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Is Belarus ("White Russia") another East Germany?

Belarus gets a bad name in the West because of its authoritarian government.  They do have elections there which are not a total sham but President Lukashenko always gets big majorities. So we tend to expect only bad things from the place.

I was talking recently to a lady of Belarusian heritage who still speaks Russian and who still has close family in Belarus.  She reports that people who know Belarus are often very complimentary about it.  It seems well-organized and orderly with very little crime.  It is not a rich country (average income of $8,000 pa) by Western standards but most people eat well and products from all over Europe are to be found in the shops.  Some people who know the place say that Belarus is the best country in the world to live in.

There are occasional big demonstrations about the government but that is true of the USA as well.  Demonstrators will demonstrate.

That is such a different view to what I had expected that I did a little research to see what support I could find for it.  Belarus is however not a place of much interest to the rest of the world but I did find a few interesting facts.

* It is heavily industrialized but is also about 40% primeval forest. Greenies should love it.  It has about the same population as Sweden -- about 8 million.  It lies between Russia and Poland so was the most "Western" part of the old Soviet Union. It is now an independent country.

* The capital city, Minsk, has a population of about 2 million. It was completely destroyed during the Second World War, but, following the example of Warsaw, it was rebuilt in the same place and now is an attractive city

* Minsk is a very green and clean city. In addition to numerous parks, here is the third largest botanical garden in the world.

* Minsk is a very safe city. In the list of 378 most dangerous cities from Numbeo, Minsk was on the 351th place in terms of danger and became the safest city among the former Soviet Union countries. Belarus itself is one of the safest countries in the world according to statistics.

​​* Compared to many large cities, there are very few traffic jams in Minsk.

* It is also surprising for big cities that it's relatively quiet at night, relatively few nightclubs and bars.

* Public transport is always on time. Surprisingly, but it's true: the schedule is maintained with a possible deviation of a couple of minutes.  The American Green/Left wants to get people out of their cars and onto public transport.  Belarus shows it can be done.

So you see what people mean when they find a lot to like about Belarus.  What it reminds me of is the old East Germany.   After German reunification, some East Germans moved to the West and a lot visited the West.  They were mostly not very impressed.  They liked the higher salaries, larger apartments and the up-to-date technology in the West but were very scornful of the social life there.  The old East Germany had a generally fraternal feel while the West is definitely a dog-eat-dog society.  East Germans called it an "elbows" society, where people had little care for one another.

So it should not be a surprise but it is clear that socialism does have an appeal for a lot of people. Living under an authoritarian government that organizes everything can be fairly relaxing as long as it provides a reasonable level of prosperity, which East Germany did and which Belarus does.

So an intriguing possibility which exists is that some Germans could return to a society like the old East Germany.  Very little remains -- even in the Eastern lands of modern-day Germany -- of the old Eastern system but Belarus has something similar. Even the language  would not be a problem for many Easterners.  Russian was taught in the schools of the old East Germany.

If you don't speak Russian, however, forget it.  Russian has about twice as much grammar as German and German is frustrating enough for English speakers.

For my previous comments on East Germany, see here and  here

See also below:



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Ice loss from Antarctica has sextupled since the 1970s, new research finds

Chris Mooney is at his usual pulpit below making a muckle out of a mickle. He quotes some big numbers but fails to mention that the ice loss claimed is the tiniest fraction of the whole. Someone has calculated that at that rate of ice loss  the last ice will melt in the year 3079

But let us forget Mooney and look at the underlying journal article headed by that long-time warmist Eric Rignot. Abstract below Mooney's lucubrations.

It is a joke of an article.  It is heavily dependent on modelling and completely ignores the well-known influence of subsurface vulcanism in West Antarctica, including the peninsula. We have known about melting ice there for a long time.

The one innovation is that curly-haired Eric has implicated East Antarctica in the melting.  How confident we should be in that finding can be judged by Eric's own words on the matter in his conclusions: "we posit that a similar situation is taking place in Wilkes Land, where novel and sustained oceanographic data are critically needed." Sounds like the data he already has is pretty punk.


Antarctic glaciers have been melting at an accelerating pace over the past four decades thanks to an influx of warm ocean water — a startling new finding that researchers say could mean sea levels are poised to rise more quickly than predicted in coming decades.

The Antarctic lost 40 billion tons of melting ice to the ocean each year from 1979 to 1989. That figure rose to 252 billion tons lost per year beginning in 2009, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That means the region is losing six times as much ice as it was four decades ago, an unprecedented pace in the era of modern measurements. (It takes about 360 billion tons of ice to produce one millimeter of global sea-level rise.)

SOURCE

Four decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance from 1979–2017

Eric Rignot et al.

Abstract

We use updated drainage inventory, ice thickness, and ice velocity data to calculate the grounding line ice discharge of 176 basins draining the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1979 to 2017. We compare the results with a surface mass balance model to deduce the ice sheet mass balance. The total mass loss increased from 40 ± 9 Gt/y in 1979–1990 to 50 ± 14 Gt/y in 1989–2000, 166 ± 18 Gt/y in 1999–2009, and 252 ± 26 Gt/y in 2009–2017. In 2009–2017, the mass loss was dominated by the Amundsen/Bellingshausen Sea sectors, in West Antarctica (159 ± 8 Gt/y), Wilkes Land, in East Antarctica (51 ± 13 Gt/y), and West and Northeast Peninsula (42 ± 5 Gt/y). The contribution to sea-level rise from Antarctica averaged 3.6 ± 0.5 mm per decade with a cumulative 14.0 ± 2.0 mm since 1979, including 6.9 ± 0.6 mm from West Antarctica, 4.4 ± 0.9 mm from East Antarctica, and 2.5 ± 0.4 mm from the Peninsula (i.e., East Antarctica is a major participant in the mass loss). During the entire period, the mass loss concentrated in areas closest to warm, salty, subsurface, circumpolar deep water (CDW), that is, consistent with enhanced polar westerlies pushing CDW toward Antarctica to melt its floating ice shelves, destabilize the glaciers, and raise sea level.

PNAS published ahead of print January 14, 2019.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1812883116">SOURCE


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Why the Australia Day debate, and discussion about any other divisive issue, is now basically pointless

It's true that Left/Right hostility is now at a high level but who pushed it there?  Who was it who introduced all these new claims of Leftist righteousness and corresponding conservative infamy -- such as trying to destroy the patriotic holiday of Australia Day?  It was not conservatives.  They have just stuck with doing what they have always done and saying what they have always said.  It is the Left who are behind all these new hates and rages.

The article below talks as if Left and Right were equally to blame for all the hostile arguments but all conservatives have done is to defend themselves and their customs from a whole wave of new and vitriolic attacks.  The Left have started it and only the Left can end it.  But they seem to be eaten up with hate at the moment so no change seems likely.

Why are they do full of hate?  Because people worldwide are rejecting them and hate is how they react to rejection. Humility is beyond them. Trump, Brexit, nationalist regimes in much of Europe, Bolsonaro in Brazil, AfD in Germany, the big vote for the  Sweden Democrats and now the yellow jackets in France signal a severe cutback in Leftist influence worldwide -- and it enrages them

Leftist hatred of those who disagree with them is not new however. Thomas Jefferson in 1808 said: "It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions."

So it's no surprise that there's a similar hostility situation in Britain -- only there the issue is Brexit.  We read:

"The traditional January spike in divorce applications is off the scale, and it’s all because of Brexit. Leaver and Remainer couples are leaving each other in droves. Apparently.

According to one survey by the dating site eharmony, Brexit bust-ups were named as one of the biggest factors in breaking up with a partner since the 2016 referendum - with 1.6 million people nationally saying that they had split up with a long-term partner or stopped seeing someone new because of the arguments".



This time in 12 months, the country will once again find itself bitterly divided over whether to keep Australia Day on January 26 or move it out of respect for indigenous people.

It’s a safe bet that we’ll also still be arguing over how, or if at all, we should respond to climate change and whether immigration is too high, among other contentious issues.

The reality is that Aussies can’t agree on much these days and have become so rusted on to their existing beliefs that a discussion or debate usually descends into a verbal brawl.

“It’s human nature to want to find our tribes and fit in with them,” behaviourist Phil Owens told news.com.au.

“As we do that, we shift further and further to extreme positions. The leaders of those positions usually take more and more extreme positions, and if you’re only in that group, you get confirmation bias — you believe your view is the majority view.”

While this kind of natural behaviour has always occurred in some capacity, the rapid rise of social media has given it a nuclear effect, he said.

And it’s destroying the way we converse with each other — particularly those with different views.

We now increasingly digitally curate our friends based on their views, cherrypick the information we receive and build like-minded online circles to move in.

And it’s bleeding into real life, researchers say.

A study by a popular dating website in the US last year found 72 per cent of American singles wouldn’t date someone who supported an opposing political party.

This trend has prompted a number of right-wing dating apps to launch, while existing services have introduced political filters.

It’s one small example of how opposed to opposing views many of us have become.

Take the debate about Australia Day.

On one side, there’s a group who want to keep it as it is, while on the other are those who think it’s disrespectful to indigenous peoples.

One might think a good approach would be to rationally engage both sides, respecting their differing views, to try to find some common ground.

“What Scott Morrison did recently in saying we one group can have Australia Day as it is and those who don’t want it can have another day, the day after, is so divisive,” Mr Owens said.

“That’s not the way to solve an issue. There’s a lot of meaning put into Australia Day from both sides. Until we can pull the heat out of it and have a conversation, nothing will change.”

So he rejects compromise as a solution.  His solution is a "conversation".  As if we haven't been having a huge conversation already!  It is tempting to dismiss the man as a dolt but if you know what Leftist mean by a conversation, it is a bit differrent.  It means the Left badgering you to into agreeing with them

SOURCE

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Far-left activists have put up contemptuous signs at historic Cook’s Cottage in Vic

I joined in a traditional Australia Day family BBQ with no shame and no thoughts about any minority.  Why should I do otherwise?  In Matthew 8:22 Jesus said, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead”, meaning that there are more important things to do than worrying about those who cannot be helped and who are therefore as good as dead.

I did raise a champagne toast to what we were celebrating however -- the First Fleet -- as two of my ancestors came out to Australia as convicts on such ships. Why should my culture and history be dishonoured in order to promote Aboriginal beliefs? It is my ancestors and their ilk who made Australia the advanced and peaceful civilization that it is today

Something that rather annoyed me is that I saw no cars driving about with Australian flags on them.  There were probably some but I saw none. In past years there has been a lot of that but the media barrage attacking the day appears to have led people to keep their thoughts to themselves -- as people are often pressured into doing these days in the name of political correctness

I think it is precisely because Australia day had become such a popular patriotic celebration that it has now come under such heavy Leftist attack. Leftists want everybody to be as unhappy as they are.


Far-left activists have put up signs reading “Rest in Piss Australia Day” and “Abolish Australia Day” at the historic Cooks’ Cottage in inner east Melbourne.

The cottage was built in 1775 by Captain James Cook’s father and was brought to Fitzroy Garden’s in 1934. Cooks’ the oldest building in Australia.

Activist group Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) put the signs up this morning at 9am when the landmark opened.

WACA spokeswoman Charlotte Lynch said the actions were made in support of demands of Aboriginal solidarity at tomorrow’s Invasion Day rally.

“We are making those demands in solidarity with Aboriginal people who are protesting tomorrow against the colonial narrative and the narrative of White Australia.” she said.

Ms Lynch said the group did not consult with but undertook their actions in response to indigenous activist group Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance’s (WAR) call for seven days of resistance.

“Although we are a group of non-indigenous people we did that to acknowledge sovereignty to speak out against a narrative that is destructive and racist.” she said.

The signs read “Eviction notice: Unpaid rent 231 years”, “Abolish Australia” and “Rest in Peace Australia Day”.

The group put up the same signs last year.

SOURCE  


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Is criticism of Israel antisemitic?

I reproduce below the conclusion of a long-winded article from a far-Leftist source that objects to most criticism of Israel being called antisemitic.  The body of the article is a long list of things that Isreal has done which the peacenik writer regards as wrong and worthy of condemnation.  That everything he lists is part of Israel's desperate defence of itself against the boiling hostility of over a billion Muslim neighbours he completely ignores. If he were any more unbalanced he would fall over.

But his conclusion is not wholly unreasonable.  Nobody claims that all criticism of Israel is wrong.  It must be open to the same criticism that can be levied at any nation state.

What does rise to the level of antisemitism, however, is criticism of Israel that is merely hate-speech -- criticism that is unmoored from the historic and present reality of Israel and the Jews.  There is a lot of that, going so far in the case of the Palestinians as actually denying the historic connection of Jews to the land of Israel.  It is in the context of attitudes as irrational as that that Israel's recent declaration of itself as a Jewish state must be seen.

Something that always amuses me is talk about Israel denying "human rights" to Palestinians.  Does that include a right for Palestinians to attack and kill Israeli Jews at random -- something they still frequently do?  No wonder Israel abridges their "rights" by using fences etc to control them!

Perhaps the most amusing thing about our peacenik author is that he would be up in arms about all other forms of alleged hate speech but cannot recognize any hate speech about Israel


We face a time when conformity to authoritarian attitudes are said to show respect for security, when fear of dissent is bolstered by warnings about the presence of allegedly illegal others. Free speech is stifled by US legislators in order to prevent criticism of the human rights abuses of a significant ally, and all this in a country whose First Amendment of the constitution says, inter alia, “Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom of speech or of the press….”

A reported rise of anti-Semitism across Europe and the United States has been fueled by widening definitions of this prejudice, as in attempts by authoritarian governments to outlaw almost any criticism of Israeli government policies.

Anti-Semitism remains a dangerous and illegal act but in relation to Israeli policies, it needs to be addressed with a certain subtlety, not by bullying to disallow criticism of a powerful country. In Open Democracy, Antony Lerman displayed such subtlety by insisting on the need to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and criticism which spills over into anti-Semitic hate speech.

If the principle of free speech is to be maintained, the world needs neither the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, nor the Anti-Defamation Awareness Act let alone the racism legitimated by the Jewish Nation State Law. Lerman argues that citizens in all democracies should simply keep the obligation to abide by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects freedom of speech.

Support for freedom of speech must remain central to the values of western democracies and not be eroded by false claims about anti-Semitism.

SOURCE 



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In Russia, men are still allowed to be men

A lot of conservatives have some admiration for the way political correctness has not got very far in Russia and I am one of them.  Under furious Leftist/Feminist influence there is these days in the Western world great pressure on masculinity.  Anything masculine is heavily criticized.  Huge attempts are being made to feminize Western men.  That has got just about nowhere in Russia.  Russian men are still admired for being men and most Russian women are among the admirers.

It is difficult to address that statistically. One of the attempts to produce statistical proof that men are a bad lot was spectacularly incompetent statistically. See here. So the whole question has so far not risen much above opinion and assertion. So I think I too can approach the question anecdotally only.

But I think one very powerful anecdote concerns Russian baritone Dmitry Hvorostovsky.  Both in Russia and elsewhere he is a much admired singer.  And in opera it is not just the singing that matters.  The acting too is a big deal.  And Hvorostovsky shines there too.  He is a most masculine man in a way that you cannot just adopt or imitate.  He just IS a very masculine man.  And for the male parts in opera that goes down very well.

I will not burden readers with opera but Hvorostovsky also sings popular and traditional Russian songs.  And probably the best known Russian song in the West is "Moscow Nights".  So I want readers to watch him singing that.  You will see an unashamedly masculine man in spontaneous action.

Below is a video of the famous performance in Red Square with Netrebko and Hvorostovsky singing.  Anna Netrebko is a supreme Russian soprano. Hvorostovsky presents his songs in a very strong, confident and dignified way while Netrebko is a rather shy person who is easily embarrassed.

The beginning of the performance is very Russian, with Hvorostovsky dragging a submissive Netrebko onto the stage but then pledging undying love to her. In her reactions you will see how easily embarrassed she is but will also see how much she enjoys Hvorostovsky and his declarations. Most Russian ladies would envy her as Hvorostovsky is a very attractive man. Feminists will hate the whole thing.



You see in this performance as in others that the ladies who sing duets with Hvorostovsky swoop in for a big cuddle with him afterwards. Real women like real men.

Another Russian baritone who exudes Russian manliness is Leonid Kharitonov.  Below he is singing "Volga Boatman" with the Red Army Choir.  The song is actually a type of shanty.  It is not the song of sailors, however.  It is a song of men on a towpath dragging boats along the Volga, presumably upstream. It is a song of endurance.  As such the words are simple to the point of meaninglessness but the tune is compelling.  And when you see Kharitonov  -- a most manly looking man -- you get a feeling for Russian power.

Russians are enduring. They have to be -- with both a demanding climate and a demanding government.  I admire them and have a feeling for what life must be like in Russia. When you listen to Kharitinov, however, you begin to understand the war on the Eastern front. The Germans were military specialists and killed 4 Russians for every one of theirs that fell.  But the Russians just did not give in -- so indomitability triumphed over military brilliance.



So Russia reminds us that manliness is not "toxic" but something quite wonderful.

Note:  After the video of Hvorostovsy above, Youtube segues for me into another video featuring Hvorostovky -- singing the Toreador song from "Carmen".  That too is a magnificent and very manly performance.  You may note at the beginning of the video the way Hvorostovsky strides onto the stage, clearly the master of his universe.


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All babies are born equal, no matter their race or class (?)

Do-gooder BS gets really extreme here.  What they did was equalize the mothers in major ways and then discovered that their babies were equal too!  If a student had handed me a research proposal as dumb as that, I would have failed it.  IQ, health and much else is inherited and IQ is quite well related to physical health, wealth, social position etc. So the equalizations they did would have strongly equalized IQ as well

But that's not the worst of it. They examined IQ only up to age 2.  That is also hilarious.  You cannot reliably measure IQ at age 2.  Any scores you get at that age have little or no relation to scores at ages 16 or 30 (for instance)

What a shemozzle! Totally unwarranted inferences from a brainless study


Babies born in similar circumstances will thrive regardless of race or ­geography, Oxford-led research has found, quashing the idea that race or class determines intelligence.

In a scientific first, the team of ­researchers tracked the physical and intellectual development of babies around the world from the earliest days after conception to age two.

“At every single stage we’ve shown that healthy mothers have healthy ­babies and that healthy babies all grow at exactly the same rate,” said Prof ­Stephen Kennedy, the co-director of the Oxford Maternal and Perinatal Health Institute.

“It doesn’t matter where you are living, it doesn’t matter what the colour of your skin is, it doesn’t matter what your race and ­ethnicity is, receiving decent medical care and nutrition is the key.”

The INTERGROWTH-21st Project, led jointly by Prof Kennedy and Prof José Villar at Oxford, involved nearly 60,000 mothers and babies, tracking growth in the womb, then followed more than 1,300 of the children, measuring growth and development.

The mothers – in locations as diverse as Brazil, India and Italy – were chosen because they were in good health and lived in similar, clean, urban environments. Their babies scored similarly on both physical and intellectual development.

The study should help settle the debate over the role of genetics in determining intelligence, which has been rumbling since the publication of Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve in the Nineties. The book argued that a “cognitive elite” was becoming separated from the general population.

“There’s still a substantial body of opinion out there in both the scientific and lay communities who genuinely believe that intelligence is predominantly determined by genes and the environment that you’re living in and that your parents and grandparents were living in and their nutritional and health status are not relevant,” said Prof Kennedy. “Well, that’s clearly not the case.”

SOURCE 


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Boys are BORN cavemen.  It's not "culture" or the schools that makes them that way

The article below has a slightly new wrinkle on an old claim that stereotyped masculine behaviour is encouraged in the school environment to the detriment of boys' academic performance.  The wrinkle is that Asian kids seem to be immune from that.  Every bit of evidence that they produce in favour of their various contentions is however in the hopeless old "correlation is causation" mode.  It proves nothing and ignores other explanations for what it observes.

As with most Leftist writing, it fails to consider WHY boys have such a rambunctious character.  They just assume that something in their environment teaches them that.

But that is rubbish. Little boys are born as apprentice cavemen. Even before they can walk they will be moving about energetically, climbing on things and generally getting into mischief. Most mothers of boys will tell you that. And once they have become steady on their feet they will always be running and jumping and climbing. Most little boys have only one speed -- top speed. And when they do walk it is often a strut. Observing how masculine their little boys are from an early age, many mothers will lovingly describe their little boy as "My little man".

Little boys are the product of millions of years of primate evolution.  They have evolved to chase and catch juicy animals.  And that means they are born to run, jump, throw and hit.  That is what cavemen did and their descendants have inherited that as deeply inborn, vital characteristics.  It is so deeply embedded that it comes out from their earliest years.

So that is why boys are restless in classrooms and much prefer outdoor activities.  It also explains why men's sports are much more participated in and watched than are women's sports.  There have been great efforts in recent years to promote women's sport but the results are sad.  I was for a few moments watching on TV a major game of women's cricket in Australia recently.  Cricket is BIG in Australia.  But at the women's match I could not help noting all the empty seats in the stadium.

Males and females are both human so inherit all the same traits but they inherit them at different strengths.  There are some women who inherit a stronger weighting of masculine traits than usual -- producing the generally welcome "tomboys". The army never has a shortage of potential female recruits.

Leftists often talk of "culture" as being behind human differences.  They tend not to think about what is behind culture, however.  Very often it is inborn characteristics. So male genes are behind male culture.

In my experience, the most striking cultural difference that is best explained by genetics is the case of Australian Aborigines.  They are a VERY different group -- in good ways and bad.  They are superbly adapted to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that they lived before the white man came along but  do not fit into white society well at all.  They are a generally polite and friendly people but their employability is very low.

But for all their poor fit to white society, it has rather overwhelmed them.  The common language of urban Aborigines is not any native tongue but a broad Australian version of English. And most of their other customs and memories have gone the same way. Yet they still speak firmly of their "culture".  They speak of many important ways in which they differ from whites.  And they do differ.

They have, as a major instance, an enormous compulsion to be part of a group.  They must always be in the company of other Aborigines.  White jailers sometimes put them into solitary confinement -- whereupon the Aborigine will do his best to commit suicide, sometimes successfully. The same phenomenon is behind the way an Aboriginal tribe will sometimes "sing" an erring member to death.  The singing is a formal way of casting the wrongdoer out of the tribe and into aloneness. No-one thereafter will have anything to do with him. Someone sung does normally die shortly thereafter. The excommunication and disfellowshipping of Christian groups has got nothing on Aboriginal "singing".

So amid their deculturation by white society, Aborigines, even part-Aborigines, retain some unique "cultural" characteristics. But they are not cultural at all.  They are inherited from days when a group was needed for a successful hunt.  So much that is attributed to culture is in fact inborn.  Genetics lie behind much that is glibly dismissed as culture.

So what about the Chinese?  Why do Chinese boys and girls differ very little in their pre-teenage years?  It is probably a combination of inherited and cultural factors.  Three thousand years as agriculturalists has probably reduced to some extent their inherited caveman instincts.  Germanic peoples were hunting much more recently -- and some still do.

But for historic reasons China has long had a great reverence for education, and educational achievement in particular. So, as has often been observed, Chinese children have their noses held to the grindstone from an early age.  Nothing is secondary to education. And if that means that outdoorsy instincts must be suppressed, then so be it.  Only when parental influence begins to wane in the teenage years do Chinese males become a bit more "boyish".


Over all, girls outperform boys in school. It starts as early as kindergarten. By the time students reach college, women graduate at a higher rate than men.

But there’s an exception. Asian-American boys match the grades of Asian-American girls in elementary school, a new study has found. For them, the gender achievement gap doesn’t appear until adolescence — at which point they start doing worse as a group than Asian- American girls.

The study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that boys’ underperformance is not because of anything innate to boys. Instead, it seems, it’s largely because of something external: their school environments and peer influences.

Girls are encouraged to be diligent, cooperative and ambitious — all things that serve them well in school. Boys are more sensitive than girls to environmental influences, according to a variety of research, and they feel pressure to be strong, tough and athletic. They get the message that doing well in school is not masculine, social scientists say. Even in peer groups that prize good grades, it’s considered uncool to seem to try hard to earn them.

Asian-American boys are somehow sheltered from that message in early childhood. The reasons could give parents and teachers information about how to help boys of all races reach their full potential.

“These findings show it doesn’t have to be this way, that boys necessarily have to underachieve,” said Amy Hsin, the paper’s author and a sociologist at Queens College in New York.

“How we parent, how we help children think about their masculinity, and school culture and peer norms have effects on their performance in school.”

Looking at grade point averages of white and Asian-American students, she found that unlike white students, Asian- American boys and girls have no significant grade differences until ninth grade. Then, boys fall behind girls by the equivalent of one-third of a letter grade, about the same as the gender difference in white students’ grades, according to the new study, published last month in the journal Sociological Science.

It used data on about 9,200 white and 1,700 Asian-American students from two national studies that followed the same students over time (the groups were too small to analyze differences among Asian ethnic groups.) The results are not definitive. The sample size is relatively small, and the analysis uses grades, which, unlike test scores, are influenced by teachers’ subjective assessments of students. Yet the results fit with other research that shows the effect of outside influences on academic performance, particularly for boys.

One reason Asian-American children do so well as a group is that Asian immigrant families tend to be very focused on education, as the sociologists Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou described in their book, “The Asian American Achievement Paradox.”

One goal of a 1965 U.S. immigration law, which also abolished severe restrictions against immigration from regions such as Asia, was to give preference to professionals with specialized skills. Partly as a result, a little more than half of Chinese immigrants to the United States have a college degree or higher, versus less than 10 percent of adults in China in recent years, Ms. Lee said. They have tended to prioritize that their children earn straight As; attend a good college; and become a doctor, lawyer, scientist or engineer, the authors wrote. They have also shared information about things like SAT tutors and A.P. courses with their less educated Asian- American peers.

Another factor is the so-called model minority stereotype — that Asians as a group are supposed to be smart, successful and hard-working. This image masks high poverty and dropout rates among some Asian ethnic groups, yet as with all stereotypes, it can lead people to act in biased ways. Teachers tend to give Asian-American students higher grades and funnel them into advanced programs, the researchers found. Often, lowerperforming students have risen to meet these expectations of them, an effect social scientists refer to as stereotype promise.

For Asian-American boys, these influences change in adolescence, Ms. Hsin found, a time when children become more aware of their gender identity and are more influenced by peers. They also have to fight a pernicious perception that they are not masculine enough.

“The model minority myth frames Asian boys as being kind of nerdy, caring too much about doing well, so that may cause them to become less academically attached,” Ms. Hsin said.

“It’s not as stigmatizing for Asian girls because if you’re good at school and you really care, that kind of plays along with what you should be doing as a girl anyway.”

The new study offers a clue about how much school environments affect boys’ academic achievement. Ms. Hsin found that the gender gap for Asian- Americans in high school was smaller in schools that were less sports-focused, and where boys did better over all.

Other studies have also pinpointed the importance of the school and social environments, especially for boys.

One working paper found that the best-performing students had a combination of behaviors typically considered male and female. It used nationally representative survey data about gender norms for about 12,000 high school students, linked with their high school transcripts. The most traditionally feminine girls and the most masculine boys had the lowest grades.

The messages boys receive about how to be masculine come from local influences in their schools and communities and are often tied to to socioeconomic status, other research has shown. Boys perform better in school when achievement is considered to be desirable, and when they believe successful men get their power from education versus strength and toughness.

Boys in high-income communities are more likely to get those messages, research has shown.

Teachers’ expectations of students — and the biases behind them — also influence children’s performance. For example, white teachers are less likely than black teachers to refer black students to gifted programs, or to have high expectations for their potential. Yet as with Asian-American students, research shows that when teachers have high expectations for black students, they rise to meet them.

The fact that boys’ achievement varies in different school environments is a hopeful sign for parents and educators, Ms.

Hsin said, because it suggests ways to help all students.

Encourage academic achievement, she said, and talk about how it leads to success.

Researchers have other suggestions. Show them role models who got where they are by doing well in school. Emphasize the importance of hard work and daily practice, not innate skill.

Encourage both boys and girls to embrace a full range of character traits, and not to feel limited by stereotypical gender roles. Place high expectations on children, and give them opportunities to meet them — regardless of skin color.

SOURCE 

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LEGAL immigration is a big problem too

Some of the dregs of the earth are coming in legally as refugees.  Ron Unz below does us a favour in pointing that out but he also says that illegal immigration is not a problem.  He has obviously not noticed certain caravans.  But what he says about illegal immigration needs to be considered.

I reproduce only a small part of what he says below.  He goes on further at great length to show that Hispanic crime is not particularly high.  Black crime is the big problem, he says.  He is undoubtedly right about black crime but I have crossed swords with him before in 2012 about his use of crime statistics to exonerate Hispanics.  What I said then stands today, I think.

The big problem is that crime statistics, including jail records, are very unreliable for a variety of reasons.  Depending where you look for your figures, hardly any Hispanics are serious criminals or up to a THIRD of Hispanic illegals are serious criminals.

When I pointed that out to Unz he rather surprised me by crumbling. He actually turned to "ad hominem" argument. He said that I did not know what I was talking about because I am  Australian.  Even Greenies and Warmists don't sink to that level in disputing with me.

Nonetheless, I am happy to concede that there is probably something in his claim that the Hispanic crime rate has been exaggerated.  When controlling for all factors involved, raw figures do reduce to something less less stark.

But the debate is not about averages. It is about incidents. The fact that America now has in its neighborhoods vicious Latin American crime gangs like Salvatrucha is surely a matter of serious concern -- as are the many vicious crimes against American women perpetrated by Hispanic illegals.  Without such immigrants none of the crimes concerned would have occurred and many women would be alive today who have been murdered.  With a wall, it is unlikely that such criminals would have got in to the USA -- so a wall is long overdue.  Trump is right to highlight the stream of Hispanic criminals coming in


According to most estimates, the size of America’s undocumented population has been almost entirely stagnant since the 2008 Housing Meltdown wrecked employment in the construction industry, while net legal immigration has still regularly been running at a million or more a year. Therefore, it seems likely that nearly all net immigration over the last decade or so has been of the legal variety.

Despite having been totally “deplatformed” from all normal Internet services, the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer still apparently gets more traffic than all the other Alt-Right websites in the world combined, and its editor, Andrew Anglin, is an ardent Trump supporter. Nevertheless, he recently ran a lead editorial in which he ridiculed the whole “Build the Wall” nonsense, and correctly suggested that all the talk about it was largely due to the totally brainwashed stupidity of most anti-immigration rightwingers:


"We currently have a million people coming in every year through the various “legal” methods who do not leave and are often given citizenship…People are stupid in general, and most simply do not understand that the real threat to America is legal immigration…

The wall is largely a symbolic gesture in the larger scheme of things, and speaks to the absolutely brainwashed nature of the mass of conservatives who believe that legal immigration is “okay.”

I remember before Trump having these conversations in Columbus, Ohio, and hearing people say “it’s the illegals that’s the problem” and replying “well what about all these Somalians?” People would look confused for a minute and then say “aren’t they illegal?”

Hearing them talk about “I just want it to be legal” is infuriating, as they do not have any clear explanation as to why they believe this, and the fact that there is virtually no difference between the two allows liberals to exploit their inability to explain a difference and make them look stupid."


A national policy debate over whether immigration levels are much too high is long overdue. Instead, Donald Trump together with his political advisers and activist allies have sparked a heated battle over whether hordes of Mexican “rapists and killers” are illegally swarming across our border and we must build a wall to stop them. As a direct consequence, the supposedly horrific threat of immigrant and especially Hispanic crime has become a staple theme of rightwing pundits over the last couple of years.

 The climate of “political correctness” enforced upon our journalists and academic scholars on racially-charged issues such as crime tend to suppress any candid discussion of the facts, and in such a climate of silence, wild rumors and misunderstood statistics can easily propagate among ideological groups that have grown highly suspicious of the mainstream media narrative.

SOURCE 

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Australian psychologists are down on "Traditional Masculinity" too

The most substantial piece of evidence from Australia for the criticisms is the "Man Box" study mentioned below.  It is a colourfully presented "report", not a refereed academic journal article.  And that shows.  It is not as bad as some such reports in that some care was taken with the sampling and conventional statistical significance was observed but it is basically crap.  Let me say in detail why:

For a start, no factor analysis of the questions asked is offered. So is there in fact such a thing as a "man box"? We do not know. A strong first eigenvector would have reassured us but we are not told of one. I once did a survey of allegedly female attitudes (The BSRI) which found the attitudes concerned not to be characteristic of Australian females. They were not sex-polarized at all. So are we sure that the man box attitudes are in fact characteristic of Australian male attitudes? We cannot assume it. Were there similar attitudes among women?

And encompassing the man box questions within a larger survey was not done.  Doing so might have revealed that the questions had a larger identity.  For instance, many of the questions seem to me to be rather like assertiveness questions, and assertiveness is usually praised.  There certainly should have been some attempt to distinguish the "bad" man box questions from assertiveness.   Could some man box attitudes be good?

And the selection of man box attitudes was also tendentious.  Traditional male attitudes do for instance include courtesy towards women.  To this day I hold car doors open for women but that is only a trivial thing.  There is also a strong traditional male inhibition against hitting women, for instance.  Feminists are much concerned about domestic violence so should they encourage traditional male attitudes of courtesy and restraint towards women?  Nothing like that was examined in the survey, funnily enough.

And what about the traditional male attitude that self-sacrifice is noble?  What about the times when men have sacrificed themselves to save women -- in an emergency situation such as a sinking ship?  Is that noble or foolish?  Sane women would hope it is noble but there is no mention of such nobility in the man box.  The whole conception of the man box is thoroughly bigoted from the get-go.

But the most deplorable omission in the research is a complete failure to apply any demographic controls.  They apparently had demographic data but did not use it to segment their sample.  One does wonder why.  Were the results of such segmentation too embarrassing?  Were man box attitudes almost exclusively working class for instance?  From my own extensive background in survey research, I suspect it.  I always looked at demographic correlates of the attitudes I examined and social class variables were often significant.

And one social class variable that they would have avoided studying at all costs is the dreaded IQ.  Yet IQ is powerfully correlated with an amazing array of other variables.  In this case it could even explain some male/female differences. Why, for instance, do men on average die earlier than women?  The research below says it is because of their bad male attitudes but there is another explanation. Male IQ is more variable than female IQ.  There are more brilliant males but also more spectacularly dumb males.  And, for various reasons, IQ is significantly correlated with health.  So it is likely that most of the males who die young were simply dumb.  They did more silly and dangerous things, for instance.

All in all the report is just a piece of feminist propaganda designed to fool the general public.  I am guessing that they had no expectation that it might come under the scrutiny of an experienced survey researcher


Traditional masculinity has been labelled “harmful” in a major move by a health body, linked with high rates of suicide and violence.

The American Psychological Association released a report last week, citing more than 40 years of research on the issue of “masculine ideology” — a step praised by Australian experts.

“Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behaviour, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health,” it said.

Increasingly referred to as “toxic masculinity”, traditional ideals surrounding manhood are usually toughness, aggression, a suppression of emotion, dominance and stoicism.

Queensland University of Technology sociologist Michael Flood said some of the ways boys are raised can have “significant costs” for the community.

Across the country today, an estimated six men will take their own lives — three times the number of women to die by suicide.

“There’s growing recognition that norms of masculinity in many ways are limiting for men themselves,” Dr Flood told news.com.au.

“Going along with traditional masculine beliefs increases the risk of suicide — there have been studies to indicate that. If you think being a man means not asking for help or not showing pain, being a John Wayne character and going it alone, you can’t cope when things are hard.”

Traditional masculinity has a place in a number of scenarios, Dr Flood said, where a number of those qualities can be very useful. “Being tough and stoic are exactly the qualities you need if you’re fighting a fire or something like that, but once it’s over, you need other qualities,” he said.

“Some of those men (without) are poorer at some of the qualities that many people recognise are important in contemporary relationships — communication, emotional expression.”

There’s growing recognition in the fields of men’s mental health, education and the prevention of violence against women and children that “the norms of masculinity” can be harmful.

“Unless we tackle this, we’ll continue to see large numbers of men turning up in hospitals, being assaulted, committing suicide, and suffering in silence and so on,” Dr Flood said.

Criticisms from some segments of the community that the discussion about toxic masculinity is an attack on men are unfounded, he said.

“We need to distinguish between men and masculinity. The attack on the narrow messaging is not an attack on men. This is driven by a concern for men.”

Dr Flood was involved in the groundbreaking Man Box study last year, which found that young Australian men who oversubscribe to traditional notion of masculinity had poorer health and wellbeing outcomes.

“We also found that many of them have poorer relationships with others and were more likely to be involved in violence,” he said.

Of those surveyed — a cohort of 1000 men aged 18 to 30 — 69 per cent felt society expected them to act strong and 56 per cent felt being a man meant never saying no to sex.

Another 36 per cent agreed that society pressures them to shun friendships with gay men and 38 per cent thought boys shouldn’t learn how to cook and clean.

SOURCE

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'Father of DNA' James Watson Stripped of Honors Over More IQ  Comments

The story below shows the incredible power of America's racism hysteria. Its counter-factual beliefs must not be disputed.  Black IQ really is the third rail of political commentary in America. The reality is just too disturbing to face.

Note that NO evidence is mentioned to dispute Watson's claims -- for the excellent reason that Watson's comments are a good summary of the available evidence on the question.  Even the APA has acknowledged a large and persistent gap (one SD) between average black and white IQ and it would itself be floridly racist to say that what is genetic in whites is not genetic in blacks


The acclaimed Nobel Prize-winning scientist James Watson will be forever remembered as one of the 'fathers of DNA'. But also as something much worse.

In a resurfaced controversy that further dims the shine of one of the 20th century's most esteemed scientists, Watson – awarded the Nobel in 1962 for his role in the discovery of DNA's 'double helix' molecular structure – has been stripped of academic titles after repeating offensive racist views that began to shred his reputation over a decade ago.

After new racist comments by Watson surfaced in the recent PBS documentary American Masters: Decoding Watson, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) – the pioneering research lab Watson led for decades – had finally had enough.

"Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory unequivocally rejects the unsubstantiated and reckless personal opinions," CSHL said in statement.

"Dr. Watson's statements are reprehensible, unsupported by science, and in no way represent the views of CSHL… The Laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice."

In the new documentary, Watson states: "There's a difference on the average between blacks and whites on IQ tests. I would say the difference is, it's genetic."

It's not the first time Watson has come under fire for stating these kinds of beliefs.

In 2007, Watson created a furore after he was quoted as saying he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really".

In the same article by The Times, Watson acknowledged such views were a "hot potato", but said that while he hoped that everyone was equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

Watson later apologised for the comments, but the damage was done.

CSHL relieved him of all remaining administrative duties at the lab, leaving him only as an honorary figurehead in respect of his previous contributions to science. Now, those last accolades are also gone.

"In response to his most recent statements, which effectively reverse the written apology and retraction Dr. Watson made in 2007, the Laboratory has taken additional steps, including revoking his honorary titles of Chancellor Emeritus, Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus, and Honorary Trustee," the CSHL statement reads.

It's an indisputably inglorious end for one of the most glorious career arcs in 20th century science.

While the lesser-known story of Rosalind Franklin's unrecognised contributions to Watson and Francis Crick's famous DNA research are a telling reminder of the struggles women still face to be recognised in science, nobody denies the landmark contributions Watson himself made.

But, sadly, these famous accomplishments – which helped usher in a whole new era of knowledge in molecular biology and genetics – will now forever be linked with the offensive opinions of an old man in decline.

And an old man who, some say, should not be asked such questions any more.

"It is not news when a ninety-year-old man who has lost cognitive inhibition, and has drifted that way for decades as he aged, speaks from his present mind," CSHL Michael Wigler told The New York Times.

"It is not a moment for reflection. It is merely a peek into a corner of this nation's subconscious, and a strong whiff of its not-well-shrouded past secrets."

The last time Watson's racism created such controversy, the scientist ended up selling his Nobel Prize – citing financial issues from the resulting fallout that had rendered him an "unperson".

The buyer actually returned the Prize to Watson as a gesture of respect – but as time and the world moves on, the ageing scientist may find himself running out of such good will.

As for what we can ultimately make of the scientist's legacy, given the ugly shadow that now hangs over his earlier wins, helpful advice may come from a 2014 op-ed in The Guardian written about Watson.

"Celebrate science when it is great, and scientists when they deserve it," geneticist Adam Rutherford wrote.

"And when they turn out to be awful bigots, let's be honest about that too. It turns out that just like DNA, people are messy, complex and sometimes full of hideous errors."

SOURCE 

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"Heatwaves" in Australia

The Warmists at BoM are typical Leftists -- inveterate  cherry-pickers. You will see below that they have searched for and reported all the places in Australia that have been unusually hot lately,  mostly places that are ALWAYS very hot.  You would never guess from their reporting that some places are COOLER than usual.  I know that there are because I live in one -- a major State capital that is curiously unmentioned below.  Typical mid-afternoon temperatures in Brisbane are 34C but yesterday (Friday) was 31C and today (Sat) it is 32.25C.

They are doing their best to transform a normal hot summer into something unusual (guess why?) but with selective reporting like theirs you would be foolish to believe it

Their latest wrinkle is to mention bitumen roads melting.  But I remember sitting on the verandah of our family home in Cairns 60 years ago and watching the heated air rise like worms off the bitumen road outside.  The bitumen was soft then too.  You wouldn't want to walk on it. I went close to have a look. And that was long before global warming was thought of


Temperature records have already been broken but the worst of the heatwave sweeping across parts of Australia is yet to come.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned Friday will mark the peak of the week-long heatwave — currently in its fifth day — for some of NSW’s most heavily populated areas. Temperatures in western Sydney are expected to slide well into the 40s, while the CBD is likely to have its fifth consecutive day above 30C for the first time in eight years.

On Thursday, a total of 27 places across NSW and the ACT baked in record maximum temperatures, with one town in the northwest of NSW sweltering in oppressive, all-time high heat for two straight days.

The freakish temperatures have turned forecast maps a worrying black and purple in areas where the mercury is set to spike.

Whitecliff, a tiny outback town with a population of just under 150 people, broke its record on Wednesday with a temperature of 48.2C, dropping only marginally on Thursday with a high of 47C just after 3pm. The extreme heatwave emptied the streets, turning it into a scorching ghost town.

Elsewhere in the far northwest, Tibooburra Airport recorded the top temperature in the state on Thursday with 48.2C just before 4.30pm.

In Sydney’s west, Penrith, Richmond, Campbelltown and Camden all reached 35C by 1pm.

Conditions are so extreme that the bitumen on the Oxley Highway near Wauchope, just west of Port Macquarie, began melting about midday.

Motorists were warned of the deteriorating surface as social media photos show the tar beginning to melt. Picture: Facebook
Looking ahead, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned of more sweltering weather on the way for much of the state.

In a statement, BOM spokeswoman Anita Pyne said the west of NSW would likely see temperatures in the mid to high 40s, including areas around the Ivanhoe and Menindie areas forecast to hit up to 48C.

Meanwhile, the NSW Rural Fire Service is battling more than 60 fires across the state, and 13 fire bans are in place across much of central NSW, stretching from the Victorian border up to Queensland.

Temperatures in Sydney’s west are expected to climb as high as 45C on Friday, ahead of a long-awaited cool change on Saturday.

SOURCE 


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Long lost cities in the Amazon were once home to millions of people

The introduction to a recent article in New Scientist below sets the scene for what is now known about the prehistory of Amazonia.  I have recently read quite a few of the scientific studies of the subject in the hope of finding out WHY civilization largely vanished from Amazonia in quite recent times.  It seems that at least some parts of Amazonia were as developed as the Incas in Peru and the Aztecs in Mexico.  So it seems important to understand what happened to the Amazonian civilization. 

It might be better to refer to it as the Arawak civilization as the Northern Amazon seems to be the origin of a group of Arawak languages that are now widely spread in Northern South America and the Caribbean.  The original Arawaks clearly had a lot of influence one way or another

And even the archaeologists may have underestimated the extent of Arawak civilization.  "Black" soil is widely found in Amazonia and black soil is an artifact of human cultivation. The natural soils of Amazonia are rather poor and infertile but that can be remedied by burning any combustible material to hand.  That leaves a residue of charcoal (carbon!) which makes the soil much more fertile and suitable for the cultivation of crops.  So we are dealing with a pretty big phenomenon in studying the human history of Amazonia

The obvious reason for the collapse of pre-Columbian civilization in Amazonia (Arawakia?) is the white man's diseases.  The conquistadores in Mexico and Peru had to wait only a little bit before disease decimated their native opponents, making conquest by the few over the many a possibility and a reality.

And we saw that sort of thing vividly in the progress through what we now know as the Southern United States by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.  De Soto pushed North from Mexico into more Northern lands not for conquest but in search of gold.  And wherever he went he found flourishing native tribes.  Those who slightly later followed in his footsteps, however, found an almost depopulated landscape.  The diseases De Soto and his men carried with them had completely wiped out the former flourishing tribes.

So on the DeSoto precedent, disease is clearly a sufficient explanation of the population loss and subsequent loss of civilization in Amazonia.  But is it the whole explanation? The people of Peru and Mexico were not wiped out to anything like that extent and adapted their ways to the Spanish influence so that they substantially survived the catastrophe that had overtaken them.

Which is where we come to climate change. It appears that for much of the latter Holocene the Amazon had much less rainfall and existed in Savannah-like conditions. But Savannah can grow crops and it seems that the natives did just that. As the earth continued to rebound from the last ice age, however, rainfall increased. And rainfall fertilizes everything, including "weeds" ("Weeds" are just unwanted plants) and fungi. And the native agriculture may have been struggling with that problem at the time the Spaniards arrived. So the Spaniards and their diseases were the last straw for a struggling Amazonian civilization

It is all speculation at the present stage of our knowledge but it seems that the Greenies may be getting it partly right in their occasional squawks about the Amazon.  Global warming has in fact been bad for civilization in the Amazon in the past.  But there is nothing in rainforest that daunts modern civilization and its machines.

And the usual Greenie claim that Amazonia is pristine forest and, as such, should not be touched by human hands, is completely uninformed, as we expect from Greenies. "Don't bother me with the facts" seems to be their motto. There may in fact be no original forest in Amazonia

Amazonia has in fact already been heavily modified by human hands, with its fertility in particular being greatly increased by human intervention.



THE Amazon rainforest is so vast that it boggles the imagination. A person could enter at its eastern edge, walk 3000 kilometres directly west and still not come out from under the vast canopy.

This haven for about 10 per cent of the world’s species has long been regarded as wild and pristine, barely touched by humanity, offering a glimpse of the world as it was before humans spread to every continent and made a mess of things. It is painted in sharp contrast to the logged forests of Europe and the US.

But it now seems this idea is completely wrong. Far from being untouched, we are coming to realise that the landscape and ecosystem of the Amazon has been shaped by humanity for thousands of years. Long before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, the Amazon was inhabited, and not just by a handful of isolated tribes. A society of millions of people lived there, building vast earthworks and cultivating multitudes of plants and fish.

We don’t fully understand why this flourishing society disappeared centuries ago, but their way of life could give us crucial clues to how humans and the rainforest could coexist and thrive together – even as Brazil’s new government threatens to destroy it.

Some of the first Europeans to explore the Amazon in the 1500s reported cities, roads and cultivated fields. The Dominican friar Gaspar de Carvajal chronicled an expedition in the early 1540s, in which he claimed to have seen sprawling towns and large monuments. But later visitors found no such thing.

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The charm of Chaamjamal

Chaamjamal appears to be a female statistican living in Thailand.  She is a ferocious critic of global warming "science" -- using rigorous statistical analysis to detonate the sloppy Warmist claims.  Unfortunately, she presents her findings in a very telegraphic way.  She apparently cannot be bothered to present them as an orthodox academic journal article. I am of that mind myself these days. Writing academic journal articles is rarely worth it unless you are confirming some popular belief

That does mean that her work will be and is thoroughly ignored by Warmist scientists. They are interested only in work that supports their faith so doing the work needed to follow and critique her analyses would be of no interest to them. That is a pity but she is apparently unconcerned.  She has no mission. She just puts down the facts and let them fall where they may.

She does however give enough information to follow her workings and they seem sound to me.  She uses a big lot of graphs to illustrate her workings so I will not attempt to reproduce them here.  I will simply reproduce her conclusions, which she offers in bullet-point form.

Her basic conclusion is that there is no relationship between human CO2 emissions and global temperature


Fossil Fuel Emissions and Atmospheric Composition

* Figure 1 shows that atmospheric CO2 concentration as measured at Mauna Loa has been rising steadily since 1958 while at the same time post industrial humans have been injecting increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels into the atmosphere. It is in this context that the usual assumption is made that observed changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration (ΔCO2) are driven by fossil fuel emissions. This assumed relationship appears to be visually validated in the left panels of the five charts in Figure 3 where changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide (ΔCO2) appear to be strongly correlated with the rate of emissions.

* The correlation was tested in a related work [LINK] where it was shown with detrended correlation analysis that there is insufficient evidence to claim that atmospheric CO2 concentration is responsive to fossil fuel emissions at an annual time scale and that therefore the attribution of rising atmospheric CO2 to emissions is without empirical support. Detrended correlation analysis extracts the portion of the observed source data correlation that derives from responsiveness at the chosen time scale by removing the portion that derives from shared trends. The motivation for this procedure is described in a related post [LINK] . Briefly, the trend is removed from the data so that only the regression residuals remain and a correlation between these residuals is used to measure the responsiveness of ΔCO2 to emissions.

* This work is a further investigation into the relationship between changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration and fossil fuel emissions. The failure of the prior study to find a responsiveness of atmospheric CO2 to fossil fuel emissions at an annual time scale leaves open the possibility that a responsiveness may exist at longer time scales. Five time scales from one year to five years in increments of one year are studied. The data for the five time scales are displayed in Figure 2 which contains five charts one for each time scale. Each chart consists of three frames. The left frame shows emissions at the time scale of the chart in gigatons of carbon equivalent (GTC). The middle frame displays the corresponding increase in atmospheric CO2 converted from parts per million in volume (ppmv) to GTC equivalent. The last frame contains the ratio of ΔCO2 to emissions. This ratio, called the “Airborne Fraction (A/F)” is considered to be a constant with a value of approximately 50%. It describes the portion of emissions that end up in the atmosphere. The spread of the Airborne Fraction appears to include the value of A/F = 0.5 and the spread appears to narrow as the time scale is increased. Curiously, a slight downward trend is seen in the A/F at all time scales. The Airborne Fraction concept appears to assume a causal relationship between emissions and change in atmospheric CO2 concentration. The results are summarized in Figure 4. The volatility of the Airborne Fraction decreases sharply from Range=0.8 to Range =0.29 as the time scale is increased from T/S=1 to T/S=5 and at the longer time scales the median A/F converges nicely to the original IPCC figure of A/F=0.5. Later claims to reduced figures of A/F=0.42 seems arbitrary and perhaps a case of circular reasoning as explained in a related post [LINK]

* The correlation analysis is presented in Figure 3. There are five charts one for each time scale. Each chart consists of two frames, a left frame that displays correlation in the source data and a right frame that shows the correlation between the detrended series. Both of these correlations rise as the time scale is increased from one to five years. At all five time scales we find a significant loss in correlation when the data are detrended. The correlation that survives into the detrended series serves as evidence of responsiveness at each of the five time scales. The survival fraction also rises as the time scale is increased from annual to five years. The results are summarized in Figure 5. Here we see that the source correlation rises from CORR=0.742 to CORR=0.921 as we increase the time scale from T/S=1 to T/S=5. The corresponding detrended correlation also rises from DETCOR=0.145 to DETCOR=0.314 with the corresponding survival fraction rising sharply from 19.5% to 34.1%.

* The higher and higher detrended correlations and survival fractions at longer time scales raise the intriguing possibility that the failure to find a responsiveness of atmospheric composition to the rate of fossil fuel emissions was an inappropriate choice of an annual time scale. Perhaps a longer time scale will resolve the issue. To test that hypothesis we present one tailed hypothesis tests for each of the five detrended correlations at the five selected time scales. Here the alternate hypothesis is that the detrended correlation is positive or HA: DETCOR>0. The corresponding null hypothesis is that is not positive or H0: DETCOR<=0. The maximum false positive error rate is set to α=0.001, much lower than the usual values of α=0.01 to α=05, in accordance with Revised Standards for Statistical Significance (Johnson, 2013) published by the NAS to address an unacceptable rate of irreproducible results in published research (Siegfried, 2010). Since five comparisons are made for the five different time scales, the probability of finding at least one significant correlation in random data is increased by a factor of five to 0.005 (Holm, 1979). The results of the hypothesis tests are presented in Figure 5. Here EFFN=effective value of the sample size corrected for time scale which decreases from EFFN=60 to EFFN=12 as the time scale is increased from T/S=1 to T/S=5 to account for residual unique information in the time series. The procedure and rationale for this computation are described in a related work [LINK] . Along with the effective sample size, the degrees of freedom also falls since in this case degrees of freedom is computed as DF=EFFN-2. Thus, although the T-statistic rises from TSTAT=1.132 to TSTAT=2.478 as the time scale is increased from T/S=1 to T/S=5, the PVALUE for the hypothesis test does not fall as quickly as one would expect and in fact it actually rises from T/S=4 to T/S=5. More relevant to the research question here, none of the five PVALUEs is even close to the critical value of the PVALUE=0.001. We therefore fail to reject H0: DETCOR<=0  and conclude that the data do not provide evidence that atmospheric CO2 concentration is responsive to fossil fuel emissions at any of the time scales studied. We note also that since the p-value rose from T/S=4 (p-value=0.0135) to T/S=5 (p-value=0.0163), in time scales greater than T/S=4, the effect of longer time scale on degrees of freedom overcomes its effect on detrended correlation at the available time span of the data. Thus even though a stable Airborne Fraction can be computed as A/F=0.5, its interpretation in terms of the contribution of fossil fuel emissions to ΔCO2 requires the use of circular reasoning with an assumed responsiveness that is not found in the data. Related post [LINK] .

* A rationale for the inability to relate changes in atmospheric CO2 to fossil fuel emissions is described by Geologist James Edward Kamis in terms of natural geological emissions due to plate tectonics [LINK] . The essential argument is that, in the context of significant geological flows of carbon dioxide and other carbon based compounds, it is a form of circular reasoning to describe changes in atmospheric CO2 only in terms of human activity. It is shown in a related post, that in the context of large uncertainties in natural flows, it is not possible to detect the presence of fossil fuel emissions without the help of circular reasoning [LINK] .

* The results of detrended correlation analysis at five time scales shows that the failure to find a responsiveness of atmospheric composition to fossil fuel emissions in a related work  [LINK] cannot be ascribed to the annual time scale used in the study as the result is validated at longer time scales to the point of diminishing returns. We conclude that atmospheric composition specifically in relation to the CO2 concentration is not responsive to the rate of fossil fuel emissions. This finding is a serious weakness in the theory of anthropogenic global warming by way of rising atmospheric CO2 attributed to the use of fossil fuels in the industrial economy; and of the “Climate Action proposition of the UN that reducing fossil fuel emissions will moderate the rate of warming by slowing the rise of atmospheric CO2.

SOURCE



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Nationalism doesn’t have to mean exclusion

Some incompetent Leftist philosophy below from Robert Zaretsky, a history professor at the University of Houston. He purports to discuss nationalism but nowhere defines it. If a student had handed that to me as an essay, I would have failed it. He seems quite oblivious that there are at least two major usages of the term -- which might for brevity be called passive and active nationalism.  The active nationalist wants his country to conquer others whereas the passive nationalist just wants his country to be independent and great. Both are patriotic but one is harmless and the other can be a terrible blight on the human race.

My survey research found that Anglospheric countries such as the USA are mainly populated by passive nationalists for whom patriotism does NOT mean a wish for conquest.  And indeed, despite America's great power, America's only conquests date back to the Progressive era of over 100 years ago.  Leftists can easily transmogrify patriotism into aggressive nationalism -- as Hitler did and as Theodore Roosevelt did to an extent.  In WWII, America in fact waged an ANTI-nationalist war.

The main point of the essay below is derived from the confused theorizing of 18th century German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder. Herder and Zaretsky propose the non-sequitur that all nations are different and that therefore we should not compare them. I would have thought that it is precisely because all nations are different that we SHOULD compare them. Even the USA has a lot to learn from places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. And if one wants to retire to a place least likely to be degraded by nuclear war, New Zealand is the near-universal choice.

Zaretsky obviously had an aim behind his silliness.  He wanted American nationalists to be passive nationalists, quite oblivious of the fact that they already are.  What a fool!  Leftism rots the mind


SINCE THE FRENCH Revolution, a brilliant cast of ideologies has starred on the world stage, ranging from conservatism to liberalism to communism. Yet the -ism that has been most resilient, and today has become resurgent, is one that modern thinkers dismissed as a walk-on.

Nationalism, the political theorist Isaiah Berlin once observed, was long thought to be an allergic reaction of national consciousness when “held down and forcibly repressed by despotic rulers.” Remove this particular allergen, and the sneezing fit of nationalism would end.

Yet in the 21st century, the sneezing has grown more, not less violent. Indeed, it threatens to tear apart the traditional and constitutional bonds that, ironically, hold nations together. From the Caucasus to the Atlantic, from North to South America and across much of Asia, nationalism has become a chronic global condition. At a rally in October, President Trump declared himself a nationalist and urged followers to use the term, too.

Few people would find the ascendancy of nationalism more surprising, and more depressing, than the man who coined the term. Though largely overlooked today, Johann Gottfried Herder was one of the 18th century’s most original thinkers, a deeply influential German philosopher who left a mark on fields ranging from linguistics to literature and history. He not only invented the term nationalism (“Nationalismus”), but is also widely seen as its greatest champion.

A friend of the great Goethe (who credited Herder with having saved him from dry-as-dust classicism), Herder was born in East Prussia in 1744. The son of devout Lutherans, he never lost his faith in God or Germany. Or, at least, the idea of Germany: Rather than a nation, “Germany” in the 18th century was a dizzying hodgepodge of small states and independent cities which shared little more than a common language.

Language, to Herder, is the very essence of a people. He called upon his fellow Germans to resist what he called the “cancer” of French, which had become the unofficial language of 18th century Europe. “Whoever wants to drive out my language,” Herder once declared, “also wants to rob me of my reason and my way of life, the honor and laws of my people.”

Yet here’s the rub: Herder wrote these words in an essay lambasting efforts by Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II to force the German language on Hungarians and other linguistic minorities living under his rule. The proudly parochial Herder believed that, as Berlin put it, “every activity, situation, historical period and civilization possessed a unique character of its own.” For this reason, to subject a particular people to a foreign language and set of ideas — especially those that, like French, pretended to be universally applicable — was, in effect, an act of cultural genocide.

The sweeping line that opens Herder’s great work, "Ideas About the Philosophy of the History of Mankind", underscores the inclusive nature of his nationalism: “Our earth is a star among stars,” Herder wrote. Just as there is no hierarchy of planets, there is no ranking of peoples. No single measure exists by which cultures and peoples can be judged. More so than any other element of the Enlightenment, Herder rebelled against the belief that a single and universal set of laws applied to the world of men no less than the world of things. Instead, he wrote, a nation’s ways and wisdom, language and lore can be measured only against its own standard.

[Herder was clearly wrong. Nations can be compared using many different standards -- and often are.  Herder may think that nations SHOULD not be compared but that is just his opinion]

Two or three timeless insights follow: First, it is worse than pointless to parade the greatness of one’s nation, for this implies that there is a single standard. Since each and every nation has what Herder called “its own center of gravity,” each and every one is unique.

Second, there is no single form of nationalism. Herder was both a nationalist and a pluralist. He saw no contradiction between the claims of one’s own culture and those of other cultures. And he was especially alive to his own culture’s faults. “Our part of the earth should be called not the wisest, but the most arrogant, aggressive, and money-minded,” he wrote.

Some critics have questioned whether Herder’s kinder and gentler nationalism, which invoked the points of lights illuminating our world, is really different from more virulent forms. A sudden crisis, whether genuine or manufactured, can unleash the darker nature of nationalism.

This year marks the 275th anniversary of Herder’s birth. By its end, we may be in a better position to decide if Herder’s humane vision of humankind turns out to be as fantastic and fictitious as the German folk tales he loved.

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Your parenting style could decide how successful your kid will be

The difference in parenting styles between rich and poor families account for a huge chunk of the inequality gap -- or does it?

This is a very sad article below.  It accurately reports that kids are being denied the carefree childhood that was once taken as the ideal.  Instead they are dragooned into a constant round of activities that they may or may not enjoy.  And the parents are getting frazzled by doing the dragooning.  But what if it is all for naught?  Are we sure it helps? Might it even be disadvantageous?

Before I say what the basic problem is, let me give an anecdote.  I grew up in a very permissive family and my son did too. My son was allowed to play computer games to his heart's content -- which meant most of the time. So I am obviously a BAD parent, No?

The pesky thing about it, however, is that he is now a highly paid systems engineer.  He still spends most of his day in front of a computer screen.  It is his natural habitat. But he is now paid well above average money for doing so.  So is he a hopelessly anti-social nerd?  He has recently married a bright, friendly and pretty girl and has a close group of friends -- so clearly not.

And my permissive background did not stop me from becoming a  much published academic, even though my father was a lifelong manual worker and my mother was a maid.

So what is going on?  The answer is that people are misled by the politically correct dogma that all men are equal and therefore it is only hard work that can give you an edge in getting ahead.  As a psychometrician, I knew differently.  I knew that your genetically given ability was all -- or nearly all -- in educational attainment and much else.  Both my son and I got good attainment reports back from our schools but we both just cruised. We had no need to do otherwise and no-one to push us.  So we had that carefree childhood that people talk about.

The upshot?  If you are born bright, you will do well in any system.  But can hard work make up the difference for the less bright? By far the major predictor of educational attainment is IQ.  Nothing else comes close.  There are probably a few cases at the margins where pushing a kid can lead to a small degree of advantage but is it worth the stresses and strains on all involved?  Might you not do better by SHIELDING your child from most stresses and strains? Might the kindest thing you could do for your child be to give them a happy childhood?

It is true that the children of middle class parents do better at school but that is because of genetics.  As Charles Murray pointed out decades ago, the rich tend to be smarter.  Being smart is how they got rich.  And IQ is genetically inherited so rich parents tend do have smart kids.  And smart kids do well at school with not much else helping


“We are creating a miniature version of our own lives for our kid, wanting him to be productive, keeping him busy all the time.” Abigail is talking about her two-year-old son, Joshua. She has a well-paid job with an investment bank in Dallas, Texas, which she finds stressful but exciting. Now pregnant with another child, she has every intention of resuming work after the second birth. She will keep on her Mexican-American nanny, and her writer husband will help with the child care.

But combining work with a larger family will not be easy, not just because of Abigail’s demanding job but because she and her husband, like many other prosperous parents in America, pursue a form of child-rearing that makes huge demands on their time and resources. It includes filling the child’s day with round-the-clock activities, from music and sports to sleepovers; going to great lengths to get him or her into the right schools; and strictly supervising homework. The parents may not like it, but they feel they have no choice because all their friends are doing the same thing.

This is colloquially known as “helicopter parenting” (because the parents are always hovering), or “concerted cultivation”, a term coined by Annette Lareau, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania. In her book “Unequal Childhoods”, based on in-depth studies conducted in the 1990s and early 2000s, she looked at the child-rearing habits of American families from a variety of social and ethnic backgrounds and found a yawning gap. Whereas better-off, better-educated parents (black as well as white) overwhelmingly adopted this intensive method, working-class and poor families followed a different model which she calls “the accomplishment of natural growth”. They saw their role as providing shelter, food, comfort and other basic support but lacked the time, the money and the nous for such intensive management, so their kids were often left to their own devices, and the extended family played a much greater part in their children’s lives than among Ms Lareau’s middle-class subjects.

In his book “Our Kids”, Robert Putnam, a political scientist at Harvard, used a mixture of interviews and data analysis to argue that different child-raising conventions are reinforcing a growing divide in American society. The privileged top third is pulling ever further ahead of the disadvantaged bottom third, whose families are often fractured and whose lives tend to be precarious. That shows up as a growing divergence in income, education, single-parenthood, friendship networks and other indicators.

The power of words

Upper-middle-class children are far better placed even before their parents make any special effort, simply because of the sort of homes they are born into. Educated parents tend to respond readily to their children’s endless questions, talk to them over the dinner table and take them to new and exciting places. In a famous study in the 1990s, Betty Hart and Todd Risley from the University of Kansas found that in the poorest families children heard about 600 words an hour, whereas in professional families they heard 2,100. By the time they were three, the children from the well-off homes had heard around 30m more words than the poorer ones.

“Parenting”, in the sense that it is now understood, is a relatively new term; it first popped up in 1958, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, and came into widespread use only in the 1970s. Experts see it as an important factor in successful childrearing, along with things such as genetic predisposition and external circumstances. To find out how much it mattered, Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University and Liz Washbrook of the University of Bristol separated out the effects of different parenting styles and home learning environments on the cognitive performance of three- to five-year-olds from different income groups in America and Britain. They found that they accounted for between a third and half of the income-related gap.

Studies show that even poorer and less well-educated parents on both sides of the Atlantic (except, oddly, in France) spent far more time with their children every day in the 2000s than they did in 1965. They also spent more money on them, both in dollars and as a proportion of their income. Sabino Kornrich of Emory University and Frank Furstenberg of the University of Pennsylvania found that between 1972-73 and 2006-07 total spending per child in constant dollars increased somewhat for all income groups (see chart), but far faster for the richest 10% of parents than for the rest. Because incomes in this group had gone up rapidly, their spending as a proportion of income did not rise much. Yet by this measure the poorest 10% of parents vastly increased their spending on their children because their incomes had barely budged.

America is not the only place to practise helicopter parenting.

The British do it too, calling it “hothousing” ; continental Europe less so, especially in the Nordic countries, where social hierarchies are flatter and parents more relaxed. But globalisation has cranked up competition for the best jobs, and academic standards in different countries have become easier to compare thanks to the OECD’s PISA scores, which measure the reading, maths and science performance of 15-year-olds. Such comparisons have highlighted the effectiveness of a kind of concerted cultivation that is ubiquitous in East Asia. It is somewhat different from the Western sort, being directed more single-mindedly towards academic success, and works particularly well in maths and science. In the PISA rankings for these subjects in 2015 Singapore tops the bill, and Japan, China (currently measured only in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Guangdong) and South Korea are all well ahead of America.

Such comparisons have made some Americans wonder whether they are being too soft on their kids. For all the hovering they do, they tend to let them off lightly on things like discipline and helping around the house, preferring to build up their self-esteem and keep them happy. But parents have noticed that some of the country’s recent immigrants, particularly those from East Asia, use sterner methods to great effect. In her book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, Amy Chua, a first-generation Chinese-American married to an American academic, describes the tough love she meted out to her two daughters. She unapologetically made the girls do many hours of homework a day, pushed them into becoming musical prodigies and allowed them next to no time to have fun. Though one of them eventually rebelled, both achieved brilliant academic results and seem to have grown into accomplished adults.

Another Chinese-American mother, Lenora Chu, and her journalist husband tried a different variant of blended cultures. Having moved to Shanghai, the couple decided to send their three-year-old son to a top-notch state-run Chinese kindergarten. Ms Chu’s book about their experience is called “Little Soldiers”, after a song often recited in the kindergarten that started: “I am a little soldier, I practise every day.” It summed up the educational philosophy prevailing there and across China: anyone can succeed at anything if they work at it hard enough, whether or not they have a talent for it. Effort is all.

The Chinese kindergarten, Ms Chu found, had little trouble securing co-operation and compliance from the children and their parents. The authoritarian structure of the education system and powerful administrators keeps parents and students in check. In turn, the kindergarten proved responsive to parental pressure to offer some formal teaching even to these very young children, despite consistent guidance from the ministry of education that this age group should be spending most of the day playing. Even at kindergarten level, the parents are already thinking about getting the child through the gaokao, the all-important university entrance exam. As one mother explains, this is not just about the child itself. The Chinese have long been obsessed with education, and academic success for the child brings honour to the entire family.

If life at school is not much fun for Chinese kids, it is even worse for South Korean ones. Though both countries put much store by rote learning, in South Korea this takes on extreme forms. Jang Hyung-shim, an educational psychologist at Seoul’s Hanyang University, likens children’s experience at school to military service and says it stifles their creativity.

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