Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wisdom increases with age?

It probably does but the research below does not prove it. It simply shows that we learn more words as we go through life -- which is no surprise. The journal article concerned is here

New findings seem to contradict one of the most widely accepted assumptions about ageing: that the human brain is at its most powerful between the ages of 18 and 26. Scientists have discovered that intelligence, instead of peaking in our youth, remains stable and in some respects gets sharper as we grow older. The researchers found that verbal skills continued to increase for at least two decades beyond the age of 20, while arithmetic ability remained constant.

Their work suggests that many assumptions made by employers, policymakers and educational institutions about ageing need to be rethought. "Verbal ability appears to keep increasing over time," said Lars Larsen, a psychologist at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, who led the research. In the study, Dr Larsen obtained the records of 4300 US ex-servicemen who had been given a battery of intelligence tests when they joined the military at the age of about 20. The same servicemen were tested again two decades later. Dr Larsen's research involved carrying out a meticulous comparison of the two sets of data. The results, published in Intelligence, a peer-reviewed academic journal, show that the real changes in intelligence are more marked and more complex than had been realised.

Dr Larsen believes that the most likely reason for improvements in verbal skills is simply practice. Older people have had to solve far more social and practical problems than younger ones, so they have been forced to develop complex language skills. This effect overrides the slow but steady loss of brain cells that modern medical scanning techniques have confirmed begins in the late 20s.

The study is part of a revolution in research into intelligence that began several years ago and has overturned the idea that intelligence peaks in early adulthood and then begins a slow and inevitable decline. Lorraine Tyler, head of the centre for speech, language and the brain at Cambridge University in England, said: "When we image the brain, we do see physical atrophy with age but brain function can be preserved. This shows how plastic the brain is. It adapts and changes with age and other challenges."

Such findings raise the question of why past generations of psychologists suggested that reaching adulthood was followed by decline. Part of the explanation lies in the way people were tested, with researchers, often young, applying the same tests to young and old alike, without making allowances for educational and cultural differences.




In line with their usual love of boogeymen, various Leftists (example here) have been speading the fear that Obama will be assasinated by "gun-toting racists" (one of the many abusive Leftist tems for conservatives). It presumably reflects the way Leftists themselves would act if Obama were a conservative. Why? Because the threat is entirely made-up. There have been no events leading to it. Daniel Pipes has pointed out however that Obama is an apostate Muslim and that IS cause for him to be assassinated -- by Muslims, not by conservatives. No Leftist so far seems to have mentioned that the last successful political assassination (of RFK) in America was by an anti-Israel Arab (Sirhan). The Leftist post I mentioned above goes right through the history of political shootings in the USA without mentioning the name Sirhan. But a dishonest summary of the facts is routine for Leftists, of course.

It stands to reason that people moving interstate in the USA would tend to move from high-taxing States to low-tax States. Suitably Flip has proof that there is such a statistical tendency. Tax is not the only factor, however. Pusuit of a warmer climate is probably the main factor. Strange that Al Gore thinks that a warmer climate is a bad thing!

U.N. corruption has harmed Iraq: "Iraq's culture of corruption stems from the actions of the international community and the controversial UN oil-for-food scheme, the deputy prime minister Barham Saleh said on Thursday. Speaking at a new anti-corruption forum in Baghdad, Saleh said that the programme, run between 1996 and 2003 while Iraq was under UN sanctions, and what he charged was the body's wasteful use of money were to blame for the rampant corruption that bedevils Iraq. "A large responsibility for the outbreak of corruption in Iraq lies on the international community," said Saleh. "The scandals of food-for-oil and the wasting of public riches by the UN... is evidence of the serious damage that has deepened the problem in the country."

Global privacy study: Big Brother gets bigger: "According to a new international privacy report, governments around the world are increasingly invading the privacy of citizens with surveillance, identification systems, and archiving of private data. Driven by concern over immigration and border control, countries have been quick to implement database, identity, and fingerprinting systems, according to the 2007 International Privacy Ranking report."

It takes publicity to move bureaucracies: "Kerry Beal was taken aback when he discovered last March that many of his fellow security guards at the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania were taking regular naps in what they called "the ready room." When he spoke to supervisors at his company, Wackenhut Corp., they told Beal to be a team player. When he alerted the regional office of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, regulators let the matter drop after the plant's owner, Exelon, said it found no evidence of guards asleep on the job. So Beal videotaped the sleeping guards. The tape, eventually given to WCBS, a CBS television affiliate in New York City, showed the armed workers snoozing against walls, slumped on tabletops or with eyes closed and heads bobbing. The fallout of the broadcast is still being felt. Last month, Exelon, the country's largest provider of nuclear power, fired Wackenhut, which had guarded each of its 10 nuclear plants. The NRC is reviewing its own oversight procedures, having failed to heed Beal's warning"

Brits go nuke: "A new generation of nuclear power stations will be encouraged to supply unlimited amounts of electricity to the national grid, The Times has learnt. The Cabinet will give the go-ahead for the new building programme today and John Hutton, the Business Secretary, will announce the decision on Thursday. He will pave the way for the nuclear industry to play a much bigger part in meeting Britain's energy needs by making plain that there will be no limit on the amount of electricity it can supply to the grid. At present nuclear power accounts for 20 per cent of energy supplies."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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