Wednesday, October 9, 2013

US adults dumber than average, and other news

Monarch butterfly on Goldenrod. So proud of this photo! ((preen)) I got as close as I could without disrupting her lunch.

As always, you can click all photos to enlarge.

Stuff to check out--

US adults are dumber than the average human, says the New York Post:
In math, reading and problem-solving using technology – all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength – American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.

Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation’s high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t.

In both reading and math, for example, those with college-educated parents did better than those whose parents did not complete high school.

The study, called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, found that it was easier on average to overcome this and other barriers to literacy overseas than in the United States.
Are you surprised?


Above: Clematis flowers gone to seed on the vine (Swamp Rabbit Trail). Clematis are ordinarily fluffy white wildflowers, so when I saw these swirly blossoms, I had no idea what they were. Thanks to my Facebook friends who knew the answer! I think I actually prefer the "gone to seed" version to regular robust Clematis.

First photo is close-up, the second one is from about four feet away.


What's it like when an unflattering "fat picture" goes viral? Caitlin Seida found out the hard way, and shares her experience with us:
“What a waste of space,” read one [comment on her photo]. Another: “Heifers like her should be put down.” Yet another said I should just kill myself “and spare everyone’s eyes.” Hundreds of hateful messages, most of them saying that I was a worthless human being and shaming me for having the audacity to go in public dressed as a sexy video game character. How dare I dress up and have a good time!

We all know the awful humiliation of a person laughing at you. But that feeling increases tenfold when it seems like everyone is laughing at you. Scrolling through the comments, the world imploded — and took my heart with it.
What is the purpose of these vicious pile-ons and why do they happen? (I have had it happen several times, but with my words, not my photos... I described my first such experience and the attendant blow-back in this post. Another such incident here.)

The internet has seriously shaken my faith in humans, which was already rather tenuous. Is it anonymity that brings out the venom? But this means the venom is undeniably THERE to begin with. That's the depressing thing; internet anonymity has simply UNLEASHED torrents of nastiness that were once inhibited, and in fact, are STILL inhibited when your name is attached to them.

In Seida's case, she fought back. And she stopped viewing such photos herself:
In the months since, my attitude toward these throwaway images of mockery on the Internet has changed. I no longer find them funny. Each one of those people is a real human being, a real person whose world imploded the day they found themselves to be a punch line on a giant stage. I speak up whenever a friend gets a cheap laugh from one of these sites. I ask one simple question: “Why do you think this is funny?” Very few have a good answer. Mostly they just say, “I don’t know.” Reminding people of our shared humanity hasn’t exactly made me popular, but it feels like the right thing to do. I know what it’s like to be the person in that horrible photograph. I can’t inflict such pain on someone else.

Hm, looks like the ongoing government shutdown is not helping the party who initially started all the trouble. Today, a Gallup poll reports Republican Party Favorability Sinks to Record Low:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With the Republican-controlled House of Representatives engaged in a tense, government-shuttering budgetary standoff against a Democratic president and Senate, the Republican Party is now viewed favorably by 28% of Americans, down from 38% in September. This is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992.
Get a clue, Repubs.

Its popularly known as shooting yourself in the foot.


Huffington Post reports that Marital Satisfaction May Be Controlled By Gene, Says Study:
The study found that variations in the serotonin-regulating gene 5-HTTLPR correlated with study participants’ relationship fulfillment. Each of our parents pass us a copy of the gene, which can either be short or long. Participants with two short 5-HTTLPR were most unhappy in their marriages in the face of negative emotion, like contempt, but also happiest when positive emotions like humor were present. On the other end of the spectrum, participants with two long copies were satisfied with their marriages regardless of the emotional atmosphere.

“Individuals with two short alleles of the gene variant may be like hothouse flowers, blossoming in a marriage when the emotional climate is good and withering when it is bad,” lead study author Claudia M. Haase said. “Conversely, people with one or two long alleles are less sensitive to the emotional climate.”

This study may be the first linking genetics, emotions and marital satisfaction.
Oh dear, I hope that isn't true. If so, I am doomed. My mother collected husbands as if they were Fabergé Eggs or Beanie Babies.

And I have been married almost 26 years, so let me remind everyone that genetics isn't everything.


My post title demands the ONLY possible song under the circumstances:

Dumb - Nirvana


JoJo said...

So those are clematis flowers!!!! The day you posted them on FB I searched for 'SC wildflowers' but saw nothing that looked like that.

That is an excellent butterfly picture!!

Another blogger used that fat shaming picture on a recent blog to point out 'how not to dress like Lara Croft'. I'd just read the woman's post about when it went viral and I felt awful about it. So I commented on the blogger's site that maybe she could take it down b/c it was cruel but she didn't. :( I stopped following 'people of market basket' on FB too. I go out often not looking my best and I now live in fear of someone shooting a pic of 'the fat old lady in sweats and a tie dye' and having it go viral.

senchi said...

love the song.

Blue Heron said...

great post.