Saturday, August 26, 2006

Things that drive me wild are:

The willingness of leftists to let them get away with rolling back progress by Supreme Court ruling. No, it isn't over just because the Supreme Court says that it is. It is only over when the problem is fixed and the solution to the problem is secure. If the courts, and let's go all the way, legislatures and the New York Times-Wall Street Journal declare that the problem will not be fixed it doesn't make the problem go away. The Equal Rights amendment wasn't passed, the problems it was designed to fix are still here.

Income inequality has never been worse in our entire history and the theories of the kinds of economics that are respectable are there to insure that the inequality will continue.

Then there is the selfish, lazy and stupid assumption that fixing the problems of everyday life is less important than striking a pose of moral or intellectual distinction and purity. Politics is about lives, not the careers of the elites or the clawing climbers who want so much to join them. It is about the lives of people who the elites have never even heard of or considerd. I've ranted on that at length here recently so I won't give more examples.

The media, especially the DC and New York media, are just about uniformly more interested in themselves than in the lives of other people. Any leftist who is not more interested in the general welfare than in their career and social advancement isn't a leftist, they are a Republican in the bud. No, your career is insignificant as anyone else can tell you. No, your pose of constitutional purity isn't important unless it is effective in producing better living conditions.

We have got to stop ignoring the fundamental necessities of democracy. You can't have democracy without them. An uninformed public not dedicated to the COMMON good will not produce a democratic government.

Democracy is the ONLY form of government that will produce solutions to the kinds of problems that threaten life on this, the one and only planet we are going to get. Oligarches, despots, do not have the moral fiber to look past their own greed and power. Selfish individuals are a fact of life. It is only the entire People through their collective wisdom who will produce a result that might, given enough information and good will, just save us all.

We will govern together as mature adults or we will die as spoiled brats. Those are the choices.

NOTE: This piece has been revised to make a point clear that was confusing when originally posted. Other revisions might be desireable but I'm going to be out for the afternoon. Thanks to H.H. for pointing out the problem.

Apparently there is a blogger problem that is keeping a lot of bloggers from posting, it was allegedly fixed but it's keeping me from posting a new post today. I hope this is fixed soon and that you can read this.

Until it is fixed, and this is rather ironic, here is what I'd tried to post today.

Going through my old files there was this piece which was intended as the first post on this blog. While I was trying to get my courage up I saw Echidne had written a better piece on the same study so it was posted as a comment on her blog that day. It is given here as light End of Summer entertainment.

The Smell Study as reported on by the AP

Is this another case of a very preliminary, very small study finding a very small difference about which the authors make very modest claims but which the American press reports as conclusive and earth shaking? And if it is first reported by the researchers with some discretion, will it be one of those studies inflated out of all recognition by the fellows of well known think tanks in their future, bulk-buy, bestsellers about the evils of feminism? I don’t know but considering that the study consisted of 12 subjects each of straight women, lesbians and straight men - who we are reassured are “healthy, unmedicated, and right-handed” - I doubt that the sample is large enough to represent a significant part of the respective populations over a significantly long period of time. The media reporting, the real focus of my piece, doesn’t give any numbers so we don’t know. The brain scans done as part of the study are interesting but the researchers apparently relied heavily on reporting by the subjects to come to their conclusions.

One of the problems going into this study would be that the period for testing individual subjects be sufficiently long to account for possible variations in response over time. This would seem to be obvious. People often don’t respond to the same smell in the same way on different occasions. Sometimes there are changes during different times of life. When I was a child ham smelled wonderful to me, now it drives me out of the house. And just about everyone finds some smells alluring one day but disgusting the next. Scotch, for example. There is a very commonly observed situation which may have direct relevance to this aspect of the of the subject. Most of the subsequently declared straight women I’ve known report at some point during their childhood that “boys stink”. Boys who turn out to be straight often report a reciprocal sensory stimulus.

What does this all mean in the end? I haven’t noticed that most straight women are repelled by close and confined association with other women in their social lives. Many of the straight women I’ve known have seemed to derive more pleasure from their close social interactions with women friends than they do with men. Often their own husbands. Especially on long car trips. If, as the AP report says, heterosexual women found male and female pheromones about equally pleasant any difference in gender preference for social interaction would seem to be due to reasons not tested for.

But straight men and lesbians are reported to find male hormones more irritating than female ones. This is puzzling. I’ve never noticed that straight men living in close proximity have a demonstrated need for a heightened level of personal hygiene or fresh air in their shared abode. This might lead to a suspicion that the pheromone samples used in studies of this kind, isolated and, perhaps, concentrated don’t mimic real world conditions. Could it be that even with sufficiently large numbers of test subjects superbly chosen and observed over a long enough period that this highly artificial sensory situation tells us relatively little? To be fair, most lesbians I’ve known do not seem to enjoy prolonged associations with men. Bur there are more obvious emissions than highly dilute moles of “male” pheromones sufficient to explain that result.

Also as reported, all three groups indicated that the male hormone was “more familiar than the female one”. One really wonders why two-thirds of the subjects would find their own hormone less “familiar” than those of the other gender. And if it was due to some kind of sensory habituation why the males would find “their own" hormone “familiar”. Could a variation the level of self-absorption account for this difference?

So, as you hear this and similar studies cited to explain the enormous gulf between the brain structures of the genders and gender preferences and why women don’t make as much as men for work of similar value, ask these embarrassing questions. And consider the further possibilities for business and economics. If further testing found a variation in odor preference, it could justify a pay cut for south paws.
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