Jul 31 2009

With the right glasses, maybe you could think faster

Category: humorharmonicminer @ 9:06 am

It would seem that your perception of time may be affected by the wearing of glasses that shift your visual perceptions left or right. So says a new study.

Next time you’re stuck in a never-ending meeting, speed up time – or at least your perception of it – by wearing a pair of glasses that shift your vision to the right.

Prismatic glasses that adjust vision 10 degrees to the left experience just the opposite effect, slowing perception of time, claims a new study recently published online in Psychological Science (DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02390.x).

In the study, volunteers first wore prismatic lenses while they pointed to a pen in their periphery over and over again. This prompted their brains to adjust accordingly, shifting their world view to the right or left – the opposite direction of the lens shift.

Afterward, the volunteers performed a simple task in which they watched a blue square flash onto a computer screen. Participants were told to press the space bar, which made a red square appear, and to keep the red square on the screen for the same amount of time as the blue square had appeared, anywhere between 1.6 and 2.4 seconds.

People whose vision was shifted to the right overestimated short intervals by 113 milliseconds on average, while those whose world moved left tended to underestimate time by 131 milliseconds on average. They showed the same biases in a task in which the researchers told them to estimate half the duration of the blue square.

Led by Francesca Frassinetti at the University of Bologna, Italy, the study adds to growing evidence that our brains represent time and space similarly. Patients with brain damage that causes them to ignore part of their visual field have trouble estimating time. The study also adds support to the idea that we think of increasing durations of time as moving right to left.

Maybe that’s why we always find ourselves wanting more when conservative speakers are done, but we can’t wait for the end when liberals are just warming up.  I always did have the impression that lefties couldn’t quite keep up with the rest of us, intellectually.  Maybe we should just change their glasses.   While we’re at it, let’s remove the automatic rose-colored tint that appears whenever they’re reading about possible new government programs.


Jul 30 2009

The Left At Christian Universities, Part 13: Infiltrating, or enabling?

Category: abortion,Catholic,church,higher education,left,religion,societyharmonicminer @ 8:24 am

The previous post in this series is here.

From the Cardinal Newman Society

A national Catholic higher education organization has identified 10 Catholic colleges and universities that are promoting student internships with organizations whose missions or activities are directly opposed to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, including on fundamental issues such as abortion and marriage.

“This discovery validates the concerns of so many thousands of faithful Catholic parents and students, that public scandals at Catholic colleges are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Under what definition of ‘Catholic education’ do students receive academic credit to work for leading pro-abortion organizations?”

Last week, CNS wrote to the presidents of these colleges and universities to inform them of the problems with their internship programs. None have yet indicated that they will take steps to remedy the problems.

The internship programs—along with concerns about theological dissent, weakening academic standards and declining campus culture at many Catholic colleges and universities—help explain why most students and recent graduates of Catholic institutions believe that abortion and gay marriage should be legal, despite the Church’s clear teachings to the contrary. That was one of the disturbing findings of a November 2008 study published by the CNS Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Education and titled “Behaviors and Beliefs of Current and Recent Students at U.S. Catholic Colleges.”

This is not only a Catholic problem, of course.  Many evangelical colleges and universities bring speakers to their campuses who undermine the central missions of the institutions, as well as encouraging student participation in organizations that support pro-abortion and anti-family public policy.   Certainly, there will be times when a “professional internship” may require a student to participate in or with an organization whose ethos is questionable in these matters.  (Student teaching comes to mind.  The NEA is pro-abortion and anti-family through and through, and indirectly controls a great deal of American public education.)  But there seems to be an unfortunate pattern at some Christian colleges and universities of encouraging student participation in essentially leftist organizations promoting socialism, abortion-on-demand, leftist public and foreign policy, etc., such as CLUE, Progressive Christians Uniting, NAACP, Faith Voices for the Common Good, etc.  Such organizations may even be invited to campus to recruit students with week-long workshops.

Some of these organizations take moral stances at odds with Christian tradition, but may nevertheless do some good work.  Even Hamas hands out food and clothing in Gaza.  Not that these are “terrorist organizations” (although Progressive Christians Uniting seems quite fond of CAIR, which is a HAMAS supporter), but the point is that “doing good” is not a sufficient cause to place students with organizations that support evils like abortion and the destruction of the traditional family, or simply deafeningly bad ideas like socialism and pacifism, which generally lead to evil down the road.

At a minimum, if Christian universities/colleges are going to place students in internships with left-wing groups such as these, part of the “critical thinking and evaluation” exercises surrounding the intership should involve challenging the underlying assumptions and associations of the groups where students are placed.

Christianity is not distilled essence of leftism with scripture quotations.  The book of Luke is not a license for the government to play the role of Robin Hood, even if “red-letter-Christians” might wish otherwise.  And our failure as a society to protect the unborn remains the single biggest moral divide in our nation, much as slavery was 200 years ago, even if “enlightened evangelicals” are embarrassed to stand up against abortion-on-demand, when the cost is the good regard of the secular world with which they want to be friends.

If an organization passes out food to the hungry, and then supports politicians and policies that promote easy access to abortion, exactly what is that organization’s moral status?

Before we place our students with organizations whose values are divergent from Christian tradition (regardless of the religious clothing these organizations may wear), we’d better seriously consider what other options we have, and we’d better be certain we have prepared those students with sufficient intellectual and spiritual armor to resist the values-bending pressures they’ll have to endure.

There is a followup to this post here, about CLUE and the agenda they pursue.

H/T:  Christiansagainstleftistheresy

The next post in this series is here.


Jul 29 2009

Hiding behind the innocent

Category: Hamas,Islam,Palestine,UNharmonicminer @ 12:49 am

Officials say that Hamas is tunneling near UN facilities

Hamas is digging tunnels next to United Nations facilities under the assumption that the IDF will not target them during a future conflict, defense officials warned on Sunday.

The idea of tunneling near the UN school, the official said, was a lesson Hamas had learned from Operation Cast Lead earlier this year, during which the IDF did its utmost to avoid targeting UN facilities.

“Hamas uses civilian infrastructure to hide behind,” explained the official. “This is another example of Hamas’s cynical use of a school.”

This is not the first time Palestinian terrorists have used the Beit Hanun school. In October 2007, an IAF drone videotaped three terrorists preparing and then launching mortars from within the UN school compound in Beit Hanun.

Clearly, the Palestinians need to choose between supporting Hamas and having a UN presence in Gaza. And the UN needs to force that choice, by simply leaving until Hamas is gone. It is unconscionable for the UN to allow itself to be used as a shield for Hamas terrorists.

Will the UN force the choice? You’re kidding, right?


Jul 28 2009

In their own words

Category: illegal alien,left,Obamaharmonicminer @ 10:31 am

Latino Identity Politics and Immigration Payback

Over the past several years, pro-immigrant groups, Latino organizations, and Democratic Party-linked institutes in Washington have been on the same page about immigration and politics. Basically, it’s been a politics of numbers—bringing the growing number of Latinos and immigrants into the Democratic Party.

The entire article is basically a confession that both Democrats and “immigration rights” activists intend for people who entered the USA illegally to become Democrat voters, overwhelming the electorate with people who don’t understand the foundations of US society.  The article is not written by raving right-wing lunatics.  It is written by the people who are DOING it.

There is even a thinly veiled admission that “comprehensive immigration reform”  and “pathway to citizenship” are simply code phrases for “adding more Democrat voters who came here illegally.”

Read and weep, if you love your country.

Then call your senator and congressional representative. You haven’t been hearing so much about this issue lately, with economic issues center-stage. But “comprehensive immigration reform” is still back in the dressing room, waiting to make a dramatic appearance in the second act.


Jul 28 2009

Pluto making a comeback?

Category: science,spaceharmonicminer @ 9:43 am

Is Pluto a planet after all?

Next week the IAU’s general assembly will convene for the first time since Pluto was axed from the list of planets. Surprisingly, IAU chief Karel van der Hucht does not expect anyone to challenge the ruling made in Prague, but Pluto fans can take heart: resistance remains strong.

If Pluto is reinstated, it will probably be thanks to discovery rather than debate. Mark Sykes of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, believes that revelations within and beyond our solar system over the coming years will make the IAU’s controversial definition of a planet untenable (see diagram). “We are in the midst of a conceptual revolution,” he says. “We are shaking off the last vestiges of the mythological view of planets as special objects in the sky – and the idea that there has to be a small number of them because they’re special.”

And here I always thought Pluto was a dog.


Jul 27 2009

The Dangerous Conservatives

Category: guns,left,rightharmonicminer @ 9:04 am

It’s popular to view so called “right-wingers” as nuts with guns and bad attitudes, not really suitable for polite society, probably unstable and dangerous.  From the panicky news coverage given to the murder of a late-term abortionist, to the Napolitano Homeland Security Office labeling conservatives as possible terrorist threats, to lies about how many US firearms make it to Mexico for use in the murderous drug wars,  the general feeling is that conservatives are just barely holding themselves back from mass murder….  and that’s on a good day.

So, for the innumerate among you, a little analysis.  First, some raw numbers.

America is now estimated to have between 238 million and 276 million firearms, compared with some 250 million legally owned guns, or 84 for every 100 people, recorded in a July 2001 survey.

This survey is a bit old.  There are now lots more guns in civilian hands in the USA.  In fact, there’s been something of a boom in gun sales since the 2008 elections.

It seems likely that a disproportionate number of firearms are in the hands of conservatives.  Given that a great many people own more than one firearm, there are likely a very large number of liberal-left folks who own none (although the rich ones hire bodyguards who are armed…  and are probably conservatives), while probably a majority of conservatives do own guns of some kind.

Let’s say, just for a talking point, that 50 million conservatives in the USA own guns, or have easy access to them in their households.

When was the last time you heard of a liberal/left government official of any kind, whether elected or appointed, who was murdered by a conservative with an agenda, using a firearm?  If conservatives are just angry people looking for an excuse, they certainly have the means.  If just a thousandth of a percent of conservative gun owners are looney-tunes crazy enough to shoot a lefty politician, that would leave 500 crazy, roaming Rambos, each one with blood in his eye and a round in the chamber.

I was just wondering.  Did they all miss?  Did they all take a shot and miss and get arrested?  Did the major media (with it’s well-known reticence about saying negative things regarding conservative gun owners) just fail to report it?  Were they all mistaken for ex-lovers of the lefty/lib politicians they shot at, and therefore ignored?  (After all, dog bites man isn’t news, is it?)

I dunno….  but IF the folks I saw out on the range last week wanted to shoot themselves a commie pinko gay-loving taxing/spending multi-cultural  baby-killing global warming socialist, I don’t think they’d be likely to miss.  Those conservative folks may be ignorant, selfish, bigoted and gap-toothed, but they can hit what they aim at, usually more than once, even if their drive-bys involve shooting from the back of a 1962 Ford pickup the color of primer.

If there were 500 of them (or just one!) out looking to kill a lefty tonight, it would show up on the news tomorrow.  I’m thinking that while some of them may have considered it, just about none of them would do it…  because, unlike the Left, they actually believe in right and wrong, and divine judgment.

So, lefty/libs everywhere, some advice.  Better stop accusing conservatives of the thing they almost never do.  Better stop accusing them of conspiring to murder the righteous redistributers of wealth.

First, it’s not true.  And second, you wouldn’t want to give them ideas.


Jul 26 2009

Francis Collins: conflicted about embryonic stem cell research?

Category: abortion,Obama,religionharmonicminer @ 8:41 am

Francis Collins is an evangelical, and Obama’s pick to head the NIH.  Some have commented on Obama’s “inclusiveness” in giving the position to an evangelical Christian who is quite public about his faith, including in his book, The Language of God.

But a closer reading of Obama’s embryonic research policy, new NIH guidelines, and Francis Collins’ equivocations about the moral status of embryos leads to a lot of unanswered questions about the relationship between Collins’ faith and his public persona as scientist and future NIH head.

Read the link, and then ask yourself if Obama has not simply chosen a Christian who won’t rock the boat, yet again.


Jul 25 2009

The pathologist of Marxism

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 2:08 pm

Leszek Kolakowski, 1927–2009 by George Weigel on National Review Online

R.I.P.


Jul 25 2009

Modern art breaks new ground… again

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 2:02 pm

Gallery’s invitation to deface the Bible brings obscene response

A publicly funded exhibition is encouraging people to deface the Bible in the name of art — and visitors have responded with abuse and obscenity.

The show includes a video of a woman ripping pages from the Bible and stuffing them into her bra, knickers and mouth.

Everyone knows that Christians and Jews will respond non-violently to this kind of outrageeous “art.”

I’d love to see them try it with a Koran.


Jul 25 2009

Federal funding for abortions?

Category: abortion,Obamaharmonicminer @ 8:22 am

The Abortion Administration. Much more at the link.

In his first week in office, President Obama issued an executive order overturning the Reagan-era Mexico City regulations, which had prohibited American foreign aid from going to organizations that finance overseas abortions. Just a few weeks later, the Gallup organization revealed that the executive order was the single most unpopular action taken by the president during his honeymoon period. At a time when American families had experienced an average 25 percent decline in their net worth, it would appear that increasing the net worth of foreign abortionists was not high on their to-do list.

Their reaction was even less surprising in the light of another recent Gallup finding: For the first time in over 10 years, voters who describe themselves as pro-life have taken the lead (by 51 to 42 percent) over voters who describe themselves as pro-choice. Even this understates antiabortion sentiment, since many people who describe themselves as pro-choice, when probed, favor restrictions on abortion that the present Supreme Court, with its five members who voted for or favor Planned Parenthood v. Casey, would never allow.

Given the breadth of his domestic agenda, the president might want to make a midcourse correction on abortion. Why highlight an issue where the bulk of the American people, including a sizable share of the 52.9 percent of the electorate who voted for him, are either going in the other direction or have severe qualms?

But by now, nearly six months in, the bottom line for Barack Obama is clear. After making a few polite noises about finding “common ground” with pro-lifers, his administration has shown zero interest in doing so. Instead, the Obama agenda is to weave government-backed abortion into the fabric of American life and make it a far more integral part of domestic and foreign policy than ever before.

……

Why is Obama pushing ahead with such a radical abortion agenda? Since there’s no way to accuse him of doing it out of poll-driven opportunism, sincere conviction becomes the most plausible motive. Sometimes the simplest, most straightforward answer makes the most sense. A president who once said he wouldn’t want his daughter punished with a baby if she made a mistake is deeply committed to making free and easy access to abortion an inescapable element of American culture.


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