June 07, 2007

Survey Media Consumption and Immigration

Received from a friend:

Hello. I am writing to ask for your help with a survey which is part of my dissertation project. I was wondering if you would be willing to post a link to the survey on your blog? Your help would be greatly appreciated, and I think you and your readers would be ideal candidates for the survey.

The survey is about new media consumption and attitudes towards immigration policy. We are interested in your thoughts on this political controversy, as well as the thoughts of your readers. We hope you are willing to take the survey yourself and also post it on your blog, so your readers can participate.

If you are willing to help us out, please post the following information:

Immigration Attitudes Survey

Increasingly, Americans are turning to the web for news about politics. This is a survey about online news coverage of the immigration issue. We are interested in your thoughts on this important political controversy. If you decide to participate in our survey, you will start off by answering a few questions about yourself and your political attitudes. Then you will watch a
short news clip of an immigration story. After the clip, we will ask you some questions about your position on immigration policy. In total, the survey should take about 15 minutes to complete. The survey is completely anonymous and you can skip any questions you do not wish to answer.

Click here to take the survey:


Please feel free to contact Chris Weber (crweber@notes.cc.sunysb.edu) or
Mary-Kate Lizotte (mklizotte@yahoo.com) at Stony Brook University with any questions or concerns. Thanks for your help!

(Commenting Closed)

Posted by GM Roper at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2007

You Won't Find This on Other Blogs

Sometimes I want to post something unique...something that isn't being covered by everyone else. After giving it some thought, I think that I've come up with such a subject. Get ready for fun!

Do you remember all the neat demonstrations in your science and physics classes? I especially enjoyed the film clips, because it gave me time to sleep. The black and white films of Dr. Baxter was one of my favorites. In case you slept through them, too, and really feel guilty that you graduated without really understanding the subject, then here is your exciting second chance!

1. Fundamental physics as seen via quantum mechanics:
Little Things That Jiggle: Richard Feynman and Atomic Physics

2. Physics taught through clamation:
Newton's Laws of Motion

3. Einstein's Space/Time:
Two Postulates -- Special Relativity (1 of 5)

And, in case you want a classic reminder of earlier physics clips, here's a great one.

4. Famous experiment involving laminar flow:
Fluid Mechanics: Low Reynolds Numbers Flows (Requires RealPlayer)

Did you watch them all? Good! I told you that this would be unique. Now, let's see if G.M. wonders why in the world this is posted on this site. It should make for an interesting discussion in his science interest--psychology. That'll keep him busy for a few hours.

Tomorrow, if you like, we might study astronomy.

Keep looking up! Now, back to your regular blogging.

Posted by Woody M. at 08:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 10, 2007

Computer Ready for Earlier DST?

Is you computer ready to spring ahead for the earlier daylight savings time on Sunday morning? You can check by going to this site by Jeff Williams at the University of Minnesota. If you want a second opinion, if you are from West Virginia, or if you are a liberal, Michigan State University has this site for you.

Posted by Woody M. at 02:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 16, 2006

GM's Corner, WE DELIVER!!!

GM's Corner is proud to be a front runner in new technology. You will notice at the sidebar, just under my "Cancer Sucks" button, a new "Voice Mail" link in which you can make your comments via voicemail. Of course, all commenting rules still apply, no personal attacks, no cussing, stay on topic (well, as much as you possibly can) and be nice!!!. Be sure and give the date and title of the post you are commenting on. It will take a while for your comment to show, and if it doesn't meet my standards as to nice, it will be deleted. You MUST have some sort of computer microphone in order to use this device. So, try it out, say hi to Woody for the idea and be sure and listen to other's comments. GM's Corner, WE DELIVER!!!

This is only a test so, we'll see how it works in the long run. If it doesn't work well, we will remove it.

Hat Tip to Woody who came up with the Idea.... I'm going to double his salary for sure. Now, lets see.... $0.00 x 2 = $0.00 There you go Woodster, don't spend it all in one place, save some for Uncle Sam!

Posted by GM Roper at 11:59 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

July 06, 2006

So Much For "An Inconvenient Truth"

Sixty people. Sixty scientists. Sixty concerned individuals none of whom have been convinced that the "computer models" are accurate to predict what has already happened let alone what the future may hold. And this is what they said:

An open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

Dear Prime Minister:

As accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines, we are writing to propose that balanced, comprehensive public-consultation sessions be held so as to examine the scientific foundation of the federal government's climate-change plans. This would be entirely consistent with your recent commitment to conduct a review of the Kyoto Protocol. Although many of us made the same suggestion to then-prime ministers Martin and Chretien, neither responded, and, to date, no formal, independent climate-science review has been conducted in Canada. Much of the billions of dollars earmarked for implementation of the protocol in Canada will be squandered without a proper assessment of recent developments in climate science.

Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. Yet this is precisely what the United Nations did in creating and promoting Kyoto and still does in the alarmist forecasts on which Canada's climate policies are based. Even if the climate models were realistic, the environmental impact of Canada delaying implementation of Kyoto or other greenhouse-gas reduction schemes, pending completion of consultations, would be insignificant. Directing your government to convene balanced, open hearings as soon as possible would be a most prudent and responsible course of action."

OK, they are saying that basically, the computer models used to support the climate warming mantra does not even support the observations of the past, so how could it support the catastrophe that is predicted for the future? Read the rest here

Continue reading "So Much For "An Inconvenient Truth""
Posted by GM Roper at 07:04 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

April 22, 2006

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Rationality

In Friday's Wall Street Journal, there is an interesting article on aging and cognitive decline by Sharon Begley. Ms. Begley notes that cognitive training has not shown itself (by itself) to decrease the rate [emphasis mine] of cognitive decline as we age. It has been touted in numerous places that the "brain is a muscle too, use it or lose it" and we have usually accepted this as accurate: Exercise your ability to use your mind and your mind will last a lot longer as you grow older.

This "cliché" as it were is now proven to be wrong. It is true that mental training produces increased ability in the aging in that part which is trained; i.e., if you train by using crossword puzzles, you facilitate the ability to do crossword puzzles, but you may not enhance other cognitive functioning such as ability to solve other problems and that though you may enhance the ability vis-à-vis crossword puzzles, the rate of decline in mental functioning is just as steep as in the untrained but maybe from a higher starting point. Ms. Begley states:

Consider an alternative that is gaining scientific support. Say you enter old age (by which I mean your 30s, when mental functioning starts heading south, accelerating in your 50s) with a "cognitive reserve" -- a cushion of smarts. If so, you are likely to be able to remember appointments, balance a checkbook and understand Medicare Part D (OK, maybe not) well into your 60s and 70s. But not because your brain falls apart more slowly. Instead, you started off so far above the threshold where impaired thinking and memory affect your ability to function that normal decline leaves you still all right.

The Active study isn't the only reason scientists are rethinking the use-it-and-you-won't-lose-it idea. In the Seattle Longitudinal Study, older adults received five hours of training on spatial rotation (what would a shape look like if it turned?) or logic (given three patterns, which of four choices comes next?). As in Active, people got better on what they practiced.

But seven years later, their performance had declined just as steeply (though, again, from a higher starting point) as the performance of people with no training, scientists reported last year. That supports the cognitive reserve idea -- if you enter middle age with a good memory and reasoning skills you stay sharp longer -- not the mental-exercise hypothesis."

So, how do we apply some of this knowledge to the current political landscape. Looking at a number of our politicians we can safely say that many are past their prime. Does this necessarily mean that they shouldn’t be in congress (or other elective office)? Does cognitive decline which is a scientific fact differ markedly from what we have always heard that with age comes wisdom?

Vernon Cooper notes: “These days people seek knowledge, not wisdom. Knowledge is of the past, wisdom is of the future.” One would think then that as Cooper says if knowledge is of the past, than our current crop of aged politicians are full of knowledge for they, well the Democrats among them at least, are spouting off knowledge of how Iraq is like Vietnam, how this should have happened, etc. but no wisdom of how that can and/or should apply to the future. According to Cooper, one could surmise that wisdom can come at any age if one can apply the lessons learned in the past to the future, which is the essence of the exercise of wisdom.

Yet, one must perforce toss in an additional element, that of rationality; rationality in the understanding of Cooper’s “knowledge” in order to be able to apply “wisdom” to the future and map out where are we to go.

This post is essentially then about the irrationality of many politicians, in particular those who are identified with the left of the center aisle and most of them are Democrats. I’ll leave it to the liberal bloggers to attempt to describe any irrationality on the right. That ain’t my job.

In a number of very well laid out essays, Dr. Pat Santy writing as Dr. Sanity discusses rationality beginning with Command Hallucinations:

The American public is hearing voices. And like auditory hallucinations experienced by psychiatric patients, these voices whisper continual doom and gloom. They tell the American consumer that prices are too high. That the economy is tanking; that poverty is on the rise; and that everything is bad, bad, bad.

These voices are persistent and continual. They are unrelenting. They are often frightening. And like the command hallucinations that torment many of my patients, they are completely and totally untrue. You are bad. Life isn't worth living. They are trying to hurt you. Don't try, it's not worth it.

It is very rare for such voices to say anything at all positive. They have a specific goal--and that goal is the distortion of reality.

So why do patients believe them? Especially the one's that are bizarre and so obviously out of touch with any known reality? You know, the ones that say aliens have implanted electrodes in your brain and are monitoring your thoughts and things like that.
It is a triumph of false perceptions over reality. It is testimony to how profoundly and fundamentally people trust their perceptual faculties and let their perceptions rule, even when those perception come in conflict with common sense, truth, or reality.
We, the American people have come to have a similar trust in the voices of the MSM. Over the years, they have almost become an additional perceptual faculty that we rely on--simply because life has become too complicated and overwhelming, that the use of our ordinary senses is insufficient in the modern world.

She continues in a number of posts here, here and here.

Charles Krauthammer is of course the originator of Bush Derangement Syndrome discussed by Dr. Sanity. Krauthammer says BDS is:

the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.
And by the way, Charles Krauthammer is not only a very good columnist but he is also a psychiatrist. That's two!

One of my very favorite sites and someone who has become a friend is Shrinkwrapped. Another psychiatrist who takes on the oft irrational left and the "delusional" media. From one of his posts:

In John Godfrey Saxe's ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend, 6 blind men approach an elephant and try to describe it by touch alone. One touches its flank and declares an elephant is like a wall; the second touches its tusk and declares an elephant is like a spear. After all six proclaim their sense of what an elephant is, the poem concludes:

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

It seems to me that much of our Media commentary on the war in Iraq suffers from a form blindness that is akin to the blindness of the 6 Indian men.

Shrinkwrapped also notes that there is a significant irrational quality in the Democratic left, especially around the "Bush Lied" meme and the movement towards impeachment of the President. Shrinkwrapped has an excellent prescription - let every candidate stand up and announce publicly if they are in favor of impeachment of George W. Bush, or not. He states in this post:
Further, we have an excellent chance to examine our prejudices in the light of day before the next election. While both extremes are problematic, it has been clear for quite some time that the right-wing extremists tend to be marginal in the Republican party. (I would be delighted if anyone can send me a reasoned argument showing me how I am wrong rather than the typical invective more common from the left; as a general rule, "Bush Lied" is not an argument.) Unfortunately, the core of the Democratic party is ruled by just such emotion. Here is my suggestion. Let us have all political bloggers, left and right, join together in requesting (if you prefer to demand it, feel free) that all candidates for the House of Representatives and Senate for the 2006 elections publicly declare and debate the proposition that George Bush should or should not be impeached. Let us settle this once and for all. Clearly, the Democratic base wants this. If Bush is indeed a fascist, if he lied and broke the law, if he is attacking our civil liberties, then his impeachment is an obvious remedy. Let us have those pressing for impeachment make their best case and leave it to the great bulk of moderate Americans to decide whether or not the partisans can make the case. If they win, so be it; if the Democrats lose, they can then reasonably be asked to re-think their fundamental positions and rejoin the political process as a responsible opposition party. With any luck, this question can be settled before the posturing for the 2008 elections goes into full swing.
Sounds to me like an antidote for the irrationality of the left. That's three!

I am struck, however, about the extent of the "meanness" of the so called Angry Left. The use of attack messages and vulgar language when speaking of their political opponents far exceeds that of the so called Angry White Male and other conservatives after the 1994 elections. The MSM adopted the Angry White Male meme with gusto and spread it far and wide. In fact, it was not anger at what the MSM wanted you to think of, namely "non-Whites and women in government, business, media, education, and other institutions" it was anger at the proclivities of the Democratic Party and those results showed in a major upheaval giving Republicans control of the United States House of Representatives for the first time in more than 40 years, control that continues twelve years later. That loss of power, let alone the loss of face for the Clintonites bedevils the Democratic Party today.

The Bush Derangement Syndrome has led them to fight not for what is right, though that is what they say they are fighting for but to fight for a return to power. Indeed, looking at their leadership, Reid, Pelosi, Dean, Kerry (The haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam to borrow James Taranto’s delicious phrase) and listening to their pronouncements as to why they do what they do can lead a rational person to arrive at a single conclusion. They're nuts!

So far, I've quoted three psychiatrists, all of the same persuasion, that the Democrats in general and their arm the MSM have been increasingly irrational. I'm not a psychiatrist, I'm a Licensed Professional Counselor, but I stand with the three and have contributed my own bit here.

For the record, I'm very unhappy with the Republican party today and have noted so in a couple of recent posts here, and here. I'm not sure I'm willing to vote for any Republicans in Texas at this point, but I can be convinced if they are willing to get off their backsides and govern the way they said they would when we elected them. And yes, this means I may spend Election Day sitting at home, or I may vote libertarian or I may write in votes or I may go fishing - it is up to the Republicans what I do, but I can tell you this for sure, I won’t be voting for any liberal Democrats or conservative Democrats who don’t have the guts to go against their liberal masters and from what I’ve seen, that would be all of them with the possible exception of Joe Lieberman and I can’t vote for him anyway.

Posted by GM Roper at 07:59 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)

April 10, 2006

More On Global Warming

There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998

A judicious quote:

Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society's continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

"In response to these facts, a global warming devotee will chuckle and say "how silly to judge climate change over such a short period". Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh. Our devotee will also pass by the curious additional facts that a period of similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, well prior to the greatest phase of world industrialisation, and that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate."

"Does something not strike you as odd here? That industrial carbon dioxide is not the primary cause of earth's recent decadal-scale temperature changes doesn't seem at all odd to many thousands of independent scientists. They have long appreciated - ever since the early 1990s, when the global warming bandwagon first started to roll behind the gravy train of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - that such short-term climate fluctuations are chiefly of natural origin. Yet the public appears to be largely convinced otherwise. How is this possible?"

Good question. Read the Whole Thing as they say!

And now, Canada is dropping out of the Kyoto Accords

And a tip of the GM Derby to Glenn Reynolds

Posted by GM Roper at 12:26 PM | Comments (32) | TrackBack (0)

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