Friday, May 31, 2013

A great story

A Jewish man who gambles on the neddies!  From my ingrained Presbyterian perspective I would have thought Jews had more sense than that.  On the other hand I suppose there are ways in which life is a gamble for Jews.

Anyway, this is no ordinary Jew.  He is Stephen Pollard, Editor of the [British] Jewish Chronicle and a conservative. He spotted some good odds on a horse race and made an "investment", thus earning himself many hours of pleasant anticipation.

BUT: The bookie (gambling firm) he deals with tried to shaft him, reducing his odds from the previously agreed figure, which their small print allows them to do.

Pollard did not cave in.  He sent several polite emails and letters to the bookies concerned (William Hill) -- but got nowhere.  So he took to Twitter and the rest is history.  I found it a very entertaining read.  Find it here.  I think that anybody who has been pushed around by large uncaring organizations (All of us?) will be grateful to Pollard for teaching one of them a condign lesson.


People with high IQs really DO see the world differently: Researchers find they process sensory information differently

People with high IQ scores aren't just more intelligent - they also process sensory information differently, according to new study.

Scientists discovered that the brains of people with high IQ are automatically more selective when it comes to perceiving moving objects, meaning that they are more likely to suppress larger and less relevant background motion.

‘It is not that people with high IQ are simply better at visual perception,’ said Duje Tadin of the University of Rochester. ‘Instead, their visual perception is more discriminating.'
Scientists discovered that the brains of people with high IQ are automatically more selective when it comes to perceiving objects in motion meaning that they are specifically more likely to suppress larger and less relevant background motion.

Scientists discovered that the brains of people with high IQ are more selective when perceiving objects in motion, meaning that they are more likely to ignore larger and less relevant background motion

'They excel at seeing small, moving objects but struggle in perceiving large, background-like motions.’

The discovery was made by asking people to watch videos showing moving bars on a computer screen.

Their task was to state whether the bars were moving to the left or to the right.

The researchers measured how long the video had to run before the individual could correctly perceive the motion.

The results show that individuals with high IQ can pick up on the movement of small objects faster than low-IQ individuals can.

'That wasn't unexpected, Tadin says.  The surprise came when tests with larger objects showed just the opposite: individuals with high IQ were slower to see what was right there in front of them.

‘There is something about the brains of high-IQ individuals that prevents them from quickly seeing large, background-like motions,’ Tadin added.

In other words, it isn't a conscious strategy but rather something automatic and fundamentally different about the way these people's brains work.

The ability to block out distraction is very useful in a world filled with more information than we can possibly take in. It helps to explain what makes some brains more efficient than others. An efficient brain 'has to be picky' Tadin said.

The findings were reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.



More light on Letters of Intimidation to Tea Party Groups from  IRS -- pressure continued into 2012

By Jay Sekulow of ACLJ

We now know that Lois Lerner, the Director of Exempt Organizations for the Internal Revenue Service - who refused to testify before a House committee by invoking the Fifth Amendment - has a paper trail that reveals her direct involvement in sending intrusive and harassing questionnaires to Tea Party groups in 2012.

As you know, we represented 27 Tea Party organizations in 17 states. Of those, 15 received their tax-exempt status after lengthy delays, 10 are still pending, and two clients withdrew their applications because of frustration with the IRS process.

Consider the timeline. We now know through her own testimony and from the Inspector General's report that Lerner was briefed about this unlawful targeting scheme in June 2011. But nine months later, beginning in March 2012, she sent cover letters to many of our clients - demanding additional information and forwarding intrusive questionnaires. In fact, in March and April of 2012, Lerner sent 15 letters to 15 different clients (including those who were approved after lengthy delays and those who are still pending).

This letter dated March 16, 2012 sent to the Ohio Liberty Council is representative of the other letters that Lerner sent to our clients. This letter, posted here, was sent on letterhead out of the IRS office in Cincinnati. The cover letter bears Lerner's signature, who runs the Exempt Organizations division out of the Washington, DC office. It includes more invasive and improper questions about membership of the group and demands information about all public events conducted or planned for the future. And it specifically requested information about the organization's website, Facebook page, and other social media outlets.

In testimony before a House committee yesterday, before invoking the Fifth Amendment, Lerner proclaimed her innocence. “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other committee.”

After making that proclamation, she then refused to answer questions. No questions. Not one. Members of Congress and the American people want to know about her involvement and why this was permitted to continue. Now comes reports that Lerner has been placed on administrative leave and that Representative Issa plans to call her back before the House oversight committee.

It's extremely troubling that it has taken this long for Lerner to be removed from the top exempt position at the IRS. Instead of being placed on administrative leave, she should have been fired.

We're encouraged by Representative Issa's decision to recall her before his committee. There are many questions that Lerner needs to answer - not the least of which is this one: Why did you send letters under your name to Tea Party organizations demanding additional intrusive information in March 2012 - nine months after you were told about this improper scheme and promised to correct it?

The timing of her letters coincide with the appearance of former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman before Congress in March 2012 who testified that no such targeting scheme existed.

It appears Lerner did nothing to stop the abusive conduct. And our evidence suggests she was actively participating in the improper targeting in March 2012. In fact, she appears to have been quite active with her inquisition.

We are now finalizing our lawsuit against the IRS which will be filed next week in federal court in Washington, DC. We continue to add plaintiffs to this complaint. We truly believe that suing the IRS is the only way this unlawful abuse will stop and the only way we will find out the role of Lois Lerner and others in this widening scandal.



Liberals: Killing with Kindness and Never Having to Say You're Sorry


The other day, thanks to PBS, I had an epiphany about today's liberalism. I had long sensed liberalism's pathologies and the brief PBS segment instantly connected dozens of heretofore unconnected dots for an instant Eureka!!

The news story depicted a free food program in down market East Palo Alto, California. Viewers saw people eating free maple syrup-drenched waffles, scrambled eggs and other goodies while the narrator bemoaned that while this free food program had attracted some participants, others remained unaware.

What immediately struck me was, as far as I could tell, every beneficiaries was over-weight, several 350 pounds plus. The voice-over narrative should have continued with how these gourmands would be a tax-burden given the likelihood that these free food recipients would be unable to pay their own medical bills.

Now for the epiphany-this PBS filmed feeding fest is the template for dozens of other liberal "help the poor" schemes. In a nutshell, (1) do something to please recipients; (2) ensure that the generosity makes the donor feel good; and (3) but ignore any harm to the recipient while leaving untouched the donor's sense of righteousness. Everybody now feels good and matters will, guaranteed, deteriorate.

Another example is the liberal quest to granting everybody a high school diploma, if not a college degree. Again, while recipients will love the "gift," achieving it requires lower academic standards, easy courses, occasional teacher cheating, ignoring troublesome behavior (e.g., skipping classes) and otherwise diluting the significance of being "a graduate."

The upshot, of course, is that the recipient only secures a worthless piece of paper. Again, happiness is momentary but the harm is long-term.

Or consider "helping" the poor by forcing potential employers to hire them regardless of criminal background, spotty work history or slovenly appearances (among multiple other deficiencies). Yes, to them  this may seem like a boost up the economic ladder, but employers are more likely to react by moving away from these iffy job applicants, mechanizing the tasks or send the work overseas. After all, you cannot compel businesses to commit suicide in the name of helping the hopelessly unemployable.

Other examples abound but the common element is inflicting harm under the guise of helpfulness.



Homosexual assaults already rife in the military

More military men than women are sexually abused in the ranks each year, a Pentagon survey shows, highlighting the underreporting of male-on-male assaults.

When the Defense Department released the results of its anonymous sexual abuse survey this month and concluded that 26,000 service members were victims in fiscal 2012, which ended Sept. 30, an automatic assumption was that most were women. But roughly 14,000 of the victims were male and 12,000 female, according to a scientific survey sample produced by the Pentagon.

The statistics show that, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel begins a campaign to stamp out “unwanted sexual contact,” there are two sets of victims that must be addressed.

“It appears that the DOD has serious problems with male-on-male sexual assaults that men are not reporting and the Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about,” Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness. She noted that only 2 percent of assailants are women.

The assault office “recognizes the challenges male survivors face and has reached out to organizations supporting male survivors for assistance and information to help inform our way ahead,” Ms. Smith said. “A focus of our prevention efforts over the next several months is specifically geared toward male survivors and will include why male survivors report at much lower rates than female survivors, and determining the unique support and assistance male survivors need.”

She said the department has included information on male victims on the “DOD Safe Helpline,” which connects them to trained professionals.

“Together, everyone in this department at every level of command will continue to work together every day to establish an environment of dignity and respect, where sexual assault is not tolerated, condoned or ignored, where there is clear accountability placed on all leaders at every level,” Ms. Smith said.

The Pentagon’s 1,400-page annual report came with two basic sets of data: official reports of sex crimes and a scientific survey sample of the 1.4 million active force from which the department extrapolated the number of abuses, regardless of whether they were officially reported.

Data showed 2,949 reports of abuse against a service member last year compared with 1,275 in 2004. The vast majority of victims (88 percent) were female — a statistic that tells the Pentagon that male victims (12 percent) do not come forward at the same rate.

Subjects of investigations are almost always men (90 percent), compared with women (2 percent) — a statistic indicating that male victims are assaulted by other men.

The survey determined that 26,000 service members were victims of sexual assault last year, based on the 6.1 percent of female and 1.2 percent of male respondents who claimed to have suffered such abuse. With an active-duty force of 200,000 women and 1.2 million men, that amounts to roughly 12,000 female victims and 14,000 male victims.

“The [Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Office] continues to focus its attention on women who experience abuse but don’t report it, overlooking the far greater numbers of men who, according to the survey, are experiencing abuse but not reporting it,” said Mrs. Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness.

“If the Pentagon considers the survey results a credible reflection of hidden reality, they must also concede that there are more men than women who are being sexually assaulted,” she said.

Mrs. Donnelly fought President Obama’s decision to lift the ban on open gays in the ranks, which took effect in September 2011. She also opposes plans to open direct ground combat jobs to women, saying it will import the sexual abuse problem into the combat ranks.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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)


No comments: