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links for 2007-01-29


 

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the new yorker piece is offensive and truly repulsive. Is this supposed to be funny? Why did you post it?

Re. the topicality of the Paulos piece, check out this video of Senator Ted going bonkers on the GOP re. the haggling over the minimum wage increase. An old pro at work.

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regarding the glen greenwald article, just a point you might find interesting: i've seen, in a number of places i'm just too lazy to look up and post links for, solid evidence based on extensive research that partners of circumsized men are so much less likely (forget the stats) to contract cervical cancer. this would mean that muslims, for instance, as well as jews and (i think)most americans who are aware of the research would be that much more likely to be skeptical of a vaccine that there is any question about. i know that this is totally irrelevant, just thought it might be interesting to someone.

and if i'm mistaken about the circumcision/cervical cancer research, i'd be happy to be corrected. i just read 2 or 3 articles about it awhile back and i could be wrong.

Wow. Left-wing American has certainly bottomed out to an all-new low if they find themselves idolizing or listening to Jane Fonda, who is a confirmed traitor to the USA.

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tttb, i have some problems with fonda, and i'm certainly against "idolizing". but why shouldn't americans (of any political affiliations) not LISTEN to her? i think, according to the constitution, which i still find an inspiring document, we're allowed to listen to anyone we choose and (imo) not be vilified for it.careful-your facism is showing.

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ok, dar. all i "claimed" was to have read a few articles the conclusions of which i either misinterpreted or, according to your links there, were mistaken. i stand corrected, and thank you.

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but i must say, the articles i read hardly mentioned smegma at all. in fact, i find all this smegma talk to be strangely erotic, don't you? LOL jk :)

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assuming cervical cancer is on-topic, re: the article norm posted: check out THIS quote from the first of dars' links:

"We propose the hypothesis, based on the observation that women with cancer of the cervix are more likely to have a history of multiple marital events, and taking all other findings into consideration, that women with cancer of the cervix have a personality makeup suggesting emotional instability (which expresses itself in some women by multiple divorces), and that this may be due to or responsible for an underlying hormonal inbalance."

oh, those crazy scientists. gotta love 'em.

"we're allowed to listen to anyone we choose and (imo) not be vilified for it"

Abstractly that's a defensible argument. But would you throw it out if someone were quoting Goebbels?

The woman flew to Vietnam and posed on an AA-gun that was used against our military. She spoke and rallied for the enemy. That's treason. No matter how you want to sugar-coat or soften it, that's what it is.

And what does she really have to offer? Just another celebrity making the rounds telling us "get the troops out"?

Take it from someone who learned from arguing for the Confederate flag - just because someone agrees with your position doesn't mean you want their company.

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tttb, i'm not saying her actions weren't treasonous-although thats debatable. i'm saying that we, as americans, are allowed to LISTEN to anyone we want. including goebbels.

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re: jons' post on "72 virgins": personally, i like "offensive and truly repulsive". but what the hell has happened to the "new yorker"? i grew up reading that magazine, and 30 years ago they sure as shit wouldn't have printed anything like that.

"i'm saying that we, as americans, are allowed to LISTEN to anyone we want. including goebbels."

Certainly that is the case. But perhaps more attention should be made to how polarizing such company can be.

If it wasn't so serious, it would be funny. The anti-war movement is gaining ground so who do they pick to solidify their message? Hanoi Jane and crazy-eyes Tim Robbins. Sean Penn with his leaky boat full of reporters. Way to sell that position to middle America, folks.

This was addressed somewhat in one of the updates to Greenwald's post, but:

In and of itself, referring to the death of Muslim children as a result of cultural refusal to vaccinate as "evolution in action" is not incorrect. Willingness to vaccinate one's children could be thought of as an adaptation conducive for survival, and thus something to be selected for. Of course, it is not clear that such a willingness is determined strongly by genes, but if there were a genetic component, then natural selection would favor genetic configurations that led to pro-vaccination behavior, and weed out those that led to anti-vaccination behavior.

In this sense, the other example about Christian parents refusing an HPV vaccine is equally an example of a behavior that would be selected against -- again assuming there was a genetic component involved.

We might also view this scenario in terms of (non-biological) memetic evolution. The belief that one should not vaccinate can be regarded as a meme -- one embedded in the larger meme complex of a religion. Given that one of the most prevalent ways for these sorts of memes to propagate is by going from parent to child, memes that result in biological death will be less fit for cultural natural selection.

So we might imagine that, left unchecked, beliefs that result in the death of children would themselves eventually die out through natural selection at the cultural level (think about the Shakers, the religious sect that didn't believe in sex, even for procreation -- the meme complex of the Shaker belief tradition is highly unfit due to the lack of parent to child transmission as a means to propagate the meme).

Now. Of course Greenwald is right to criticize Reynolds for the spirit of his statement. Just because it may be an example of "evolution in action" doesn't mean it will result in something good; it just means that it will result in a population more inclined to vaccinate. And though that in itself might be judged to be good, that also doesn't mean it wouldn't be better to intercede to protect the children. All of these questions are moral/ethical in nature, and are thus completely divorced from the process of natural selection.

Personally, I say try to kill off the bad meme without killing any children. It's like a choice between killing off a disease by curing all of its hosts versus allowing it to die off by letting all potential hosts die.

Whatever one's opinion is about Jane compared to what US governments have been doing throughout the years far far exceeds anything she has ever done or will do.

While I didn't find anything particularly wrong with the main content of Jane Fonda's recent speech, IMHO I think letting her represent the current anti-war movement was a huge mistake. The tough fact of the matter is that the whole thing is bad PR and will distract people from the real issues.

"Don't look at the atrocities in Iraq, look over THERE! It's Hanoi JANE! Remember back during 'nam when she..."

And so on. The fact that there's something else to talk about besides the Iraq mess itself is bad news.

The so-called Right Wing may not have very many bright bulbs on their side, but at least they generally understand how PR works.

And as for Jane Fonda, her intentions may have been good but most people would agree that she screwed up big time during the Vietnam war, and let her entire country down.

The organizers of the anti-Iraq war rally shouldn't have cut her a break; She made a huge mistake that lots of people still remember, and she should have been made to deal with the consequences despite that she still wishes to promote peace.

Hopefully the babbling about "Hanoi Jane" will discourage the current anti-war movement from letting her take the stage in the future. Innocent people and misled soldiers are dying RIGHT NOW, and instead we end up bickering about some stupid celebrity!

The "confirmed traitors" are Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. and their neocon enablers who sent America into an illegal war based on fabricated premises.

John Allen Paulos' books on mathematics such as "Innumeracy" and "Beyond Numeracy" are very good and I recommend them to anyone, particularly those who might think they don't have a good grasp of mathematical principles.

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