Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Apple koolaid

Wired mag gives 5 Reasons the Media Cover Apple So Much, but they all boil down to reporters being brainwashed. Look at this AP article that raves about Apple new products:
And the $49 price tag — $10 lower than the previous Shuffle — can’t be beat. Sure, it only has room for about 500 songs, and Apple is no longer offering a 4 GB Shuffle, but it’s more than enough to get you through.
Yes, the price can be beat. By several companies. This ipod does not even have a display to show what it is playing. You can pay less and get a player that not only has a display, but shows movies, has an FM radio, has more memory, takes memory cards, has a recorder, and an be loaded with just a usb connection. The Apple product lacks all of these features. The reporters are Apple fanboys.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Go ghost

The NY Times reports that peaceful journalists exercising free speech sometimes have to go ghost after receiving Mohammedan threats:
A cartoonist in Seattle who promoted an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” last spring is now in hiding after her life was threatened by Islamic extremists.

The cartoonist, Molly Norris, has changed her name and has stopped producing work for a local alternative newspaper, Seattle Weekly, according to the newspaper’s editor, Mark D. Fefer.

Mr. Fefer declined an interview request Thursday, citing “the sensitivity of the situation.” But in a letter to readers about Ms. Norris on Wednesday, he said that “on the insistence of top security specialists at the F.B.I., she is, as they put it, ‘going ghost’: moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity.”
It is pathetic that this is the best that the FBI can suggest. The feds are making this problem worse by intimidating Christians into silence about Mohammedanism.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Advice to call cops on elderly dad

More bad Dear Annie advice:
Dear Annie: I need your advice ... My grandfather's 100th birthday is coming up, and my uncle arranged a big party. Needless to say, the entire extended family is expected to attend. I will go and remain cordial to my father for Grandpa's sake, but what do I do if he rages and tries to assault someone? — Worried Sick

Dear Worried: If Dad assaults anyone, call the police immediately. Do not get into a physical altercation with him. Make it about a crime being committed.
No, this is crazy advice. These advice-givers are sick and demented. You do not goto a family party with the intention to have your elderly dad arrested for his bad behavior. Surely Worried'd husband and the other male relatives are capable of restraining an old man, if necessary.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Toddlers accused of racism

The UK nanny state is targeting some very young kids for politically incorrect speech. FoxNews reports:
More Than 250,000 British Toddlers Labeled Racists

More than a quarter million British children have been accused of racism since the country passed its Race Relations Act in 2000, the Daily Mail reports.

Munira Mirza, a senior adviser to London Mayor Boris Johnson, says teachers are being forced to report children as young as 3 years old to the authorities for using alleged "racist" language.

"Teachers are now required to report incidents of racist abuse among children as young as three to local authorities, resulting in a massive increase of cases and reinforcing the perception that we need an army of experts to manage race relations from cradle to grave," she wrote in Prospect magazine.

According to civil liberties group the Manifesto Club, 280,00 incidents have been reported between 2002-2009.
Meanwhile, here is an odd study of motorcycle accidents:
Along with the finding that even after controlling for factors such as insurance status, gender and injury severity, black crash victims were 1.5 times more likely to die from their injuries than similarly injured white victims. ...

The research also found that whites who were not wearing helmets were less likely to die than African-Americans who were wearing helmets
Not sure what to make of that.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Trapped miners hate shrinks

I commented last month about the foolishness of letter psychologists control communications to the trapped Chilean miners. Sure enough, it is a disaster, just as I predicted. An Australian newspaper reports:
SAN JOSE MINE, Chile: ''The honeymoon is over,'' explains Alberto Iturra, the lead psychologist in the operation to free 33 men trapped 700 metres deep in San Jose mine. As point man for the psychological health of the trapped men, Mr Iturra is at the receiving end of the rage of relatives of the miners who are upset at the Chilean government's refusal to deliver letters considered ''psychologically inappropriate''. ...

With their health improving and patience expiring after six weeks underground, the 33 miners are restless. On several occasions, they have refused to talk to psychologists, cancelled a series of meetings with doctors, delayed implementation of vaccinations. The men have few problems, however, making their desires clear: cigarettes and wine. ...

As the miners regained weight and strength, however, their antagonism to the daily sessions increased. ''If there is one group that is not exactly disposed to psychologists it is miners,'' said Dr Rodrigo Figueroa, a psychiatrist with Chile's Catholic University who was hired by the Chilean government to monitor the mental health treatment.

In recent days, the miners have been asked to conduct interviews using a video camera. The videos were then carefully listened to by a team of psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors and nurses. In a further attempt to protect the men's mental health, the 33 men are divided into groups of three, allowing a near constant observation and platform for feedback about the health of each man.

In an effort to dominate the miners, the team of psychologists led by Mr Iturra has instituted a series of prizes and punishments. When the miners behave well, they are given TV and mood music. Other treats - like images of the outside world are being held in reserve, as either a carrot or a stick should the miners become unduly feisty.

In a show of strength, the miners have at times refused to listen to the psychologists, insisting that they are well. ''When that happens, we have to say, 'OK, you don't want to speak with psychologists? Perfect. That day you get no TV, there is no music - because we administer these things,''' said Dr Diaz. ''And if they want magazines? Well, then they have to speak to us. This is a daily arm wrestle.'' ...

While NASA experts brought to Chile as advisers have recommended sending the wines and withholding the cigarettes, the Chileans have done the opposite, saying the miners have nearly two kilometres of ventilated tunnels to smoke a cigarette and relax (as opposed to the confinement of space travel) while further noting the average miner consumes large quantities of alcohol.

''These are not PhD scientists, they are rough and tumble miners,'' said one doctor who asked not to be quoted for fears of losing his post.
I think that these psychologists are experts at torturing
people, and nothing else.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sugar is sugar

A lot of people have somehow decided high-fructose corn syrup is harmful, but the NY Times reports that there no proof that it is any worse than any other sugar:
High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose, also known as table sugar, are made up of about the same amount of glucose and fructose. The American Dietetic Association says the two sweeteners are “nutritionally equivalent” and “indistinguishable” once absorbed in the bloodstream. The American Medical Association has said it’s “unlikely that HFCS contributes more to obesity or other conditions than sucrose.” ...

In high-fructose corn syrup, the glucose and fructose molecules are chemically separate. In table sugar, the molecules are chemically bonded, forming a disaccharide that is broken apart inside the body. ...

Dr. Bray notes that the fructose absorbed from large quantities of regular sugar and from high-fructose corn syrup is equally harmful. “Sugar is sugar,” said Dr. Bray, professor of medicine at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Denying the self

Slate says that science has now abolished the self:
This pervasive belief in individualism can be traced to the idea most forcefully articulated by René Descartes. ...

In other words, the way we experience ourselves is inextricably linked to the way we experience others—so much so that, on close view, it's hard to draw a concrete distinction between the other and the self. (This in turn raises questions about what the "self" actually is.)

The sensation of "mirror neurons" helped further dissolve the distinction. About 10 years ago, a team of Italian researchers showed that certain neurons that fire during actions by macaque monkeys—when they pick up a peanut, for example -— also fire when they watch someone else pick up the peanut. It's probably overblown to say -— as many have -— that this phenomenon can explain everything from empathy and altruism to the evolution of human culture. But the point is that our brains register individual and social experience in tandem. ...

"We're ready for a Copernican revolution in psychology," Cacioppo says. If it comes, the era of the self will yield to something that may be much more interesting.
It says that the lone genius is a myth, because Einstein talked to his buddy Besso, and Tiger Woods depends on his caddy.

Beware of grand theories when the examples are wrong. Einstein is famous for what he stole from Lorentz, Poincare, Grossmann, and Hilbert, not Besso. Woods would have won a lot of tournaments with any caddy.

Yes, it is trendy and overblown to say that mindreading explains everything.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Alienation of affection

North Carolina is the only state that has lawsuits for alienation of affection.
In a recent case, Mistress Ordered to Pay $5.8 Million” to Wronged Wife. Apparently the rest of the USA regards these cases as ridiculously outmoded.

All 50 states have laws against interference with contracts. That is, if two parties have a contract and a third party persuades one of them to break the contract, then the other party to the contract can sue the third party for damages.

I often get junk mail from real estate agents, and there is always a disclaimer saying that it is not intended to interfere with any relationship that I might already have with an agent. That is to avoid a lawsuit for interference with contracts.

If marriage were considered a valid contract for the affections of the spouses, then there would be just as much reason for alienation-of-affection lawsuits as any other lawsuits for interfering with contracts. But here in California, adultery is legal, and the state cannot even explain in court that marriage law has a rational purpose.

There is a campaign to devalue and destroy marriage as it has been known for centuries. This is just one example.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Women are more gullible about climate

From here is this paper:
Contrary to expectations from scientific literacy research, women convey greater assessed scientific knowledge of climate change than do men. Consistent with much existing sociology of science research, women underestimate their climate change knowledge more than do men. Also, women express slightly greater concern about climate change than do men, ...

The main objective of this paper was to employ theoretical insights from relevant literatures in sociology of science and environmental sociology to examine gender differences in public opinion about climate change -— humanity’s most serious and expansive global environmental problem.
The paper is saying women know less about science, and they know that they know less, but they are really smarter because they are more concerned about global warming.

This is one of many recent studies that purports to show how certain people are stupid because they do not accept certain views. In some cases, it is the researchers who are stupid. Here is a report on another such study:
Most surveys of the US public indicate that scientists are popular, trusted figures. The same, however, cannot be said about some of their conclusions, as topics like climate change and evolution remain controversial with many segments of the population. ... The people behind the new study start by asking a pretty obvious question: "Why do members of the public disagree -— sharply and persistently -— about facts on which expert scientists largely agree?"
The story also mentions nuclear power and concealed gun carry.

Maybe it would help if the scientists would stick to science. When they say things like saying that climate change is humanity's most serious problem, they are not making a scientific statement.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Turn down hysteria

A local newspaper letter says:
Haven't we learned anything by persecuting and incarcerating innocent Japanese citizens during World War II? Let's turn down all this anti-Muslim hysteria. Who do we think was responsible for the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and the Witch Hunts? That doesn't mean the Bible is evil and should be burned. There are radical elements in all religions and any religious text can be twisted to justify destructive actions. Muslims are not lesser than any other American citizens. No one religion owns God. The only side He is on is the side of peace.

Arlette Lees, Corralitos
Since she asks, I think that the Mohammedans were responsible for the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition. The Christian Europeans had to take these measures, or they would have been overrun by Mohammedan invaders.

The lesson learned from World War II was that we have to fight for our freedoms. Yes, some Japanese and Germans were relocated. She should read about what Japan did to American citizens.

She acts like all religions are the same. That can only be said by someone who lacks religious convictions and lacks knowledge of religious history. To everyone else, some religions are better than others.

Advising the jealous wife to lie

Here is today's advice column:
Dear Annie: My husband, "Sam," and I are retired. Two weeks ago, we ran into one of Sam's former co-workers while out shopping. He seemed quite happy to see her. ...

When I finished shopping, they were still talking. This woman treated me like I was invisible. In the car on the way home, Sam said only that they were catching up on office gossip.

At home, Sam took his shirt off and hung it in our hall closet before going upstairs. I immediately grabbed it, and sure enough, her e-mail address was on that piece of paper in his pocket. I said nothing and put the shirt back. ... I feel so betrayed. How do I handle this? — Feeling Betrayed

Dear Betrayed: Give Sam the opportunity to be honest. Tell him you saw this woman slip something into his pocket and you'd like to know what it was, since he hasn't bothered to mention it. ...
No, this is horrible advice. The husband has been honest. He is obviously not having an affair with the woman, or he would not be relying on a chance shopping encounter to get her email address. The wife has a serious jealousy disorder.

To compound matters, Annie advises the wife to lie to her husband in order to try to entrap him into telling a lie. It is hard to imagine worse advice. Sometimes I think that these columns are written by malicious people who enjoy messing with human lives.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Childhood, some experts say, now continues well into the 20s.

I agree with this:
A result of a certain kind of overparenting, we are learning, is children who are better prepared for college but less prepared for life. They are more dependent, expecting trophies just for trying and texting their parents to ask for advice about what to eat for breakfast. Childhood, some experts say, now continues well into the 20s.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gates encourages the terrorists

We have a Defense Secretary who is eager to blame America.

FoxNews reports:
RAMADI, Iraq -- Marking the formal end of the United States' combat mission in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested Wednesday that even if the war-torn country emerges from the chaos and upheavals of recent years in a way that favors U.S. interests, the venture will always be "clouded" by the faulty intelligence the Bush administration cited to make the initial case for war.

"The problem with this war for, I think, many Americans is that the premise on which we justified going to war proved not to be valid -- that is, Saddam (Hussein) having weapons of mass destruction," Gates told reporters after meeting with troops at Camp Ramadi in al-Anbar province. "Even if the outcome (of the war) is a good one from the standpoint of the United States, it will always be clouded by how it began."
No, the premise that was stated at the time of the war was that Iraq had a history of WMD development and military aggression, and that it was not complying with UN inspections.

Admittedly, Pres. Bush himself waivered on this point. Here are the reasons as I understood them. For original documents, see the 2003 speeches by G.W. Bush and Tony Blair. You could also read the Senate speeches by Republican and Democrat leaders.

Now Gates is trying to suppress free speech:
Obama was asked by a reporter about a direct telephone appeal made on Thursday by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Jones asking him not to go ahead with the Koran burning.

"My hope is that this individual prays on it and refrains from it," the president said.
I think that Gates is going to get Americans killed by giving encouragement to terrorists. He is effectively telling them that our war was not legitimate, and that they can use threats of violence to intimidate us into suppressing Christian beliefs that might be offensive to non-Christians.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Burning the Koran

It is funny to see the Obama liberals supporting the NY Ground Zero Mosque, and yet they are all upset by an opinion on a Christian church web site that says Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran. As you can see, the church has a theological and political disagreement with the message of the Koran, and wants to express it. The church is not advocating violence or anything like that.

It is a sad day when American Christians get denounced by a top military general and other top Obama administration officials for advocating their opinions. Maybe reason no. 11 should be to preserve our freedoms.

I am posting the link so that you can read the church's opinion yourself, and make up your own mind. I will not be burning a Koran, but I do think that it is worthwhile to point out the differences between Christianity and Mohammedanism, and for Americans to understand what their govt officials are promoting.

Update: The Wash. Post reports:
The White House also condemned the Florida church's plan, with press secretary Robert Gibbs reiterating Petraeus's contention that U.S. forces could be put in harm's way as a result. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the proposed demonstration "un-American" and said it was "inconsistent with the values of religious tolerance and religious freedom."

Habibullah, a religious leader who organized a protest Monday morning in eastern Kabul to decry the Florida church's plan, said throngs of angry men chanted, "Death to America!" and "Death to Obama!"

He said some of the protesters pelted a passing U.S. military convoy with stones. ...

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen backed that warning Tuesday. He said that any burning of Korans would strongly contradict "all the values we stand for and fight for."
Really? Are we really over there fighting for the ability of violent extremist jihadists to use terrorist threats to intimidate Americans into canceling a peaceful private statements of their beliefs that Christianity is better than Islam?

Our values of religious tolerance and religious freedom should mean that any American should be able to peacefully express the view that his religion is superior to the alternatives. And Americans should certainly be able to denounce terrorists.

Update: As of the morning of Sept. 10, the chuch's web site has been censored. Apparently the excuse is that criticizing another religion is considered hate speech. If so, then many religious and non-religious teachings are hate speech. The First Amendment means very little unless we can explain why certain views and opinions are better than others. You can still read the ten reasons here. At Obama's press conference this morning, he again supported building the Ground Zero Mosque while denouncing those who express a disagreement with Islam. He said that he does not want Moslems to feel as if some Americans disagree with them.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Medicare fraud

USA AG Eric Holder just said this on CBS TV 60 Minutes:
People, I don't think necessarily thought that something as well-intentioned as Medicare and Medicaid would necessarily attract fraudsters.
This is probably not Holder's fault, but how could anyone think anything so stupid? The fraudsters don't care about whether the Medicare program is well-intentioned, whatever that means.

New Apple iphone

If trends continue, the new Apple iphone will be marketed like this.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Correlating with parasites

According to recent research, there are correlations (or anti-correlations) in data at the national level among: parasites and infections, IQ, skin color, individualism and collectivism, religious diversity, linguistic diversity, armed conflicts and civil war, and democracy and liberal values.

See Ed Young and Donald Templar for details.

These correlations say nothing about cause and effect. It would be nice if we could just kill some parasites and make everyone smarter, but I doubt it.