Study: Poor thinking skills and conservatism/racism/homophobia strongly correlated

Via Jezebel, sometimes science isn’t just good for improving humanity’s lot in this universe, or improving (or drastically reducing) our overall life expectancy as a species. Sometimes science is also excellent at coming along and sciencing you up the perfect blog post.

As it turns out, pretty much everything you’ve suspected about conservatism and racism being correlated with being scientifically proven stupid is exactly true. The worse your cognitive abilities, the more likely you are to be a prejudiced jackass.

The first study examined two groups of British adults, one born in 1958 and the other born in 1970. Both groups were assessed for intelligence at age 10 or 11, and then a followup was conducted when they were between the ages of 30 and 33. During the initial test, children were asked to complete tasks that tested their abilities to reason and remember. During the followup two decades later, researchers assessed the subjects’ level of prejudice and degree of socially conservative views. “Social conservatism” was determined by asking subjects to respond to a series of questions like “Family life suffers if mom is working full time” or “I wouldn’t mind working with other races.” In this study, children with low scores on the first set of tests tended to grow up to exhibit prejudiced and socially conservative viewpoints on the second set of tests.

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Do extreme weather events make you more liberal?

I will happily admit, the next several posts over the next several days constitute me trying to play some amount of catch-up with my ever-burgeoning Firefox tabs and RSS feeds. I’m trying to post a bunch of days ahead of time, too, so I might be reporting on some older stuff. But I’ll try to keep it fresh and relevant with my opinionation. Apologies if we’re covering ground you’ve already covered, you savvy and avid reader you.

Via Peter Sinclair’s excellent Climate Denial Crock of the Week, this story from USA Today explores the ramifications of a study about how people react to global warming policy when having been exposed to examples of the kind of extreme weather event that climate realists have been warning of for decades.
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Canada now wears a leather jacket and sunglasses indoors

That’s right, we’re bad guys now.

Okay, so we know that when you thought of us before, if you thought about us at all that is, you thought: “Aren’t they nice, those Canadians, living in that big cold empty country with trees and mountains and moose.”

We’re writing to let you know, that’s so over.

Now we’re not nice, we’re angry. We’re going to protect our interests, and we’re just not going to take it anymore.

What “it” is we haven’t quite figured out, nor have we got a handle on exactly why we’re angry. But boy are we ever. We’re so angry we just want to get out there and bomb something.

And before you joke about how decrepit our bombers are (and let’s not even talk about submarines), we’d like you to know that we have on order some rather expensive shiny new bombers, and when they get here, eventually, then we’ll show you all a thing or two about blowing stuff up.

I think I’m going to go kick a baby seal. Antisocial behaviour is all the rage with our current government, so I figure that might get me mayorship in a small town.

Canada about to lose any vestige of internet privacy

Despite how pro-privacy the Harper government has claimed to be, with the destruction of the long gun registry out of privacy concerns, it is absolutely no surprise to me that they’re total hypocrites when it comes to actual privacy concerns, like warrantless information-gathering from ISPs.

Suppose you read an online article – not this one, hopefully – that makes you so angry you post a comment under your online pseudonym, “Irate Canuck,” saying that someone ought to shoot the author. The police notice.

Under legislation that the Conservatives will soon be introducing, the police could order your Internet service provider to hand over your personal information so that they could have a talk with you.

If they are sufficiently concerned, they could get a warrant and begin tracking your every move. You really should have turned off the GPS on your smart phone.
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Justin Trudeau apologizes for being right about Environment minister Peter Kent

As you might know, recently Canada withdrew from the Kyoto protocol shortly after the Durban conference — what our next steps are once Kyoto ends — came to agreement. While the problems with the Kyoto protocol are myriad, including that it didn’t go far enough, didn’t include the top climate destroyers, and explicitly excluded carbon taxes as a means to achieve reductions, it was in fact something. The Durban talks involved what to do for each country in light of their progress toward achieving lower emissions overall, and it’s fairly self-evident that Canada withdrew to avoid the international scorn they had coming. Not that they avoided any of the scorn by withdrawing — such a blatantly transparent responsibility dodge was not lost on anyone.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, NDP MP Megan Leslie questioned Environment minister Peter Kent over Canada’s withdrawl from Kyoto. His response was galling.
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Massacre survivor speaks out against Harper scrapping long gun registry

Another chapter in the ongoing evisceration of everything that makes Canada great, thanks to the Harper government.

A survivor of the Montreal Massacre has spoken out against the planned scrapping of the long gun registry. While the law is pretty much a fait accompli at this point, with the majority in government being Conservatives, it’s good to know people are protesting.

She reminded the committee the bill will abolish the requirement to register non-restricted weapons like the semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 that Lepine used. She and Rathjen urged the government to realize the bill eliminates the legal obligation to verify the validity of a firearms licence when a long gun is sold or otherwise transferred.

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Conservatives preparing for blowback on new Office of Religious Freedoms

As reported by the CBC, a document was obtained through access-to-information laws which was evidently designed as a cheat sheet for potential questions John Baird might soon face regarding another of the Conservatives’ campaign pillars that is about to come to fruition, the creation of an “Office of Religious Freedoms”. This document suggests that the Tories are afraid that the new office might be seen as a creeping invasion of religiously partisan programs designed to encourage certain religions via government funds.

And well they should, because that’s exactly how I view this nonsense.

Updated: inserted links I’d missed in draft when I wrote this on the plane.
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Maddow: The Cain allegations expose systemic dismissing of sexual harassment

Rachel Maddow summarizes the case against Herman Cain in his having settled with two women for sexual harassment. Talking Points Memo put up a list of things that don’t affect the allegations that have been thrown chaff-like into the discourse to throw off the media. The summary contains choice responses from the right-wing, trying to smokescreen the allegations.
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I used to watch that petulant man-child

I have a dirty little secret to tell. When I was pretty young — 12 or so, I’d say — I’d wake up really early, at ~6:30am, and watch Rush Limbaugh before getting ready for school. With the volume very low, so I wouldn’t disturb my parents or sister, of course. This was at about the same time that I’d intentionally go to bed early as well, at about 9pm, so I could get up and watch the original Star Trek at 1am. My parents were particularly disturbed by these habits when they discovered them, but moreso by my watching Rush Limbaugh. They were appalled that I would watch such a nasty, cynical, invective-spewing bloviator.
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