Saturday, May 31, 2014

Men's Wallets And Their Partner's Orgasms. The Life of A Study from Pre-Birth Popularization to Silent Death.

 Here is a story about the life-cycle of one 2009 evolutionary psychology study and its popularization.  The study had a simple conclusion:  Women are created by evolution to be gold-diggers.   Too bad that this simple conclusion turned out to be wrong.  Too bad that very few people even today know that it turned out to be wrong.

This is because the early publicity of the initial study (most of which took place before critics could get hold of the paper) offered the popularizers something they might dream about:  A study which seemed to show that women had more frequent orgasms the higher their male partner's income was!  Talk about click-bait!  The story has sex in it, the story has the perfidy of women in it, the story has science which proves the perfidy of women.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Second Fund-Raising Post

A sad horse story with a happy ending:

A mare gave birth a few nights ago to a healthy foal, but the mare died from complications of the birth.  The breeder whose mare this was noted the sadness in social media, and was soon matched with a different horse breeder (of a different horse breed) who also had had a birth at the farm, but this time the foal was born dead.  A horse-trailer and some goodwill, and the orphan foal was transported to the bereaved mother mare.  The foal was rubbed with the new mother's blanket, the mare promptly accepted the new baby, the baby drank enough milk to create a new round foal-breed and then the new mother-child pair nuzzled each other.

A cat picture:

You can donate money for this blog via PayPal (in the left column).  Thanks for reading here, whether you can help with the dough or not and whether you saw through my manipulation efforts here or not.

Howard Kurtz to Hillary Clinton: Press Mean To Women? Deal With It!

Via Digby (who gets the main problem with Kurtz's advice), Howard Kurtz had this to say:

My take is this: Let's say Hillary's people are right and that the press is petty, sensationalist, often unfair and sometimes mean to women? Deal with it. It's like complaining about bad weather. Every candidate has to cope with an adversarial media, and Democrats usually get a break at least on social issues.

Because I have such smart readers, I bet you can tell the flaw in that assertion already.  Yes, it's the fact that being "mean to women" is an aspect of this treatment which doesn't affect "every candidate" equally.  Only some candidates get attacked because of the demographic group they belong to.  That would mostly be women and minorities, and the total sum of all meanness aimed at a candidate is not constant. What that last bit means is this:  Someone who gets racist or sexist criticism will also get other types of mean criticism.

But the real flaw in the argument is in the reversal that it hides:  Should women deal with the fact that they are attacked when Hillary Clinton is attacked for her gender?  Because that's what those slurs effect.  They attack a whole gender as collateral damage for being "mean" to a politician.  They also reveal quite a bit about the values of the attacker, of course.

If This Is True It's Bad

According to one site, the April police check of Elliot Rodger, the Santa Barbara butcher, was because of the videos he had posted, but the police never watched those videos:

Santa Barbara Sheriff's deputies checking on Elliot Rodger weeks before he killed six college students were aware of but didn't view disturbing videos that prompted calls about his well-being.

That is not good policing, right?  Those videos are the evidence which made Rodger's family concerned.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Worth Reading, 5/29/2014: Measles. Misogyny.

1.  Measles have returned as an infectious disease in the US.  The main reason has to do with the anti-vaccination movement.  The fewer the people are who get vaccinated, the lower the herd immunity is.  Whether to get a vaccination or not is one of those cases where the benefits and costs of the decision fall partly on the rest of the society, but where the individual's decision-making does not properly take those into account.  Because, duh, other people.

Similar thinking applies to the overuse of antibiotics in that the effects of that overuse on the rest of the society may not enter the private calculus.

2.  I was surprised by some of the debate about what motivated the Santa Barbara massacre:  the insistence that the causes must be found in only one aspect of the horrors.  Either it's mental illness, or it's gun or it's misogyny, and because  misogyny isn't that rare in the US society (or any of the other societies I know about), it can't be misogyny!  Because most misogynists don't go on a rampage!  But then neither do most gun-owners or most people who use mental health services. 

The lack of proper gun control in the US is a major factor, possibly the main reason why the rates of mass killings in this country are so high, and the holes in the mental health network have played a role in many of the earlier killings.  But that these two factors are important doesn't mean that the reasons the Santa Barbara killer gave us or evidence from prior mass killings should be ignored.

This 2013 NYT article provides some tentative support for the way mental illness and social trends might interact.  Put in a simple way:  Perhaps the talk in the society influences the talk inside someone's head, perhaps the tone of conversations in a  PUA group (not comfortable reading) influences the tone of someone's already-dangerous thinking.  Then there's the entitlement-to-sex thinking, as discussed in this article.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou, RIP

Maya Angelou has died.

 Ailey, Baldwin, Floyd, Killens, and Mayfield
by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down,
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil in silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with 
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are now so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly.  Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed.  They existed.
We can be.  Be and be
better. For they existed.

My Annual Begging Week Starts

Time to pay the piper.  That would be me.  I need a new computer and it needs to be ergonomic and have an enormous screen.  So I hope all my imaginary readers will pay for it!  And cover my chocolate budget and the migraine medications I need after writing posts such as the one right below.  And all the fees I've paid to get hold of studies which I then tear apart here.

I'm not asking you to pay for my labor though that would be utterly wonderful and also just, given that my hourly wage rate on this blog is about one cent right now.

If you have no money, don't worry.  You can always send me some later when your ship comes home.

Instructions on how to finance this blog with PayPal are in the left column.  Lump-sum payments turn out to work better than a monthly subscription, though either is perfectly fine with me.

Whether you can contribute or not, thanks for your custom, for your wisdom and for your kindness.



Monday, May 26, 2014

The Day Of Retribution. On Elliot Rodger, the Butcher of Santa Barbara.

This post is about the slaughter carried out by Elliot Rodger in Santa Barbara.  It is about violence, the hatred of women and the general hatred of humans.  Consider carefully whether you wish to read it.

1.  The Recent Events

Elliot Rodger, 22,  spent last Saturday killing people in Santa Barbara, California.  He first brutally stabbed to death three men in his apartment:  Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, George Chen, 19 and Weihan Wang, 20, then got into his BMW with  his three semi-automatic legally acquired guns and headed to that UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara) sorority  he had rated as having the largest number of pretty tall blondes, the kind of womanflesh he wanted to have on his plate but was denied because the damn dinners had rights to refuse him!

He planned to kill all women inside the sorority, but was stopped by the fact that nobody opened the door however hard he banged on it.  Poor Elliot!  Things always worked out against him.  No wonder he was filled with such rage, as witnessed by his manifesto for the butchering or "the day of retribution."

Instead, he shot at the three young women standing outside the sorority building, killing Katherine Breann Cooper, 22, and Veronika Elizabeth Weiss, 19.  The third victim is still alive and I hope that she will recover.

What Rodger tells us in his manifesto is that this is the plan he had for killing people because he was owed that retribution for all the sex he deserved but wasn't getting while other men were getting it:

First horribly carve up men in his apartment, then kill all the sorority residents, then just  drive around the place shooting and hitting people with his car.  With the exception of failing to wipe out the sorority, his plans were going pretty well.

He next killed Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20, at a local delicatessen.  He was probably chosen randomly, as "one of the animals,"  Rodger's view of other humans.

No more immediate deaths on his rampage through the streets, though his car drove into two bicyclists (and two other individuals) and his bullets hit pedestrians walking by.  In all, six victims were killed,  seven other individuals were hurt on this "day of retribution."  Two of the hurt remain in serious condition.  I hope all of them will be made as whole as possible.  I hope those who loved the dead (including those who loved Rodger) get some peace.

The day ended with Rodger's suicide.