follow us in feedly
Idiocracy: Sarah Palin’s popularity, Tea Party, explained by Science
12:01 pm



Image by Versions Galore

David Dunning, a research psychologist at Cornell University, and his colleagues, have found how “incompetent” people are inherently unable to determine if another person is incompetent or not, or put more bluntly, some people are simply too dumb to know just how dumb they really are, and so they are, in turn, poor judges of stupidity (or intelligence) in others when they see it.

In one aspect of their study, the researchers asked students to grade some tests on grammar skills. While grading the tests, the ones who scored the worst themselves still didn’t recognize the correct answer even when they saw it repeatedly on their fellow students’ tests

If a joke sails over someone’s head—like the Zen koan about the tree falling in the forest when there is no one around to hear it—did the joke even exist in the first place???

Might this research begin to explain why our government is as lousy as it is when we have so many voters who don’t get the joke even after it’s been explained to them over and over and over again?

I think this speaks volumes about American politics. Via Life’s Little Mysteries:

With more than a decade’s worth of research, David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, has demonstrated that humans find it “intrinsically difficult to get a sense of what we don’t know.” Whether an individual lacks competence in logical reasoning, emotional intelligence, humor or even chess abilities, the person still tends to rate his or her skills in that area as being above average.

Dunning and his colleague, Justin Kruger, formerly of Cornell and now at New York University, “have done a number of studies where we will give people a test of some area of knowledge like logical reasoning, knowledge about STDs and how to avoid them, emotional intelligence, etcetera. Then we determine their scores, and basically just ask them how well they think they’ve done,” Dunning said. “We ask, ‘what percentile will your performance fall in?’”

The results are uniform across all the knowledge domains: People who actually did well on the test tend to feel more confident about their performance than people who didn’t do well, but only slightly. Almost everyone thinks they did better than average. “For people at the bottom who are really doing badly — those in the bottom 10th or 15th percentile — they think their work falls in the 60th or 55th percentile, so, above average,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries. The same pattern emerges in tests of people’s ability to rate the funniness of jokes, the correctness of grammar, or even their own performance in a game of chess. “People at the bottom still think they’re outperforming other people.”

It’s not merely optimism, but rather that their total lack of expertise renders them unable to recognize their deficiency. Even when Dunning and his colleagues offer study participants a $100 reward if they can rate themselves accurately, they cannot. “They’re really trying to be honest and impartial,” he said.

It poses an existential threat to the survival of American democracy itself when some large percentage of the United States electorate would be unable to recognize an actual expert on taxes, Wall Street regulation, global warming science or health care reform.

I mean, this kinda puts people like Louie Gohmert, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Allen West into perspective, doesn’t it? The people who would support them politically or vote for them, obviously lack the critical reasoning tools necessary to make a distinction between shit and shinola OR ELSE THEY WOULDN’T SUPPORT SUCH OBVIOUS DOLTS IN THE FIRST PLACE. We’ve always known this, of course, but now there’s a growing body of actual scientific evidence that might explain how such doofuses advance in American politics. “The Peter Principle,” with scientific underpinnings, if you will…

This is both chilling and funny in a “gallows humor” kind of way, isn’t it? In a 2008 follow-up study, Dunning, Kruger and their coauthors made attempts to test alternate explanations of the original hypothesis, but came largely to the same conclusions. In addition, they also found that in contrast to high performers, “poor performers do not learn from feedback suggesting a need to improve.”

Ouch, that is a strong statement! The last thing conservatives want to spend money on is public schools, and with a college education unaffordable and out of reach for many Americans, this is going to be a nearly intractable problem for decades to come.

More reading:
The Brutality Report: Stupid People What Don’t Know They’re Stupid (Vice)

Right-wingers are less intelligent than left wingers, says study (Daily Mail)

Below, Devo’s “Beautiful World”:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Just how beautiful was Karen Carpenter’s voice? Listen to her isolated vocal tracks and find out
11:27 am



I rarely write music-related posts here on Dangerous Minds, but a recent comment from Studio Multitracks directing me to the isolated vocals of Karen Carpenter stirred a childhood memory for me. As I listened, I will admit that I got a little misty-eyed. My god was her voice oh so beautiful, powerful and nuanced and you can really hear that, here.

I recall every Saturday morning in the late-70s and early-80s, the drudgery of having to help clean the house with my mother. The two things my mother played on constant rotation while we cleaned together were the Carpenters’ The Singles: 1969 - 1973 and Carol King’s Tapestry. Man, did I loathe “cleaning Saturdays,” but hearing the soothing voice of Karen Carpenter always made it somewhat bearable, and sometimes, even…enjoyable.

Karen Carpenter’s voice takes me to that happy safe place when I was young and everything seemed possible.
Below, “Ticket to Ride” vocals and drums:

More isolated vocals after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘My Love Grows In The Dark:’ SSION’s springtime pop perfection
08:05 am



Another act who featured on My Awesome Best of 2011 Mixtape and who deserve special mention for the little beauty: ‘My Love Grows In The Dark’ is the new video by SSION (aka Cody Critchloe) and it is simply gorgeous.

SSION’s excellent 2011 long player Bent was my second favourite album of last year, only being pipped at the post for the title “best of” by John Maus’ extraordinary We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves. Bent was released as a free download for just one month, but if you didn’t get it (and why not?! I told you so!) fear not, it will be getting a physical re-release soon on Dovecote Records with an accompanying tour.

As well as performing, writing and recording as the floating collective SSION since the late 90s, Cody Critcheloe is a video director who has recently helmed clips for both Santigold and Peaches. It shows: he is an artist with real vision, talent and skill and I’m glad to report I will be posting an interview with Cody in the very near future.

Musically “My Love…” is classy, catchy and excellently produced dance-pop (it’s how I always really wanted the Scissor Sisters to sound, no mean feat that) and in the ace video he rocks a look that’s a bizarre hybrid of Boy George, Andrew WK and Snoop Dogg. Spring is in the air, so let some aural sunshine in:

SSION “My Love Grows In The Dark”

SSION (the band) will be performing live in New York tonight at the Highline Ballroom. More details for this (highly recommended) gig here.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Let the Obama assassinated Breitbart conspiracy theories begin!

It had to happen: After the dumbest member of Congress, Louie Gohmert (R, TX) hinted at it yesterday on the House floor, this morning, in his nationally syndicated radio show for idiots, Michael Savage mused aloud that the cause of Andrew Breitbart’s unexpected death raised questions if the conservative firebrand—who claimed he had videotapes of Obama in college that could politically damage him—was in fact, murdered at the Presidnet’s behest. From WND:

“Maybe my overly active imagination kicked into overdrive,” Savage told his listeners of his decision to raise the question. “But you heard what Breitbart said – he has videos … we’re going to vet the president.”

“Overly active imagination”? I’ll let that one pass without contempt comment. When even Glenn Beck is throwing cold water on the Breitbart conspiracy theories, you’ve backed yourself out onto an epistemological limb from which there is no chance of return!

Breitbart reportedly was walking near his home in Brentwood, Calif., just after midnight this morning when he collapsed. A neighbor saw him fall and called 911. Emergency crews tried to revive him and rushed him to the emergency room at the UCLA Medical Center.

It’s entirely plausible, Savage acknowledged, that Breitbart simply collapsed of a heart attack because of overwork and a reported history of health problems.

“I’m asking a crazy question,” Savage said, “but so what? We the people want an answer. This was not an ordinary man. If I don’t ask this question, I would be remiss.”

You’d also be remiss not to mention that Breitbart was a barely-holding it together rageaholic shambles of a human being who was in terrible shape physically and in the months prior to his death appeared more and more unhinged and crazed in every single public outing the guy made! His own friends and colleagues know what killed him, and so does Michael Savage, but STILL he wants to try to turn Breitbart into a martyr in death. It’s fucking hilarious.

Savage must have a truly cynical contempt for his radio listeners. Certainly this is not one of Savage’s more offensive “conspiracy theories”—it’s not even close—but it does rank as one of the stupider ones. (If Paula Deen keeled over tomorrow, what would Savage attribute her death to? Anthony Bourdain, in the drawing room with the candlestick? Who had the motive? Bourdain!)

“I’ve got videos – this election we’re going to vet him,” Breitbart said at CPAC, promising they would show how “racial division and class warfare are central” to the “hope and change” that Obama”sold in 2008. He threatened the president at CPAC with video that could derail the president’s campaign,” Savage said. “I pray it was natural causes, but we’ll never know the truth.”

Here’s an educated guess, Michael: A diet consisting mainly of the pastrami sandwich at Jerry’s Deli and being an overweight, very, very angry, mean and tightly-wound man. Sound in any way plausible to you?

“I told him two years ago to get a body guard. Never be alone in the street,” Savage said.

Savage, the author of the bestselling [???] novel “Abuse of Power,” put on his novelist hat and speculated about ways a murderer could remain undetected by inducing a heart attack that didn’t leave any traces.

Don’t forget that one of the big conspiracy theories the rightwing used to propagate during the whole “Vince Foster was murdered” business about why they never found the “Ron Brown murder weapon” was because he was stabbed with an icicle! Who needs medical autopsies when you’ve got conspiracy theories?

A caller from Savage’s native New York City said there’s a simple way to find out what happened.

“If the tapes come out, he died of a heart attack,” the caller said. “If the tapes don’t come out, they whacked him.”

Can’t argue with that, now, can we? Aristotle wouldn’t know what to say!

Wondering where Alex Jones will take this today… SOMEONE on Fox News is going to blurt this out, too, unless Roger AIles wisely sent out a memo instructing “Ixnay on the Breitbart conspiracy theories.”

Read more:
Andrew Breitbart: Death of a Douche (Rolling Stone)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Happy birthday Karen Carpenter: The Carpenters in concert, 1972
12:01 am

Pop Culture


It’s Karen Carpenter’s birthday and here’s some really fine concert footage of the pop goddess performing at the tender age of 22 in Australia in 1972.

The drums are up in the mix and can hear what a fine drummer Karen was and at times in her singing and attitude you can detect an edge that belied the warm and fuzzy mainstream image that was part of the packaging of The Carpenters. She was one of the original riot grrrls.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Candy-colored rock and roll from Finland circa 1961
10:41 pm

Pop Culture


Toivelauluja star Pirkko Mannola astride Die Antwoord’s Renault. Zef timewarp.
This sparkly little clip from 1961 Finnish movie Toivelauluja is just all kinds of groovy. A blend of teen flick, Hollywood musical and old fashioned melodrama, Toivelauluja (Songs After The Heart’s Desire ) was one of the first Finnish movies to be shot in color…and what delicious color it is!  Interesting to note, this was made two years before Bye Bye Birdie.

The song is a cover of Cliff Richard’s “Living Doll.”

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Debbie Harry on kids’ TV show in 1980
10:02 pm

Pop Culture


Although DM featured this in the past, the video was pulled from YouTube but has now reappeared so I thought I’d share it again. It’s that good.

Kids Are People Too ran on Sunday mornings from 1978 to 1982 on ABC and featured a lot of topnotch rock and rollers including Patti Smith, Cheap Trick, Kiss, and the fabulous Debbie Harry.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Heavyweights are slowly turning on Rupert Murdoch
04:25 pm

Current Events


It’s been a hell of a week for the Murdochs.

On Sunday,  Rupert “Digger” Murdoch released his Sun on Sunday, the tawdry replacement paper for the equally tawdry and now defunct News of the World.

On Tuesday, singer Charlotte Church had a David versus Goliath moment when she took on Murdoch’s “massive corporation with endless resources, [and] a phenomenal amount of power” and won £600,000 in damages, for information illegally obtained by Murdoch’s paper on the singer and her family. As Church told the Independent newspaper that News International were not sorry:

“In my opinion, they are not truly sorry, only sorry they got caught.”

Not a truer word said, for the News of the Screws would have carried on their underhand, illicit and corrupt methods if the Guardian had not been assiduous in their investigation of the whole Phone Hacking Scandal. Indeed, Charlotte Church said she only agreed on the settlement with the News International because they planned “to go after my mother again”.

On Wednesday, James Murdoch announced his resignation from News International - this is damage limitation, possibly as a precaution against future criminal proceedings and against the further tarnishing to the family business. But wait - can Murdoch’s brand be even more tarnished and disreputable? An organization currently under investigation for corruption, bribery and extensive illegal activities?

And all the while the Levenson Enquiry continues.

Of course, there will always be those dumb apologists who make the pitch that without Murdoch we wouldn’t have had this or that or the other. Well, this that or the other, just isn’t so, for if one was to take all the good Murdoch’s papers have allegedly achieved, and weigh it up against the bad it has actually perpetrated across the UK and the world, then the Murdochs would be found sadly wanting.

Murdoch’s suitability to be running a business, let alone a newspaper, is the question posed by respected journalist and broadcaster Peter Oborne, in the Daily Telegraph, where he asks:

Is Rupert Murdoch a fit and proper person to run a company?

It may seem an obvious question, but it’s not the sort one expects to find in the conservative Telegraph, where Oborne writes:

Until now, it is only the lesser people who have carried the can for the culture of criminality that flourished inside News International, with the buck stopping with editors such as Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks. The time has come to look higher up – and I am not thinking of hapless James Murdoch, who belatedly resigned as the chairman of News International yesterday afternoon.

Rupert Murdoch, the company’s founder, insists that he never had any knowledge of wrongdoing, and no doubt that is true. But he was the man at the top. He took a very keen interest in the way his British newspapers were run (a newspaperman to his fingertips, last weekend he could be seen hard at work in the newsroom as the Sun on Sunday was launched) and it was he, and nobody else, who set the culture.

We learn more about this culture practically every day. It was a culture of bullying and intimidation, where facts were distorted and lies told. It was a culture which merged the boundaries between police, media and the political class. Though brilliant in many ways, it also did a great deal to debase and even to destroy our public life. Now Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen of Australian heritage, is promoting the break-up of Britain through an alliance with Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party (they met yesterday).

Murdoch’s culture, we now know for a fact, included the criminal culture at the News of the World. We have also heard the corruption allegations from Sue Akers concerning the Sun. Of course nothing has been proved, but if even half of what she says turns out to be true, then it is time to ask whether Rupert Murdoch is a fit and proper person to run not just a newspaper, but any British public company.

Undoubtedly, Murdoch is a wily businessman, but the core values his business seed and promote are the lowest, most insidious and craven, which clearly reveal Murdoch’s true ambition - his thirst for power.

Read Peter Oborne’s article here.

Details of Don’t Buy The Sun here.

Via the Daily Telegraph

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Sheriff Joe Arpaio thinks Obama’s birth certificate ‘probably’ a forgery
12:48 pm



Hero to Tea baggers everywhere, Arizona nutbag Sheriff Joe Arpaio, currently up to his eyeballs with the Justice Department investigating him for a litany of things far too numerous to list here, has just released the results of his big investigation of Obama’s birth certificate

No surprises here, the loopy, attention-seeking lawman from Maricopa County thinks Obama’s birth certificate is “probably” a forgery. That’s the result of his six month investigation. Shocking, right? The well-adjusted types over at WND have the scoop:

“President Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate released by the White House on April 27, 2011, is suspected to be a computer-generated forgery, not a scan of an original 1961 paper document as represented by the White House when the long-form birth certificate was made public,” Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said at a press conference today in Phoenix.

This is the major preliminary finding of a six-month ongoing Sheriff’s Cold Case Posse law enforcement investigation into the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate and his eligibility to be president.

Having developed probable cause to believe the long-form birth certificate was most likely a computer-generated forgery, investigators began examining other evidence of President Obama’s life history.

Investigators additionally have developed credible evidence suggesting:

• President Obama’s Selective Service card was most likely a forgery, revealed by an examination of the postal date stamp on the document;

• Records of Immigration and Naturalization Service cards filled out by airplane passengers arriving on international flights originating outside the United States in the month of August 1961, examined at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., are missing records for the week of President Obama’s    birth, including the dates Aug. 1, 1961 through Aug. 7, 1961.

Beginning in October 2011, the Sheriff’s Cold Case Posse, consisting of former law enforcement officers and lawyers with law enforcement experience, examined dozens of witnesses and hundreds of documents, as well as taking numerous sworn statements from witnesses around the world.

In August 2011, 250 members of the Surprise, Arizona, Tea Party, residents of Maricopa County, presented a signed petition asking Sheriff Arpaio to undertake the investigation.

The Tea Party members petitioned under the premise that if a forged birth certificate was utilized to obtain a position for Barack Obama on the 2012 Arizona presidential ballot, their rights as Maricopa County voters could be compromised.

What about the rest of the state’s taxpayers, weary of this bullshit?

The Cold Case investigators further determined that the Hawaii Department of Health has engaged in what Sheriff’s investigators believe is a systematic effort to hide from public inspection whatever original 1961 birth records the Hawaii Department of Health may have in their possession.

“Officers of the Hawaii Department of Health and various elected Hawaiian public officials may have intentionally obscured 1961 birth records and procedures, to avoid having to release to public inspection and to the examination of court-authorized forensic examiners any original Obama 1961 birth records the Hawaii Department of Health may or may not have,” said Mike Zullo, the lead investigator in Sheriff Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse.

The Cold Case investigators have not yet determined who, when, or precisely how the long-form computer-generated birth certificate released on April 27 may have been forged, but investigators say the evidence contained in the computer-generated PDF file released by the White House as well as important deficiencies in the Hawaii process of certifying the long-form birth certificate establish probable cause that a forgery has been committed.

The Cold Case Posse investigators advised Sheriff Arpaio that the forgers most likely committed two crimes: first, in fraudulently creating a forgery that the White House characterized, knowingly or unknowingly, as an officially produced governmental birth record; and second, in fraudulently presenting to the residents of Maricopa County and to the American public at large a forgery the White House represented as “proof positive” of President Obama’s authentic 1961 Hawaii long-form birth certificate.

“A continuing investigation is needed to identify the identity of the person or persons involved in creating the alleged birth certificate forgery, and to determine who, if anyone, in the White House or the state of Hawaii may have authorized the forgery,” Arpaio said.

Sure, whatever…

“As I said at the beginning of the investigation,” Arpaio said, “the president can put all this to rest quite easily. All he has to do is demand the Hawaii Department of Health release to the American public and to a panel of certified court-authorized forensic examiners all original 1961 paper, microfilm, and computer birth records the Hawaii Department of Health has in its possession.”

Arpaio further stressed the Hawaii Department of Health needs to provide, as part of the full disclosure, evidence regarding the chain of custody of all Obama birth records, including paper, microfilm, and electronic records, in order to eliminate the possibility that a forger or forgers may have tampered with the birth records.

Arpaio went on to say the President should also authorize Kapiolani Hospital, the birth hospital listed on the Obama long-form birth certificate, to release any and all hospital patient records for Stanley Ann Dunham Obama, his mother, and for the newly born Barack Obama, in order to provide additional corroboration for the original 1961 birth records held in the Hawaii Department of Health vault.

“Absent the authentic Hawaii Department of Health 1961 birth records for Barack Obama, there is no other credible proof supporting the idea or belief that President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, as he and the White House have consistently asserted,” [chief investigator Mike] Zullo said.

“In fact, absent the authentication of Hawaii Department of Health 1961 birth records for Barack Obama, there is no other proof he was born anywhere within the United States.”

Arpaio concluded the press conference by suggesting a congressional investigation might be warranted and asked that any other law enforcement agency with information referencing this investigation be forwarded to his office.

As the Firesign Theater say “Good lord, a stiff idiot is the worst kind.”

Maybe Arpaio thinks that if he can just disqualify Obama from the Presidency then the Attorney General will have to drop their case against him?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Elegant body painting
12:21 pm



Just gorgeous living art, that’s all!

Body painting by German artist Gesine Marwedel.

Via Like Cool

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Page 899 of 1779 ‹ First  < 897 898 899 900 901 >  Last ›