religion gray matter and choices, purple summer wallpaper, why doesn’t your bedroom have glass walls

Study finds brain differences based on faith

A study of believer’s brains, based on scans such as this image of a normal brain, finds size differences among denominations and those with no religious identity.

The study, which examined the hippocampus region of the brain, found that Protestants who did not have a “born again” experience had significantly more gray matter than either those who reported a life-changing religious experience, Catholics, or unaffiliated older adults.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Templeton Foundation, included at least two MRI measurements of the hippocampus region of 268 adults between 1994 and 2005.

The researcher does note there might be other causes for the correlation between the amount of gray matter and certain religious beliefs. One of the downsides to studies like this is that it shaves off a few degrees of responsibility for one’s behavior. Born-again fundamentalist in the USA have regressive beliefs regarding cultural social norms, education, science, gender roles and economics. They tend to support government as authoritarian enforcer of religious based beliefs. Much of their planning for the future is inconsistent with their beliefs in that they in fact do plan. In all of these attitudes and actions that make conscious decisions. There are choices and they make theirs. They should be held responsible for those choices and the harmful consequences, not the amount of gray mater in their hippocampus.

Sociologists of religion, meanwhile, aren’t buying it. They say the researchers’ theory flies in the face of U.S. religious demographics. While it’s true that evangelicals are a minority, they’re a sizable one — 40% of the U.S. population, according to Gallup Polls — and not exactly a stressed-out minority, especially in the South.

That may be a weak way to argue against the study. having grown up with them and attended some religious training in that regard , born-again Protestants tend to be a little manic and obsessive. They are also unlikely to be completely honest when asked about their feelings. The reason is simple enough. being reborn is supposed to be a key to happiness and contentment. If you say you’re born-again and anxious or depressed to some degree you are also admitting your mojo is not working as advertised. Sociologist who study religion have always faced this hurdle – the defensive posture of the subject. Much of what drives red state Evangelical is the felling that someone is getting something they did not work for – note the plethora of far Right anecdotal stories on the web about seeing some one on food stamps driving up in a new Cadillac to buy some sirloin steaks with their food stamps. On the other hand they are not the least concerned with Exxon or Richard Mellon Scaife or executives at some Wall St firm being compensated far beyond any reasonable salary for work done or services rendered. They tend to be obsessed with petty nickel and dime stuff ( most of the food stamp stories have to be fabricated if you know anything about the amount of money allotted per day for recipients). This comes partly from a corruption of Christianity by protestants that goes back to at least John Calvin and concepts of self-flagellation. Whether part of it comes from fewer than average brain cells almost doesn’t matter.

Franklin Bar&Grill Under the Brooklyn Bridge ca. 1945 @Corbis

Discussions about privacy are usually inhabited by the spirit of the Great Parrot of Privacy with one of history’s shortest and most inane examples of circular logic – “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.” – Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’ – A few debate tacks to break out of that mindless circle

*My response is “So do you have curtains?” or “Can I see your credit-card bills for the last year?”
*So my response to the “If you have nothing to hide … ” argument is simply, “I don’t need to justify my position. You need to justify yours. Come back with a warrant.”
*I don’t have anything to hide. But I don’t have anything I feel like showing you, either.
*If you have nothing to hide, then you don’t have a life.
*Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.
*It’s not about having anything to hide, it’s about things not being anyone else’s business.
*Bottom line, Joe Stalin would [have] loved it. Why should anyone have to say more?

On the surface, it seems easy to dismiss the nothing-to-hide argument. Everybody probably has something to hide from somebody. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn declared, “Everyone is guilty of something or has something to conceal. All one has to do is look hard enough to find what it is.” Likewise, in Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s novella “Traps,” which involves a seemingly innocent man put on trial by a group of retired lawyers in a mock-trial game, the man inquires what his crime shall be. “An altogether minor matter,” replies the prosecutor. “A crime can always be found.”

To illustrate the last, examples are not difficult to find. In the national debate over the health insurance program for children(SCHIP) , right-wing smiley-faced-fascist Michelle Malkin found what appeared to be granite counter tops in the home of a recipient. So there, crime defined by Malkin, evidence found by invasion of privacy and convicted by the right-wing media.

day dreams of purple summer wallpaper

Norse god has a day of his own

“Tuesday is named after the god Tyr or Tiw,” Stephen Ashton admonishes us. “So Tuesday night is the night of Tiw, or Tiw’s night.”

Kevon Kenna is quick to agree: “If Thursday is Thor’s Day, Wednesday is Woden’s Day, and Tuesday is Tiw’s Day,” he asserts, “it may well be correct to write ‘Tue’s Night’ for ‘Tiw’s Night’.”

And Sunnudagr/Dróttinsdagr being the Sun’s day or the Lord’s day.

Mushrooms Can Break Down 90% of Diaper Materials Within 2 Months

…cultivating the right type of mushroom on soiled nappies can break down 90% of the material they are made of within two months. Within four, they are degraded completely. What is more, she says, despite their unsavoury diet the fungi in question, Pleurotus ostreatus (better known as oyster mushrooms), are safe to eat. To prove the point she has, indeed, eaten them.

Wonderful idea for dealing with thrown away diapers, but everyone feel free to eat my share of the mushrooms.

What’s Driving Projected Debt? The amount Newt Gingrich charges at Tiffany at discount interest rates? The cost of Dick Cheney’s government provided health care? The cost to buy lipstick for Paul Ryan’s(R-WI) pig? As expensive as those items are, no.

President Bush’s tax cuts, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire federal budget deficit over the next ten years.  So, what about the public debt, which is basically the sum of annual budget deficits, minus annual surpluses, over the nation’s entire history?

The complementary chart, below, shows that the Bush-era tax cuts and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — including their associated interest costs — account for almost half of the projected public debt in 2019 (measured as a share of the economy) if we continue current policies.

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