Charles Murray’s Human Diversity Published Today


“Human Diversity” by Charles MurrayCharles Murray’s Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class was published today and is now available in both hardcover and Kindle editions.  Murray discusses the biological reality behind ten propositions, stated as follows (I do not consider these spoilers, as they appear in the “Look Inside” excerpt on Amazon and also have been tweeted by the author on his own Twitter account).... [Read More]


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]


TOTD 2020-1-24: Who was that masked man?

Are you now wearing or have you ever worn a surgical type mask in public?

In Japan, people wear masks around allergy, cold, and flu season. Sometimes it is for prevention of getting something and at other times it is to prevent giving something. What do you think of the practice?... [Read More]


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]


Super Bowl LIV: The Rise of Mahomes

Even though my Seattle Seahawks did not make it to this year’s Super Bowl, I will nevertheless have a team to root for. That will be the Kansas City Chiefs. And the primary reason? They are quarterbacked by the great Patrick Lavon Mahomes II, fellow alumnus of Texas Tech University!

... [Read More]


TOTD 2020-1-19: What do you see?

There is a saying, “You hit what you aim for.” What is in your viewfinder? Do you see something of beauty or something ugly? This also means the mind’s eye. Does your mind dwell on the good or the bad? What I have seen for many people is their lack of awareness that they can change their views. (Pun intended.)

I keep trying to work up an aphorism for complaining and its opposite. Complainers have the stench but not the stretch. Or complainers deplete not complete/compete.


#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]


SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test

SpaceX in-flight abort (artist's conception)Tomorrow, SpaceX is planning to conduct what promises to be a spectacular test flight of the crew escape system for their Crew Dragon spacecraft.  If successful, this should clear the launcher for the first crewed flight to the International Space Station later this year.  The launch is scheduled for a four-hour launch window which opens at 13:00 UTC on 2020-01-18.  At this writing, there is a 90% probability of acceptable weather for the test.   Update: Saturday test scrubbed due to high winds and rough seas in the recovery area.  Now re-scheduled for a six-hour launch window beginning at 13:00 UTC on Sunday, 2020-01-19.

If all goes as planned, the flight will be brief.  At the moment of maximum dynamic pressure (when the combination of velocity and air density produces maximum stress on the vehicle [“max q”]), the capsule’s Super Draco thrusters should fire to carry it away from the booster, whose engines will be cut by the abort system.  This is expected to occur around 84 seconds after launch.... [Read More]