Thursday, September 18, 2014
Confirmed: You can tell someone’s politics by their body odor
This is less weird than it seems. There is now heaps of evidence that ideology is strongly heritable genetically so conservatives and liberals are physically different, probably in the old brain. In my view Leftists are people who have been born miserable. But if the two groups are physically different in one way, they may well differ physically in other ways
A new study in the American Journal of Political Science from Brown’s Rose McDermott, Harvard’s Dustin Tingley, and Penn State’s Peter K. Hatemi has found preliminary evidence that people are more attracted to the body odors of others with similar political beliefs. In the study, participants rated the attractiveness of vials of body odors obtained from “strong liberals” and “strong conservatives” on a five-point scale. The participants had no prior knowledge of which vial belonged to which partisan armpit.
Some participants had particularly strong reactions to the vials, as the paper explains:
"In one particularly illustrative case, a participant asked the experimenter if she could take one of the vials home with her because she thought it was ‘the best perfume I ever smelled’; the vial was from a male who shared an ideology similar to the evaluator. She was preceded by another respondent with an ideology opposite to the person who provided the exact same sample; this participant reported that the vial had ‘gone rancid’ and suggested it needed to be replaced.
WaPo describes the nuts and bolts of the study. Get a bunch of people to fill out a political questionnaire, then have them wear pads under their arms for 24 hours. Get another bunch of people, have them fill out the political questionnaire, then give each of them a snoutful of those musky pads. Result: A “small but significant” correlation between how pleasant the smeller finds the smell and how ideologically similar the source of the smell is to the smeller, i.e. liberals smell better to liberals and conservatives smell better to conservatives. Which makes sense, as there’s a fairly strong evolutionary reason to pair up with someone who shares your political beliefs: A household where mom and dad agree on the big stuff like religion and politics is more likely to be a tranquil household, and a tranquil household is better for the offspring who are responsible for passing along mom’s and dad’s genes."
Makes me wonder, though, when and why we evolved the ability to sniff out politics. It’s useful as a first-blush mate-screening mechanism, I guess, but it’s surely not foolproof. Talking politics with a love interest must be a better way to weed out the conservative wheat from the liberal chaff (or vice versa, for our liberal readers) than giving them a good snort. The response to that, presumably, is that most of human evolution happened in the age before language, when biological cues were the only way to communicate. Okay, but … why was political compatibility necessary in a time before language? What were cavemen moms and dads grunt-arguing about at the dinner table? Either this smell cue is a late-developing feature in humans, arising after civilization had already begun to gel and forms of political organization became relevant, or it’s related not so much to politics as to the deep psychological underpinnings of liberalism and conservatism. E.g., maybe some people belonged to ancient tribes which, due to their environments, required greater regimentation and respect for authority among their members to succeed. Over many ages, a scent cue formed in men and women who are naturally predisposed to have greater respect for authority, so that they could find each other. As civilization grew up later, that impulse of respect for authority became a trait associated with conservatism. If that’s how it happened, then it’s not so much “liberalism” and “conservatism” that we’re smelling in each other than the primitive impulses that inform each.
The Spread of Rocky Mountain Jihad
Something's fouling Colorado's crisp air -- and I'm not talking about the pot smoke.
In my adopted home state, the toxic fumes of Islamic jihad have penetrated the most unlikely hamlets and hinterlands. Obama administration officials are vehemently denying plots by ISIS operatives to cross our borders. But the lesson here is clear: Thanks to laptop recruitment, reckless visa policies and homegrown treachery, the U.S.-based jihad export-import business is and has been thriving.
Last week, 19-year-old Shannon Conley of Arvada (a Denver suburb once known as the "Celery Capital of the World") pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Conley, a militant Muslim convert, plotted to aid al-Qaida and its affiliates. According to the federal criminal complaint filed in April, she planned to use her military training with the U.S. Army Explorers "to go overseas to wage jihad" and "to train Islamic jihadi fighters in U.S. military tactics." A certified nurse's aide, she also told investigators she would use her medical training to aid jihadi fighters.
Over the Internet, Conley met an ISIS-affiliated Tunisian Muslim based in Syria. She was headed there on April 8 when the feds arrested her at Denver International Airport. Her luggage contained jihad propaganda, materials on administering first aid on the battlefield, and CDs and DVDs bearing the name of Anwar al-Awlaki, the jihadi counselor to the 9/11 hijackers and Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan.
Conley's not the first Colorado woman to go jihad. In January, Muslim convert Jamie Paulin-Rodriguez was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for providing material support to terrorists. The 31-year-old nurse practitioner left her home in Leadville, a tiny old silver-mining town perched at 10,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains, to marry an Algerian terror plotter in Ireland. The man, Ali Damache, was a recruiter for North Africa's al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. He brainwashed Rodriguez's then 6-year-old son (fathered by an illegal alien from Mexico) to build pipe bombs, shoot guns and declare war on Christians and "kafirs" (pejorative for non-Muslims).
Like Conley, "Jihad Jamie" was radicalized in online forums and chatrooms. That's how she met fellow "Jihad Jane" collaborator Colleen LaRose, who enlisted her in a conspiracy to murder Swedish cartoonist and outspoken critic of Islam, Lars Vilks.
LaRose also introduced Rodriguez to another Colorado Muslim avenger, New York City subway bomb plotter Najibullah Zazi.
Zazi, a 24-year-old Denver airport shuttle driver who lived in suburban Aurora, was a green-card holder from Afghanistan. He flew back to his native land to join the Taliban in 2008, but was snatched up by al-Qaida leaders to lead suicide bomb operations back in the U.S. He acquired explosives in Denver, which he drove to New York City as part of the plot to bomb Manhattan subway lines in September 2009. Zazi's scheme was part of a larger conspiracy involving al-Qaida pilot Adnan Shukrijumah. The two huddled with top jihad operatives in Pakistan. As I noted earlier this month, Shukrijumah is still on the loose with a $5 million FBI bounty on his head.
Jihad's Colorado ties can also be traced to Pakistani militant cleric Sheik Mubarak Ali Gilani, the leader of terror group Jamaat ul-Fuqra. (It was Gilani whom Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was traveling to interview when he was kidnapped and beheaded in 2002.) Gilani once visited and owned land in Colorado tourist hot spot Buena Vista. Ul-Fuqra established a nearby high-altitude training compound, where terror operatives stored AK-47 rifles and an estimated 6,000 rounds of ammunition. The camp was raided by local and federal law enforcement officials in 1992; a quartet of homegrown jihadists were convicted of various crimes, including the firebombing of a Hare Krishna temple in Denver in 1984. Another ul-Fuqra weapons storage facility was busted in Colorado Springs.
Al-Qaida also reached into the northern Colorado town of Greeley, where the Muslim Brotherhood's founding father Sayyid Qutb attended Colorado State College of Education (now the University of Northern Colorado) in the 1950s. His exposure to the friendly, freedom-loving farming community engendered his virulent hatred of the West, leading him to declare that "an all-out offensive, a jihad, should be waged against modernity. ... The ultimate objective is to re-establish the Kingdom of God upon earth." His acolytes range from Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki to the Blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (now behind bars in Colorado's supermax prison in Florence for plotting the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and the new generation of caliphate warriors.
The decades-long spread of Rocky Mountain jihad is instructive. From the Big Apple to the Beltway to the Mile High City, there is no safe haven from Muslim terrorism. They and their willing accomplices are already here -- and have been for a good, long time.
Census: Real Household Income Peaked in 20th Century
So far, if measured by household income, the 21st century has not been a good one for the United States of America.
In its annual report on "Income and Poverty in the United States," released on Tuesday, the Census Bureau described real median household income as stagnating for two years after declining for two.
"Median household income was $51,939 in 2013, not statistically different in real terms from the 2012 median of $51,759," said the Census Bureau. "This is the second consecutive year that the annual change was not statistically significant, following two consecutive years of annual declines in median household income."
In the longer view, real median household income has declined since it peaked at the end of the last century.
"Median household income was $51,939 in 2013, not statistically different from the 2012 median in real terms, 8.0 percent lower than the 2007 (the year before the most recent recession) median ($56,436), and 8.7 percent lower than the median household income peak ($56,895) that occurred in 1999," said the Census.
The same basic pattern holds for real average (as opposed to median) household income. Real average household income peaked at $77,287 (in constant 2013 dollars) in 2000, the last year of the 20th century. It dropped to $74,569 by 2004, and then climbed back up to $76,912 in 2006. But by 2013, it had dropped to $72,641 -- a real decline of 6.4 percent from the peak of 2000.
American households are poorer now than they were when the 21st century began. Among householders who dropped out of high school as well as those who graduated from college, real median income has declined.
The real median income for households headed by high school dropouts peaked in 2000 at $30,699. In 2013, it was $25,672 -- a drop of 16.4 percent from the 20th-century peak.
The real median income for households headed by high school graduates who did not attend college, peaked in 1999 at $49,802. In 2013, it was $40,701 -- a drop of 18.3 percent from the 20th-century peak.
The real median income of households headed by Americans who have earned at least a bachelor's degree peaked in 1999 at $97,470. In 2013, it was $86,411 -- a drop of 11.3 percent from its 20th-century peak.
The real median income for married couple families peaked in 2007 at $81,552. By 2013, it had dropped to $76,339 -- a decline of 6.4 percent.
In households headed by a male with no spouse present, real median income peaked in 1999 at $52,201. In 2013, it was $44,475 -- a decline of 14.8 percent.
In households headed by a female with no spouse present, real median income in 2000 at $34,786. In 2013, it was $31,408 -- a decline of 9.7 percent.
At the beginning of the 20th century, America was still a pioneering nation. People were responsible for their own and their family's material well-being -- and proud to be so.
There was no Medicaid, no food stamps, no federal housing projects and no school lunch program.
In the 20th century, our government built these things for us, and the pioneering spirit of the nation began to erode.
By the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the Census Bureau, 109,631,000 Americans were living in households that received benefits from one or more means-tested federally funded program. That was 35.4 percent of the national population.
That was before Obamacare began full implementation this year, with its expansion of Medicaid and its premium subsidies for people who buy government-mandated government-approved health insurance plans on government-run exchanges.
If the welfare state continues to grow, it is a safe bet that household incomes will continue to shrink.
The question Americans face: Do we want to take care of -- and control -- our own lives, or have government do it for us?
Huh: Anti-Gun Billionaire Buys a Nazi Tank
If you've paid attention at all to the gun control debate over the past two decades, you've certainly heard the argument from gun control activists, "What do you want? For people to be able to buy and own tanks?!"
That argument and question are red herrings. The average citizen is not trying to own or buy tanks (even though there are legal ways to do it), but an anti-gun billionaire dedicated to taking away your Second Amendment rights, just bought one.
Co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen has dumped hundreds-of-thousands of dollars into anti-gun campaigns and now, he's the proud owner of a WWII Nazi tank. Chris Egar over at Guns.com has more:
"The tank in question, a Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. H, commonly referred to as a Panzer IV, was allegedly sold in July for $2.5 million to a foundation tied to Allen. However, attention over the deal, which is now tied up in a lawsuit over non-delivery, has now earned Allen the scorn of gun rights groups when compared to the tech pioneer’s half-million dollar donation to help push gun control ballot initiative I-594.
“While Paul Allen is eager to get his hands on a genuine weapon of war … he is all-too-willing to support a measure that throws obstacles in the way of law-abiding citizens who may just want to borrow or buy a firearm from a friend or in-law,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, in a statement Friday. “How silly is that?”
I thought "weapons of war" belonged on the battlefield, Mr. Allen?
You just can't make this stuff up.
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Posted by JR at 12:36 AM