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Comment: Re:Obligatory (Score 2) 337

by brit74 (#46809271) Attached to: Women Increasingly Freezing Their Eggs To Pursue Their Careers

And people still assert this is in spite of decades of the Flynn Effect.

Here's the thing: the Flynn effect seems to be a real thing, but the Flynn effect seems to have stopped in the past decade or two in developed countries. "Recent research suggests that the Flynn effect may have ended in at least a few developed nations, possibly allowing national differences in IQ scores[4] to diminish if the Flynn effect continues in nations with lower average national IQs."

There's even been some reports that IQs have begun declining in developed countries. (I wouldn't put too much stock in this just yet, but it might be a good indicator that the Flynn Effect is a relic of the 20th century.)

Scores on cognitive tests have been very widely reported to have increased through the decades of the last century, a generational phenomenon termed the ‘Flynn Effect’since it was most comprehensively documented by James Flynn in the 1980's. There has, however, been very little evidence concerning any continuity of the effect specifically into the present century. We here report data from a population, namely young adult males in Denmark, showing that whereas there were modest increases between 1988 and 1998 in scores on a battery of four cognitive tests–these constituting a diminishing continuation of a trend documented back to the late 1950's–scores on all four tests declined between 1998 and 2003/2004. For two of the tests, levels fell to below those of 1988. Across all tests, the decrease in the 5/6 year period corresponds to approximately 1.5 IQ points, very close to the net gain between 1988 and 1998. The declines between 1998 and 2003/4 appeared amongst both men pursuing higher academic education and those not doing so.

There's an important genetic component to intelligence, but everything we've see recently suggests fetal development, nutrition, and education make such tremendously larger difference that the "idiocricy effect" could at most be considered a momentary blip.

Or maybe we should treat the Flynn Effect as a momentary blip.

So, what's going on? One possibility is that, in poorer countries, a substantial portion of the population is failing to get sufficient nutrition and stimulation to their children. This would have the effect of creating a portion of the population which is cognitively harmed - thus reducing the average intelligence of the population as a whole. As you get better nutrition across the entire population, you see the average IQ increase - but only because the bottom segments of society are improving (not because everyone is improving).

This would explain why poorer countries are continuing to see Flynn-effect improvements, but developed countries saw it's effect in the mid-20th century but isn't seeing any improvements lately (because the poverty that was harming childrens' brain development isn't happening anymore in developed countries).

Whatever the case, it's time to stop relying on the "Flynn Effect" as some kind of prediction that our future will continue to be bright. Here's an analogy: in the 20th century, we saw the average height of Japanese people increase significantly. This was due to better nutrition (protein, in particular, during childhood is important). We can also say that height is a strongly heritable trait. At this point, I think we should just accept that the Flynn Effect has topped-out in developed countries.

I don't think questions about declining IQs based on genetics is a bad question to ask, and I don't think 'trust the flynn effect' should be treated like it's an adequate answer. I realize I could be opening a whole can of worms, though, with this comment, because nobody wants to see a return of early 20th century style eugenics (which, by the way, was not only used by the Nazis, but was embraced in places like the United States).


Footnote regarding the heritability of height and IQ, which seem to be in the same ballpark, as far as heritability is concerned:

"Estimates in the academic research of the heritability of IQ have varied from below 0.5[2] to a high of 0.8 (where 1.0 indicates that monozygotic twins have no variance in IQ and 0 indicates that their IQs are completely uncorrelated)"

"How much variation (difference between individuals) in height is attributable to genetic effects and how much to nutritional effects?" The short answer to this question is that about 60 to 80 percent of the difference in height between individuals is determined by genetic factors, whereas 20 to 40 percent can be attributed to environmental effects, mainly nutrition." http://www.scientificamerican....

Comment: Ivy League Schools (Score 5, Insightful) 105

by brit74 (#46792221) Attached to: Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan To Disrupt Universities

'If a student wants football and Greek life and not doing any work for class, they have every single Ivy League university to choose from,' Nelson says.

Yeah, I'm sure that's an accurate portrayal of Ivy League schools, and not some capitalist's attempt at devaluing the competition.

Comment: Re:Sex discrimination. (Score 1) 673

by brit74 (#46719161) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

Women are 99% of the prostitutes.

That's not actually true. There are a lot more males working as prostitutes in the developed world than people realize.

"Most astonishing to the researchers was the demographic profile teased out by the study. Published by the U.S. Department of Justice in September 2008, Curtis and Dank's findings thoroughly obliterated long-held assumptions about underage prostitution: Nearly half of the kids — about 45 percent — were boys."

On the related topic of sex trafficing, here's an article:

"In my visit to Care Corner Orphanage in Thailand I was shocked that most of the HIV-infected sex slave survivors were boys under the age of ten. I saw and learned of something similar in the Philippines and in Bangladesh. Upon reflection, I think part of the reason for my shock was because I was conditioned through the media, literature, photo and film to believe that this was a crime perpetrated against only girls and women. The photo above actually came from a video released a few days ago by Reuters titled The Trafficking Business in which the entire focus is females as victims and how millions of them are forced into the sex trade or sweat shops. While not untrue, it’s not painting a full picture either.

Speaking broadly on the topic of human trafficking – boys and men are trafficked far more than girls and women because, in part, strong bodies are needed for labor. And as it relates to sex trafficking, girls and women are victims to a larger extent. Many other crimes have such disparities but few place the disparity so high in their definition. All this is to say let’s define human trafficking and sex trafficking for what they are: horrific crimes against the most vulnerable populations. There are loads of ways to be vulnerable. Yes, one of many vulnerabilities is being a woman.
As I mentioned in The Other 20%, men raping boys is still a taboo topic. Even filmmakers who document the horrors of sex trafficking have told me they feel their work wouldn’t be accepted if it instead highlighted the abuse of boys. “The public isn’t ready for it,” I’ve been told. Truth is, we only speak about the victimization of boys when it’s forced on us by breaking-news scandals like those of Jerry Sandusky or The Boys Scouts of America. As the news story fades so too does the conversation. This makes it tough, then, to even entertain the idea of discussing, as I’ve heard from several high-ranking women in anti-trafficking organizations, that the sex traffickers, the actual criminals in the crime, are about 65% men. Such a statistic has a hard time taking root because there’s already the perceived and ingrained idea that men and men-only are the criminals."

Women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic abuse.

When asked, "Has your significant other hit you within the last month?", men and women are about equally likely to reply to that question with "yes". The difference is that women are more likely to be severely injured (because men are stronger) and women are more likely to be taken seriously as victims of domestic abuse. There's a prevailing belief that men should be capable of defending themselves - which leads to dismissal of female-on-male domestic violence, shame, and an unwillingness to admit that they are victims of domestic abuse.

"The Guardian: More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male, report reveals"
Campaign group Parity claims assaults by wives and girlfriends are often ignored by police and media

Comment: "On The Media" report (Score 1) 723

by brit74 (#46718597) Attached to: Can the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Be Believed?
On The Media just put out some audio on this topic. They came to the conclusion that politicians on both sides (Democrat and Republican) are using some really questionable numbers. Harry Reid (Democrat) claimed 10 million, while John Boehner (Republican) was claiming that there was a *decline* in the number of people with health insurance over the past three months. (7 minutes)

Comment: Revenge Porn Extortion (Score 1) 328

by brit74 (#46667215) Attached to: Federal Bill Would Criminalize Revenge Porn Websites
There was at least one revenge porn site that published people's names, addresses, phone numbers, and links to the person's facebook profiles. They also created a service that would allow you to remove those images - for a few hundred dollars. If you don't want those results showing up on google whenever someone googled your name, you were pressured to pay-up.

I'm not really surprised that pro-piracy Mike Masnick is also in favor of revenge porn extortion.

Comment: Re:slight exaggeration (Score 1) 126

by brit74 (#46577613) Attached to: Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll
> "So-called patent trolls are not generally interested in shutting down infringers"
It's a little more complicated than that. First: they care mostly about the big-budget podcasters (like Adam Corolla, Marc Marron, Stuff You Should Know, etc.). If a bunch of little guys get shut down, they don't care because they weren't trying to extort money from those guys. Secondly, they have an incentive to keep their prices high to milk the big-guys. If they offer a "$10/year price to all podcasters", they can't effectively milk the big guys. They want the big guys to pay $10,000/year or more. This causes a conflict because you don't want to let the little guys pay a small price when you also want the big buys to pay a big sum. Perhaps they'll try to charge podcasters per-download or something (so they can milk everybody based on their assumed revenue), but that would be hard to track when we're talking about tens of thousands of podcasts.

Whatever the case, Personal Audio doesn't really have much of an incentive to keep a lot of small-time podcasters in business.

I mean, you could use traditional sales as an example. Businesses have an incentive to keep prices low because they want to sell to as many people as possible. At the same time, there's a limit to how low they want to sell. If you have the option of getting $10 profit from 10 people (=$100) or $1 profit from 50 people (=$50), you're better off selling for a $10 profit. It's not actually in your interest to sell to as many people as possible. Your goal is to maximize profit, and that means not selling to those 40 people, unless you can come up with some clever way to segment the market and still capture their sales (without pissing off your higher-paying $10 customers).

Comment: Re:First (Score 0) 158

by brit74 (#46570531) Attached to: Florida Judge Rules IP Address Can't Identify a BitTorrent Pirate
Have fun dealing with everybody trying to get free internet. My neighbor didn't lock his down, and once his internet started running like molasses, he checked and found six different people using his internet at the one time. Personally, I'd be worried not only about slow internet, but also about facilitating illegal activities on the internet (not only piracy, but child porn and other ugly activities).

Comment: Re:Economics of envy (Score 1) 303

by brit74 (#46452657) Attached to: Google Chairman on WhatsApp: $19 Bn For 50 People? Good For Them!
I'm not how to respond to your post. Did you read the comment above mine that said that the reason the middle-class is struggling is because Americans are paying twice as much money in taxes as in 1950? Your point about who the taxes are hitting may be correct (and I'm not going to argue against it), but I was responding to the false claim about taxes going up -- which is generally a Republican claim that we're all getting overtaxed, and things were so much better back in the 1950s.

Comment: Re:Economics of envy (Score 1) 303

by brit74 (#46452641) Attached to: Google Chairman on WhatsApp: $19 Bn For 50 People? Good For Them!

Tax receipts in 1957, per capita: ... about $3900... Tax receipts in 2013, per capita: $8754. Or a bit more than double that 1957 per-capita after you adjust for inflation

Yeah, but you have to take into account the fact that the reason that people are paying more taxes is because people are earning more today than they did in 1950. If the average income of a person in 2014 is twice what it was in 1950, then that "double the taxes" thing simply disappears because it means people are still paying the same *percentage* of their income to the federal government. The way you state your argument, you make it sound like people are paying twice as much money (as a percentage of their income) in 2014 as they did in 1950, which is simply not true. Here's a graph of the average incomes in the US over the past 100 years. The dollar amounts have been adjusted to 2006-dollars, and you'll note that the average income has roughly doubled (from around $25,000/year in 1950 to $50,000/year in 2004):

Given that being in Congress [] makes one quite wealthy [], perhaps a lot of that redistribution is strictly for the benefit of those IN Government. It's still a Federal Government by the people and of the people, but increasingly FOR Government, not for the people.

That may be true that people in government can become quite wealthy, but to say that the redistribution is strictly for the benefit of those in government is missing a sense of scale. The amount of wealth gained by government officials is a drop in the bucket compared to tax revenue or the US economy in general. First of all, you're comparing the net worth of members of congress (i.e. most of them were millionaires *before* they gained office). In order for your argument to work, you need to track the amount of money gained by members of congress as a result of being in congress. Saying that (as the articles claim) the combined net worth of those members of congress is over a billion dollars is mostly irrelevant. Saying that members of congress earned a billion dollars a year as a result of being in congress is much more relevant (but that's not what the articles claim). Keep in mind that the US government is bringing in a tax revenue of 3.0 trillion dollars in 2014. Even if we (falsely) claimed that members of congress were pulling in an addition 1 billion dollars in income each year as a result of being in government (which they clearly are not, certainly not in a single year), it would still mean that their additional income would be 1 billion compared to 3,000 billion in taxes. That works out to 0.03% of the federal tax revenue. The argument that some large share of the tax revenue is simply going to enrich members of congress just doesn't make sense.

Comment: Re:Economics of envy (Score 1) 303

by brit74 (#46448989) Attached to: Google Chairman on WhatsApp: $19 Bn For 50 People? Good For Them!
Do you have a source? Because I recently looked at federal revenue as a percentage of GDP. It's been surprisingly constant since World War 2. Specifically, government revenue (i.e. taxes) have fluctuated between 15% and 20% during that entire period.

Look at the graph "Government Receipts and Expenditures as a Fraction of GDP", it's the second chart on this webpage: Source:

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun