because it feels good, neo retro city skyline wallpaper, values are a fuzzy measure of goodness

Casual Sex: Men, Women Not So Different After All. I’m guessing in anticipation of the reaction of some men – than why do they strike out so often, they get straight to the reason there is not more casual sex,

Writing in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Conley describes a series of experiments that refine the results of a seminal 1989 study widely cited in articles and textbooks. That study, by psychologists Russell Clark and Elaine Hatfield, found that when a female college student introduced herself to a male colleague and asked if he wanted to have sex with her, 69 to 75 percent of the guys said yes. When the genders were reversed, not a single woman was interested.

[   ]…So why did the young men and women in the 1989 study — and in a repeat of that experiment that Conley conducted — react so differently to the offer of casual sex? After conducting a series of follow-up experiments, in which she tweaked Clark and Hatfield’s sexual-invitation scenario in different ways, she came up with an answer sports-conscious men should be able to easily grasp: The playing field isn’t level.

Men, after all, can almost be guaranteed a pleasurable sexual encounter if they’re with someone they find attractive. But Conley points to new, yet-to-be published research by sociologist Elizabeth Armstrong which finds “women orgasm only 35 percent as often as men in first-time sexual encounters.

“Women’s perception that their heterosexual casual sex partners will be unlikely to give them pleasure is not unwarranted,” Conley states.

This lack of confidence in men as pleasure-givers was indirectly supported by another of Conley’s experiments, which focused on bisexual women. They were “significantly more likely to accept an offer (of a one-night stand) from a woman than from a man,” she reports.

Just as men have been thought to be following some evolutionary imperative to spread their seed, this new data on women may still have evolutionary roots. Women are making judgments by appearance. In the Conley study, women are much more likely to say yes to someone rich and famous, or just known to be wealthy. Probably because they know, should the relationship last beyond the first encounter, these men display an obvious ability to have the resources to take care of her and any offspring. That women are not solely motivated to have sex just to procreate should not be too much of a surprise. Over the years I have met very few men who have had more sexual partners than equally attractive females. This is not in the 1989 survey or the new one, but men and women both have conquests. Whether it is deserved or not ( another survey anyone?) popular culture portrays men as seeing sex as a conquest, but women who have just as many encounters seem to think of each one as a romantic tryst. Maybe in reality there is a mix on each side. Some individuals, regardless of gender seeing each temporary mate as a coup. While others have more wistful, romanticized ideas about each person. The latter using some discrimination and discretion. Each experience a bookmark worthy of less than shallow remembrance. Let’s call them the romantics or romantic wannabes for who the actual encounter may not be as much about evolutionary processes or racking up scores, as they are about the quality and joy of the experience.


neo retro city skyline wallpaper


With apologies to Mr. Andrew I doubt anyone will download this pdf- THE UNWORTHINESS OF NIETZSCHEAN VALUES. The philosophy is pretty deep and dry, as is the history. Though this observation about the history of values as a cultural and intellectual reference caught my attention,

Kant thought economics a part of moral and political philosophy, and were aware that values
only manifest themselves through market exchange or the price system, a view that prevailed until the time of John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx. The category of value only enters into Mill’s Principles of Political Economy at Book III, “Exchange.” Values-discourse only entered philosophy in the mid to late nineteenth century in the neo-Kantianism of the Marburg and Heidelburg schools of Geistwissenschaft; Rudolph Hermann Lotze was the dominant figure in exporting Wertphilosophie to the French and English-speaking philosophers, and through the German sociologists inspired by them.4 Although Lotze’s central categories were Werte (values) and Geltung (validity), Lotze knew nothing about economics or money (Geld). Although Nietzsche was not the first philosopher to know nothing about economics, he was the first political philosopher to be sublimely ignorant or gaily unaware of the “dismal science”; “to know nothing about trade is noble.”5 Nietzsche was also the first political philosopher to use the language of values outside the realm of market evaluation.

We take the language of values for granted and tend to represent our experiences of the
holy, the good, the beautiful and the true as religious, moral, aesthetic and cognitive values. We tend to forget how recently the language of values has become hegemonic in our world of discourse. After the First World War, Harvard-educated social scientists spoke of walues,6 indicating the German origin of their professors that taught them this key term of social science that Max Weber borrowed from Nietzsche. The etymology of value, from the Latin valeo, to be in good health, strong and able, and related to validus, sound or healthy, is suggestive of Nietzschean vitalism. However, I wish to indicate how talk of our values is symptomatic of an unsound and unhealthy culture, and will be using Heidegger’s critique of Nietzsche’s evaluative philosophy in this project. Truth, beauty, goodness and holiness have converses; “values” do not.

One can say a Nazi is evil but one cannot say he lacks values. One can say an objective is
valueless (having zero value but not negative value) or one can say that a person lacks values
(usually meaning that the person is wholly preoccupied with her interests, or is Madonna’s
material girl) but values-discourse deprives us of robust antitheses to truth, goodness, beauty and sanctity. Perhaps conditioned by the etiolated neo-Kantian idealism from which the language of values originated, “values” distort human life by idealization, by presenting what people live for as lofty ideals we present to others. We may say that we live for wine, women and song, and may find multiple orgasms, medium rare roast beef, ot the scent of the sea important components of the good life, but we don’t say that they are our values…

“Values” did not get off to a good start. Since western culture has a difficult time quantifying values even in terms of the dry science, the corruption of the word in regards what is moral has only lent itself to further corruption. Value is a great accounting term. Even a good ecological term. Often times the values army has an ironic and tragic sense of what constitutes goodness. While in my head I often strive for virtue, what I am actually striving for is goodness or to do no evil. Secularists thus need to brave into the world of the language that  religion stole centuries ago and claim words such as redemption, virtue and truth as a part of their vocabulary. “Values” is not a neutral word in popular culture and that is the level on which the vast majority of our discourse takes place.


republicans are betting america will love pottersville, cross processed spring lake wallpaper

Brad DeLong takes a look at President Obama’s proposed budget cuts and those proposed by Republicans ( who have a majority in the House). he does not like either plan. The benefit of the Obama cuts are they add up, even if draconian in some respects. The cuts by conservatives will end up costing money. Only Republican math, combined with a singular lack appreciation for the complexity of our economy, could cuts end up costing money, Washington’s deficit-hawk pretenders

Suppose the Republican plan actually does cut spending by $800 billion. The House Republicans then want to take that $800 billion, and spend $200 billion of it trying to repeal health care reform. They then want to take what’s left, and use it to pay for extending the Bush marginal tax rate reductions on high-earning Americans. But it will not stretch quite that far. Extending those Bush tax cuts is projected to cost $750 billion, and there is only $600 billion left in this hypothetical scenario. There’s a $150 billion shortfall.

The Obama proposal looks to reduce debt 10 years from now, by $400 million. This theoretical House Republican proposal looks to increase the debt 10 years from now, by $150 billion.

And over the past 30 years, Democratic budget proposals have by and large delivered what they promised. Republican proposals, by contrast, have all turned out to produce much bigger deficits than were pledged at the start.

If you are a real deficit hawk, there is simply no contest as to which political party you should support right now.

But there are a lots of people in Washington who are paid in either dollars or favor points to pretend to be deficit hawks when they are no such thing.

The Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare if you like, is a huge wind fall for health care corporations and the pharmaceutical industry – Healthcare industry stocks explode as bill progresses. I have not heard much from either. The health corporations and insurance companies can expect 30 million or more new customers in the next four years. A large percentage of those people will no doubt be also getting medication of some sort.  So here are conservatives, who still get a little more of donations of health care related business than Democrats, are ready to spend $200 billion tax dollars to repeal an economic boom for health care incorporated. It is difficult to convince conservatives and right-wing libertarians of it, but economics does have a moral component. So it is little wonder that the Right side of the political spectrum could care less about the continuation of growing income inequality. So morality aside one would think the Right would give the matter of the U.S. turning into Pottersville some consideration in the way of long-term benefits to business and the wealthy. Health care cost are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy. Those who may not succumb to bankruptcy have to deal with insurance costs that are one of the fasting rising components of the economy. In either case, lack of reform, leaves business with fewer customers and less income from consumers. Currently corporate profits are as high as they were before the recession. Even GM made a profit the last quarter. Are Cons and Wall St so sure they can continue to reap so large profits with a small middle-class, a super wealthy 1% of the population and the vast majority of Americans struggling to provide a basic standard of living. Republicans seem willing to bet around $800 billion dollars that Pottersville is the new American dream.

cross processed spring lake wallpaper

the shock doctrine in Wisconsin, water color spring wallpaper

Bargaining rights, rights recognized by the International Labor Organization as a basic human right, a position that it advocates around the world, is not the only issue on the table in Wisconsin. Gov. Walker and his henchmen in the assembly are also trying to sneak through some other less than democratic legislation, Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.

And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).”

What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.”

If this sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone. ( emphasis mine)

It is my understanding that Wisconsin election law does not allow for a formal recall until November of this year. In the mean time Walker might be impeached, Ex-Attorney General sees law violations by Walker in stunt call

On the tape, Walker is asked about “planting some troublemakers” to incite the crowds at what have been peaceful protests.

“(We) thought about that,” replied the governor, who added: “My only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused is that that would scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has gotta settle to avoid all these problems.”

“I think there’s a serious issue there,” Lautenschlager explained. “That’s a public safety issue. And I think that is really troublesome: a governor with an obligation to maintain public safety says he’s going to plant people to make trouble.

[  ]…“He essentially parallels what he’s going to do to organized labor with what Ronald Reagan did to the air traffic controllers,” said Lautenschlager, referencing the former president’s firing of striking controllers in 1981. “By doing that at this time, when the contracts for state employees are still in effect, it looks as if he’s signaling a willingness to commit an unfair labor practice violation by refusing to negotiate.”

Lautenschlager noted a body of labor law that prevents employers from using threats of layoffs as a negotiating tactic with unionized workers.

Walker’s attitude and actions are so extreme it is like he is some kind of Manchurian candidate who is working to insure the election of Democrats in the next election cycle. The unions have conceded concessions on every economic point. They only want to retain their bargaining rights. Rights that are not always economic in nature. Imagine taking away the rights of manufacturers to join in the National Manufacturers Association and forbid them to hire lobbyist to send to Washington where they basically write legislation. In light of all the rights business and elected official have ( such as Walker not being subject to an immediate recall) it is astonishing why bargaining rights, which are related to 1st Amendment rights – free speech, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly – are even questioned.

And related, Are Public Employee Unions To Blame For States’ Budget Crises?

The graph suggests that there is no consistent relationship between budget gaps and union coverage. Many states with low public sector coverage have large gaps, while many heavily-unionized states face relatively small shortfalls

water color spring wallpaper


YOU never come back.
I say good-by when I see you going in the doors,
The hopeless open doors that call and wait
And take you then for—how many cents a day?
How many cents for the sleepy eyes and fingers?

I say good-by because I know they tap your wrists,
In the dark, in the silence, day by day,
And all the blood of you drop by drop,
And you are old before you are young.
You never come back.

by Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Chicago Poems.  1916.

mind and brain, stone architectural detail wallpaper

An essay by Priscilla Long on the brain and consciousness, My Brain on My MindThe ABCs of the thrumming, plastic mystery that allows us to think, feel, and remember. She meanders back or forth on the personal meaning of of the mind functions or ceases to function very well in the case of her grandfather. And some of the science and philosophy of the brain and thinking.

Gerald Edelman’s (global) theory of consciousness sees it resulting from neuronal activity all over the brain. Edelman (along with Changeux and others) applies the theory of evolution to populations of neurons. Beginning early in an individual’s development, neurons firing and connecting with other neurons form shifting populations as they interact with input from the environment. The brain’s reward system mediates which populations survive as the fittest. Edelman’s theory speaks to the fact that no two brains are exactly alike; even identical twins do not have identical brains.

How, in Edelman’s scheme, does consciousness achieve its coherence? By the recirculation of parallel signals. If you are a neuron, you receive a signal, say from a light wave, then relay it to the next neuron via an electrical pulse. Imagine a Fourth of July fireworks, a starburst in the night sky. Different groups of neurons register the light, the shape, the boom. After receiving their respective signals, populations of neurons pass them back and forth to other populations of neurons. What emerges is one glorious starburst.

Long has buy into the somewhat recent and popular notion that genius is not something one is born with, but rather something that is achieved. For a variety of reasons – parents, personal drive, economic conditions, religious dogma, political rigidity, toxic pollutants and so on, many people do not push themselves to their full potential. It is possible to have little innate musical talent and be a competent guitarist. To be that exceptional musician, mathematician or philosopher is more likely a matter of organic gifts. A random spin of the genes as it were. I do not know if the following is true, but as Nora Ephron once wrote, it feels true,


Failure to learn new things kills neurons. People who vegetate before the TV are killing their neurons. People who never do anything new or meet anyone new are killing their neurons. People who never read or learn a new game or build a model airplane or cook up a new recipe or learn a new language are killing their neurons. Mind you, many middle-aged professionals are killing their neurons. They’re doing what they are good at, what they already know, what they learned to do years ago. They’re pursuing careers, raising children, cooking dinner, returning phone calls, reading the newspaper. They are busy and accomplished, but they are not learning anything new. If you are not learning anything new, you are killing your neurons. To keep your neurons, learn something new every day. Begin now. Doing so requires no particular genius.

One of the reasons it feels true does have a basis in fact. Getting back to Gerald Edelman’s theory of conscientiousness, think of feral children or children who’s regime of abuse includes isolation. The trauma of isolation affects brain development. Allowed to go on for years the abused child will never development the kind of complex communication skills most of us take for granted. She does put in a salute to at least some memorization. Not a crusade of mine, though as far as thinking goes, the mental equivalent of learning to walk before you can run,

Imagination depends on the conscious memory of events. How could I imagine a purple cow if I could not remember the cows of my childhood switching their tails against the horseflies? How could I imagine a purple cow if I could not remember purple crayons, purple potatoes, purple grape juice? Persons with impaired memories have impaired imaginations.

stone flower wallpaper stone relief

stone architectural detail wallpaper

The corporate income tax in the U.S. is among the top in the world. Though that statement holds so many caveats it is near meaningless. Many of the United States largest and most profitable companies pay little to no income tax because of loopholes, tax credits and write offs, Revenue-Positive Reform of the Corporate Income Tax(pdf)

1. U.S. corporations pay a smaller percentage of their profits in taxes than do corporations based in other developed nations. Corporate leaders and anti-tax politicians often point to the top statutory corporate tax rate in the U.S. — 35 percent — which is higher than that of most other countries. But because there are so many deductions, credits and other special breaks in our corporate income tax, the effective tax rate for U.S. corporations is actually relatively low.

3. Low taxes do not make a nation competitive or business-friendly. Are low corporate taxes the key to a growing economy?
No. Much more important are a well-educated workforce, a robust infrastructure, economic and legal stability and many other things that can only be provided if the U.S. collects adequate tax revenue from corporations and others who profit the most from these public investments. In other words, even if the effective tax rate for U.S. corporations was higher than the effective tax rate for the corporations of other countries (which it’s not), that would tell us very little about how competitive or business-friendly the U.S. is.

Fully two-thirds of all US corporations do not pay federal income tax and 25% of the biggest US corporations do not pay federal income tax. We’ve had thirty years of anti-tax zealotry. Cutting taxes and deregulating basic health science imperatives like arsenic in our drinking water and cutting the amount of metal particulate matter in the air we breath would produce economic nirvana. Here we are almost thirty years after the so-called Reagan revolution and we’re facing the real possibility of a generation of lost workers. Millions of bright Americans working at jobs that do not pay a living wage.

“She leaned back with a sigh. The temptation had been hard to resist. A democratic girl, pomposity was a quality which she thoroughly disliked; and though she loved him, she could not disguise from herself that, ever since affluence had descended upon him some months ago, her brother Fillmore had become insufferably pompous. If there are any young men whom inherited wealth improves, Fillmore Nicholas was not one of them. He seemed to regard himself nowadays as a sort of Man of Destiny. To converse with him was for the ordinary human being like being received in audience by some more than stand-offish monarch.” – from The Adventures of Sally by P. G. Wodehouse

kids for cash judge convicted, vintage coffee wallpaper, oldest seaweed and worm-like fossils found

For those that have not been following the story. There is or was a judge in Pennsylvania who made arrangements to sentence kids to a private for profit juvenile detention facility in exchange for kickbacks. Ciavarella faces complex federal sentencing guidelines

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. is guilty of charges that carry a maximum combined prison sentence of 157 years in prison. Prosecutors say he should serve 13 to 15 years. The difference is due to the complex nature of the sentencing guidelines used in federal courts.

Mr. Ciavarella, 61, was found guilty of 12 charges, seven of which carry maximum prison sentences of 20 years. He was also convicted of four tax charges that carry maximum sentences of three years in prison and a single tax conspiracy charge that carries a maximum of five.

Ciavarella was found guilty of racketeering and conspiracy. The children he sent off to this facility ranged in age from ten to seventeen. Many of them probably were not angels with dirty faces. Though it was found that most of them committed low-level infractions and many of those were first time offenses. The kind of situation where another judge may have sentenced them to counseling and probation or at least to very short sentences. It is my understanding that every child he convicted and sent to his friend Powell’s PA Child Care facility in Pittston Twp. and Western PA Child Care in Butler County have been vacated. Ciavarella and his co-conspirator, former Judge Michael T. Conahan have caused to serious damage to the lives of those children, their families and  the juvenile justice system. If being convicted of felony racketeering ( an infraction originally written to go after organized crime, the sex and hard drugs trade) were not enough, Ciavarella and his defense attorney seem to suffer from serious issues of denial. They’re not going to admit fault regardless of what any court says.

“The jury rejected 95 percent of the government’s case,” defense attorney Al Flora Jr. told reporters on the steps of the federal courthouse following the verdict. “The government really got hurt today on this entire case, and it stands for the proposition of what Mark Ciavarella said all along was true: He never took a kickback; he never took a bribe; and he never extorted Robert Powell.”

If Ciavarella never did any of those things he would not have been convicted of racketeering. Prosecutors never introduced evidence to back up claims in a grand jury indictment that Ciavarella detained juveniles when it was “unwarranted”. So after his conviction Ciavarella declares he never did nutt’in to nobody, said after the verdict that he “absolutely never took a dime to send a kid anywhere.” So Powell gave Ciavarella money ( about one million dollars) because he was such a nice guy. Of course he never “extorted” Powell. The payments were quid pro quo per child sent. Payment for services rendered as it were. A few degrees away from being in the slave trade business. Ciavarella also faces a litany of civil suits from the families involved. Civil suits provide for a much wider arena for discovery.  When the state Supreme Court vacated all those cases involving the pay for play child detention facilities they did so based on the fact that Ciavarella repeatedly ignored state court rules requiring him to fully inform defendants of their right to counsel and reveal conflicts of interest. What would that conflict of interests be? Receiving payment from the for-profit detention centers. Ciavarella and his lawyers would have fit in perfectly with the legal spinners like David Addington and John Yoo at the Bush White House. Ciavarella’s arrogance is ultimately going to cost him. In a plea deal he could have gotten seven years at most that required them to plead guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy. After Ciavarella heard his admissions characterized as “kids for cash” he and Judge Michael T. Conahan went a little bonkers and thus a Judge Kosik rejected those sentences because he found the judges had failed to accept full responsibility for their crimes. Now Ciavarella, who is 61, will not get out of jail until he is 74 at the earliest. Some TV reports showed some parents understandably upset at Ciavarella and his lawyer’s arrogance and lack of remorse. They might find some consolation in knowing his inability to admit to the depths of his crimes and lack of humility will be costing him at least five more years in prison.

vintage coffee wallpaper

Oldest Fossils of Large Seaweeds, Worm-like Animals Tell Story of Ancient Oxygen

Almost 600 million years ago, before the rapid evolution of life forms known as the Cambrian explosion, a community of seaweeds and worm-like animals lived in a quiet deep-water niche near what is now Lantian, a small village in south China.

Then they simply died, leaving some 3,000 nearly pristine fossils preserved between beds of black shale deposited in oxygen-free and unbreathable waters.

Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Virginia Tech in the United States and Northwest University in Xi’an, China report the discovery of the fossils in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.

In addition to ancient versions of algae and worms, the Lantian biota–named for its location–included macrofossils with complex and puzzling structures.

In all, scientists have identified some 15 species at the site.

This discovery highlights the structural diversification of  eukaryotes. Eukaryotes are known to be the first organisms with complex cell structures. Their diversity seems to have occurred tens of millions of years after what is called the Snowball Earth which is thought to have ended 635 million years ago. The Snowball Earth hypothesis, besides being a great setting for a graphic novel, says the Earth’s surface became almost completely frozen at least once during earth’s history. There are some photos of the fossils and a photo essay of the dig at the link.

Before Scott Walker was high potentate of Wisconsin he was the  executive of the Milwaukee County Board. He hasn’t changed much –  Walker Whacked Wisconsin Taxpayers With Bill for Wackenhut After Illegally Asserting Powers

Kill or Capture—Six Questions for Matthew Alexander

Career Air Force interrogator Matthew Alexander, who won the Bronze Star for leading a team in a series of intelligence breakthroughs in Iraq, has written a dramatic account of the pursuit and capture of a key Al Qaeda leader named Zafar in northern Iraq. Alexander also sifts through the current interrogation policy debate in Washington, separating nonsense from fact and offering the reader an intelligent and critical take on the issues. I put six questions to him about his new book, Kill or Capture: How a Special Operations Task Force Took Down a Notorious Al Qaeda Terrorist.

Alexander gathered the intelligence from Iraqis and made the capture without torturing anyone. Alexander also points out, for those who like to gloat over waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times, that at one point KSM could have revealed the location of Osama Bin Laden and he never gave up that information. Information that a professional like Alexander could likely have obtained and without torture.

donnie rumsfeld goes off script, icicles on park tree wallpaper

Rumsfeld: If U.S. Knew Iraq Didn’t Have WMDs, We ‘Probably’ Wouldn’t Have Invaded

Promoting his memoir Known and Unknown on CNN’s State of the Union today, former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld talked about the things he didn’t know. Rumsfeld reiterated the claim that intelligence reports, now shown to have been false (and maybe pretty dubious in the first place), that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction were the “big” reason the United States attacked Iraq and ousted Saddam Hussein from power. When CNN asked if the U.S. would likely not have gone to war had it been revealed Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, Rumsfeld said, “I think that’s probably right.”

“maybe pretty dubious in the first place”? Talk about completely unjustified equivocation. They knew Iraq did not pose any credible nuclear threat, they knew those aluminum tubes were unsuited for refining nuclear bomb material and they knew Iraq had not tried to acquire yellow cake.I watched Fair Game ( the movie based on Valerie Plame’s memoir, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House and Joseph Wilson’s , The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity: A Diplomat’s Memoir.  Even though I was so familiar with all the details from reading, seeing the juxtaposition of what the White House and much of the so-called liberal media was saying, with the actual facts gave the story a kind of fresh immediacy. There was little Donnie Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush lying as though it was a contest to see whose pants could burst into flames first. They all walk away with government pensions and millions of Americans still thinking of them as patriots. Amazing the level of treachery one can get away with if you wrap it up in the guise of patriotism.

icicles on park tree wallpaper

The newest controversy that I was not aware of, The Case for Play – How a handful of researchers are trying to save childhood.

The emphasis on standardized testing, on attempting to constantly monitor, measure, and quantify what students learn, has forced teachers to spend more of the school day engaged in so-called direct instruction and has substantially reduced or eliminated opportunities that children have for exploring, interacting, and learning on their own. Recess has, in many districts, vanished from the schedule entirely. After school, parents shuttle their kids from activity to activity, depriving them of unstructured time alone or with friends.

That matters, according to researchers, not just because play reduces stress and makes children more socially competent—which evidence suggests that it does. It matters also because play supposedly improves working memory and self-regulation; in other words, it makes kids sharper and better-behaved. So, ironically, by shortchanging them on play in favor of academics, we may actually be inhibiting their development. Hirsh-Pasek, a psychology professor at Temple University, considers the move away from play to be a crisis, even comparing it to global warming, in the sense that it may take years for the consequences to be felt. When it comes to the value of play, she declares: “The science is clear.”

As one might expect there are several sides on the importance of play in childhood development. Play Skeptics ( self-explanatory), Free Players ( play is all) and Play Moderates. As a blogger we’re supposed to have some insights to add. One that comes to mind, because I read another article recently critical of it, is the role of rote memorization. People hate to memorize things like major dates and people of the French Revolution , the periodic table or the epochs of geological time. What I found was that memorizing the basics of an area of interests gives you the foundation for thinking which uses those information building blocks . If you want to cure AIDS it helps if you know how carbon, hydrogen and the macromolecules of DNA bond. The AIDS virus hijacks your DNA. Though if we have a Moderate Rote memorization school on the subject, that is where I would be. Educators who expect too much rote memorizing can suck the enthusiasm clear out of a bright student. No one actually required That I memorize the Periodic Table for instance, maybe because of my study track they knew I would be using it so much that I would come to memorize from sheer use. And they were right.

there is not always another side to the story, trilobite fossil wallpaper, there’s too much hubris in the kool-aid

Astrophysicist Martin Gaskell sued the University of Kentucky for discrimination. Gaskell claimed the university did not appoint him director of their student observatory because of his particular religious tenets. Commenting on the lawsuit physicist Lawrence M. Krauss writes, Religion no excuse for promoting scientific ignorance

Whether or not Gaskell’s views were inspired by his belief is irrelevant. The important question is whether, as a potential science educator, he has a firm grasp of the science and an ability to communicate it accurately. Given the evidence at hand there is reason to believe not.

In the notes for a lecture he gave at the university in 1997, Gaskell claimed, in clear disagreement with scientific facts, that evolution has “significant scientific problems” and includes “unwarranted atheistic assumptions and extrapolations”. This suggests a lack of understanding of the nature of scientific theory in general, and evolution in particular.

Religious viewpoints need not conflict with science. Several prominent religious biologists, including my friends Ken Miller at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and Francis Collins at the US National Institutes of Health, make it quite clear that one doesn’t have to be an atheist to accept the scientific fact of evolution. Incorrect interpretations of empirical data to fit in with religious beliefs should not be legally protected.

I had an otherwise competent enough chemistry professor go off one day on a tangent about how the second law of thermodynamics proved that the evolution of human beings was impossible. I took a look around and watched the stunned faces of other students as they were force feed junk science in a class which had nothing to do with religious dogma and biology. That and grossly distorting to the point of comic absurdity one of the basic tenets of how entropy works seemed a terrible abuse of his position. He tried to impose a belief in the context of a class concerned with knowledge. It would have been tolerable in a philosophy where we were discussing how to reconcile science with religion, but not in a science class. Though we did tolerate his little episode. There was some talk after class, but no one felt compelled to file an official complaint. There are some things which are facts. There is not always a reasonable other point of view. We live on the planet earth. The people who think we live in a shoe should not get equal time.

trilobite fossil wallpaper. trilobites first appear in the fossil record from the cambrian period, over 500 million years ago.

Judges from elite colleges more likely to rule against unions

U.S. appeals court judges who graduated from elite colleges were 30 percent more likely to rule against unions in labor law cases than were judges from less selective colleges, new research has found.

The study also concluded that female Republican judges were much more likely than Republican men to rule in favor of unions.

The study of more than 1,200 cases decided over a seven-year period was conducted by three Ohio State University researchers.

[  ]….Other results of the study:

* Experience as an elected official significantly increased the probability that a judge would support union claims on a number of issues. “Judges who successfully appealed to a wide range of voters as officeholders may have come to understand the needs of these constituents and appreciate the economic or ‘lunch bucket’ issues that are important to unions,” Brudney said.

Mummies’ false toes put a spring in amputees’ step

The other belonged to a priest’s daughter named Tabaketenmut, who lived sometime between 950 and 710 BC. If Tabaketenmut had diabetes, as some researchers have suggested, she may have lost her toe to ischaemic gangrene. Her prosthesis (shown above) is an elaborate three-piece construction of wood and what Finch thinks is leather, complete with a hinge that might mimic the flexibility of the joints.

Both artificial toes had holes for lacings that likely secured them to the feet.

While the discovery of over 3000 year old prosthetic is interesting, that Tabaketenmut had both diabetes and possibly gangrene, and survived, is even more amazing.

While Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) Gives Corporations A Tax Cut, Another Arizonan Joins The 98 Waiting For Transplant Funding.

Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) and the GOP-controlled state House have turned a blind eye to the plight of 98 Arizona patients in desperate need of organ transplants. Since Brewer enacted painful cuts to the state’s Medicaid program in October, two Arizonans unable to pay for the transplants they needed passed away.

When Republican governors go away for their annual retreat they might want to check the kool-aid. It seems to be packing more brain altering hubris than usual. The Republican Strategy

The second part of the Republican strategy is being played out on the state level where public employees are being blamed for state budget crises. Unions didn’t cause these budget crises — state revenues dropped because of the Great Recession — but Republicans view them as opportunities to gut public employee unions, starting with teachers.

[  ]…Bargaining rights for public employees haven’t caused state deficits to explode. Some states that deny their employees bargaining rights, such as Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona, are running big deficits of over 30 percent of spending. Many states that give employees bargaining rights — Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Montana — have small deficits of less than 10 percent.

In between demonizing the very word liberal, the far Right has done a pretty good job of also demonizing the word union. Both have become convenient scapegoats for the last sixty years. Especially after lying us into a three trillion-dollar war and blowing up the economy. Ironically a large segment of the combatants in this class warfare are people in the same income class –  households around the national median income. It reminds me of the way cultural alignments ended up in the South after the Civil War. Poor whites and newly freed slaves had similar economic interests at stake, yet most poor whites aligned themselves with wealthy white plantation owners and merchants. Guaranteeing that many of them would continue to be uneducated and live in poverty for generations. But hey they could sit in the front of the bus. Modern Republicans seem to be trying a repeat of sorts. Pitting working class unionized workers against working class non-union workers.