Category: Science

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Long-Term Consequences of Coronavirus

We are now in the mid-game of the Covid-19 pandemic and it is a good time to take stock of where we are and where we might be going. It is already clear, for example, that the effect of the…

Correlation between Crisis Periods and Epidemics

After I published my last post on Coronavirus and Our Age of Discord, I’ve been looking through various lists of major epidemics in world history, both on resources such as Wikipedia and in academic articles. I know that there is…

Coronavirus and Our Age of Discord

As readers of this blog know well, I don’t claim to be a prophet and I think that prophecy is, in any case, overrated. But I make predictions. A scientific prediction, unlike a prophecy, is not about a future, but…

Italy Turns the Corner

Last week my analysis of the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy yielded a very depressing result: despite all the measures taken by the government, there was no sign that they were making a difference. The epidemic was still growing exponentially with…

How Effective Are Public Health Measures in Stopping Covid-19?

As many of my readers know, I have accepted the position of research group leader at the Complexity Science Hub (CSH) in Vienna (and I continue as University of Connecticut professor, so right now I am in Connecticut). A week…

The Transcendental Revolution

My reading of the month is Unearthly Powers by an Oxford historian Alan Strathern. It’s a very interesting and thought-provoking book. Highly recommended. There is much that I like in the book. Strathern avoids the ideological extremes that preoccupy today’s…

Phylogenetics of Religion

Question: What was the word for “two” used by people living in the Pontic-Caspian steppes (modern Ukraine and Southern Russia) 5,000 years ago? Answer: *dwóH₁ This is how historical linguists reconstruct “two” in the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language (see Indo-European vocabulary…

Why Quantum Computing’s Threat to Crypto May Be Further out Than Previously Thought

According to one researcher, quantum computing faces more hurdles than many realize when it comes to achieving viability in breaking encryption. In a recent report Dr. Subhash Kak, Regents Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Oklahoma State University, notes…

Beresta Books Publishes Seshat History of the Axial Age

As long-time readers of this blog know, I am not only a scientist, but also a scientific publisher. I founded and indie imprint Beresta Books in 2015 to publish academic and popular non-fiction books that do not fit comfortably within…

What Came First: Big Gods or Big Societies? Round Two

In my previous post, Historians and Historical Databases, I discussed how the Seshat Databank would be impossible without a close collaboration with historians and other humanities scholars. Today I want to give a specific example of how this collaboration works.…
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Historians and Historical Databases

In recent days there was much discussion by historians on Twitter of the proper and improper uses of historical knowledge in testing social science theories. It was initially prompted by the publication of a Science article last week on historical…
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A History of the Near Future: What history tells us about our Age of Discord

Last week I visited Centre for Complex Systems Studies (CCSS) in Utrecht, where I gave a talk about my research results and plans for the Ages of Discord project. Several people on Twitter asked to see the slides, and so…

The Puzzle of Neolithic Cycles: the Strange Rise and Collapse of Tripolye Mega-Settlements

As the readers of this blog know, a big chunk of my research focuses on why complex societies go through cycles of alternating internally peaceful, or integrative, phases and turbulent, or disintegrative periods. In all past state-level societies, for which…

Why Theory Is Important: Responding to two reviews by Scott Alexander

Scott Alexander wrote two reviews of my work on the structural-demographic theory: Book Review: Secular Cycles and Book Review: Ages of Discord. The first one, on Secular Cycles, is quite positive, but the tone of the second review is a…