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on the growing cultural acceptance of polyamory and group marriage

“[...] Whether for biological or cultural reasons, says Emens, some folks simply cannot live happily without multiple simultaneous sexual partners. And for those people, Emens argues, our current system of marriage is every bit as unjust as it is for homosexuals.”

“ Van Dommelen also noted that legal complications would flow from the overlap between a two-party marriage and a three-party cohabitation contract. The rights and obligations that exist in Dutch marriages and Dutch cohabitation contracts are not identical, and it's unclear which arrangement would take precedence in case of a conflict. "The structure is completely gone," said Van Dommelen, as he called on the Dutch minister of justice to set up a working group to reconcile the conflicting claims of dual marriages and multipartner cohabitation contracts. Of course, simply by harmonizing the conflicting claims of dual marriages and triple cohabitation contracts, that working group would be taking yet another "small step" along the road to legal recognition for group marriage in the Netherlands.”

“ White maintains that American polyamorists are growing in number. An exact count is impossible, since polyamory is still surrounded by secrecy. Polyamorists depend on the Internet to connect. Even so, says White, "attendance at conferences is up, email lists and websites are proliferating, and poly support groups are growing in number and size." As for the Unitarian polyamorists, their email list has several hundred subscribers, and the group has put on well-attended workshops at Unitarian General Assemblies since 2002. And although the number of open polyamorists is limited, some Unitarian ministers already perform "joining ceremonies" for polyamorous families.”

Interesting but rather thin discussion of ‘legal’ acceptance with a bit of a nonsense fundamentalist rant appended right at the end.

The base argument is that ‘bisexuality’ will be used as a ‘legal’ argument for an acceptance of polyamory unions. In the real world, such unions have been common for centuries, particularly in various modes of ‘polygamy’ and communalism.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#polyamory_231205


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chav taliban strikes

“A bronze statue worth £3m ($5.3m) by sculptor Henry Moore has been stolen from the grounds of a museum.”

“Mr Smith said officers were keeping an open mind as to the motive behind the theft - which was captured on CCTV - but added: "We are fearful it is possibly going to be sold for scrap, which would be a travesty.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#henry_moore_181205

breeding opportunities, homophobia, anti-semitism, national socialism and the uneducated classes

It is estimated the almost all male homosexuals also have female sexual contacts at some time. It is surmised that homosexuals gain a breeding advantage by learning seductive techniques at a young age. It is also guessed that part of the aggression directed at homosexuals is an instinctive attack on breeding rivals.

There is also much evidence that the intelligence/education level of Western Jews is substantially higher than most other groups. Naturally, such success in the world increases the ability of such a group to generate children, and out-compete less favoured groups.

marker at abelard.org

Israel is, of course, vastly more successful than the hag-ridden societies that surround it.

I have happened upon lists like the following from time to time (this version cut down from a full list at braden.webblogger):

“The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries. The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year.

Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.

Israel the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following:

The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.

Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.

The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel. Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel.

[...]

Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U.S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its workforce employed in technical professions, Israel places first in this category as well.

A new acne treatment developed in Israel -- the Clear Light device produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct -- all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California's Mojave desert.

All the above while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other county on earth.”

Clearly, it is common for homosexuals to enjoy a higher standard of living and more time (on average) to develop their own wealth and talents without the expense of bawling baybees and a wife to keep. Two incomes, often good incomes, are common to the lifestyle.

It is, in my view, obvious that the least educated people in any society are more inclined to follow instincts rather than be guided by educated intelligence. Thus can be seen the inclination to emotional responses, by the poor in mind and spirit, at any groups ‘doing better’ and enjoying greater rewards than their own limited talents allow. This is in addition to the instinctive aggression to creatures with natural breeding advantages.

Naturally, those who fail and cannot keep up are easily attracted to the consolation of religions of ‘victimhood’ and resentment, such as jihadism and socialism.

Meanwhile, the alienated intelligent but uneducated [1], the sometimes confused or simply ammoral, raised in narrow but idealistic dogmatism, are able to find a ready pool of fools who will follow, and who can be exploited for power or other advantages.

endnote

  1. Here I am referring to being uneducated in general terms, there are yawning gaps in their education. The alienated intelligent tend to have a ‘narrow’ view of the world around them, though obviously such people do become ‘streetwise’ and are able to handle day-to-day living.

    They are often stuffed with simplistic dogmatism while young. This gives a poor foundation for a useful state of open-mindedness guided by common sense.
the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#chavism_161205

growing computer intelligence

predicting successful blockbuster films

“Sharda selected seven criteria on which to predict a movie's potential viability in the marketplace. Those include its rating by censors (e.g. G, PG, R), strength of the cast, genre, competition from other films at the time of release, special effects, whether it is a sequel, and the number of theaters in which it will show.

“Sharda's model then computes the results and ranks the film in one of nine categories. "Blockbuster" status is given to movies that are expected to generate more than US$200 million in the box office, while "flops" are expected to generate less than $1 million.

“Sharda's study of the 800 analyzed films demonstrates a significant level of accuracy. The software Get your FREE Oracle Database Software Kit today! predicted the right category for the film 37 percent of the time. Seventy-five percent of the time, the film ranked within one category of its actual performance.”

marker at abelard.org

mona lisa's’s expression calculated

“A computer analysis of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece has found that she is 83 per cent happy, 9 per cent disgusted, 6 per cent fearful and 2 per cent angry.”

“Lead researcher Nicu Sebe said he took the challenge as seriously as he could, using the faces of 10 women of Mediterranean ancestry to create a composite image of a neutral expression.

“ "Basically, it's like casting a spider web over the face to break it down into tiny segments," Stokman told the Associated Press.

“ "Then you look for minute differences in the flare of the nostril or depth of the wrinkles around the eyes." ”

related material
telling lies and ‘mind-reading’
affective computing—computers to ‘recognise’ emotion
ambiguity and noise

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#monalisa_161205

can you tell a daisy from cow parsley?

“I HAVE JUST read a report demonstrating that 41 per cent of A-level biology students can’t tell the difference between cow parsley and a daisy.”

“Students were given illustrations of ten common plants: the two named, foxglove, primrose, ragwort and so on [...].

“Yet 86 per cent of the students could name only three flowers or fewer, and the already mentioned 41 per cent could name one or none. Ten per cent knew none whatsoever. To make things fair, teachers were tested as well: 29 per cent recognised three or fewer and 65 per cent five or more.”

I wonder what the illustrations were like? Ah, here they are [6-page .pdf]. I’ve seen better, but you should be able to make half of them easily enough if you are English.

I have met many such examples of the uneducated educated myself:

  • uni students of biology who could not do an earth sample (“that’s earth sciences”!)
  • a physicist who could not install a fuse box.
  • a glass scientist who could not cut glass.

and worse.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#flowers_111205

nuts!

“For instance, crows of many species learn to drop nuts and other hard food items like clams from just the right height over just the right hard substrate to break them open. But carrion crows living near a driving school in Japan learned to use cars to do the work for them. These crows wait for traffic to stop at an intersection, fly down and place the nuts in front of the tires of the stopped vehicles, then retrieve the nutmeats from the nuts cracked open when the cars ran over them. Over the last 20 years, this behavior gradually spread beyond the immediate vicinity of the school - and people have begun to help the crows by deliberately running over the nuts on the road!”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#nuts_041205

the value of every honest intelligent man is beyond price

“Britain's most senior scientist warned last week that UK research is being stifled by an 'appalling, obsessive' bureaucracy. 'A bunch of academic apparatchiks' is threatening our scientific brilliance, said Lord May, retiring president of the Royal Society.

“ 'Today, Crick and Watson's work on DNA would have been blocked before they had got started. Crick would have been sacked for being idle and Watson would have been told to piss off and stop messing about with his grant.' ”

“ Trusting them [scientists] is a critical issue for May, hence his outrage over the fact that Connaughton - 'a slick, charming lawyer' - heads George Bush's environmental affairs, and is not a scientist. 'Of course, if you are trying to defend the indefensible, the first thing you do is hire a good lawyer. That might explain it. Personally, I think Connaughton's argument that US carbon dioxide emissions are really going down - if you compare them with America's rising GDP - is loony. He and I live on different planets.' ”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#honesty_281105

the quiet revolution taking place in schools - it was not better in the olden days

The article is far too complacent, but focuses on a school that is being managed with intelligence. The peer pressure problem is mentioned but only sketchily, nor is there much attention to ‘outside the classrooms’.

“Nor do I. The school I attended in the 1970s - a big, largely middle-class, successful comprehensive which had until recently been a grammar school - still had corporal punishment, which was meted out for quite minor offences from unruly behaviour to smoking. There was a workaday level of violence in my school that would not be acceptable today. Disputes were often settled with pre-arranged fisticuffs. The teachers were only marginally more humane. I can recall on one occasion a shy boy being reduced to tears by a sadist of a history master who made him stand for a long period on a chair in the middle of his class as retribution for a perceived bit of minor rudeness. I myself was less traumatised by the hour I spent locked in a windowless stockroom after being cheeky to a teacher. Does anyone want a return to this brutality?”

Derisory ‘training’ standards:

“[...] more needed to be done to make newly qualified teachers feel confident in the classroom. The one or two sessions during their initial training were not enough [...].”

To be read with close attention and between the lines.

related material
bullying in uk schools continues unabated
teacher training
franchise by examination, education and intelligence

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#bullying_221105

the constant evolution of claimed unchanging dogmas

Like most of the recent changes in the church, the shift occurred in the wake of the Vatican II reforms. The program of renewal for the church that emerged from the Vatican II council said almost nothing about penance and reconciliation. The church's emphasis after Vatican II seemed to be less on guilt and damnation and more on love and forgiveness. The sacrament was given its current kinder, gentler name - reconciliation. Which seemed to reduce the stakes: If priests rarely talked about going to hell anymore, why bother confessing to them? To the extent that confession seemed necessary, the church's post-Vatican II efforts to empower the people in the pews left some Catholics figuring that they could confess their sins directly to God in prayer. At the same time, baby boomers who had been educated in the arcane legalisms of Catholic transgression - is eating meat on Friday a mortal or venial sin? - found themselves as adults thinking less about whether they were breaking the rules and more about their attitudes, intentions, and ideas about how to live a Christian life.”

related material
The rise and fall of the Church of Rome

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#catholic_dogmas_201105

get the unbiased latest from the fossil media

This story dates from June 2004 - see the reality in video.

Now, ‘New’ Scientist wants you to pay for this!
It is headed thus:-

“The shocking use of police stun guns”

and continues:

“12 November 2005
Paul Marks
Magazine issue
Do non-lethal Taser guns really offer the police the safe alternative to firearms that their makers promise, and are they being used appropriately?
A YOUNG woman screams in pain and falls from the open door of her SUV onto the tarmac. Seconds earlier, a Florida traffic cop had fired his Taser stun gun at her, delivering a 50,000-volt shock and leaving her convulsing in agony on the roadside.

“Her crime? After being pulled over for speeding, she had insisted on making a cellphone call instead of getting out of the car when told to do so.”

Watch the reality and compare with the fossil media ‘reporting’.

“Screaming in pain” - it sounds more like a spoiled kid in a tantrum, when forced to obey.

As for merely being “pulled over for speeding” ...

  • 51mph in a 35 mph zone
  • broken windscreen
  • broken tail light
  • not wearing a seat belt
  • suspended driving licence
  • persistent refusal to obey an officer
the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#unbiased_media_not_151105

bullying in uk schools continues unabated

The cowardice of adults in accepting this situation is a national disgrace.

“'I have had hundreds of in-depth conversations with children since accepting this post and I can tell you that the one thing every child I have met has been affected by, with virtually no exceptions, is bullying,' said the former head of the Department of Health children's task force and ex-professor of child health at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and University College, London.”

“ He has told The Observer he will use the launch of England's Anti-Bullying Week next week to ask the government to compel all schools to present every pupil in England with a termly questionnaire on bullying.” [Quoted from guardian.co.uk]

And more on the shame of Tony Bliar’s schools:

“'But I did well almost entirely because of my parents and feel my academic success masks the emotional damage my school did to me,' she said. 'The 'lifeskills' I learnt at that school included how to be made to feel awful for wanting to learn, how to be bullied because you have an unusual name, how to cope with the tedium of being forced to read 101 Dalmatians when I was reading Jane Austen at home, how to be ignored because you're generally quiet and get on with it, how to be abusive to teachers and how to be spat on when you got off the school bus. I now work my fingers to the bone to send my daughter to a private school.' ”[Quoted from guardian.co.uk]

A useful article where the real message is, “parents must take responsibility”, not assume they can shuck their responsibility onto others and forget it.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#uk_bullying_141105

israel and technology

from the Economist:

“The second big factor is the army. "The army gets hold of everybody at age 18, and if they have a glimmer of potential, it catalyses their transformation into engineers or scientists," says Mr Mlavsky. The technically minded are given projects to develop and run, and are allowed to keep any intellectual property that they develop, which results in many spin-outs. It also means that once they get to university, trainee engineers already have practical experience and a problem-solving mentality. Israel has 135 engineers per 10,000 employees, compared with 70 in America, 65 in Japan, and 28 in Britain [...].”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#israeli_technology111105

two light quotes

of passing interest.

“Buddhism must accept the facts - whether found by science or found by contemplative insights. If, when we investigate something, we find there is reason and proof for it, we must acknowledge that as reality - even if it is in contradiction with a literal scriptural explanation that has held sway for many centuries or with a deeply held opinion or view.”

The Dalai Lama

marker at abelard.org

“In my 1999 book, "How We Believe," I outlined a three-tiered model of the relationship of science and religion:

“the 'conflicting worlds' model, in which science and religion are at war and one must choose between them;

“the 'same worlds' model, in which science and religion are in harmony and one may have both simultaneously; and

“the 'separate worlds' model, in which science and religion are different methods to deal with different areas of human concern. Since that time, hundreds of books have been published in the field of science and religion studies, which has blossomed with its own journals and magazines, college courses, scholarly conferences, and even an annual million-dollar cash prize for the individual who most contributes to uniting science and religion (the Templeton Prize).”

Michael Shermer

related material
selected quotes by
abelard
, Ronald Reagan, H.L. Menken, Henry Ford, Adolph Hitler

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#quotes_281005

surviving katrina - what are the basics for a hospital working in n.o.

Ten priorities: the price of not thinking ahead. This item is a little tainted by leftist propçoganda, but is still interesting.

“Flashlights and "D" batteries. The flashlight I had brought with me burned out after four days, and I had to beg, borrow, or steal illumination thereafter. I needed a flashlight even during daylight hours to navigate the dark halls and stairwells. The emergency lanterns distributed from the emergency department on Wednesday night could have lit an entire nursing station, but for one problem: each required eight size-D batteries, and there were none to be found.” [Quoted from nejm.org]

and....

alleged paranoia in the US of A

The U.S. government would like the public to believe that the dangerous plague doctor is in jail and that the country is safer because of it. But the truth is that we have removed from action the only scientist who had embarked on the very research that could save lives should there be a bioterror attack using plague. The government has demonstrated that those who work to protect us are themselves very vulnerable.” [Quoted from thebulletin.org]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#katrina_211005

a model for entry of new words into language [.pdf file]

“What processes can explain how very large populations are able to converge on the use of a particular word or grammatical construction without global coordination? Answering this question helps to understand why new language constructs usually propagate along an S-shaped curve with a rather sudden transition towards global agreement. It also helps to analyze and design new technologies that support or orchestrate self-organizing communication systems, such as recent social tagging systems for the web. The article introduces and studies a microscopic model of communicating autonomous agents performing language games without any central control. We show that the system undergoes a disorder/order transition, going trough a sharp symmetry breaking process to reach a shared set of conventions. Before the transition, the system builds up non-trivial scale-invariant correlations, for instance in the distribution of competing synonyms, which display a Zipf-like law. These correlations make the system ready for the transition towards shared conventions, which, observed on the time-scale of collective behaviors, becomes sharper and sharper with system size. This surprising result not only explains why human language can scale up to very large populations but also suggests ways to optimize artificial semiotic dynamics.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#language_191005

there is more than one bush - “it’s not fair” says baybee brother

I blame it on the parents, who, I am informed, were ‘married’. This proves that marriage is bad for children and should be banned.

“ "I don't know how long Florida will be able to go on this way, trying to attract the biotech industry while its leading state officials try to teach its students that creationism is an equally valid way of understanding life. Sooner or later, something's got to give.”

“ Wahlestedt and his colleagues used this method to identify a number of candidate switches. Further tests confirmed that most of them actually did affect the way genes work. And still more tests showed that humans carry different versions of these switches, and that these differences affect the way that these genes make proteins. If Wahlestedt had used creationism as his guide, he'd still be floundering in an ocean of DNA.

“In other words, Jeb Bush is bringing evolution into Florida. But you have to wonder if he knows what he's doing. That's because in addition to bringing Scripps to Florida, he's bringing in a creationist to run his schools.

“In August, Bush appointed Cheryl Yecke as his state chancellor of K-12 education. In her previous job, Yecke had served as Minnesota's state education commissioner. A self-proclaimed creationist, she had said she wanted to get science classes to discuss "a higher power creating life alongside evolution." Major science organizations, such as the American Institute of Biological Sciences were appalled. Yecke lost the post after a year, but Bush decided she was the right woman for the job in Florida.”

“ "That is so loaded. That's like, you've already written the article, why do you want me in it? It's not fair,'' Bush told a reporter when asked.”

Well, it amuses me!
Perhaps Jed was descended from a bush.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#creationist_biotech_131005

blue eyes bad, brown eyes good - on prejudice [.pdf file]

This is one of the centrally important, psychological experiments in the 20th century.
Recommended reading.

“She knew that the children weren't going to buy her pitch unless she came up with a reason, and the more scientific to these Space Age children of the 1960s, the better. "Eye color, hair color and skin color are caused by a chemical," Elliott went on, writing MELANIN on the blackboard. Melanin, she said, is what causes intelligence. The more melanin, the darker the person's eyes - and the smarter the person. "Browneyed people have more of that chemical in their eyes, so brown-eyed people are better than those with blue eyes," Elliott said. "Blue-eyed people sit around and do nothing. You give them something nice and they just wreck it." She could feel a chasm forming between the two groups of students. "Do blue-eyed people remember what they've been taught?" Elliott asked.”

“ At lunchtime, Elliott hurried to the teachers' lounge. She described to her colleagues what she'd done, remarking how several of her slower kids with brown eyes had transformed themselves into confident leaders of the class. Withdrawn brown-eyed kids were suddenly outgoing, some beaming with the widest smiles she had ever seen on them.”

related material
establishment psycho-bunk 4 —the myth of repressed memory

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#prejudice_051005

hanson on education and diversity - the auroran sunset

Hanson has written a long and detailed article on the state of US university administration, using the examples of four university presidents that have made the news in recent months. Here's a bit from one of the examples:

“One can learn a lot about the pathologies of the contemporary university from what its presidents say--and don't say. A close look at the data suggests a different picture from the one implied by Mr. Birgeneau's gratuitous lamentations about the lack of diversity. Whites, for instance, are underenrolled at Berkeley: They amount to around 35% of undergraduates versus 45% of the state's population. Given this fact, why doesn't the Chancellor complain about the shortage of whites on campus?

“He is oddly quiet, too, about the more explosive issue of the Asian-American presence. This group constitutes almost half the Berkeley student population, even though Asians make up only about 11% of California residents and 4% of the general U.S. population. Why doesn't Mr. Birgeneau admit that achieving his racial utopia would require deliberately reducing the enrollment of Asian-American students--presumably by discounting meritocratic criteria and test scores and instead emphasizing "community service" or other nebulous standards designed to circumvent Proposition 209? But because the new chancellor is obviously a sensitive sort, he cannot say what he apparently means: something like, "We have too many Asians, almost five times too many, and I am here to impose a quota on them and other suspect races." Instead, he worries about "underrepresentation" of some, while denying the logical corollary of "overrepresentation" of others. The same logic applies to gender, by the way. UC campuses enroll thousands more women than men, very much out of proportion to the general population, and yet Mr. Birgeneau does not decry the "overabundance" of women.

“Remember, too, that Asians have suffered a particularly long history of discrimination in California. Despite everything from immigration quotas to forced internment during World War II, they have the highest high-school graduation rates in the state, while blacks and Hispanics suffer the lowest. What, then, could we learn from the Asian-American experience that seems to render past hurdles to achievement irrelevant to present academic performance? Don't expect Chancellor Birgeneau to take the lead in asking this question.”

Like many on the right, Hanson has a tendency to go into old-fogey fits of "everything's going to the dogs" - keep in mind that America is still the richest country in the world and growing at an incredible rate. ~80% of all science Nobel prizes in the last 25 years have gone to Americans, as compared to ~63% in the 25 years before: that is, the great leap in productivity has happened with the post-hippy-revolution generation, not the good-old-days/fogey generation.

The Nobel Foundation was finally founded in 1900. Americans got ~8% of the prizes in the first 25 years and ~42% in the next 25 years. The numbers above refer to the third and fourth quarter centuries leading up to the year 2000.

That niggle aside, Hanson's article is a class bit of work.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#diversity_280905

shock (for numbskulls) - socialism does not make people happy Four GoldenYak (tm)award

A good summary of the current situation in ‘happiness research’- recommended reading.

“This desire for challenge helps to explain why it does not seem like the growth of the welfare state has increased human happiness. This was the finding of a series of studies by one of the most respected happiness researchers, the Dutch professor Ruut Veenhoven. He started out by looking for the correlation between social security and wellbeing he thought existed, to argue against economists who claimed that the welfare state was bad for the economy:

“ 'Against that loss at a material level I hoped to set the gain in psychological wellbeing. The result was not what I had expected, however. There proved not to be any wellbeing surplus'. [9]

“Even though redistributive states have created more equal access to resources and welfare services (which create more happiness, ceteris paribus), the benefit is undermined by the fact that we are given this without working for it ourselves. Veenhoven's results show that redistribution has not even managed to create a more equal distribution of happiness. In effect, the welfare state makes the beneficiary a lottery winner. The resources received do not make the welfare recipient more active or in control - perhaps the opposite - and with adaptation to the new resources, happiness is no higher than before.

“If happiness comes from a sense of competence and efficacy, the welfare state is worse than a lottery. If the welfare state does what it is supposed to do, abolish problems and risks and guarantee a certain material result whatever we do, then it deprives us of many of our challenges and our responsibilities. That actions have consequences, both rewards and punishments, is not just good because it helps us make better decisions, it is also important because it gives us the sense of control. Without this direct feedback our sense of hopelessness and frustration grows.

“Research tells us that optimism works. [10] People who think that they are in control of their lives go on to be more successful than others, whereas those who indulge in victimisation and think that someone else is to blame for their problems are most often proven right in their pessimism. Creating the paternalist institutions that Layard and others propose would be a way of depriving us of freedom, and the sense of control, and therefore probably also of happiness.”

thanx to the auroran sunset for link.

related material
What makes people happy

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#happiness_250905

once again, science ‘discovers’ that children (whatever the species) copy others

“When pretending to shop for a “social evening,” researchers found preschoolers were nearly four times more likely to choose cigarettes if their parents smoked and five times more likely to choose beer or wine if they watched PG-13 or R-rated movies.”

That very small children copy their elders may appear very obvious to those who have been on psychology courses or who have raised children, but others may not appreciate the implications of such mimicry.

What may be more interesting to those already knowledgable on child psychology is that a methodology has been developed to determine a way in which very young children are responding to their living environment.

“[...] researchers used a role-playing scenario to assess the attitudes of 120 preschool children toward cigarettes and alcohol. Until, now, researchers say it’s been difficult to study young children’s attitudes toward cigarettes and alcohol due to their limited communication skills.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#copycats_100905

oxford logic meets bliar's socialist irrationalism

“Oxford is the only university in Britain that currently accepts undergraduates who are under the age of 17. Individual colleges decide which candidates they will accept as undergraduates, but Collier confirms that age is rarely, if ever, a factor.

“ 'It's up to each college who they accept, but if you're the best student for the place and are 14 years old, then the general attitude is "so be it",' said Collier. 'We have always said our policy is entirely non-discriminatory and we are proud of that openness, which we consider crucial to Oxford's ethos, but we have discovered this year that there are heavy costs in having that policy.'

“The Children Act, the biggest shake-up in child protection law in 30 years, which was introduced last March, gives all those who work with children a legal duty to protect the young.

“ 'Because no other university accepts children, the government have produced no guidance on how higher education establishments should implement it,' said Collier. 'We are studying it very hard and worrying a great deal about how we should do it, which is taking up a great deal of time and coming at a cost.'

“Collier lists concerns including not leaving children on their own with adults and making sure that any teachers with whom they come into contact have had a criminal records check.

“Children can no longer live in student accommodation, because the university could not carry out a criminal record check on every other undergraduate sharing the same premises.

“ 'Suddenly we can't offer one-to-one tutorials, while the people who do administration in our colleges have to spend a great deal of time making absolutely sure they are not inadvertently placing a child in a potentially dangerous situation with anyone who hasn't had a criminal records check,' she added.

“Collier is unable to discuss individual cases, such as that of Yinan Wang, but she added: 'This is the first year we have had someone quite so young since the new laws have come in, and some people have been shocked by how much is involved.

“ 'The problem is that we can't alter the environment here; we can't lay on special measures for younger students. We're used to operating as an institution for adults.' ”

related material
Franchise by examination, education and intelligence

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#oxford_uni_240805

steyn on ‘equality’ - worth reading

“Canadian natives, as the most comprehensively wrecked minority on the continent, are a microcosm of everything that's wrong with multiculturalism. The premise of multiculturalism is that all cultures are equally 'valid', but of course that's bunk: some cultures are better, some are worse, some are successes, some are failures. I'm not being 'Eurocentric' here. Perish the thought: an awful lot of European cultures have proved hopeless at sustaining over any length of time representative government, property rights, the rule of law and individual liberty. Those are largely features of the Britannic world - not just of the United Kingdom, America, Australia and New Zealand but also of India, Singapore, St Lucia, as well as Quebec and Mauritius, to name but two francophone jurisdictions all the more agreeable for having spent their formative years under the British Crown.”

related material
Steyn website

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0508.php#equality_150805

and about time too - british education appears at last to be modernising

“When Eden Sedman joins Westfield Primary School in September, she will sit neatly at a desk with all the other little boys and girls, ready to greet the teacher and learn her lessons.

“But when the register is called on Thursdays and Fridays, Eden's name will be absent, her desk will be empty and the child herself will be nowhere to be seen.

“Eden will be one of the first children in Britain to embark on a part-time schooling, a revolutionary new concept that is already popular in America and is taking off in this country.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/behaviour0505.php#uk_education_010805

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