Monday, February 1, 2010

Grumpiness is a sign of advanced civilisation

Researchers now believe that being aggressive, intolerant and short-tempered could be a sign of a more advanced nature.

A more childlike attitude to behaviour such as tolerance and sharing, could, in contrast, be an indication of not being as developed, the new study suggests.

The news will be welcomed by those who are known to operate on a short fuse, such as talented but foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay and businessman Sir Alan Sugar.

It could also provide scientific weight to the writer George Bernhard Shaw's famous saying that "all progress depends on the unreasonable man".
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The psychology of power: Absolutely

REPORTS of politicians who have extramarital affairs while complaining about the death of family values, or who use public funding for private gain despite condemning government waste, have become so common in recent years that they hardly seem surprising anymore. Anecdotally, at least, the connection between power and hypocrisy looks obvious.

Anecdote is not science, though. And, more subtly, even if anecdote is correct, it does not answer the question of whether power tends to corrupt, as Lord Acton's dictum has it, or whether it merely attracts the corruptible. To investigate this question Joris Lammers at Tilburg University, in the Netherlands, and Adam Galinsky at Northwestern University, in Illinois, have conducted a series of experiments which attempted to elicit states of powerfulness and powerlessness in the minds of volunteers. Having done so, as they report in Psychological Science, they tested those volunteers' moral pliability. Lord Acton, they found, was right.

In their first study, Dr Lammers and Dr Galinsky asked 61 university students to write about a moment in their past when they were in a position of high or low power. Previous research has established that this is an effective way to “prime” people into feeling as if they are currently in such a position. Each group (high power and low power) was then split into two further groups. Half were asked to rate, on a nine-point morality scale (with one being highly immoral and nine being highly moral), how objectionable it would be for other people to over-report travel expenses at work. The other half were asked to participate in a game of dice.

The dice players were told to roll two ten-sided dice (one for “tens” and one for “units”) in the privacy of an isolated cubicle, and report the results to a lab assistant. The number they rolled, which would be a value between one and 100 (two zeros), would determine the number of tickets that they would be given in a small lottery that was run at the end of the study.

In the case of the travel expenses—when the question hung on the behaviour of others—participants in the high-power group reckoned, on average, that over-reporting rated as a 5.8 on the nine-point scale. Low-power participants rated it 7.2. The powerful, in other words, claimed to favour the moral course. In the dice game, however, high-power participants reported, on average, that they had rolled 70 while low-power individuals reported an average 59. Though the low-power people were probably cheating a bit (the expected average score would be 50), the high-power volunteers were undoubtedly cheating—perhaps taking the term “high roller” rather too literally.

Taken together, these results do indeed suggest that power tends to corrupt and to promote a hypocritical tendency to hold other people to a higher standard than oneself. To test the point further, though, Dr Lammers and Dr Galinsky explicitly contrasted attitudes to self and other people when the morally questionable activity was the same in each case. Having once again primed two groups of participants to be either high-power or low-power, they then asked some members of each group how acceptable it would be for someone else to break the speed limit when late for an appointment and how acceptable it would be for the participant himself to do so. Others were asked similar questions about tax declarations.

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Also of interest: Overweight male politicians are more popular

Philip K. Dick in the land of the John Birch Society

From PART 2: PHILIP K. DICK, THE LAST DECADE

...He grew up mostly in Berkeley, attended the public high school, dropped out of the nearby University of California after less than a semester, wrote several failed realist novels and worked in classical record stores  -- at times reduced by poverty to eating horse meat with his first wife -- while waiting for a literary career to take off. He chose science fiction, he wrote in 1969, because its “audience is not hamstrung by middle-class prejudices and will listen to genuinely new ideas. There is less of an emphasis on mere style and more on content – as should be.”

During the '60s, he'd begun to experience acclaim in the science-fiction world, winning the Hugo, the field's major award, for “The Man in the High Castle” – a novel in which the Axis powers win the war -- and writing several dozen novels that made him the wild-man genius of a then-insular fan community. His fame eventually began to spread to the larger bohemian culture: John Lennon called Dick from his and Yoko Ono's “bed-in,” for instance, to discuss his hallucinatory philosophic novel “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich,” which the Beatle hoped to film.

The mainstream knew little of the author. His daughter Isa, born in 1967, never heard word of him outside the family. “I used to look at his apartment,” she recalls, “see all the books he had there, and wonder if every copy of his books was right there in his apartment. 'Is he really a real author?' “

Still, the Bay Area – Berkeley, Oakland and Marin County – served as home to the writer, until one day in November 1971, when he entered his house in San Rafael after getting groceries. His doors and windows had been blown out, and asbestos floated in a layer of water on the floor. His stereo and many of his papers – stored for security purposes in a half-ton steel cabinet -- were gone. To Dick, it was a confirmation of the old joke, “Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.”

The author would blame the Black Panthers, the KGB, neo-Nazis and other assorted culprits depending on which day you asked him; some speculate today that he was entangled in a drug deal that went bad. In any case, he wanted out of there, as soon as possible. When an offer came to appear at a science-fiction convention in Vancouver, B.C., Dick set out for Canada, and, a month later, had not yet returned..

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Inside Israeli land grabs



TRNN speaks to settlers, Palestinians, and experts to understand the process of land confiscation in OPT

~ TheRealNews ~

Buckethead & Serj : We are one



In the metal-horror spectacular, the enigmatic Buckethead faces 'Patches' the roadkill chimera he's unwittingly re-animated. With Serj Tankian as a biohazard clean-up technician who's found a way to make a little money on the side and a cameo by the one and only Chop-Top. Directed by Rodney & Syd (Syd Garon + Rodney Ascher) For more quality filmed entertainment visit rodneyascher.com

Chief Seattle's reply to a Government offer to purchase the remaining Salish lands



See different versions of the speech here.

War criminals: Arrest warrants requested

By Timothy Bancroft--Hinchey, Pravda

International arrest warrants have been requested for George W. Bush, Richard (Dick) Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleeza Rice and Alberto Gonzales at the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.

Professor of Law Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champain, United States of America, has issued a Complaint with the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court against the above-mentioned for their practice of “extraordinary rendition” (forced disappearance of persons and subsequent torture) in Iraq and for criminal policy which constitutes Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute which set up the ICC.

As such, the Accused (mentioned above) are deemed responsible for the commission of crimes within the territories of many States signatories of the Rome Statute, in violation of Rome Statute Articles 5 (1)(b), 7 (1)(a), 7 (1)(e), 7 (1)(g), 7(1)(h), 7(1)8i) and 7(1)(k). Despite the fact that the USA is not a signatory State, the ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute under Article 12 (2)(a) of the Rome Statute.

This Article stipulates that the Court may exercise its jurisdiction if one or more States in which the conduct in question occurred has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court. Furthermore, the forced disappearance of persons and torture in deemed by the Rome Statute as a Crime against Humanity, one which is still ongoing.

The Exercise of Jurisdiction may be activated under Article 13, with respect to a crime committed under Article 5 if the Prosecutor has initiated an investigation. Professor Boyle, in his issue of complaint, respectfully requested that such an investigation be initiated.

The issue of complaint states “about 100 human beings have been subjected to enforced disappearances and subsequent torture by the Accused”, adds that some of them could still be alive today, and that an investigation could save these lives. Regarding those whose enforced disappearances led to their deaths, the Complaint requests a process of explanation and clarification for what would be a murder investigation.

~ link ~

Eretz Nehederet in Haiti



A skit from satire show Eretz Nehederet. Tal Friedman as Channel 2's Roni Daniel right-wing mmilitary correspondent, reporting on the Israeli aid mission to Haiti.
Read more on: www.shmookty.wordpress.com

"The yes men" - satirical hit on World Economic Forum

 After much-publicized satires that infuriated the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Canada's federal government, pranksters of "The Yes Men" have found a new target -- the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

An official-looking World Economic Forum press release carried video links to world leaders - e.g., Queen Elizabeth II, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a very convincing Bill Clinton - delivering "pre-interview policy statements" on how to end "injustices that perpetuate poverty and create conditions that threaten the survival of our species."

The satire carried solemn but ersatz quotes from a bevy of political and economic plutocrats, including:

# World Economic Forum chair Klaus Schwab, saying: "In light of the recent tragedy in Haiti, which was already on the brink due to free-market policies, it is clear that taking a new tack to end poverty is morally necessary."
# Lloyd Blankfein, chair of the New York Financial Caucus and CEO at Goldman Sachs: "It is by now universally understood that many of our institutions were directly responsible for the collapse of housing value, not to mention massive unemployment and misery, in the United States and much of the rich world."

(The Yes Men made an error in the spelling of Blankfein's name.)

The video presentations featured dubbed voices.

The CEO of agribusiness conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland, Patricia Woertz, appeared to be saying: "As a co-chair of the annual meeting, part of my focus will be on agriculture's role in today's economic savagery, and the broader long-term issue of robbing whole groups for the greed of the food industry."

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Psychiatry: An industry of death

Part 1 of 9


Psychiatry: An Industry of Death is a controversial documentary on the horrors of psychiatry, of punishing and persecuting of the innocent and promoting Fascism, racism and atheism.

It was the foundation for the Holocaust, apartheid, for Jim Crow and for Communism. It has lead to many deaths. It denies God, the giver of life and freedom. It stands against the values of freedom, life, liberty and dignity.

There have been allegations that this is a Scientology propaganda film. Although the church of Scientology has had influence on the production of this film, the evil inherant in psychiatry should be of great concern to all people of all faiths especially Christians and Jews.

Psychiatrists in Nazi Germany basically branded innocent people as mentally ill including Jews. The concentration camps of Auschwitz and elsewhere were nothing more than psychiatric hospitals for those the Nazi State deemed mentally unfit. IE: Jews Gypsies, Christians, Dissidents, ETC.

~ Watch entire documentary at Top Documentary Films ~

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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