Crows, magpies and jays continue to show amazing mental abilities including rudimentary capacities for self-recognition and a theory of mind. Now there is evidence that crows recognize individual human faces.
John Kass, who could never be accused of going easy on Obama, reaches the gagging point listening to the newfound Republican appreciation for the politics of grievance. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Just a minute ago, the Republicans wanted to peel Hillary Clinton's
skin with a butter knife and a smile and reach for lemon and salt. But
now they're throwing their arms around her as if she's the little
sister who needs protection from Barack the bully.
They love Hillary so much. But they love those so-called disaffected Clinton Democratic votes even more. Continue reading
From Scott Stossel's review of The Big Sort (Bill Bishop & Robert G. Cushing):
We can no longer even
agree on what used to be called facts: Conservatives watch Fox;
liberals watch MSNBC. Blogs and RSS feeds now make it easy to produce
and inhabit a cultural universe tailored to fit your social values,
your musical preferences, your view on every single political issue.
We’re bowling alone — or at least only with people who resemble us, and
agree with us, in nearly every conceivable way.
This separation into solipsistic blocs would perhaps not be so
complete if people of different political views or cultural values at
least lived within hailing distance, and encountered one another on the
street or in the store from time to time. But, increasingly, they
don’t. Over the last decade, as 100 million Americans have moved from
one place to another, they’ve clustered in increasingly homogeneous
communities. This is where “The Big Sort,” which grew out of a series
of articles that Bishop, formerly a reporter at The Austin
American-Statesman, wrote with Robert Cushing, a retired sociologist
and statistician from the University of Texas,
is both wonkiest and most original. Working with a team of
collaborators (including Richard Florida, the author of “The Rise of
the Creative Class”), Bishop and Cushing swam around in different sets
of data — voting records; I.R.S. income figures; patent filings; poll
numbers from advertising firms — to figure out how thoroughly, and in
what ways, Americans had sorted themselves. Their conclusion: “By the
turn of the 21st century, it seemed as though the country was
separating in every way conceivable.”
My dog, Shadow, does not have an intact disgust module. Neither did the succession of best friends who preceded him. Dogs will eat or roll in practically anything, without any trace of an emotion that seems to be uniquely human. Human infants don’t show disgust until they’re 5 to 7 years old.
Disgust, Michael S. Gazzaniga argues in his new book, “Human,” is one of the five emotional modules that distinguish us from other species. Other modules are common across species. Neither adults, nor human infants nor wallabies, for example, have to be explicitly taught to avoid certain dangers. Encountering a large, fast-approaching creature with sharp teeth — even if you have never encountered it before — causes an automatic fear and avoidance reaction. Evolution has hard-wired a general fear response into our brains, rather than a fear of specific things — you never know what you might encounter, and you don’t want to sit there ruminating about it while you become lunch. Speaking of rumination, part of what makes human brains special is that we are the only animals who even bother to ask the question of why we’re special. Continue...
August 22, 2008 (Computerworld)
A Philadelphia TV news anchor pleaded guilty today to breaking into his
co-anchor's e-mail accounts more than 500 times and feeding information
he found there to a local newspaper.
Mendte, 51, of Philadelphia, made the guilty plea to one felony count
of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization
and obtaining information in furtherance of a tortuous act, according
to the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Mendte, once a popular news anchor at CBS affiliate KYW-TV, secrety accessed one work e-mail account and two personal accounts of co-anchor Alycia Lane between March 2006 and May 2008.
Last year, Bertram Gawronski
(University of Western Ontario), Luciano Arcuri and Silvia Galdi (both of the University of Padova, Italy) studied a group of 129 residents of Vincenza, Italy during a time when the locals were considering a proposal to expand an American military base.
Using the implicit association test, the researchers were able to predict whether residents who considered themselves undecided would later be for or against the proposal.
During the study, participants were asked to respond as quickly as
possible to negative and positive words shown on a computer screen by pressing one key for positive words
and another for negative words. During the test, photos of the military base were also shown on the screen. Participants were told which key to press as each image was presented. A slight hesitation in reaction time was found when participants were told to press the key that was opposite the position they eventually chose once they were decided on the issue. The difference in reaction times was typically very small (.1 - .05 seconds), but the difference did predict future positions on the base proposal with a high degree of accuracy.