TOTD 2020-1-25: The Three Most Powerful Words in the English Language

This is a test. I am going to see if you come up with the words I came up with. I doubt it but you might surprise me. Put up a comment with your guess and then look at the spoiler.

Continue reading “TOTD 2020-1-25: The Three Most Powerful Words in the English Language”

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Absence of Intelligence

Homer Simpson's brainJared Z. Burton and Russell T. Warne just published (2020-01-23) a paper in the journal Teaching of Psychology, “The Neglected Intelligence Course: Needs and Suggested Solutions”.  (The paper is behind a forbidding paywall [US$37.50 for eleven pages!], but may be read for free on Sci-Hub.)  Here is the abstract.

Intelligence is a well-studied construct in psychology that has correlational relationships with many educational, employment, and health outcomes. However, prior research indicates that incorrect beliefs about intelligence are widespread. In an effort to discern the degree to which the psychology curriculum is responsible for these inaccuracies, we collected course descriptions and catalog information from 303 American colleges and universities. We found that college courses dedicated to mainstream intelligence science are rare. Because the lack of intelligence education within psychology is a plausible contributor to incorrect beliefs about intelligence, we present an outline for a college-level course on intelligence. We also provide advice for implementing a course, including course readings and advice for handling controversies.... [Read More]

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I Voted—Now Get Off my Lawn!

J'ai Voté: NeuchâtelIn Switzerland, we’re always voting on something.  Under the system of direct democracy, federal legislation adopted by the parliament can be subjected to a popular veto in a referendum which can be required through only 50,000 signatures (around 1.2% of eligible voters).  Amendments to the federal constitution require a mandatory referendum.  With the signatures of 100,000 eligible voters (around 2.5% of the electorate), an initiative amending the federal constitution is placed before the parliament, which can either recommend or reject the initiative, with, in the latter case, the option of proposing an alternative (“counter-project”).  In any case, the issue is placed before the voters, who get to choose among the initiative amendment, the counter-project, or outright rejection of both.  In a referendum on vetoing a parliamentary act, a simple majority of the nationwide vote is required to reject the law, while for constitutional amendments a “double majority” consisting of a majority of the national popular vote and a majority of cantons based upon the popular vote within each canton is required.

A similar system exists at the two lower levels of government as well: canton and commune.  Each individual jurisdiction makes its own rules, but in general the threshold for a referendum or initiative is around 1% of the eligible electorate.  The population of the canton of Neuchâtel, where I live, is around 176,000, so subtracting off foreigners who are not permanent residents and children, it only takes around 1500 signatures to put an initiative or referendum on the ballot, and it isn’t that difficult to get that many signatures for just about anything.  I recall votes over the years on issues such as whether the bike lanes on the main street through Neuchâtel should be abolished and whether advertising shown before the feature in movie theatres should be banned.... [Read More]

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Hugh Hewitt: “I’m voting for Bernie Sanders…”

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt said he was voting for Bernie Sanders—in the Virginia Democrat presidential primary election on March 3rd, 2020.  Virginia has an open primary, where voters can vote in the primary of any party.  He went on to say he was not engaged in “calculated voting” but preferred an “authentic, traditional socialist” to “all the people who are just pretending to be”.

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#metoo, Cole Porter Version

There was a revival of the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me Kate in 2019. One of the numbers is “Always True to You in My Fashion” about the relationships between a woman and wealthy men. It’s hard to see how the interactions described in the song differ from the complaints leveled about Harvey Weinstein. Surprisingly, the 2019 revival seems to have kept the explicit money-for-sexual-favors-exchange lyrics. How the Wokerati reconcile these lyrics with the #metoo kerfuffle perplexes me.

There’s an oilman known as Tex
Who is keen to give me checks
And his checks, I fear, mean that sex
Is here to stay!... [Read More]

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Replacement for his royal highness….

Ya’ know, this has gone too far. Now he wants us to call him; “Your royal highness”! Impeachment is too good for him and if we let the democrats in this forum in charge of it, well you know how that goes, it will take forever.

I propose we just look for a replacement, and I have just the puppets in mind that will fill the bill nicely. They once stared on a segment of MTV and now they say they are ready to come out of retirement! Isn’t that great?... [Read More]

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TOTD 2020-1-15: Impeachment 3.0

America had the first impeachment after the civil war. Andrew Johnson was the answer to the only president who was impeached. This lasted till the 1970s. In my life time this is Impeachment 3.0. Here is the list.

  1. Nixon 1.0
  2. Clinton 2.0
  3. Trump 3.0

This impeachment is for the crime of winning in my opinion. Do you know how many millions of dollars were lost to the Clinton Foundation by that not having Hillary be the First Madame?

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Mars: Communist Propaganda from the Red Planet

Mars series: National GeographicThe television series Mars, produced by National Geographic and originally aired on their cable channel in 2016, is a curious mix of present-day documentary and fictional story of the human settlement of Mars, with the first crewed landing mission launching in 2033.  The first season is set in the years 2033–2037 and chronicles the establishment of the first settlement and its growth into a fledgling base, similar to scientific research stations in Antarctica.  The series cuts back and forth between the present and the fictional future, with the present-day segments interviewing figures such as Stephen Petranek, author of How We’ll Live on Mars, upon which the story is based, Robert Zubrin, creator of the Mars Direct mission plan, Elon Musk of SpaceX, Andy Weir, author of The Martian, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.  The mission is mounted by a fictional international consortium called the “International Mars Science Foundation” (IMSF), which has all of the squabbling and politics you’d expect for something with such a name.  The fictional part of the first season is pretty good, and in line with capabilities expected to exist in the time in which it is set.

The second season is something else entirely.  Set in 2042, it chronicles the arrival of the first private venture on Mars, “Lukrum Industries”, aimed at resource exploration and development.  Lukrum has negotiated a deal with IMSF in which it will produce solar mirrors from in-situ resources which will be employed in IMSF’s terraforming project, which hopes to warm the planet to release water trapped as ice below the surface.  This veers immediately into the “corporations bad, government agencies (especially multinational ones where all of the minions speak perfect English with suitably exotic accents) good” trope.  The present-day segments are almost entirely about human despoliation of the Earth, with a concentration on “climate change”.  This feeds into the fictional future story, where the evil corporation (eventually in cahoots with the Russians, who were too tempting to leave out as villains), is simultaneously thwarting the noble goals of the taxpayer-funded scientists, while using its lucre to manipulate IMSF back on Earth to acquiesce in its evil schemes.... [Read More]

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A Feminist View of Guns

Somehow, I don’t think this talk will be pro-gun.

Senior Lecturer Caroline Light, who is Director of Harvard’s Undergraduate Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, will give a historical view on visual depictions of armed femininity and discuss her writings on “America’s love affair with lethal self-defense.” Light refreshments will be served.... [Read More]

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Sensitivity Training at Amazon.com

Amazon logo with frownStarting in January 2001, I have maintained a list of every book I’ve read, and since the mid-2000s I have reviewed almost every book I’ve added.  There are currently more than 1200 books on the list.  In mid-2019, I began posting reviews, one almost every day, to book’s pages on Amazon.com.  Previously I had only occasionally posted my reviews there, mostly when I knew the author of the book or had reviewed a pre-publication manuscript.

As of January 2020, I have now posted a total of more than two hundred book reviews at Amazon and have noticed a curious phenomenon which may reveal how the responsible staff at Amazon view the world.  Ever now and then, when I’d post a review, it would show up in my profile with a subdued grey background with the legend, “review hidden by sensitivity filter”.  I had originally assumed (as do many reviewers, based upon my research into the issue) that this meant that, for whatever reason, my review had been hidden from public view for having stepped on some tripwire or other, but it’s actually more complicated and subtle than that.... [Read More]

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