And, perhaps have a bit of chocolate.
Everyone likes chocolate.... but more of that later.
The warriors amongst us may need to confront both plagues. I have personally faced off against the commies in recent decades and who knows when my aging bones may have to wield a sword again against the Islamists as in days long past.
But many in our world are determined to deliberately not see the dangers and even laud some aspects of both awful social systems, ideologies and creeds. Do not be fooled.
In the west we have suffered from fools disguised as wise men. We continually elect such fools even when we can see their stupidity staring at us. Hope and Change eh? Looks can Kill but refusal to look and see the bus about to run you over has the same result.
When all we get is decline and filth, lies and manipulation, things quickly become dark and dirty.
Like Sump Oil.Looked at in some sunlight and we can be fooled by the rainbow colours of 'Hope and Change', 'environmental care', 'compassion for refugees' etc. Much of modern life is not a 'Forrest Gump' box of Chocolates.
|His Mum is no sage - just look what she produced.|
It is still old sump oil.
So, we 'see' that President Putin has quickly become the great Western hope when it comes to Islamist wickedness. Obama, the western leader by default, and the rest of the hangers-on such as Merkel and Cameron have failed miserably in confronting Islam. Each in his/her way has welcomed chaos and mayhem into our cultured homes. One might as well have sent Boudicca's washerwomen to do the job. And along comes Putin to muscle in and everyone and his dog cheers.
Hello! Putin is no Eiesenhower. He is a KGB Colonel to his bones. No friend.
And even my Catholic brothers can be fooled into thinking that Russia is Christian. It ain't.
You would think that in our scientific age we just might be able to discern the sump oil from wholesome Olive oil. But even science has turned to sludge and is subject to manipulation and decline.
Customers in the Tavern were taking a look at Russia and at Science today. Neither are our saviours.
|'Slick Willy' Clinton ain't got nothin'|
Russia's Conservative 'Family Values' Are a Sham.Western observers should be careful not to play into Putin's hands by rehashing the tired propagandistic image of Russia as the protector of global family values — whatever these might imply.If the recent coverage of Russia is anything to go by, the country appears not only to be stuck in the past but actually sprinting backwards. So seemingly regressive is contemporary Russia that, among Russian liberal intellectuals and Western commentators, even medieval comparisons do not seem too far-fetched.
"Russia is like a block of ice floating back into the 16th century," asserted controversial Russian novelist Vladimir Sorokin in a BBC interview.
|14C or 16C. Be careful what you think 'Improvement' means.|
'Traditional' ain't what you think it means. It refers to the traditions of the Steppes, where ripping off your neighbour and stealing his wife is an age old custom.Sorokin went on to compare President Vladimir Putin to Tsar Ivan the Terrible, who summarily and arbitrarily murdered hundreds of thousands of his compatriots when he unleashed a bloody reign of terror in the second half of the 1500s.Sorokin argued: "Again we are living under a centralized government, like in the time of Ivan the Terrible. This power vertical, which Putin keeps talking about, is a completely medieval model for Russia. There is no accountability, no transparency."The Putin-supported revival of the Russian Orthodox Church, whose ceremonies and doctrine have changed little since the Middle Ages, seems to confirm that Russian culture is actively turning away from modern liberal values.It even appears that the Kremlin has warmly embraced its medieval past, particularly when it comes to matters of gender and sexuality.In his most recent presidential address to the federal assembly, Putin noted that the world supports Russia's "defense of traditional values" against the "so-called tolerance" that he accused of being "genderless and infertile."
And Russian officials, clearly seeing which way the wind is blowing, have begun propagating dubious views with such frequency that Western media outlets have a hard time keeping up.News of the radically feminist Pussy Riot members being — literally — whipped by Cossack police during the Sochi Winter Games appalled Western media but did not surprise Russia watchers.After all, only 14 percent of Duma representatives are female, domestic violence is rarely reported and/or prosecuted, and women continue to face alarming rates of workplace discrimination.This is the dark and violent side of Putin's casual sexism. The Russian state is bent on actively propagating a pro-family, pronatalist policy; any complaint or lawsuits that distorts the image of the nationwide domestic bliss is discouraged or silenced.Recent surveys of Russians superficially support the notion that official declamations about moral conservatism constitute an expression of the popular will.For instance, an IPSOS MORI Global Trends Survey in June that polled 500 Russians found that 79 percent of men and 67 percent of women believe the woman's role in society lies in her domestic responsibilities toward her husband and children.Similarly, a 2013 Pew poll concluded that about two-thirds of Russians consider homosexuality and extramarital affairs to be morally reprehensible.Russia's VTsIOM pollster conducted a survey in March 2012, the results of which showed that 93 percent of Russians consider their primary goal to be to start a family and raise children.
|Almost anything looks good compared to Obama's profile.|
But despite Russians' earnest declamations, the strict maintenance of traditional values is more propaganda than sociological reality. Far from living out a monastic, medieval, and sexless utopia, Russians are, in some senses, less family-oriented than Western Europeans.For instance, Russia has the highest divorce rate in the world — hardly a qualification for a nation that proclaims itself as the defender of traditional values.All the more ironic is the fact that one of the chief factors for divorce are extramarital affairs — the very same practice that Russians reject as only slightly less reprehensible than homosexuality.Russia's abortion rate also remains one of highest in the world — partly because contraception remains expensive or unavailable and partly because families are not necessarily women's top priority.The level of irony is equally evident in Russia's condemnation of homosexuality. Russia's public space is no stranger to cross-dressing, drag, and unorthodox gender-bending.However vocally Russians denounce homosexuality, anyone familiar with Russia's entertainment scene can promptly enumerate many celebrity figures that purposefully cultivate sexually ambiguous identities and have even become famous because of it.
Yes, we must look at the evidence rather than simply who says what we want to hear. That is what Scientists (used to ) say. But even that once-reliable 'art' is fast becoming rainbow coloured like an oil slick.Although it would be foolhardy to refute the fact that Russians do, in fact, believe themselves to be virtuous, I do have to point out that Russia remains — as per Churchill's assessment — a country of paradoxes.I do not doubt that Russians would like to cultivate ideal families and embody normative sexual identities, much like Victorians and Puritans wished to remain above their carnal desires.Reality, however, bears little similarity to the ideal. Even as they publicly embrace Putin's support for traditional values, Russians' actions betray their true inclinations.Western observers should be careful not to play into Putin's hands by rehashing the tired propagandistic image of Russia as the protector of global family values — whatever these might imply.Should commentators believe Putin's wishful thinking over the inconvenient facts about Russians' actual practices, they will only be doing Russia's bare-chested strongman a favor.
William Reville is an emeritus professor of biochemistry at UCC and he was telling the crowd in the Irish room between sob-songs.
Something has gone very wrong with science
The modern world depends on science, but as much as half of the literature may not be fit for purpose
Chief concerns with the way scientists do research include inadequate understanding of statistics, publishing studies that can’t be reproduced because they used shoddy procedures or didn’t have enough data, or because they ‘spun’ the data to please sponsors
The1960 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, Peter Medawar, famously remarked in 1983: “In terms of fulfilment of declared intentions, science is incomparably the most successful enterprise that human beings have ever engaged upon.”
Compare Medawar’s sentiment with the 2009 statement made by Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and quoted in PLOS Medicinein October 2010: “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.”In 1983, looking back on the history of science since the 17th century, we could all justifiably salute Medawar’s sentiment, but today we must face up to the fact that in recent times something has gone fundamentally wrong with science, perhaps our greatest human creation. On April 1st and 2nd, a UK meeting was organised by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Wellcome Trust to discuss this problem, specifically as it applies in biomedical research.The Chatham House rule was applied at this meeting; that is, participants are free to use the information they receive but neither the identity nor affiliation of any speaker nor any other participant must be revealed.
|Ask yourself, from where do YOU get 'science' news?|
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the Lancet, attended the meeting and wrote a memorable account in the journal (April 11th), illustrated by the following quote: “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance,
science has taken a turn towards darkness.
As one participant put it, ‘poor methods get results’ . . .
“The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data.
Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of ‘significance’ pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale.
We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication . . . and individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.”
|Science is supposed to Illuminate, not lead you to a dark place.|
Shoddy procedures. John Ioannidis, director of the Meta-Research Innovation Centre at Stanford, is a respected critic of science. His chief concerns with the way scientists do research include their inadequate understanding of statistics, publishing studies that can’t be reproduced because they used shoddy procedures or didn’t have enough data, or because they “spun” the data to please sponsors. University scientists are compelled to publish prolifically, which favours quantity over quality, and the pre-publication peer-review system is no longer fit for purpose.
Much of this could be tackled effectively by improving the training of scientists. Young scientists receive little formal training in how to carry out reliable research. You spend undergraduate years studying the established body of knowledge in your subject and you learn how to research only later, during your PhD project, when you are apprenticed to an established scientist.
But this latter learning is an informal, hit-and-miss affair, largely absorbed by osmosis. All science students should have to undertake rigorous coursework on how to carry out effective scientific research.
Neither is there any formal code of ethics in science.
In all aspects of modern life we must open our eyes.Ethics should be taught at undergraduate and graduate levels and a code of ethics should be assented to by graduates at all graduation ceremonies.
We can no longer doubt that a crisis looms in science. The modern world is utterly dependent on science, so this crisis must be resolved. That great cathedral of scientific progress, the peer-reviewed scientific literature, is beginning to crumble. We either restore the cathedral or we will soon stand in its rubble.
There are fools, charlatans, clever buggers and crooks galore who can lead you right into the oil slicks, and worse.
Into the Tar Pits.
Drink up and look deep into your tankards.
Ah yes, and have a bit of Chocolate.
Everyone likes Chocolate, as I said. We eat masses of it. And it makes us 'feel' good.
Some can be very easily convinced that it is the answer to life, the Universe and Everything. (We all know that is really '42')
But science can convince us ...... John Bohannon knows !
I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day.
It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash.
From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue ofShape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily,” page 128).
Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website.
Now, I could let his explain the ins and outs but you can find out that for yourself by going here....
Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.Here’s how we did it.
Let me fill your glass while you go and take a look.
It won't kill you.