Thursday, January 22, 2015

Grenade Throwing 101...

From Marine Col. Jim C. (ret) on why Marines prefer that women not be embedded in ground combat units

A hand grenade can go off in 4-5 seconds.

Ever hear the saying "throws like a girl?”

In the (new) Marine Corps (women in combat), this is what it looks like...

A truth-teller gets the chop

A top academic claims that his career was ended after he publicly clashed with Prince Charles over the issue of alternative medicine.   Prof Edzard Enrst believes that he was 'treated like dirt' after the Prince of Wales tried to 'silence' him.

His new book, A Scientist in Wonderland, features the royal row and how it contributed to the loss of his job at the University of Exeter.

German-born Prof Ernst set up the UK's first chair in complementary medicine at the University of Exeter in 1993.

But his rigorous application of evidence-based science and outspoken views soon found him at loggerheads with supporters of alternative therapies such as homeopathy, including the Prince of Wales.

After being investigated over a complaint made by Charles's former private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, he retired early in 2011 and his department was closed.

In his book, Prof Ernst describes the episode as 'the most unpleasant period of my entire professional life'.

The trouble started in 2005 when Prof Ernst publicly attacked a draft report by economist Christopher Smallwood that had been personally commissioned by Charles.

He described the report, which claimed complementary and alternative medicine (Cam) was cost effective and should be available on the NHS, as 'complete misleading rubbish'.

But Prof Ernst was himself strongly criticised for disclosing the report's contents before they had been fully reviewed and published.

On September 22, 2005, Sir Michael wrote an official letter of complaint on Clarence House notepaper to the University of Exeter's vice chancellor, citing a 'breach of confidence' after the professor had been sent an early and incomplete draft of the report for comment.

Over the next 13 months, Prof Ernst says he was subjected to interrogations, 'dozens of cross-examining emails and letters' and 'treated as guilty until proven innocent'.

Eventually he was told by the Vice Chancellor that a formal disciplinary warning 'would not be appropriate'. At the same time, he received a stern warning not to misbehave again.

He wrote: 'I had been interrogated, investigated, treated like dirt for 13 months, and exonerated in the end. But even while acknowledging that I had not been guilty of any misdemeanour, my vice chancellor had issued an unambiguous warning to me: if I even thought of applying my personal ethical standards in any similar situation in the future, I would not be so lucky as to get away with it again.

'Prince Charles's attempt to silence me, it seemed, had been successful.'

In the years that followed, he says, support for his department dried up to the point where it could no longer function.

Speaking in London, Prof Ernst said: 'I was innocent, but all support broke down. My unit of 20 co-workers was systematically destroyed.'

Asked if he felt badly treated, he added: 'Badly is an understatement. My line manager said to me "I know we're treating you like shit". That is a quote.'

Prof Ernst, who has had 48 books published and more than 1,000 articles in peer-reviewed journals, remains steadfastly opposed to unproven alternative treatments, and openly critical of the Prince of Wales.

Labour MP Paul Flynn said that by promoting ‘voodoo medicine’, Charles was putting himself in a ‘very dangerous position’ because as monarch he will have to be impartial.

‘The head of state, which he will soon be, has to remain above controversy. The only serious job of a head of state is to be above policy,’ Mr Flynn said.

‘If he wishes to lobby ministers, he should stand for Parliament or join a lobbying firm, but he should not be using his position as heir to the throne to do it.' 

In 2010, the then Labour Health Minister Mike O’Brien confirmed that Prince Charles had brought up homeopathy in meetings with Andy Burnham, who was then Health Secretary.

In a chapter of his new book entitled Off With His Head, he writes: 'Prince Charles has continued to promote alternative medicine indefatigably, often showing himself unwilling or unable to distinguish between real health care and blatant quackery, between medicine and snake oil, or between the truth and some half-baked obsessions of his own.'

Prof Ernst insists he is not against all alternative or complementary therapies, and claims there is evidence that some, including certain herbal treatments and acupuncture, can be effective. Others he dismisses as a waste of time and money and potentially dangerous.

He is especially scornful of homeopathy, which is based on extreme dilutions of substances that are supposed to help the body heal itself. Currently doctors can refer patients for homeopathy treatment on the NHS.

'For homeopathy we should be closing the book,' said Prof Ernst. 'They've had 200 years to prove that it's anything more than a placebo. That proof has failed, so let's now move on. 'Homeopathy is an example of a harmless treatment being quite harmful.'

A Scientist In Wonderland is published on January 20 by Imprint Academic.


Jindal: ‘Radical Islam’ a ‘Threat To Our Way of Life,’ We Must ‘Hunt Down and Kill’ It

Jindal is Indian in origin and Indians have memories of Muslim domination that stoke anger to this day

In an interview from London on Monday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) defended his earlier remarks about “no-go zones” in the United Kingdom, referencing a UK police chief and “elected officials,” and he also stressed that Sharia law is “completely incompatible” with Western civilization and that we must "hunt down and kill" the forces of "radical Islam."

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Jindal, “But are these neighborhoods that you're talking about, these so-called no-go zones, are they in London, Birmingham, other cities? Have you spoken to British law enforcement about this?”

Jindal said, “I've heard all day -- we have met with elected officials and others. And, again, a British police official, a local police chief has made these comments in the local press. It's not a surprise here that there are areas where the police are less likely to go. There are areas where women feel they have to wear veils.”

“But, Wolf, I think you're missing the bigger point,” said Jindal.  “The bigger point is that radical Islam is absolutely a threat to our way of life. This is a group that we must hunt down and kill.”

Earlier in the segment, Jindal said, “Look, you had a police chief here in London today say to the Daily Mail there are neighborhoods -- I'm not talking about entire cities, as others have tried to suggest. I'm saying there are neighborhoods where the police say they don't go as frequently.”

“There are neighborhoods where women do not feel comfortable walking without veils,” said Jindal. “We don't see that in America. We wouldn't tolerate that in America. But in America, if we continue to allow people coming in without insisting on assimilation, on integration, this is what lies in our future.”

The Daily Mail article referenced by Jindal was from Jan. 17, and ran the headline, “Murders and rapes going unreported in no-go zones for police as minority communities launch own justice systems.”

In the article, Tom Winsor, the Chief Inspector for Constabulary in London, without citing any specific ethnic or religious group, is quoted as saying, “There are some communities born under other skies who will not involve the police at all. I am reluctant to name the communities in question, but there are communities from other cultures who would prefer to police themselves.”

‘There are cities in the Midlands where the police never go because they are never called,” said Winsor.  “They never hear of any trouble because the community deals with that on its own. It’s not that the police are afraid to go into these areas or don’t want to go into those areas. But if the police don’t get calls for help then, of course, they won’t know what’s going on.”

“Honor killings, domestic violence, sexual abuse of children and female genital mutilations are some of the offenses that are believed to be unreported in some cities,” reported the Daily Mail.

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain told the Daily Mail: ‘We all rely on the police to protect our communities and this can be only done through full co-operation and partnership.

“Co-operation is particularly important for Muslim communities who have experienced a rise in Islamophobic hate crimes,” the unnamed spokesperson said.


Male and female brains really ARE wired differently: Study finds women are far more affected by emotional images

It has long been said that the male and female brain is wired differently.  Now, Swiss researchers have uncovered another example of how it really is.

They found women rate emotional images as more emotionally stimulating than men do and are more likely to remember them.

Using fMRI data from 696 test subjects, the researchers were also able to show that stronger appraisal of negative emotional image content by the female participants is linked to increased brain activity in motoric regions.

'This result would support the common belief that women are more emotionally expressive than men,' explained Dr Klara Spalek, lead author of the study.

The large-scale study by a research team at the University of Basel focused on determining the gender-dependent relationship between emotions, memory performance and brain activity.

'This would suggest that gender-dependent differences in emotional processing and memory are due to different mechanisms,' says study leader Dr Annette Milnik.

It is known that women often consider emotional events to be more emotionally stimulating than men do.

Earlier studies have shown that emotions influence our memory: the more emotional a situation is, the more likely we are to remember it.

This raises the question as to whether women often outperform men in memory tests because of the way they process emotions.

A research team from the University of Basel's 'Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences' Transfaculty Research Platform attempted to find out.

With the help of 3,398 test subjects from four sub-trials, the researchers were able to demonstrate that females rated emotional image content – especially negative content – as more emotionally stimulating than their male counterparts did.

In the case of neutral images, however, there were no gender-related differences in emotional appraisal.

In a subsequent memory test, female participants could freely recall significantly more images than the male participants.

Surprisingly though, women had a particular advantage over men when recalling positive images.

Using fMRI data from 696 test subjects, the researchers were also able to show that stronger appraisal of negative emotional image content by the female participants is linked to increased brain activity in motoric regions.

'This result would support the common belief that women are more emotionally expressive than men,' explained Dr Klara Spalek, lead author of the study.

The findings also help to provide a better understanding of gender-specific differences in information processing.

This knowledge is important, because many neuropsychiatric illnesses also exhibit gender-related differences. 


For and against - but standing for what?

World leaders stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Paris this week following the gruesome slayings at the Charlie Hebdo offices. But amid the placards and pencils borne by the multitude, which principles were they professing to defend?

For example, it was ironic that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry should be among the pencil wavers defending freedom of speech: Australian journalist Peter Greste still lingers in an Egyptian prison on trumped up charges of supporting terrorism.

And Hamas thought it wrong of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to take to the streets of Paris in solidarity with other world leaders to march, ostensibly, against terror. "First [Abbas] should take care of his own people," said senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar.

Never mind that President Abbas, hailed in Europe as a hero of peace, has himself done plenty to promote terrorism, persecute journalists, and foment hatred against Jews.

But whilst the Charlie Hebdo killers were motivated by a desire to avenge the Prophet, what did the four Jewish shoppers slaughtered in a kosher supermarket have to do with the offending cartoon images?

Clearly, Islamic militants were not only offended by a satirical magazine. They were also offended by the mere existence of Jews. As they are, notes Lawrence Franklin, by the existence of anyone considered a 'disbeliever' or an 'infidel'.

The greatly feared anti-Muslim backlash never materialised, either in France or anywhere else. Life for Muslims went on much as before after the Islamist slayings - even though the Hebdo massacre was quickly followed by an Islamist massacre in Nigeria.

Things were not so straightforward for France's Jews, however.  "In reaction to the murders in Paris," Lawrence observed, "the French capital's Grand Synagogue was closed for the first time since World War II."

A posting on the US-based Israel Project's Facebook page read: "When terrorists attack Paris, the world rallies against terror. When terrorists attack Israel, the world rallies against Israel. Why?"

Western media is often uncomfortable drawing attention to the anti-Semitic character of Islamist terror. It doesn't fit the progressive narrative of Palestinian victimhood so favoured by many European and US foreign policy makers and commentators.

Paris was not the first time that the Jewish community has borne the brunt of Islamist hatred in Europe. It is unlikely to be the last.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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