2013 July 29 Monday
Western Civilization Doomed By Dishonesty

By ignoring the most powerful variable in social science the New York Times, defender of secular liberal high church doctrine, tries to argue that geography has a big impact on one's ability to move up out of the lowest classes.

This reminds me of another New York Times piece, Life Is O.K., if You Went to College, which has a great graph showing the declining fortunes of the less bright. But of course the Gray Lady spin is that attending college, rather than being smart enough to attend college, is what makes the biggest difference. Nope. A 90 IQ person who attends college will come out still a 90 IQ person. A 150 IQ person denied the opportunity to go to college can easily self teach a wide range of subjects and pick up many skills.

Western civilization is doomed by dishonesty about human nature.

Your red pill reading recommendation for today: The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime by Adrian Raine. He's well versed on adoption studies and other studies that control for genetic and environmental influences on human behavior.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 29 10:13 PM 
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Young Women Love Their Weiner

Women who want to be taken care of by the rich and powerful also love that crazy sexting NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.

Sugar daddy dating website SeekingArrangement.com found that 78 percent of female clients aged 18-26 approve of Weiner.

Does Eliot Spitzer inspire this sort of adoration? My guess is that guys caught using prostitutes aren't as popular with women as guys who send messages on the internet containing pictures of their private parts.

How does Weiner love compare to bomber love? I'd like to know whether the women who love Dzhokhar Tsarnaev support Weiner for NYC mayor or are they too ignorant of politics to even know that Weiner is running for office.

A Christian woman helped Tamerlan Tsarnaev get buried in a Muslim cemetery.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 29 10:13 PM 
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2013 July 28 Sunday
I remember when the economy was different

I remember when it was accurate to refer to the lower class as the working class.

Most high school drop-outs under the age of 25 are not working.

Dropping out of high school can lead to several negative outcomes. For instance, among adults in the labor force, there is a higher percentage of unemployment among dropouts than among adults who have a high school credential (U.S. Department of Labor 2011). In 2009, about 383,000 youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 dropped out of high school during the previous 12 months. Of these dropouts, about 48 percent (or 186,000) were in the civilian labor force, meaning exclusive of the military, while 52 percent (or 198,000) were not. Among the dropouts in the civilian labor force in 2009, about 55 percent were unemployed.

The labor force participation rate decline for black high school drop-outs has been especially severe. Barack Obama favors an immigration policy that will further worsen the prospects of the black lower classes. But his immigration policy will increase the number of Democrat voters. Hence the appeal.

For decades the overall labor force participation rate rose as more women entered the work force. But now it has reversed all the way back to 1979 labor force participation rate.

The New York Times reports: Obama Says Income Gap Is Fraying U.S. Social Fabric. And get Barack Obama favors an immigration bill that will make the gap between the bottom and the top much larger by swelling the size of the lower classes. His favored immigration policy will further lower the labor force participation rate. He and the elites favor an immigration policy which will further worsen the already dim prospects for advancement of the lower classes.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 28 11:27 PM 
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The Higher Education Bubble Begins To Burst

Check out this New York Times article on the beginning of the bursting of the higher education bubble. In the 2012-2013 school year enrollment in for-profit and community colleges dropped. Now enrollment in 4 year non-profit colleges has begun dropping too. A Wall Street Journal article makes similar points.

Some colleges will close. Others will shrink. The prestige racket will claim fewer victims.

The number of kids turning 18 has begun to contract. But an even bigger transformation is starting to take shape: the shift toward online learning.

I expect to a substantial shift toward online learning in order to save costs, speed up education, and get far greater convenience. Why go through college in 4+ years starting at age 18? A self-starting high school student can start earning college credits while in high school and during summer between high school school years. Then upon high school graduation they can shift to full time 12 month per year study and get a degree 2 years sooner at far lower cost.

The rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs) will let most students watch higher quality lectures than they can watch at which ever university they attend. The very best lecturers will reach tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of students rather than just dozens or a few hundred students. This ability to watch the best is one of the greatest aspects of online education.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 28 10:11 PM 
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New Study On IQ And National Per Capita Income

German social scientist Heiner Rindermann boldly goes where Tatu Vanhanen and Richard Lynn have gone before: Yet another study of the relationship between IQ and national per capita income.

It’s not just how free the market is. Some economists are looking at another factor that determines how much a country’s economy flourishes: how smart its people are. For a study published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, researchers analyzed test scores from 90 countries and found that the intelligence of the people, particularly the smartest 5 percent, made a big contribution to the strength of their economies.

Yes, smart people are crucial to the success of an economy. Worse yet for the vast majority of non-smart people: the economic value of non-smart people is dropping because it is much easier to automate the work of the non-smart than the work of the smart.

Human capital: all the qualities of the people who make up the work force.

In the last 50 years or so, economists have started taking an interest in the value of human capital. That means all of the qualities of the people who make up the workforce. Heiner Rindermann, of the Chemnitz University of Technology, wanted to look more closely at human capital, and particularly the factor that psychologists call cognitive ability. “In other words, it’s the ability of a person to solve a problem in the most efficient way—not with violence, but by thinking,” Rindermann says. He wrote the new study with James Thompson of University College London.

One can understand the appeal of studying whole countries because economic statistics get aggregated at the country level. So the research is easier to do at that level. But that makes for greatly different sizes of aggregated groups and sizes which are too large to look for the effects of large regional variations of wealth as seen in Italy (click thru and see the map) and the United States.

Even within individual American states the variations in wealth between counties is enormous. For example, the wealthiest county in California (Marin) has 3.2 times the per capita income of the poorest (Imperial). California has 9 counties with a per capita income under $20,000. Given that government aid is a substantial fraction of income among the poor the real earned differences in income are actually much larger.

Their reported effect from higher IQ seems too small. Compare with smart fraction theory and smart fraction theory II numbers. Surely a 10 point rise in average IQ is going boost per capita GDP by much more than $2290.

They found that intelligence made a difference in gross domestic product. For each one-point increase in a country’s average IQ, the per capita GDP was $229 higher. It made an even bigger difference if the smartest 5 percent of the population got smarter; for every additional IQ point in that group, a country’s per capita GDP was $468 higher.

One problem with this sort of study: How to control for confounding variables. For example, countries that spent a long time under communist rule are playing catch-up and their per capita incomes lower the measured benefit from higher IQ. The Hungarians, Poles, Czechs, and other Eastern Europeans did not choose communism. They just got run over by invading armies. Also, countries with high natural resources but lower IQ levels have higher per capita incomes due to their natural resources.

Another problem: selection among the existing IQ studies. Which ones used good methodologies for getting representative samples? Which had a sufficient number of study subjects and at good ages? IQ measured in 4 year olds has higher error rates than when measured in 25 year olds for example. One would need to be a specialist in the field to judge the quality of this latest study.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 28 10:08 PM 
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Blue Pills And Red Pills

Mencius Moldbug makes a point which I think has wider implications.

You can go, for example, to any bookstore, and ask the guy behind the counter for some Noam Chomsky. What you'll get is blue pills soaked in Red #3.

Yes, Chomsky sounds like he is rejecting the illusion manufactured by the people who delude themselves and then delude us. But he's not replacing it with reality.

But there is a deeper lesson: It is hard to identify real legitimate Red Pills. Lots of people rhetorically rebel against The Powers That Be. But this rebellion doesn't put the vast majority of them any closer to the road to real reality. People switch from blue pills to purple pills, yellow pills, green pills, and red-coated blue pills. But few make it all the way to red pills.

The tremendous amount of propaganda shoveled at us makes it necessary to take high quality red pill treatments.

I would also like to draw you to a Spengler article whose title really probably makes reading the actual article unnecessary: "The Russians think we're wrecking the world on purpose". Which leads to a similar comment about America's billionaires and liberals: some conservatives think those two groups are wrecking America on purpose.

Humans evolved. Their minds are full of so many flawed subconscious short-cut heuristics and instincts (notably for higher status at the expense of rival groups) that massively damaging widely embraced mistakes are par for the course.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 28 09:20 PM 
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2013 July 27 Saturday
The Gray Lady's Faith In Government Social Programs

Eduardo Porter of the New York Times nicely encapsulates the American left-liberal world view when he finds an inconsistency between conservative support for larger families and conservative opposition to taxpayer subsidies for poor families.

But there is an odd inconsistency in conservatives’ stance on procreation: many also support some of the harshest cuts in memory to government benefit programs for families and children.

The liberal mind in a nutshell: if you are for something and you are not for government support of something then you are being inconsistent. They can not imagine another way of looking at it. They can't imagine private sphere activities independent of government policy. They can't imagine (or, rather, do not want to imagine) downsides of government intervention.

Porter likens government spending programs to investments. He has not seriously looked at the ROI from different levels of spending controlled for IQ of the kids. The US government has little impact on how children turn out once born.

And the 2014 budget passed by Republicans in the House cuts investments in children further

The biggest effect of government social programs for single mothers is to increase the number of low IQ women who have inevitably lower IQ kids. But Porter is spinning about investment.

Unless America's Left come to their senses and accept reality some bad trends are going to keep playing out. Even if the Left came to their senses and decided they wanted to play hard ball with the lower classes it would take a few decades for harsh love policies to play out and make reproduction more responsible. I think offspring genetic engineering will come to the rescue before the Left become realists about human nature.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 27 12:34 PM 
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2013 July 22 Monday
Tea Party Tax Applications Sent To Top Of IRS

The Obama Administration lied when it claimed the IRS Cincinnati office was a rogue office being unfair to Tea Party organizations at their own local discretion.

Now comes Mr. Hull's testimony. And like Ms. Hofacre, he pointed his finger upward. Mr. Hull—a 48-year IRS veteran and an expert on tax exemption law—told investigators that tea-party applications under his review were sent upstairs within the Washington office, at the direction of Lois Lerner.

The Obama appointees Lois Lerner and William Wilkins did the blocking of Tea Party applications. This so reminds me of Watergate where the scandal gradually reached higher and higher in the Nixon Administration.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 22 09:38 PM 
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Al Qaeda Franchises Growing

Al Qaeda, a growth industry.

“There has been a net expansion in the number and geographic scope of Al Qaeda affiliates and allies over the past decade, indicating that Al Qaeda and its brand are far from defeated,” argues Seth Jones, an analyst at the RAND Corporation and the study’s author.

The Sunni warriors are stoked about fighting the United States, American allies, and Shiites. In Iraq, the US military's old stomping ground, the Sunni Al Qaeda is getting the band back together with a massive jail break from Abu Ghraib prison. Meanwhile, Pakistani Taliban fighters are headed to Syria to fight for Sunni control.

Under Obama the US war against Islamic warriors has continued to expand using technology. A Washington Post story outlines the continued expansion of US drone flights against Muslim holy warriors in Africa and the Middle East: U.S. military drone surveillance is expanding to hot spots beyond declared combat zones. The US is even doing logistics and drone surveillance for the French in Mali.

What has this done for the security of American citizens? Mostly served as a constant reminder for Jihadists why they want to kill Americans. With Al Qaeda growing the US ought to work to keep the people who hate us way over there rather than Massachusetts or Texas.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 22 09:16 PM 
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2013 July 18 Thursday
Everybody Agrees Great Teachers Are Key?

Yet another manifestation of the Blank Slate ideology: The conventional wisdom is wrong.

Everybody agrees: a great teacher is the difference between success and failure, for a school, a class, and a student.

I've begun reading newspapers looking for manifestations of our era's mythologies. This story about great teachers serves as an example of the romanticized humanity genre. In this case great teacher are imagined to have magical powers to give children innate abilities that they lack as an accident of birth.

Some people really want to believe the myth of super high potential in everyone just waiting to be unlocked by a super environment. Believers embrace the story that dumb people have high potential which remains blocked for want of a great teacher or because of oppressive environment. In reality only a very small fraction of children have the spatial reasoning ability needed to excel in STEM subjects. It is possible to identify most of them when they are 13 years old. In reality no teacher has the magic power to boost innate ability. Therefore no teacher can transform the vast majority of children into great scientists, engineers, inventors, and business leaders.

Reality: Students need physical safety and quiet classrooms with the worst students removed from the rooms with well-behaved students. Students need books. Students need okay teachers. Given an okay environment for learning the biggest determinants of a student's success are innate talents and innate drives.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 18 09:24 PM 
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2013 July 17 Wednesday
Why Didn't Anyone Tell Egypt That Stability Is The Ticket?

The Voice Of America, which is now finally allowed to distribute propaganda on US domestic cable channels just like PBS, has an important report about the sagacious wisdom of US Secretary of State John Kerry. John Kerry seeks to tell the Egyptian military something they haven't already thought of.

AMMAN, JORDAN — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Egypt's new interim leaders need to restore stability following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.

Picture a room full of Egyptian generals smacking themselves upside the head: Oh right, stability. We forgot! Our bad. But wait, not really our fault. Morsi was in charge he probably forgot too. Gotta be more careful. One minor oversight and, bam, the whole country is falling apart with battles in the streets. Governing sure is hard. Our deep thanks to the American Secretary of State for cluing us in. Stability, that's the ticket. But couldn't he have told us sooner? Sir, please tell us sooner next time. Please?

I can haz stability!

More wisdom: It is not a coup. What a relief. That was a close call. Or if it is a coup, well, it takes time to think about it (months, maybe years) to collect all the evidence and perhaps even develop a computer model to process all that information. Who said what to whom? Did Morsi just need a rest from being a dutiful public servant? Hey, the military handed the country off to a court judge. That doesn't seem like a coup to me.

He told Arab League foreign ministers in Jordan that the Obama administration is not rushing to declare this a coup, an important legal distinction that would affect U.S. aid to Egypt.

Just mozying along taking our time. Aw shucks.

When the US government has sufficient motive to lie it lies (and the motives to bribe the Egyptian military elite to make nice with Israel are very strong among American elites). Just like the American press.

Getting back to Voice of America and The Cathedral: Birds of a feather recognize each other. Love this Foreign Policy (deep cathedral) article title by Rosa Brooks: The Case for American Propaganda: Complain all you want. But Uncle Sam produces better journalism than most of you yahoos. This you get from a graduate of Harvard, Oxford, and Yale.

I rarely read political speeches because I hate to watch people who are lying to me.. Plus, I do not watch them on TV because, oops, I seem to have thrown out the TV last time I moved. Even before then I accidentally cut the cable TV cable (it is not for nothing that they call it cable) one day out cutting the shrubbery. I took that as a sign. So I kicked the boob tube and this has helped me deprogram. Not watching TV is like not taking the blue pill every day.

Political speeches: Why subject yourself to propaganda? That includes TV shows. They culturally program you. Why subject yourself? Break free.

So what is my point? We have a very great need to get inoculated against and deprogrammed from propaganda. We also have a need for techniques that will let us extract useful information out of the press with filters for propaganda. The propaganda is so relentless that we run the risk of developing false beliefs out of weariness. We do not have the time to pick apart every single piece of spin in written work and the job is even harder when watching TV.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 17 10:15 PM 
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2013 July 15 Monday
Egyptian Liberals Recognize They Need Military Protection

Check out this NY Times article: Egyptian Liberals Embrace the Military, Brooking No Dissent. Some liberals in Egypt sound like American liberals who do not want to give up on their myth of liberal universalism.

Many on the left are still locked in a battle of semantics, trying to persuade the world — and perhaps one another — that the overthrow of Mr. Morsi was not a “coup” but a “revolution.” The army merely carried out the popular will, they insist. On Sunday, one private satellite network in Egypt was running commercials of citizen testimonials proclaiming as much.

One does not need to believe in a supernatural religion in order to embrace a faith and act in concert against heretics. Read the article for examples of Egyptian liberal enforcement of doctrine against doubters. It is a hoot. In the last election the Muslim Brotherhood won almost half the vote while Nour (even more religious fundamentalist) won 25%. Given that Copts are 10% of the poopulation that leaves about maybe 15% as the number of liberals who are nominally Muslims but not keen on religious rule.

Democracy in the Middle East unleashes the forces of Muslim religious oppression. The more secular Egyptians have found this out the hard way.

Also in the Gray Lady: Egypt Shows How Political Islam Is at Odds With Democracy by Youssef Rakha. I see a problem with the Op-Ed title: Political Islam is redundant. Also, the (false) implication is that democracy equals liberal democracy. Er, no.

Most liberals in America can not imagine America's population changing so much that it will cease to support freedom and non-corrupt government and rule of law. They are being very foolish.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 15 10:02 PM 
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2013 July 13 Saturday
The Huge Euro Ruling Class Economic Failure

Portugal sovereign debt interest rates are up at an unsustainable level. The Portuguese government will be bankrupted by high interest rates as old debts mature and they have to issue new debt.

Yields on 10-year Portuguese bonds jumped more than 100 basis points to 7.85pc in a day of turmoil, kicked off by a government request to delay the next review of the country’s EU-IMF Troika bail-out until August.

Europe's economies can not grow themselves out of debt. They are trapped. More sovereign debt defaults seem likely. Portugal's economy will shrink 2.4% this year and will shrink next year too. If Portugal defaults the contraction will go even faster.

Long term economic conditions look far worse. Portugal's population is going to shrink 10% by 2030 and the labor force will shrink even faster as the ranks of retirees grows. The government will be forced to raise retirement ages.

Western Europe is in deep financial trouble. America's troubles are not yet as developed. But our fundamentals are bad too. Aging Japan, in much more sovereign debt, is in even more dire straits.

Democracy can not function without a growing economy to supply more production that that elected officials can take to buy off voting and lobbying interest blocks. Democracy can not function without a smart and young population. The demographic fundamentals are working against healthy democracy.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 13 09:41 PM 
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French Les Antigones Women Object To Femen

I love to hear French women speak, especially the feminine ones who are thoughtful. A group of French women object to the Femen naked shock protest group.

Antigones.

If we are to believe this post and supporting links, Femen is funded by George Soros and it desecrates and attacks Christian churches but not synagogues or mosques. Some sites claim that some Femen women are prostitutes and they point to tattoos of women on prostitution sites and at Femen demonstrations. Yet Femen was founded in Kiev Ukraine and opposes prostitution in Ukraine. A group of Polish prostitutes founded a group opposed to Femen.

I do not know what to make of Femen. Why stage protests in churches in highly secular societies which have low church attendance? Why insult people whose support you might seek? I find the Les Antigones women much more appealing in tone and values.

My guess: In the long run Les Antigones women will make more babies than Femen women. The selective pressure will produce a pleasant result.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 13 08:59 AM 
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2013 July 09 Tuesday
Americans Get Their News From TV

To maintain a free society we need well informed and thoughtful citizens possessed of much virtue. TV couch potatoes are not good citizens. Most Americans are TV couch potatoes. Even 47% of college grads report TV as their main source of news.

PRINCETON, NJ -- Television is the main place Americans say they turn to for news about current events (55%), leading the Internet, at 21%. Nine percent say newspapers or other print publications are their main news source, followed by radio, at 6%.

Why do those with postgraduate education report more use of print news than internet news?

Old folks shift heavily toward TV news. I suspect their concentration has deteriorated to the point where they find reading too taxing.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 09 10:18 PM 
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Dysfunctional Pakistan Made Safe Haven For Osama Bin Laden

Why population differences matter:

Evidence of everyday corruption or simple dereliction of duty piles up in page after page of the report, including military and civilian officials who failed to flag the countless violations on how bin Laden’s property was acquired using falsified identification papers, breaches of the building code, and the lack of tax payments and building inspections. The police in Abbottabad reportedly also didn’t investigate a shooting incident on the property in 2010 or the residents’ secluded lifestyle. Intelligence agencies didn’t pay much attention to Abbottabad even though Umar Patek – wanted for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings – was arrested in that town.

One can think of a variety of possible explanations for why Pakistan's government performs so poorly in so many ways. But one thing should be kept firmly in mind: governments are not completely separate from the people they govern. Given a different population with different amounts of talents, virtues, values, and motivations the government be very different. A populace strongly motivated to stop corruption makes governments less corrupt. A populace strongly dedicated to impartial rule of law will make a government more even handed.

Most of the world is corrupt. Therefore most of the peoples of the world are not strongly motivated to stop corruption. Most of the peoples of the world lack sufficient virtue to make good citizens.

The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 is a survey of 114,000 people in 107 countries and it shows corruption is widespread. 27 per cent of respondents have paid a bribe when accessing public services and institutions in the last 12 months, revealing no improvement from previous surveys.

I am reminded of the very damaging idea called multiculturalism which many leftists embrace. They would have us believe that inferior cultures are not inferior. Nonsense. Thomas Sowell takes a more reasonable approach when he argues a great culture borrows the best from other cultures and becomes even better in the process.

Yet the borrowing of particular features from other cultures — such as replacing Roman numerals with Arabic numerals, even in Western cultures that derived from Rome — implies that some features are not simply different but better. Some of the most advanced cultures in history have borrowed from other cultures, because no given collection of human beings has created the best answers to all the questions of life.

In other cultures people embrace the worst parts of their cultures and do not borrow better aspects of other cultures.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 09 10:10 PM 
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2013 July 08 Monday
In Brazil Homicidal Referee Beheaded By Spectators

Headline says it all: Brazilian referee beheaded by spectators after he fatally stabs player

Is racial segregation is increasing in Brazil? I ask because the racial divide in murder rates is widening in Brazil with murder rates for blacks rising while murder rates for whites are declining. Are they living more separated lives?

However the the 15.5 per 100,000 murder rate for Brazilian whites (way too dangerous for my taste) is still about 3 times higher than the overall US murder rate. Brazil's overall murder rate of 22.7 per 100,000 is over 4 times the US murder rate. Brazil's murder rate is over 10 times higher than many northern US states that have very low murder rates. Iowa at 1.3, Minnesota at 1.8, North Dakota at 1.5, New Hampshire at 1.0, Vermont at 1.1, and Maine at 1.8 show how safe a society can be.

National level murder rates hide enormous variations within nations, especially within larger nations. Does Brazil have any safe areas?

Update: From The Sun: Rapper is shot on stage in front of 3,000 fans in Brazil.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 08 10:17 PM 
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2013 July 06 Saturday
Canadian Soldiers Suffer Mental Illnesses From Afghanistan

Mental illnesses in soldiers are costs of globalization, immigration, and empire. Even Canada pays these costs.

An important minority — 13.5% — of Canadian Forces personnel who served in support of the Afghanistan mission in 2001–08 have been found to have a mental health disorder related to their deployment, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Since 2001, more than 40 000 Canadian Forces personnel have been deployed in support of the Afghanistan mission. Although studies from other countries have shown mental health problems in personnel returning from missions in Southwest Asia, there are important differences between nations in areas such as military culture, experiences during deployment, and delivery of mental health service.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the biggest problem.

Of the study population, which consisted mainly of men under age 40 in the Regular Forces, 13.5% were found to have a mental disorder (over a median follow-up of 1364 days) related to their Afghanistan deployment. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the most common mental disorder, found in 8% of personnel deployed in support of the Afghanistan mission, followed by depression in 6.3%. About 23% of those with depressive disorders were also suffering from PTSD. An additional 5.5% had a mental disorder judged to be unrelated to their Afghanistan deployment.

The researchers used soldiers deployed elsewhere as controls. Kandahar is especially harmful.

Locations within Afghanistan were associated with variable levels of mental disorders, with more dangerous locations resulting in higher risk of mental disorders.

"Deployment to Kandahar was associated with a particularly increased risk: it was almost 6 times the risk associated with deployment to the United Arab Emirates or Arabian Gulf and 2 times the risk associated with deployment to multiple locations or Kabul," writes Mr. David Boulos with Dr. Mark Zamorski, Directorate of Mental Health, Canadian Forces Health Services Group Headquarters, Ottawa.

America faces much larger war costs from Iraq and Afghanistan because hundreds of thousands of US soldiers have suffered brain damage from improvised explosive devices. The US military involvement comes with a very large negative ROI which will cost us for decades to come.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 06 08:59 PM 
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2013 July 05 Friday
How Different Societies Invalidate Will Of Majority

Great tweet by Pax Dickinson:

Is revolution morally legitimate? Coup? Depends on where your interests lie.

Some California ballot propositions go unenforced and others get overturned by judges. Just about all those propositions are on issues where the elites are in deep disagreement with the masses.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 05 07:50 PM 
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2013 July 04 Thursday
Guy Who Had Sex With High School Teacher Not Scarred

Teacher Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst of Redlands California was initiating teenage boy students into the world of sexual pleasure. Now that she's been caught another guy has come forward to brag and he probably doesn't care he's getting her into deeper legal trouble. 'I didn't feel like a victim; I'm not scarred for life or anything.'

'When it happens, you're kind of like, all right, this is pretty badass,' he said. 'You know, my teacher is into me. I was 17 and I was having a good time is what it was.

So why is he talking?

Do most teachers who have sex with students get away with it?

By Randall Parker 2013 July 04 09:17 PM 
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Individual Instruction Helps Small Percentage Of Kids To Read

A press release on research into reading instruction for first to third graders demonstrates a recurring pattern of not paying attention to the largest factor determining educational outcome: IQ.

Students who consistently receive individualized reading instruction from first through third grade become better readers than those who don’t, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

These findings come after a three-year study that followed several hundred Floridian students, who received varying amounts of individualized instruction, from first to third grade.

Carol McDonald Connor states a partial truth and, in the process, misleads.

“Our results show that children need sustained, effective instruction from first through third grade if they are going to become proficient readers,” said psychological scientist Carol McDonald Connor of Arizona State University, who led the research team.

Speaking for a sample of one, me: I was taught phonetics in first grade. Then I became an instant reading addict and developed my reading vocabulary almost entirely on my own. I did not need special individualized instruction. I would guess above some IQ threshold this is true.

Pay close attention: 78 percent of the kids achieved reading proficiency even without 3 years of individualized student instruction (ISI). What is different about those kids in the 78%? I bet their IQs are higher on average than the 16% who became proficient with personal instruction. I also bet the 16% who moved up to proficiency with ISI are smarter on average than the 6% who still did not gain reading proficiency even with more intense instruction.

“Another way to think about this is that 94 percent of the students in ISI classrooms from first through third grade were reading proficiently, compared to only 78 percent of the children who didn’t participate all three years,” said Connor.

What useful research would look like: have control and experiment sets of kids all given IQ tests a few times starting at first grade. Try different teaching methods on the experimental set of kids and find out at what IQ threshold individualized instruction is a waste.

I bet the boost in reading proficiency from individualized instruction has little impact on long term rates of reading. A small fraction of the population does most of the reading. I'd like to see IQ test results compared to reading rates by age.

To make schools better for the kids who will end up doing most of the reading I would give smart kids books and a dictionary. That will speed their development more than individualized instruction.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 04 07:56 PM 
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2013 July 02 Tuesday
Washington Post Double Quotes Amnesty

The Washington Post puts double quotes around amnesty. But an important lesson: The most important thing you can do to stop amnesty: write to a House member and tell them you'll vote for their primary challenger if they vote for amnesty.

So for about 200 of the House’s Republicans, a primary challenge by conservatives angry over “amnesty” is probably a more realistic threat than defeat at the hands of angry Hispanic voters, or even angry Democrats. “Our guys actually do primary over immigration,” a top House Republican aide who wants to get immigration done told me.

So the press is against us and our reps are only scared of us if we can toss them out in a primary.

Anyone thinking about emigration? If so, to where?

By Randall Parker 2013 July 02 10:28 PM 
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Why Did Federal Reserve Reduce Bank Lending Incentives?

The Fed pumped up the money supply via quantitative easing (QE - the large scale purchase of bonds) . But at the same time it started paying interest to commercial banks on excess reserves deposited at the Fed. This cut the incentives of commercial banks to lend. Why? Martin Feldstein (a very major economist) pinpoints that Fed policy change as the reason why QE did not cause massive inflation. Read this and try to figure out the Fed's motivations.

The stock of money that relates most closely to inflation consists primarily of the deposits that businesses and households have at commercial banks. Traditionally, greater amounts of Fed bond buying have led to faster growth of this money stock. But a fundamental change in the Fed’s rules in 2008 broke the link between its bond buying and the subsequent size of the money stock. As a result, the Fed has bought a massive amount of bonds without causing the stock of money – and thus the rate of inflation – to rise.

Is QE just a scheme to increase bank profits? What game is the Fed paying and which elite interests is it serving?

What are America's elites doing aside from enriching themselves? What is their game plan? Is the Fed just trying to prevent the banks from collapsing? Or is the Fed serving the super wealthy?

By Randall Parker 2013 July 02 09:55 PM 
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2013 July 01 Monday
Christians Getting Shafted In Syria

While Christians were getting purged from Iraq Christian George W. Bush made no effort to help them. In fact, his invasion of Iraq was what sealed their fate. Now it is Obama's turn to line up with the majority Muslim group and let it purge Christians. Where will Syria's 2 million Christians go?

As in Iraq, Syria’s two-million-strong Christian community, the largest next to Egypt’s Copts in the entire region, is being devastated. Targeted by jihadist militias, they are steadily fleeing Syria, and whether they will be able to return to their ancient homeland is doubtful.

The Coptic Christians in Iraq, the Syrian Christians, and the Iraqi Christians need their own country. In a previous era Western powers would have taken their side. Now Western powers take the side of democratic theocracy of Islamists. This is done in the name of freedom. But of course democracy in the Middle East unleashes the forces of Muslim religious oppression.

By Randall Parker 2013 July 01 10:35 PM 
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