Russell Brand appears on MSNBC show, Morning Joe where he quickly runs away with the programme due to the incompetence of the anchors and the lack of preparation they took. The anchors’ behaviour was very unprofessional not knowing who their guest was. You wouldn’t see a boxer enter a ring without knowing their opponent because of their professionalism. But maybe Russell wouldn’t have been invited on the Live TV show had they known who he was and what he’s about? The video has naturally quickly gone viral.
It’s come out that the NSA has been domestically monitoring American citizens but it’s just the most recent case in a long, long line of domestic spying from the NSA that stretches back to at least 1973.
This timeline is intended to recall all the credible accounts and information of the NSA’s domestic spying program found in the media, congressional testimony, books, and court actions.
For more information please visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
There is a gender gap when it comes to behavior and self-control in American children—one that doesn’t appear to exist in children in Asia.
“We know from previous research that many Asian children outperform American children in academic achievement,” Megan McClelland says. “Increasingly, we are seeing that there also is a gap when it comes to their ability to control their behavior and persist with tasks.” (Credit: Dennis/Flickr)
In the United States, according to a new study, girls have higher levels of self-regulation than boys. In China, South Korea, and Taiwan, the study found no gender gap when researchers directly assessed the self-regulation of children ranging in ages from 3 to 6 years old.
Self-regulation is defined as children’s ability to control their behavior and impulses, follow directions, and persist in completing a task. The results of the study appear in the most recent issue of the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
“These findings suggest that although we often expect girls to be more self-regulated than boys, this may not be the case for Asian children,” says Shannon Wanless, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in Education in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education.
Although there were no gender differences in self-regulation when the children were directly assessed using a variety of school-readiness tasks in a quiet space, teachers in Asia perceived girls as performing better on self-regulation even when they and boys actually performed equally when assessed overall.
“Teachers are rating children’s behavior in the classroom environment, which has a lot of distractions and is very stimulating,” Wanless says. “It is possible that boys in the Asian countries were able to self-regulate as well as girls when they were in a quiet space (the direct assessment), but were not able to regulate themselves as well in a bustling classroom environment (teacher ratings).”
Wanless and Megan McClelland, an associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, along with coauthors at US and Asian universities, conducted assessments of 814 children in the United States, China, South Korea, and Taiwan.
Their study showed that US girls had significantly higher self-regulation than boys, but there were no significant gender differences in any Asian societies. In addition, for both genders, directly assessed and teacher-rated self-regulation were related to many aspects of school readiness in all societies for girls and boys.
“We know from previous research that many Asian children outperform American children in academic achievement,” McClelland says. “Increasingly, we are seeing that there also is a gap when it comes to their ability to control their behavior and persist with tasks.”
Wanless says this study paves the way for future research to explore why there is such a large gender gap in the United States and what can be learned from Asian schools.
“What can we learn from Asian cultural and teaching practices about how we can support girls and boys to be successful in school?” she says. “When we see differences in developmental patterns across countries it suggests that we might want to look at teaching and parenting practices in those countries and think about how they might apply in the United States.”
The research builds on Wanless’s previous work, which has shown that teachers who are more emotionally supportive help students develop better self-regulation, and that self-regulation is related to readiness for school regardless of children’s socioeconomic status, gender, culture, or other potential risk factors in their lives.
The researchers emphasized the importance of working with children, regardless of gender or culture, on their self-regulation skills. Practicing games such as “Simon Says” and “Red Light, Green Light” is one way that parents can work with their children to help them learn how to follow instructions, persist in completing tasks, and listen carefully.
Wanless is currently working to help Pittsburgh preschool teachers support children’s social and self-regulatory skills and working with Pitt School of Education colleagues to facilitate preservice teachers’ awareness of these skills.
“In our study, self-regulation was good for academic achievement for boys and girls,” Wanless says. “That means this skill is important for both genders, and we should be supporting self-regulatory development for all children, especially boys.
Low self-regulation in preschool has been linked to difficulties in adulthood, so increased focus on supporting young boys’ development can have long-term positive benefits.”
The US Department of State Fulbright Student Scholarship, the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund, the Oregon Sports Lottery, the Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society, the National Institute of Child and Human Development, and the National Science Foundation supported the study.
Source: University of Pittsburgh
It’s the ultimate machine of what’s become our Paranoid State. Clive Irving on the Orwellian mass-surveillance data center rising in the Utah desert.
Remember the Stasi, the secret police who operated in East Germany when it was a communist state? When the Berlin Wall came down, East Germans discovered they had been living in a society so rotted by paranoia that at least one in three of its adult citizens were spying on the other two.
From this springs what I call the Stasi Principle: a state’s appetite for collecting intelligence expands in direct relationship to its technical ability to do so.
In the case of East Germany, this ended up producing warehouses stuffed with bulging files containing the minutely observed details of the everyday, humdrum lives of millions. The product was both banal and, in its range and results, terrifying (a world caught beautifully in the film The Lives of Others).
In the case of the U.S., the apotheosis of the same mind-set lies in a sprawling complex at Camp Williams, Utah, due to start operating this fall. Billions of dollars have gone into creating this cyberintelligence facility for the National Security Agency.
There’s no official explanation of the Utah Data Center’s real mission, except that it’s the largest of a network of data farms including sites in Colorado, Georgia, and Maryland. But it’s obviously been built to vastly increase the agency’s capacity to suck in, digest, analyze, and store whatever the intelligence community decides to collect. As of this week, we know a lot more about the kind of data that includes.
Of course, the U.S. is still far from being the police state that East Germany was. But I do think we need to better understand how this technological juggernaut works, what its scope really is—and particularly we need to appreciate how our political acceptance of this scale of surveillance is shaping the kind of society we are.
The national-security industrial complex is now of the size, power, and influence of the military-industrial complex of the Cold War, which President Eisenhower first defined and warned of. As then, this complex uses the national interest as a reason for having to operate in secrecy, and invokes patriotism—literally in the PATRIOT Act—to create a political consensus.
Nineteen terrorists with minimal technology—box cutters—have enabled the counterterrorism industry to enjoy unbounded reach. White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest used the familiar argument to defend the newly disclosed surveillance: it was, he said, “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terror threats as it allows counterterrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terror activities, particularly people located inside the United States.”
Where is it absolutely essential to violate privacy and where not?
That’s actually a simplification. Surveillance has two fundamental purposes: to track the known and discover the unknown. It’s hard to comprehend the science involved. How, for example, do you cull billions of bytes of data a second in a way that discriminates between the useless and the essential? Only one thing is for sure, and that is that the policy driving the velocity of the NSA’s ever-expanding sweeps is first to make those sweeps as global and indiscriminate as possible and then to apply algorithms able to instantly see the significant from the insignificant. If only it were that simple.
It is patently easy to defend the resources devoted to intelligence gathering by saying that many attacks have been thwarted, without saying what and where they were. Neither the Boston Marathon atrocity nor the London assassination of a British soldier were detected in advance, even though intelligence services in both countries had the perpetrators on their radar.
There is a certain kind of intellectual depravity in trying to have us accept that all surveillance is good for us. Politicians of both parties who now say there is nothing new in what has been revealed, that this was all authorized and kosher, are captives of this depravity, because they don’t really know any more than we do where to draw the line. Where is it absolutely essential to violate privacy and where not?
This is made even worse by the cover of enormous technical complexity. At least the Stasi’s low-tech methods could be seen for what they were, part of a cumbersome and gross bureaucratic machine, essentially human in its systems, allowing culpability to be clearly assigned.
In our case there is the Dark Star factor, like the Utah operation, working on robotic principles, not dependent on putting bugs in chandeliers, leaving no fingerprints, and capable of awesome penetration. We have the ultimate machine of the Paranoid State, an Orwellian apparatus that intoxicates its operators with its efficiency, enthrals its masters with its omniscience, and emasculates its political overseers with its promise of efficacy.
By Clive Irving
A new study finds that women were grossly underrepresented in front of and behind the screen in 2012.
Every time I look at the film listings lately my heart sinks. It’s hard out here for a woman. If you’re packing a pair of ovaries, might as well pack it in mama. There’s very little here for you.
Let’s take a look at the films currently playing at the Scotiabank Theatre – Fast and Furious 6, Star Trek, Iron Man 3D and Oblivion. All of these films star men, were made by men, and are principally about men. Not only that, but when they’re released in the theatre, they’re critiqued mainly by even more men (91 per cent of critics writing for major entertainment magazines and/or websites are of the male persuasion). These critiques are then published in magazines and aired on TV and media outlets that are also owned by almost entirely by men (women make up more than 50 per cent of the population but they hold less than seven percent of all TV and radio station licenses in the U.S.).
This is no big surprise, but things have actually gotten exponentially worse lately. The previous year was not a good one for women. In fact, 2012 was the lowest year for women in front of the camera. Behind the scenes, things were even worse. Melissa Silverstein’s recent article in Indiewire lays it out in fine print. Read and get righteously pissed off.
Writes the fine Ms. Silverstein: “In a brand new five-year study from Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Marc Choueiti, Elizabeth Scofield, & Dr. Katherine Pieper at the USC Annenberg Center, they found that ‘females are grossly underrepresented on screen in 2012 films. Out of 4,475 speaking characters onscreen, only 28.4 per cent are female.’ And it also should be no surprise that when a female is present, she is usually younger than the male character. Overall, for every single female character we see onscreen, we see 2.5 male characters. The study goes on to say that women make up only 16.7 per cent of the 1,228 directors, writers and producers across the 100 top-grossing films of 2012. Women accounted for 4.1 per cent of directors, 12.2 per cent of writers and 20 per cent of producers. The grim news is that for every woman working behind the scenes in 2012, five dudes were employed.”
That is not the only grim bit of news, but for anyone who was paying attention to the Star Trek under-panties debacle, every time a woman does show up on screen, she is there for tits and titillation, a hypersexualized cartoon designed to promote priapism.
Silverstein’s article goes on to state: “Females from 13-20 are more likely to be hypersexualized i.e. [exposing at least some skin in the breast, midriff, or high upper thigh area] than older women in all demographic groups. Teenage girls wearing sexy clothes increased 22 per cent between 2009 and 2012.”
Sometimes I find myself trolling through Netflix, watching the worst films I can find. I’m not sure exactly what is driving this behaviour. There is something pushing me on, some sort of conspiracy theory impulse, a need to look for the kernel at the dark heart of all this apparent crap and ask: “What the hell is going on exactly?”
Because the only thing worse than all the men onscreen lately are the women.
Watching some Adam Sandler monstrosity the other day, I found myself whispering in awe, “This is so bad.” It’s not simply that there are so many awful, terrible pieces of junk — mainstream film has always made heaps of crap, that’s no big surprise to anyone — but it feels like there is something far more insidious at work.
Let’s take the film Grownups for example. The plot, if you will, consists of a group of childhood friends returning to the site of their youth to recapture something of that gilded past. The original film starred Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade and Rob Schneider. The sequel, soon to be released this July, reunites the same cast. I expect men in such films to act like tools, but it is the women that gave me pause. These are actresses (Maya Rudolph, Salma Hayek and Maria Bello) who are not without talent or ability. But each of these women are reduced to little more than a frown line, followed by an indulgent chuckle and a sigh: “Boys will be boys.” I don’t even know what to make of this, except that the women will apparently accept the thinnest gruel on the ground. It’s work, after all. But lord almighty… this shit is humiliating.
If you were a young and impressionable lass, you might well believe that women were largely simpering nits, who summon up just enough pluck to nab a bozo to marry and then lapse back into wallpaper mode, pretty, vapid, not overly distracting. I exaggerate a little, maybe, not terribly much.
When exactly did films turn female characters into someone you would never even want to know? Certainly, there are some exceptions, but they don’t disprove the rule. For every woman in a starring role, whether she is a sex-slayer-bitch-goddess or marriage-obsessed-wiener with only china patterns and bouquet arrangements on her twee little mind, there are apparently five men. This is not to say that men also aren’t subjected to lockstep patterns of rigid penises, but as least they get to have more fun along the way, blowing shit up, shooting things, racing around in souped-up muscle pants and starships.
I like the men-folk well enough. They’re lots of fun and the more useful ones can unblock your sink and help set up your DVD player. But too much of anything is never a good thing. This is especially true when it comes to men onscreen.
I am beyond tired of superheroes, bored to petulance by all the grunting and groaning, exploding spaceships, whirling bits of machinery, explosions and ladies in their under-panties. It’s all too much. Star Trek writer Damon Lindelof has already been forced to apologize for a gratuitous shot of Alice Eve in her bra and panties in the latest version of the Star Trek enterprise. I say, let the woman have her moment; there is precious little else for her to do, except get her kit off. The rest of the women (all one of them) on the crew huff and pout about relationships, since you know that is mainly what interests women. In the face of imminent threat and danger, what is there to do but harangue your man into talking about his feelings?
Needed: characters with consequences
This is not just a phenomenon that happens in the lowbrow world of buddy comedies and rom-coms. In the art-house realms, similar things are afoot. Exactly one woman has won the director’s award at the Cannes Film Festival. A few years back, when Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life captured the big old prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Cinema Scope Magazine convened a round table of 10 different critics and film experts to talk about the film. There was not a single woman included. I read the piece and thought that if there had been 10 women without any men in attendance, you would have had a very different interpretation of the film.
This is not make any kind of case for gender essentialism, but simply to state that women are often interested in different things in film, see different things, simply because they often experience life quite differently from men.
The deck is stacked and I don’t mean it has giant boobs. In a recent interview with Dorothy Pomerantz of Forbes Magazine, Amy Pascal, the head of Sony Studios, told tales out of school.
Says Pascal of the difficulties faced by women making mainstream movies: “For a woman to direct a movie in Hollywood, she has to go through so many layers of rejection by the powers that be — I suppose including myself — that it is harder to get to that point. So you can’t just create something. And I think there is a whole unconscious mountain… I think that the whole system is geared for them to fail and we’re going to have to change a lot of what we do in order for that to happen… The most important thing in the job that we do here is to make movies about women where they are characters that have consequences in the story. They can be villains, they can be protagonists, I don’t care, but their movements, their actions, what they do in the plot has to actually matter. And that’s the most important thing, because young girls coming up are going to see that they matter, that you’re not an appendage to someone else, that you’re not married to the person, not their sister or friend or girlfriend. You actually are the plot.”
I haven’t seen a female character I could relate to since Bridesmaids, and that came out more than two years ago. Where are the dames that shit in the sink? Where are the Valkyries of old, women who put the world to rights by riding into the flames, astride giant horses, screaming their heads off? Where are your fierce smart women, the trash-talking, joke-making, baby-raising, breadwinning, hard-drinking, deep-thinking women? The women you actually know and admire in the real world?
I dunno, but she ain’t in the pictures anymore.
Damon Lindelof says he is mindful of comments that scene with British actor Alice Eve in her bra and pants is gratuitous.
Lindelof, who is also the co-creator of Lost, took to Twitter after fans pointed out the unnecessary nature of the offending segue, in which science officer Carol Marcus strips down to a bra and knickers while preparing to pull on a special torpedo disarming outfit.
“I copped to the fact that we should have done a better job of not being gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress,” he wrote, adding: “We also had Kirk shirtless in underpants in both movies, [but I] do not want to make light of something that some construe as misogynistic. What I’m saying is I hear you, I take responsibility and will be more mindful in the future.”
Lindelof’s follower Kristen McHugh summed up the general response to the scene when she wrote: “I kinda enjoyed that Dr Marcus told Kirk (and the audience) to put their eyes back in their heads. But overall: less male gaze, more speaking and non-object roles for women, please.” User Devon Faraci wrote: “You had [Kirk] shirtless both times in situations where it made sense. Carol’s scene was gratuitous.”
However, another of Lindelof’s followers, Mark Newbold, wrote: “I can’t tell if you are being serious or tongue in cheek. I hope the latter. Trek is supposed to be sexy and randy, it always was.” And user Chris Blohm added: “Damon, please don’t feel as if you have to skimp on future Kirk/underpant situations because of this.”
Damon also appeared sheepish in an email to MTV on the subject. “Why is Alice Eve in her underwear, gratuitously and unnecessarily, without any real effort made as to why in God’s name she would undress in that circumstance?” He asked. “Well there’s a very good answer for that. But I’m not telling you what it is. Because… uh… MYSTERY?”
Women doctors are piling a ‘tremendous burden’ on the NHS by working part-time, a female Conservative MP has said in comments supported by a health minister. Conservative MP Anne McIntosh told the House of Commons that the increased numbers of women GPs caused a strain on the NHS because they took time off to raise children.
The comments were supported by health minister Anna Soubry, who said the MP raised an important point about the ‘unintended consequences’ of more women training to be doctors.
In the debate on the NHS 111 phone line yesterday, Ms McIntosh said female medical students are likely to want to marry, start, families and then work part-time.
She said: ‘It’s a controversial thing to say, but perhaps I as a woman can say this – 70% of medical students currently are women and they are very well educated and very well qualified.
‘When they go into practice and then in the normal course of events will marry and have children, they often want to go part-time and it is obviously a tremendous burden training what effectively might be two GPs working part-time where they are ladies.’
Ms Soubry agreed and said: ‘Could I just say very quickly you make an important point when you talk about, rightly, the good number of women who are training to be doctors, but the unintended consequences.’
The Government’s five-year mandate to Health Education England commits the body to ensure that half of of medical training places to go to GPs by 2018.
GPC member Dr Beth McCarron-Nash said: ‘This is a very outdated view of women in the modern workplace. Having a family or choosing to work flexibly should not be perceived as a negative career option, for women or men.
‘The NHS needs to adapt its workforce planning to reflect the changing working patterns in society.’
Did you notice that mixed-race person that walked passed you yesterday? During the split second as he walked by, was the person registered as black or white?
Alarming new research suggests the answer to that question may depend on your political ideology. In three experiments, “we found that conservatives were more likely than liberals to categorize a racially ambiguous person as black than white,” a research team led by New York University psychologist Amy Krosch writes in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Intriguingly, this dynamic disappeared when the study participants—white Americans—were told they were judging Canadian faces. The tendency for those on the right to more quickly categorize someone as “black” only occurred when they were evaluating their fellow countrymen. As the number of mixed-race Americans rapidly grows, the issue of how they are perceived is of more than academic interest. There is no shortage of evidence of continuing discrimination against blacks, such as a new report of racial bias in arrests for marijuana possession. Categorization comes with consequences.
Krosch and her colleagues describe three experiments. The first two featured 31 and 71 participants, respectively, all recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service. They indicated their political ideology on a seven-point scale (extremely liberal to extremely conservative.) The participants in the first study were white; the second featured a smattering of non-whites, but no African Americans. All were asked to quickly label 110 male faces as black or white. The images were created by morphing two “parent” faces, one white and one black, and varying the degree to which each was represented. In both experiments, the point at which a face was equally likely to be labeled black or white occurred before the point the two faces actually converged. (In the second study, it occurred well before.) This suggests one does not need to have 50 percent African American features to be labeled black.
What’s more, this tendency was exacerbated by ideology. Specifically, “conservatism was associated with a lower threshold for categorizing racially ambiguous faces as black,” the researchers report.
The third experiment, featuring 62 participants (all white), was identical to the first two, except that half the faces were identified as “Canadian.” They were presented against a red background, while “Americans” were seen against a blue background. The results: “Political conservatism was associated with a lower threshold for categorizing racially ambiguous faces as black when it came to American, but not Canadian, faces.” Whatever impulse that led conservatives to think “black” was negated when they were told they were dealing with residents of a different country.
“There are several possible explanations” for these findings, the researchers write. “Conservatives exhibit stronger preferences for order, structure, and closure, and greater intolerance of ambiguity in comparison with liberals.” Thus they “might be more motivated to resolve racial ambiguity, and to resolve it in the most common or culturally accessible manner.”
Beyond that, Krosch and her colleagues suspect this reflects a phenomenon coined by New York University psychologist John Jost (a co-author of the paper): system justification theory. The term refers to the tendency, which is particularly pronounced among conservatives, to rationalize the sociopolitical system one inhabits as inherently fair and just.
In that context, these results “may reflect, among other things, the motivation to defend and uphold traditional racial divisions that are part of the historical legacy of the United States,” writes the research team, which also included Leslie Berntsen, David Amodio and Jay Van Bavel.
On the other hand, the researchers note, liberals and conservatives may simply focus their attention on different facial features, with those on the right more alert to any that deviate from the “norm” (European ancestry). “If so,” they write, “this would suggest that ideology may not only shape social judgments and behavior, but literally how people see the world around them.”