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Arabian gold

Did you know that they mine gold in Saudi Arabia?  I didn't but I should have.  There are over 400 mentions of gold in the Bible so it had to come from somewhere. And Arabia is right next door. But as far as I can find the only mention of gold's origin is in Genesis 2:

"And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compaseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold".

Archaeologists have recently identified where the ancient river Pishon flowed.  And it is roughly in the middle of Arabia.



A few excerpts about modern gold mining in Saudi Arabia:

State-controlled mining firm Saudi Ma'aden plans to develop the Mansourah, Massarah gold mine, industry sources told Reuters.

Ma'aden operates six gold mines in the Central Arabian Gold Region, western Saudi Arabia which contains much of the Kingdom's gold rich ore deposits. It has recently started operating the Ad Duwayhi gold mine.

Saudi Arabia's efforts to build an economy that does not rely on oil and state subsidies involves a shift towards mining vast untapped reserves of bauxite, the main source of aluminium, as well as phosphate, gold, copper and uranium.

SOURCE
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'The sensible centre is the place to be': Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims the Liberal party is NOT conservative and never has been

Turnbull is certainly speaking of himself when he says that the Liberals are centrist. And it may be that his centrism has given him surprising success at getting his legislation through a fractious Senate. He has enacted most of his initial agenda, notably the building industry watchdog.

He also quotes Menzies accurately but overlooks that what Menzies described as liberalism is conservative today.  The Left have drifted into a hate-filled Marxist party that no longer gives any real respect to liberalism as Menzies saw it.  They support the thuggish building unions, for instance, whereas Menzies emphatically believed in individual liberty and the rule of law.  I quote:

"We are told today that the parliamentary system is antiquated, that it is slow, inefficient, illogical, emotional. In the presence of each charge, it may admit to some degree of guilt. But with all its faults, it retains a great virtue, alas! in these days, a rare virtue. Its virtue is that it is the one system yet devised which ensures the liberty of the subject by promoting the rule of law which subjects themselves make, and to which everyone, Prime Minister or tramp, must render allegiance. We British people still believe that men are born free, and that the function of government is to limit that freedom only by the consent of the governed."

It is Mr Abbott who is the chief defender of individual liberty in Australia today


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made the sensational claim the Liberal party was not a conservative party, and never has been.

Speaking in London on Monday, Mr Turnbull said the Liberal party was moulded by former Australian prime minister Robert Menzies, who 'went to great pains not to call his new centre-right party a conservative party'.

'The sensible centre was the place to be. It remains the place to be,' Mr Turnbull said, according to The Australian.

'In 1944 Menzies described our party as the Liberal party, which he firmly anchored in the centre of Australian politics. 'He wanted to stand apart from the big money, business establishment politics of traditional conservative parties, as well as from the socialist tradition of the labour movement embodied in the Australian Labor Party.'

The Liberal party has been embroiled in scandal in recent months amid rising tensions between conservative and moderate ministers.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott said last week he would 'continue' to stand up for conservative voters. 'There is, it's no secret at the moment, a bit of division inside the ranks of those who have regarded themselves as Liberals,' he said.

'I've made the judgement that at least for the moment, and obviously there's a limit to how far this can continue... it's important for someone to stand up for those Liberals feeling a bit let down and disenfranchised.'

Mr Abbot feared the conservative members would leave the Liberals to join a different party - due to the growing moderate voice led by Mr Turnbull.

Mr Abbott was slammed by South Australian senator Nick Xenophon for criticising his own government. 'I think Tony Abbott's being a huge pain in the a*** right now,' he said. 'I need to use the sort of cut through language that Tony Abbott is renowned for.'

His comment was in response to Mr Abbott's criticism of the federal government's May Budget.

SOURCE

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PETA CREDLIN: The problem with our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull

Peta is pretty right below but she is basically asking Turnbull to be what he is not.  He has no enthusiasm for conservative policies but for his own reasons supports many of them.  His status as a rich businessman may have something to do with his support for conservative policies.

And he is arguably the right man in the right place at the moment. He has had quite a lot of success in getting his legislation through a very difficult Senate and his centrism might have been the key to that.  If he had been more doctrinaire, he might have met more resistance.

Peta clearly wants him to be more like her old mate Tony Abbott but Abbott did get the boot so is that a good model?


IT was his problem when he was the Liberal leader last time, and it’s still his problem now; Malcolm Turnbull has no political judgment.

Rather than use the one-year anniversary of his election win as a chance to lay out a new agenda and give voters a sorely-needed sense of direction, the Prime Minister used a speech to a UK think tank to deepen Liberal Party divisions, and remind ordinary people that this is all about him, not them.

Right now, the Liberal Party needs leadership. The government has not won a Newspoll since it scraped home with a one-seat majority (Mr Turnbull’s own test not ours) and the base is splintering.

It was like this last time when he tried to force an ETS through the party room with his unforgettable words: “I will not lead a political party that’s not as committed to effective action on climate change as I am,” and he’s doing it again.

There’s a breakaway movement by Cory Bernardi that’s increasing membership each week and I know he’s being asked to speak at events around the country that once would have been the mainstay of Liberals.

And of course there’s One Nation that’s become a powerful vote of protest and only growing stronger because of a failure of Liberal leadership to address the issues it articulates on behalf of disillusioned voters.

But rather than unite, the Prime Minister chose to divide. It was poor judgment when there was actually much to support in his speech but trying to pick a fight with conservatives was dumb in the extreme.

It shows an abject lack of commonsense to poke the bear at a time when the current divisions were kicked off by the impudent gloating of his factional lieutenant Christopher Pyne.

When Pyne spoke of the “winner’s circle” he made it very clear that the party’s left-wing Liberals view today’s political fight as a battle for control of the party rather than a battle of ideas to win over disillusioned voters who are leaving the Coalition in droves. And losing 15 straight Newspolls is hardly “winning”.

Did Turnbull hope to get a rise out of conservatives by declaring the fact Sir Robert Menzies chose to name his new party, the Liberal Party of Australia, as evidence it was not conservative? If so, he was naive and a poor student of party history. The Liberal Party is a proud exponent of both the classical liberal and conservative traditions and an assessment of policies over time makes this clear.

It has only governed successfully when both these strands of Centre-Right philosophy have a seat at the table. But Menzies himself knew a shift to the left was always dangerous for a party built on the individual freedoms, the aspirational ordinary person and sound economic management.

As he wrote in a letter to his daughter, Heather, in 1974 that she recently published, he said: “The main trouble in my state is that we have the State Executive of the Liberal party, which is dominated by what they now call ‘Liberals with a small l’ — that is to say, Liberals who believe in nothing, but who still believe in anything if they think it worth a few votes.

The whole thing is tragic… Why should I, at my age, have to be worrying myself about what is happening to the party which I created, a party which had principles to which I most firmly adhere, principles which have now been completely abandoned by what they call ‘little l’ Liberals.”

For most Australians, a debate about philosophy inside the Liberals is an esoteric own-goal.

Instead, the Prime Minister would have been wiser to spend the one-year anniversary of his one-seat win outlining his agenda — and he should have delivered this message in marginal seats, backed up by a mini-campaign push from ministers.

The electorate is desperate to see leadership from the man that’s always shown promise but never really delivered.

SOURCE

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"Daddy's girl" in the era of Trump

Those who have been involved in it know it well enough but there is very little said either in the popular press or in the academic journals about the "Daddy's girl" phenomenon.  So I think I need to give a brief outline of it.

What happens is that an unknown but probably substantial proportion of fathers absolutely adore their little daughters.  And they express that in every way, including spoiling the little girl rotten.  And the little girl laps it up of course.  The two become bound in a bond of mutual love.  It is in my mind the most beautiful human relationship there is.

So to take an example:  The father comes home from work and as soon as he steps in the door the little girl runs to him with open arms.  He snatches her up, gives her a close cuddle and then carries her further into the house where a mother sees two faces with big smiles on them.  Since she loves those two persons she too smiles with pleassure.  It is a happy homecoming.

I am sure that Leftists will deplore that example as "heteronormative", or whatever their latest neologistic jargon is, but they are the losers if they have never been part of that. It happens.

I also see fathers and little daughters coming into my favorite coffee shop.  The daughter will cling to the father as both of them order and will then wind herself around the proud and happy dad when they sit down.  You have to see it.

Having been part of such a relationship gives the girl confidence in her desirability and that is usually a long-term effect. It permanently gives the girl self-confidence and repose for all the rest of her life. And even after she has married and herself become a mother, she will at some times of stress go home to see "Dad".  And when she sees his eyes light up as she enters the room, calm and reassurance will come over her.  It may not solve her problems but gives her strength to bear them.

I was once talking to a mother who said that when her daughter's father came home, there was no-one else in the room for the girl but her father.  She just ran to him on sight.  I was concerned that the mother might be a bit put out by that so I said to her that the girl was lucky as that "Daddy's girl" relationship would give her strength and confidence for the rest of her life.  The mother replied serenely:  "Yes. I know.  I was one too".

To my regret, I never had a daughter but I was very close to a beautiful step-daughter so I have some personal feeling for what that is all about.

Where does the mother fit in?  Some may ask.  I am afraid that it does make the mother the usual disciplinarian but the father can be a backup.  If he told his little daughter that something "would make Daddy sad", that would be powerful.

So that brings us to the Trumps.  To anyone aware of the phenomenon, Donald and Ivanka have an outstandingly strong "Daddy's girl" relationship.  They dote on one another and wherever Donald is, Ivanka is usually no more than yards away, if that.  They are as close to inseparable as they can reasonably be.



For me the picture below encapsulates best the relationship between the two. They were (of course) together at the big G20 meeting but the personal was not for a moment forgotten.  A comforting hand is on Ivanka's shoulder saying "I am here".  And she looks on with a relaxed smile at what is before her. (And what WAS the Japanese Prime Minister thinking?)



I think that loving relationship is thoroughly admirable And tells you much about Donald Trump.  Had Obama had such a relationship, he would have been praised to the high heavens for it.  But with Donald Trump it is totally ignored.  I hope I am not the last to congratulate Donald on his outstandingly loving relationship with his daughter.

There has of course been much foul speculation about Ivanka and Donald as seen in the picture below when she was 15 years old.  But it is just the girl being loving towards her Dad.  Close physical contact is normal in that context.



There were events in my relationship with my stepdaughter that would have looked most alarming to an outsider looking in but everything was in fact completely innocent and known to be such by all the family.

The happy, poised and self-confident lady we see in Ivanka today is clearly NOT the victim of sexual abuse.



And I think the picture below shows how good they are for one-another.  She is happy and he is relaxed as they walk along. It's a beautiful relationship.



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The glacier that didn't bark

I am of course alluding to the dog in "The Silver Blaze", a Sherlock Holmes story.  Sometimes it can be significant and surprising when something does NOT happen.  We see an example of that in the AFP article below.

Warmists have been harping on about the danger and significance of the Larsen C ice shelf breaking off (calving) for at least a year.  I last referred to it on May 5, 2017 and earlier on Dec 6, 2016.  So what has happened now that the calving has happened?  Very little.  The announcement below rightly notes it as an entirely routine and natural phenomenon.

Someone has however injected an attempt at alarm into the story by postulating that the shelf MIGHT have been holding back the grounded ice-mass adjoining it and that this mass may soon therefore slide into the sea and melt.  That is however just a conjecture and fails to discuss, among many other things, the possibility that a new shelf may form where the old one was. And if something does slide off it might just sit there floating where the old shelf was and NOT melt.  I think we may safely see the event as a damp squib from a Warmist viewpoint


A trillion-ton iceberg, one of the largest ever recorded, has snapped off the West Antarctic ice shelf, scientists who have monitored the growing crack for years said on Wednesday.

"The calving occurred sometime between Monday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 12, when a 5,800-square kilometer (2,200-square mile) section of Larsen C (ice shelf) finally broke away," the Swansea University said in a statement.

The massive ice cube, larger than the U.S. state of Delaware, has a volume twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes. It is about 350 metres (1,100 feet) thick.

"The iceberg weighs more than a trillion tons, but it was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level," the team said. It will likely be named A68.

With the calving, the Larsen C ice shelf lost more than 12 percent of its total surface area.

Icebergs calving from Antarctica are a regular occurrence. But given its enormous size, the latest berg will be closely watched as it travels, for any potential risk to shipping traffic.

The calving may have heightened the risk of the remaining ice shelf disintegrating, the Swansea team said.

Ice shelves float on the sea, extending from the coast, and are fed by slow-flowing glaciers from the land.

They act as giant brakes, preventing glaciers from flowing directly into the ocean.

If the glaciers held in check by Larsen C spilt into the Antarctic Ocean, it would lift the global water mark by about 10 centimetres (four inches), researchers have said.      

The calving of ice shelves occurs naturally, though global warming is believed to have accelerated the process.

Warmer ocean water erodes the underbelly of the ice shelves, while rising air temperatures weaken them from above.

The nearby Larsen A ice shelf collapsed in 1995, and Larsen B dramatically broke up seven years later.

The final break was detected by a NASA satellite.

"We will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C ice shelf and the fate of this huge iceberg," said lead investigator Adrian Luckman of the university’s MIDAS project.

The fate of the berg is hard to predict. It may stay in one piece, but could also break into fragments.

"Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters," said Luckman.

The team said the calving at the iceberg cannot be directly placed at the door of global warming, describing it as a "natural event".

Human actions have lifted average global air temperatures by about one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial levels, according to scientists.

SOURCE

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Do Republicans Really Work Against Their Constituents' Interests?

This is an old chestnut.  For decades in Britain and Australia, Leftists fumed that about a quarter of the working class deserted "their" party and voted conservative. Books were written about it. I did some research on it. And I found that these "strange" people were actually the normal ones.  It was the Left working-class voters who had deviant attitudes. The conservative working-class voters had society-wide values.

A very old conservative claim, much stressed by Benjamin Disraeli in the 19th century, is that conservatives stand for and represent the interests of the nation as a whole.  Donald Trump made great use of a similar claim. Trump's victory therefore shows that such claims have a powerful appeal to all classes, including the workers.  Many of the workers are therefore prepared to put the best interests of the nation before their own immediate self-interest. Disraeli saw that nobility in the workers too, calling them "angels in marble"

The article below makes a similar point: Working class conservatives and their representatives are voting for their long-term good rather than the advantage of the moment. They are smart enough not to take a simplistic Leftist bribe


Leftists don't see the world the same way, and thus they make wrong assumptions about those interests.

It’s not news — not even fake news — that the political Right and the political Left don’t see things the same way; they are different. The Left frequently sees things as problems that the Right doesn’t regard as problems, and vice versa. And even when the two sides agree that something is a problem, they have vastly different ways of addressing it. The gulf between the two factions is arguably wider today than ever before.

The idea that Republican voters sometimes/often vote against their own interests is a Democrat talking point, and this myth was the subject of a recent New York Times podcast. The podcast host, Times managing editor Michael Barbaro, interviewed domestic-affairs correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg, who cited the situation in Kentucky, one of the states that suffered mightily when the war on coal put enough people out of work to run Kentucky’s coal jobs to the lowest level in 118 years.

The out-of-work miners, forced onto Medicaid by the war on coal, benefited greatly from ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, Stolberg said, “yet, its Republican senators are leading the charge for ObamaCare repeal, including for Medicaid reform. How can that be?”

The answer to that question comes from the different ways of looking at the world and at life from opposite sides of the political spectrum.

Which of the following sets of ideas do you most closely observe?

1). The nuclear family is an antiquated idea, traditional ideas of morality and culture are oppressive, sexual autonomy is a virtue, and we just can’t get by without government “help.”

2). We graduate from high school and possibly college, find a job to sustain ourselves, marry, and then have children and raise a family.

If you chose 1, you almost certainly lean toward the political Left; if you chose 2, you likely lean toward the political Right. These different views of how to live our lives define why Republicans vote against what seem to be their “interests.”

“Now, between the two parties, which one has centered its appeal around married parents with kids and which party has doubled down on single moms?” National Review’s David French asks. “Even worse, the Democrats’ far-left base has intentionally attacked the nuclear family as archaic and patriarchal. It has celebrated sexual autonomy as a cardinal virtue. Then, when faced with the fractured families that result, it says, ‘Here, let the government help.’”

How does this relate to Kentucky’s Republican senators? They’re voting on their ideas of what makes America great, and according to French, those interests “depend on the complex interplay between our faith, our families, and our communities.” It’s all about core values.

New York Times columnist David Brooks traces these values back to American frontier towns, where life was “fragile, perilous, lonely and remorseless,” and where a “single slip could produce disaster.” As a result, the frontier folk learned to practice “self-restraint, temperance, self-control and strictness of conscience.”

Those values are at the heart of the American experience of carving a powerful and free republic out of a wilderness, a nation that has as a result led the world for decades. They reflect the Biblical values brought here and cultivated during America’s first turbulent and troubled decades, and which formed the basis of the government created following the “Colexit” of the Colonies from Mother England’s repressive grasp.

Republicans, or at least those who are true conservatives, honor the ideals of Liberty, personal responsibility, self-reliance, and limited government, and to a less-than-perfect degree — but a far greater degree than those who call themselves liberals, progressives, or socialists — try to live by these values.

Kentucky’s Republican senators dislike the government’s solution to the problem that the government itself created when it over-regulated nearly everything, and so they see a vote against maintaining this absurdity as a virtuous one. They prefer a system freeing Americans to make their own decisions about health care and health insurance without the one-size-fits-nobody concept Democrats created that we commonly call ObamaCare.

Their vote seemingly punishes those they should most want to help: their constituents and supporters. But the bigger picture shows instead the desire to free their constituents from the damaging big government policies that put them on the government dole. They want to create an environment where they can find another job that can sustain them above the poverty line, and off of Medicaid.

Republicans want to do away with this Democrat-created problem. Their fundamental goal is to free Americans from this horrible, failed big government mechanism. Democrats’ aim is to ultimately create a single-payer, totally government-controlled health care system that would mirror the British system. You know the one: It recently took control of decisions on seriously ill infant Charlie Gard’s care away from his parents, and effectively ordered Charlie’s death.

That case demonstrates precisely how government-run health care will degenerate into death panels — a system where government makes decisions about who lives and dies based on numbers on a spreadsheet. And that explains why Republicans seem to vote against their constituents’ interests. They’re not voting against them at all, but for their Liberty.

SOURCE

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Alone Perhaps, But Is Trump Right?

Because he grounds his comments in history, I rarely disagree with Pat Buchanan -- but I take some issue with what he says below.  He notes President Trump's urging civilizational self-confidence for the West but is pessimistic about that civilizational self-confidence returning.  He seems to think that "We" have lost our collective balls.

I disagree.  I think the generally spineless response of the West to Islam is entirely a Leftist product.  During his ascent to the Presidency, his followers made pretty clear that they wanted a tough response to social problems and Mr Trump seems to be intent on such toughness.

So the challenge now is to get the Left out of their role of dictating what is right and acceptable.  The Left know that, which is why their response to Trump is so hysterical. But if Trump continues on to broad-based success for his policies, he should generate widespread support for them.  And the chattering class will have to move in his direction.  They will be a steadily shrinking minority talking to a steadily shrinking minority otherwise.

In short, I think that, after 8 years of Trump, America will have rediscovered its manhood and the rest of the world will gradually follow


At the G-20 in Hamburg, it is said, President Trump was isolated, without support from the other G-20 members, especially on climate change and trade.

Perhaps so. But the crucial question is not whether Trump is alone, but whether he is right. Has Trump read the crisis of the West correctly? Are his warnings valid? Is not the Obama-Merkel vision of a New World Order a utopian fantasy?

At the monument to the patriots of the Warsaw Uprising, Trump cited Poland as exemplar of how a great people behaves in a true national crisis.

Calling the Polish people "the soul of Europe," he related how, in the Miracle of the Vistula in 1920, Poland, reborn after 12 decades of subjugation, drove back the invading Red Army of Leon Trotsky.

He described the gang rape of Poland by Nazis and Soviets after the Hitler-Stalin pact. He cited the Katyn Forest massacre of the Polish officer corps by Stalin, and the rising of the Polish people against their Nazi occupiers in 1944, as the vulturous legions of Stalin watched from the safe side of the river.

When the Polish Pope, John Paul II, celebrated his first Mass in Victory Square in 1979, said Trump, "a million Polish men, women and children raised their voices in a single prayer. ... 'We want God.' ... Every Communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down." And so it did.

The crisis of the West today, said Trump, is akin to what Poland faced. For it is about the survival of a civilization, rooted in Christianity, that has made the greatest of all contributions to the ascent of man.

What enabled the Poles to endure was an unshakable belief in and a willingness to fight for who they were — a people of God and country, faith, families, and freedom — with the courage and will to preserve a nation built on the truths of their ancient tribe and Catholic traditions.

Given the threats to the West, from within and without, said Trump, we need such a spirit now. What are those threats?

"The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?

"We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive."

Trump professed confidence in the West's will to survive. But whether the West still has the character seems an open question.

Across the West, the traditional family has been collapsing for decades. Not one European nation has a birth rate that will enable its people to survive many more generations. Uninvited migrants in the millions have poured in — are pouring in — from Africa and the Middle East. The elite of Europe have been gladly surrendering their national sovereignties to transnational institutions like the EU.

Christianity is more of a dying than a thriving faith on the Old Continent. And as the churches empty out, the mosques are going up. Before our eyes, the West is being remade.

In June, gays and lesbians celebrated in Berlin as the German Parliament voted to approve same-sex marriage.

In Moscow, from May to July, a million Russians stood in lines a mile long to view and venerate a relic of the 4th-century bishop, St. Nicholas, on display in a glass case in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, rebuilt under President Putin.

Liberated from Leninism, Russia returns to the old faith, as Germany returns to Weimar.

At that G-20 gathering in Hamburg, hundreds of criminal thugs went on a three-day rampage — rioting, burning, looting and battling police, some 300 of whom were injured.

Were the autocrats of the G-20 — Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Narendra Modi of India — impressed with the resolute response of Angela Merkel — the media-designated new "Leader of the West" — to mobs rioting in Germany's second city?

At Harvard, Alexander Solzhenitsyn described what was on display in Hamburg: "A decline in courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. ... Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite."

Secularist and hedonist, New Europe worships at the altars of mammon. Handel's "Messiah" cannot compete with moonwalking Michael Jackson's "We Are the World."

Once Europe went out to convert, colonize and Christianize the world. Now the grandchildren of the colonized peoples come to Europe to demand their share of their inheritance from a West besotted with guilt over its past sins that cannot say "No!"

SOURCE

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Is educational discrimination ruining America?

I see it as a thinly disguised propaganda sheet so I rarely read the NYT.  The following article by David Brooks has however come to my attention.  He is apparently their token conservative.

There are two subjects which are just about "verboten" in the popular press and even in most academic journals:  Social class and IQ. And, for my sins, I have done academic research into both. Both offend mightily against the Leftist dream of equality so are "incorrect".  But both factors form part of the explanation for many things, so ignoring them leads to a very imperfect understanding of those many things.

The black/white "gap" in educational achievement is a prime example of that. Educationalists for many years have been turning themselves inside out trying to explain and eliminate it, but with no real success. Were they to look at the IQ research they would immediately understand it and recognize it as intractable, which would save a lot of wasted effort.

So David Brooks is to be congratulated in tackling social class in his essay below.  And much of what he says is reasonable.  But I am afraid that once again IQ is the elephant in the room and causes Mr Brooks to miss a lot of what is going on.

All the studies of the subject, notably the famous/infamous Herrnstein & Murray study, show IQ to be a substantial factor in social class.  Put simply, high IQ people tend to get rich and even do so when coming from an unpromising background.  So what are perceived as social class attributes are in fact IQ attributes.  Newly rich people may sometimes have to do a sort of apprenticeship and change their accent before being accepted into the "best" circles but eventually money talks.

The British situation is a bit different due to the presence there of an hereditary aristocracy but even there intermarriage with successful middle-class people leads to a similar endpoint.

My favourite example of all that is breastfeeding. There is a lively literature on that subject.  Google records 71 million mentions of it. And a clear theme of it is that breastfeeding is now "correct".  Middle and upper middle class mothers breastfeed and look down on those who do not. And that can be a considerable grief to women who have difficulties with lactation.  No "excuses" are usually accepted.  There was of course a time not so long ago when the class polarity was the other way around

Now one does understand why breastfeeding is so in fashion among the more affluent.  It is in part a Greenie belief that "nature knows best" and doctors do recommend it as best for the child. But there is something else going on beneath the surface that few people are aware of. The major influence on breastfeeding is in fact IQ. We read, for instance, that "The mother's IQ was more highly predictive of breastfeeding status than were her race, education, age, poverty status, smoking, the home environment, or the child's birth weight or birth order".  What looks like a social class effect is in fact an IQ effect.

Taking that finding in conjunction with the Herrnstein & Murray findings, we have to suspect that a lot of what passses as social class characteristics is in fact an IQ effect.  So in his discussion of social class differences and it effect on education, Brooks is failing to see the wood for the trees.  He sees as causative some things that are not. He mistakes the surface for the substance.

And in education IQ is a very powerful influence indeed.  Correlations of around .7 between IQ and educational attainment are commonly reported.  Putting that together with the fact that IQ is highly hereditary (on some estimates 80% of IQ is genetically determined) we have a pretty complete explanation of the phenomena that Brooks describes.

So the fact -- set out by Brooks -- that educational attainment is largely hereditary can be explained much more simply than by seeing it as the result of an informal conspiracy theory -- which is what Brooks sees.  Top educational achievement is hereditary because IQ is hereditary.  All those things that Brooks sees as causative of social success -- such as shopping at Whole Foods -- are in fact epiphenomena rather than  causative.  They correlate with education because both correlate with IQ.

So I am not denying the sort of correlation that Brooks observes.  I am rather saying that the things he mentions are a minor source of  barriers compared to IQ status.  Given high IQ, the apparent barriers will melt away.  Either the high IQ person will have the nominated characteristics in the first place or his/her IQ will enable such characteristics to be adopted to whatever degree is needed.  The one essential is that high IQ.

Let me give a personal anecdote to illustrate what I mean. I was born to a distinctly anti-social mother in a very working  class household.  My father was a red-headed lumberjack with all the fight in him that you would expect of that.  But both my parents were avid readers and part of families that did well in the schools of their day.  So I inherited a high IQ.  And that both got me a Ph.D. -- I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation in six weeks and much of it was published -- and got me ready acceptance in the "best" British social circles when I spent some time in Britain in the 70s. Despite my origins, I simply had a lot in common with upper and upper-middle class people in Britain.  And if you think social class matters in America, it matters much more in Britain.

So at the end of the day, are there significant barriers to educational achievement for people of humble background? There undoubtedly are some barriers.  Hereditary or "legacy" admissions to the top universities are a reality that sometimes give an applicant from an affluent family an "unfair" advantage at admission time.  Even there however, the applicant will be unlikely to be really dim.  But be that as it may, what college or university you went to does have a big influence when you are applying for certain jobs. But, again, the Ivy League and other top universities do tend towards educational excellence so that may be fairer than it looks

But it must be borne in mind that the level of education that Brooks is talking about does require a substantial IQ advantage.  Without that advantage you will probably go nowhere and with it you will probably do fairly well most of the time or maybe later rather than sooner.  You may miss out on going to an Ivy League school but State universities will usually give you what you need to know about your given subject.  And if your IQ is really high, you will usually have all of life's options before you. That may be unfair but it is not going to change


Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks.

How they’ve managed to do the first task — giving their own children a leg up — is pretty obvious. It’s the pediacracy, stupid. Over the past few decades, upper-middle-class Americans have embraced behavior codes that put cultivating successful children at the center of life. As soon as they get money, they turn it into investments in their kids.

Upper-middle-class moms have the means and the maternity leaves to breast-feed their babies at much higher rates than high school-educated moms, and for much longer periods.

Upper-middle-class parents have the means to spend two to three times more time with their preschool children than less affluent parents. Since 1996, education expenditures among the affluent have increased by almost 300 percent, while education spending among every other group is basically flat.

As life has gotten worse for the rest in the middle class, upper-middle-class parents have become fanatical about making sure their children never sink back to those levels, and of course there’s nothing wrong in devoting yourself to your own progeny.

It’s when we turn to the next task — excluding other people’s children from the same opportunities — that things become morally dicey. Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution recently published a book called “Dream Hoarders” detailing some of the structural ways the well educated rig the system.

The most important is residential zoning restrictions. Well-educated people tend to live in places like Portland, New York and San Francisco that have housing and construction rules that keep the poor and less educated away from places with good schools and good job opportunities.

These rules have a devastating effect on economic growth nationwide. Research by economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti suggests that zoning restrictions in the nation’s 220 top metro areas lowered aggregate U.S. growth by more than 50 percent from 1964 to 2009. The restrictions also have a crucial role in widening inequality. An analysis by Jonathan Rothwell finds that if the most restrictive cities became like the least restrictive, the inequality between different neighborhoods would be cut in half.

Reeves’s second structural barrier is the college admissions game. Educated parents live in neighborhoods with the best teachers, they top off their local public school budgets and they benefit from legacy admissions rules, from admissions criteria that reward kids who grow up with lots of enriching travel and from unpaid internships that lead to jobs.

It’s no wonder that 70 percent of the students in the nation’s 200 most competitive schools come from the top quarter of the income distribution. With their admissions criteria, America’s elite colleges sit atop gigantic mountains of privilege, and then with their scholarship policies they salve their consciences by offering teeny step ladders for everybody else.

I was braced by Reeves’s book, but after speaking with him a few times about it, I’ve come to think the structural barriers he emphasizes are less important than the informal social barriers that segregate the lower 80 percent.

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class. They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, “You are not welcome here.”

In her thorough book “The Sum of Small Things,” Elizabeth Currid-Halkett argues that the educated class establishes class barriers not through material consumption and wealth display but by establishing practices that can be accessed only by those who possess rarefied information.

To feel at home in opportunity-rich areas, you’ve got to understand the right barre techniques, sport the right baby carrier, have the right podcast, food truck, tea, wine and Pilates tastes, not to mention possess the right attitudes about David Foster Wallace, child-rearing, gender norms and intersectionality.

The educated class has built an ever more intricate net to cradle us in and ease everyone else out. It’s not really the prices that ensure 80 percent of your co-shoppers at Whole Foods are, comfortingly, also college grads; it’s the cultural codes.

Status rules are partly about collusion, about attracting educated people to your circle, tightening the bonds between you and erecting shields against everybody else. We in the educated class have created barriers to mobility that are more devastating for being invisible. The rest of America can’t name them, can’t understand them. They just know they’re there.

SOURCE


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Why did Germans follow Hitler so slavishly?

This has been something of a burning question ever since the war.  What historians have said about it is reviewed here. And the reviewer is right to say that none of the answers given is satisfactory.  Yet the answer is right there in plain sight.  It is in the name of Hitler's political party:  The national socialist German worker's party.

Before I elaborate on that, however, I must warn that I am about to mention Donald Trump. So I want to make clear from the outset that I am NOT going to say that Trump is a Nazi.  Leftists say that all the time and I have often pointed out how hollow such accusations are.

As we all know, Mr Trump came to power with the slogan:  "Make America great again".  And despite being just about as unpresidential as you can imagine, that slogan took Mr Trump to the top.  That slogan had to have great power to overcome all the negatives (real and imagined)  associated with Mr Trump.

So guess what Hitler's message to the German people was?  Paraphrased, it was "Make Germany great again". (Hitler didn't put it exactly that way.  He put it more emotionally.  For instance "Vor uns liegt Deutschland, in uns marschiert Deutschland und hinter uns kommt Deutschland!")  Germany was badly hit by WWI so that idea was very attractive to Germans.  So nationalism, particularly in a time of stress, has very strong appeal.

And Hitler added to that a form of socialism  -- where socialism is defined as redistributing the wealth from the rich to the poor -- "Gleichberechtigung" in Hitler's German.  Hitler campaigned using exactly that word. See below.



But here's the odd thing.  It's such an odd thing that I will be called a dangerous neo-Nazi for saying it. Socialism as we know it today is under Marxist influence and as such is basically motivated by hate.  Marx hated everybody. It masquerades as compassion but it's really an excuse to tear down the existing society and its arrangements.  And the various extreme socialist regimes -- Soviet Russia, Mao's China etc -- show exactly how vicious and destructive socialism can be.

But Hitler's socialism was different and more powerful.  It appeared to be and he claimed it to be motivated by love -- love of the German people ("Volk").  Hitler's love for his "Volk" and particularly German young people really stands out here.  In a word, Hitler convinced Germans that he loved them.  And it was out of that love that he wanted to benefit ordinary Germans at the expense of the rich, particularly rich Jews.

And he saw socialism as being secure only within a homogeneous society, which Germany would become once the Jews were ousted.  See below.  The quote is from Mein Kampf and translates as "There is no socialism except what arises from within one's own people".  So he saw nationalism and socialism as organically connected.



So he didn't tear down the existing society the way hate-motivated socialists do if they get the chance. He wanted to redistribute but not to destroy.  As you will see from the speech linked above, he wanted to build up a united and heroic Germany, not tear it down. The Marxist aim of class-war was anathema to him. And whatever its motivation, socialism has a lot of appeal to people to this day. Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are evidence of that. Socialism offers security of all sorts.  It says: "You will be looked after".

So if someone is offering both socialism and nationalism all in one package, he has got a magic mix.  Hitler offered the perfect dream -- he offered it all.  And the offering was made all the more powerful by his success in convincing people that his "compassion" was sincere. So Germans shared his dream and marched on behind him to the bitter end.

Mr Trump too tends to convince people that he stands for the little guy but his means to his ends are very different.  Where Hitler wanted to redistribute the wealth, Trump wants to create it -- mainly by giving the unemployed jobs.  And because Trump is not wanting to take anything off anybody, he does not have to have an authoritarian State to enforce his wishes.  So he is in fact chopping away at the vast regulatory apparatus that Obama and some of his predecessors built up.   Trump is a capitalist, not a socialist, a deregulator, not an authoritarian -- and there is a world of difference there.

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Clementine argues for suppression of "incorrect" views

Mind the Fascism! Clem Ford puts up a reasonable-seeming argument below to the effect that the facts behind an opinion should weigh on whether that opinion is given exposure.  If only!  As an extreme atheist myself (I  don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat). I would love some way of filtering out credulity.  But how do you do it?  What to one person seems factually-based will to another seem hogwash.

Let me give an example from Clemmie's own misapprehension of what is factual.  She dismisses global warming skepticism on the basis of an "ad hominem" argument:  "Experts" believe in global warming so we all should".  Where are the facts in that argument?  "Ad hominem" arguments are not only one of the classic informal fallacies in logic but they have repeatedly been proved wrong.  A hundred years ago, the reality of continental drift was pooh-poohed.  Now it is an accepted fact.  And combustion is explained by the presence of phlogiston, of course.

And, more to the point, what does Clemmie make of the long temperature stasis between 1945 and 1975 when CO2 levels were soaring?  What should have been 30 years of warming was 30 years of no warming. Has she ever looked at a climate chart and noticed how tiny the calibrations are?  Does she know why that should concern her? Has she ever noticed how pro-warming scientists repeatedly flout basic scientific standards by refusing to share their data and by treating as significant differences which are not in fact statistically significant?

I could go on but I think it is a pretty good argument that the distinction between fact and hokum that she is keen to make leaves her supporting hokum.  Discourse shepherded by Clementine Ford would rapidly stray away from reality


Former US Senator and political advisor Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously once wrote that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts". It remains an unwavering truth in a world where opinions are increasingly viewed as equal to facts, even when those opinions have little more than a suspicion or feeling to back them up.

More recently than that, Ruby Hamad wrote that "We may all have the right to an opinion but that does not make our opinion right – or even worthy of a place in a debate." Hamad was responding to a planned televised 'debate' in which eight people would ponder the question, "Is male privilege bullshit?" before a live audience. In her piece, she elegantly outlined how and why the pursuit of 'balance' has been manipulated to the detriment of journalistic inquiry. But more on that televised debate in a minute.

The science behind vaccinations is a good example of this. Vaccines have saved millions of lives over the past century but sceptics continue to spread their dangerous paranoia across the landscape of the internet, revelling in the phenomenal privilege they get to enjoy from living in countries where herd immunity protects their "free-range" tribe.

But press them on their qualifications to counter decades worth of scientific research and you'll hear about how "Big Pharma" is invested in turning us all into robots.

The rhetoric around anti-choice movements is similarly lacking in insight. When the founder of the annual Warped tour (a music festival whose audience members are predominantly teenagers), invited an anti-choice not-for-profit to set up a stall at the 2016 event, he was roundly criticised. But Kevin Lyman stood by his decision, tweeting, "Punk rock was about welcoming all points of view, you can make your own decisions, and opposing platforms and views are important."

Lyman claims to be pro-choice, but you cannot be pro-choice while also providing microphones to people who support the reduction or removal entirely of reproductive healthcare rights – particularly when those people are manipulating some of the people most at-risk of underage and unwanted pregnancies.
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Too many people labour under the bizarre assumption now that everything requires "hearing all sides" if there is to be fair and balanced commentary. But fair and balanced commentary around, say, climate change does not mean that we have to counter the weight of an actual scientist and their quantifiable research with the opinions of someone who loftily refers to themselves as a "climate change sceptic". It's an insult to the time and energy spent by people working at the forefront of their fields to suggest their expertise is little more than one side of the story.

And so to the debate on male privilege. I appeared recently on that episode of Hack Live, a televised version of Triple J's popular current affairs program. Hosted by Tom Tilley, the episode brought together eight panellists to debate the existence of male privilege; something that all reason, logic and (most importantly) evidence supports as being very much real.

I was sceptical of the show's purpose in the lead up to its filming. But I believed that it may do some good in terms of reaching an audience of young people who may be forming their views on feminism by watching angry YouTubers.

However, after experiencing the indignity of being pitted against people who literally had no idea what they were talking about, I have to abandon my Pollyanna optimism and agree with Hamad's view that it was pointless from the get-go.

I have amassed hundreds of thousands of words of writing on the topic of gender inequality. I have worked with health experts and survivors and persisted through the sludge of the online space to try to conduct a conversation based on facts, research and cold, hard data.

So it was extremely frustrating to listen to the baffling claims put forward by the panel's token men's rights activist that the oppression of men manifests in far more significant and damaging ways than that of women, starting with the fact that (apparently) young women all over the country are kicking their boyfriends in the balls as a joke.

Most of his evidence was anecdotal in nature, and the bits that weren't were drawn solely from an American propaganda film funded by MRAs and headlined by a man who has, among other despicable declarations, proudly claimed he would vote to acquit in any rape trial on which he served as a juror, even if he knew the rapist was guilty.

Yet here he was not only offering his opinions as if they were in any way, shape or form meaningful to the discussion, but being validated in that belief by way of invitation.

Most recently, we've been presented with the gobsmacking, disgusting treatment of Yassmin Abdel-Magied by not just the nation's lay people but its politicians, media conglomerates and poison-penned journalists. And all because she expressed an opinion on the subject of Anzac Day that was not by-the-book – though nor was it factually wrong.

After Abdel-Magied announced her intentions to move to London this week, Channel Seven posted a poll asking its fans to vote on whether or not she should leave or stay, providing her haters with another avenue through which to bully her.

There's no shortage of irony in the fact that a country whose citizens fight so fiercely to have their rights to an opinion recognised have so gleefully participated in the bullying of a woman who calmly, compassionately and quite correctly expressed her own.

But I guess white privilege has always been good at making some opinions more equal than others.

We are living in very troubling times when it comes to factual analysis and respect for the disciplines of academia. Opinions are not the same as reasonable deductions. They're certainly not the same thing as facts, particularly when based on little more than passionate opposition to what those facts may be.

We have to get over this idea of having to air multiple sides of the same story. As  Hamad wrote in the lead-up to my appearance on Hack Live, on topics like "does male privilege exist'', there is no debate to be had. There's no such thing as balance of opinion when it comes to evidence. There are the facts – and then there are ideas about what we should do about those facts. Anything else is distraction.

And goodness knows we are in too much trouble as a global community to succumb to the dangers of distraction.

SOURCE

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Elon Musk fears a shrinking world population

Rather curiously, the overpopulation and under-population scares have for some time been running alongside one-another.  That does at least inspire some skepticism towards both.

I think the fallacy is to see some sort of endpoint, some sort of stabilization or final state.  It would be more in accord with animal populations to foresee both rises and falls in population.  Neither a growing nor a shrinking population should go on forever.  At various points both trends should reverse.

And my prediction is that -- in the developed world -- the present shrinkage will reverse relatively soon.  Non-maternal women have mostly eliminated themselves from the gene pool now that social pressures to marry and have children have eased off.

So the upcoming generation of females should be much more maternal than any previous generation.  So they will presumably have multiple children.  And that will mean an again-rising population, albeit off a lower base than before.


"The world's population is accelerating towards collapse, but few seem to notice or care," Tesla's CEO tweeted to his nearly 10 million followers. He pointed to a November article in New Scientist magazine titled, "The world in 2076: The population bomb has imploded."

The piece, written by Fred Pearce points to Japan as a case study for what could go wrong in the relatively near future.

Rather than a meltdown where the Earth's population outstrips the planet's ability to feed everyone, we could be headed toward a more subtle but equally disastrous outcome where our population simply does not replace itself fast enough.

"The world has hit peak child," the late Hans Rosling, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in the article.

Indeed, Japan's fertility rate is 1.4 children per woman, well below what is required to sustain population growth.

While Japan is perhaps the most well-known example of a country's population aging, the article in the London-based magazine also points to Germany and Italy, both of which "could see their populations halve within the next 60 years."

The article spells out some of the problems an older population might bring, including less innovation, cultural shifts and worse and more recession-prone economies.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation's population is roughly 325 million with a net gain of one person every 12 seconds.

However, Pearce does point out some silver linings. "Old could be the new young," he writes, adding older societies are less likely to start wars. And, he points out, fewer people on the planet would give Earth's ecosystem a breather:

"Nature, at least, would enjoy the silver lining."

The so-called population bomb has been speculated about for nearly half a century, dating back to at least 1968 when two Stanford University researchers published a book titled "The Population Bomb" that predicted mass starvation in the 1970s and '80s due to overpopulation.

SOURCE

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Elon Musk. Doom ahead?

As he is the chief prophet of electric cars, I think it is appropriate for me to say something about him here. To begin at the end, I think his bubble will burst quite soon.

The key question is how does he fund his activities?  As far as I can tell, none of his businesses makes a profit.  He is the profitless prophet.  So what keeps him afloat?

Hope.

In his many activities he is seen as THE NEXT BIG THING.  He is seen as someone who will soon be a big success.  He is seen as someone who will soon start making money hand over fist.  And not only that, he is also seen as someone who will make big money in a Greenie way.

That has two outcomes: 1). Governments love him.  The 8 years of Obama were a golden era for Mr Musk and even Mr Trump may see him as helping to make America great again.  We shall see.  So Mr Musk only has to ask in order to be given government  money to fund his innovations. He is a brilliant fundraiser off governments, State and Federal.

2). And he is a brilliant fundraiser off the private sector too.  You can see that in the share-price for his car company.  The price is many multiples of what the shares of other car companies fetch.

And that happens because lots of investors believe that he is THE NEXT BIG THING.  It's the oldest fallacy in stockmarket investing that to make big money, you have to pick "up and coming" companies so that when the prices of their shares rise, you will make a bundle.  To many that is the sole principle guiding their share purchases.  They are always hoping to get "a jump ahead".  Mining investors are almost wholly of that breed. I know some of them.  And I know how sad they are.  They lose overall.

I am myself a rather successful investor. I am now 73 but I was able to retire when I was 39. And I follow a quite different strategy. I am an investor, not a gambler.

But given the current mood, if Mr Musk wants more money for something he just has to sell some more shares in his company.  People will snap up those bits of paper with great avidity.  He is very close to being able to print money.

But it is a bubble. At some stage people are going to be looking for results, for profits.  And I think that is now just about upon us.  He has made a big thing of the new "affordable" electric car that he will soon be releasing.  But there are already rumbles about troubles with that.  So if that car fails to generate a profit, hopes will begin to die. Even Mr Musk might not be able to spin his way out of that one.  And the crash from that will be enormous. There will be such a rush to get out of his shares that they could end up worth pennies only.

But by all means, buy one of Mr Musk's cars if you can afford it. Electric cars drive nicely and Teslas will one day be treasured mementoes of a great dream

Prophecies are a mug's game and I am no prophet -- but I have mostly been a successful share market prophet.  Around two out of three of my picks work out. It will therefore be interesting to see if I have picked this one right -- JR

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Ho ho, its Hayhoe


Below is a small excerpt from The Guardian which relies heavily on Katharine Hayhoe to create alarm.  She is an unusual person in being both a Christian, well informed and yet is a Warmist.  The vast majority of Christians are perfectly sane people but they have always included some nuts in their ranks. I think Katherine is one of the nutty Christians.  I think I would find a lack of reality contact in her quite quickly if I interviewed her.  Lack of reality contact is the hallmark of psychosis.

But I don't really need to interview her.  I include below one of her assertions about the climate that is clearly out of contact with reality.  And I show that it is out of contact with reality with a graph


Even as the impacts of climate change intensify, many Americans remain confused by the issue. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe discusses how to talk with climate sceptics 

Katharine Hayhoe is an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where temperatures during this summer of record-breaking heat have surpassed 100 degrees on 43 days. While Hayhoe would certainly not argue that this scorching heat is unequivocal evidence of global warming, she is sure of one thing: it's a sign of things to come.

Hayhoe is well known not only for her scientific work on the regional impacts of global warming in the U.S., but also for her efforts to reach out to conservative communities — particularly evangelical Christians — to speak with them about the realities of climate change. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, she said she has found much common ground with people by patiently answering their questions, stressing the impact that global warming will likely have on the individuals and places that people love, and discussing actions to blunt climate change that nearly all sides can agree on....

She says:

"If you look at the Southeast, they are very vulnerable along the coastline to hurricanes and storms.... So the latest projections are not for any more frequent hurricanes but for stronger hurricanes..."


BUT:

In fact the US has now gone 11 years without a major hurricane, the longest period on record. Worldwide there has been no increase in major hurricane landfalls either

 

She creates alarm where a more reasonable commentary on the facts would be that we seem to have moved into an unusually safe period. The cautious pronouncements that one expects from a genuine scholar seem quite alien to her.


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Children in single-mother-by-choice families do just as well as those in two-parent families

As it has not yet been fully published, this study is difficult to critique.  It is however clear that its generalizability is low.  Women who decide to have a child without an involved partner are very atypical so what may be true of their families  may not apply to other family types.

And the lack of details so far available makes it impossible to know what was controlled for.  Without control for sociological variables such as education and income and psychological variables such as IQ and self-confidence, the results just could not be taken seriously.  And knowing how often some of those variables are NOT controlled for, I would be surprised if any firm conclusions could be drawn from this study


A study comparing the well-being of children growing up in single-mother-by-choice and heterosexual two-parent families has found no differences in terms of parent-child relationship or child development. However, the study did find that the single-mothers-by-choice did have a greater social support network.

"Children in both family types are doing well in terms of their well-being," said investigator Mathilde Brewaeys from the Centre of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria of the VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam. "Single-mothers-by-choice and their children benefit from a good social support network, and this should be emphasised in the counselling of women who want to have and raise a child without a partner." Ms Brewaeys will present the results of the study today at the 33rd Annual Meeting of ESHRE in Geneva.

Fertility treatment of single women is now available in most European countries and is an increasingly popular procedure for single women who wish to become pregnant without a partner (ie, single mothers by choice).(1,2)

Some specialists have raised concerns about the well-being and development of these children. "The assumption that growing up in a family without a father is not good for the child is based mainly on research into children whose parents are divorced and who thus have experienced parental conflict," explained Ms Brewaeys, "However, it seems likely that any negative influence on child development depends more on a troubled parent-child relationship and not on the absence of a father. Single-mothers-by-choice knowingly make the decision to raise their child alone, in contrast to unintended single mothers. Little research has been done on the specific features of these single-mothers-by-choice families and whether there are differences between them and heterosexual two-parent families in terms of parent-child relationship, parental social support and well-being of the children."

The study described by Ms Brewaeys was a comparison of 69 single-mothers-by-choice (who had knowingly chosen to raise their child alone) and 59 mothers from heterosexual two-parent families with a child between the ages of 1.5 and 6 years. Parent-child relationships, mothers' social support network and children's well-being were compared between family types according to three validated questionnaires. The analysis drew three main conclusions:

There were no significant differences in emotional involvement or parental stress between family types.

Single-mothers-by-choice showed significantly higher scores on the social support they received, but also on wanting more social support.

There were no significant differences in the children's internal and external problem behaviour (well-being) between both family types.

Based on these results Ms Brewaeys reported that children growing up with single-mothers-by-choice appeared to enjoy a similar parent-child relationship as those in heterosexual two-parent families.

Ms Brewaeys explained that the support systems welcomed by the single mothers were either informal or formal: the former could be parents, other family, friends, neighbours or a nanny, while the latter included teachers, family doctors, paediatricians, television programmes or articles about child rearing.

"A strong social network is of crucial importance," said Ms Brewaeys. "So I would recommend that all women considering single motherhood by choice make sure of a strong social network - brothers, sisters, parents, friends of neighbours. And to never be afraid to ask for help.

Ms Brewaeys pointed to earlier studies investigating the profile of this new group of single mothers. The great majority, she said, would have preferred to have a child a with a partner. But as fertility time was running out, they opted to do so alone. Most women in her study were financially stable, had received a higher education and had meaningful partner relationships in the past.

SOURCE



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Casual staff win right to ask for "permanent" work

"Unforeseen" results likely to flow from this decision.  The unions are right in saying that permanent jobs are more secure but that is the problem.  Unfair dismissal laws make "permanent" employees very hard to fire even in such gross circumstances as the employee stealing from the business  Small business people simply could not afford that battle.  All they can do is hire on a casual basis only.

So small employers will work around the new rules -- fire casuals after 11 months or simply cut back -- do without the employees concerned.

And all that aside, if making an employee "permanent"  is likely to increase significantly the costs of a small business, a "work to rule" or some other strategy will often be adopted to avoid that cost

The net result of the new rules will undoubtedly be an increase in unemployment.  Leftist "achievements" are always destructive


Casual workers have won the right to demand a permanent full-time or part-time job after 12 months under a landmark Fair Work Commission ruling.

But employers will still have the right to refuse the request if the change would substantially alter the worker's hours to accommodate them as a permanent staff member.

Unions had called for the right to be available after just six months and for the minimum number of daily hours worked to increase to four, but these requests were rejected.

In its decision on Wednesday, the Fair Work Commission said it was necessary for modern awards to contain a provision allowing casual employees to ask for conversion to permanent full-time or part-time work after 12 months.

The decision will apply to 88 modern awards that do not contain such a provision.

The move was largely welcomed by the union movement but blasted by employer groups.

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus said an "epidemic of insecure work" in Australia was "wrecking" the lives of families, individuals and communities.

"The decision of the Fair Work Commission today plugs one small hole in this epidemic," she said.

Kylie Grey, an early childhood educator in Melbourne and witness in the union case, who has a young family, was happy to find a permanent part-time job last year after a period of working as a casual in a different job.

"If you don't have a secure income and a secure job then you are unlikely to be budgeting and spending for the things that are great for the economy," she said.

Professor John Buchanan from the University of Sydney business school said the commission's decision would provide a common standard entitling casual workers to apply for conversion.

"It doesn't raise the standard, it just spreads the standard to a larger number of workers and that standard is pretty weak," Professor Buchanan said.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union said the commission's decision was "a kick in the guts for ordinary workers trying to make ends meet in an uncertain employment market".

"Employers are using the current system to exploit vulnerable casual workers and keep them working under insecure employment arrangements," AMWU national president Andrew Dettmer said.

The Australian Retailers Association said the decision would impose extra costs and reduce flexibility for employers.

"We fear this verdict will significantly impact retailers as casuals' flexible hours are essential to the industry," ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said.

"Retail employees are an important asset for retailers and the overall industry, therefore the ARA will be seeking more flexible part-time arrangements through the Award Review process".

Sydney retailer Michael Newton-Brown said most of the staff in his six shoe boutiques were casual which "suits them and it suits me". He said the commission's decision was "a further nail in the coffin of small retailers" whose workforce needs fluctuated.

The Australian Industry Group welcomed the commission's rejection of union calls for an absolute right for casuals to be converted to permanent employment after six months of regular work and for a standard four-hour minimum engagement period for casuals and part-timers.

"If the unions' claims had been accepted, the jobs of thousands of casual employees were at risk," AIG chief executive Innes Willox said.

"The level of casual employment in Australia has been around 20 per cent for 19 years, with no sign of the level increasing. Union arguments about the 'casualisation' of the Australian workforce, are a myth."

Professor Buchanan said the AIG was technically correct, but had failed to acknowledge the context of higher levels of unemployment and underemployment over that period which had made jobs more insecure.

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Shortage of eligible men has left women taking desperate steps to preserve their fertility, experts say

I could summarize the report below very succinctly but with great political incorrectness by saying that, "Fussy bitches won't reproduce" but there is of course more to it than that.  The basics are revealing:  Globally, there are more males than females born (107 to 100) and the male average IQ is at least as high as the female. And given the leptokurtic distribution of female IQ, high IQ males considerably outnumber high IQ females.  So the ladies should have a smorgasbord of able men before them.  How come they do not?

There are two main causes, both due to feminism:  1). The feminization of education has pushed men of marginal ability out of higher education.  That is no hardship for them, though.  They probably make more money as tradesmen anyway.  But that leads to the second pernicious effect of feminism  2). It has given women unrealistically high expectations.  They want men to be all sorts of unlikely things -- willing to do half the housework, for instance.  That mostly won't happen.  And as for marrying a genial and well-off tradesman, that would be just too humiliating!

So the men are there.  It's just that a lot of women are too snooty for them.  So what do the men do?  Some become queer and a lot marry child-oriented third-world women.  So lots of good male genes are passed on anyway -- in Eurasian babies.  It's only the feminist-indoctrinated women who lose out.  They will never discover the joy of children and their genes will not be passed on. And that may be a good thing. Weeding out folly has to be a good thing.

The women with strong female hormones will always reproduce -- many at a young age -- and I, for one, think feminine females are a great good thing.  I must do.  I married four times.  But men who know about leptokurtic distributions are probably at something of an advantage in that

Another theme below is that some women do find acceptable  partners but getting the partners to "commit" is the big problem.  Look to another feminist inspiration for the explanation of that: Draconian divorce laws.  Divorce is common and it often ruins a man financially.  A man who consents to marriage is simply ill-advised these days.


A dearth of marriagable men has left an “oversupply” of educated women taking desperate steps to preserve their fertility, experts say.

The first global study into egg freezing found that shortages of eligible men were the prime reason why women had attempted to take matters into their own hands.

Experts said “terrifying” demographic shifts had created a “deficit” of educated men and a growing problem of “leftover” professional women, with female graduates vastly outnumbering males in in many countries.

The study led by Yale University, involved interviews with 150 women undergoing egg freezing at eight clinics.

Researchers found that in more than 90 per cent of cases, the women were attempting to buy extra time because they could not find a partner to settle down with, amid a “dearth of educated men”.

Experts said the research bust the myth that “selfish career women” were choosing to out their fertility on ice in a bid to put their careers first.

They said sweeping social changes meant that many professional women now struggled to find a partner that felt like an equal match.

In recent decades, the gender balance at British universities has tipped dramatically. In 1985, 45 per cent of UK students were female, but by 2000, 54 per cent were women.

This group, now in their late 30s, is finding it harder to find a man of equal status, fertility experts said. And the trend is set to steepen in future generations, they warned, with nearly six in ten current students female.

The research, presented at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Geneva, was based on detailed interviews with women in the United States, and Israel. But the lead author said similar trends were likely in the UK, where women are 35 per cent more likely than men to go to university.

Prof Marcia Inhorn, Professor of Anthropology at Yale University, said professional women found themselves losing out in a game of “musical chairs” because there were simply too few men of the same calibre to go around. “There is a major gap - they are literally missing men. There are not enough college graduates for them. In simple terms, this is about an oversupply of educated women,” she said.

The former President of the Society for Medical Anthropology said the women interviewed in the study were highly successful, with 81 per cent having a college degree.

“These are highly educated, very successful women and one after another they were saying they couldn’t find a partner. How could it be that all these amazing, attractive intelligent women were lamenting about their ability to find a partner?” she said.

“The answer comes in the demographics - growing disparities in the education levels of men and women.

The anthropologist suggested some women might need to be prepared to compromise some of their standards in order to find love. But she suggested society should act to increase the number of men going into higher education. “It may be about rethinking the way we approach this,” she said.  “Most women who are educated would like to have an educated partner. Traditionally women have also wanted to ‘marry up’ to go for someone more successful, financially well off.”

“Maybe women need to be prepared to be more open to the idea of a relationship with someone not as educated. But also may be we need to be doing something about our boys and young men, to get them off to a better start.”

Some women were paying a high price for feminism, she suggested.  “As a feminist I think it’s great that women are doing so well but I think there has been a cost that has been paid,” she said, warning that many had been left in “sadness and isolation”.

In some cases, the women taking part in the in-depth interviews said they would be happy to be in a relationship with someone less educated, but they felt they were “intimidating” to the men who were available.

Researchers said that until now, many commentators on egg freezing had assumed that it was being driven by a desire to preserve fertilty, while rising up the career ladder.

“I think this is an issue that has been misinterpreted so much - this idea of a selfish career woman, putting her fertility on hold,” said Prof Inhorn.

Professor Geeta Nargund, medical director of UK clinics Create Fertility, said: “It is something to celebrate that more women are going to university and getting educated but, at the same time, when it comes to starting a family it seems there is now a societal problem with these women finding men at the same level of education.

“Women tell us frequently that they are freezing their eggs because the men they meet feel threatened by their success and so unwilling to commit to starting a family together.”

Prof Adam Balen, President of the British Fertility Society, said: “We are seeing some big societal issues, in particular in some social economic groups, with young men not committing.”

One in five women in the UK is now childless by the end of their fertile life - compared to one in 10 a generation before, he said.

Last year less than 105,000 male 18-year-olds started university, compared with almost 135,000 females, UCAS figures show, with more women than men on two-thirds of courses.

The gender gap for higher education is now as large as that between rich and poor people, which was described as a “worrying inequality” by former UCAS chief executive Mary Curnock-Cook.

British fertility experts said the gulf was "terrifying". Dr Gillian Lockwood, executive director, IVI said: "It exacerbates the problem of men not wanting to 'settle down' and start a family until it's almost too late for the woman to conceive naturally.

And if she insists, he's quite likely to leave for a younger woman whose biological clock isn't ticking quite so loudly."

Her own survey of women doing “social” egg freezing found the overwhelming majority of women having their eggs frozen were doing so because they could not find a partner, or because their own partner would not commit.

Typically, it costs around £10,000 to freeze eggs and keep them in storage for 10 years in the UK.

Professor Simon Fishel, founder of Care Fertility, said: “Anthropologically we are always searching, consciously or unconsciously, for like-minded people so it is not a great leap to understand that women are looking for someone on the same level, who is university-educated or a professional.

“This problem of "missing men" is absolutely the case in many situations in the UK, but there is a wider problem behind the increasing desire for egg freezing, not least about men and women being too unaware of their biological clocks.”

“Almost all of the women in the study who employed egg freezing were heterosexual and wanted to become married mothers,” the research found. “Women lamented the ‘missing men’ in their lives, viewing egg freezing as a way to buy time while on the continuing (online) search for a committed partner.”

The study found that more than 90 per cent of those freezing their eggs were not intentionally “postponing” their fertility because of education or careers.

“Rather they were desperately ‘preserving’ their fertility beyond the natural end of their reproductive lives, because they were single without partners to marry.”

“In most cases, these women were unable to find educated men willing to commit to family life - the reflection of a growing, but little-discussed gender trend, with women increasingly outnumbering male college graduates,” the report found.

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How Earth's growing tropical zone may lead to more droughts and hotter heatwaves on Australia's east coast

This is simply a grab at publicity.  The tropics are defined by the limits of the sun being overhead so the tropics cannot change. The underlying finding is that there is drying on both sides of the tropics. But drying is an effect of cooling.  Warming would produce MORE rain, not less.  So the phenomenon does not indicate global warming.  It in fact contradicts it


A leading academic [An adjunct profesor is "leading"?] says the Earth's growing tropical zone may lead to more droughts and hotter heatwaves in Australia.

CQ University's Adjunct Professor of Environmental Geography Steve Turton said temperatures could reach more than 40C in Sydney and Melbourne during heatwaves and last for two weeks, The Daily Telegraph reported.  

With the area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn currently 'bulging' and heading poleward, Adjunct Prof Turton said this will have an impact on the nation.

The planet's waistline has been growing since 1979 and it is likely to continue thanks to human activity, Adjunct Prof wrote in a piece for The Conversation.

'If the current rate continues, by 2100 the edge of the new dry subtropical zone would extend from roughly Sydney to Perth,' he said.

'As these dry subtropical zones shift, droughts will worsen and overall less rain will fall in most warm temperate regions.'

Adjunct Prof Turton said the geographical location of Australia placed the nation at high risk of an expanded tropical zone.

He added: 'Future climate change projections for Australia include increasing air and ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, more hot days (over 35C), declining rainfall in the southern continental areas, and more extreme fire weather events'.

Adjunct Prof Turton said biodiversity hotspots in Australia could also feel the effects of the tropical zone expansion as there were 'no suitable land areas (only oceans) for ecosystems and species to move into'.

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Female doctors asked about family plans during job interviews

This is an old chestnut.  Female doctors have a much shorter working life on average than male doctors do.  But training doctors is very costly.  So to get the most out of what is spent on medical education, it makes sense to train male doctors only.  But that has produced such a shriek of anger from feminists that all medical education is now open to women.

When considering applicants for advanced medical training, however, it makes sense for the sex of the applicant to be one factor in deciding on who gets the training.  And that appears to be current practice in Australia.  But that is DISCRIMINATION so must be forbidden


Female doctors are being asked about their plans to have children during job interviews at public hospitals, in a practice the Australian Medical Association says should have "stopped yesterday".

NSW president of the AMA Professor Brad Frankum has called for tougher penalties against hospitals and training institutions in order to wipe out the practice, after he received reports of it taking place during interviews and informal talks with candidates beforehand.

He said most of the reports related to positions at public hospitals and tended to come from candidates going for specialist or advanced trainee positions across most fields of medicine

"There need to be sanctions against hospitals that do the wrong thing. "If hospitals are allowing this to happen, then those hospitals should not be allowed to employ trainees until they sort it out," he said.

"This is not information an employer needs to be privy to ahead of employing someone and nor should they be seeking it on a formal or informal basis."

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A crude straight line pushed through the data may have its uses but it can also mask important changes

Below is such a graph


But the graph below shows that a straight line misses a lot of detail


The second graph, for instance shows rather clearly the big global warming hiatus of 1945 to 1975.

Warmists however usually ignore all those "bumps" in the second graph and speak as if the straight line was all that happened.

But even in the period covered by the first graph there is something that makes that graph largely invalid as a representation of recent temperature changes.

There are two researchers (Lindzen and McKitrick) who at different times used radiosonde (balloon) temperature data, which goes back to 1965, well before the satellite data that Carl Mears has just "adjusted".  Note that the UAH version of the satellite temperature rise closely parallels the radiosonde data.  The Mears adjusted satellite record does not.  So the UAH satellite data and the radiosonde data validate one another. (John 8:17)  The radiosonde data is therefore strong data that must be accounted for.

And the researchers concerned (Lindzen and McKitrick) initially found that the radiosonde data gave a graph akin to the first one above, a steadily rising line.  But when they looked more closely at their data they found something interesting.  

There was not a smooth temperature rise at all. The data divided into two essentially horizontal lines separated from one another by a step change in 1976/1977.  Temperatures rose abruptly in 1976 by about .25C for no obvious reason -- and then flattened out again.  That is of course totally inconsistent from the pattern of steady temperature rise that should have happened according to global warming theory.  Carl Mears would no doubt be able to "adjust" that out of existence but the unadjusted data is surely what interests us.

The first such paper was from Richard Lindzen in 2002.  Abstract below:

Reconciling observations of global temperature change 

Richard S. Lindzen and Constantine Giannitsis 

Abstract 

It is suggested that the much publicized discrepancy between observed surface global mean temperature and global mean atmospheric temperature from 1979 to the present may be due to the fact that the atmosphere underwent a jump in temperature in 1976 (before the satellite temperature series began), and that the surface response was delayed for about a decade due to the ocean heat capacity. The ocean delay depends on both climate sensitivity and vertical heat transport within the ocean. It is shown that the observed delay is best simulated when sensitivity to doubling of CO2 is less than about 1C. 


The second paper is from 2014 and is from Ross McKitrick. 

HAC robust trend comparisons among climate series with possible level shifts

Ross R. McKitrick & Timothy J. Vogelsang

Abstract

Comparisons of trends across climatic data sets are complicated by the presence of serial correlation and possible step-changes in the mean. We build on heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation robust methods, specifically the Vogelsang–Franses (VF) nonparametric testing approach, to allow for a step-change in the mean (level shift) at a known or unknown date. The VF method provides a powerful multivariate trend estimator robust to unknown serial correlation up to but not including unit roots. We show that the critical values change when the level shift occurs at a known or unknown date. We derive an asymptotic approximation that can be used to simulate critical values, and we outline a simple bootstrap procedure that generates valid critical values and p-values. Our application builds on the literature comparing simulated and observed trends in the tropical lower troposphere and mid-troposphere since 1958. The method identifies a shift in observations around 1977, coinciding with the Pacific Climate Shift. Allowing for a level shift causes apparently significant observed trends to become statistically insignificant. Model overestimation of warming is significant whether or not we account for a level shift, although null rejections are much stronger when the level shift is included


So the steady rise beloved of the Warmists is just a poorly informed first approximation that vanishes on closer inspection.