Thursday, May 26, 2005

And Now, This Just In...

Scientists locate sarcasm in the brain

HAIFA, Israel, May 23 (UPI) -- Israeli psychologists say one's ability to comprehend sarcasm depends upon a sequence
of complex cognitive skills based in specific parts of the brain.

The researchers said in order for listeners to comprehend caustic remarks, they must be able to infer the speaker's
intentions in the context of the situation. That, they said, calls for sophisticated social thinking and "theory of
mind," or the knowledge that everyone thinks different thoughts.

For example, autistic children with a limited or missing "theory of mind," have trouble understanding irony, of which
sarcasm is a form.

The team -- from the University of Haifa and Rambam Medical Center in Haifa -- studied 25 participants with
prefrontal-lobe damage, 16 participants with posterior-lobe damage and 17 healthy subjects for control. All
participants listened to brief recorded stories, some sarcastic and some neutral, taped by actors reading in a
corresponding manner.

Participants with prefrontal damage were found to be impaired in comprehending sarcasm, while the other two groups had
no such problem. The prefrontal group, which involved people suffering from damage in the right ventromedial area of
their brain, had the most profound problems in comprehending sarcasm.

The study is detailed in the May issue of Neuropsychology

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

All rights reserved

Monday, May 23, 2005

Howard Dean Is An Idiot

This article from World Net Daily is just another bit of hypocracy from the democrats.

WASHINGTON – Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean again insisted yesterday in an interview on "Meet the Press" that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay should be jailed for congressional ethical violations – a comment for which he has been repudiated by several elected members of his own party.

"He hasn't been convicted yet, but ... I think there's a reasonable chance that this may end up in jail," Dean said of DeLay.

Asked by NBC host Tim Russert if his rhetoric toward DeLay wasn't hypocritical given his comments during the 2004 presidential campaign, where Dean said he didn't want to prejudge even Osama bin Laden, the top Democrat told Russert: "To be honest with you, Tim, I don't think I'm prejudging him."

"So you will not retract or apologize your comments about Tom DeLay?" asked Russert.

"Absolutely not," said Dean.

Dean was asked about his recent comments characterizing Republicans as "evil." He explained that the party has told the American people lies.

Asked to talk about those lies, Dean said: "Such as the weapons of mass destruction, which we have all known about, but the ... "

"Well, you said there were weapons of mass destruction," said Russert.

"I said I wasn't sure, but I said I thought there probably were," Dean explained. "But the thing that really bothered me the most, which the 9-11 Commission said also wasn't true, is the insinuation that the president continues to make to this day that Osama bin Laden had something to do with supporting terrorists that attacked the United States. That is false. The 9-11 Commission, chaired by a Republican, said it was false. Is it wrong to send people to war without telling them the truth. And the truth was Osama bin Laden was a very bad person who was doing terrible things, but that Iraq was never a threat to the United States. That was the truth. It was underlined by the 9-11 Commission, headed, again, by a Republican, a well-respected group of people. I don't think you send American men and women to war, first of all without properly equipping them, and secondly without telling the truth to their parents about why it is we're asking them to make that sacrifice. So those are the kinds of things that I think are very bad about the Republicans."

Russert did not ask Dean for clarification about his reference to bin Laden, whom he apparently confused with Saddam Hussein.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

My Upcoming Summer

I have decided to actually do something worthwhile and productive this summer......drum roll please......I have decided to spend my summer walking across the country in support of the pro-life movement with the organization Crossroads. This decision comes after a good friend asked me to lead the southern leg of the 11 week, 3500 mile walk across America, starting in California and ending in Washington D.C. As I have never undertaken anything like this before, I anticipate a very challenging, but also a very rewarding experience. Throughout the summer I will post pictures and commentary about this excursion, my personal experiences and thoughts. Here is a map of the three routes taken by those walking this summer.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

The Picture Says it All

The Picture Says It All
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
By John Gibson

Giant Among Giants
February 24, 2005
The picture Wednesday says it all, doesn't it?

This is the picture of an American soldier comforting a child — as the wires put it — a fatally wounded child after one of those insurgent bombings in Iraq.

Once again, an insurgent bombing in Iraq kills dozens of people, including women and children, all Iraqis, all innocent.

What did this kid do to the insurgents? Nothing other than having the bad luck to have a parent who brought him or her to exactly the wrong spot at the wrong moment. And what did that parent do? Nothing, just happened to be there.

This kid didn't pick up a gun against Al Qaeda (search).

Yet Al Qaeda killed him or her.

This kid didn't choose between Sunni or Shia.

But the insurgent suicide bomber decided he had to take a few kids with him when he went to heaven to hook up with his 72 virgins.

There isn't much to say about this picture except, "I wonder if al-Jazeera (search) is going to run it? Wonder if the BBC is going to run it? Wonder if French TV is going to run it?"

Think any of those people who like to blame crossfire deaths of Iraqis on the Americans will admit that maybe these sainted insurgents are on the wrong track?

Think those people who hate us for trying to help the Iraqis, who think it's OK to cut off the heads of Americans while they wail in fake pain over Abu Ghraib (search) — think they will scream about this one?

Don't turn up your hearing aid. You're not missing any screaming. They're silent. To object to this might seem to be the same thing as supporting the Americans. All kinds of kids can die before any of those people would be caught dead doing that.

I just checked al-Jazeera again before starting My Word.

Big news coverage of the bombing in Irbil that claimed the life of this child. But, in keeping with the sympathetic treatment they give bombers, no worries that the picture of the dead kid and the American soldier will bother their fellow jihadis. It's officially a secret in the Arab world.

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Props to Ebay

Here's an email my friend David sent to eBay over their allowing of the Holy Eucharist to be sold online and their response to his email, quite impressive!

-----Original Message-----

From: ----- -------
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2005 8:30 AM
To: Burke, Brian
Subject: Selling of Catholic Host

To whom it may concern:

I have been using EBay for the last five years and if
EBay allows Eucharistic hosts to be sold I will NEVER
use it again. I am currently patronizing overstock as
a result of this atrocity!

From: CSME
Subject: RE: Selling of Catholic Host
Sent: Tuesday, May 3, 2005 1:27 PM


Thank you for your email regarding the sale of the Holy Eucharist by one of our community members. We respect and appreciate your comments regarding this sensitive matter.

As you may know, eBay does not sell items itself. Rather, we are a global marketplace for sellers and buyers who transact directly with one another. Each day eBay’s sellers list 5 million items on the site, and those sellers decide what items they want to list. eBay did not possess, list or approve the sale of the Eucharist. The buyer and seller completed the Eucharist transaction on April 11th, before eBay even became aware of the listing.

As a marketplace, we strive to respect the diverse perspectives of our sellers. We also work hard to promote an open environment for trade. That said, eBay has policies in place to remove listings for illegal items as well as highly offensive listings that promote hate or intolerance.

We understand that the listing of the Eucharist was highly upsetting to Catholic members of the eBay community and Catholics globally. Once this completed sale was brought to our attention, we consulted with a number of our users, including members of the Catholic Church, concerning what course we should take in the future should a similar listing appear on our site. We also consulted with members of other religions about items that might also be highly sacred and inappropriate for sale. As a result of this dialogue, we have concluded that sales of the Eucharist, and similar highly sacred items, are not appropriate on eBay. We have, therefore, broadened our policies and will remove those types of listings should they appear on the site in the future.

As always, we welcome and appreciate the assistance of the community in upholding the rules of our site. Should you see another Eucharist listed on our site, we encourage you to notify us so we can take appropriate action. Further, we encourage you to directly communicate with the seller. Members are often unaware that a particular item is offensive to others. A respectful e-mail to the seller is often all that is needed for the seller to voluntarily remove the item. We believe this modification strikes the appropriate balance between respect for our community’s values and our goal of providing an open marketplace offering practically anything on earth.

Again, we sincerely appreciate your concern and thank you for communicating your views with us. Your input has helped us frame a policy that will enable us to better serve our diverse community of users around the world.


On behalf of Bill Cobb, President of eBay, Inc., North America

Suza Capps

eBay, Inc.
Office of the President
Support Team