You know that ol' gem about humans only using 10% of their brain?
Perhaps you've seen Morgan Freeman saying it most recently in the trailer for Lucy.
It's not true.
We use 100% of our brains. So can way cut that bullshit out already?
"Though an alluring idea, the '10 percent myth' is so wrong it is almost laughable, says neurologist Barry Gordon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. ... 'It turns out though, that we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time,' Gordon adds. 'Let's put it this way: the brain represents three percent of the body's weight and uses 20 percent of the body's energy.'"
While it may be true that a majority of white Americans support stricter gun regulations, a recent study shows that it is also true that a majority of the white Americans who don't also tend to exhibit "a stronger racial bias, tend to be politically and ideologically conservative and from southern states, and have higher anti-government sentiment.”
...for each one point increase (on a scale from one to five) in symbolic racism there was a 50 percent increase in the odds of having a gun in the home and a 28 percent increase in support for policies allowing people to carry concealed guns.
There are a number of new laws in Maryland that go into effect on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
CELLPHONES: Drivers are already prohibited from using hand-held cellphones, but now police can stop them for that offense alone.
Get ready to hear a bevy of complaints from relatives and friends about being ticketed for unsafe driving practices.
GUNS: New bans on the sale of certain assault rifles and requires a license and fingerprints to purchase
Get ready for for complaints from your NRA-inclined friends and relatives who think it is their constitutional right to own weapons of mass destruction so they can somehow keep the full force of the American military in check. Extremist gun rights groups have already sued to block this law.
DEATH PENALTY REPEAL: No one else can be sentenced to death in Maryland.
This law won't help the five men currently slated to be executed by the state. And prepare for the FOX News-impaired folks in your life to complain about how Maryland it coddling murderers even though there is no evidence to suggest the death penalty is a deterrent, and there is evidence to suggest they we may have executed innocent people (AKA murder).
NEWBORN DRUG EXPOSURE: Health care practitioners involved in delivering babies are required to report when newborns have been exposed to illegal drugs.
I imagine this will lead to an increase in dangerous, unsupervised homebirths within a drug-using demographic.
DEFIBRILLATORS AT POOLS: All public swimming pools are now required to have defibrillators and have staff trained to use them in medical emergencies.
What could possibly go wrong when you have a device designed to give intense electrical charges near water?
SEAT BELTS: Seat belt fine violations have increased, and backseat adult passengers are now legally required to wear seat belts.
Expect seat belt ticketing to increase since it generates more revenue for the state, and you'll have a lot of friends shocked that they got pulled over and/or ticketed for not wearing a seat belt in the backseat.
SHARK FINS: Prohibition on possession, sale and distribution of shark fins in an attempt to protect the threatened species.
Sometimes foodies can be dicks.
CYBER-BULLYING: Also called "Grace's Law." It prohibits the use of social media to harass minors.
I'm thinking the enforcement of this is going to be a mess.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Baby steps. This law allows for limited marijuana distribution from a select few academic medical centers.
Anyone I know have a prescription? Just askin'.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: This was designed to close a loophole allowing contributors to avoid limits by giving through many corporate entities.
It'd be better if we just banned all corporate "entities" from making political donations.
Johns Hopkins University's Incident email is reporting two new "Lick-n-Hits" (aka Hit-A-Licks) - or cell phone muggings in North Baltimore.
According to JHU: INCIDENT 1: Armed Robbery -- 3500 Blk. N. Charles St. – On Aug. 28th at 11:41 PM, four students were robbed at gunpoint of purses and cell phones by two unknown males who fled in a vehicle waiting for them on Greenway.
INCIDENT 2: Theft of Cell Phone – 2900 Blk. N. Calvert St. (east side) – On Aug. 28th at 6:35 PM, a JHMI student was walking with her cell phone in her hand when an unknown male walking in the opposite direction grabbed the phone from her hand as he passed her and ran east on 30th Street. Baltimore Police responded. Investigation continuing.
Description of Suspect: Male, Black, 17-20 years of age, 5’7” tall, 150-160 lbs., close cut hair, no facial hair and wearing a tight, light gray shirt, stonewash blue jeans and light colored sneakers.
This is just a heads up that although police have arrested suspects from the original crimewave (and also the Drinkwater shooting), that doesn't mean people aren't looking to mug you for your cell phones - and other possessions.
From our Department of Told Ya So's this week comes more data that shows that not only does austerity not help in times of economic slowdown, but that the research that austerity proponents have been using to make their case is, at the very best, severely flawed.
Back in 2010, Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff published research that seemed to go against everything we thought we knew about how to respond to recessions, depressions and economic downturns.
Keynesian ecomonics, as proven out by Roosevelt during the Great Depression, and common sense as well, tells us that in times of economic slowdown in the private sector, increased government spending will help restimulate the economy.
Reinhart and Rogoff's study, counter-intuitively and incorrectly, contends the opposite - that government spending must be cut, and debt must be paid down as quickly as possible before the private sector can emerge from its downward trend.
This study has been used as proof for conservatives globally (and in the US) to justify harsh austerity measures that have resulted in the suffering of many.
In the U.S., conservatives who were content to let Republican President George W. Bush not only blow a huge budget surplus, but spend us into a huge hole and derail our whole economy, have fetishized debt cutting under Democratic President Obama. Remember, none of them took issue when Republican Vice President Dick Cheney said "deficits don't matter."
It's almost as if Republicans want to keep strangling the economy to justify killing social safety net programs, cutting regulations and taxes and to play party politics.
Two new studies from the Univesity of Michigan and University of Massachusetts debunk Reinhart and Rogoff's work and bolster what we at the Shank, and people like Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman have been arguing for years, that the best, most effective way to get out periods of economic decline is through robust increases in goverment spending.
So the larger question is, why is this study from these Harvard economists so bad? Are they just terrible economists or were they simply trying to fix data to support austerity, and if so, why?
And finally, and most importantly, now that we know that austerity only makes things worse, what are we (and the world) going to do about it? Or will the mainstream media continue to use the conservative framing of the economic crisis - that is has something to do with debt when data shows that the opposite is true?
Despite what the prudes may say, consuming pornography does not make you a pervert, at least according to a published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The study found no direct correlation between viewing pornography and acting out wild sex acts in real life.
This means that "porn is only one factor among many that may influence the sexual behaviors of young people, according to Time.com."
"Researchers in the Netherlands conducted an online survey of 4,600 people between ages 15-25 and discovered that 90 percent of the males and nearly half of females had used porn in the previous 12 months."
56% - favorable view of Barack Obama 57% - approve of Barack Obama's job handling
51% - favorable view of Senator Barbara Mikulski 41% - favorable view of Senator Ben Cardin
10% - approve of Congress' job handling 84% - disapprove of Congress' job handling 51% - don't trust the federal government
37% - hold the Republicans in Congress responsible for The Sequester 4% - hold the Democrats in Congress responsible for The Sequester 20% - hold President Obama responsible for The Sequester 22% - hold all of Congress and President Obama equally responsible for The Sequester
47% believe the sequester will have a negative impact on their personal financial situation 75% believe the sequester will have a negative impact on the Maryland economy 68% believe the sequester will have a negative impact on the U.S. economy
"We have to do something about our national debt!"
"Government has gotten too big!"
"We have to cut our spending or we're all gonna die!"
Okay that last one was a tad hyperbolic, but it does underline the seemingly increasing hysteria we hear when concern over the supposed growing debt is expressed.
Despite that fact that these attitudes are inherently Republican, we frequently hear them presented as simply non-partisan, common wisdom.
But here's the thing, it's not true. And not only is it not true, but the people who scream the loudest about cutting government spending don't really mean it. What they mean is they want to cut government spending on ourselves - on our infrastructure and on social programs. Almost all of the people who are calling to cut government spending also want to increase government spending - on the military.
And The Republican Party - the ironically self-appointed party of fiscal responsibility - well they're the worst when it comes to spending our tax money.
For example, the financial cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars started by George W. Bush: $1,415,000,000,000.
Now, remember back when Bush also wanted to cut taxes? And Progressives were yelling, "Cut taxes during war time?! Are you freaking insane!?!!" And then everyone looked at us like we were trying to pee all over their good times parade? Funny. Turns out Progressives weren't just being dicks, seems we actually had a legitimate point.
The cost of Bush tax cuts: $2,800,000,000,000.
So, as a result of Republican "economics" and George W. Bush economic policies, we're down $4,215,000,000,000.
In fact, this is the level of US debt when George W. Bush left office: $10,627,000,000,000,000
It's also good to remember that when George W. Bush took office, he inherited a budget surplus of $5,600,000,000,000.
So, over eight years of the Bush Administration, Republicans blew through $16,227,000,000,000 of our money.
During that time did you hear any Republicans griping that we had to get government under control? That we had to reign in our spending? That we had to shrink the size of government?
And why would they? After all, it was Republican Vice-President Dick Cheney who told his acolytes, "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter."
So, when you hear Republicans freaking out about the debt, tell them to shut the fuck up.
The Republican Party is, historically, worse for our economy than the Democrats.
Our debt, despite their best efforts, isn't even as bad as the 1950s, that Golden Era conservatives yearn to drag us back to. Source: CBO