Wednesday, November 10, 2010

That old hatred of IQ again

It's seldom that I laugh out loud while reading a bit of Left-leaning, do-gooder nonsense but I have just had that experience.

I don't know how the editor of the Green/Left "New Scientist" (Roger Highfield) got to write for the generally conservative "Daily Telegraph" but it has happened -- but not in a good way. After a series of dogmatic and unreferenced assertions in which he pours out contempt and contumely on conventional IQ tests, he then says that there is a new type of test which is much better. He then however goes on to admit that he doesn't know if the new test works!
Dr Owen is part of the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge. With his colleague, Adam Hampshire, he has devised the ultimate intelligence test. Drawing on data from brain scans, his test – featuring a dozen tasks – triggers as much of the brain's anatomy as possible, combining the fewest tasks to cover the broadest range of cognitive skills.

For example, spot-the-difference puzzles boost activity in a range of areas at the back and bottom of the brain. Similarly, when you navigate your way around an unfamiliar supermarket, you rely on visuospatial working memory, which is linked to activity in the ventrolateral frontal cortex behind the eyes and the parietal lobe at the back and on top of the brain. However, as the questions become more complex, demanding more use of strategies and stored memories, broader regions of the frontal and parietal lobes become active – in particular, the large area behind the temples known as the dorsolateral frontal cortex.

Adrian and Adam regard this as the ultimate intelligence test – so all that is left is to find out whether it works. To that end, New Scientist has put it online, in a joint project with the Discovery Channel. If you have a half-hour to spare, and want to put your brain through its paces while advancing the cause of neuroscience, have a go here.


Highfield has obviously drawn his conclusions before he has seen the evidence -- which is exactly the opposite of what scientists do. But that is just standard Leftist practice so we must not be at all surprised.

The only further comment I would make is that it is quite an absurd assumption to say that a good measure of intelligence should use as many areas of the brain as possible. The brain does many things and problem solving is only one of them. That problem solving ability should involve only a few parts of the brain would seem a much more reasonable expectation.


Death panel convening already

Federal officials are conducting an unusual review to determine whether the government should pay for an expensive new vaccine for treating prostate cancer, rekindling debate over whether some therapies are too costly.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which dictate what treatments the massive federal health-insurance program for the elderly will cover, is running a "national coverage analysis" of Provenge, the first vaccine approved for treating any cancer. The treatment costs $93,000 a patient and has been shown to extend patients' lives by about four months.

Although Medicare is not supposed to take cost into consideration when making such rulings, the decision to launch a formal examination has raised concerns among cancer experts, drug companies, lawmakers, prostate cancer patients and advocacy groups.

Provenge, which was approved for advanced prostate cancer in April, is the latest in a series of new high-priced cancer treatments that appear to eke out only a few more months of life, prompting alarm about their cost.

"This absolutely is the opening salvo in the drive to save money in the health-care system," said Skip Lockwood, who heads Zero - the Project to End Prostate Cancer, a Washington-based lobbying group. "If the cost wasn't a consideration, this wouldn't even be under discussion."



Barack Obama joined Muslim prayers at school, teacher says

AS a schoolboy in Jakarta, Barack Obama attended Muslim prayer sessions with his classmates against the wishes of his mother.

The US President's former grade three teacher said that Mr Obama - who was known as "Barry" when he attended the Menteng One school in Jakarta - studied the Koran and went to classes on Islam, despite the objections of Ann Dunham, a Catholic.

The teacher's recollections will add to speculation about Mr Obama's links to Islam during his much-anticipated visit to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, as part of his ten-day tour of Asia.

His middle name, Hussein, and the fact that his stepfather was a Muslim, have combined to perpetuate rumours about Mr Obama's religious leanings. The number of Americans who think that he is a Muslim has grown since his inauguration to one in five.

Mr Obama moved to Indonesia with his mother and Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, when he was 6, and lived there for four years. In his memoirs he recalled his time in the country as the "bounty of a young man's life" and there is affection and pride among Indonesians for the boy who ended up as President of the United States.

The teacher, Effendi, who taught at Menteng One for 29 years, remembers Mr Obama as a "fat, curly-haired, curious boy". The school had an international mix of pupils, including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.

Mr Obama attended classes on Islam while the Christians attended classes on Christianity, said Effendi. Barry, he said, was alone among the pupils in that he insisted on attending both.

"His mother did not like him learning Islam, although his father was a Muslim. Sometimes she came to the school; she was angry with the religious teacher and said 'Why did you teach him the Koran?'" said Effendi. "But he kept going to the classes because he was interested in Islam. He would also join the other pupils for Muslim prayers."



SIEU thugs again

Obama's "friends"

Two employees who voiced support for a rival union were wrongfully dismissed during contract negotiations with a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) affiliate, according to a complaint issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

According to the complaint, the SEIU-affiliated Rochester Regional Joint Board of Workers United carried out unfair labor practices by “negotiating to insert new language in a labor contract that reduced the pay and work opportunities of the employees,” The Examiner reports. Both dismissed individuals were employees of Sodexo who worked in cafeteria and catering jobs in New York.
After an investigation, NLRB found there was enough evidence to support the employees’ allegations that Workers United engaged in illegal conduct against them in retaliation for their support of a rival union, Local 471-UNITE HERE. The NLRB complaint specifically alleges that during negotiations for a new contract in May 2010, Workers United, an SEIU affiliate, demanded new contract language that reduced the vacation pay of Rodrigue.

The SEIU affiliate reportedly also demanded that catering assignments be based on seniority, reducing the work opportunities and pay of one of the anti-union employees.
The NLRB alleges that the SEIU affiliate engaged in this illegal conduct to retaliate against [the two employees], who supported Local 471-UNITE HERE, and also “to discourage other employees from supporting” Local 471-UNITE HERE.

By this conduct, the union “has been restraining and coercing employees in the exercising of rights guaranteed” under federal labor laws, according to the complaint. As part of the remedy for the alleged unfair labor practices, the NLRB is seeking to have Workers United pay lost wages, with interest, to the affected workers.

The SEIU-affiliated union — not the Sodexo company — must answer to the complaint by Wednesday and an NLRB Administrative Law Judge will rule in a hearing on the complaint in January.



Prosecutors who attended GOP election party dismissed from Dallas County DA's office

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins dismissed two prosecutors after they attended a party where Republican candidates and supporters were watching results on Election Day.

But the DA's office on Monday denied that the two were related. "The District Attorney's Office does not comment on personnel matters; however, your information is wrong," Watkins' spokeswoman Jamille Bradfield said in an e-mail. "It is not true that anyone was let go because they attended the Republican election night party."

After a bitter campaign, Watkins narrowly defeated Republican Danny Clancy on Nov. 2 to be elected to a second term. The Republicans, including Clancy, gathered at the Hotel Palomar at Central Expressway and Mockingbird Lane to watch election results come in.

Grau and Nowak declined to comment about their dismissals but both said they are looking for other work. Nowak said he is "hopeful" he will find another job as a prosecutor. Grau, who marked 25 years as a Dallas County prosecutor last week, was the chief prosecutor in one of the felony courts. Grau is eligible for retirement later this month and may be able to take vacation days or sick time until then. Nowak, who joined the district attorney's office in 2005, was a child abuse prosecutor.

Clancy, a defense attorney and former judge and prosecutor, said he was "saddened" by the dismissals. "Dallas County has lost two great prosecutors," Clancy said. "I'm saddened that it appears as though their termination was directly linked to their showing of support for the Republican Party." ....

"She said, 'We all serve at the pleasure of the DA,' and I think that's right," Neerman said. "They're not protected under any kind of civil service" laws.




What Republicans can — and can’t — do about ObamaCare: "So as Republicans celebrate and Democrats pick through the electoral rubble, what can we expect to happen next with health care? The new Republican House majority will undoubtedly schedule a quick vote on repealing the health care law, perhaps as early as January. It will pass the House quite easily; not only will every Republican vote for repeal, but there are still a dozen Democrats in the House who voted no last March. But that is as far as repeal is likely to go.”

The price of power: "The Tea Partiers are demanding drastic change in Washington. They want an immediate end to all wasteful federal spending. Let us all applaud this goal, and then lament its improbability. The fact is, the Republicans will never touch the majority of the federal budget.”

Election opens up a gaping divide: "This year’s tumultuous midterm election cycle cut deeply into the ranks of moderates on Capitol Hill, helping usher in a Congress that scholars say could produce the most partisan voting pattern since the Civil War era. The lack of moderate voices has led to fears that lawmakers will be deadlocked over an array of issues, even though a large swath of voters tell pollsters they want compromise — and progress. ‘It will be increasingly difficult because of the divided nature of Congress and the extreme polarization that exists between the two parties,’ said Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, a leading moderate Democrat who did not seek reelection. ‘There is also a complete lack of tolerance for any deviation from party orthodoxy on both sides.’"

Liberals, conservatives, and libertarians: What’s the difference?: "People sometimes ask what the differences are between liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. The primary differences are moral and philosophical. Libertarians believe that people should be free to live their lives any way they choose, so long as their conduct is peaceful.”

Obama’s radical agenda dead, for now: "Supporters of fiscal responsibility, lower taxes and smaller government have something to celebrate after Tuesday’s GOP landslide. Republicans, who all too often do not fall into the above category, should start worrying. The American people have spoken loud and clear, again, that they want politicians who will stop spending money we don’t have and burdening our grandchildren with insurmountable debt. Americans have been demanding this for decades and the political class just can’t seem to understand.”

Who are the true exploiters?: "Was it the ‘free market’ that exploited Japanese Americans in World War II? Was it ‘capitalism’ that drafted thousands of young men to be sent off to Vietnam, with many to return in body bags? Is it the free market that implements mandatory wage and price controls, takes a third of each American’s income, and leeches money to politically connected corporations? Who is the true exploiter, free markets or government?”

GOP won on economy, so focus on it: "It always feels great to win an election. But the real job for fiscal conservatives and smaller-government advocates starts now.”

TSA is evil AND stupid: "Richard Reed tries to smuggle explosives in his shoes. The TSA, after hundreds of thousands of committee man-hours, finally grinds out a policy requring everyone to take off their shoes …. Someone (maybe) tries to smuggle liquids on planes. Hundreds more committee man-hours …. Someone straps explosives to his leg. … Someone smuggles explosives on a Fed Ex package. … I wonder how long it will be before someone in al Qaeda smuggles explosives onto a plane in his rectum — and deliberately lets himself get caught — so the entire civil aviation system will be effectively shut down by TSA’s new mandatory cavity searches for everyone.”

USDA puts fox in charge of guarding the hen house: "I’ve learned about some troubling new regulations on the livestock industry proposed by the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). GIPSA may not be as sexy a regulator as PCABO or NHTSA, but this is one more example of obscure regulatory agencies run amok. What makes this particular proposal especially problematic is that the GIPSA Administrator, a former trial lawyer named J. Dudley Butler who made his bones suing poultry producers, seems to have intentionally introduced a level of vagueness into the rule that, in his own words, makes it a “plaintiff lawyer’s dream.”

Should Britain rediscover private toll roads?: "One result of the Comprehensive Spending Review is that there are more opportunities for private investment to provide what the government can no longer afford. One project to be cut is a proposed relief road in the Midlands, which was meant to ease pressure on a key artery linking the region with Felixtowe. However, the Department of Transport describes the scheme as unaffordable. Cue a sensible alternative — a private toll road.”

There is a BIG new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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