Sunday, May 28, 2017

There really is such a thing as 'daddy's girl': Fathers are MORE attentive to their daughters than they are to their sons

Fathers are more responsive to their daughters than to their sons, researchers found. As well as being more attentive, they are also more likely to sing to their daughters and use words associated with their body such as 'belly,' 'cheek,' 'face,' 'fat' and 'feet.'

Fathers of sons engage in more rough-and-tumble play with their child and use language related to power and achievement - words such as 'best,' 'win,' 'super' and 'top.'

The research shows how unconscious ideas about gender influence the way we treat people - even when they're very young children.

Fathers of daughters were more likely to sing to their daughters and use words associated with their body such as 'belly,' 'cheek,' 'face,' 'fat' and 'feet.' They also used more words associated with sad emotions such as 'cry', 'tears' and 'lonely'.

But with sons, they used more analytical language - words such as 'all,' 'below' and 'much' - which has been linked to future academic success.

Fathers of daughters had stronger responses to their daughters' happy expressions in areas of the brain important for processing emotions, reward and value.

In contrast, the brains of fathers of sons responded more robustly to their child's neutral facial expressions.

The study focused on fathers because there is less research about their roles in rearing young children than mothers.

The findings are consistent with other studies indicating that parents - both fathers and mothers - use more emotion language with girls and engage in more rough-and-tumble play with boys.

The discovery comes from brain scans and recordings of parents' daily interactions.

'When a child cried out or asked for Dad, fathers of daughters responded to that more than did fathers of sons,' said Jennifer Mascaro, who led the research from from the Woodruff Health Sciences Centre in Atlanta.

'We should be aware of how unconscious notions of gender can play into the way we treat even very young children', she said.

'It's important to note that gender-biased paternal behaviour need not imply ill intentions on the part of fathers', said James Rilling, senior author of the study.

'These biases may be unconscious, or may actually reflect deliberate and altruistically motivated efforts to shape children's behaviour in line with social expectations of adult gender roles that fathers feel may benefit their children', he said.

The study collected behavioural data in a real-world setting through an electronic activated recorder (EAR), which clipped onto participants' belts.

The participants included 52 fathers of toddlers (30 girls and 22 boys) in the Atlanta area who agreed to wear the EAR for one weekday and one weekend day.

The device randomly turned on for 50 seconds every nine minutes to record any ambient sound during the 48-hour period. 

In addition, fathers underwent functional MRI brain scans while viewing photos of an unknown adult, an unknown child and their own child with happy, sad or neutral facial expressions.

It is unclear whether these differences are due to biological and evolutionary underpinnings, cultural understandings of the way one should act, or some combination of the two.

The use of more emotional language with girls by fathers, for example, may help girls develop more empathy than boys.

'The fact that fathers may actually be less attentive to the emotional needs of boys, perhaps despite their best intentions, is important to recognise,' Dr Mascaro said.

'Validating emotions is good for everyone - not just daughters.'

Restricted emotions in adult men is linked to depression, decreased social intimacy, marital dissatisfaction and a lower likelihood of seeking mental health treatment.

Research also shows that many adolescent girls have negative body images.

'We found that fathers are using more language about the body with girls than with boys, and the differences appear with children who are just one-to-three years old,' Dr Mascaro said.

And while they use more words about the body with girls, fathers engage in more physical rough-and-tumble play with boys, an activity that research has shown is important to help young children develop social acuity and emotional regulation.

'Most parents really are trying to do the best they can for their children,' Dr Mascaro said.

'We need to do more research to try to understand if these subtle differences may have important effects in the long term', she said.


Migrants lose their 'strong work ethic' after just two years in Britain

The corrupting influence of the welfare staste

Complaints that British workers are lazy compared to Eastern Europeans are ‘misconceived’, a ground-breaking study has found.

Academics discovered that the ‘strong work ethic’ identified among migrants by bosses actually disappeared after just two years. By then, foreign workers are taking as many sick days as their UK counterparts.

It means native workers could be missing out on jobs because their nationality is wrongly not associated with hard work, say researchers from the University of Bath.

The paper comes as ministers are urged to put in place policies to wean businesses off cheap foreign labour after Brexit.

Employers have warned that some sectors of the economy, such as construction, agriculture and horticulture, rely heavily on EU workers and could struggle if the labour supply dries up.

But campaign groups have argued what the latest study shows - that, beyond the short-term, UK workers are as diligent as Eastern Europeans.

Research carried out for the first time found that workers from Poland and seven other eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 were initially more than three times less likely to be absent from work than native UK workers.

Economists equate work attendance – one of the most valued attributes for employers – with work ethic.

The report suggests that the extra effort put in by migrant workers is intended to ‘signal their worth’ to employers – compensating for limited English language skills and to reflect higher pay relative to their homeland.

But after a little as two years, the number of sick days taken by them has increased to levels recorded by those from the UK.

Dr Chris Dawson, senior lecturer in business economics at the University of Bath, said: ‘This is the first study with concrete evidence on the existence of the migrant work ethic.

‘It backs up managers’ perceptions that Polish and other Central and Eastern European migrants are harder working than UK employees, but importantly only for around two years from their arrival in the UK.

‘The study shows that the common view that UK workers are lazy compared to migrant workers is misconceived: In fact migrants are temporarily working extra hard to offset the challenges they face when they first enter the UK job market.

‘We clearly see in the research that migrants new to the UK put in a couple of years of hard work, before a better understanding of our culture and job market means they adopt the same work ethic as native workers.’

The research studied 113,804 people, of which 1,396 were workers from the so-called A8 ex-Eastern Bloc countries – Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The study, published in the Journal Work, Employment and Society, used data from the Office for National Statics UK Labour Force Survey from 2005 to 2012.

Alp Mehmet, vice-chairman of think-tank Migrationwatch which campaigns for balanced immigration, said: ‘It is a fallacy that UK workers are any less keen, diligent or hard-working than any other nationality. If anything, they are harder workers.

‘But companies often use this as an excuse to have access to cheap labour, who are also more likely to be pushed around.’

Recent figures showed that manufacturing in Britain employs some 332,000 EU nationals while the wholesale and retail trade has 508,000.

In March, Pret A Manger bosses told a House of Lords committee that only one in 50 applicants for jobs at the chain was British.


Nobody knows how best to tackle obesity

Even optimists admit that some things are undoubtedly getting worse: things like traffic jams, apostrophe use — and obesity. The fattening of the human race, even in middle-income countries, is undeniable. “Despite sustained efforts to tackle childhood obesity, one in three adolescents is still estimated to be overweight or obese in Europe,” said a report last week to the World Health Organisation. That means more diabetes and possibly a reversal of the recent slow fall in age-adjusted cancer and heart disease death rates.

Perhaps we should remind ourselves first that it is a good problem to have, a symptom of abundance. In Britain a century ago and in much of Africa today, the poorest people were or are the thinnest people. For hundreds of thousands of years it was very difficult to get fat, and very easy to starve or be stunted by hunger and malnutrition. Let’s be thankful that, despite quadrupling the global population in less than a century, we now have a problem of obesity, because of a global cornucopia of fine food unimaginable to past generations.

In western countries, obesity is worst among the poor, so it cannot be a matter of affluence alone. Urban areas of England with the highest levels of income deprivation are also the places with the highest obesity rates among young children. By contrast, among the most affluent people, anorexia is a more lethal disorder, and is increasing fast.

At the weekend Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum claimed implausibly that obesity now costs the state £24 billion a year. The Institute of Economic Affairs puts the cost at less than £2.5 billion, and argues that “while claims of a crippling cost are a good way to get media attention . . . they irresponsibly incite resentment of a vulnerable group”. Also, if you die younger, you cost the state less, so the financial perspective is the wrong way to look at it.

Recognising that something is a problem is not the same as knowing what to do about it. Obesity is one of those cases where “demands for urgent action” go unheeded, not because of the callousness of our leaders but because there’s no agreement on what action to take. The range of suggestions for dealing with obesity — sugar taxes, bans on junk food on public transport, bans on junk food advertising before 9pm, health warnings on fast food, mock-up pictures of what kids will look like as fat adults, gastric balloons — only serves to remind us that nobody knows how best to reverse the obesity trend. Jamie Oliver, the TV chef, argues that the proposed Conservative policy of means-testing free hot school lunches for infants would worsen obesity.

Advising, hectoring and bribing people to eat less and exercise more appears to be ineffective. We have just about tested that idea to destruction. It isn’t working, and it probably will only work if it becomes fully totalitarian, with police raids on home kitchens to seek out and destroy secret stashes of biscuits.

The one thing we do know is that the simple equation so beloved of the medical profession is not the answer. It is not as simple as an in-out calorie balance sheet: eat less than you burn and lose weight. This fails to take into account a thing called appetite, and the way some people lay down fat while eating not very much, while others burn it easily while eating quite a lot.

As Gary Taubes, the heretical science writer who has made a career out of this issue, put it in the British Medical Journal a few years ago, “efforts to cure the problem by inducing under-eating or a negative energy balance, either by counselling patients to eat less or exercise more, are remarkably ineffective”. Even The Handbook of Obesity, the doctors’ textbook, admits that the result of such dietary therapy is “poor and not long-lasting”.

We all know friends who have shed the pounds through superhuman efforts of self-denial, and then gradually put them back on again afterwards. The public health lobby hardly helps by censoriously attacking all “fat and sugar”, or all “processed food”, and often “red meat” too. Which leaves a diet as depressing as it is unrealistic: steamed cod and boiled kale. The public health lobby must make up its mind whether it thinks carbs are bad or fat is bad: attacking both is silly.

Having spent decades urging people to adopt low-fat diets and watched obesity explode, the nannies cannot bring themselves to admit that this was terrible advice which almost certainly made the problem worse. Why? Because fat is satiating in a way that carbohydrates are not, and the body generally synthesises fat from dietary carbs, not from dietary fat. In the Stone Age, eating fat probably signalled a time of plenty, when laying down stores around the midriff was not urgent.

Logically, the heredity of obesity is almost certainly rising. In a world of food shortages, the only way to get fat was to be rich, so obesity was mainly an environmentally determined trait. In a world where so many can afford lots of cheap food, the ones to get fat will often be the ones who inherit some tendency to eat more or lay down more of their food as fat. Given ad-lib food, a greyhound will stay slim while a labrador balloons — it’s in their genes. Not all the variation in obesity between individuals will be explained by genetics but, statistically speaking, there will be greyhound tendencies and labrador tendencies.

Frankly, we just do not know why some people lay down fat more easily than others. Is it because they burn fewer calories even when not exercising? Is their digestion more efficient? Is their appetite greater, so they do eat more? Do they seek out carbs? Is the difference genetic, with some people having variants of genes that encourage fat deposition? Is it because fat people’s gut bacteria are different — a real possibility supported by increasingly persuasive experiments and transplants? All of these theories have something going for them. But not enough to justify the moralising tone and adamantine certainty that so often accompanies medical professionals’ pronouncements on the topic of obesity. We do not know enough.

What should a government do when there’s great uncertainty about both causes and the right course of action? Experiment, of course. Come up with five policies, ask for volunteers in five different parts of the country, and carefully measure the waistlines of people affected.


After the Confederates, Who's Next?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

On Sept. 1, 1864, Union forces under Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, victorious at Jonesborough, burned Atlanta and began the March to the Sea where Sherman's troops looted and pillaged farms and towns all along the 300-mile road to Savannah.

Captured in the Confederate defeat at Jonesborough was William Martin Buchanan of Okolona, Mississippi, who was transferred by rail to the Union POW stockade at Camp Douglas, Illinois.

By the standards of modernity, my great-grandfather, fighting to prevent the torching of Georgia's capital, was engaged in a criminal and immoral cause. And "Uncle Billy" Sherman was a liberator.

Under President Grant, Sherman took command of the Union army and ordered Gen. Philip Sheridan, who had burned the Shenandoah Valley to starve Virginia into submission, to corral the Plains Indians on reservations.

It is in dispute as to whether Sheridan said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." There is no dispute as to the contempt Sheridan had for the Indians, killing their buffalo to deprive them of food.

Today, great statues stand in the nation's capital, along with a Sherman and a Sheridan circle, to honor these most ruthless of generals in that bloodiest of wars that cost 620,000 American lives.

Yet, across the South and even in border states like Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri, one may find statues of Confederate soldiers in town squares to honor the valor and sacrifices of the Southern men and boys who fought and fell in the Lost Cause.

When the Spanish-American War broke out, President McKinley, who as a teenage soldier had fought against "Stonewall" Jackson in the Shenandoah and been at Antietam, bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War, removed his hat and stood for the singing of "Dixie," as Southern volunteers and former Confederate soldiers paraded through Atlanta to fight for their united country. My grandfather was in that army.

For a century, Americans lived comfortably with the honoring, North and South, of the men who fought on both sides. But today's America is not the magnanimous country we grew up in.

Since the '60s, there has arisen an ideology that holds that the Confederacy was the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany and those who fought under its battle flag should be regarded as traitors or worse.

Thus, in New Orleans, statues of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, and General Robert E. Lee were just pulled down. And a drive is underway to take down the statue of Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans and president of the United States, which stands in Jackson Square.

Why? Old Hickory was a slave owner and Indian fighter who used his presidential power to transfer the Indians of Georgia out to the Oklahoma Territory in a tragedy known as the Trail of Tears.

But if Jackson, and James K. Polk, who added the Southwest and California to the United States after the Mexican-American War, were slave owners, so, too, were four of our first five presidents.

The list includes the father of our country, George Washington, the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, and the author of our Constitution, James Madison.

Not only are the likenesses of Washington and Jefferson carved on Mount Rushmore, the two Virginians are honored with two of the most magnificent monuments and memorials in Washington, D.C.

Behind this remorseless drive to blast the greatest names from America's past off public buildings, and to tear down their statues and monuments, is an egalitarian extremism rooted in envy and hate.

Among its core convictions is that spreading Christianity was a cover story for rapacious Europeans who, after discovering America, came in masses to dispossess and exterminate native peoples. "The white race," wrote Susan Sontag, "is the cancer of human history."

Today, the men we were taught to revere as the great captains, explorers, missionaries and nation-builders are seen by many as part of a racist, imperialist, genocidal enterprise, wicked men who betrayed and eradicated the peace-loving natives who had welcomed them.

What they blindly refuse to see is that while its sins are scarlet, as are those of all civilizations, it is the achievements of the West that are unrivaled. The West ended slavery. Christianity and the West gave birth to the idea of inalienable human rights.

As scholar Charles Murray has written, 97 percent of the world's most significant figures and 97 percent of the world's greatest achievements in the arts, architecture, literature, astronomy, biology, earth sciences, physics, medicine, mathematics and technology came from the West.

What is disheartening is not that there are haters of our civilization out there, but that there seem to be fewer defenders.

Of these icon-smashers it may be said: Like ISIS and Boko Haram, they can tear down statues, but these people could never build a country.

What happens, one wonders, when these Philistines discover that the seated figure in the statue, right in front of D.C.'s Union Station, is the High Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Christopher Columbus?


Australian spy boss sparks row over refugees

ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis has declined to elaborate on his claim that there is “absolutely no evidence” of a link between Australia’s refugee intake and ­terrorism, despite multiple Islamic terrorist acts in the past three years involving individuals on ­humanitarian visas, or their children.

One Nation seized on Mr Lewis’s comments, with Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts tweeting: “If ASIO can’t see a link between refugees and terrorism we are in far greater danger than I thought.”

Labor MP Anne Aly, an Islamic radicalisation expert, supported Mr Lewis, while Philip Ruddock, a former Liberal immigration minister and attorney-general, said while one could not ignore the issue, “simply to blame all refugees is over-simplistic”.

On Thursday, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson grilled Mr Lewis, a former special forces commander, in a Senate estimates hearing about Islam, radicalisation, refugees and terrorism.

She first asked Mr Lewis if he could confirm that the four terrorist attacks and the 12 foiled on Australian soil were “committed by Muslims”.

Mr Lewis replied: “Certainly of the 12 thwarted attacks, one of those indeed involved a right-wing extremist, so, the answer is ‘no’, they have not always been carried out by Muslims.”

During the exchanges, the ASIO chief said: “We’re not interested in religion. We are interested in whether an individual is exhibiting or practising violence.”

Senator Hanson then asked: “Do you believe that the threat is being brought in possibly from Middle Eastern refugees that are coming out to Australia?”

Mr Lewis replied: “I have abso­lutely no evidence to suggest there is a connection between refugees and terrorism.”

Islamic State-inspired gunman Man Haron Monis, who took hostages and killed one of them during the Lindt cafe siege in 2014, came to Australia on a business visa before successfully applying for asylum.

Abdul Numan Haider, the Melbourne 18-year-old killed after attacking police with a knife three months earlier, was an Afghan-born Australian citizen whose family arrived as refugees.

Farhad Jabar, the 15-year-old jihadist who killed NSW police civilian accountant Curtis Cheng in Sydney in 2015 was an Iranian-born Australian citizen of Kurdish-Iraqi background whose family came as refugees.

At least a dozen other first or second-generation Muslim ­mi­grants have been convicted of terror-related charges.

Senator Roberts last night told The Weekend Australian: “We see a lot of terrorism around the world from refugees who have come in particularly from Islamic countries. Most people so far have hidden the obvious correlation between Islam and terrorism and refused to discuss it.

“We’re stunned that ASIO doesn’t do that, and that the Australian Federal Police doesn’t.”

Mr Lewis declined to answer questions requesting he expand on his statements in Senate estimates. He has previously sparked controversy for what some conservative Coalition MPs saw as an effort to play down the threat of ­Islamic radicalisation.

In 2015, The Australian revealed Mr Lewis had telephoned MPs publicly critical of attitudes within the Australian Muslim community, asking them to use the “soothing language favoured by Malcolm Turnbull in their public discussion of Islam”.

Speaking from Liberia last night, Mr Ruddock said it would be unrealistic to say immigration and refugee questions “play no role in relation to trying to resolve difficult issues”, but he said “integrity in selection is always of the ­utmost importance. Some of the people you cite were never refugees and deceived us in relation in to their entitlements.

“Monis was never a refugee. He clearly had difficult psychological problems.”

Mr Ruddock noted many of those who had committed ­Islamic-inspired terrorism here had been born in Australia, and said the question was “why have we failed to pass on our values”, particularly respecting the law.

Dr Aly said: “I think Duncan Lewis knows more than Pauline Hanson, and if Duncan Lewis is saying that, we should be paying attention to him.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton declined to comment.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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