July 28, 2013

Chinese Genetic Research

Wired on Chinese wunderkind Zhao Bowen, who is researching the genetic basis of intelligence (HT: Instapundit):
He and his collaborators, a transnational group of intelligence researchers, fully expect they will succeed in identifying a genetic basis for IQ. They also expect that within a decade their research will be used to screen embryos during in vitro fertilization, boosting the IQ of unborn children by up to 20 points.
The claim must be taken with salt, given the level of BS in cognitive science. However, IMHO it's likely the timetable, not the outcome, which may be wrong. And there is the potential for catastrophe: see Philip K. Dick's Our Friends from Frolix 8.

American religious kooks will not like this at all. They also won't like the opening of the Wired piece:
Zhao Bowen is late for a Satanic heavy metal concert.
(Satanic heavy metal...in Beijing? Really? This ain't your ancestors' Confucian austerity.)

The nation that invented go is putting down chips where they expect the future action to be. Success is not assured, but one wonders whether or if corresponding efforts are proceeding in the West---and whether there would be political pressure to the contrary (the Precautionary Principle in Europe and America, also the religious kooks in the US...talk about strange bedfellows).

Addendum 20130801. When Westerners sailed into Asia centuries ago, they found the locals entangled in religious and political systems that rendered them unable to resist the incursion. How the worm has turned.

July 15, 2013

Zimmerman Verdict

Rapper Lupe Fiasco suggests the black community take a hard look at the many cases of black-on-black violence. His tweet got more support than I expected. The forces of chaos are winning, but the forces of good are still around.

July 10, 2013

Make Valerie Magic Even More Magical!

Background here, here and here, for example.

A couple of suggestions, posted here as a public service.:

1. President Obama, direct America's Poet Laureate to compose an Ode to Valerie Jarrett to be read on prime time TV while video of Jarrett's slum properties is shown.

2. Have the words, or separately commissioned lyrics, set to music and sung, in prime time of course, by a diverse™ choir. Someone whose link I didn't save suggested that the tune be 'To Know Him Is To Love Him'. I suggest opening with that, then breaking into a gospel beat.

July 8, 2013

"Administrative Searches"...Using SWAT Teams

Radley Balko reports. The raids are misrepresented as administrative exercises so the police don't have to satisfy the criteria for a warrant.

Balko has a book out, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. It's not within my current budget but I hope it does well. I'd like to hope that people will pay attention.

However, I have a quibble about the title. Warriors fight people who can fight back. Warriors persevere under danger and adverse odds. Heavily armed people in battle armor who break into neighborhood poker games are not warriors. A mot juste escapes me; every phrase I can think of is, to put it very mildly indeed, highly indecorous. Addendum 20130711. Maybe it's not a mot juste, but goon is a word that comes to mind.

America's governance is no longer legitimate.

But we have to give law enforcement the tools it needs, right GOP? Democrats, what have you criminalized today?

Welcome to Another Episode of...Celebrity Urination!

Or defecation.

What else is left to do?

How brave. How transgressive. How challenging of preconceptions.

When they're flouncing around in bondage outfits---but don't call them sluts---(and Fifty Shades of Grey is a bestseller), what else is left to do? Get the American flag involved, I suppose.

NB: I acknowledge the right of consenting adults to do as they please in private. However, a society which tolerates this kind of behavior in public (or has to use the force of the State to forbid it) is in trouble. Decadence.

Addendum 20130710. Reading this, I acknowledge that celebrity masturbation might precede the above. Already sexual fondling can be seen in public.

July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday & Get Well Soon

My July 4th greeting for the country.

Addendum 20130708: From the Diplomad:
I always have loved the 4th of July. It is pure Americana. No other nation on earth traditionally has shown such joy in celebrating its creation. I have been to lots and lots of national day celebrations around the world. Most are at best joyless affairs, e.g., lift a glass to the monarch, and many involve a lot of whining, e.g., everything bad is the fault of the colonialists. Ours, however, was always an optimistic, happy event...

For the first time, I am having a hard time, very hard time, recapturing that air of optimism. Everywhere one looks, one sees the ravages of the semi-totalitarian ideology that has seized our ever-growing government...

Sexual Assaults in Egypt

From Mubarak's ouster until now, I have viewed Egyptian political turmoil with reserve.

While the Islamists were ascendant, there were at least three Western journalists sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square (I stopped reading the Google output at three): here (Lara Logan), here (Natasha Smith), and here (Sonia Dridi).

Another one
during the recent anti-Morsi protests. According to Human Rights Watch (via Drudge) and others, sexual assaults continue to be widespread. They are reasonably well organized wrt how the victim is isolated and her would-be rescuers fended off.

Who is responsible? Is it just Islamists or does a substantial minority of Egyptian males feel free to act this way?

July 1, 2013

Algeria...and Egypt?...and maybe Turkey?...Iran??

A few years ago, iirc, it was reported as inevitable that Islamists would take over Algeria via a combination of electoral success and insurrection. Yet the military prevailed.

The Algerian example had slipped my mind while I watched the goings-on in Egypt. I wish (sane, decent members of) the Egyptian people well.

I bet Erdogan is watching.

Some dominos are resisting the efforts to topple them.

As events unfold in Turkey and Egypt, what side is Obama on? What side was he on in Iran?

Afterthought: Include Hillary in those questions about Obama.