temperature of the net incoming radiative energy from the sun that is due to the carbon concentrations in the atmosphere.

The estimated equilibrium contribution of carbon to earth surface temperature symmetrically increases and decreases in the logarithm of its relative concentration in parts per million by volume.

How that marginal contribution interacts through dynamic lagged positive and negative feedbacks in the complex air-ocean-land-forest system is governed by hypotheses of great logical and quantitative uncertainty and subject to constant new scientific discover, subject to error. Error includes both model specification error and measurement error conditional on the specifications.

Comparable error properties pervade other complex systems like those in ecology, culture and economy. For the economy, in spite of well developed models of economic and financial interactions, sometimes even tested against samples of data not used to calibrate them, monetary policy utterly failed to anticipate that a bursting of the housing-mortgage market bubble beginning in 2006 would engulf the international economy by 2008. The chain of events was inherently unpredictable in a manner that policy actions could anticipate and prevent. Comparable uncertainty issues plague climate complexity.

I begin this brief summary with a myopic view—myopic relative to the totality of temperature observations begging for better understanding—from −400 to 2000 AD, with Roman and other historic events flagged in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Climate of the last 2400 years


[Source: Greenland ice core charts from here]

The deviations, inferred from ice core data, are plotted relative to the mean over this period. Recent temperatures have been trending up since 1900, and have exceeded the 2400 year mean only since about 1950. Anthropogenic carbon is not usually implicated in warming before about 1850.

Note also how common are “natural” (non-anthropogenic) “tipping points” when temperature signatures suddenly change direction especially at extreme points outside the range ±0.5 C. Although temperatures appear to have become more volatile since 1850 (this could be a data splicing problem), rapid 50-year upward trends are unremarkable over the whole 2400 years (e.g., 3rd, 5th ,9th, 11th,13th centuries). Always keep in mind that these indirect (ice core) measures of temperature are subject to error as are any “direct” observations of mean global temperature..

In Figure 2 is displayed a longer view (the Holocene includes the post agricultural revolution since about 9000 BC), with the last 2400 years revealed to be one of relative temperature decline.

Figure 2 Climate of the last 12,000 years.


(Reference cited in Figure 1)

A global warming skeptic might easily argue that warming in the last century is merely part of a 500 year return to average temperatures prevailing since before the beginning of agriculture. But uncertainty cuts both ways, and we are well advised to be skeptical of the skeptics.

Also evident is the sharp 6 C increase in temperature in the two millennia just prior to agriculture. This warming was part of a 120 meter (four hundred feet) increase in sea level, beginning 18,000BC in which, for example, the Persian Gulf was filled to its present level, submerging the river of four heads from Mesopotamia.

Ice core data records a small dip in carbon from 9000BC to about 4500BC after which it increased, possibly due to anthropogenic forest clearing. This hypothesis has just been reported to be “confidently rejected” in favor of natural causes through the study of carbon isotope signatures. (See J. Elsig, et al, 2009,“Stable Isotope Constraints in Holocene Carbon Cycle…” Nature, 461, pp 446, 507-510.)

Looking only at the recent industrial era, as in Figure 3, warming is both prominent and coincides with accelerating growth in anthropogenic carbon emissions. [Sanjeev: It only seems to “coincide”. If one goes back in time in the geological record, there is absolutely no correlation between temperature and CO2 emissions. When I started studying this issue in 2008, this was the first question I asked: show me the very long term correlation.]

Figure 3 Climate since 1880



But is it a causal relationship? The greatest error source is concerned with how the climate system responds to the flow of new carbon into the far larger global inventory of carbon: Does the response decrease warming (negative feedback) or increase it (positive feedback), with what lags, and how does the response change over time? What are in short supply are observational tests of the predictive implications of the models for any relevant data not used in their calibration.

Because of the higher quality data base for calibrating the simulation models, modelers have focused on the period since 1975, leaving insufficient data for out-of-sample (subsets of data not used in model calibration) tests of models validity. As time goes on, however, and the data accumulate this problem is diminished. For example, concerning recent decadal relative cooling trends we have:

“Observations indicate that global temperature rise has slowed in the last decade…much less than the 0.18°C decade–1 recorded between 1979 and 2005… This is despite a steady increase in radiative forcing as a result of human activities and has led some to question climate predictions of substantial twenty-first century warming…Near-zero and even negative trends are common for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.” (Do Global Temperature Trends Over the Last Decade Falsify Climate predictions [in “State of the Climate in 2008”] . Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 90 (8), S22-23.)

The quotation shows a refreshing commitment in advance to observations that would constitute falsification of a model. But this should not be comforting, as the complexity problem is emphatically not one of just measuring the effect of an equilibrium disturbance in the carbon heat balance, as the entire system already has a complex dynamic motion quite apart from anthropogenic sources, as is evident in Figures 1 and 2.

Calculating confidence intervals for deviations from unknown sources of trend is a deep mathematical challenge. (See Wu, Zhaohua et al, 2007, On the trend, detrending, and variability of nonlinear and nonstationary time series. Proc Natl Acad Sci, 104, pp 14889–14894).

My purpose is not to detract from the enormous recent advances in climate science, but to emphasize that our ignorance of global dynamics continues to be overwhelming.

Cut Black Carbon.

I rated this fairly high essentially because of the recent scientific claims that these particulate emissions may account for much of lower atmospheric temperature increases and particularly the regional warming associated with loss of Arctic and glacial ice. This may turn out to be a promising break-through, or just one more dead end, but it is worth aggressive investigation. Since the Asian stove sources are also a health hazard, black carbon merits cutting in any case; the principle problem has been to implement a change in remote stove use against powerful cultural norms.

On recent issues in black carbon (soot) and related brown cloud science:

“Here we use three lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles that were vertically stacked…over the polluted Indian Ocean…(that)… deployed miniaturized instruments measuring aerosol concentrations, soot amount and solar fluxes….(making)… it possible to measure the atmospheric solar heating rates directly. We found that atmospheric brown clouds enhanced lower atmospheric solar heating by about 50 per cent…. brown clouds contribute as much as the recent increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases to regional lower atmospheric warming trends. We propose that the combined warming trend of 0.25 K per decade may be sufficient to account for the observed retreat of the Himalayan glaciers.” V. Ramanathan et al (2007) “Warming trends in Asia amplified by brown cloud solar absorption.”Nature 448, 575-578

Also see V. Ramanathan & G. Carmichael (2008), “Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon.” Nature Geoscience 1, 221 – 227; and J. R. McConnel, et al (2007) “20th-Century industrial Black Carbon Emissions Altered Artic Climate Fording.” Science. 317, pp 1381-1384.
And again:

“We conclude that decreasing concentrations of sulphate aerosols and increasing concentrations of black carbon have substantially contributed to rapid Arctic warming during the past three decades”. Drew Shindell and Greg Faluvegi (2009). Climate Response to Regional Radiative Forcing During the 20th Century. Nature Geoscience, 2, pp. 294–300.

Planning Adaptation.

I rated this solution very high. Regardless of the causes of climate change, the trend in global warming, sea level rise and loss of glacial and ocean ice for the last 20,000 years is most likely to continue. This is shown in Figure 4 for the virtually monotone increasing sea level rise in the Persian Gulf long before anthropogenic causes could be implicated.

Figure 4. Sea Level Rise in the Persian Gulf.

[Sanjeev: the reference below, and title of the chart don’t seem to coincide, but the point being considered is the same]

sea water mwp

MWP refers to various meltwater pulses or “sudden” rises of 10 meters (33 feet) or more in a few hundred years. The most recent was MWP-1C, ~8,200-7,600 years ago. See at

If carbon is a principal new cause, its accumulated effects are thought to be already built in and irreversible short of an unanticipated natural reverse “tipping.” The failure to respond efficaciously to hurricane Katrina shows clearly the need to ask whether and in what way adaptive planning can be implemented. We need also to ask if New Orleans or other cities located below sea level should be protected, rebuilt if lost, or simply moved with migration assistance.

Adaptation also makes sense because in intervals of tens of thousands of years the ice core temperature record going back 420,000 shows that warm episodes have been rare and short-lived—a few thousand years—with carbon concentration lagging temperatures.

Climate Engineering.

I rated research on cloud whitening highest, aerosol insertion lower.

Cloud whitening is scalable, subject to relatively controlled experiments and reversible so far as we know. It appears therefore to chart an incremental low cost learning path in which unintended consequences can be identified on a small scale before applying it more aggressively to counteract anticipated damages from warming.

Aerosol insertion is less attractive on these measures since it is less incrementally controlled, but research seems justified because of the prospect that it could act more quickly than carbon mitigation. Even cloud whitening, however, is fraught with incredible uncertainties that are just elementary reflections of our broader scientific ignorance: “Despite decades of research, it has proved frustratingly difficult to establish climatically meaningful relationships among the aerosol, clouds and precipitation.” (B. Stevens and G. Feingold, 2009, “Untangling aerosol effects on clouds and precipitation in a buffered system.” Nature, 461: p 607.)

These options have merit only because they offer promising new increases in our practical knowledge, not because they can be assured of rescuing us if that be necessary. Nevertheless, both of these technologies may have risks, whose origins are precisely the same as those governing the causes of global warming: we know precious little about systems as complex as that of the global climate, and we should proceed with caution to avoid unintended harm.


In line with the previous CC meeting conclusions, I am persuaded that if target anthropogenic GHG reductions are necessary to reduce global climate change—a distinctly speculative proposition—then the brute force approach with existing technology is not feasible.

If there is any effective means of reducing GHG emissions, it rests with R&D discoveries that will enormously increase energy savings (or, alternatively, finesse the whole issue through climate engineering as above). But we cannot assure discovery; we can only commit to trying, and the technical paper cautiously recognizes this potential outcome.

Even in the absence of a carbon tax and public R&D it is easy to underestimate the extent to which rising relative energy prices for long periods will induce innovations that will increase energy efficiency, as is evident by simply looking back to 1830 when kerosene-from-coal—or “coal oil”—was the response to the high price of whale oil.



My response to Fred Folavary who suggested we have a green tax.

Vernon L. Smith had also noted this article on his page a few days ago:   [Smith’s comment was: “Green on the increase? Why do climate Chicken Littles not put more emphasis on adaptation, and preparation for further warming?”]

– an analysis of the benefits of CO2. What if the benefits exceed costs? (which, in my view – since 2008 – they do. There are plenty of studies which show that there is a net benefit of CO2 to life on earth for at least the next few decades.)

As plants have increased, so has animal life on earth. There is clear evidence that current levels of CO2 are at least 10 times less than peak levels on earth – which caused the huge book in plant life that kickstarted evolution.

We should carefully consider why we want to tax something which benefits life on earth.

Further, almost all green technology is extravagantly expensive, and requires taxpayer subsidy.

A green tax therefore (a) reduces the benefits of CO2 and (b) destroys precious resources which would could have gone into useful production.

Finally, it is only a matter of a couple of decades (at most) when carbon will become one of the most outdated resources. Solar and fusion technologies are on the verge of becoming cost-effective. Coal and oil will die out on its own, anyway.

Our best bet is to let markets do what they do best, without taxing them or subsidising them unnecessarily.

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