Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Transgender kids

It is the latest fad. CNN reports:
Berkeley, California (CNN) -- One of the first things Thomas Lobel told his parents was that they were wrong.

The 3-year-old had learned sign language because he had apraxia, a speech impediment that hindered his ability to talk. The toddler pointed to himself and signed, "I am a girl."

"Oh look, he's confused," his parents said. Maybe he mixed up the signs for boy and girl. So they signed back. "No, no. Thomas is a boy."

But the toddler shook his head. "I am a girl," he signed back emphatically.

Regardless of the fact he was physically male, Thomas has always maintained that he is a girl. ...

Thomas, now 11, goes by the name of Tammy, wears dresses to school and lives as a girl.

Her parents have been accused by family, friends and others of being reckless, causing their youngest child permanent damage by allowing her to live as a girl. ...

One of the most recognizable transgender celebrities is Chaz Bono, who currently competes on "Dancing with the Stars." Born female to entertainers Sonny and Cher, Bono underwent a transition to become a man in his 40s. ...

After his parents, Pauline Moreno and Debra Lobel, adopted Thomas at age 2, they observed that he was aloof. ...

Moreno and Lobel allowed their child pick his own clothes at age 8. Thomas chose girl's clothing and also picked four bras.
Get that? There are no real "parents" involved here. The poor boy was adopted by lesbians at age 2. By age 3, he was hopelessly confused. By age 7, he was in psychotherapy. He will remain in therapy for the forseeable future.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Misunderstanding Scalia

Chris Mooney is a science journalist who writes a lot about promoting a leftist-evolutionist-environmentalist agenda without alienating Christians. He is an atheist himself, but believes that strident
atheists are undermining the cause.

He writes:
Dan Kahan’s latest motivated reasoning paper (forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review), which applies this core insight about human psychology and biased reasoning to the U.S. Supreme Court’s last term. ...

First of all, let me say that the paper has about the best scholarly summary around of what motivated reasoning -— or, “identity protective cognition” -— actually is. Given that I’m basically asserting that this phenomenon is the number one reason people come to disagree about science and the facts, that is something you really may want to check out. ...

Justice Scalia wrote the dissent -— and basically, it was sheer postmodernism. Scalia argued that judges can’t really read objective evidence about such a politicized matter -– whether a prisoner release could be safe.
Here is what Scalia actually wrote:
[T]he idea that the three District Judges in this case relied solely on the credibility of the testifying expert witnesses is fanciful. Of course they were relying largely on their own beliefs about penology and recidivism. And of course different district judges, of different policy views, would have “found” that rehabilitation would not work and that releasing prisoners would increase the crime rate. I am not saying that the District Judges rendered their factual findings in bad faith. I am saying that it is impossible for judges to make “factual findings” without inserting their own policy judgments, when the factual findings are policy judgments.
Dan M. Kahan's law review paper on motivated cognition says:
Frustration over the nonneutrality of Roe and the Court’s “privacy” jurisprudence more generally produced various species of “interpretivist” theories. Identifying the text and intentions of the Framers as the sole legitimate guides to constitutional interpretation, these theories crossbred and evolved into the “original intent” position now associated with Justice Scalia.
No, Scalia is directly opposed to original intent.
He once said, in a published speech:
You will never hear me refer to original intent, because as I say I am first of all a textualist, and secondly an originalist. If you are a textualist, you don't care about the intent, and I don't care if the framers of the Constitution had some secret meaning in mind when they adopted its words.
I don't know how anyone could misunderstand Scalia so badly. Scalia is completely correct that the court decision to order the release of prisoners to relieve overcrowding was based on policy judgments, not facts. The fact-finding was bogus.

Postmodernism can be described:
It involves the belief that many, if not all, apparent realities are only social constructs, as they are subject to change inherent to time and place. It emphasizes the role of language, power relations, and motivations; in particular it attacks the use of sharp classifications such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white versus black, and imperial versus colonial. Rather, it holds realities to be plural and relative, and dependent on who the interested parties are and what their interests consist of. It upholds the belief that there is no absolute truth and the way in which different people perceive the world is subjective.
That is not what Scalia was saying at all. He was distinguishing between the fact-finding function of the courts, and the policy-choosing function of the legislature.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Violating 5A rights

The NY Times reports:
In his current circumstance, the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is more hunted than hunter, fighting extradition to Sweden on accusations of sexual misconduct while struggling to maintain the influence of WikiLeaks even as he remains here at Ellingham Hall, ... In December, Mr. Assange was unable to meet the terms of bail because he had no permanent address — he is an itinerant who leads a stateless organization that operates in an online world without borders. Mr. Smith, after consulting his wife, Pranvera Shema, decided they would provide Mr. Assange with an address, a roof over his head and a place to manage his legal case. ... He wears an electronic bracelet, reports to the local police every day and, to the extent he can, continues to push the WikiLeaks agenda. ...

But if Mr. Assange is in compliance with the conditions of his bail, he remains at the margins of the law. Federal authorities in the United States and Australia continue to investigate whether the release of classified information by WikiLeaks constitutes criminal behavior that has endangered various operatives. And Swedish prosecutors are seeking his extradition for questioning — he has yet to be charged — on accusations of sexual misconduct with two women.
So Assange has been held by the UK police for almost a year, and he has not been charged with any crime. In the USA, it is unconstitutional to hold a suspect for even one day under such circumstances. He is only being held for questioning aimed at forcing him to incriminate himself, and in the USA he would have a constitutional fifth amendment right not to do that.

I do not even agree with saying that Assange is fighting "accusations of sexual misconduct", if he has not been charged. He is not even fighting interrogation, since he has agreed to be questioned in London. He is only fighting a very peculiar and oppressive form of Swedish entrapment.

I have read a bunch of articles about Assange, but none has explained this simple fact that Assange is being subjected to what we Americans agree is a fundamental violation of his civil rights. Whether he is a good guy or a bad guy, we should all criticize the UK govt for holding him.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Crime is down

The FBI announced:
The incidence of crime nationwide decreased again, according to our just released Crime in the United States report. Overall, the estimated volume of violent crimes in 2010 dropped 6 percent compared to the 2009 figure, the fourth consecutive year it has declined. For the eighth consecutive year, the volume of property crimes went down as well—2.7 percent.

The report was compiled from data submitted to us by more than 18,000 city, county, university and college, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies from around the nation. It contains information on the number of reported murders and non-negligent manslaughters, forcible rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larceny-thefts, motor vehicle thefts, and arsons.

Violent crime offenses were down across the board—the largest decrease was robbery, down 10.0 percent. Property crime offenses went down as well—the largest decline, 7.4 percent, was for motor vehicle thefts.
This is apparently part of a much longer trend:
In The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes, the celebrated evolutionary psychologist and bestselling author argues that we – the human race – are becoming progressively less violent. ...

Pinker shows that, with notable exceptions, the long-term trend for murder and violence has been going down since humans first developed agriculture 10,000 years ago. And it has dropped steeply since the Middle Ages. It may come as a surprise to fans of Inspector Morse but Oxford in the 1300s, Pinker tells us, was 110 times more murderous than it is today. With a nod to the German sociologist Norbert Elias, Pinker calls this movement away from killing the "civilising process".
But this Salon article says that not everyone is happy about it:
The collapse of American justice
Not long ago, we had a low incarceration rate and a system that worked. Then everything started to unravel

Among the great untold stories of our time is this one: the last half of the twentieth century saw America's criminal justice system unravel. Signs of the unraveling are everywhere. The nation's record- shattering prison population has grown out of control. Still more so the African American portion of that prison population: for black males, a term in the nearest penitentiary has become an ordinary life experience, a horrifying truth that wasn't true a mere generation ago. Ordinary life experiences are poor deterrents, one reason why massive levels of criminal punishment coexist with historically high levels of urban violence.
So is crime down because all the criminals are locked up? It seems plausible, but the
experts say no:
Criminologist Gary LaFree confirms the fundamental importance of feelings and beliefs when he points out that of all the variables on which social scientists have collected data in the past fifty years, homicide rates among unrelated adults in the United States have correlated perfectly with only two: the proportion of adults who say they trust their government to do the right thing and the proportion who believe that most public officials are honest. When those proportions fell, as they did in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the homicide rate among unrelated adults increased. When those proportions rose, as they did in the 1950s and mid-1990s, the homicide rate fell.

Friday, September 23, 2011

No more last meals in Texas

Texas has ended the last meal:
Before Mr. Brewer was executed by lethal injection in the Huntsville Unit on Wednesday, he was given the last meal of his request: two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeƱos; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lover’s pizza; one pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers.

The meal outraged State Senator John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. In a phone call and letter to the executive director of the state prison agency, Mr. Whitmire asked that the agency end the practice of last meals or he would get the State Legislature to pass a bill doing so.
I am all in favor of executing the creep, but every man should eat a meal like that at least once in his life. Denying this last meal is like denying a last confession.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dawkins says progressive, not contingent

The NY Times has a friendly profile of Prof. Richard Dawkins:
Professor Dawkins’s great intellectual conviction is that evolution is progressive, and tends to lead to more and more complexity. Species, in his view, often arrive at similar solutions to evolutionary puzzles — the need for ears, eyes, arms or an octopus’s tentacle. And, often although not invariably, bigger brains. So the saber-toothed tiger shows up as a cat in Europe and Asia, and as a marsupial in South America. Different species seized on the same carnivorous solution. (He most certainly does not, however, view evolution as progressing toward us, that is humans — were we to disappear, some other species most likely would fill our evolutionary niche.) ...

His theory of progressive evolution, it should be said, is controversial. Professor Dawkins had a single great rival in writing about evolutionary biology: Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard.

Professor Gould, who died in 2002, was adamant that evolution was contingent — that while a species might progress in leaps and bounds, it was equally likely that it might reach a dead end, or regress. If a meteorite hit Earth and destroyed all intelligent life, he argued, the chances are vanishingly small that complex, intelligent life would evolve again.

As the writer Scott Rosenberg put it, Professor Gould saw our species as “simply a tiny accident occurring on a minor side-branch of the evolutionary tree.”
Evolutionists have endless debates over whether birds are descended from dinosaurs, whether humans mated with Neanderthals, and many other issues. These may be decided by more fossils and better data. But what is really striking is that their leaders disagree about the core issues of the theory. For example:

Whether evolution is progressive or contingent.
Whether evolution is driven more by random mutation or natural selection.
Whether evolution is gradual or punctuated.
Whether evolution is entirely selfish genes or includes group selection.
Whether evolution is compatible with Christianity.
Whether evolution is linked to a political and moral worldview.

They agree that evolution causes changes in gene frequencies from one generation to the next. Yes, that is obvious. But I don't see how it can be much of a theory unless it can answer bigger questions about what the theory is.

Monday, September 19, 2011

England has no right to self-defense

A UK newspaper reports:
A wealthy family man was arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday after allegedly stabbing a burglar to death with his own knife.

Businessman Vincent Cooke, 39, was relaxing when he heard a knock at the front door of his detached home.

When he answered he was confronted by two men, at least one armed with a knife, who threatened him and tried to force their way into the £350,000 house in the Cheshire stockbroker belt. ...

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke promised that householders who used ‘whatever force necessary’ on intruders in their homes would not be committing a criminal offence.
Promised? It should be written into their constitution, if they had one.

I realize that the UK is more of a parliamentary democracy than a monarchy, but it sounds as if they still have a monarchy mentality. Self-defense is something that they can only do with the king's permission. And they cannot even own guns.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Phony scientists argue by authority

The Wikipedia AIDS article says:
A more controversial theory ... According to scientific consensus, this scenario is not supported by the available evidence.
I believe that this type of thinking is a disease among science promoters.

There is evidence for the theory, known as the oral polio vaccine (OPV) AIDS hypothesis. The first known AIDS cases came from Congo around 1959, at the same time as Congo chimps were used for an experimental polio vaccine. But, as Rolling Stone was forced to admit, there is no scientific proof.

Obviously the Wikipedia editors would like to dismiss the hypothesis as strongly as possible, and imply that the weight of scientific authority is on their side. They cannot say that there is no evidence for the hypothesis, as that would be false. They do not want to just say that the scientific consensus is against the hypothesis, because that leaves the possibility that the hypothesis is true but suppressed because the implications are too horrible for the scientific establishment to accept.

It would be much better to admit that the hypothesis is possible, but to give the reasons why it is considered unlikely.

For another example, Michelle Bachmann recently provoked this response (pdf):
The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation. There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement. Since the vaccine has been introduced, more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record.
Again, this is a carefully worded ideological statement. A scientific statement would be to cite the evidence that the vaccine danger is low, or that the chance of mental retardation is low or zero. Instead, the statement attempts to use the weight of authority to tell you what to believe, and avoid the real issue with sneaky language, without giving any scientific evidence at all.

Argument by authority is not science. While you might think that it is reasonable to accept the opinion of the AAP on vaccines, it obviously cannot back up what it says because it provides no references to any scientific or medical studies. It is a knee-jerk response to protect their authority over vaccine advice.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Getting spam from Google

I like Google products, but the company is frustrating to deal with. Google mail does an excellent job of filtering spam, but it tags as spam the messages I get from Google itself. I just got an email from "The Google Books Team", confirming a financial transaction, and Google mail not only marked it as spam but also put it behind a giant red anti-phishing warning:
Warning: This message may not be from whom it claims to be. Beware of following any links in it or of providing the sender with any personal information.
The only link in the email was to the Google Books Partner program.

I have also gotten email from the Google Blogger team, and had it marked as spam.

Currently Google has lawsuits about whether it should be allowed to represent the interests of authors of orphan works. However it is very difficult to get the company to do what I want with my books even when I am filling out their own web forms and explicitly granting permission, and communicating with their own email service. There should be a way to copy orphan works, but Google control is not the answer.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mohammad's example

Wired reports:
The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”

At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”

These are excerpts from dozens of pages of recent FBI training material on Islam that Danger Room has acquired. In them, the Constitutionally protected religious faith of millions of Americans is portrayed as an indicator of terrorist activity.
You can download the FBI materials and judge for yourself. The do imply that devout Muslims are more likely to be violent than devout Christians and Jews. That seems like an obvious fact to me.

They say that Mohammad was a cult leader while explaining "Mohammad's example", but more importantly it explains he personally led many bloody wars for the purpose of subjugating and converting nonbelievers.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dilbert on dumb people

I have been reading Dilbert this week.

Click to get the full comics from 2011-08-31, 2011-09-05, and 2011-09-10.

Friday, September 09, 2011

New missing link

NPR radio reports on a new missing link:
A pair of fossils from a South African cave have scientists both excited and puzzled. Scientists say the fossils — an adult female and a juvenile — could be the long-sought transition between ape-like ancestors and the first humans.

The bones belong to creatures related to the famous Lucy fossil found in Ethiopia in the 1970s, but their owners lived more recently — just 2 million years ago.

The reason for the excitement? Ask anthropologists what they dream about, and many will tell you it's the fossil of the last pre-human ancestor that led directly to us. Nobody's found it, and any who claim to usually get publicly whacked by their peers.
Publicly whacked? It seems to me that missing link claims get high praise.

In other hominid news, Neanderthal sex boosted immunity in modern humans, and It Wasn't Just Neanderthals: Ancient Humans Had Sex with Other Hominids:
Scientists have collected evidence for years that modern humans interbred with our ridge-browed Neanderthal ancestors in Eurasia. But in Africa, where the homo sapien species is said to have emerged, a lack of genetic evidence has left researchers scratching their heads about exactly how we came to beat out not only the Neanderthals, or homo neanderthalis, but also the other archaic species like homo erectus and homo habilus. A new paper published by Michael Hammer from the University of Arizona, however, provides new evidence that homo sapiens not only interbred with Neanderthals in Eurasia, they also had sex with several species of our ancestors across the African continent. And they did it often. "We think there were probably thousands of interbreeding events," said Hammer. "It happened relatively extensively and regularly."
Some of this is based on computer simulations.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Another court attacks marriage

The Ninth Circuit ruled 3-0 in Diaz v. Brewer that it is unconstitutional for Arizona to limit health benefits to employees, spouses, and children, and exclude opposite-sex and same-sex domestic partners.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed, concluding that the law violated the Equal Protection Clause, because it isn’t rationally related to a legitimate government interest (the so-called “rational basis” test). ... And the Circuit said that “the district court properly concluded that the denial of benefits to same-sex domestic partners cannot promote marriage, since such partners are ineligible to marry.”
The court said that it tried to think of all possible justifications for limiting benefits to spouses, but there are none with any rational basis.

Of course Arizona promotes marriage when it ties health benefits to spouses. The promotion is literal and direct. If that is not rational, then I wonder what would be an example of a rational law. The rationality of marriage laws was not being challenged, so the court had no business complaining that marriage was discriminatory.

You know that judges are just applying their own political prejudices when they accuse the other side of not having a rational basis.

For rational arguments supporting opposite-sex marriage laws, I suggest the Connecticut SSM dissents or the Obama DOMA brief.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Chinese fooled about acupuncture

Statistics professor Andrew Gelman writes:
The scientific consensus appears to be that, to the extent that acupuncture makes people feel better, it is through relaxing the patient, also the acupuncturist might help in other ways, encouraging the patient to focus on his or her lifestyle.

A friend recommended an acupuncturist to me awhile ago and I told her the above line, to which she replied: No, I don’t feel at all relaxed when I go to the acupuncturist. Those needles really hurt!

I don’t know anything about this, but one thing I do know is that whenever I discuss the topic with a Chinese friend, they assure me that acupuncture is real. Real real. Not “yeah, it works by calming people” real or “patients respond to a doctor who actually cares about them” real. Real real. The needles, the special places to put the needles, the whole thing. I haven’t had a long discussion on this, but my impression is that Chinese people think of acupuncture as working in the same way that we think of TV’s or cars or refrigerators: even if we don’t know the details, we trust the basic idea.

Anyway, I don’t know what to make of this. The scientific studies finding no effect of acupuncture needles are plausible to me–but if they’re so plausible, how come none of my Chinese friends seem to be convinced?
Yes, a billion people can be wrong.

He drew some nonsensical defenses of acupuncture, such as this:
I am a licensed Acupuncturist. ... Acupuncture will be very difficult to “prove” scientifically if by scientifically we mean measurement by physiological studies. Acupuncture involves more than the physical body. ... I would suggest this “scientific” experiment: find a good, experienced acupuncturist and receive a reasonable number of treatments – say 12 in as many weeks. As yourself if they were helpful. ...

Newtonian Physics is true but so are the Physics of Quantum Mechanics, they are just describing different dimensions of the world in which we exist. This commentary reminds me of a quote I once heard: Someone asked the Physics professor at Oxford what he thought of the ideas that a mister Einstein had about Physics? His response was, “I don’t know much about that man or his theories, but what I can tell you for certain is that if his ideas contradict Newton – he’s wrong.”
No, this is anti-science. If it were possible for you to determine by your own experiment whether acupuncture is helpful, then it would be much easier and accurate to do a scientific study on whether it is helpful. Millions of people take vitamins and cannot tell whether the pills are helpful or not.

The Einstein story is apocryphal. Einstein became famous before anyone talked about him contradicting Newton, so the quote is unlikely. I guess the quote is intended to show that you should not believe scientists when they say that something is wrong, but it does not show anything of the kind. Newton's theory is not wrong is the sense that acupuncture is wrong. Relativity only corrected Newton's celestial mechanics by adding one extra orbit to Mercury every million years, and the effect was just barely observable. Acupuncture is a big scam that does no good at all.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Antibiotic resistance is not new

Antibiotic resistance is always given as the biggest example of the relevance of the theory of evolution to medicine today, such as here and here. But AAAS Science magazine reports:
A new study concludes that bacteria have been resistant to modern antibiotics for far longer than humans have actually used these drugs. Indeed, the researchers isolated resistance genes from bacterial DNA preserved in ice for more than 30,000 years.
Millions of people use antibiotic soap everyday, and I have never heard of any bacteria evolving to be resistant to that soap. There are antibiotics that fail to cure some infections, but I am not sure how much evolution has to do with it.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Bad science news

Tobacco company seeks access to secret data on smoking habits. Govt sponsored research data ought to be in the public domain. However much smoking is controversial or undesirable, that is all the more reason why the data should be public, so public policy is made in an open way.

Agency to consider endangered listing for US research chimps. I can understand listing a wild animal as endangered if it is going extinct, but what is the point in listing chimps in captivity? Do we need more research chimps?

US court upholds biotech methods patents. This is one of the broadest method patents I've seen, and I am surprised that it was upheld.

Cool climate paper sinks journal editor. The paper challenges some conventional wisdom about global warming. If the paper is wrong, then the journal ought to publish a correction, retraction, or rebuttal. It has not done so. Forcing the editor to resign just makes it look as he is being punished for political reasons, and that global warming dissent cannot be tolerated.

Scientists Perceive NASA Bias Against Venus. It seems that NASA would much rather explore a male planet than a female planet.

Rush is an Apple fanboy

The Steve Jobs eulogies are starting, such as this NPR radio opinion:
There is a lot of talk about DNA since Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple this week. Mostly in terms of what Jobs has infused into Apple's DNA: impeccable taste, innovation, persistence, attention-to-detail, hard work, different thinking.

All of this talk is great. It's reassurance to all of us Apple fanboys and girls that the company we idolize will continue to produce the products we love to love. Need to love. Can't not love, really, even if we try.

And why is that? Why are so many of us addicted to Apple products (and yes, I mean literally addicted)? ...

Why do so many of us get so emotional about Steve Jobs, to the point of crying upon hearing he had cancer and tearing up last week while reading his poignant resignation letter? The answer to all of these questions, I think, lies in mathematics and our own DNA.

I've been researching design aesthetics recently, and in a nutshell here's what I've found: Beauty is more objective than you might think. It's based on numbers and proportions. As humans, we're biologically programmed to seek out and respond to these numbers and proportions because they indicate superiority, in everything from the human form, to great works of art, to musical patterns, to plants, to architecture and to product design. The screen of a Macbook, for example, is a Golden Rectangle, which is based on this magical number: 1.6178, also known as the Golden Ratio, the Golden Mean or the Divine Proportion.

And the pulsing light that softly undulates to indicate that your Macbook is asleep? Well, that mesmerizing light mimics the rhythm of a human heartbeat, a deeply resonating mathematical pattern which can also be found in tidal flows, DNA sequences and blissful cognitive states.
This shows the Jobs Reality distortion field (RDF):
The RDF is said by Andy Hertzfeld to be Steve Jobs' ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything with a mix of superficial charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole, marketing, appeasement, and persistence.
Even Rush Limbaugh is infected. He gave a monologue on Steve Jobs yesterday (also here) saying:
Well, here I am a marketing specialist, supposedly immune to the tricks of the trade. I'm almost afraid to admit this. I spend ten to 15% of my working day trying to find out when the next iPhone is coming and what the next operating system is going to be, rather than just wait for it. I think the stuff that Apple does -- now, I've not used an Android phone. I've read about them. I know what Android has and I know the things that they do that ostensibly are ahead of Apple, but as a Mac guy, you know, I've tried BlackBerrys, and the process of syncing calendars and address books is not worth it. Once the iPhone hit, that's all I needed to sync everything and have it done.

The things that they have coming in the next two months for somebody like me are going to improve my productivity tenfold, and at the same time they are going to increase the fun factor I have doing it immeasurably, with the new operating system. This OS X Lion on the computer is just... I'm dazzled by it. Now, I'm just a consumer. I'm not a fanboy.
Yes, Rush is an Apple fanboy. By his own admission, he wastes much of his time tracking Apple product rumors. He acknowledges that the competition may be superior, but he is not interested in trying it. He is sold on Apple because his Apple products are compatible with his other Apple products. His raves are not about what the Apple products currently do, but about what some rumored update is supposedly going to do.

It does not seem to matter if Jobs makes wildly exaggerated claims, such as those exposed in this CNN Fortune story, Steve Jobs' reality distortion takes its toll on truth. His customers do not care. They act as if they are suffering from some sort of mass hypnosis.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Lying about WikiLeaks

Here is proof that you cannot trust the mainstream media.

The UK Guardian newspaper announces:
A statement from the Guardian said: "It's nonsense to suggest the Guardian's WikiLeaks book has compromised security in any way.

"Our book about WikiLeaks was published last February. It contained a password, but no details of the location of the files, and we were told it was a temporary password which would expire and be deleted in a matter of hours.
Wait a minute. The UK Guardian published the password in a book? That password was used to decrypt the WikiLeaks archives, but the newspaper says that the book did not compromise security in any way? This is as false as can be.

You can read Schneier's account of the leak. The password was so sensitive that Julian Assange refused to write the whole password on a piece of paper when he gave it to the Guardian.

The other newspapers are also lying to protect each other from criticism:
LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks disclosed its entire archive of U.S. State Department cables Friday, much if not all of it uncensored — a move that drew stinging condemnation from major newspapers which in the past collaborated with the anti-secrecy group's efforts to expose corruption and double-dealing.

Many media outlets, including The Associated Press, previously had access to all or part of the uncensored tome. But WikiLeaks' decision to post the 251,287 cables on its website makes potentially sensitive diplomatic sources available to anyone, anywhere at the stroke of a key. American officials have warned that the disclosures could jeopardize vulnerable people such as opposition figures or human rights campaigners.

A joint statement published on the Guardian's website said that the British publication and its international counterparts — The New York Times, France's Le Monde, Germany's Der Spiegel and Spain's El Pais — "deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk."
WikiLeaks did not make any decision to make those cables available to the public. It only gave the password to selected newspapers.

For the Guardian to publish a book, it probably had dozens of editors read and review the book before publication. Surely some of them pointed out that publishing a super-sensitive password is foolish. The paper probably asked reviewer to specifically check for whether sensitive info is being released. If the Guardian failed to do this, then it was truly irresponsible.

The left-wing bias of the press is well-documented, but this is very blatant dishonesty.

Maleness is not a disease

Yesterday's Dear Annie advice column says:
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 21 years, and we have five wonderful children. "Tom" is 50, and I am 39.

In the past few years, Tom has developed an annoying habit. He openly ogles attractive women ... Tom says he finds skinny women with large breasts and tattoos a turn-on. I don't look like that. ... He says I'm the one with the problem, and that I'm jealous and spoiled. ... — Unhappily Married to an Ogler

Dear Unhappy: ... Ask him to get a complete physical to make sure his "new habit" isn't being exacerbated by a medical condition.
No, there is nothing wrong with looking at attractive women. Being a man is not a medical condition. This is normal male behavior. Get over it.

Today's column is just as bad:
Dear Annie: "Mike" and I are in our 60s and have been married seven years. We each have children from previous marriages, all of whom are grown and out of the house.

Recently, I noticed that Mike friended his ex-wife on Facebook. ... Today, I saw a receipt for tickets to an out-of-state amusement park where he is planning to go with his daughter and grandchildren. I noticed a receipt for another person (a senior). It's not for me because I have to work. I believe this ticket is for his ex-wife.

Dear Fun: ... Get the details from your husband, and explain your concerns. If his responses aren't satisfactory, tell him your marriage is at risk and ask him to come with you for counseling.
No, this does not require counseling. Grandpa should be commended for putting up with his ex-wife at an amusement park for the sake of entertaining the grandkids, if that is indeed his plan. The wife should not be snooping and interfering. This advice is horrible.