Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pathogen levels preceded shifts in gender equality

"It turned out that a decline in levels of infectious disease was the most robust factor predictor of rising gender equality, a finding we were able to replicate in the UK, and in both societies we found evidence that changes in pathogen levels preceded shifts in gender equality "

Penile coital injuries in men decline after circumcision

"Penile coital injuries are one of the suggested mechanisms behind the increased risk of HIV among uncircumcised men. We evaluated the prevalence and correlates of self-reported penile coital injuries in a longitudinal community-based cohort of young (18-24 years old), newly circumcised and uncircumcised men in Western Kenya."

"Self-reported penile coital injuries were common and decreased significantly following circumcision. Improving sexual experience through the removal of a potential source of sexual discomfort may resonate with many men targeted for circumcision services. The role of penile coital injuries in sexual satisfaction, HIV, HSV-2, and as a motivator for seeking circumcision services should be explored further."

Medical male circumcision has health benefits for women, review finds

"male circumcision is associated with decreased risk in women for cervical cancer, cervical dysplasia, herpes simplex virus type 2 (the main cause of genital herpes), chlamydia, and syphilis. They also found additional evidence that male circumcision is associated with decreased risk for human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer and genital warts."
"These findings confirm that voluntary medical male circumcision is associated with protection for female partners from diseases that severely impact their health," said the study's first author, Jonathan Grund, from the CDC's Division of Global HIV & TB. "Existing prenatal care services and cervical cancer screening programs already counsel women about staying healthy. If that counseling includes encouraging male partners to get circumcised and referring interested men to these services, it can improve women's health programs and HIV prevention programs simultaneously."

Monday, October 16, 2017


"The turning point came when, in the mid 1990s, with the opening up of world capital markets to most developing countries outside Africa, the bank had three choices, as noted by Anne Krueger:

:to downsize and concentrate only on the countries that are truly poor, and phase out activities in middle income countries

:continue to operate in all countries, focusing on the ‘soft issues’ of development, such as the environment, women’s rights, labour rights and the encouragement of NGOs

:to shutdown.

The new President James Wolfensohn chose the second option. I argued in my Reviving the Invisible Hand for the third. The arguments of this paper provide further support for my position. "

Monday, October 9, 2017

First, They Came for the Biologists

The revolution on college campuses, which seeks to eradicate individuals and ideas that are considered unsavory, constitutes a hostile takeover by fringe elements on the extreme left. Last spring at the Evergreen State College, where I was a professor for 15 years, the revolution was televised—proudly and intentionally—by the radicals. Opinions not fitting with the currently accepted dogma—that all white people are racist, that questioning policy changes aimed at achieving “equity” is itself an act of white supremacy—would not be tolerated, and those who disagreed were shouted down, hunted, assaulted, even battered. Similar eruptions have happened all over the country.

What may not be obvious from outside academia is that this revolution is an attack on Enlightenment values: reason, inquiry and dissent. Extremists on the left are going after science. Why? Because science seeks truth, and truth isn’t always convenient.

The left has long pointed to deniers of climate change and evolution to demonstrate that over here, science is a core value. But increasingly, that’s patently not true.

The battle on our campuses—and ever more, in K-12 schools, in cubicles and in meetings, and on the streets—is being framed as a battle for equity, but that’s a false front. True, there are real grievances. Gaps between populations exist, for historical and modern reasons that are neither honorable nor acceptable, and they must be addressed. But what is going on at institutions across the country is—yes—a culture war between science and postmodernism. The extreme left has embraced a facile fiction.

Postmodernism, and specifically its offspring, critical race theory, have abandoned rigor and replaced it with “lived experience” as the primary source of knowledge. Little credence is given to the idea of objective reality. Science has long understood that observation can never be perfectly objective, but it also provides the ultimate tool kit with which to distinguish signal from noise—and from bias. Scientists generate complete lists of alternative hypotheses, with testable predictions, and we try to falsify our own cherished ideas.

Science is imperfect: It is slow and methodical, and it makes errors. But it does work. We have microchips, airplanes and streetlights to show for it.

In a meeting with administrators at Evergreen last May, protesters called, on camera, for college president George Bridges to target STEM faculty in particular for “antibias” training, on the theory that scientists are particularly prone to racism. That’s obvious to them because scientists persist in using terms like “genetic” and “phenotype” when discussing humans. Mr. Bridges offers: “[What] we are working towards is, bring ’em in, train ’em, and if they don’t get it, sanction them.”

Despite the benevolent-sounding label, the equity movement is a highly virulent social pathogen, an autoimmune disease of the academy. Diversity offices, the very places that were supposed to address bigotry and harassment, have been weaponized and repurposed to catch and cull all who disagree. And the attack on STEM is no accident. Once scientists are silenced, narratives can be fully unhooked from any expectation that they be put to the test of evidence. Last month, Evergreen made it clear that they wanted two of its scientists gone—my husband, Bret Weinstein, and me, despite our stellar reputations with the students they claimed to be protecting. First, they came for the biologists…

Science has sometimes been used to rationalize both atrocity and inaction in its face. But conflating science with its abuse has become a favorite trope of extremists on the left. It’s a cheap rhetorical trick, and not, dare I say, very logical.

Science creates space for the free exchange of ideas, for discovery, for progress. What has postmodernism done for you lately?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Thatcher told the MET Office and the BBC to focus on "global warming"

The "transition to renewables" started out as British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's greenwashing of her drive to destroy the Miner's Union. She had to do that in order to defeat the union movement in the United Kingdom (UK). The miners could shut down the country on short notice, due to the UK dependence upon coal. Oil was not reliable, since it was controlled by the Arabs who had demonstrated they were prepared to used the "oil weapon." Nuclear energy was very unpopular with the public. Renewables was the only option left. She told the MET Office (The MET Office is the United Kingdom's national weather service.) and the BBC to focus on "global warming." She started the Climate Research Unit (CRU) that was later shown to be secretly creating web sites to combat the sites critical of their research (the Climategate leak). So, the “transition to renewables” can include green washing.

Following the General Election of 1979, most of the incoming Cabinet had been members of the government which lost office in 1974. They blamed the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) for their 1974 defeat. They, therefore, desired an excuse for reducing the UK coal industry and, thus, the NUM’s power. Coal-fired power stations emit CO2 but nuclear power stations don’t. "Global warming" provided an excuse for reducing the UK’s dependence on coal by replacing it with nuclear power. . . . A rational assessment of appropriate policies would include cost/benefit analysis, but imagined risk is not rational. All the proposed responses to the imagined risk of man-made "global warming" would increase starvation and poverty while inhibiting economic development throughout the entire world. And CO2 emissions would not be reduced and may be increased. In practice, politicians are accepting the predictions of climate models as being predictions of the future, and they are acting to change that future. This is similar to the behaviour of people who believe horoscope predictions of future harm so they avoid situations where that harm could happen. 

This programme asserts that the view that "global warming" is man-made was promoted by the British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a means of promoting nuclear power and reducing the impact of strike action in the state-owned coal industry by the National Union of Mineworkers.

M. Strong and Al Gore profited from the trading of carbon certificates on the Chicago Exchange. Trading ceased in 2013 due to inactivity.