Saturday, January 16, 2010

Baby temperament found to predict adult brain structure and personality

Not those pesky genes again!

In a study that could help clarify the complex relationships between the brain, environment and behavior, researchers have found that four-month-old infants' temperament predicts some aspects of their brain structure 18 years later. Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital in Charlestown, Mass., studied 76 eighteen-year-olds that, at four months of age, had been categorized in previous research as "high-reactive" or "low-reactive." High-reactive generally means shy and inhibited, while low-reactive means outgoing and uninhibited.

The investigators used a form of brain scanning known as structural magnetic resonance imaging, which employs magnetic field and radio waves to produce clear and detailed pictures of the brain. Adults with a low-reactive infant temperament showed greater thickness in a brain structure called the left orbitofrontal cortex, the scientists found. This region has been implicated in processing of emotions and of self-monitoring.

On the other hand, the adults previously categorized as high-reactive, showed greater thickness in the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the researchers reported. This brain area has been linked to impulse control, with greater size linked to more self-control, and with the analysis of social situations.

"To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that temperamental differences measured at four months of age have implications for the architecture of human cerebral cortex lasting into adulthood," the researchers wrote in the study, published in the January issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry. The cerebral cortex is a layer of brain cells covering the surface of the brain and linked to advanced thinking functions.

High-reactive infants are characterized at age four months by vigorous activity and crying in response to unfamiliar stimuli, according to the authors, Carl Schwartz, director of the hospital's Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathol&sh Research Laboratory, and colleagues. Low-reactive infants by contrast stay more still and cry less in respose to the same situations.

High-reactive infants tend to become behaviorally inhibited in the second year of life, while low-reactive infants tend the opposite way, the authors added.



Small Group of Bureaucrats Hampering Use of Anti-Terror Technology

Voice stress analysis has been proven effective by law enforcement, but a turf war stands in the way of using it to catch terrorists

Recent headlines shared horrible news about the intentions of those who wish to do the United States harm:

* Al-Qaeda Terror Attempt on NWA Flight 253 (Dec. 25, 2009)

* Seven CIA Operatives Killed by Double Agent in Afghanistan (Dec. 31, 2009)

* Muslim Extremist Kills 13 at Fort Hood, Texas (Nov. 5, 2009)

These are but a few recent examples of the importance of preventative intelligence — that is, the ability to determine enemy intentions in order to effectively interdict the specific threat posed by an enemy before it occurs, according to James Chapman, education and standards director of the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts, a group that represents more than 1,800 law enforcement agencies and the thousands of criminal justice officials who use CVSA on a daily basis to solve crimes.

Unfortunately, the federal government has failed to use existing U.S. technology to identify enemy intentions — namely those of individual terrorists and highly compartmentalized terrorist cells — through all legal means possible. Instead, says Chapman, the 67-year-old regarded by many as the world’s foremost authority on CVSA, they’ve sided with a tiny group of government employees determined to maintain the status quo. “With the exception of a small minority of the population, few Americans know the U.S. possesses a technology that has been proven through research and field application to have the ability to identify terrorists and their intentions,” Chapman explained during an interview Monday.

“More than 1,800 local, municipal, state, and federal criminal justice agencies use CVSA to solve crimes and determine the suitability of individuals to perform law enforcement related duties,” he said. “Likewise, the technology is authorized under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 for the screening of potential terrorists and to ensure the security of U.S. airports and the flying public.”

On the military front, the man with nearly four decades of experience working with voice stress analysis said few people outside of the Pentagon know Gen. David Petraeus and his advisors advocate for the use of this technology in the Army’s “Counterinsurgency” Field Manual (U.S. Army FM 3-24, Dec. 2006). “In fact, General Petraeus was responsible for producing the field manual during his exile to non-combat duty by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld,” Chapman explained. “Sadly, its content has been kept secret from the American public.

“A small, secretive group of bureaucrats and political appointees have effectively blocked the use of the highly sophisticated Computer Voice Stress Analyzer after repeated and well-documented successes of the technology in accurately identifying foreign terrorists.” (See “If Not for Memo, Torture Might Not Be An Issue (Part 1)” and “Part 2” for details about the Defense Department’s decision-making on this subject.)

What motivates those in the polygraph community? Chapman believes they’re simply trying to preserve an entrenched bureaucratic structure that has existed for decades. “Within the Pentagon there is a small group of bureaucrats who have not been capable of devising a technology to rival CVSA after more than 20 years and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars spent on research,” Chapman said. “Yet they have blocked the CVSA simply to ensure their power and their monopoly over government truth verification operations.”

A 19-year study of CVSA technology by Chapman, professor emeritus and former director of the Criminal Justice Program and the Forensic Crime Laboratory at the State University of New York in Corning, demonstrated conclusively that CVSA is an effective and accurate truth verification tool, with an accuracy rate above 95 percent.




As I think we have all found, some things that seem obvious when pointed out were not at all obvious before that. And I have just encountered a good example of that. I have received by email an extensive exegesis of Matthew 16:18, usually translated "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church". It is the foundation text for the claim of apostolic succession. But the passage is a translation from the Greek, and Christ did not speak Greek. He spoke Aramaic. So we have to look at the passage with an eye to what the original Aramaic might have been and meant. And when you look at "Peter" as an Aramaic name, the meaning becomes radically different. I have just posted the email on my Scripture blog. I have commented previously on the Greek and Latin versions of the text concerned.

NYC does not want terror trials: "New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly warned Wednesday that putting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects on trial for terrorism in New York would place an unbearable financial and security burden on a city whose policing resources were already badly stretched. Commissioner Kelly did not openly urge President Obama to reconsider his Justice Department's decision, saying such policy issues were Mayor Michael Bloomberg's domain. But he saw no reason, he said, why such high-profile trials should not be held at a military base or another venue that would be less "disruptive" and pose less of a security challenge to New York. Commissioner Kelly said that the Obama administration's decision to try the five highest-profile accused terrorists in New York was not only "certain to raise the threat level" in a city that has always been al-Qaida's top target, but would also break the department's budget absent substantial federal assistance from Washington."

Palin FNC Ratings Sky High: "The Nielsen ratings are in and former V.P. hopeful Sarah Palin hit the nearly 4 million viewer jackpot last night for her debut appearance on Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor" as a Fox News contributor. The count: 3,954,000 people tuned in to watch Palin last night. That number is up 42 percent from the same night last year, and up 26 percent compared to every other day of the show in January. Palin's appearance beat out CNN's Campbell Brown, who had 999,000 viewers last night. The show also beat every ABC program between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., which included shows like "Scrubs" and "Better Off Ted."

The never-ending TSA nonsense again: "An eight-year-old boy from the US is apparently suspected of being a terrorist when he travels because of a name mix-up. Cub Scout Michael Hicks, from New Jersey, is believed to share his name with a suspicious person, and gets stopped and searched at nearly every airport, Sky News reports. Problems began six years ago when the family tried to fly to Florida from Newark Liberty International Airport. Airline staff said Hick's name was "on the list" and the boy was patted down. He was just two-years-old. Michael's name seems to be on a government watchlist of suspicious persons which triggers a higher level of security screening than other passengers. The list is operated by the US Terrorist Screening Centre. Copies are passed to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which hands them out to airlines. The TSA said as a rule there should not be any children on the list, but it would not comment on Hicks' case. The final straw came when the family recently flew to the Bahamas. Michael was searched on the way there and more forcefully on the way home. His mother Najlah Hicks felt her son was being treated like a terrorist. Mrs Hicks said she has done everything she can to get her son off the list, "I understand they need to do his, I know there is a need for security. But it shouldn't take eight years to get this fixed." More than 81,000 frustrated travellers have asked the US Department of Homeland Security to remove their names from the list, and there are 25,000 cases pending."

MSM boycott Palin speech: "A day after organizers of the upcoming national Tea Party convention said they would open Sarah Palin’s Nashville speech to media, news comes today that the list of organizations credentialed to cover it include the following: Fox News,,, The Wall Street Journal and World Net Daily.”

FDA gets slapdown: "A federal judge said the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have the authority to seize electronic cigarettes because the products don’t qualify as devices subject to the agency’s regulation. In a 32-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon sided with electronic-cigarette makers Smoking Everywhere Inc. and Njoy. He criticized what he called the FDA’s ‘tenacious drive to maximize its regulatory power,’ saying he found its interpretation of the law ‘unreasonable and unacceptable.’ Representatives of the FDA weren’t immediately available for comment.” [Under Obama, the FDA is run by Leftist fanatics]

swers can be tough to come by: "It was a simple question. I only wanted to know the cost of two recent mailings I received from a couple of state government employees who claim to represent me. Was it an unreasonable request? I don’t know, but I’m only trying to be financially responsible and monitor how my money is spent. Yet, I did not get an answer to my question. Oh, I received responses; they just didn’t answer the question. Maybe that’s all I can expect from politicians.”

Crony capitalism again: "Thank goodness that libertarian think tanks like CATO, Reason, Heartland, The Manhattan Institute, CEI, and PERC defend free markets. I say that because, although people believe that businesses stand up for market competition, they rarely do. Take Altria, which owns Phillip Morris. I love Altria, because it supports some of the free market think tanks. I also hate Altria, because it’s quick to partner with government to quash competition. For years, cigarette manufacturers lobbied against regulation. Then, in 2001, Phillip Morris suddenly said it supported ’soup to nuts regulation of the entire industry, and we think that the FDA should be involved in all of that.’ They said it’s because they want ‘a common set of high standards for all tobacco manufacturers and importers doing business in the U.S.’ Maybe. I think it’s more likely that it’s because they realized that, since they control 50% of the cigarette market, FDA regulation of new tobacco products would stop competitors from challenging their dominance.”

Big business and regulation: "In a response to a comment to a previous post, I referenced Gabriel Kolko, a historian generally considered to be a hard-nosed leftist, who demonstrated that the wave of federal economic regulation in the ‘progressive’ era was almost all inspired by and in some cases written by lawyers and lobbyists for big business, which sought to use government power to stifle the competition that arises in a free market and make things more ‘efficient’ (and profitable for them). The book in question is The Triumph of Conservatism, which is well worth buying and reading, especially if you’re interested in going beyond the simplified summary history you get in high school.”

Saving capitalism … : "We have met the enemy and he is us. So Pogo might have described the situation that the business community has created for itself. There is no question that the Obama administration, and even more the Democratic leadership in Congress, harbor something between skepticism and hostility towards free markets. They believe they can do a better job of allocating the nation’s resources than can millions of consumers signaling their preferences to millions of producers by setting the cash registers ringing. That’s one reason — indebtedness to trade unions is another — Obama and the Democrats bailed out a manufacturer of cars no one wanted to buy. But the wave of regulations that characterized the latter part of the Bush administration and the first year of the Obama administration has as much to do with the behavior of the business community, or at least some of its most prominent members, as with the ideological bent of our political masters.”

The disasters of poverty: "The earthquake in Haiti was a magnitude of 7.0. According to Wikipedia, the 1989 San Francisco quake was either 7.0 or 6.9 depending on which scale one used. In other words, the intensities were fairly similar. Haiti is devastated. If the New York Times is correct, the death toll could be in the tens of thousands. The death toll in the 1989 quake was 63, if you include indirect deaths due the quake. The difference is wealth. San Francisco is one of the wealthiest areas in our part of the world and Haiti is the poorest. Poverty makes natural disasters worse. Wealth mitigates natural disasters. You would think that those who worry about the poor of the world would promote policies that increase wealth. Instead they push policies that restrain wealth creation and they do it intentionally and knowing it will restrain wealth creation.”

Equality vs. sameness in American political society: "Barack Obama’s quest and campaign promise to ‘fundamentally change the United States’ is in full swing. It is not a new effort and the change has been underway for years. The changes are simple; what is underway is a redefinition of the term equality in the American psyche.”

From the lead frying pan into the toxic fire: "In late December RC2 Corp., the Oak Brook, Ill.-based maker of Thomas & Friends Wood Railway toys, agreed to pay a $1.25 million civil penalty for allegedly violating a federal lead paint ban in 2007. The violations resulted in a major crackdown by federal authorities on lead paint and coatings, which pose a risk of lead poisoning and other health problems in children. But the new regulations, which have failed to prevent subsequent health scares in toys, may be driving smaller manufacturers off shore — the very companies needed to spark a sustainable economic recovery.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone 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)


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)


No comments: