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(explaining our family background to my son)

I said I know I lot more about Mom’s side and that’s because she loved her family and became a curator of warm memories. (BTW, Mom actually wrote a full autobiography, I’ll be happy to share it with you if you ever want.) Dad disliked his family and lacked curiosity about them overall.

My Dad was Richard Bruce Miller. He was born in New York in 1925 and died in Florida in 2005.

The two branches of the river that flow through Dad to me and to you, are the Eckermanns and the Muellers. The other two lines joining with them in the previous generation Were Berman and Vanderbeck. Supposedly we are part Jewish on the Berman side. I hope so. Vanderbeck was Dutch and apparently ran an ocean crossing steamboat company. Here they depart our story.

Your two great grandparents from this side were James Mueller (soon after known as Jim Miller) and Dorothy (Dot) Eckermann.

Oddly enough, you may want to take a minute to read up on the German author/philosopher/human dynamo, Goethe (pronounced like ger-teh) Continue reading


(My son asked me to explain our family background)

Our Family, the side that comes to you through me, has two parts: My Dad’s side and my Mom’s side.

They are very different. I’ll start with my Mom’s side because I know more about them. Also, they were nicer.

My Mom was Irene Dorothea Lundstrom. Born in 1929 on long Island, in New York and died in 2001 in Florida. She was a gem, by the way.

Her Parents were Hjalmar Georg Lundstrom and Aina Helena Sundberg. Both born in the 1880s in Finland and died both at 95 years old, on Long Island.

This is the hardy and competent (yet quirky) peasant side of the family.

Grandpa was born in the southwestern Houtskär region of Finland, a group of wild and thinly populated islands. (Wiki help included here) Continue reading


and 1 robot.



A number of my posts declare that there’s a feedback loop constraining variation from cultural norms and local genetic norms. Here’s one example:

The Face on the Cutting Room Floor

Policing observance of cultural behavior norms makes certain culturally approved traits into positive sexual selection traits. This has the effect of maintaining the status quo of the population and the culture. This is a bit of supporting evidence.

Selection, adaptation, inheritance and design in human culture:
The view from the Price equation

“A number of statements are made recurrently in summarising cultural evolutionary theory. One is that culture is a system of inheritance. Thus, humans have not just the standard one system of inheritance (genetics), but (at least) a second one, culture [5]. We have, in other words, a dual inheritance [3], and two inheritance systems entails two distinct fitnesses, genetic fitness, and cultural fitness. Another statement is that cultural evolution produces design-like properties that would not emerge without it [6,7]. The key insight of Darwinian genetic evolutionary theory was that design-like properties could be produced, over time, by selection processes. Thus, it is quite natural, seeing design-like properties in culture, to assume they must be produced by selection processes too. Still another generalization is that cultural evolution can increase genetic fitness. For example, this claim is implicit in the idea that having a second inheritance system is adaptive for coping with environmental fluctuations faster than those that can be tracked by genetic selection, but slower than those generally tracked by individual learning (see e.g. [8]). ‘Adaptive’ in this context means genetically adaptive—more survival, more babies—and so for the claim to work, cultural evolution would have not only to increase cultural fitness, but genetic fitness too.”  -Daniel Nettle

Download the paper (pdf format)183-preprint

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