Friday, March 31, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
But first a note on the first part, note that groups of people from all around the world have always believed in the Creator God that tends to be associated with explanations as to their most ancient of origins and the matter of Good and Evil, from beginning to end. Examples: Hananim (Korean, the Great One), Shang Ti (Chinese, the Lord of Heaven), Koro (Bantu, the Creator) Magano (Ethopian, the ultimate Creator again, as contrasted to the malevolent Sheit'an), the Great Spirit (American Indian), Deos (Greek, perhaps corrupted to Zeus and drawn down into a corrupted anthropromorphic focus, later reformed back by the philosophers under the new name Theos), and so on and on.
As to that last, Aristotle used logic to trace things back to the unmoved Mover, while Xenophanes commented:
Homer and Hesiod attributed to the gods all the things which among men are shameful and blameworthy - theft and adultery and mutual deception. . . [But] there is one God, greatest among gods and men, similar to mortals neither in shape nor in thought ... he sees as a whole, he thinks as a whole, he hears as a whole ... Always he remains in the same state, changing not at all ... But far from toil he governs everything with his mind.Xenophanes text fragments (Colophon: c. 570 - c. 478)
As to the second part of the comment, ancient man considered dragons a great threat and so there were probably fewer and fewer places where it could be said: "Here be dragons." No one would deny that man hunted many species of large animals to death. If we are not blinded by the false standards that the charaltans so typical to science and the keeping of knowledge these days make use of to protect their demonstrably false philosophies, then we can open our eyes to textual evidence. This is not to say that there is no physical evidence that can be found or that texts can be taken to stand alone, yet note that organisms easily die and recede back into the ground with nary a trace of them to be found within a short time.
Text is a better and more lasting way of saving information than most of the processes that happen by supposed happenstance upon the earth.
E.g., textual evidence:
There are, of course, the famous descriptions of two such monsters from the Old Testament, Behemoth and Leviathan(After the Flood: The early post-flood history of Europe traced back to Noah
Job 40:15—41:34), [The curious thing is that the Great Serpents are used metaphorically to represent a nonphysical Serpent/Evil, e.g. Isaiah 21:7 vs. Psalm 104:26] Behemoth being a giant vegetarian that lived on the fens, and Leviathan a somewhat more terrifying armour-plated amphibian...
The Egyptians knew Behemoth by the name p’ih.mw, which is the same name, of course. Leviathan was similarly known as Lotan to the men of Ugarit. Babylonian and Sumerian literature has preserved details of similar creatures, as has the written and unwritten folklore of peoples around the world. But perhaps the most remarkable descriptions of living dinosaurs are those that the Saxon and Celtic peoples of Europe have passed down to us.
The early Britons, from whom the modern Welsh are descended, provide us with our earliest surviving European accounts of reptilian monsters, one of whom killed and devoured king Morvidus (Morydd) in ca 336 BC. We are told in the account translated for us by Geoffrey of Monmouth, that the monster ‘gulped down the body of Morvidus as a big fish swallows a little one.’ Geoffrey described the animal as a Belua.
Peredur, not the ancient king of that name (306-296 BC), but a much later son of Earl Efrawg, had better luck than Morvidus, actually managing to slay his monster, an addanc (pr. athanc: var. afanc), at a place called Llyn Llion in Wales. At other Welsh locations the addanc is further spoken of along with another reptilian species known as the carrog. The addanc survived until comparatively recent times at such places as Bedd-yr-Afanc near Brynberian, at Llyn-yr-Afanc above Bettws-y-Coed on the River Conwy (the killing of this monster was described in the year 1693), and Llyn Barfog. A carrog is commemorated at Carrog near Corwen, and at Dol-y-Carrog in the Vale of Conwy.
Moreover, ‘dinosaurs’, in the form of flying reptiles, were a feature of Welsh life until surprisingly recent times. As late as the beginning of the present century, elderly folk at Penllin in Glamorgan used to tell of a colony of winged serpents that lived in the woods around Penilin Castle. As Marie Trevelyan tells us:‘The woods around Penilin Castle, Glamorgan, had the reputation of being frequented by winged serpents, and these were the terror of old and young alike. An aged inhabitant of Penllyne, who died a few years ago, said that in his boyhood the winged serpents were described as very beautiful. They were coiled when in repose, and “looked as if they were covered with jewels of all sorts. Some of them had crests sparkling with all the colours of the rainbow”. [...] His father and uncle had killed some of them, for they were as bad as foxes for poultry. The old man attributed the extinction of the winged serpents to the fact that they were “terrors in the farmyards and coverts”....whilst we are in Wales, it is worth noting that at Llanbardan-y-Garrag (is Garrag a corruption of carrog?), the church contains a carving of a local giant reptile whose features include large paddle-like flippers, a long neck and a small head.
One could multiply such reports by the hundred. In England and Scotland, again until comparatively recent times, other reptilian monsters were sighted and spoken of in many places. The table at the end of this chapter lists eighty-one locations in the British Isles alone in which dinosaur activity has been reported (there are, in fact, nearly 200 such places in Britain), but perhaps the most relevant aspect of this as far as our present study is concerned is the fact that some of these sightings and subsequent encounters with living dinosaurs can be dated to the comparatively recent past. The giant reptile at Bures in Suffolk, for example, is known to us from a chronicle of 1405:‘Close to the town of Bures, near Sudbury, there has lately appeared, to the great hurt of the countryside, a dragon, vast in body, with a crested head, teeth like a saw, and a tail extending to an enormous length. Having slaughtered the shepherd of a flock, it devoured many sheep.’
After an unsuccessful attempt by local archers to kill the beast, due to its impenetrable hide:‘...in order to destroy him, all the country people around were summoned. But when the dragon saw that he was again to be assailed with arrows, he fled into a marsh or mere and there hid himself among the long reeds, and was no more seen.’Later in the 15th century, according to a contemporary chronicle that still survives in Canterbury Cathedral’s library, the following incident was reported. On the afternoon of Friday, 26th September, 1449, two giant reptiles were seen fighting on the banks of the River Stour (near the village of Little Cornard) which marked the English county borders of Suffolk and Essex. One was black, and the other ‘reddish and spotted’. After an hour-long struggle that took place ‘to the admiration of many [of the locals] beholding them’, the black monster yielded and returned to its lair, the scene of the conflict being known ever since as Sharpfight Meadow.
As late as August, 1614, the following sober account was given of a strange reptile that was encountered in St Leonard’s Forest in Sussex. The sighting was near a village that was known as Dragon’s Green long before this report was published:‘This serpent (or dragon as some call it) is reputed to be nine feete, or rather more, in length, and shaped almost in the form of an axletree of a cart: a quantitie of thickness in the middest, and somewhat smaller at both endes. The former part, which he shootes forth as a necke, is supposed to be an elle [3ft9ins or ll4cmsl long; with a white ring, as it were, of scales about it. The scales along his back seem to be blackish, and so much as is discovered under his bellie, appeareth to be red...[The dragon] rids away (as we call it) as fast as a man can run. His food [rabbits] is thought to be, for the most part, in a conie-warren, which he much frequents ... God, I hope, will (to defend the poor people in the neighbourhood) that he shall be destroyed before he grows...This dragon was seen in various places within a circuit of three or four miles, and the pamphlet named some of the still-living witnesses who had seen him. These included John Steele, Christopher Holder and a certain ‘widow woman dwelling neare Faygate’. Another witness was ‘the carrier of Horsham, who lieth at the White Horse [inn] in Southwark’. One of the locals set his two mastiffs onto the monster, and apart from losing his dogs he was fortunate to escape alive from the encounter, for the dragon was already credited with the deaths of a man and woman at whom it had spat and who consequently had been killed by its venom. When approached unwittingly, our pamphleteer tells us, the monster was...
‘...of countenance very proud and at the sight or hearing of men or cattel will raise his neck upright and seem to listen and looke about, with great arrogancy.'[...]
Again, as late as 27th and 28th May 1669, a large reptilian animal was sighted many times, as was reported in the pamphlet: A True Relation of a Monstrous Serpent seen at Henham (Essex) on the Mount in Saffron Waldon.
In 1867 was seen, for the last time, the monster that lived in the woods around Fittleworth in Sussex. It would run up to people hissing and spitting if they happened to stumble across it unawares, although it never harmed anyone. Several such cases could be cited, but suffice it to say that too many incidents like these are reported down through the centuries and from all sorts of locations for us to say that they are all fairy-tales. For example, Scotland’s famous Loch Ness Monster is too often thought to be a recent product of the local Tourist Board’s efforts to bring in some trade, yet Loch Ness is by no means the only Scottish loch where monsters have been reported. Loch Lomond, Loch Awe, Loch Rannoch and the privately owned Loch Morar (over 1000 ft deep) also have records of monster activity in recent years. Indeed, there have been over forty sightings at Loch Morar alone since the end of the last war, and over a thousand from Loch Ness in the same period. However, as far as Loch Ness itself is concerned, few realise that monstrous reptiles, no doubt the same species, have been sighted in and around the loch since the so-called Dark Ages, the most notable instance being that which is described in Adamnan’s famous 6th century Life of St Columba.
by Bill Cooper :131-135)
And so on. I do not have time to go into comparisons with Darwinian narratives that are based on reasoning of this sort: "If I can imagine this historical happenstance, then that is evidence that it happened that way. Wow, I'm being overwhelmed by the evidence of my own imagination now!"
I would note that you can see the way that the door is open for metaphoric interpretation of many ancient texts because the serpent comes to be used as a symbol for evil and the like. It is metaphoric. I noted above that the Bible does the same thing. Yet because people lack the spiritual capacity to understand metaphoric truths these days they come to believe that it is all just a story with virtually no literal/physical truth to it, the fairytale narrative of slay the dragon and be the hero. I guess one could say that they are metaphorically blind.
[Related posts: Here be Dragons...here and there
Unidentified Sea Creature Found After Typhoon
Sunday, March 26, 2006
In the background a sort of cosmic Oedipus complex seems to guide it all, thus they want their Mommy Nature and so on. In all these patterns the feminine is always Good and so the Yin is always victimized by the Yang. I suspect that even if women were going to college at rates of 80% and men fell to 20%, if they could choose to try out "their" offspring for a few days and then kill them or force men to pay child support depending on their choice, if they lived twenty years longer than men, etc., they'd still be victims of it all according to many feminists. They have become quite good at sniveling, have they not? Once there is nothing left to snivel about those who have made sniveling their profession will invent something for the sake of job security.
With great fanfare, How Schools Shortchange Girls was released to uncritical, even enthusiastic, media. The promotion proved to be spectacularly successful, generating more than 1,400 news reports and a flurry of TV discussions of the “tragedy” that had struck the nation’s girls.(The War Against Boys
Susan Chira’s 1992 article for The New York Times was typical of media coverage throughout the country. The headline read “Bias Against Girls Is Found Rife in Schools, with Lasting Damage.” The piece could have been written by the AAUW’s publicity department. Indeed, the entire Times article was later reproduced by the AAUW and sent out as part of its fund-raising package. Chira had not interviewed a single critic. [For good reason, once again progressive junk science is fed to a willing Old Press.]
How do boys fit into the “tragedy” of America’s “shortchanged” girls? Inevitably, boys are resented, being seen both as the unfairly privileged gender and as obstacles on the path to gender justice for girls. There is an understandable dialectic: the more girls are portrayed as diminished, the more boys are regarded as needing to be taken down a notch and reduced in importance. This perspective on boys and girls is promoted in schools of education, and many a teacher now feels that girls need and deserve special indemnifying consideration. “It is really clear that boys are no. 1 in this society and in most of the world,” says Dr. Patricia O’Reilly, professor of education and director of the Gender Equity Center at the University of Cincinnati.
It may be “clear,” but it isn’t true. If we disregard the girl advocates and look objectively at the relative condition of boys and girls in this country, we find that it is boys, not girls, who are languishing academically. Data from the U.S. Department of Education and from several recent university studies show that far from being shy and demoralized, today’s girls outshine boys. Girls get better grades. They have higher educational aspirations. They follow a more rigorous academic program and participate more in the prestigious Advanced Placement (AP) program. This demanding program gives top students the opportunity of taking college-level courses in high school. In 1984, an equal proportion of males and females participated. But according to the United States Department of Education, “Between 1984 and 1996, the number of females who took the examinations rose at a faster rate. . . In 1996, 144 females compared to 117 males per 1000 12th graders took AP examinations” (see Table 1).
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, slightly more female than male students enroll in high-level math and science courses (see Table 2).
The representation of American girls as apprehensive and academically diminished is not true to the facts. Girls, allegedly so timorous and lacking in confidence, now outnumber boys in student government, in honor societies, on school newspapers, and even in debating clubs. Only in sports are the boys still ahead, and women’s groups are targeting the sports gap with a vengeance.
At the very time the AAUW was advertising its discovery that girls were subordinates in the schools, the Department of Education published the results of a massive survey showing just the opposite (see Figure l).
Girls read more books. They outperform males on tests of artistic and musical ability. More girls than boys study abroad. More join the Peace Corps. Conversely, more boys than girls are suspended from school. More are held back and more drop out. Boys are three times as likely as girls to be enrolled in special education programs and four times as likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
by Christina Hoff Sommers :21-26)
The way that progressives tend towards feeling that the feminine is always victimized has much more to do with their own phobias and psychological dynamics than the facts. At any rate, if you have a boy it may be a good idea to keep him out of State schools where feminists and the progressive/effeminate types have their smothering influence.
Given the general neurosis of the Left one shouldn't be surprised at its impact when it comes to boys.
Unfortunately we'll all pay for it. I was thinking this last night while reading a debate on pornography that came about among some guys. I would quote it directly but the forum it happened on is gone now. Summary: "It's just a harmless hobby." "They've taken everything else away from us, the more degrading to women the better." (Only it wasn't spelled that well or stated that well. They tend to write at a fourth grade level, don't you know.)
Metaphorically speaking, the Harlot awakens the Beast that eats her.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
I wonder if she is still alive, often strongest dissenters are not allowed to live under the "religion of peace."
It is interesting to think about how the average UofD student is conditioned to react to criticism of Islam. Their conditioning is based on a rather banal and ignorant template that Leftists tend to use. For instance, contrast the politically correct emotional conditioning typical to the American Left (e.g., the posts below this one, thanks to my local Leftist) with positions taken based on history, plain empirical facts, knowledge and principles. It takes more time to know about what you're talking about than to simply run with the Herd, so many just go with conditioning and buzzwords.
The Leftist mind so often seems to be intellectually degenerate these days, blindly feeling its way along based on its own emotions as represented in buzzwords. I wonder, is that woman "Islamophobic"? It seems to me that any fear she might have of Islamic clerics is quite rational. Yet by her actions she is obviously not very fearful.
When it comes to propagandists you're not even supposed to think about what their own words actually mean, though. (A phobia is an irrational fear given that not all fear is irrational, nor should all feelings of fear be defined as neurotic or psychotic.) It is supposed to be enough that they have painted a negative verbal image of some type which conditions the "correct" emotional response. That is how the politically correct is sometimes set against what is empirically, logically and morally correct.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Even though evangelical Christians claim they don’t have the attitudes of the crusaders,(Link)a major poll carried out last summer by the Pew Research Centre for the People & the Press, found that a strong plurality of 50 percent of white evangelical Protestants believe that Islam "is more likely than others to encourage violence among its believers", while only about a third of mainline Protestants and Catholics [read “liberals” according to the American Taliban] accepted that view.Common Dreams
Imagine if Muslims held that Christianity “is more likely than other [religions] to encourage violence among its nations."
...it’s those evangelicals that seem to have the biggest issue with Islamophobia...
Like I said, he's easily taken in by the Gay© propaganda points and its methods and modes. Note the original idea behind defining all disagreement as phobias, for although other terms "...might be more accurate, '-phobia' works better as rhetoric because it...suggests, in quasi-clinical terms, that anti-gay feelings stem exclusively from the bigot's own unhealthy psychological hangups and insecurities." I.e. when you engage in proto-Nazi propaganda methods (note the move towards medicalization) the more that you mix in personal attacks for manipulation and emotional conditioning, the better.
It is not something that is based on accuracy, facts, logic or evidence. Note some of its possible contradictions, I'm the "American Taliban" and the Leftist invokes that for his propagandistic fear-mongering....yet it is phobic to fear Islam.
At any rate, there are millions of Muslims who just want to live well, eat, have some sex, provide for their families, and die well. But even there it seems that the majority hates the Jews and many who have any political power whatsoever still carry a copy of the Protocals of the Elders of Zion. I suppose it would be "phobic" to go into actual evidence and why it is that it is radical Muslims terrorizing Jews as well as Russians, Hindus, Americans and on and on when the simple fact is that Christians, even radical Christians, have no such similar international terrorist movement (nor possible legitimization from their religious texts for one.).
Anyway remember now, don't be hatin'...or fearin'!
Sometimes the point of emotional conditioning is to transfer to you the propagandist's own feeelings through his projection of them. It seems that if you throw them back on him instead of beginning to accept what he tells you about your own feelings and so on then they may just grow and wind around his own head tighter and tighter. There's nothing much to be done about that.
Satire is fun though...
[Related posts: On code browns]
[Update: Right and wrong go out the window when it comes to emotionally based propaganda methods but: Imagine if Muslims held the view that Buddhism or Hinduism "is more likely...to encourage violence among its believers." Imagining it? Okay, good. If Muslims did hold that view then they would be wrong because there is no comparable international terrorist movement among Buddhists as there is among Muslims. On the other hand, if Buddhists held the view that Islam encourages more violence among its believers than other religions then they would be correct as a matter of historical facts, current events around the world, etc. But the propagandist does not care about what is actually correct or incorrect, he cares about conditioning your feelings in positive or negative ways based on his politics and the like. Thus the focus on feelings like fear, hatred, etc.]
Figures though, apparently my local Leftist wants to talk about his Gays© again instead of writing that critique of the rule of Hugo Chavez. (Nothing to critize, nothing at all?) Usually he's a against "the rich" but not this time I suppose:
I found this statement interesting: “Founded in 1973, Olivia advertises on its Web site that it markets to more than 50 million customers around the world.”I suspect that you are too bogged down in your own mental incompetence to understand this but no one simply chooses their sexual desires, nor most any other desire they may happen to have in any given moment or situation. What people generally do is find themselves in situations or whole cultures which shape their desires and appetites, thus Eskimo's will eat raw fish eyes while the average American considers that repulsive. Did they wake up one day and think, "I will now choose to like eating raw fish eyes." No. Yet are any number of cultural choices still made that shape, legitimize or even cause desires and feelings? Yes. And sometimes people choose to shape their own desires, which is why there are any number of lesbians that I could cite who choose to fuse their sexuality to that form. Some of the older ones note that they made that choice because that is what they considered authentic feminism to be. Sexuality is relative to culture. I could go on explaining will, culture, desires and what the evidence indicates but it matters little. I would note one thing before turning back to the article at hand, it is quite ironic that those who tend to have gender identity disorders come to the point of insisting that sex/gender is an act of will, (e.g. the transexual community) a choice, yet sexual desires are supposedly genetically determined. Sex is not genetically determined, but the sexual desires based on it are? You should be able to see how stupid and ignorant that is at first glance, given that sexuality and sexual desires are directed towards and by the biological reality of sex that the sexually disoriented claim is a choice. What they say is a choice is not, while what they argue is not a choice is. To these, the truth is a lie and a lie is the truth...and so on.
Would that be 50 million Lesbians around the world or to put in the language of the American Taliban, “Would that be 50 million heterosexual women waking up each morning choosing to be lesbians for the day?” Speaking of the American Taliban, perhapsMynym over at Into Good and Evil could explain all that international contrary-to-nature choice-making in the multiple tens of millions, assuming he is not too bogged down trying to sort out exactly which Biblical patriarchs were personally acquainted with dinosaurs. (Link)
But at any rate, note the article, given that Gays© tend to make lifestyle choices in which they come to be what marketers refer to as "dual-income, no kids" (DINKS), they tend to be a wealthy class. Given their tendency to a high level of education and so on it is a very lucrative market, thus the cruises, the high fashion, the Lesbian Chic©, etc. Yet originally the Supreme Court was quite careful as to who could qualify for suspect class status based on invidious discrimination as evidenced in poverty, etc. That was so that the Judiciary would not begin pulling laws out of thin air as it sometimes does, and so on.
But now given the Gay© perversion of civil rights law based on whoever feels like defining themselves as "sexual minorities" based on their own sexual desires, apparently any self-defined class with wealth and power combined with the capacity to portray itself well in the easily manipulated Old Press can abuse the law to attain special treatment with respect to its lifestyle choices, values, sexual ethics, etc. Gays© will not be the last group to try to control people's discriminations with respect to its lifestyle and values once the precedent is set.
Notice that the "discrimination" laws passed are generally not used because there was little discrimination in the first place if the wealth of Gays© as a class is any measure. Instead such laws are treated as legitimization for homosexuality or used against organizations like the Boy Scouts to try to change its sexual ethics, the requirement to be "morally straight." That is because the laws are more about controlling other people's discriminations with respect to sexual ethics and values than actually dealing with any prevalent invidious discrimination.
I suppose the mentally incompetent Leftists are easily taken in by it all.
[Related posts: Gay©]
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Now it was time to construct an algorithm that could tease some conclusions from this mass of data. ‘What might a cheating teacher’s classroom look like?(Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist
The first thing to search for would be unusual answer patterns in a given classroom: blocks of identical answers, for instance, especially among the harder questions. If ten very bright students (as indicated by past and future test scores) gave correct answers to the exam’s first five questions (typically the easiest ones), such an identical block shouldn’t be considered suspicious. But if ten poor students gave correct answers to the last five questions on the exam (the hardest ones), that’s worth looking into. Another red flag would be a strange pattern within any one student’s exam—such as getting the hard questions right while missing the easy ones—especially when measured against the thousands of students in other classrooms who scored similarly on the same test. Furthermore, the algorithm would seek out a classroom full of students who performed far better than their past scores would have predicted and who then went on to score significantly lower the following year. A dramatic one-year spike in test scores might initially be attributed to a good teacher; but with a dramatic fall to follow, there’s a strong likelihood that the spike was brought about by artificial means.[Emphasis added, more on numerous pointed points that seem to be artifacts of benevolent design tomorrow.]
Consider now the answer strings from the students in two sixth grade Chicago classrooms who took the identical math test. Each horizontal row represents one student’s answers. The letter a, b, c, or d indicates a correct answer; a number indicates a wrong answer, with 1 corresponding to a, 2 corresponding to b, and so on. A zero represents an answer that was left blank. One of these classrooms almost certainly had a cheating teacher and the other did not. Try to tell the difference-although be forewarned that it's not easy with the naked eye.
If you guessed that classroom A was the cheating classroom, congratulations. Here again are the answer strings from classroom A, now reordered by a computer that has been asked to apply the cheating algorithm and seek out suspicious patterns.
Take a look at the answers in bold. Did fifteen out of twenty-two students somehow manage to reel off the same six consecutive correct answers (the d-a-d-b-c-b string) all by themselves?
There are at least four reasons this is unlikely. One: those questions, coming near the end of the test, were harder than the earlier questions. Two: these were mainly subpar students to begin with, few of whom got six consecutive right answers elsewhere on the test, making it all the more unlikely they would get right the same six hard questions. Three: up to this point in the test, the fifteen students’ answers were virtually uncorrelated. Four: three of the students (numbers 1, 9, and 12) left at least one answer blank before the suspicious string and then ended the test with another string of blanks. This suggests that a long, unbroken string of blank answers was broken not by the student but by the teacher.
There is another oddity about the suspicious answer string. On nine of the fifteen tests, the six correct answers are preceded by another identical string, 3-a-1-2, which includes three of four incorrect answers. And on all fifteen tests, the six correct answers are followed by the same incorrect answer, a 4. Why on earth would a cheating teacher go to the trouble of erasing a student’s test sheet and then fill in the wrong answer?
Perhaps she is merely being strategic. In case she is caught and hauled into the principal’s office, she could point to the wrong answers as proof that she didn’t cheat. Or perhaps—and this is a less charitable but just as likely answer—she doesn’t know the right answers herself. (With standardized tests, the teacher is typically not given an answer key.) If this is the case, then we have a pretty good clue as to why her students are in need of inflated grades in the first place: they have a bad teacher.
Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner :29-33)
Public school teachers are not allowed to teach about ID in public schools...fortunately, for a number of reasons. So come close public highschool students and I'll whisper some information about ID, it is a tool you can use to catch some teachers. As a science it comports with the idea that information and intelligence are irreducible and perhaps metaphysical just as the philosophers thought. There are implications with respect to education in that. After all, how much State funding did Socrates and other philosophers who adhered to intelligent design need? At the end he noted sardonically that he deserved it, yet he did not receive it.
Note the State schools:
An analysis of the entire Chicago data reveals evidence of teacher cheating in more than two hundred classrooms per year, roughly 5 percent of the total. This is a conservative estimate, since the algorithm was able to identify only the most egregious form of cheating— in which teachers systematically changed students’ answers—and not the many subtler ways a teacher might cheat. In a recent study among North Carolina schoolteachers, some 35 percent of the respondents said they had witnessed their colleagues cheating in some fashion, whether by giving students extra time, suggesting answers, or manually changing students’ answers.(Ib. :35)
What are the characteristics of a cheating teacher? The Chicago data show that male and female teachers are about equally prone to cheating. A cheating teacher tends to be younger and less qualified than average. She is also more likely to cheat after her incentives change. Because the Chicago data ran from 1993 to 2000, it bracketed the introduction of high-stakes testing in 1996. Sure enough, there was a pronounced spike in cheating in 1996. Nor was the cheating random. It was the teachers in the lowest-scoring classrooms who were most likely to cheat. It should also be noted that the $25,000 bonus for California teachers was eventually revoked, in part because of suspicions that too much of the money was going to cheaters.
Monday, March 20, 2006
The economics of drug dealing drawn from the records of a gang of crack dealers in the 80s:
[T]here were indeed some drug dealers who could afford to live large, or—in the case of the gang’s board of directors—extremely large. Each of those top 20 bosses stood to earn about $500,000 a year. (A third of them, however, were typically imprisoned at any time, a significant downside of an up position in an illicit industry.)(Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything By Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner :102-104)
So the top 120 men on the Black Disciples’ pyramid were paid very well. But the pyramid they sat atop was gigantic. Using J. T.’s franchise as a yardstick—3 officers and roughly 50 foot soldiers— there were some 5,300 other men working for those 120 bosses. Then there were another 20,000 unpaid rank-and-file members, many of whom wanted nothing more than an opportunity to become a foot soldier. They were even willing to pay gang dues to have their chance.
And how well did that dream job pay? Here are the monthly totals for the wages that J. T. paid his gang members:
So J. T. paid his employees $9,500, a combined monthly salary that was only $1,000 more than his own official salary. J. T.’s hourly wage was $66. His three officers, meanwhile, each took home $700 a month, which works out to about $7 an hour. And the foot soldiers earned just $3.30 an hour, less than the minimum wage. So the answer to the original question—if drug dealers make so much money, why are they still living with their mothers?—is that, except for the top cats, they don’t make much money. They had no choice but to live with their mothers. For every big earner, there were hundreds more just scraping along. The top 120 men in the Black Disciples gang represented just 2.2 percent of the full-fledged gang membership but took home well more than half the money.
Along with the bad pay, the foot soldiers faced terrible job conditions. For starters, they had to stand on a street corner all day and do business with crackheads. (The gang members were strongly advised against using the product themselves, advice that was enforced by beatings if necessary.) Foot soldiers also risked arrest and, more worrisome, violence. Using the gang’s financial documents and the rest of Venkatesh’s research, it is possible to construct an adverse-events index of J. T.’s gang during the four years in question. The results are astonishingly bleak. If you were a member of J. T.’s gang for all four years, here is the typical fate you would have faced during that period:
A 1-in-4 chance of being killed! Compare these odds to being a timber cutter, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls the most dangerous job in the United States. Over four years’ time, a timber cutter would stand only a 1 -in-200 chance of being killed. Or compare the crack dealer’s odds to those of a death row inmate in
, which executes more prisoners than any other state. In 2003, Texas put to death twenty-four inmates—or just 5 percent of the nearly 500 inmates on its death row during that time. Which means that you stand a greater chance of dying while dealing crack in a Chicago housing project than you do while sitting on death row in Texas. Texas
Unfortunately, those who actually deal the crack will probably never have the opportunity to know such information. It's like the lottery, all the poor people think that they will be the one to win no matter the odds. The opiate of the masses is often reasoning based on blind faith and hope, which is often part of why they are poor. The poor want faith without reason while the rich want to reason without faith.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Nero directed that new gold and silver coins be issued bearing a different image of himself with a significantly changed metallic content. Nero probably had several reasons for taking this action. The first is a political rather than an economic reason. The coinage was an extremely useful means of propaganda. At the time of the Early Roman empire the means of propaganda, intended to reach the common people, were limited. They included, in addition to the coinage, only such things as games, statues, buildings, and, of course, word of mouth. Thus, the coinage became the TV commercial and the newspaper ad of the ancient world.(Nero's New Deal
On his new issue of coins, Nero announced his assumption of the imperium in two ways. First, he usually appears on the new coins with his head wreathed with laurel. His new representation with the laurel wreath is in contrast to Nero’s earlier issued coins on which he appeared with a bare head—an indication of his lack of concern for power. Second, the imperial gold and silver coins no longer bear the legend EX S.C. [the mark of the Senate] [...]
It [the legend EX S.C.] is one evidence the more of the reality of the senatorial restoration during Nero’s early years; it is not surprising to find that after the reform it disappears once and for all.
[A] striking parallel might be drawn between the actions taken by Nero and those taken by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the U.S. depression of the 1930’s.
Prior to the date of Nero’s reform of the coinage, the aureus contained 122.9 grains of gold. Nero’s new aureus contained but 114.1 grains. Thus, he was able to get 45 aurei out of a pound of gold rather than the 42 previously yielded. This represents an expansion of the government’s money supply by 7%. In a similar manner, the silver denarius was reduced in metallic content from 61.46 grains to 52.68 grains. In this way, an additional 12 denarii over and above the original 84 to the pound were obtained. This is an even greater devaluation (14%) than Nero got from the reduction in metallic content of the aureus. In addition, Nero put a 10% alloy of base metal with his silver. Whether this last step was taken to hide his sharp practice, or merely to reduce the wearing which occurs with pure silver, is not clear. If Nero had intended to deceive the people he would have wanted to keep the size of the new coin similar to that of the older ones. The alloying made this possible through preventing a marked change in the size of the coin.
When Nero added the alloy to the silver, debasement of the coinage became a reality in Rome. Nero’s debasement of the coinage is truly an innovation. It is the first of a long line of efforts to be made by succeeding emperors to make income stretch to meet outgo. Nero’s debasement of the denarius had a surprising result. The denarius was accepted as fiat money rather than as bona fide money. "Today, all American currency and coin is essentially ‘fiat’ money. It is money because the government decrees it is money, and because we all accept it." Bona fide money, of course, is money which is equal in value to the value of its metallic content. The acceptance of the new Roman silver coins without the disappearance of the old is a contradiction to Gresham’s law which says that the better coins ought to disappear. Usually this happens in two ways: they are melted down or they are exported. The coins were not melted down at Rome. The new coins circulated along with the older coins.” As might have been expected, however, Nero’s success at creating fiat money was restricted to its use domestically. Nero could get his money accepted in Rome but foreign governments would not go along with such practices. India offers a good example of the reluctance of a foreign government to accept the fiat money of another nation. We have evidence, through hoards, that indicates that although the Romans did export gold coins to India after the year A.D. 64, the silver denarius was no longer found in the Indian hoards. “The lack of post-Neronian denarii and the presence of post-Neronian aurci in the hoards in India is a sign that only the metallically better coins were exported from the Empire to India.”
by Mary Elizabeth Kelly Thornton
Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 102. (1971), pp. 621-629)
That liar and pervert Nero was just trying to feed the poor, see.
Money is language, a statement of value and judgment. Socialists are trying to say that you can get something for nothing, which is a lie. This is why they prefer the Darwinian creation myth in which everything comes from nothing.
The same thing happens to money when liars use it as when they use other forms of language. It is emptied of meaning and value. Render unto Caesar, for his symbols and signs are rather meaningless in the end.
On a side note, fortunately for Americans other nations did accept the currency of the American Empire. You can be quite fortunate if you work yourself into a position to write your own fortune, I suppose. Yet other nations have told lies and probably would even more than the U.S. if they could. For all its evil I would still argue that the American Empire is the most benevolent to have ever existed. Think on it, would you prefer a Russian Empire, French Empire or perhaps a Chinese Empire? And what of the old Empires, how do they compare? Listening to Leftists like Chomsky one would think that the world would be better off without the American Empire entirely. But all the Left really seems to be doing is working to ensure that a different and more malevolent Empire will rule, whether it is American or not.
(E.g., I ask one of those type of Leftists to write a critique of different rulers and instead I get them pointing out that what I just pointed out is a good argument. Yeah. Well, another good thought experiment for them would be to think about what would happen if the American Empire's rather vast powers decreased so that America had to be more united with other nations. Then they get what they want and the supposed Big Bully is gone. But now what? I suppose that the U.N. will then lead the world?)
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Where's your proof that god exists?
The reply from someone:
Perhaps I should state that another way:
We have noted that the beautiful is first of all a form, and thus “the light does not fall on this form from above and from outside, rather it breaks forth from the form’s interior.” The outer appearance of this invisible unfathomable mystery “reveals it while, naturally, at the same time protecting and veiling it”. In the beautiful there are both hiddenness and manifestation: the hiddenness of the inner organizing agent, the inner form energy, and the outward appearance stemming from it. This it is that “lends the phenomenon of the beautiful its enrapturing and overwhelming character”. The mere animal hears the Mozart concerto and sees the daffodil, but it is neither enraptured nor overwhelmed. It has no intellect to perceive the inner depth, the form.(The Evidential Power of Beauty: Science and Theology Meet
In both the forms of nature and those of art the external manifestation and the inner depths are not separable. Rather, “we ‘behold’ the form; but, if we really behold it, it is not as a detached form, rather in its unity with the depths that make their appearance in it. We see form as the splendour, as the glory of Being. We are ‘enraptured’ by our contemplation of these depths and are ‘transported’ to them.” Form is therefore indissoluble. It cannot be cut and studied in pieces.
by Thomas Dubay :51)
If a marriage of form and being is made in heaven maybe that's why it doesn't last here on earth.
A few meanderings, the ascetic Platonist or the model for the fashions of the time will come to consider the form to be purer than its manifestation, so they waste away into pure nothingness through their incessant purging. Their attempted purging and purifying seems rather gross, are they so pure?
If "In the beautiful there are both hiddenness and manifestation..." then on the other hand the hedonist Epicurean comes to feel that nothing can be hidden, so they wallow about in forms of their own brutal honesty and visceral reactions. Yet are they so honest? The different patterns of ascetics and hedonists when it comes to matter seem to matter little indeed, as both come to the same end through perversion.
[...]Earlier this week, it was revealed that federally funded medical researchers have been caught plagiarizing, faking research, dumping data and otherwise operating outside ethics guidelines.(Competition for grants can lead to risk-taking
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council discovered more than a dozen scientists across the country awarded more than $12 million in grants had cheated.
Young scientists face unprecedented pressure to produce "breakthrough" results early in their careers and even to guarantee results before conducting trials, Wexler said.
"If it was real fraudulent activity, it's surprising, boy, it's shocking," said Dr. P.J. Devereaux, a McMaster University professor and a cardiologist.
"For peer-reviewed grants, I would have thought that's a low likelihood," he added. "I do a lot of research with people from across the country and internationally and I do fundamentally believe the majority of researchers are extremely good people who are interested in finding advances for society."
It's not known whether more fraud is occurring in clinical research or whether it is just being unmasked more readily, said Dr. Margaret Somerville, founding director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and the Law at McGill University.
By Sharon Boase
The Hamilton Spectator)
[Related comments: Networks and Peer Review]
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Chris Graber didn't know what his family's future would be Sunday night when he saw a "dark spot" come barreling over a hill and take dead aim for his modest home in eastern Webster County.(Amish neighbors take just one day to rebuild home destroyed by twister, Ozarks Local News)
The Grabers escaped unharmed from the tornado that plowed through Webster County.
Not so their home. It was torn apart by the twister's fury.
But in less than 15 hours, the Grabers were back in a new home rebuilt on the same spot — a peaceful valley south of Missouri 38 about 10 miles east of Marshfield — by more than 100 men and boys from neighboring Amish homesteads near the Grabers.
A full three years after Hurricane Katrina scattered New Orleanians across the country, residents will have returned to areas that had little or no flooding, but less than half will have made it back to neighborhoods that took on 2 feet of water or more, a think tank hired by Mayor Ray Nagin's rebuilding commission estimates.(Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
the biggest obstacle to repopulation by far, the study says, is the lack of housing. The report says the city would grow much more quickly if City Hall were able to streamline its permitting process, something city officials say already has been done.
March 15, 2006 Wednesday
METRO; Pg. 1
Study: Half back in city by 2008;
But badly damaged areas slow to revive
By Gordon Russell)
I suppose one way around government officials who supposedly care more about how safe your house is than you do is to rebuild the house before tin-pot officials know it was destroyed.
This ties in with the post below it. Isn't it ironic that the average progressive always seems to be working towards increasing State power while undermining religion, as religion is a form of self-government and the family is the first form of government typically tied to religion. But they can never seem to buy treating people with love and respect with more taxing and spending. You cannot buy honesty or a sound work ethic. So FEMA and the politicians could spend and spend more and more money yet still leave people homeless and owing more to the State in taxes, while Amish communities (if there were enough of them) could probably built millions of good houses if given the same wealth.
[Edit: You could put in the electrical wiring later. And I'm not saying I agree with the Amish about everything. I'm just noting the typical difference between self-government based on religion and family vs. the type of government promoted by Leftists.]
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
I do not know that I've ever seen anything more ironic than my local tin-pot Leftist. He's the fellow who sometimes stops by here dragging his poor ol' poor in when he lacks an argument. Sometimes he likes to claim that the hungry need something to eat given to them no matter how fat they are. It's an ironic red herring for a Leftist to throw out because socialists have a habit of starving more people than anyone else ever has pretty much every single time they get any political power.
So the capitalist McDonalds wants to sell you some food and to make themselves some money they'll keep selling you bad food until you're nice, big and fat? Yes, but so what? They may be greedy and their main goal is not to care for your health with some "free healthcare," instead it is to make money. Yet instead of trying to sit in judgment on people's hearts, motivations and feelings I shrug at such possiblities. But the pharisaical socialist cannot seem to uphold principles while letting some sins exist, they care more about the sins of McDonalds and Walmart that want to sell you things to make money than they do about people actually having more to eat just like they care about the sins or motivations of the oilman who wants to sell you some gas for your car more than they do about the jihadist who wants to cut your head off. It's that last that gets dangerous.
Who has fed more poor people, the capitalists of the American Empire like McDonalds generating wealth to make food so cheap that even the poor are fat or socialist States that supposedly "distribute" wealth? At some level, you have to like an Empire which has a health problem with its poor people being fat.
The irony of making mountains out of small sins or ills (greed, consumerism) while being blind to vast evils (the socialists' starvation of millions) seems to continue through all socialist thinking on good and evil. E.g., my local Leftist seems concerned that a doctor is performing an expensive operation in order to buy himself a second luxury car, yet neglects to mention that no Leftist government has ever provided the same level of actual healthcare (murmuring about growing numbers of uninsured as if insurance policies are actual healthcare doesn't change anything). Why is socialist failure so often the case? Perhaps it is because no one really cares about your health as much as you do. I'm crying a little tear about that and the "hatred" of it all. How I hate it and would just looove to change it. Yet in the meantime, as far as I'm concerned if a doctor cares more about getting a second luxury car than he cares about my health then the best system is the one that will channel some of his looove for a new car into some caring about my health. That's the capitalist system. It doesn't supplant religion, bring heaven on earth or create a New Man. But if you need something to eat, it usually works well enough. The only way that communism or socialism would truly work is if everyone was truly Christian and so followed Christ's self-sacrificial example of caring about other people's health more than his own, which is where socialists and communists are getting their ethics from anyway. Isn't it ironic that socialists typically work to undermine Christianity however they can. They are like intellectual parasites killing their ethical host.
There are many layers of irony when it comes to the Leftist mind but at any rate, it is curious how my local Leftist has nary a bad word to say about Hugo Chavez or that aging half-wit, Fidel. The claim is that the Leftist will feed the poor, probably out of the goodness of their good lil' heart for after all, what would Jesus do?
But the reality of poverty and hunger in the socialist systems typically looks like this:
TWICE a day, a queue forms outside the barracks of the presidential guard, across the street from the Miraflores palace in Caracas. In the pre-dawn chill, and in the midday heat, hundreds of mainly poor supplicants line up to deliver their petitions. Let down by the state bureaucracy or cheated by corrupt officials, most believe Hugo Chávez, the former army officer who has been Venezuela's president since 1999, is their only chance of salvation. Mr Chávez, who was elected on a promise to end poverty and "social exclusion", has sworn his socialist revolution will achieve this by 2021. The queue in the street hints both at the hope he has inspired and at the inadequacy of his methods.(The Economist
Higher prices have quadrupled Venezuela's annual revenue from oil exports since 1998. Nevertheless, the country's Catholic bishops claimed last month that poverty was "accelerating rapidly."
In the five years to 2003, Mr Chávez's performance was disastrous... The proportion of households below the poverty line increased by more than 11 percentage points. By 2003, a quarter of Venezuelans were living in "extreme poverty", unable even to feed themselves adequately. It was the first time since data were collected that poverty rose even as the oil price did too. Government incompetence was not the sole cause. Acute political conflict, including a two-month strike and business lockout, which shut down the oil industry, played a big part.
Beleaguered, and facing a mid-term referendum to recall him from office, the president hit on an innovative solution. Advised by Cuba's communist government, he began to create the "missions"—emergency health, education and welfare programmes. The missions provide public services and subsidies to the poor. They are paid for out of a parallel budget, controlled directly by the president without going through the social ministries.
"Inside the Barrio" builds primary health posts, staffed by Cuban doctors. The "Robinson Mission" teaches people to read. "Mercal", a fast-expanding network of shops and supermarkets, sells staple foods at a 40% discount, boosting the purchasing power of the minimum wage. There are more than a dozen other missions: the latest, named after Simón Bolívar's nanny, is intended to look after street children, drug addicts and the homeless.
Thanks largely to the ever-expanding oil windfall and a huge increase in public spending, the economy recovered strongly from the strike, growing 18% in 2004 and almost 10% last year. Given such growth, it would be remarkable if poverty had not fallen. And indeed it seems to have done. According to an estimate by the national statistics office, in 2005 poverty at last fell below its level of 1998.
Some social scientists distrust the figures. But they may be accurate.
Whatever the merits of the missions as emergency programmes, they stress quantity over quality. Meanwhile, Venezuela's public infrastructure, such as roads and hospitals, is crumbling. A deficit of 1.5m housing units is widening. Only a quarter of the 110,000 new houses needed each year are being built, because of the public sector's incompetence and its unwillingness to involve the private sector.
February 18, 2006
The image many Venezuelans have of the Bolivarian revolution is not good or beautiful but quite the opposite.According to the latest poll conducted by Datos Information Resources, National Pulse 2003--II, 48 percent of those polled describe the current regime as a dictatorship; 70 percent associate it with a situation of violence and socialdivision; 66 percent believe it has led to increased corruption in the public administration; and 68 percent believe it has led to increased poverty in the country and worsened Venezuelans' standard of living.(World News Connection
If a recall referendum on President Hugo Chavez's term were held today, 62 percent of those polled would votefor revoking his term, whereas 30 percent would vote for letting him continue it.
These percentages are directly related with other poll indicators: Six out of 10 participants give poor marks to the chief of state's job; seven out of 10 believe this government has done little or nothing to solve problems such as corruption, personal insecurity and inflation; and seven out of 10 blame the Chavez administration for the increase inunemployment and the country's deepening economic crisis.
The expectations voiced by the poll's subjects about the country's future and Chavez's executive ability were negative and totally opposed to those reported by Datos in 1999, the first year of the Chavez administration.
In 1999, 66 percent said they had great confidence in "the president's ability to manage the countrywell" and only 16 percent expressed little or no confidence. Currently, this opinion has made a 180o turn: 68 percent do not have confidence in the leader and only 19 percent continue to believe he will play an efficient role in the Presidency.
June 28, 2003
Latest Datos Poll: Most Venezuelans View 'Bolivarian Revolution' Negatively
by Marianela Palacios) (Emphasis added)
These patterns seem unchanging to socialism, the socialist is the disease that he purports to cure with his caring. They usually care about political power more than your healthcare. If you assume that no one actually cares that much about your health, then you'll usually be correct.