Friday, August 07, 2015
IQ as a symptom of general biological fitness again
People with poor thinking skills may be at higher risk of heart attack or stroke, a study has shown. Scientists made the discovery after monitoring the progress of almost 4,000 individuals with an average age of 75 for three years.
At the start of the study, participants had their high-level thinking skills evaluated by tests and were graded accordingly.
Those in the lowest test score group were 85% more likely to have a heart attack and 51% more likely to have a stroke than members of the highest group.
Lead researcher Dr Behnam Sabayan, from Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, said: 'These results show that heart and brain function are more closely related than appearances would suggest. 'While these results might not have immediate clinical translation, they emphasise that assessment of cognitive function should be part of the evaluation of future cardiovascular risk.'
Dr Sabayan added: 'Performance on tests of thinking and memory are a measure of brain health. Lower scores on thinking tests indicate worse brain functioning.
'Worse brain functioning in particular in executive function could reflect disease of the brain vascular supply, which in turn would predict, as it did, a higher likelihood of stroke.
'And, since blood vessel disease in the brain is closely related to blood vessel disease in the heart, that's why low test scores also predicted a greater risk of heart attacks.
Hero who defied Stalin's 'useful idiots' (who still exist on the British Left) to expose true horrors of Communism
Not long after the collapse of Communism — an event he had long predicted — historian Robert Conquest was preparing a new edition of his masterpiece The Great Terror, which charted the horror of life under Soviet dictator Stalin.
When his publishers asked him for a new title, Conquest’s friend, the novelist Kingsley Amis, had the perfect answer. ‘How about I Told You So, You F****** Fools?’ he suggested.
Those words would make a fine epitaph for a man whose intellectual honesty and moral courage placed him among the greatest writers of the last century. And while very few historians can genuinely claim to have changed the world, Robert Conquest, who has died at the age of 98, did.
In 1968, when Worcestershire-born Conquest first published his ground-breaking account of Stalin’s atrocities, the world was a very different place. Back then, the Soviet Union appeared in rude health and the old men in Moscow ruled an empire based on fear.
It is easy now to forget just how terrifying the Cold War seemed. Across the Western world, many doubted Communism could be defeated without unleashing nuclear Armageddon.
What is more, many Western intellectuals — from Marxists such as Communist historian Eric Hobsbawm and his friend Ralph Miliband (father of Ed and David, a political theorist at the London School of Economics, a devout follower of Marx and an unswerving believer in revolutionary socialism) to woolly, well-meaning Lefties in universities across the country — were quick to defend the regime whenever it was criticised.
Lenin and Stalin, these ‘useful idiots’ claimed, had been much misunderstood.
It was Conquest, more than any other writer of his generation, who did most to expose this deceitful drivel.
At a time when intellectual fashion was on the Left, he had the guts to lay out, in devastating detail, the truth about the blood-soaked Soviet experiment.
On Stalin’s orders, secret police had ripped millions of men and women from their homes, locked them in dank cells without light, food or water, tore out their fingernails, beat them black and blue, and finally dispatched them with a bullet in the back of the head.
At the peak of the Great Terror in the late Thirties, they were murdering 300,000 people a year — all for the crime of not being true Stalinist believers.
In one mass grave in Butovo, Moscow, Stalin’s secret police buried the bodies of 20,000 murdered political prisoners in less than 12 months.
Another in Bykivnia, Ukraine, holds the bodies of an estimated 200,000 people, victims not merely of Stalin’s paranoia, but of a crazed ideological cult that sacrificed men, women and children in the name of Marxism.
‘Who’s going to remember all this riff-raff in ten or 20 years time?’ Stalin once remarked, gazing at a list of people to be shot. ‘No one.’ But he was wrong. Robert Conquest did. And he knew what he was talking about as he had once been a man of the Left.
Born in Great Malvern to an American father and British mother in 1917, he had been a Communist at Oxford University in the Thirties, when many bright young men were seduced by Stalin’s false utopia.
But unlike some contemporaries, such as the so-called Cambridge Spies, Conquest saw Communism for what it was. As a British intelligence officer in Bulgaria during World War II, he was horrified by the cold-blooded ruthlessness with which the local Soviet-backed Communists seized power.
Working for the Foreign Office in the Fifties, Conquest poured out a stream of papers telling the truth about the horrors in Eastern Europe. When an American liberal academic accused him of ‘black propaganda’, Conquest simply asked him to identify a single distortion. There were none.
It was Conquest’s close attention to detail that made his expose of Communism so devastating. The Great Terror was based on hundreds of accounts by Soviet dissidents and work camp inmates. He showed that life under Stalin’s regime had been even worse than outsiders suspected.
After assuming supreme power in the late Twenties, the pockmarked Georgian dictator unleashed a reign of terror that almost defied belief.
From the state-sponsored famine in Ukraine in the early Thirties to the execution of huge numbers of ordinary people later, Conquest showed Stalin’s regime was built on the deaths of at least 20 million.
But even that does not include the tortured men, the raped women, the brutalised children, the broken minds, the hopes and happiness sacrificed to the demented cult of Marxist-Leninism.
In Ukraine, the enforced collectivisation of farms left millions starving. While Stalin’s torturers ate lavish meals, desperate peasants lived on grass, frogs, dogs and cats. Some parents, on the brink of death, threw their children onto passing trains in the hope that strangers might adopt and feed them. Others, almost incredibly, were driven to kill and eat their own children to survive.
Even decades later, the Soviet state sent dissidents to toil in Siberian work camps in sub-zero temperatures. Writers and artists who questioned the Communist system were proclaimed mad and thrown into lunatic asylums.
In the camps, thousands froze to death overnight. Women were regularly gang-raped; one inmate recalled that at her camp in the Kolyma region, the guards would line up, 12 to each woman.
‘When it was over, the dead women were dragged away by their feet; the survivors were doused with water from buckets and revived,’ she wrote. ‘ Then the lines formed again.’
Reading all this, Left-wing critics, not surprisingly, were outraged. Many simply refused to believe it. But Conquest stuck to his guns, and among the wider public, his book was a sensation.
Even today, The Great Terror is a chilling read and an unforgettable record of the bloody consequences of ideological utopianism. It is hard to read about the starving children in Ukraine or about the ordinary men and women frozen and tortured in the Siberian camps without a shudder of horror.
Some of Conquest’s critics on the Left insisted Stalin had been an aberration, and that his predecessor, Lenin, had really been much cuddlier. But Conquest showed this was nonsense.
Lenin, he argued, was the real father of the Stalinist genocide. It was he who had called for the extermination of the middle classes, who had first unleashed the Red Terror and who had first turned vast swathes of Europe and Asia into blood-soaked killing grounds.
Conquest composed a limerick that encapsulated his point: ‘There was a great Marxist called Lenin/ Who did two or three million men in./ That’s a lot to have done in,/ But where he did one in,/ That grand Marxist Stalin did ten in.’
The Right treated Conquest as a hero, and Margaret Thatcher rewarded him with champagne for helping with her speeches.
To many British Leftists in the Sixties and Seventies, though, his name was mud.
But as his friend Kingsley Amis had so pithily observed, he was right and they were wrong.
In 1990, with the Communist regime collapsing in chaos, Conquest was asked to Moscow for a conference and Russian academics lined up to shake his hand.
The KGB even invited him to inspect their chilling headquarters, the Lubyanka, while the newly opened Soviet archives showed that far from exaggerating the Communist death toll, he had, if anything, underestimated it.
‘It was extraordinarily nice to have lived to see it all, to have been vindicated completely,’ Conquest said wryly.
Many of his critics, however, never really abandoned their discredited views. Indeed, the tradition of blaming the West for the world’s ills, and bending over backwards to appease dictators, extremists and terrorists, has never gone away.
More than any other writer of his generation, Robert Conquest drew the line between freedom and repression, good and evil. And although the man himself has been taken from us, his qualities of intellectual honesty and moral candour are more precious today than ever.
Levin: Obama ‘Seeks to Cut the Connection from One Generation to the Next’
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin, while discussing his new book, Plunder and Deceit, on his July 31 broadcast, said that President Obama “seeks to cut the connection from one generation to the next.”
“That’s why Obama will talk endlessly about the Confederate flag and not say one word about the harvesting of human parts,” said Mark Levin.
Here’s a transcript of what Levin said:
“This is the civil society that I’m defining. A harmony of virtuous interests, informed by tried and true traditions, customs, values, and institutions, cultivated within families and the larger community, preserves and improves the human condition, one individual at a time, one generation to the next. It’s true.
“So when you hear Barack Obama say, in essence, anything that’s older than 50 years, of course, except for Marxism -- except, apparently, for the Crusades -- anything that’s older than 50 years isn’t to be paid attention to, he means it.
“He seeks to cut the connection from one generation to the next, from one age to the next! Everything that we’ve learned, everything that we’ve experienced, everything that we’ve created is in turmoil, is in doubt, is in question, to empower him and his surrogates, so these despotic ideologues can advance their agenda -- having wiped America clean of its heritage.
“That’s why Obama will talk endlessly about the Confederate flag and not say one word about the harvesting of human parts. It’s not in his political interests to say anything about the harvesting about human parts.”
Another ethically deficient Leftist: The President of the University of Oklahoma
Grabbing other people's property comes naturally to Leftists
Democrats may face another Confederate flag-like problem in the state of Oklahoma as former governor David Boren (D) continues to fight to keep stolen Nazi artwork from the family that is acknowledged to have had it stolen by Hitler’s thugs.
The Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma doesn’t deny that they possess and exhibit a donated painting that was stolen from the Jewish claimants. Instead, Boren’s representatives play a legal game of arguing that the victims did not claim the art in time, and besides it was given in good faith to the University’s museum anyway.
Will he, as President of the University, continue paying lawyers in a fight to keep the piece which the school received for free?
Will he, as President of the University, set a good example for the student body by doing the right thing, or will he cling to loopholes and deny a Holocaust survivor her property?
It’s time for Democrats to walk the walk, and for David Boren that means returning his stolen Nazi art back to its rightful owner.
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Posted by JR at 12:36 AM