Category Archives: Science without political control

The title says it all…

New Book Meeting: I am wanting to see all who would be interested in meeting up at my house next month…

bookclub[1]

I am wanting to start a “book club” that has no particular theme.  I will send out my street address as that becomes necessary.  I and the members need a couple of weeks to read the book(s).  The theme can be anything of interest to the group members. Send out an email to get things started.  Lend some ideas as to what would work for you…

Thanks for all you do…  Steven

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Filed under Book Reviews, Lyrics, Psychology Ramblings..., Religion, Republicans, Science without political control

New DSM V Diagnosis – “Blame Evasion Disorder”

This new diagnostic category may be introduced in the upcoming edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel – 5th Edition:  Blame Evasion Disorder.  Sufferers of this disorder tend to voice these precepts:

1.  Women practice and  are the cause of sexism.

2.  Minorities are racist and therefore promote racism.

3.  Washington, D.C., the territory conservatives owned from 2001 to 2009, is liberal.

4.  Poor people, undeserving of loans,  who possess very little ecomonic power, caused the housing market melt-down.

5. Gays and lesibians are out to destroy the concept of heterosexual marriage.

6. All Liberals are evil and racist.

People with this disorder tend to rant on and on at conservative blog locations.  Treatment for this very sad disorder is not yet available.  Psychosurgery options may need to be considered.

Thomas Frank helped do some of the leg-work on identifying this new condition.  Read more here.

Iggy Donnelly

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Filed under GLBT Rights, Life Lessons, Psychology Ramblings..., Religion, Republicans, Science without political control, Secularism, Wingnuts!, Woman Power

New Earth Creationists are Linking to Our Place

 

 Why won’t they leave us alone?  Is there a sign on our foreheads?

Check out this dude: 

http://dancingfromgenesis.wordpress.com/

Dude, the earth is VERY, VERY OLD!!!

We read Richard Dawkins books to our infant children.*  Please go elsewhere!

Iggy Donnelly

* At least, I used to…

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Filed under Other blogs, Political Reform, Populists, Radical Rightwing groups, Religion, Republicans, Science without political control, Secularism, Uncategorized, Wingnuts!

To Feed the Trolls, Or To Not Feed the Trolls…

Hug troll from Trollshop Norwegian Troll

Trolls are  posters who write outlandish comments to disrupt discussions on blogs.  See Wiki for a history of the term.

The abreviation DNFTT stands for “Do not feed the trolls.”  The rationale for this feeding avoidance is “the most effective way to discourage a troll is usually to ignore him or her, because responding tends to encourage trolls to continue disruptive posts.” (See the Wiki source above).

I have a different thought about this subject;  the DNFTT premise has an underlying premise that how trolls are responded to has an effect upon how they act.  I would counter that premise by contending that all trolls are who they are and were the same yesterday and will be the same tomorrow.  Trolls are nothing, if not predictable.

I believe it would be possible to organize a series of experiments that would test the hypothesis that trolls change or cease their posting if ignored.  My prediction is that they would not change or cease trolling.

Just think:  we could use internet trolls as lab rats for experiments.  They are just as plentiful as rats, and it is more difficult to get attached to them, so  destroying them at the end of the experiment would be less traumatic.  How convenient!

Your thoughts?

Iggy Donnelly

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Filed under Humor, Psychology Ramblings..., Research, Science without political control

Cicadas: Latest Evidence for Climate Change

Since I know that many of you are missing the inane arguments from the other place, I thought I would do my civic duty and report on what the Cicadas are saying.  They, according to this scientist, are thinking that their underground homes are getting too hot and they are leaving them early.  This has been a consistent pattern and attributed by this scientist as more evidence of climate change.

photo

More information here.

iggy donnelly

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Filed under Climate Change, Religion, Science without political control, The Environment, Thinking/Considering, World Politics

Planet Earth: Too Big to Fail

Some thoughts from The Nation that you won’t see on the other blog.

iggydonnelly

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Filed under Climate Change, Political Reform, Republicans, Science without political control, The Environment, Wingnuts!, World Politics

Academia Shirking Its Responsibilities?

In an interesting WashPo editorial today, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., of Harvard University brings up the interesting question about whether Academia is fulfilling its mission of contributing to public policy.  He notes the trend that Academic research is getting ever more specialized and as a result less relevant to applications that Public Policy requires.  In the void left by Academic Institutions, a growing number of public policy “think tanks” have rushed in to fulfill Public Policy needs.  Often times, these so-called “think tanks” are merely the marketing agencies, dressed up in scholarly clothing, for various large corporate interests.  See the Flint Hills Public Policy Institute (read Koch Industry Propaganda Arm) as a local example of this marketing effort which has been dressed up in innocent appearing academic clothing.

Think tanks have many a scholar readily available with a nice list of talking points that can be conveniently sold to state and national legislatures.  The Wichita Eagle publishes reports the Flint Hills group provide  like it is fair and balanced opinion/research.

A consumer warning:  Beware of who funds the pretty info supplied by think tanks/public policy groups – for it just may be a nice looking Trojan Horse.

See the Washpo editorial here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/12/AR2009041202260.html?hpid%3Dopinionsbox1&sub=AR

Iggy Donnelly…

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Filed under Economics, Elections, Life Lessons, Media, newspapers, Political Reform, Science without political control, The Economy, The Environment

If Only Gay Sex Caused Global Warming

A Harvard psychologist examines the neuropsychological origins of Global Warming denial.  They may not be able to help it.

Published on Sunday, July 2, 2006 by the Los Angeles Times

Why we’re more scared of gay marriage and terrorism than a much deadlier threat.
by Daniel Gilbert
No one seems to care about the upcoming attack on the World Trade Center site. Why? Because it won’t involve villains with box cutters. Instead, it will involve melting ice sheets that swell the oceans and turn that particular block of lower Manhattan into an aquarium.The odds of this happening in the next few decades are better than the odds that a disgruntled Saudi will sneak onto an airplane and detonate a shoe bomb. And yet our government will spend billions of dollars this year to prevent global terrorism and … well, essentially nothing to prevent global warming.

Why are we less worried about the more likely disaster? Because the human brain evolved to respond to threats that have four features — features that terrorism has and that global warming lacks.

First, global warming lacks a mustache. No, really. We are social mammals whose brains are highly specialized for thinking about others. Understanding what others are up to — what they know and want, what they are doing and planning — has been so crucial to the survival of our species that our brains have developed an obsession with all things human. We think about people and their intentions; talk about them; look for and remember them.

That’s why we worry more about anthrax (with an annual death toll of roughly zero) than influenza (with an annual death toll of a quarter-million to a half-million people). Influenza is a natural accident, anthrax is an intentional action, and the smallest action captures our attention in a way that the largest accident doesn’t. If two airplanes had been hit by lightning and crashed into a New York skyscraper, few of us would be able to name the date on which it happened.

Global warming isn’t trying to kill us, and that’s a shame. If climate change had been visited on us by a brutal dictator or an evil empire, the war on warming would be this nation’s top priority.

The second reason why global warming doesn’t put our brains on orange alert is that it doesn’t violate our moral sensibilities. It doesn’t cause our blood to boil (at least not figuratively) because it doesn’t force us to entertain thoughts that we find indecent, impious or repulsive. When people feel insulted or disgusted, they generally do something about it, such as whacking each other over the head, or voting. Moral emotions are the brain’s call to action.

Although all human societies have moral rules about food and sex, none has a moral rule about atmospheric chemistry. And so we are outraged about every breach of protocol except Kyoto. Yes, global warming is bad, but it doesn’t make us feel nauseated or angry or disgraced, and thus we don’t feel compelled to rail against it as we do against other momentous threats to our species, such as flag burning. The fact is that if climate change were caused by gay sex, or by the practice of eating kittens, millions of protesters would be massing in the streets.

The third reason why global warming doesn’t trigger our concern is that we see it as a threat to our futures — not our afternoons. Like all animals, people are quick to respond to clear and present danger, which is why it takes us just a few milliseconds to duck when a wayward baseball comes speeding toward our eyes.

The brain is a beautifully engineered get-out-of-the-way machine that constantly scans the environment for things out of whose way it should right now get. That’s what brains did for several hundred million years — and then, just a few million years ago, the mammalian brain learned a new trick: to predict the timing and location of dangers before they actually happened.

Our ability to duck that which is not yet coming is one of the brain’s most stunning innovations, and we wouldn’t have dental floss or 401(k) plans without it. But this innovation is in the early stages of development. The application that allows us to respond to visible baseballs is ancient and reliable, but the add-on utility that allows us to respond to threats that loom in an unseen future is still in beta testing.

We haven’t quite gotten the knack of treating the future like the present it will soon become because we’ve only been practicing for a few million years. If global warming took out an eye every now and then, OSHA would regulate it into nonexistence.

There is a fourth reason why we just can’t seem to get worked up about global warming. The human brain is exquisitely sensitive to changes in light, sound, temperature, pressure, size, weight and just about everything else. But if the rate of change is slow enough, the change will go undetected. If the low hum of a refrigerator were to increase in pitch over the course of several weeks, the appliance could be singing soprano by the end of the month and no one would be the wiser.

Because we barely notice changes that happen gradually, we accept gradual changes that we would reject if they happened abruptly. The density of Los Angeles traffic has increased dramatically in the last few decades, and citizens have tolerated it with only the obligatory grumbling. Had that change happened on a single day last summer, Angelenos would have shut down the city, called in the National Guard and lynched every politician they could get their hands on.

Environmentalists despair that global warming is happening so fast. In fact, it isn’t happening fast enough. If President Bush could jump in a time machine and experience a single day in 2056, he’d return to the present shocked and awed, prepared to do anything it took to solve the problem..

The human brain is a remarkable device that was designed to rise to special occasions. We are the progeny of people who hunted and gathered, whose lives were brief and whose greatest threat was a man with a stick. When terrorists attack, we respond with crushing force and firm resolve, just as our ancestors would have. Global warming is a deadly threat precisely because it fails to trip the brain’s alarm, leaving us soundly asleep in a burning bed.

It remains to be seen whether we can learn to rise to new occasions.

Daniel Gilbert is a professor of psychology at Harvard University and the author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” published in May by Knopf.

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Filed under Psychology Ramblings..., Republicans, Science without political control, The Environment, Uncategorized, World Politics