Saturday, July 23, 2011

More evidence that high IQ is just one aspect of general biological good functioning

Since the studies by Terman & Oden in the 1920s it has been known that, although not all high IQ people are healthy, most are. They have fewer health problems and live longer. And IQ is the main determinant of educational success, so the findings below are as expected. Kids born with indications of poor health have lower IQs so do less well at school

A health test given to babies minutes after they are born could reveal how well they will do in secondary school, it has been claimed. A study of 877,000 Swedish teenagers compared school exam results with their Apgar scores after birth.

The Apgar is a test which rates the newborn's health on a scale of one to ten and how much medical attention the child needs.

Researchers found a link between an Apgar score of below seven and lower intelligence in later life.

Dr. Andrea Stuart, an obstetrician at Central Hospital in Helsingborg, Sweden, told Msnbc: 'It is not the Apgar score in itself that leads to lower cognitive abilities. 'It is the reasons leading to a low Apgar score (including asphyxiation, preterm delivery, maternal drug use, infections) that might have an impact on future brain function.'

The study appears in next month's issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The Apgar test is given between one and five minutes after birth. It evaluates an infant's heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, skin colour and reflex irritability (sneezing or coughing) on a scale of one to ten. Scores of eight and above are considered to be signs of good health. The test was developed by Dr Virginia Apgar in 1952 and has been a simple and effective way of testing a baby's health since.

Researchers also made the point that only one in 44 newborns with a low Apgar score went on to need special education, so mothers of babies who had low scores did not have cause for concern.

Dr Richard Polin, director of neonatology at Columbia University Medical Center and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn, said: 'Most babies who have Apgar scores of seven or less do perfectly fine.'



Is Obama's skin color now all that he's got going for him?

President Obama's job approval score sank to nearly 40 percent this week in the midst of a budget and debt-limit crisis that threatens to further weaken our economy and America's future.

With the nation's capital embroiled in a political standoff over how to deal with a looming $15 trillion debt and a line of trillion-dollar-plus deficits stretching as far as the eye can see, the president's prospects of winning a second term are extremely problematic at best.

The Gallup Poll reported that its daily tracking poll Wednesday showed Obama's job approval numbers have fallen further in the budget battle, with only 42 percent approving of the job he's doing and 48 percent expressing disapproval.

"This is the sixth straight quarter Obama has received less than majority approval. As a result, his average job approval rating has been below 50 percent for more of his presidency than it has not," Gallup said.

As a satisfactory solution to the government's crisis grows more remote with each passing day, Obama's problems are piling up faster than his excuses.

Three-fourths of Americans polled by Gallup this month said the economy was their top concern, including rising unemployment and meager job creation, and the unprecedented deficits and debt that will worsen between now and the 2012 presidential election.

Obama is getting pounded almost daily by an unending string of bad economic news. Major financial credit agencies are preparing to downgrade our country's AAA bond rating, which would drive up the cost of future borrowing, along with other interest rates for home mortgages, credit cards, college and business loans, and just about everything else. Economists said it would be the same as imposing higher taxes on every sector of our economy.

If you think last month's 9.2 percent unemployment rate was bad, brace yourself. The jobless rate will likely climb higher in the months to come, according to new economic data.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new claims for unemployment benefits shot up more than economic forecasters expected last week. Initial claims rose by more than 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 418,000, showing that declining job creation remains a severe problem in the Obama economy. And it's only going to get worse.

"Over the next decade, the picture is even less rosy, because Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tells us the economy is likely only to grow at its present slow pace for many years," University of Maryland economist Peter Morici writes in his analysis this week.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that "companies are laying off employees at a level not seen in nearly a year, hobbling the job market and intensifying fears about the pace of the economic recovery. ... The increase in layoffs is a key reason why the U.S. recorded an average of only 21,500 new jobs over the past two months, far below the level needed to bring down unemployment."

As for dealing with the government's burgeoning debts, most if not all of the pending proposals to cut spending and shrink the deficit would postpone the heavy lifting much later in this decade for future Congresses that could reverse course.

Even if the House-passed constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget (which I support) were to be adopted by Congress (though it is presumed dead in the Senate), it would likely take years to win three-fourths of the states needed for ratification.

Obama is changing or abandoning his positions and political strategies almost weekly as he erratically bobs and weaves his way through the crisis without a consistent strategy.

He began the debt battle by demanding that he be sent a clean bill raising the debt ceiling, without any spending curbs. Democrats who ran the last Congress with huge majorities never adopted a budget of their own, and without a bit of complaint from the president. His tax-and-spend budget proposals in February made no serious dent in the deficits.

Then, as Republican leaders escalated their demands for deep spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit and weekly polls showed growing voter concern about the deficits and debt, Obama suddenly turned into a born-again budget cutter. He appeared to talk tough at George Washington University in April, but never offered a specific budget proposal.

When there was talk in Congress about a limited debt-limit bill of a few months at most, Obama said he would veto any short-term bill. It was all or nothing, he huffed.

His theatrical threat disappeared into hot air Wednesday when he said he was now open to a short-term deal to give both sides time to work out a comprehensive deal.

A president who lurches one way and then lunges another, tossing out empty political threats and pronouncements, only to retreat from them when he finds himself in a hole, isn't a leader.

He's the artful dodger, trying this and then that in the hope that something will work in the absence of a well-thought-out plan of action.

A new Washington Post-ABC News found that a full 80 percent of Americans now disapprove of the way the government is working. No, make that, the way it ISN'T working.



Too much of a good thing can be bad

Life has many good things. The problem is that most of these good things can be gotten only by sacrificing other good things. We all recognize this in our daily lives. It is only in politics that this simple, common sense fact is routinely ignored.

In politics, there are not simply good things but some special Good Things – with a capital G and capital T – which are considered always better to have more of.

Many of the things advocated by environmental extremists, for example, are things that most of us might think of as good things. But, in politics, they become Good Things whose repercussions and costs are brushed aside as unworthy considerations.

Nobody wants to breathe dirty air or drink dirty water. But, if either becomes 98 percent pure, 99 percent pure or 99.9 percent pure, there is some point beyond which the costs skyrocket and the benefits become meager or non-existent.

If the slightest trace of any impurity were fatal, the human race would have become extinct thousands of years ago.

Not only does the body have defenses to neutralize small amounts of some impurities, some things that are dangerous, or even fatal, in substantial amounts can become harmless or even beneficial in extremely minute amounts, arsenic being one example. As an old adage put it: "It is the dose that makes the poison."

In other words, removing arsenic from our drinking water should obviously be a very high priority – but not after we have gotten it down to some extremely minute trace. There is never going to be 100 percent clean water or air and, the closer we get to that, the more costly it is to remove extremely minute traces of anything. But none of this matters to those who see ever higher standards of "clean water" or "clean air" as a Good Thing.

One of the things that have ruined our economy is the notion that both Democrats and Republicans in Washington pushed for years, that a higher rate of home ownership is a Good Thing.

There is no question that there are benefits to home ownership. And there should be no question that there are costs as well. But costs get lost in the shuffle.

Among the things that Washington politicians of both parties did for years was come up with more and more laws, rules and pressures on private lenders to lower the qualifications standards required for people to get a mortgage to buy a home.

It was a full-court press from Congressional legislation to regulations and policies created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Reserve, not to mention the buying of the resulting risky mortgages by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from the original lenders – and even threats of prosecution by the Department of Justice if the racial mixture of people who were approved for mortgages didn't match their expectations.

The media chimed in with expressions of outrage when data showed that black applicants for mortgage loans were turned down more often than white applicants. Seldom was it even mentioned that white applicants were turned down more often than Asian American applicants.

Nor was it mentioned that white applicants averaged higher credit ratings than black applicants, and Asian American applicants averaged higher credit ratings than white applicants – or that black applicants were turned down at least as often by black-owned banks as by white-owned banks.

Such distracting details would have spoiled the story that racial discrimination was the reason why some people did not get the Good Thing of home ownership as often as others.

Even after the risky mortgages that were made under government pressure led to huge bankruptcies and bailouts, as well as disasters for home owners in general and black home owners in particular, home ownership remains a Good Thing. The Justice Department is again threatening lenders who don't lower their standards to let more minority applicants get mortgage loans.

Higher miles per gallon for cars is a Good Thing in politics, even if it leads to cars too lightly built to protect occupants when there is a crash. More students going to college is another Good Thing, even if lowering standards to get them admitted results in lower educational quality for others.

Too much of a Good Thing is bad.




US loses $1.3 billion in exiting Chrysler: "U.S. taxpayers likely lost $1.3 billion in the government bailout of Chrysler, the Treasury Department announced Thursday. The government recently sold its remaining 6% stake in the company to Italian automaker Fiat. It wrapped up the 2009 bailout that was part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program six years early."

Marine to get Medal of Honor for Afghanistan actions: "A Marine who braved enemy fire alone to retrieve the bodies of his fallen comrades will be awarded the Medal of Honor, Marine Corps Times reports. Dakota Meyer, who now lives in Austin, Texas, will be the first living Marine to receive the nation's highest military honor since the Vietnam War. Two living Army soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry and Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, have received the medal in the past year."

Democrats deny obvious successes of privatization: "To be a Democrat means to live in denial. Consider all of the things you must ignore or explain away: PIGS. Not the chauvinist pigs whose transgressions preoccupied 1970s feminists, but PIGS as in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain -- nations facing sovereign debt crises because they pursued exactly the sort of policies Democrats favor for this country."

The EU’s CAP on prosperity: "European farmers are assured of their livelihood by the generous subsidies that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) provides. This causes major inefficiencies, but that isn't the only problem. The attempt to unsustainably keep European farming alive prevents poorer farmers from selling profitably in the EU, which contributes to squalor in the poorest nations in the world. Despite efforts to gradually reduce these lethal subsidies, the direct consequences will be apparent for many years to come."


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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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