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DNA percentages confuse me

by Greg Krehbiel on 23 October 2014

We’re frequently told odd statistics like we share 95% of our DNA with chimps and 50% with a banana. But then when the subject turns to ancient humans — like this guy — he has 2% Neanderthal DNA. I often read things to the effect that modern Europeans have between 2 and 3% Neanderthal DNA.

Then … how much DNA does a Neanderthal have in common with a chimp or a banana?

I strongly suspect they’re using completely different standards for the different stats. E.g., a human has a gene for pigment and so does a banana, so that’s common. But Homo Sapien has this particular gene for pigment while Neanderthals have this other gene for pigment, so that’s different.

I would be very interested to know what these stats really mean.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-23  ::  Greg Krehbiel





“It’s for the environment”

by Greg Krehbiel on 23 October 2014

Just because someone says that a new law is for the environment, or for the children, or to protect baby seals, or whatever, doesn’t make it so.

Forbes says the new California ban on plastic bags is wrong-headed. It won’t help the environment, won’t lower energy use, won’t help marine animals, will make more trash and will increase food-borne illnesses.

I don’t know if Forbes is right, but I tend to trust Forbes more than I trust the California legislature.

The more important point is that the battle over a bill is often in how it’s labeled. If it’s a bill to “protect the environment” and you vote against it, you’re in trouble. It doesn’t really matter what the details are. You’re against the environment.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-23  ::  Greg Krehbiel





The eight-year, three term president

by Greg Krehbiel on 22 October 2014

I’ve wondered about a tactic that a political party could use to keep control of the presidency. The idea would be for the president to resign one day more than two years into his second term, allowing the VP to take over. The VP would then be the incumbent in the next election, and would therefore have an edge on the competition.

The 22nd Amendment allows this, and as long as the VP didn’t serve more than two years of the previous president’s term, he could run for office twice.

22nd Amendment: Section 1: No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once.

The VP — now president — could do the same, potentially ensuring that an incumbent is always running for president.

Of course the strategy would require someone in power to relinquish power, which few would do. And sometimes incumbents lose. But it would be an interesting strategy.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-22  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Do Democratic men vote against their self interest?

by Greg Krehbiel on 22 October 2014

There’s a tired meme on the left that conservatives are always voting against their own self interest. They mean, for example, that poor, working conservatives vote against labor unions, and labor unions would help them. IOW, the premise of the meme is that the left gets to choose what the self interest of the poor should look like and then … surprise … conservatives don’t vote that way. Ha ha. What dummies those conservatives are.

The case can be made the other way on numerous fronts, but this one is interesting to me. Why would any man vote Democrat?

Many Democratic policies either ignore the needs of men, or they are hostile to them. Most men have figured this out, which is why men trend Republican. Particularly white men.

As always, there are arguments to be made both ways. Some people would say that Obama’s efforts to get troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan help men, since they’re not coming back in body bags or with missing limbs. Others would say that his pro-union, pro minimum wage positions help men. I disagree on those counts, but I can appreciate the arguments.

Still, the article I cite above raises several issues where Democratic policies are decidedly anti-male, either by omission or commission. The thing is, if the Republicans are better on any of those issues, it’s only by a little.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-22  ::  Greg Krehbiel





The un-tutored female atheist who puts the pope and the cardinals to shame

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 October 2014

There’s been a fair amount of ink spilled over the recent summit on the family at the Vatican. The liberals want to spin the story of a progressive wing that’s desperately trying to cast off the shackles of the past and enter a new age of tolerance and acceptance. The conservatives see a divinely protected institution that can never officially err, fighting the long defeat against the forces of darkness.

I don’t give a fig what the cardinals end up saying, but while all this was going on I had a huge surge of empathy for the poor Catholic conservatives — waiting in fear, wondering how they were going to spin whatever nonsense belched forth from the summit.

It’s really, really hard to believe in any sort of divine guidance for these robed wonders when a divorced waitress can give better commentary on contemporary issues than the bishops could ever dream of providing.

As an example, see Men not marrying? How deep does “the problem” go? And after you watch that, take in a couple other girlwriteswhat videos. I guarantee that you’ll learn more about sex, marriage and family in an hour than you could possibly have learned listening to 20 years of homilies.

(I’m pretty sure that girlwriteswhat is a divorced atheist who works as a waitress. If I’m mistaken on any of those points, please correct me.)

The gift of prophecy seems to have left the church. You can now find it on Youtube. But you have to look really hard.

-- 5 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel





“Diversity” is not a virtue

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 October 2014

This morning on CSPAN I heard a young woman ask a Congressman about diversity in the House. He accepted the assumption of the question — that diversity is a good thing — and started right in on how much they’ve improved, and how much more diverse the Congress is these days.

I would like to hear a politician with the guts to say that he rejects the premise that “diversity” is a good way to measure the Congress. Or almost anything else, for that matter.

These politically correct morality tales rarely match up with reality. Just in the last few days there have been stories about a new Gallup poll showing that workers don’t like to have a female boss, and that it’s even more true of women!

So who’s representing “women’s issues” here?

We’ve come to accept that “women’s issues” means nothing like “what actual women want.” We’ve allowed it to become a ruse to confuse and brow-beat the people who can’t stand up to the harpies.

In the same way, the whole thing about diversity is a lie. Are non-lawyers proportionately represented in the Congress? How about non-denominational Protestants? No in both cases, but that doesn’t matter to the people who care about “diversity” for the simple reason that they really don’t care about diversity. Diversity is only a convenient stick to beat people with, and when it’s served its purpose they’ll move on to something else.

-- 3 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel





Liberal intolerance comes out again

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 October 2014

A Pew media survey finds that liberals …

… are more likely than conservatives to “defriend” or block “someone on a social network — as well as to end a personal relationship — because of politics,” …

Is anybody surprised?

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel





No, Monica, you ruined your own life

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 October 2014

Monica Lewinsky is in the news for blaming Drudge for ruining her life. She says we have an online “compassion deficit.”

You know, Monica, if you don’t want your name plastered all over the world, don’t do whatever it was you did with the President of the United States.

And if Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t want her nude photos out in public, how about this — don’t take nude photos of yourself!

There is an incredible lack of judgment and common sense here. Did Ms. Lewinsky really think that fooling around with the President of the United States was just a little private thing that nobody else would want to expose? Did a Hollywood starlet really think that people wouldn’t be after her photos?

Naive isn’t a strong enough word.

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel





My personality profile is CPCL

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 October 2014

Couldn’t possibly care less.

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel





An Islamic Reformation? Or, when going back to first principles is not a good idea

by Greg Krehbiel on 20 October 2014

Here’s an interesting article about the chances for a new, reformed, peaceful Islam.

Sam Harris is wrong about Islam.

Sorry about the uninformative title of the story. “Sam Harris is wrong about ___” is about as helpful as “water is wet.”

The article points out that Sam Harris is pushing an “analysis” that goes like this. Christianity used to be mean and nasty and violent, then it reformed, and now the vast majority of Christians are peaceful, so why can’t the same thing happen in Islam? Don’t we need an Islamic Reformation?

The answer is that the nasty things Christians did were in spite of the teachings of Christ, not because of them, while the nasty things ISIS does are in imitation of Muhammad and his successors.

[Muhammad] raided villages and towns, massacred unarmed men, beheaded his captives, raped their women and sold them as slaves. His successors, the so-called “rightly guided Caliphs” and their successors did the same. These are the very things the Wahhabis advocate and Islamic State is doing.

Jesus turned over the tables of the money-lenders, but there’s no record that anybody was hurt in the process. St. Nicholas is said to have punched a heretic at a council. IOW, it’s kinda hard to come up with examples from the life of Christ, the apostles or the great figures of Christianity to justify anything really awful.

It’s just not that way with Islam.

The great majority [of radicals] come from moderate Muslim families. It is easy to radicalize them. You ask them whether they believe in the Koran and they respond “yes.” Then you read it to them and show them that God enjoins jihad, that their parents who prefer this world to the next are hypocrites, and the Koran orders true believers to neither associate with the hypocrites nor take them as friends and guardians, even if they are fathers and brothers.

Here’s the chilling message.

Islam is already undergoing its Reformation, and Islamic State is it.

-- 11 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-10-20  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2014-10-19 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
A one-way trip to save Africans?
+ 1 comment
2014-10-18 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
President is an awful job
+ 4 comments
2014-10-18 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The trilogy is taking shape
+ 1 comment
2014-10-16 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
We have an incompetence epidemic
+ 1 comment
2014-10-15 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Stupid means stupid
+ 5 comments
2014-10-14 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
A witch story for Halloween
+ 9 comments
2014-10-09 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
35,000 walruses can’t be wrong!