Wednesday, October 18, 2017

fallacies in trump's obsession with high IQ

"... (IQ) tests fall down when it comes to measuring those abilities crucial to making good judgements in real-life situations. That's because they are unable to assess things such as a person's ability to critically weigh up information, or whether an individual can override the intuitive cognitive biases that can lead us astray. This is the kind of rational thinking we are compelled to do every day, whether deciding which foods to eat, where to invest money, or how to deal with a difficult client at work. We need to be good at rational thinking to navigate our way around an increasingly complex world. And yet, says Stanovich, IQ tests - still the predominant measure of people's cognitive abilities - do not effectively tap into it."

"'IQ tests are overvalued, and I think most psychologists would agree with that,'" says Jonathan Evans, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Plymouth, UK. Indeed, IQ scores have long been criticised as poor indicators of an individual's all-round intelligence, as well as for their inability to predict how good a person will be in a particular profession."

"The problem with IQ tests is that while they are effective at assessing our deliberative skills, which involve reason and the use of working memory, they are unable to assess our inclination to use them when the situation demands. This is a crucial distinction: as Daniel Kahneman at Princeton University puts it, intelligence is about brain power whereas rational thinking is about control. 'Some people who are intellectually able do not bother to engage very much in analytical thinking and are inclined to rely on their intuitions,' explains Evans. 'Other people will check out their gut feeling and reason it through and make sure they have a justification for what they're doing.' An IQ test cannot predict which of these paths someone will follow..."

"In a study published last year, Stanovich and Richard West of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, found there was no correlation between intelligence and a person's ability to avoid some common traps of intuitive-thinking (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol 94, p 672)."

"...most researchers agree that, overall, the correlation between intelligence and successful decision-making is weak."

"Wändi Bruine de Bruin at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has shown that intelligence cannot be the only factor that dictates whether someone is a good thinker and decision-maker. In a study of 360 Pittsburgh residents aged between 18 and 88, her team found that, regardless of differences in intelligence, those who displayed better rational-thinking skills suffered significantly fewer negative events in their lives, such as being in serious credit card debt, having an unplanned pregnancy or being suspended from school (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol 92, p 938). Andrew Parker, now with the Rand Corporation in Pittsburgh, and Baruch Fischhoff at Carnegie Mellon found a similar association among adolescents. Those who scored higher on a test of decision-making competence drank less, took fewer drugs and engaged in less risky behaviour overall (Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, vol 18, p 1). This suggests that rational thinking may be more important than intelligence for positive life experiences, Fischhoff says. A potent criticism of Stanovich's theory is the lack of a proven test of rational thinking skills that could be used alongside IQ tests. 'It is not enough to say what intelligence is not measuring, you have to propose alternative ways of measuring rationality,' says Kahneman. Stanovich maintains that while developing a universal "rationality-quotient (RQ) test" would require a multimillion-dollar research programme, there is no technical or conceptual reason why it could not be done. There are already several contenders, such as the measure of decision-making competence used by Bruine de Bruin and Fischhoff. Would a valid RQ test be useful? 'Hypothetically, yes, because it would cover skills that are more directly related to what people will be doing in their jobs,' says Bruine de Bruin. Kahneman maintains that IQ tests, as measures of brain power, work well for academic selection. 'But I would very seriously consider RQ tests as a way of selecting managers or leaders, particularly if I wanted a style of leadership that is thorough and not overly impulsive,' he says. There is a drawback, however: unlike with IQ, it would be relatively easy to train people to do well on RQ tests. 'They measure the extent to which people are inclined to use what capacity they have,' says Evans. 'You could train people to ignore intuition and engage reasoning for the sake of the test, even if this was not their normal inclination.' The flip side of this is that everyone can improve their rational thinking and decision-making skills. Richard Nisbett at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and others discovered that just half an hour's training in statistical reasoning can improve a person's ability to use rational thinking in everyday situations. And we don't need formal training to improve: there are many tricks we can teach ourselves, says Perkins (see "How to avoid making foolish decisions"). We might also be better equipped to elect leaders that did the same."




trump boasts of his high IQ, his money and his power. 

I don't know what my IQ is. I do know that many, many people are smarter than me. I'm neither mega rich nor powerful. 

I don't admire or envy trump. with all of my faults and shortcomings, I prefer to be me; and, I prefer other imperfect people, who value honesty, humility, integrity and compassion in themselves and others. 




Tuesday, October 17, 2017

two party system: breeding ground for extremists and political phonies

in professional sports the "kiss of death" for a head coach or general manager is when the owner says to the media: "I'm 100% behind _______." When a GM or coach hears this, they might just as well pack their bags, because they are gone.

take a look at trump. "They're great people" or "He (or she) is a great person." then comes the twitter hammer.



trump isn't the only one. our two-party system of government breeds extremists and political phonies. look at the present and the past. there are as many extremists and political phonies on the left as there are on the right. small wonder that they're always fighting; and, nothing constructive gets done.

who do you trust? 
1. someone who has values similar to yours?
The good, the bad & the ugly: let's make America great again
2. someone who doesn't?
3. political parties, financed by billionaire corporations and PACs?


here's how government works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIAJl-wZElg

if you vote for a republican or a democrat, then it's not the person who you voted for who is in control--it's the party.



in the next election--national, state or local--vote for anyone except a democrat or a republican. soon the republican and democratic parties will dry up and die. nothing will be better for the United States of America.

PS similarly, by refusing to patronize dishonest and biased media, they too will shrivel up and die--a triple win for honesty in government, for integrity in reporting the actions of government, and for us. 




Monday, October 9, 2017

trump and the sad state of our two-party system of government

trump is an embarrassment--to the US and to the presidency. 

Bob Corker and the fast-growing list of those close to Trump who talk about him like he’s a child - The Washington Post

let's make america great again. in the next election vote for anyone except a republican or a democrat.

who do you trust? 
1. someone who has values similar to yours?
The good, the bad & the ugly: let's make America great again
2. someone who doesn't?
3. political parties, financed by billionaire corporations and PACs?


here's how government works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIAJl-wZElg

if you vote for a republican or a democrat, then it's not the person who you voted for who is in control--it's the party.



in the next election--national, state or local--vote for anyone except a democrat or a republican.
soon the republican and democratic parties will dry up and die.
nothing will be better for the United States of America.

PS similarly, by refusing to patronize dishonest and biased media, they too will shrivel up and die--a triple win for honesty in government, for integrity in reporting the actions of government, and for us. 





Thursday, October 5, 2017

is america up to the challenge?

Is America facing another sputnik moment?
Is America Facing Another Sputnik Moment? | The New Yorker
perhaps the real question should be: is america up to the challenge?

On the PISA math test in 2012, the U.S. average score of 481 fell below the OECD average of 494 and was lower than the scores of 21 other OECD nations. The U.S. math score was also lower than scores in several non-OECD regions/countries/economies, such as Shanghai-China, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong. U.S. students demonstrated higher mathematical literacy than students in only 5 out of 34 OECD countries. The U.S. average mathematics score in 2012 was not measurably different from average scores in previous PISA assessment years with which comparisons can be made (2003, 2006, and 2009).

is america up to the challenge?





Sunday, October 1, 2017

kim jong un: menace to the world

Rockets bound for Egypt reveal North Korea's dark trade - Chicago Tribune

take kim out

when n korea itself and the UN won't take care of business, then the US and the rest of the free world may have to take matters into their own hands.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

apologizing for your vote

by now i'm sure that many trump voters feel that they owe the rest of the country an apology for voting for trump.
don't feel bad, trump voters. 
if clinton had been elected, then many clinton voters would feel that they owe the rest of the country an apology for voting for clinton.

there's hope.
what "corrected behavior", you may ask?
simple--don't vote for republicans or democrats.

who do you trust? 
1. someone who has values similar to yours?
The good, the bad & the ugly: let's make America great again
2. someone who doesn't?
3. political parties, financed by billionaire corporations and PACs?


here's how government works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIAJl-wZElg

If you vote for a republican or a democrat, then it's not the person who you voted for who is in control--it's the party.



In the next election--national, state or local--vote for anyone except a democrat or a republican.
Soon the republican and democratic parties will dry up and die.
Nothing will be better for the United States of America.




trump's promises are worthless

for a guy who ran on "america first" and said that if he was elected that he'd back away from foreign conflicts, he's done exactly the opposite. cruise missile attack in syria, displays of force in korea, more troops in iraq and afghanistan and saber rattling directed at iran, china, russia, venezuela, etc.
trump is a liar.

maybe if trump had served in vietnam, then he'd be less of a saber rattler.

president theodore roosevelt said: "speak softly, and carry a big stick."
if n korea launches missiles towards the US, guam, or at any other US territory or ally, then whack n korea hard. there's no need to engage in exchanging threats with kim jong un or anyone else.
the same applies to any other country or terrorist that attacks the US.

grow up, trump.

image by Guilhem Vellut




donald trump--the reincarnation of p t barnum


Phineas Taylor "P. T.Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891) was an American politician, showman, and businessman remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Although Barnum was also an author, publisher, philanthropist, and for some time a politician, he said of himself, "I am a showman by profession...and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me", and his personal aim was "to put money in his own coffers".

Barnum wrote several books, including Life of P.T. Barnum (1854), The Humbugs of the World(1865), Struggles and Triumphs (1869), and The Art of Money-Getting (1880).
One of Barnum's more successful methods of self-promotion was mass publication of his autobiography. Barnum eventually gave up his copyright to allow other printers to sell inexpensive editions. At the end of the 19th century the number of copies printed was second only to the New Testament in North America. 
Often referred to as the "Prince of Humbugs," Barnum saw nothing wrong in entertainers or vendors using hype (or "humbug",  as he termed it) in promotional material, as long as the public was getting value for money.

Trump's "The Art of the Deal"
Barnum's "The Art of Money-Getting"

Trump's tweets
Barnum's self promotion

Trump's fake news
Barnum's humbug

Trump's hair
Barnum's ...



not so much

There is a solution: 



In the next election--national, state or local--vote for anyone except a democrat or a republican.

Our nation will be better off if you do.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

less carrot, more stick

historically, the carrot in the carrot and the stick approach hasn't worked in either n korea or iran. it's time to throw away the carrot, and use the club.
image by Joe Mabel

Decertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and reimpose sanctions on iran. 

in the end, however, each of us is responsible for the conditions with which we live. if it had not been for this country's patriots in 1776, then the USA would have never been. likewise, our brave citizens, and those of our allies, during WWI & WWII defeated tyranny and preserved freedom.

n koreans and iranians must take first responsibility for the conditions under which they live. if they fail in their responsibility, then others may have clean up the mess because of the danger that their government poses to others in the world. in doing so, if the offending country's inhabitants are adversely affected, then so be it. the inhabitants of the offending country must rightly suffer the consequences.


Virginian Patrick Henry
"give me liberty, or give me death."




Friday, September 22, 2017

kim jong un, 25 million north koreans and the tenuous existence of madmen dictators

The dead body of Benito Mussolini next to his mistress Claretta Petacci and those of other executed fascists, on display in Milan on 29 April 1945, in Piazzale Loreto, the same place that the fascists had displayed the bodies of fifteen Milanese civilians a year earlier after executing them in retaliation for resistance activity. The photograph is by Vincenzo Carrese. File:Mussolini e Petacci a Piazzale Loreto, 1945.jpg - Wikimedia Commons






Thursday, September 21, 2017

superman's "truth, justice and the american way": a vietnam war casualty

I am a baby boomer who grew up in the 1950s.
In grade school i wore a jacket covered with army, navy and air force unit insignias, each one sewed on by my mom.
I loved superman.

"Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!

Yes, it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet, who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way."


I was drafted in 1968 at the height of the vietnam war. 

I was sent to ft. benning for basic training, and spent the rest of my two years there as an assistant instructor in the infantry officers advanced course. I was at Ft. Benning during the Calley trial. 

Ken Burn's documentary, the vietnam war, is a vivid reminder of the death of "truth, justice and the american way" for this baby boomer. Burns’ documentary centers on a needless war sustained by lies | Opinion | Eugene, Oregon

rest in peace, superman. 


image by Meutia Chaerani - Indradi Soemardjan





Thursday, September 14, 2017

we seek truth. we get spin. let's do something about this.

"...spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, "spin" often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_(propaganda)

you name it. in virtually every aspect of our lives we get spin instead of truth. the lack of truth is particularly evident in government and politics, in advertising and sales, and in the news media--tv, radio, print, and internet.

much of the spin in government and politics comes from the republican and democratic parties. 
This vector image was created with Inkscape 
by Anynobody, composing work: Mabdul.

let's start the "war on spin" by getting rid of the republican and democratic parties. 

who do you trust? 
1. someone who has values similar to yours?
The good, the bad & the ugly: let's make America great again
2. someone who doesn't?
3. political parties, financed by billionaire corporations and PACs?


here's how government works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIAJl-wZElg

If you vote for a republican or a democrat, then it's not the person who you voted for who is in control--it's the party.



In the next election--national, state or local--vote for anyone except a democrat or a republican.
Soon the republican and democratic parties will dry up and die.
Nothing will be better for the United States of America.

PS similarly, by refusing to patronize dishonest and biased media, they too will shrivel up and die--a triple win for the US, for us and for truth. 



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

south korea's "decapitation unit": real or hype?

south korea has a plan.
Is South Korea Planning To Assassinate Kim Jong-un?
is it real or is it hype?

regardless if it's ever executed (excuse the pun), it's a good plan.
good job, south korea!






Tuesday, September 12, 2017

why aren't congress and state legislatures outlawing autonomous car testing on public roads?

https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2017-09-12/the-latest-safety-board-says-human-drivers-still-critical

my 7/1/16 post on the fatal crash:
the good, the bad & the ugly: Is Tesla responsible for the deadly crash on auto pilot? Maybe

more than a year ago I correctly concluded that:
1. both drivers were at fault.
2. beta testing of auto-pilot software shouldn't be allowed on public roads. 

what are you waiting for congress?
what are you waiting for state legislatures?





Saturday, September 9, 2017

WAKE UP, north korean people!

"They’d (north koreans) rather eat grass than abandon their (nuclear weapons) program..." Putin: North Korea Would 'Eat Grass' Before Giving Up Nukes : The Two-Way : NPR

how can 25 million people become totally brainwashed into believing that kim jong un is a deity? 
The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea | The New Yorker

I conclude that we're probably all capable of being brainwashed given the right conditions. In just three generations of totalitarianism 25 million north koreans have completely lost their identity as individual persons. 


coming from a country that believes in individual freedoms, it's difficult for me to imagine this. but then, maybe it's pretty simple. in n korea if you don't buy into the company line, then you're dead--in some cases brutally dead. that makes it less difficult to understand.

in any event, one would think that in a country of 25 million people, even 25 million brainwashed people, that there would be a few thousand, or even a few hundred, individuals who would realize that kim jong un needs to be taken out, and that these freethinking n koreans (as difficult as it is to imagine freethinking n koreans) would take care of business.


contrast this with the USA. the total population of the USA in 1776 was approximately 2.5 million--one tenth the size of present day n korea. not all of the 13 colonies' 2.5 million were patriots; but, patriots in this country took on tyranny, and won. in modern day n korea, they can't get the job done with 10 times the population of 1776 USA. this doesn't say much for the brainwashed n koreans. the same can be said for iran and syria.

North Korea threatens 'pain and suffering' ahead of UN sanctions vote - CNN

when will the n koreans realize that all of the "pain and suffering" coming from kim's reckless actions and threats are the north korean peoples' pain and suffering? 
there's GOT to be a few thousand n koreans who aren't brainwashed
WAKE UP, north koreans! 
Take kim out!

the germans and italians, among others, figured it out!
The corpse of Mussolini (second from left) next to Petacci (middle)
and other executed fascists in Piazzale Loreto, Milan, 1945
some of the brainwashed people in n korea should be able figure it out.

a former navy seal says smart phones may be the answer.
Former US Navy SEAL solution to North Korea just might work - Business Insider
a novel idea. check out the photo of kim jong un and his brainwashed goons--
the one hanging on his arm looks like his girlfriend.

I favor sending the icbms back to where they came from.
the good, the bad & the ugly: hacking into north korea's rocket guidance system




"if there is no dissension, then there is no freedom."




Tuesday, September 5, 2017

russian roulette with north korean missiles

so goes the guidance system, so goes the rocket.
1- can the US hack into north korea's icbm guidance system and send north korea's rockets back to where they came from?
2- if not, then why not?

Is North Korea Using China's Satellites to Guide Its Missiles? | The National Interest Blog

ask your representatives in congress (2 senators and 1 house representative) the two questions above. if your US congress representatives don't know if the US knows how to hack into north korea's icbm guidance system and send north korea's rockets back to where they came from, then ask them why not? the US should know how. 

maybe it's because the US' ranking in STEM education (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) has fallen, and continues to fall, over the last several decades. 

On the PISA math test in 2012, the U.S. average score of 481 fell below the OECD average of 494 and was lower than the scores of 21 other OECD nations. The U.S. math score was also lower than scores in several non-OECD regions/countries/economies, such as Shanghai-China, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong. U.S. students demonstrated higher mathematical literacy than students in only 5 out of 34 OECD countries. The U.S. average mathematics score in 2012 was not measurably different from average scores in previous PISA assessment years with which comparisons can be made (2003, 2006, and 2009). needless to say, this is not good when north korea threatens to strike the USA with icbms armed with nuclear warheads. 

if the USA's lack of competence in STEM when compared to the rest of the world is the reason why the USA doesn't know how to hack into north korea's icbm guidance system and send north korea's rockets back to where they came from, then shame on the US. 

an inept federal government makes for an inept US.



Op-Ed: How to neutralize North Korea's nuclear threat without starting a world war - ABC News

my comment:
"better yet hack into n korea's missle guidance system and send their missles back to where they came from. I've read that n korea uses china's GPS satellites for their missle guidance. one would hope, that even as the US's rank in mathematics and science continues to slip in the world, that we would have the know-how to do this. if the US doesn't know how to hack into n korea's missle guidance system and send their missles back to where they came from, then shame on the US. ask your representatives in congress (2 senate and 1 house) and let them know how you feel."

it would be kinda like russian roulette (excuse the pun).
if the missile doesn't have a nuclear warhead, then when it hits the spot where it came from, then north korea wins--sort of.
if it has a nuclear warhead, then it's "thanks for playing russian roulette, north korea!"

a comment to my comment:
"That is how Iran managed to capture a super-secret RQ-170 drone intact except some slight wing damage. But this "hacking" involved real-time access to the drone's data stream. Because of massive ionization, re-entering missiles do not have that real-time data stream to hack. About the closest we could likely come would be to destabilize storage or manufacturing facilities for UDMH, a very unstable rocket fuel currently being obtained from Russia, but they are likely able to make the stuff themselves. And only SpaceX knows how to make rockets do u-turns."

my response:
"when the FBI (and presumably other resources of the US govt) couldn't hack into the San Bernardino terrorist's i-phone, the govt paid professional hackers to do so. with the US's decline in the world's ranking in mathematics and science, this may be understandable, but nonetheless, unforgivable. ... during the 1960s the US went from being behind in putting the first satellite and the first man into space to putting the first man on the moon by the end of the decade. Today the US govt can't even hack into a terrorist's i-phone. we've got a LONG way to go. with the billion$ that taxpayers shell out for private defense contractors, why not shell out a few billion more and let SpaceX, or some other private contractor, get the job done? do we really have a choice?"

Some creative ways to deal with North Korea - The Washington Post

my comment:
"perhaps the good news is that both our allies and our adversaries agree that north korea is the world's problem. this didn't happen with hitler, or either before or after. ... as a side note, it's difficult to imagine that even 25 million brainwashed north koreans can't see that kim is their, and the world's, problem, and take care of it themselves. ... in any event, if the world realizes that in today's world that it takes the rest of the world to address a world crisis, then this could be a very good thing in the future for the rest of the world."

history shows that there is no shortage of evil in the world.
history also shows that there is no shortage of people who say "it can't be done".
what's needed are good people with vision and work ethic to make it happen.
people like the Wright brothers, Edison, Einstein, etc.
science, technology, engineering, mathematics 




Saturday, September 2, 2017

wow! republicans bucking the republican party! what's next?

Some GOP lawmakers are battling Trump and their party on DACA | TheHill

what's next?
maybe more republicans will buck the party on more issues.
maybe democrats will join in.
eventually we may have a real republic!
wishful thinking?
perhaps.
we may have to take matters into our own hands if we want a real republic.

who do you trust?
- someone who has values similar to yours?
The good, the bad & the ugly: let's make America great again
- someone who doesn't?
- or political parties, financed by billionaire corporations and PACs?


Here's how government is controlled in the US:


If you vote for a republican or a democrat, then it's not the person that you voted for who is in control--it's the party.

In the next election--national, state or local--vote for anyone except a democrat or a republican.
Soon the republican and democratic parties will die.
Nothing will be better for the United States of America.



"I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all."