Unusual story from the Daily News today, in that it lays out a few pieces of evidence without directly saying what those pieces, taken together, seem to imply. The pieces:
Linguist/philosopher and Philly native son Noam Chomsky once postulated that the current era of human history might “provide an answer to the question of whether it is better to be smart than stupid.” We got closer to that answer last week, when researchers from Cardiff University in Wales announced an intriguing new find: a gene for stupidity. Specifically, they showed that kids born with two copies of the common gene known as Thr92Ala who also have low levels of thyroid hormone are four times more likely to have a low IQ than children with only one copy of the gene, or with two copies but normal hormone levels.
How low an IQ? Between 70 and 85, the researchers say. Anything below 70 is classified as an intellectual disability; the 70-to-85 range is considered “mild intellectual disability.”
So, let’s all rush out to have tests on our unborn babies, right? Read more »
Hardliners in Iran are using America’s impotence in dealing with the crisis in the Ukraine as an example of what happens when you give up your nuclear strength.
Twenty years ago, no one would have messed with the Ukraine. Russia certainly would not have dared to move forces to its doorstep.
In 1994 Ukraine was the third largest nuclear power. That same year Ukraine agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal with the promise from the United States and Russia that neither country would use force or threaten action against the newly independent nation.
Ironically, Ukraine gave all of its nuclear warheads — 1,900 long range and 2,500 short range – to Russia.
Lots of coverage today for the US Airways plane that aborted its takeoff Thursday evening in Philadelphia. The airport was briefly closed to takeoffs and landings, but quickly reopened.
Read more »
The Daily News reports: “JOE McGINNISS, who went from controversial stints at the old Evening Bulletin and the Inquirer to best-sellerdom as a writer of blistering books, died yesterday in Worcester, Mass., of prostate cancer at age 71. McGinniss wrote hard-hitting books on many subjects, from Richard Nixon (The Selling of the President 1968) to Sarah Palin (The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin). The Palin book led him to move in next door to her Alaska home for several months. As a sports reporter for the Bulletin, he so angered Wilt Chamberlain with columns about his lousy foul shooting and other criticisms that Wilt shoved him into a locker at Convention Hall along with the late Daily News sportswriter Bill Conlin, who had tried to protect McGinniss.”
AP: “The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a Pennsylvania school district that wants to prevent students from wearing “I (heart) Boobies!” bracelets to promote breast cancer awareness among young people. The justices on Monday left in place a federal appeals court ruling striking down a ban on the bracelets. The ban was put in place by the Easton Area School District, which says the breast-cancer awareness bracelets are lewd in their use of sexual innuendo.”
And thus generation of teenagers celebrated their free speech rights—but used them only to say “boobies.”
I’d just managed to complete my first-ever PayPal purchase when I started hearing about Bitcoins everywhere I turned. I don’t know if it’s the whole Magic: The Gathering thing or what, but I picture Bitcoins like the pile of gold Smaug sleeps on in The Hobbit. Imaginary world, imaginary currency.
But I do try to keep up, so I kept reading up on Bitcoins: on the Vinklevoss twins’ plans for a Bitcoin investment fund, on the surprisingly sober Senate hearings on the cryptocurrency last November, on the Mt. Gox mess, allegations of corruption, and on some old Japanese guy living in California who is either the mastermind behind Bitcoins or a befuddled dopplegänger. It would be a lie to say I understand Bitcoins better now. In fact, the more I read, the more confused I become.
CNN reports: “William Guarnere, a World War II veteran popularized by the “Band of Brothers” miniseries, has died. He was 90. During the war, Guarnere earned the nickname “Wild Bill.” He lost a leg trying to save a friend on the battlefield. The family is planning a funeral this week in Philadelphia, where Guarnere was born and lived most of his life, his son said.”