Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The makeup of the human brain may guide people's political views, according to a recent study

An amusing "spin" put on the findings below: The usual old Leftist attempt to smear conservatives. The brain and its component parts are very complex and associating one of those parts with "fear" is ludicrously simplistic: Rather reminiscent of the old-time phrenologists, in fact. Other research has been interpreted as showing the same area to be associated with greater "sociability", for instance. Take your pick!

Phrenology: "Head reading"

Nonetheless, the report is interesting in that tends to confirm what has long been known from twin studies -- that ideology is highly heritable genetically

Political views may be hard-wired into people, according to a study that suggests those with right-wing views have a larger area of the brain associated with fear.

Scientists have found that people with conservative views have brains with larger amygdalas, almond-shaped areas in the centre of the brain often associated with anxiety and emotions, London's Daily Telegraph reports.

They also have smaller anterior cingulate, an area at the front of the brain associated with courage and looking on the bright side of life, than those from the opposite end of the political spectrum.

The research was carried out by scientists at University College London, who scanned the brains of two members of parliament and 90 students.

The study found that the size of the two areas of the brain related directly to the political views of the volunteers.

However because the volunteers were all adults, it was hard to say whether they had been born that way, or whether their brains had developed through experience.

Geraint Rees, director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, said he was “very surprised” by the finding, which is being peer reviewed before publication next year.

The study was commissioned as a light-hearted experiment by actor Colin Firth while guest editing BBC Radio's Today program, the Press Association reported. But it has now developed into a serious effort to discover whether we are programmed with a particular political view.

Professor Rees said although it was not precise enough to be able to predict someone's stance simply from a scan, there was “a strong correlation that reaches all our scientific tests of significance”.

“The anterior cingulate is a part of the brain that is on the middle surface of the brain at the front and we found that the thickness of the grey matter, where the nerve cells of neurons are, was thicker the more people described themselves as liberal or left wing and thinner the more they described themselves as conservative or right wing,” he told the BBC program.

“The amygdala is a part of the brain which is very old and very ancient and thought to be very primitive and to do with the detection of emotions. The right amygdala was larger in those people who described themselves as conservative.

“It is very significant because it does suggest there is something about political attitudes that are either encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that our brain structure in some way determines or results in our political attitudes.”



Fox News Makes You Stupid?

There is nothing the left believes in more robotically than the stupidity of conservatives. Otherwise, they would not be conservatives. When liberals get routed in an election, they do not question themselves. The first -- and for most, only -- verdict is that the American people were disastrously flooded by a tsunami of stupidity and misinformation.

So it's not surprising that left-wing bloggers would rejoice when they can write the headline "New Study Proves That Fox News Makes You Stupid." That's the Daily Kos headline. According to them, Fox News is "deliberately misinforming their viewers" to help Republicans, who "benefited from the ignorance Fox News helped to proliferate," as voters "based their decisions on demonstrably false information."

The liberal pranksters masquerading as pollsters at the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) are at it again. In a new survey, they claim that those who watched Fox News Channel on a daily basis were significantly more likely to believe in "misinformation." But how is that word defined? Look at the details and you will be floored by the misinformation -- coming from the pollsters themselves.

Here's Exhibit A: Fox viewers were more likely to believe "Among economists who have estimated the effect of the health reform law on the federal budget deficit over the next ten years, more think it will increase the deficit."

That is misinformation? This question is not about facts at all. It's about the opinions of economists looking into a crystal ball, and PIPA's "economists" estimate that herding 35 million uninsured Americans into a new federal entitlement program is going to reduce the deficit. This assertion by liberals that ObamaCare would cut deficits isn't technically a "lie" -- yet. It is merely a patently ridiculous claim that doesn't acknowledge the real world. But somehow, Fox News viewers are tagged as the "misinformed" dummies, because their opinions are grounded in logic.

Here's Exhibit B: Fox viewers were more likely to believe "Most economists who have studied it estimate that the stimulus legislation saved or created a few jobs or caused job losses." Once again, this isn't about facts, but about economists and their estimation. The idea that there is "misinformation" afoot, and it's not about the incredibly nebulous and politicized notion of "saving or creating" jobs -- something so nebulous it can never be factually verified -- shows you the bias of the PIPA pollsters.

Let's go all the way back to the drawing board on this poll. Is it fair -- whether the pollsters are liberals or conservatives -- to expect the American people to identify correctly the estimates made by a panel of economists organized by news editors of The Wall Street Journal? In a random polling sample, how many memorizing Journal subscribers are you going to find?

There is a more serious polling problem here for PIPA. The poll was done from Nov. 6-15, 2010, with a sample size of 848 respondents, for a margin of error of 3.4 percent. Given that an average primetime audience of Fox News is 2.2 million out of a nation of more than 300 million people, that's 0.7 percent. Out of 848 poll respondents, 0.7 percent would give us total of about six Fox viewers. In their own polling breakdown, PIPA says 17 percent said they were almost-daily Fox viewers, or about 145 people. Even that is simply not high enough to test in a serious poll.

That is why this survey wasn't food for the national media, but scraps left for craven bloggers who know nothing about facts and care less about the truth.

Almost every piece of "misinformation" the PIPA people floated to measure how conservatives misunderstood Obama involved blatant spinning about Obama's role in the auto bailout or the TARP program, or how the "stimulus" included tax cuts, or even Obama's birth certificate.

They're not alone in trying to nail Fox. In August 2009, an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll reported 72 percent of self-identified Fox News viewers believed the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79 percent believed it will lead to a government takeover, 69 percent thought it would use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75 percent believed that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.

Sadly for NBC, this "misinformation" is already coming true: On Christmas, The New York Times reported "death panels" are back in the ObamaCare regulations, and we knew by midsummer that states were funding abortions through ObamaCare.

These polls identify the real liberal fear: that someone will trust Fox News to tell them things the liberal media try to crush and bury.



The Case Against the Corporate Tax

As the new Congress gets set to liberate America from the stranglehold of the freshly defeated Red Congress, hopes for change are arising. One is the hope for a lowering of the US corporate tax rate.

This rate is a hefty 35%, second highest among the developed economies of the world. It seems obvious, just considering basic psychology, that lowering the corporate tax will be economically beneficial. It is a truism of behaviorist psychology that if you punish (negatively reinforce) a behavior you get less of it, and if you reward (positively reinforce) a behavior you get more of it. Corporate taxes punish business activity, resulting in less business — great if you are a leftist, but lousy if you are anyone else.

The Heritage Foundation has released the results of a study by economists Karen Campbell and John Ligon that spells out the case for lowering corporate taxes, called The Economic Impact of a 25 Percent Corporate Income Tax Rate. Campbell and Ligon ran a simulation of the economic impact of lowering the corporate tax from 35% to 25%. The results are eye-opening.

Their simulation (which covers the period 2011 to 2020) estimates that under the lower taxes, GDP would grow by an extra $132 billion annually, creating over 530,000 new private-sector jobs per year. The average family of four would see its after-tax yearly income go up by nearly $2,500. Gross private investment would rise by over $57 billion annually, and foreign assets in the US would rise by 4% annually. American capital stock would grow by $240 billion more a year, and real after-tax corporate profits would increase by an average of $124 billion a year over the current projected levels.

Notwithstanding all this, it is questionable whether Obama will ever allow a drop in corporate tax rates. He is instinctively anti-business, and although the economic case is compelling, he is the most economically ignorant president in recent history.



Rewarding Misbehavior with Presidential Nominations

By Hans A. von Spakovsky

So how does President Obama treat a political appointee who may have helped suborn perjury, obstruct an investigation, and make law enforcement decisions based on politics? By nominating him to a higher (but equally sensitive) political job, of course. Instead of being asked some tough questions, Leon Rodriguez is on track to be the administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Rodriguez is no stranger to controversy. He is the former county attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland, where, according to the Washington Post [1], he was accused in 2008 of authorizing the search of the computer and phone records of a council member and her senior legislative aide without their permission. Prior to that, he served from 1997 to 2001 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh, where he functioned as the chief of staff for the U.S. Attorney appointed by Bill Clinton, Harry Litman....

What is even more damaging is Rodriguez’s violations of basic rules of professional conduct, including the possible involvement and assistance with the perjury of his boss, Thomas Perez. As a former county counsel in Maryland, Rodriguez is presumably licensed as an attorney in that state. Rule 3.3 of the Maryland Lawyer’s Rules of Professional Conduct (as well as the bar rules of all states) requires candor towards a tribunal, which includes not making false statements of fact or law, or failing to correct a false statement of material fact or law. Rodriguez did not testify before the Civil Rights Commission, but his boss Perez did, and the subsequent testimony of other witnesses strongly suggests that Perez knowingly lied in his testimony.

Much more HERE



Health plans for high-risk patients lag: "President Obama’s administration and states are stepping up their efforts to motivate people to buy government-sponsored health plans for high-risk patients, as the new program continues to attract only a fraction of the projected customers. At the same time, since the high-risk insurance pools began in late summer and early fall, the medical bills have been much higher than anticipated in a few states, raising the question of whether the $5 billion that Congress has allocated for the program could run out even if relatively few people join."

DE: Judge says cops can’t track with GPS: "In what may set a Delaware precedent, a Superior Court judge has gutted a criminal case against a Newark man who was pulled over with 10 pounds of marijuana because police used a GPS tracking device without a warrant to follow him for nearly a month."

Government should not be in the business of preventing price gouging: "Changes in price are important for allocating scarce resources. This is why the price for plywood increases during hurricanes — individuals living in disaster-ridden areas have a higher demand for plywood than, say, a person building a treehouse elsewhere in the country. Because the former individual has a more critical need for the resource, he or she is willing to pay more for it. Those who think that the price has grown too high will refrain from buying the product, which leaves more available to be purchased by those with a higher willingness to buy."

Effectiveness of airport scanners questioned: "The full-body scanners in use at 78 US airports can detect small amounts of contraband and hidden weapons, all while producing controversial images of travelers. … finding small amounts of marijuana wrapped in baggies, other drugs stitched inside underwear, and ceramic knives concealed in shirt pockets. But the machines could miss something far more deadly: explosive material taped to someone’s abdomen or hidden inside a cavity.”

NASA’s Ares rocket dead, but Congress lets you pay $500 million more for it: "Thanks to congressional inaction, NASA must continue to fund its defunct Ares I rocket program until March — a requirement that will cost the agency nearly $500 million at a time when NASA is struggling with the expensive task of replacing the space shuttle. About one-third that money — $165 million — will go to Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, which has a $2 billion contract to build the solid-rocket first stage for the Ares I, the rocket that was supposed to fill the shuttle’s role of transporting astronauts to the International Space Station.”

No Israeli apology for responding to an attack on its troops: "Netanyahu said that while Turkey wanted an apology for the Mavi Marmara attack, "we – of course – don't want to apologize." He said that Israel was willing to express regret for the loss of life, as it already had done. But, he said, Israel wanted to protect its soldiers and officers who have been accused of war crimes and could be arrested around the world. For that reason, he said, Israel sought Turkish recognition that Israel did not act out of malice, and that the soldiers acted out of self defense."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


1 comment:

Joseph said...

Why should we take a a study seriously when it had only two adult experimental subjects?