You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think

Below is the latest Green/Left scare.  It is in fact hundreds of years old but it seems to have been reanimated by the advent of driverless cars. It goes back to Ned Ludd, in the 18th century, who wrecked weaving machines that threatened hand-weavers with losing their jobs.  Ever since, new forms of mechanization have been seen as casting hordes of people into unemployment.  But it has never happened.  After a couple of hundred years of more and more mechanization, unemployment never seems to vary much

Why is mechanization no problem?  What will those cast out of work do for a living?  The answer, broadly, is that there is an insatiable demand for personal services.  Only a tiny percentage of our population is growing all our food these days and even factory work has declined greatly.

And a major replacement activity we all know about is eating out. Figures vary but most people will eat out for several meals a week.  We could perfectly easily feed ourselves but we choose to  go out and find someone who can do it better.  And with the cooks concerned come waitresses, managers, bus boys, food delivery men, cleaners etc.

And another great arena for creating jobs is accommodation.  We want bigger and better houses and apartments.  And building them is a huge labor-intensive enterprise.

But those are just two obvious examples.  The point is that in a market economy jobs arise to meet the demand that people with money to spend create.  The work may be humble -- as with shoeshine "boys", bus-boys, janitors, roadwork signallers, cleaners, prostitutes etc but people will always find something more that they "need" done. Capitalism will come to the rescue!  Much to the ire of the useless Leftist "planners"

I want to tell you straight off what this story is about: Sometime in the next 40 years, robots are going to take your job.

I don’t care what your job is. If you dig ditches, a robot will dig them better. If you’re a magazine writer, a robot will write your articles better. If you’re a doctor, IBM’s Watson will no longer “assist” you in finding the right diagnosis from its database of millions of case studies and journal articles. It will just be a better doctor than you.

Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty.
And CEOs? Sorry. Robots will run companies better than you do. Artistic types? Robots will paint and write and sculpt better than you. Think you have social skills that no robot can match? Yes, they can. Within 20 years, maybe half of you will be out of jobs. A couple of decades after that, most of the rest of you will be out of jobs.

In one sense, this all sounds great. Let the robots have the damn jobs! No more dragging yourself out of bed at 6 a.m. or spending long days on your feet. We’ll be free to read or write poetry or play video games or whatever we want to do. And a century from now, this is most likely how things will turn out. Humanity will enter a golden age.

But what about 20 years from now? Or 30? We won’t all be out of jobs by then, but a lot of us will—and it will be no golden age. Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty. Working-class job losses played a big role in the 2016 election, and if we don’t want a long succession of demagogues blustering their way into office because machines are taking away people’s livelihoods, this needs to change, and fast. Along with global warming, the transition to a workless future is the biggest challenge by far that progressive politics—not to mention all of humanity—faces. And yet it’s barely on our radar.

That’s kind of a buzzkill, isn’t it? Luckily, it’s traditional that stories about difficult or technical subjects open with an entertaining or provocative anecdote. The idea is that this allows readers to ease slowly into daunting material. So here’s one for you: Last year at Christmas, I was over at my mother’s house and mentioned that I had recently read an article about Google Translate. It turns out that a few weeks previously, without telling anyone, Google had switched over to a new machine-learning algorithm. Almost overnight, the quality of its translations skyrocketed. I had noticed some improvement myself but had chalked it up to the usual incremental progress these kinds of things go through. I hadn’t realized it was due to a quantum leap in software.

But if Google’s translation algorithm was better, did that mean its voice recognition was better too? And its ability to answer queries? Hmm. How could we test that? We decided to open presents instead of cogitating over this.

But after that was over, the subject of erasers somehow came up. Which ones are best? Clear? Black? Traditional pink? Come to think of it, why are erasers traditionally pink? “I’ll ask Google!” I told everyone. So I pulled out my phone and said, “Why are erasers pink?” Half a second later, Google told me.

Not impressed? You should be. We all know that phones can recognize voices tolerably well these days. And we know they can find the nearest café or the trendiest recipe for coq au vin. But what about something entirely random? And not a simple who, where, or when question. This was a why question, and it wasn’t about why the singer Pink uses erasers or why erasers are jinxed. Google has to be smart enough to figure out in context that I said pink and that I’m asking about the historical reason for the color of erasers, not their health or the way they’re shaped. And it did. In less than a second. With nothing more than a cheap little microprocessor and a slow link to the internet.

(In case you’re curious, Google got the answer from Design*Sponge: “The eraser was originally produced by the Eberhard Faber Company…The erasers featured pumice, a volcanic ash from Italy that gave them their abrasive quality, along with their distinctive color and smell.”)

Still not impressed? When Watson famously won a round of Jeopardy! against the two best human players of all time, it needed a computer the size of a bedroom to answer questions like this. That was only seven years ago.

What do pink erasers have to do with the fact that we’re all going to be out of a job in a few decades? Consider: Last October, an Uber trucking subsidiary named Otto delivered 2,000 cases of Budweiser 120 miles from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs—without a driver at the wheel. Within a few years, this technology will go from prototype to full production, and that means millions of truck drivers will be out of a job.

Automated trucking doesn’t rely on newfangled machines, like the powered looms and steam shovels that drove the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. Instead, like Google’s ability to recognize spoken words and answer questions, self-driving trucks—and cars and buses and ships—rely primarily on software that mimics human intelligence. By now everyone’s heard the predictions that self-driving cars could lead to 5 million jobs being lost, but few people understand that once artificial-intelligence software is good enough to drive a car, it will be good enough to do a lot of other things too. It won’t be millions of people out of work; it will be tens of millions.


Aboriginal IQ and visual ability

In their devotion to their strange ideal of all men being equal, Leftists get frantic about the concept of IQ -- which is all about inequality.  So they find all sorts of ways of claiming that IQ doesn't exist, doesn't matter or that intelligence is not measured by IQ.

Psychometricians have of course heard it all before and can easily refute the little Leftist brainstorms about the matter.  A common leftist claim is that there are "multiple" intelligences so that IQ tests measure only a small part of what constitutes intelligence.  The big problem for that is to specify what these other omitted "intelligences" are.  What form of mental ability is overlooked by IQ tests?

The suggestions there are usually quite pathetic.  The best known example of such a claim is the work of Howard Gardner -- and his theory of "multiple intelligences" -- eight of them, would you believe? There is a very clear and simple demolition of the whole Gardner theory here -- which points out that the Gardner theory not only ignores the data but that its criteria for calling something "an intelligence" are so loose that sense of humour, sense of smell, musical ability, athletic ability etc could all be called "intelligences". By adopting similar rules I could say that all cats, dogs and horses are birds -- but that would still not make them so.

I do think however that there is a marginal case for saying that Australian Aborigines have mental abilities that are not well captured by any form of IQ test. Australian Aborigines have attracted considerable attention from psychometricians because their original lifestyle is so different from ours.  And their average IQ scores are some of the lowest ever observed.

University of Queensland psychologists, Donald McElwain and George Kearney, however, rose to the challenge of those low scores and constructed the "Queensland test", which used only those questions that seemed to work best among Aborigines. By their responses, Aborigines effectively constructed their own IQ test. A set of questions relating to mental ability were sifted out that intercorrelated with one-another and correlated with various indices of ability to handle an Aboriginal environment. So how did whites score on a test that was biased towards an Aboriginal population and environment? They scored much higher than Aborigines themselves.

That has to be seen as pretty strong evidence that average Aboriginal intelligence really is unusually low.  But I am not so sure.  Aborigines have very great abilities in areas where we do not.  Their ability to see and remember small details of the landscape is completely beyond us.

For many years they were used as "black trackers", people who were used to find escaped criminals.  The trackers could "see" where the criminal had been and would follow a trail that he had left behind him -- a trail that no white man could see.  So many a criminal who had every reason to feel that he had got clean away would often find that he had a most unexpected and unwelcome knock on his door.

And it is no mystery why Aborigines could do that.  They had evolved into a harsh landscape and had only the most rudimentary weapons to use in capturing juicy animals for food. As a small isolated population, they did not have access to the inventions that arose on the vast Eurasian continent.  So it was only their own wits that could help them survive.  By noticing tiny details of the landscape they could "see" where a juicy animal might be lurking.  And a great aid in such "seeing" was a detailed memory of what the landscape had previously been like.  Noticing what had changed would be a major clue to what had happened and what was happening.

So it seems to me that Aboriginal visual ability and memory does a job very similar to what high IQ enables.  It is strongly pro-survival in the environment where it arose.  I don't think there is any point in trying to integrate it into IQ measures but it should remind us that there are many abilities that increase survival chances and not all of those abilities are mental.

Africans, for instance are in general very good at sprinting and that no doubt once had survival value in enabling them both to catch prey and escape predators.

 Sprinting is not a mental ability but it is a survival tool.  Aborigines also have their own unique survival tools -- tools which in my view deserve great respect

Another nail in the coffin of statins: They raise the risk of Type 2 diabetes by nearly a third

This dangerous junk was idolized by many medical commentators.  Some wanted to put it in the water supply to dose up everyone on it.  Statins do seem to help people who ALREADY have heart disease but evidence for their use as a preventive is dubious.  A study of nearly 3,000 older adults found that giving them statins did not extend their lifespans nor did they get fewer  heart attacks.  Since old people are the high risk group, we have to ask if they do not benefit from statins, who would?

Taking statins increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly a third, researchers found. A decade-long study of more than 3,200 patients found those who took statins were 30 per cent more likely to develop the condition.

Some six million Britons take statins every day to reduce their cholesterol and ward off heart disease.

The pills are proven lifesavers, slashing the chance of a repeat attack, yet a scientific row over benefits and side effects has dragged on for years.

Experts have long known there was a link between statins and diabetes – but doctors have always stressed that the advantages of the pills far outweigh the small chance of getting diabetes.

Previous research had put the chance of developing type 2 diabetes at no more than 10 to 12 per cent greater than if someone did not take statins. The latest study, however, suggests the medication increases the risk by 30 per cent.

The researchers, from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, think this may be because statins impair insulin production. In the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, they called for regular blood sugar tests of people taking statins.

‘Glucose status should be monitored and healthy lifestyle behaviours reinforced in high-risk patients who are prescribed statins for cardiovascular disease [prevention],’ they wrote.

The scientists tracked overweight people already considered at risk of diabetes for ten years. At the start, 4 per cent took statins, but by the end roughly a third were taking the pills.

No link was found between the potency of the statins used and diabetes risk.

The researchers stressed that the additional risk of developing diabetes should be balanced against ‘the consistent and highly significant’ reduction in risk of heart attacks, strokes and death. Last night experts said that although the relative risk of diabetes may seem high, in reality the absolute numbers of people it would affect would be small.


The downfall of the proxies

The article below is more significant than its authors appear to realize.  It casts all proxy measurements of temperature into doubt -- and paleoclimate studies all rely on proxies. For most of the world, thermometer measurements of temperature go back only a couple of hundred years, if that.  So paleoclimatologists DEDUCE temperatures from what they see in tree rings, sedimentary sea-life, ice-cores etc.  Such things are proxies for actual temperature measurements.

And it has just been revealed that a widely used and completely accepted proxy appears to be severely inaccurate.

There have long been protests at the uncritical acceptance of proxies. Perhaps the most vivid example of proxy inaccuracy was "Mike's Nature trick", where Michael Mann abandoned mention of 20th century tree-ring proxies when he found that they showed a 20th century temperature DECLINE.  Where it could be examined, there was a wide divergence between tree ring proxies and actual temperatures as measured by thermometers.  Tree rings have in other words been shown to be invalid as a measure of temperature.  Any work using them is built on sand.

And Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements of gases such as CO2 have often been mentioned. And he studied ice cores for over 30 years.

And the measurements of actual CO2 levels collated by Ernst Beck from 1812 on diverge strongly from proxy measurements.

So doubts about proxies have been voiced before but have been ignored by Warmists.  The latest study, however should be harder to ignore, given its importance to paleoclimate work.  "Paleoclimatology is bunk" would seem to be a reasonable conclusion given what we now know. Its measurements require a large element of faith and that faith has now been shown to be misplaced

Climate change might be even worse than we think, according to a new study that is challenging the way we measure ocean temperatures.

Scientists suggest that the method used to understand sea temperatures in the past is based on a mistake, meaning our understanding of climate change may be flawed.

The findings indicate that oceans in the past were much colder than thought, meaning that temperatures may be increasing quicker now than realised.

For over 50 years, scientists based their estimates on what they learned from foraminifera - fossils of tiny marine organisms found in sediment cores taken from the ocean floor.

Foraminifera form shells called tests, in which the content of a form of oxygen, called oxygen-18, depends on the temperature of the water.

So changes in the ocean's temperature over time were calculated on the basis of the oxygen-18 content of the fossil foraminifera tests found in sediment.

According to these measurements, the ocean's temperature has fallen by 15°C over the past 100 million years.

But these estimates were based on the principle that the oxygen-18 content of the foraminifera tests remained constant while the fossils were in the sediment.

To test whether oxygen-18 levels changed, the researchers exposed foraminifera to high temperatures in artificial sea water that contained only oxygen-18.

An instrument called NanoSIMS was then used to analyse the chemical content of the fossils.

Results show that the level of oxygen-18 changed without leaving a visible trace.

According to the methodology widely used by the scientific community, the temperature of the polar oceans 100 million years ago were around 15°C higher than current readings.

But in a new study, researchers from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) are challenging this method.

Instead, they suggest that ocean temperatures may in fact have remained relatively stable throughout this period, which raises serious concerns about current levels of climate change.

Dr Anders Meibom, one of the researchers who worked on the study, said: 'If we are right, our study challenges decades of paleoclimate research.'

'Oceans cover 70 per cent of our planet. They play a key role in the earth's climate.

'Knowing the extent to which their temperatures have varied over geological time is crucial if we are to gain a fuller understanding of how they behave and to predict the consequences of current climate change more accurately.'

For over 50 years, scientists have based their estimates on what they learned from foraminifera - fossils of tiny marine organisms found in sediment cores taken from the ocean floor.

Foraminifera form shells called tests, in which the content of a form of oxygen, called oxygen-18, depends on the temperature of the water in which they live.

So changes in the ocean's temperature over time were calculated on the basis of the oxygen-18 content of the fossil foraminifera tests found in the sediment.

According to these measurements, the ocean's temperature has fallen by 15°C over the past 100 million years.

But these estimates were based on the principle that the oxygen-18 content of the foraminifera tests remained constant while the fossils were in the sediment.

To test whether oxygen-18 levels changed, the researchers exposed foraminifera to high temperatures in artificial sea water that contained only oxygen-18.

An instrument called NanoSIMS was then used to analyse the chemical content of the fossils.

Results show that the level of oxygen-18 present changed without leaving a visible trace.

Dr Sylvain Bernard, lead author of the study, said: 'What appeared to be perfectly preserved fossils are in fact not.

'This means that the paleotemperature estimates made up to now are incorrect.'

Rather than showing a gradual decline in temperature over the past 100 million years, the researchers suggest that the foraminifera had changed their oxygen-18 levels simply to equilibrate with the surrounding water.

The findings indicate that temperature in the oceans have been overestimated.

In terms of next steps, Dr Meibom added: 'To revisit the ocean's paleotemperatures now, we need to carefully quantify this re-equilibration, which has been overlooked for too long.

'For that, we have to work on other types of marine organisms so that we clearly understand what took place in the sediment over geological time.'


House Dems Accuse Pruitt, Trump of Catering to Big Ag on Pesticide

The Greenie war on pesticides continues.  There is no pesticide that Greenies like -- even ones that have been in widespread use for 50 years without obvious health consequences.  There have been studies indicating problems with chlorpyrifos but only at high doses.  It is true of any chemical that the toxicity is in the dose and there has been no demonstration that normal use of chlorpyrifos leads to any harm

A pair of House Democrats on Wednesday accused EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration of catering to big-business agriculture at the cost of human safety by refusing to ban a widely used pesticide known to cause developmental disorders among children.

“The EPA is not supposed to be an agent of big business and industry,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. “They are supposed to be an agent of public good, and yet under Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration, they’re doing the bidding of companies and polluters to advance their interests and not the interests of the American people.”

Ellison joined Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) in introducing the Pesticide Protection Act of 2017 this past July. The legislation, which would cancel the registration of the pesticide in question – chlorpyrifos – has garnered 42 co-sponsors, including one Republican, Rep. Chris Smith (N.J.).

Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that has been in use since 1965, when the Dow Chemical Co. began selling it. According to the EPA, the pesticide is used for agricultural uses and non-agricultural uses, with the largest market being the corn industry. About 6 million pounds of the pesticide is sprayed on American crops each year, including asparagus, peaches, strawberries, apples, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cranberries and walnuts. The pesticide is also used on golf courses, turf and greenhouses, and as a poison for mosquitoes, roaches and ants, according to the EPA.

Chlorpyrifos has had harmful impacts on children, as well as farm workers. According to the EPA, it can cause nausea, dizziness and confusion, as well as respiratory paralysis and even death in high doses.

The Obama administration in 2015 moved to eliminate use of chlorpyrifos after fielding a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network North America. In November 2016, EPA scientists concluded in a risk assessment memo that there is “a breadth of information available on the potential adverse neurodevelopmental effects in infants and children as a result of prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos.” According to an Associated Press report from June, Pruitt met with Dow Chemical leadership in March about 20 days before reversing course on Obama’s 2015 directive.

“Pruitt has ignored his own scientists’ recommendations to withdraw it as an acceptable chemical,” Pesticide Action Network executive director Kristin Schafer said on Wednesday.

According to Schafer, the EPA studied chlorpyrifos’ application in four key states -- Iowa, Minnesota, California and Hawaii – and determined that the pesticide was contaminating water supplies and that it can cause harm even in low-level doses.

“This administration’s agenda is radically anti-environment and willfully ignores science,” Velázquez said.

Ellison said that Pruitt’s refusal to restrict the use of chlorpyrifos and Trump’s repeal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan are just two instances in which the administration has set the country back decades in terms of environmental stewardship. The EPA’s core mission is to protect the environment and American communities, he added.

Dow Chemical Co. recorded about $48 billion in sales in 2016, according to Forbes. The Associated Press report noted that CEO Andrew Liveris’ leads a White House manufacturing working group, and the company pledged $1 million for Trump’s inauguration.

Ellison accused the administration of placing corporate profits ahead of the health and safety of American families, citing examples of the chemical infiltrating Minnesota homes following aerial sprays on nearby farms. He said that the administration has an obligation to determine the health impacts of the chemical, and if they are hazardous the pesticide needs to be controlled.


Herrnstein & Murray are still right -- and very relevant to the healthcare debate

The poor die young.  That is the simplest summary of the latest study looking at the association between wealth and health.  Whenever it is examined, a correlation between social class and health seems to emerge.  The findings surveyed  by Hernstein and Murray are the best known evidence of that but Herrnstein & Murray wrote over two decades ago so it is interesting to see that nothing has changed. Herrnstein died about the time the book was released so was spared the torrent of abuse that was poured out on the scholarly head of Charles Murray when his findings became known.  He survived the onslsaught however and is still making waves.  The attack on him at Middlebury college got a lot of press recently.

There is however a certain vagueness about what you call social class and there are distinct differences between Britain and America in that regard.  And although its importance to social class is generally accepted, wealth is rarely examined in medical research. It is usually considered to be "too sensitive"  for questions about it to be included in surveys.  So the findings below are valuable in filling a gap. The article is titled: "Wealth-Associated Disparities in Death and Disability in the United States and England" and it appeared in JAMA, a leading medical journal.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, reaction the article gets.  It is unlikely that the authors will receive the abuse that was heaped on Charles Murray.  After the first decade or so of huffing and puffing, the Left seem to have bowed to reality.  Mention of class effects on health are these days normally addressed, if at all, as just another example of injustice.  What was once seen as a politically incorrect attack on the poor is now usually seen as an argument for helping the poor in various ways.  The Left ended up assimilating the effect into their "social justice" narrative.

And what cure do the Left advocate for this injustice?  Easy! Single payer health-insurance.  It was one of the arguments behind the agony of Obamacare.  And that makes the study below of exceptional interest -- because it compared American health results with results from a country that has had single-payer healthcare for a very long time: England.  So the poor should do much better in England?  Right?  Wrong!  The wealth effect was similar in both countries.  So this study is exceptionally relevant to one of the most important issues in American politics today.

Academic prose is normally too dense for non-academics to make much out of it but the place where you are most likely to find plain speaking is the set of "Conclusions" at the end of the article.  So let me reproduce in full the "Conclusions" of the present article:

"We found that lower wealth was associated with higher mortality and disability in older adults in both the United States and England. This relationship was apparent from age 54 years and continued into later life. This study found no evidence that providing state-sponsored health insurance from birth (England), or providing state-sponsored health insurance later in life (United States), eliminated wealth-associated health disparities. Our study suggests that policy makers interested in decreasing mortality and function disparities in older adults should take a broad view and consider interventions beyond providing access to health care."

So there was effectively no difference between America and England in health outcomes, including death.  The poor get sicker and die younger in both countries at roughly the same rate.  So the authors are in fact shooting down one of the important talking points of the Left. What they mean by "interventions beyond providing access to health care" is to make the poor richer.  They wisely don't go in to how you achieve that, though. So this is an article of unusual political importance.  

It also has important implications for medical research generally. Probably because of political correctness, epidemiological research in particular simply ignores social class.  If it is mentioned at all, the only index of it used is education.  But my research showed long ago that education misses a lot. You can have highly educated poor people (e.g. the iconic Ph.Ds doing burger flipping in Macdonalds) to dropouts making billions (e.g. Bill Gates).  You really do need to examine wealth directly. 

But medical researchers just don't do that most of the time.  And that very often makes the significance of their findings moot. If, for instance, you find that big drinkers of pop die young, a medical researcher would normally conclude that pop kills you. They are that stupid. If you happen to know that the poor drink more pop, however, you can say (and I have often said it) that the conclusion is nonsense. If wealth had been included in the analysis, you will probably find that the "effect" of pop on health was in fact the effect of wealth discrepancies.

So I suppose it is a lot to ask for but one hopes that future medical researchers might use the article below to make some mention of what their research was not able to examine.

The authors below do not venture into much consideration of WHY the poor die young but do mention various environmental stressors.  I would add however that genetic influences are at work too. IQ is a much neglected index of social class.  The rich are smarter. The old challenge, "if you are smart, how come you are not rich?, has much justice to it. We can probably all think of exceptions but higher IQ does help you to figure out ways of making money.

Wealth-Associated Disparities in Death and Disability in the United States and England

Lena K. Makaroun et al.


Importance:  Low income has been associated with poor health outcomes. Owing to retirement, wealth may be a better marker of financial resources among older adults.

Objective:  To determine the association of wealth with mortality and disability among older adults in the United States and England.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  The US Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA) are nationally representative cohorts of community-dwelling older adults. We examined 12 173 participants enrolled in HRS and 7599 enrolled in ELSA in 2002. Analyses were stratified by age (54-64 years vs 66-76 years) because many safety-net programs commence around age 65 years. Participants were followed until 2012 for mortality and disability.

Exposures:  Wealth quintile, based on total net worth in 2002.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Mortality and disability, defined as difficulty performing an activity of daily living.

Results:  A total of 6233 US respondents and 4325 English respondents aged 54 to 64 years (younger cohort) and 5940 US respondents and 3274 English respondents aged 66 to 76 years (older cohort) were analyzed for the mortality outcome. Slightly over half of respondents were women (HRS: 6570, 54%; ELSA: 3974, 52%). A higher proportion of respondents from HRS were nonwhite compared with ELSA in both the younger (14% vs 3%) and the older (13% vs 3%) age cohorts. We found increased risk of death and disability as wealth decreased. 

In the United States, participants aged 54 to 64 years in the lowest wealth quintile (Q1) (≤$39 000) had a 17% mortality risk and 48% disability risk over 10 years, whereas in the highest wealth quintile (Q5) (>$560 000) participants had a 5% mortality risk and 15% disability risk (mortality hazard ratio [HR], 3.3; 95% CI, 2.0-5.6; P < .001; disability subhazard ratio [sHR], 4.0; 95% CI, 2.9-5.6; P < .001). 

In England, participants aged 54 to 64 years in Q1 (≤£34,000) had a 16% mortality risk and 42% disability risk over 10 years, whereas Q5 participants (>£310,550) had a 4% mortality risk and 17% disability risk (mortality HR, 4.4; 95% CI, 2.7-7.0; P < .001; disability sHR, 3.0; 95% CI, 2.1-4.2; P < .001). In 66- to 76-year-old participants, the absolute risks of mortality and disability were higher, but risk gradients across wealth quintiles were similar. When adjusted for sex, age, race, income, and education, HR for mortality and sHR for disability were attenuated but remained statistically significant.

Conclusions and Relevance:  Low wealth was associated with death and disability in both the United States and England. This relationship was apparent from age 54 years and continued into later life. Access to health care may not attenuate wealth-associated disparities in older adults.

Increased storminess is associated with global COOLING

Recent big storms hitting the USA have been seized on by Warmists with a gladsome heart.  There must now be hundreds of articles in the papers which assert that the recent wind events are PROOF of global warming.  We have frequently been told what blockheads we are to continue as skeptics in the face of such proof.

So of particular interest is a recent article here by some German climate skeptics which looked to history to see what climate conditions produced most storminess.  They found  five recent academic journal articles on storminess.  And they found that high levels of storminess were associated with unusually COLD conditions and low levels of solar activity.

So the recent big blows hitting the USA in fact prove global COOLING, if they prove anything.  I give below the conclusions of the article in both German and English:

Fazit: Die Sturmtätigkeit in Europa hat sich stets während Kältephasen verstärkt. Kälte und Stürme ereigneten sich im Zuge von solaren Schwächeperioden, die sich als Auslöser der Variabilität anbieten. Der übegeordnete Zyklus beträgt hier 1000 Jahre (Eddy-Zyklus), der wohl den Wechsel zwischen Römischer, Mittelalterlicher und Moderner Wärmeperiode und den dazwischengeschalteten Kältephasen gebracht hat. Ozeanzyklen modulieren das Geschehen im Jahrzehntmaßstab, mit einer Zyklendauer von 60 Jahren. Die Sturmrekonstruktionen aus Europe zeigen ein einheitliches Bild, das die Klimamodellierer und Attributions-Forscher nun aufgreifen, erklären und in ihre Simulationen aufnehmen müssen. Angesichts der starken und systematischen solaren Signatur wird es schwer werden, den verschwindend gering angenommenen Strahlungsantrieb für solare Schwankungen in der Klimagleichung aufrechtzuerhalten.

Conclusion: The storm activity in Europe has always intensified during cold phases. Cold and storms occurred in the course of solar weakness periods, which are the causes of variability. The overriding cycle is here 1000 years (Eddy cycle), which has probably brought the change between the Roman, Medieval and Modern periods of warmth and the intermediate cooling phases. Ocean cycles modulate events on a decade scale, with a cycle duration of 60 years. The storm reconstructions from Europe show a uniform picture, which the climate modelers and attribution researchers now take up, must explain and incorporate into their simulations. In view of the strong and systematic solar signature, it will be difficult to maintain the diminishingly small radiation forcing over solar fluctuations on the climatic conditions.

Climate change could spell disaster for coffee?

We seem to hear this scare at least once a year.  The truth is that coffee crops -- particularly the Arabica variety -- are quite sensitive to weather variations and do from time to time have "bad" years.  When that happens global warming is an easy culprit to blame. But there are problems with that:

All that global warming would do for ANY crop is to shift polewards the areas where it is grown.  There is no conceivable reason for a lasting shortage.  There are always new areas opening up for coffee growing anyway.

Secondly, coffee growers and regions would actually benefit from higher atmospheric CO2 levels. More CO2 stimulates plant growth and increases survival rates under drought and other adverse conditions.

Thirdly, if they understood any economics they would know that any lasting reduction in supply would cause price increases and sustained price increases would then draw out more supply.  Australia's "empty" North, for instance, could undoubtedly be opened up to coffee growing in some parts.  There is already a small operation on the Atherton Tableland.  They even grow Arabica there

Fourthly, you will note below that both drought and high rainfall are said to be bad for coffee growing.  Nice to have it both ways?

Centroamericano, a new variety of coffee plant, hasn’t sparked the buzz of, say, Starbucks’s latest novelty latte. But it may be the coolest thing in brewing: a tree that can withstand the effects of climate change.

Climate change could spell disaster for coffee, a crop that requires specific temperatures to flourish and that is highly sensitive to a range of pests. So scientists are racing to develop more tenacious strains of one of the world’s most beloved beverages.

In addition to Centroamericano, seven other new hybrid varieties are gradually trickling onto the market. And this summer, World Coffee Research – an industry-funded nonprofit group – kicked off field tests of 46 new varieties that it says will change coffee-growing as the world knows it.

“Coffee is not ready to adapt to climate change without help,” said Doug Welsh, the vice president and roastmaster of Peet’s Coffee, which has invested in WCR’s research.

Climate scientists say few coffee-growing regions will be spared the effects of climate change. Most of the world’s crop is cultivated around the equator, with the bulk coming from Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Rising temperatures are expected to shrink the available growing land in many of these countries, said Christian Bunn, a postdoctoral fellow at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture who has analyzed the shift in coffee regions. Warmer air essentially “chases” coffee up to cooler, higher altitudes – which are scarce in Brazil and Zimbabwe, among other coffee-growing countries.

Temperature is not climate change’s only projected impact in coffee-growing regions. Portions of Central America are expected to see greater rainfall and shorter dry seasons, which are needed to harvest and dry beans. In Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, rainfall is projected to decrease, potentially sparking dry periods.

These sorts of changes will pose problems for many crops. But coffee is particularly vulnerable, scientists say, because it has an unusually shallow gene pool. Only two species of coffee, arabica and robusta, are currently grown for human consumption. And farmers traditionally haven’t selected for diversity when breeding either plant – instead, essentially, they’ve been marrying generations of coffee with its close cousins.

As a result, there are precious few varieties of arabica that can grow in warmer or wetter conditions. In addition, diseases and pests that might be exacerbated under climate change could knock out entire fields of plants.


The neutrality of music

I pointed out some time ago that music was very important to the Nazis.  They had inspiring songs that kept the troops marching.  I even translated some of them.  But I want to make what I hope is the obvious point that music is independent of politics.  One could appreciate the Nazi songs without at all endorsing Nazi politics.

I thought that some good evidence of how music can mean anything politically comes from an excellent American pro-military song of the '60s.  The song was widely appreciated so the tune was re-used in a German popular song that expressed anti-war sentiments.  The same tune was used for opposite purposes!

Below is the American song, sung by its author, Staff Sadler, a very manly man

Below is the German song sung by a popular German singer:

The German song is a little curious because Germany was at that time not involved in any wars. So it presumably refers to German troops in the French Foreign Legion -- operating in North Africa, which was giving France troubles at the time. The term "vogelfrei" (outlawed) in the third line supports the connection to the Foreign Legion and the terrain description fits North Africa. Rather ironically, the majority of troops in the French Foreign Legion are German-speaking, though a lot of Russians have joined in recent times. Some Germans still relish war, obviously.

Below are the words of the German song, with translation:

Hundert Mann und ein Befehl

Irgendwo im fremden Land
Ziehen sie durch Stein und Sand,
Fern von zu Haus und vogelfrei,
100 Mann, und er ist dabei.

100 Mann und ein Befehl
Und ein Weg, den keiner will.
Tagein tagaus, wer weiß wohin,
Verbranntes Land, und was ist der Sinn?

Ganz allein in dunkler Nacht
Hast du oft daran gedacht,
Dass weit von hier der Vollmond scheint,
Und weit von hier ein Mädchen weint.

Und die Welt ist doch so schön.
Könnt' ich dich noch einmal seh'n!
Nun trennt uns schon ein langes Jahr,
Weil ein Befehl unser Schicksal war.

Wahllos schlägt das Schicksal zu,
Heute er und morgen du.
Ich hör' von fern die Krähen schrei'n
Im Morgenrot, warum muss das sein?

Irgendwo im fremden Land
Ziehen sie durch Stein und Sand,
Fern von zu Haus und vogelfrei,
100 Mann, und er ist dabei.

In English

A hundred men under one command

Somewhere in a foreign land,
they wander through stone and sand,
far from home and outlawed,
100 men and he’s there as well

100 men and one command
and a path that no one wants,
day in, day out, to who knows where,
burned countryside and what’s the use?

All alone in the dark night,
you have often thought about it,
that far from here the full moon shines
and far from here a young girl weeps.

And the world is still so beautiful.
Could I only see you once more.
We have already been apart one long year
because a command was our fate.

At random fate slams us down.
Today him and tomorrow you.
I hear from afar the crows cawing
in the dawn, why must that be?

Deconstructing the equality mania

The Left never cease their pursuit of "equality".  You see it most often in their racist devotion to quotas:  50% of all jobs should go to women; 13% of all jobs should go to blacks; 17% of all jobs should go to Hispanics etc.  They're not quite as rigid as that but "equal representation" or "proportionate representation" is a fiercely pursued aim.

And the current obsession with "white privilege" is another example of the same thing.  Whites are seen as being unequal in various ways and are supposed to be deeply ashamed of that.

Conservatives have of course always resisted such quotas, saying that jobs should be allocated on ability only, not on the colour of the applicant's skin.

But conservatives never seem to go back to basics and ask WHY equality should be pursued.  In most cases it never has existed and never will so why on earth should it be such a holy grail?  What is good about it?  No Leftist I have ever met has been able to answer that question. They just look dumb and say that it is OBVIOUSLY good.  But obvious to whom?  It is certainly not obvious to me.

The best they can come up with is that pursuing the equality goal causes people who might normally not have a chance at a particular job to get a chance at it.  It opens up opportunities. But conservatives have never been bothered by equal opportunity.  It's the only sort of equality that they will normally support.  But the opportunity concerned is only the opportunity for the person to show that he/she is capable of better things.  It does not imply that you should get some position REGARDLESS of whether or not you are capable of better things -- which is what quotas tend to do.

So as far as I can see, the breakneck pursuit of equality is simply envy.  If everybody is equal, no-one can be enviable. But that state will never arise so there must be more to it than that.

And the deeper reason seems fairly clear to me.  The pursuit of equality is destructive. It puts incompetent people in responsible positions.  For instance, a black fireman who can't pass his fireman's exams but who is hired anyway because he is back may well be not very good at putting out fires and thus could allow a house to burn down that might otherwise have been saved.

Leftists always pretend to have noble motives but talk is cheap.  Look at what they do to see what they really intend.  And almost always there are adverse "unforeseen" consequences of any policy they get enacted.  The enormous mess made by Obamacare -- the "Affordable Care Act" -- is a good example.  Because of all the mandates and bureaucracy that form part of it, Obamacare has caused both premiums and deductibles to soar -- thus making effective health insurance UNaffordable to many.  Because of high deductibles alone many people who were previously insured are now effectively uninsured for most things.

And that Leftists are basically hostile people is being shown time and time again by the way in which those who depart from the politically correct line are hounded both in the colleges and in the workplace.  And when Leftists gain untrammelled power -- as we saw in Soviet Russia and Mao's China, we see how truly destructive they are.  So the pursuit of equality is just another tool in the Leftist's toolbox of destruction.

And it is easy to make an argument that INEQUALITY is a good thing. For a start, it is the natural state of affairs and is a symptom of a society in which superior abilities are called into use.  Abilities are very unevenly distributed and putting the most able man into a particular job will often mean success at a particular enterprise when failure might otherwise have ensued.  Not everyone can be a good manager, not everyone can be a good fitter and turner and not everyone can be a computer programmer.  Finding the right man for the job is something of a holy grail to some enterprises.

And because it is rare, the demand for top talent will usually exceed supply.  And that is when competition arises.  To get rare talent for his enterprise, a boss will usually offer big money for the services of the talented one, an amount which will be very unequal compared to what less talented people get.  So inequality emerges from different abilities and is a symptom of a society getting the best out of its people. Inequality is good.

New Zealand gets its own Donald Trump

New Zealand has an odd electoral system which tends to help minor parties to get seats in parliament in addition to the two main parties. Which often means that no one party has a majority of seats.  So it is usually necessary for two or more parties to enter into an agreement to govern together.

After the recent inconclusive election, the support of a small populist party -- chiefly supported by Maori and the elderly --  was crucial to forming a new coalition government.  The populist leader, Winston Peters,  has policies very similar to Trump and is determined to implement them. He is however entering into an unlikely coalition with the Leftists and the Greens. His coalition partners wildly disagree with him, however. But they can't do without him.  

Peters.  He is half Maori

So it should be interesting from now on.  We may see Trump-like policies being enacted with the support of Leftists and Greens! He should at least be a restraining influence on Green/Left idiocy.  Some details below

SHE’S enjoyed the kind of stardust-scattered rise most politicians only dream of.

Four weeks ago, Jacinda Ardern was at home painting the fence in her trackpants, trying to work off the “nervous energy” of waiting for an election result.

On Thursday, the 37-year-old was crowned Prime Minister-elect following a month of negotiations to form a coalition government with the Greens and New Zealand First.

Like Emmanuel Macron, 39, in France and Justin Trudeau, 45, in Canada, Ardern has ridden a wave of euphoria over her likability, relaxed style and fresh approach to politics.

She shut down radio hosts who asked about her baby plans, took selfies with school kids and even admitted she had been handed a “hospital pass” to the leadership. In seven weeks she reversed Labour’s slide to gain 37 per cent of the national vote, leaving her competing with National’s Bill English on 44 per cent, for the attentions of New Zealand First leader Winston Peters to form a coalition government.

The deal struck will offer Peters the role of Deputy Prime Minister and four cabinet posts. However it could also include major policy concessions and become an Achilles’ heel given Peters’ experience as a kingmaker and the party motto of “refusing to accept defeat in any cause we believe in”.

Act Party leader David Seymour said it leaves a “weak Left coalition beholden to a madman on the loose.”

The man whose party scored just 0.5 per cent of the vote said the “perverse marriage” that Labour and the Greens had created threatens millenials, immigrants and businesses.

“The silver lining for the centre right is that the three-ringed circus is likely to fall apart — perhaps even before its three years are up,” he said.

“The Greens and New Zealand First despise each other, and Winston Peters has caused chaos in every government he’s joined. New Zealanders may face an election sooner than they think.”

United Future MP Peter Dunne echoed that sentiment to Green Party leader James Shaw, saying he was now in charge of keeping an “unruly new partner” in line.

Peters said he decided to pair with Labour and the Greens because they offered the best way to mitigate what New Zealand is expected to face in the years ahead.

“It’s time for capitalism to regain its human face,” he said. “Our perception was the people of this country did want change and we’ve responded to that.”

But the political marriage could prove an uneasy alliance for the parties that have starkly different platforms on immigration and business.

Peters wants a ban on foreign ownership of residential and farm land, net migration slashed to 10,000 per year and to create a low tax environment.

In contrast, Labour campaigned on New Zealand being a country “built on immigration” and wants to increase the refugee quota to 1500. It also wants to crack down on foreign property speculators and has planned to build 100,000 new homes across the country.

What's more, at 72 Peters thinks it’s “now or never” to leave a mark on New Zealand after nearly 40 years in politics. “Frankly, of late, I’ve been asking myself that question because we’re coming to an election and I kind of think it’s now or never,” he said in August.

“If we don’t turn it around, and you’ve all got your different views, but if you were remotely neutral and you examined New Zealand — where it once was as a country in the Western world to where it is now ... you’d have to admit we’ve done very badly.”

While supporters celebrate smashing a decade of right-wing rule, if Ardern wants to avoid the popularity slumps seen by Trudeau and Macron since they took office, her greatest political challenge yet may come from within.

Another squirm about IQ

The Left hate the whole idea of IQ.  It offends against their nonsensical doctrine that all men are equal.  So when intelligence becomes a topic, they always do their best to denigrate and misrepresent it.  The article below arises from Trump's assertion that he has a higher IQ than Tillerson. It appeared in "LiveScience", which might as well be called "HalfDeadScience".

The whole aim of the article is to show that IQ score is not fixed and does not matter.  But in claiming those things they show how unscientific they are by not looking at the numbers.  Numbers are the inescapable tools of science.  And that matters.  Psychometricians are well aware that the correlations between different measures of ability are not perfect and that some situational factors can influence an IQ score.  But how strong are those influences?  Could the effect of situational factors be entirely trivial, for instance?

To answer that you have to look at the numbers that have emerged from research into IQ.  And they are revealing.  IQ tests are made up of a number of different types of puzzle that are not obviously related to one-another.  And the whole concept of IQ originated from the observation that some people are good at all sorts of puzzles that are not obviously related to one another.

So how strong is that effect?  When scores on the different tests are analysed a very strong first eigenvector arises, which shows that scores on all the different tests are strongly related to one-another.  Correlations between the various puzzles run as high as .70, which is a rare magnitude in psychological research.  So there is a single strong trait in existence that we call IQ and which tells us that a high scorer on an IQ test will be good at solving all sorts of problems.

So IQ is real and important.

What about the various influences described below that can influence an IQ score?  Again the numbers are instructive.  Nutrition, for instance, can have an effect.  A person eating a diet that is seriously deficient in important ways will get a reduced score -- but only by about 5 IQ points.  That is not negligible but it is mostly irrelevant in Western society.  Western diets generally do not harm IQ.  Reduced scores on dietary grounds are generally found in very poorly fed populations in India and Africa.  And IQs in Africa are so disastrously low that no feeding would bring them anywhere near European standards.

Let me look very briefly at some more of the influences trotted out below.  IQ correlates with Birth order.  Yes. It does appear to.  The research is not unanimous but that is probably because the effect is so small:  About 1 IQ point.

The Howard Gardner theory of "multiple intelligences" -- eight of them, would you believe? There is a very clear and simple demolition of the whole Gardner theory here -- which points out that the Gardner theory not only ignores the data but that its criteria for calling something "an intelligence" are so loose that sense of humour, sense of smell, musical ability, athletic ability etc could all be called "intelligences". By adopting similar rules I could say that all cats, dogs and horses are birds -- but that would still not make them so.

I could go on but will finish with one outright misrepresentation below.  An article titled "Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance of Adolescents" is described below as showing that "IQ scores also change with the test taker's level of self-discipline and personal motivation and grit".  But the article did not show that.  It showed only that academic performance, not IQ, was influencible by grit etc.  That hard workers do better at school is hardly news but it does not vitiate the fact that High IQ scorers also perform well academically.

So the article below is an exercise in deception, not science

The IQ, or the intelligence quotient, is a measure of a person's mental age divided by their actual age, multiplied by 100. So, a person who is exactly as "mentally old" as one might expect for that individual's chronological age would score a perfectly average 100. People who deviate from that score in either direction are considered to be of above- or below-average intelligence. These scores can change with age and can fluctuate from one testing session to another, according to researchers.

But intelligence is a many-faceted beast. While it is colloquially associated with math and reasoning skills, psychologists assert that there are many kinds of intelligence, with Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist at Harvard University, classifying seven distinct types, including bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial and linguistic.

Given that it's so hard to pin down exactly what intelligence is, the task of measuring it with a standardized test is particularly difficult, experts say. One of the standard IQ tests used today is called the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (used for adults and older teens), which measures verbal and nonverbal cognitive skills, or as the psychologist who developed the test put it, the ability to "adapt and constructively solve problems in the environment."

Trump might not get the clear-cut result he's hoping for, since this test and others like it, including the Stanford-Binet test, don't present some unified quantity of a person's "smartness."

Test results are affected by several confounding variables, such as smoking habits, hours spent playing computer games and various aspects of one's personality, according to past research. IQ scores also change with the test taker's level of self-discipline and personal motivation and grit — all things that can change from testing session to testing session — according to a 2005 study that surveyed the IQ test results of 140 eighth-graders.

"Indeed, IQ tests are influenced by many factors," Cornell University developmental psychologist Stephen Ceci told Live Science. "For example, schooling affects IQ test performance," he added, explaining that for each year that a student falls short of finishing high school, there is a drop of between 1.8 and 4 IQ points compared to peers who did finish high school.

In Vietnam, Ceci explained, people who had a higher risk of being drafted stayed in school longer as a means to defer service compared to those with safer draft numbers. IQ testing revealed that those who stayed in school longer had higher scores — not because they were smarter, but because they had greater exposure to the conditions that would help them answer IQ test questions such as "who wrote Hamlet," Ceci said.

IQ test scores even correlate with birth order among siblings, according to two 2007 studies, as reported by The New York Times.

Therefore, IQ tests measure not just intelligence (however that is defined), but also the environment and context of one's life.


More Americans are living alone after recession

The reasons why given below are all fair enough but the elephant in the room is being neglected:  The influence of feminism.  In that connection, i will simply recycle something I have said several times recently:

An obvious culprit would be feminism and the gradual breakdown of traditional sex roles.  We have evolved to be sexual specialists. At it simplest men did the hunting and women looked after the babies.  And evolution is slow to change.  We are still born with those old cavemen specialisms.  That is who we are and how we feel.

That all that specialization has become of little importance to survival in the last half century will have had no impact on our genetic propensities whatever.  We will still be most comfortable in traditional roles.  But women in particular have had ferociously preached at them that such roles are now WRONG.

And that can only result in discomfort and dissatisfaction for all concerned. Expectations will continuously be at odds with natural inclinations. Human beings are very flexible so some degree of accommodation to modern reality is possible but all flexibility has its limits.  So in many cases relationships will break down, leaving both parties alone

The number of Americans living with a spouse or partner has fallen notably in the last decade, driven in part by decisions to delay marriage in the wake of a recession that hit new entrants into the workforce especially hard.

Forty-two percent of Americans live without a spouse or partner, up from 39 percent in 2007, according to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau figures. For those under the age of 35 years old, 61 percent live without a spouse or partner, up 5 percentage points from a decade ago.

The higher number of spouseless households comes as the marriage rate declines precipitously. Just half of American adults are married, down from 72 percent in 1960.

The average American woman gets married just after her 27th birthday, while the average man waits until he is 29.5 years old to marry — significantly higher than the median ages half a century ago.

“The median age of first marriage has gone up significantly over the past several decades,” said Kim Parker, who directs research on social trends at the Pew Research Center. “But it’s not all about delayed marriage. The share of Americans who have never married has been rising steadily in recent decades. So, part of it is a move away from marriage.”

Pew researchers said the rise in those households without a partner or spouse is not a sign that more marriages are breaking up; the divorce rate has been stable, or even declining, since the 1980s.

Instead, analysts said, the decline in both marriage and partnerships is likely a result of the declining ability of men to earn a salary large enough to sustain a family.

“All signs point to the growing fragility of the male wage earner,” said Cheryl Russell, a demographer and editorial director at the New Strategist Press. “The demographic segments most likely to be living without a partner are the ones in which men are struggling the most — young adults, the less educated, Hispanics and blacks.”

Russell pointed to data that shows marriage rates increase for younger Americans in connection with salaries. Fewer than half of men between the ages of 30 and 34 who earn less than $40,000 a year are married. More than half of those who make more than $40,000 a year are married, including two-thirds of those who make between $75,000 and $100,000 a year.

“The point at which the average young man becomes ‘marriageable’ appears to be earnings of $40,000 a year or more,” Russell said.

The Pew data underscores the economic marriage gap: Adults who do not live with partners are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than those who have partners.

“Our surveys show us that one of the things that’s holding unmarried adults back from getting married is that they feel they’re not financially stable enough,” Parker said.


Fat and neurotic feminist needs a dash of Pauline wisdom

Overweight and chronically angry feminist Clementine Ford had a disabling neurotic crisis recently but seems to have learned nothing from it.  The Pauline wisdom she needs is in Acts 26:14, where Jesus advised Paul not to kick against the pricks -- i.e. not to resist the inevitable.

The inevitable is inborn male/female differences.  In our evolutionary past we have evolved to be sexual specialists. At it simplest men did the hunting and women looked after the babies. And evolution is slow to change. We are still born with those old cavemen specialisms.  That is who we are and how we instinctively feel

That all that specialization has become of little importance to survival in the last half century will have had no impact on our genetic propensities whatever. We will still be most comfortable in traditional roles. But Clem believes that such roles are now WRONG and resists them

And that can only result in discomfort and dissatisfaction for all concerned. Expectations will continuously be at odds with natural inclinations. Human beings are very flexible so some degree of accommodation to modern reality is possible but all flexibility has its limits

And Clemmie is one of those who kick against the pricks of her inborn feminine instincts.  She describes a lot of that below.  And it is obviously stressful for her.  No wonder she had a serious anxiety breakdown recently.

And against all probability, it appears that she has a partner, probably male. He must be a Trojan.  So her hormones are in good order even if her mind is troubled.  And the account she gives of her life with him makes it clear that therein lies another source of stress.

She would be a much happier lady if she went right along with her female instincts instead of obeying her feminist ideology.  But is it ideology?  She has an impeccably conservative father so she would not have got it from him. So she probably just is chronically angry, in the typical Leftist style. There appears to be no cure for that. 

I recently spent the afternoon in a park with a friend and our kids. It was a lusciously sunny and warm day, the first in a long time after such a cold winter. It was the kind of day that you want to prolong, so we decided to do exactly that and headed back to her house to drink wine and watch the sun set.

While the kids set about destroying the house on arrival, I asked my friend if I could use her bathroom. "Sure," she replied. "Just give me a second to make sure it looks okay."

I waited while she dashed in to make sure there were no suspicious marks in the bowl (or on the seat) or a forgotten flush. She came out a minute later and gave me the all-clear.

I knew this was what she was doing, because it's exactly what I do when guests ask to use my bathroom. I also apologise automatically for the general mess of the house, for any dishes that might be left dirty in the sink or food crumbs strewn across the counter. I do all that despite the fact that not only do I not care about the state of any of my friends' houses, I also loathe the gendered expectation that these are things women should care about, along with making sure everyone in the house has healthy food to eat and the kids' clothes are neatly ironed and stain-free.

Like many women – and feminist women in particular – I'm interested in what perpetuates this sense of obligation even in households populated by people who are arguably aware of the existence of these pressures and the essential inequality of them. Why do we feel that a dirty toilet will reflect badly on us alone, and not also on the people we live with (particularly if those other people happen to be men, whether partners or housemates)? I suspect there is a residual fear of being perceived as filthy ourselves or inattentive to the filth of those men, whose domestic harmony we're expected to take responsibility for.

Still, I'm far from the first woman to write about the gendered division of labour. By now, only the most obstinate and wilfully ignorant of people are in denial of the fact that women perform the bulk of the world's unpaid labour, even in the countries these same people love to believe are matriarchal dictatorships. Just recently, Gemma Hartley wrote about women's emotional labour in the domestic sphere for Harper's Bazaar. In reflecting on the example she and her husband were setting for their children (one girl and two boys), Hartley wrote: "I find myself worrying about how the mental load bore [sic] almost exclusively by women translates into a deep gender inequality that is hard to shake on the personal level. It is difficult to model an egalitarian household for my children when it is clear that I am the household manager, tasked with delegating any and all household responsibilities, or taking on the full load myself. I can feel my sons and daughter watching our dynamic all the time, gleaning the roles for themselves as they grow older."

Hartley is just one of many women in heterosexual partnerships who feels obliged to "manage" not just the workload of the home she shares with at least one other adult, but also the way her home is perceived by other people. I'm speaking generally here (and before I go further, let it be known that I acknowledge there are always outliers to every situation, which means of course there are house-proud men out there), but I've rarely, if ever, encountered the same level of domestic embarrassment in my male friends in hetero partnerships as I have in my female ones. They don't give the toilet a quick once over to check for rogue floaters, nor do they offer apology for presiding over a living room that actually looks lived-in.

And it isn't just that men who partner with women suddenly give up on doing the domestic workload they performed rigidly before. Let's just say that of all the men I slept with in my 20s, not a single one of them ever apologised for the fact that they were clearly sleeping on sheets that had never been washed and definitely smelled like it. Meanwhile, the majority of western women are conditioned to apologise to potential paramours for egregious crimes like having unshaven legs. (And if you don't think that's true, think of the Swedish model who recently posted a photograph of herself with hairy legs and received a slew of rape threats.)

Emily Shire nails it here when she writes that women are judged more for having messy houses and unkempt children than men are. In fact, I would wager the average person wouldn't even think to implicate husbands and fathers in either of these things, because the cultural stereotypes around both still hinges on a woman's worth or lack thereof.

So what's the solution?

In my own home, having open lines of communication has been hugely rewarding. My partner and I have ongoing conversations about how we can model equality to our son, from having set weekdays in which we both act as primary parent to making sure he sees both of us doing things like vacuuming, washing clothes and cleaning the kitchen. We each do our own laundry and often cook or organise our own dinner, both of which stop these jobs from being naturally assumed to be my responsibility. I'm not afraid to have endless discussions about our domestic dynamic, even though I find it boring and frustrating most of the time. Because this seems to be largely why women in hetero partnerships just throw their hands up and conform to gendered domestic expectations – it's too tiring and dull to keep having the same conversations over and over, so we just end up giving up and doing it.

I'm not saying we should stop doing the toilet once-over when guests arrive. But start questioning your partners if you notice they never do it. And for goodness sake, stop washing men's clothes for them.


Men find their 'bromances' are MORE emotionally rewarding than relationships with their wives and girlfriends

The article below is wildly overgeneralized -- based on the responses of 30 students at a prestigious British university! That men of different ages and different social classes might be different seems not to have been contemplated.

Age is particularly important. The teens and early 20s are ages when men tend to be "chased" by women.  And the women are right to do that.  If they don't nab a desirable man in that age bracket, some other woman will grab him -- and the more reserved women will be left with other women's rejects.  So you get single women in their 30s wailing that there are no good men left.  They are right. Other women have got the good men and they have missed the boat.

So the "sample" -- if you can call it that -- in the study below would have been finding women rather predatory and demanding -- and could easily have been unnerved by that -- or at least made uncertain about the wisest way forward.  So they retreat into social relationships that are less puzzling and challenging.

But that is just a phase.  As they gain more experience and confidence they will find what normal humans have always found -- that the closest relationship they ever have is with a member of the opposite sex

So why was the extraordinary uninsightful article below published?  One would have hoped that academics from the Department of Sport and Exercise at the University of Winchester knew young men rather well.

There is an old warning not to explain as evil what can equally well be attributed to stupidity but I will give the authors the benefit of the doubt when it comes to stupidity.  So I think the article does fit well into the Leftist attack on conventional sex roles.  It tends to show that the differences between men and women are decreasing and that maybe one day they will vanish forever.  Fat chance!

The journal article is "Privileging the Bromance: A Critical Appraisal of Romantic and Bromantic Relationships"

It is something that many long suffering wives and girlfriends have long suspected.

Many men find `bromances' - close friendships with other men - more emotionally rewarding than their romantic relationships with women.

Whether it is the lure of going down the pub, to the football match, fishing or just helping a pal with DIY many women feel they play second fiddle to a best mate.

Examples abound, from celebrity pairs like One Direction's Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles, to Hollywood royalty George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

Now researchers looking into close male friendship among straight men may have an answer as to why they form such close bonds.

Experts have found that many men find `bromances', like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's, more emotionally rewarding than their romantic relationships. Of 30 men questioned, 28 said they would rather discuss important emotional issues with their 'bromantic' partner

As awareness of homosexuality grew, peaking in the 1970s and 1980s, `straight men began to fear being homosexualised for displaying physical or emotional intimacy.'

This `interfered with the development of close male friendship' and research in the British Social Attitudes Survey found it was a high-water mark for homophobia.

Researchers studying male friendships found men did not like to talk about their feelings, and `instead young men knew they had a friendship with another male when they engaged in activities together, like playing sports, drinking, fixing things or gambling'.

In contrast during the same time, `women have maintained friendships through sharing emotions and disclosing secrets'

Boys during this time could be tormented by peers and teachers for performing feminine behaviours `such as skipping and poetry readings'.

Young men today are much less like Rambo and more similar to One Direction, the authors say, with much more interest in art, music and fashion.

Experts found that men felt `less judged' by their close male friends than their girlfriends.

They also found it easier to solve conflicts and speak openly about their emotions in their bromances.

Male friendships used to be considered lacking in many of the qualities seen in close female friendships, particularly emotional and physical intimacy.

But this has changed in recent years, the study found, with young men `openly pronounce love' to their male friends in a way that would be socially prohibited in previous years, partly out of fear of appearing gay.

The authors of the study say that strong friendships may be a progressive development, as men become less worried about appearing effeminate.

But they warn that strong bromances could challenge traditional domestic living arrangements between men and women.

Speaking to MailOnline the author of the study, Adam White of Winchester University, said: 'The key thing that we found was that bromances were somewhat more flexible and judgement-free relationships comparable to romances.

'The guys that we spoke to were clear that the only differences, other than sex, were that bromances were less judgemental, easier to resolve problems or arguments, and much more emotionally open, than romances.

'These guys found it easier to talk to their bromances as there was less judgement and regulation in their bromantic relationships.

'They didn't feel like there was a standard to be kept or adhered to. 'Therefore, they could express their feelings, anxieties and worries without being judged by their girlfriends.

'And on the occasions where conflict did occur, it was seen as easier to fix with their bromances rather than their romances.'

Mr White and colleagues interviewed 30 British male undergraduates for the study, published in the journal Men and Masculinities.

Male friendships, like Brad Pitt and George Clooney's, used to be considered lacking in many of the qualities seen in close female friendships but this has changed in recent years, the study found. Young men feel able to `openly pronounce love' to their male friends

Of the men, 28 out of 30 said they would rather discuss important emotional issues with their `bromantic' partner than their girlfriends.

One study participants, `Brad', said: `There are absolutely things I tell my bromances and not the girlfriend.

'She expects so much from the relationship and will have a go if I say something out of line, and with Matt we just tell each other everything.'

Up to the early 20th century, men would often write `endearing letters' to one another, and even sleep in the same beds.

Tripp (2005) highlights that, for four years, President Abraham Lincoln shared a bed with his intimate male partner, Joshua Speed, and that President George Washington wrote endearing letters to other men.

But as awareness of homosexuality grew, peaking in the 1970s and 1980s, `straight men began to fear being homosexualised for displaying physical or emotional intimacy.'

This `interfered with the development of close male friendship' and research in the British Social Attitudes Survey found it was a high-water mark for homophobia.

Researchers studying male friendships found men did not like to talk about their feelings, and `instead young men knew they had a friendship with another male when they engaged in activities together, like playing sports, drinking, fixing things or gambling'.

In contrast during the same time, `women have maintained friendships through sharing emotions and disclosing secrets'

Boys during this time could be tormented by peers and teachers for performing feminine behaviours `such as skipping and poetry readings'.

Young men today are much less like Rambo and more similar to One Direction, the authors say, with much more interest in art, music and fashion.

Another subject `Beck' said: `Guys nowadays, in my generation, there is so much kissing between guys because it's showing affection.


Married Americans Are More Unhappy Than Ever

And why would that be?  An obvious culprit would be feminism and the gradual breakdown of traditional sex roles.  We have evolved to be sexual specialists. At it simplest men did the hunting and women looked after the babies.  And evolution is slow to change.  We are still born with those old cavemen specialisms.  That is who we are and how we feel.

That all that specialization has become of little importance to survival in the last half century will have had no impact on our genetic propensities whatever.  We will still be most comfortable in traditional roles.  But women in particular have had ferociously preached at them that such roles are now WRONG.

And that can only result in discomfort and dissatisfaction for all concerned. Expectations will continuously be at odds with natural inclinations. Human beings are very flexible so some degree of accommodation to modern reality is possible but all flexibility has its limits

It’s logical, isn’t it? People who choose to stay married should be happier in their relationships. After all, it’s easier than ever to exit a miserable union, people tend to wait longer before making the jump and many just don’t get married at all. 

Despite that, the number of Americans who say they’re “very happy” in their marriages has fallen from 68 percent in the early 1970s to 60 percent. 

There are four types of people who tend to be happiest with the quality of their marriage: those who spend more time at religious centers, people with extreme political views (skewing to either spectrum), those who describe themselves as upper class—and men.

The Republican civil war is spreading (?)

Below is the opening salvo of an article by Leftist writer, Paul Waldman.  Its very first sentence is dubious. The Trump administration has seen an upwards leap in all sorts of economic statistics, from job numbers to the stock exchange. Unemployment claims for instance, have just fallen to the lowest level in 43 years, despite hurricanes. And nearly a million new jobs were created in September.  Trump is keeping his core promise spectacularly well. "Things" are in fact going extraordinarily well for the GOP.

Broadly, the article is just the latest of the almost daily declarations from the Left saying that the  Trump administration has just doomed itself to extinction.  Never has any death been more prematurely announced.

But it is of course true that Trump has upended American conservatism by injecting national pride as one of the desired policy outcomes.  Cries of "racism" from the Left had bullied the GOP into completely abandoning all mention of national pride -- thus taking away one of their most important rallying cries.  And in a patriotic nation like the USA, losing that rallying cry was epic.  The Left did extraordinarily well to take that weapon out of the hands of American conservatives for so long

So Trump has indeed been a disrupting force in the GOP -- a long overdue disruption.  But the Leftist control of America's political discourse does seem to have seeped into the bones of some GOP figures.  They are genuinely uncomfortable with Trump's loud declarations of America's national interests.  They were comfortable with their old go-nowhere talking points and have not warmed to more red-blooded ones.  And there is no doubt that Trump's personal style grates on them as well.  Trump has  redefined what it means to be "Presidential", rather to the amusement of many who support his policies.

So Waldman is tapping into a genuine ferment in the GOP.  But it is just assertion that the ferment is escalating.  The GOP establishment was not comfortable with Trump from the word "Go".  But many Trump opponents have gradually come over to his side.  And the recent outbreak of amity between Trump and Rand Paul over healthcare regulations is surely epic.

So, as I see it, unity is spreading among the congressional GOP, not civil war. Adjusting to Trump is still far from complete but it has come a long way.  It probably needs good results in the next mid-terms to cement the Trump transition.

Parties don't descend into vicious civil wars when things are going well for them. So the fact that it's happening now to the GOP tells you a lot about what Republicans are facing, even though they control the White House, Congress, and a majority of state houses and governorships. They are beginning to tear themselves apart over the question of who is to blame for their current difficulties, with one side saying it's the fault of a feckless establishment that is insufficiently loyal to President Trump, and the other side saying — mostly sotto voce, but occasionally out loud — that the responsibility lies with Trump himself.

If the president was right in his repeated insistence that his administration has been a smashing success, there wouldn't be anything to fight about. But in truth, things could hardly be worse: No major legislation has been passed, the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act was a spectacular failure, Trump's approval ratings are abysmal and a majority of Americans say he's not fit to be president, one Republican officeholder after another is choosing not to run for re-election, polls show Democrats headed for a dramatic win in 2018, and even the one goal Republicans were all supposed to agree on — a big tax cut for the wealthy and corporations — looks like it might be in trouble.

All of which leads to dissension from within, as White House staff rush to tell reporters that the president is an infantile rage-monster whom they have to trick into not burning down the world. When Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) expressed his concerns about Trump's erratic behavior, none of his colleagues came out to contradict him and say that in fact Trump is a wise and careful leader who is performing his duties successfully, no doubt because Corker was only saying publicly what the rest of them say privately.

But to some on the right, this all smacks of a slow-motion coup by quisling Republicans who lack the courage to stand behind Trump and testify to his greatness. Which is one of the reasons that this week, the hardline conservative group FreedomWorks wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell demanding that he and his leadership team resign for their failure to produce a sufficient quantity of conservative legislation. While the signatories were a little on the has-been side (few are dying to hear what Brent Bozell and Ken Cuccinelli have to say these days), it was evidence of a disgruntlement in conservative circles.


Surf Life Saving Queensland boss says swimmers not safe from crocodile attack

A warning now amplified by the apparent death of an elderly lady at Port Douglas -- apparently the result of a croc attack.

Since crocodiles were made protected under Greenie influence, their numbers have spiralled, with at least 100,000 of them in Australian waters now.  So there is no sense in continuing protection across the board.  I would argue that they be de-protected South of Daintree.  That would still leave them a large safe habitat.  Once an area had been cleared, some crocs would move South into it but that would simply make good targets for sporting shooters.  The core population would continue to thrive and human users of the waters would be safe from them

And what is this nonsense about relocating them?  Relocating them to zoos does stop them but relocating them to other areas and releasing them is a crock (Pun admitted).  They just swim back to their old stamping ground.  One croc that was relocated to the Western side of Cape York peninsula swam back all the way around Cape York to his old habitat well South on the East coast -- a journey of perhaps 1,000 km

A SURF Life Saving boss is warning swimmers they should no longer feel safe in some of our most popular waterways — as crocodile numbers keep rising.

A SURF Life Saving Queensland boss says swimmers can no longer feel safe in the state’s waterways due to the increased threat of crocodile attack.

SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill yesterday told a public hearing into Katter’s Australia Party’s proposed Safer Waterways Bill there was a growing risk to both Surf Life Saving staff and the general public at Queensland beaches.

“We have seen a growing trend and a higher risk to our community,” he said.  “The reality is that there’s tourists sunbaking and there’s crocodiles (basking) less than 30m apart.  “It’s a risk that has the potential to have a catastrophic result for the community.”

The revelation comes after The Courier-Mail this week revealed crocodile sightings in the state have increased by more than 38 per cent in the past two years.

Mr Hill said while the service did not support killing crocodiles, it did want to see them removed from popular swimming areas.

“Both those levels (life guards and life savers) have identified a trend of seeing larger crocodiles in what we call public space, waterways where people can frequent. And when I say larger crocodiles, over the past five years the trend has certainly grown to see 3m to 4m crocodiles.

“(This) is in public spaces such as Port Douglas Beach, Four Mile Beach, there was one there last week that we closed the beach for, Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Forest Beach in Ingham, Townsville’s Strand.”

Mr Hill said members were becoming hesitant to patrol waterways north of Townsville and that he was particularly concerned for the safety of SLSQ staff manning stinger nets in north Queensland.

“Unfortunately crocodiles can enter those (nets) and ... we have situations where every morning in summer our lifesavers and lifeguards will drag those nets for stingers.

“But they’re going in knowing there may or may not be a crocodile in there.”

Mr Hill said he supported changes to the state’s crocodile management plan if it meant safer waterways for swimmers.

“We need to protect our environment but certainly we need to protect the public and our users and future surf life savers and people that frequent our waters,” he said.

“While we don’t want to see the crocs harmed in any way, we certainly do support the removal of any crocodile that’s in a public space that could be a risk to anyone in the community whether it’s a bite or a fatal attack.”

The proposed KAP Bill would introduce a number of new measures including controlled crocodile culls and egg harvesting.

A spokesman for Australia Zoo also spoke at the hearing and slammed the Bill saying it was poorly researched and would not make waterways any safer.

“This legislation will be disastrous for humans and for crocodiles,” he said. “The environmental research has been basic and sketchy.”