Monday, August 06, 2012

Picture gallery

Every six months or so I put up a picture gallery consisting of what I think are the "best" pictures that have appeared on my various blogs. The January to June, 2012 gallery is accessible here.


Ron Unz and IQ

I seem to be a consistent critic of Ron Unz, editor of "The American Conservative". I noted yesterday (and earlier) that his idea of low criminality among Hispanics is contradicted by Obama's deportation statistics and I also took a few potshots at his theory that IQ differences between nations are mostly the effect of environmental factors.

So I am pleased that Richard Lynn has now given a systematic reply to Unz on the IQ question. Lynn echoes some of the points I made (and I did get an email from Lynn saying he liked my article) but his reply is far more detailed and scholarly and, I think, a good reply to Unz's claims.

Unz has replied to Lynn and it looks to me that the two sides are converging, with the differences being in matters of degree. Both parties agree that the environment has some influence but Lynn makes a strong case for the importance of genetics.


Could a brain scan tell you how smart you are? Research shows intelligence linked to strength of neural connections

More evidence that IQ is genetically determined. We are now getting an idea of the specific mechanisms involved

Research suggests that 10 per cent of individual differences in intelligence can be explained by the strength of neural pathways connecting the left lateral prefrontal cortex to the rest of the brain.

The findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, establish 'global brain connectivity' as a new approach for understanding how human intelligence relates to physiology.

'Our research shows that connectivity with a particular part of the prefrontal cortex can predict how intelligent someone is,' said Michael Cole, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in cognitive neuroscience at Washington University and lead author of the study.

He says the research is the first to provide compelling evidence that neural connections between the lateral prefrontal cortex and the rest of the brain make a unique and powerful contribution to the cognitive processing underlying human intelligence.

'This study suggests that part of what it means to be intelligent is having a lateral prefrontal cortex that does its job well; and part of what that means is that it can effectively communicate with the rest of the brain,' added study co-author Todd Braver, PhD, professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences and of neuroscience and radiology in the School of Medicine.

One possible explanation of the findings, the research team suggests, is that the lateral prefrontal region is a 'flexible hub' that uses its connectivity to monitor and influence other brain regions.

'There is evidence that the lateral prefrontal cortex is the brain region that "remembers" the goals and instructions that help you keep doing what is needed when you're working on a task,' said Prof Cole. 'So it makes sense that having this region communicating effectively with other regions (the "perceivers" and "doers" of the brain) would help you to accomplish tasks intelligently.'

While other regions of the brain make their own special contribution to cognitive processing, it is the lateral prefrontal cortex that helps coordinate these processes and maintain focus on the task at hand. This happens in much the same way that the conductor of a symphony monitors and tweaks the real-time performance of an orchestra.

The findings are based on an analysis of functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) brain images captured as study participants rested passively and also when they were engaged in a series of mentally challenging tasks associated with fluid intelligence, such as indicating whether a currently displayed image was the same as one displayed three images ago.

Previous findings relating lateral prefrontal cortex activity to challenging task performance were supported. Connectivity was then assessed while participants rested, and their performance on additional tests of fluid intelligence and cognitive control collected outside the brain scanner was associated with the estimated connectivity.

Results indicate that levels of global brain connectivity with a part of the left lateral prefrontal cortex serve as a strong predictor of both fluid intelligence and cognitive control abilities.



Another revealing admission of Leftist motivations

I don't think Leftists realize how arrogant they sound sometimes. Obama is on record as wanting to "fundamentally reshape" the American economy -- something he has certainly done, though not in a way that many would praise -- and we read below something very similar from Kevin Rudd, a past Prime Minister of Australia who could well be getting his job back soon as his Leftist rivals falter. There are no fixed terms for Australian Prime Ministers.

In reading Leftist admissions of wanting to "reshape" countries conservatives ask: What if the people don't want the shape the Leftist wants? What about letting the people shape their nation by their own individual actions and choices? This idea that a "shape" can be imposed from on high is pure Fascism

He is not supposed to be talking about a comeback, but former prime minister Kevin Rudd has given an interview in which he opens up about wanting to shape Australia's future well into the next decade.

Mr Rudd, who unsuccessfully challenged Julia Gillard for the Labor leadership in February, has told the Australian Women's Weekly that shaping the nation - which is somewhat difficult to do from the backbench - is "part of who I am, and you gotta be who you are".

Asked directly whether he wanted an ongoing role for himself, Mr Rudd said: "Oh definitely, it's just who I am. You gotta be who you are."

He was quick to say that "the position you occupy in life is less important". "What's more important is being involved directly in shaping the nation's future, to the extent that you can," he said.



Obama's reliance on ignorance

Calculated Deception. That is the central theme of the Obama campaign. Calculated Deception is the term I use for Obama's rhetorical practice of trying to take advantage of what he calculates the average person does not know, and his party-controlled, so-called mainstream media won't report. And that can be seen over and over in the Obama campaign.

In Monday's Wall Street Journal, Edward Lazear, former Bush chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, notes, "A graph titled 'Private Sector Job Creation' on the Obama-Biden campaign website... announces proudly that 4.4 million private sector jobs have been created over the past 28 months." But that factoid is meaningless out of any context, more like a pediatrician boasting to you that under his care your 16-year-old son has grown to 4 feet 4 inches. At the same point during the Reagan recovery, the economy had created 9.5 million new jobs.

Moreover, Lazear correctly adds, "there hasn't been one day during the entire Obama presidency when as many Americans were working as on the day President Bush left office." That's right, contrary to the Obama campaign's misleading claim of 4.4 million new jobs created, total jobs today are still half a million less than in January 2009 when Obama entered office.

Lazear continues, "Moreover, the unemployment rate, which we were told would not exceed 8% if we enacted Mr. Obama's stimulus package...has never fallen below 8% during his presidency. The rate has averaged 9.2% since February 2009." In sharp contrast, after Bush's tax rate cuts were all fully implemented in 2003, the economy created 7.8 million new jobs over the next 4 years and the unemployment rate fell from over 6% to 4.4%. We won't see that again until Obama is out of office.

President Obama and his chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Alan Krueger, brag that private sector jobs have now grown for "28 straight months." Obama and Krueger apparently think most Americans do not know that job growth is the norm and not the exception for the American economy. In the 62 years from January 1946, after World War II, until January 2008, jobs grew in 86% of the months, or 640 out of 744. Reagan's recovery produced job growth in 81 out of its first 82 months, with 20 million new jobs created over those 7 years, increasing the civilian workforce at the time by 20%. Even George W. Bush oversaw 52 consecutive months of job growth, including nearly 8 million new jobs created after his 2003 capital gains and dividends tax rate cuts became effective (which Obama is dedicated to reversing).

The relevant streak of Obamanomics was extended in the June jobs report. That report established that under President Obama America has suffered 41 straight months of unemployment over 8%, which the Joint Economic Committee of Congress confirms is the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression almost 75 years ago. Indeed, the last time before Obama unemployment was even over 8% was December 1983, when Reaganomics was bringing it down from the Keynesian fiasco of the 1970s. It didn't climb back above that level for 25 years, a generation, which is a measure of the spectacular success of Reaganomics.

But Krueger tells us about that June jobs report, "It is important not to read too much into any one monthly report." The Obama Administration, however, has said the exact same thing for each of the last 30 months, as documented July 6 by Bryan Preston for PJMedia.

President Obama keeps telling us his economic program should be judged by comparison to the worst of the recession. Look, we have turned the corner, he says, and the economy has started growing again, just like your teenage son. But the correct comparison is to prior recoveries from past recessions. As Lazear explained, "Yet we know that all recessions end and that labor markets recover eventually. What distinguishes this labor-market recovery is not that jobs are finally being created but rather the growth rate is so slow that it will be 2016 before we return to pre-recession employment levels." Obama is campaigning as if he were certain that a majority of Americans do not know that all recessions end and that labor markets recover eventually.

American recessions since the Great Depression previously have lasted an average of 10 months, with the longest at 16 months. But this latest recession began in December 2007. The June labor report showed that the most commonly cited U3 unemployment rate remains stuck at 8.2%, with the number of unemployed Americans actually rising over the last 3 months by 76,000, 54 months after the recession started, and 3 years after it was supposedly over, the longest period of unemployment that high since the Great Depression.

Barack Obama knows that history, even though he is sure a majority of you don't. That is why he was confident enough to tell Matt Lauer and the nation in February 2009 regarding economic recovery: "If I don't have that done in three years, then this is going to be a one-term proposition." And it is why the Administration so confidently labeled the summer of 2010 "Recovery Summer," as by historical standards the recovery was already way overdue by then.

Obama's tragic jobs record reflects the dismal economic growth under his administration's throwback, Keynesian economic policies. For all of last year, the economy grew by a paltry real rate of 1.7%, only about half America's long-term trend. The average so far this year has been no better. That dismal growth is further reflected in the Census Bureau reports of falling real wages under Obama, kicking median family income back over 10 years, with more Americans in poverty today than at any time in the more than 50 years that Census has been tracking poverty.

In sharp contrast, in the second year of Reagan's recovery, the economy boomed by a real rate of 6.8%, the highest in 50 years. Real per capita disposable income increased by 18% from 1982 to 1989, meaning the American standard of living increased by almost 20% in those first 7 years of the Reagan boom alone. The poverty rate, which had started increasing during the Carter years, declined every year from 1984 to 1989, dropping by one-sixth from its peak. That is the proper comparison for Obama's economic performance.




Part of a large vote against homosexual "marriage": "Thousands flocked to local Chick-fil-A restaurants to show support for owner Dan Cathy’s controversial statements on same-sex marriage. Cathy’s statements have been the focus of many media groups leading up to the unofficial establishment of Chick-fil-A appreciation day Wednesday by former Arkansas Gov. and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. In Shreveport, so many customers came out to support the privately owned fast-food establishment that the Chick-fil-A on Youree Drive was forced to close its doors just after 5 p.m. for lack of chicken. The Chick-fil-A on Airline Drive in Bossier City also had incredible business but managed not to sell out, as folks waited 30 minutes or longer to get their nuggets. Even Bossier City police were on hand to direct traffic as the drive-through lane stretched past neighboring businesses and bridged several parking lots."

NY: Activists push city to be first in US to prohibit use of drones: "The City of Buffalo has a chance to be the first in the country to ban Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, also known as drones. A group of activists and community leaders came to City Hall on Tuesday to have their say in front of the Common Council Legislation Committee. 'You guys have an opportunity to make Buffalo the first drone-free city in the United States, and I hope you take that seriously,' John Washington of Occupy Buffalo told lawmakers." (08/01/12)

CA: San Bernardino files for bankruptcy: "A California city filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, the third in the Golden State to do so in recent weeks, stoking experts' concerns that other cities could follow suit. The city of San Bernardino, with more than 200,000 residents on the eastern tip of greater Los Angeles, 'filed an emergency petition for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy' with a regional U.S. bankruptcy court, according to a news release from the city's interim manager."

We need separation of medicine and state: "The federal government, in general, and the Food and Drug Administration, in particular, increasingly inject themselves into direct control of every medical practice. The FDA is aggressively moving past its sole jurisdiction over the approval of every medication and all medical equipment. It now seeks control of perhaps every procedure and treatment that your physician recommends. The FDA issued a warning (i.e., threat) about the use of venal catheters as a result of a physician conducting a clinical trial for treatment of multiple sclerosis. After approving the safety and efficacy of the device, the FDA now requires that it approve every use by individual physicians"

No taxation without respiration!: "This week, the House of Representatives will take up a tax extenders package to prevent the Bush tax cuts of ’01 and ’03 from expiring at the end of the year. Earlier this month, C4L called on the House Ways & Means Committee to include full repeal of the estate tax (AKA -- the death tax) in their tax package."

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


My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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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)


1 comment:

New Family Bureau said...

Working classes 'have lower IQs' (BBC)

A bare basics report from BBC; at least they admitted there is a row.