aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
A more careful Andrew Young
Hopefully, this will be my last Young post for a while. He was on WAOK (1380 AM) this afternoon. Political Insider provides the quotes:
Young said this:
“I say to [Obama], run as well as you can, and I will give him as much money as I can, but I had been committed to Hillary Clinton - in fact, I knew Hillary Clinton before I knew Bill Clinton. She and my wife worked together on the Children’s Defense Fund. She was down in Mississippi in the ‘70s and early ‘80s.”
And he said this:
“The thing about Southern governors, and the thing about Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton - they have grown up basically in the black community.”
Wynter compared the experience that Bill Clinton had in ‘92, and the experience that Obama has now. “Why does he have to wait?” he asked.
“He doesn’t have to wait. He’s not waiting. You’re trying to make me argue against Barack,” Young said. “I’m supporting Hillary, because right now, before you can do anything, the economy has got to be straightened out. Now, Bill and Hillary helped to straighten out the economy after [Ronald] Reagan left us in deep debt.
“Hillary and Bill together - and basically, they have been a team, as Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn were a team, as Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were a team. Democrats have tended to marry smart women, and their women have helped them in decision-making.”
Said Wynter: “Republicans marry good women, too.”
Young: “No, no.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
Wynter: “The ones that like women.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
But Young ignored the joke - an unsuccessful attempt at humor, on camera, is what got him in trouble over the weekend.
“No, I’m simply saying that I made a choice a long time ago, that I wanted Hillary Clinton to be the president,” Young said. “I made that choice before she said she was going to run. Charlie Rangel and I have been good friends. Charlie Rangel was the one who encouraged her to come up to New York to run for the Senate.
“She’s the only one right now that I don’t think Republicans could beat.”
Virtual-Reality Based Immersive Education
The Chronicle on funding for a Project to Build Virtual Learning Platform Within Popular Online Worlds:
Virtual-reality software that researchers are developing exclusively for educational uses will be supported by funds from the Federation of American Scientists and the Kauffman Foundation, a group that promotes entrepreneurship, a Boston College instructor announced at a gathering on Saturday at Harvard University.
The instructor, Aaron E. Walsh, is leading the ambitious multimillion-dollar project to build a virtual-reality platform within commercial and nonprofit online games and other fantasy spaces. His goal is to promote online learning through interactive, three-dimensional graphics, Internet-based telephony, Web cameras, and other digital media.
The platform standards and best practices are being developed by an international consortium of colleges, research institutes, and companies that want to use virtuality for instruction, research, and training. [...]
The project builds on Mr. Walsh’s experience teaching Boston College students online in virtual spaces for three years… Mr. Walsh introduced the audience to the digital alter egos, or avatars, of some of his students as they traveled inside a three-dimensional model of an Egyptian tomb. An avatar of one student, standing in front of a digital jackal, explained that to ancient Egyptians the animal helped transport dead bodies to the underworld. The students have learned about some archaeological sites and tombs of Egypt through three-dimensional models developed by the Theban Mapping Project, based at the American University in Cairo. [...]
Also at the conference, Gene Koo, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, talked about how students at Emerson College and Boston residents were using Second Life to foster civic engagement. They’re using the virtual world to design real public spaces, including a park that will be located near Harvard’s campus expansion project in the Allston neighborhood and adjacent residential areas. And they recreated Boston’s subway system to provide tours of the city’s neighborhoods. The Boston Island in Second Life will be formally presented to the city’s mayor at an event Thursday.
Jeff Orkin, a researcher at the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discussed an online game he created called the Restaurant Game. It seeks to mimic the experience of being in a real restaurant as either a waiter or a patron. Mr. Orkin collects and organizes huge amounts of data about people’s experiences in the game to develop automated responses to players’ remarks or questions. Mr. Orkin said that Immersive Education could help similar efforts that combine artificial intelligence and virtuality.
Netscape on Firebrand
This one I watched twice…
Sex offender residency restrictions rise again in Georgia
The Daily Report tells us that Georgia will try again to ban where sex offenders may live. You will recall that the state’s Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the strict residency requirements approved by state lawmakers two years ago:
Under the new bill being pushed by House Republicans, a sex offender who owns his or her home would no longer have to vacate it if a center where children gather later opens up in the neighborhood. The bill would carve out a similar exception for sex offenders who have established employment, allowing them to keep their job if they had it first. [...]
The residency portion of the new bill would apply only to homeowners. Renters would still have to relocate if a childcare center, church or school moves into the neighborhood after they do.
House Republicans said they took their direction from the court’s own ruling, which hinged on home ownership. The court said that to force a homeowner to abandon his property or be in violation of the law amounts to an illegal taking of property.
Via Maggie at Of Counsel:
Also, for the die-hard-residency-restriction types, how does this help anything? It’s creating situations where sex offenders will be close to schools or day cares or playgrounds or all those other things they want to keep them away from. It seems to me like a rather large compromise. If they don’t mind letting some of them do it, why are we bothering?
The biggest problem remains the one-size-fits-all approach. The danger of someone who’s committed a misdemeanor sexual battery against another person ever hurting a child is slim to none. People who committed statutory rape twenty years ago? Pretty low. And yet we continue to treat all sex offenders like pedophiles. Worse, I don’t know of any treatment regimes in place to try and better assist or monitor those who may be at risk of re-offending. It seems like a lose-lose situation, and it continues to create mountains of work for local law enforcement and probation officers, which means it’s costing the state more money to do something that seems to have little value and risks losing track of offenders all together.
RELATED: Sex offender residency restrictions DO NOT WORK.
Gladwell takes on the I.Q. fundamentalists
In What I.Q. doesn’t tell you about race Malcolm Gladwell looks at the work of James Flynn, a social scientist at the University of Otago in New Zealand to convincingly refute the arguments of the “I.Q. fundamentalists.”
To the I.Q. fundamentalist, two things are beyond dispute: first, that I.Q. tests measure some hard and identifiable trait that predicts the quality of our thinking; and, second, that this trait is stableâ€”that is, it is determined by our genes and largely impervious to environmental influences.
Not so says Flynn:
The best way to understand why I.Q.s rise, Flynn argues, is to look at one of the most widely used I.Q. tests, the so-called WISC (for Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children). The WISC is composed of ten subtests, each of which measures a different aspect of I.Q. Flynn points out that scores in some of the categories-those measuring general knowledge, say, or vocabulary or the ability to do basic arithmetic-have risen only modestly over time. The big gains on the WISC are largely in the category known as “similarities,” where you get questions such as “In what way are â€˜dogs’ and â€˜rabbits’ alike?” Today, we tend to give what, for the purposes of I.Q. tests, is the right answer: dogs and rabbits are both mammals. A nineteenth-century American would have said that “you use dogs to hunt rabbits.” [...]
The psychologist Michael Cole and some colleagues once gave members of the Kpelle tribe, in Liberia, a version of the WISC similarities test: they took a basket of food, tools, containers, and clothing and asked the tribesmen to sort them into appropriate categories. To the frustration of the researchers, the Kpelle chose functional pairings. They put a potato and a knife together because a knife is used to cut a potato. “A wise man could only do such-and-such,” they explained. Finally, the researchers asked, “How would a fool do it?” The tribesmen immediately re-sorted the items into the “right” categories. It can be argued that taxonomical categories are a developmental improvementâ€”that is, that the Kpelle would be more likely to advance, technologically and scientifically, if they started to see the world that way. But to label them less intelligent than Westerners, on the basis of their performance on that test, is merely to state that they have different cognitive preferences and habits. And if I.Q. varies with habits of mind, which can be adopted or discarded in a generation, what, exactly, is all the fuss about?
Flynn then talked about what we’ve learned from studies of adoption and mixed-race children - and that evidence didn’t fit a genetic model, either. If I.Q. is innate, it shouldn’t make a difference whether it’s a mixed-race child’s mother or father who is black. But it does: children with a white mother and a black father have an eight-point I.Q. advantage over those with a black mother and a white father. And it shouldn’t make much of a difference where a mixed-race child is born. But, again, it does: the children fathered by black American G.I.s in postwar Germany and brought up by their German mothers have the same I.Q.s as the children of white American G.I.s and German mothers.
The difference, in that case, was not the fact of the children’s blackness, as a fundamentalist would say. It was the fact of their Germanness - of their being brought up in a different culture, under different circumstances. “The mind is much more like a muscle than we’ve ever realized,” Flynn said. “It needs to get cognitive exercise. It’s not some piece of clay on which you put an indelible mark.” The lesson to be drawn from black and white differences was the same as the lesson from the Netherlands years ago: I.Q. measures not just the quality of a person’s mind but the quality of the world that person lives in.
The hereditarians begin with the assertion that 60 percent to 80 percent of variation in I.Q. is genetically determined. However, most estimates of heritability have been based almost exclusively on studies of middle-class groups. For the poor, a group that includes a substantial proportion of minorities, heritability of I.Q. is very low, in the range of 10 percent to 20 percent, according to recent research by Eric Turkheimer at the University of Virginia. This means that for the poor, improvements in environment have great potential to bring about increases in I.Q.
Comments Gladwell: “It’s very persuasive. And it would be interesting to see what, if anything, die-hard hereditarians like Charles Murray have to say in response.”
I’ll be watching for that response too.
TiVo found it for us on the ION Network (11PM ET to midnight, Monday through Friday), and we found it strangely addictive. We immediately went to the website, and watched the two, TiVo and web, simultaneously.
Saying that it’s dedicated to “commercial culture,” Firebrand curates the site to include only what it considers to be the best video advertisements from around the world. You can peruse a host of ads from big-brand names like Nike, Apple and Volkswagen. Or you can watch Firebrand Live, which is a lot like MTV circa 1983. A window pops up to give you the commercial credits, and “commercial jockeys” or “CJs” walk you through the programming. This being the web, the host is, of course, a hot woman wearing a cleavage-revealing top. [...]
Firebrand is privately funded by NBC Universal (GE), Microsoft (MSFT) and GE’s Peacock Equity Fund. It makes money by charging advertisers to be on the site. [And they sell ads on this all ad channel!] But the company is quick to point out that it does not just accept any ad offered.
Much as I enjoyed the channel and found it addictive, I won’t likely be tuning in. Rather, when I hear about or want to go looking for a commercial or product, I’ll head there.
When I was a child every mother collected S&H Greenstamps, and spent an inordinate amount of time sticking those stamps in books. Imagine a digital variation. The more commercials we watch the more digital stamps we collect.
The kind and number of “stamps” offered could be targeted by age, geography and a host of other demographic data. Instead of sticking them in books we could have an ad infested webquest game.
Ads as fun; ads we want; winners all around.
RELATED: Read/WriteWeb, Commercials As Content - 7 Places to Watch Ads On Purpose.