Monday, July 28, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gender and Math

There's a bunch of Larry Summers hate at Alas, a Blog based on a new study that says that girls and boys are doing just as well at math on average.

Evidence of lower scoring by females on the SAT is "explained away" according to the study as the result of more girls (and thus presumably a less selective sample of girls) taking the SAT (a traditional explanation that is not mentioned is that boys have a higher standard deviaiton than girls do, so if you test only the top half of the bell curve men will do better on average).

What is not mentioned, though, is the second half of the article, where it is stated that the tests used in the study did not include problems involving complex reasoning.

My guess on the probable translation: The NCLB tests are designed largely to test the most basic skills that almost everyone can have. That the tests may have been adjusted deliberately to acheive gender parity is not considered in the article, nor in the Alas post, which simply assumes that the issue has been settled once and for all.

So where do I stand on this? I doubt that there are as many females as males in the higher percentiles of math ability. Although it is likely that there are more females with math ability than actually wind up using it. In other words, it is not unlikely that stereotypes based on actual statistical trends may wind up exaggerrating those trends. If only 25% of of the top 1% is girls, this might intimidate girls from studying math so that only 15% or 10% of those taking the top 1% classes are girls.

But ultimately, my main concern is that we try to allow people to take what they want and feel they have the aptitude for. The main reason why I think that skepticism of these reports of equality is important is because I do not want the government to take the risk of destroying our science, technology, and math programs with quotas.

That is all.

A Plug

Lots of good stuff on the Ballot Access News website.

That is all.

Why Don't People Resent Angelina's Pregnancy but They Resent Welfare Mothers' Pregnancies?

Uh - maybe because Angelina Jolie can actually support her children?

The post I lknked to above is a classic example of how leftists do not understand how the world works. They seem to think that most people with money just have it handed to them, and that we can afford to support an endless stream of irresponsible people having babies they cannot afford. Why, they ask, can't we have a society that values all children and makes it so that women can reproduce whenever they want, with no material constraints whatsoever, with the government providing health care, daycare, etc.?

Maybe because all of the unproductive people will reporduce until there is no one to provide the goods they feel entitled to?

These leftists are like spoiled teenagers, thinking that they have a right to their parnets' money, and also a right to be free of their parents' control.

Oh, and I love the but about "what if thesse kids resent having to pay for your social security?" If I had confidence that most of these kids would grow up to be productive taxpaying citizens, then I might concede the point. But if they grow up to be criminals, or welfare-dependent, that really won't help me, will it?

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Alas, a Blog for the link.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

They Never Learn

I heard Sean Hannity recently crowing about how Saddam did too have WMDs. Why, we just took hundreds of tons of yellowcake uranium from there.

The problem, of course, is that this uranium has been there since the 70s or early 80s, and we've always known about it. Indeed, it was declared, Saddam was not hiding it, and it had been sealed by the IAEA. The NY Times' Lede blog hcomments on this,

If we thought it was dangerous, we could have always insisted on removing it while Saddam, was in power. It's not like this stuff was being kept from us.

To use this as proof that the administration was right about WMDs, or to use it to prove how ignorant the naysayers are, smacks either or complete ignorance or total dishonesty. Of course, that is par for the course with Seanny boy.

That is all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bad News for the Constitution Party

The California Party is making a break.

More bad news: it looks increasingly unlikely that we will get ballot access in Maine, so we will have to settle for a write-in.

As the person who was organizing the ballot access drive in Maine, I am rather discouraged. This is part of the reason why I am having such a hard time doing political blogging, because this election is so depressing.

That is all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sorry About Lack of Posting

I've been busy with Augustawell, an have also been somewhat discouraged about the political situation due to problems getting Baldwin on the ballot in Maine (I have wound up being the de facto ballot access guy). It's a long story, but I don't have the strength to think too much about politics for the next few days. In addition, there is a lot going on at work.

I'll try to post more soon, but I will probably be fairly quiet for a week or so.

That is all.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Jesse Helms, RIP

Thinking of Jesse Helms' death makes me think of this Bloom County episode.

That is all.

Liberal Stupidity on Helms

Yggy comments on a quote from Ed Kilgore, which includes this:

When the AIDS epidemic emerged in the 1980s, Helms began an extended and violently worded campaign to "protect" Americans from the "perverts" whose "disgusting" habits were responsible for AIDS, while attacking efforts to find effective treatments.

While attacking efforts to find effective treatments would be bad (although I have a feeling that that is a rather uncharitable reading of Helms' position), I fail to see how the first part of Helms position is actually wrong in any way, despite the myriad efforts to portray AIDS as a "equal opportunity disease."

What the left is really upset about here is that Helms did not buy into the politically correct lie that HIV did not discriminate.

Good for Helms and to heck with the lying liberals.

That is all.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Write-in Rules

According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, the following states ban write-ins:

All write-ins:
South Dakota
Write-ins for President:
South Carolina
Effectively bans write-ins for President, but not officially:
New Mexico

Fortunately for the Constitution Party, we are on the ballot on all of these except for Oklahoma and Louisiana (and Louisiana should be in the "ballot access granted" column very soon as all it requires is a filing fee).

Provided we can get write-in access in the states that have requirements for write-in status, people should be able to vote for Baldwin in 49 states (and presumably the District of Columbia).

That is all.

Andrew Sullivan Does it Again

More and more, Sullivan is proving that he has no understanding of what Christianity actually means, describing the belief that Jesus is the only way to God as "sectarian bigotry."

He also gives us this beauty, in response to Obama saying "Jesus is the only way for me. I'm not in a position to judge other people":

I have a feeling that Obama's position is far closer to that of most believing Christians than Graham's. Which is why the right-wing Christianists are getting as afraid as the neocons.

I would suggest that he has never read John 14:6:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

except that Andrew has already stated that it is un-Christian to believe in the Bible, at least when you believe passages that do not square with Andrew's behavior or social philosophy.

Of course, determining Christianity by what people who call themselves Christians believe assumes essentially that man, not God, is supreme, and is s foolish idea anyway.

More by me on "Christianism" and here.

That is all.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Constitution Party Ballot Access

This is the map of the current status of Constitution Party Ballot Access Petitioning:

Data is from the Constitution Party's own website.

For Libertarian, Green, and Nader ballot access maps, click here.

That is all.

On World War II and Unconditional Surrender

One thing that no one has yet brought up on the VFR threads (1,2) about World War II is whether or not the "necessity" of making concessions to Stalin in 1944 and 1945, after the German army had been destroyed to the point that the eventual victory of the Allies was assured) was driven more by the desire to crush Germany and Japan than it was by the need for Stalin's help to make sure that Germany and Japan lost.

(I should point out here that this point is a little more nuanced than it appears; I am not suggesting that the Allies' desire to smash Germany and Japan or the demand for unconditional surrender was due merely to malice, just that it was not, in my opinion, a good idea that these goals were given such a high priority).

As I touched on in this post, and as Paul Gottfried has suggested, the demand for unconditional surrender may have prevented us from taking advantage of indigenous resistance to the Nazis, and may have prolonged the war in a way that helped no one but Stalin, who had finally begun to turn the war to his advantage.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Even More on Augustawell

18 posts are up now.

The blog is a little ratty-looking, because I finally found out that I could revert to a classic template rather than fooling around with the "Layouts" garbage. The blog doesn't look quite as nice, but I know how to edit the template now and the strips don't get cut off at the right edge.

The "flap" is gone, so all of the author's commentary is visible, but I will re-institute it into my template as soon as possible.

That is all.