Sunday, May 24, 2015

Death from Hash Oil Explosion

(Portland, Oregon)
A medical marijuana patient sued Shell Oil, claiming it sold him butane that exploded, burning him and killing a friend as they tried to make hash oil.

Kevin Tveisme, who has a medical marijuana card, sued PacWest Energy, Shell Oil, Hai's Shell Station and 10 others on Wednesday in Multnomah County Court, blaming them for the explosion of the odorless butane.

Tveisme says he bought four packages of Power 5X butane at the Shell gas station on SE 121st and Foster Road in Portland on May 27, 2013.

He claims defendants marketed the butane as "an acceptable 'solvent' for the residential preparation of butane hash oil."

However, "Unbeknownst to plaintiff, during the extraction process, butane can fill the vapor space, and can quickly fill and enclosed area," Tveisme says.

He blames the defendants for failing to odorize their butane, or warn him about it.
Tveisme is suing for $11,000,000.

"Openness" and Facebook as a personality diagnostic

An academic report has just come out about who posts what on Facebook. The sample is, regrettably, a Mechanical Turk one, so the findings are of unknown generalizability to any population. They may however represent brighter people fairly well.

The finding that caught my eye was "Openness is positively associated with updating about intellectual topics".  We also read that "people who are high in openness tend to be creative, intellectual, and curious".

I should mention at this point that there is a large psychological literature dating back to at least 1950 in which Leftists congratulate themselves for having just such traits.  And, conversely, they claim, but never clearly prove, that conservatives are the opposite of that.  According to conventional wisdom in political psychology, we conservatives are closed-minded and rigid.  From their behavior, I would have thought that that cap fitted Leftists a lot better but I will leave that aside for the moment.  They are certainly not open to evidence and argument on things like global warming.

I have written a great deal on why the conventional psychological  characterization is false, with my most recent shot in that direction here.

The basic fault in the Leftist research on the topic is that there is a great deal of "spin" in how they refer to things.  To take the simplest example, you would think that a desire for order would be a generally good thing.  What scientists do, after all, is search for order in the phenomena of nature.  So what do you do when you find that conservatives are high on a desire for order?  You relabel it as "intolerance of ambiguity".  I kid you not.  Something good instantly becomes something bad. It's typical Leftist "proof" -- proof that proves nothing.  Anyway, my various academic papers shooting down the nonsense are accessible here

So what pleased me was purely something personal.  What I put up on Facebook is precisely what "open" people put up -- posts on scientific and political matters.  I come out as the opposite of what Leftists think a conservative is.

Whether conservatives generally post mostly that way is of course unknown but could be of interest to study.  When personality scores (based on how people describe themselves) correlate with actual behaviour (as in what you use Facebook for) that does add some confidence that one is studying something real.

Journal abstract below but the whole article is publicly accessible at the same link

The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates

Tara C. Marshall et al.


Status updates are one of the most popular features of Facebook, but few studies have examined the traits and motives that influence the topics that people choose to update about. In this study, 555 Facebook users completed measures of the Big Five, self-esteem, narcissism, motives for using Facebook, and frequency of updating about a range of topics.

Results revealed that extraverts more frequently updated about their social activities and everyday life, which was motivated by their use of Facebook to communicate and connect with others.

People high in openness were more likely to update about intellectual topics, consistent with their use of Facebook for sharing information.

Participants who were low in self-esteem were more likely to update about romantic partners, whereas those who were high in conscientiousness were more likely to update about their children.

Narcissists’ use of Facebook for attention-seeking and validation explained their greater likelihood of updating about their accomplishments and their diet and exercise routine. Furthermore, narcissists’ tendency to update about their accomplishments explained the greater number of likes and comments that they reported receiving to their updates.

Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 85, October 2015, Pages 35–40

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Louisiana Teacher Gave Pot Brownies to Students

Camille Brennan

(Covington, Louisiana) A 29-year-old teacher formerly at Archbishop Hannan High School, Camille Brennan, has been accused of giving pot brownies to two students.

Brennan faces counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and distribution of marijuana.
In a letter to parents last month, Father Charles Latour, the Covington school's principal, said he asked the Sheriff's Office to investigate Brennan after one of the student's parents contacted school officials.

Brennan resigned soon after.
Reportedly, more charges could be forthcoming.

Dakota Teacher Gets 15 Years Prison in Sex Case

Tonya Drueppel

(Sioux Falls, South Dakota) A teacher formerly at Axtell Park Middle School, Tonya Drueppel, 33, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fine to be a Muslim in Britain but not a Jehovah's Witness?

Jehovah's Witnessses are strict Bible Christians much like the Puritans of old. They are however so strict about what the Bible says that they are one of the few Christian religions to acknowledge that the cross is an old pagan sex symbol.  It symbolizes a penis entering spread legs.

The words in the original Greek of the Bible which are translated as cross are stauros and xylon, which mean "stake" and "wood" respectively.  No word meaning "cross" is used. Jesus was executed with his hands nailed together over his head. So the cross story is just another pagan accretion like Christmas, Easter and observing the sabbath on a Sunday.

The little boy in the story below was therefore simply reflecting what the Bible says.  It's a sad and strange day in a country formed by strict Bible Christians when the Koran is more acceptable than the Bible.  No criticism of Islam is of course acceptable in Britain

A Jehovah's Witness' seven-year-old son has been taken into care because she damaged him with her 'religious beliefs and practices', a family court judge has ruled.

Judge Clifford Bellamy concluded that the boy had suffered 'emotional harm' from his mother and decided he would be better off with foster parents.

The young boy had been disruptive in school during lessons touching on Christianity, destroying projects and calling bible stories lies, a court heard.

Social services also believed the unnamed little boy was also at the centre of a rift between his parents so will no longer be living with either of them.

Detail of the case has emerged in a written ruling by the judge following a family court hearing in Leicester but Judge Bellamy said no-one involved could be identified.

A member of staff at the youngster's school had told how the boy had said he 'could not be with people who didn't believe in Jehovah', said the judge.

The little boy had cut up materials his class was using in an exercise about the 'Crucifixion story' and had said, 'nobody's telling the true stories about Jehovah', the judge heard.

He had also 'presented as contemptuous, grimacing somewhat theatrically' when speaking about the 'non-Jehovah's Witness Bible'.

'I am satisfied that the fact that (he) has been immersed by his mother in her religious beliefs and practices has been a significant factor in causing that emotional harm.'

The judge said there were also concerns about the boy's relationship with his father.  He said the youngster had spoken of his father being 'really mean to me' and had said: 'I don't love daddy at all.'

Social services staff had also thought the boy was being harmed by 'conflict' between his parents.

Judge Bellamy said he was satisfied that 'change' was required and that the youngster should be placed with experienced foster carers.  He indicated that he would review the case later in the summer.

The boy's mother had not accepted that he had been harmed by 'immersion' in her religion and had denied introducing him to her religion in a bid to alienate him from his father


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Friday, May 22, 2015

European Gas

Norway has overtaken Russia as the leading supplier of gas to western Europe, according to data collected by Reuters from Norway’s state gas network operator Gassco and Russian state company Gazprom.

According to the figures, the trend began when Norway overtook Russia in the last three months of last year, with western Europe buying 29.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) from Norway and 19.8 bcm from Russia.

Michigan Woman Accused of Running Hooker Ring

Amy Sawulski

(Washtenaw County, Michigan) A 30-year-old local woman, Amy Sawulski, has been accused of running a prostitution ring out of Ann Arbor motels.

Sawulski faces prostitution-related felonies.
Two women testified at a preliminary examination in April that they worked under Sawulski as prostitutes in 2010-2011, mostly at the Motel 6 on South State Street in Ann Arbor. The women testified they also went to people's homes for more money. The official complaint lists both the city of Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor Township as locations Sawulski operated.

Sawulski was the one who put the postings on the website and provided the women with rides, motel rooms and cellphones, they testified. The women also testified Sawulski took half of their earnings, which averaged to about $1,400 per day.
Sawulski is free on $25,000 bond.

Michigan Teacher Guilty of Sex with Female Student - Update

Lauren Hill

(St. Joseph, Michigan) A 26-year-old former teacher at St. Joseph High School, Lauren Hill, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Officials say Hill had sex with a student under 16 years old.

As part of the plea deal, two third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges involving the same student were dismissed.
Sentencing is scheduled for July.

* * * * *

Michigan Teacher Inappropriate with Female Student
[Previous 5/7/15 post]
(St. Joseph, Michigan)
A St. Joseph, Michigan, high school teacher was arrested after allegations that she had an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Lauren Hill, 26, from St. Joseph, was charged with four counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct.

On Wednesday, April 29, the St. Joseph Department of Public Safety was contacted by the St. Joseph Public Schools regarding allegations of an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and one of her students.
Hill resigned her teaching position.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pennsylvania Educator Accused of Sex with Student

Lianne Danko

(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
A former Ringgold High School guidance counselor today was charged with having a sexual relationship with a high school football player.

Rostraver police said Lianne Danko, 33, of Rostraver, was charged with three counts of institutional sexual assault.

According to a criminal complaint, Ms. Danko engaged in an inappropriate relationship beginning in October with an 18-year-old male student who was seeing her to discuss his relationship problems. The two began a sexual relationship sometime in November, police said.
Danko was booked and released on $50,000 bond.

Virginia Teacher Gets Prison for Sex with Students - Update

Erica Lynne Mesa

(Stafford, Virginia)
Erica Lynne Mesa was a teacher and coach at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford County.

A judge sentenced her to 22 years Thursday, with all but three years suspended.

* * * * *

Virginia Teacher Admits to Sex with Students - Update
{Previous 3/20/15 post]
(Stafford, Virginia) Former math teacher at Colonial Forge High School Erica Lynn Mesa pleaded guilty to electronic solicitation of a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

She admitted to having sex with four students.

Mesa faces a possible 22 years in prison when sentenced in May.

* * * * *

Virginia Teacher Indicted for Sex with Student - Update
[Previous 12/4/14 post]
(Stafford, Virginia) Arrested last September, 27-year-old Erica Lynn Mesa has been indicted on felony charges for allegedly engaging in sexual relations with two students.
According to court records, Mesa later admitted to police of having sexual relations with at least four students starting in 2012 and continuing until about a week before her arrest.

Most of the encounters took place in her home, while at least one occurred in her vehicle, court records state.

Court records list the students’ ages as ranging from 16 to 18; some of them were in her classes.
A trial date hasn't been reported.

* * * * *

Virginia Teacher Accused of Sex with Student
[Previous 10/1/14 post]
(Stafford, Virginia) A 27-year-old teacher at Colonial Forge High School, Erica Lynn Mesa, has been accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with a student.

Mesa faces counts of custodial indecent liberties and solicitation of a minor using a computer device.
Stafford County police say that Mesa, a teacher and coach at Colonial Forge High School, had a sexual relationship with a male student aged 16-17 in February, May and September of this year.

Mesa also allegedly sent nude photos of herself to the male student.
Mesa was booked into custody at the Rappahannock Regional Jail without bond.

Ohio Woman Accused of Raping Toddler

Peggy Horstman

(Belmont County, Ohio) A 27-year-old local woman, Peggy Horstman, has been accused of raping a one-year-old toddler.

Horstman faces counts of rape and gross sexual imposition.

Arizona Woman Sentenced for Sex with Boy, 13 - Update

Anna Areola-Hernandez

(Maricopa County, Arizona) A 24-year-old local woman, Anna Areola-Hernandez, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to child molestation of a 13-year-old boy.

* * * * *

Arizona Woman Accused of Sex with Minor
[Previous 3/27/14 post]
(Phoenix, Arizona) A 23-year-old local woman, Anna Areola-Hernandez, has been accused of engaging in sex with minors and infecting at least one with an STD.

Areola-Hernandez faces three counts each of suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor, child molestation, unlawful age misrepresentation, and adult posing as a minor for a sexual conduct act.
Sgt. Jay O’Neill, a spokesman for the Glendale Police Department, said detectives had been alerted to an inappropriate and potentially sexual relationship between a 23-year-old woman and an underage boy. The underage boy later turned out to be a 13 year old. Areola-Hernandez met the minor at a Phoenix mall and engaged in sex several times.

Detectives learned through investigation that Areola-Hernandez, who used the screen names “Tiny Hernandez” or “Ana Hernandez,” communicated with minors through texts and social media sites including Facebook, Kik, Snapchat, and Tango. Her profile pics were styled to make herself look younger.
Areola-Hernandez was booked without bail since she is considered a flight risk.

The wide-ranging influence of genetics

The Left long denied the influence of genetics but now simply ignore it.  The study below is therefore powerful evidence of just how wrong they are.  Hans Eysenck, a considerable student of genetics, once said to me, "It's ALL genetic".  He was of course making a conversational statement to a colleague rather than a precise scientific one but the present study does confirm one sense of what he said:  ALL traits have a substantial genetic component. And the writer below makes the correct and important point that the 50/50 split observed is only an average and that the genetic contribution varies from trait to trait.  So the findings do not overturn the usual finding that IQ is about two thirds genetic

It's a question that dogged scientists for close to a century and Queensland researchers say they have the answer.  When it comes to health, in the age-old battle of nature versus nurture… It's a draw.

University of Queensland research fellow Dr Beben Benyamin worked with scholars at the VU University of Amsterdam to review almost every twin study completed globally in the past 50 years.

After analysing studies of more than 14.5 million twin pairs across 17,804 traits from 2748 publications, they found variation for human traits and diseases was 49 per cent genetic (nature), and 51 per cent due to environmental factors (nurture).

The Queensland Brain Institute researcher said the draw was expected but he was pleased to be able to put a number on the variation and surprised by how similar an influence each aspect had.

"Most of the reviews have been for specific traits, like people are interested in studying one particular disease and review all the twin studies for one disease," he said.  "But this is I think is the first one to review everything about all disease and all twin studies that are available at the moment."

The influence of nature and nurture is actually a complex interplay rather than a simple either/or and is far from equal across all traits and diseases.

The risk for bipolar disorder was about 70 per cent due to genetics and 30 per cent due to environmental factors, Dr Benyamin found.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hawaii Obamacare Enrolls Zero People

(Honolulu, Hawaii)
The numbers are in: Hawaii’s Obamacare Exchange enrolled a grand total of ZERO — yes, zero people during its special enrollment period.

The Obama administration had implemented the special enrollment period from March 15 - April 30 to assist individuals who were unaware they would face a tax penalty for not having “qualifying” health insurance. In all, less than 250,000 individuals decided to enroll nationwide meaning that millions of Americans would rather pay the tax than enroll in Obamacare.

While Hawaii enrolled zero individuals and is the worst performing state, it is not alone. Vermont signed up only 97 households, while Rhode Island enrolled just 25 households.
That's a shame.

New Mexico Teacher Accused of Relations with Girl

Mandi-Ann Casados

(Albuquerque, New Mexico) A 25-year-old physical education teacher and coach with Mora County Schools, Mandi-Ann Casados, has been accused of an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old female student.
According to a criminal complaint the 14-year-old player’s mom contacted police after she found more than 500 text messages on her daughters cell phone between her and Casados.

Police say one of the texts Casados sent to the girl was a picture of her with a hickey on her neck. Others messages talked about the two being in love, kissing and almost getting caught.
Casados has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Buchanan strikes back

I like a lot of what Pat Buchanan says  -- his knowledge of history is exceptional -- but I disagree with his views below.  He clearly has no background in economics.  His major point below is that largely bipartisan measures fostering free trade have led to a large loss of American factory jobs -- with most consumer products now being made in China.  What he refuses to look at is the great enrichment of Americans that freeish trade has brought about.  You now get far more for your dollar by buying Chinese. It's much the same in Australia.  I have seen the price of some electrical goods plummet from around $100 to $10.  That's phenomenal.

Buchanan notes that America is now much less self-sufficient than it was but America is not at war with the rest of the world and the huge trade relationship with China is surely a strong force for peace.  America would not want to cut itself off from its major supplier and China would not want to cut itself off from its major customer.

And the situation in fact gives America a lot of leverage.  If China became particularly annoying, America could without great bother embargo the import of all Chinese products.  Suppliers in Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere could readily take up the slack and replace China as suppliers.  China, on the other hand, could not at all replace America as a customer.  So China has now to a substantial extent put itself in America's power.  Not that the black jellyfish in the White House at present would ever exercise such power.

And moving Americans out of assembly line jobs surely has a lot to be said for it also

As Middle America rises in rage against "fast track" and the mammoth Obamatrade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, The Wall Street Journal has located the source of the malady.

Last Monday's lead editorial began:

"Here we go again. In the 1990s Pat Buchanan launched a civil war within the Republican Party on a platform targeting immigration and trade. Some claimed Pitchfork Pat was the future of the GOP, though in the end he mainly contributed to its presidential defeats."

But, woe is us, "the GOP's Buchanan wing is making a comeback."

Now it is true that, while Nixon and Reagan won 49-state landslides and gave the GOP five victories in six presidential contests, the party has fallen upon hard times. Only once since 1988 has a Republican presidential nominee won the popular vote.

But was this caused by following this writer's counsel? Or by the GOP listening to the deceptions of its Davos-Doha-Journal wing?

In the 1990s, this writer and allies in both parties fought NAFTA, GATT and MFN for China. The Journal and GOP establishment ran with Bill and Hillary and globalization. And the fruits of their victory?

Between 2000 and 2010, 55,000 U.S. factories closed and 5 million to 6 million manufacturing jobs disappeared. Columnist Terry Jeffrey writes that, since 1979, the year of maximum U.S. manufacturing employment, "The number of jobs in manufacturing has declined by 7,231,000 — or 37 percent."

Does the Journal regard this gutting of the greatest industrial base the world had ever seen, which gave America an independence no republic had ever known, an acceptable price of its New World Order?

Beginning in 1991, traveling the country and visiting plant after plant that was shutting down or moving to Asia or Mexico, some of us warned that this economic treason against America's workers would bring about political retribution. And so it came to pass.

Since 1988, a free-trade Republican Party has not once won Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois or Wisconsin in a presidential election. Ohio, the other great Midwest industrial state, is tipping. The Reagan Democrats are gone. Who cast them aside? You or us?

Since the early 1990s, we have run $3 billion to $4 billion in trade deficits with China. Last year's was $325 billion, or twice China's defense budget. Are not all those factories, jobs, investment capital and consumer dollars pouring into China a reason why Beijing has been able to build mighty air and naval fleets, claim sovereignty over the South and East China seas, fortify reefs 1,000 miles south of Hainan Island, and tell the U.S. Navy to back off?

The Journal accuses us of being anti-growth. But as trade surpluses add to a nation's GDP, trade deficits subtract from it. Does the Journal think our $11 trillion in trade deficits since 1992 represents a pro-growth policy?

On immigration, this writer did campaign on securing the border in 1991-92, when there were 3 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

But the Bush Republicans refused to seal the border.

Now there are 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants and the issue is tearing the party apart. Now everybody is for "secure borders."

We did urge a "moratorium" on legal immigration, such as America had from 1924 to 1965, to assimilate and Americanize the millions who had come. The Journal Republicans called that xenophobia.

Since then, tens of millions of immigrants, here legally and illegally, mostly from the Third World, have arrived. Economically, they consume more in tax dollars than they contribute.

Politically, most belong to ethnic groups that vote between 70 and 90 percent Democratic. Their children will bury the GOP.

Consider California, which voted for Nixon all five times he was on a national ticket and for Reagan in landslides all four times he ran.

Since 1988, California has not gone Republican in a single presidential election. No Republican holds statewide office. Both U.S. Senators are Democrats. Democrats have 39 of 53 U.S. House seats. Republican state legislators are outnumbered 2-to-1.

Americans of European descent, who provide the GOP with 90 percent of its presidential vote, are down to 63 percent of the nation and falling.  By 2042, they will be a minority. And there goes the GOP.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Louisiana Teacher Gets Plea Deal in Sex Case - Update

Ashley Elizabeth Dowden

(Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Ashley Dowden, the former Baton Rouge teacher who was found guilty of having sexual relationships with two male students, has received a plea deal that will keep her out of prison, according to East Baton Rouge Parish court documents.

Instead of prison time, she received seven years of probation and was ordered to register as a sex offender.

Dowden, 42 and a former English teacher at Riverdale Christian Academy, confessed to having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy in August 2014.

* * * * *

Louisiana Teacher, 41, and Boy, 16
[Previous 8/23/14 post]
(Baton Rouge, Louisiana) A 41-year-old local woman, Ashley Elizabeth Dowden, has been arrested for engaging in sex with a 16-year-old boy.

Dowden faces counts of computer aided solicitation of a juvenile, indecent behavior with juveniles, and carnal knowledge of juveniles.
The teen, who does not attend the school where the woman is employed, was questioned by deputies on Aug. 16.

"…He admitted that he had sexual intercourse with [his teacher] at [the] school…," the deputy noted.

Deputies recovered nude photographs of the woman, Ashley Elizabeth Dowden, as well as sexually explicit text messages. Deputies interviewed Dowden on Thursday, Aug. 21.

"Initially, [Dowden] made the post Miranda statements that the allegations were not true," the deputy noted. "However, the accused admitted that she had sex with the victim and she exchanged nude photographs and sexually explicit messages with him, after she was confronted with the images that were recovered from his phone."
Dowden was booked into custody at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and released on $15,000 bond.

Illinois Teacher Accused of Sex Assault of Minor

Lindsay P. Anderson

(Carpentersville, Illinois) A teacher at Carpentersville Middle School, Lindsay P. Anderson, has been accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a minor.
Anderson, 26, of the 900 block of Foxwood Circle in Geneva, is charged with one count of criminal sexual assault and one count of aggravated sexual abuse, according to a news release by the Kane County state's attorney's office.
After arrest, Anderson was released on $10,000 bond. A court date is scheduled for June 4.

Missouri Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex Charges - Update

Jessica Low

(Joplin, Missouri)
Thirty-three-year-old Jessica Low, a former communication arts teacher, pleaded guilty Monday to statutory rape and having sexual contact with a student. Under a plea deal, Low’s prison time would be no more than five years in prison.

Sentencing was set for July 20.
Reportedly, Low sent dozens of nude images of herself to one student and engaged in sex with a second boy.

* * * * *

Missouri Teacher Accused of Sending Inappropriate Pics to Students
[Previous 5/29/14 post]
(Joplin, Missouri) Based upon a tip to the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force, a 32-year-old teacher at Joplin High School, Jessica Low, has been accused of sending inappropriate pictures to students.
Officers arrested Low Wednesday at the Joplin High School 9-10 center.

Low is being held in the Joplin Municipal Jail on probable cause charges of 2nd degree Statutory Sodomy and d Furnishing Pornography to a Minor. The case was forwarded to the Jasper County Prosecutor for review.
Details on arrest and booking are unavailable.

Black Brain, White Brain?

There came out recently a book called Black Brain, White Brain -- by  Gavin Evans.  It seems to have got some acclaim so I thought I might say a bit about it.  That task seems to be facilitated by an article by Evans under the same heading which appeared just over a month ago.  The article seems to summarize the main points of the book and thus spares me the time of reading the book.  But if there are things in the book which undermine any of the things I day below, I would be delighted to hear of it.

The main point of the book seems to be an accusation that it is racist to discuss the black/white IQ gap.  And like all other efforts in that direction that I know of it does a lot of huffing and puffing and declaring things obvious rather than providing proof of them.  The abusive and intemperate writing by Evans may be judged by his reference to "racist science that has been spewing out of the computers". Do computers spew? His use of abusive language like that is certainly a strong indication that he has a weak case that he is trying to cover up. "fester" and "dangerous" are other emotive words he uses.  Abuse in lieu of facts is a very familiar Leftist modus operandi.  And a few of Evans's  assertions do seem to be simply wrong.

And in the best Leftist style, his writing is almost entirely an appeal to authority.  Quite illogically, he thinks that because other people have declared something wrong then it must be wrong.  That many people have declared genetically-oriented treatments of the black/white IQ gap to be wrong and mistaken proves nothing at all.  It simply shows that most academics are Leftist.  For Evans to have written in any sort of scholarly way, he would have to list the main points where the genetic writers were found to be in error.  He does not do that.

He seems to think that he has made a great point by saying that no one gene for IQ  has been discovered.  So what?  IQ researchers have for decades accepted with perfect calm that  IQ is polygenetic.  Whether one gene or many is behind a difference may make research more or less difficult but it does not take away from the fact that the difference is genetic. And the genes that do contribute to IQ differences are being discovered all the time.  I must make a list of the studies concerned some time. I have noted quite a few on this blog.

He then goes on to claim that intelligence has not evolved for 100,000 years.  That completely ignores the work of Bruce Lahn, who showed a major evolutionary change in brain size about 5,000 years ago, a change which coincided with the birth of civilization and which is almost unknown in Africa. Pesky!

Another claim by Evans:  "Other studies have also shown that the IQs of children adopted into middle class homes rise significantly and that these increases can persist into adulthood".  He is right about the first part but wrong about the second part. Manipulations of the environment can improve IQ scores in childhood and even into the teens but by about age 30, all those improvements are lost.  By age 30 most environmental influences have washed out and the genetic endowment comes to the fore.

And then Evans gets on to the good ol' Flynn effect. So much has been written about that that I hesitate to write any more but in summary, the Flynn effect seems to be an artifact of increasing years of schooling and the test sophistication that engenders.  On important IQ subtests -- such as vocabulary -- where being test-wise does not help -- there has been very little movement in scores.  And in some advanced countries -- such as Nederland -- the rise has petered out, as one would expect if it was just a one-time artifact that had approached an asymptote (maximum value).

Finally, I am amazed by his assertion that "black American IQs are rising at a faster rate than those of white Americans".  I know of no evidence for that.  In fact, on some indices, the black/white gap is increasing.  So I guess I will have to "fester" away in my conclusion that there are real and inborn differences between the average IQs of blacks and whites.

And let's not have the old nonsense that IQ tests measure something limited and mysterious.  They measure general problem-solving ability, which is why researchers tend to use the term 'g' instead of 'IQ'.

And I may note that my view of IQ is no longer academically marginalized stuff at all. I don't quite know whether to be pleased or disappointed but it seems that mainstream psychology is catching up with what psychometricians such as myself have been saying for years: That IQ is highly general, highly central, highly hereditary and of overwhelming importance in determining people's life-chances. Not so long ago any claim to that effect would be very marginal within psychology and would expose anyone making it to all sorts of nasty accusations.

But you can now read it all not in some obscure academic journal or some Rightist source but in a 2004 issue (vol. 86 no. 1) of the American Psychological Association's most widely-circulated journal -- the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Article after article there sets out the importance of IQ. And for social psychologists to be taking an interest in such evidence is really amazing. Psychometricians have known all that stuff for years. It is the social psychologists who have been most resistant to such ideas.  I guess that even an organization as Leftist as the American Psychological Association has to come to terms with the evidence eventually.

And note that the APA conceded some time ago that "African American IQ scores have long averaged about 15 points below those of Whites".  15 points is one standard deviation, which is a huge difference -- accounting for 34% of the distribution.  So it looks like I've got a lot of company in my "festering", as Evans calls it. Evans is fighting a lost battle.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Meat Labeling Case

(Washington, D.C.)
Canada and Mexico are readying trade sanctions against the United States after they won a meat labeling dispute on Monday, increasing pressure on the U.S. Congress to scrap the laws.

The World Trade Organization upheld a complaint by Canada and Mexico about U.S. laws requiring retailers to label meat with the country where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered, saying they discriminated against imported livestock.

Republicans, who have a majority in Congress, have signaled they may act to repeal the laws as early as this week, but consumer groups and many Democrats say they provide essential information for shoppers.
Frankly, I consider my meat to be superior but I don't label.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Texas Bloody Biker Melee

(Waco, Texas)
A shooting involving rival biker gangs at a Texas restaurant has left nine people dead and others injured.

The violence erupted shortly after noon at a busy Waco marketplace along an interstate highway that draws a large lunchtime crowd.

Sgt W Patrick Swanton of Waco police said eight people died at the scene of the shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant and another person at hospital.
The story is still developing.

Florida Teacher Accused of Drug Smuggling

Tarakiki Dozier

(Pembroke Park, Florida) A local teacher, Tarakiki Dozier, has been arrested for drug smuggling.
Dozier, 39, of Margate, is charged with conspiracy to import marijuana, importation of marijuana, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.

She pleaded not guilty to all counts Friday in federal court in West Palm Beach.
Reportedly, Dozier smuggled marijuana into Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

 The attention-seekers and people-haters never stop

Two Greenie organizations, the Foundation for Deep Ecology and Population Media Center have got together to commission and publish a set of magnificent color photos which display scenes said be of environmental degradation.  Needless to say, various newspapers and others have grabbed this free artwork and reprinted it.

But the text accompanying the pictures is systematically dishonest.  As usual, Greenies can only make their case by lying. I am not going to do a systematic fisking of such a large body of work but I will offer a few comments.  I will be referring to the pictures as reproduced by Britain's Daily Mail, a very widely accessed site.

As a preliminary comment, a lot of the unpleasant pictures come from Third World countries such as Indonesia and India.  Such scenes are not our fault and are certainly not the result of capitalism, market economies or modern industrial society.  They result primarily from a LACK of capitalism, market economies and  modern industrial society. They are the fruit of the low-energy economies that Greenies idolize.  A subset of the pictures could well be used to show the sad results of the lack of capitalism. So what the pictures show depends heavily on the text accompanying the pictures.

And the very first picture in the set is a case in point.  It shows an Indonesian surfer, surfing among trash. They had to go all the way to Indonesia to get that shot.  No distressing shots from neighboring Australia, with its thousands of miles of superb beach?  Australia has so much beach that you can find deserted and untouched ones with ease, just the sort that the people-haters want. Anyone who has taken the drive from Cairns to Mossman knows that.

The lesson to note is clearly that you can find bad examples of anything if you scour widely enough.  I think already at this point I have alerted readers to the essentially deceptive nature of the project but let me go on.

Next is a picture of power-station cooling towers in the UK.  The subtext reads: "Harder and harder to breathe: Air pollution, C02, and water vapor rise from that stacks at a coal-burning power plant in the United Kingdom".  That is an outright lie. With the scrubbers that modern power stations employ, the output of the towers is 99% pure steam --  and anything not caught by the scrubbers has certainly never been shown to hinder breathing! And do I need to point out that steam is just water?

The text beneath the next picture reads:  "Waterfall of melting ice: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway".  I have no doubt that the text is accurate but once again we encounter selective reporting and lack of any attempt at a balanced or comprehensive story.  I imagine the the picture and text are meant to assert that polar ice is in general melting.  It is not.

There has indeed been some melting of Arctic ice and ice associated with the Antarctic peninsula but Antarctica overall has been gaining ice at a rate which more than makes up for losses elsewhere. Why the ice cover in the Arctic and Antarctic sometimes moves in opposite directions nobody knows.  The one thing we DO know is that there has been no overall ice melt.  But who cares about the full story when you can cherrypick?

Then there is the dead polar bear -- with the probably made-up story of why it died.  Did they do an autopsy?  It was probably just old.  The story that it starved because it could not find a ice floe to hunt from is just fiction.  Polar bears do perch on ice floes at times but they don't need to.   Polar bears are extremely strong swimmers and can swim for hundreds of miles in search of food.  A few years ago, one swam from Greenland to Iceland.  The Icelanders promptly shot it.  Polar bears are dangerous predators and Icelanders are a no-nonsense sort of people. But the big point is that polar bear populations are increasing overall.  So again:  No cause for alarm.

And then there is the clear-felled forest.  Clear felling is normally done to make way for pine plantations.  Pines grow  rapidly so are a RENEWABLE resource.  Aren't Greenies supposed to LIKE renewable resources?

I could go on but I have spent too much time on this nonsense already.  Selective reporting is just as deceptive as an outright lie.  But the Green/Left rely on lies and don't even seem much bothered when their lies are exposed.  No amount of effort to rebut the lies will ever stop the cascade of them, it seems --JR.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

Texas Teacher Accused of Being Naughty

Johanna Vickers

(Shelbyville, Texas) A 36-year-old teacher with the Shelbyville ISD, Johanna Vickers, has been arrested for sexual assault of a child.

Vickers faces counts of improper relationship between educator and student and sexual assault of a child.

Ben Carson for President

Dr. Ben Carson, retired pediatric neurosurgeon, officially announced on May 4th his intention to run for US president in 2016. Here are some notable facts:
Ben Carson and his older brother were reared in a poor Detroit neighborhood alone by a mother who did not finish grammar school, herself, but encouraged her boys to read.

Ben developed a love of learning and, after graduating from high school, held several blue collar jobs before earning his psychology degree and then his doctorate in medicine.

Ben Carson is a Library of Congress "Living Legend" and has received numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a US civilian's highest honor.

Books he has written include Gifted Hands, his autobiography, Think Big, The Big Picture, Take the Risk, America the Beautiful, and One Nation.

Cuba Gooding Jr. portrayed Dr. Carson in the 2006 made-for-TV movie Gifted Hands.

Dr. Carson maintains a staunch pro-life position, believes in balancing the budget, supports Health Savings Accounts and less government control of health care, and believes in standing by our ally Israel.

He believes in strengthening America by respecting and carrying out the tenets of our Constitution.
Dr. Carson's website appropriately states "Heal, Inspire, Revive" (which is what I believe he will do for America if he gets the chance).

Good luck on the campaign trail, Dr. Carson!

Posted by Note Taker

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