Friday, March 29, 2002

A new report was on NPR today, published in the Journal Science "Excessive TV-Watching During Adolescence May Lead to Violent Behavior in Adulthood" from -

It has been well worn out that Violent Media causes violent acts. On NPR the author of this paper re-iterated this fact that 'hundreds of studies have confirmed this' and, as he says 'to disagree is to ingore the evidence' Yet dissenters are there, primarily because if media violence caused excess violence, then this nation ougt to be overrun by violent acts! Indeed, violent acts are lower than ever and are continually decreasing in the US, something that is typically attributed to the higher standards of living in the US. Happy employed well fed people do not typically committ crimes. So if violence on TV causes violent behavior, why did this paper (which was adjusted for socio economic status and many other environmental factors) show this correlation? Because, its obvious, there is a correlation between sitting on your ass 2 hours a day and watching mind numbing dumbed down TV and being a violent person, as violence is more often then not associated with ignorance (lack of knowledge, not a lack of the ability to acquire knowledge) And sitting on your ass 2 hours a day watching mind numbing TV is associated (Id be willing to bet) with being ignorant. Did these researches pay attention to WHAT was being watched? (NO) Were the more violent programs in the 2 hour or more per night group linked with more violent behavior? If watching survivor two hours a night had the same effect as Wrestling, and when those people were compared to ones watching the nightly news, "who wants to be a millionaire", or some other lame braned automon directed show for two hours a night and the former were more violent and the latter not, we might logically conclude that media violence causes aggressive violent behavior. In fact, the researches didnt check this, and all they discovered was that sitting around on your ass watching the unstimulating televisions shows that permeate our Attention deficit disorder airwaves leads one to be a more violent person, regardles of WHAT one watched. If you read books, magazines, newspapers, go to school, acquire skills, etc. etc, you are less likely to remain ignorant and less likely to committ violent acts later in life.

In fact, violence is more associated to the direct observation of, witnessing of, or being a victim of real violent acts.

See my archived articles

Real violence breeds violent acts, not fictional violence -
Surgeon general's youth-violence report backs media, experts say -

If we are trying to solve a problem (that of violence) we should focussing on the things that actually DO lead to violent behavior (child molestation, for instance, or abusive alchoholic parents) instead of what we think (or some HOPE) cause violence (TV shows, video games, and movies) simply because they do not like them. It is more that a sedantary unstimulating life style leads to violent behavior than that content of TV shows, its merely the fact that peopel are sitting around watching that crap while not doing something else that is stimulating.

This paper made no effort to distinguish between violent TV and non-violent TV, so how can the author make the claim that violence on television causes violent behavior, when the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from this paper is that watching TV for 2 hours a day correlates to increased violent behavior.

Even newscientists reports the same thing

"The study confirms for adults what is accepted by many psychologists about children: viewing a lot of violence increases the likelihood that the person will behave that way."

The paper doesnt show that!!! Yet the title of the article is "TV viewing linked to adult violence" Notice there is now mention of violent television vs. non violent television. Yet there are lone voices of reason, a psychologist at Bucknell University said "What may be going on is that families high in TV viewing are also lower in moral and character education." duh!

The above comments were emailed to Steve Milloy, the respectable author of, who writes of this study at,2933,49049,00.html The obvious logical objections above he seemed to skip over.


USA today does not even have a 'SCIENCE' section. Life, sports, news, Tech, etc, no SCIENCE though, apparantly its not important enough.


Interesting article on Wired news about my favorite artist, H.R. Giger,1284,51220,00.html

Thursday, March 28, 2002

From the ( Kurzweil speaks on the growing pace of technology, his predictions are discounted by Forest Sawyer (yup, the news anchor) he says "But there is no reason to believe that, from a purely evolutionary standpoint, we are any more successful than viruses or bacteria." Kurzweil never argues that we are 'more succussfull' than bacteria, as this obviously depends on how you define 'succussfull' (as sawyer acknowledges) so it is a red herring for Sawyer to mention. He then says "Judging from the environmental impact of our staggeringly recent population surge, the odds are growing slimmer" What environmenal impact is that the threatens the existence of the human population? Global warming? Dont think so, for the majority of Earths existence it was much warmer, an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere also increases the transpiration rates of plants, making them require less water to grow (since they lose less water due to evaporation because there is more CO2 in the
air) Thus more plants can grow with less water in more Arid regions, plants which thrive in high CO2 conentrations. The Ozone layer? Already cut ozone depleting gases down significantly? Polluting land and water? We make more plants and food than ever before and fewer people are starving to death than ever before (in percentage of the population) and agriculture is the single
largest demand of water. So where are these odds growing slimmer and slimmer?

"To suggest that it is our "destiny" to grow ever more intelligent, merging with machines along the way, is to fail to understand the fragility of our present position" How so? What does the 'fagility' of our present position have to do with the inexorable trend toward increase in intelligence? Our present position has no bearing on the ingrained persuint positive feedback effect of technology, the two have no relation to each other. Another red herring. This is like saying "to suggest our desire to drive to work is ingrained is to ingore the proposition of getting laid off" That has nothing to do with the initial desire!

"massive environmental perturbations will play a role along the way as well...a quick review of the iridium layer" Of course, and what better to stop global scale threats than evolved intelligence!!! duh!!! Sawyer is saying 'How can it be our destiny to grow more intelligent when asteroids hit the earth and cause mass extinctions' whats the logic?

Robert Wright, in his book 'Non zero: Logic and Human Destiny' argues, and aruges well that it is a property of evolution to create more intelligence beings, and should humans be wiped off the face of the earth, eventually another intelligent species will arise, and eventually they will achieve technological status, and will accelerate their own progress. If it doesnt happen here, it happens elsewhere. Indeed, Wright argues, the evolutionary process will lead to an average increase in intellignce. Can sawyer present even one shred of evidence to suggest otherwise? Have there been any organisms that once they evolved intelligence started to de-evolve and become dumber? Of course de-evolution is not possible, but since it is impossible to have less than zero intelligence, then life can only evolve in a direction of more inteligence.

More terrible news today - Suicide Bomber Kills 19 Israelis -

"Donenhirsch, the guest, said that as she and her family fled, they saw a little girl, about 10 to 12 years old, lying dead on the ground, her eyes wide open as if in surprise."

"Witnesses said they saw five bodies lined up on the pavement, some of them dismembered, including that of a woman in festive holiday clothes."

The Hartford Advocate published this article

The Population Bomb - The human race is exploding across the globe from -

The Author, Alan Bisport relates the story of a Zambian man recently shot and killed in Waterbury by police. He had Attacked his sister with a butcher knife and then the police officer. This Zambian man was not only pyschologically disturbed, but a victim of overpopulation, that author contends. The 'tragedy' of this mans death was compounded by the fact that he had impregnented to women and now leaves to children fatherless, the author laments "he left in his wake, children who now must be fed, clothed and educated. Since -- as Hillary Clinton would have it -- it takes a village to raise a child, guess who will foot the bill for the embezzling Zambian's serial impregnations? One thing is for certain: It sure as hell won't be Hillary's village. " The Hartford Advocate is a very liberal publication, the author emphasizes this by later saying "The planet IS overcrowded with more than 6 billion people. It's as overpopulated here, in its own way, as it is in Zambia. Only the lunatic fringe will argue otherwise (as Fox News has shown, the lunatic fringe is fully employed these days)." So why is this author presenting their disdain for welfare, state enforced and sanction support based on tax dollars, at the same time criticzing 'lunatic fringe' employed by fox news, a very conservative publication. Last I checked, socialism was a significant part of the democratic party's platform, appears this liberal doesnt want to be bothered with helping fatherless children. So why was this a tragedy caused by overpopulation (instead of the cause being a particular wacko choosing to take out a butcher knife and slice people up attacking a police officer) Its the fault overpopulation because Zambia has lots of people, its growing fast, the life expactancy is *only* 46 years and 59 percent of Zambian children are malnourished. AHA! THATS why he attacked a police officer, I understand understand now.......... No wait, I dont. Not only are conditions bad for thinking talking dreaming intelligent human beings, but bad for elephants and rhinos too, as poaching has reached 'crisis' levels. Oddly enough, people in Zambia seem to be more concerned with preventing their children from starving to death than protecting rhinos and elephants... go figure.

The author continues "First of all, let's get this straight. The planet IS overcrowded with more than 6 billion people. It's as overpopulated here, in its own way, as it is in Zambia" Wow, is that how a logical debate is persued? "MY premise _is_ valid regardless off if you disagree" So the planet is overcrowded at 6 Billion people. When is it NOT overcrowded? 3 Billion? 1 Billion? .1 Billion? .01 Billion? Give us a number Alan. I can find no part of the definition of 'overcrowded' that has any quantifiable figure in it, which means that the actual definition of 'overcrowded' is an abstract self defined concept. So Alan contends that 6 billion people on earth is overcrowded, not only contends, but insists! I say it isnt. Whose right? How do we tell? Depends on the definition of 'overcrowded' of course, which Alan cares not to define, instead arguing on the sheer conviction of his assertation. Thanks for the intelligent discussion Alan.

As far as the 'population bomb' this is what I have to say about it, from a different response to the 'populaiton' problem in general.

“"The problems to be faced are vast and complex, but come down to this: 5.5 billion people are breeding exponentially. The process of fulfilling their wants and needs is stripping the earth of its biotic capacity to produce life;”

Exponential projections and predictions based there in only hold true as long as all other variables remaining constant. Bacteria reproduce exponentially, and 1 single bacteria within a year can easily produce enough bacteria to cover the world a mile deep. Why has this not happened? Because other factors limit this exponential growth curve, in the case of bacteria, it’s the presence of waste and the lack of a food supply. Food supply? In the late 1960’s author Paul Elhrich wrote ‘The Population Bomb’ which predicted, by the 1980’s widespread famines across the globe and millions of deaths. What happened? What happened was that Elhrich assumed that the population growth curve would continue to exponentially increase, and the ability to produce food would stay at the level it was always been. Thus we would not be able to feed everyone. In reality agricultural technologies continue to advance, making more and more food available with less and less land use (post industrialized nations now have more forest cover then they have in centuries because old farms are abandoned. For example, the rock walls that criss cross all of New England designated farmland boundaries) In the 1800’s, in the US, more than 80% of people farmed, they lived hard, painful, short lives. There was no time for art, culture, music, or entertainment. You got up at sunrise and worked till sunset, making just enough food for yourself and a few others. You died by the time you were forty. In 1850, the number of farmers was smaller, more like 60%, by 1900 the number was down even more, to 30%. The same amount of people were producing three times as much food (even more than that, when taking the population growth into account) Yet they were using less and less land to do it in. By 1950 the number was down to around 15%, and today, in 2002, less than 2% of the worlds population farms. And they make too much food. Food today is cheaper and more plentiful then it has ever been before. So why do 30,000 children starve to death every day? Because the countries that they live in are ruled by corrupt despotic governments (governments that do not abide by the laws they enforce) and they use food as a political tool and weapon. But even in the poorest of the poor countries, calorie consumption has increased by 30% since 1960, and this is precisely because agriculture technologies have made food cheaper then it has ever been, and the cheaper something is the more expensive it is to control it.

Dire and scary predictions like Elhric’s “The population bomb” never took into account technological progress and always, for some reason, assumed a technological stasis. Modern day scares amount to much the same, these ‘sky is falling’ cries never give full credit to human ingenuity and creativity. We are all mindless automones who will destroy ourselves, right? Yet we have managed to go 100,000 years without doing it, and we continue to live longer, better, healthier, happier lives.

One of the biggest factors that effects the population growth of humans is there socio-economic status. Basically, the poorer a society is, the more it reproduces, as children become valuable sources of income. Yet in post industrialized nations, children are an expense, and are often put of more and more years. The population growth in most post industrialized nations is at or below zero, that is, more people are dying then being born. The world as a whole is increasing in socioeconomic status, even some of the poorest in the world live longer, healthier lives than the richest 1% of a century ago. The ‘poor’ in post industrialized nations have guaranteed stabilizing health care, and often have apartments, multiple color TVs, power, phones, cable, heat, hot water, and centralized sanitation. They have at their disposal things that the richest roman emperor would envy. As the rest of the world is dragged from poor corrupt despotic 3rd world countries into industrialization and post industrialization, the welfare of people will increase as well, and population growth will decrease. As these countries industrialize with 3rd generation technologies, less havoc is wreaked on the environment. As these citizens and countries wealth increase, they concern themselves more with things poorer people, who struggle just to feed their family, do not, like the environment and ecosystems and state parks.


Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Eugenics rides a 'Time Machine' - "Go see The Time Machine. Stare at the face of genocide." from Reason -

Awesome article. I didn't know Wells had a relationship with everyone's fave Uncle Joe (stalin) Seems H.G. wells was a proponent of state sanctioned Eugenics, intersting....

Sciencedialy ( says that for the first time in 30 years a couple lakes in new york didnt freeze in a non-elnino year. a "clear indicator of climate change" A few lakes not freezing for the first time in 30 years (in a non elnino year) is a clear indicator of climate change? Maybe its a 30 year fluctuation? How old is the Earth, 4.5 billion years? Does a 30 year sample pass in *any* scientific arena as an adequate statistical sample?

From my collegue "Uh oh, better go build my AI robots if the caps are going to melt."

From "Europe Approves Rival GPS Network Despite US Concerns"

Hmm, some competition to the US GPS monopoly. Im still waiting for the day when my GPS enabled cell phone / pda / beeper / watch / health monitor tells me that my favorite cereal is on sale AS I am driving by the market where it is on sale. Another monopoly comes to an end =)

Discover magazines breaking news: - "Cell Phones Unplugged - On-the-go cell phone users will soon be able to charge up their phones without the aid of a wall socket"

yaahh, I am having difficulty containing my enthiasim at this marvelous breakthrough. Truly Amazing, turning a crank can be used to create power. This invention came along at just the right time, as humanities most direct problem the fact that cell phone batteries go low too quickly.

Accordign to collegue will, its more like the fact that "Survivor is only on television once a week."