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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Primitive hairlines, Part II

Just saw this picture of Salman Abedi, the Manchester bomber:

Abedi has the type of low forehead that only seems to make the (non-sports) news in connection with horrific crimes.

Mark Caplan pointed out after the previous post on this subject, such low hairlines seem to be an ethnic trait among North African Arabs, Amerindian Hispanics, and Sicilians. Abedi, the child of Libyan immigrants, is the former.

There's also something intrinsically dislikable about his face, and I'm pretty sure I'd say that even if I didn't know who he was. It appears callow, numb somehow, stupid, resentful, and self-centered.

Maybe I'm superficial, or delusional, but those are the vibes I get.


mark said...

He doesn't look very bright. I have intended to ask you about General Flynn. His tight features scream secrecy to me. He just seems fairly tightly wound for an older guy who has made it to the top. I am just reporting the vibe I get without going into the details of the case.

John Craig said...

Mark --
Agreed about Abedi.

Yes, Flynn does look incredibly tightly wound, and also sort of ascetic for a guy who was into money as much as he seemed to be. Weirdly, that look doesn't seem all that rare among Generals. General McChrystal had the same look, and Petraeus had a similarly lean, almost ascetic look as well, though he didn't look fierce like the other two. General Kelly, now in charge of Homeland Security, looks both lean and fierce. General Mattis, in charge of the Department of Defense, has more Petraeus's look, lean and ascetic but not quite as fierce. (Mattis may in fact be the fiercest of all, but he doesn't look it the way the other generals do.)

I have to think that that look may help one get ahead in the military. I suspect the brass likes the idea of monk-generals as opposed to wastrel-generals.

Rifleman said...

It appears callow, numb somehow, stupid, resentful, and self-centered.

Maybe I'm superficial, or delusional, but those are the vibes I get.

Maybe that's how girls have seen him as well and maybe that was part of the motivation for targeting the girl's concert.

Part muslim terrorist, part Elliot Rogers.

Schwarzkopf was a big, overweight general but most of them seem lean for guys in their 50s.

Matthis is supposedly an intellectual general as is McMasters.

Kelly I think was the longest serving Marine officer or general. He does have an impressive look unlike Matthis.

Trump picked lots of military guys but he always goes with Jewish guys when it comes to money and deals, incl his son in law.

Steven said...

I think you are right about his face.

Black women seem to have the highest hairlines. When some of them have their hair pulled back, it looks almost bald at the front.

John Craig said...

Rifleman --
I think you're onto something with the suicide bombers. Like the Aspergery mass shooters in this country, they see themselves as having nothing to lose. And who knows, they may be right.

Yes, Matthis is supposed to be extremely well read. I heard once that he had taken a cross country road trip to visit the families of the men under his command who'd been killed. Definitely the kind of guy you'd want in charge of the Department of Defense.

And yes, Cohn, Mnuchin, and Kushner all come from the same tribe. And now his favorite daughter has converted, as well.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Some of that may be due to their foreheads slanting back a bit more. I've seen some guys in the NBA with remarkably low foreheads.

Mark Caplan said...

Trump's profoundly ignorant and ineffective idea is that we'll use "extreme vetting" to filter out the murderous jihadis from the tens of thousands of Muslims still flooding into our country. Manchester terrorist Salmon Abedi, though, was a second-generation British-Muslim. His parents went to Britain as refugees and reportedly weren't radical jihadis themselves. Only Salmon, their evil spawn, became radicalized.

John Craig said...

Mark --
That's exactly right. All Muslims are potential radicals, all they have to do is attend a mosque run by a radical. Or, as Rifleman pointed out above, they can just be disgruntled with the quality of their life here, and kaboom.

LBD said...

Military officers in general are pretty well-read, and pick up a lot of general knowledge as a result of being well-traveled. I began to notice about twenty years ago that whenever a military guy appeared on Jeopardy he usually won, and usually had a far superior knowledge of geography than the average civilian.

John Craig said...

Ms. LBD --
You watch Jeopardy too? We usually play each other in my house, though my son almost always wins. I actually just signed up for the Jeopardy online quiz, which is scheduled this year for May 28, 29, and 30. I'm pretty sure I passed last year, though I never got the call.

I've seen a few military guys win on the show, too.

Steven said...

Its this sort of thing but I've seen it plenty.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Yes, those are high hairlines.

Some of the low hairlines I've seen in the NBA include Shane Battier, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, and Nikola Vucevic.

Steven said...

Yeah like the guy on the link said, its strictly a black female thing. Its fairly common too. I googled black women and found 10 examples.

LBD said...

I used to enjoy trivia games much more before Wikipedia and Google. Now my arcane weird knowledge isn't so arcane. Although I do tell younger people that the advantage I hold (due to the higher standards of education and the absence of electronics in my day) is that I can spell "ubiquitous" in the middle of a power failure and they can't.

John Craig said...

LBD --
I'm are you're still quite good at trivia games. But, and no disrespect intended, I don't think that younger people are going to be spurred to a higher standard of education by the knowledge that they'll lack the ability to spell "ubiquitous" in the midst of a power failure. (Their primary concern will be recharging their cell phones.)

LBD said...

One of my vivid memories is the first NYC power blackout, in the early 1960's. we lived on the 10th story of a Manhattan highrise. Within two hours, a sandaled, long-haired entrepreneur knocked on our door selling candles!

It's a matter of mindset rather than technology. I see too many young people wandering about with earbuds in their ears, with no more situational awareness than a three week old kitten. It's a wonder more of them are not picked off from the herd.

One advantage of the pre-tech era was the need to be in the present nearly all the time. Obviously I use technology (herewith) but I retain the mindset of awareness.

John Craig said...

LBD --
A longhair in the early 60's? He was definitely ahead of his time. That was entrepreneurial, though. I'm a little surprised you opened your door in those circumstances.

Yes, situational awareness is important. You must have some sort of military connection there somewhere, that's a phrase they use and something they teach.

I have to ask, though: is opening the door of your Manhattan apartment in the middle of a power blackout showing good situational awareness?

LBD said...

The burden of situational awareness fell on the bohemian at the door. My father was a police captain, we were probably the only armed family in the building (NYC had and has the strictest gun control laws in the nation).

My mother was the greater danger. A former private detective, she was much more to be feared than Dad simply because she was meaner and had no "off" switch. When I was twelve, I was mugged. Within days, Mom dragged in the two perpetrators. Literally. To our living room.

There was a trial, (I testified), a conviction, a four year sentence.

John Craig said...

LBD --
Wow, you come from a real hard ass background. Impressive, actually. I"m sure you'd see me as a big wimp.

So your father was a Jewish police captain; that was a little bit of a rarity, although I suppose less so back then. And your mother a female private detective, that must have been even more of a rarity. I suppose as a female she would not have excited as much suspicion as a male would in various circumstances, which would have allowed her to ply her trade more freely. You described her a while back as being mean as a rattlesnake; she must have been awfully cynical, too.

While your parents were scary, you must have felt safe with them, too.

I'm familiar with the NYC gun laws, and alluded to them here:

LBD said...

In New York at that time, 10% of the entire police force was Jewish, but 40% of the upper ranks--each level required passing rigorous written exams.

Between the two of them we could never watch a mystery or crime show together; in the first five minutes they would have it solved.

LBD said...

You're right, mom did a lot of undercover work.

Anonymous said...

I wonder about certain features in races or ethnicities that are superfluos. Charles Darwin claimed sexual selection was at play. Like the bright colors of a peacock, they evolved over time because peahens selected them for the mating appearance.

Certain racial features like skin color, height, strength, body fat distribution, even thin eye folds (which are also found in some non-asian ethnicities like the Sami who are caucasian or khoisan bushmen in africa) have uses for survival. But others like hairlines, chin shape, nose shape, and more which can differ even among sub-races despite having no specific advantage.

The Armenian crooked nose, what purpose is a small bend for? It doesn't affect olfactory ability, the cavity of a nose doesn't go upward contrary to popular belief:
The nasal cavity is a large cavern, not a tube going upward. So the shape and size of the cartilage making up the nose is irrelevant to the ability to smell.

It seems some racial features are a matter of sexual selection, a group finds a certain one attractive so it is selected like how dog breeds have traits that are bred for mere appearance, the basset hounds legs shortness was selected for a purpose, it allows the dog to move and hunt through holes to get foxes or rabbits, the loose thick skin allows it to get bitten or scratched without digging deep, but the fur pattern and long ears aren't beneficial, those are for show.


John Craig said...

Ga --
Yes, some of the facial features we've been left with are hard to explain, though most differences have explanations. I've read that Caucasians evolved longer, narrower nose apertures as protection against the cold, so that the cold air they breathed in wouldn't affect their body temperatures as much in the cold climate they evolved in. Likewise, wider nostrils are better for taking in more humid air. Is this true? Who knows.

And yeah, chin shape, that one is hard to explain. A larger, stronger jaw is generally considered attractive in men, and less so in women, so those two evolutionary pressures are constantly competing against each other.

Loose skin seems to be an adaptation among a number of creatures. It's supposed to be one of the defenses for honey badgers and wolverines, both of which often take on much larger predators.

Anonymous said...

I see, the nose shape can be explained to some degree, but a crook in a nose is superfluous.
What is considered attractive can be done by evolutionary pressure, but there is the case where cultural (yes, it sounds bit leftist) can affect breeding. I've heard some people claim in certain ethnicity, the men or women are more attractive than the other, maybe it reveals who does the choosing in that culture, if the men or women are the deciders of their spouse/mate. The reason one gender does the choosing can be biological in origin, but the effect is not exactly, it is an indirect result. And why do certain ethnicities of the same race and intelligence choose different features, even if they are neighboring tribes, I don't know. Not everything is calculable (yet), sometimes it's chance or accident.

Languages in Northern Europe or dry mountainous areas tend to have more harsh sounds, but where sounds may be harder to hear in wetter air like Island languages (such as Japanese, Christmas is said as "Kurisumisu") where vocal tracts may evolve differently, the reason can be theorized.

Slovene and Serbian are heavily related and close to eachother, spoken by same race (but I won't rule out historical migration from somewhere else), similar culture, similar location, but Slovene has ways to make words for two objects. Korak (step), korak-a (two steps), Korak-i (3 or more steps).

Serbian (and English) doesn't have this. Why? There is no reason, or Slovenes may have something about them which makes them care enough to say there two of an object all the time that Serbians don't. Sometimes with human evolution, we can't find a reason for why.


Unknown said...

I have always wondered what the connection might be between a person's physical beauty and their character (beyond social environmental effects - extraordinarily attractive people are, to a large extent, given a free pass in many respects and this has to influence a person's perception of themselves). I am as guilty as the next person of judging people by their appearance and I have largely found myself mistaken in my assessment of people by that metric and also, physical appearance is only one aspect of attractiveness, which is not to say that flat out physical ugliness is not a tough thing to get past. I think we have all known people who were objectively, physically not very attractive who turned to be very appealing for other reasons. Likewise, most of us have known people who were strikingly physically attractive who turned out to be repellent.

Honestly, I have never been able to nail down much of a correlation between physical beauty or a lack of it and character. I just saw a promo for that new Beauty and The Beast movie and I'm wondering what the real moral of that story is. Yes, she falls in love with him because she sees past his beastliness, but ultimately he turns back into the handsome prince and so, the happy ending. (if I'm remembering the animated version from my son's childhood correctly) Ultimately, the moral always is, it's better to be good looking.

John Craig said...

Douglas --
You've just summed up the entire situation pretty well.

Theoretically, the relationship between looks and character ought to be completely random. But it's not that simple. Beautiful people get treated better, as you say, and as a result their personalities may change a little. We've all heard the cliche about the beautiful girl who expects the world on a platter, because she usually gets it that way. And for the same reason, she thinks she's far more interesting than she is, because she could say, I just went to Burger King for lunch, and guys would act as if she'd just told them the secret of the universe. And the same effect is true, to a lesser extent, with guys. But with guys it's not just good looks, i's how big and strong and intimidating-looking they are, because tat counts for men, maybe even more than looks.

Now, none of that would necessarily have all that strong an effect on character. But is it possible that with a really good-looking child, maybe his or her parents might love him or her just a little bit more? Like, maybe just a little? It's possible; and that could influence character.

And you're right about the movies, the moral always seems to be that the good-looking hero gets the beautiful girl in the end. What does it all mean? I dunno.

Also, I should make the point that sometimes character can change a face. Sometimes a smile -- or a sneer -- seems to sort of get etched on after a while. They say that after the age of fifty, we all get the face we deserve, implying that the first two sentences of this paragraph are true. I think that's what I was saying about the bomber in this post, though at age 22, I suppose it's unfair to think that his face reflected anything other than his genetics.

So....where does that leave us? Again, I dunno. I certainly haven't figured it all out yet. But I do know that I sometimes take an instinctive dislike of someone based purely on his face, which I realize is unfair, but I also suspect it often could be a reflection of something a little deeper.

Actually, here's something I just thought of: we all and to instinctively prefer lean people for their looks, and we all have a tendency to assume that fat people are self-indulgent and undisciplined and lazy. Is there some truth to that? There has to be. It's not true in every case, of course, but one's physique does reflect character in that way. Again, we probably shouldn't read anything more into it than that, but coming to those conclusions are going to be right in those cases more often than not.