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Monday Message Board

April 11th, 2011

It’s time again for the Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpits, please.

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  1. Nick R
    April 11th, 2011 at 13:54 | #1

    There is an interesting study on the ABC website on the differences in brain composition between liberals and conservatives. Liberals were found to have more development in the section of the brain responsible for complex reasoning, while conservatives had a greater sensitivity to fear and disgust.

    See http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2011/04/08/3186006.htm

  2. Ikonoclast
    April 11th, 2011 at 16:37 | #2

    LOL. It appeals to my prejudices but I wonder how reputable and reliable such a study is? Would it not be too easy to design experiments and surveys, consciously or unconsciously, to confirm one’s biases about such matters?

  3. Nick R
    April 11th, 2011 at 16:43 | #3

    Yeah it appeals to my prejudices too (which is why I posted it) and to be honest I probably wouldn’t have given it a second look if it didn’t. However the work was published in Current Biology, which I understand is one of the most prestigious journals in the field. It is certainly ranked as such by the ERA, so it is probably a good scientific study.

  4. Chris Warren
    April 11th, 2011 at 17:46 | #4

    The latest news broadcasts have suggested that Pauline Hanson is back – or at least looking like she gets the last upper house seat. The latest data is here:

    http://vtr.elections.nsw.gov.au/lcPDF/lcFpProgressive/PRCCGroupCandidateFirstPreferenceApr10.pdf

    It is a bit hard to work out, but it would seem that any of a number of right-wing nutters are poised to crawl their way into the NSW parliament.

    The Libs/Nats have 10.5 quotas, the ALP just 5.3 quotas.

  5. Jim Birch
    April 12th, 2011 at 11:29 | #5

    @Nick R

    This is an active area of research in cognitive psychology with a number of studies appearing that are producing a fairly consistent picture along the line of the study quote. A lot more research is needed (blah, blah, blah). One that I found amusing was a fairly light weight study that found you could reliably predict the voting tendencies of Americans from a 10 second scan of their bedrooms: basically liberals were messy and complex, conservatives were simple and ordered.

    It’s an area I’m interested in. It also put political questions in a different light or even perhaps converts them to metaquestions. Political questions are generally posed and fought as moral questions which is something that I find plain crazy and positively unhelpful. This approach seems to require either a moral realist or religious substrate – two positions that I think are clearly at odds with what is actually known about the world.

  6. Chris Warren
    April 12th, 2011 at 11:53 | #6

    Hanson F A I L E D to get the last seat in NSW Upper House.

    But other rightwing independents were successful.

  7. Donald Oats
    April 12th, 2011 at 17:00 | #7

    Uh oh. Looks like Fukushima is now a “7″ on the 1 to 7 scale for INES rating level of severity of disaster. The Australian helpfully provides this detail:

    JAPAN will upgrade the rating of the Fukushima nuclear crisis to the same level as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union.

    It’s believed the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency estimated the amount of radioactive material released from the Fukushima plant reached 10,000 terabecquerels per hour for several hours following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
    That level of radiation places the Fukushima incident at the maximum rating on the INES scale, developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which rates incidents from one to seven.

    Well frak me! We’ve ended up at the mythological “11″ of Spinal Tap fame – except this time the maximum rating of “7″ fills the role of a “10″ on the Spinal Tap scale, which is to say that I’m betting that we’ll be softened up a bit more, and then the news of the missing bits of fuel rods will out, requiring a new number on the scale (presumably “8″). Watch this space.

  8. jakerman
    April 12th, 2011 at 17:49 | #8

    [Canada's] nuclear monitoring network has simply been shut off, and its website now reads “Please note that as of March 25, 2011, the frequency of data collection by NRCan using the mobile surveys has been decreased due to the low levels of radiation being detected.”

    http://www.naturalnews.com/031963_radiation_exposure.html#ixzz1JIDIdJkC

    Why stop either measuring this data or stop reporting the measurements? If you’ve got the system, then get the data, data, data, DAAATTTAAA. Now is not the time to try and get cute and cost saving on the radiation data collection.

    Or perhaps now is exactly the time some want to control or reduce the amount of data avaliable.

  9. Ikonoclast
    April 12th, 2011 at 19:18 | #9

    @jakerman

    Especially since Japan has just declared Fukishima a category 7 incident. If I was the Canadian PM, I would be ensuring both air and coastal sea water monitoring was done to the maixmum level of Canada’s capability.

  10. Robert (not from UK)
    April 12th, 2011 at 19:22 | #10

    It seems that Pauline Hanson definitely,. although very narrowly, lost in her bid for NSW Legislative Council election:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/12/3189060.htm

    I see that one of Professor Quiggin’s fellow Fin Review contributors, Peter Ruehl, has died very suddenly. Anyone know anything about the circumstances of his death? He was only 64, although to judge by the hard drinking he so often mentioned carrying out in his columns, his body might have been much older than that, for all practical purposes. Anyhow, I shall miss him. At his best he was very amusing.

  11. April 12th, 2011 at 19:24 | #11

    The Greens got in on Family First preferences.

    Now, what was Anthony Albanese saying the other day about Pauline Hanson, Labor, the Greens and preferences?

    The ALP has a real dilemma trying to work out whether it hates the Greens more than it hates (in a mock way) Hanson.

    Labor wasn’t even in the race for the final spots, it was Christians, Gun-nuts, Greens, Nationals, Family First and Hanson. The last two spots went to Greens and Nationals.

  12. jakerman
    April 12th, 2011 at 19:46 | #12

    @Megan

    Who did FF put Greens in front of that made the difference?

  13. jakerman
    April 12th, 2011 at 19:51 | #13

    @Ikonoclast

    If I was the Canadian PM, I would be ensuring both air and coastal sea water monitoring was done to the maixmum level of Canada’s capability.

    If I were more cynical I might suggest that, perhaps that is why someone like you does not get the back room support sufficient top become the Canadian PM.
    ;)

  14. iain
    April 12th, 2011 at 20:22 | #14

    @Donald Oats

    Predictably, the pronukers are already calling for a revamp of the”confusing” and “inconsistent” INES rating system. Whilst barely pausing in their incessant calls to push full steam ahead with their clean, green and safe energy.

  15. April 13th, 2011 at 00:10 | #15

    @jakerman

    According to the world authority on voting, ABC’s Antony Green, it went like this:

    “Hanson led until the very last count when Gordon Moyes (Family First) was excluded. His preferences went 569 to Hanson, 3196 to Buckingham (GRN) and 3,158 to Johnston (NAT). Hanson had led both Buckingham and Johnston until the distribution of Moyes’s preferences.”

  16. Scott
    April 13th, 2011 at 07:45 | #16

    jakerman :

    [Canada's] nuclear monitoring network has simply been shut off, and its website now reads “Please note that as of March 25, 2011, the frequency of data collection by NRCan using the mobile surveys has been decreased due to the low levels of radiation being detected.”

    http://www.naturalnews.com/031963_radiation_exposure.html#ixzz1JIDIdJkC
    Why stop either measuring this data or stop reporting the measurements? If you’ve got the system, then get the data, data, data, DAAATTTAAA. Now is not the time to try and get cute and cost saving on the radiation data collection.
    Or perhaps now is exactly the time some want to control or reduce the amount of data avaliable.

    There’s a federal election going on in Canada and the Prime Minister over here doesn’t want the environment to be an issue at all.

  17. Donald Oats
    April 13th, 2011 at 19:17 | #17

    @iain
    Yep, it’s predictable alright, but some relatively good news in relation to nuclear vs renewable energy in the USA: last year nuclear vs renewables were neck and neck at roughly 11% each of the total energy budget there. Since renewables are still riding the economy of scale curve, and still have plenty of innovational change available, it is likely that renewables will leave nuclear for dust this year. Whether it does or doesn’t though, approx 11% of the total is fantastic.

  18. Salient Green
    April 14th, 2011 at 08:41 | #18

    The media is full of stories about the welfare crackdown and getting hoards of people into work but not one journalist that I can see has had the wit to ask “what jobs, what work?”.

    Obviously, to me anyway, there are jobs only for a fraction of them but you would think the question needs to be posed. It’s all a bit Monty Pythonesque.

  19. Ikonoclast
    April 14th, 2011 at 10:56 | #19

    @Salient Green

    Also, no-one (rich or important that is) ever calls for removing welfare from the rich and middle class. I mean the 9 billion in subsidies for fossil fuels and the 14 billion in corporate welfare. Some of this probably overlaps so let us assume it equates to 20 billion. Then you could add in negative gearing, salary sacrificing and unnecessary middle class welfare. Some of this probably overlaps again but I think it would get the total to $25 billion.

    Anyone know of any reputable studies which list all this welfare to everyone but the unemployed? Bashing the unemployed (especially when unemplyment is 5%) is the height of sickening hypocrisy when the biggest hand in the till by far comes from the top ten percentile.

  20. Freelander
    April 14th, 2011 at 11:16 | #20

    Gillard continues on her Abbott light course with a performance piece at the Australia Institute bashing the army of dole bludging long-term unemployed who are choosing to avoid work and stay on the luxurious dole. Well, not for long. She’s going to fix that.

    Is there any hope for Labor?

    Tony has already gone one better with his proposal for forced relocation to where he thinks the work is.

    Labor seems intent on losing its existing voters, and it won’t gain any because it’s too difficult to out b’stard the original b’stard.

  21. Freelander
    April 14th, 2011 at 11:17 | #21

    Sorry, Sydney Institute…

  22. Alice
    April 14th, 2011 at 11:52 | #22

    @Freelander
    There is no hope for Labor with Gillard and the shadows still running the show. Last night on TV she even did the hackneyed walkabout on a construction site in full lime yellow fluoro and hard hat looking like the OHS inspector. Today she is rambling on about increasing worker participation (not increasing job creation so they have something more than a couple of flex shifts a week to participate in).

    I am by now convinced politicians only wear hard hats to protect them from people who throw tomatoes.

  23. boconnor
    April 14th, 2011 at 12:13 | #23

    Alice :
    @Freelander
    …Last night on TV she even did the hackneyed walkabout on a construction site in full lime yellow fluoro and hard hat looking like the OHS inspector…

    That’s what NSW Labor did all the time when they wanted to look, well, busy on something, or when re-announcing some endlessly deferred rail project. Maybe the NSW advisers are now ensconced in the PM’s office.

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