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.