Putin, Poland, Iran & Autism
Well, sometimes, when the news is filled with interesting things, one must write about a few of them at once. And so I will tackle four mostly separate things: protests against Putin in Russia, protests in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe against internet meddling by governments and an international treaty, Iran stopping the flow of oil to England and France, and a new discovery about autism and genes.
First, ah, Putin, the power of Russia, and now the growing protests against the man and his regime. From http://news.yahoo.com/cars-circle-central-moscow-anti-putin-protest-110734745.html I find that Moscow’s people are getting rather fed up with the dictator for life that Putin has tried to become. Nothing like a little corruption and vote rigging to get the people riled up: The largest protests the country has seen in two decades began in December following a parliamentary election that was manipulated to boost the results for Putin’s party.
Poor Putin, he’s trying to lead a fading country. It’s losing people, and is expected to be 20 million people less in 20 or 30 years than it is today. The age to which people live is falling, instead of rising. People lead shorter unhealthier lives. The government is broke and corrupt. The economy is in the doldrums and rests on cronyism that our politicians can only dream of. The place is falling apart, without a doubt. And Putin can do nothing about it for he’s wedded to the old “government knows best” mentality, with a heavy dose of police presence to keep order. Yah, well, dictatorships always wind up in revolution, and Russia will get theirs soon enough.
Meanwhile, from http://news.yahoo.com/eastern-europeans-fuel-fight-internet-freedoms-083904407.html I read that some international treaty called ACTA is causing the Polish people to protest by the thousands, and for the Czechs and Slovaks and others in the former Soviet Russian orbit to rise up in the streets and hacking government websites to protest their government’s having anything to do with this treaty which is apparently so vague as to give governments powers to meddle with and start up surveillance of people and what they do on the internet that the governments, including the USA are led to proclaim that “we won’t do all this bad stuff, even if we’re allowed” sort of hemming and hawing which means, of course, that that is exactly what governments are intending to do. This Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is supposedly to stop pirating of Gucci bags and copyrighted movies and songs, etc. Yes, well, the only way to make sure that people are not doing these things is of course to monitor them, and closely, at that. And that’s what’s got people in the uproar.
The article says this activity “costs” companies money – but it doesn’t. Oh, sure, it doesn’t add to revenues, no. But the company is not out of money, it spent no money, it lost no money. It just didn’t earn it. And it probably wouldn’t have earned it anyway. For the real Gucci bags would cost too much, and the songs and movies are too expensive for some poor Polish peasant, and so they would not be sold anyway. The pirated versions are oh so much cheaper, and in the case of music, free on the internet. And thus there’s no revenues, but no costs either, to the companies.
Still, people are so riled up that the Slovenian ambassador who signed the thing apologized to her people for signing it. Here, the money quote from the article: The Slovenian ambassador to Japan, who signed it in Tokyo last month on behalf of her nation, later apologized, saying she had not understood at the time how it could limit freedom “on the most significant network in human history.” “I signed ACTA out of civic carelessness,” Helena Drnovsek Zorko wrote on her blog.
And when that sort of apology is issued by a government, well, then, that’s a good start to the demise of this ill thought out treaty which gives way too much power to the governments of the world, who would mostly just love to control the information on the internet. So let’s up the protests spread worldwide. Though it doesn’t say if she ripped her signature off the page.
Meanwhile, Iran seems to have cut off oil to England and France, and perhaps to the rest of Europe, and I’m thinking, well, good. Here’s the story: http://news.yahoo.com/iran-stops-oil-sales-british-french-companies-oil-124556230.html
What on earth is Europe doing buying Iranian oil anyway? The country is a terrorist hotbed that foments troubles throughout the Mideast and is set on going nuclear bomb crazy and has threatened to nuke Israel off the map. Even avoiding the issue of anti-Semitism in Europe, do the Europeans think that the nuclear fallout from Tel Aviv will not drift all over Europe and the Mediterranean? And what does it say when our erstwhile allies in Europe are trading with a nation that we are sort of at war with? Yes, we’re in some sort of war-like posture with Iran, of course. We’ve been that way since, oh, 1979. Ask Jimmy Carter.
And Iran is threatening us and everyone in the Straits of Hormuz, and the Persian Gulf, and well, anywhere else they can, and they treat their people like crap and shoot into crowds, and prevent the Iranian people from living the good life like Europeans get to live. Why should English and French youth and the rest of the people have glorious freedoms while the Iranian youth and people do not? Where are the rights of man when needed? And so for this constant repression and trouble making Europe is buying Iranian oil to fund the fun? Egad, talk about dumb moves. Europe should be doing what it can to rid the Iranian people of their theocratic overlords, not giving them money through the purchase of oil to continue the shenanigans.
And so those are the three international stories of the moment that intrigue me.
And then there’s this new study on autism, a subject of endless fascination for me since I see such parallels between autism and gayness it’s not funny. (And some people have complained to me of this link, and have disparaged the very comparisons I have made in the past.) So from http://news.yahoo.com/motor-impairments-appear-characteristic-autism-170408278.html I get this:
The test results showed that 83 percent of the children with an autism spectrum disorder were below average in motor skills, while their siblings without the disorder generally scored in the normal range, according to the study released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal Autism.
Identical twins had similar scores. Non-twin siblings who each had autism had similar scores. But scores were markedly different in sibling pairs in which one child had autism and the other did not, the researchers found.
Yes, well, and from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm we get:
What role does inheritance play?
Twin and family studies strongly suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to autism. Identical twin studies show that if one twin is affected, there is up to a 90 percent chance the other twin will be affected. There are a number of studies in progress to determine the specific genetic factors associated with the development of ASD. In families with one child with ASD, the risk of having a second child with the disorder is approximately 5 percent, or one in 20. This is greater than the risk for the general population. Researchers are looking for clues about which genes contribute to this increased susceptibility. In some cases, parents and other relatives of a child with ASD show mild impairments in social and communicative skills or engage in repetitive behaviors. Evidence also suggests that some emotional disorders, such as bipolar disorder, occur more frequently than average in the families of people with ASD.
And so, if one twin has autism, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other twin will. Which is germane to my comparison, for supposedly twin studies in relationship to gayness if one twin is gay there’s a strong change the other is, but not necessarily. And gay twin studies always study only twins were both are not, and where one is and one is not, but almost always avoid the issue of where both are. And well, our opponents conclude this means there’s some “choice” thing, or “environment” (which is never clarified beyond the word, of course,) and one twin is thus good and the other “evil” or some such, for sure. And then there’s this tidbit in the government’s literature:
“Scientists aren’t certain about what causes ASD, but it’s likely that both genetics and environment play a role. Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with the disorder. Studies of people with ASD have found irregularities in several regions of the brain. Other studies suggest that people with ASD have abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain. These abnormalities suggest that ASD could result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development caused by defects in genes that control brain growth and that regulate how brain cells communicate with each other, possibly due to the influence of environmental factors on gene function. While these findings are intriguing, they are preliminary and require further study. The theory that parental practices are responsible for ASD has long been disproved.”
Yes, well, parental practices long disproved, indeed. But one could take out “ASD” and put in “GAY” and this would all hold true. Still, for autism there’s mollycoddling and for gayness there’s condemnation. And we’re called just as crazy and psychiatric nuts, psychologically nuts as Autistic kids, though of course, we “choose” this, so that we can listen endlessly to the nonsense. Autism is to be researched, and gayness is not, lest tax dollars be spent “promoting” gayness, as if the mere mention of the thing creates more of it. And that’s the primary difference at this point. And since no two identical twins ever have the identical birth weight, they are obviously not exactly “identical” but really, really close. But that difference is always ignored. I’d dare say it’s time for a bit more study, eh?
Meanwhile, the article points out that they studied ASD kids’ ability to throw a ball and jump and run, and well, we all know that most gay guys are pretty lousy at that. “You throw like a girl,” is a frequent taunt, after all. If this nation studied gayness like it studied autism, I dare say we’d come to a quicker conclusion to what some consider the problem of gay folks living in the nation. For some are so adamantly opposed to the very concept that they are sure we are the ruination of the place, and there are even politicians who are dead set against us ever getting a good word. But if gayness was on the ASD scale – and the parallels are there for those who are inclined to look with open minds, and not preconceived Bible-quotes in hand – then we wouldn’t be having this “debate” about whether gay folks can be considered as just decent folks, which we are, but our detractors are quite sure we are not.
I don’t know, it’s a chilly cloudy windy afternoon during Mardi Gras, and so I’m not into too much analysis or thinking, but merely contemplating things which intrigue me.
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