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behaviour and intelligence 5

New translation, the Magna Carta
article archives at abelard's news and comment zonebehaviour and intelligence archives
1 2 3 4 5 III-2004: 11 23 26 29 30 IV-2004: 03

behaviour and intelligence archive 5

space lag—working to mars time

“Everything on this mission is based on local solar time on Mars," said Julie Townsend, Mars Exploration Rover avionics systems engineer. "From home, during the mission practice tests, it was very difficult to constantly translate Earth time to Mars time." ”

A day on Mars is 24 hours 39 minutes. In order to optimise the 90 days scheduled for the Rover mission, NASA Mars scientists are living in Mars time. Thus, they do not lose a minute with reviewing data received from the two Mars rovers and the orbiting probes, then planning and deciding what each rover should do next, then instructing the engineers who instruct the rovers, and starting the process all over again as the next stream of data comes in.

image credit: NASA -

To help keep Mars time, the scientists use a wristwatch with mechanical movements made by watchmaker Garo Anserlian.

“In order to make the watches useful to the Mars Exploration Rover team, Garo had to physically attach additional specific lead weights thus precisely altering the movement of the wheels and hands on certain existing famous-maker wristwatches.”

“[A]mbitious rover team members have chosen to extend and alter their schedules 40 minutes every day to stay in sync with their [Rover] twins’ day and night schedules on Mars. One day, for example, team members might come in to work at 9:00 a.m. The next day, they'd come in at 9:40 a.m., and the next day at 10:20 a.m., and so on. They end up running multiple laps around Earth’s 24-hour schedule throughout the mission.

“Scientists and engineers utilize every possible second of sunlight on Mars and squeeze in as much action as possible with the rovers. To make life for the rover team ever more fulfilling and confusing, Spirit and Opportunity live on opposite sides of Mars. That means, when one rover is sleeping, the other is awake, putting the rover team in business 24/7 - or 24:40/7! ”

the web address for this article is




the biggest ginormous bomb ever exploded by silly humans

“ A 100 Mt weapon can level urban areas in a zone 60 km wide, cause heavy damage in a zone 100 km across, and cause 3rd degree burns in a region 170 km across (only a bit smaller than the width of West Germany). Such a weapon can only be used as a means of destroying an entire urban region - a major urban complex including suburbs and even neighboring cities. This scale of destruction is much larger than any discrete urban area in Western Europe. With its dense settlement, use of such a weapon in Europe is equivalent to an attack on a major portion of an entire nation and its population. Fallout from a low altitude or surface burst in central England could produce lethal exposures extending into the Warsaw Pact nations; a similar explosion in West Germany could create lethal fallout as far as the Soviet border.”

Link from Greg Hennessy

the web address for this article is


public education—teaching people to be dumb

Much of a straightforward book on the above subject can be accessed using this link.

“The cost in New York State for building a well-schooled child in the year 2000 is $200,000 per body when lost interest is calculated. That capital sum invested in the child’s name over the past twelve years would have delivered a million dollars to each kid as a nest egg to compensate for having no school. The original $200,000 is more than the average home in New York costs. You wouldn’t build a home without some idea what it would look like when finished, but you are compelled to let a corps of perfect strangers tinker with your child’s mind and personality without the foggiest idea what they want to do with it.

“Law courts and legislatures have totally absolved school people from liability. You can sue a doctor for malpractice, not a schoolteacher. Every homebuilder is accountable to customers years after the home is built; not schoolteachers, though. You can’t sue a priest, minister, or rabbi either; that should be a clue.”

related material
citizenship curriculum

link from Graham Innocent.

the web address for this article is


related material
citizenship curriculum


on free speech and sanity 19.01.2004

While believing in unicorns is unlikely to interfere with impartiality with regard to politics, it is likely to interfere with impartiality if presenting a TV programme on zoology.

The unicorns that Kilroy-Silk [1] is ranting about are likely to indicate interference with any ability to discuss social matters with any useful or serious competence, let alone discuss with ‘impartiality’.

There are idiots who wish to equate President Bush with Adolf Hitler; they are obviously idiots to anyone not entirely detached from the real world. Yet the idiots seem sincerely to believe the idiocy.

Surely somewhere, a distinction must be made between free speech and contact with reality. I do not really want people in classrooms or public pulpits who are more than semi-detached from reality.

It has been long proven that you can get the uneducated or primitive to believe just about anything: witch burning; blowing people up for allah and a supply of virgins; mass murder for the glory of socialism, or the inquisition, or for ‘racial’ purity.

Only by developing empiricism and insisting in teaching realism in the public space, can we hope for a more civilised society. It will not be achieved by some damned silly superstitious idea that all views are ‘equal’.

One or two loons parading around with sandwich boards demanding that we repent, or stop eating beans, may add some colour and may be tolerated. But a growing army of nutcases who wish to kill infidels or blondes is not compatible with security or a sane society.

Humans are clearly subject to such waves of irrational hysteria. It is not sufficient to quote some easy nostrum like ‘free speech’. I think it as reasonable to insist on sane practises, as it is to insist on sanitary practices.

Wild generalisation is not sane practice. We should, in my view, attempt to eliminate wild generalisations with at least as much enthusiasm as we attempt to limit the spread of cholera by chlorinating the water.

I do not mind people examining cholera in laboratories, nor discussing the levels of chlorine, or substitutes, to be added to the water supply. However, I do not want the neighbours tipping their sewage directly into the reservoirs in the name of freedom.

These sorts of irrational expression, such as wild generalisations, are the equivalent of mental cholera. In my view, it is necessary to recognise these mental diseases for what they are, not take a medieval view that disease comes from god and we are helpless to deal with it.

  1. Robert Kilroy-Silk is a British television presenter sacked for an article he wrote, recently republished, about Muslims and Islam.

the web address for this article is


female attractivity

“... the best way to judge a woman's attractiveness is to take her volume in cubic metres and divide it by the square of her height. The researchers call the figure her volume-height index, or VHI.”

“[VHI] is really just a slight modification to an older, easier-to-calculate measurement: the body mass index (BMI), defined as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in metres.”

“.... women with a BMI of 18 to 19, for example, are ranked as the most lovely. That's at the slim end of the normal BMI range, 18.5 to 24.9.”

1 stone = 14lb, 1 lb = 2.2kg
1 foot = 12 inches, 39.4 in = 1 metre

Example calculation:
9st 3lb, 5ft 6.5in

  • (9st x 14) + 3 = 129lb, 129lb / 2.2 = 58.64 kg —wt in kg
  • (5ft x 12) + 6.5 = 66.5 in, 66.5 / 39.3 = 1.688 m —height in metres
  • 1.688 x 1.688 = 2.8561 m² —height squared (h²)
  • BMI = wt in kg / ht² = 58.64 / 2.8493 = 20.58

Here is a fun BMI calculator.

the web address for this article is


why politically correct flummery is fashionable

“Marxian Socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of Opinion - how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and, through them, the events of history.”

Such political ‘theories’ are anti-scientific. They are the playthings of weak minds wanting simplistic ‘answers’ and seeking ‘respect’. They are proposed by people who cannot keep up with rigourous thinking. They become a playground for inner cliques who listen only to those who will play their silly incestuous games.

Here is someone caricaturing the whole mindset and game (there is more at the link quoted). It shows and discusses why Chumsky and other lefties cannot keep up, and what they try to do about it.

& how the sane cope with that flummery

“We retreated back to Palo Alto that evening for a quick rewrite. The first order of business was to excise various little bits of phraseology that we now realized were likely to be perceived as Politically Incorrect. Mind you, the fundamental thesis of our presentation was Politically Incorrect, but we wanted people to get upset about the actual content rather than the form in which it was presented. Then we set about attempting to add
something that would be an adequate response to the postmodern lit crit-speak we had been inundated with that day. Since we had no idea what any of it meant (or even if it actually meant anything at all), I simply cut-and-pasted from my notes. The next day I stood up in front of the room and opened our presentation with the following:


“The essential paradigm of cyberspace is creating partially situated identities out of actual or potential social reality in terms of canonical forms of human contact, thus renormalizing the phenomenology of narrative space and requiring the naturalization of the intersubjective cognitive strategy, and thereby resolving the dialectics of metaphorical thoughts, each problematic to the other, collectively redefining and reifying the paradigm of the parable of the model of the metaphor.


“This bit of nonsense was constructed entirely out of things people had actually said the day before, except for the last ten words or so which are a pastiche of Danny Kaye's "flagon with the dragon" bit from The Court Jester, contributed by our co-worker Gayle Pergamit, who took great glee in the entire enterprise. Observing the audience reaction was instructive. At first, various people started nodding their heads in nods of profound understanding, though you could see that their brain cells were beginning to strain a little. Then some of the techies in the back of the room began to giggle. By the time I finished, unable to get through the last line with a straight face, the entire room was on the floor in hysterics, as by then even the most obtuse English professor had caught on to the joke. With the postmodernist lit crit shit thus defused, we went on with our actual presentation.”

related material
putting chomsky in perspective

the web address for this article is


related material
putting chomsky in perspective


why religion

“Religion has its own work, which is to educate people who are too dull to understand philosophy, or too untutored to be amenable to its teaching. This is why religion is necessary, for what it preaches is fundamentally the same as what philosophy teaches, and, unless common men believed what it preaches, they would behave like beasts. But theologians should preach, not teach, just as philosophers should teach, not preach. Theologians should not attempt to demonstrate, because they cannot do it, and philosophers must be careful not to get belief mixed up with what they prove, because then they can no longer prove anything. Now, to preach creation is just a handy way to make people feel that God is their Master, which is true even though, as is well known by those who truly philosophize, nothing of the sort ever happened.”
Etienne Gilson, Being and Some Philosophers, p. 52

Quote from First Maje.

the web address for this article is


britney spears on peace and love and parental responsibility

“Brit-haters like Kendel Ehrlich, the governor of Maryland's wife, who announced her desire to ''shoot'' Spears (while speaking at a domestic-violence conference, of all places) -- and it's easy to see why the poor girl got the flu.

“ ''She probably needs to get laid,'' Spears says, rolling her eyes, when asked about that trigger-happy governor's wife. ''These parents, they think I'm a role model for their kids, that their kids look at me as some sort of idol. But it's the parents' job to make sure their kids don't turn out that shallow. It's the parents who should be teaching their kids how to behave. That's not my responsibility. I'm not responsible for your kid.'' ”

Also from the same blog:

“They also don't want to walk around with a ring on their finger, and have people say: "Married, eh? Man or woman?" ”

I seriously care about what “they” don’t want, honest I do.

[lead from aoiko]

the web address for this article is


baby sitting

“The electronics in Baby’s back monitor the quality of care Baby receives. Baby reports the number of times each type of care was provided, as well as wrong positioning, rough handling, Shaken Baby Syndrome, and more.

“Baby weighs 6.5 to 7 pounds and is 21 inches long. Each Baby is anatomically correct and available in six ethnic groups and seven skin tones.”

the web address for this article is


affective computing—computers to 'recognise' emotion
page1 page 2 page 3

“The only way to know if someone is truly enjoying themselves is to see if the fold above the upper eyelid drops.”

“So, what if a computer could sight-read? A machine that understood FACS would not only incorporate the best system for emotion perception, it would speed up the process. It takes a human 100 minutes to notate the emotions on one minute's worth of videotape. Ekman would like to see computers get that down to near-real time. Under a Darpa contract, Ekman and colleague Mark Frank of Rutgers are conducting work that could lead to the automation of FACS.”

the web address for this article is


educate and save the planet—education is the best birth control known

“When a girl is without the knowledge and life skills that school can provide, there are immediate and long-term effects. She is exposed to many more risks than her educated counterparts and the consequences are bequeathed to the next generation," UNICEF said in the report.

“In most industrialized countries as well as large parts of Latin America, there was a "reverse gender gap" with boys dropping out of school or getting low grades while girls did well in academic subjects, the study said.”

the web address for this article is


stop the shallow anti-scientific scaremongering—and about time too!

“Governments must do more to educate people about scientific and technological advances to counter misinformation and often unfounded fears of risks to health and the environment, a free-market forum said Monday.

“Innovation in areas like e-commerce, nuclear power, stem cell research and genetically modified crops offers huge growth potential, but public confidence is vital......”

the web address for this article is


numeracy or memorising formulae?

Most students do not do statisticss, and very few of those who do statistics have much useful understanding of the formulae they calculate, merely repeating the formulae back like a parrot.

Being able to follow a series of rules to obtain an ‘answer’ is not numeracy. The person has to learn to read numbers, as they would read words, in order to be numerate.

The person must be able to spot a number that does not make sense, as easily as they would spot a word in a sentence that does not make sense.

With the dreadful education systems in, at least, European countries, many of people reach a stage where they can follow the rules (formulae), but have not the slightest notion of the meanings of the numbers in the real world.

A numerate person can look at pictures of a car crash in a tunnel, and hear the ‘reporter’ babbling about a 100 mph crash, and immediately realise this is probably nonsense, that more likely the crash occured at about 60 mph.

A numerate person can listen to an idiot going on about how the economy of the USA is in trouble because Iraq has switched its reserves into euros. The numerate person will know it is nonsense because of the sheer size of the US economy, the normal and rational size of a country’s monetary holdings, and because they have an idea of the amount of money shifting each day in the international markets.

An innumerate person immediately falls for the rubbish.

related material
Intelligence: misuse and abuse of statistics
Cause, chance and Bayesian statistics
The mechanics of inflation: the great government swindle and how it works

the web address for this article is


related material

Intelligence: misuse and abuse of statistics

Cause, chance and Bayesian statistics

The mechanics of inflation: the great government swindle and how it works

new observation—granny gorilla teaches daughter childcare

“Initially, Ione simply left her baby on the ground in front of her 21-year-old mother, Alberta, who picked him up and handed him back. When Ione made no move to take the baby, Alberta moved closer pushing the newborn into his mother's face until she took him. Variations on this sequence occurred several times in the first two days.

“By the third and fourth day, Ione was holding the baby......”

the web address for this article is


teaching science through topics that interest the student improves results—amazing!

Lessons About Drugs, Nerve Gas Teach Students Biology And Chemistry More Effectively
“ By developing lessons about cocaine, amphetamines, drug testing and, nerve gas, a pharmacology professor and a chemistry teacher have discovered that they can grab the attention of high school students to more effectively teach them biology and chemistry.”

the web address for this article is


openness to stimuli requires organised intelligence

“The study in the September issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says the brains of creative people appear to be more open to incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment. Other people's brains might shut out this same information through a process called "latent inhibition" - defined as an animal's unconscious capacity to ignore stimuli that experience has shown are irrelevant to its needs. Through psychological testing, the researchers showed that creative individuals are much more likely to have low levels of latent inhibition.

“This means that creative individuals remain in contact with the extra information constantly streaming in from the environment," says co-author and U of T psychology professor Jordan Peterson. "The normal person classifies an object, and then forgets about it, even though that object is much more complex and interesting than he or she thinks. The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities." ”

“ "Scientists have wondered for a long time why madness and creativity seem linked," says Carson. "It appears likely that low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional flexibility in thought might predispose to mental illness under some conditions and to creative accomplishment under others."

“For example, during the early stages of diseases such as schizophrenia, which are often accompanied by feelings of deep insight, mystical knowledge and religious experience, chemical changes take place in which latent inhibition disappears.”

related material
Why Aristotelian logic does not work
Laying the foundations for sound education

the web address for this article is


related material

Why Aristotelian logic does not work

Laying the foundations for sound education

early work on identifying the costs of intelligence

“If intelligence were always a positive attribute, it would alway s be selected for by natural selection. But it is not - people and animals have their dolts as well as their Einsteins.

“To evolutionary biologists, that diversity means that theoretically, there must be some cost to being smart. Now for the first time, researchers have shown that in fruit flies at least, it doesn't always pay to be clever.”

“ They are slower at feeding," says Mery. He speculates that the flies may have to invest more energy in making or re-arranging connections between neurons in their brains, leaving them with less energy to forage when calories are limited.”

The number of innovators who have been given a hard time gives some indication of the social costs in human societies. It is clear that the herd instinct (which has advantages) is at war with intelligence and individuality....ab

the web address for this article is


another holocaust—the elimination of the plains indians

It looks slanted, but is an interesting window into American history.

Quotes from:

•Christopher Columbus •King Ferdinand •Captain John Smith •The Pilgrims •John Winthrop •Peter Minuit •Francisco Coronado •Don Juan Onate •Hernando DeSoto •Ponce de Leon •General Jeffery Amherst •Georges de Buffon •Benjamin Franklin •The Militia Men •George Washington •Thomas Jefferson • Martin Van Buren •Daniel Boone •Andrew Jackson •Oliver Wendell Holmes •John Sutter •Governor Leeland Stanford •Samuel Morton •Horace Greeley • General Pope •Abraham Lincoln •Doctor William Mayo •John Evans • Colonel John Milton Chivington •Colonel George Shoup •U.S. Grant • General George Crook •Phillip Sheridan •William T. Sherman • George Armstrong Custer •L. Frank Baum •Mark Twain •"Pa" Engalls •Senator Henry L. Dawes •The Donner Party •Theodore Roosevelt •Dr. Saxon Pope •Gutzon Borglum •Harry S Truman •Ronald Reagan •William Renquist •Rush Limbaugh •George W. Bush

the web address for this article is


it’s not fair—you gave him a cucumber!

“Monkeys strike for equal pay. They down tools if they see another monkey get a bigger reward for doing the same job...”

“Only female monkeys show this pique, the researchers found.”

And another version here

Matthew 19:30 - 20:16
19:30 But many [that are] first shall be last; and the last [shall be] first.
20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man [that is] an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
20:2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
20:3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
20:4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
20:7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, [that] shall ye receive.
20:8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them [their] hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
20:9 And when they came that [were hired] about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
20:10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
20:11 And when they had received [it], they murmured against the goodman of the house,
20:12 Saying, These last have wrought [but] one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
20:14 Take [that] thine [is], and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Perhaps the ‘good man’ was one of those exploiting capitalists, or a lawyer sticking to the contract?
I sure think he will end up with industrial relations problems.
I wonder what the Capuchins would have to say.

related material
De Waal, Frans: Good Natured: the Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals

abelard’s game theory section (Fehr’s interesting and useful site)

the web address for this article is


related material

De Waal, Frans: Good Natured: the Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals

abelard’s game theory section (Fehr’s interesting and useful site)

home at last—cash returns to carter

“no, I want her to have lots of flowers”

the web address for this article is


a study in bad science, bad law, and the incendiary mixture

“Skeptical inquiry is endangered when those who are offended or threatened by knowledge are able to silence those who have something valuable to say. The lawsuit path is crowded because those who take it face no negative consequences: The worst that can happen to them is nothing at all-their target doesn't budge. But often the targets of these threats, weary of being harassed, unable to pay the costs of self-defense, frightened at the prospect of losing their reputations, and unsupported by their publisher or university, do back down.”

“ The growing power of IRBs [Institutional Review Boards] in academia, along with the increasing number of restrictions on free speech in the politically correct name of "speech codes" and "conduct codes" (described so well by Alan Kors and Harvey Silverglate in The Shadow University), is perilous for independent scientific inquiry. For years, the skeptical movement, which had its birth in the domain of philosophy and the study of logic, has tended to regard failures of skeptical and scientific thinking as failures of reasoning-something amiss in human cognition. The underlying assumption has been that if we can only get people to think straight, junk their cognitive biases, and understand the basic principles and methods of science, pseudoscientific reasoning will become as vestigial to the mind as the appendix is to the body.

“Perhaps, but the skeptical movement needs also to focus its energies on the growing institutional barriers to free inquiry, and the efforts to silence those whose inquiries make waves. The story of what happened to Elizabeth Loftus and Mel Guyer when they set out to investigate the case of Jane Doe is itself a case study of the high cost of skepticism. The two demonstrated exactly the kind of openminded spirit of discovery that is at the heart of the skeptical movement. For their pains, they found themselves in an Orwellian nightmare.

“The irony is that if Loftus and Guyer were journalists, they would have done precisely the same investigation unhampered and fully supported by their employer. But because they are university professors, they were subjected to a secret, shadowy investigation of their legal right to do what good reporters do every day. And their respective universities, far from supporting their intellectual inquiries and their tenured (indeed American) right to free speech, obstructed and harassed them.”

Investigating the case:
part one     part two

This excerpt is from an interview giving the current situation:

“What was the university's reaction?

“After more than 25 years there, they gagged me for a year and nine months, and seized all my files on the case. I was shocked that the university would respond that way. I was eventually exonerated but still felt bitter about the experience. And then 10 months later I was offered a huge job - a 50 per cent salary increase, huge resources, titled professorship, and even then I still agonised about leaving my friends, my ex-husband whom I'm still close to, but I took the job, at the University of California, Irvine. The first thing I did was publish a detailed critique in Skeptical Inquirer. And "Jane Doe" is suing for defamation as well as invasion of privacy, and included Carol Tavris, who wrote an article supporting us, in the suit.

“That's an expensive proposition, isn't it?

“When I had to defend myself in the university matter, I had to shell out a lot of money. Fortunately now UC Irvine is behind me, and I also have some defence from Skeptical Inquirer.”

related material
establishment psycho-bunk 4 - repressed memory

the web address for this article is


related material
establishment psycho-bunk 4 -
repressed memory

the journal science forced into retraction on ecstasy study

“The study was based on the fact that laboratory monkeys and baboons had a severe reaction to the drug when it was injected in small doses. But it emerged this weekend that the vials of liquid did not contain ecstasy. Instead, the animals received a dose of methamphetamine, or speed - a drug widely known to affect the body's dopamine system. The tubes had somehow been mislabelled by the supplier.”

This item is posted mainly as a caution to those who trust too readily, and on the hazards of believing what you wish to believe.

the web address for this article is


modern witchcraft

“ Why do patients get forcibly admitted? Because they refuse treatment. And why do they refuse? Because lots of psychiatric treatment is crap, it is abusive and horrible. ”

the web address for this article is


telling lice—the start of human clothing

“We started wearing clothes about 70,000 years ago - at least according to our lice genes.”

“ Stoneking's team compared DNA from head and body lice. The greater the difference in sequences between two species, the older their split. The researchers set their clock by comparing human and chimpanzee lice, which probably stopped interbreeding at the same time as their hosts, about 5.5 million years ago.

“African lice are more genetically diverse than those from anywhere else, showing that, like humans, the species originated in Africa. And head lice are more diverse than body lice, showing that they are the older group.

“Humans have a third louse, the crab or pubic louse, which clings to body hair. Stoneking's team is now looking at pubic louse genes in the hope of working out when our ancestors lost their body hair, cutting these lower lice off from their relatives.”

the web address for this article is


japanese sh!t spreaders—the tricky monkey strikes again

“"I forget how much, but it was a whole lot. I think about 100 kg (220 lb)," Takao Maeda of JR West in Shingu, some 450 km (280 miles) west of Tokyo, said yesterday.

"They sort of mixed it with water and then spread it along the tracks." ”

I wonder whether they have worked out that this could end with separate deer breeding populations on each side of the tracks.

the web address for this article is


why languages die

“As civilizations die, so do their forms of writing, top scholars of ancient cultures found in the first study to examine the extinction of writing systems. The research also showed that ancient writing systems are connected to the ruling classes and religions of the societies they are used to depict.”

the web address for this article is


effective networking

Perception and motivation influence social networks

“An e-mail experiment has confirmed the famous 'six degrees of separation' of human social networks, but revealed that individuals don't necessarily benefit from their connectedness.”

“ The exercise seems to shows that even if global social networks can be searched quite easily, a searcher may not exploit this asset unless he realizes the strength of his connectedness and has sufficient motive to make the effort.”

the web address for this article is


he who pays the piper ...

“Marketing campaigns on college campuses that encourage students to drink moderately and responsibly don't reduce drinking, and in some cases can lead to higher rates of abuse, a Harvard study to be released today concludes.”

What is going on here? The advertising just does not seem to ‘work’.
How can that be, I wonder? Who is funding the advertising?
Let us read on.

“The programs have received substantial funding from the U.S. Department of Education--$3.5 million in 2000 and 2001--and the alcohol industry. Half of Haines' $250,000 budget is funded by Anheuser-Busch. Weschler argues the money should go to more comprehensive programs, which officials at the education department said they support.”

Now there’s a surprise.

For those who may wish to know, Anheuser-Busch is one of the world’s biggest alcohol brewing corporations.
Weschler is director of College Alcohol Studies at the Harvard School of Public Health, one of the leading experts on college drinking.

the web address for this article is


our daft rules trump sense, says albany ‘judge’

“Even worse, the gifted girl's proud dad is being investigated by child protective services for alleged educational neglect - for letting his daughter go to college.”

related material
franchise by examination, education and intelligence

the web address for this article is


related material
franchise by examination, education and intelligence

serious innumeracy—quite incredible that anyone could think otherwise!

You have to be seriously innumerate to imagine men can get more fux with females than females get with males!

“Men typically report engaging in sex at a younger age, having [secks] more often and with more partners than women do, but the study shows that these reported gender differences might show up because women think they should give answers expected of them, [...] ”

Though why blame the women for claiming too little, while the men are probably claiming too much.?

“In a media statement, Fisher said it was not entirely surprising that women changed their answers more than men: "We live in a culture that really does expect a different pattern of [secksual] behaviour from women than it does from men." ”

We also live in a society where men are more likely to use aggression and force to obtain objectives, and women are more likely to use lies and other subterfuge.

the web address for this article is




the decline of the intrusive society
[This item is recommended reading]

The end of the old fogeys, and the young ones too!

The latest British Social Attitudes report shows not only that we are all getting more tolerant over time, but that younger people are getting more tolerant even faster than older ones. Of people born between 1960 and 1969, 17 per cent thought that homosexuality was not wrong at all in 1985, but 47 per cent believe it now: a rise of 30 percentage points. Among people born between 1930 and 1939, this tolerant position rose by 14 points. The oldest (over 80 now) have seen a rise of just 4 points.”

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manipulating people with ersatz ‘friendship’

How do you know whether your partners loves you, or if they are just pretending?
If they pretend for long enough, are they then being ‘loving’?

“Waitresses who copy their customers' behaviour get substantially bigger tips than those who don't, [...]”

“ But this is just one of a battery of ploys that waiting staff can use to increase customers' generosity. Other studies have shown that smiling, greeting and touching the customer, and crouching down beside them while taking orders also lead to bigger tips.”

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biting comment

More human idiocy:

“"Human bites make up between 2% and 23% of all bite wounds, with 15% to 20% of them being to the head and neck. Common sites for human bites include the hands, arms and shoulders in men, and the breasts, genitalia, legs and arms in women.

“Most of these bites result from fighting, but sports accidents and sexual activity are other sources of injury. And biting is seasonal - in the United States at least – increasing during the spring and summer and on weekends.”

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a moderately introspective pigeon

I am marginally disinclined to place these two reports on my news service, but coming across both on the same day, I thought it useful to highlight the blindingly obvious.

Shy toddlers are likely to grow into shy adults whose emotional inhibitions put them at greater risk of developing more serious mental disturbances in later life, a 20-year study has found.”

Adolescents are more vulnerable than any other age group to developing nicotine, alcohol and other drug addictions because the regions of the brain that govern impulse and motivation are not yet fully formed, Yale researchers have found.”

In both cases, wise handling of the young can teach them how to handle themselves according to their personality and propensities. The differences in personality that can lead to these and other problems are part of life’s rich pattern.

Teaching the ‘shy’ to enjoy a quiet life, and teaching the impulsive the need for self-control, is part of any normal sane child-rearing. Each person can enjoy or tolerate living in their own skin.

To treat these differences as if they are ‘medical’ or ‘personality’ ‘problems’ misses the point.
All people need nurturing and education within the community. A sensitivity to, and acceptance of, differences should be part of any parental or teacher training.

No, I did not say it was always easy, but that is what makes it ‘interesting’.

All the young need advice and guidance, and often just to be left alone to think, to experiment and learn, as any moderately introspective pigeon you may meet will readily tell you.

related material
genes and behaviour
educational errors
drugs, smoking and addiction

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related material

genes and behaviour

educational errors

drugs, smoking and addiction

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© abelard, 2003, 9 april

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