Why International Women's Day is an enormous joke (just a few of the reasons, anyway).
And because no post would be complete without Sarah Palin, here are a couple of articles to mull over - "Islamophobia and Palin-phobia" and "The Day Sarah Palin Capped Feminism". Enjoy.
A melody heard three weeks before babies are born can slow their hearts when they hear it again one month after birth, scientists find.
This discovery adds to the understanding of the effects of what sounds get heard in the womb, including how babies learn to perceive speech.
Human hearing develops during the last trimester, or three months, of pregnancy. Past research showed that infants in the womb can hear, with little or no distortion, not only the voice of theirmother but conversation near her.
By five weeks before birth, the cochlea — the spiral-shaped part of the inner ear responsible for hearing — is usually mature. To see if babies can actually remember sounds from back that far, developmental psychobiologist Carolyn Granier-Deferre at Paris Descartes University in France and her colleagues played melodies to infants inside the womb and then tested them after they were born.
"I was interested in prenatal hearing and learning since my first pregnancy almost 40 years ago," Granier-Deferre explained.
Fifty women were asked to play a brief recording of a descending piano melody (one that gets lower in pitch) twice daily in the 35th, 36th and 37th weeks after their last menstrual period. (The average human pregnancy lasts 40 weeks after the last menstrual period.) The melody was nine notes long and lasted 3.6 seconds.
When the women's 50 infants were 1 month old, both the descending melody and an ascending nine-note piano melody were played to the babies while they slept in the researchers' dimly lighted laboratory.
The scientists found that on average, the heart rates of the sleeping babies briefly slowed by about 12 beats a minute with the familiar descending melody, and by only five or six beats with the unfamiliar ascending melody.
"Our data shows that a melodic sound, which is an important characteristic of a voice and was frequently heard during prenatal development, produces a much stronger cardiac response than occurs without that experience," Granier-Deferre told LiveScience. "The large heart rate deceleration means the 1-month-old infants paid more attention to that melody than they did to other melodies, even though they had not heard it for six weeks."
These two stories are eloquent expressions - for those still paying attention - of the nature of modern Canada. Bilingualism in its current form, especially as it relates to employment policies in the federal government, is a continual act of appeasement toward Quebecois nationalism. Rather than being an attempt to promote a more bilingual Canada - which is an impracticality - official bilingualism was instead a covert form of pro-Francophone affirmative action.
Yet so central has this policy of appeasement become to our government that nothing is thought of paying a small fortune to educate a dyslexic paper shuffler in French. There is, of course, no practical reason for training this bureaucrat in another language. Unless we are to believe there is a shortage of Francophone tax collectors in Canada.
The myth of national unity through appeasement contrasts with the myth of socialized health care. We are told that a system of socialized medicine is more compassionate than private alternatives. There is nothing in the story of Jill Anzarut that suggests compassion. There is also no such thing as socialized health care. It is a polite euphemism for monopolistic and bureaucratic health care. The Medicare Cult's defenders argue that the alternative to government care is a heartless free market, interested only in penny pinching and profit making. Does not, however, the actions of the Ministry of Health sound exactly like the caricature of a heartless corporate penny pincher?
We labour under these myths and half-truths because we've been led to believe our national identity depends on them. Our national identity depends on impracticalities and bureaucratic heartlessness? That's modern Canada in a nutshell, isn't it?
Israel, a sovereign state in the Middle East, a country where Arabs of any religious background can live freely and recipient of vitriol coming from places of ostensibly higher learning, brings out the worst in the crazies (hat tip: BCF). Israel Apartheid Week at the University of Western Ontario and Michael Coren at York. I have yet to hear why Israel is singled out for the "honour" of being compared to an apartheid or even totalitarian state. If someone can furnish me with proof that Israel is as bad as North Korea (let's say), I'd like to see it.
The day the lights went out in Seoul:
The bustling entertainment districts of one of the world's largest cities, Seoul, were pitched into darkness early Tuesday as the government clamped down on energy use to cope with rising oil prices.
Neon signs and outdoor lights were ordered switched off in the business and entertainment districts of the South Korean capital, in a tangible sign of how the oil price rise is hurting the resource-starved country.
President Lee Myung-bak has called for a tighter national energy policy to counter the impact of higher prices stemming from a wave of unrest across the Arab world and North Africa.
Must be all those norae-bangs. But seriously, Canada has oil sands. Lovely, energy-rich oil sands. Get your energy needs met by a pork and alcohol-consuming friendly nation.
Question to Anglicans: why are you bothering?
Yes, because the Liberals have never abused their power.
Stop stealing my food and other office notes.