Violent male chimps have provided new insights into the cause of wife beating, holding up a kind of mirror to help scientists understand the roots of domestic violence
Male chimpanzees can be highly aggressive toward female group members, even using branches as clubs to beat them. Research carried out over many years in the Kibale National Park in Uganda now links this to female promiscuity and suggests that there would be more attacks on women if human society was as promiscuous as ape society.
However, another conclusion of today’s study is that because men play a role in bringing up children, unlike male apes, they are aggressive towards women who they suspect of cheating on them, since they may end up having to raise another man’s child.
I can't help but wonder how many bananas some poor taxpayer somewhere had to cough up to learn of these startling revelations. Men are jealous, who knew?
Call me cynical but I doubt that most politicians who promise to solve (real and imaginary) problems by passing statutes truly believe their own rhetoric. They might not disbelieve what they say, but I'm convinced that politicians don't ponder the complexities of reality deeply enough to convince themselves of the truth of what they proclaim. They say what they say and promise what they promise chiefly as a means of ascending to power and glory.
I suspect that people self-select into politics because they have an unusually large lust for being in the limelight and an unusually small concern for the ethics of the actions they must take to get there. And because enough voters stand ready to blame their own (real and imaginary) misfortunes on the evil doings of "the rich" or "the corporate elite," unprincipled power-seekers are eager to ride this ignorance into office.
The U.S. government should set up a prize fund totaling $400 million, payable in 2031. The prize fund would be open to any U.S. university with accredited science or engineering programs. The fund would be awarded as $200 million for first place, $100 million for second, $50 million for third, $25 million for fourth, $12 million for fifth, $6 million for sixth, $3 million for seventh…and $1 million until we run out of money.
Prizes would be awarded for most closely predicting the following parameters:
1) globally averaged surface temperature anomaly for 2029-2031, relative to 1990; 2) globally averaged lower tropospheric temperature anomaly for 2029-2031, relative to 1990; 3) Atlantic hurricane basin sea surface temperature anomaly for 2029-2031, relative to 1990; 4) average insured U.S. hurricane losses for 2029-2031
Kling sees some problems with the idea but likes the idea of "coaxing climate science out of the cave of religion." I like it because I believe in economic incentives and this has the benefit of rewarding results instead of encouraging a competition to out-shout your competitors for research money.
Record Theater's closing its Main Street store. Now, some of you young 'uns may not realize what a big deal it was when it opened, but there was nothing else like it in upstate New York. I used to drive there regularly from Jamestown in the late seventies; and a long trip it was, too.
Of course, in those days, I only knew one way to get there: Take Route 60 from Jamestownto to Route 20 in Fredonia. Take that till it turns into Transit Road, um, somewhere past Rich Stadium. Turn left on Main Street by the new mall (Eastern Hills) and follow it all the way downtown. And back out the same way to get home. Didn't we have maps, you ask?
Yes, of course we did, but parchment was very expensive during the Carter administration.
Corresponding, not so long ago, with another local blogger -- a self-identified Republican at that -- I found myself the recipient of a scathing email for having asserted that poor people are poor by their own choice. Now, by that, of course, I'd simply meant that the opportunity exists to become rich if people will only do what's necessary.
I'm quite poor myself by the way, but it's only because I don't really want to exert myself or to get the education necessary to go into a field that pays better. I've found my comfort zone, I suppose, and in the end if I don't make much money, it's my own fault.
Imagine the outrage I'd have provoked, though, had I stated that poor people are stupid. Whoa, that's just not said, though most people of the progressive persuasion in New York certainly imply it.
Democratic state lawmakers, including one from Buffalo, are seeking to rein in the controversial rent-to-own industry in New York with legislation capping the prices the stores can charge and mandating additional consumer disclosures.
The bill, introduced in the Assembly this month, marks a significant challenge to a profitable industry that has long been denounced by consumer advocates for gouging low-income consumers.
Imagine that, a law capping prices that a legitimate business may charge its customers. And not in this case a business that makes huge profits like the evil "Big Oil," just average street-corner furniture and appliance rental stores (that's what they are after all.) While the legislature purports to rein in unsavory business practices, their unspoken goal is to protect people they consider idiots from spending too much of what little money they do have.
You know, those poor people who patronize the rent-to-own stores don't live in a vacuum. Even if they don't comb the newspaper ads for bargains, they certainly see television commercials for Wal-Mart and Valu-City. They know how much furniture costs, they understand completely how much a new computer sells for and they can do the math comparing weekly trips to the laundromat with buying a washing machine.
They know very well that by putting aside a few dollars with each check, they could eventually own their heart's desire, but they want their new stuff now and they're willing to pay through the nose for it. You can call it short-sighted -- it is. But please, don't call it "gouging" the consumer and embark on a noble crusade to save the poor from themselves in the name of reining in unsavory business practices.
When all the rent-to-own stores are gone, when no one in Buffalo will cash a check and when the last anti-casino lawsuit has been won; the poor people will still be poor. If New York would put as much effort into creating a business climate that could create jobs for the poor as it does into making them more comfortable in their poverty, we'd all be a lot better off.
And the no-longer-poor could then get credit and bury themselves in legitimate debt like the rest of us.
OK, so we know all about the cellphones, the motorcycle helmets and the prohibition on trans fat. This morning we heard about regulations specifying minimum weights for models and tonight we read that our esteemed Common Council will consider banning circuses with lions, elephants and "other exotic animals" from performing in the City.
Lately I'd been somewhat complimentary of Buffalo's elected leaders. Since the financial control board was put in place, they've been unable to spend money like drunken, um, Common Council members and had focused on improving city services and our general quality of life. But just lately they seem to have grown tired of those unglamorous pursuits and are considering more and more silly laws proposed by advocates for this cause or the other -- few of whom ever have any real credentials or proof of their grievances.
We may need to consider yet another control board, one that would simply stand by and feed the Council Prozac whenever they decide to practice their Big-Apple-On-The-Niagara impressions. Let the circus come to town. In fact, do it for the children and the working families. They'll thank you.
Property taxes would be cut by $1.5 billion in 2007-08 under a proposal announced Tuesday by Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer.
The average homeowner's property tax bill in Erie County would be cut by about $400 in the coming fiscal year, beyond what is already planned under the state's STAR tax-reduction program. The cut, which targets middle-class taxpayers, would especially benefit families making less than $60,000 annually.
As he prepared to present his first budget proposal today for New York State, Spitzer vowed to continue the cap on rising Medicaid expenses for local governments, provide a new push to consolidate "too many, too expensive and too burdensome" layers of local government and provide a big surge of funds to distressed cities, including Buffalo.
Spitzer said his proposed budget will contain $2.8 billion in savings, driven in large part by cuts in spending for health care that the hospital and nursing home industries - warning of further strains on care for patients - are already preparing to fight.
Tax cuts? A cap on Medicaid? "Surge" new funds to distressed cities? Save almost $3 billion? However can he accomplish all that, you ask wisely. Here's how.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer today announced a 2007-08 budget plan that totals $120.6 billion.
The plan calls for raising no new taxes, but increases fees by $68 million. The biggest new fee comes from expanding the bottle bill to include non-carbonated beverages and collecting all the unclaimed funds from both carbonated and non-carbonated beverage containers.
The governor's budget, far from being the painful and ascetic document that will have the special interests howling actually increases spending in New York by 6.3% or about three times the rate of inflation. The savings he's talking about are savings from some programs (primarily health care cuts) that will be spent on other programs with plenty more on top. And as for those "fee" increases, I guess we can be glad he didn't call them "loans."
CBS News announced this morning that New York State Assemblyman Jose Rivera (Democrat, but then you could have figured that out for yourselves) is proposing to set minimum weight limits for runway models in New York City. They're too thin, you know.
I suppose this dovetails nicely with legislative efforts already under way to control citizen obesity , i.e. the banning of trans fats. Really, folks, at some point we have to start laughing out loud and pointing at these people whenever they dare show their faces on the street.