Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Study Confirms: Water is wet!

Or in this case, Men want hot women.

Key Quote:
Their study involved 26 men and 20 women in Munich, Germany.

A sample size of 46 is not exactly compelling. So, basically, here is documented proof of Germany's misappropriation of research funds. Perhaps some actually interesting conclusions were drawn from this study.

Men's choices did not reflect their stated preferences, the researchers concluded. Instead, men appeared to base their decisions mostly on the women's physical attractiveness.

The men also appeared to be much less choosy. Men tended to select nearly every woman above a certain minimum attractiveness threshold, Todd said.

Women's actual choices, like men's, did not reflect their stated preferences, but they made more discriminating choices, the researchers found.

The scientists said women were aware of the importance of their own attractiveness to men, and adjusted their expectations to select the more desirable guys.

"Women made offers to men who had overall qualities that were on a par with the women's self-rated attractiveness. They didn't greatly overshoot their attractiveness," Todd said, "because part of the goal for women is to choose men who would stay with them"

But, he added, "they didn't go lower. They knew what they could get and aimed for that level."

So, it turns out, the women's attractiveness influenced the choices of the men and the women.

Kind of interesting... but aren't their some diseases we should be curing or something?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Man made Global Warming

Chez linked me to this piece today refuting global warming data derived from surface measurements.

The assertion in this article is essentially that global warming is man made, not through emissions of greenhouse gasses, but through manipulation of data. He argues that:
1. The data is being collected poorly
2. The data is being altered by people in such a way as to augment their biases.

It is interesting, and I don't necessarily disagree that what he is saying is possible. I just think it is important to point out that the examples he uses in his article IN NO WAY PROVE either one of his criticisms of global warming science are true. Perhaps with further analysis he would be vindicated, but what is there does not prove anything.

I can't help but wonder who this author is. He mentions reviewing PhD theses twice, not in direct reference to himself, which I find amusing, but in a more general way. It leads the reader towards credibility without actually establishing any. (I wouldn't even think of this as part of any kind of scientific review, except he himself went out of the way to critique the use of the words "high quality" as being somehow misleading. I can't help but question this whole I'm gonna mention PhDs a lot as part of a similar tactic.)

His identity comes into question for the most part because there are a major flaws in his analysis as presented. It is possible he preformed a more detailed analysis of the data beyond what is presented here, and if so I would like to see the results of that. As it stands however, the analysis is extremely flawed.

For instance the first two charts charts he uses as data in his proof that global warming is "man made" are not comparable. The claim he is making with them is as follows:
The satellite record continues to show little or no change while the surface
record shows what s alleged to be a continued rising trend.

Unfortunately the charts given, are at best questionable in proving this point. There is no clear statement of what the charts actually show, year over year change, change from average, overall temperature? But if we are simply comparing the charts, assuming they show the same thing we still run into problems.

The first chart he presents is satellite data, but it does not tell us exactly what the measure is. (Average temp by month, week, year day, etc.) Nor does it display the metric. All it tells us is that it is satellite data for the last 28 years. I would be interested to see this data, and possibly to examine the annual averages and a rolling average. The seasonal variation has not been removed from this chart, and while there do seem to be some apparent trends it is not entirely clear how large or small they are on an annual basis.

The second chart represents temperature measure X by year going back to 1880. So here we are comparing, what I think is a monthly data chart (possibly weekly) to an annual chart. And it is also important that one only look at the last 28 years or so, despite the amount of data displayed.

In addition to the issues of how the charts themselves vary, there is the issue of the areas being measured. The satellite data looks at Northern hemisphere v. Southern, the surface data looks at ocean versus land. This means that the segmented charts are not comparable for obvious reasons.

Interestingly, if one examines the "Global" satellite chart as compared to the "Land and Ocean chart" One will see an approximate overall increase of .5 degrees C in the Land and Ocean Chart and .4 degrees C (estimated due to lack of averages) in the Global chart, at or around the end of 2005. What this actually shows us is that the two measurements are fairly close. Without more information I cannot tell you if any of this is statistically significant.

On to more topics, he mentions the placement of temperature stations which I am inclined to completely agree with the writer, that needs to be closely monitored and maintained.

From there we move to data processing, and examining the chart provided one would be inclined to be outraged at how we are being bamboozled by USHCN. I do question somewhat the apparently exponential growth of the adjustments made to the data.

However, the latest adjustment made was in 2005, and it was an average increase of .55 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the annual chart in 2005 there was an increase of 1 degree Fahrenheit. That still leaves .45 degrees unaccounted for by the data adjustment.

Essentially this analysis leaves me with more questions:
1. Is there a true discrepancy between global surface monitoring temp data and global satellite temp data. (That is are we seeing patterns in one that are not visible in the other.)
2. How are the data adjustments being conducted, and what accounts for the exponentially increasing pace of adjustment.
3. What is up with the temperature monitors being by AC units. Is this a common occurrence or just a few outliers?
4. If global climate change is not indicated via temperature change, to what can we attribute weather changes, the reduction of the ice caps, and the gradually increasing sea levels. (Or are these more data issues.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Oh Reginald....I DISAGREE!!!

Instapundit linked this study asserting that nerdiness is actually a function of being "hyperwhite." As in nerds are people who do not adopt non white forms of speech, and dress. This may or may not be true. A follow up post from American Thinker says:

The article does not mention the true common characteristic of nerds: they
are numerate, i.e. conversant in the language of mathematics - an odd omission
for a linguist. This omission can be explained by the fact that
Berkeley-style multi-culturalism is threatened by numeracy, the development of
which is the hallmark of Western Civilization and the historical wellspring of
western economic and military success. Consequently, it is incumbent on
multi-culturalists to discredit whenever and wherever possible those who are

I disagree however, I think defining individuals who are "nerds" as only intellectuals who are involved in numerical or scientific occupations is extremely limiting.

I think the assertion that nerds are only individuals with strong mathmatic ability is just as biased as the assertion that nerds are only people who conform to what is traditionally viewed as a "white" culture.

Are Librarians, Historians, Archeologists, Spelling Bee Champions somehow not nerds because they are not necessarily numerate? Having seen some of those spelling be contestants I don't really see how that could be argued. One of my most stereotypically nerdy professors in college was in fact a history/political scienc professor.

Perhaps nerds like myself who are highly numerate have less exposure to the history nerds or the social science nerds, but that does not necessarily mean that these people are not also nerds.

I propose another definition of nerd, a nerd is someone who focuses on intellectual pursuits in lieu of attempting to conform to social norms. Do with that, what you will.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dear Readers, (if you are still out there) I would like to take a moment and ask you to appreciate that I did apply my ninja skills to anyone after the appearance of the recent "Obesity is Contagious" bullshit.

Seriously, what? Is that like how Teh Gay is contagious? My incredulity knows no bounds.

I couldn't even post on it for at least two days because I was rendered speechless. Surely no one is this stupid? Surely the media would not publish a study that was:
  • Based entirely on Correlative data (Correlation !=Causation)
  • Drawing on conclusions that only affect men
  • Based on a limited sample of people that were enrolled in a heart study and their emergency contacts
  • Only valid for the Middle Class
  • Completely Stupid
But they did, and the headlines were big and bold, Obesity is Contagious. Can all the fatties hear the nice young men in their big white coats coming to take them away?

I first read about the study at Shapely Prose, and she pointed me to this excellent article that covers most of the points I would like to make. (So if you want to know more besides that I think you should tell everyone you know what utter bullshit this story is you should go read those articles.)

What I find most interesting is a point that Kate Harding made:

It’s well worth mentioning that that study demonstrated, among other things,
that there’s no clear link between longevity and BMI, that among non-smokers,
obesity was correlated with greater longevity, and that the largest single
determinant of longevity was… drumroll… genes.

And Genes don't have anything to do with our social networks either.

The thing that drives me crazy about this is that no one is going to contradict it. It fits so nicely in with society's desire to hate anyone that weighs more than 5lbs that most writers and readers wont even question it.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Oh poor us

For a while now I have been participating in an online forum designed for female gamers. The general idea was to get together and talk about gaming, and about how we hate that all the female game characters are naked and that guys are jerks to women. They made this big deal about it being a "safe" space for "non priveledged" groups. So this means, no "victim-blaming" or using words like "retarded" or implying that there is anything wrong with anything else ever. (I would link to their whole policy but I don't want to start a feude, I just need to vent)

I think the idea behind the site was great, a safe place to talk about issues in gaming, of which there are a lot. However people would really jump on you for tiny things, like "retarded" it is is a word I use a lot in a negative way. I know it is wrong, but, y'know it would suck to be retarded. We also had a big conversation about the use of the word "crazy" because, y'know people with mental illnesses shouldn't be discriminated against. I'm still not really sure how saying that crazy is a bad thing is discrimination. But whatever.

So there was a new thread about the whole idea of "Wife aggro." This is a term that represents men whose wives are WoW widows complaining about their wives. "Aggro" for non gamers is slang for what happens when you attract the attention of an unfriendly computer based character in an online game. (generally resulting in that character attempting to cause your untimely death) The term "Wife aggro" (which as a term I find quite humorous) is generally referred to someone's wife or girlfriend actually expecting them to stop playing WoW and do something horrible like, the dishes, or take out the trash, or even, horror of horrors, get it on with her.

This totally sucks is the general consensus of the thread. It portrays the woman as the enemy just for trying to get some time in with her husband. And it sucks more that other men will encourage this behavior and encourage a given man to neglect his wife and family during his leisure time to kill things in a virtual world.

But I can't help but point out (In the thread) that there are things a woman ccan do to mitigate this. Even though socially something should change (in an ideal world) it is a good idea for wives and girlfriends everywhere to breifly become the nagging monsters their SO's see them as. I proposed a variety of ways to get men engaged in necessary houswork, try just giving him a list of stuff he has to do, and if that doesn't work try some other crap, even cancelling his subscription. I observed in my post that "You get what you put up with." By this I mean, if you don't do something about someone elses negative behavior, it isn't going to stop and you're going to have to keep dealing with it.

This, apparently, is victim blaming. I got some Moderater Aggro and got yelled at. By expecting someone in a crappy situation to take initiative to improve it I am actually, therefore, blaming them.


It will not surprise you, dear reader, to know that this Shinobi will not be posting at that site ever again. I know it isn't horribly "nice" to tell people that they should get off their asses and fix a situation, but nice is not really a word I want to have applied to me. What it is, is right.

If you have a situation in your life, like your boyfriend ignoring you for a video game, or your boss being a jerk, or a job you hate, or a child who behaves badly, that makes you unhappy it is ridiculous to assume that anyone else in your life is going to fix it for you. *

You could sit around and wait for the Paladin in Crystalforge Rainment to tell your husband that he should get off his ass and do the laundry because you've been working all day too and deserve a break just as much as he does? You just have to wait for him to collect all of his armor (and who knows how many runs through various instances that will take) and get his elite flying mount (who has that much gold, really?). Seriously, this could take years.

I certainly don't blame women for the fact that their husbands are addicted to WoW. No blame here. But if they don't do anything about it the situation isn't going to get any better. At least if they try they have something good to tell the lawyer.

*I want to be very clear that I realize there are some situations in which the "victim" can do very little without serious repurcussions. I am not talking about these kinds of situations. This is not Saudi Arabia, women can do things to improve their lives here.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Two Videos this week.

The first expresses my Angst. (The video is lame, but I love this song.)

And this one is just funny:

Monday, May 14, 2007

More Gender Bias stuff

Are you sick of it yet? Echicne linked to (apparently her own article) in the American Prospect about how gendered research studies get reported. I think I've actually posted about several of those mentioned on this very blog. (And If I didn't post about them I ranted to whoever would listen. Aren't you glad you don't sit in the cube next to mine?)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

She was asking for it!

Wearing those buttoned up suits, conferencing with heads of multiple nations, she was clearly begging for it.

Disgusting. Warning, that is fucked up.

I don't really have an opinion on Condi one way or another, but no one should ever be talked about that way (via Instapundit .) You know......the only people who think rape is funny are rapists.

I really do support their right to say this stuff if they want, it is their free speech right until it infringes on Condi's rights. (Libel, harassment, etc.) But that doesn't make it any less completely vile and disgusting. So I'm just going on record as saying I hate these guys, as if that matters.

Friday, May 04, 2007


It's quatro de mayo or something. And tomorrow is a day without working. In honor of this I bring you a film clip garaunteed to make you go... huh... I've never heard of that movie before.

But hey man, it's Christopher Walken!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Learning the hard way

Once, when I was a little girl my mom told me not to touch the iron. Then, she left the room, and I immediately touched the iron. I learned that lesson the hard way, by burning the crap out of my hand.

This week we get to hear about two more kids who have learned their lessons the hard way, and unfortunately not come out the other side.

A young boy in Bejing:

"The children shot the animals with catapults and beat them with wooden
sticks," the agency said. "One of the irritated crocodiles bit Liu's clothes and
dragged him into the water, where he was eaten by a swarm of crocodiles."

And another in Cleveland, who was shot to death while attempting to rob someone.

These deaths are sad, as all deaths are. But... you can't say they didn't have it coming to them.

Remember kids, Thou shalt not Steal and Thou shalt not provoke vicious carnivores.

Stereotypes and the Right

McQ has a post at QandO today "White lies and the left" in it he links to and quotes this article by Andrew Klavan.

The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don’t have to say that everyone’s special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don’t have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don’t have to pretend that Islam means peace.

I have to admit I got a chuckle out of that. As a libertarian, I couldn't agree more with his point. I've always wondered, given the basic truth of what Klavan writes here, how the left has managed to brand themselves as the 'reality based' community. Their beliefs, as outlined, are anything but reality.

Their beliefs, as outlined. I am not really clear on what "the left" as a group believe. ( I don't generally consider myself to exist in any particular location.) But I'm not sure that that really summarizes all of their beliefs. Nor do I think the assumption that all of those are false is really accurate.

"I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same." Men and women are demonstrably not the same, we look different we smell different so on and so forth. So while I as a woman am not the same as McQ who is a man, does that mean that I am necessarily more like Michelle Malkin than I am like McQ? Michelle and I look different, we smell different, we have different personalities, strengths, weaknesses and interests. So why should we be grouped together under some huge category "Women" that is used to describe us. And more than just "describing" us as women, this categorization allows others to make assumptions about us:

And because we’ve allowed leftists to define the language of political good manners—don’t say women are less scientific;

Emphasis mine. Apparently McQ and Andrew don't understand exactly WHY they aren't allowed to say that women are less scientific. Possibly because, it might not be true? And that by saying this you might be hurting the careers and opportunities of women who are in fact more scientific? I know a plethora of women who I can guarantee are more scientific than McQ or Andrew, so who are they to say that women are less scientific? If perhaps Steven Hawking would like to make the judgement that women as a whole are less scientific than him, we could work something out.

Here we have two guys just itching to say that "All women are X." And this is why liberalism is bad? Because the do not let people make value judgements on half the population of the world based on stereotypes? That's the "little white lie" really?

Essentially these "lies" that are being told are just ideas that Mr. Klavlan doesn't agree with, and the big problem he has is that he has to interact with the world as though everything he says isn't unverifiable fact. Instead of having to prove his case that what he's saying is true Mr. Klavan can just say "Hey isn't it great that I can say this because I'm a Conservative!" Mr. Klavan can say that Alice Walker is a bad writer just because he personally doesn't like her, but that doesn't make it true. Under the horrid regime of the left Mr. Klavan would be forced to prove that Alice Walker is a bad writer, and prove why he thinks that, and perhaps discuss it with someone who disagrees, and possibly find out horror of horrors, that not everyone agrees with his upper middle class white male worldview.

Political correctness is a touchy subject that he gets into, how different groups use language to hide their real points. And I agree that that is a real problem. People need to be clear about what they think, no matter what it is. I don't think that Islam is a religion of peace, but I also don't think all Muslims are terrorists, so where does that leave me? But I can be honest and tell you what I think, and now you are free to convince me either way.

I think the biggest problem in this article is the implication that people are "forced" to say certain things by liberalism, not that this is what liberals actually believe. A lot of liberals actually think that men and women are equal, that's why they say it, not because they are lying. If you have to lie about what you think then you need to re think your choice of party.

(I know after reading McQs article I certainly have, gosh I just can't wait to join the libertarian party where the big strong men can explain science to me. I'm so glad I've finally found a place where I can be patronized and then we can all complain about how much we hate the darkies and those pesky poor people. )

A much better response to this article via Pandagon, at Whiskey Fire, The conclusion:

Also, I wish these assholes would make up their fucking minds already if
liberals are too civil or too incivil. I just want to know whether people like
Klavan prefer being politely or impolitely told to fuck off with their straw man
passive-aggressive bullshit. Because as a liberal I of course consider even my
rhetorical opponents' feelings to be of prime imortance at all
Heh, Indeed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

On Average

A recent study being touted in the media claims that on average women and men work about the same (in and out of the home). I heard about it this morning on the radio. The finding doesn't really surprise me, nor does the finding that in poorer countries women more than men.

What does surprise me is that there was not a single standard deviation, margin of error etc mentioned in the slate article, or the abstract I found online. The Slate article blithely compares averages as if there were nothing else in the world worth looking at.

In Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands, men actually work more than women,
although the differences are small. In Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and the United
Kingdom, women work slightly more, though less than 5 percent. Among rich
countries, the largest differences emerge in Italy, where women work eight hours
while men work only 6.5, and in France, where women work 7.2 hours and men 6.6.

So In Italy women work on average 1.5 hours more than men, and this is considered a "small" difference.

While men and women spend about the same time working in rich countries, women do work more than men in poor countries. And the gap widens as countries get poorer. While in the United States, which has a per capita GNP of roughly
$33,000, there is no difference between the amount of male and female work, in
Benin, Madagascar, and South Africa, which have a per capita income of less than
$10,000, women work one to two hours more per day than men.

So, 1.5 hours in Italy isn't considered a big difference... but in Benin, Madigascar and South Africa 1-2 hours is? I'm lost.

You know what would make this whole article a lot clearer, Standard Deviations. Do we remember those press? They were some of the things that got Larry Sander's in so mcuh trouble a few years back when he asserted that standard deviations for men were larger in the math and sciences resulting in more men at the top of the science food chain. It tells us how much variation was in the sample so we know how the rest of the data looks, (You know, representing those handfuls of people in the US who make more or less than 33k)

Well are the standard deviations for the hours worked men and women in America the same? And what about in Italy, because depending on how big the standard deviation is it can tell us how important that 1.5 hours really is, does it really symbolize a significant gap between the two? And what about in Benin, Madigascar and South Africa,? We can't really tell how significant that 1-2 gap is without the standard deviation.

I gotta say 20 minutes vaccuming while the man watches TV is pretty damn significant to me, even if it doesn't seem that long "on average" without some kind of proof that it isn't that important, I'm definetly going to start whining. And I think the women in Italy should throw a large riot.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Believing our own Bad Press

I saw a commercial for a "Mind of Mencia" episode where he interviewed women who didn't think that there should be a female president. In fact I had a similar conversation with my younger sister the other day. When I asked her why she said the same thing that the women in the commercial said "because we're irrational." (Then I disagreed with her and started trying to make a point and she did what she always does when we have any kind of serious discussion "I don't wanna talk about it, I just don't care." What's with that? )

So yeah, because women are irrational we aren't qualified to be president or something. Now as a woman, I'm not going to say that women aren't irrational. (Having thrown a steel toed boot at an Ex's head because he didn't wash the dishes, I really can't argue that.) What I am going to point out is that men can be just as irrational as women.

Wait What? But they don't have crazy hormonal fluctuation causing them to lose their shit for a week every month! They are spatial thinkers, rational actors, right? That's why they get drunk and start fights for no reason, get blow jobs at work (very rational, Right Mr. Clinton?), stare blankly at women's T or A, and get completely lost and refuse to ask for directions, play video games for days on end instead of cleaning their filthy house, and compete over really stupid stuff. But y'know, they don't cry about it, so it must be a rational behavior, right?

Now look, I'm not saying that all men do these things, but some do, and a lot of them I'm very confident engage in other very irrational behaviors. In fact I be that if you examined pretty much anyone's life (male or female) you would be able to find several examples of them behaving irrationally, or overreacting to something, or making the wrong decision. Not everyone in America is qualified to be president. You couldn't pick a random man off the street to do the job any more than you could a random woman.

I think that when these women who think women can't be president, my sister included, think about a woman president, they are thinking about themselves as women. (Or the stereotypes we are all brainwashed to believe represent all womankind.) They don't feel qualified or strong enough to do the job, they are putting themselves in the job, or their crazy roommate who cries for no apparent reason, or the girl at work who keeps backstabbing people. They are believing the press that lumps women together as a group "women are good at this an not at that, they like this and not that." Somehow they are forgetting that like men we are made up of a group of individuals with different strengths and weaknesses and that not all of us are qualified to be president.

If we elect a female president it will not be Jane Smith from down the block who keeps throwing out her husband because he played video games instead of doing the dishes. It will be a woman who has navigated the political waters long enough to secure the confidence of her party and their nomination. She will be just as qualified to do the job as any man in the position to be elected to the office of President, and her being a woman will just be incidental to her being a good candidate for the job.

Monday, April 02, 2007

What is this?

This blogger accepts no responsibility for how blown your mind will be after you watch this.

Social commentary on sexualization of women in the music industry? Satire on how completely retarded song lyrics are these days? Challenging the industry to acknowledge that there are still people in the world who can sing and play instruments? Or video proof that her hair can actually look good? You decide!

How to Write Questions You Already Know the Answer to

A handy tutorial via TPMCafe examples courtesy of Fox News.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I don't even know what to say.

We're seriously reaching whole new levels of irrationality with this War on Pot. This kind of shit really makes me want to get into conspiracy theory zone as it is difficult for me to find any rational explaination for the continued persecution of pot users.

I thought the whole point of making drugs illegal was to protect people from hurting themselves? But now we're going to be sure to keep them illegal even when they are helping?

I mean... WHY? It just makes no rational sense, especially when not too long ago we were force feeding a woman who was totally non responsive. And now we are attempting to take away the thing that is helping keep a cognizant woman alive?

......................................... it makes no fucking sense.

Monday, February 26, 2007

See Blog Title for Article Description

We are taking a break from our blog silence to bring you Statistics, and what may or may not be called "lies." (Am I enjoying this too much? possibly)

At Gateway Pundit (via ASC, via ChrisB) today you will find the quote below, asserting that now after 6 years of Bush's Presidency:
US losses in Iraq and Afghanistan today (3525) are approaching the half way mark
(3750) of the military losses during the Clinton years.
Please note boys and girls the careful wording of this statement. It is good that the wording is SO careful, because it prevents the Gateway Pundit from actually outright lieing. Interesting no? Note how he is very specific about US losses In Iraq and Afghanistan, versus all soldiers lost in the Clinton administration. It only takes a moment or two to figure out that this is not a straight comparison.

The graph he shows is here.
He gets his Iraq statistics from this link, which I think includes only casualties that occured in Iraq or Afghanistan (Or possibly leaves out the first two years of Bush's presidency? ) He also links here, which is where he gets his statistics for Clinton.
Using that PDF the total number of military deaths under just the first four years of the Bush Administration was 5187. And for the purposes of comparison, the first four years of Clinton's Administration 4621.

And just for kicks, I made my own graph, and this graph shows the total number of deaths due to "Hostile Action" during All 8 years of the clinton administration, and the first FOUR years of the Bush Administration. PLEASE NOTE, this graph is HEAVILY skewed in favor of Bush!!

Clinton on the left, bush on the Right. The Blue bar is deaths from Hostile action, (Clinton had 1, Bush 1102, ) the Purple Bar shows total deaths.

Now I'm not saying that Gateway Pundit was exactly LIEing. I am saying that his comparison of Military deaths under Bush versus under Clinton is meaningless. Beyond the fact that the statistics he uses are from two completely different sources which means they are counted differently and therefore not comparable, the two Presidents are not comparable either. Bush's presidency is and will always be colored by 9/11, and our struggle against Terrorism, and Clinton's is colored by oral sex. Which do you think kills more soldiers?

Now I can understand wanting to be able to say that Bush killed fewer soldiers than Clinton. I mean wont that really get the left's panties in a twist. Quite frankly though, it just isn't true. It's not a straight statistical comparison that he is trying to make, and it ends up sounding a lot like a lie.

UPDATE: I had a discussion with Lance in the comments at ASC that I recommend everyone read. He says he really thinks the intention of Gateway's post was to point out that the same number (or more) soldiers can be lost in peacetime, and not to really make a comparison to Clinton's military. I still think the post could be clearer about what exactly those statistics that he is comparing are measuring. For while I guess it is technically stated, it isn't very explicit and easily misinerpreted. But I'm glad the intention was not to mislead.

I hope people will forgive the somewhat harsh tone of my post. I'd edit it but then apparently I'd be harming the intergity of the blogosphere or some such nonsense. I may have gotten a tad fired up for no reason. Maybe I should go out for a job in radio.

Friday, February 02, 2007

When in Quebec

A town in Quebec has released a notice, basically outlining their town's culture and laws. See the Telegraph article, it also includes a link to the translation of their document. (Via the Advice Goddess)

The purpose of this notice is to inform anyone who might be considering moving there about their customs and laws, so that people can chose to move their or not (I guess) based on them. Of course muslim groups are offended and people are saying it is racist.

But I don't think it is racist, I think it is perfectly resonable. It seems that some people who have recently moved to some countries have been misguided about the laws and customs of that country. And once there, finding that their religious or cultural customs were not followed have tried to change that society to fit their laws.

Apparently some cultures have missed out on the whole "When in Rome" proverb. In moving to any country most immigrants desire to maintain some semblance of their own culture. In America people have been doing this for centuries. Here in Chicago there are tons of neighborhoods that pay homage to the customs and cultures of people's homelands. (Polish, italian, german, mexican, chinese, indian on and on.) But the people in those neighborhoods, while they may maintain symbols of their home, their language, their food, do not require changes in the laws of this city. They do not require (to my knowledge anyway) local citizens or professionals to bend to their cultural needs. Besides carving out a space for themselves, they do not try to change the City.

I believe it is the responsibility of individuals who wish to emmigrate, to ensure that the location they are emmgirating to is compatable with their culture. Similarly they should ensure that any employment they undertake will not require them to do things that violate their religion. As such I think it is very reasonable to notify potential immigrators of the culture of a certain area, and what behaviors will and will not be tolerated, so that they can avoid moving to those places.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Check out the Secret World Chronicle . It is sortof an apocolytpic meets superhero type series all in podcast format. I'm on chapter 3 and it's excellent so far, though some of the readers are better than others.

I wish they did more than one a week!!!

Light Bright Ridiculousness

Seriously, Does that look like a bomb?

No, it doesn't. Which is what makes the people quoted in this article sound completely stupid:

"It’s clear the intent was to get attention by causing fear and unrest that
there was a bomb in that location,” Assistant Attorney General John Grossman
said at their arraignment.

.... Uhm.... no?
"It is outrageous, in a post 9/11 world, that a company would use this type
of marketing scheme,” Mayor Thomas Menino said Wednesday. “I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any
and all expenses incurred during the response to today’s incidents.”

Conversely these men are freaking brilliant. Seriously, they are my heros. And how pretentious do those journalists sound, could we have LESS of a sense of humor! Just try a bit, maybe we could even be less interesting.

I hope that Turner Broadcasting doesn't cave to this completely ridiculous attempt to cover for a government that is overreacting. I mean, who is really trying to scare the public here? The people trying to advertise their show, or the government who is jumping at shadows?

Friday, January 26, 2007

My Firey Temper

I'm so pissed! I just found out more about the fire in my building.

It turns out that it WASN"T an exploding laptop (as channel two reported) it was having 15 things plugged into 1 power strip. So these two morons who lived above me and are apparently computer engineers of some kind just don't understand how power strips work. They were also in the process of being kicked out of the building since they destroyed their apartment and caused everyone's sinks to back up!

In other news they had time to get six, count em SIX suitcases out of their apartment before the fire got so big they couldn't go back in. And these boys did NOT bother in the least to try to estinquish the fire. They just lined up their suicases outside their apartment. When my neighbor told me this (he'd gone up with the fire inspector) I couldn't even speak, I just made outraged hand gestures. (The guy who told me this was the same neighbor who had actually tried to estinguish the fire, though it was too late.)

Anyway, I hope these guys burn. Figuratively of course. Though I doubt they will.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

On Fire

Is what the apartment above me was at about 0230 Wednesday night. The news outlets in the area are reporting that it was due to a laptop left on a couch.

My Chef woke me up at about 2:30 Am with "Uhhh the apartment above us is on fire." I would like to say that I jumped from the bed and gathered all my readily available necessities and escaped in under five minutes. More like we slowly hearded the cats and I ran around like a chicken without its proverbial head trying to find my keys while I called the fire department. Fortunately they were already on their way. We saw the firemen on their way up as we were on the way down, laden with two upset cats. (If you've never tried to get two already very stressed out cats into carriers, well you just haven't lived.)

We existed on snippets of info from the Firemen's radios as they tramped in and out of the building for at least an hour. I have no idea how long we were in the tiny entryway with a bunch of our neighbors and their cats, but I think it was about an hour and a half. The whole time I was freaking out that the floor would give way and all my shit would get burned as well.

Fortunately we were allowed to go back up to find that everything had been moved around and covered with tarps, as water poured through lighting fixtures, and along support beams into my apartment. It was sortof like a cave, only it smelled like moldy fire that someone had farted on.

The water is gone now, we cleaned up yesterday, but I have no internet or cable and my phone broke in the shuffle. Everything still smells like ass though but at least nothing important was broken and everyone is safe. Apparently the apartment above us was destroyed, I still haven't gone up to look. If I do, I will post photos.

I need a nap.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Independant Thought

A secondhand conjecture posts today about a discussion that I guess I missed, apparently a survey indicated that professors are less religious or likely to believe in God than the general populace. Professors at elite universities were indicated to be even less likely to believe in God.

So of course now there can be discussion about A) how this affects students and B) why academics are such godless heathens. Joy of joys.

My thoughts on this: A) In as much as students are able to make up their own minds based on the information available to them. Students, ESPECIALLY at so called "elite" universities are there to learn to think for themselves. And while a professor may on occasion present evidence to support their own worldview, students are free to make up their own minds. Even in some classes students are required to write papers that echo the teacher's worlview in order to get a good grade this does not necessarily cause them to agree. I could make a perfectly good case for universal health care that doesn't mean that I agree with it.

And B) Because to be an academic one must be able to evaluate information and make decisions about it. I'm not arguing that anyone with a brain doesn't believe in God. I am arguing that social pressures (while they still exist) are less prominent for members of elite academic communities because they are encouraged to question the status quo.

If one considers the origins of religion or spirituality this answer makes a bit more sense. When I was two, nobody asked me if I thought there was a God. Many children are raised from a young age to believe in god and many people continue to follow the religion of their parents. Fewer people are left to their own devices to someday sit up from their blocks and say they believe in God. (Note: I'm not saying that people who are not born into religion do not eventually chose a religion. ) I am saying that when your whole family, your culture and your society revolve around the belief in God it can be very difficult to say otherwise. And many times you not only have to reject the idea of God but also a whole set of beliefes and traditions that make up a religion. So to reject those traditions requires someone with a high capacity for independant thought. Surely these individuals are found in many places, but I imagine they are found higher percentages in academia.

The MOST telling part of this discussion is the following questiong from the article (quoted on ASC):

So should we favor elite professors’ views on God, or can we identify other
relevant considerations?

OF course not! You should favor your own beliefs about God. If you question his existance then by all means read up on some of the interesting books that refute the idea of God. But if you REALLY believe, then why do you care what some physics prof believes? What is it with people and the need to agree with others? Why can't we all make up our own minds!?

This drives me NUTS, especially when people who believe seem to think that unless I agree with them their beliefs are meaningless.

On Choice

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007
Today, as some people might know is the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. And the Bush v. Choice action center asks that people blogging for choice this year post why they are pro choice.
My relationship with choice is somewhat complicated. Attending Catholic school for most of my life I can't really describe my position as anything other than "brainwashed" until I reached college. From an early age abstinence was obvious as the only choice for anyone who didn't want to have children. And when I was 10 this seemed to be a perfectly reasonable position.
In highschool I was President of the "Respect Life" organization. (Though most of the work they did under my leadership was working to make people's lives better, we participated in Habitat for Humanity and similar programs as well as doing things for people in nursing homes and more. Very few of our events were abortion related.) I recieved tons of misinformation about abortion and how the body works, both at Pro life conferences and at school.
A lot of that misinformation was focused on two areas, how birth control works, and when the fetus was "alive." Birth control, in all its forms was touted as ineffective. I don't remember learning about hormonal birth control, but we did talk about IUDs and these were specifically touted as forms of abortion. Also the morning after pill and RU486 were frequently confused with one another. But above all the fetuses life was touted, it's right to live. The wants and desires of the mother never entered into the conversation. By getting pregnant the woman had forfieted these rights. Only after the abortion were her thoughts relevant. We had a speaker at one of these conferences who spoke of her experiences with abortion and how it had scarred her for life. (Femeniste has a post about this "Post Abortion Syndrome" .)
It wasn't until college that I really thought about how important controlling my body's reproduction was to my own personal freedom. Unsurprisingly my desire to remain abstinent did not last into college. I took the morning after pill once, and beat myself up about it for at least a year. Because all of my prior education had told me that if you get sex you WILL get pregnant and that EC was the same as abortion. That particular instance resulted in a large amount of hysteria and depression, but (and this relates to the feminste post) in the light of day I think it had more to do with a traumatic sexual experience, and catholic guilt than it had to do with EC.
After dealing with several of my own scares and a very real issue that a friend of mine had, it wasn't surprising that I started re thinking my position on the abortion issue. (I had totally changed my mind about birth control at this point.) But I think the thing that changed my mind was the day we talked about Margaret Sanger in my Development of American Culture class. Until then I don't think I ever really made the connection between a woman's right to control her own body and a woman's ability to have a career. Nor were coat hanger abortions or how damaging childbirth can be to a woman's body ever an issue. But considering those, I changed my mind.
I still don't think I could ever have an abortion. I'm fairly certain the guilt would kill me (gee thanks Rome). But I wont stand in the way of other women's right to do so, nor will I condemn them for it. It is a very difficult decision and one every woman (or couple) has to make for herself (themselves) based on their own situation. I do think that better funding for birth control and better sex education in schools are the most important steps to lowering the abortion rate, by lowering the number of unintended pregnancies.
And now back to our regularly scheduled ranting.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Anti Feminist Conspiracy Theorist

This is so crazy I can barely get through it. Apparently feminism is all part of some evil one world government scheme. I wonder if the author should actually consider seeing a mental health professional. But considering she puts "quotes" around it every time she says it, it seems like she's already been and didn't like it when her shrink told her she was crazy.

Feministe and femenisting (thematic no?) have more interesting posts about her lovely writings. I am just going to post my letter to her as I sooo enjoyed writing it and it will give me satisfaction to know that someone has actually read it.

Good Afternoon Ms. Levant,

I'm sure that in light of the fact that I am one of the "Dumbest Women who have ever walked the earth" you are not exactly delighted to hear from me. I had considered writing to you to prove you wrong about how dumb I am based on my various academic and professional accomplishments. But this does not seem like it would be entirely productive. You have clearly made up your mind that as someone who desires rights of her own (like the right to own property, to have my own income, to vote etc) I am part of some vast conspiracy to unite the world under some strange form of socialist fascism.

It seems that you long for the days where women were unable to vote, own property, make choices about their own reproduction, work outside the home, get a college degree, or publish books in their own name. And while this is not a longing that I share, I can understand how you would not want to feel the heavy weight of responsibility on your shoulders. So if you prefer to transfer that weight to the stronger more capable shoulders of your husband, I, even as a feminist, can understand. You don't have to vote, or excersize your "rights" to own property, or get a degree, or publish (oh, too late on that one eh?). It is your right to refuse these "rights" that you find so oppressive, as they are a product of feminism.

As one of the dumbest women on earth I find myself puzzled by your stance on feminism. Perhaps you in your wisdom can clarify it for me. How is it that a member of a group can campaign for the continued subjegation for that group as a whole? Why would an individual stand up and say "People who are like me are stupid and do not deserve rights." It puzzles me. My first thought is that someone with such a low opinion of themselves should seek the guidance of a "mental health" professional, who can help them navigate their own self loathing in a more personalized manner that will not actively hurt the cause of their fellows.

While I can understand why one would be willing to give up their own freedoms for a lifestyle or set of beliefs they prefer, I do not think that that individual has the right to hurt the cause of others who desire such rights. I, for instance, plan to go to graduate school, and maybe write a book some day, I look forward to owning my own home having a career and living a long, happy and child free life. If this means that I am supporting an evil one government social fascist conspiracy, well then, it is a conspiracy I am not that upset about participating in. A government that allows me to do exactly what I want with my life without limits based on my gender can't be THAT bad.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Debunking Depression Research

Scott Burgess does an excellent job of finding the fatal error in some "research" by psychologist Oliver James. (You should read his article as it is better than mine)

The research blames capitalism for higher rates of depression and other mental disorders. And while I wont disagree that capitalism can be depressing (Especially when you get your credit card bill) the research is flawed.

The main claim that Mr. Burgess debunks is the high correlation between wealth disparity and high levels of mental illness. Using a whopping 8 datapoints (The US plus seven other nations) they find a correlation of .73. But when the US is removed from this analysis the correlation is only .24.* The US was a strong outlier, and it accounted for a large portion of the positive relationship. (This could be because the US probably has more psychologists with which to diagnose more mental illnesses, seems like everyone has a shrink these days.)

This throws into sharp focus just how easy it is to mislead with statistics. One data point separates this study from proof that capitalism is the root of all mental illnes and a meaningless excersize in graphing. Whether or not Mr. James is simply ignorant of the proper detection of outliers, or whether he deliberately ignored the obvious flaw in his research is unknown, but the fact remains that this study has been published and it will be believed by people who do not hear anyone speak to the contrary.

HT Chez

* For non stats types, a correlation is the measure of a relationship between two measures. It can range from -1 to 1, 1 being a perfect positive relationship and -1 being a perfect negative relationship. .74 is an extremely strong correlation for real world research. This study illustrates just what a weak measurement correlation is, it can easily be affected by just a few strong outliers. Also, while it shows a strong relationship it cannot prove causation. As I wrote on many a students paper back when I was a TA "Correlation DOES NOT equal Causation."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Buzzing to Conclusions

Dr. Helen posted today on a study that found that senior women tend to under evaluate potential female employees. Here is the Times Online link. (Via insty)

First of all, it should be pointed out that this study, that they are talking about, was conducted in southern spain. Perhaps if they had sampled women throughout europe it would be more valid, but ONLY the southern area of Spain? I really don't think that's a very valid sample for all women in the entire world. (Unless Southern Spain is the most internationally representative location in the word... or something.) I don't think the results can be extrapolated to the world. I know that lots of studies are done on college campuses and then extrapolated. But this study in particular deals with highly cultural issues. There is still a lot of variation on in the world on gender relations. I've heard, in the UK for instance (See this BBC "Quiz"), that women have a tougher time of it than in the US.

Also, I don't like that they jumped to a "queen bee" conclusion and plastered that all over the times online article. They do mention the other options, that men are percieved as better leaders by social bias in passing. It seems to me that there needs to be some clarification, is it a concious bias? or an unconcious bias? are women intentionally putting the women down? or do they just happen to rate the men higher? How much of this is social bias, and how much is getting ahead? But it turns out that this is a FICTIONAL company, the women don't work there, they are just evaluating candidates based on a description of the job and a CV.

So how could it be a queen bee issue at all since the women will absolutely NOT be competing with the candidate?

It isn't, the most IMPORTANT sentance in this entire article was the following, and it was buried at the bottom of the article:

They also assessed how likely they might be to receive promotion and were asked
to take into account stereotypical traits of men and women such as sensitivity
or aggression.
So, the study is based ENTIRELY on stereotypes, because the participants in the study were TOLD to USE stereotypes in making their evaluations!!!!!!!!!!!!! It seems to me that a more valid conclusion than the Queen Bee conclusion would be that women have less positive stereotypical views of other women than men do. Or perhaps that men overcompensate for those views when evaluating women.

It interesting to me that Dr. Helen picked up on the Queen Bee aspect, and didn't critically evaluate it, or look for other possible explainations. All that this study does is confirm what many people already believe about women, that we are mean and catty and hate eachother. Thank you Mean Girls. And you know what, that is true, some women are mean and catty and hate eachother. Some Men are mean and catty and hate eachother too, hello politics. It is just that when Men do it they are "competitive" and when Women are mean they are "catty."

All this study is doing is perpetuating stereotypes without giving us any real explaination for the phenomenon. Really, is that helpful? The matriarchy indeed, more like patriarchal views affecting how women view eachother.

UPDATE: Title fixed because I am blind to my own typos. Thanks Chris.