Monday, December 29, 2008

Apple did not invent flash memory

Wired mag writes:
Top Technology Breakthroughs of 2008
7. Flash Memory

When Apple blessed the iPod with flash memory, it gave new life to a technology that had long played second fiddle to hard disk drives.
Huhh? Other companies were selling ipods with flash memory for years before Apple even entered the market.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Is the USA in decline?

The LA Times reports:
Bush presided over decline of U.S.'s global influence

... Bush has been widely blamed for the erosion of American prestige. ...

A vivid illustration of the power shift came Nov. 15, when Bush convened world leaders in Washington to lay plans for dealing with the global economic crisis. In the old days, experts said, he would have limited the meeting to a handful of major industrial powers. But Bush realized that the world economy now has a larger cast of influential players, and invited all members of the so-called Group of 20, which includes countries such as Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey.

A decade ago, the United States might have been able to bring enough economic pressure on its own to force an end to Iran's disputed nuclear program, said Nikolas K. Gvosdev, professor of national security studies at the U.S. Naval War College.
That's the evidence? It seems to me that this is just evidence that American influence is as great as ever. The USA has a financial crisis, and the whole world goes into a panic. More countries than ever come running to Washington just to hear what we are going to do.

Iran has been unfriendly to the USA for about 35 years. For 60 years, there have been countries with rogue nuclear programs that we would have liked to shut down. I don't see how anything is any worse now.

All my life I've heard people proclaim that American power and influence has been declining. But where is the hard evidence? It is true that not many countries were willing to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, but that is a sign of their weakness, not their strength.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

What I hate about Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is supposed to be the most advanced and full-featured free email program, but I am baffled at how such a program could be so badly designed. Here are the main things I don't like about it.

It is completely unusable if you have a large mailbox and a slow connection. It insists on downloading your entire inbox, whether you like it or not.

The defaults are destructive. If you set up a new email account on it, it will immediately start deleting messages from your mail server. Yes, you can change the settings to stop it, but the defaults should be non-destructive.

It is extremely tedious to setup new email accounts. You have to manually process dozens of menus, filling in lots of obscure settings, and there is no way to automate it. If you want to install Thunderbird on another computer, you have to do it all over again.

It allows you to separate your incoming and outgoing accounts, but it is extremely confusing. Eg, if you setup an incoming account, the first thing it does is force you to give a name for your outgoing messages. It would make more sense to set your outgoing settings when you setup your outgoing account.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Domestic violence propaganda

An Indiana newspaper reports:
In a recent interview, Brown said "on average, at least half" of victims in local domestic violence cases eventually make some efforts to halt prosecution of their alleged abusers.

"It's an ongoing problem," said Delaware County Prosecutor Mark McKinney, who has taken steps, with others, to make it more difficult for cases of domestic battery to be swept under the rug.

McKinney said he and officials in law enforcement and the local victim advocate's office "have come up with a strategy" to pursue prosecution when possible in cases "even if the (domestic violence) victim didn't want to cooperate."

Part of the effort includes police officers who are sent to the scene of alleged domestic abuse compiling much more detailed reports than in the past.

Alleged victims of domestic battery seeking to have charges dropped against their significant others must first complete 10 hours of classes "to teach them the cycle of violence," before such a request would even be considered, McKinney said.

And under a new policy, those who actually recant earlier allegations of battery will likely find themselves the target of a criminal investigation, facing the possibility of charges ranging from obstruction of justice to false informing.

"It's very upsetting to me," Brown said of taking statements from apparent victims retracting their earlier accounts of abuse. "I try to remain neutral. ... I feel horrible about (pursuing charges against perceived victims). But it's also my job."
There is something sick about prosecutors trying to put someone in jail when the people involved say that no crime occurred. Wives should not have to be forced to watch video propaganda on why they should leave their husbands.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jerry Brown supports judicial supremacists

The San Jose newspaper reports:
Saying Proposition 8 violates constitutionally protected liberties, Attorney General Jerry Brown on Friday asked the California Supreme Court to strike down the same-sex marriage ban, ...

"There are certain rights that are not to be subject to popular votes, otherwise they are not fundamental rights," Brown said in an interview. "If every fundamental liberty can be stripped away by a majority vote, then it's not a fundamental liberty."
Prop 8 did not, and can not, strip away any constitutional rights. The so-called right to same-sex marriage is based on the constitutional right to equal protection of the laws, as in the USA and California constitutions. P8 only amended the California constitution. If the courts really believed that same-sex marriage rights were a consequence of the equal protection guarantees, then they would rule so based on the USA constitution. They have not and they will not.
"In doing what they are doing now, they are showing the world what their true agenda is: to harm lesbian, gay and bisexual people," said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California. "No one could think it's morally acceptable to destroy a legally existing marriage."
This is wrong on many levels. First, P8 did not harm any gays or lesbians. They continue to have all the substantive rights they had before, as the California domestic partnership law still applies. Second, no true marriages were destroyed. While some same-sex couples had California marriage licenses, those couples were not married under federal law, and they could not file joint federal income tax returns or share Social Security benefits.

Third, if you consider P8 to be destroying existing marriages, then the California Supreme Court has already shown that it is willing to do exactly that. It unanimously invalidated all the same-sex marriages that SF Mayor Newsom authorized.

Fourth, claiming harm to bisexuals is a little strange. Is he arguing that P8 is a barrier to some sort of group marriage? Is there some reason why bisexuals cannot just get married just like everyone else? That one has me baffled.
Proposition 8 opponents filed suit the day after the marriage ban passed, arguing that the initiative process was legally flawed. ... Normally, the attorney general would defend existing state law.
If the initiative process were flawed, the time to act would have been before the election. It is too late to complain now. The people have spoken. (I believe that there was a challenge before the election, and the courts dismissed it.) Jerry Brown should defend P8, just as he once defended the California property tax initiative Prop 13 even after opposing it before the election.

I am getting a little tired of people being called bigots just for opposing same-sex marriage. It is not just Republicans who oppose same-sex marriage; it is also all of the major Democrat candidates including Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. Nearly every vote for President in the past several elections has been for a candidate who explicitly campaigned in opposition to same-sex marriage.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Redefining parenthood to solve black illegitimacy

The NY Times reports:
The number of black children being raised by two parents appears to be edging higher than at any time in a generation, at nearly 40 percent, according to newly released census data. ...

The Census Bureau attributed an indeterminate amount of the increase to revised definitions adopted in 2007, which identify as parents any man and woman living together, whether or not they are married or the child’s biological parents.
The reported 40% is up from 38% in the year 2000. The boyfriend-of-the-week is not a parent. They have pretended to solve a problem by changing a definition.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ambiguous Sudoku

Today's San Jose Mercury News (print edition) has an ambiguous Sudoku:
The solution can have 5 or 7 in each of the entries in Rows 1 and 6, Columns 4 and 5.

Real Sudokus are supposed to have unique solutions. Sometimes the uniqueness is useful in finding a solution.

Update: As a comment below shows, I was wrong about this. The solution is unique as it is supposed to be.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Out of wedlock births

Here is a chart of births to unmarried women, as a percentage of all American births, by year. The data came from here. Half Sigma argues that it is leading to the decline of Western civilization.

As you can see, the rate of out-of-wedlock births is on a long-term uptrend, and is headed toward 50%. The percentage is already over 50% in some European countries.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich's crimes

Wonder what Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's crimes were? He was charged with two crimes:
(1) conspiring to commit mail fraud by not giving the people of Illinois his honest services.
(2) soliciting a bribe by telling a newspaper that he wasn't going to do them any special favors as long as they were writing editorials demanding his impeachment.

For this he was arrested at 6 AM at his home in his pajamas, and released on $4.5k bail. He has not yet even been indicted.

I think that the DA should have let Jesse Jackson Jr. or a govt informant pay a suitcase full of cash for Obama's senate seat, and see whether Blagojevich accepted it or not. As it is, they have him saying embarrassing things like, “I’ve got this thing and it’s f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for f***in’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.”

We will never know whether or not Blagojevich would have actually accepted a bribe. He may argue that he was only looking to make a political deal of a sort that is entirely legal, or that he was describing his legal personal ambitions in a clumsy way.

A federal DA should not have this much power. I wonder if Pres. Bush approved the arrest. The DA could have just taken his evidence to the Illinois legislature, and let it decide whether to impeach the governor.

Update: Now the Illinois attorney is trying to get the governor removed on grounds of disability. That is ridiculous.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Corn syrup is harmless

A press release says:
A supplement in the December 2008 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that reviews the history and development of high fructose corn syrup finds no scientific support for the hypothesis that high fructose corn syrup is causally linked to obesity in the United States or globally any more or less than other caloric sweeteners.

Following a symposium that brought together scientific leaders on this
topic from varying backgrounds, including former high fructose corn syrup
critics who had earlier expressed concern that high fructose corn syrup might pose unique problems, a consensus is emerging that this sweetener is in fact indistinguishable from sucrose in its metabolic effects.
Americans consume a lot more corn syrup than sugar because of sugar tariffs and corn subsidies. Some people say that sugar tastes better. Some people also claim that corn syrup is particularly fattening or is otherwise bad for you, but that has never been proved.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Defining obesity in Bombay

A food blog reports:
On Tuesday, Health Ministry officials in India released the country’s first Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. It begins by making significant departures from World Health Organization definitions for overweight and obesity. According to new cutoffs enacted by Indian health officials, anyone with a body mass index of 23 kg/m2 is now labeled as overweight. And a BMI of 25 and over is now defined as obese — considerably more stringent than the international cut-off of a BMI 30. ...

As the Daily News & Analysis in Mumbai (Bombay) reported, men with waistlines of 35 inches or more and women with waistlines of 31.5 inches or more are now considered obese by the new norm. These, too, are well below the WHO cut-offs of 40.2 and 34.6 inches, respectively.
I am now considered obese by Indian standards. So are most professional athletes.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Obama and the Apes

Even since Barack Obama was elected, it seems as the Planet Of The Apes is the only thing on TV. The basic cable channels like AMC, FOXMO, SciFi, FX, Encore, and TMC have all been showing Apes movies over and over. The original was made in 1968, and three sequels were made in the early 1970s. There were also a few TV episodes, and a 2001 remake.

It is always fun to hear Charlton Heston say, "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape." But why are these movies being shown dozens of times now? Is someone trying to say something about Obama? Or maybe these movies had been scheduled months ago, but held up until after to election for fear that people would think that they were in poor taste?

Update: The Apes movies are still showing with the start of 2009. Someone suggested that it could be commemorating the death of Charlton Heston, but he died on April 5, 2008. Why all the Apes movies now?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Why election recounts fail

Here is a NY Times op-ed by Charles Seife on the folly of repeated recounts in a close election:
Minnesota’s instruments for counting votes are simply too crude to determine the winner in a race this tight. ...
Luckily, Minnesota’s electoral law has a provision for ties. After all the counting and recounting, if the vote is statistically tied, the state should invoke the section of the law that requires the victor to be chosen by lot. It’s hard to swallow, but the right way to end the senatorial race between Mr. Coleman and Mr. Franken will be to flip a coin.
That won't solve anything. The loser of any close election will just keep requesting recounts, and then request a coin toss. They will never be able to fairly decide whether the election was close enough to justify that coin toss. It would be better to just accept the first count.

Saife has written on mathematics elsewhere, saying silly things like:
Zero and infinity are eternally locked in a struggle to engulf all the numbers. Like a Manichaean nightmare, the two sit on opposite poles of the number sphere, sucking numbers in like tiny black holes.

College-aged kids are crazy

A psychiatry journal claims:
Results Almost half of college-aged individuals had a psychiatric disorder in the past year. The overall rate of psychiatric disorders was not different between college-attending individuals and their non–college-attending peers. ... These findings underscore the importance of treatment and prevention interventions among college-aged individuals.
Do they really want to treat half of all 20-year-olds? No, I don't believe that DSM-IV disorders are that common. I would have guessed 5% have DSM-IV disorders.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Crazy shrink

Ever wonder how crazy a big-shot psychologist might be? Try reading this essay by Lauren Slater. She writes about dishonesty and betrayal and acts like it is a good thing. It is amazing that her husband puts up with her.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dreaming in color

The NY Times reports:
And yet for a small segment of the population, drifting off at night means reverting to a world of monochromatic hues.

Childhood exposure to black-and-white television seems to be the common denominator. A study published this year, for example, found that people 25 and younger say they almost never dream in black and white. But people over 55 who grew up with little access to color television reported dreaming in black and white about a quarter of the time. Over all, 12 percent of people dream entirely in black and white.

Go back a half-century, and television’s impact on our closed-eye experiences becomes even clearer. In the 1940s, studies showed that three-quarters of Americans, including college students, reported “rarely” or “never” seeing any color in their dreams. Now, those numbers are reversed.
This is silly. No one dreams in black-and-white. The invention of TV did not change brain function. TV may have affected how people describe their dreams to researchers, but it did not affect how people dream.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Latest research on sexual preferences

The San Jose newspaper reported today:
Growing research suggests being gay is not 'a choice'

Compared with straight men, gay men are more likely to be left-handed, to be the younger siblings of older brothers, and to have hair that whorls in a counterclockwise direction.

Researchers are finding common biological traits among gay men, feeding a growing consensus that sexual orientation is an inborn combination of genetic and environmental factors that largely decide a person's sexual attractions before they are born.

Such findings — including a highly anticipated study this winter — would further inform the debate over whether homosexuality is innate or a choice, an undercurrent of the recent Proposition 8 campaign in which television commercials warned that "schools would begin teaching second-graders that boys could marry boys," suggesting homosexuality would then spread. ...

"In the past decade, I think the pendulum has swung more toward biological theory and biological causes," said Richard Lippa, a psychology professor at California State University-Fullerton, who has studied hair patterns and other biological traits in gay men."
Here is Prof. Lippa' research:
In a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Canadian psychologist Ray Blanchard and California psychologist Richard Lippa extended recent research on handedness, birth order, and sexual orientation by analyzing data from over 200,000 men and women who completed a survey posted on the BBC Science and Nature website. Survey participants reported their sexual orientation, their degree of right- versus left-handedness, and how many older brothers and sisters they had.

Some of the major findings of the new study:
* More gay men than heterosexual men reported being left-handed (13% versus 11%).
This is unconvincing. There is no proof that left-handedness is genetic, or even inborn. Even if it were, the correlation with homosexuality is slight, and not necessarily inborn. Professional baseball players might be 30% left-handed, but that would not show that being a baseball player is not a choice.

It is possible that there is a gene for right-handedness, and those without the gene are equally likely to be right or left handed. About 3% of men are homosexual, according to some surveys. If so, then maybe 3.5% of left-handed men are homosexual, and 2.9% of right-handed men are. That would be consistent with the about study. But that says nothing about whether being gay is a choice, or whether being gay is inborn.

There is no scientific proof that being gay is inborn, and no evidence that being gay is any more likely to be inborn than a lot of other human behaviors. Nearly all such behaviors are a subtle combination of nature and nurture. The details are not well understood.

Even if it were proved that homosexuality were inborn and not a choice, that would not necessarily have any bearing on political opinions about whether same-sex marriage should be taught in the schools. The anti-P8 campaign dishonestly claims that same-sex marriage would not be taught, or that parents could opt out. It is already being taught in the public schools in my district. My guess is that the schools are also teaching that scientific evidence shows that homosexuality is not a choice. The newspapers print such propaganda, but it is just not true.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Marriage obligations are for men only

Dear Abby gives this advice today:
Remind him that when you were married he promised to be faithful to you until death do you part. From my perspective, your husband appears to be a self-serving hypocrite, and you need to decide if that's the kind of person you want to live with for the rest of your life.
No, the self-serving hypocrite is the woman who asks her husband to keep his promises until death, but she plans to bail out of the marriage at the first sign of trouble.

This advice doesn't even seem controversial. Marriage obligations are for husbands, not wives.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Student Seduction

I happened to watch the 2003 movie Student Seduction on the Lifetime TV channel. It was about a high school chemistry teacher who tries to help a student, but is then falsely accused of a sexual assault. The teacher was going to accept a plea bargain to a felony sex offense, but is ultimated vindicated when another student is persuaded to testify about a previous incident in the accuser's past.

While it seems as if the testimony would be persuasive, I don't think that it would be admissible in an American court. The rules of evidence forbid inquiries into a sex-crime accuser's past, even if the accuser has committed previous sex crimes.

Lifetime TV shows programs for women, such as predictable movies about some suffering women. I am not in the target audience. I am just wondering how many people in the target audience realize how unfair sex crime trials really are.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sex-crimes prosecutor charged with 12 sexual offenses

Here is some news from the Oakland Calif suburbs:
MARTINEZ — State authorities charged a Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor with 12 felony counts Friday, claiming he raped and sodomized a fellow deputy district attorney at his Martinez home in early May, tying and binding her and using a handgun and an ice pick.

Michael Gressett, a 21-year veteran of the county district attorney's office, pleaded not guilty Friday morning and then proclaimed his innocence outside the same courthouse where he tried cases before his Oct. 2 arrest. His lawyer says the sex, if rough, was consensual.

"I can say it's been very difficult after all these years of prosecuting the bad guys," Gressett said. "The truth will come out ... I stand in the shadows of fear in a false accusation. I know the accuser knows they are not true."

Gressett remains free on $1 million bail and is scheduled to return to court Jan. 27. His accuser is identified in court papers only as "Jane Doe." Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Charles Treat ordered them to stay away from each other.

The charges include four counts of sodomy by force, three counts of forced sexual penetration, two counts of forcible rape, and single counts of oral copulation by force and false imprisonment. In the last charge, state prosecutors claim Gressett threatened a crime "which would result in death and great bodily injury to Jane Doe, with the specific intent that the statement be taken as a threat."

That threat, the charge states, "was so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate and specific as to convey to Jane Doe a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution."

Deputy Attorney General Peter Flores said the charges stem from "multiple acts on the same day." Police say they took place May 8 at Gressett's home on Village Place in Martinez and that they were notified of the allegations through the district attorney's office on Sept. 26. The judge has sealed information from a search of the home.

If convicted, Gressett, 51, could face a nearly 23-year prison sentence, although with the enhancements he could also face life, Flores said. Among them, Gressett is accused of using a handgun in 10 of the counts against him. He is accused of using the ice pick in three counts, including forcible rape and forced oral copulation. According to the charges, Gressett used both a handgun and an ice pick when he falsely imprisoned Jane Doe "by force, menace, fraud and deceit ..."
So two sex-crime prosecutors have some rough sex on May 8, and the woman lodges a complaint on Sept. 26 that sounds like it came from a horror movie plot? I don't believe it. If it were true, she would have reported it the same day. She is a prosecutor herself, and she knows the law. I think that Jane Doe's name should be reported.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Parents want nosy pediatricians

A blog reports:
Pediatricians are being encouraged to add another screening test to their lifestyle assessments of the families of their young patients. Medscape just reported on a study in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics telling pediatricians that it had found eight out of ten parents would “welcome or not mind at all” their child’s doctor asking them about their alcohol use and screening them for a drinking problem. Pediatricians also read that one-third or more parents said they would similarly appreciate their child’s pediatrician reporting them to a social worker or making an appointment for them with their own doctor if he/she found they had a drinking problem.
I don't believe this. If a pediatrician asked me a bunch of questions like that, I would tell him to mind his own business and I would look for another pediatrician.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lesbians twice as likely to be obese

The Australian Daily Telegraph reports:
Lesbians are twice as likely as heterosexual women to be overweight or obese, which puts them at greater risk for obesity-related health problems and death, US researchers said.

The report, published in the American Journal of Public Health, is one of the first large studies to look at obesity among lesbians.

Ulrike Boehmer of the Boston University School of Public Health and colleagues looked at a 2002 national survey of almost 6000 women, and found that lesbians were 2.69 times more likely to be overweight and 2.47 times more likely to be obese.

“Lesbians have more than twice the odds of (being) overweight,” the authors wrote. ...

“The results of these studies indicate that lesbian women have a better body image than do heterosexual women,” they wrote.
Huhh? A better body image because they are fat? I would have said the opposite.

The argument does not say whether lesbianism causes obesity, or whether obesity causes lesbianism.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What Has Driven Women Out of Computer Science?

The NY Times reports:
When all science and engineering fields are considered, the percentage of bachelor’s degree recipients who are women has improved to 51 percent in 2004-5 from 39 percent in 1984-85, according to National Science Foundation surveys.

When one looks at computer science in particular, however, the proportion of women has been falling. In 2001-2, only 28 percent of all undergraduate degrees in computer science went to women. By 2004-5, the number had declined to only 22 percent. Data collected by the Computing Research Association showed even fewer women at research universities like M.I.T.: women accounted for only 12 percent of undergraduate degrees in computer science and engineering in the United States and Canada granted in 2006-7 by Ph.D.-granting institutions, down from 19 percent in 2001-2. Many computer science departments report that women now make up less than 10 percent of the newest undergraduates.
The article does not mention that the job opportunities for computer scientists crashed in 2000 after govt policies flooded the market with foreign labor.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Singer complains about marriage law

Here is a web site that is bitter about California reaffirming opposite-sex
marriage law. It claims that the public was misled by the P8 advocates, and it wants to correct the matter:
They told us churches would lose the right to free speech. Lies. ...

To restore the right stolen from us, we must correct the amendment to California's constitution. To do this requires another statewide proposition. Yet how will we avoid another election season of deception, when the Mormon Church can use vast tax-free money into advancing their platform?
Strip the Mormon church of its status as a religious organization.

Thus many of the same-sex marriage advocates do indeed want to limit the free speech rights of churches who oppose same-sex marriage.

Melissa Etheridge is putting her (tax) money where her mouth is.

Responding defiantly to the passage of California's Proposition 8, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter suggested in a blog post on The Daily Beast that she will not pay her state taxes in protest of the gay-marriage ban, People reports.

Meanwhile, in Hollywood:
Melissa Etheridge says that she won't pay her California state taxes as long as she's not allowed to marry in the state. ...

But since she's not allowed to do so, she writes, "I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes, because I am not a full citizen ... There is a lot I can do with the extra half a million dollars that I will be keeping instead of handing it over to the state of California." ...

Ellen DeGeneres said she celebrated Barack Obama's win Tuesday night, but decried the passage of Proposition 8. ... "Here we just had a giant step towards equality and then on the very next day, we took a giant step away," she says.
Maybe they should have voted against Obama and refuse to pay their federal taxes also. They cannot marry under federal law either, and Obama-Biden campaigned with the position that they oppose same-sex marriage.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Reporting child rape

ABC News reports:
LOS ANGELES -- For the third time in four years, California voters weighed whether doctors should be required to notify parents before performing an abortion on a minor.

In early returns, the ballot measure appeared to be splitting the vote.

Similar to laws in 35 states, Proposition 4 also requires a two-day waiting period. Voters have twice defeated very similar measures in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, 54 percent voted against it. A year later, that rose to 56 percent. ...

Opponents said Proposition 4 is a thinly disguised attempt to chip away at abortion rights.

They claimed the provision for minors who do not want their parents notified requires that the minor write a detailed statement that the health care provider must report, triggering an investigation by Child Protection Services. Many teenagers, the opponents said, would not want to disclose abuse if they knew it would lead to an investigation. ...

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger supported Proposition 4, while the California Teachers Association opposed it.
I am still trying to figure out why teachers would want child rape to go unreported.

California, like other states, has a Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act. Teachers and physicians are required by law to report suspected child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, and child neglect. A 14-year-old girl getting an abortion would certainly be a victim of statutory rape.

Proposition 4 has now lost, so does that mean that people are really against these child abuse reporting requirements? If teachers don't want child rape to be reported, then what do they want reported?

My guess is that this proposition only lost because the radical pro-abortion lobby spent a lot of money on misleading ads against it. Abortion business like Planned Parenthood do not want to have to report child rape. Most voters did not understand the issue.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two years, and then romance is dead

UK newspaper reports on this research:
The honeymoon period is officially over two years, six months and 25 days into wedlock, according to new research.

This is the point in the average marriage where both partners take each other, and their relationship, completely for granted.

After the second wedding anniversary couples are far more likely to scatter socks and pants around the house, leave the toilet seat up, hog the remote control and go without make-up.

And by the third wedding anniversary 83 per cent say they couldn't be bothered to continue celebrating the day they got together.

The poll of 5,000 married couples, conducted by global research company, revealed that more than half feel undervalued in their relationship.

Seven in 10 men admit they are so comfortable with their spouse they frequently leave socks, pants and other dirty washing lying around the house.

And 79 per cent think nothing of leaving the toilet seat up after using the bathroom.

Two-thirds of women polled say they never make the effort to dress up and look nice for their partner, and 54 per cent no longer bother plastering on the make-up.

In fact, a slovenly 61 per cent of women readily admit the first thing they do when they get home from work is remove all smart clothes and make-up for comfy pyjamas or tracksuit bottoms.

And 75 per cent of couples wouldn't relinquish control of the TV remote, even if their partner asked nicely.
You have been warned.

The intolerant gays in California

Who is more tolerant? Those who favor same-sex marriage, or those who are opposed?

Here in California, it is the opponents who stealing and vandalizing yard signs. They are even actively singling out other groups and harassing them:
One Web site run by a Prop. 8 opponent,, identifies the name and hometown of every Mormon donor. On the Daily Kos, the nation's most popular liberal blog, there is a campaign to use that information to look into the lives of Mormons who financially support Prop. 8.
The TV ads against Prop. 8 (which affirms opposite-sex marriage) are a little strange. They do not mention gays or lesbians because the pro-gay ads have failed with focus groups. Instead they have bland statements about discrimination and they deny that all the public schools will necessarily teach same-sex marriages. They just leave me wondering -- if the same-sex marriage promoters are not trying to force homosexuality to be taught in the public schools, then what are they trying to do?

The debate in California is not over any rights or responsibilities that gays and lesbians might have. It is only over whether gays and lesbians can use the schools and other public institutions to force others to accept their lifestyle as being just like married couples. So I think that the issue of what gets taught in the schools is a completely legitimate issue.

A current "No on 8" TV ad shows Sen. Diane Feinstein saying, "it's about discrimination, and we must always say no to that." It seems obvious to me that she and the anti-8 forces want same-sex marriage to be taught in the schools. It already is taught, in my school district.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Overly sensitive fat guy

From Wednesday's paper:
DEAR ABBY: Yesterday I ordered a taco salad and an iced tea at a popular fast food restaurant. I sat down and proceeded to eat when I noticed a couple sitting on one side of a table. Neither of them was skinny. Another couple joined them, and the women began staring at me.

I am 55 years old and 250 pounds. They were over 35 and plus-sized themselves. They may have been thinking my meal was inappropriate because of my size, but they were no different from me. I packed up my food and ate in my car. Was there a better solution? -- SALAD LOVER IN OHIO
A better solution? To what? What is the problem?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Number of Male Teachers Shrinking Fast

ABC News reports:
The number of male teachers in the United States is at a 40-year low. Out of the 3 million teachers in the United States, only one-quarter are men, according the National Education Association.

"Right now, we know that there's about 4 to 5 percent men in early education, about 9 percent in elementary education. And in high schools, we have about 14 percent," said Bryan Nelson, the founder of, a nonprofit organization working to increase number of men working in schools.

Nelson cites three main reasons for the absence of male teachers.

"The first reason is stereotypes. People believe men aren't nurturing. The second reason is fear of accusations of abuse. People are afraid men are going to harm children. And the third reason is low status, low pay," he said. ...

According to research, the presence of a male teacher in the classroom has an impact not only on boys' self-esteem but also on their academic performance. One recent British study from the Training and Development Agency for Schools found that the presence of a male teacher in the classroom for a year closed the achievement gap significantly between boys and girls, especially in English and social studies, subjects that girls tend to do better in than boys.
Here in California, public school teachers are very well paid, but the career is more attractive to women for various reasons.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It is a mistake to humanize dogs

The Seattle WA Times reports:
BOISE, Idaho — "Oh, isn't he cute? My little smootchie-wootchy!" Some women talk baby-talk to their boyfriend or husband.

Some folks talk baby-talk to, well, babies.

And some of us talk baby-talk — to our animals. ...

So, what's wrong with this picture? Some experts say that humanizing your pet — anthropomorphism — is just not the right relationship.

"People humanize dogs and don't understand their psychology as pack animals," Cesar Millan, also known as the Dog Whisperer, said on his Web site. Millan has made a business — and a small fortune — by helping people live happily with problem dogs. He's been known to turn a nonstop barker/biter into a pussycat in a matter of 30 minutes.

"I begin by showing the dog that I am the pack leader," Millan said. "I fulfill the dog's need through exercise, which is walking the dog in the correct way. I give the dog rules, boundaries, and limitations ... and then affection." Millan said that especially in America, dog owners tend to overdo it on doggy love. They "give affection, affection, and more affection, when what the dog really needs is exercise, discipline — and then affection." ...

Dogs are animals, Millan said, and they respond to calm-assertive leadership — "not emotional arguments or negotiations."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dr. Phil sued for defamation

The Denver Colorado Post reports:
LOS ANGELES—The memorabilia dealer who led O.J. Simpson to a hotel room where an infamous robbery occurred filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the "Dr. Phil" show claiming his remarks in an interview were spliced to change their meaning.

Thomas Riccio, who testified at Simpson's recent kidnapping-robbery trial, sued Philip McGraw—known on the show as Dr. Phil—and Stage 29 Media for unspecified damages. The lawsuit claims defamation, fraud, emotional distress and being portrayed in a false light. ...

Riccio said his denial of those statements and his claim that he is anti-gun were edited out and replaced with a shot of him nodding his head as if in agreement with the host.

"Had plaintiff been aware of defendants' intent and their intended actions, he would not have agreed to do the interview," the lawsuit stated.
I would also have emotional distress if a TV show falsely portrayed me as nodding my head in agreement with Dr. Phil.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Switzerland protects the dignity of vegetation

Swiss news:
A law protecting the dignity of plants? Laugh if you will. I’m down on my knees in respect and awe. At last the Western World is realizing the dire importance of taking other species into account.

Recently, the Swiss Parliament asked a panel of philosophers, lawyers, geneticists and theologians to determine the meaning of dignity when it pertains to plants.

Lo and Behold, the team published a treatise on “the moral consideration of plants for their own sake.” The treatise established that vegetation has innate value and that it is morally wrong to partake in activities such as the “decapitation of wildflowers at the roadside without rational reason.”
I don't think that this article is a joke.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Man punished for killing mouse

New Zealand news:
An Auckland man has been sentenced to community work after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Lindsay Rowles pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges and offensive behaviour after he grabbed a mouse from a woman's cleavage, pretended to eat it, and killed it in the process, Newstalkzb reported today.

An indecent assault charge was withdrawn.

Rowles was sentenced to 180 hours community service and one year's supervision with drug and alcohol counselling.
Wow. Next time I see a mouse in a woman's cleavage, I am just going to leave it there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rights, yes, but marriage, no

J.A. Shatkin writes this letter to the editor:
Our gay and lesbian friends and relatives have been done a disservice by the activists and in-your-face types who would cram gay marriage down the throats of a majority which has already defeated it once before.

The much more obvious solution would be to concentrate our efforts on enlarging the gay partnership laws to include all the rights and responsibilities now given by marriage. If such a proposition were put before the voters, I've no doubt it would pass in a heartbeat. Just don't call it "marriage."
California law has already done that enlargement. The legislature has already passed that law, and gay couples already have those rights under state law. Prop. 8 only affects whether it can be called marriage.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tallest skyscraper

The two Dubai skyscrapers on the left are still under construction. Meanwhile, the Chicago Sears Tower is still the tallest, if you don't count the silly spires on top. From Gizmodo.

Mental health parity now federal law

Here is another part of the banking bailout:
After more than 10 years in the making, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act is now the law of the land. This landmark legislation requires health insurance plans that offer mental health coverage to provide the same financial and treatment coverage offered for other physical illnesses.
Here is a typical argument for the law:
The October 5th New York Times quotes Dr. Steven E. Hyman, a former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as saying that “it was impossible to justify insurance discrimination when an overwhelming body of scientific evidence showed that ‘mental illnesses represent real diseases of the brain.’” More specifically:

“Genetic mutations and unlucky combinations of normal genes contribute to the risk of autism and schizophrenia…..There is also strong evidence that people with schizophrenia have thinning of the gray matter in parts of the brain that permit us to control our thoughts and behavior.”

The trouble with this argument is that there is no medical treatment for that thinning gray matter. Insurance works best when there are well-established ways of diagnosing and treating an illness.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Supermodel confuses humans and animals

CNSNews reports:
Supermodel and Singer Mayra Verónica told during an interview at the United Service Organizations (USO) Gala Wednesday that there is a contradiction between Sen. John McCain’s and Gov. Sarah Palin’s pro-life and pro-hunting views. ...

“You know, the one thing that really gets to me, which I don’t think many people are discussing, but to me sounds like a little bit of a contradiction is being pro-life yet being pro-hunting -- unless you are assuming that animals are not alive. That’s such a huge contradiction to me on the McCain-Palin thing. It just doesn’t fit in my book,” she said.
Somebody should tell her that all of her food comes from plants and animals that were alive.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Banning same-sex marriage

I just got my voter pamphlet, and the explanation of California Proposition 8 seems inadequate. The pamphlet says:
Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Summary of Legislative Analyst’s Estimate of Net State and Local Government Fiscal Impact:
Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly from sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments.
In the long run, likely little fiscal impact on state and local governments.
What is doesn't explain is that same-sex couples do not truly have to right to marry in California, because no such marriage is recognized under federal law under the Defense of Marriage Act. Even if Prop. 8 passes, same sex couples will still be able to form domestic partnerships and gain whatever benefits are normally available under state marriage law.

So Prop. 8 is not going to affect anyone's taxes, hospital visitation rights, Social Security benefits, or anything like that. Same-sex couples can file joint state income tax returns but not joint federal tax returns, and Prop. 8 will have no effect on that.

Prop. 8 is all about symbols and image, not substantive rights. The gay lobby wants to force the public to accept same-sex marriage as being just like regular marriage. They want the public schools to teach same-sex marriage. Killing Prop. 8 is just a step in that direction.

Barack Obama says that he is against same-sex marriage. Ditto with Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Joe Biden, and a lot of others. People are entitled to such opinions. We should not have the California courts forcing us to accept another view.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Firefighters ordered to ride in gay pride parade

The LA Times reports:
SAN DIEGO -- A six-man, six-woman jury is set to begin deliberations Wednesday in a lawsuit brought by four San Diego firefighters who allege they were subjected to sexual harassment when they were ordered to participate in the 2007 gay pride parade.

In closing arguments Tuesday, the firefighters' attorney asked the jury to order the city to pay each firefighter $500,000 to $1 million for the damage they suffered from being taunted by spectators.
This is where we are headed in California -- people being forced to support homosexual causes. This story is reason enough to vote against same-sex marriage.

Update: The trial ended in a hung jury. Another trial is scheduled for January.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nine in 10 women cheat to look good

UK news:
A survey has found the vast majority of the female population are happy to resort to tricks such as wearing "magic pants" to appear slimmer.

The study found the most common cheats were push-up bras, with almost half of women using them to boost their cleavage.

More than four in 10 admitted they have worn oversized Bridget Jones-style pants because they help hide unwanted bumps and give the impression of a flatter stomach and a more pert bottom.
Magic pants? News to me.

Newsweek picks on Clay Aiken

Newsweek columnist Ramin Setoodeh writes:
In a People magazine cover story this week, Aiken confesses what the rest of the country has suspected since he debuted on "American Idol" in 2003, when he claimed, "I don't really hide much." Clay Aiken is gay. ...

Aiken's coming out was met with widespread applause—GLAAD was among the first to congratulate him this morning. But why should Aiken deserve to be praised for coming out at the age of 29? You could say that a person's sexuality is nobody's business. But unlike other gay celebrities who have come out recently, like Neil Patrick Harris or Lance Bass, Aiken denied that he was gay long beyond the point of ridiculousness, and he did it in a way that bordered on homophobic. When the Advocate asked him if he was gay during an "American Idol" press conference, he simply turned the other way, as if he never heard the question. ...

The denials only made Aiken a bigger target in interviews, and it was mostly his own fault. ... Plus, Aiken got his start on what's arguably the gayest show on TV—"American Idol."
Newsweek disgusts me. Aiken's private sex life is none of anyone's business.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Going to the dogs

UK news:
The world's leading scientific journal has featured a powerful image of John McCain and Barack Obama on its front cover. The pair radiate statesmanlike-authority, the image is suitably sombre for the weighty interview inside.

Then, however, you see the back cover.
This is funny.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama said in last night's debate:
And one of the things that I intend to do as president is to restore America's standing in the world. We are less respected now than we were eight years ago or even four years ago.

OBAMA: And this is the greatest country on Earth. But because of some of the mistakes that have been made -- and I give Senator McCain great credit on the torture issue, for having identified that as something that undermines our long-term security -- because of those things, we, I think, are going to have a lot of work to do in the next administration to restore that sense that America is that shining beacon on a hill.
So America is less respected because the CIA used waterboarding on a couple of terrorists to trick them into revealing their attack plans?

I don't think so. I have been hearing all my life about how America is not respected any more, and yet it appears to me that America is more respected than ever. Maybe some wise-guy editor at Nature magazine has no respect for our presidential candidates, but I doubt that UK prime ministers have any greater respect.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Close presidential elections

I have commented before that the correct way to measure the closeness of a US Presidential election is to look at how many vote changes would have been needed to alter the outcome. Now Mike Sheppard has done the analysis, and ranked the elections by how close they were. The elections in 2000, 1884, 1960, 1968, 1916, 1976, 1876, and 1948 could have been reversed by less than 0.3% of the voters changing their votes. They are listed in order of closeness, with the 2000 election being the closest ever.

Some people mistakenly think that Jimmy Carter won easily in 1976 because large votes in the South gave him a comfortable lead in the popular vote. But the electoral vote is what matters, and that was quite close.

Update: By the same analysis, Barack Obama won by 450,000 votes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Getting seduced and calling it rape

Here is a misleading factoid:
Approximately 18% of women aged 18-24 report having experienced forced sexual intercourse at least once in their lives.
Here is how the survey defined force:
Were you given alcohol or drugs?
Did you do what he said because he was bigger than you or a grownup, and you were young?
Were you told that the relationship would end if you didn’t have sex?
Were you pressured into it by his words or actions, but without threats of harm?
Were you threatened with physical hurt or injury?
Were you physically hurt or injured?
Were you physically held down?
With such a broad definition of force, I would expect that about 80% of the women had forced sex. Pressuring your mate for sex can be considered rape, while withholding sex can be considered domestic violence.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wrongly convicted rape defendant freed after 26 years

A Texas paper reports:
The wrongfully convicted rapist walked out of a Dallas courtroom this morning, nearly 26 years after a jury convicted him based on erroneous, eye witness identification. ...

The woman, who is not being identified because of a Dallas Morning News policy against naming the victims of sexual assault, picked out Mr. Lindsey's picture from a six-person photo lineup -- a lineup that Dallas police mailed to her a year after the attack.
She sent the poor guy to prison for 26 years with a false accusation, and the newspaper still wants to protect her anonymity?! I doubt that she is still trying to pass herself off as a virgin. This makes no sense.

Fully baked concept

Senator Corker asked Secy Paulson today:
You want 700 billion dollars and no one can explain how it is going to work. ... You bring back to us a fully backed concept ...
The point is that it is just crazy to give Paulson a $700B blank check with no good explanation as to how he is going to spend the money. Even if the crisis is as bad as he says, it would be better to just give him a little money until he has a detailed proposal.

Paulson was asked the most basic questions about why he wanted authority to buy credit card debt and student loans, whether he would be buying second mortgages, how he will avoid corrupting in his traders, and how his plan is any better than the obvious alternatives. He could not answer any of these questions, except to say that he was doing what he thought was best.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bogus poll blames racism for Obama's performance

AP reports:
WASHINGTON - Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent" or responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points.
This supposedly explains why Obama does not have a larger lead in the polls.

The doesn't show that at all. You can find the questions here. It tested racial views by asking for opinions on statements like this:
Generations of slavery have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class
But how does this have anything to do with Obama? He is not a descendent of slaves. He is not even related to slave descendents. He was largely reared by wealthy grandparents, and had a privileged upbringing.

I fail to see how this poll has any validity. There do not seem to be any of the necessary control questions to make it a scientific poll. Someone could easily think that many blacks are lazy and violent, without thinking that Obama is lazy or violent. Obama isn't even black! He is half white and half Kenyan. American blacks are descended from West Africans, not Kenyans.

For comparison, maybe they could have done a similar poll to measure how many points McCain is losing because of prejudice against the elderly. They did not. They also could have tested other reasons for disliking Obama, such as his inexperience, his lack of American roots, his radical leftist connections, his persistent race-baiting, his tax-and-spend voting record, his idiotic foreign policy positions, or his phoneyness. They did not.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Eating veggies shrinks the brain

New research says that eating veggies can shrink the brain:
MELBOURNE: Scientists have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain-with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage.

Vegans and vegetarians are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia and inflammation of the nervous system. Yeast extracts are one of the few vegetarian foods which provide good levels of the vitamin.

The link was discovered by Oxford University scientists who used memory tests, physical checks and brain scans to examine 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87.

When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage. It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12.
Many Britons not worried; 12 percent of them do not eat any fruit and vegetables at all, the research found.

Two new primes discovered

Scientific American reports:
Prime numbers have long held a special appeal among the mathematically minded, from the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes, who devised a method for finding primes some 2,200 years ago, to the cryptographers who made them the foundation of today’s encryption protocols. Primes, each of which is divisible only by 1 and itself, have even been subject to claims of numerical ownership: California computer consultant Roger Schlafly patented two of them in 1994.
The actual values of the Mersenne primes have not been announced yet.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dad chases nude boy from daughter's room with pipe

Florida news:
DELTONA, Fla. (AP) -- An angry Deltona father whacked his teenage daughter's boyfriend with a metal pipe after finding the boy naked in his daughter's room. ...

When he heard noises coming from his daughter's bedroom Thursday morning and saw a stranger standing naked on the girl's bed, he swung a metal pipe. He then chased the teen out the front door and called police.

The boy was taken to the hospital where doctors closed a head wound with staples.

The father was charged with aggravated battery on a child and bonded out on $10,000.
Battery on a child? It appears that the father stopped a statutory rape.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Alien programmers replace Americans

Clayton Cramer writes:
I was prepared to believe the explanation for why HP was letting hundreds of engineers go -- that laser printers turned into commodities a bit faster than expected, they didn't need all the staff that they had, and so on. I was disappointed, especially because one of the reorganizations we did three years ago was obvious, even at the time, to be a terrible mistake.

Seeing that they seem to be looking to hire foreign software engineers using the H1B visa process at the same time that they are laying off software engineers is pretty galling. What adds to this is the human costs.
He is a programmer who just got laid off by HP, and now HP is hiring foreigners with H-1B visas to replace him. Don't believe the lie that we need to import programmers to fill a shortage. Companies hire H-1B visas to depress wages and save money. That's all. We have plenty of programmers.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sex Without a Condom is the new Engagement Ring

Here is a report on college trends:
For a lot of my friends, the transition from having sex with -- to sex without -- a condom is seen as a symbolic engagement," says Pendarvis Harshaw, junior telecommunications major and Freelance Content Producer for National Public Radio's (NPR) Youth Radio organization.

"It shows trust, commitment, and the prospect of a shared future," he adds.
It used to be that you could just look at the girl's finger.

Orthorexia: Obsessing Over Health Food

ABC News reports:
What Righini and Andersen are struggling with is a kind of an obsessive compulsive disorder focused on health food called "orthorexia." The term was coined by Dr. Steve Bratman, author of the book "Health Food Junkies."

Bratman spent years in the health food movement, but became one of its critics after he realized he had started to become orthorexic.

"I suffered from a psychological obsession with food," he said. "When I was involved with this, it took up way too much of my life experiences when there were other things I could have been doing."
I think that most of the USA population subscribes to weird and unsubstantiated theories about what food is healthy.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Step reveals orgasmic ability

New research claims:
In the sample of healthy young Belgian women (half of whom were vaginally orgasmic), history of vaginal orgasm (triggered solely by penile-vaginal intercourse) was diagnosable at far better than chance level (81.25% correct, Fisher's Exact Test P < 0.05) by appropriately trained sexologists. Clitoral orgasm history was unrelated to both ratings and to vaginal orgasm history. Exploratory analyses suggest that greater pelvic and vertebral rotation and stride length might be characteristic of the gait of women who have experienced vaginal orgasm (r = 0.51, P < 0.05).
In other words, you can tell whether a woman has vaginal orgasms by how they walk. The orgasmic ones wiggle their hips more and take bigger steps. News to me.

The NewScientist mag theorizes:
Further analysis revealed that the sum of stride length and vertebral rotation was greater for the vaginally orgasmic women. "This could reflect the free, unblocked energetic flow from the legs through the pelvis to the spine," the authors note.

There are several plausible explanations for the results shown by this study. One possibility is that a woman's anatomical features may predispose her to greater or lesser tendency to experience vaginal orgasm. According to Brody, "Blocked pelvic muscles, which might be associated with psychosexual impairments, could both impair vaginal orgasmic response and gait." In addition, vaginally orgasmic women may feel more confident about their sexuality, which might be reflected in their gait. "Such confidence might also be related to the relationship(s) that a woman has had, given the finding that specifically penile-vaginal orgasm is associated with indices of better relationship quality," the authors state. Research has linked vaginal orgasm to better mental health.
The story still sounds like a joke to me.
News from Europe:
The days of watching scantily clad models dancing on distant beaches to promote the latest perfume could be numbered.

Any ads that promote women as sex objects should be banned, acc­ording to an EU report.

And it is not just the eye candy for men that faces the chop.

Any kind of gender stereotyping – from the Oxo mother cooking in the kitchen to the Ronseal man creos­oting a fence – should also be cut out, it suggested.

They restrict ind­ividuals to roles that are 'often deg­rading, humiliating and dumbed down for both sexes,' said Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson.

The report could also bolster moves to ban the use of extremely thin women, who Ms Svensson said were poor role models for girls.

The report was written by the EU's Women's Rights Committee and adopted by the European Parliament on Wednesday.
The most sexist ads are aimed at women, not men.

Palin is the younger Schlafly

Feminist Gloria Steinem writes in the LA Times:
Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. ... She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
Funny. Palin not only opposes some majority views, she also opposes some minority views!

Some of those points are disputed here.

Steinem ends with this plug for Obama-Biden:
And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.
No, Obama-Biden is the most anti-father ticket in many years. It was for Obama's anti-father Fathers Day speech that Jesse Jackson called him a nigger and said he wanted to cut his nuts off. Biden's main accomplishment is some anti-father laws.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Caught With His Pants Down

The Smoking Gun reports:
The Florida man, 29, was arrested yesterday for wearing baggy pants. Smith was busted by Riviera Beach cops for violating a city ordinance governing low-slung trousers (or, legally speaking, "exposure of undergarment in public").
He is also black.

Update: A judge ruled that the kid was within his constitutional rights.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Vote American

From Sen. Joe Lieberman's endorsement speech:
What, after all, is a Democrat like me doing at a Republican convention like this?

The answer is simple.

I'm here to support John McCain because country matters more than party.

I'm here tonight because John McCain is the best choice to bring our country together and lead our country forward.

I'm here because John McCain's whole life testifies to a great truth: being a Democrat or a Republican is important.

But it is not more important than being an American.
That sums it up. America needs a real American for a leader.

UK book tells women how to get a man

A UK paper reports:
A self-help guide that tells women to follow their man’s orders if they want to keep him has become an unlikely hit.

The book, titled The Re-education Of The Female, also says women should wear sexy clothes while doing the cooking and cleaning.

'The Re-Education of the Female', by single father Dante Moore, puts the blame for women being unable to find a good man squarely where he says it belongs: 'On the female'.

Stay skinny, cook, clean, wear sexy clothes, and do whatever he says because men are here to command - that is the way to catch yourself a good man, says Moore.
Women are reading this book.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillary disses Bill

I could only stand to listen to the first minute of Hillary Clinton's speech:
I am honored to be here tonight. I'm here tonight as a proud mother. As a proud Democrat. As a proud senator from New York. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.
The notable omission is that she failed to say that she was proud to be Bill Clinton's wife.

Bill Clinton is one of the most widely admired men in the world. He was the American President for eight years. Hillary was First Lady. She owes everything to him. Her whole campaign was based on a promise "to take back the country" to the time of her husband's presidency. Why is it that she can credit her daughter, but not her husband?

I think that she is creepy. She gives the impression of a coldly calculating feminist who will use her husband for whatever gain that she can get, but never credit him for anything.

I tuned in some Democrat pundits later, and all they could talk about was speculation about whether Hillary was sincere in her endorsement of Barack Obama. In other words, they were practicing mindreading. I prefer to pay attention to what she actually says.

Update: The next night Bill Clinton started his speech by saying that he is proud of Hillary. He is loyal to her, but she is not loyal to him. Biden also thanked his wife. Hillary is the oddball.

George writes:
You don't know what private agreeements Bill and Hillary have. Maybe Bill approved that speech.
Right. Not only that, I don't know what they were thinking. Politicians often say things that are at odd with their personal feelings. I am just commenting on what Bill and Hillary say publicly. Her public speech showed disloyalty to her husband.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mindreading McCain

AP reports:
McCain not sure how many houses he and wife own
Thursday, Aug 21, 2008 - 10:58 AM

WASHINGTON - Days after he cracked that being rich in the U.S. meant earning at least $5 million a year, Republican presidential candidate John McCain acknowledged that he wasn't sure how many houses he and his wealthy wife actually own.

"I think - I'll have my staff get to you," McCain responded to a question posed by Politico, according to a story Thursday on the publication's Web site. "It's condominiums where - I'll have them get to you."
It is funny how these political reporters claim to have mindreading capabilities. McCain dodged a question, and people somehow infer that McCain does not know the answer.

The most obvious interpretation is that McCain regarded the question as ambiguous because a condominium may or may not be considered a home. The second most obvious interpretation is that he did not want to waste valuable campaign time answering a lot of detailed questions about his wife's personal finances. It is more efficient to refer all of those questions to his staff.

Whoever wrote that AP story lacks critical thinking skills. Ditto for Barack Obama, who immediately ran a TV ad that falsely claimed:
How many houses does he own? John McCain says he can't even remember anymore.
No, McCain did not say that.

Update: I just watched McCain on the Tonight Show, and he dodged Jay Leno's question about how many houses he has. Will the mindreaders again say that McCain still doesn't know how many houses he owns? I think that Obama and the other mindreaders have a serious cognitive problem.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Finding Phelps' dad

Yahoo tracks down Phelps' dad:
During Michael Phelps' races, camera shots of his mother Debbie were a fixture on NBC. The network showed endless replays of her falling to her seat after that memorable 100 butterfly finish. ... Where was Dad?

It's been well-documented that Debbie and Fred Phelps divorced when Michael was 9.
The article goes on to take some cheap shots at his dad. The fact is that Phelps is a 23-year-old adult who makes $5M a year from endorsements. He paid for his mom's trip to Peking, but did not invite his dad. It appears that his mom used the family court to cut his dad out of his life.

I had the impression from the Olympics broadcast that Phelps swam for the Univ. of Michigan swim team. But while he took some Univ. of Michigan classes, he has dropped out of college and he never swam for the team.

There is a conspiracy theory about how he won one medal here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Men, Women and Speed

Some scientists are finally admitting the obvious:
Women are slower than men in running, in swimming, in cycling. Whether it is a 100-meter race on the track or a marathon, a 200-meter butterfly swim or a 10-kilometer marathon swim, the pattern holds.

And even though some scientists once predicted that women would eventually close the gender gap in elite performances — it was proposed that all they needed was more experience, better training and stronger coaching — that idea is now largely discredited, at least for Olympic events. Researchers say there is no one physiological reason for the gap, although there is a common biological thread.

“To a large extent, it’s a matter of testosterone,” said Dr. Benjamin Levine, ...

The hormone affects everything from muscle size and strength to the size of the heart to the amount of oxygen-carrying blood cells in the body to the percentage of fat on an athlete’s body. Every one of those effects gives men a performance advantage.

Polygamy is the key to a long life

NewScientist reports:
Want to live a little longer? Get a second wife. New research suggests that men from polygamous cultures outlive those from monogamous ones.

After accounting for socioeconomic differences, men aged over 60 from 140 countries that practice polygamy to varying degrees lived on average 12% longer than men from 49 mostly monogamous nations, says Virpi Lummaa, an ecologist at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Lummaa presented her findings last week at the International Society for Behavioral Ecology’s annual meeting in Ithaca, New York.

Rather than a call to polygamy, the research might solve a long-standing puzzle in human biology: Why do men live so long?
It seems more likely to me that women marry healthy men who are likely to live a long time. A man with several wives only has those wives because they think he is healthy. The wives may not be making him live longer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How to get annoying cell calls

My local county wants my cell telephone number for Reverse 911:
Examples of uses may be:

Request for community assistance in locating missing children
Evacuation notices due to emergency situations
Be-on-the-lookout notices for dangerous criminals in your area
I would like to hear about true emergencies, but I am disturbed that their first item on the list is to intervene in child custody disputes. We have Amber Alerts in this state, and they are nearly always just some disagreement between the parents about spending time with their kids, and not a real kidnapping. I would rather not have some county bureaucrat call me on my cell phone just to tell me about some minor parental dispute.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Illegal to refuse to inseminate lesbians

You would think that a physician has a right to refuse to inseminate a woman. Fatherless children cause many of America's problems, and yet courts are mandating more of them:
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- California's highest court on Monday barred doctors from invoking their religious beliefs as a reason to deny treatment to gays and lesbians, ruling that state law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination extends to the medical profession.

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state's law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations."

In the lawsuit that led to the ruling, Guadalupe Benitez, 36, of Oceanside said that the doctors treated her with fertility drugs and instructed her how to inseminate herself at home but told her their beliefs prevented them from inseminating her. One of the doctors referred her to another fertility specialist without moral objections, and Benitez has since given birth to three children.
I wonder whether she is even in this country legally, and whether welfare money is supporting these inseminations.

Feminist Columbia demonizes men

The NY Daily News reports:
Anti-feminist lawyer Roy Den Hollander sued Columbia University Monday, accusing it of turning feminism into the school's religion - and teaching that men are "the primary cause for most, if not all, the world's ills."

Hollander says Columbia discriminates against men by teaching a doctrine that scapegoats men for all of history's troubles.

In a suit filed in Manhattan Federal Court, he complains that the Ivy League school in Morningside Heights uses federal money to fund a "religionist belief system called feminism." The class-action suit argues that Columbia's women's studies program demonizes men and exalts women to justify discrimination against men based on collective guilt. ...

He refused to give his age, claiming it would hinder his chances of picking up younger women at city nightspots.
Funny. He has a point, but the court will not listen to him.

Military funds mind-reading science

AP reports:
LOS ANGELES - Here's a mind-bending idea: The U.S. military is paying scientists to study ways to read people's thoughts. The hope is that the research could someday lead to a gadget capable of translating the thoughts of soldiers who suffered brain injuries in combat or even stroke patients in hospitals.

But the research also raises concerns that such mind-reading technology could be used to interrogate the enemy.
Concerns? I would be concerned if the military was funding research without looking at the obvious military applications.

The article says, "They're still in the proof of principle stage". Mindreading is still science fiction.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fattest children to be taken away from their parents

UK news:
Dangerously overweight children will have to be taken from their parents and put into care because of Britain's worsening "obesity epidemic", council leaders have warned.

One million children will be clinically obese within four years on current trends, storing up future problems from heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure and diabetes.
There is a long list of other problems that will result from a million kids being taken from their parents.

These health problems occur in adults, so why don't they go after the fat adults instead? Perhaps they could start by cutting off welfare benefits to fat people.

Update: As British official denied this, the newspapers have reported that it is already happening.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jesus convicted of murder in Idaho

AP reports:
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The crime was meticulously planned, the killer choreographing every step from his surveillance of the doomed family to the videotaped torture of one of his youngest victims.

Yet something as simple as a locked back door, or fiercer family dogs, might have turned Joseph Edward Duncan III away.

Duncan's federal sentencing hearing opened Wednesday with U.S. Attorney Thomas Moss outlining how the convicted pedophile terrorized the Groene family, all because he wanted to "live out his fantasy" and exact revenge on society for perceived wrongs.
This story is filled with weird and creep stuff. Have you ever wondered whether it would any good to lock the back door? Surely a rapist-kidnapper-child-molester-murderer would just break the lock or the window, and not be deterred by a simple door lock. But in this case:
"He made a decision: `If that back door is locked, I'm going to abort,'" Moss said Duncan later told police.

When he turned the handle, it opened. Then the terror began.

The dogs scurried away when they saw Duncan's gun, Moss said. Duncan bound the family, took the youngest children outside and beat the others to death.

Then he drove away with Dylan and Shasta, making sure they knew he had killed their relatives as he headed into the Montana wilderness.
Have you ever heard of guard dogs who were intimidated by a gun? Maybe in Idaho, where everybody has dogs and guns, the guns understand what guns can do.

Not that Duncan would hurt a dog. He liked to kill people, but not dogs:
Duncan had researched police investigation procedures and took steps to avoid getting caught, Moss told jurors. He bought too-large tennis shoes at a thrift store so no bloody footprints would lead police to him. He wiped down shotgun shells before loading them so there'd be no fingerprints. He loaded the first shot with BB pellets because he thought he'd have to shoot the family dogs and didn't necessarily want to kill them.
Duncan also refused a lawyer and insisted that the court record be accurate:
Duncan, who is representing himself, told the jury Wednesday that most of what Moss said was fair and accurate "up to the point of what occurred at the campground."

He said he would testify so he could try to "clarify things."
Perhaps most bizarre is the courtroom sketch above that makes Duncan look like Jesus. Is this some kind of sick joke?

Why US gymnasts wore red

I wondered why the USA girls gymnast team wore red just like the Chinese team, until this explained it:
With a delightfully simple but beautifully crafted experiment, Norbert Hagemann at the University of Munster found that refs have a tendency to award more points to red-garbed competitiors.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Obama is probably not the Antichrist

The Wash. Post reports:
The debate over the debate has gotten so intense that Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the authors of the "Left Behind" series, issued a statement clarifying that Obama is likely not the Antichrist in the Book of Revelation. "I've gotten a lot of questions the last few weeks asking if Obama is the Antichrist," Jenkins told Christian Newswire. "I tell everyone that I don't think the Antichrist will come out of politics, especially American politics."
That should reassure voters. Also:
"I can see by the language he uses why people think he could be the antichrist," adds LaHaye, "but from my reading of scripture, he doesn't meet the criteria. There is no indication in the Bible that the antichrist will be an American."
I cannot argue with that last sentence. But I am wondering if there is any indication in the Bible that Obama should be considered an American. He was born to a Kenyan father in Hawaii, and grew up in Indonesia. Yes, Hawaii is now an American state, but it only became a state long after the Bible was written.

Burger ban is weighed in San Jose

The Si Valley paper reports:
Three San Jose City Council members Thursday proposed a one-year citywide moratorium on new fast-food restaurants, arguing that the prolific eateries are fattening people - especially kids - with unhealthy fare.

The proposal is similar to a moratorium the Los Angeles City Council approved last month for south Los Angeles. The San Jose proposal also calls for an indefinite ban on new fast-food restaurants within 1,000 feet of schools.

"Obesity is a huge problem within our society and among children," said Councilwoman Nora Campos, who was joined by councilmen Forrest Williams and Kansen Chu. ...

The San Jose proposal does not yet define "fast-food" restaurants and instead asks the city attorney to come up with language. Reed said that may prove difficult.

"Nobody has any idea what fast food is and how you define it," Reed said. "Are we going to ban the taquerias? Chinese food places?"

Los Angeles decided on certain characteristics: "a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders and food served in disposable wrapping or containers."
Note that the definition does not involve whether the food is healthy or fattening.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Internet sting nabs teacher

The San Jose paper reports:
Police arrested a San Jose high school teacher Tuesday afternoon on suspicion he tried to arrange a meeting with a teenage girl he'd met on the Internet.

The 13-year-old girl was actually a Santa Cruz police detective. ...

"The entire conversation and the entire desires were initiated by Mr. Barany," Santa Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend said. "It was very transparent that it was a 13-year-old girl and it was very transparent that he was engaging in this conversation to at some point engage in a lewd act with her." ...

Friend pointed out that no actual children were involved in the investigation. He also said Barany did not have a history of similar crimes.
I am all in favor of nabbing child sex predators, but I really don't see how it could have been "transparent that it was a 13-year-old girl" when no such girl was involved.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Groom Arrested for Getting Too Close to Bride

Fox News reports:
BATAVIA, N.Y. — A New York state man has been arrested for getting too close to his bride on their wedding day.

Timothy Cole quarreled with a wedding guest at a party Friday after wedding his ex-wife in Batavia, police said.

Officers knew the 45-year-old Cole from previous arrests and realized his bride had an order of protection against him. Cole was charged with first-degree criminal contempt, a felony, and ordered jailed without bail.
These orders ought to be abolished.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More lesbian divorce

The Fresno paper reports:
A same-sex couple who were married in Fresno County on June 27 -- just 10 days after county clerks in California started issuing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples -- has filed for divorce.

The couple, Theresa Ramirez and Adelita Guajardo, are among more than 100 same-sex couples who applied for a marriage license in the county since June.

Three days after their marriage, Ramirez filed for divorce, court records show. The court petition says there were "irreconcilable differences" between her and Guajardo. ...

Same-sex couples, Fletcher said, may have lived in a "siege mentality" prior to the California Supreme Court ruling in May legalizing same-sex marriage.

"In a way, gays and lesbians had a common enemy in the form of the state and society," Fletcher said. "People who have common enemies tend to stick together."

But once same-sex marriages were legalized, he said, "it's no longer you and me against the world -- it's you and me against each other."
I guess all the gays and lesbians will be fighting each other now.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Human Element

The Dow Chemical company has been running TV image ads for years on the human element. About a month ago, they were rescripted with this (audio here):
We have only to look into each other's eyes to see the story of our planet. A few simple truths -- the way hydrogen bonds with oxygen, the cadence and order of things -- have lived there from the beginning. But if we move a little to the left, change perspective, and consider the notion of adding the human element to the periodic table of the elements, we see the world for the first time. And it is world which responds to touch. We worked the new chemistry element by element, and in turn we learn the secret to a better life; the story of a planet where chemistry embraces humanity.
At first I thought that it was some sort of left-wing Obama propaganda.

Apparently people must have complained, because Dow Chemical has dropped "move a little to the left" from the script. It still shows a dark-skinned person turning a huge mask to the left, but leaves in a gap in the audio at that point. It also omits the line about seeing the world for the first time, and responding to touch.

I am really surprised that no one has commented on this. The ads are very well done, but I can do without the leftist propaganda.

Dow Chemical is also running a similar ad that says this:
For as long as there was memory, the world was seen as man against the elements. That carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are the very same elements from which we are made. They are the bond btween us all. And when our view of the world includes the human element, chemistry is suddenly found on the same page with humanity, and climate change relinquishes to change more fundamental.
It still sounds like leftist propaganda to me.

All Americans could be getting fat

Research news:
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - If the trends of the past three decades continue, it's possible that every American adult could be overweight 40 years from now, a government-funded study projects.

The figure might sound alarming, or impossible, but researchers say that even if the actual rate never reaches the 100-percent mark, any upward movement is worrying; two-thirds of the population is already overweight. ...

Already, she and her colleagues point out, some groups of U.S. adults have extremely high rates of overweight and obesity; among African- American women, for instance, 78 percent are currently overweight or obese.

The new projections, published in the journal Obesity, are based on government survey data collected between the 1970s and 2004.

If the trends of those years continue, the researchers estimate that 86 percent of American adults will be overweight by 2030, with an obesity rate of 51 percent. By 2048, all U.S. adults could be at least mildly overweight.

Weight problems will be most acute among African-Americans and Mexican- Americans, the study projects. All black women could be overweight by 2034, according to the researchers, as could more than 90 percent of Mexican-American men.
This could spell the end of our civilization.